Thursday, August 11, 2011

More summer fun

For some reason all my photos uploaded in a jumbled mess that seriously lacks chronology but since its only a months worth of pictures, I suppose that doesn't matter much to anyone but me.  I have been toting my camera around as much as possible and seem to have rekindled my love for taking pictures of my darling children and the fun things we do.  I think I may also have gotten the blog bug back.  I think they go hand in hand.  When I have a camera full of pictures I just want to blog about them and they start haunting me as they pile up on the memory card..."think of what a long blog we will make if you don't blog soon" *said in a wavery haunting voice, the way pictures on memory cards talk*.
So anyway, here are some of the fun things we've been doing!

We made pickles fresh from our garden cukes!  This was a quick recipe for overnight dill pickles.  They turned out so yummy!  Very light, crispy and refreshing.  They aren't properly canned though so they can't be shelved or given as gifts, which i must correct in order to share of the bounty of our garden!

One lazy summer afternoon my kids asked if they could play with shaving cream like the good old days when they were little.  They had a great deal of fun pretending to shave.  They were occupied for hours.  Shaving cream, its not just for learning the alphabet...who knew?

In preparation for a gala event at the end of summer, Bella and Hannah set to work making platters of food.  They have also designed dresses and decorations.  The event is to be an unmatched wedding for Barbie.  The unmistakable wrench in the works, however, is that Bella and Hannah don't have Barbies.  They don't seem to care much, I think the planning has been the fun part.  If they are able to gather some participants and guests (hopefully from Lexie), I will have lovely wedding photos for you, as I have been asked to be the photographer.

Bella's bird, Sapphire has become quite comfortable.  She loves to ride around on Bella's shoulder safely nestled in her hair. 

My dad hosted a Paynegang picnic to honor his workers and their families who had worked tirelessly in the days after the tornado to restore cable and remove the ruined lines for the town.  As far as picnics go, it was pretty much the bomb.  Lobsters, steamers, clam chowder, chicken, face painting, cupcake decorating, gigantic bubbles, and a stream to wade in.  My mom and dad know how to throw a good party.  I am tempted to gush over them and get all mushy about how awesome they are.  I think they are the best and I love them a lot (not just because they fed my pregnant face lobster and steamers either).  I'll leave it at that.  Sometimes words are a barrier, not a bridge if you know what I mean.

Isaac had a great time playing in the Jimmy Fund baseball tournament.  He really learned a lot and had to work hard.  His did great.  They were in the final tournament game and although they lost, Isaac was more than happy to take home the silver medal.  He proudly wore it for two days straight.

I love it when the freedom of summer lends itself to creative play.  It doesn't always.  It often leads to boredom but not usually when Hannah is around.  One Sunday afternoon Hannah directed a magic show for us.  It reminds me so much of my childhood.  When my cousin Mona would come over we always put on a production of one kind or another.  Good times.  I also found the ticket stub to the magik show that Isaac made, to be especially charming.

Speaking of creativity my friend Amy did a craft with the kids one lovely summer day that inspired them to use nature as their paintbrushes.  It is always so much fun to see the process that each child goes through as they create and how the process is as interesting and diverse as the finished products (of which I have no pictures, oops). 

My kids and I had the honor of taking care of my niece Annika while everyone else was away at a wedding.  We had such a nice day together just enjoying the beauty of summer.  As we sat on the stately back porch of my parent's house slurping some sweet juicy watermelon, we spyed this beautiful Indigo Bunting resting in a nearby patch of milkweed and grass.  It was so cool.  Isaac was especially excited, given his new found affection for birdwatching.  I was especially excited that I had my camera and got a decent picture of it!

After our watermelon we enjoyed some good old fashioned back yard summer fun with Anni.

Speaking of good old fashioned summer fun, what would summer be without s'mores?!  I don't even really like s'mores but I have to eat a few each summer.  It wasn't easy to track down gluten free graham crackers for Ian, but we finally did and he enjoyed his GF s'mores very much.

One fun evening, we had a family game of Monopoly and it became a blog worthy event when Isaac kicked all of our butts.  We saw the game all the way through to the end (rare with Monopoly) and Isaac had Bankrupted everyone in the family and he owned all but one property on the whole board.  He even beat Isabella who had landed on Free Parking FIVE times during the game.  It sure was an action packed game of Monopoly.  He asks us often if we want to play again but we're still recovering. 

Our garden is yielding so much for us!!!  I get excited every time I go out and see all of the wonderful things growing.  I think we are going to have 20 or more spaghetti squash!  I love how excited the kids get about veggies fresh from the garden. 
We went on an awesome field trip to the Berkshire Botanical Gardens.  I unfortunately forgot my camera.  They did a great lesson for us on pollination.  We all enjoyed the beautiful tour of the garden looking for different kinds of pollinators on different kinds of flowers.  We also had the opportunity to do some cuttings of an oxalis plant to take home.  These are our little plants, all growing well!
For some more backyard summer fun, the kids and I created a water obstacle course one hot and humid day and they played water games. 

On another day we got colorful with some exploding paint.  Bella was already colorful that day with the cool hair extensions Hannah got for her.
First we put the paint in ziplock bags with some baking soda.
Then, we added vinegar to the bags and sealed them up quickly.
Lastly, we jumped on them, threw them or waited for them to explode all over the place.  It was a messy masterpiece.

Sometimes we paint the "normal" way too.  Bella enjoys using her easel and painting with acrylics, watercolors and pastels.   She likes painting landscapes. 
Here is Sapphire again, eating millet spray out of the kids hands.  She is a fun pet.
We did another fun art project with Amy and her children this week.  We made "wreaths" out of paper plates, tissue paper, buttons etc.  Again, the process and the creative results were very interesting and diverse.  This is Ian's wreath...
and this is Bella's.
Yesterday afternoon, Isabella came screaming into the house with the neighbors to tell Jason and I that there were giant disgusting bugs out on one of our pine trees.  I'm not a big bug fan myself but I was sure she was over reacting.  When I got out side and saw these nasty critters clinging to the side of the tree with their large hooks, I also over reacted.  I made Jason come out too.  It is hard to capture their size in these pictures but they were a solid inch long and yucky.  There were five of them on the tree.  After consulting my friend Google, I found out that they are the exoskeletons of morphing Cicadas.  Upon closer examination I did find that they were indeed just empty skeletons, no less gross in my opinion.  Despite their grossness, I did find them incredibly interesting as I had never seen them before. 

My best friend Amira took me raspberry picking because she is so awesome and she loves me.  See all those raspberries?  She bought them for me and I ate them all.  I shared some with the kids.  Actually we ate a few pints and froze the rest but due to a bad storm that took down power lines we were without power for 24 hours and they defrosted so we were forced to eat them all.   Sadly, we lost most everything that had been in our freezers but we did manage to save the ice cream and the raspberries (we've got our priorities straight).

We made frozen banana pops as a treat a few weeks back.  They were really yummy.  Such a simple snack that I had never actually made.  Sort of healthy until we covered them with nutella, peanut butter, cookies and colorful sugar...

Lots of lake fun over the last few weeks too.  The kids have taken to having sand castle wars.  They separate into teams and build two castles as strong as they can, then they bomb the other team's castles with rocks and see whose castle can withstand the siege best.  Its a little dangerous with the rock throwing but we figured out that if we through rocks in an orderly fashion, its goes pretty smoothly.

So that brings us up to date!  Now it is time to pack up and leave for vacation!!!!!!  We are all very excited for that.  I will come back with another memory card full of pictures demanding in their haunting voice to be blogged.  I will also come back to a lot of planning to do so we can get ready for school to start!  I have done a decent amount already but I am trying to plan the entire year week by week.  It is my attempt to keep things running smoothly when little baby girl comes to join our school.  I'm anticipating a little disruption...but praying it will all go well!