Friday, July 18, 2008

We're Crafty

I know during the summer people take their kids here, there and everywhere. I'm not one of those people. We do go to the park quite often, and we do have some fun outings...but I'm not one to do it every day. With four kids and the youngest being rather young and another being "busy" it gets overwhelming. We usually wait until Dad is available to do our outings.
They do love crafts though. Yesterday we painted a lot and they loved that. We play with a lot of model magic clay (a great product--a cross between clay and play-dough--and non-messy and fun!). Today then, I thought I'd take them to Michael's and let them each choose a craft. We needed some new stuff and I thought this would be a fun summer activity, and give my kids some new projects to work on.

Isabel choose paint by number. She's always loved painting and I let her get two different kits since they are so inexpensive. It will take some patience to accomplish but I think she'll be pleased with the outcome when she gets there.

Rory choose Paint & Swirl. We actually already had the machine that spins your paper around and round, but we got refill paints and paper. He loves seeing it swirl and squirting the paint onto the paper.
Bryce choose a Tie-Die shirt kit. We bought t-shirts for the whole family (he'll do his first). He's really excited and we'll let you know how it turns out. There is some set-up time so we can't get straight to it, but it will be neat once it's done! This is perfect too as their elementary school's colors are "tie-die" --so he can wear it to school for school spirit! He also wants to make shirts for friends when it is their birthday (so invite him to your party and you just may get something tie-die)!

On a hot summer day, being crafty isn't a bad alternative!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Treasure Hunting

So many people haven't heard of isn't actually called "treasure hunting" it's called "geo-caching" and it's so much fun! This is our favorite family pastime in the summer and "good-outdoor-weather" activity. Our friends that moved away, Alissa & Mike, introduced Jim to it while they were still here. Since then, we've enjoyed the sport as a family, and often on date-nights, Jim and I will geo-cache. Sometimes, Jim will even take the kids and go hunt for treasure! After all, it's free (as soon as you have a GPS).

So, what is Geo-Caching? Go to and learn more about it. There are caches that people hide (we've hidden a few ourselves) open in parks, along pathways, hidden from plain view. There are different levels of difficulty and different sizes of caches. It could be a Rubbermaid container sitting nestled under a tree--covered by leaves and branches, wrapped in camouflage tape. It could be a 35mm film canister hanging from a tree branch. I've even seen a magnetic bullet that unscrews to keep the log in--attached under a park bench. This is a sport and you can begin with the easy and big caches and work your way to more difficult caches. There are riddles and clues for some caches and it can be a lot of fun and challenging, or really easy and simple. You choose.

For each cache, you locate one near you (search by zip code or through Google Maps) and then you find the corresponding GPS location coordinates. Then you go and find it! Each cache has a log that you sign once you've found it--and then you go back to the web-site and log your visit. Our kids enjoy the caches where you can exchange a little toy of some sort. They bring a toy (usually an old McDonald's trinket that is small) leave their toy, and take one that is in the cache. Not all caches have these, but usually the caches that are large enough, do have trinkets for exchange. This is how it got nick-named "treasure hunting" by my kiddos. They get new little "treasures" that they had to hunt for and find!

It may sound complicated, but it really isn't. Once you have a GPS...go to and read more about it. There are some really basic and inexpensive GPS units, and then if you find you like the can get more fancy. It's a fun sport and rather popular and growing in popularity all the time. There are TONS of caches all around you. Why haven't you heard of this before? Well, there's kind of a "cloak-and-dagger-ness" to the sport...don't let "muggles" figure out what you're doing. Just kind of fun and quiet--but a great FUN activity while you're enjoying your outdoor activities--and the kids enjoy it too!