These decorative sand-covered flower vases are a perfect craft for spring. They're easy to make, and look really beautiful, especially placed by a window where they catch the light. My daughter was so proud of her colorful creatiions. Use them to hold daffodils or other bright spring flowers.
Raid your recycling bin and find some containers like glass or even plastic jars and bottles for this craft. You'll also need colored sand, white glue (like Elmer's), a paint brush, and paper plates. We found colored sand at Michael's, but most craft or art supply stores should have it.
Pour sand on paper plates, and "paint" the outside of your jar or bottle with white glue. You can also paint patterns like dots and swirls with the glue to create special decorative effects.
Now that spring is here, work with your children to create some beautiful seasonal crafts to decorate your home. One of our favorite spring crafts this season is these charming butterflies made from things you probably have on hand at home: old magazine pages and 12-inch pipe cleaners. This craft is best done by children of kindergarten age and up, as it involves some coordination and folding skills and might be difficult for younger children.
To make these butterflies, cut out colorful pages from magazines (instead of just throwing them in the recycling bin), and cut out two squares: one four-inch and one five-inch. Turn squares diagonally (like a diamond), and fold in 1/4-inch accordion pleats.
Bend a pipe cleaner in half and twist the folded end so it makes a loop. Pinch the middle of each square together, and carefully place them between the two arms of the pipe cleaner, with the smaller four-inch square on the bottom. Hold everything in place by twisting the ends of the pipe cleaner and pressing the loop flat. The two pipe cleaner ends can now be curled into antennae.
In case you haven't noticed, it's strawberry season, and the delicious red berries and popping up in farmers' fields and markets all over. We've been getting especially sweet and tasty strawberries from vendors at the Marin Civic Center farmer's market, as well as at local stores. Recently, we found ourselves with a surplus of strawberries, and wondered momentarily what to do with them. Fortunately, an answer was immediately at hand—strawberry pie.
Unlike our equally delicious strawberry rhubarb pie, this refrigerated pie requires little baking or cooking, and is something that the kids can help with in the kitchen safely and easily. Here's what you'll need:
One of the springtime's treats is homemade strawberry rhubarb pie. My four-year-old somehow got the notion that we were going to make a pie, and has been lobbying me to do that for a couple weeks now. So I went out shopping and picked up some strawberries, rhubarb, and some of the frozen pie crusts that Trader Joes sells.
Just so we're perfectly clear: I may be a wannabe house-husband, but I don't make pie crust, since those that I have tried to make end up with the texture of cardboard. The Trader Joes offering is made of pretty decent stuff (i.e. no partially hydrogenated oils) and is really good, so I usually just buy those when I find it necessary to do some pie making. Right now strawberries are fresh, abundant, and cheap (I heard a news story on the radio recently that explained why, but I wasn't really paying attention so I don't remember), so go get a mess of them and make yourself a pie!
Here's my recipe, amalgamated from a variety of sources to make a pretty tasty pie:
It's mid-April and Northern Calfornia's wildflowers are pretty much at their peak. Spring is kind of an emphemeral time here in Marin, with the vibrant green grass quickly turning to brown by the end of May. For whatever reason we seem to have a bumper crop of magnificent wildflowers here in Marin this season. The wildflower show will be over before we know if, so make sure you get out and take a look before they're gone for another year.
The coming of spring ushers in California's all too brief wildflower season. One of the best places to see wildflowers in the Bay Area is the Point Reyes National Seashore in West Marin. Repeat visitors to this site know that Point Reyes is probably our favorite place for a family outdoor outing, and in March and April you can also see some pretty spectacular wildflower displays, especially since we've had a wet winter.