Wednesday, June 30, 2010

How to Get a Fairy to Visit

Step 1 - Paint mushrooms

Step 2 - Place finished mushrooms into a fairy ring.

Step 3 - Add pinecones and evergreen branches for added decoration and fairy comfort.

Step 4 - Wait overnight for the fairy to visit.

Step 5 - You will know the fairy paid you a visit if there is a suprise waiting for you in the fairy mushroom ring.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dragonfly Trail at Mueller Park

Before leaving on Sunday, the three of us decided to take a short walk on the family-friendly Dragonfly Trail. At first Morgan was protesting that she didn't want to go on a long hike again, but when we showed her how short the trail actually was (a small loop around a small pond) she was game.

The loop has lots of interactive signs and activities for the kids to participate in. Morgan was able to read some of the signs out loud to us so she was pretty proud of that. We were also impressed with how much knowledge she has of the great outdoors.

Below she is seeing how far she can jump compared to other animals.

And one of her favorite activities - matching scat to the correct animals. She's a real pro at this.

Looking to see what kind of insects can be found in dead trees. She thought it was neat to learn that ants are like candy to bears.

We saw lots and lots of the trail's namesake.

We were extremely fortunate to see another one of the ponds local residence. The pond is a breeding ground for the Tiger Salamander. While walking across one of the boardwalks, a larva swam right up to us and seemed to stare at us for awhile before swimming back under the boards. It was one of the neatest things I have ever seen. It looked so magical with its barrs flaring out around it's head, almost like a wise dragon. I was not able to capture it on film, but the following picture gives you an idea of what it looked like.

After completing the loop the first time, Morgan wanted to go around and do it again. Unfortunately we had to pack up and check out of our campsite.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Mueller State Park

This weekend we camped at Mueller State Park. We had never been here before, but it quickly turned into one of our favorite places. True forest camping in Colorado is pretty rare, usually campsites are fairly open. At Mueller State Park you were definitely camping in the forest. There were no vast open areas and which is a nice change. There are lots and lots of hiking trails varying in length from kid-friendly to challenging. We took a medium hike (almost three miles round trip) on Cahill Pond Trail.

After hiking for a little while, we came across an old log house to explore (from the outside only of course).

Along the trail, the kids were able to discover many, many signs of the animals that live here. They identified coyote, deer, owl and even bear scat. We came across a bone yard left behind from some animal's dinner.

Along the way, we could see how the elk and deer were eating and rubbing on the aspen. Every tree in the area had the tell-tale black markings on the bottom of their trunks.

At the half way point, we made it to the pond were a family of ducks had made their own. We also found some big, scary looking bear tracks left behind in the mud along the edge.

On the loop back, the kids started to get a little tuckered out, but they held their own. Apparently it helps when you have a giant walking stick to help you along.

Back at the campsites, we discovered a lean-to for the kids to explore. Don't worry, the outside looks a lot more unstable then it really is on the inside.

The kids had fun finding new branches to add to the existing pile as well as adding their own decorating touches such as a "chandelier" and a "popcorn-maker".

Yes, we definitely want to come back here some day.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Library Summer Reading Program

Last year the library summer reading program wasn't so much a summer program as a quick get-these-reading-list-items-checked-off-within-a-week-or-two. This year, the program consists of reading a book each week for eight weeks, much better in the fact that it was, well, over the summer. At week four the kids are supposed to come in and get a mid-term price. Morgan was so excited to complete her four weeks. She read her fourth book on a Sunday (when she had until Saturday to read it) and wanted to get to the library on Monday. The librarian checked her sheet, congratulated her and handed her a plastic bag. As we walked away Morgan asked what was in the bag. We peeked in to find... nothing. Morgan asked if the bag was supposed to be her prize. I told her that apparently it was. Morgan replied, well that isn't a very good price. Yes honey, I would have to agree with you there! Thank goodness it didn't crush her enthusiasm for the program too much. She's thinking that the final prize will be something better. I don't think it would take much to top a cheap plastic bag!

Monday, June 21, 2010

State Forest State Park

Over Father's Day weekend, we went on a camping trip at State Forest State Park (and yes, that is it's real name. Almost sounds like they ran out names!) with Morgan's school friend and his family. The park is huge and has several campgrounds. Ours was on a beautiful lake.

While the parents set up, the kids kept themselves occupied by playing games in the camper.

State Forest State Park is known for his large population of moose. On Saturday, a visit to the visitor's center had all things moose, including this statue made out of barb-wire.

Morgan demonstrated how the large moose ears help her hear better.

Then we headed down to the lake to take Morgan fishing for the first time.

While the dogs watched patiently.

Morgan practiced casting out her line for awhile without any bait on it. She got the hang of it after a few tries.

And then it was time for the worm.

"What's that red stuff"
"Why is he bleeding?"
"Well, because we are putting a hook through him"
"Why is he squirming around like that?"
"Well, because we are putting a hook through him"

But then she quickly got over it and fished for a very, very long time.

Until the kids decided that surfing on an old log would be more fun.

On the way back from the lake, she also took some time to stop in the field and look for four-leaf covers.

Next, it was on to some 4-wheel driving.

The view from the top was incredible, despite the pine beetle damage. Unfortunately, we did not spot any moose.

And speaking of pine beetle damage, the rules used to be that you were not allowed to collect firewood in any park. Now, they have huge piles of cut down trees scattered through out the campsites that they want you to gather wood from. The kids kept very busy collecting this wood and building their own woodpile by our fire.

And then we got to relax and enjoy the beautiful sunset.

The next day, we headed back to town. Seeing as my camera was packed away in the camper, I just knew that we would see moose on the way out. And we did! Two times we spotted moose eating in the marshes below the road. It was quite the sight.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Imagination Station

The theme this week at camp is Imagination Station.

On Monday, they created masks. Morgan made a leopard one. Then they played Night at the Museum in the gym and Man from Mars. After lunch they had a cartoon contest, played pictionary and charades.

Tuesday was reservior day. Morgan didn't want to wear her swimsuit under her clothes. Because of her Sensory Processing Disorder, the tightness of the suit under her clothes stresses her out so I didn't push the issue and let her pack her suit to change into later. Apparently, she didn't want to change into her suit at all. Instead of swimming, she stayed in her regular clothes and played with the sand toys on the beach. I was a little surprised about this because she normally loves to swim. I think the water snake from last week might have her a little apprehensive about getting into the water.

On Wednesday the kids played Rhythm Magic in the gym. Then they headed out to Wash Park to play and have some lunch. After lunch, they went to Swallow Hill, a music school, were they listened to a custom concert just for them. After the concert, the kids were able to try out the different musical instruments but Morgan did not participate in this. She was more content to watch the other kids try out the instruments.

Today the campers are headed to Celestial Seasonings for a tour of their tea factory. Morgan is excited to try some of the tea samples. She has never tasted tea before so it should be interesting to see what she thinks about them.

Friday they will be making clay creations, playing memory in the gym, creating a camp mural and having a talent show.

Next week Morgan will be going to her gymnastics camp. She said that she is ready to go to that camp because she's "getting bored of this one". Wow. I'm not sure how she could be bored since they have done more in a few weeks then I've done for a whole summer when I was a kid! Good thing she's not staying home me with me all day, or else she would really, really be bored!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Climbing Wall

Who needs fancy, expensive indoor play equipment, when a blow-up mattress makes a great climbing wall and slide all in one?

This has entertained her for hours and hours!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Wild, Wild Rockies

The theme for camp this week was Wild, Wild Rockies.

Tuesday was swimming at the reservoir. Thinking it was Monday since the holiday weekend mixed up my timing I dressed Morgan in regular clothes (campers are supposed to wear their swimsuits under their clothes on reservoir days). Once I realized it was actually Tuesday, I was not about to change Morgan's clothes again. SPD makes it very difficult for her to put on a clothes, let alone a swimsuit. I figured she could wear her regular clothes and change at the reservoir. She had no problems changing in to her suit at camp, but it turns out she could have just kept her regular clothes on. There was a water snake spotted at the swim beach, so nobody went into the water. Instead, they played on the playground and hiked around again.

Wednesday the kids went on a tour of Coors Field. The highlight of the tour for Morgan was going into the dugout. They were suppose to see Dinger, the mascot, but he was making an appearance at Children's Hospital that day. Although disappointed not to meet him, Morgan was excited to share the reason why the Rockies have a dinosaur as a mascot - because a dinosaur bone was found while they were building the stadium.

Thursday was a hiking trip up to Golden Gate Canyon State Park. I was surprised to see this on their schedule since it's pretty far away. Apparently, the councillers didn't realize just how far away it really was. The bus got lost on the way up, Morgan was car sick (which she never, ever has gotten before) and was clutching a garbage can on the drive. By the time they got there, they had time for lunch and that was it. They ate and had to get right back on the bus.

Needless to say, this wasn't the best week!

Today they will be staying at the school and making construcation paper mountain scenes, playing Pac Man in the gym, shadow tag outside, Eagle Ball, making rock Ladybugs, and playing Jump the Canyon back in the gym. I think Morgan was looking forward to an uneventful day.