Frozen Frog Pond Activity

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Last week we had our first real week of summer. We had sunshine every day, which was both amazing and confusing to us. What do we do outside when it’s actually warm out?  I think it reached 70 degrees one day and, having grown up in a rain cloud, my poor children thought they were dying from the heat. So, I came up with a simple game that would help keep us cool. I call it:

Frozen Frog Pond

What you need:
small containers (I used snack size Ziploc food containers)
plastic frogs (I got mine at the dollar store)
kiddie pool or a large plastic tub (although the bath tub would work just fine, too)

What you do:
1. Put a few frogs into each container and fill with water until the frogs are just covered. Freeze for 2 hours or until the frog-cubes are frozen solid.

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2. Pop the frozen frog-cubes out of the containers

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3. Put the frog-cubes into the pool. Challenge your kids to see who can set the frogs free from their icy prisons. Whoever gets the most frogs out of the ice wins!

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That’s it! The boys had a lot of fun trying to get their frogs out of the ice and they certainly got cooled off in the process (Jacob kept muttering, “So cold…” as he fumbled with his ice cubes). Here are a few other ideas to extend the froggy play time:

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– Gather sticks, leaves, and rocks and make homes for your froggy friends in their pond (this one probably wouldn’t work so well if you’re using your bath tub…)
-See how many pairs of the same frog you can find
-Order the frogs from smallest to largest
-Sort the frogs into color groups
-Have a leapfrog race
-Count the frogs or work out simple story problems using the frogs (“If I have 3 frogs in the pond and one jumps out, how many are still left in the water?”)
-Have a color race: Hold up a solid-colored frog, set a timer for 30 seconds, and see how many items your child can find that are the same color.

Stay cool, friends!

Jacob’s First (Irish) Birthday

On Friday we celebrated a very special day: little Jacob’s first birthday! We love our little snuggle bear and can’t imagine our lives without him.

Before we moved to Ireland we had a celebration for him in Washington with our friends and family.  It was wonderful to celebrate with all of our loved ones in person–even if it was a full month before his actual birthday.

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On Friday we had a fun start to Jacob’s real birthday. After a french toast breakfast we let Jacob open the birthday present that David had picked out for him. It’s a little stuffed cow and Jacob is in love with it. He literally squeals with delight and starts excitedly kicking his feet every time he sees it. He may even love the little cow enough to quit stealing David’s Mimi.

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Then the REALLY exciting part of our day started. After present-time we headed out to the Department of Family and Social Services to get our PPS Numbers (kind of like Irish Social Security Numbers). We were actually one of the first ones in line before the offices even opened, so we got processed in about an hour. It could have been much, much worse. The boys were troopers and did a great job hanging out (mostly) patiently while we filled out paperwork and waited our turn to go over our applications. The most exciting part of the morning was when David had to go potty…only there was no toilet at the Department of Family and Social Services. I literally ran through downtown Cork trying to find a public restroom that was open at 9 AM. Since there were no fast food joints or gas stations to pop into we ended up going into the Court House…where all of the toilets were locked…but I managed to pop a loose door open anyway. Desperate times, people. Take that, bathroom-less city.

After our fun morning getting PPS numbers, it was time to start the real birthday adventures. We dropped Jon off at work then headed out to the zoo that we just bought memberships to. We had lots of fun eating our picnic lunch and watching the animals.

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Jacob and David both loved playing at the zoo’s playgrounds…until an epic downpour sent us running for our car.

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That night we celebrated Jacob’s birthday with some yummy cake (so yummy that Mommy has already eaten most of it. Shhh…don’t tell Jacob!).

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Since Daddy didn’t get to go to the zoo with us on Friday, we decided to have one more special outing as a family on Saturday. We went to a local pool during “family swim”–there were lots of fun blow up toys and even some floating basketball hoops to play with. The best part about swimming in Ireland, though, is the fashion. Any time you swim in a public pool here you are required to wear a swim cap. As you can see, they’re adorable. And they fit 2-year olds properly. That’s important.

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It was a wonderful birthday for a wonderful little boy. Happy first birthday, sweet Jacob! We love you!

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