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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Our List This Summer

 It has been my system for the last couple of years to sit down with the whole family and write up a list of things we want to do during the summer.  It serves to give us a bit of direction in what could be a series of long, hot, boring days.  Some of the bigger items need to be planned or scheduled ahead of time while the smaller things can be used to add a little fun when needed.  It's also just a fun activity overall, especially this year when the kids had quite a bit of input.  We ended up with a pretty good list incuding things like roasting marshmallows and learning to swim (Tyler) to visiting the beach and taking a trip to Utah to see the family.
Once we have the list, I type it up and make it all pretty so we can display it and check off the items as we go.  And with the second week of Summer just beginning we already have a great start on the list.  We've had lots and lots of pool time since our neighborhood pool opened.  We met some friends at the zoo for a fun day with the animals.  We fired up the fire pit and roasted giant marshmallows.

And we went berry picking - so fun!  Now there's an activity that gets addicting quickly.  The kids love picking the berries, especially since we go with another family that has become our designated berry picking buddies.  And we're all kind of obsessed :)  Last week we started out bright and early only to discover that we still weren't in time to get a shot at the raspberries (crazy!  they were gone by 7:30AM) so we stocked up on blackberries and blueberries (Kaitlyn's favorite) instead.  And then the true madness kicked in and we made a trip to a second farm where we picked strawberries (the last of the season) and loaded up on a few of the veggies they had for sale (sweet corn, baby potatoes, and green beans!). 
After that is was, of course time, to eat the berries (not that Kaitlyn hadn't been popping berries the entire time :)  ) - and oh how many great things there are to do with berries!  The kids insisted we make fruit smoothies as soon as we got home.  And of course we had the berries fresh with some fruit dip for lunch and dinner.  We had made arrangements to meet up with our berry buddies back at the pool that afternoon (which was of course great fun), then after showers (thus the scraggly hair in the above photo) Kaitlyn and I did some late-evening jam making.
We finished off the last of the berries on Sunday with homemade blackberry ice cream and blueberry crumble for Father's Day.  Now we're left wondering when we can manage to wake up early enough to get a shot at those raspberries...

Speaking of yummy summer food - We spend a good 3-4 afternoons or evenings down at the pool every week and snack food is in high demand right now.  So I got inspired and decided to let the kids mix up their own trail mix with items we had on hand in the pantry.  For that round I pulled out the peanuts, pretzels, sunflower seeds, mini marshmallows, raisins and white chocolate chips.  It was a huge hit with the kids!  It's my favorite type of summer "project."  Simple, quick, inexpensive, and easy to personalize.  I'm already gathering items for the next round of trail mix making - cashews, dried berries, goldfish crackers.  What else would be good in trail mix?

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