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Archive for February, 2011

The team has been home sick for the past few days, and MP is feeling guilty about the number of times she’s resorted to our Netflix queue for entertainment. To compensate, she brainstormed 5 fun activities that can be done while sitting comfortably on the couch with a TV tray:

1. Create shapes with Wikki Stix

We first discovered Wikki Stix (made out of yarn and wax) at the Kids Travel Happy Store in Bethel. Since then, these colorful, bendable sticks have saved us during road trips, meals out and days like today, when we’re housebound. They’re so handy, the Miss Portland Diner hands them out to young guests instead of crayons.

Wikki Stix are great to have on hand at home

(more…)

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Cute Potato typically posts our favorite family events on Facebook. But when it comes to February vacation, we know parents need to be prepared… and early. With that idea in mind, here’s our list of top picks for school vacation week:

Monday, 2/21-Friday, 2/25
Despicable Me
The Grand Theater
Ellsworth
1 p.m.

Afternoons are made for movies, don’t you agree? Popcorn. Comfortable seats. Relative quiet. At the Grand’s showing of Despicable Me, parents can enjoy some R&R, while kids watch Gru (played by Steve Carrell) attempt to steal the moon. $1/pp.

FMI and a very silly preview

Tuesday, February 22
Snow Splash Book Bash
Pineland Farms
Market & Outdoor Center
New Gloucester
11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Meet some of Maine’s most popular children’s book authors and illustrators—all in one place. Take a trip to Pineland Farms and listen to Katie Clark (Grandma Drove the Snowplow), Lynn Plourde (The Blizzard Wizard), Robin Hansen and Jamie Hogan (Ice Harbor Mittens) read from their latest stories. Afterwards, this talented group of women will be available to sign their books. And there will be a few fun craft projects, too. Free.

If that’s not enough to keep the kids busy, head outside to sled, ski, skate or snowshoe. And did we mention? There will be a bonfire and plenty of marshmallows for roasting. Just be sure to BYOG (bring your own gear).

FMI

Tuesday, 2/22-Friday, 2/25
Patten Free Library
Model Trains
Storytime Room
Bath
All day

CP#2 and a new friend checking out a few trains

CP# 2 is a serious train fan, so it’s no surprise that his heroes are the members of the Maine 3 Railers Model Train Club. This affable group will be available all week at the Patten Free Library, where kids of all ages can admire their enviable collection of electric trains. Last year, CP#2 was thrilled to see a working steam engine and listen to the train whistle sound as it circled the table. Free.

FMI

Wednesday, February 23
Abbe Museum
Bar Harbor
10 a.m.-noon

This beautiful, downtown museum treats visitors to exhibitions and programs on Maine’s Native American heritage. Visit on Wednesday to make arts and crafts inspired by Maine and the Wabanaki people. The galleries will be open for fun and games, too. Free.

FMI

Wednesday, 2/23-Friday, 2/25
Farnsworth Museum
Family Festival
1-3:30 p.m.

There’s a lot of fun to be had at the Farnsworth in Rockland during vacation week. We especially like the sound of Thursday’s events, which include decorating traditional African masks, painting silk scarves, a group weaving project and a performance by DJUMP—an African drumming and dance group. Kids and parents are also invited to dance and drum. We’re in!

FMI

Thursday, February 24
Frozen Family Fun Fest
Gorham Middle School
9-1 p.m.

Story-telling, magic shows, crafts, yoga, music… a kids’ paradise, right? This genius event is all thanks to the parents at the Gorham Cooperative Preschool. $5/pp. Kids 2-under free.

FMI

Friday, February 25
Ellis Paul Concert
L.L.Bean
Bike, Boat & Ski Store Tent
Freeport
11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

Leave it to L.L.Bean to treat families to a performance by Parent’s Choice musician Ellis Paul for school vacation week. The folk singer and songwriter will entertain audiences to music from his children’s album, The Dragonfly Races. Free.

FMI

And just in case you haven’t heard, L.L. Bean is hosting children’s book readings, crafts and outdoor activities (snowshoe obstacle course, anyone?) all week long. Love that.

FMI

Enjoy vacation everyone!

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Mom Potato follows a few blogs for inspiration. For Valentine’s Day, Molly from Charlotte’s Fancy shared a wonderful, last minute gift idea—a simple book that tells family the 12 ways they’re loved most.

You need just a few supplies from around the house to make this sweet gift, including craft paper, note paper, scissors, glue and a stapler. MP used some simple embellishments, too.

A page out of CP#2’s book

What’s best about this book? It can be made any time you want to tell your loved ones how much they mean to you.

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MP has a thing for vintage cards, so last Valentine’s Day she decided to purchase some for her duo. The idea? Every year, CP#1 and #2 will receive a Valentine that they can save and display. MP found these sweet cards at Gurley Antiques Gallery in Scarborough.

Giving old-fashioned Valentines to the team is such a fun tradition. And it gives MP an excuse to visit some of her favorite antique shops!

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Note: The Bomb Diggity Bakery is currently located in Windham. 

On Sunday, the team met friends for brunch at Local Sprouts Café in Portland. MP had heard good things from a trusted friend and was thrilled to find he was right. The community supported, teaching kitchen aims to connect its members—as well as the general public—to seasonal, local food.

Upon entering the café, CP#1 and #2 both gasped, “Wow!” Look at this place!” There are painted murals on the walls, fanciful lighting, handwritten notes from customers of all ages and most importantly, a wonderful play area—complete with wooden veggies, a tool bench, books, a play sink and dress-ups. (more…)

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MP is always on the look out for fun and easy craft projects. During yesterday’s nor’easter, she discovered some leftover felt pieces that were perfect for designing snow people.

While CP#1 and #2 were busy eating breakfast, MP used a Mason jar band to trace a few circles on the felt with chalk. Then she drew hats, mittens, boots, a scarf and cut out each piece.

Next the team scoured our craft supply cabinet and found sequins, stickers, construction paper and pipe cleaners to decorate our snow people. CP#2 decided his snowman should be wearing skis, so we added Popsicle sticks to our supplies, too.

We reinforced the backs of the arms & mittens with extra felt

The kids had fun gluing the pieces together and adding their own unique embellishments. Next time, CP#2 wants to make a bathing suit for his snowman. So cute!

CP#1 and #2's snow people. The pipe cleaners make great bendable arms.

We love this project because you can use any materials you have around the house. Leftover fabric, buttons and even colorful, outgrown socks could work, too. If you’re super organized, cut out the necessary pieces for quick crafting kits—perfect to have around the house for future snow days.

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CP#2 is gaga over pirates lately, thanks in part to Grandma Cookie, who treated him to a treasure chest, eye patch, sword, captain’s hat, hoop earrings and more pirate paraphernalia. So it is no surprise that our young captain thoroughly enjoys Sarah L. Thomson’s Pirates, Ho!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looks like Captain Jack Sparrow has some competition…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Portland-based children’s author creates a lively cast of characters who take great pride in their pirating abilities. That is, until a ghostly figure has the crew trembling in their sleeping quarters.

The story’s spirited rhyme is especially fun to read aloud. And the team likes to raise their voices in unison for the main chorus: “We are pirates! Pirates, ho!”

Be forewarned: after a rousing reading of Pirates, Ho! you may have to calm your crew before bedtime.

For more on author Sarah L. Thomson, visit her site.

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