Saturday, April 30, 2011

35 Great Summer Fun Ideas

I've been asked recently what fun activities I have in mind for the kids this summer. Instead of just narrowing my answer down to ideas for my small and young family with limited finances and location I have decided to share my ideas in general. Some of my thoughts come from my years as a nanny around the country (Boston, Hawaii, Chicago, and Utah.) Some of them come from my years as a mother. And all of them are fun!

I will also share some things for mothers and parents to do to help them feel the "Summer Recharge" that it is supposed to be.


1. Pull a map out and make a plan to visit several parks that you haven't been to before. Assign each older child a picnic date where they plan and carry out a picnic on those days to the park. Remind them to plan ahead by giving you their shopping list ahead of time. 
2. Tide pools. If your lucky enough to live near the Ocean or a large lake check the tides and plan a trip to explore the tide pools. Don't forget buckets and shovels. You can also bring a book along to help define what you discover. And most important, encourage the children to document what they discover through a notebook with writing and drawings, or a camera which will later be made into a slideshow (they still need a notebook for this method to take notes to be added to the pictures.)
3. Tie dye using natural dyes.
4. Fossils. Go on a fossil hunt. Don't forget your buckets, camera, and notebook.
5. GPS Scavenger Hunt. I think this could be a really neat learning activity, not to mention a lot of fun!
6. Service Project. We are all aware of the many many natural disasters happening around us. This has opened up the door for service projects. Here is a link for LDS Humanitarian Services. They have given several opportunitis for us to serve on a grand scale. You can also do service for each other like chore swaps and secret siblings, or cookies and weed pulling for a neighbor. However you choose to serve is up to you and will bless your family's life!
7. Summer Bloggers. Help your kids set up their own blog where they can post their projects and share their thoughts and experiences.
8. Read-a-thon. Host a read-a-thon. The old-school way seems to get the kids most excited (treats, pillows, and PJ's!) You can also set up a rewards system for the amount of pages read,etc. Here is a link to a Grand Scale read-a-thon service project idea.
9. Summer Book Parties.
10. Decorate eggs with Summer themes and Holiday colors and art. This is helpful for those of us with plenty of eggs to spare from our chickens.
11. Make a Family Flag to celebrate your family as well as Independence Day (4th of July.)
12. Crayon Melts on Rocks. You can also go one step more and make the rocks into the classic Prayer Rocks to help your family remember to say their prayers.
13. 5K Race. Find out when your community is hosting a special walking or race and help your family prepare to participate.
14. Lock up the video games and T.V. and pull out the board games!
15. Give each child a Summer Journal. To help the kids write in their journal you can start your mornings with a Question of the Day.
16. Farmers Market. Sell produce and goods with your family at the local Farmer's Market.
17. Have a Watermelon Carving Party. Carve a watermelon instead of a pumpkin and eat the watermelon that you dig out.
18. Sleep outside under the stars with a constellation guide.
19. Practice your Emergency Prep drills (fire, earthquake, tornado, etc.)
20. Plan, plant, and harvest a family garden. Give out individual garden chores for the Summer.
21. Harvest the garden together! I love the memories I have of harvesting our garden. When we were teenagers my parents would let us bring out our nice sound system and listen to music as we spent the day(s) outside. They would also end a big day with a big treat on occasion. This could be a BBQ, Marshmallow roasts, or a trip out to eat.
22. Drive in Movies. Put up a sheet (or your projector screen) out side and watch a movie. I remember watching the movie Arachnophobia outside under our Willow Tree, -shiver-.
23. Contact your Parks and Recreation Center and find out what local activities they are sponsoring. They will often host Summer Workshops and activities for a very reasonable price.
24. Visit the tourist attractions around you that other people come from far and wide to visit but you have not taken your kids to.
25. Go to an Air Show.
26. Make sand/dirt art pictures.
27. Make a Quilt for the Winter.
28. Make a flower lei.
29. Get a timer for your computer.
30. Buy Summer Passes to a few Museums. (Great for rainy days!)
31. Keep your camper stocked and ready for an occasional camping trip.
32. Go fishing!
33. Purchase a bubble machine.
34. Go swimming.
35. Play in the Mud! Seriously, it's a lot of fun!!

Plan ahead with a friend for "kid swaps" where you watch each others kids for a day every couple weeks or so. This gives you a certain day to look forward to being alone. Do not plan to use that day as your deep cleaning day. Try to keep that day to take yourself out to lunch and read a good book or watch a movie.

Plan ahead. Try to schedule one weekend getaway without the kids. Even if it's just out to the the camper trailer with the two of you, dinner, and a movie or a good book (and don't forget the ice cream!!;). Just one (or more nights) without dinner and bedtime duty.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Sick Day!

Well today can officially be called a "sick day."  I have been going NON-STOP since last weekend trying to gut out and then put my house back together. Today was supposed to be a day filled with fun visiting. My good friend was coming in to town. Well, last night I fell into bed and I knew I was sick or really tired. Then Jakob woke up this morning sick. So, no visit:( . Big Bummer!

So today is going to be a movie and books kinda day instead!

Here's to feeling better tomorrow!!

BTW: Check back soon for a list of some fun and easy Summer activities ideas for you and your kids! 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mother-heart Moments - Thank You Dear Father!

Father has given me a few power-filled moments this weekend when I felt an overwhelming gratitude for the Plan that He has for me. It is during moments like these when I am so grateful for my Saviour and His Atonement and the Ressurection.

I has been enough years since my girls passed away that sometimes I have to count to remember where we're at. It has been 4 1/2 years. And then, there are moments like the one I had yesterday during Sacrament meeting when time doesn't exist.  I was sitting there listening to the speaker when I was suddenly overcome with the feeling of an aching mother heart. In my minds eye I could see myself sitting there in a pew filled with five little bodies. My girls would be dressed in their beautiful new Easter dresses... It was so powerful I actually had to turn my head to wake myself to reality again. - Someday I will have those little girls with me ...- Someday...-  Thank you Father for the Ressurection!

That night Leif and I were visiting as we were falling asleep. Leif told me that he had a "Missing" moment that afternoon. He was watching a video on YouTube about Christ's life. Our daughter Leora is named after the story in the bible where Christ raises the little girl from the dead. He says "Talithiacumi" to the girl. This is Leora Lynn's middle name. Leif said he was filled with a longing for the girls during that video. Yes, I do find it neat and interesting that we were both overcome at most likely the same moment in time even though we were not together. I had not told Leif about my experience for fear of breaking down in tears. The tears came when he opened his heart to me. - Thank you Father for the Ressurection!

Today I spent the day cleaning and organizing our newly rearranged home. One of the main tasks that I had to tackle was to go through all of my baby clothes and items. We will not be having any more babies. Not for several years anyway. And even that is a slim chance. And if you know me at all, you know that this fact leaves me with an aching mother heart. I want more babies. But my body was not built to bring forth many babies on this earth. While going through these clothes for the last time in preparation to give them away I found myself becoming more and more heartsick about the whole thing. Luckily my precious gems came in the house to distract me and remind me of what I have in the Here and Now. Thank You Dear Father, for the Here and Now! And Thank You for Eternity!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter 2011

If you are a regular reader here, you'll know that I had grand plans for this past week and this weekend. Well, some plans panned out, and some did not. And in the end, all was well and wonderful.

Jakob helped me feel at peace about not following through with all of my plans with his precious words to Leif and I as he got ready for bed tonight. He said with a sigh "Thank you for this lovely lovely Easter..."  And it was. Yes, Thank You Father!

We fit in a whole lot of festivities and YouTube videos about Easter. And in the middle of it all, we managed to turn our house upside down. When Leif put the Washer and Dryer in it shifted the whole dynamic of the house and where everything fit. Once we got started with rearranging it just went crazy. We ended up moving the boys all into one room, the huge office desk out, and the study into the nursery room. We are sifting through clothes and cutting back. This then causes us to remove furniture from the house. And then to top it off, we have decided to finally build a wall in front of our bedroom. And it will have a Door! It has been years since I have had a bedroom. And outside, we brought G&G's trampoline over to our yard (Caleb kept climbing through the dog door and causing problems and I want to see the kids when they're outside.) So a lot of good changes. One sad note is that we had a turkey (the female we bought Turkey because he was lonely) fall into the ducks watertub and drown. We were really sad to make this discovery!

This morning Leif woke up with a strange case of vertigo. So we didn't get to church together. But Jakob and I went. Then tonight we had dinner at Leif's parents with his grandparents. We hid the boiled eggs for the kids. Then they hid them for us. Then we sat together eating chocolate as we visited.

Yes, a Lovely Easter indeed!



















Sunday, April 24, 2011

Caleb's Train Cake - Third Birthday

Caleb turned 3 this month. Leif and I have a tradition of making the boys' cakes together. We try to make it into something fun just for them. It's been a great thing so far. Caleb wanted a train this year. So this is what we came up with. It's a few cakes cooked in bread pans.








Foto Friday April Week 4

This has been a very Fun and Full week! Enjoy!




Playing on the Good ol' Rope Swing!

Mama's Baby at 8 1/2 months old

Taking a moment just to play.
Coach Pitch Season 1 has begun!
Mama's loves my hat! (He reminds me of my brother Jared when he was this age...)
A Boy and His Boots!
A Few of Mama's Priceless Gems!
A gift indeed! Mama's Washing Machine and Dryer
JJ get's a big baby crib (the other's used a travel size.)
Staking His Claim!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

How This Week is Going...

I have posted HERE, HERE, and HERE about my plans for this week (the week leading up to Easter Sunday.) Now I will reveal how the week has really played out. At least the big things.

Well, you can read the other posts for Days 1-3. Wednesday (day 4) it was my hope to color Easter eggs using natural sources for the dye. Instead it turned out to be a "Mama Bear" day (Leif took me out for dinner to get me away, and saved my sanity.) But I did NOT get to the eggs. So I did them today (day 5). I will make a separate post about that. Let's just say it's a lot of work and mine didn't turn out like I had hoped. But it was fun (for me.) We were supposed to have a special dinner tonight. We didn't. My greatly anticipated clothes dryer arrived today! Leif spent the afternoon and evening setting my new laundry nook up.WAHHOOO!! (More on that later.)

So tomorrow is Friday (Day 6.) I hope and will plan on a nice dinner tomorrow using my China. We will watch a video or two about our Saviour and His Atonement. I am making that commitment...  Then Saturday (Day 6) we get to give the kid's their Easter baskets. QUESTION: Has anyone else had a really hard time finding chocolate eggs this year. I haven't even been able to find a Cadbury, let alone a Snickers or Caramel Egg. We live in a small town, but Seriously, what is an Easter basket without Those amazing treats!!!!??  Saturday our town has an wonderful Easter egg hunt. I look forward to it every year. In fact, this is the last year for the lady who has put it on for the past nine years. I wonder what will happen in the future?

Okay, I was feeling way side tracked from my original plans. But maybe we're not so off base after all.  Tomorrow Dinner. Saturday Baskets, Hunt, and Picnic. Sunday Church and Family Dinner.

I just remembered what I really wanted to do to try and help the lesson of the Atonement sink in. The candy making idea. Making candy and not eating ANY of it, and giving it away. I think that would be a fine Post- Easter home school lesson. So I won't stress and will plan it next week.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Mama's Rambling

Can you believe I am actually sitting here ALONE! No one is calling for me. No one is crying. It's just me, and you. -Deep breath- it's a little strange. What do I do now?  Oh yeah, I talk to you. How am I doing, you ask? Well, that is quite a wide open question. But, I'll try to give you a few answers.  Let's see...

Lately, I have really appreciated good music. Music that lifts me up yet, helps me feel grounded. (Yes, that's possible.) Leif and I found I love it! Our favorite radio stations are Paul Cardall and Jon Schmidt. However, when I want a little Aloha I turn on the Jack Johnson station.

So this allergy season is killing me! Seriously, it is terrible! I pray that it will all go away soon!

You may have noticed that I'm really really busy these days. Home school keeps me active. That alone probably makes it worth the sacrifice. So far so good. Jakob is coming along really well with his reading skills and that is my main goal this year. I think he's a well balanced little 6 year old. He started baseball this week and seems to Love getting out there to play. I would say he's one of their better players.

-I'm no longer alone.- No worries though, it's Leif with me. He's following his P-90X DVD. He's got the sound turned all the way down. Impressive. I need music to keep me going during a workout. Good Job Leif! Walking is good for me. But soon I need to add something else in to my routine. But I think I'll wait until Summer and exercise with Leif on the days that I don't go walking.  I know he wants me to do the P90X with him. But I'm not sure. It's way intense!

Well, sleep. That is the key to my wellness. I will sign off and go crawl in my den. As I do, I will leave you wise and knowledgeable readers with a question. Why do you think I can wake up feeling well enough, but by the time I've been up 15 minutes I'm a screaming banshee until 11:00. Then all of the sudden almost like a switch that's hit, I'm alright and in control. Seriously, it's a mystery to me. I'm going to order something called Rescue Remedy or Bach Flower Essence tomorrow. I'm hoping it will help me!!

Coloring Easter Eggs with Natural Dye

Stay tuned folks, because tomorrow we are Going Natural!:) Yep, we're going to go crazy with natural Easter Egg dye. I'm going to invite friends over and we're going to make a grand ol' mess!
Look here for Natural Easter Egg Dye Recipes and Leaf Print Ideas - Leaf Print Tutorial, Old Orchard Juice Dye.

This was a really good experience. It makes me want to keep trying to get it just right. The eggs didn't turn out like I had hoped. But in the long run I got some fun results. The majority of the eggs that I used are our farm fresh duck eggs. I am wondering if that might be why the dye didn't soak into the eggs very deeply. The shells tend to be more smooth then chicken eggs. They also have some type of film over the egg that I think store bought eggs don't have. The dye soaked into the film and then scraped or washed off (VERY frustrating!) However, when my boys recolored the eggs in store bought dye, that dye worked and it also brought out the leaf prints that I had made. They didn't show up until then.

The natural dyes that worked the best for me were the Tumeric, Old Orchard juice, and Blueberries. And these dyes worked really well as fabric dyes too;) My towels have the rainbows to prove it!

Word of advise: This is not a project for kids under 10 years old. It's very time consuming and a lot of trial and error. It ended up being an all day, all night project for me (with a few hours here and there in between.)





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