A List Maker's Life: July 2011

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Summer To-Dos: Part 2

No one in our house wants to believe that today is the last day of July!  Yet, by the looks of our summer fun list we have been packing a load of fun into each summer moment.  And thankfully, we still have the entire month of August to revel in all things vacation!

This past week:
Camp Geneva 
Pick Blueberries
Holland State Park
Swim in a Pool
Make Slush
Water Balloons
and more!

Two other recent summer to-do faves included chalking the walk and making superballs.

The superballs were a hit with the boys.  For some reason, no matter how carefully I followed the instructions my attempts failed, but when the kids tried their batch they had just the right touch for stirring up super balls!

We play with sidewalk chalk often, but I had a vision of trying something different to completely cover our front walk with colorful designs.  After searching through many great chalk recipes we decided to make sidewalk chalk paint with cornstarch and water.  The mixing was easy. 

I was worried that the food color was going to leave great stains on the many places chalk paint was flying, but thankfully it all washed out. 
This project was a big hit with Anne Hope.  She likely would have spent an entire day painting and mixing new colors if her partners in play would have stuck with her longer.

Make Your Own Sidewalk Chalk Paint
~Paint Containers (we used baby food jars, but ice cube trays might work well)
~Food Coloring
~ Cornstarch
~Brushes (we used 1" foam brushes)

The mixing measurements are kind of trial and error.  We started with a large tablespoon of cornstarch in each baby food jar.  Add water (about 1/4 cup).  Stirring should feel a bit thick, but not have the hard to stir through oobleck feeling.  Mix in color.  Don't skimp on food coloring or all of your chalk drawings will look like shades of white.  We ended up adding more color as we painted to make brighter designs.
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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Sand, Shells, and Shimmer

Here's a sparkly summer craft project that is sure to make a glitter phobic daddy cringe a five year old girl smile!

During our many Lake Michigan visits Anne Hope has been collecting a little pile of fresh water shells.  Most of them are too tiny to do much with on their own, so we dug into our salt water shell collection to create this project.

Shells  (all kinds of shapes and sizes)
A ready to be repurposed frame
mod podge
Glitter  (we used the extra fine kind - Martha Stewart brand)
Hot Glue (loads of it!!!)
Elmer's School Glue
{glitter & glue}

Cover the shell's surface with white glue then smother it with your favorite glitter color(s). 

{let dry before shaking off excess glitter}

{prep your frame}

You might be able to see it in the next picture, but we cut a piece of periwinkle-ish paper to cover the black words around the edges of this frame.  We used mod podge to attach the paper to the frame.

{arrange the shells & glue them down}
{ta-da...btw, this is totally one of Gabe's favorite new words}

This lovely frame is ready to display a picture of our little summer beauty!

{summer love}
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This post is linked to For the Kids Friday & Friday Fun for Kids

Thursday, July 21, 2011

How Not To Impress Your Friends

This month's West MI Bloggers meeting was the first I worked on coordinating.  In the past we have enjoyed some great local locations, with smart local speakers, and delicious local food. 

This month's location was no exception. The Reading Tree, a lovely children's bookstore on the northside of Grand Rapids, was the perfect place for an author meet and greet.

The speaker, Sommer Poquette: consultant, master campaign manager, busy mom, technically a WestMI (North) Blogger, and most recently a childrens book author captivated me with her wealth of knowledge and easy going conversation. 

The delicious local food?  A list lady fail.  If I ever question why I write lists instead of recipes the event's Lemonade Soup will serve as my reminder.

My goal was to find a refreshing, summer-y, easy to make, easy to serve dessert to share during our meeting.  This recipe sounded delish, so I gave it a try.

Frozen Lemonade Pie

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Summertime and the Reading is Easy

Looks like it's unanimous, one of the highlights of our summer vacation was reading.  We spent a rainy morning enjoying the library in a new city where we checked out a pile of books.  Then we spent many sunny days on the beach with our books.

Kevin is into the second book in a series of naval adventures about Kydd.

Gibson laughed as we read, and re-read, Good Boy Fergus! written by David Shannon.  His other book, No, David! has always been a favorite.  At bedtime Little G kept his favorite book from home close at hand.

Gavin read Magic Tree House research guides: Pirates & Tonight on the Titanic.  He also read Vacation at the Volcano and Revolutionary War on Wednesday. For a break from Magic Tree House he enjoyed Flat Stanley. I {heart} the way this kid loves books, and facts, and history, and conversation.

Anne Hope practiced reading some simple Dora and Berenstain Bear readers.  She checked out Ruby Valentine Saves the Day for us to read to her; it was pink and adorable.

Confession by Grisham, Learning by Kingsbury, Safe Haven by Sparks, and Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond were the books I checked off my summer reading list.  They are all quite different, but the perfect vacation combination. 

We read a few stories to Gabe too, but most of our reading time was while he was napping and our adventures (outside of the pages) were on hold.

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Friday, July 8, 2011

Mixing Up a Memory

There are many favorite annuals from my childhood still necessary for me to repeat.  Beyond formal photos, long afternoons around the dinner table, or obligatory visits in the living room it is my desire to continue creating traditions that will keep our kids engaged and excited to spend time with us as the grow.  In searching for ideas that fit our family I also spent time researching the main ingredients for making memories to last a lifetime.  We have our own family rituals and intentional time together weekly, however we have also committed to one special activity a month usually coinciding with a holiday.

When deciding on July's activity it was necessary to come up with something that didn't tie us to a particular destination.  Some years we are camping, others are spent at the lake, and occasionally we are home for the 4th.  Our tradition needed to travel and it most certainly does.

Memory Making Essentials: A Patriotic Parade on Wheels

{M - Meaningful Participation}
The activity needs to work for everyone who might like to participate.  Consider age, ability level, interest, and appropriateness.  The more involved each person is, the more memorable the activity will be.  This does require a bit of preparation and thought.  Our parade participants chose their own wheels: strollers, wagons, bikes, big wheels, roller blades, scooters, and feet.
{E - Expressing Emotions}
Be silly, show appreciation, deliver kindness, & enjoy friendship: we did all of these as we rode through a local celebration honking, waving, smiling, and handing out candy to everyone we passed.
{M - Magical Moments}
Surprise, Anticipation, Working Together, Being Creative, Meeting New People
{O - Oohs and Aahs that Satisfy the Senses}
The more colors, music, noise makers ;), decorations, and yummy treats the better.  The sunshine and sound of waves off the board walk added some oohs and aahs for me as well.

{R - Record and Remember}
We took lots of pictures to capture the emotions of the day and help keep the memory alive.

{Y - You!} 
Each person participating was there because he or she is special to us and their presence added joy to the occasion.

{MEMORY acronym paraphrased from The Little Things are the Big Things by Lorle}

Our family agreed this year was our best Patriotic Parade on Wheels to date.  Extra friends, extra candy, extra sunshine, and extra energy.  It was an extra happy 4th of July. We are already looking forward to a repeat next year!
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Sunday, July 3, 2011

Our Plans for the 4th

tasty fireworks
independence on parade
celebrate freedom
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