Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I was so worried that we were going to be sitting around the house bored out of our minds this summer but boy was I wrong! So far, the summer has been great! We've had friends & family over, are continuing with Alex's karate classes, are hoping to sign up for a week long gymnastics camp at the end of the month, and have lots of cool things planned for July & August (including the zoo next week & Seaworld the week after that). That's not to say that it's always been smooth sailing. I mean The kids are four & five....and brothers.....and boys. I am glad to have some prepared activities for those times when we run out of things to do. Such as.......
Doing "school work" in some Pre-K workbooks. Sometimes I even have to limit how much Zachary gets to do at one time. He likes it that much!

Last week we made binoculars out of toilet paper rolls. I totally stole the idea from another blog I read but they turned out cute.

Over the weekend during a trip to the craft store we saw this neat kit to make a large cardboard castle that you color yourself. The boys are alternating between coloring it and playing in it. I'm not sure how long it will last since it is only cardboard and they are only 4 & 5 year old boys but for now they are really enjoying it.

Yesterday we made our own 4th of July shirts. First I ironed on embroidered USA's on each shirt. Then we painted "fireworks" on them. I had a plan for this but the boys were to anxious to paint and didn't want to wait for me to figure out & put together the "stamp" for the fireworks so they ended up just painting theirs on freehand. Theirs aren't exactly what I had in mind but they're happy so that's what matters. I did one too. The red one is mine.

Today we met some friends at the children's museum. This is the same one that the boys went to on their school field trip and maybe our third time overall. It didn't matter that we've been before, the boys had a blast.

Zachary was a little bit sick earlier this week. He was fever free all day yesterday & today with only a little sore throat left. I thought all was good until late afternoon when Alex's fever came. Oh, great!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Pictures for daddy

For Father's Day I made (with much help from my sister - thanks Joanne!) a poker themed picture frame for Chris. To make it extra cute, we decided to fill it with a picture of the boy "playing" poker. I forgot to take a picture of the frame when it was done but now that the gift has been received here are a few of the pictures taken during the staging of the poker game. My nephew Owen even wanted to be in on the action.

This one is from today and is just too darn cute not to add. After going to the movies with some friends the boys & I headed to the mall for a bit of shopping. We couldn't walk past the Disney Store without going inside, even though we didn't buy anything. I did run into Captain Zach Sparrow though......
He looks pretty fierce, doesn't he?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bear Stripe!

Today Alex received his Bear Stripe in karate class for perfectly completing Basic Form #2. I was wrong when I said this next "promotion" would be a new belt. I don't recall seeing this blue stripe on the other kids but today four of them got it! He first practiced in a group of three but later they each "tested" individually. Alex getting his 4th stripe. Showing off a row of stripes. Showing me his "karate face". I guess I need to figure out how the stripe/belt system works because I have no idea what's next!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Afternoon at the river

After we had eaten lunch and the boys took a nap we changed into swim suits and headed back out. Our first stop was for a sno-cone snack. Then we went to a shallow part of the river to play.

We had a little bit of a lesson about animals here too. There was a really nice family at the spot we picked and the daddy first told my boys to watch while he looked for & caught a crawfish under a tree stump. Then he happened to see a turtle swimming by and caught it too and made sure that his kids and mine got a good look at it and had the chance to touch it's shell if they wanted. Zachary did, Alex didn't.
Later the daddy & his kids caught some itty bitty little frogs and brought them over the show Alex & Zachary. They did both take turns holding one.
Next time I will definitely remember to bring buckets & floats. The nice family next to us did let us borrow though.

What a great day with my guys!

Morning at the park

This morning I decided to surprise the boys with a trip to the park. I hoped that if we went first thing in the morning that it wouldn't be so horribly hot. I was right, but it was also overcast today so that helped too. We started out with a breakfast picnic.

Then we had lots of playtime on the playground. There should be a great video of Zachary making it all the way across the monkey bars for the very first time but Blogger is being a stinker and it won't load. Alex really enjoys the rock wall. He said "I can see the whole town!" Um, no you can't.

We had a little bit of a learning experience today. While walking along the river and checking out the ducks we also saw this guy.

I thought he might be a beaver at first until we saw he had a skinny tail. Someone else near us said it was a nutria. So I googled it and why yes, it was. It's a semi-aquatic animal that is related to the rat. I remember watching the weird pest control guy show (I can't remember the name) and him trying to get rid of these guys somewhere. Apparently they are pretty destructive by digging and eating & wasting plants. I learned something new today.
We tried to ride the train but it was broken down. We did stumble upon the wadding pool that we'd only just stuck our feet in once before and well.....

Who cares if you have on swim suits or brought a towel when you're five? Other than the fact that I didn't let them wear their tennis shoes (so they had to step on rocks at the bottom) they loved it. They wanted to go back with swim trunks, water shoes, and towels after we went home for lunch and a nap but I had another idea.....

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Another project - personalized placemats

Did I tell you there would be more projects? Well, there will be. Like I said, I tried to find some things to keep us occupied during the summer. This project was making our own placemats. I had several ideas for this one including printing out pictures of the boys to put on there or letting them paint but in the end they just colored whatever they wanted then used stickers and stamps on cardstock paper to create their own placemats. Then I used heavy laminate - the kind that you put on like a sticker - to seal it up and make it usable. The boys actually decorated both sides of theirs so they can flip it over and change it up.

Zachary made a banana on his (although I think it looks like a summer squash!) and used lots of soccer ball stamps.
Alex didn't want a picture with his but I think his is a super hero of some sort plus football stamps and a few spiderman stickers.

If we did this again I think I would look for bigger laminate and then use larger paper, like scrapbook size. These turned out cute but are kinda small for a placemat although we have been using them. I think this would be really cute to do for a child's birthday. I have two more sheets of laminate so I may surprise Zachary with something for his birthday next month when he sits down for breakfast!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A trip to the ER - all is well

I never knew that playing with sidewalk chalk could result in a trip to the ER but that's exactly what happened last night. The boys wanted to go back outside after dinner once it was a tad bit cooler so I suggested sidewalk chalk on the driveway. Both boys went out in pants only - no shirt & no shoes. We were almost ready to go back in (I had actually set a timer on my phone to count down the last five minutes) when Alex started yelling & crying. At first I didn't know what happened but either he or Zachary told me that his foot was bleeding and boy was it! He somehow managed to slice open the end of his big toe close to where the nail grows. He had already caused this toe to bleed last week when he pulled a cracked piece of nail down to the quick. This time it was dripping with blood. It was hard to see very well since his feet and legs were practically black with all the chalk dust so I carried him inside to the bathroom and tried to wash it off a bit and get a better look at it. I'm never a good judge of cuts but I thought it looked deep and decided that we should head to the ER just in case it needed a couple of stitches. As bad as it may be I made both boys jump in the shower to try to wash off a little of the chalk dust. Alex cried the whole time. (For the record he is a VERY good cryer & always has been.) By the time I got the boys in clothes Alex had already stopped crying and bleeding for the most part. Thankfully the ER wasn't busy and we got in pretty fast. The doctor had to soak Alex's foot first so that she could get a better look at the cut. In the end she decided that it didn't need any stitches after all. So, it was a waste of time I guess but I'd rather be safe than sorry.

The injury.

Today Alex is hopping around trying not to use that foot at all despite me telling him that it would be easier to just walk on the heel of that foot. If he slips on our concrete floors from all the hopping another ER trip could be in our future!

**Updated** Here is Alex's toe tonight before bed. (6-15-11) I think it's even uglier today.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Meal plan monday

*Sigh* After a few crazy weeks with visitors scattered in and a long weekend trip to my parents house we are back to normal. Or at least as normal as we can be in the summer. So, back to meal planning. I've only planned dinners for this week hoping that leftovers & sandwiches will make up most of our lunches. If we happen to go out for dinner then we'll have one of these for lunch instead. We'll see how that goes.

Sunday - Chicken & Mushrooms in garlic wine sauce (169) with roasted broccoli and new potatoes

Monday - Philly cheesesteaks (230) with sweet potato fries (82)and carrot sticks

Tuesday - Beer lime grilled chicken (182) with grilled squash and salad

Wednesday -
Quicker pork chops over stuffing (209) with roasted asparagus (60)

Thursday - Chicken rollatini with prosciutto & cheese (169) with prosciutto wrapped green bean bundles

Friday - Petite turkey meatloaves (221) with zucchini of some sort

Saturday - Swedish meatballs (214) with egg noodles (170)

Have a good week!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Smarty pants

Yesterday Zachary had wanted to go outside and do some yard work but I just didn't feel like it (no matter how bad the yard needed it!). I also wasn't sure that we had enough gas for the lawnmower so I told him that we'd have to go and get some on Sunday. He changed out of his "work" clothes (long pants with holes in the knees, a John Deere shirt, cap, & boots) and was O.K. with that. He didn't forget though. This morning he once again changed into his work clothes and brought out a notepad that he was making a list on. My nearly five year old had drawn a picture of a gas can and written the word "gas" all by himself!
He is very good with recognizing letters and sounds and can even kinda spell if you sound out a word very slowly but he's not a great writer. Plus the fact that he did it all on his own - I was blown away! He had attempted to write "grass" on another page - as in we need to mow the grass. He only had a picture and the letters GA when he showed it to me but I helped him to finish that one.
I am still amazed by him. I guess we need to work on writing and spelling this summer!

Family Tree project

At the very end of the school year I tried to plan a few projects & day trips (some educational & some not) to help keep the bordom away, as well as the fighting and whining. We've been lucky to have lots of visitors in the last few weeks so we haven't had much time just sitting alone at home. Even with a pool there are still times that you can get bored. Yesterday was one of those days. Zachary was itching to do something and I just happened to have something in mind. We created a family tree and I love how it turned out! Painting, cutting, and glueing - all vital Kindergarten skills - bonus!!

The first thing we did was paint a big tree on a piece of posterboard. (I drew the outline with pencil for the boys to follow.) Then we hopped in the pool to let it dry.
Once we were done swimming and the paint was dry the boys cut out green leaves for each family member that I had already traced for them.
Next, they glued a small picture of each of their family members to the leaves. (We included their grandparents, aunts & uncles, and first cousins.)
Last the boys grouped each family together and glued them on the tree. They put themselves on the trunk of the tree since it's their family up top.
I think it's so cute! Plus it was a great way to remember names of some of their out of state cousins that they don't get to see often. Now I just need to find a place to hang it!