Thursday, August 18, 2011

Day 54 - { summer magic }

   That beautiful season
*  *  *  the Summer of All-Saints!
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.

        Longfellow, Evangeline. Pt. I. St. 2.


100 degrees, 100% humidity. Ah, summer. It is the most miserable time of year in Arkansas, weather-wise, but the most amazing, magical time for us, family-wise! Not only do I get my babies home, but Darling Cutie's schedule vaguely resembles a school teacher's; the symphony season is only during the school year. So apart from the Fourth of July riverside concert, private students and weddings, &c., his time is his own. All those weekends he works during the school year suddenly get made up, and we have about 2 months' worth of "Saturdays." It is HEAVEN.

I want to share with you a fun summertime tradition that I got from my childhood and carry on now (I think all my best ideas come directly from my own parents!). We call it Theme Days.

Each day of the week is assigned a theme, and then we already have a go-to every morning for when the chores and practicing are done and we want to do something together. It is SO FUN!!! Here's the lineup we did this year. . . .

Monday = Arts & Crafts Day

One week we did Shrinky Dinks.




("CTRFamily" is our geocaching username).


Another week we did a marshmallow catapult. I keep a folder of ideas on my Delicious bookmarks account. Some good sources for ideas are other blogs,, and also we love using this book. . .


Tuesday = Geocaching Day


This was a highlight this past summer! Exacto was super helpful with keeping up with the tech-y side of things, and we were sure to pack snacks and water.


I wish I had time to post about some of the memorable adventures we had, but for now I'll just mention that we saw Civil-War era graves and beautiful green places that we would never have discovered otherwise. We found an incredible view of downtown LR that we had passed dozens of times and never noticed. We got scratched and bitten and tiptoed through a field of poison ivy. We even got reprimanded by a cop for parking in a bad spot. But it was such a blast.


  If you have boys around the ages of mine, this is an awesome hobby for you to pick up. Boys need to be outdoors, you know? And this is a good way to get outdoor time in smaller doses than just heading out for a morning in the sweltering heat. Plus it is addictingly fun.



Wednesday = Library Day

Well, of course, we go to the library! This summer I had a couple of piano students on Wednesday mornings, so DC took the kids to the library. There's a great Baby Storytime at our nearest library in Little Rock, and Rosebud gets a huge kick out of it. The boys just wander and try to find books they haven't already read but will like--not an easy feat! I remember when I was a child, coming home from the library with all those new books was awesome, but I always, ALWAYS got carsick on the way home! It was part of the tradition. :)


Thursday = Outdoor Adventure Day

This one sometimes doubled as a second Geocaching day (we couldn't seem to get enough of that!), but one day we did go on a very memorable hike through the forest in a park in our town. It felt like a jungle, it was SO HUMID.

20110714-3 Adventure in the .... Park Rainforest

20110714-6 Adventure in the ... Park Rainforest

We found a babbling brook and a nifty waterfall, and Exacto ran headlong through a huge spiderweb which made all of us creep out for a while. Then right as we came out onto the paved path again it started pouring rain with no lightning. We laughed and sang in the rain on the way back to our car and all of us were soaked through.

20110714-5 Adventure in the ... Park Rainforest


Then there was the week when the heat index was about 114 degrees, and an outdoor adventure just wasn't going to be happening! We had heard about a free movie series at a nearby theater, and that week they were showing Voyage of the Dawn Treader! Yay! So we WATCHED an outdoor adventure. :)



Friday = Baking Day

My favorite culinary creation from this summer's experiments was the rainbow cupcakes from Our Best Bites. It was a perfect setup to try it, because the tedious part of layering the colors was the part my kids enjoyed the most, and I was happy to pass it off to them! :) And I got a huge kick out of trying OBB's crazy-sounding icing recipe, which turned out to be so sinfully delicious I felt like I might get arrested for making it.




Saturday = Game Day

We didn't stick to this one very well--sometimes it's nice to just chill and not worry about doing anything structured! But we did play games a couple of Saturdays. Our favorites right now are. . . .

Whoonu - this one's awesome because it doesn't involve skill, just how well you know the other people playing (and of course, the luck of the draw)


Dominion - we played the one with my sister and her husband when they came to visit for the Fourth of July, and got totally hooked! It is a blast!


100 days of gratitude tag The break is over now, and we are again at the mercy of our bossy school-day schedule. But the sweet taste of this heavenly summer lingers. How grateful I am for the time we had to rest and be together. I feel incredibly blessed that we have this special time to look forward to every year!



Chocolate on my Cranium said...[Reply to comment]

Love the idea of theme days! We've been geocaching and enjoyed it a lot. We were quite surprised to find there are 10 caches just in our little valley and up in the mountains west of us. Who knew?!

Vauna said...[Reply to comment]

You are such an inspiration. I enjoyed all the wonderful stories of the adventures you've had. I think I may just have to take up geocaching as well.

Amy Kay said...[Reply to comment]

Oh Michelle, I wish I had known about all your wonderful activity theme day ideas. I need to remember this so I can do something similar with my boys. Can you email me some more information about geocahing? That sounds neat. I am not sure how much there is here in my town, but it would be fun to check it out. We do theme nights sometimes here too, revolving around dinner and movies. Great memories can be created with little time and money in prepartion. Keep up the good work. Love hearing about your beautiful family and your adventures. Love and miss all of you. Amy :) Also, thank you for your frienship.

llamitanan said...[Reply to comment]

What a delightful post! It was so fun reading it and looking at the pictures. The last picture under geocaching with all four children is so typical of the four: Exacto leading with the instructions, Fluffy smiling nicely for the picture and enjoying himself, Hummer off looking for buds and Rosebud right in the middle with her brothers. Such great and fun ideas! Sounds like your summer was magical! Sure love all of you and look forward to seeing you soon!

Becky said...[Reply to comment]

Man, the only thing wrong here is that I couldn't be there to enjoy the days with you! (Not that that affected your fun. :) I wish that I could jump into every single picture!

I'm so glad you guys had such a wonderful summer. What a good mom you are, Michelle. ;)

heroineworshipper said...[Reply to comment]

Hearing violins.

Andrea said...[Reply to comment]

SOunds like some great ideas. I am glad you documented them. You are such a good mom.

Karrot Soup said...[Reply to comment]

I loved the pictures, especially the humid one. And the ones with you in them. All wonderful though :)