Thursday, November 21, 2013

our trip to the akron zoo

In July, we went to the Akron Zoo.  We had talked for a year about going and we decided to make it happen. Plus, one of my 100x40 goals was to take Emmy to a zoo that we hadn't been to.  Not too hard considering we have only been to the Columbus Zoo.  

Zoo 1
We went up on a Sunday and got there not long after they opened.  It really didn't seem too crowded when we got there, but as we left there were definitely more people.  Akron is small compared to Columbus, but it was really nice.  It was clean.  They had some animals that Columbus didn't have. We both agreed it was worth the drive up there for the day.  The bonus is that you get a discount on admission if you are a Columbus Zoo member.  
Zoo 2
The first exhibit you come to is penguins.  It was a very nice exhibit. The neat thing they had was a platform you could climb up and watch the penguins from above.  There was a caretaker nearby who answered questions and told us how to spot the baby.

Zoo 3
Emmy was excited about the lemurs, which are one of her favorite animals.  We knelt down and watched them eat and play (and, of course, poop).  There were several types of lemurs in the exhibit. The ones above are ring-tailed.  

  Zoo 4
Emmy & I in the giant bird's nest. This is how big an eagle's nest can get.

Zoo 5
The Akron Zoo just opened Grizzly Ridge that summer.  It was home of, surprise, two grizzly bears. They also have a great river otter exhibit there.  We stood there for quite a while watching the crazy otters swim around and fight with each other.  It actually has a clear slide you can go down through the otter exhibit.  We tried to get Emmy to go down, but it was a no go.  The otters were such a hit with her that she chose a stuffed river otter as her souvenir from me.

  Zoo 6
Emmy's favorite thing had to be feeding the goats. She loves goats. Ever since our trip to the petting farm in Virginia Beach, she's been all about goats.  This was probably the busiest area we encountered all day.

Zoo 7
Their little aquarium was nice.  They had jellyfish and an octopus along with other things like fish.

  Zoo 9
Here's Emmy checking out the Capybara. It's the world's largest rodent and looks like a giant hamster.  He was pretty content with sunning himself.
That's our trip to the Akron Zoo in a nutshell.  We had a late lunch at Red Robin's and then did some shopping before heading back home.  I asked Emmy what her favorite part of the day was. Shopping in the gift store was her answer.  Typical girl.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

make // a 50th birthday quilt

I had known for a while that I wanted to do something special for my cousin's 50th birthday.  Once she started talking about finishing her basement and making it Ohio State, I knew the perfect thing...a Buckeye quilt.  I cut the material out on a couple snow days this winter, sewed the top together in June, basted in September, finally started quilting in October and got the binding on a few days before her birthday.  For the top, I used various prints in red, gray and black (mostly from I have made two other Ohio State quilts and some of the material makes an appearance in all three quilts, which I think is a nice touch (the other two belong to my cousin's mom & aunt). 

Unfortunately, this is the only picture I snapped before wrapping it up.  The back is solid black and I made the binding out of the same material to match.  I machine stitch my binding on.  You can find the instructions to make this quilt here: Cluck Cluck Sew: Hunky Dory Baby Top.  Since it is a baby top, I obviously constructed more squares.  I ended up with a quilt that was almost full-sized.  Perfect for snuggling up in.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

craft with emmy // fall tree painting

It had been a long time since I'd done Q-tip painting with Emmy.  I decided it would be the perfect time to make a fall tree - one for us and one for Uncle Don, who had just gotten out of the hospital.  I free-handed a tree trunk on white construction paper.  Then Emmy colored in the trunk with crayons and added grass, too. I asked her what color leaves were in the fall- orange, yellow, red, brown - and used those colors.  They turned out super cute.  In the picture below, she was half-way through painting the first one.  Leaves ended up in the grass, too, because where we live the leaves were already starting to fall.

Here is one of my favorite painting tips.  I once got this Crayola Washable Paint Set for a special project we were working on in my preschool class.  When the paint was all gone in the jars, I washed them out and then added our school paint.  Before I was using paint cups, but I was always throwing tons of paint away at the end.  These Crayola jars have lids that screw on and will keep paint good for a really long time.  I buy lots of colors in larger bottles of paint (like this) and refill the jars as needed.  I'm wasting less paint and the jars are perfect for painting with small paint brushes, Q-tips and toothpicks.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

craft with emmy // owl painting

On Halloween afternoon, Emmy & I did some crafting.  I printed out this witchy owl template.  I highly recommend using cardstock, especially if using paint.  This website has lots of printables I pinned in the past and I think we'll be doing lots of these projects in the future.

Here is the first one she did that she actually gave to me to keep, which does not usually happen.  I plan on mounting this owl and framing it to use as a decoration next year.  

Monday, November 4, 2013

craft with emmy // scrap art

Back in July, Emmy and I had an art day out on the porch.  I decided that we would do some open-ended gluing. I had purchased the Seafoam 12x12 paper to cut down into 4x6 pieces to use in my Project Life album.  There were leftover pieces of paper and I didn't want to just throw them away.  Into my "Emmy Art Stash" they went and they turned out perfect for her art.

I gave her a pair of scissors and she was able to cut down the strips.  We started with small sheets of cardstock at first - probably 4x6.  Once that was gone, I gave her a piece of 8x11 cardstock.  That is when the magic kicked in.  She decided to fill in the entire sheet. It looked like a quilt when she was finished.

I just love open-ended art like this.  It is so fun to see what kids will end up making.  And maybe Elise - the designer of the Project Life Seafoam Edition - will design some super cool fabric next?  

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

lunch in the middle of the river

We spent quite a bit of time this summer at the family's new river lot.  There were several dinners and holiday celebrations.  Even now that the weather is turning we are still using it for things like watching Ohio State football.
As our first year on the river, it was amazing to see just how much the water level fluctuates.  In July, the river got almost as high as the bank.  Yet by August it was low again. So low, in fact, that "islands" emerged from the river bed.  Which brings us to yet another check mark on a goal: 

14. Do 40 things I've never done before. 
On a Sunday afternoon, we joined the owners of our campground for lunch.  We went up river to a spot where a large sandbar had become an island in the river.  We anchored the boats and went exploring the shore.  These "islands" are great for finding river glass and other shells.  My aunt referred to it as "Treasure Island."  Then we cooked hot dogs on a small grill and ate cooler corn.  It was a lot of fun.

A few weeks later, we did it again with Bean & Emmy.  It was perfect weather.  We grilled out.  Spent hours combing the island for river glass.  Some of us even ended up swimming in the river.  I hope we get to do it lots more next summer, and the summer after that, and the summer after that...I think you get the point.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

driving boats & finishing degrees

I cannot believe that it is October already.  Tomorrow it will be a week since my birthday.  Crazy fast how time flies.  
I not only turned older this year.  I also marked one year into my 100x40 goals.  I made some pretty good progress, but I now only have six years to finish the list.  Six years?!?!?!  I'm half panicked at the thought of trying to finish these goals in the time I have left, half inspired to work hard and enjoy the journey.  Dude, I’m weird like that.
I want to share two goal accomplishments from this summer today.  One was a completion.  One was progress. 

7. Complete Master’s Degree.
This was a big one.  In May, I completed the coursework towards a Master’s Degree in Religion – Church Ministries from Liberty University.  I did it in less than two years.  Lots of work and reading and writing, and by the end my brain hurt, but I truly think it was (or at least will be) worth it.

We were sitting on the porch on a rainy afternoon when my sister presented me with a black tube that came in the mail.  You apparently needed a Ph.D. to get that tube open.  But a few minutes later I was pulling out an extremely expensive piece of paper with my name on it in fancy script.  Just a simple moment, but one that I will treasure.

14. Do 40 things I’ve never done before. 
One of the fun things I did for the first time last year was drive a boat.  I’m sure that is not the correct terminology.  It wasn’t planned.  I just went out on a spontaneous late afternoon ride with my mom, stepdad, aunt and uncle. After going down river in search of the eagles (a mommy, daddy & baby), we headed upstream and, out of the blue, I said, “Let me drive.” 

My stepdad gladly turned over the wheel to me.  He probably shouldn’t have been so quick to say yes.  Because a second later I was asking where the brake was.  Yep, I really asked that.  I think that, in my defense, it is a legitimate question for newbie boat drivers.  So after a quick lesson on using the throttle, we were off for a couple mile journey up the river with myself at the helm. 
I think I did good for the first time driving a boat.  I state the following evidence.
  1. I did not get the boat stuck on any sand bars.
  2. We did not get lost. (hee hee)
  3. No one fell overboard.
  4. My uncle, who was in the Navy, said I did a good job.
Maybe next summer I’ll learn how to start the boat and park it, too.  I’m sure they’ve got good insurance.  And if I collide with the dock I can add wreck a boat to the list of things I’ve never done before.