Author Archives: Angelika

About Angelika

Mama, Playground Hunter, Scientist

No bad weather

It’s howling outside, we’re about to go for an overnight camping trip, and I need to convince my children to bring the right clothes. I think it’s time for a refresher on how to dress for success in the outdoors. There are many tricks I’ve learned wandering around the mountains in New Zealand, so here are some – as a way to remind myself as I teach them to my children.

Fabrics

No cotton. None. That stuff gets miserably cold when it gets wet. We used to have synthetic underwear just for hiking in NZ, and if we were to go winter camping I would insist on those for us now. The problem with cotton shows up only when it gets wet, which it will with sweat, or rain, or melting snow. Cotton becomes cold when it gets wet and can cool your skin to hypothermic levels. So definitely no jeans, no t-shirts, no cotton “thermals” (they got me with those the first year), cotton socks, cotton everything. Leave the cotton home.

Down-containing jackets and pants might seem like a good idea, and they are as long as they stay dry. In NZ there was always some rain during the day, so down jackets were only useful if they got trotted out in a hut. Those jackets are useful in below-freezing snow and ice environments, because it just isn’t going to rain. The moisture that might come from sweat will easily escape out from the body.

Good warm fabrics to bring along are fleece, polypropylene, and if your don’t mind the itch, wool. Even if these fabrics get wet, they will keep you warm to much lower temperatures. So, fleece sweater, pants, jacket, hat, gloves, and polypropylene thermal underwear. My list of clothing items to take camping on a cool, possibly rainy autumn camp is below.

Layers

Another trick to getting the most warmth out of your clothing is to wear layers. Your body heat will get trapped in subsequent layers between clothing, with the end result of less of your body heat dispersing. If you can keep your body heat close to your skin, you will be warmer.

Image result for hiking clothing layersThe Outdoor Gear Lab has some nice infographics on how to dress based on different expected temperatures.

So when I go out in the above mentioned autumn rain for a camping trip I will wear a non-cotton thermal base layer of thin polypropylene. On top of that I might wear a slightly layer of thicker base layer, followed by at least one layer of thick fleece. If it’s raining, I’ll put on a waterproof outer layer of a jacket and some rain-pants. If it’s not raining I might show off my down puffer jacket. I’ll also have on a fleece hat, and fleece gloves.

Here are my recommendations:

Daisy Petal Worksheets – Printable

I’m creating worksheets from the Girl Scouts Daisy Flower Friends. There are ten of them, which guide Daisies through earning each of the ten petals. I use these to give to the girls after we spend a meeting on the petal activities, to fill out at home and return them the next meeting to be given their petal. I will keep updating this page until all ten are here 🙂



Scouts

So a funny thing happened the other day. No I didn’t walk into a bar – what happened was that I somehow signed up to become a scout leader. You are now looking at the proud troop co-leader of Girl Scout troop 72055.
All this is a little bit crazy of course because I have so many health issues which is also the reason why I haven’t blogged very much recently.
Instead I have been reinventing the wheel by making Daisy troop printables.
I’ve been on Pinterest a lot.

Somewhere I saw a blog post that talked about giving the girls a handout to work on at home. This was supposed to reinforce whatever activity or petal there working on that week.

In our first meeting we worked on the Light Blue Petal – Honest and Fair. We read the story from the handbook, we guided the girls through fairly splitting uneven snacks, and practiced honesty by playing Musical Chairs. I then gave them this handout to work on until the next meeting. They are supposed to bring it back filled in to next meeting to be given their Light Blue Petal.

Download it for your own troop by clicking here:

beach

Springs Brook Park

The last time we went to Springs Brook Park was two years ago. Last year they closed in early/middle August and we missed the chance to go. We made sure to go this year:

SPRINGS BROOK PARK is a man-made, filtered, swimming facility. The park is set back in a beautiful wooded setting. It is located at 181 Springs Road, just north of the four way intersection at Springs Road, Page Road and Pine Hill Road. SBP is staffed by lifeguards/swim instructors who are certified in water safety,lifeguard training, first aid and professional rescuer CPR.

Turns out there are some changes for this year. For 2015 the park is not open on weekends. There is now minigolf and a few other extra things to do.

General Info

Hours: Monday-Friday: 10:30-7:30 —  Saturday & Sunday: CLOSED (Park will not be open on weekends summer 2015.)

Cost: $7 per person, with a maximum of $25 per family, free for under 1y.o.

GPS coordinates: https://goo.gl/maps/DXaNW

Parking

Springs Brook Park has a decent sized parking lot, which is free. I like to get there as close as possible to opening as I can. I suggest arriving before 11am, or after 3pm.

Stuff to Do

  • Sandy beach with shade
  • playground
  • sprinkler park
  • water slide (must be >9y.o., or level 3 swimmer, or wear a life jacket)
  • swim lessons
  • volleyball, basketball, golfball (I’m sure that should be a thing)
  • concession stand (reasonably priced – e.g., icecreams are $1 to $2) that sells snacks, icecream, drinks, hot dogs, pizza
  • mini golf
  • barbecue spots
  • picnic tables

Bring:

playground photos

Playground at Springs Brook Park

lake photos

Panorama of man made lake at Springs Brook Park

beach

Beach and Lake at Springs Brook Park

lake

Lake at Springs Brook Park

Panoram of Sprinkler Park at Springs Brook Park - sorry, it looks wonky as panorama

Panoram of Sprinkler Park at Springs Brook Park – sorry, it looks wonky as panorama


Best Giant Bubble Recipe

Ingredients

  • 6 cups water
  • 1/2 cup blue Dawn dish detergent – original
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder (not baking soda)
  • 1 Tbsp Glycerine

 Directions

  1. Mix cornstarch in the water, stirring very well.
  2. Gently stir in the remaining ingredients without making froth
  3. Allow mixture to sit for at least an hour.
  4. Stir occasionally if needed
  5. use giant bubble wands/rods

IMAG2098

IMAG2097

Footnote

Avoid creating froth when playing with the mixture Overcast/humid conditions are best. Wind, dry air and sunlight will wick the moisture out of your bubbles.

Camping Checklist


Angelika’s Car-Camping Checklist, with free printable pdf file at the end. I have linked each item to the actual product I use. This is the list I use to go with Alex and Jen. We sleep together on a Queen-sized mattress and all in a double sleeping bag. We put sleeping at one end of the giant 8-person tent and the table at the other. The kids keep their toys and books there so that they are off the floor.

Sleeping

Kitchen

Campsite

  • table
  • chairs
  • insect repellant
  • sun screen
  • bikes
  • clothes line
  • powercord rated for outside use
  • insect bite medicine
  • allergy medicine
  • camp towels

Clothes

  • underwear
  • shorts
  • shirts
  • pants
  • fleece top
  • rain jacket
  • sandals
  • swim suit
  • sun hat

Here is the downloadable pdf file Car-CampingCheckListbyPlaygroundHunt

Best Body Paint Recipe

We have tried making body and face paint from a bunch of different ingredients. This is the best one we have made: the paint doesn’t dry or crumble, and it washed off easily with soap and water.

  • 1Tbsp shortening
  • 2Tbsp corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp tempera paint powder

Mix and paint on skin with brushes or fingers

Wash off with soap and water

Here are some photos of us testing the different skin paints we made

Best Play-Dough Recipe

This is the best play dough recipe we have made. It does need to be cooked, but it is totally worth it. We kept this dough in little zip bags and it stayed usable for months. The recipe worked best when our food processor did all the kneading work.

Color, sparkles, glitter, etc. can be added at the end. Unless you need Frozen dough, then according to Jen you add blue and sparkles to EVERYTHING 😀

Ingredients

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups salt
  • 6 tsp. cream of tartar
  • 3 cups cool water
  • 3 Tbsp oil
  • Food coloring

CoverAlpha

Directions

  1. Mix dry ingredients in a big cooking pot.
  2. Blend liquids together in a bowl.
  3. Combine with dry ingredients and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly.
    • dough will start solidifying – KEEP STIRRING
  4. Remove from heat when dough pulls away from the sides of the pot and can be pinched without sticking (about 5 min.)
  5. Put into food mixer (KitchenAid) with dough hook and knead until smooth
    • alternatively turn onto board or counter and knead until smooth
  6. Store in an airtight container.

Arty Campers

In case you didn’t notice, the big plan I had last year of funding and publishing Recipes for Disaster was, well, as disaster: I was in hospital for a week instead of promoting the Kickstarter during it’s last few days. It didn’t get fully funded and since those projects are an all-or-nothing deal, bajillions of cute children didn’t get to mush around in home-made paint. Sigh 😉

I still got to go and show people what it was all about while we were camping at Searsport Shores Ocean Campground as an artist-in-residence in July 2014. And guess what! They said I could come back for 2015!!! Proof: Artist in Residence Schedule

I will be showing campers how to:

In case you can’t join me in Maine from June 28 to July 4, I’m going to post my best recipes from my Recipes for Disaster collection. I’m so sad I can’t use my slogan: Tested by Children, Perfected by Science