Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Paint a GIANT 4th of July flag

Happy 4th of July! This flag is so easy to paint and make. It is just equal parts cornstarch and water. With a little food coloring, you can make all sorts of colors. Don't worry, it comes off super easy with water (I tested!)

Read more about it here or to see 4th of July Flop.

Dollar Movies at Jordan Creek Town Center

Looking for something fun and cool to do on Tuesday mornings this summer? Last year these movies were at hit at the Jordan Creek Town Center movie theater. Its back again this summer.

July 6: Flushed Away
July 13: Kung Fu Panda
July 20: Over the Hedge
July 27: Shrek the Third
August 3: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

Each movie begins at 10 AM and costs $1/ticket.
visit for more info.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Free Freezie Flop

Every year on our "Big Summer To Do" the kids always want to have a lemonade stand, but this year they wanted to do it differently. Megan and Lucy decided on having different flavored freezies and wanted to call their stand Harry Potter Popsicles. They were also positive they wanted to save their earnings for Harry Potter souvenirs. Turns out that was the easy part.

A price point could not be determined by the girls. Megan wanted to price them high ($1) so they would make more money. Lucy wanted to sell them cheap (.25) so they would sell more. Dave and I sat back and listened to their conversations which was pretty insightful and humorous for a 6 and 8 year old.

It was decided upon having a "donation jar" where people could donate what they felt like. They then easily came up with "Harry Potter" Esq names for their Potter Popsicles including Purple Potion, Orange Ogre and Blue Blast.

I wish I could say they racked in so much money that it paid for their desired wands and broomsticks. It didn't.

They sat outside for 2.5 hours Sunday afternoon. Our street had never been so deserted. It was devoid of all signs of life. Finally, a classmate of Megan's and her mom walked by. They took 4 Freezies and promised to return with money. They didn't. Neighbor girls came by and got 2. That was the only sale.

I am sure there is a life lesson somewhere in this to be had. In time that will come. Right now I am trying to find freezer space for all these freezies...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sneaky Smoothies

I love smoothies in the summer and eat them practically daily. I also love making them for my kids. I love how I can disguise so many things into a smoothie and they have no idea the variety of fruits, yogurt, dry milk and even flax seeds they are consuming.

Here is the "Green Monster" courtesy of Iowa Girl Eats.

<span class=

I changed up the recipe a bit so it was ingredients we had on hand.

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1 Tablespoon almond butter
  • 1Tablespoon flax seeds
  • 2 big handfuls baby spinach
  • 6-10 ice cubes
Put all ingredients in the blender until smooth.

Hee hee...I can sometimes be a wise mom and made this smoothie while the kids were downstairs playing. I knew if they saw some of the ingredients (ahem...spinach) they would be awfully hesitant.

Instead, I created it and called them upstairs for a Harry Potter treat. I then insisted they come up with a name for it. They christianed it "The Green Gorp". Hey...whatever it takes to get them to drink it, right?!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Top 20 Foods to Never Feed Your Kids

You know you are curious. I know you want to know (but you don't!). Relax all of these items are prepared by someone else and you would pretty much have to intentionally order them at a restaurant or single handily put them in your shopping cart. We do have somewhat control!

Take a peek here! By the you know how awesome captain crunch is with chocolate milk?! mmmmmmmm! Don't tell my kids. ;-)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Harry Potter Obsession X 3

Its not just Lucy and Megan. Lately, I have had 3 year old Max running around with his magic wand proclaiming, "Expelliarmus" and "EXPECTO PATRONUM."

I love that they have a fascination with something and this has lasted well over a year. We started reading the books as a family at bedtime last summer. Let me tell you, nothing cures the, "but its not dark yet" summer syndrome like Dave or I beginning to read. We have completed 5/7 books and watch the corresponding movie together after finishing each book.

This fascination has carried over into all their play, listening to the books on CD in the car and re-reading the books on their own in their freetime. Now they are planning a trip to the new Harry Potter theme park in Orlando and have it completely thought out from what they are going to do and try. They are even trying to raise money for their own broomsticks, robes and wands.

By the way, in case you are wondering, Expecto Patronum means awaiting protection and Expelliarmus is the disarming spell. Not sure if Max knows that, but we are all constantly being told expelliarmus here...

10 Tips for Being Happier

"Act how you want to feel" or at least "Fake it till you feel it."

Those quotes has stood out in my mind since reading, The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin. It makes perfect sense. Its easy to remember and its definitely doable. There is no need to over analyze, second guess, or dwell upon things.

This book started off without hype and fanfare, but word of mouth is powerful and it has now been a New York Times bestseller for months and is featured all over the place. The author, Gretchen, follows me on twitter so I feel like we can be on a first name basis with one another, also has a blog. You can read more of her tips for being happier here.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Time to Vote!

Internet Solver is up for re-election for the Business Record Best of 2010. Please vote here for Internet Solver in the categories of:
Best computer consulting company
Best local internet service provider
Best telecommunication equipment dealer

you can also vote here for all your favorite restaurants and stores. Its fun to vote and make your voice heard!
and...if you feel like tossing in another name, vote for Dave Weis in the business leaders under 40 category. He won't promote that himself, but has done amazing things with technology in Des Moines and with Internet Solver. He has always had an eye for what the future holds with technology. Check out the proof here!

Its so important to support local businesses! We love to beat out the big greedy boys at Qwest and pride ourselves on often beating their price and their service. Supporting Local businesses is part of what keeps Des Moines strong. You have until July 2nd! Thanks for your support!

You can read about the winnings last year here.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Why we eat when we are not hungry!

I am probably one of the biggest grazers you know. I adore food and often plan out my meals and snacks just so I can anticipate them. Food isn't just social for me as I often make some of my "naughtiest" snacks in the afternoon when Max is napping and the girls are playing or at school. That snack rotates, but currently I have been hooked on peanut butter, vanilla frozen yogurt with sugar free chocolate sauce on top. Yum!

I have been inspired by people that keep food journals and write down exactly what they eat. I'd love to do that, but don't feel the need to obsesses over it. Basically I work out so I can eat without worry. Life is short; there are too many goodies out there to try.

What I do want to work on is not just eating because its there and the constant grazing thoughout the day. I found these fun reasons on why we eat when we aren't hungry. How many hold true for you?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Wet Welcome

Welcome home, Daddy!
no...those aren't Easter Eggs!

Its time to Celebrate Summer! For the first time in forever, we didn't have to be somewhere or doing something. We had absolutely nothing planned for this humid June evening. This absolutely called for a water balloon fight. Max is obsessed with water balloons anyway and the girls were all about helping me fill them. Three buckets later, we ready and primed at the side of the house for the Internet Solver vehicle.

Daddy was very unsuspecting, but didn't take him long to mastermind his way into the game as he somehow confiscated a water gun, then went for the hose and managed to get to our water balloon stash. Hmmmm...somehow the kids and I ended up wetter then he did.

Tropical Sno with Shawn Johnson

Last night the family and I had a surprise encounter on a fun summer evening. Max had his 2nd night of t-ball at the park near our house. Its his first "organized" activity so it has been exciting for us to see him in that setting.

We rode our bikes to the park and planned on heading to Tropical Sno afterward. Guess who was out for a run and stopped by this snow cone stand for a drink? The girls recognized Shawn at once and their much anticipated snow cones were momentarily forgotten as they stood agape at her. I had my camera with me because of Max's baseball practice and debate weather or not to bother the poor girl who probably can't go anywhere in town without being asked.

Shawn was happy to oblige. Can you believe this girl?! The heat index was 104 degrees yesterday at 7 pm, she is returning from a run and still looks fantastic!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mother Daughter Book Club: A Success!

I love to read. I love my kids. We both love being around other wonderful moms and kids. Last year, I had the idea of starting a mother/daughter book club. I did minimal research on it, but mostly just envisioned moms and daughters gathering once a month, reading and discussing some of the beloved classics.

To make the club personable, each mother/daughter duo selected a book for their month, hosted it at their house and was responsible for discussion/games/activities and the all-important snack!

Man, did these moms and daughters ever know how to plan a good time! There was lots of sharing, learning and laughter. I loved watching the girls spanning 6-11 years of age interact and have so much fun!

Here is a list of the books we read for the 2009/2010 school year.

Mother Daughter Book Club



1st Year - 2009-2010

Ramona Quimby, Age 8

Beverly Cleary


Sara Pennypacker

My Father’s Dragon

Ruth Stiles Gannett

The World According to Humphrey

Betty Birney

Pippi Longstocking

Astrid Lindgren

Marley and Me

John Grogan

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy

Jeanne Birdsall

Little Women

Louisa May Alcott

Please contact me if you want any additional games/activities/crafts or ideas to go along with these books. There were some amazing things done! We will be starting our 2010-2011 year in September. List of books to come!

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Mini Vacay in our own City!

My parents celebrated their 40th anniversary over the past weekend. They are two of the kindest and generous people I know and all they wanted was to spend it with their kids and grandkids. That is so thoughtful and makes me feel somewhat guilty as just Dave and I jet off to Jamaica in a month to celebrate our anniversary. Maybe that's what an extra 30 years does?!

Several options came into thought for this mini vacay. Branson? Too far for just a weekend. Honey Creek Resort? Been there. Loved it, but booked (it was Father's Day weekend after all).

Turns out we had a perfect fun filled weekend right in our own town. Sometimes those are really are the best!

Two nights at Adventureland Resort. 3 pools, water slides, and a swim up bar. Fun filled times at Adventureland, Big Steer Steakhouse, and horse racing at Prairie Meadows.

Congratulations and thank you for such a memorable celebration, Mom and Dad!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

40 Years of Marriage! Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

I think my mom summed it up perfectly a few weeks ago when I was talking with her on the phone. It my wedding anniversary and she was congratulating Dave and I on our 11 years together.

11 years?! How could that be possible?! I thought about how much Dave and I had seen, done and experienced with our family over 11 years. It is amazing to me.

"But 40 years?" I told my mom. "That is truly incredible!"

"Your father has been a part of my life for more years then he hasn't."

That is so true for over 2/3 of their lives, they have been together. They do know more together then apart.

It is such an inspiration and a blessing. I am so proud of them! Here is how we celebrated!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Time to Celebrate!

This post is a continuation. Click here to read from the start.

But first, a hot shower!

Then Gateway Market for brunch! Its our tradition to go there after races. We had planned a late lunch or dinner, but since I had finished so much earlier then planned, why not try out their breakfast?! Mmmm...breakfast burritos, french toast, hot coffee! It was a perfect choice!

After our stomachs were filled, it was still raining so we headed home to read the Sunday paper, relax and watch a movie. It was only 10 AM, but felt like 5 PM. After awhile it cleared off to a beautiful day so we headed to the Picket Fence Creamery where daily they make their own ice cream. We got brownie sundaes there and a quart of strawberry to go. Its made with their homegrown strawberries. Yum! Did I mention another favorite part of races? I bascially just eat my way through the day without thought.

I still had so much energy (the race had been shortened after all!) so I took Megan and Lucy back to the Hy-Vee Triathlon to watch the elites from all over the world compete for $200,000. It was so much fun and very exciting! Can you imagine doing that for a living?

To cap off a very long, eventful and fun day. That night I went to a tri party with others I had trained with for the past several months.

Its over. Done. Put to rest! Hello Summer!

Friday, June 18, 2010

A Thunderous End

This post is a continuation of a small series. Click here to begin.

I had finished the triathlon with about 15 minutes before the downpour. Of course at that moment I didn't know it was really going to pour. If I did, I might have done things differently. I had spotted my family on the run portion so knew it would take them awhile to make it over to the finish line. It seemed like a perfect time to chat with others, grab some food and catch my breath.

Then came the flooding rain. Sure it had been brewing for several hours, but I really thought I had time. I was just basking in the glow of finishing and really didn't want to be thinking about what to do next. I borrowed a cell phone from someone in a shelter house that I had beelined for and checked in with the family. Thank goodness they had made it into the park and were also in a shelter house...across the park.

We waited. It poured. We waited. It poured. After an hour, it let up somewhat and I dashed for the transition area to get my bike and all that gear. Everything had been left out on my transition towel and was soaked. I furiously tried to jam everything back into my back pack. But the rain seemed to have expanded my biking shoes, helmet, wetsuit...and it wouldn't quite fit.

Then there was the grill cover. The grill cover that the night before I had lavishly covered my bike with. Oh, I had been so proud of this ingenuity! My bike wouldn't be sitting out in the rain all night like thousands of others, oh no...I had brought the family grill cover.

Did it end up raining that night? No.

Have you ever tried to ride your bike with a 30 lbs of sopping wet backpack and an absolutely drenched, bulky and mammoth grill cover? I wanted to leave it. I had, after all, abandoned the now 15 pound tri towel. I couldn't do it. My husband had been so generous to offer the family grill cover. I had to take it. Did I mention it had begun pouring again?

click here to continue reading.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Best Part of Racing

this post is a continuation. Click here to begin.

There are a couple of reasons why I race and do events. First, I love having a goal and something to work toward. It helps streamline and structure my workouts and definitely provides the motivation for getting up early.

Secondly, I love love love the feeling when they are over! Its the feeling of accomplishment and pride that is addicting. It doesn't matter the distance or the event, I love that "crossing the finish line" feeling. My family is right there with me on this and after the Hy-Vee Triathlon, the rain did not stop us from having a fun filled day!

Heading home from the race with the kids, "Big Brother Bikey" as they call him and their brand new yellow Hy-Vee shirts (as the race officials thought) "they looked cold."

They weren't cold! Kids love rain, they got to ride around in a golf cart at the race with a volunteer and they got new shirts! Their smiles were enormous when I finally saw them. Life doesn't get any better!

click here to continue reading.

Hit and Misses

This post is a continuation. Click here to read from the start.

Hy-Vee Triathlon Weekend Hits

-We still got to do a triathlon. The Olympic course was shortened to a sprint due to severe weather, which actually did occur 10 minutes after me finishing.

-Hy-Vee officials and volunteers were amazing. They announced the race change 40 minutes before start time and the re-organization and restructuring that occurred was pretty impressive.

-I was proud of myself and the results. I had felt confident, strong and prepared.

Hy-VeeTriathlon Weekend Misses

-The kids triathlon was cancelled on Saturday. It was a bummer. It was understandable. It was extremely wet, the weather was extremely iffy, but it was an extreme pain. After all of the set-up and preparations, it was disappointing that nothing could be made up. We picked up the girls bikes on Saturday, they still got their medals and they spent the day picking at those very permeable tri tats.

-On Sunday morning with the announcement of the race change from the Olympic distance to the Sprint, half the people cheered as they weren't feeling prepared for the Olympic distance. The other half, like me, were disappointed. I was prepared. I had put in the time, training, and effort. I had practiced those darn hills 2-3 times a week for the past four months. I had gotten up at 4:30 AM two times a week so I could do long bikes on the open road. I'm not angry or resentful about the call. It was what had to happen, but I was prepared for that Olympic distance.

That was to be my Olympic race for the season, but am letting that go! As promised I am giving the rest of the summer and my energy back to my family. They deserve it and we have loads of adventure and fun planned.

Before that, we had to celebrate the culmination of the Hy-Vee Triathlon. click here to continue reading.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Over, Done and Putting it to Rest

The Hy-Vee Triathlon is over, done with and am putting it to rest...soon. I have had several people ask me my thoughts on this event and was encouraged to record them.

Nobody does this event like Hy-Vee. I know it takes a year of planning and the set-up at Raccoon River Park is amazing. This park is practically in our backyard so we visit it a lot. In the month leading up to to the triathlon, it is completely transformed; practically unrecognizable. Everything from the massive grandstands to the array of white tents and blue carpet and fencing that appears to go on forever.

I try to get down there several times over the weeks as they are setting up. It helps me get used to the changes, but matter how many times I do that, it still makes my heart beat faster as I make my left hand turn into the park. It just looks so different.

click here to continue reading.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

More Summer Free Fun!

In addition to free books your kids can get, here are some more ideas to look into!

* Kids Bowl Free Program: Kids can bowl free this summer! By participating in the “Kids Bowl Free” program, children can bowl two free games per day. Go here for more details and to find a participating location near you.

* Free Bowling at AMF: Your whole family can bowl free by joining the AMF eClub. Receive a coupon for up to 10 free games (one for each member in your party). Coupon expires 30 days from signing up.

* Lowe’s Free Build and Grow Clinics: Workshops are offered on Saturdays at 10 a.m.

* Home Depot Free Kid’s Workshops: Workshops are designed for children ages 5-12 and are offered on the first Saturday of the month between 9 a.m. and noon at all Home Depot stores. We have done these before and the aprons, safety goggles, tools and projects are so kid friendly.

* Apple Summer Camps: Select Apple Retail stores are holding summer camps where kids can make movies, create photo slideshows, write and record songs, put on a show for everyone, and learn how to do new things on a Mac. Apple Camp occurs at selected Apple Retail Stores, and each free workshop lasts three hours. hmmmm...this seems like something the kid's dad would like too.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Most Prep for the Shortest Race Ever!

Last week was all about The Preparation. The Hy-Vee Triathlon puts on an amazing world class event each year, but it does take quite a chunk out of your life for a bit. Not with just the 4-6 months training, but the week leading up to it is quite full of things that you really need and have to do.

There are open water swim sessions at Raccoon River to attend. Sure, they aren't mandatory, but with the swimming often being the most dreaded part of the triathlon its good to get in a few times at your own pace (before you are in with hundreds of others).

Next there is the mandatory race meeting to attend the Friday before at Valley Southwoods. A video is shown from previous years and you listen to the ins/outs, rules and regulations. Basically its pretty much where your heart is in your throat and you kind of wonder what you have gotten yourself into.

This is also where its one of my favorite parts of the event; getting the schwag. Hy-Vee takes the cake with this with snazzy new bike jerseys, visors, hats, sunglasses...yummy protein bars. I really love protein bars, but don't buy them too often because they are like candy bars to some people. I really can't stop eating them.

Then the day before the race there is the cleaning of the bike, putting the race numbers on the bike, dropping off the bike at Raccoon River and finally the covering the bike with the family grill cover as the forecast calls for rain all night.

What about the rest of the prep? Figuring out how to put on those new tri tats , packing and repacking all of the gear (food, drink, wetsuit, swim cap, goggles, body glide, bike shoes, running shoes, sunglasses, hat, race belt, towel, hat, helmet) to try to get it into one bag ( it didn't happen).

Let's take all of this x 3 as Megan and Lucy were to participate in the kids triathlon on Saturday. Yes, it was all about The Preparation last week for what turned out to be only an Hour and 15 minutes of actual racing.

to be continued...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Hy-Vee Olympic Triathlon #2

Tomorrow is the day! I completed this goal in 2009 and am off to do it again. What has changed this time around? Training has been a lot easier this year. Not easier in numbers of miles and time put in, but easier because I didn't have as much to learn this year.

Last year was all about learning to swim efficiently. After that came learning to swim in open water (which was a big worry for me the previous year). Last year was also the first time really riding a road bike. There is a lot that goes with that in terms of being out on the open road as opposed to riding trails and getting used to changing gears effectively.

Bluff Creek Triathlon May 23, 2010
first in age group/6th overall

Not only getting that down, but all the other ins, outs and lingo of tri stuff. Experiencing brick workouts, wetsuits and all of the gear needed with this sport including pool buoys, lights on my bike, bike fittings...the costs were definitely higher last year.

Less to learn this year, but with that comes more expectations. I wanted to be a faster swimmer. Better biker. I am proud to say that I didn't stress myself out over it. Everyone wants to improve, its just a healthy part of human nature. I wish I could say I there were specific goals, but in general I just biked and swam more and didn't spend as much time on my run.

I did the sprint triathlon a few weeks ago at Bluff Creek. It felt incredible! Now for this Olympic distance tomorrow and then summer is here!

click here to read more.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Twitter Books

Today is my hubby's birthday (Happy Birthday, Dave!) and I am super excited about my gift for him. We always have time to talk each day, but in our busy day to day lives it can be easy to forget the passing/fleeting moments and thoughts that often make an impression on us.

That is why we both love twitter. We follow one another on it and I love reading about what he is doing and thinking throughout the day. Then at night, we can focus on the more important matters like our kids and...whats for dinner.

Dave has such funny and thoughtful sides to him and it really shows through in his writing. I love reading his observations on the kids, work and life in general.

Enter the perfect gift: Tweetbookz! It allows you to make a copy of favorite tweets and put them into a hard or softcover book. Dave would never keep a journal, but this is such a fun keepsake of things that he has done, seen and thought of over the year. Did I mention how inexpensive it is? $19.89 for this book here.

Gave it to him last night at our family birthday dinner at Red Robin.
Loved it! He's taking it to the office today to show to everyone.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Summer + Reading Programs = Free Books!

Ahh...summer memories of being a young girl and filling out my summer reading book log. Once a week I would ride my bike to the Jefferson Public Library instead of hitting the swimming pool. I remember digging through the various prize bins based on how many minutes I had read that week and claiming my precious reward. Reading was something I always did anyway, but in the summer it was different. Earning prizes for already doing what I loved? Icing on the cake!

Thank goodness with all the techy/video game stuff around, summer reading programs are still around and in full force. We always do the local library, but the big box retailers have also gotten into the mix.

Half Price Books has the simplest reading form of all (just record minutes read) and you can do it every week. Kids turn in their book log and can pick out any book ($3 value) in the store for their prize. My girls love this and have been building up their American Girl book collection.

Barnes and Noble
: Fill out their reading log (available at their stores) and kids can pick out any new book of their choice. Word is that kids can do this at any location (thanks, Lisa!)

Borders Bookstore is now offering a similar one to Barnes and Noble.

Hey, who doesn't love free books?!

click here for more summer free fun and our big Summer To-Do list!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Protein Bars, Cookie Dough and Brownie Batter

What?! Why haven't I thought of this before? I am always trying to incorporate more protein into my diet (builds strong muscles, you know!), but protein and desserts! Yum!

First, check out the picture.

Then, get the recipe here!

Also my workout buddy, Karen, gave me this recipe for protein bars.

2 cups quick oats
1 cup dark choc chips
1 cup milled flax sees.
1 cup vanilla protein.
1 cup honey 1 cup peanut butter.
9x13 pan press into refrigerate.

ummm...I think I would eat the whole pan!

A Bribe of Mimi's Muffins!

I have stooped so low! Today is the first day of summer break for the kids and I am all about being a good mom and letting my kids sail right into summer fun...after yoga. I am competing in the Hy-Vee Triathlon again this year and the event is on Sunday.

We have a completely full next few days with softball games, Dave's birthday and getting the everyone ready for the Kid's Triathlon and myself.

I have to get to yoga class. I love it. It relaxes and stretches me and is truly the favorite workout out of everything else I do. 8 AM this morning is the only class at the gym I can get to this week for it. In a short bit I will be waking up my now 3rd grader, first grader and soon to preschooler (earlier then they ever got up for school mind you), but so they can go to the kids gym while I get my yoga in.

Fear not, after that I already promised them a surprise mystery trip to kick off summer. I'll tell you though, we are heading to Mimi's Cafe for a breakfast and four free muffins.

Have you had Mimi's Muffins yet? They are absolutely melt in your mouth delish! I especially like the chocolate chip ones.I think they will forgive me for the early wake up call on the first day of summer.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Our Big Summer To Do

The last school bell has rung and summer is officially here! It is a bit later then usual for us because of an over abundance of make up snow days, but that just gave us extra opportunity to anticipate summer and tweak our annual "Summer Fun To-Do" list. Every year we start a list of things we want to do and learn in the summer and post it on our fridge for easy access. I like calling it our Summer To Do because usually our to-do lists entails things like chores and its good for the kids to see that "to-do" is not always work!

There are always the favorite oldies that get re-mentioned right off the bat, but this year the kids have come up with some newbies. I continue to be proud of them as they pick creative things and inexpensive things instead of listing off things that are costly and a no-brainer (science center, zoo, Adventureland...)

The 2010 Weis Family Summer Fun To-Do

Camp in backyard
Sprinkler/Water Cone Races
Create your own ice cream sundaes
Under the Rainbow with Hose
Lemonade/Cookie Stand
Create and Play in Chemist Lab and Design Studios
Bike to Tropical Sno
Drive in Movie
Go Bowling
Bike to Dahls for Breakfast
Visit the Dairy Farm/Creamery
Bike Around Grays Lake
Farmer's Market
Living History Farms
Firepit Smores
Water Balloon Fight
Summer Olympics in Backyard
Painting Clubhouse with Water
Treasure Hunts
Chalk the Corners

In addition to our "to-do" we include things we want to learn each summer.

Lucy's Learning Goals
telling time
Endangered Species

Megan's Learning Goals
practice on new sewing machine
french braid

Max's Learning Goals
writing his name
Using scissors

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Tea Party, Please?!

It was Megan's turn for our Try New Foods Challenge/Family Fun Night/opportunity for me to get out of meal planning for the night. Whatever you want to call it, Megan was chomping at the bit for her turn. She eagerly picked the Colonial Time Period which was inspired by her American Girl Doll, Felicity.

If anyone knows Megan at all they should not be surprised that this was not going to be the simplistic "lets gather eggs" colonial bit. Oh no, this was the fancy "everyone gets dressed up and we eat off our china plates." kind of time period.

Megan requested a finger foods, which are evidently what you serve when having a tea party. She made up tiny sandwiches with a variety of fillers. Enter the perfect opportunity for a variety of new foods and favorites with turkey, ham, varying cheeses, roast beef, mayonnaise and breads. She also wanted fresh strawberries and fancy little cakes for dessert. She prepared it all minus the cakes. When I was at Hy-Vee and saw the darling Little Debbie white cream filled fancy cakes, I knew that any "fancy cake" I helped her prepare would be nothing like this.

Megan wore her "Southern Belle" costume and Lucy her "Victorian Girl" gown (yes, I realize time periods were a bit off, but they wanted to choose their "fanciest dresses." Max was even allowed to use the china and they loved sipping lemonade from the tea cups.

What did I love? The manners were exquisite! It must be something about eating off china! After dinner, Megan had a choice for a game or watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which Daddy had just gotten. That won out, hands down and for an hour we all entered a fantasy type time.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Twist on the 2010 New Food Challenge

For the past two months we have added a twist to our "try new foods" challenge to try to keep it fresh, interesting and educational. Since, Megan and Lucy have take an interest in other countries, time periods and researching we thought it would be fun for each of us to choose a time or a place and plan on dinner menu around that. This would also be perfect opportunity to rejuvenate our Family Fun Night which we had kind of gotten away from.

Lucy was up first and picked "pioneer times." She already knew quite a bit about this because of her American Girl books, but she still scoured all of her Kristin books to come up with her menu plan; Tilapia, potatoes and apples. She explained that these were things that pioneers could grow or fish for on their own.

What Lucy was most excited about was her dessert choice of Johnny Cakes. After school she and I made these little flour cakes and timed it so they came out of the oven perfectly warm just in time for dessert. She served everyone a cake sliced into four bite sized samples. This was so they could try each with a different topping of honey, molasses, maple syrup and powdered sugar. It became a taste test to see which topping was a favorite. Honey ended up in first place with molasses a dead last.

Lucy had planned our evening activity with a rousing game of "Button Button who has the button?," which turned out to be rather humorous as Max unable to contain his excitement over this game. The "guesser" barely had time to open their eyes before Max announced who was hiding the button in their hands.

Next up is Megan's Colonial Time period and how we realize Harry Potter is not from that era.