If your kids are like mine, getting them outside in the winter is a challenge. This week I pulled out one of our 1000 Hours Outside books which is chalk full of pictures and projects. The kids were happy to thumb through interesting ideas to get them out. We landed on making rainbow ice orbs.
The activity scratched the never ending itch my kids have to do science as they played mixologist- mixing and experimenting with color combos. First, we took some old birthday party balloons we had lying around, most any kind will do, and got to work adding the food dye, water, and tying off. We loaded these babies up in one of our goat watering buckets (because that’s what we had on hand) and set them out during this dreadfully cold winter to freeze overnight. Only it didn’t freeze, because our weather is so so weird this year! The kids woke up immediately asking about the ice orbs, which were not frozen. Parenting fail! It felt almost as bad as when the tooth fairy forgets to visit.
So at 7 am, half dressed, baby on my back, I hauled those water balloons to the chest freeze and loaded them up. The first ones we opened later that afternoon were not frozen. This did not stop my 5 year old and husband from playing a medieval fight scene and using them as shields (I know imaginations are wonderful, but I still can’t quite picture how this one went down). Fast forward to day two, and these were fully frozen! The kids whisked them off to their snow fort their grandfather had built earlier this winter, and they transformed to magical powers of all sorts.
The ice orbs have lots of hours of play left in them, so long as they don’t melt! I highly recommend this project for some outdoor joy and entertainment. Sky is the limit with the beautiful imaginations of children. Including our ever growing nerdy kids who default to potions, magic, and staring at the moon.
Today we are making elderberry syrup! Every fall we forage our own elderberries, it’s a lot of fun to get in the woods with a purpose. We remove stems and leaves, wash and freeze to use as needed during cold and flu season. Here is a simple recipe to make your elderberry syrup at home. We often double or triple out batch, depending on illness severity and number of people sick. Elderberry is a powerful preventive and treatment for common cold and flu.
1 cup frozen elderberries
1 cup filtered water
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground clove
1 tbsp fresh ginger or 1 tsp powdered ginger
1/2 cup of honey
Combine all except for honey in a pot- bring to a simmer. Simmer on low for about 45 minutes, or until liquid is reduced by half. Remove from heat and allow to cool until berries can comfortably be handled. Strain berries using a fine mesh colander or cheese cloth. Compost all seeds and solids. To elderberry juice, add honey and stir. Enjoy a warm teaspoon and refrigerate remainder. Should keep for months.
Adults drink 1 tablespoon, kids (1 year old and over) 1 teaspoon daily as preventative. Increase to every two hours during illness. Be well ♥️
As we celebrated the first day of fall yesterday, this was the moment. My daughters and I headed to our beautifully forested back yard for a walk. My girls are so zen in the woods and we both needed the peace from the witching hour. As I grabbed my carrier for my almost one year old, my three year old chittered with glee as she ran to grab her ‘backpack’ too. With all 50 pounds of them strapped to me, I grabbed a lock of courage as we set out. On our loop we hit this small stretch of trail that is my personal favorite. My 3 year whispered in my ear, mommy, run!! I laughed at her ha no way I can run with you too. So she begged to get down. I took her down, and she bolted, barefoot, down the hill, shining with pure wild freedom and happiness. That is the magic. Our fierce protector trotted after her. This was my most treasured moment
The last couple weeks have been particularly trying with kids. Cranky people and lack of sleep are wearing. I decided after a rough start to get moving and get outdoors. Instant cure. I am so beyond grateful to be able to walk out my back door and touch nature. It calms every one of us.
I adore the seasons and am looking forward to the more simple, cozy days of fall. Each changing has its own new beauty to reveal.
This is a photo of my daughter this morning enjoying digging in the dirt, looking up, and exclaiming with glee ‘Mom! Moon!’