Pure summer: How to make a wildflower crown

You belong among the wildflowers
You belong in a boat out at sea
Sail away, kill off the hours
You belong somewhere you feel free

Nothing quite says summer like strolling, picking wildflowers and weaving a crown. Don’t believe me? Make one and see for yourself.

Want to wear something DIY that's pure summer, either for yourself or your kids? Here's how to make a wildflower crown! Ten Thousand Hour Mama

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#GetOutside Challenge

A little while back, I took up PDX Parent‘s #GetOutside Challenge: to spend at least an hour outdoors with the kids, rain or shine. I wrote about the seven days of puddle-stomping, worm-examining, trampoline-jumping here.

#GetOutside Challenge rainy day#GetOutside Challenge puddleWe’ve had a beautiful, warm, sunny week, but today the weather is back to Oregon’s usual rainy self. I learned on the #GetOutside Challenge that a little rain is no reason to stay indoors.

In fact, there are benefits to heading outside on a rainy day:

  1. There’s no one else at the playground/park/hiking trail!
  2. Kids love rain gear. Peeper gets so excited to wear her firefighter rain jacket!
  3. It shows kids the importance of being active, even if it’s crummy outside.
  4. It gets stir-crazy kids out of the house.
  5. It gets stir-crazy parents out of the house.

So while I am missing the sun today, the rainy forecast won’t keep me from getting outside with the kids this weekend. We’ll just pack a dry set of clothes, pull on our boots and stomp every darn puddle we can!

Nature painting

Lately, Peeper is fascinated by combining complementary things. “Together!” she cries, popping a bite of cheese and hot dog into her mouth, or “Pomegranate on top!” while balancing a seed on a forkful of peas and tofu.

Her enthusiasm makes me think of the scene in Ratatouille when Remy discovers how two tastes together can pop like fireworks or melt together for a transcendent out-of-body experience.

ratatouille-gifs-3142-19317-hd-wallpapersThe other day, I followed her lead. Peeper loves art, and she loves the outdoors. So voila: nature painting!

Toddler Nature Painting - ten Thousand Hour MamaWith a bucket in tow, we set out on a walk in our neighborhood. We picked up bits of this and that, dropping rocks and fallen pine boughs in with a plunk. Peeper soon caught a taste for collecting, and before long her bucket held an abundance of nature’s detritus.

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Sunshine to melt your blizzard blues

Unless you’ve been taking a social media/news/talking to people cleanse, you’re all too aware that much of the country is dealing with the fallout from a major blizzard. Much of the Northeast is buried under two feet of snow, but here in Oregon, we’ve been enjoying our signature mellow weather.

Whether you’re digging out from under the blizzard or just bemoaning winter’s grey skies, here’s a little dose of sunshine to brighten your day, courtesy of Peeper and me.

Sunshine Popper from Catherine Ryan Gregory on Vimeo.

Get dirty and scuff your knees

We’ve been getting phenomenal weather here in Portland this week. I’ve been heading outside as often as possible to take advantage of the sun and soak up some much-needed vitamin D.

Yesterday a friend and I had planned to meet at the Oregon Zoo—that is, until I arrived and witnessed the mayhem that $4 admission day involves. After hunting for a parking space for altogether too long, we scrapped our plans and met at the park instead.

Peeper was probably just as happy playing on the lawn than she would have been looking at the elephants and cheetahs (although she’s really into animal books lately, especially the wonderfully interactive Dog and My Giant Fold-out Book of Animals). She and her buddy zoomed around the small patch of grass we claimed.

IMG_3632_2IMG_3622Peeper picked up leaves and grabbed dandelion petals. She toppled downhill—she’s clearly not used to crawling down an incline—but just looked around, surprised, when she righted herself. She paid no heed to sticks and muddy patches as she crawled here and there.

By the time we left, her hands and bare feet were all dirty, and the knees of her leggings were smudged with grass stains.

During my baby shower, friends and family took turns saying things they wished for my soon-to-be-born child. My mother-in-law wished that Peeper would be unafraid of getting dirty and take time to get acquainted with bugs. I carried the idea behind that blessing with me since, partly because I, too, love the idea of raising a child who won’t let a little dirt get in the way of her curiosity.

Extra scrubbing at bath time and stain remover are a small price to pay for the freedom of exploration. Grassy pants and dirty hands are proof of a day well spent.