Monday, November 14, 2016

Name Calling


I don't know why, but I have a hard time giving myself any sort of creative label.
If you love taking pictures, wouldn't that make you a photographer? Yes. Or if hula-hooping is your hobby, can't I call you a hula-hooper? Yes, I can. And I will.
Singing & playing the piano is a passion of mine. Yet it feels awkward to call myself a musician.

Maybe it's just me. It probably is. (I know it's not.) I can't help it. It's just some odd thing I deal with, I guess.
I live for creating. It fuels me & feeds me to be painting or drawing or writing or crafting: To be making art. I don't just live for it, I "LIVE FOR IT". (Supposed to be said with a deep growly/unintimidating monster voice.) Yet "artist" seems too grand a tag for me.
Other people have called me these names.
"She's an artist," they say. I bow my head in embarrassment. "No, I'm not," I think to myself.
"She's a photographer."
"Stop it," I silently whisper, while diverting my eyes from anyone's gaze.
"She's a writer."
"Stahpit."
Why can't I call myself these things? I don't know. We all have our own silly little personal trivial things. This is mine.
With some recent encouragement this year I stepped out of my comfort zone. I peeked from my hiding spot to publicly share my art, share my poems, share my color, share my voice.
And eventually I felt ok with calling myself "artist". Seriously, it all clicked today. Today! I was in the kitchen toasting a pumpkin bagel & suddenly I was like, "Oh my gosh. I'm an artist--& a poet. A REAL...LIVE...POET!!!!!!!!!"
And then there was some giggling & a little feet-shuffle-dance-thing going on & then my youngest daughter was like "You're a weirdo, mom." & then my bagel popped up & I had to spread the cream cheese fast because I hate eating cold toasted things...BUT, it clicked.
"Artist".
And now I can't stop saying it. I can't stop thinking it. I feel all legit &, like, with big shoulder pads on, walking around as if I own this place. Ok, not really. The shoulder pads are outta here...
Sometimes it takes time to realize who you are, to be ok with seeing yourself in the positive way others see you, to let the name calling really sink in.
I'm thankful for the process. I'm thankful for all the times I've been called those names in the past because it took that many times of hearing it to equal believing it.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Summer School: Week 10 (The finale)

This was our last week of Summer School! It is SO much fun to look back at all we did. Be sure to visit all of our posts in the 2016 Summer School series HERE. To see all our pictures from this year's Summer School adventures, click HERE.


MAKE SOMETHING MONDAY
It was all about the jam-making. I had an AWFUL experience of buying $30 worth of raspberries at the local Farmer's Market & then discovering the next day they were FILLED with worms. Fruit fly larvae, to be exact. G-R-O-S-S! I cried so hard. Making jam is connected to memories of my grandmother. So I was a mess. *sigh* But the next day a sweet friend gifted me with some non-worm-filled raspberries! I now have lovely jars of jam to enjoy through the winter. And I'm a happy girl.


TIME TO READ TUESDAY
Currently reading...
Pazely: The Diary of Anne Frank
Zoey: Harry Potter & The Cursed Child *Parts 1 & 2*
Me: On Grief & Grieving by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, M.D. & David Kessler


WHAT'S COOKIN' WEDNESDAY
I can't get enough of that raspberry jam. I made thumbprint jam cookies. The girls ate them. Except Pazely. She ate around the jam part. Haha! I've never made these kind of cookies before. I know they're usually seen around the holidays. But I was craving them now. 

After I baked them I saw this recipe for Peanut Butter & Jelly Thumbprint cookies. Wish I would have seen this before! So fun! 


THINKING THURSDAY
I've been seeing these exploding watermelons on the internet & wanted to give it a try.
HERE is a video of our experience. I was afraid. (Haha!)

SOMEWHERE FUN FRIDAY
The girls & I had a picnic (Wendy's 4 for $4 in the car at the Howard Amon Park parking lot. To avoid the seagulls.) + we chilled at the river & a made a sandcastle. We celebrated the ending of a fun-filled summer!

I'm really glad I tried something new this summer. Less stressful, & feeling more productive than in past summers. Overall, we enjoyed the experience. 
Pazely's top 3 faves were:
1. Making milkshakes
2. Visiting the giant Adirondack chair
3. Making the cinnamon roll waffles
Zoey's top 3 faves were:
1. Going to the outdoor movie in the park
2. Making milkshakes
3. A picnic with her mom
My top 3 faves were:
1. Toe painting
2. Giant cardboard postcards
3. All the fairy garden crafts

Though we set a routine for our weeks this summer, I realized that I ended up losing my own personal routine. I can only do so much. So, needless to say, I am looking forward to school starting next week! Woohoo!


Thursday, August 18, 2016

Summer School: Week 9

MAKE SOMETHING MONDAY
I was nervous to make these, because I didn't have a clear direction, but I'm so happy with this project! Fairy Houses were on the menu for today. I was originally going to buy a little wooden birdhouse & fix it up for our Fairy Garden. But then I loved the idea of using what we already have on hand. I was totally inspired, & pretty much copied the concept of THIS fairy house made from a jar. I used a tiny jar you would use for making jam or canning---the kind with the lid + ring. I used THIS idea from YouTube for making the rooftop, which is made with clay covering foil that has been shaped into a mushroom. 

TIME TO READ TUESDAY
We skipped the library this week. Still devouring our last library haul: Dogs, drawing, The Diary of Anne Frank... (And, oh my gosh, it feels so amazing to have a zero balance library fine. Woohoo!) 

WHAT'S COOKIN' WEDNESDAY
Wednesday was National S'mores Day. So I found a recipe for S'mores Whoopie Pies. The graham cracker cookie part was to die for. I could seriously just eat a whole batch of those. The recipe I used is from Easy Peazy Mealz. Not sure why, but I had TONS of marshmallow fluff buttercream frosting left over. And I messed up on the chocolate---heated it a tad too much so it turned a weird muddy consistency. But, no one complained + the whoopie pies were eaten up lickety split.

THINKING THURSDAY
I got to check something off my Summer Bucket List today: Set up a recycling station. Which is basically a box the girls & I recycled. We slapped some paint on it & it sits in our kitchen where we toss in recyclables & will take them to the community recycle dumpsters every couple weeks. The city has free pamphlets & information about recycling, so we feel pretty educated on the subject.

SOMEWHERE FUN FRIDAY
This week the fun had us heading over to Goodwill thrift store. I let the girls go wild with $5 each. Pazely shared some of her cash with Zoey, who found a penny skateboard. Pazely found a locker shelf, which was cool because she was JUST talking about wanting one for her school locker.

The girls & I have decided that, though there are two full weeks left of summer break before school starts, our last week of summer school will be next week. I am not sad at all. Our weekday Summer School activities have been simple, but everyone is fading. Not as excited as they were when we started. It'll be perfect. We can get back into a routine of normal bedtimes & wake times, get all the little details of school situated before it actually starts.
So, we'll see you Monday for our final Summer School weekly recap!


To view all posts in our 2016 Summer School series, follow along HERE.

To see the pictures from our Summer School adventures so far, click HERE.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Summer School: Week 8

Ok, it's official. I've had a moment. And by "moment" I mean I had an almost-breakdown about the constant interaction with my children & getting zero breaks during the summer. *sigh* Does that make me sound like a bad mom? If so, oh well. It was a good reminder that mama's need to take care of themselves too. 
Here's a recap of our week at Summer School...

MAKE SOMETHING MONDAY
The girls & I made some more accessories for our soon-to-be fairy garden. This time, we used clay as our medium to create little vegetables. We love Sculpey III. Oh, & look at the adorable potted seedling!! *Squee!*



TIME TO READ TUESDAY
The girls & I have begun a new series: The Incorrugible Children of Ashton Place. We recently learned that the last book in the series (book #6) is expected to be published next year (2017). It's an easy read, until we can figure out what we want to read next. Any favorites you can suggest for my 12 & {almost} 14-year old?

WHAT'S COOKIN' WEDNESDAY
Salted Caramel Apple Hand Pies. This is about the 3rd time I've made these. They are so delicious! It's a bit of work, but worth it. I used my grandmother's pie dough recipe. The hand pie recipe is from Just a Taste.

THINKING THURSDAY
The girls took an E-Textiles class at the library this week. They used felt & LED lights to make little creations. Pazely worked on a polka dotted bowtie, & Zoey made a heart-eyed emoji. It was challenging, but I'm so proud of them!

SOMEWHERE FUN FRIDAY
I took the girls to the Dollar Tree where we had some fun. First, I gave them each a dollar to hide somewhere in the store for somebody to find. (My friend Susan & I did this as part of 37 Random Acts of Kindness the year I turned 37. So much fun!)

Zoey hid her dollar in a piggy bank in the toy aisle. Pazely hid hers in a little plastic Minion container. They saw a mother find that dollar & turn it in to store management who said, "Wow, that's interesting. Hopefully someone claims it!" (Are you serious, people?!?! Please, just let us succeed at being kind!!) Next time we will have to attach some paperwork to the dollar bill explaining the fact that this is a "finders keepers" situation & to please not involve management in the discovery of this item. Lesson learned, I guess? Never in a million years would I think someone wouldn't just keep the darn thing. 
I even posted that photo on Instagram & used the hashtag #randomactsofkindessfail. Mine is the only photo pictured under that hashtag. Haha!
We aren't even done with all the fun! I then handed the girls a list + an inkpen. Time for a scavenger hunt! The list had them find items like: baby socks, frozen mac-n-cheese, tiny paper drink umbrellas, a flashlight... + they had to spray perfume on themselves, & yell their sister's name loudly while adding "I love you!" It was a close race, but Zoey won.
And lastly, it was time for a shopping spree. I gave the girls a few dollars each so they could buy themselves one item & their sister one item. They decided to buy each other three items & themselves zero items! So sweet. We put the items in a dollar store bag & had a gift exchange in the store. Then we ditched the gift bags & bought the items. Ha!

Three weeks left of Summer School! I can honestly say my girls seem like they are fading with this whole Summer School business. (Mostly Pazely.) If they had their own way, they'd be on electronics 24/7. Thankfully they don't get their own way when digital devices are concerned. I know this is good stuff for them. I'm trying to hang on. I've even threatened to cancel Summer School a time or two. But it doesn't help when Pazely's response to that is "Yay!!!!!!"

To view all posts in our 2016 Summer School series, follow along HERE.

To see the pictures from our Summer School adventures so far, click HERE.
 

Monday, August 1, 2016

Summer School: Week 7

It was a hot week here! Like, a suffocating hot. Not my favorite. 
These weeks of summer school are so much fun. In a way, it's kind of like a countdown. The summer days are going by too quickly though. Public school starts in one month! 
As I write this, I am enjoying a rare summer day moment alone. The Mr. has taken the girls to see the latest Star Trek movie. And it's nice to have some quiet. Some "me" time. I sit in my chair. I sip tea. I blog. I edit photos. I draw. I play my music too loud. 


MAKE SOMETHING MONDAY
The girls & I changed "Make Something Monday" to "Makeover Monday" this week. We gave each other makeovers. And, although there was a grumble or two from the smallest among us, we had a great time. (In fact, the little one had the most fun of all + ended up wearing the outfit I picked out for her *that she said SHE HATED & almost refused to put on* for 3 days in a row + didn't take out her French braids *complate with yarn accents* for even longer.)
We did it all: hair, makeup, clothes.
Zoey started officially wearing makeup at the beginning of 7th grade last year. (That's when my mom let me wear makeup.) She had JUST turned 13. And now little Pazely wants that same advantage as she enters 7th grade this year. I am freaking out. Because she is my little girl. And their comparison in ages entering 7th grade is quite different. Pazely will only barely be 12. I just can't handle that.
But we did come up with a simple makeup application that is so sweet & simple, & Pazely loves it: a pale peachy eyeshadow on her lower lids + mascara + a bit of rosy blush on the cheeks + colored lipgloss in a sparkly nudey peach. 


TIME TO READ TUESDAY
The girls checked out ALL the dog books at the library. Well, practically. They are very serious about wanting to get a pet. In fact, the girls prepared a PowerPoint presentation titled "Why you should let us adopt a puppy". They worked hard all week researching for HOURS in their makeshift (& un-airconditioned) closet/office, keeping it as secret as they could. They also crafted a piggy bank from an ice cream carton to hold funds, they watched videos, they found information from local shelters, & they made lists & charts. They have been asking for a dog since they were little. Always the Mr. said, "No." (And mommy, too, who would prefer a cat.) But after all their hard work on this presentation (which the Mr. & I viewed on the weekend) they were thrilled to hear these words from daddy: "Maybe."


WHAT'S COOKIN' WEDNESDAY
I've had this pin on my Pinterest board from Lady Behind the Curtain for a while.
So easy.
So fun.
So yummy.
I used regular Pillsbury cinnamon rolls (not the Grands size). And my waffle maker (which is a vintage hand-me-down & I love it!) did not have a lock on it. I just pushed down for several seconds & then let it do its thing. But we DID spray the heck out of the waffle-maker with non-stick cooking spray as suggested in the blog post & we had zero trouble with the cinnamon rolls sticking.
A couple days after our yummy breakfast, I saw a link on the Pillsbury website that suggested adding 1 CUP of powdered sugar + 3 TABLESPOONS milk + 1 TEASPOON vanilla to the icing that comes in the cinnamon roll tube so you'll have a bigger batch of glaze to drizzle over the waffles. Loved that idea!


THINKING THURSDAY
We experimented with making a rainbow in a jar from the blog Playdough to Plato. Lots of the ideas for our "Thinking Thursdays" are geared toward younger kids. But I don't care. We are having fun. And I like how simple a lot of them are. Sometimes I need simple. And all of them have been quick. Sometimes I need quick.


SOMEWHERE FUN FRIDAY
It was 105 degrees (F). My girls deserved a cool treat. 
I originally planned on taking them to get a treat at one of our local food trucks, which we've never been to before. But the trucks were all blocked off & trapped in chain link fencing in preparation for an upcoming concert later in the evening. Boo. So, at the girls' request, we splurged at Baskin Robbins. Two scoops each in a chocolate covered + sprinkled waffle cup.

To view all posts in our 2016 Summer School series, follow along HERE.

To see the pictures from our Summer School adventures so far, click HERE.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Summer School: Week 6

Ack! I'm late getting last week's Summer School recap put together. We continue to fill our days with learning & fun –& everything we do is so, so simple. Just adding a tiny bit of "something" to our weekdays so we feel like we're making the most of summer. We refuse to let another wasted summer pass us by! I really wish I had thought to do something like this YEARS ago. That "Summer Fun Diary" I did for a few years when the girls were younger was a LOT of work. This Summer School? Not so much. (Again, we use the word "school" loosely". It's kind of a joke between us, really.)

I'm trying to come up with a format for these weekly Summer School blog posts that is interesting. I should have thought about that before I started. Oh well. Nothing like stumbling around in the middle of it all in a public forum until you get it just right.

MAKE SOMETHING MONDAY
Giant. Cheeseburger. Postcard.
So cool, right?
I got the idea from My Poppet Makes. Pazely wanted to make a giant slice of red velvet cake. We have not mailed them yet. Gonna do that soon. I'll let you know the cost. 'Cause...I'm kinda scared of what the postage will be.
UPDATE: Each postcard cost $2.45 to send. Not bad at all!

TIME TO READ TUESDAY
Ok, confession: Our library fees are almost at $20.00. Should I be ashamed? I don't know. With all our fees over the years, I'm pretty sure we have financed some of the new improvements the library has made. I'm surprised there's not a new wing especially built in our honor. Or at least a plaque with our names engraved.
I went in last week to pay our fees, & THE COOLEST THING HAPPENED! Somehow the expiration date on my debit card is too far in the future &, for whatever reason, their antiquated machines weren't able to process the transaction. So the staff decided to wipe our fees away! Gone. Poof. Zero balance.
YEEHAAAAAWWWW!!!!

WHAT'S COOKIN' WEDNESDAY
Milkshakes were on the menu. My girls are opposites when it comes to flavor. Zoey made a strawberry banana milkshake. (I was happily surprised to find a combo package of strawberries + bananas in the freezer aisle at the grocery store.) Pazely made a chocolatey chocolate chocolate milkshake with chocolate syrup, cool whip, & chocolate sprinkles. (And if we had chocolate chips, she would have added that too.)

THINKING THURSDAY
We made plastic from milk. So weird & cool & fun! We learned the how-to from Steam Powered Family. The girls will use acrylic paints to decorate them when they're all dried.

SOMEWHERE FUN FRIDAY
I surprised the girls with bowling. I LOVE bowling. (Unfortunately I cannot bowl because of my bum foot all wrapped in this dumb medical boot thingie.) We bowled for free, too! Just visit http://kidsbowlfree.com to sign up your littles (age 18 & under). You still have to pay for shoe rentals. But I happen to have a pair of bowling shoes from when I was in high school that Pazely can wear, so we only paid for one pair of shoes. $2.72 for 2 games each of bowling? That's a steal! (And we are currently on the lookout for a size 9 for Zoey so we can REALLY bowl the rest of the summer for free!)

Hope your summer is full of happy!
See you Monday for the Week #7 recap of Summer School!

To view all posts in our 2016 Summer School series, follow along HERE.

To see the pictures from our Summer School adventures so far, click HERE.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Summer School: Week 5

MAKE SOMETHING MONDAY
The girls & I are hoping to have a Fairy Garden before summer's end. We've been collecting & making stuff over the last several months. We just made THE cutest acorn birdhouse for our soon-to-be fairy home. There is so much fairy garden goodness on Pinterest! Find out how to make the birdhouse HERE.

TIME TO READ TUESDAY
The girls & I were introduced to zines at the library this week. 
We have also started reading aloud the final book in The Wrinkle in Time quintet. (Drawing to a close on a book series is a feeling of mixed emotions! But I can't wait to decide what we'll read together next.)

WHAT'S COOKIN' WEDNESDAY
I kept seeing a recipe floating around on Facebook about making bread in a bag. I thought it sounded fun. The hyperlapse video showed all the ingredients being mixed in a bag & it looked like you just plopped it in a bread pan & baked it. But, no. You still have to dump that gooey mess onto a floured surface & knead it for several minutes. 
The girls were SO PROUD that they actually made a loaf of bread.

THINKING THURSDAY
The girls & I conducted an experiment to see how strong a piece of paper was. Particularly, we compared 3 different columns constructed {each} from a piece of paper.
A triangle. A square. And a circle. We then stacked books on top of each column, predicting first which column we thought would support the most books. I found the idea HERE, including the simple explanation of the science behind it all. 

SOMEWHERE FUN FRIDAY
Zoey & I brought a blanket + camping chairs + popcorn + candy to see the movie "Inside Out" outdoors as part of our city's Family Movie Series on Friday Nights. (Sadly, Pazely wasn't feeling well, so she stayed home.)

To view all posts in our 2016 Summer School series, follow along HERE.

To see the pictures from our Summer School adventures so far, click HERE.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Summer School: Week 4

I can't believe we've completed a month of summer! Sheesh. I couldn't be more happy with our weekly Summer Fun Schedule! It's been easy, breezy. No stress at all.
And this picture has nothing to do with our Summer School, but I had to share. The girls were in bed, supposed to be sleeping. But then I had to find a magnifying glass to get a splinter out of my finger. And, well, this happened. We laughed so hard--& couldn't stop laughing. We all made faces & took selfies & then it was for real bedtime.
Here's our recap of Summer School last week...

 MAKE SOMETHING MONDAY
The girls are pen-pals with three of their cousins. (They live 20 minutes away. But, hey, it's still fun.) We decided to do some fun snail mail. I found the balloon idea on Pinterest. And we also added a fun questionnaire for them to exchange with their pen-pals.  The one pictured is HERE. Another fun one is HERE.


TIME TO READ TUESDAY
I am so sad because our walks to the library have had to stop. I broke a little bone under my big toe &, though the major pain has subsided, I am required to wear a boot for the next few weeks so the bone can heal. That doesn't stop our reading. And I can still drive to the library. But aren't you sad for me? (Haha!)


WHAT'S COOKIN' WEDNESDAY
Watermelon Water.
So good.
Fill a pitcher with ice cubes & small slices of watermelon. (Clean the watermelon rind before cutting.) Crush a little bit of the watermelon in the water to intensify the flavor just a wee bit.


THINKING THURSDAY
Experiment: Fit an egg inside a bottle.
I found a video on YouTube HERE that explains the how-to AND the why. If you can do the experiment outside, I would recommend that.

SOMEWHERE FUN FRIDAY
I surprised the girls with a morning out yard sale-ing. At first, we had trouble finding sales. But we continued on & finally had some success. We each had $7 to spend. Pazely spent $4 on a new case for her Kindle. I found a vintage apron, a vintage pitcher/vase, & a vintage-inspired napkin holder for $3. Zoey was empty-handed at the end of our excursion. We had fun making fun of other people's junk & stopped by the library cafe so the girls could spend the rest of their money on Italian sodas & sweets.



To view all posts in our 2016 Summer School series, follow along HERE.

To see the pictures from our Summer School adventures so far, click HERE.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Summer School: Week 3

So, this little one turned twelve years old last week. And, yes, that's whipped cream on her breakfast cereal. I tried to make this week's Summer School as much about Pazely as I could...

MAKE SOMETHING MONDAY
I had seen an Instagram friend post a picture of her toddler painting with her feet. And I thought, "I gotta do that!!" Because tiny humans inspire me. And sometimes kids get to do the most fun things, & why can't I, ya know?
I set up garbage bags outside (for protecting the ground + preventing a mess + easy cleanup) with rocks in the corners to keep the breeze from blowing our work space away. I gave the girls the option to paint acrylic paint with their toes onto cardstock that was taped onto the garbage bag, OR use watercolors while holding the paintbrush with their toes. (I taped watercolor paper to the garbage bags for that.) It was so much fun! But really challenging, too. The girls struggled a bit with accepting the fact that their painting would probably be a bit abstract. They pooped out before I did. In fact I loved it so much, I think I might make toe painting a regular habit. It stretched me artistically & pushed the boundaries of my creativity.
Pazely had this project on her Summer Bucket List too. Score!
Here is a short video of our toe painting fun, with pictures of our creations...

#mastoepiece


TIME TO READ TUESDAY
Our weekly walk to the library was put on pause this week. But we continue to read, of course. I am currently reading aloud the Wrinkle in Time quintet. We are on book #4, entitled "Many Waters". It's my summer goal to finish the series before school starts. 

WHAT'S COOKIN' WEDNESDAY
My birthday girl/chocolate lover was in heaven when the Summer Fun Schedule revealed this recipe! It's a recipe for hot fudge sauce I got from a friend when we lived in North Platte, Nebraska. My family literally fights over this stuff. And I couldn't find the recipe, so I had to send an urgent text for help all the way to the Midwest. I'm giving you the recipe here, so I never have to lose it again:
Melt together 1/4 CUP butter + 3/4 CUP sugar + 1/4 CUP unsweetened cocoa powder in a pot on the stove over medium-high heat. Once melted & mixed, add 1/3 CUP milk or half-n-half. Bring to a boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Cool & store in a container in the refrigerator. To use: Warm up in the microwave in a heat-proof container, & then pour over ice cream. Or just dump spoonfuls in your mouth. Because you're gonna want to.

THINKING THURSDAY
Pazely has a wee obsession with Pokemon. And she had a few questions she wanted answered: Who invented Pokemon? {AND} Why does each Pokemon character only says its name over & over? These are things I could care less about. But, it's HER birthday week & I will make her dreams come true. I turned to the interwebs for help.
Although we did find out who created Pokemon, all the links online were only opinion about the characters & their language. There are no solid facts on that subject. Bummer. I was hoping to sleuth my way to a quick finale on the whole thing.
So then I stumble onto a list of 300 facts about Pokemon. Pazely asked me to read them out loud to her. And I realized that it was like reading a foreign language textbook. I had no idea what I was saying or what any of it meant. (Pazely even laughed at the way I pronounced some of the characters names.) To her it all made perfect sense. So then she thought she'd be helpful by trying to explain things to me. In detail. But that made it worse. She kept talking & talking about Pokemon powers & skills & other things I didn't understand. Things I didn't want to understand. I started getting sweaty. I couldn't focus. She wouldn't stop. This was as bad as getting a tour of one of her Minecraft houses. 
"Jesus help me," I begged. 

SOMEWHERE FUN FRIDAY
A friend told me about a neighborhood nearby where I could find a giant purple Adirondack chair. The nice people that have put the chair in their yard have welcomed anyone to sit in it & take pictures. So we did! We were only there a few minutes but had so much fun! A definite random pick for "Somewhere Fun Friday", but one my girls are sure to not forget too soon. 

To view all posts in our 2016 Summer School series, follow along HERE.

To see the pictures from our Summer School adventures so far, click HERE.


Monday, June 27, 2016

Summer School: Week 2

This week it was just the Zoey girl & me hanging out, while little sister was on vacation with my parents during a special vacation they take every time one of their grandchildren turns 12. (Pazely got to cheat. She turns twelve this Thursday.) I focused all our activities & outings this week on my teenage daughter's interests & likes.


MAKE SOMETHING MONDAY
I found (& tried) several origami smartphone stands on Pinterest, but THIS was the one we liked best. 


TIME TO READ TUESDAY
Our weekly Tuesday walk to the library was timed around a summer class series about journaling that the library is teaching. In part 2 of 4 we made a mess with some different techniques on our newly decorated found object woven journals. 
(I say this all the time: check out your library for some FREE summer fun activities + summer reading programs for kids & teens!)


WHAT'S COOKIN' WEDNESDAY
My girl with a love for lemon flavored anything made THESE Lemon Buddies all by herself. She can't stop eating them. 


THINKING THURSDAY
Miss Zoey was curious about how World War 1 started. So I got some books from the library & we continue, even after the week has passed, to look at pictures & read stories about the first world war. And if giant adult non-fiction books scare you when researching a topic, check out the children's section! I'm serious. Sometimes I can't handle all those words. Give me pictures & simplicity any day.
I even found an online publication on hoopla with over 100 facts on WW1, which proved to be an excellent way to learn about this subject.


SOMEWHERE FUN FRIDAY
I packed a picnic & we headed to the river for a quick lunch. The seagulls encircled us at one time (I'm not joking people: a perfect circle.) & so we feared for our lives a wee bit. And then there was that bloated diaper at the river's edge which just sat there, all bloated, looking at us. But then we were visited by a random pelican & the world seemed right. 
We also stopped by a local art gallery, but our timing couldn't have been more imperfect: The walls were bare. Oh well. I tried. We still had fun!


To view all posts in our 2016 Summer School series, follow along HERE.


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Summer School: Week 1


Have your printed out your Summer Fun Schedule yet?
Here's a peek at what our first week looked like:



MAKE SOMETHING MONDAY
A couple years ago a friend gave me a Thankful Journal, along with the book entitled "One Thousand Gifts" by Anne Voskamp. That book really was a life-changer. And I've been wanting to help grow my kids with hearts of gratitude & joy. So they each decorated their own Thankful Journal. I picked up inexpensive composition books & then pulled out all my stickers & crafty doo-dads & tid-bits while they made a happy crazy mess decorating the covers & adding things on scattered pages inside. Finding thankfulness in everything makes the heart extremely happy.

TIME TO READ TUESDAY
Tuesdays are almost like a free day for me. Nothing to plan or organize. It's our "Go to the library" day.  The library is less than a mile walk from our house. So we've added some physical exercise by walking there every Tuesday. I think I'm really gonna like our Tuesday walks. We bring backpacks & library cards-- & we are set!

WHAT'S COOKIN' WEDNESDAY
I am SUPER excited about Wednesdays. I love to cook & bake. And I'm thrilled that the girls will be learning (without realize they're learning) basic stuff that will help them as they get older. We made a breakfast casserole. They are so easy to put together. And they sit in the fridge overnight so you can pop them in the oven for breakfast the next morning. We actually had ours for dinner the next day. And how proud they were that THEY made it! I swapped dish duty with them on that night. The recipe we used is HERE &, though we went basic with just turkey sausage & cheese, you can add things like feta cheese & artichoke hearts. YUM!

THINKING THURSDAY
I have a sheet of paper with a giant question mark in the center hanging in the girls' bedroom. Whatever they have been or are curious about, I ask that they jot it down on that paper. This helps me come up with themes for Thursday. I took the reins this first week though & chose the topic of "Composting". We have a compost heap in the backyard, which we share with my parents. We read about composting & I found some fun infographics on Pinterest to show them. We also made a countertop compost bin out of a coffee can. Making two of them cost me $5.00. It beats our sad little bowl filled with scraps staring at us all day. (Why must my children argue about who drilled more holes in the top of the coffee lid?!) I also found a 25-minute video called "Perfect Compost" via http://hoopladigital.com I'm not gonna lie. Zoey & I couldn't stop laughing about how the Master Gardener in the video uses animal parts to prepare certain biodynamic processes of compost---which made us think of animal sacrifice, which made us think of demonic rituals, which had us not paying attention. I know, we are horrible.

SOMEWHERE FUN FRIDAY
The girls LOVE going to Farmer's Market. We made an early afternoon visit of it, each choosing a treat. Zoey chose a half-dozen freshly made mini powdered sugar donuts, Pazely (who was being very selfie-self-conscious in the photo) picked a giant chocolate chip cookie, & I purchased a miniature bundle of sweet peas to put in a vase at home. We even brought home a gyro to share for lunch. We hardly ever come home from Farmer's Market with actual produce. Haha!

So that's our first week all wrapped up! Zoey said her favorite thing was walking to the library. Pazely loved decorating the journals best. I especially liked the compost bin craft.

To view all posts in our 2016 Summer School series, follow along HERE.