August 19, 2014

Campbell Creek Skedaddle

I remember going to this playground as a child.  There was a little play structure with a wide metal slide.  On those hot Alaskan summer days, it would get so darn hot!  I like the new and creative elements now at the playground.  It provides physical challenges for older and younger children.  It seems most children like the climbing net and even tiny kiddos traverse it at the top. 

No matter how wonderful the playground is now, the children always end up at the river.  It is a safe place for wading or even crawling for the littlest ones.  A small channel is near the bank and provides a wonderful wading area.  There is a little bridge made out of cinder blocks to cross the little channel - perfect place for working on balance skills.  Once on the island, children build lakes, toss stones into the water and scare their parents by wading towards the bridge.  You can even see salmon in this river at the right time! 

Join us next week near the Loussac Library for playing at the Cuddy Park. 

August 12, 2014

Baxter Elementary School

I am constantly amazed by how the children play when they have a task in mind.  It was almost totally boys today (again).  While they did some fighting, rubber throwing and name calling, they also played store.  There is a small area that looks like a store underneath the main piece of equipment at the playground.  All of the boys congregated there and had a restaurant.  Most of the 'food' cost $400.00, but I was given a punchcard to help fund my lunch. 

August 5, 2014

Huffman Elementary - Football Game!

 It was a wonderful morning at skedaddle.  We left a batch of families still running around at about 12:15.  There were babies on blankets, young children on the little slides and older children organizing a "football game". (term used lightly).
 The sun was out and our backs felt hot!  I didn't bring enough water for my boys and they needed hats.  I am just out of practice for the sunny summer weather that was out today.
It was wonderful to see the children playing together.  The parents all loved sitting on the edges just chatting and watching the kiddos explore and play.

 One boy asked others to play football and after about 15 minutes of talking with the others they had a sort of game in order.  It was a hybrid of soccer, football and rugby.  They didn't tackle or injure others luckily.

 It was so wonderful to have no parental involvement.  The children split up into teams, made the game and played without our help or intrusion.  I was highly impressed by the lack of arguments and fighting.  I guess our kids are growing up!

August 3, 2014

Fry-Bake Dutch Oven

The Fry-Bake Dutch Oven

It is a little more difficult being a vegetarian on camping trips with my family.  I am not a fan of veggie dogs and it is hard to crisp tofu nicely in foil over the fire.  Consequently, I had to find other things that I would like to eat.  Enter the dutch oven.  This cooking implement opened up a whole new world of meal options to me!

We saved space by only bringing the Fry-Bake!

No longer would I have to eat peanut butter and jelly and ramen.  I could cook food that even tired and cranky children would cheer up for!

Pancakes in the Fry-Bake

On our last cabin trip (we carried backpacks and pushed a stroller with gear) I used the Fry-Bake Dutch Oven to cook pancakes, cinnamon rolls, pizza, grilled cheese, toasted bagels and hamburgers.  We also used it to boil water for cocoa and tea.

A friend gave me a quick lesson on its use by making me the most delicious rhubarb crumble.  She used this same pan and basically put coals on the top to brown that first and then put it in the fire to really cook the treat!

Cooking the cinnamon rolls!

I used this same method for making cinnamon rolls!  Butter the bottom of the dutch oven and then put the store bought cinnamon rolls (from a nice tube) on the bottom.  I placed them near the middle, but not touching.  After the fire had good coals, I used two sticks to carefully put coals on the top of the lid.  I kept replacing the coals with hot ones when they seemed to cool.  After about 10 minutes (it is hard to watch the time with children 'helping' to tend the fire), I put the dutch oven on the edge of the fire and kept rotating it every few minutes.  I opened the lid to see how the rolls were doing and they smelled so good and were a beautiful golden color on the top.  I used a spatula to lift one and saw that it was dark on the bottom so off the fire they came!  We plated them up and spread on the sweet frosting for a gooey treat! 

Gooey frosted cinnamon rolls hot from the Fry-Bake

The Fry-Bake Dutch Oven comes in two sizes and is $61.00 for the 8 inch and $73.00 for the 10 ½ inch version.  If you are family camping, I suggest the larger size!

Pizza in the Fry-Bake

Very light weight
Can use for a variety of cooking methods (baking, frying, boiling, etc.)
Expands your menu options
No seasoning or difficult maintenance
Fairly non-stick 
Can use over the fire, grill or stove

Just a beautiful place for cooking (and eating)

A little hard to move around the uneven coals
Wing nut on the top loosened (easy to tighten
A little difficult to pour hot water (we used a cup for a scoop)

I loved the Fry-Bake (if you can't tell).  I can't wait to take it out on our next trip!  I am already dreaming up our next meals to try - nachos, chocolate cake, rhubarb-strawberry crisp, fish soup (my boy's idea)...

July 29, 2014

Goose Lake Skedaddle

The weather channel seemed optimistic as I started off to Goose Lake pushing the stroller.  It was 50 degrees and the thick cloud cover seemed really low.  Nonetheless, I held onto the paragraph for today's weather stating it would be 72 and sunny.  I brought rain suits and swim shorts for the boys, just in case.
Photo taken by my son D.

As usual, the kids didn't care and jumped right into the water.  We had children splashing in rain pants, swimming in suits and life jackets and a few little ones frolicking in the nude. They all had a great time! 
Photo taken by my son D.

The children also had fun with the ducks.  They did some chasing (but no touching).  The parents all agreed that the lake was HUGE and they could easily get away from the kids.

July 15, 2014

Fairview Fireweed Playground

 We visited the Fairview Fireweed playground today.  Three girls and a million boys ran, climbed and jumped for just over 2 hours.  The adults were getting hungry, but the kiddos were going strong!

 There is something to challenge every kiddo and every age at this wonderful playground.  A side note is that this has been one of the cleanest playgrounds we have visited this year.  Very little trash and minimal graffiti.
There are bugs to crawl, fireweed to climb, a rock arch and a tree with swings.  The creativity at this playground is wonderful!

There is a sand volleyball pit and construction vehicles to boot!

July 14, 2014

The "Play Code" in the UK

Apparently, a small UK community is getting harsh criticism on the internet for issuing a "Play Code".  This 13 point set of rules directed children not to climb over a wall, not to shout, not to play in one place too long and to use a soft ball to keep noise to a minimum.  I could not find the original list after a long internet search unfortunately.  The list came as response to a few complaints (one neighbor had some squished flowers from a poorly aimed ball and another noise complaint about a group of rowdy kids). 

I can understand the irritation of the neighboring homeowners as I live next to an elementary school.  I hear basketball games well after 10 p.m. and groups of pre-teens often use 'adult language' and throw their garbage on the ground.  Nonetheless, the article made me think!

I think that there is a basic level of respect needed at playgrounds.  Be nice to others playing, don't scream in the morning/evening hours, be respectful of the equipment and so on.  These should be policed and ingrained in their children by their parents.

I do not agree with the equipment rules.  I get many evil looks and the random comment for not making my children follow the alleged rules of the playground.  Yes, I let my children climb up the slide if others are not trying to slide down.  I allow them to twist themselves up on the swings.  They can throw rocks in a direction away from other children.  I let them climb, jump and run.  On the other hand, I am not advocating children to cause a ruckus and flaunt social rules (i.e., don't push others, don't break the equipment...).

I would not go to a park with rules not allowing such freedom.  I think creative, physical and slightly daring play is important to a child's development.  We get messy and bruised, but stay respectful of others and the area.  I think it each parent should use their own rules for their children as long as they are showing courtesy and respect.  I don't tell other parents to let their children jump and climb up the climb.  I let each person play the way they would like!

Such a balancing act!  I would love to hear your take on this current issue!