Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Summer List 2011

The evening of the summer solstice we began working on our summer list. It's a process that takes several days each year.  First, we brainstorm what we want to do over the summer.  Our list usually includes new things to learn, to try, places to visit, as well as many old summer favorites.  Once we have our list ready we work on an art project that will serve as a way to capture our ideas.  For this summer's list we painted craft sticks, which was very fun and relaxing and is definitely a craft we'll return to.  The sticks had to dry for about a day and during that time we added to our list.  Finally, I wrote down our summer list items, one per stick.  We're keeping our idea sticks in a simple white container and referring to them often for inspiration.  In years past we've done about 60% of what's on the list and added all sorts of other activities along the way, and I expect this year will be similar.  It may seem like a lot, but in truth our summers are mostly filled with sleeping in, hanging out at the pool and in the backyard, putzing around the house and enjoying having everyone in the nest again.   

Here's some of what's on our list:
  • Make sun prints
  • Make art outside
  • Fly a kite
  • Make paletas
  • Sign up for the library reading program
  • Go berry picking
  • Go to Nature Center classes
  • Roast marshmallows and hotdogs at night
  • Stargaze
  • Make a picnic basket and go on picnics
  • Learn to ride a bike (Sabrina)
  • Learn to swim (CC)
  • Learn to crawl (Maya)
  • Go to Spain
  • Have a fireworks party
  • Have sprinkle parties
  • Visit National parks
  • Have neighborhood happy hours
  • Make rhubarb recipes
  • Make plum recipes
  • Write poetry
  • Visit the Washington monument
  • Go to see outdoor movies
  • Go to local beaches
  • Dance with colored scarves
  • Go to concerts
  • Speak Spanish
  • Visit a butterfly show
  • Catch lightning bugs in jars
  • Catch butterflies with new nets
  • Have a lemonade stand
  • Use fabric markers
  • Make giant soap bubbles
  • Have a water balloon party
  • Make flower prints
  • Study gnomes
  • Shop at the farmers' markets
  • See a play
  • Visit Berkeley Springs, WV
  • Make masks
  • Decorate china plates
  • Make lemon cookies with yellow sprinkles
  • Have movie nights
  • Play card games
  • Go to the Arlington Fair
  • Have a yard sale
  • Go to the pool
  • Have a Beatles dance party
  • Make rainbow foot and hand prints
  • Visit the American Girl store
  • Write to our penpals
  • Read chapter books as a family
  • Go to the Father-Daughter dance
  • Find heart-shaped rocks for our collection

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Homemade Popsicles

On hot Virginia days my girls could eat popsicles all day long.  This healthy and nutritious version lets me be generous--popsicles for breakfast, anyone?

We combine our favorite fruit kefir with fresh fruit, add a few squirts of honey and maybe a packet or two of stevia to sweeten things up or a few squirts of lemon juice for a nice tartness.  Then we blend the mixture up just enough to break up the fruit, pour into molds and put in the freezer.

Freezing yogurt does not kill the probiotics in it if the popsicles are eaten within a few months... we're making a new batch every few days so not a problem here.  Also, we don't always match the popsicle to our clothes, but sometimes we get lucky that way!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Clean Children Are a Sign of a Parenthood Misspent

Just like that cool quote about a clean home being a sign of a life misspent, always clean children in cute outfits with nicely brushed hair might be a sign of a parenthood misspent. 

CC loves to draw on her body with markers that take several baths to come off.  She selects her own outfits and combines flowers with flowers, blues with oranges.  She wants to wear sneakers with frilly dresses.  She really only likes her hair loose and in her face. 

It's true that I get a kick out of leaving the house with all my children clean, adorably coordinated and well put together.  And I think I do sleep better on the nights when all three girls are in bed freshly bathed with clean, untangled hair and trimmed nails.

But I try not to get too attached to any of this, and more and more take as  much pride in delivering an oddly dressed, not quite groomed child to school as I used to in delivering one in perfect pigtails and darling dresses. It's a sign that I've spent my parenting moments on something more important, that I've averted tears and allowed my child to be the way she loves to be, that our time in the morning was spent making art or reading a book or loving each other up before parting for a while.