Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Family Scavenger Hunt

Every once in a while, inspiration strikes. And sometimes it even materializes! Luckily Sunday night was one of those moments.

We did our first Family Scavenger Hunt. It was SOOO fun! We'll definitely do it again!

I baked a pan of brownies and placed 5 bite sized pieces on each of 6 plates. I also assembled a collage of pictures (see below), printed it out, and cut out each picture like a puzzle piece. Each plate got a puzzle piece picture. The last thing I added to each plate was a question that was a clue to the next location and the next family member.

While Fred got the kids ready for bed, I distributed the assembled plates to their various spots.

We all met in the kitchen and this was the first clue:

What does this person like to do in the living room that sounds pretty?
With some prompting they guessed, "Mama likes to play the piano!" So they ran to the piano and found the first plate of brownies, with the picture of me confirming that I was the right answer.

The clue stuck in one of the brownies read:
What does this person like to do that gets him all messy?
It didn't take long for them to deduce that it was Kai, who loves to eat. So they found the next plate on his high chair, with his picture and the next clue which went:

What does this person like to do outside?
Charla knew right away that it was referring to her and they bolted outside. She begs to eat outside every night and she loves swinging on the swing set. They found the plate, Charla's picture puzzle piece, and the next clue on one of the patio chairs.

With great excitement and mouths full of brownies we read:
What does this person like to wear to bed?
I was afraid the clue might be a bit obscure, but they figured out it was referring to Leora who wears a froofy dress over her pajamas every night. The next plate was found hidden in the chest that holds the dress-up clothes. We stapled the picture of Leora into place with the other pieces and read the clue:

What does this person like to do that uses Lego's and Star Wars?
I hadn't realized how misleading it was, since Gregory's passion right now is playing Lego Star Wars on the PC downstairs. I clarified that it was something upstairs. Eventually they figured out that I was referring to the numerous Star Wars creations Gregory makes from Lego's in his room.

After savoring another bite of brownie (ok, the kids horked it down) we read the final clue:
What does this person like to with the kids right before bed?
Fred reads to the kids every night right before lights out. They raced to the girls' room and found the last plate and the last puzzle piece on the bed.

We finished assembling the puzzle and then took turns saying things we liked about another family member. I started with complimenting Gregory, who then complimented me, so I got another turn. I paid Fred a compliment and then he said something he loves about Charla, etc. I was afraid I'd lose them at this point, and eventually did, but we actually kept it going for a while!

Then they went to bed.

It was such a wonderful experience! I LOVE having such a spread of ages, but all still so young and eager. There is truly nothing better in life than having a family.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Adventures in the Garden

I'm carving out a few minutes to finally write about something fun our family has started: our own garden!

Since these houses are built on an old landfill, we're not allowed to plant anything that we'd eat. I'd heard about Square-foot Gardening a while back and finally bought the book. I've heard from MANY friends that they've had great success with this method of gardening, so I have high hopes!

This is the first garden I've attempted. We've already had a few adventures. Probably the most impressive was when I turned out the backyard hose and flooded the other 1/2 of our duplex, which caused most of our bottom floor to flood. The hose bib had cracked during the winter, so the pipes were broken. Maintenance came and sucked up most of the water. They left us with an enormous, noisy fan for a few days after that.

The big guy let our a yelp when the elusive mouse scurried near him- we've been trying to catch that little beast for months.

our front hallway- good thing there was a heap of dirty blankets to stop the water from spreading too fast!

When they moved the fridge we were reunited with most of our alphabet magnets!

Luckily, nothing was ruined and the kids were happy to eat lunch at Burger King that day.

Tonight we mixed up the soil according to the instructions in the manual. The kids had a blast mixing and shoveling- and they got thoroughly filthy! Good times!

We've attached a sheet of plywood to create a bottom so that there's no contact with the existing soil. It works out especially well since we're putting the garden plots on the sloping front yard.

When we were done, Fred showered them off and then we enjoyed a yummy dinner of spaghetti (sauce enhanced by my mostly-Italian neighbor), and homemade wheat rolls.

I love it when I feel like a good mom. Now if only I could get someone to do the dishes....