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Springing Back Slowly

Having endured quite a brutal winter, I know we’re all anxious for Spring’s arrival. The unusual sight of my lawn immediately sparked ideas for this year’s landscaping updates. Bring the outdoors in with some indoor green thumb projects to get you in the mood for spring.  Our inspired craft for this post comes from both The Kids Winter Handbook (J790.1 D761k) and Happy Times Together (J649.5 E581h) by Jo Englund. You’ll need…

an old pair of hose/stockings (or knee high)
garden soil
alfalfa or rye grass seeds (rye is fastest growing grass)
scissors and rubber bands
googly eyes or buttons & chenille stems to decorate your caterpillar or pet
water in a shallow tray for a caterpillar or dish for a single “pet”

For a caterpillar, cut one leg off an old pair of stockings and for a single pet a shorter length will do. Scoop a spoonful or two of seeds into the stocking and top off with some soil. Alfalfa seeds will grow curly hair and grass will be spiky! Cinch with a rubber band or tie off with a knot. If making a caterpillar, repeat this process until you have 3 or 4 lumps. Place your pet in a tray or dish with the seeds at the top. Create a silly face using a hot glue gun to attach the googly eyes or buttons. Chenille stems can be poked right through the stocking for antennae. Add some water to the dish and place on a sunny windowsill. Keep your pet moist and you should see hair growing in about a week or so. Image courtesy of Candace Lindemann at Naturally Educated where you'll find a wonderful tutorial to follow.

If you’re looking for a simple decoration for your Easter table, try making Rainbow Bouquets (page 52 of Happy Times Together). Purchase a bunch of white daisies or carnations and trim the ends. Assemble as many water-filled jars or cups needed to accommodate the number of colors you’d like to create and add a few drops of food coloring to each container. Set several stems in each jar and in a few hours you should begin to see a color change. Colors will deepen over several days. Arrange stems in one large bouquet, group colors in smaller vases or place an individual stem at each place setting. Use your imagination to create a beautiful table.

This week is spring break for Westlake City Schools.  You may want to consider having a sunrise breakfast with the kids. Since the recent switch to Daylight Savings Time, sunrises have been bumped back to accommodate a later sunset. If your kids are early risers or if you want to try and keep them on their regular schedule, this could be a unique start to your day. This morning’s sunrise was at 7:23 am and will inch back by a minute or two each morning until the summer equinox.  Keep in mind some advantages to sunrises this time of year - the view is spectacular thanks to the bare trees, and they occur at a reasonable time. If you’re feeling adventurous (and weather permitting), prep a basket of muffins or bagels the night before and in the morning, bundle up, grab a blanket or some camping chairs and settle into an east facing spot in the yard to enjoy the stunning arrival of a brand new day. To check sunrise and sunset times, go to www.timeanddate.com which also has information on moon phases, eclipses, equinoxes and lots of time and calendar related trivia.

Another harbinger of spring is Earth Day on Tuesday, April 22 this year. Many celebrations are scheduled throughout the area for the following weekend with the exception of EarthFest 2014 which takes place on Sunday April 13th at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds. Find more events in your neighborhood at http://cleveland.about.com/od/springevents/tp/Earth-Day-Events-In-Clevel... And the Indians home opener is Friday, April 4. Go tribe!

Some titles to help you think spring!

And Then it’s Spring, JP Julie Fogliano
Bunny Bunny Catkin, JP Cathy MacLennan
Spring Equinox J394.262 J12S

Throwing Like a Girl, YA Weezie Kerr Mackey
Radiant Darkness, YA Emily Whitman
Spring Fling, YA Sabrina James
Baseball Crazy: Ten Short Stories that Cover All the Bases YA Baseball

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