Kids

Helicopter parenting at school

Helicopter Gardening

It was a balmy spring morning in a Southern California coastal community and tiny streams of leftover rainwater make their way around weed bumps in a suburban school garden. The fog is lifting and the place is peaceful although a bit disheveled. One lady takes a seat on a crude bench made from cement blocks and wood boards. Soon classes will walk by on their way to recess and notice something new,... »

growing in raised garden beds

Interviews with Cindy Rajhel of Home Grown Fun

Host Mike Podlesny of the Vegetable Gardening Podcast talks with Cindy about innovative school gardens and making your own fertilizers and soil amendments. Host Dave Ledoux of Back to My Garden talks with Cindy about nature appreciation, watermelon pickles and the secrets of Home Grown Fun! For more podcasts with garden gurus visit these links: Vegetable Gardening Podcast Back to My Garden Podcast... »

Stop playing video games!

Garden World – Video Games and Seed Packets

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white pumpkins types and uses

11 Fun Pumpkins and Winter Squash and How to Use Them

My oldest and I are on the lookout for the most interesting pumpkins and winter squash. Check these out at your local farm stand and use our tips to help you choose the best ones for carving, cooking and decoration. Also check out my other posts about stuffing pumpkin blossoms and creative recipes for pumpkin crisps, fries and roasted seeds. 1. Galeux d’Eysines CARVING: YES, but a bit more d... »

Temperatures for Solar Cooking

HOW TO Make Your Own Solar Oven – Fast, Easy and Cheap

Solar ovens are fantastic fun for all ages. It’s a special thing to be able to cook your own food without electricity. Our giant solar oven in the school garden was all the rage. Classes would pass by and peer inside, watching the temperature gauge rise and veggie chips crisp up. We couldn’t afford to buy a premade solar cooker – they can cost hundreds of dollars. After studying ... »

pet cricket, house for cricket

How to Keep a Cricket as a Pet

Going through a little pet withdrawal these days as we come to an end of our stint in pet-free military housing… so, to fill the void, we took a little cricket in. We saved it from Dad. (Usually he is saving spiders FROM Mom). These buggers of the baseboards make a loud racket – driving my husband to extremes in the middle of the night. Last week I caught him stuffing bits of toilet pa... »

what is a geode

What is a Geode and How Do You Hunt for Geodes?

Holidays around here are usually an adventure. Our extended families are on the other side of the country so we seek out some kind of nature activity. This year’s Thanksgiving was spent out in the desert with a rock club hunting for nodules and geodes. What are Geodes GEODES: You’ve probably seen them in gift or rock shops. Geodes are round or oblong rocks that form inside holes and cr... »

about kohlrabi, kohlrabi recipes, how to prepare kohlrabi

How to Eat Kohlrabi | 5 Ways to Prepare Kohlrabi

Everything is doing well at our school garden including the kohlrabi. The farm stand that I visit regularly sells a bunch for $1.75 and I’m also growing two kinds in my community garden. Most of the students in our garden club have never seen kohlrabi before. It’s a weird-looking veggie. Looks complicated but it couldn’t be easier to enjoy. The key is to buy it or harvest it at t... »

healthy macaroons recipe

Healthy Coconut Macaroons with Flaxseed

In my quest to make healthy lunchbox treats I created these flax seed-based coconut macaroons! They are barely sweet and my kids love them. This recipe makes about 108 small, 1-inch bites that fit into 3 canning jars (quart). If you want different flavored macaroons, after creating approximately 36 bites, add chocolate to the mix. Then make another 36 and add peanut butter to the rest for the fina... »

dinosaur math problems

Dinosaur Math Word Problems for 2nd Grader

If you like to play school or home school your children, customizing some of the worksheets can make a lesson FUN! Incorporate their interests and hobbies and by all means add a bit of humor to it all! Go ahead and copy the text below into a document, format if needed and print at home. Depending on skill level, they would work well for students in grades 1-3. TIP: Some of the questions are meant ... »

ladybug facts for kids

Fun Facts About Ladybugs

“Hi, I’m actually a lady beetle, not a bug. I chew my food instead of sucking it up. When something threatens me, I ooze smelly stuff from my legs to scare it away – like a tiny, gooey, super hero! I eat all kinds of pests like aphids, mites, white flies, and scale insects – and even some fungus and mildew. Hold your applause because I’m not perfect. When snacks are n... »

Themed Fruit Salads – A Simple Way to Celebrate any Special Day

Themed Fruit Salads – A Simple Way to Celebrate any Special Day

Some of the best birthday and father’s days end up being the most simple. Instead of buying him  gadgets and trinkets to store on the shelf we executed an idea from one of the kids: “Let’s each make a fruit salad for Dad!” The littlest made a king’s crown. The oldest made a peacock in front of a sun. She’s been studying peacocks and the year before got ‘Mo... »

How to Get Rid of the Tomato Hornworm

Tomato Hornworm Video

Little Miss Squash Blossom is faced with a rude garden pest in this fairytale featuring live shots of the tomato hornworm. We will be adding links to multiple videos about the tomato hornworm including how it sheds its skin, pupates and interacts with nature. You’ll also learn how to control the pest naturally and organically without chemicals. »

Sand Castings Made Simple

Sand Castings Made Simple

Simple crafts provide us precious moments of tranquility and excitement – there’s nothing else to do but MAKE and ENJOY. Our best experiences with sand castings happen when we don’t get too fussy. All you need is wet, compact ground or a spot on a sandy beach moist enough to make a mold that will hold. Feeling fancy? You can bring objects with you such as beads, ribbon, glass peb... »

Homemade Fossils – MADE EASY!

Homemade Fossils – MADE EASY!

It’s easy to “mix up some mesozoic” at home or at school!  Making homemade fossils is fun and addictive. We’ve got a simple recipe for creating rock-like relics sure to bring out the Paleontologist in everyone! Below you’ll find our cute video with basic instructions plus a list of materials and extra tips for success. Also lower down the page get details on how to pr... »

Tourmaline Hunting

Tourmaline Hunting

We had a lot of fun at the Himalaya Mine located at the base of Palomar Mountain in San Diego County. Unfortunately, we couldn’t enter the mine. It was still a blast searching through their tailings to find treasure. Check out our video of our day and the loot we brought home.  Tidbits About Tourmaline The princess of China, Tz’u Hsi, was obsessed with pink tourmaline in the early 20th... »

YUMMY Ginger Snap Cookies with Flaxseed

YUMMY Ginger Snap Cookies with Flaxseed

Let these ‘in your face’ ginger cookies snap back at you! Lots of ginger and spices leave an impression you won’t forget. Not passed down from Grandma (we love you Grammy), we used olive oil instead of butter and organic ingredients including flaxseed to make them even more healthy and satisfying. Takes 15 minutes to mix and 15 minutes to bake. Easy to make and the dough does not... »

HOW TO Enjoy the Farmers Market with Kids

HOW TO Enjoy the Farmers Market with Kids

There are over six thousand farmers markets in the United States according to the U.S.D.A Agriculture Marketing Service. About once a month, we head out to the Farmers Market in Vista, CA. We love the variety and the focus on food and produce. It’s located in a huge lot in front of the County Courthouse. Along with all the amazing fruits and vegetables, we find sprouts by the pound, worm cas... »

Birthday Tree – Simple and Inexpensive Celebration

Birthday Tree – Simple and Inexpensive Celebration

Our 8 year old loves anything NATURE.  Patterns, colors, flowers, animals, experiences… It was a rainy weekday and the fun we had planned after school (horse back riding lessons on Camp Pendleton) was canceled. So we got creative! With the help of little sister, we stuck a trimmed branch from a eucalyptus tree in a vase of rocks and started adding little trinkets that we knew she would love.... »

Our Favorite Children’s Books

Our Favorite Children’s Books

Over the years we’ve accumulated a nice list of our favorite books. As of Spring of 2011, our oldest daughter is almost 8 years old. Do you have a favorite book that isn’t on this list? Please add a comment with the scoop. Thanks a bunch! Our neighbors and friends have given us books that we continue to love and we especially thank Jan and Mark, Leona, Laurie, Amy and Jen!  Here’... »