My Favorite "5 Senses" Learning Resources


The lady was dressed in a floor-length floral dress and a bonnet.  She stood by an ancient-looking hunk of iron in the corner of a dirt-floor cabin.  I stood with my siblings in tennis shoes and a sweatshirt, watching her move little metal doors and plates around, exposing the fire inside the iron stove.  

"Today we're going to make butter!" she announced.  "Have you done your arm workouts lately?"  She put some fresh cream and salt in a mason jar, and one by one we took turns shaking it until we heard a thumping inside the jar.  The bonnet-clad lady twisted the lid, and there it was - fresh butter.

She opened a couple more doors on the oven, and slid out a pan of hot gingerbread, and I still remember how good it smelled, and how satisfying it was with a little of our butter spread on top.  

And that was my first memory of learning about the pioneers.



I think what made me remember that field trip so well was, in fact, the yummy gingerbread.  There is nothing that can bring a historical period to life like experiencing a little piece of it through your five senses.  I think taste is an especially good sense to include!

I am trying to think of ways I can give my kids the same effect for our school subjects this year, ways that I can help a topic stick in their minds using taste, smell, touch, sight, and hearing.  I have a whole post about including the five senses in learning on the Rooted Family blog this week, with really SIMPLE ideas, because I am all about simple homeschool activities.  If a learning activity isn't easy for me to do with my kids, it probably won't happen.  I hope the post can get your wheels turning and your creative juices flowing on how you can include all five senses in your homeschool day!  

I also wanted to link a few of my favorite resources and products that I referred to in that post over here!  So these are a few things that I'm trying to include this year.

(Some affiliate links below.)


Historical Figure Toys - Rainbow Resource sells these little toy sets that can correspond with different historical periods, and I have to admit I got pretty excited when I discovered this!  I bought my kids the Revolutionary War soldiers, British and Continental troops, and I am going to break them out as we read more about our nation's founding this year!

Rush Revere Series on Audio - As we wind down our school day in the afternoons, I've been trying to remember to put on an audiobook while the kids color or finish up their copywork.  Our favorite right now is the Rush Revere series!  We are currently listening to Rush Revere And The Presidency which is a great one for an election year.  We've also been working through the Little House series on audio.  There is something about novels that makes history stick in the mind so much better, and it's also a great opportunity to give my kids practice at listening well.

Background Music - I love Kristi Hill's resources on teaching music appreciation for kids.  If you aren't signed up for her emails, I'd recommend it - she sends out "Music Monday" emails with links and activity suggestions for different pieces of music.  She also has playlists on Spotify which make great background music for a homeschool day!

Picture Books With Recipes - I'm trying to make note of the picture books we come across that include recipes, so we can make them together!  "Thundercake" is on our list of recipes to try right now, at the back of the book by the same name.  (If you know of any other picture books that include recipes, please tell me! Still trying to gather a list.)

Picnic Blanket - Getting outside is the perfect way to create sensory memories of our homeschool days, and I am finding our waterproof picnic blanket (that my friend actually got me for my wedding!) really useful this year - we are trying to do more of our school reading outside, and spreading a blanket amidst the grass and flowers makes it that much more enjoyable.

Five Senses Learning Ebook - If you decide you really want to get serious about including all five senses in your learning, I wanted to also point you to my friend Elizabeth's ebook on the subject!  She has put together a "Five Senses Letter-A-Week Activity Guide" for the younger homeschool crowd. I haven't read the ebook, but I have read Elizabeth's blog for a while and she has a ton of interesting activity ideas.  If you have preschool kids and want to make their learning more sensory and fun, I think her book would be a great place to start!  I also asked Elizabeth if she had any encouragement to offer on this subject, and here's what she wanted to say:

What better way to learn than by captivating the five senses? By incorporating opportunities for your child to HEAR - SEE - TOUCH - SMELL - and TASTE as they learn, they're able to experience the world around them in a way that would not be possible with a textbook alone. 




Just from my own educational experiences as a kid, I can say that she's right - I think including all five senses wherever possible is the most effective way to draw your children into the learning process in a way that will make an lasting impression on them.   

If you have any favorite activities, products, or resources that incorporate learning through the five senses, I'd love it if you'd add them in the comments!  

What memories do you have of a time when something you were learning really came alive for you?


P.S. Don't forget to check out my post on Rooted Family - I'm serious when I say including the five senses can be really easy, and I hope that post can encourage you that providing memorable homeschool experiences doesn't have to be overwhelming.






A Case For Choosing A Personal Study Project




In January, my husband and I went on a rare date night.  Even though we rarely go out, most of the time we do the cliche thing and go see a movie.  We enjoy watching movies together and talking about them afterwards, and many movies we have seen sparked some great conversations.

Anyway, in January we saw 1917, and I came to a shocking realization.

I didn't really know what World War One was about.

I had a basic set of knowledge about it - I remembered when it was, which countries were involved, who won.  I remembered an assassination kicked things off, but I didn't remember who was assasinated, or why, or how exactly that led to a World War.

After watching a whole movie based off of one soldier's experience in World War One, I felt a sudden conviction that I should know these things.  And so my 2020 World War One personal project was born.

I've been casually picking "themes" for some of my historical reading the past several years, but this is the first year that I decided to formally pick an area of study and give it a strong effort.  It ended up being a really timely topic choice for this year.  Those men in WW1 truly suffered.  As much as 2020 has been hard for so many people, with stressful moments for me too - having that perspective of the intensity with which some of our forebears suffered has helped keep things in perspective.  People often say "things have never been this bad" - well, probably somewhere in history, they have.  

Anyway, I've been enjoying my WW1 project so much, that I am now going to take it upon myself to convince you that you need a personal study project for 2021!  Here are the reasons why.


You have educational gaps.

Oh, the dreaded educational gap.  We are embarrassed when we realize we have them.  We do everything in our power to help our kids avoid them.  We tremble at the mere thought of them...yes, I"m exaggerating.  But guess what, guys.  Everyone has gaps in their education.  I guarantee you do, and if you don't think you do, you probably just don't realize what you don't know.  It doesn’t matter how great your  education was. It doesn’t matter if you are the smartest person in the world - there will always be things that you don’t know.  I love Sarah McKenzie’s mindset that gaps are really just gifts.  For our kids, and ourselves, gaps mean that we will always have to learn something new, to pause and marvel over something that we never realized before. The gap itself isn’t the gift, but the exploration of a new subject is. Don’t leave the gift unopened! (Okay, sorry, that was a little cheesy...)

Choosing a personal study project is modeling lifelong learning for our kids.

How many times do we moms opine about wanting our kids to have a “love of learning”, to cultivate “lifelong learners”? I figure if we truly want that, it’s a good idea to model it! Just like it’s a good thing for our kids to see their parents reading if we want them to read, seeing us get interested and excited over something new we learned has a similar effect, I’m convinced.  

There are alot of ways we can do this - and your personal study project doesn't have to look like mine.  I've been focusing on history, but you also could pick a science subject, classic literature you never read, a skill you want to learn.  There are so many options!


A personal study project makes you a more interesting person. 

I think learning more about a variety of subjects, or deep-diving into one subject, will obviously make you a more interesting person to talk to. When the subject of what ACTUALLY caused WW1 comes up at a party, as it inevitably will, you’ll have something to say and can dazzle your listeners with your knowledge! 

I’m kidding, guys.

The truth is, the causes of WW1, or the name of that one kind of orchid that looks like a bee, or the biochemistry of gut flora, or how to make the perfect lemon meringue - those subjects are not going to come up at any party ever (well, probably not). But learning new skills or diving into new subjects does give you a wider perspective on the world, gives you more topics and experiences on which to draw in a conversation, adds to who you are as a person - and yes, it makes you more interesting.

Diving deep into a subject can help you to understand the world better. 

This is a Captain Obvious sort of statement, but I’m speaking from my experience diving into WW1 this year. I didn’t realize, before I started looking into it, just how much World War 1 affected everything that came after it. I’m convinced if you don’t understand WW1, you don’t have the full picture of anything else that happened in the 20th century. This could probably be said of everything.  as human beings, we aren’t even capable of understanding it all, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile to learn what we can. Which leads me to my next point...

We will never know it all - and realizing that can draw us closer to the One who knows everything.

Maybe this is a continuation of point number one, but isn’t it kind of amazing to think that you can never know everything there is to know? The only Person who knows everything is God, and we are not Him. We weren’t made to know everything, but we were made to bring glory to Him. I think one way we, as believers, can do that is to study His power in His creation, the story He is creating through history, or a creative skill that we know in our heart pales in comparison to the creative power of our awesome God - all while recognizing and thanking Him for all the ways He is greater than us. Learning more about this world, and realizing all the more how little we really truly know - if we are doing it all to the glory of God, we can’t help but be a little more amazed at Him. That’s what truly makes learning a worthwhile pursuit.



Did I convince you?

Over the last year, I've become invested in the idea of periodically choosing a personal area of study as an adult, and diving in deep.  It doesn't have to be a forever project - figure out something you want to learn more about, and dig in until you feel you've accomplished what you set out to learn.  Then see if a new subject piques your interest!  I've been really enjoying my World War One project, and I'm already thinking ahead to what subjects could be possibilities for 2021!

Have you ever started a personal study project as an adult?

The Danger Of Dreaming


There is a danger, you know, that comes with dreaming.

I’ve been thinking about this lately after flipping through a few books I read last year. I like to go back sometimes and see what I highlighted. As I flipped through The Great Gatsby, I found two paragraphs that I think are the most haunting in the whole book:

"'If it wasn’t for the mist we could see your home across the bay,' said Gatsby. 'You always have a green light that burns all night at the end of your dock.’ 
Daisy put her arm through his abruptly, but he seemed absorbed in what he had just said. Possibly it had occurred to him that the colossal significance of that light had now vanished forever. Compared to the great distance that had separated him from Daisy it had seemed very near to her, almost touching her. It had seemed as close as a star to the moon. Now it was again a green light on a dock. His count of enchanted objects had diminished by one.

Gatsby never considered that perhaps the hoping for Daisy was part of the magic. That once the hoping and dreaming was gone, the real work of building a life with the object of his dreams wouldn’t match up with the fantasy he had built in his head. Later in the book (spoiler and trigger warning), he actually ends it all because he can’t have his dream just the way he wanted it.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with dreaming, or with working for things to be better. The danger comes though, when we place all our hope in dreams. We idealize, we fantasize. We build up all the beautiful parts and forget that in this fallen world, there is always difficulty that comes with dreams fulfilled. Or we despair when our dreams go unfulfilled, as our hopes are never realized.

Nick Carraway too, is chasing dreams throughout the book. The line most quoted from Gatsby is:

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”

But people tend to forget the Nick says this earlier in the book:

“I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.”

I think in Nick Carraway we have another character who is looking for something, wanting a fresh start with every changing season, chasing something new and exciting that he never quite finds. His disillusionment grows throughout the book. Finally there is nothing left worthy of wonder, no enchantment that isn’t eventually spoiled. In the end he decides he isn’t made for East Coast life and returns home.

You see, the world of Gatsby is in the end a godless thing, and the book ultimately drives home the futility of a godless world. Without God, there is nothing to hope for, just earthly dreams which can never truly be grasped. Without something greater, something “commensurate to [our] capacity for wonder” we are lost, doomed to ever be striving as our dreams drift farther away. 


As believers, we have a better hope than that.  Better than any earthly, temporal dream.  Hebrews explains where our hope lies:

“Thus God, determining to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath, that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever...”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭6:17-20‬ ‭

Our hope is in the strong consolation we have through God’s promises - that this world is not the end, everything it holds is not the only chance at wonder. No matter how godless the world may seem, our awesome God has not withdrawn His hand. Even now He is upholding the world “by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3), and working out everything for the purposes of His will. 

We don’t need to place our hopes in a fresh season, or a dream fulfilled. We shouldn’t in fact, because those things are ultimately empty. No, our only true hope lies with an immutable, unchangeable God. A God who became our Savior when He stepped down to this fickle, fallen world, and offered up Himself as a payment for our sins, as our perfect, unblemished Savior.

Rooting all our dreams in this world will ever be a disillusioning, hopeless endeavor.  And sometimes even we as believers can place our hopes in the wrong things - people, movements, elections, a new house, a new state, new friends, vacations, babies, a significant other - but all those things, even the ones that are blessings, can never truly fulfill us. When we hope in only the blessings and forget the One from whose hand they come, we’re left drifting. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

This we have as an anchor for the soul. Sure and steadfast. The promises of God that our salvation is assured, that our citizenship is in Heaven, that our Savior is there building a place for those who believe, who repent and call on His name.



There are a lot of dreams that have gone unfulfilled in 2020. A lot of disillusionment, disappointment, pain. But there is a great Hope. This is just a reminder to my sisters in Christ to not put our hopes in the wrong place - to not dream of a better tomorrow without resting in, and pointing others, to the true Hope for the world.

How To Teach Young Kids About Elections : Resources

 

This is the first election year that my kids are old enough to really understand what's going on.  

Four years ago my oldest understood the concept of voting, and was rooting for our candidate.  What he was thankfully spared from was all the nastiness that happened both before and after the election.  I wish our children were growing up in a more civil time. So often the political vitriol becomes the focus and we forget there is beauty in this election process too.


Beauty, you may ask?  In an election year?  Yes, I think so.  The more I review the electoral process in preparation for teaching it to my kids, the more I'm reminded of how brilliant our system of government is.  Those Founding Fathers, despite all the flack they get when people look back on some of their flaws and sins now, really knew what they were doing when it comes to government.

Despite the usual angst that election years bring, I'm actually really enjoying the part where I get to teach my kids how it all works!  We've started digging into a few resources, and I want to share the ones that I've found so far for teaching civics to young children.  Alot of civics curricula for homeschoolers are aimed at middle and high school, but you can still find some good resources for the younger set too.

Our Spine

Before I start, I have to say that a "spine" resource that I've been using is actually a civics curriculum for K-12 grade that is put out by my state's homeschool organization.  I was skeptical when I saw that it was supposed to cover such a big age range, but it really is written in an understandable way for young kids, and is also adaptable for different ages.  One chapter is specifically geared toward our state, but most of the information is about the federal government and good citizenship, including a very thorough chapter on the electoral process. And the best part to me is that it is written from a Christian perspective, which can sometimes be hard to find in civics resources for younger kids.  I haven't read through the whole thing, but the electoral process chapter is great so far!  If you are interested, I do think it is worth the money.  Just skip the state history chapter if you aren't in my corner of the country!

One More Thing...

I will say that doing a review of the electoral process yourself is so helpful and important before attempting to teach it to your kids.  If you are a little fuzzy on some aspects of our elections (who isn't, really?), I'd say do a little research yourself first.  I am reading through the chapter in our civics book before I go over it with my kids, and I also picked up The Everything American Government Book for myself. Not only is it a nice refresher for me on certain election aspects, but I think it will be a great resource to have on hand as my kids grow. The pages I've read so far seem mostly bipartisan.  Though let's be honest, it's hard to have a purely bipartisan book about government - every person will always find something to disagree with.  But I think it's doing pretty well so far.

On to the kids' resources!


Picture Books

Today On Election Day - This book is written from the perspective of an elementary school boy that is excited to see people coming to vote at his school on Election Day.  I explained some of the terms further to my kids as we read.  This is a good resource for younger elementary kids in my opinion.  It doesn't tell about the whole electoral process, but it explains the experience of Election Day itself.  I'd say it's bipartisan.

America Votes: How Our President Is Elected - This book looks like it will be a quick read, but it is actually very dense.  There is alot of information packed into these pages.  It includes some topics, such as the history of voting, detailed explanations about different aspects of campaigning, etc., that might be more interesting to older kids, but I think you could easily pick and choose which pages to read to keep it simpler for younger kids.  So far it seems to be bipartisan.

Woodrow For President: A Tail Of Voting, Campaigns, And Elections - This is the story of a kind-hearted mouse that runs for office in mouse-world.  In the process, this book teaches about how elections, campaigns, political parties, conventions, and debates work.  It covers a surprising amount of information for a storybook format!

Duck For President - This book is purely for fun.  Hardly anything is covered about the political process, but Duck's antics in running for leader of the farm, then mayor, then governor, then President, are amusing.  I also used this as a springboard to talk about how complicated it is to be the leader of an entire nation.



Videos

History For Kids: How We Elect The President - My kids loved the format of this DVD - it tells about the electoral process, including a summary of the electoral college, with game-show type questions as it goes. My kids loved shouting out their answers to the questions!  Mostly bipartisan, but all the real-life video clips that were inserted were of Democrats, so make of that what you will.

History For Kids: Running For President - Some of the same information as the video I listed above, but goes a little more in detail about the electoral college and campaigns.

Note: Couldn't find the two videos above online (weird), but I'd recommend checking your library!  My library has the whole series.

Prager U "Do You Understand The Electoral College" - This video explains what the electoral college is, and the advantages in using this method of electing our President.  If you think we should eliminate the electoral college, you should watch this video to fully understand why the electoral college is a good thing.  Like I said, the Founders knew what they were doing!  We watched it all together, even though alot of it was over my kids' heads, and then afterward I explained the main points in more accessible language to them.  Dare I say, I think my little 4th-grade-and-under crowd got it?

Learn Our History: Election Day, Choosing Our President - This is put out by Mike Huccabee, so it's coming from a conservative perspective - which is a good thing for our family but you may want to know that ahead of time.  The bully of the school is running for class president so he can take away the grading system that he claims is "not fair".  The kids travel through history to learn about how elections were established, how debates work, and by the end one of them decides to run against the bully, and the common-sense candidate wins.  I was a little worried this would be over my kids' heads, but they seemed to enjoy it - they watched it twice!  Older-style animation, but we don't mind that in our house.


Activities

(Affiliate link below.)

Election Activities For Voters Of All Ages - This is a case of impeccable timing - my blog buddy Elizabeth just released an Election Activities pack, and I jumped at the chance to check it out!  There are three different levels of activities, spanning from preschool/kindergarten age, to grade school, to middle school.  There are copyworb pages, word searches, mazes, and other worksheets, along with printable to hold a "favorite dessert" election, and pages to track the results of the electoral college on election night.  I am so glad to have found this.  Everything I could think of to bring an election year alive for my kids is in this pack, and I love how so many of the activities are applicable for elementary school.  This activity pack goes beyond the "holding a faux election" idea, and gives a lot of other activities to work with.  It's also totally bipartisan. Highly recommend it!  I am definitely going to take advantage of the election night trackers and have my biggest kiddos watch on election night with my husband and me.  



I'll add more resources to this post as I find more, but these are the things I am using so far this year to teach my kids about the electoral process!  I think we all have been enjoying it and making fun memories surrounding the election this year - and that's a big blessing to me.  I love that even when elections can get so contentious, we can still have some fun appreciating the process.








Currently | September 2020

 

Appreciating...the long weekend, because Derek should be able to make good progress on the kids' treehouse!  

Stressed about...the fact that it's supposed to snow NEXT WEEK.  As in September 8th.  That is way too early for snow, and I am so nervous that all the leaves will immediately die and fall off, and there will be no Autumn to speak of.

Anticipating...the two weddings we have coming up in the next month.  I haven't been to a wedding in five years!  These are also the first weddings I've ever traveled out of state to attend - one in a neighboring state for Derek's cousin, and one for my cousin that will require a flight north.  It should be an adventure, especially in these, ahem, times.  If you've flown recently, please let me know what to expect.

Collecting...resources on civics and the electoral process, since I decided this is the year to introduce these subjects to my kids for real!  I've got quite a stack going, and so far our little civics lessons have been pleasant.  Right now I'm focusing on elections, and I think I will move on to other civics topics throughout the year.  I've avoided having to go in-depth on the three branches of government so far, so maybe that will be next.

Starting...Awana.  This is the first year my kids have ever done Awana, and I'm glad we have enough space in our schedule to include it!  We have always had too many sports, co-ops, etc, in past years to fit one more thing in.  But this year, for finances and other reasons, we cut out alot of our other activities, so it was the perfect year to give Awana a try.

Finishing...the ten books that I told myself I would finish before October.  Or I'm attempting to finish them anyway.  It's been too tempting to start a new book, because fall brings with it different reading moods for me!  I have six more books to finish (I removed one that I know is just not going to happen).  I need to get a move-on.  What are you reading lately?  What do you consider a fall-ish book?  I started a re-read of Anne Of Green Gables.  I couldn't help myself.

Enjoying...nature journaling with the kids.  I never felt like I could get the hang of nature journaling, but this year it is coming easier.  I credit this entirely to the kids' botany curriculum.  Turns out it's alot easier to nature journal when you have some knowledge about plants!  They do, after all, make up the bulk of the living things out there.




Making...chocolate chai masala truffles from this cookbook.  It's on our "Friday Fun Day" schedule for school today.  Is it a stretch to include making rich chocolate treats for school?  I'm going with no.  Kitchen skills and fractions.

Drinking...the pumpkin cream cold brew at Starbucks.  It is just so good!  But I'm only drinking it occasionally, because Starbucks prices are getting outrageous (I say this every year, yet I still get pulled in by the pumpkin).

What We Did This Summer


Remember that summer to-do list I posted back in June?  Well, we ended up crossing quite a few things off my unreasonably long list.  We squeezed a lot of fun into summer, and as we are turning toward fall now, I wanted to record how we made the most of this summer, all the unusual circumstances notwithstanding!

---


Trampoline Games - Check!  I taught the kids "pop the popcorn", and they had so much fun when I joined them on the trampoline!

Catch - Derek bought the boys some gloves, and he's been practicing catch with them this summer.  We never signed either of them up for baseball, but it's one of my favorite sports, and I'm glad they are getting some practice in!

Spray Bottle Sidewalk Paint - Check! We did squirt bottles instead of spray bottles, and it was a hit! But they used it up way too quickly.



Ice Cream Playdough - Check!  We used this recipe, and it was interesting - not much different than regular play dough, except it smelled like frosting.  I think this is basically the same way you would make fondant.  It's a fun recipe to try if the cooked-playdough recipes scare you!



Homemade Bubbles - We did try this!  It looked cute, but it wasn't my favorite because the cornstarch kept separating from the mixture.  But it did work!

Glow Sticks In Kiddie Pool - The weekend that we went porch camping, I also let the kids play in the kiddie pool.  I threw a few glow sticks in it that night so they could see it from the tent!  It wasn't as glow-y as I wanted it to be, but still fun.



Treasure Hunt - I put together a scavenger hunt for the kids to find some candy, using some free printables!  The prize wasn't anything super special, but they still loved it.  Clyde asked to do it again the next day, so I guess it was a success!

Reading Challenge - We did participate in our library's reading challenge!  I took the kids a couple weeks ago to get their prizes, which included a book, a journal or bookmark, and coupons for a free entree at Noodles and Co.

Nature Hikes - We took several nature hikes this summer, and it was so nice to get outside so much.



Play In A Creek - Check!  We found a creek in June, and the kids splashed around while I read.  It was lovely, and the kids begged me to go back.  Unfortunately the next time we went the creek was dry!  We'll have to remember that it dries up by mid-summer next year.


Swimming - We managed to go swimming twice!  My kids are finally getting to the age where taking them to the pool is less stressful and more fun.  The big kids do pretty well in the deeper parts of the pool, and the little three are great with their floaties on.  Wyatt and Gwen were even big enough to go on the slide this year!



Park Days - We visited several parks, including one where splash fountains were on, and the normalcy of just going to the park this summer was so good for all of us!  My kids desperately missed the park when they were all closed during the spring.



Historical Sites - We had to delay one of our historical site plans until September, just because of finances and weather. But we did add in a more local historical site, and I am totally counting it as a school field trip!  We also visited some local fossil beds one weekend.



Fishing - We went fishing twice, with plans to go more this fall!  We went to a lake near our church on my birthday, and we also fished in ponds that are very near our house.  The ponds looked really promising, but the fish didn't like our bait, so we are going to try live worms and go again soon!








Stargazing - We went stargazing in Arches National Park!  It was the perfect place to stargaze as an International Dark Sky site.  We found an empty parking lot, and laid on the pavement for about an hour, just staring at the stars with the kids and talking.  The boys also saw their "first meteor", which they were super excited about!  It was a good one too, with a long tail streaking across the sky.



Porch Camping - We try to do this every summer, and it's a big highlight for our kids!  There is just something special about sleeping in a tent.  And a bonus is that they spend alot of time playing in the tent the next day as well!



Campfire - The burn ban was lifted for a couple glorious weeks, and we snuck in a campfire a few days before the re-instated the ban.  It was lovely, and even Georgie got into the marshmallow roasting this year!



Regular Movie Nights - We tried to have a movie night with the kids every Friday this summer, with pizza and dessert!  We are definitely going to continue this tradition.  It's fun to introduce the kids to some of our childhood favorites!

Firework Fruit Kabobs - I did make these for the 4th of July!  They were so pretty.




Special Kid Drinks - At the beginning of the summer, I froze a bunch of kool-aid ice cubes.  When we were having a boring day, I'd just pour Sprite over them for the kids - it's sweet how something so simple can make you "the best mom ever", ha!


Popsicles - I didn't do great at serving up the popsicles this summer, but I redeemed myself in these last few weeks!  Popsicles all around.

Spaghetti Salad and Broccoli Salad - These are our favorite summer foods, and I made a batch of each to take on our end-of-summer trip a couple weeks ago.

Circus And County Fair - We visited our county fair for the first time as a family this year!  I was really happy they went ahead with it.  There was also a free circus at the fair, and the performers were great!


Dates - Derek and I were able to go on a date night this summer (rare occurrence)!  We went mini-golfing and had a take-out picnic in the park.  We also had a whole weekend away at the Gaylord hotel!  It was beautiful, and we had a great time.







Boys' Birthday Party - We threw a joint birthday party for the boys!  We did a party for the girls last fall, and had plans for a boys' party in April.  We ended up doing it in June instead!



End Of Summer Trip To Arches - We ended up taking a weekend trip out to Arches before we started the school year!  It was a really lovely trip, and I'm going to share more in another post soon.  I have too many pictures to share here!



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Stuff We Didn't Get To:

Regular Game Nights
Trampoline Sleepover
Drive-in Movie
Bible Verse Memory Challenge
Make Bird Feeders
Origami "Fortune Teller" with Boredom Busters
Puffy Paint Ice Cream Cones
Hand-clapping Games
H.O.R.S.E.
Tic Tac Toe rocks
Homemade Bouncy Balls

I am hoping to add some of these into our fall plans, and if not, I'll just tack the rest onto next summer's bucket list!

Did you all do anything out of the ordinary this summer?


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