Category: Leslie Milby

Pinecone creations naturally Christmas

Christmas can be overwhelming with choices — picking perfect presents, finding a tree that doesn’t scrape the ceiling but makes the room look full, and most importantly, deciding which cookies to make. (It’s easier to decide which cookies to eat. All of them!) One of the choices I had been wondering on was what Christmas decorations I wanted to make with my little ones, as silly as it sounds. My kids love to see their parents’ scribbly childhood writing on the back of a pom pom wreath or see the rough cutting on a candy cane mouse made in our childhood and have been looking forward to making their own decorations to go down in Milby Christmas tradition history. But what do we do? The answer was soon poured all over our kitchen floor. My son, Landon, is quite the gatherer — rocks, acorns, and on a recent trip to Pop Pop’s deer stand, he came back with an armload of pinecones. Since they were sure to be a fixture in our house anyway, we decided they would be the perfect base for some simple and fun decorations. After allowing them to dry out in front of our woodstove, we got crafty! I pulled out all kinds of scraps and goodies to let their imaginations work — paints, beads, pom poms, strings of ribbons and some glue. I got...

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Say ‘Can-do’ to homemade ice cream

My children scream a lot. Luckily, most of the time it’s for ice cream! While we love visiting all the local creameries, there’s also something a little fun about making our own. With all the kitchen gadgets these days, sure, we could add an ice cream machine to the arsenal but when you’re doing it the old fashioned way, it might as well be truly old fashioned. You’ll need to gather a few basic supplies. The coffee cans might be the trickiest — you’ll want a larger size — usually in the 30-ounce range, and then a smaller size around 9-11 ounce size. If you can’t find the larger size in your regular grocery store, try a bulk or office store as they sell larger sizes (and plus, who doesn’t need more coffee?) Now, some companies will trick you into thinking it’s the tin kind but you might find they are instead a thick silver cardboard. Feel for the ribbing and make sure you have the right material for your ice cream “maker.” You’ll also want some thick, waterproof tape like duct or electrical tape. The ingredients are relatively simple — so simple in fact, I loaded the supplies into our “glamper” for a project to keep the kids busy when our toes weren’t getting wrinkled in the campground pool. You’ll need ice, a pint of half and half,...

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The tadpole project

The mudroom at the Milby household houses more than just a substantial amount of mud. Our delivery men have seen it all. This month, it’s a tadpole sanctuary. This particular project started out how many do: Very innocently visiting family at their new home. The pool had been vacant for a while and had turned into something of a wildlife refuge, complete with a snapping turtle and tadpoles galore. Who am I to resist such a fun project? My husband of course, was saying, “we have hundreds in the back field,” which sounded like an exaggeration, if not an outright lie. However, a field study done the next afternoon would show that sure enough, the massive amounts of rain lately left a puddle absolutely teeming with tadpoles in our back field. For your own, you could also look along the edges of ponds and in temporary pools or puddles that will likely dry up deeper in the summer. My small but mighty crew and I chose a small number from each spot, because like kids, it’s easier to keep track of just a few. If you get too many you start calling the wrong name a few times until you land on the right one. Also, the Department of Natural Resources requires you to have a permit if you possess more than 25 tadpoles of any species at one...

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Thinking outside the (planter) box

I don’t like to use the word “nag,” so I’ll say this- I asked my husband on a frequent and consistent basis to get our old barns cleaned up because they were full of junk. Absolute junk! One morning, pigs started to fly and he started this project while I was out in the yard, trying desperately to find a spot to plant some flowers that I had impulsively bought without a sure place to put them. And as my husband schlepped out some old tires, well, the tires started turning in my mind. So many odd things can...

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Would your boy be up for a Jurassic Garden?

Gardening is the perfect boy activity: Dirt, tools and their mommy. While fairy gardens have garnered a lot of attention, when it comes down to it, it seems their ideas are more of adding in action figures rather than setting up a teeny-weeny tea party. And so, for the little green thumb in your life, why not try a Dinosaur garden? To get started, read some favorite dinosaur books for some inspiration on how you want to do your project and to get excited for a roarin’ good time. You likely won’t need much you can’t find at home. First, find your vessel, and make sure it’s big enough to “play” and get creative in. It doesn’t need to be a traditional flowerpot. A cake tin with drainage poked or an old lidless Tupperware works well, even a plastic planter liner if you aren’t planning on moving it often. (In our version, Landon and I settled on a cheese box we had lying around. We have lots of strange things lying around at the Milby household). Have an old sandbox or other outside kid play area? You could make a large-scale area for continuous play and use some larger dinos in it! If you haven’t gotten into dinosaurs yet, grab a cheap pack at a dollar store. While the grown-up in you may be looking for the perfect ones...

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