Sunday, March 25, 2012

Warm Days of March

Here are some fun photos from March (even though it may look like they were taken in June)

Oh boy! I found my blue chair!

Oh a camera. Cheese...Cheese...Cheese

 What is that bright thing in the sky?

What is that big black thing you are sticking in my face?

OH! It is a camera, that is so funny.

Take a picture of me and Gorgy , Cheese

 Orgy look at the camera

Look what a good brother I am, I will hold your hand.

 I love Gorgy, she needs a hug.  No hug is complete with out sound effects....awwww.

Oh yea, mom is still taking pictures....cheese!

Take a picture of Moa (Sam's name for Mona)

Take a picture of the sprinkler, mama
 I love my blue chair, take more pictures mama (yes, he was REALLY into my taking pictures of him today)

 This picture taking is tiring

 Look I have my elephant

Why are you STILL taking pictures?

Look Mama, I can draw while sitting in my blue chair.

Yummy binki!

Ohh...I see a bubble.
 There is another bubble
 Mama take a picture of me sitting in my blue chair and the bubble machine.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Things to do with Kids Around Madison this Weekend

Saturday March 10th

University of Wisconsin Space Place Saturday Science Workshop
          Where: 2300 S. Park Street , Madison, WI
           When: 10-11am
For ages 6-10 years old, this week's theme is Chemistry Fun.  Free, but limited to the first 50 people.

             Where: Ashman branch library
              When: 10-11am
Snacks, movies, stories, and fun with Dad!

Saturday Stories and Sweets
          Where: Lakeview branch library
             When: 10:30-11:15am
Donuts, juice, and storytime
         Where: Overture Center for the Arts, 201 State Street Madison, WI 53703
          When: 3 shows at 9:30 AM, 11 AM and 1 PM
This week is Tom Pease with his songs and storytelling

Wildlife Baby Shower
         Where: Dane County Humane Society's Four Lake Wildlife Center, 5132 Voges Road, Madison
         When: 12:30-4pm
 The Dane County Wildlife Center is holding a baby shower for the orphaned wildlife that comes through their doors this time of year.  They have a baby registry on their website or at Target.   Entertainment includes balloon sculpting, a reptile program, a clown, and a juggling show.

Crawlers, Flyers, Hoppers and Skimmers
             Where:Hawthorne branch library
             When: 1:30-2:30 pm 
UW Entomology Dept shows off a variety of insects.  An interactive program for all ages.

Sunday March 11th

UW-Madison Arboretum:  Arboretum Family Walk: “Mud”
       Where: 1207 Seminole Hwy Madison, WI 53711
       When: 1:30-2:30
Take a walk at the arboretum and learn about animal tracks

Sunday, March 04, 2012

How to Build a Cat Tree

**I originally posted this article over at PitelSpot in Feb '09 as a guest.  But I am reposting it here so that I can answer any questions people may have.  I have also edited a little.**

While in Oklahoma, Oscar had a small cat tree where he spent a large portion of his time. So much time in fact, that the structural integrity was destroyed by his constant jumping, bouncing, and swinging.
Our first attempt to replace the cat tree with a hardier, taller model proved to be out of our price range, with models starting at $250 going upwards of $500. So Nathan made me a deal. He would build a cat tree/condo when he got his workshop up and running and was able to buy a table saw. So 2 ½ years later, here’s the process:
The Design:
I started by browsing through websites that sell cat trees and condos. From these designs, we came up with several key elements that the tree should include:
  1. Height. An interior decorator had recently helped us finish off our family room. On the left side of the mantle she had place a 7 foot high silk plant. To maintain balance in the room, we decided to build a 7 foot cat tree on the right side of the mantle.  This created a triangle affect on the wall.  
  2. Tail Chasing. Oscar loves to chase his own tail by hanging off ledges. So several ledges needed to be included.
  3. Hiding. Like most cats, Oscar likes to fit into small places, where he feels safe and warm. When he is a little unsure of things, he likes to climb to a spot as high as possible, allowing him to keep an eye on things. Right now, that spot is the cabinets above the fridge. We would like to go back to that point of blissful ignorance when he doesn’t walk around on the kitchen counters.

After several trips to Menards for ideas, we came up with the following list of materials:
  • 12 inch concrete form
  • 3 2 foot x 6 foot 3/4inch plywood boards
  • 16 ½ feet of junk 2x4s (already had from previous homeowners)
  • 16 ½ feet of 8 inch PVC pipes
  • 4 packages of sisal rope
  • 60 feet of carpet (from remnant carpet section)
  • 5 Long lag bolts (with end cut off to make double ended screws)
  • 6 Lag bolts with large torx head
  • 1 foot of fabric for cat hammock
  • Lots of glue sticks and staples

The Build:
Nathan did most of this section.
  1. Columns: Nathan cut the PVC pipe into 4 sizes: 3 – 2 feet, 2 – 2.5 feet, 1 – 3.5 feet, 2 – 1 foot. He then fitted the 2×4 pieces inside the PVC pipes and screwed them in. Then he drilled holes for the bolts. I wrapped each pole with either carpet or sisal rope which was attached with high temperature glue.

2. Platforms: Nathan cut the platforms into several shapes. Base platform – 2 ftx2 ft. Level 1 – 2 ft x 2 ft with one corner cut off. Level 2 and Level 3 – 2 ft x 1 ft. Level 4 – 1 ft x 1ft. Level 4 was originally going to be a concrete form cut in half and placed on the side like a half moon shape but due to stability issues this top level was transformed into a platform. Nathan predrilled holes into the boards.

3. Concrete form: Nathan used a protractor to trace a circle on the outside of the form. He also traced and cut two more circles out of wood to wedge into the top and bottom of the form. The inside floor and the outside of the form were covered in carpet.

Finished Product:
Oscar LOVES his new cat tree. He spends a great deal of time chasing his tail on the ledges. He sleeps inside the concrete form and play with the toys hanging off the ledges.
ETA: It is now 3 years later and the cat tree is holding up well.   Oscar now has a buddy (Calvin Coolidge) and the  two of them can often be found batting at each other in play on the cat tree.  My son also likes to hide things in the little cubby hole.