Wednesday, May 21, 2014

High Park Cherry Blossom Field Trip

 So, we went on an adventure to see the Cherry Blossoms at High Park last week. We kept referring to our destination as "the magical forest", which it really does feel like when the cherry blossoms are at their prime. The whole way there, Riley and Thomas kept pointing at trees and saying, "Is this the magical forest, Charla?" It was the cutest thing. We were probably a day before the best viewing time, but since Thursday and Friday were not pleasant days, I'd say we picked the best day!

We quickly moved on, however, to see the swan's nest.

 The children got to see it up close. I have personally never seen an amazing thing like this from such a close distance. We were all in awe. It wasn't long, though, until the children took an even bigger interest in the ducks swimming around the swan's nest. In the picture below, the kids have followed the ducks along the bank to get a better look at them. Leila though, I think, is still in awe of the swans. :)

 Here is a rare event, where I got to join the children for a photograph!

We sauntered back home, still in time for naps. I couldn't believe that Amadea stayed awake for this entire trip!

I am adding these random pictures below to the post because....well....I couldn't not add them!

This picture of Amadea is probably my all-time favourite of her. So beautiful.

Oh, and my apologies for how out of date this one is, but it must be posted. Aren't the big kids so great, pushing the little guys in the swings? Also, I get a good laugh when I look at Amadea and the rice cake hanging out of her mouth. It is especially funny to me because these kids are ALWAYS eating when we are outside! They have bottomless stomachs!

And here is Noah and a little butterfly doing Lego. (Oops, I can almost hear her now, saying "They're not butterfly wings Charla. They're fairy wings.)

The two pictures below were taken in a rare moment when the kids were all relaxing on the couch together. They were listening to the Lion King audio cd, and Noah is following along in the book.

Here are Riley and Thomas on one of our many hiking trips behind Lithuania Park. They always ask me to photograph them sitting on this same log. :)

We had a wonderful visit from one of our alumni, Oscar. He and Thomas were very good buddies back in the day. It was nice for them to reconnect!

Behold the window washer: aka Spiderman. You don't see this every day, folks. 

And finally, this picture I took today just melted my heart! You're welcome for making your day. ;)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Messy Maniacs

Almost every weekend I make a large amount of a particular meal, divide it into portions large enough to feed 5 kids and freeze it. This way, I at least have some evenings where I really don't need much time for meal prep, while the daycare is on. When it is time for me to make pizzas to freeze, I often involve the kids in the preparation. It is a fun, easy meal for them to help with.

The morning group enjoyed it thoroughly. They like to taste all the ingredients, including flour, salt, tomato sauce, and of course, mozzarella cheese!

Riley and Noah helped me bake some more in the afternoon, so we ended up with 3 pizzas in total! Thanks for the help, kids!

I put some paper up on the walls one day, so we could paint a mural the next day.

Of course, they couldn't wait for the next day, so I let them colour with crayons first.

They had a great time with this activity, and it did not get out of hand. Even the youngest knew to only colour on the paper.

The next day I prepared all the paints, got the kids into their paint smocks, and was personally so excited for them to enjoy painting all over the walls.

Well, they painted for about 2 minutes, and then one by one, said "I'm done painting." It was quite the waste of paint! At least Amadea hung in there for the long haul. Oh well, you just never know how an activity is going to go with kids. Sometimes you prepare something so extravagant and they're like, "Meh". I'm keeping most of the paper up so they can colour on it from time to time, in the next couple of months.

One activity both the morning and afternoon groups enjoyed was water play with sea and pond creatures. The afternoon group in particular were amused with this activity for quite some time, delighting in the pretend play.

There was quite some buildup over the previous month about Riley's upcoming birthday. After being consulted, Riley requested we make a chocolate Smarties cake for her birthday.

The older kids (including Riley herself) baked the cake. We included all the kids in the decorating part. They did a great job, placing most of the Smarties onto the cake. Taste-testing is always essential! 

We weren't planning on having a big birthday celebration for Riley, since she had her own party; a pool party, and it was awesome! Still, the next day, on Riley's actual birthday, I couldn't help but to bust out the party hats.

Once they each had a hat, Riley had the group sing happy birthday to all the kids, one by one,  so everyone could feel special.

She also asked that Leila wear a party dress, since it was, after all, her birthday. But Riley herself was in pants, so we gave her one of Leila's dresses to wear. This was unsatisfactory to her, not because it was a little tight, but because the skirt did not spin when she twirled around. Leila's did, and she needed a dress that met that requirement too.

So, I had to text her dad to bring over a dress that fit the bill. (It's not as bad as it sounds. He lives in the building, and was working from home.)

So he brought up this beautiful dress for his little 4-year-old princess, and her happiness was restored. Here you can only see 2 princesses, but we ended up also putting Amadea in one of Leila's dresses before we went outside. I should have known Amadea would love this, since her favourite thing to do is to try things on: shoes, boots, hats, bracelets, etc.

I found a birthday banner in the closet that we had used on the door for Thomas's birthday. This time, we taped it to the wagon so everyone would know it was someone's birthday.

And here's princess Amadea. One of her favourite games to play with me is tag....well....only with me catching her! She thinks it is hilarious!

Here are a couple of clips:

The birthday girl enjoyed her special day, at the park with her buddies.

But soon it was time to go home and eat the very special cake they had all made.

Happy birthday, to our little real life princess. We all love you, Riley!