Enchanted Mommy

An Ode to Cox Farms

I was able to introduce my husband to my favorite fall place yesterday!  I talked Cox Farms up SO much to him that he didn’t think it could live up to my awesomesauce feeling.  I think if I talk about how awesome it is one more time, he might start to hate the place because I’m overly obsessed (I know I’m being REALLY dramatic)!  In the end though, he loved it just as much!  Here’s an introduction picture of this awesome place that is located in Centerville, VA:

sign for cox farms

This place is SO fun!

Why I LOVE LOVE LOVE Cox Farms:

  • There is so much to do that even when there are 20 school buses full of kids, it still doesn’t seem crowded.
  • Everything is reasonably priced.
  • Good food (fresh kettle corn, yum yum yum).
  • Free cider and apples while you are in the park AND each person gets to take a free small pumpkin with them on their way out.
  • Workers are SO incredibly nice and helpful.
  • Porta potties are clean and they are all over the place.
  • They have a ton of picnic tables set up and you can bring your own food in to eat wherever or buy food at all the different food stands.
  • It’s for kids of all ages.

First, let me tell you some of the things they have for kids.

We started our day off at the HUGE slide

big slide at cox farms

It goes really fast. My two year old got her own burlap sack and rode down next to me. It's great for any age!

Then, we did the hayride that lasted about 15 minutes.  It had so much on it.  I don’t want to spoil it.  I wish that I got a better picture of it, but there is always next time.

hayride at cox farms

It can fit so many people on it. Each tractor pulls two of these and there was probably at least six tractors.

Next, we went to the awesome corn maze!  It took us a while, but it also had many fun things through it (an old school bus, an old little house, random doors).

corn maze at cox farms

Ella and my husband, Brian in the corn maze.

Then we hit up the petting zoo.  This was one of Ella’s favorites. You can buy an ice cream cone filled with goat food for $1.   Look at these pictures!

petting zoo at cox farms

Ella feeding the goats

goat at cox farms

Ella didn't want to leave this one out!

After this, we did many more slides and went to the kiddie area (awesome for little ones under three feet).

big slide at the farm

Castle Slide at Cox Farms (there are so many like this)

slide through barn at cox farms

This slide is going through a a barn.

cox farms slide

My two year old did all the slides by herself.

three little pigs house at cox farms

Here is a picture of the three little pigs brick house that they built. It had a slide coming out of it!

Ella in chick at cox farms

Here is Ella playing in the kiddie part at cox farms. It was a nice little break for her.

Lastly, we took Ella to the piled high hay bails and she loved jumping off of them.  There were tunnels that went through them.

Cox farm hay bails

Oh to be a kid again! Yes, she nailed the landing too!

On the way out, you get a free small pumpkin.

free pumpkins at cox farms

Each person with a wristband (2 and older) gets a free pumpkin

On the way out to your car, there is a market that you can buy pies, pumpkins, local honey, kettle corn, cider, apples, candy and toys.  We didn’t buy a big pumpkin, but I wish we had because they are a lot better looking than the ones at the grocery store.  They were $.69 per pound.

Some things we didn’t even get to do.  They put on a little show where they milk a cow (it’s really cute, I saw it last year).  We also didn’t do the rope swings because Ella was too little and we didn’t get to do all of the slides because it was time to call it a day.  We played for about four hours.

Okay, I guess I’ve said enough and I hope I convinced you to take a trip to Cox Farms and feel my over-the-top happiness (if you’re in the northern VA area)!  If you’re not a NOVA person, find a fun pumpkin patch near you!

 

 

A Bunny-Farm Birthday Party!

This past weekend I went to my nieces 8th birthday party in West Palm Beach, Florida.  It was so well done that I felt like I needed to write about it! Even though it was at specific place, I think a lot of the ideas can be incorporated anywhere.

The party was at a place called the Edu-Garden.  It was made and designed by 7th grade students and their science teacher (my sister).  The middle school students plant vegetables and care for bunnies and chickens as part of their school science lab at a public charter school.

The Edu-Garden

The party set up at the Edu-Garden patio

The party was a huge hit… and how could it not be when you can hold and play with real bunnies!!!  One of the bunnies just had babies so the kids got to see the little tiny baby bunnies as well.  They fed the bunnies lettuce and carrots and fed the chickens raisins.  The garden was huge and had a ton of hands on and educational stuff to do.

My niece, the birthday girl, with the baby bunny

Besides the animals, the kids hunted for bugs then used identification cards to identify them.  They also had plastic critter puzzles the kids used to catagorize and match up different types of  bugs.

My 2 year old niece, chasing bunnies around. The bunnies sure got a good work out!

My nephew catagorizing bugs during the party

Critter categorizing puzzle

My niece planting her sunflower

Basically, the kids had free reign of the garden where they could play with the bunnies, feed the chickens, plant a sunflower to take home, identify different bugs, and play with plastic bug puzzles.  They also had a gated parking lot where they set up relay race games using scooters.

The scooter relay races were a big hit!

The party ended with an adorable pair of bunny birthday cakes and party favors of plastic bugs and a sunflower they planted themselves.

It was all very cute and all the kids had a great time!

Decorating an Elephant Pumpkin

My son’s first grade teacher asked me to be in charge of their class pumpkin this year.  The class voted on one of their favorite book characters to create for the school pumpkin contest.  Gerald the elephant won the contest so I started up on google to see the best way to create an elephant pumpkin.

Gerald the Elephant Pumpkin – The final product

I got the idea from Michaels.com and loved it for a class project because it had so many different pieces to it that it was easy to get all 25 kids to help with at least one part.

This is the book character the 1st grad class voted to make

This is the book Character the class voted for

 Materials:

1 large tall shaped pumpkin (for the body)
1 small round shaped pumpkin (for the head)
4 Styrofoam cones about 9 inches long (for the arms and legs)
12 half wooden robin eggs (fingernails)
2 wooden circles (eyes)
Black yarn (eye brows)
Black pipe cleaner (glasses)
Sharpie (to draw the mouth and pupils on the eyes)
Strong Tooth picks (to secure pumpkin heads together and limbs to the pumpkin)
4 artificial pumpkins (to glue together to make the trunk)
Cardboard (to cut ears out)
White paint (for the fingernails and eyes)
Grey paint (for the pumpkins, legs, trunk, and ears)

 Instructions:

  • Paint the pumpkins, cylinders, artificial pumpkins, and ears grey
  • Paint the wooden half robin eggs and the wooden circles white
  • After the pumpkins are completely dry, place four or five toothpicks in the bottom of the smaller pumpkin about halfway in.  Carefully put the small pumpkin on top of the large pumpkin pressing the toothpicks into the larger pumpkin
  • Glue the artificial pumpkins together in the shape of a trunk, then use a tooth pick to secure trunk to the pumpkin face
  • Glue three fingernails to the large end of each cone and secure cones to the large pumpkin with toothpicks
  • Use a sharpie to draw a mouth on the pumpkin and and pupils on eyes
  • Use a hot glue gun or super glue to glue the eyes, eyebrows, ears, and glasses to the pumpkin

A Different Fun Fall Activity

Looking for a fun, exciting, and different fall activity?  Last weekend we took our three little monkeys to Kings Dominion for their annual Howl-o-Fest.  Besides the usual amusement park rides, they have a cute little pirate treasure hunt included with your regular admission. You pick up a treasure map and go to each marked location to pick up a piece of the “treasure.”  The treasure was different at each location and included, a pirate hat, a pirate bandana, an eye patch, a beaded necklace, a spyglass, a black pirate flag, and a pumpkin.   In the end, it was all the makings of a cute pirate costume.

The Loot! My kids have pretty much dressed up and played pirates every day since!

At one location you had to find your way to the end of the hay and corn maze to earn your prize.  At another, it was running through the “Seven Seas Foam Pit” made of waist high foamy soap bubbles.  There was also a great Charlie Brown Pirate Show, pumpkin painting, and all the staff in the children’s area dressed as pirates (some of them even walking on tall stilts).

My 3 year old painting his pumpkin in the pumkin patch

The kids had a great time and so did we.  The staff was very enthusiastic and really made it a fun environment.   This was definitely something a little different, but so fun that we will be making a tradition out of it.

To see if there is a park near you, visit cedarpark.com.

You don’t have to go all the way to an amusement park to do this activity though.  Host a treasure hunt in your back yard for your kids.  We did this too and now my six year old is obsessed with hiding a toy somewhere in the house and giving his little brother or cousin a hand drawn map to find it.  So fun and keeps the kids busy for hours!

My six year old painting his pumpkin in the pumpkin patch.

Encouraging Creativity and Imagination with a Fun Clown Project

Creativity and imagination are the most cherished parts of childhood.  I love watching my little monkeys in their moments of crazy make believe games and stories.

My six year old came home from school today with a story he wrote about warriors and dragons.  It was about him and his best friend using their super powers to battle the dragons and rescue both of their little brothers from the dungeon.  He was so proud of his story.  At dinner I asked what his favorite part of his day was.  He said it was bringing his “book” home to show me.  Oh how I love that little guy!

This post is in honor of encouraging and developing creativity.  The idea is to pick a project, tell the kids what they are making, and then give them all of the supplies they need.  Then, let them go to town with it.  DO NOT guide them in anyway.  Sure, if they need help squeezing the glue give them a little help, but make sure they are placing each piece where they want it.  If they want a mouth on the forehead and seven eyes on the chin, let them.  This is their creation.

There are times when you are doing projects where you might guide your child to using the correct color or putting the pieces in the correct place because you want to teach them about that specific object you are making.  This is not one of those times.  Let them have fun with this and create their own masterpiece.  Some kids may want to put the parts in the right place and that is okay too.  If anything, it can teach us to recognize and embrace the sweet and unique personalities each child has.

I decided to do clowns because they are already silly to begin with.  I pre-cut different shapes that could be used for parts of the clown face, put out a pile of googly eyes and a couple bottles of glue and let the kids create their masterpieces.

Fun Handprint and Footprint Quick Halloween Project

Got 20 minutes?  I’ve been searching around to find some fun Halloween crafts for my 2 year old.  This was perfect for her attention span and it is something great for me to keep and do every year for memories!

Halloween Foot Print Ghost

Here is Ella’s Footprint Ghosts!

 

Spider handprints

Both Handprints for Spider

Supplies Needed:

Supplies for Halloween Handprint and Footprint project

Paper towels, black paint, white paint, 2 big brushes, 2 little brushes, two pieces of contruction paper (you can choose colors)

  • Paper Towels: I wet like 5 of them to clean off paint from hand and foot right away
  • Black Paint: used for handprint spider, ghosts eyes and mouths and for spider eyes
  • White Paint: used for ghosts footprints and spider eyes
  • Two big paintbrushes: used to paint feet and hands
  • Two small paintbrushes: used to paint eyes and mouths
  • Two pieces of construction paper: used for base

Ghosts Directions

Paint feet white with brush

white foot for ghost

Ella’s foot painted white

Put foot directly on construction paper, repeat with other foot.

ghost footprints

Here is the base of your ghosts

Paint Eyes and Mouth on your Ghosts (I also put Ella’s name and year on it, for memory sake) and you’re done!

Spider Directions

Paint hand black minus the thumb

hand black for spider

Ella’s hand painted black minus her thumb

Put one hand on the paper and clean hand
Paint other hand and do it the opposite way

Handprint black spider

Ella’s handprint spider before eyes

Paint white circles with black dots in them.

You’re done!!  Such an easy and fun project!!

 

 

 

Learning the letter B

Keeping kids busy…  what a task.  I have three little boys that are better known as my three little monkeys.  I recently joined a co-op preschool program with a few other mommies in the area.  This basically means that we trade off who hosts and teaches all the children while the kids move from house to house based on whose turn it is to teach.  It was my turn to teach this week and we did a lot of fun things that I thought were easy and interesting enough to mention.

We did a great sorting activity with random stickers and foam pieces I had around the house.  The kids loved it!  Each one got a milk carton to themselves.  Then I had them sort all of the objects on the table based on color.  They ate it up.  After this we sorted objects by type (animal, shape, flowers, etc..) and then by size.  Great activity!  Kept the kids happy and busy while they learned a basic math less on classification and sorting.  Great activity for fine motor development as well!


We also went on a “B” hunt searching and collecting all the objects we could find around the house that start with the letter B.  The kids loved this and got to show the group what they found and sound it out exaggerating the B sound at the beginning.  We ended up with a great collection!
I have to say though, the kids had the most fun throwing the beach ball at the letter B we taped up.  Something about being allowed to throw things really got them excited and not just the boys. The girls loved it to!  They cheered each other on and clapped when one of them hit the letter.  It was a great activity to help them memorize the letter B, increase gross motor skills, and improve hand-eye coordination.

We also made Hand print butterflies!  So cute and so much fun!  This is a great sensory activity to do with the kids!