Friday, August 15, 2014

Summer Is Almost Over

We have ten days until school begins. Boogs and I are finding fun activities to do before we are both stuck inside all day.

Last Friday, we went on a family trip to Fiesta Texas. We bought season passes at the beginning of the summer and this is only the second time we have been. The two hour drive to get there is a bit of a deterrent.
We had a great time. My husband and I were able to ride all of the big rollercoasters. Boogs stuck to the slower rides this time. We were surprised how uncrowded the park was, must have been the 100 degree heat. Boogs kept cool by making sure to get as wet as possible on the water rides. He is actually standing behind that wall of water in the lower right picture above. After several hours of rides, we put on swim suits and spent the rest of the day in the water park.

Boogs just finished up two weeks of diving class. This year he was not quite as brave at diving as he was last year, no forward somersaults off the diving board. I tried to encourage him to try a dive off the high dive instead of just jumping in. He told me he would do a dive if I would. Well... that put an end to that. Boogs has already told me he wants to return to diving class next summer. We spent a little bit of time at the park next to the pool after diving class. We also went swimming several times at various pools this week. Boogs loves being in the water.

Geocaching at Wilco Park 
Boogs and I met the Jboys and their mom at the park at 8 a.m. to try and find hidden treasure. The boys started out excited about finding a geocache but soon asked if they could just explore and play. We spent about three hours at Wilco Park before it became so hot we decided to head home to air conditioner.
 J4 wanted to keep up with the big boys.
 The geocache map led us off the trail.
 The clue was "cliffhanger".
 It was steep and slippery down the cliff side.
 Sliding was the best way to reach the bottom.
 The boys searched and searched but did not find the hidden geocache.
 I felt very lucky that the boys didn't find any snakes where they were exploring.
 But they did find lots of bones and a half decomposed animal. Ewww!
We only found one of the three geocaches we looked for, but the boys had a great time running around outside. Oh well, maybe we will have better luck next time. Right now we are heading out the door to go swimming (again).

This week was Shark Week on the Discovery Channel so Boogs helped me make a special shark breakfast. He ended up not wanting to eat it because of the ketchup "blood". We took some friends to Terra Toys toy store because they were supposed to have Shark Week activities. We must have gone at the wrong time because we didn't see any but we did have fun exploring the store. I bought the Fred Snack Attack cookie cutters to make this breakfast. It has surfer eggs, shark cheese, ham on toast surfboard, ketchup and a blueberry ocean.

This post is linked to:
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Shark Week

It is Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. Boogs has enjoyed watching shows about unusual sharks. He does not like watching shows about Great White Sharks and how they menace popular swimming beaches. In honor of Shark Week, I made Boogs a Shark Week breakfast.

In the Laptop lunchbox - double layer egg surfer wearing cheese swim trunks with half of his leg bitten off by a cheese shark, ketchup blood, ham surfboard on toast with shark bite, and blueberry ocean with alphabet picks.
I found this cute Fred Snack Attack! cookie cutter set at our local toy story and knew I had to get it for Shark Week.

Boogs was sort of "creeped out" by the ketchup blood on the surfer's leg and on the shark's teeth. He asked if we could use this cookie cutter set again to make sugar cookies without any fake blood on them.

Be sure to check out the wonderful sites I link to on my sidebar! This post is linked to Fun Food Friday. If you want to see more book inspired lunches, click on the "lunches" label at the end of this post or go to My Story Themed Lunches board on Pinterest. I would love for you to leave a comment to let me know you stopped by.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Keeping Busy In the Heat

We have had an incredibly mild summer, only 3 days of 100 degree heat so far. We have been finding ways to keep busy and stay cool. Last week we went to the Austin Nature and Science Center. We picked a perfect day to go because the temperature only got up to 96.  Boogs always enjoys exploring the indoor part of the center and loves exploring the outside areas. He invited a friend, J, to join us.

The indoor part of the center has lots of hands-on activities. The boys spent about an hour observing bees, looking at slides thru a microscope, experimenting with magnetism & static electricity, learning about nanotechnology, and handling bones, skins, shells, and other objects of nature.
We went outside to see the rescued animals, walk the path around the pond, and play in the sand. There are dinosaur bones in the sand to excavate.
I asked Boogs to stand under the rib cage bones so I could compare it to a photo in the same spot from a previous visit. The photo on the right is from August 2012.
Whenever we go to the Nature Center, I pack a change of clothes. The water areas are too inviting for kids to stay dry. I made sure J brought an extra set of clothes, too. The boys tried "finger fishing". They lightly moved their pointer fingers on top of the water. Fish came up and nibbled their fingers. Boogs did not like it at all. J thought he would be able to catch a fish. J spent at least half an hour letting the fish nibble his fingers while he tried to catch them. Too bad the fish were too fast. Boogs spent a lot time building dams to direct the water flow. Eventually, J decided to help Boogs with the dams.
We went to the other side of a bridge and found the perfect spot for leaf races. Boogs moved a bunch of rocks around to perfect the water flow on the leaf race route. Playing in the water was a nice way to stay cool in the heat. I am so glad we had dry clothes. The boys were soaked by the time we left.

On Sunday, Boogs was invited to try out water polo.
The practice session was held at the Jamail Texas Swimming Center on UT campus. Boogs was the smallest kiddo in the water. It was a 12-year-old and under practice session. I was impressed with how well he could tread water and manage to throw the ball. He played goalie for a little bit of the game. Afterwards, I asked Boogs if he would like to start playing water polo on a team. He replied, "Water Polo is not the sport for me. People are allowed to just dunk you all the time. I got dunked three times and I did not like it." Boogs only weighs 50 pounds. I am sure some of the kids playing weighed twice that amount. Maybe he might want to try again when he is a bit older.

Boogs kept cool Monday through Thursday this week at Diving Camp. He loves being in the water so much I think he is part fish. On Friday, we spent the day at Fiesta Texas. Boogs loves their water park. We have about two weeks until school begins. I can't believe this summer is almost over.

This post is linked to:
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

Friday, August 1, 2014

Scavenger Hunt

My friend had to drop off her four boys for the day. I wanted to plan something to keep them busy, active, and working together for at least part of the 7 hours they were with me. So, I planned an outdoor scavenger hunt.

I found the decoder ring on, the link to it is near the bottom of the post where it says, "Print decoder ring here." I gave the boys clues to decode with letters, numbers, rearranged words, and picture clues. Each clue had a different kind of code to break. The clues were riddles for the boys to solve to find the correct location for the next clue.
As soon as I gave them their first clue, all of the boys sat down to try and figure it out.
Clue #1 (Look under the moving chair on the front porch.) led them outside to the front porch. J3 found it hidden under the rocking chair. As soon as they found clue #2, they got busy trying to decode it.
Clue #2 (Birds build nests in things like me.) had the boys searching the trees in the front yard. Unfortunately, J2 &J3 found an actual bird's nest in the wrong tree. They tried to pull the nest out of the tree to search for a clue. Boogs found the clue in the other tree.
Clue #3 (Go across the street where water can shoot out.) gave the boys a little bit of trouble. I took the first letter of each word and moved it to the end of the word. They figured out how to decode the message but it took an extra hint for them to figure out the next location. Some ideas they had to answer the clue: sprinkler head, rain gutter, hose, faucet. I had to keep them from rushing into our neighbor's yard. I gave them a hint, "Community helpers use these when they need water for their job." There was a mad rush to the fire hydrant when they figured out the hint. J3 got to the clue first.

Clue #4 stumped them. I do not draw well, but I thought they would be able to tell the arrow under the line meant "under" and the box of boxes drawing with the word "mail" in the center would lead them to the mailbox. I did not give them any hints and they eventually figured it out. J2 found the last clue under the mailbox.
Clue #5 led them to a stump down the block. When Boogs was younger, he and I used to pretend the stump was where some of the animals had tea when Santa returned to Narnia after the Witch's winter spell began to break. Boogs remembered the stump and led the boys down the sidewalk where he found the prize - a bag of Dum-Dums lollipops.

They had a good time on their scavenger hunt and enjoyed their sweet treat.

This post is linked to:
Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
Don't forget to click over to my back-to-school giveaway. You have until August 10th to enter for a chance to win some great lunch making supplies.

Be sure to check out the wonderful sites I link to on my sidebar!  I would love for you to leave a comment to let me know you stopped by. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

BBF Back-To-School Basics Hop & Giveaway

It is difficult to believe that summer is almost over and the new school year will soon be here. Bento Bloggers & Friends (BBF) are joining together to share their back-to-school tips for packing lunch and are also having an awesome giveaway. You can enter for a chance to win the giveaway on the Rafflecopter near the end of this post. If you hop through the Bento Blogger & Friends blog hop you can collect a letter tile on each post in the hop. Once you complete the hop, simply arrange the letters in numerical order to spell a word to put in the Rafflecopter entry form.

Making lunches for school does not have to be a dreaded chore. My son helps me make his lunches. The lunches are usually inspired by the stories we read together at bedtime. It takes a couple of extra minutes to use a cookie cutter on a sandwich to make a lunch "story-themed". Here is a quick lunch I made this week inspired by an article in National Geographic Kids magazine:
It contains: ham & cheese leopard sandwich made with the CuteZCute cutter, banana chips ground, a tree made from a Zbar and pumpkin seeds, a marshmallow with a sun drawn on it, blueberries for water, and a salad.

This lunch has the basic supplies I use whenever I make a school lunch: container, silicone cups, cookie cutter (or knife), food markers, and yummy food my son will eat.

My favorite lunch boxes are EasyLunchboxes and Laptop Lunches. This lunch was put in an Easy Lunchbox. Both lunchboxes offer divided areas which is wonderful because my son is not a big fan of his food touching.

Silicone cups are a great way to separate food. All Things for Sale has a large variety of silicone cups.

There are so many adorable, easy-to-use cookie cutters on the market. I like to use my Wilton cutters or CuteZCute Cutters. It makes dressing up a lunch a snap. Sometimes I just use a sharp knife to cut story characters out of bread.
One of my favorite ways to add a quick detail to a lunch, is to use food decorating pens. I have found that this Ameri-Color Gourmet Writer set works the best for me. I used the yellow marker to draw a sun on the marshmallow in the leopard lunch.
Lastly, I need a good bag to put the lunch in. I like upright bags so the food does not get turned on its side. California Innovations Lunch Bucket is my favorite lunchbox. I have bought my son a new one each school year. This bag has two compartments. My son puts his water bottle in the top. Sometimes he forgets to close it tightly and it spills. With the two compartments, the water is contained in the top level. Healthy Eating Starts At Home had a great review on this bag last August, you can read it HERE.

Be sure to write down the tile letter with number as you go through the hop. You will want to collect all of the letter tiles in the hop before entering the Rafflecopter.

Click this hop button to find your next letter tile and to see what tips Biting the Hand That Feeds You has for back-to-school lunches.
Have you made it through the hop and collected all 16 letters? Now, you are ready to enter the giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to check out the wonderful sites I link to on my sidebar!  If you want to see more book inspired lunches, click on the "lunches" label at the end of this post or go to 
My Story Themed Lunches board on Pinterest. I would love for you to leave a comment to let me know you stopped by.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Family Time at Main Event

Last Sunday, my husband suggested a family outing to Main Event. We took advantage of Main Event's Summer Fun Pass. The pass lets you have unlimited access (there are some wait times) to laser tag, mini-golf, rock climbing, and bowling for $15.95 each + bowling shoe rental. That is an incredible deal. We got there when they opened at 9 a.m. and pretty much had the place to ourselves.

Suiting up for laser tag. 

Glow-in-the-dark mini golf

Daddy was the first one to ring the bell.

Boogs was scared at first but then conquered his fear and climbed all the way up.

Boogs was very proud when he rang the bell at the top. Daddy was right behind him.

Boogs enjoy rappelling down the wall.

He was exhausted after climbing up and down for about 45 minutes.

Ready to bowl!

Go, ball, ball! Get me a strike!

Yes, I did win both games. Check out those strikes!

Boogs played a few video games. UFO Stomper is one of his favorites.

There was a tough round of competition for air hockey but Daddy was the champion.

We had a lot of fun at Main Event. It was nice for us to do something as a family. We missed Daddy while Boogs and I were on our camping trip.