Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Sugar Cookie Family Tree

While Brendon was with us, I also thought it would be fun to do an activity all about family!  I made sugar cookies and the children decorated them (we used edible markers) to look like their relatives and family!  It was simple, fun and delicious!  I think it was a great way for them to visually see how Moms, Dads, Aunts, Uncles and Grandparents all come together on a family tree!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Marshmallow Shooters

My sister and her family have been up visiting this week and are actually moving to our area due to a job promotion and transfer for Bill!  It's pretty crazy that my Mom, sister and I are all going to end up in the same state again!  While they have been off house hunting we've had some cousin time with Brendon.  Yesterday, Bryce made marshmallow shooters with the children that were really fun to build and play with. 

After making a plan, they all went to Home Depot together to gather the materials which were inexpensive PVC pipe.  Bryce made a few tweaks and adjustments from this plan for the shooters.  Bryce also let each child pick out a duck tape to decorate the shooters with, which was way easier and neater than trying to paint the guns.

Once materials were gathered they set to work sawing and fitting pieces together.


Of course, we used safety goggles!

I made little paper bags for them to sling around their shoulders to hold their ammo (marshmallows!).

Of course, Bryce couldn't help but get in on the action!

A fun time was had by all!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

A Twitter

During the early summer, we had a bird build a nest in our birdhouse and the children were so excited to catch glimpses of the little ones and their Mama feeding them.  We were also excited to watch as they grew and learned to fly!  However, what I really wanted to share were these pictures that Grace took.  She set up herself a chair in the middle of the yard, aimed the camera at the birdhouse and waited patiently for her shots (we did have a long lens on the camera).  I think she did beautiful work!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Compost Update

This spring/summer we got to use our first real batch of compost in the garden.  I was so excited to dress all of our flowers and new plantings with this "black gold"!  However, I've had a lot of "volunteer" plants come up, mostly tomato but a few flowers too.  I'm thinking this means that the compost doesn't get hot enough to kill off the seeds.  I've known this was an issue (our compost is just a pile, it's not in an enclosed bin) but wasn't sure how much of an issue it was.  We've loved keeping a compost pile.  It makes us feel as if we don't have a lot of food waste and like we are doing something good for our yard at the same time.  However, I should mention we are lazy composters.  I don't pay a bit of attention to the scientific percentages of nitrogen and carbon, and I 'm wondering if I need to start. Anyone out there have any bits of advice?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Acadia National Park, Maine

Acadia was wonderful and beautiful.  Bryce and I actually visited Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor on our honeymoon, but this was the first time that we have taken the children.  We arrived in Acadia (we stayed in the Blackwoods Campground) on Tuesday and were joined by Kathleen and family that evening.  Our children just love hanging out with Will and Caroline and were thrilled to spend so much time with them.

(the children all earned their junior ranger badges)

We kept everyone busy for sure!  Our first day, we went biking around part of The Loop Road.  We made it to some of the big "must sees" such as Sand Beach and Thunder hole.  Though to be honest, you can't go wrong at any site along this coastline, it's simply spectacular!  The children were like mountain climbers and scrambled over the rocks like their was nothing to it.  I might have had to look away a time or two.

Another day, we visited the Carroll Homestead to learn about how early families used to live, work and play on their farmsteads.  Up to 16 people lived in this house together!  The children also enjoyed playing the old fashioned games.

We made a few short hikes to the coastline and also found a lighthouse.

We went up to the top of Cadillac Mountain and while Kathleen and I enjoyed the view the children and husbands scrambled off to explore.  

We biked around the carriage roads together.

One evening we enjoyed a casual and delicious lobster boil!

Our last evening in Acadia we went on a sea kayak tour and it was a great experience being that close to the water!

Friday, July 19, 2013

In-between Cape Cod and Acadia

We had 3 days to make it from Cape Cod to Acadia, Maine since Jack and Kathleen would not be arriving until Tuesday.  We were to check out of the house on Saturday and had planned on heading out, but since we had a bit of an issue with our water tank and traffic was terrible, we decided to just stay another night (traffic was still awful on Sunday!).  We lucked out and found a nice campground that had one spot left.  That evening we went to a local beach and enjoyed some time in the water and tide-pools.

The next day, after 3 hours of traffic getting off of Cape Cod, we headed up north.  The campground I found was by the beach and got great reviews (it was a State Park), but we were thankful it was just a stopover because it wasn't really our cup of tea.  However, the next night we stayed at Camden State Park and it was wonderful!  The site was great and we were able to do a fantastic hike on the Mt. Megunticook.  From there it was just a couple hours to Acadia.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Cape Cod- Part 2

Toward the middle of the week, the weather finally turned for us and got hot and sunny.  Midweek, we had a really lovely day at the beach.  Unfortunately, it resulted in a very unpleasant sunburn for Grace (she truly had lots of sunscreen on!).  The evening of our beach day we also made it to a fabulous venue that was a drive in movie theater.  We sat in the back of the truck and had a grand time (even if we were a bit chilly and I had a terrible headache from too much sun!).

The 4th of July dawned a beautiful day and we had grand plans for taking a sailboat tour and having a picnic before the fireworks display in Hyannis. Unfortunately, our sailboat company turned out to have questionable business ethics (they canceled our tour siting boat troubles, but then we saw them heading out with another tour later in the evening!).  We ended up on a much larger boat and had quite a ride because the sea was choppy and the wind was high!

After our boat ride, we set up a picnic by the harbor and waited for the fireworks to begin.  It was a lovely evening.  However, the fireworks turned out to be a huge disappointment.  Clouds/fog rolled in as it got dark and completely obscured the fireworks!  In fact, we could only see the top 1/4 of each firework!  Grace kept saying, "I'm sure that one was spectacular!"

While in Cape Cod we also took advantage of the fantastic Rail Trail on our bikes.  The house we rented was right next to the trail so it was super easy and convenient.   

One day, Bryce and Ron took the children to the nature center in Brewster and Gretchen and I were able to sneak in a few stops at antique stores.  I scored two fabulous items that I'm super excited about!

Our trip was a great time spent with friends!

I literally have no idea why I am standing like that!

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