Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Exploring Trees in the Spring: For Fun & Learning (free printable)!

Trees are my favorite in the spring; the bright green new leaves and flowering trees after the winter are amazing. Here are a few fun facts and outdoor activities for kids that will help them learn about trees and plants in spring.
Get outside & explore the changing trees this spring with these 7 activities. (free printable)
Go on a scavenger hunt to explore how trees are changing in the spring! Download, let the kids color the pictures, then get outdoors. 

Click on image to download PDF.

image sources - flowers, bee, bird nest, bird, moss, seeding, frog, buds

How many different types of buds can you find? Buds are found at the ends of branches and are were flowers and new leaves grow from. They are as diverse as the types of leaves and flower they bloom into.
Get outside & explore the changing trees this spring with these 7 activities. (free printable)
Every tree “flowers", they just may not look like a typical flower. Here are a few examples of flowers found on trees.
Get outside & explore the changing trees this spring with these 7 activities. (free printable)
Flowers are more than pretty! Flowers house plant’s reproductive organs. In other words, they allow plants to produce offspring or “children.” How many different colored flowers can you find? Take pictures and pick a few to bring home.

Can you find any insects near the flowers you see? Insects assist the trees in reproduction. There would be no tree “children” without them.  

Get outside & explore the changing trees this spring with these 7 activities. (free printable)
Photo courtesy of Kate Spiller, Wild Tales Of.
 The immature cones on conifer trees are often referred to as “flowers", even though they are not true flowers. Can you find any “baby” cones?

Make an arrangement with the collected flowers! Check out how flower arranging is beneficial for children (toward the end of the post).
Last but certainly not least, don’t forget the benefits of climbing trees.

What are your favorite spring outdoor activities? Please share links.
I am collaborating with a group of woodsy mamma bloggers to bring you even more ideas for nature walks this spring. Please show them some love!
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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

4 Kid-Friendly Camping Recipes Using 1 Mix

I recently found a recipe for a biscuit dough that has turned out to be quite diverse and easy to use while camping. So far I have found 4 recipes in which to use it. These are fun recipes that the kids will love being involved in.
4 recipes for family camping from 1 mix.

Why I love these recipes:
  • The dough doesn’t stick. I found this to be true in each of the recipes including making pigs in a blanket and pancakes. It’s nice not having to use cook spray or extra flour.
  • Fun for the kids. My son loved mixing the dough in the bag and rolling out the dough. It is a good idea to keep an eye on the mixing process in case the bag opens.

Busy hands = less getting into trouble.

  • Less messy than mixing in a bowl.
  • Less equipment needed and everything is premeasured.
  • I don’t like bringing eggs camping. On the other hand, it was great not having to use non-stick cooking spray.
  • Getting pancake batter out of a bag can be messy.
  • Waste from throwing the plastic bags away. I just need to take the time to wash them out for reuse.
Biscuit Mix Recipe
Adapted from Cooking on a Stick
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup nonfat dry milk
2 tbsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup shortening

Directions: Add dry ingredients to a bowl and mix until combined. Add shortening to flour mixture and work with your hands, two knives or pastry cutter until the shortening is the size of small peas and evenly distributed through flour.

Pigs in a Blanket
2 cups biscuit mix
½ cup water
Hot dogs
Condiments - ketchup, mustard, relish

At home: Place biscuit mix in a gallon Ziploc bag.

At the campsite: Pour water into bag with biscuit mix and work with hands until fully incorporated. Roast hot dogs over fire. Pull a handful of dough out of the bag and roll it out into a long rope. Wrap around hot dog and cook over fire until nicely browned. Top with desired toppings and devour!

Chicken Pot Pie
2 cups biscuit mix
½ cup water
1 cup cooked and diced chicken (you can always cook the chicken at the campsite)
2 cups diced mixed vegetables: carrots, celery, green beans, etc.
1 onion, diced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 cup water
1 chicken bouillon cube

At home: Cook chicken, dice and store in Ziploc bag or bowl with a lid. Dice vegetables and store in gallon bag or bowl with a lid.

At the campsite: Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in preheated Dutch oven. Sautee veggies until soft, stirring occasionally. While veggies are cooking, add water to bag of biscuit mix and work with hands until fully incorporated. Add chicken, water and bouillon cube to Dutch oven and simmer until cube is dissolved. Pull out handful of biscuit dough and shape into balls. Flatten slightly and lay gently over chicken and veggies. Cover with lid and bake until biscuits are fully cooked. This took about 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven.

2 cups biscuit mix
1 egg
1 ½ cups water
Syrup or other desired toppings

At home: Place biscuit mix in a gallon Ziploc bag.

At the campsite: Add egg and water to biscuit mix bag and work with hands until fully incorporated. Pour about 1/3 cup of mix onto a preheated skillet. Flip when bubbles start to form on top of the pancakes.

Blueberry Cobbler
2 cups biscuit mix
½ cup water
6 cups of blueberries
1 cup sugar
3 tbsp flour
juice and zest from 1 lemon
2 Tbsp sugar
1tsp cinnamon

At Home: Measure biscuit mix, sugar and cinnamon and blueberries/lemon juice & zest/sugar/flour into separate gallon Ziploc bags. So, one bag for the biscuit mix, one for the sugar and cinnamon and one for the blueberry mixture.  

At the campsite: Start coals and heat dutch oven, lid too. Dump blueberry mixture into dutch oven and simmer until biscuit dough is ready. Pour water into biscuit mix bag and work with hands until fully incorporated. Pull out handfuls, roll into a ball, slightly flatten and gently place on top of the blueberry mixture. Sprinkle cinnamon/sugar over the biscuits. Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.
BONUS: Write the ingredients that need to be added to the biscuit mix on the bag with a permanent marker. Saves having to keep track of a recipe.

What are your families favorite camping recipes? Please include links if you have them.
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Tale of Two Toddlers: A Camping Adventure

Anyone who has more than one child can tell you how unique each child is.

My sister-in-law recently asked me how my daughter does on our family car camping trips. She would like her family to go car camping for vacation but is worried how her youngest, who is just a few months younger than my daughter, would do.
Even though I want to just say: my daughter is amazing, go camping. But I feel it is only fair to give the whole story and tell her “It depends.”
My Son
Full of energy, extremely curious and very independent. He doesn’t sleep well at home or anywhere. He is totally unpredictable.
When we are car camping with him, we never know if he will sleep through the night or be up every few hours. Is he going to stay away from the fire or are we are going to have to put him in the tent?
When he was a toddler either my husband or I had to play with him or he had to be strapped in a stroller. He wouldn’t stay out of the fire and he was always running away.
My Daughter
She still has an opinion but she lets you know in a much softer way (although the closer we get to two the more forceful she is getting). She still gets into things but is much quicker to listen to directions.
She doesn’t run away and is scared of the fire. If we tell her to come back to the campsite, more often than not, she comes back. And generally, she sleeps through the night.
The Lesson
Car camping as a family is always a good idea! We see improvements in our family relationships and we prefer car camping as a family to staying in a hotel. But when you have a opinionated child on your hands you have to be a little more prepared, with activities, for the possible sleep deprivation, and the expectation you will have to adjust. And, even a gentler soul can surprise you at times. 
Don't you love the old-school tent?
How have your children’s personalities affected you camping trips and adventures? How have you handled it?
Mud Mud Marvellous Mud - Outdoor Play Party

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Ultimate Blog Party 2014

Ultimate Blog Party 2014

This is my first Ultimate Blog Party. Head on over if this is your first time hearing about this event. Lots of prizes and opportunities to meet other bloggers.

I blog about the two most important things in my life:
  • my family
  • and the great outdoors.
We love spending time together as a family, adventuring and learning through play. Thank you for stopping by.
Please leave a comment. I would love to see your blog.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Earth Day is Your Day. So Make a Difference!

I have teamed up with a group of talented bloggers to bring you even more ideas for your Earth Day activities. Please check out their links at the bottom of this post. Thanks.

The first Earth Day in 1970 was the first nation-wide event focused on bringing awareness to how individual’s actions can improve our Earth. Before Earth Day, most environmental concerns were voiced through organizations such as the Sierra Club and the National Wildlife Federation.
Kid-friendly Earth Day activities.
So, Earth Day is OUR opportunity to change and make a difference. Today over 200 million people in 141 countries lend their voices and time. But that is just a fraction of the roughly 7 billion people on the Earth today.
Ok, enough with the history lesson; but I believe we can learn from where we have been and it can help us realize where we need to go. That said, I have decided this year my goal for Earth Day is to get a friend involved. We will be attending a festival at our local nature center and friends are already committed to join us.
I am hoping they will be encouraged to make changes in their own lives as we participate in activities. Plus, it is just fun to have friend around.  You can read about our eco-friendly changes on my St. Patrick’s Day post. We went “GREEN” for St. Patrick’s Day.
Kid-friendly Earth Day activities.
Dropping off recycling at our local nature center. We don't have recycling available for home pick-up.
More ideas for your Earth Day activities. Enjoy!
Please join the conversation on Facebook or share this post on Twitter or Pinterest.

I'm linked up at:
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Friday, March 28, 2014

Strengthening Family Relationships through Outdoor Play

This is a subject very near and dear to me. There are a lot of reasons I feel it is important for kids to be outdoors, but for me this is the more important.

Not sure if I have mentioned this before, but my husband isn't outdoorsy. There are various reasons but the funniest is that he has bad luck with wildlife. Seriously, it is attracted to him in a not-good way. A snake actually tried to cuddle up with him.

Despite the outdoors not being his favorite thing, he makes an effort for us to spend time outdoors together for one a major reason: we feel like spending time outdoors together as a family improves our relationships. 

Outdoor play strengtens family relationships.

Through out our entire marriage he has always made an effort but it wasn't until our road trip last summer that he really saw how beneficial it is for our family. That trip was really a game changer for him.

You can read the ways I feel like being outdoors improves our relationships on Go Adventure Mom.

How do you feel the outdoors has helped your relationships?
Outdoor play strengtens family relationships.

If you need ideas for outdoor activities for your family, check out my Pinterest boards!
Visit Mae @ Mommy Loves Trees's profile on Pinterest.

Mud Mud Marvellous Mud - Outdoor Play Party

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Why Camping in the Spring is the Best!

We went camping for the first time this year last week. Nothing extravagant, just a state park close to home. But it was heaven and I was reminded why I love camping in the SPRING.
Why we love camping in the spring.

I love all camping but here are a few of the reason this trip was especially nice:
1 - No bugs. It was amazing camping and not having to worry about citronella candles and bug spray.
Why we love camping in the spring.
2 - Girl Scout Cookie s’mores. Enough said!

My daughter wants in on the action!
3 - Cheaper rates. Because it isn’t peak season the rates at state parks are generally lower. We paid less than half the summer rate last week.
4 - Our empty campground. We were the only family camping. As much as I want other families to be enjoying the outdoors, it was wonderful having the place to ourselves. On our road trip last summer we found the same thing. We left before school was out and the campground were relatively empty. 
Why we love camping in the spring. 
What is your favorite time of the year to camp and why?


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