Back to School!

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Teacher Cheryl and our awesome board members have been hard at work preparing for the new year, and it is almost here! We can’t meet everyone and see our preschool full of play and laughter again.

By now our preschool families should have gotten an email containing a welcome letter and a scheduled time for your initial meeting with Teacher Cheryl during the first week of September. This important first meeting is a chance for us to get to know you, and vice versa. You will have the chance to learn about the responsibilities of parent helpers and sign up for your job for the year.

Our first Parent meeting and Parent orientation will be September 11th from 6:30-8pm. This meeting is mandatory, so make sure to mark your calendars.

Get acquainted day will be September 11th for juniors and the 12th for Seniors. This is a half day and parents are expected to stay and meet other parents. This is a great time to get to know your preschool community and learn about the parent helping.

Saturday September 13th, we will be having an open house at the preschool and a tour of the building. We hope to see you there as well!

Summer Refreshment

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Looking for some summer refreshment? Try making watermelon slush with the kids! Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and spoon out half of the watermelon onto the wax paper. Freeze and place into baggies. Enjoy the other half of the watermelon. Once the watermelon is frozen, put about half a quart in your blender and add about half to one cup of lemonade. Blend. Enjoy! You can also make this a grown up beverage (wink, wink). I added some fresh mint from the garden.

Farragut Park

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Farragut Park. N. Kerby Ave and Farragut St.

Shade: The play area and splash pad are in mostly in the sun, but there are a lot of nearby shady spots.
Dog area: Down the bottom of the hill, near the railroad tracks is off-leash.
Restroom: Acceptable.
Water play area: Yes. My favorite one so far.
Drinking fountains: One near the play area, and one near the sports field.
Picnic Tables: There are a few picnic tables near the play area.
Playground: There is one plastic play structure. It was a little bit too challenging for my little one to climb all the way up. The swings are very far away from the rest of the play equipment.
Supports children with disabilities: The water area is accessible, the playground is not.
Paths: Only one path traversing the park.
Sports amenities: Baseball, basketball, and soccer.
Traffic: There is very little traffic.

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We visited Farragut Park on a cloudy Wednesday last week. I am behind on my blogging! Once we arrived, it dawned on me that we have been to this park before, during the last big snow storm we met at Farragut Park to take advantage of the big sledding hills. During nicer weather the hilly area is an off-leash area for your family pooch. My oldest also enjoyed getting a little distance from mom and sister and spent a good thirty minutes quietly picking daisies and collecting pine cones. Score!

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So far, this is my favorite splash pad! The water flow was nice and gentle, no surprises. My youngest had such a blast, and kept coming back for more. Two costume changes were required! It was definitely a little too cold for playing in the water the day we went, so I was not prepared for how drenched they got. A towel is the most useful tool in the galaxy, and I always forget to bring one!

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The playing fields were very well maintained, and have impressively large bleachers for spectators. The baseball field and soccer pitch are reservable. The basketball court is in good shape and is larger than the courts I have seen at other parks. The bathrooms were respectably maintained, and the picnic tables appeared to be freshly repainted. The paths around the park were pretty bumpy and could use a little work.

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We had a really fun time playing, even if it did get a little cold playing in the water. The park had a very friendly feel that is hard to articulate. Would I visit again? Yes! It is the right distance for us, and had a really good splash pad. Would my kids visit again? YES. They asked to go back a few days later. Next up, we review Grant Park.

Essex Park

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Essex Park SE 79th Ave and Center St.

Shade: The play area and splash pad are in the sun, but there are plenty of nice shady trees surrounding the play area.
Dog area: There is no designated off-leash area.
Restroom: Yuck.
Water play area: Yes.
Drinking fountains: One.
Picnic Tables: There are a few picnic tables near the play area. I wish there were a few more.
Playground: There are two big play structures. One for the toddlers and one for the older kids. Lots of fun slides that are plastic and did not get too hot.
Supports children with disabilities: No.
Paths: Only one path traversing the park.
Sports amenities: Baseball, basketball, and two tennis courts.
Traffic: Powell is a few blocks from the park, but there was not too much traffic around the play area.

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Yesterday we went to Essex Park in SE Portland. Essex Park is geographically a small neighborhood park, but boy was it hopping! The splash pad was being enjoyed by tiny toddlers all the way up through a group of teens having a water fight.  The tennis courts had a line, there were two friendly basketball games, a baseball game, and a handful of picnics already in progress when we arrived. It had a very friendly and casual vibe. The big kids were nice and careful around the babies and I felt free to just sit back and watch the kids play. Win!

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Despite the warm weather, the slides stayed pretty cool, and there were two covered slides so that even on our hottest days the kids will be able to enjoy it. My little one enjoyed the toddler playground equipment. It was not particularly challenging, just stairs and slides. I am pretty sure that is something I think about a lot more than my kids though, they just have fun.

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The bigger play equipment was also pretty tame. Teenagers would occasionally pow wow on one side. This didn’t bother me at all, they were very nice to the kids and even played with them a little bit. I am in favor of anything that makes my life easier.  Essex Park is one of the parks that offers a free lunch program in the summer, and I got the impression that some of the crowd was at the park to take advantage of that program. We left before it started, but next time we are in a park that offers a free lunch, we will be sure to test it out.

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The baseball field is very well kept and has shaded dugouts. The tennis courts were in good condition and very busy! The little basketball court was also very busy with several different games being played at once. The only part of the playground that was not in great condition was the bathroom which was rather scary. There was no evidence of drug or alcohol use that I could see, it was just very, very, dirty. We ended up changing diapers in the back of the car.

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We ended up leaving a little early because the kids were not thrilled with the leftovers I grabbed on the way out the door and we were entering meltdown city. They were soaked from running through the water. All in all a good day playing.

Would I visit this park again? Yes. The drive is a little intimidating, but I would definitely go to this park to meet with me mom friends in SE. Would the kids visit this park again? I don’t think they have met a park they didn’t want to visit again the next day!

Earl Boyles Park

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Earl Boyles Park SE 107th and Francis St.

Shade: The play area and splash pad are in the sun, but there are some nice tall trees throughout the park.
Dog area: There is no designated off-leash area.
Restroom: No restrooms.
Water play area: Yes. It is a small water area.
Drinking fountains: One.
Picnic Tables: There are a few picnic tables near the play area.
Playground: The playground is small and not very well maintained. There are a lot of broken parts. The elementary school next to the park has better equipment which we were able to use because we visited on a Saturday.
Supports children with disabilities: No.
Paths: Only one path traversing the park.
Sports amenities: Volleyball and a horseshoe pit.
Traffic: Very little traffic when we were there, although it must be quite busy when school is starting and letting out.

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We continued our park tour Saturday at Earl Boyles Park in the Southeast. This was the longest commute for us thus far and we got off to a difficult start. We were 20 minutes late, there was a diaper emergency, and my four year old fell off of a picnic table as soon as we arrived. We managed to recover and have a pretty nice time though. The park is small, and the playground equipment is small and not especially well maintained. My 18 month old enjoyed it, but my preschooler wanted to go somewhere she could climb. The school playground next door is more fun and challenging for older kids and has a LOT of climbing equipment. That was also where all the cool kids were hanging out, so we played there for a while.

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The kids had a lot of fun playing on the ‘big kid playground,’ and then it was time for lunch. We found a nice picnic table in the shade and had a perfect summer park lunch. Bread, cheese, tomatoes, and strawberries. YUM!

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Finally, with full bellies, we tested out the splash pad. It was the perfect size for my kids, who are a little shy of the larger splash pads at Peninsula and Kenton. It was not very busy at the time either, and they were able to run around as much as they wanted. They went home soaked and ready for a nap!

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Would I visit this park again? Possibly. It is a nice neighborhood park, but it is a long commute. Would the kids visit this park again? Of course!

Join us Wednesday morning at Essex Park.

 

Quick Shirt Print Idea

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You will need:
An old (or new) t-shirt that could use a little more color.
Fabric paint and brushes.
Masking tape.
Freezer paper.
An iron.

Place your shirt on a flat, paint protected surface—we used the bottom of our screen printer, but cardboard would work just as well. Place a sheet of the freezer paper inside your shirt to protect from any bleed through. Put the masking tape on your shirt in any pattern you like, the simpler the easier. We made squares.

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Let your kid enjoy painting in the squares however they like.

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Carefully remove the tape and let dry per directions. Heat set by placing another piece of fabric over the dry design and ironing, or per directions that come with your paint. And you are done!