there’s no swag like national book festival swag

because it was sweltering out there on the mall
at the national book festival,
we basically just hit up the PBS booth.
beyond the swag of free reusable bags filled with books, stickers, fans and posters,
there was live kid’s music, games, coloring and craft tables,
tattoo stickers of PBS characters, and PBS mascots.
it took aya a few tries before she would even give one a high-five.

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SPROUTs at the washington youth garden

the SPROUT program
— at the the washington youth garden located a the national arboretum
began with a welcome and a few guidelines
for fun and respect of the garden by ms. anna beth.
then we went on a treasure hunt that took us throughout the garden,

sanaa reading a treasure hunt clue

nibbling on fennel, rubbing rosemary and lavender,

in the herb garden

viewing all types of fruits and veggies in their “native habitats”,


tasting tart raspberries and turning compost

under the watchful eyes of the scarecrow.

scarecrow near squash

afterwards ms. anna-beth explained how important it is to
eat fruits and vegetables of all colors,
the colors being an indicator of the how it benefits our health:

ms. anna beth reminds us to eat our colors

reds are good for our hearts,
yellows give us lots of energy,
oranges are good for our vision,
greens build strong bones and teeth,
blues keep our immune system strong and
purples improve our memory.

finally she let us all make our own rainbow fruit kebabs with bananas, oranges, blueberries, strawberries, and purple and green grapes.

making fruit kabobs

we finished our visit by romping in the nature explore classroom,

duaa jammin on the xylophone

and waving bye-bye to the bees on our way out.

gotta give bees space to do their work

there are so many things to do at the national arboretum
whether inside the arbor house, at the bonsai museum,
or feeding koi at the aquatic garden.
it’s also just a nice place to explore the flora and fauna and eat en plein air.
what do you like to do at the arboretum?

festival hispano

we live in a neighborhood that probably has a majority of latino people.
maybe that’s why pg parks had their festival latino in our neighborhood park.
under flags from all over central and south america
they had carnival games for the kids,

shaved ice, cotton candy and popcorn for kids and kids-at-heart,

did you know cotton candy is halal and kosher?

live animals,
burro and pony

music that made your feet move and more,

celebrating the heritage and flavor of our hispanic communities. ola!

how are you celebrating hispanic heritage month this year?

greek festival

the annual greek festival at saints constantine & helen greek orthodox church
in northwest DC was all about FOOD!
don’t go looking for a moon bounce!
you may find a few trinkets to buy like jewelery, scarves, t-shirts and bags, portraits of some saints,
but mostly what you will find is FOOD!
well, you know how the saying goes: when at the greek festival…
so we sampled some sweets:
diples, baklavi, karithopita, kataifi, kourabiethes, koulourakia, and finikia. yum!

homeschool fiber gathering

the homeschool fiber gathering
is a new event by the clearwater natural dye group
at the clearwater nature center in clinton, MD.

it was designed by antonia bookbinder
(doesn’t that name have a certain mysterious resonance to it?)
to be a place were homeschoolers can get together
to explore and share their love of the fiber arts.
and since all i can do is crochet one long endless strand,
i thought we’d try it out.

aya explored the process of fiber from sheep’s wool to yarn.
first she helped remove debris from some wool,
then she combed it,
and then she helped ms. bookbinder spin it into yarn.

sanaa and rahmah did some weaving…

and then tried their hands at knitting.

for just $2 you can’t get a better hands-on experience
unless your mom, grandma or auntie teach you for free.
the homeschool fiber gathering will be taking place on every 2nd tuesday
at the clearwater nature center from 2-3:30pm.
contact ms. antonia or the folks at clearwater at 301.297.4575 for more info.

we’ve seen clearwater’s wild animal show when they came to the hyattsville library,
but it was still a nice treat to see their live animal exhibit afterwards.

matching leaf shapes

friendly little terrapins

clearwater’s annual nature fair is coming up this saturday (25 sep) from 11am-4pm featuring “fun activities including animals shows, nature games, crafts, educational presentations, and performances by “Billy B,” the Natural Science Song & Dance Man.”

it was so peaceful there in the cosca regional park that i feel i could spend all day there among the trails. what do you like to do at the clearwater nature center?

family fun at the national building museum

once again at the national building museum,
this time we checked out one of the family tool kits called
“patterns: here, there, everywhere!”
for a small $5 fee (for non-members)
we examined patterns throughout the museum’s great hall,
created our own patterns using stamps and rubbings,
and made musical patterns with drums, cymbals and a triangle.
there are also mini bricks that you can use to make a patterns
but they were missing from ours.
if you get a tool kis, don’t be like me
— too eager to get started —
and skip over the supply list.
make sure you have all your tools so you can maximize your fun-quotient from the toolkit.

exploring the patterns family toolkit

also in the great hall we tried our hand at building a 7-foot tall arch from soft blocks.
we’ll have to go back with daddy and try this one again.
we saw another group actually succeed in building it, but they had 4 adults!

attempting the build the arch

strewn near the end of the great hall were lots of building blocks of all shapes, colors and sizes.
after failing miserably at building the arch,
we took a few minutes to build with blocks more on our scale.

then we went to the building zone for a bit of pretend play.
there were costumes, books, toy trucks, puzzles, a doll house and more blocks,
but the piece de resistance for me was the playhouse with green features
like jean insulation and a solar panel.
the building zone is for ages 2-6,
but sweet miss Erma let us go in as a family so we wouldn’t be split up.

police officer aya
fix-it-woman rahmah
house tour of the ultimate green playhouse

what’s your favorite thing to do at the national building museum?