Courtney

Courtney

I love the outdoors and our family gets outside as much as possible. I run the Boston Area Active Kids Club outdoor playgroup. Come play with us!

Website URL: http://www.meetup.com/south-shore-playgroup-massachusetts/

mar11a

 

My posts are beginning to sound redundant, but weird weather continues as we had some nice, warm weather this week and yet woke up to a dusting of snow yesterday...?

The kids were in backyard glory the other day to christen the yard by dragging out every outdoor toy imaginable.  We also got some bike riding in.  I'm happy to say that a nice side effect of this warm winter has meant that biking season never stopped for us.

 

Mar11b

mar11c

 

Well, the time had come.  My son was turning five and the question always arises- what should we do for his birthday?  I have wanted to have an outdoor birthday party for him, but having a winter birthday in New England makes depending on weather for that day very tricky.  We couldn't count on snow for sledding or the like- especially this year.  My son wanted a pirate themed birthday party so I began thinking about boats.  I've posted here before about how we live very close to a commuter boat that goes to Boston which is a great value and fun to ride.  So, we decided to take our guests on a pirate adventure to Boston.  Our destination was the playground that is steps from where the boat lands.  You might think that taking 12 kids under the age of 6 out on a boat for a birthday party might be a recipe for disaster, but it was great, and this is how we did it.

We all met at the ferry terminal and waited for our ship to come in.  Thanks to a huge group of boy scouts that disembarked, our group was a sigh of relief to the crew!

DSC_0315

Every pirate got a hat to decorate, which kept them busy and served a very important role playing purpose.  After that we had lunch: "healthy" hot dogs (that I pre-made and packed in foil), Pirate's Booty and juice.

DSC_0320

Land ho!  It was not too long before we reached our destination.

DSC_0335

It was as if they knew we were coming: when we got off the boat there was a place where you could take your picture as a pirate!  The driver of the boat also said goodbye to us with a loud "Aaargh!" over the loudspeaker.

DSC_0339

We made balloon swords for the kids so they could swashbuckle on the playground.

DSC_0390

Then we rounded up the pirates for a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday" followed by pirate cupcakes.

DSC_0380

Mmmm...

DSC_0388

While nobody was in the sandbox, my husband "hid" their treasure (goody boxes) in the sand and then told the kids that he spied treasure.  They all went running in a pack to find it.

DSC_0394

After that we headed to our home port and enjoyed the view from the top of the boat as it moved slowly out of the harbor.  It was a great day.

DSC_0410

 

 

Well, we've been busy lately.  The weather has been enjoyable- a mix of "no coat" days, frigid weather, and even some snow recently.  When it snowed the other day we had to take advantage of being in it for as long as possible, so we went to the local nature center to walk their trails and had a great time.

We hung out in a shelter:

34e

Found some animal tracks- can you identify them?

34f

Poked the ice in the stream to see how thick it was:

34g

Over february vacation we had a play/bike/scooter rendezvous with a bunch of our friends at a school down the street:

34c

We went skating on a visit to Newport, RI:

34d

And, better than throwing rocks in water, we threw rocks into lovely, soft mud and made big, gratifying holes:

34a

If you had February vacation, did you get outside?

 

 

21212A
This warm winter has been plagued by sickness and injuries for us, unfortunately.  Nothing major, just enough to keep us from doing what we normally like to do.  My son got stitches in his head from a stick while hiking.  He got them out on Friday and they said he has to refrain from "active play" for at least the next week while it heals more fully.  Maybe I shouldn't have let him ski last Thursday?   Oh well.  So we've been doing some more things inside and waiting to heal.  We did visit a deserted playground yesterday (above) and he was able to explore- "gently", shall we say.
We went to a women's hockey game and our team won!  Then we took our time leaving the city and watched the trains.  The driver here honked and waved to us, which always makes us smile.
21212E
The kids get antsy inside sometimes.  Toddler just found the scissors and wants to cut everything?  Sit him down and let him do it in a controlled environment.  Luckily it's just as satisfying for him.
21212B
And the boys have been making a lot of food.  Pizza is always a good standby.
212_Pizza
We capped off the weekend with a visit to the local view:
21212D
Have you been enjoying the mild winter?

Mild weather continues here, but at least we can read about the white stuff.  One of my favorite books as a child was Snow by P.D. Eastman (a protoge of Dr. Seuss) and illustrated by Roy McKie.

SnowCover

It helped that the children in it are a little blond boy and girl, so my mom used to pretend it was me and my brother.  It's a playful, easy to read story of a brother, sister, and their dog and their adventures outside in the snow.  To this day we always name our snowmen Ned and when you read the book you will see why.  Haven't read it?  Check it out!

SnowFeet

Yesterday we dropped off some skis at a friend's house who is going to try skiing for the first time.  Hopefully we will join her on the slopes soon!  While we were there the boys played with a whole group of kids from the neighborhood, including a couple of older girls who were great at organizing games for the little ones.  Lots of spontaneous outdoor fun.

It's Super Bowl Sunday in New England and Patriots fans are gearing up for the game.  The upcoming game takes me down memory lane: 10 years ago my husband and I got engaged while skiing on the mountain where I spent my time as a child.  We celebrated the news with my extended family apres ski, dancing singing at the bar in the lodge, and the next day the Patriots won the Super Bowl.  It was a great weekend.

The other day I was flipping through a slideshow on boston.com that was a collection of readers' photos showing their Patriots pride.  One reader sent in a picture of them tailgating outside their house watching the football game in the yard and the caption said that they watch every game OUTSIDE with their family and neighbors.  Genius.  I love it.  I think we need to try this next season.

This is New England.  You have to be hard core to tailgate!

snowtailgate

This is a random picture of Pats fans tailgating, but you get the idea!

 

It's been too long since we've updated on our winter adventures.  We've been through some sickness and injuries, but we've still managed to get outside almost every day.  The weather here is up and down- no coats one day and bundled up in snow gear the next.  We are trying to take it in stride, go with the flow and do what we can given the weather.  Sledding while it's snowing and then riding bikes at our favorite state park by the ocean in the same week?  Why not?  Here's what we've been up to.  What have you been doing this winter?  Have you had weather like us?

First time skiing down from the top of the mountain:

2312F

We went on a "Quest" (similar to letterboxing) at the local nature center where we found some bunny tracks in the remaining snow:

2312E

Sledding at our local hill while it was actually snowing!  Many people were out sledding:

2312D

Chasing after birds on a "warm" day in the city:

2312A

Exploring a new playground with a "real" zip line! :

2312C

And we got our bikes and scooters out to some of the local parks after the recent snow melted.  We got a new fire pit so the kids are itching to try that out.  Do you have a fire pit in your yard?  We're thinking of making s'mores.  Do you use it to make snacks?

Happy Friday, everyone!  And go Patriots!

 

 

It's been too long since we've updated on our winter adventures.  We've been through some sickness and injuries, but we've still managed to get outside almost every day.  The weather here is up and down- no coats one day and bundled up in snow gear the next.  We are trying to take it in stride, go with the flow and do what we can given the weather.  Sledding while it's snowing and then riding bikes at our favorite state park by the ocean in the same week?  Why not?  Here's what we've been up to.  What have you been doing this winter?  Have you had weather like us?

First time skiing down from the top of the mountain:

2312F

We went on a "Quest" (similar to letterboxing) at the local nature center where we found some bunny tracks in the remaining snow:

2312E

Sledding at our local hill while it was actually snowing!  Many people were out sledding:

2312D

Chasing after birds on a "warm" day in the city:

2312A

Explored a new playground with a "real" zip line! :

2312C

And we got our bikes and scooters out to some of the local parks after the recent snow melted.  We got a new fire pit so the kids are itching to try that out.  Do you have a fire pit in your yard?  We're thinking of making s'mores.  Do you use it to make snacks?

Happy Friday, everyone!  And go Patriots!

 

 

We finally got a few inches of snow enough to make it outside for some sledding and a picnic at the local park.  Fun pictures from today:

Jan20A

Heading to the hill.

Jan20D

The trek back up.

Jan20B

The basketball court was good for perfectly smooth snow angels.

Jan20C

And we capped it off with a lunch of hot tortellini and tea.

January19B
A bit of snow on the slopes and a bit of snow in our yard, but neither are related.  As you can see in the picture above, the snow on our local hill is all man-made so far this season.  We are definitely lacking in the white stuff this winter.  Send some this way, Seattle!  While we had clear, blue skies at ski lessons, twenty minutes away at our house it was snowing.  Just a dusting, though.  We're looking at another one for tonight, but no real accumulation.  The kids are getting antsy.  "No snow" winter activity suggestions are welcome!  Temperatures have been fluctuating a lot, but I see some ice art in our future if the temps stay cold.
My son has really been taking to skiing- he has only had two lessons and each time he has been pushed up to the next skill level.  He's been having a lot of fun, but with fun comes responsibility.  One of the instructors was explaining to a parent next to me today how she tries to bring safety awareness into her lessons- a reminder that skiing can be very dangerous and it's important to start early with this kind of training.  Our bunny hill is no half-pipe, but the death of free style skier Sarah Burke today is a good reminder that every sport has its risks.  The instructor was asking the child, "Is the snow warm and fluffy today or cold and hard?  Is the snow noisy or quiet?".  These simple questions start to raise awareness in the child's senses, and I really appreciate that the instructors are instilling this in the children.
Ski lesson bonus: I have met some really nice parents to chat with.  The kids are skiing in the cold for 1.5 hours so it's great to have someone to talk to!  More on that another time, perhaps.
This afternoon we hung out with our friends in our backyard snow dusting :)  What have you been up to?
Our outdoor playgroup will be meeting next Thursday: http://www.meetup.com/south-shore-playgroup-massachusetts/events/48214802/
January19A
JPAGE_CURRENT_OF_TOTAL