Saturday, July 16, 2016


We took a short family road trip to Hot Springs today to pick up a new graphics card for Daddy's computer.  We figured as long as we were going to drive for an hour, we might as well do something fun after we bought Daddy's graphics card, so we played a round of miniature golf.

It was really hot and muggy today, so we were glad that most of the course was in the shade.

We played at a place called Pirate's Cove, with pirate-themed decor and info about infamous pirate captains at each hole of the course.  I'm not quite sure why they felt compelled to dye the water blue.

Todd appreciated that they gave him a plastic club and his own golf ball, which he carried around the whole time we were there.

Whoa!  No high-sticking, Anna!

Friday, July 15, 2016

The Triforce Kite and the Sweet Club

Joy has been trying to construct a kite lately, but none of her models have turned out very well . . .

. . . so I proposed making a tetrahedron kite this morning, like my fifth-grade class constructed many moons ago.

Daniel and Joy, who have been playing a Legend of Zelda game recently, agreed that the kite looked like the Triforce.

I may not be one of the more exciting summer vacation planners ever, but I did have at least one good idea this summer: let each child older than three take a turn choosing what we have for lunch one day of every week.  Joy loves this plan so much that she not only asked to choose on two days, she volunteered to help her siblings prepare what they selected.  They've come up with some creative ideas (including taco salad one day, and oatmeal another), and I love that I don't have to decide what to serve every day.

After lunch, the kids started a sibling club (they start a new one every few weeks or so).  Their first official act (after choosing officers) was to bake a cake to celebrate the inauguration of their club.

Their second official act was to revisit the solar s'mores idea.  In an effort to thwart the ants, the kids put the solar oven up on a step stool and posted a diligent seven-year-old guard to stop any six-legged s'mores moochers.  The ants refused to be deterred, however, so we brought the moderately warm s'mores inside and ate them before the ants could.

To offset all of the sugar we've been eating today, I blended up a banana-berry-spinach smoothie from the smoothie cookbook I checked out.  The kids (except for Anna, who's our pickiest eater these days) and I really liked it.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Wildlife, Smoothies, and Spiderman

Have I mentioned that our library is really cool?

This morning we went to a wildlife exhibition there.  A presenter showed and taught us about a variety of creatures like a Eurasian eagle-owl (one of the largest owls in the world) . . .

. . . and a joey (a baby kangaroo).  The joey is very attached to her and hates being alone, so she carries it in a big tote bag whenever she goes to the store, the movies, etc.  She told the kids if they see someone walking around Walmart with a giant tote bag, there just might be a baby kangaroo in there.

After the wildlife exhibit, the kids had a wheelchair drag race in the front lobby . . . 

. . . and we checked out some interesting books.

P.S. Spiderman says reading is awesome.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Crafts, a Card, and a Cool Chair

We headed to the library today to do some fun summer crafts . . .

. . . and so Joy could realize her dream of getting her very own library card.

While Joy did a second craft just for older kids, Daniel played with the automatic front door while Anna took Todd for a ride in one of the library's wheelchairs . . .

. . . then he returned the favor.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Semi-Solar S'mores

Joy loves trying out new projects and experiments.

Today she decided to make a solar oven out of a pizza box (Hail, Caesar). 

Once she was done constructing her oven, she invited us all to test drive it by making s'mores . . .

. . . in the backyard.  There were just three problems.

First of all, it's hard to cook in a solar oven when you have limited sunshine.  Second, the breeze kept blowing the lid closed.  Third, our backyard has a thriving ant population which started showing a lot of interest in our s'mores.

The spotty sunlight had been enough to melt the chocolate, but the marshmallows weren't even close to being done so we brought them inside and toasted them under the broiler in our ant-free oven.

Mmm . . . yummy, sticky, semi-solar goodness.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Watching Fireworks at Home

Happy Fourth of July!

The kids all wore their patriotic shirts today, and I painted all the girls' toenails (including mine) red for the occasion.  

We had planned to go watch one of several big fireworks shows in the area, but storm clouds rolled in late in the day so we contented ourselves with eating red, white, and blue muffins for dessert . . .

. . . and watching our neighbors fire off a few fireworks here and there.  The kids may actually have enjoyed that more since it wasn't as loud as a big show.  Plus, it was more exciting to see an occasional firework bloom in the sky because you never knew when or where they might appear over our neighborhood.  It was a pleasant way to spend July Fourth, but I still kinda wished we were up at Papa's cabin.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Freedom Fest

This morning, some people from a local church invited us to a "Freedom Fest" at a local park.

The kids were pretty stoked when they saw the big bounce houses.

They loved climbing up and sliding down over and over while Christian rock blasted in the background.

We had a great time, we met some friendly people, and we now know a nice park to come play at once the weather cools down.