Welcome ROCmommas, ROCpoppas, and Friends!

Have fun with your kids - that's what it's all about. If you're looking for fun places to go in Rochester, NY (ROC), awesome
crafts to make, and yummy treats to bake with your kids - as well as some ideas for Date Nights - then you've come to the
right place. Welcome to ROCmomma. Happy reading, and please share your comments. Thank you!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Crafty Gift Idea: Make Your Own Watering Bottle for Plants

Last weekend, we celebrated my brother's birthday. I had asked him for some ideas from his wish list, and one of the things he mentioned was a glass watering bulb for plants. A quick online search yielded some options at Target, Home Depot, and Amazon. But I also came across a blog post with instructions to make your own. I was intrigued.

The instructions were simple: find an empty wine bottle, rinse well, fill with water, insert into a potted plant, and you're done. I decided to take this one step further and decoupage the bottle.

PLEASE NOTE: I was so excited about this project, I wanted to share it with all of you. However, since it involves a wine or liquor bottle, you might not want this to be a craft for your kids. Right now, my kids don't know about wine or liquor, and they don't recognize the bottles as such. I didn't see it as an issue, but obviously it is up to you.

I grabbed an empty bottle from the recycling bin and then rummaged through my bins of random craft supplies. Jar of Mod Podge? Check. Foam brush? Check. Paper for decoupaging? Card stock seemed too heavy, but I remembered some patterned tissue paper that once came with a craft kit. I've probably had that stack of leftover tissue paper for ten years; sometimes it pays to be a semi-pack-rat.

Now, homemade gifts can go one of two ways: (A) it looks like a boutique item, the recipient is truly appreciative and impressed, and he or she will put it to use, or (B) it looks like your kid made it then sat on it, the recipient is gracious but disappointed that you didn't just get a Visa gift card, and he or she will put it in the next donation box for Volunteers of America.

This gift is simple yet has that boutique-quality potential if you follow one rule: When selecting paper for this project, choose 3 colors and stick with shades of those colors. The easiest options are cool colors - greens, blues, and purples - or warm colors - reds, oranges, and yellows. Of course, if you are artsy, you know the color wheel and can choose some complimentary colors with an accent color. Admittedly, I am not that artsy. I just went with cool colors.


  • Empty glass bottle, well rinsed
  • Foam brush
  • Mod Podge
  • Lots of torn paper: tissue paper, remnants of rolls of party streamers, magazines, wrapping paper, etc. 
  • A stand for the bottle (I used a baby-bottle drying rack; an upright paper towel holder would work well, too)

1. Place the empty bottle on the stand and start brushing on Mod Podge in sections. If you're working with your child, have them choose whether they'd like to brush or stick on the paper.

2. Place a piece of torn paper on the wet Mod Podge and brush another layer of Mod Podge on top.
3. Overlap with another piece of paper, and brush another layer of Mod Podge on top.

4. Continue this process: brush Mod Podge on first, add paper, brush on more Mod Podge. 
5. When the bottle is completely covered, let dry, then add another layer of Mod Podge. Repeat with at least one more layer; I did two.

6. If you want to be fancy, add a tag with a pretty ribbon around the neck of the bottle.

It's "green." It's functional. It's practically free. And it's super-cute, too. 

As always, thanks for reading. I hope you and your kids (or just you) have fun making your own watering bottles. Post a Comment and let me know how yours turn out! 

P.S. My Mom gave me a helpful tip for any type of self-watering bulb/bottle/ball: dig out some dirt to create a shallow channel for the neck of the object. This prevents it from getting clogged with dirt, and helps it function properly.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Have You Been to Kings Bend Park?

The other day, after subjecting the kids to running errands and dragging them to more than a few stores, I wanted to treat them to some playground time. They were so well behaved, which is no easy task for a two- and four-year-old. Into the car seats, out of the car seats, into the shopping cart, don't touch, we're not getting that today, out of the shopping cart. Repeat.

But, where to go? There are myriad playgrounds in the immediate area and my kids love them all. The problem is they love them too much. It's hard to limit our time; once we're at a park, we're committed. We run, swing, slide, and climb til we drop. No amount of bribery seems to work; they won't just leave without a huge scene unless they decide they are done playing. Usually, that's not a problem.

On this particular day, we only had about 30-45 minutes before my younger son would need to nap. I needed somewhere low key...so I turned onto Jefferson Road and pulled into Kings Bend Park. Perfect!

If you've never been to Kings Bend Park - 170 West Jefferson Road, in Pittsford - after pulling into the parking lot, continue around to the right and park close to the playground. There is a playground structure with a climbing wall, a few climbing/swinging features, a bridge, slide, and more. Not too big; not too small.
There is a separate, smaller structure with a slide that's perfect for toddlers. Plus there are swings - two regular and two baby swings. A few benches line the playground perimeter for pooped parents.

The pond beyond the playground gives us a nice break. My boys like to take a walk along the fence to count the number of ducks they can find. And the super-colossal, can't-be-beat, stupefying bonus of this park: A TRAIN. Yes, there are train tracks on the other side of the fence running along the parking lot. The highlight of our day was getting to see a diesel engine pulling some tanker cars and box cars. Life doesn't get much better.

The one down-side to Kings Bend Park is that the restrooms are only available when the lodges are open. (there are two winterized lodges on the park grounds, which are available to rent) Be sure to "go" before you go.

As always, thanks for reading. I hope you have fun with your kids at Kings Bend Park soon.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Outdoor Family Fun This Weekend

The weekend weather forecast calls for getting outside with the kids! There are so many outdoor choices this weekend; how many can you fit into two days?!  

Family Fun Fridays: Gym and Swim
Friday, May 18 from 5:45 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Southeast Family YMCA, 111 E. Jefferson Road, Pittsford, NY
5:45 p.m. - ? - Pizza ($1/slice) in the Lobby
6:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. - Adventure Center (bring socks)
6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. - Crafts in the Lobby
6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. - Bounce Houses in the Gym
6:45 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. - Carnival Games in the Gym
7:30 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. - Family Swim & Inflatables in the water!
8:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. - Adventure Center
Admission is free; YMCA members only.

Friday May 18, Saturday May 19, and Sunday May 20 from 9:15 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Medina Railroad Museum, 530 West Avenue, Medina, NY
All aboard for a 25-minute ride on Thomas the Tank Engine, meet Sir Topham Hatt, listen to stories about Thomas and Friends, dance to live music, stop by the food court, and visit the activity tents with train tables, temporary tattoos, Mega Bloks, and much more. Purchase tickets for your train ride time, and enjoy the rest of the activities before or after your ride. All activities are included in the cost of the train tickets.

Friday, May 18 - Sunday, May 20
Highland Park, Highland Avenue & South Avenue, Rochester, NY
Ten days of free entertainment and lots of fun, surrounded by more than 1,200 lilac bushes. Be sure to check the web site for the children's entertainment schedule.

Saturday, May 19 from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Sunday, May 20 from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Strong National Museum of Play, 1 Manhattan Square, Rochester, NY
Meet Corduroy, the department store teddy bear. Don't forget your camera. Included with general admission.

Saturday, May 19 from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Genesee Country Village & Museum, 1410 Flint Hill Road, Mumford, NY
Celebrate Armed Forces Day with performances of patriotic music, displays of military vehicles, uniforms, equipment, and collectibles, and special presentations. The usual displays, activities, and of course, the farm animals will be on hand as well for lots of fun. Admission fees vary; free admission for all active military and veterans.

Saturday, May 19 from 12 p.m. - 2 p.m.
Wickham Farms, 1821 Fairport Nine Mile Line Road, Penfield, NY
Free party to celebrate Dance Like a Chicken Day. Enjoy games, crafts, and a Chicken Dance Contest every half hour. Chicken Dance activities are free; does not include admission to Wickham Farms attractions.

Sunday, May 20 from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
New York Museum of Transportation, 6393 East Henrietta Road, West Henrietta, NY
Purchase a ticket for a unique trolley ride when you arrive. While you wait for your trolley, explore the train cars, antique cars, fire truck, and the model trains in the museum. At your departure time, board the trolley and enjoy the 1-mile ride to the Rochester & Genesee Valley Railroad Museum. Explore the second museum before boarding for a ride back to the Museum of Transportation. 

Looking for more outdoors, less programming? Check out these fun spots:
  • Kershaw Park, Canandaigua, NY - playground, beach trails, gorgeous view
  • Letchworth State Park, Castile, NY - waterfalls, trails (Note: this is not a stroller-friendly location)
  • Lollypop Farm, Fairport, NY - walk through the adoption center, barn, and outdoors through the trail of farm animals and to the petting area 
  • Mendon Ponds Park, Honeoye Falls, NY - playground, lots of trails, and see the raptors at Wild Wings 
  • Powder Mills Park, Pittsford, NY - don't miss the fish hatchery where you can feed the trout 

Slather on the sunblock, put on a hat, and get outside this weekend! Have a great time, and as always, thanks for reading.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Fun Afternoon at Powers Farm Market

It's nice outside. The kids want to go somewhere. You only have an hour or two. Where should you go? Powers Farm Market. You can browse the fresh produce, annuals, and perennials, grab a snack, feed and pet some friendly farm animals, and still be home by nap time (or dinner time, et cetera).

Powers Farm Market is located at 161 Marsh Street in Pittsford, at the intersection of Golf and Marsh. When you park your car, you might be greeted by a chicken. They're basically the welcoming committee. This time of year, there are myriad hanging plants and flowers waiting to be planted in your garden, as well as whimsical garden accessories. In the fall, you'll have your pick of pumpkins and gourds.

Inside the market, pick up a big basket and have your kids help you on a Fruit & Veggie Scavenger Hunt.  We usually check out the freshly baked cookie selection (I just can't pass it up!) and pick out a couple to share. They're huge, so I don't let my kids eat a whole one.

There are some benches on the front porch of the market where you can enjoy your cookie - or banana, apple, or peach if you have the will power to avoid the sweet treats.  

After your snack, walk around back for some real fun. You'll find chickens, deer, goats, sheep, alpaca, rabbits, miniature donkeys, and a pony. Be sure to bring some quarters for the animal food machines. We usually also bring some plastic cups or zip-top bags to collect the food (otherwise handfuls tend to get dropped), and antibacterial gel plus wipes. I keep Method antibacterial all-purpose wipes in my glove compartment just for times like this.
You can feed the deer, goats, sheep, alpaca, and donkeys by hand. They're all friendly and tame; they're just a bit slobbery. There is a feeder chute for the pony because he can bite; drop the food in at the top and it lands in a bucket for the pony.
And of course, no trip to a farm-related establishment would be complete without a tractor sighting!
There are benches by the animals, so after you're through feeding them, you can sit and watch them for a while. There is also a good-sized lawn to run around.

In the fall, the three giant teepees on the property become a super-fun haunted house filled with jack-o-lanterns, lights, scary eyes, and more. The kids can run through the haunted teepees over and over and over again (for free). Plus there are hayrides, for a fee, which the kids love. If you're looking for something to do this spring, summer, or fall, check out Powers Farm Market.

As always, thanks for reading! If you have a fun farm story to share, please Post a Comment. Thanks!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Family Fun for Mother's Day Weekend

Hopefully you already have plans for this weekend, and hopefully those plans include lots of relaxing for Mom! But if you're still looking for some fun with the fam for this weekend, here are some ideas in the Rochester area.

Family Fun Fridays: April Showers Bring May Flowers
Friday, May 11 from 5:45 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Southeast Family YMCA, 111 E. Jefferson Road, Pittsford, NY
5:45 p.m. - ? - Pizza ($1/slice) in the Lobby
6:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. - Adventure Center (bring socks)
6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. - Make and Take activity in WRAP Room
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. - Activities in the Gym
7:05 p.m. - 10:00 p.m. - Family Swim
8:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. - Adventure Center
Admission is free; YMCA members only.

Day Out with Thomas: Mystery on the Rails Tour 2012
Friday May 11, Saturday May 12, and Sunday May 13 from 9:15 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Medina Railroad Museum, 530 West Avenue, Medina, NY
All aboard for a 25-minute ride on Thomas the Tank Engine, meet Sir Topham Hatt, listen to stories about Thomas and Friends, dance to live music, stop by the food court, and visit the activity tents with train tables, temporary tattoos, Mega Bloks, and much more. Purchase tickets for your train ride time, and enjoy the rest of the activities before or after your ride. All activities are included in the cost of the train tickets.

Lilac Festival
Friday, May 11 - Sunday, May 20
Highland Park, Highland Avenue & South Avenue, Rochester, NY
Ten days of free entertainment and lots of fun, surrounded by more than 1,200 lilac bushes. Be sure to check the web site for the children's entertainment schedule.

Vroom Vroom
Saturday, May 12 from 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Pineway Ponds Park, Route 259, Union Street, Spencerport, NY
Touch and see a variety of vehicles, and meet the people who operate them. Check out a dump truck, tractor, police car, garbage truck, fire truck, and more! Admission is free; no rain date. Please call (585) 617-6174 with questions.

The Magic Guy
Saturday, May 12 at 2:00 p.m.
Pittsford Community Library, 24 State Street, Pittsford, NY
Enjoy magic and humor with Chris Wilkinson, The Magic Guy. (My kids think he's hilarious! We watched his show twice in a row last July 4th.) Admission is free; no registration required.

Opening Day & 19th Century Fashion Shows
Saturday, May 12 from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Genesee Country Village & Museum, 1410 Flint Hill Road, Mumford, NY
Enjoy the warm weather this weekend while visiting the village potter, tinsmith, blacksmith, and more. Meet the farm animals, taste "Petticoat Tails" shortbread at Jones Farm, make a tin ornament at the tinsmith shop, and play on the village square with period games and toys. Fashion shows at 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. Admission fees vary; check web site for details.

Barnyard Adventure Opens for the Season
Saturday, May 12 & Sunday, May 13 from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Brown's Berry Patch, 14264 Roosevelt Highway, Waterport, NY
Have fun with the giant slide, swings, teeter totter, water tables, straw bin, rope maze, duck races, pedal cars, sandbox, playhouse, and other farm activities.

Oz: Saturday, May 12 from 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. and Sunday, May 13 from noon - 5 p.m.
Pippi: Saturday, May 12 from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. - Sunday, May 13 from 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Strong National Museum of Play, 1 Manhattan Square, Rochester, NY
Don't miss your last chance to walk down the yellow brick road! Also meet Pippi Longstocking...don't forget your camera. Both are included with admission.

No matter what you do this weekend, enjoy! Happy Mother's Day, and as always, thanks for reading.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Last-Minute, Simple & Cute Mother's Day Gifts (Perfect for Grandma!)

Did the middle of May sneak up on you, too? One minute we're shoveling snow, and the next minute it's 80 degrees out. Oh wait! That was just last month. Maybe that's why it doesn't truly feel like we should be making plans and wrapping presents for Mother's Day just yet. Ah, presents. It's easy to find a great present for some moms, and it's a nightmare for others.

The best way around this gift gauntlet is to have or adopt children. From the moment you are expecting, all Mother's Day presents for Grandma are automatic no-brainers. Framed ultrasound photos, framed hand prints, framed photos of the kid(s), framed artwork created by the kid(s). The possibilities are endless. Just walk through Michael's, AC Moore, or JoAnn's, and you're likely to find something the kids can make for your mom.

Below are five kid-tested, mother-approved, SIMPLE ideas for the Grandmas. I promise, you do not have to be a Martha Stewart-level crafter for any of these projects.

Some ideas require photos of the kid(s). Unless you print your own, you can upload digital photos to a free photo sharing site such as Shutterfly, then order your prints online for in-store pick up at Target, Walgreens, or CVS. The prints are usually ready within a few hours. So easy!

1. Finger Painting 2-in-1
This was our Mother's Day idea two years ago. First, you'll need some frames with two 5x7 openings. Then, set up a finger painting session for the kid(s). Worried about the mess? Go outside. Set up a table outside with an old tablecloth. Lay out a piece of poster paper, pour finger paints in a few plastic bowls,  take off their shirts (or turn them inside out), and keep the camera snapping. Once their masterpiece is dry, cut out 5x7 sections to include in the frames along with a photo of the fun.
2. Photo & Saying Collage
I don't want to post this year's project, just in case any of the Grandmas are reading along. But here is a similar idea for a 12x12 framed collage. You'll need:

  • Recent 4x6 photo of the kid(s)
  • 12x12 scrapbook paper (or cut a 12x12 square from wrapping paper, an old gift bag, or even a shopping bag)
  • Assorted patterned papers (or use old greeting cards, magazines, wrapping paper, etc.)
  • Solid-colored paper 
  • glue stick, tape runner, and/or foam squares (pop dots, glue dots, Dimensionals, etc.)
  • ruler and scissors, or paper trimmer
  • markers
  • 12x12 frame (available at Michael's, ACMoore, Target, etc.)
First, center the photo on your 12x12 paper and adhere it with the tape runner or a glue stick. Then, cut your patterned paper and solid paper into 2x2 squares. You'll need about 22 squares total; I used 6 solid and 16 patterned.

Using the solid paper, ask the kids what they like best about Grandma or what they like to do with Grandma and write those down. If the kids are old enough, they can do the writing. Examples: Grandma's cookies; Going to the park with Grandma; Going to the big zoo with Grandma; Talking on the phone with Grandma; Big hugs from Grandma; We love you Grandma!
Start arranging the squares. We had two rows of 5 squares on the top and bottom, plus two squares to the left and two squares to the right of the photo. Attach foam squares to the back of the hand-written squares and have your kids stick them on the page. The raised squares make the sayings POP off the page.
Using the glue stick (easier for little kids) or tape runner (less messy), adhere the rest of the squares to the page.

 When you're done, pop your masterpiece into the frame and you're ready to wrap it up.
3. Clay Magnets
NOTE: The only drawback to this idea is that you need at least two to three days due to drying time.

Day 1: Make your shapes. We used Crayola Air-Dry Clay, but you could also use Crayola Model Magic or even homemade play dough. Grab some cookie cutters or Play Doh shape cutters and have fun!

Day 2: Once your shapes have dried, paint them. We used kid-friendly washable paint.

Day 3: Secure magnetic strips to the backs of your shapes using a glue gun. Unfortunately, the adhesive on the magnetic strips does not stick well to the clay. If you don't have a glue gun, I highly recommend making the $10 investment. Otherwise, white craft glue will work...it just requires additional drying time. We found some cute tins at Target for $1 (in the bins at the front of the store; I call them the Dollar Bins but I'm not sure that's the official title), add some tissue paper, and they're ready for the Grandmas!

4. Recordable Books 
Last year, we bought recordable books from Hallmark. The instructions are simple to record the kids reading each page (you record one page at a time, so it's easy to go back and re-record when necessary). Then Grandma can listen to their sweet little voices "read" the story any time she likes.

5. Recordable Photo Frames
A variation on the previous idea, we have also given recordable photo frames as gifts for the Grandmas, and they have all been very well received. Have the kids practice a few times, then record the greeting. You can always re-record it, although sometimes an "outtake" is better. We were recording one for my mom last year and our four-year-old was clear, but our two-year-old just babbled. We couldn't understand him, but it was so cute and hilarious that we just had to leave it as is.

Whatever gifts you decide to make (or buy), I hope you all have a wonderful Mother's Day weekend. As always, thanks for reading! And if you have a crafty Mother's Day idea to share, please Post a Comment. Thanks. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

No Sleep Til Brooklyn

The Beastie Boys have been a part of my life since I was nine. If you're between the ages of 25 and 45, you probably grew up with them too. I don't know about you, but this is probably the first time that I am just not okay with the news of a celebrity passing. Of course it's not as emotionally trying as losing a loved one, but I am sad to lose Adam Yauch.

I don't know how to appropriately memorialize MCA, except to share some memories of growing up with Beastie Boys...

By the fourth grade, my ears had mostly known mainstream, teen-pop crap. That is, until the day I heard this song that was different. And I liked it. I wanted to jump up and down and scream along. A few days later, during indoor recess, some kids were talking about that song. I heard a girl named Christine say, "You gotta fight...for your right...to paaaaaarty!" I smiled and walked over, eager to join in. Instead I was greeted with, "You're a good girl. You don't like that song. You don't even know what it means." I was crushed temporarily, but I was gonna fight for my right. Whether they liked it or not.

My freshman year of high school brought some nice changes: (1) Beastie Boys had a new CD out, and (2) we were allowed to eat lunch outside. My friends and I claimed an area under a tree. We would eat, and we would see who knew the most lyrics to "Live at P.J.'s" and "Pass the Mic." Lyrics like, "Professor, what's another word for pirate treasure? I think it's booty..." would send us into hysterics.

Later that summer, there was one night when my friends and I were hanging out in our friend Jess's basement, watching "Skills to Pay the Bills." We were throwing around tons of lyrics, being stupid, documenting our hilarity on film (thankfully, before digitization). The fan favorite that night was, "Got more rhymes than Jamaica got mangoes." I can still picture Jess singing that one.

The next year, Beastie Boys learned to play some instruments and brought us Ill Communication. That summer, I was a counselor at a day camp. The counselors had to arrive earlier and leave later than the kids. So when the ankle-biters weren't around, a few of us would blast "Sure Shot," "Root Down,""Heart Attack Man," and of course "Get It Together" and "Sabotage." Sure we were setting up sports equipment and cutting templates for crafts, but Beastie Boys bonded us.

My freshman year at SUNY Geneseo - in the prehistoric days before cell phones - I used a Beastie Boys reference when a guy asked for my number. It went like this, "I live on north-side and all north-side numbers start with 6, 'Get It Together' starts off '1-2-1-2 keep it on', and that's track number 7. So it's 6-1-2-7." If the guy liked the Beastie Boys, he'd remember my number. If he didn't, then I wasn't really interested anyway. Phone is ringing'...oh my gawd.

My junior year, it wasn't a night at the bar until "Intergalactic" was played. Such a fun dance song! And a line that stays with you long after the song's over: "I like my sugar with coffee and cream."

After college I worked at a radio station in Buffalo. I started dating a co-worker (okay, my boss!) mostly because of his pop-culture knowledge. While it took a Beck song to eventually know that he was The One, I knew we were going to last a while when he made me a mix CD and included "The Negotiation Limerick File."

In 2003, we saw Beastie Boys at Field Day Festival (A.K.A. Field Day Fiasco). "That Guy" from the radio station was about to become my husband; we went to the concert with my brother and some of his friends. It was a bit disappointing overall, but the Beastie Boys were amazing live! I think I screamed and danced through their whole set.

The following year, we were so excited to see a particular box from Amazon. Inside was something we'd waited six years for: a new Beastie Boys CD. "Triple Trouble" quickly became a house favorite. Even though my seventeen-year-old sister taunted us with  clever quips such as, "Aren't they, like, 40?"

Almost exactly one year ago, I read in Entertainment Weekly that an extended video for the first single from "Hot Sauce Committee Part 2" was going to be on TV. I didn't tell my husband; I wanted to surprise him. Covertly, I set the DVR. Then one night, after we put the kids to bed, we watched it. We laughed so hard, tears were streaming, my nose was running, and I may have wet myself. The number of cameos is overwhelming - - you recognize just about every single person in it. Even my sons love dancing to "Make Some Noise;" my husband and I just have to yell, "Wooo" over the f-bombs. :)

See? The Beastie Boys grew me up. They were with me for so much of my life, and even our kids like them. I feel terrible for Ad-Rock and Mike D, and of course for MCA's wife and daughter. The music world just will not be the same.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Family Fun This Weekend

This weekend looks promising! First, Saturday's forecast is partly-sunny in the low 60s, and Sunday should be sunny with a high of 67. Second, there is a ton going on in the ROC. If all else fails, take your kids to a playground...but I'm sure you'll find something fun on this list. Have a great weekend!

Animal Tales Drop-In Story Time
Friday, May 4 at 11 a.m.
Lollypop Farm, Humane Society of Greater Rochester, 99 Victor Road, Fairport
Listen to an animal-themed story and enjoy a hands-on learning experience. Offered every Friday. Admission is free.

Friday Family Nights: Roller Skating
Friday, May 4
Southeast Family YMCA, 111 E. Jefferson Rd., Pittsford
5:45 p.m. - ? - Pizza ($1/slice)
6:00 - 7:00 p.m. - Crafts in Lobby
6:30 - 8:30 p.m. - Roller Skating in the Gym (skate rental is $4/person)
7:05 - 10:00 p.m. - Family Swim
7:30 - 8:00 p.m. - Parachute Games
8:00 - 9:00 p.m. - Adventure Center (wear socks)
Admission is free; open to the community.

Say No To Drugs, Say Yes To Bowling
Friday, May 4 and everyday through August 31 - open until 9 p.m.
Bowl-A-Roll Lanes, 1560 Jefferson Road, Rochester
This program provides children in grades K-12 with one free game of bowling, including rental shoes, from May 1st through August 31st.

Our Fragile World Environmental Fair
Friday, May 4 - Saturday, May 5 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Seneca Park Zoo, 2222 St. Paul Street, Rochester
A fair featuring environmentally-conscious businesses, nature organizations, and government agencies. Included with admission fee.

ArtsROC's First-Ever LEGO Education Showcase
Saturday, May 5 - all day
Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Pittsford Plaza, 3349 Monroe Avenue, Rochester
Help build LEGO Rochester (building times are 9 a.m., noon, and 3 p.m.) by creating a building from the skyline. Book signing with Dan Brown, author of LEGO: A Love Story. Hear LEGO Gaga perform with KidzRoc. Check out cool LEGO exhibits. The first 50 kids in line for the 9 a.m. session receive a free mini figure.

Love My Park Day Celebration
Saturday, May 5 from 10:00 a.m. - noon
Lauraville Landing Park - under the pavilion, Clyde
Cornell Cooperative Extension Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work, and Play program will be hosting a Fiesta Day to celebrate Cinco de Mayo and I Love My Park Day. Free activities include crafts, container gardening, scavenger hunt, food, and piƱata.

Ganondagan State Historic Site Opening Weekend
Saturday, May 5 - Sunday, May 6 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
1488 State Route 444, Victor
Saturday features a community longball game at 2 p.m.; bark longhouse and Visitors Center tours, and trail walks throughout the day. Sunday features a plant walk at 10 a.m.; outdoor family games; bark longhouse and Visitors Center tours; and trail walks. Bring a picnic lunch. Adults - $3; students/seniors - $2; Check in at Visitors Center.

Goldilocks and Little Red Riding Hood
Saturday, May 5 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Strong National Museum of Play, 1 Manhattan Square, Rochester
Come see theatrical performances of two classic children's stories by students from Allendale Columbia. Included with admission fee.

Saturday, May 5 from 2:30 - 3:15 p.m. (arrive at about 2:15)
Miller Atrium across from Eastman Theatre (located at 60 Gibbs Street), Rochester 
Interactive DRUM PLAY drum circle with Ivan Trevino. Open to the public. All ages are welcome, but probably best for ages 6+. Admission is free.

Whew! That's a lot. Whatever your plans, enjoy your weekend! As always, thanks for reading.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Make a Sun Catcher! (Now, where is that SUN?)

We've been in the house way too much this week. My sons and I have been taking turns being sick for the past couple of weeks, so we've been laying low, trying to get better, and trying to keep our germs to ourselves.

We've played outside a bit, but mostly it's been a rotation of Play Doh, crayons, foam stickers, baking cookies, domino runs, puzzles, and blocks. Repeat.

Yesterday we broadened our crafty horizons and made our own sun catchers. It was really fun, they look awesome, and most likely you have all the materials at home. This craft was perfect for my four-year-old and we did this while my two-year-old was napping; I don't think he has the patience for this one. It's probably best for ages 3 and up. Enjoy!

Spring Time Sun Catchers

1. Assemble your materials:

  • Newspaper or newsprint paper
  • Wax paper
  • Adult scissors & safety scissors for the kiddies
  • Old and/or broken crayons
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Iron 
  • Small bowls (optional)
  • Empty cereal boxes (optional)

2. Spread some pieces of newspaper over the work area. Set your iron to the lowest, non-steam setting and place it out of the way until needed.

3. If your child is old enough to use a pencil sharpener, you can skip this step. Otherwise, remove the labels from the crayons and use the pencil sharpener to create piles or bowls of colorful shavings. I found that Creatology brand crayons worked best, and that Crayola was the most difficult to work with. The cheaper crayons were more crumbly. And in this case, crumbly is good.

If you don't have a pencil sharpener handy, the web site where I originally found this idea called for a box grater. Just know that it is nearly impossible to clean the crayon from the grater so it will become the Crafting Grater from this day forward. You can try this, but I don't recommend it unless:
     a. You have a spare grater because your college roommate also brought one, but moved out first and left the grater behind 
     b. You were planning on replacing your current grater anyway

4. Either you or your child will need to cut two copies of a shape from wax paper. Free-form is great but if you want to get fancy, draw a shape on the inside of an empty cereal box, cut it out as a template, and then cut two copies from wax paper. You could also trace a shape from a coloring book if drawing is not your specialty.

5. If you skipped Step #3, have your child hold the pencil sharpener over one of the wax shapes and shave some crayons. Otherwise, have your child spread the crayon shavings around to cover one of the shapes. We found that you don't need much of the darker colors since the wax will spread. What you see below is actually too much.

6. This step is for adults only: Carefully place the second wax sheet on top of the crayons, then cover with a few more sheets of newspaper. Iron on top of the newspaper for a few seconds, then check on the sun catcher. Every iron is different, but it should take less than a minute to melt the crayon shavings.

You can hang the sun catchers on a window, or punch a hole in the top and use string to hang several from the ceiling in a sunny spot. Or just show off your creativity sporting your most adorable expression!

Maybe if enough of us are sporting sun catchers in our windows, it will bring the sunshine back to this season. Thanks for reading and have fun being crafty!
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