Sunday, July 28, 2013

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Jar

Summer is flying by in our house. I can hardly believe that school starts in about a month! How did that happen? While we've kept ourselves busy with vacations, trips to the pool, and camps, we have also run across the occasional spell of boredom. While I think it's good for kids to be a bit bored once in a while (it gets those creative juices flowin'!), our family has come up with a pretty simple and effective way to fight boredom on some of those lazy summer afternoons.

I give you ... The PALS Summer Jar of Fun.

I just came up with that oh-so-original title right now, so don't laugh at my naming prowess. The kids just refer to it as "the jar", but that sounded too bland and boring to me.

At the beginning of June we all sat down and thought of some fun, easy, and inexpensive things that we wanted to do over the course of the summer. The only real requirement was that the activity was simple enough to do spur of the moment (nothing that required much pre-planning) so that we could pull it out in the morning and be able to do the activity that day.

The kids LOVE the jar. Mostly I think they like the idea of picking something random to do and not knowing what they're going to get. Actually, this is the main point of the jar: Put in some fun things that we would probably do anyway but up the excitement level a little bit by adding the element of surprise.

The jar has really been a welcome addition this summer. The kiddos want to pull something out of it every day, but we try and restrain ourselves and just do a few a week. Some days we don't have time to do something in the jar, so we save it for a rainy afternoon or a day where we know we won't have camps or other things to do.

Here are a few examples of activities we threw into the jar:

Pick blueberries
Do a simple science experiment (baking soda + vinegar = hours of fun)
Go to a new park
Have a water balloon fight

Make ice cream
Play cards
Write a letter to grandparents
Find a fun Pinterest project to do and do it
Go on a picnic
Go on a nature walk

And many more!

Again, these are all things that we probably would have done anyway, it just makes it a lot more fun when it's a surprise! I think we'll continue the jar tradition next summer (and may even institue one for Christmastime as well) since it has been such a hit.

Does anyone else have any creative ways to get through the summer? We still have a month left and no one in this house is loosing steam just yet!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


While at the beach a few weeks ago ...

Matt: "Hey guys, do you want to go to the saltwater pool that we went to yesterday and go swimming?"

Luke: "Where Daddy?"

Matt: "You know, the pool we went to that tasted like the ocean because it has salt water instead of chlorine? Remember it had those fountains in it?"

Luke: "Oh yes, the salt pool. I liked that one. Ummmm, Daddy??"

Matt: "Yes?"

Luke: "I like the salt pool ... but does it have pepper in it? I don't like pepper. It's too spicy."

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Picture of the Week - July 21

Don't hold hands with a girl unless you're prepared to get pulled overboard ...

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Picture of the Week - July 16

A little late, but, hey, it's summer!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Picture of the Week - July 7

Can you tell what our snack of choice is at the pool this summer?

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Camp Out

A few weeks ago we decided to let the kids live one of their life long dreams and go on a camp out. While I'm all for the great outdoors, I'm not really a sleep-on-the-floor-dig-a-hole-for-a-potty kind of girl. If you can give me a cabin and a bath house at the "camp site", I'm all about it. Well, the kids wanted to really camp out. In a tent. And sleep on the gound in sleeping bags.

Mamma don't play that.

So we decided on a compromise. We let them have their camp out fun. We pitched a tent and brought out our sleeping bags. We had a fire with marshmallows, we ate outside, and we stayed up late to catch lightning bugs (because everyone in NC know that's what fireflies are really called). And the best part? We did it all in the comfort of our own backyard.

A test run, if you will. I did not want to haul all six of us out to the woods to discover that the kids didn't think that camping was all they thought it was cracked up to be. They were happy about getting to camp and I was happy about air conditioning and running water. Win-win.

Plus, Wilson didn't feel left out.

We actually did have a great time and got to do everything the kids had wanted to do. We even managed to fit in a little extras like carving our initials into a tree and going for a little swing in the trees.

Fireflies? Check.

Campfire? Check.

Four happy campers? Most definitely.

We finally got them quieted down once it turned dark and they all actually fell fast asleep under the stars. It was a perfectly cool night and I enjoyed sitting on the deck and listening to the frogs and cicadas while they slept.

Of course, we brought them all back inside once we headed to bed ourselves. I think they would have been fine out there but no one tells you that a 6-person tent is really code for a 4-person tent. I don't think much sleeping would have occurred if Matt and I had tried to shimmy our way in there. They didn't seem to mind though and now they have some crazy idea about a REAL camp out on their minds. I told them we may need a few more practice rounds first ...