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.

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.

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

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! 

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!)

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

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. 

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!) 

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.

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.

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...

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!*

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?

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.

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!

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. 

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. 

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."

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!

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.

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.