Saturday, September 14, 2013

North Conway With Kids-Apple Picking

September is here, the air is getting cooler, and the leaves are changing up in the mountains.  Must be time to go apple picking. 

Apple picking is important business in the Mountain View Home.  Apple Crisp, Applesauce, Apple Jelly, Dried Apples and of course Apple Pie mean my house smells good and we never are lacking for something delicious to eat.  One year I ate apple pie every day for a month.  I lost 10 pounds.  I call it the Apple Pie Diet...some day I'll blog about that and make a million but let's get to the real reason for this post.

There are only a few places to pick apples here in the Mt. Washington Valley and they are each wonderful in their own unique way.

Hatches Orchard
Closest to North Conway, Hatches is an easy trip.  For those of you familiar with the area, head towards Pine Tree School and then drive another 5 or so miles down the road.  Hatches is on the right.  For those of you from out of town, the address is 1440 Brownfield Road in Center Conway. 

We love Hatches because the drops are usually half price and the apples on the trees are delicious too!  Also, we can bring our dog.  After picking there is a short little hike to a big field just perfect for a picnic!
For More Information call them at (603) 447-5687

The Barton Farm
Out in Fryeburg on Corn Shop Road there is a small family orchard called the Barton Farm.  From Conway head out towards Sherman Farm and go straight past on 113.  At the little variety turn right.  The orchard is a ways down on the right.  If you go by at the right time they might have a stand out front and they might even let you pick your own.  They are open most weekends, maybe not during the air, they aren't sure. They don't advertise, so you just have to head that way and chance it. They have a great selection of interesting varieties, Pricilla, Yellow Delicious, Red Delicious, Mutsu Cortland and more.  Prices are very reasonable, generally 50 cents a pound.

Pie Tree Orchard
Located in Sweden, ME, Pie Tree Orchard is a pretty long drive from North Conway but well worth it.  The view is unbelievable, the cider doughnuts are amazing and a hay ride out to the apple trees comes with the visit.  For locals, we usually head past the Fryeburg Fairgrounds and then look for Apple Picking signs.  Then we follow the signs for miles.  And miles.  At some point you turn right then go up, down and up again on a roller coaster hill.  At the top of the hill, you are there.  For out of towners, the address is 803 Waterford Road in Sweden, Maine.

Rumored to be owned by Stephen King, Pie Tree is an every year absolute for us.  We love that every year they have a little something new for visitors.  One year it was a giant ring of sunflowers, one year it was a hay bale maze.  We always leave with apples, and usually with pumpkins, gourds, and baked goods too.  We haven't been this year yet, but we will be heading there soon!

For more information visit their website or follow them on Facebook.

These are the two I know of for sure and would wholeheartedly recommend.  If you know of others leave a comment and I will be sure to check it out and add it to the list.  Happy picking!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Clean, Green Home: DIY Laundry Detergent

Inspired by a Pinterest find, I took another step in my quest to have a chemical free home by making my own laundry detergent.  It was pretty easy, and so far, so good!

I grated half a bar of Ivory soap into a pot then poured in a half gallon of water.  I heated this on the stove and stirred until the soap dissolved.
I added a half cup of Borax and a half cup of Washing Powder.  I heated and stirred the mixture until it boiled.  It got pretty thick.
When it boiled I turned off the heat and added a half gallon of cold water.
I let it cool for a while then added about 20 drops of peppermint essential oil.  It was what I had on hand, and it smells good, but I think next time I will go with a different scent.
When it was cool I poured it all into the store detergent container I had just finished and washed out.
Voila!  Looks like detergent, smells like detergent, washed like detergent, better for my kids and the world we live in.

Let me know if you have made your own detergent and your experience with it.  Happy washing!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

North Conway with Kids-Rainy Day Fun

It has been raining for days up here in the beautiful and wet Mount Washington Valley.  We don't mind a bit, because North Conway is filled with fun indoor activities that we don't get to do on sunny days.
When my kids wake up on a rainy day the first words I hear are always, "It looks like a good day for the Children's Museum!"  Designed for little ones through the age of 8, the MWV children's museum is hours of entertainment.
Filled with bouncy houses and other inflatables as well as video games and reasonably priced pizza, UberBlast is classic indoor entertainment that will keep both older and younger kids happy.
Located right in North Conway Village, the Weather Discovery Center is perfect for a rainy day escape.  There is great information for the grownups and fun interactive activities for the kids.  Our favorite is the reenactment of the strongest wind from the top of the rockpile!
I wasn't sure it was a good idea when I first brought the kids bowling.  Small children, heavy balls, slippery shoes?  Seemed like a recipe for disaster.  Turns out it was great!  Bumpers made the kids feel successful, even though they did still manage some gutter balls.  Also, they have a great bowling ball ramp designed for handicapped accessibility that we were able to use so even my two year old was able to bowl independently.
Storyland in the rain is a blast!  As long as there is no thunder in the air, most rides remain open, the lines are short and there are plenty of shows that you might typically skip when the sun is shining.  Put on your puddle boots and have some fun!
The Ham Arena has plenty of public skating hours and is a fun way to spend a few rainy hours.  Skate rentals are reasonable and they have crates to help out the beginner.
All of our local libraries have beautiful chlidren's areas.  You might not be able to check out books but anyone is welcome to spend time reading and playing in the facilities.  There are also storytimes and summer reading programs at many of the locations.  Whether in Conway, North Conway or Jackson, head inside on a rainy day and enjoy some stories together.
We're going to put on our puddle boots and head out for some fun.  See you out there!

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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Sick Kid Soup

I have a sick kid on the couch today.  Stomach bug and other yucks.  Poor thing. 
She's been sipping fizzy water successfully for a few hours now and kept down a cracker, so it's on to soup.  We've cut  out processed food, so I needed to create something that would go over as well as canned Princess Chicken Noodle.
I went light on the chicken broth thinking that would be better for her belly.  I brought a half cup of broth and a cup of water to a boil.  I added in a few shakes of Adobo, some parsley flakes and a bit of paprika.
While that was heating up I chopped one carrot, a piece of kale, stem removed and two cherry tomatoes into bite size pieces.
I added the veggies to the broth and kept it on a low boil for about 5 minutes.  Maybe a few minutes more.
When the carrot bites were soft, I added in a handful of fine egg noodles boiled til they were soft.
She ate a bowl and asked for more.  No more canned soup for us!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

25 Ideas for Screen Free Week

Screen Free Week is almost here...are you and your family participating?  From April 29-May 5 we are all challenged to turn off our TVs, put down the tablets, close the laptops and hide the smartphones while we learn to entertain ourselves and each other.

Those of you who have been here before know that I am not an anti-TV mom.  In fact I have written about what I feel are some positive benefits of television and other technology for children.  That being said, in this technology driven age it does us all well to consciously put it all aside from time to time.  It might be hard for your kids, it might be hard for you, but you might want to give it a try.

If you think you might be up for the challenge you can click here for an official pledge card.  The Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood has many other resources that you might find useful for screen free week and beyond.

There is so much you can do with the screens turned off.  Here are some of my ideas to get you started.

  1. Read, read, read!
  2. Stay up late and go on a flashlight hike.
  3. Look for pictures in the clouds.
  4. Check out an audio book that the whole family will enjoy.
  5. Take your kids on a mystery drive.  Choose a destination and give them clues so they can guess where thay are headed.
  6. Try letterboxing.  There is treasure hidden near you, just follow the clues to get there.  Go to to learn all about it.
  7. Daydream.
  8. Put on a shadow puppet show.
  9. Listen to an old time radio show.
  10. Create a work of art to hang.
  11. Build a fort out of sheets and blankets.  Hide out inside and tell stories about when you were a kid.
  12. Learn Pig Latin, then try to speak it for the rest of the night.
  13. Play board and card games.
  14. Fly a kite.
  15. Go on a backyard scaverger hunt. 
  16. Play wiffleball, or soccer, or horseshoes, or tag, or anything else you can think of in the backyard or nearby field. 
  17. Bake together.
  18. Put on a family play.
  19. Have a talent show.
  20. Write and illustrate a book.
  21. Plan and plant a garden.
  22. Design and build something.
  23. Write letters to friends.
  24. Call a relative that lives far away.
  25. Go out for ice cream.
Have a great screen free week!

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

In the Wake of a Tragedy

I watched my three year old climb to the top of her playset today.  Not the top where the slide starts, but the tippity top...where the canvas roof is.  As she sat there, proud as can be, she called out, "Don't worry Mommy, I'm careful!"

I'm wondering if she will make it the month before she breaks an arm.

But the thing is, she is being careful.  I watch her.  She tests her limits one step at a time, then practices.  When she gets it right, when she feels confidant, she challenges herself a bit more.  Then more.  And all of a sudden she's at the top. 

It's hard as a mom to stand back and watch but I do.  Kids take risks, they get hurt, they learn.  Hopefully the hurts are not bad ones.  She is supposed to do this and I am supposed to worry about it.  It's in the job description.

Having your child killed by a random act of terrorism while cheering on thousands of people striving to achieve something to be proud of is not supposed to worry us.  It's not.

My heart aches for the families affected in Boston
My heart still aches for the children of Newtown.

Everytime I visit a city, I relive the flashbulb memory of 9/11.  Each lockdown drill I go through with my students I blink back tears.  Yesterday, I watched way too much cable news and thought about how the Macy's Parade crowd my family and I were in just a few months ago was a little bit like the Boston crowd.  Could have been us.  Could have been you.

We can't control any of this.  And we can't let it control us.

So on days when it all seems black, let's remember what we can control.
  • We can teach our children to be kind. 
  • We can help our children see things from different viewpoints and have empathy.
  • We can set boundaries and limits for our children so when they grow too big for our boundaries they can set their own.
  • We can teach our kids to make good decisions.
  • We can teach our kids to be brave.
  • We can feed our children right so they grow up healthy.
  • We can give our children the world through stories.
  • We can love our children.  Every day.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Ultimate Blog Party 2013-Welcome


I am excited and a little bit nervous to be a part of the Ultimate Blog Party, 2013.  This is my first time trying something like this out as a blogger, and I am looking forward to making some great connections with some amazing writers and moms.  I'd like to thank you for stopping by and hope you will choose to stay for a bit.

Ultimate Blog Party 2013

Let me introduce myself.  My name is Kristin and I have two amazing girls ages 3 and 6.  I am married to a self-proclaimed "fish nerd" who writes, blogs and pod-casts about fishing.  Along with our beloved Abi the Wonder Dog, we live in northern NH and enjoy all it has to offer.

As well as being a mom, I teach a combined kindergarten and first grade classroom.  I blog about my family, but also about parenting for school and life success.  I believe in play, in good choices, in boundaries, and in time well spent.  I hope that people get ideas they can relate to from my blog and will share their own knowledge in return.

I hope to grow my blog through this Blog Party experience and would love for you to follow me on Facebook.  I just joined Twitter for this experience...and can't make heads or tails of it but anyways, @MtnViewMama if I can figure it out.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Super Healthy Green Eggs

Dr. Seuss's birthday is coming up soon!  Why not make some Green Eggs and Ham with your little ones?  Rather than simple scrambled eggs with green food dye, whip up these easy green eggs for a super healthy, super tasty treat.  My guys like this so much that we don't wait until March 2nd for green eggs, it's a dinnertime regular!

Crack a couple of eggs into your blender.  We use a "Magic Bullet", but any blender will do.  Add in the green veggie of your choice.  Fresh spinach makes a great green, but we have used frozen broccoli and peas as well.

Blend it up, and you get a pretty green liquid.  The more veggies you add, the greener it gets!

Put the rest of the eggs in a bowl and add in the green.

Whisk it up...

...and scramble!

Serve with a thickly sliced piece of deli ham. There you go.  Easy, peasy super healthy green eggs.  As you can see, my Sam-I-Am approves!

Monday, February 18, 2013

My Case for TV

Does anyone else feel a bit of vindication when a major news outlet reports something you have long since suspected?  Satisfaction in a high-five yourself, now I must share this news with the world sort of way?  Maybe it's just me...

The New York Times recently reported on a study published in the journal Pediatrics showing that limiting preschoolers' viewing time of violent programming and increasing time with educational programming that encourages empathy had an impact on the children's pro-social behavior.  The thing that I find most interesting about the study is that over the course of the year there was no reduction of viewing time, in fact it often increased.  Yet the behavior outcomes were positive nonetheless, suggesting that content is as important a factor in media viewing as quantity.

We hear it from pediatricians, we hear it from teachers, we hear it in magazines, we hear it from other moms, we hear it from our own moms.  Throw out the TV!

I personally think that is not the best advice.

Media is a huge part of our society.  Televisions exist and they will be used.  And the great thing is that children's programming can be a tool if used wisely.  For too long we have been telling TV people to turn it off.  That is advice many parents will simply tune out.  Unfortunately, by giving advice that will most likely be ignored rater than providing guidance that has a better chance of being followed we have been missing a huge educational opportunity.

Sesame Street was created by a group of New Yorkers who wanted to provide a slice of preschool in the home.  They wanted children not fortunate enough to attend a quality preschool to gain the same skills and knowledge in their own living rooms.  An hour of Sesame Street teaches academic letter and number concepts, executive functioning skills such as memory and organization, as well as interpersonal skills like cooperation and kindness.  Even the best intentioned, most wonderful, most attentive parent cannot cram this much learning into an engaging hour.  Can you imagine the impact if every 3, 4 and 5 year old traded in just one hour a day of Cartoon Network and Angry Birds for this?

Sesame Street was the pioneer, but there is an amazing amount of great programming out there for children.  Unfortunately there is also a lot of animation NOT meant for kids.  And a lot of "kids" channels that are now meant for tweens.  Nothing on Nickelodeon is for preschoolers.  Their shows are on Nick Jr.  Disney isn't for the little ones either.  There's Disney Jr. for that.  Cartoon Network isn't for kids at all, from what I've seen.  Of course PBS is always a great choice, but can you blame parents for getting confused?

I hope this study guides doctors and educators towards what I feel is more relevant, practical and accurate advice.   

Yes, your preschooler should watch TV.  Yes, screen time should be limited.  Choose programming for your child.  Choose programs that teach a skill useful to your child.  When the TV is on, watch, when the show is over, turn it off.

You are not a bad parent if your child stares at the screen for an hour while you clean something, make a phone call or shut your eyes for a minute.  You just might be a great one.