Saturday, June 29, 2013

Fulfilling a Promise

My kids love the beach but we don't go often enough for them. I made a promise to them a few months ago that over the Summer we would go at least once a month. That only commits me to three times over the course of the season.

Here it is June 29th and we still hadn't been to the beach. Most of the month of June has been cool with weather only in the 70's so we just haven't felt the draw to head to the beach. This week it started to really feel like Summer. We have had temperatures up in the 90's. We have had to actually turn on our AC at home so that we aren't cranky every afternoon. So we decided we had to go to the beach this weekend. Today was the day!

Molly was very excited about our trip to the beach. She has been talking about it all week. She kept telling me she would only play in the sand and not play in the waves since she can't swim. 

 There was a lot of sand digging but Molly, who isn't afraid of anything ran out there into the waves too.
This little lady doesn't fear anything. She was right out there splashing and jogging in the waves too. I had to constantly remind her to come back in and not go so far out. 
 Sophie spent a good amount of her time looking for and catching sand crabs.

The beach was also covered with shells and sand dollars. Most of them were broken but she found a few intact ones.

The boards were the biggest draw. We splurged this week and bought two boards to take with us to the beach. When we have gone with friends we have taken turns with their boards but we thought we needed to have some of our own.

Henry spent most of his time going farther and farther out so he could catch the biggest waves and ride them in.

Sophie was a bit more cautious and didn't go out quite as far but still had a good time in the waves.

 Ian and Henry spent almost the whole time out there in the cold water. The water is always pretty cold here. You only sort of get used to it but the fun of the waves keeps you out there even if you are shivering. I know this from experience. I too got a turn with a board and spent a bit of time out there in the water riding in on the waves. The kids can't have all the fun!

 It was a great day at the beach.

I still have two more trips to go before I have completed my promise. July looks pretty busy but Molly is already talking about going to the beach for her birthday. That looks like it would fit into the schedule so we will hit the sand and waves again then.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Science Movies

During the hot afternoons in the Summer my kids usually want to be indoors enjoying the AC. This is when we put on a movie. They almost always pick a science video. Lately they have been watching Popular Mechanics for Kids. I have borrowed every disk the library has on the shelves. My kids love these! 

They like them even more than Bill Nye the Science Guy. Over the years we have watched just about every episode he ever made. My kids enjoy his antics but don't like the music video he always uses to close the show. The rap song is obnoxious so they jump up quickly and turn the show off so they don't have to hear it. 

The Schlessinger videos about different science topics have always been a favorite too. But usually these are matched up with what science topic we are studying so it isn't as much of a pleasure pick. The kids still enjoy them but they are more academic.

Even though it started as an academic movie Raging Planet has been one show my kids keep visiting even though we aren't specifically studying weather any more. Thank goodness Netflix has a few good science shows on their instant watch! This is one my kids have really enjoyed.

Speaking of Netflix instant watch..... How it's made has been on our queue for a long time. My kids visit different episodes quite often.

I am happy my kids find science so interesting.
If they are going to be watching something at least it is science.

Longing for Home - Review

Usually when I read these historical romances I can tell right away with whom the girl is going to end up. I was pleasantly surprised to be routing for both of the possible love interests in the book Longing for Home by Sarah Eden. Each of the men who show interest in Katie are likable and would be able to make her happy. I almost didn't want her to choose because then the other would be disappointed. I still don't know if she made the right choice. I guess I will have to wait and see what happens in the next book since there is already a scheduled sequel. Yeah!

This book isn't all about the romance. It is more about Katie and how she releases the guilt of years of neglect, trauma and guilt. This is a book about healing. She is longing for her homeland, thinking that is what will heal her and make her feel forgiven. She wants to feel loved and taken care of like she did when she was young before the famine in Ireland that forced her family (and many other families in Ireland) to split apart and leave the land of their birth. Through unexpected, and at first unwanted, relationships with the inhabitants of a small town she learns that Ireland may be her homeland but home can be found where ever she feels the most cared for and where she cares for others.

I loved the sayings and details of the Irish people. I could almost hear their brogue as they chatted and joked with one another. Katie plays reels and jigs on her violin and I could almost hear them. I think I need to break out my cd of Irish music or look up some of those songs on youtube so I can hear that very distinct Irish sound.

This book isn't being released until August but for anyone who loves historical romance should add this one to their wish list. I am looking forward to next book in the series.

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Once upon a Prince - Review

I read a lot of princess stories. Molly is always asking me to find and read princess stories to her. So I am very well versed in all the fairy tales and many newer retellings of fairy tales.  You would think I would be tired of them but I find I have even started reading princess books on my own when I have free pleasure reading time as well. I pick up retellings of famous fairy tales quite often. And I always enjoy seeing how some authors take one of the princess story lines and make it fit modern times. It is also fun to read stories about regular girls that meet a real life prince and he makes her his princess.

I just finished one of these types of fairy tale like romances called Once Upon a Prince. It is the story of a "girl next door" who meets a prince from a tiny little European kingdom. She falls for him not knowing he is a prince. He likes being loved for himself and not it title. It is a pretty well worn out plot but still fun to visit for a light romantic pleasure read.

This story however didn't totally work for me. Their attachment happens so quickly and isn't explored very thoroughly so it is hard to believe it can last when they only know each other for a few weeks and then they are separate for months. It was just a little too much of a stretch to believe she could go from being dumped by her boyfriend of 12 years and immediately become smitten with another guy even if he is a prince. Then after only knowing him for 2 weeks and no romance just friendship, travel across the world to his kingdom and feel comfortable in his world.

This is a christian romance so there are some religious references but I felt like they were a bit forced and didn't quite fit into the flow of the story.

There wasn't anything glaringly wrong with the book. I would just say it was a nice, light, clean, sweet story.

I received this book free via Book Sneeze with the intent to read it and write my opinion.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Summer School?

I am often asked if we do school year round. I usually respond with "sort of". We are certainly not as structured and are not strict about getting all our subject in but we do some school like work on days we don't have activities planned. I don't want them begging for screen time all day long. So after our usual scripture start of the day they practice piano, do a page or two of their cursive book, an assignment of Math, read two chapters of a book that I assigned them and then tell me about those two chapters. They also have their normal chores and such as well. So I make them earn screen time if they can complete those things each day. They often don't finish it all so don't get Wii or movies every day. Often they just want to play outside most of the day and I think that is great! But more often than not they do those things so they can have a little time on the computer.

Today we started a new read aloud book. I usually read a fairy tale or story from the book of virtues after our family scripture reading but instead I picked What would the Founding Fathers think?Since it is so close to the 4th of July I figured it would be a good choice.  I read Courtney's review of the book a few weeks ago and knew I needed to buy this one for my kids. It also helped that I know the author's family. We made it through about a third of the book today and will work through it a bit each day. So far my kids have really loved it but it is the kind of book I don't want to rush through. There are a lot of things to discuss as we go!

So no we don't actually do school during the summer but in order to avoided the dreaded "I'm bored" or "There is nothing to do" I make my kids do a little work in order to earn privileges like computer, wii or movies. It fills our day nicely and if all those things don't get done everyday I don't stress. School will start again in August when we will get a little more serious and dedicated to our studies.

For now this is what is working for me.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Cub Camp - Day 2

I got to help at Cub camp again on Tuesday. It looks really sunny in the pictures but it actually was rather chilly. It was only about 68 degrees and the constant breeze made it cold in the shade. It was a lovely day to spend outdoors.

The boys started with a game of kick ball. 

 It is always sort of funny for me to watch my boys try to play games like this. Since they don't go to school they don't play these types of games very often. Neither of them was all that excited about the game or very good at it. But they did make it around the bases and scored a few points for their team.

Scout Skills class was all about knots. They had ropes of all sorts for the boys to practice on.
 They all started by tying their shoes and then moved onto square knots.
 Ian is a pro at tying knots so he often was asked to show other kids how to do them.
 They whipped the ends as well.

 I didn't get pictures of the boys at the archery or bb gun ranges. I actually got to shoot too. Our den is rather small so there were some extra guns. They invited the moms to give it a try. I did very well even though I haven't ever shot a bb gun before and it has been years and years since I have shot anything more than a nerf gun. The boys love this activity.  It is what they talk about most when in the car driving to and from camp.  Good thing they will get to shoot every day this week!

They had another knot tying activity in their handicrafts class. They made lanyard keychains and were given a whistle to put on one end. This isn't a picture of the one they made but this is what the knots looked like when they were done.

I was busy showing boys how to tie the knots to make the pattern. I forgot about taking pictures.

The last class of the day was nature. And rather than take another hike the boys got to dissect owl pellets. I was surprised at how squeamish the boys were at first. They covered their noses and mouths with their neck kerchiefs and wouldn't touch the pellets with anything but the tooth picks and tweezers.

 Ian has done this before when he took a science lab class so he jumped right in and soon had bones he was identifying.

 Pretty soon all the boys were digging out the pieces of rodent and separating the fur.

Considering this was the end of the day, I was a bit shocked at how focused they were and how long they stayed on task with this project.

Once they had the closing flag ceremony we were headed home after another long day at cub camp. 

Each of the boys parents were supposed to volunteer for two days at camp. I went up on Monday and Tuesday. When my boys headed off to camp today with another of the moms from our group I was a relieved that I wouldn't have to spend the day in the sun, wind and dirt but part of me knew I would miss hanging out with these fun 8 and 9 year olds.

I am sure the boys had another great day at camp today. I am sure they will be full of stories to share when they get home later today.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Cub Camp - Day 1

I got to spend the day with my boys at Cub Scout Camp today. The weather was nice and they planned most of the activities in places where there was plenty of shade. The boys had so much fun with their friends. The entire den that my boys were a part of were kids from scouts they already knew so it was really fun for these friends to all get to hang out together.

They did handicrafts. Pounding letters and shapes into leather is fun!

 Making little bottle cap boats was next. 

 But getting to sail them down rain gutters full of water was totally fun!

 The men at the gun club took their role as archery instructors very seriously. 
 They boys were taught all about their compound bows, the arrows and how to hit a target. 

But the instruction about bb guns was especially strict. The boys went through drills with their guns before getting to shoot. Their instructor was quite a drill sergent. But the boys all seemed to respond well. I could tell some of the scouts there had never held a gun in their hands before and were a bit afraid. My boys, who have gone to the gun club with Grandpa a few times, seemed to do just fine and even hit their targets a number of times.

During the rest of the week they will get to put in some more practice with the bow and with guns. They have a trip to the gun club for practice scheduled into each days activities.

I didn't get any pictures during their hike. I was too busy avoiding poison oak. And I didn't get pictures of some of den activities like when they choose their name, made their flag, learned how to carry out a flag ceremony or review some basic scouting things. These were less exciting things to photograph. But they were still part of this long busy day in the woods for these boys.

The day was long and full and we rushed about from one activity to another but the boys still had plenty of time to just climb trees and be with their friends.

Ian and Henry can't wait until tomorrow when they get to do it all over again. And guess who else will be going again too :)

It is a bit of a break for me to only have to deal with 8 and 9 year old boys for a change. I left Molly and Sophie at home with my sick husband.  I guess they watched a few movies, played a little on the computer and had a lovely animal vet game going while we were away at camp.