Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Snowflakes, Apple Crisps and Maple Syrup

All this snow means time for some new crafts - so the other day I showed my daughter how to make snowflakes inside to match all the ones outside that were falling thick and fast.

We folded blank white paper into squares and then cut designs into them - pull them open and - poof - snowflakes to delight any small child (although I was rather taken with them myself!).

For extra fun, we lay them out on cookie sheets, put them on the dining room table and let her put glue down and cover them in silver glitter and silver glitter glue. They looked charming and we strung them up with some thread. While she was doing that, I flipped through an old copy of Edible Jersey magazine where I found a receipe for an apple crisp, which we quickly made for a nice winter dessert.

Still, we didn't want to stay inside forever, so last weekend we made a trip to the Tenafly Nature Center. This is a great resource for local families looking to get outdoors and hike on 380 acres of unspoiled land. They have a number of trails, a large pond and a cozy center where kids can check out snakes and turtles and lots of nature books. We have been there many times but we hadn't ever been to one of their programs. Some friends met us there and we were happy to introduce them to the Nature Center.

The program we attended was on Maple Sugaring. (You can see all their programs here - they are doing the Maple program for the next two weekends.) Kids get an explanation of how maple sugar is made and how trees produce sap. Then you tromp outside and see one of the maple sugar trees they've tapped and all the sap collected in the big metal bucket. It was a beautiful day, standing under a blue, crisp sky almost knee deep in snow. Some parts of the program are a bit slow for the smaller children, but for the most part held their attention and was interactive.

If you are hungry afterwards there are plenty of places for lunch. We often head back towards Englewood and stop at the Jackson Hole diner (I used to be addicted to their turkey dinner specials and milkshakes) or Baumgarts (where they have homemade ice cream and a huge menu).

(Photo from Tenafly Nature Center.)

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