Showing posts with label Seasons. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Seasons. Show all posts

A Fall Scavenger Hunt (& Thoughts On Memory-Making)



"Mom, do you remember when we did that fall scavenger hunt?"

I have to be honest, when my son asked me this on our mountain drive yesterday, I was totally drawing a blank.

"Um, no?" I said, puzzled.

"Yeah, we had to find like a red leaf, and a spider's web, and stuff, and you gave us candy corn afterward."

I honestly have no memory of this event ever happening.

See what I mean when I say I have a bad memory?

My son insists we did this scavenger hunt though.  After searching in the far recesses of my brain, I may have a vague recollection, but I have no idea where I found scavenger hunt inspiration the first time.  In an effort to duplicate something that clearly made an impression on my kiddos, I decided to put together a scavenger hunt for them today.

I considered putting together my own list of items to find, but did some quick googling first, and boy, I'm glad I did.  There are not just fall scavenger hunts online, there are lists of fall scavenger hunts online.  I found these papers for us to try out on this website, but thought I'd share the ones that stood out to me!



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I don't think you could complete this scavenger hunt list in a day (or at least we couldn't, since it includes some items we would find in the city or plains), but it would be great to do over the course of a week or two!  I like the pictures of the items for younger kids who can't read yet, but the actual things to find are good for older kids too.

This fall scavenger hunt is great for older kids who can read, or to do together as a family! My oldest son (eight years old) is working on this one.

This is an ideal fall scavenger hunt for younger kids because it has really simple items accompanied by pictures!  I gave this one to my four year old today.

This nature scavenger hunt has pictures and words, so I think it would work well for a variety of ages!  My middle two (six and five) are doing this one as I type.

If you kids in early elementary who might be up for a nighttime scavenger hunt, this one looks fun!

This is not really a scavenger hunt, but I love these kind of identification guides.  This one is a leaf identification guide that would be handy!

And if you are in a pre-Thanksgiving mood (or just want to bookmark this for November), I liked this gratitude scavenger hunt, a Thanksgiving Day scavenger hunt, and this Thanksgiving Reading challenge!

If none of these are interesting, or if you just want to see way more options than the ones I picked out here, check out the post 18 Fall And Autumn Scavenger Hunts For Kids - they had a bunch to sort through, these were just a few that I ended up saving!

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What was interesting to me about this whole scavenger hunt conversation was how different things stick with us, and so many things just slip away.  I can barely recall (maybe?) doing a nature scavenger hunt with my kids.  I feel like it would have been when my son was in kindergarten.  But here we are a few years later, and he still remembers that we did that.

What does all this have to do with memory-keeping?  I guess this post is more about memory-making.  You can't have one without the other.  So often I think that I have to orchestrate elaborate plans or make an elaborate effort to make a memory for my kids.  But this was so simple.  It required so little effort from me that I hardly remember it the first time, but it was really fun to my son.



My kids are running around outside right now as I type this, searching for spider webs and deciduous trees and pinecones.  I found a couple printables to hand out and basically said "have at it".  I promised them "corn candy" (as they call it) if they found as many items they could.  They are laughing and exploring and shouting every time they spot something on the list.



So I guess the point I'm trying to make with memory-making is to encourage you to take heart.  You don't have to try very hard.  Do something out of the ordinary now and then.  Mix in some candy.  They most likely won't remember that it wasn't perfect. They'll just remember the fun.








My Summer Hold List



If you don't like to read or were just living under a rock last week, you might have missed that Anne Bogel put out her annual summer reading guide.  I have to say, every year this guide does kind of kick off the summer reading season for me.  I'm fairly sure that Bogel and I do not share quite the same tastes, but she still rounds up some interesting ones each year, and I enjoy branching out and trying fiction books I wouldn't normally pick up.

This is how it usually goes - I request the books that looked interesting, and somewhere around the beginning of June they all come in at once.  Then I spend the next two weeks reading a chapter here and there to try to figure out which ones are worth committing to, and which ones I can discard.



This year I thought I'd share which books on her list caught my eye and why!  I cannot guarantee that these books are ones that I will, in fact, like or recommend.  There has been many a book from past guides that I have abandoned part-way through after I figured out that I was bored, or that it wasn't for me for some other reason.

I'll try to post updates on which ones I actually read and enjoy as they come in, but for now, these ones are the books that are on my hold list at the library!




The River by Peter Heller 
A disastrous adventure/mystery story set in the wilds of Canada?  I just rediscovered "I Shouldn't Be Alive" and binge-watched it a few weeks ago, so sign me up for this one.



Never Have I Ever by Joshilyn Jackson 
I just started a different book by this author, and her style is fun to read, plus I have a thing for southern fiction.  This one sounds like a mystery and involves a book club, so I had to give it a try.




Recursion by Blake Crouch 
I should probably read Dark Matter (by the same author) before I read this one, huh?  Since Dark Matter has been sitting on my shelf and all.  I do sometimes enjoy action books with a little bit of science fiction thrown in, and this one sounds like it involves medical science, which is usually up my alley.




Waiting For Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey 
I'm very skeptical of secular chick-lit/romance novels, but this one sounds like it stays fairly PG-13 (I will update on this).  A screenwriter works with an annoying actor, but then I'm assuming she eventually falls for him.  Cliche, but I like some light fiction in the summer.



Time After Time by Lisa Grunwald 
I suspect this book has some sort of time-travel element, which I am all there for.  I at least have to try it!




The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson 
Beauty pageants and a Jane Austen retelling?  How could I not pick this one up?




The Island Of Sea Women by Lisa See
This is about an isolated culture on a South Korean Island, where all the women go fishing to support their families.  Apparently this is based on a true place or true events.  I like reading book set in other countries and cultures, but I've had mixed luck with this type of book.  We'll see how I like it.




The Mother-In-Law by Sally Hepworth
I don't typically like terrible mother-in-law stories, but this one sounds like it could be a little redemptive - even though I think the plot involves the mother-in-law being murdered.  Yikes!  The mystery element interested me though.  I don't know about this one, I'll report back.




Only Ever Her by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen 
I read one other book by this author a while back, and it was pretty depressing to be honest, but it was a page-turner.  It's also a mystery, which I'm typically drawn to.  So I might try this one.  Or I might not.




The Inheritance by Dani Shapiro 
The only nonfiction book I picked from the guide. I have no idea who Dani Shapiro even is, all I know is that there is some family secret she unearthed that was fairly shocking (don't tell me if you know), and this book is her memoir about it.  Sounds good to me.




The Unlikely Adventures Of The Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal
Three sisters who haven't seen each other in years travel to Punjab to scatter their mother's ashes.  Once again, I was interested because I like reading fiction books set in foreign cultures.  This is some sort of family drama.  Anne says the author keeps it light-hearted even though the sisters are keeping some serious secrets.  I'll give it a shot.




Hope And Other Punch Lines by Julie Buxbaum
This one involves a mystery surrounding 9/11 and two of its survivors.  I believe this is YA, which I have mixed feelings about typically, but the plot sounded interesting.



Okay, that's it!  Once again, please do not take these as recommendations, because I have no idea if they are decent or not!  They just caught my eye.  I will update this post with my reactions to these books and whether I actually read them or not.

Did any of you take a look at Bogel's Summer Reading Guide yet? 
Which books piqued your interest?  
Have you found any winners from her past summer guides?




Little Letters | Springtime Notes


Dear Blog Friends, I have a disappointment to share.  I had intentions of writing a Little Letters post each month, because I like the format and and there was even a linkup attached!  Remember linkups?  The really early ones that were fun because they were small, and people actually commented on each other's posts?  But the blogger who was running the linkup seems to have dropped it.  I was waiting around to see if she'd bring it back, and was disappointed when she didn't.

However, I've finally decided, hey, why should that stop me?  So I'm sharing a few little letters from the past few months, and if you want to join in and share YOUR little letters (Michelle, Amanda, Bekah, Anyone-In-My-Sidebar, I know you would be great at this type of post, so consider this an official tag) - well, please do write one, and let me know.  We'll have our own informal linkup.

March

Dear Bathroom Renovation, I think you might be trying to kill us.  Or at least our budget.  And maybe also my feet.  I am tired of getting splinters while I'm trying to brush my teeth.

Dear Library, Why didn't you tell me you have a gorgeous back room with tons of windows?  I would have been visiting you each time I get away to work on computer stuff.  Do you know how much money I could have saved in Starbucks drinks?



Dear Bomb Cyclone,  I'm sorry, I'm just not that impressed.  I thought you were supposed to be like a hurricane, but our power didn't even go out.  (Just to clarify, this is not an invitation to try again, so don't get any ideas.  Let's just move on.)

April

Dear State Sales Tax System, I don't understand why I have to file two separate returns for two separate addresses when I'm just selling digital products out of my house (and I just happened to move).  I'm not even totally sure I have to collect sales tax on digital products, I'm just trying to be safe and follow the law and all that, but you are kind of making my life miserable.  Businesses that sell digital products are more common these days, right?  Can we come up with clearer rules please?  Thank you.

Dear Confused Reader, If you didn't know I have a "business", it's an Etsy shop in which I sell these pretty printable Bible verse cards. "Business" is in quotes because I just set it up and pay my taxes and do zero marketing, so it kind of feels like I'm cheating by calling it a business.  I'm just not very business-y, can you tell? #notabossbabe

Dear Swimsuit Shopping, Ugh.  Can we just...not?

Dear Warm Weather, I'm happy to see you and all, but can you please visit on a day when we are able to take a trip to the zoo?  Thank you.

Dear Self, It might be a little weird that you find it so satisfying to clip your kids' fingernails. Similar to how it might be weird to admit how satisfying it was to scrape mineralized bacterial colonies off people's teeth for a living for seven years.  Something about cleaning things up, and putting things back in order...maybe we shouldn't mention this to people.  They might not get it.

May

Dear New Swimsuit,  Where have you been all my life?

Dear Internet, Some of us do not have cable and must watch the new episodes of the Bachelorette one day late on Hulu.  PLEASE DO NOT SPOIL ANYTHING.  I like to analyze the show myself before I read your analysis.  Thank you for your consideration.

Dear Trees,  I do not approve of the delay and general sub-parity in your flowering this year, but I will grudgingly give you props for at least not skipping it altogether.  Good job.  But do better next time.




Dear Email Inbox,  Is this an episode of The Twilight Zone?  You've delivered a mere ONE email from a blogger who just had to tell me about the Build Your Bundle Homeschool sale tomorrow.  ONE.  What is happening?  Where are the other 25?

Dear Build Your Bundle Sale, I'm not really sure why you are so tempting.  I think I've used a mere two or three of the resources from the massive bundle I bought from you last year.  I feel like you tricked me.  And yet, I see all your shiny new printable curricula and worksheets, and I still get sucked in every time.  Maybe the homeschool inspiration and excitement you offer is worth something, but let's just say I'm going to keep a tighter hold on my wallet this year.  Just please don't offer me coupons.

Dear New Books I Bought,  Look what you made me do!  I was supposed to refrain from new-book-buying until the library sale.  Now you are making me feel guilty.  But also not too guilty, because the way you freshened up my to-read list has given my reading a boost.  I feel so torn.  Let's just not tell anyone about my lapse, okay?

Dear Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges,  Wow, you are timely.

Dear Bathroom Renovation,  It's almost time for you to move on.  It's been fun, but also not.  But look at what we have (almost) accomplished together! It's a beautiful thing!  But really, it's time for you to go now.  Thanks for all you do.

Dear Mother's Day Weekend,  You were nice to me this year.  Really laid back.  You gave me time with my mom and my kids, and that's really your purpose, isn't it?  We brought my mom breakfast, went to church, bought some loose-leaf tea, went to a park.  Derek made me my favorite dinner after the kids went to bed, which we ate while we watched our show.  I felt no stress of unreasonable expectations of you, and you even gave me some time to relax too.  Let's do this again next year.




Dear Summer,  Hurry up please, and no more fake-outs!  My poor sunlight-starved heart can't take it.  I have big plans for you.









Just Chatting



I pour a little half and half in the bottom of a pink marble mug, and top it off with sub-par coffee because we are out of the good stuff.  The kids are eating breakfast and watching an episode of Little Bear.  There are some TV shows that wind kids up, and some that are calming to children, and thankfully Little Bear is of the calming variety in our household.

I go around the corner and settle into the homeschool room.  I set up this room so we'd have a quiet(ish) corner of the house to do work in, but I've also found it serves quite well in the morning when I am trying to sneak in some personal Bible study time.  I am working through Hebrews (again), and close my eyes to run through the first three chapters in my head.  I was hoping to have chapter four memorized by now, but I always am too optimistic on these things, no matter how hard I try to be realistic.

And now quiet time is over, the kids are starting to get bored with Little Bear, and I am still sitting down to attempt to write this chatty post.



On Being "So Busy" And Feeling Like Myself

Elizabeth wrote a similar post about hobbies recently, and she mentioned that although she would never want to poo-poo those who are single when they say they "are so busy" (because doesn't every stage feel so busy?), the difference when you have kids is that you're busy, and any time you start something there is always the possibility of being interrupted.  I fully concur with that.  There are so many things I don't try to do, or posts I don't start to write, because I know I'm going to get interrupted.  But this is me breaking the pattern and spilling out some words anyway, even though I will likely be interrupted in the next five minutes.  Something is better than nothing, right?

March is the first month this year where I've actually felt like myself again!  I don't know what it was about January and February, but I just felt somewhat lost both months, like I was running to catch up to my life.  I realized I probably had to let some things go, and cut some things out of my life that were discouraging me.  I quit Bible study because it was just too much right now, put myself on a social media diet because I was escaping to it too often, and planned a few spontaneous field trip days for me and the kids because I used to do that all the time and I miss it.  

(I didn't know what photo to put in this section, so here is me in January, before my non-burgundy roots started to grow out. Maybe I should get my hair re-done one of these days...a hair appointment has never hindered me from feeling like myself, just saying.)

On Not Hating Spring Anymore

Though I do actually enjoy the winter, seeing some signs of Spring has helped bring me out of the duldrums as well.  I took the kids to a park twice this week, and we could have been in short sleeves, it was so nice.  The grass is greening up in town, and I am keeping my eyes peeled for flowering trees to start budding so I can whip out my camera and get some spring-time pictures of the kids (the only thing I regret about living in the mountains is that we don't have flowering trees).






The kids like to bring me "flowers" from outside, even though it's really just handfuls of dead grass (don't try to tell them that though).  But I was pleased to see the other day that in the midst of the grass and dirt clods that were left on my counter, there was a small, green, fern-like plant as well.  So spring is coming, even in the mountains.  

I used to hate spring, hate it, because up here it's mostly just mud season.  Snow is melting, but nothing is growing yet, and your shoes are constantly muddy.  But somewhere in the last couple years I realized maybe my loathing of spring was based on a limited, immature view of it.  When I was young, I hated hiking too, but now I enjoy the exercise.  When I was young, I hated going on mountain drives because it seemed boring, but now I love to explore new roads in the car and find all the gorgeous views.  When I was young, I hated spring because it was muddy and dull...and it's still rather muddy and dull, but when you look closer, you can see the signs of life returning after a long winter, and there is something more refreshing about it now.  Everything starts new again.  There is a redemption to it that I never saw when I was young.

Of course, it also helps that I can now drive to places where there are flowering trees (I love flowering trees).

On Medieval Guilds, Juggling, And Music

We are on the countdown until the end of the school year, and I have been tracking the days on our calendar and the lessons left in our curriculum book daily to make sure they are lining up.  I am not one who thinks you must finish the book before the end of the year, but I also don't want to reach our last day and realize we only have a few more lessons left.  The Type-A side of me would not be able to rest.  We are mostly on track though, and I am thinking of tripling up on our math lessons for a couple weeks so we can finish math early and take the last month of school to just focus on "fun stuff" - history and science.  I think it might be a nice way to wind down the year.

Speaking of winding down the school year, and also speaking of history, our co-op is doing our big spring event next week, a medieval "guild".  Each family is supposed to pick a trade, make some goods, and dress up in medieval garb to come barter at the marketplace.  I cannot tell you how much mental anguish I have gone through trying to figure out what to make.  I had signed us up to be weavers, but then realized how ridiculous it was to think that I could "weave" (knit) enough...something...to trade at the guild, all by myself.  Because of course my little non-knitting kids would not be a help.  I was thinking about shifting to some other simple cloth-related craft, but couldn't come up with a tight enough idea.  So after much frustration I switched us to being the jugglers.  Juggling is kind of a trade, right?  Court jesters and all that?  Okay, no, none of us can actually juggle, but we can make some pretty neat little juggling balls, and it's a lot simpler than weaving something.

And speaking of co-op, we also did a field trip the other day to an "inside the orchestra" event, and it immediately made me regret not taking up the violin in my younger days.  It also made me want to break out my flute again.  It's really tricky to learn how to make the flute actually make noise, and I already have that part down from years ago, so I'm halfway to playing it, right?  In reality I am not a very musically talented person, but I so wish I was.  Enthusiasm counts for something, I think.



On Book Clubs And Reading Too Many Books At Once

Despite never thinking I could keep up with a book club, I have found myself in two book clubs over the last year.  I get excited about book clubs because it's so nice to read a book and have someone to talk to about it.  I love reading a book at the same time as friends or family so we can discuss it later.  But I will also admit that I get a smidge stressed about book clubs or buddy reads, because I am such an ADD reader.  I can't stick with just one book!

Recently I decided enough is enough and I would just read one book at a time, and read that book clear through before picking up another one.  That idea lasted for all of one book before I was back to reading a chapter here and there from five books again.  The problem is that I am a mood reader, and my moods change so often.  I also have a terrible time deciding what I am in the mood for and feel like I have to try five books before I can decide...and then I inevitably never decide and just continue piece-mealing five books at once.

(Who am I kidding, it's more like 10-15 books at once.)

I am going to try the one book thing again, maybe with my most recent bookclub book, Far From The Madding Crowd.  Have you read that one?  PSA: It's free on Kindle.

Chime in, do you play musical instruments, enjoy or hate spring, read too many books at once, or have experience with medieval guilds?  

Tips and tricks appreciated.

The Summer Album: The Sequel


Let's continue with my recap to our summer, shall we?  See yesterday's post for Part One.

Our 10-Year Anniversary

We celebrated our 10 year anniversary this summer!  Anniversary trip is still to come, but we did go to a fun local restaurant/petting zoo/park to celebrate.  The kids ran around and played, and we ate Southern comfort food.




Ballet Class For Gwen

Gwen has been dying to do ballet all year, and was beside herself with excitement when we finally signed her up!  She loved it so much.  We will probably be doing another class for her in the future - it was so sad to see her disappointment on her last day of ballet.  Clarice also dressed up in ballet clothes and tagged along a couple times.




Art Projects On The Porch

A lot of the summer looked like this - just having around at home and goofing off.


Naps

We took a lot of naps.


Lots Of Birthday Parties For Friends And Family

There were a lot of birthday parties this year.  We went to splash pads, and a couple bouncy house parties (one coming up this weekend).  


Trip To Six Flags

A friend of mine got a season pass to Six Flags, and invited me to go with her for a mom's day out!  Derek and I went to an amusement park a couple years ago, and we got sick on a few of the rides but found our sweet spot by the end of the day, so I figured I'd be fine.  My friend and I had a ton of fun, riding all the roller coasters and getting a chance to talk uninterrupted by children!  I did get nauseous between rides though and had to sip a lot of water - why are adult stomachs not as hardy as kid stomachs?  It's just not fair.  I'm bringing Dramamine next time.


$1 Movies At The Theater

Some of our local theaters do $1 kid movies over the summer, so we went to see a couple of them!  I want to go more next summer, it's a fun day out for all of us and it's a nice little break for me!



Campfire In The Backyard

They finally lifted the fire ban toward the end of the summer, so we had a backyard campfire strait away!









Camping On The Porch

We also threw in camping on the porch, because why not?





Trip To See Dinosaur Footprint Fossils

We had an opportunity to hear a creationist geologist speak at a nearby area with dinosaur footprint fossils.  His talk was more geared toward the adults, and I found it interesting (until we had to dive out because the sun was becoming a little too much for Georgie).  The kids were fascinated by the dinosaur footprints, and we all wished we could search through those rocks on the side of the road for fossils.







Last Hoorah For Summer Camping Trip

We decided to take a camping trip on the last weekend before we started school this week!  We went to a KOA, and it was amazing.  They had a water park included in the price of the campsite, so we spent several hours there, letting the kids play!  The water wasn't very deep, so I could just let them go off by themselves while I watched.  It was so much fun!  We also snuck in a hike and trip to "Whit's End".  We got one more campfire in before the summer ended.  It was lovely.










Now Autumn is officially welcome to start!
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