Summer Bucket List

There are SO many things we want to do this summer… and of course the online lists and ideas are ENDLESS. My Aunt (and I think a couple others sent me this as well when I posted about behavioral issues right at the onset of Noschool Syndrome) sent me something that she saw that will definitely be used in my house this summer:

After some digging, I still couldn’t find the original source but it’s been changed a million different ways and people have made printable after printable. I chose this one, from Happy Home Fairy. It’s printing now!

I also love this moveable schedule, from Thriving Home, that makes it really clear what we’ll be doing each day. I may need to pick up some poster board, cut out strips, and get my sloths out of media-mode.

Every morning:

Child: “I did my chores!”

Mom: “Great! Thanks, babe.”

Child: “Now can I play Minecraft?!”

Mom in her Ideal World: “Go check the color coordinated schedule for the day!” Mhmm. A mama can dream.

But – all that aside – between our big Summer Bucket List and the BORED Chart… there’s plenty to keep us all busy!


Things we get to do with Daddy

Dates we’ve done something

Something we’ve already done!

Last updated 7/2/15

Want more ideas for your own brood? Check out my Pinterest board specifically for my nerdlings – summer ideas, crafts, things to make for the kids, snack and meal ideas, etc.

Paint! (Mostly for dad…)

The siding will be Classic French Gray (SW 0077), with Extra White trim (SW 7006). We’re also adding shutters which will be the same color as the front door, those will be in done in a blue called Naval (SW 6244) [Not shown.]


Summer has begun. It kinda happens that way. One minute it’s not, and I’m struggling to force myself out of bed each morning, and then BAM. OREGON HEAT WAVE. Must be summer. It’s July 1st after all… magic. [HAPPY CANADA DAY!] The kids, on the other hand, have been counting down the seconds. We all felt it coming but they had been salivating long before I realized that we had just weeks left.

My littlest nerdling has probably had the largest adjustment out of all of them. While Olivia and Duncan are veterans at this whole school’s-out-for-summer thing, Rachael is just starting – but she was only half day kindergarten for the majority of the year. Really, it’s not THAT big of an adjustment. She clearly doesn’t understand the fact that school is out for an extended period of time, every Sunday, “School night, mom?” But Charlotte was just getting used to the idea that the world revolved around her 8-12, every “schooday’. No siblings, no competition! Instead, we all get to listen to the consistent chorus of the oldest two bickering. ALL. DAY. LONG.

Nothing exciting going on in our summer thus far. Mostly just the typical “I’m bored” and “I hate chores”. We’ve had a few appointments, most of them have been mine. Like this morning, I had physical therapy and my Child Labor for Can of Rootbeer agreement with Olivia worked great. Babysitting for Rootbeer, who knew?! Win win, I get a quiet appointment where they scrape, claw, and dig into my arm and hand muscles (my therapist – not my kids, they’re not there, remember?) and they get to stay home, ignore their chores, and fight without me yelling at them to stop! Sounds painful, but hurts so good. (I guess for the kids too!) Granted today’s appointment was filled with my phone vibrating as they tried to text and call their tattling instead of just screaming it down the stairwell. #facepalm

While I was gone, the painters came to start work on our house. Well, not paint yet, just washing everything down. I’m excited to see some color change. Yet, also TERRIFIED. It’s scary, this is a big canvas, people. It’ll be bye bye brown for this casa, and hello gray! (Still terrified.)

That little yet, not so little… sniffle pink and blonde blob is Charlie yelling “MOM, WHY YOU AFFER DA STREET?!” from the front step. (For those that don’t speak three-year-old-er that’s “Mom, why are you across the street?”) Can you believe that little peanut is almost 3-1/2? Rachael wasn’t even that old when we moved into this house! Crazy. Between the tree in the front and the height of this girl’s vocabulary… it’s just crazy how fast time passes.

Summer bucket list will pop up tomorrow – stay tuned.

Pinewood Derby

The moment finally came! Duncan’s been waiting for this for a while, working on his car, painting, drying, painting, drying, repeat, repeat.

And then – it was done! (He’s immensely proud of his creation.)

I was a little worried about the drag that the construction towers would make but smiled and left it alone – the important thing about Pinewood Derby that a lot of people seem to miss out on is that it’s for THE BOYS. Not me. Not the Dads. THE BOYS. If he wants Emmett sticky-tacked to his car with towers behind him, that’s what he gets!

Go Color Guard! He was pretty pumped that he got to be (in? apart of? the?) a member of the (?) Color Guard during this den meeting. Of course, no matter how many times I tried to get a decent photo, this was the face I got. #sigh At least he’s cute, right?

While both the Tween and the Kindergartner abandoned us to watch the races, this little miss stuck around. “Lap? Pick up me? Take picture me, mom!” Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. She’s just a little photogenic. (Her hair was so cute that morning. Then she ripped out her bow. I fixed it before we left but left out the bow hoping to get her to leave it alone. Didn’t work. While trying to fix it AGAIN at the Derby, the rubberband broke. Really?! I pulled an emergency one [huge for her] out of my purse and she was left in a top knot all night. Stinker.)

Can you tell she likes to get ALL UP IN YOUR FACE? Apparently, this also applies to my camera lens. You get a nice clear shot of her nose… booger-ed and crusty… because my poor camera couldn’t take that much cute, that close to it, and figure out how to focus all at the same time.

When we got there, Duncan added graphite to his wheels and was weighed in. They suggested he take off the… uhm… wrecking balls? No idea what they were! So he agreed and ended up hot gluing some various metals on top of the car to make up for the weight loss. He was still happy with it, so I was happy with it.

Rachael followed most of the kids right up to the sidelines. She’s sitting with her friend, Michael, here. His older brother was in the race as well. I’m friends with their mom too – it’s always nice to have friends that have kids around the same ages! Although, my friend is lucky – that’s her youngest! I’ve still got a few years ahead of me before my youngest is in Kindergarten!

As much fun as it is to watch the boys race their own cars, I think they all enjoyed watching ALL the cars race. Making an event of creating a custom car and then racing it on a cool tall track with a lever that releases them together while a crowd of people stands by oohing, ahhing, and cheering them on? Seriously, I think Cub Scouts might exist JUST for this.

The Slam Dunk

Getting ready for another go. Check out the green car in Lane 1, and the CHEESE in Lane 2. Everyone loved the cheese, every time he finished first, you’d hear “CHEESE!”

Cameron trying to satiate the PICKUPMEMOM Monster. Side note: This poor guy was home from work today – he actually called in sick. Something he never does usually. But every time he gets sick, he ends up with pneumonia. His chest was already not feeling quite right so he called and went in for an impromptu appointment. Came home with a certified your-life-sucks paper that read: Sinusitis + Asthmatic bronchitis with acute exacerbation. (Except they wrote it in all caps, screamed it at you off the paper. I took the volume down for you guys.) Gotta love tehsick. He’s now recovering with Super Sudafed – the real kind, that apparently you can craft fancy things with – and good ol’ prednisone. And his inhaler of course. On the bright side, the girls… who gave it to him in the first place, (sorry Daddy!) are quickly healing. Chuck has a runny nose still, and all three give off the occasional cough, but it’s definitely letting up.

BROWNIE POINTS ALERT: During his “sick day”, Cameron kept Chuck with him so I could go to my Quilting Society class alone, and even picked up Rachael from school so I could stay the full 3 hours! #dreamboat Does this make me a bad person?

It was a fun night, albeit a little on the long side, and all the poor younger siblings in the crowd were starting to lose it. Or maybe that was just mine? Moaning and sitting, yet getting excited each time a trio took off on the track. Duncan got a “best construction” award for his car (with Lego Movie construction legos – all the awards were punny). All in all, it was a fun night and everyone (sans Mommy) enjoyed a HUGE ice cream sandwich at the end.

Disclaimer: Excuse the fuzziness on that sweet face, I took this last photo with my phone’s camera (read: HORRID LITTLE BOX THING THAT TAKES ILLEGIBLE PHOTOS AND VIDEO) so I could send it out via text, and it’s not the best. Yet it’s the only one where he has something on his face resembling a smile – go figure!

Prep Day

I think most of you know that I’m the 2nd Counselor in the Young Women‘s Presidency at my church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Well, because I also LOVE to bake cupcakes, I tend to get called upon when it’s time to serve goodies. (Oh darn!) We are hosting the stake dance at our meetinghouse this weekend, and I’ve been asked to make 150 cupcakes for part of the refreshments!

I made some adjustments to my favorite chocolate cupcake recipe and have hopefully (fingers crossed!) got the kinks worked out making the batter in tripled amounts. Can you imagine 13 dozen cupcakes, one batch at a time… neither can my mixer! So today is my tester day. Sometimes recipes won’t work properly when they’re halved, doubled, and so forth. But so far, so good!

I’ll be prepping for my baking day by measuring out my dry ingredients, measuring out some of my wet ingredients – that way making the batter itself won’t take as long as it usually does. It’ll just be a matter of mixing things together, not measuring, scooping, and so forth.

I’m also going to make my frosting ahead of time and see how that works out. Since my recipes are vegan, I have to be careful with over mixing. I make sure to use a dairy-free butter substitute in my buttercream that does NOT have water listed as the first ingredient. While I’ve found that substitutes like accidentally-vegan Blue Bonnet Light (where water is the first ingredient) will work for baking, it cannot keep from separating in something like buttercream. I personally use Earth Balance, which has an oil-blend as the first ingredient and it whips up just like real butter would in a buttercream recipe.

Here’s my go-to recipe for buttercream:

Vegan Vanilla Buttercream Frosting


1/2 cup Earth Balance “butter”

1/2 cup vegetable shortening

4 cups confectioner’s sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

about 1 teaspoon (or more to reach desired consistency) coconut almond milk, or other non-dairy milk

Directions: Whip together the Earth Balance and shortening. Add confectioner’s sugar (confectioners’ sugar?) and mix together. Add vanilla and salt, and slowly add coconut almond milk, a teaspoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency. It won’t take much, don’t over pour! Frost cupcakes (or anything that tastes good with frosting, right?!) and enjoy!

Like peas in a pod

By far, the messiest room in my house right now. And of course, the messiest child sits among it. This chaos definitely needs some order. Hopefully, injured knee willing, I’m going to make a dent in it today.

It’s the little things that bug me… like the ancient rubbermaid-style (maybe?) baskets that just never sit quite right on top of each other. I requested these well-used baskets from my Grandma’s stash – I figured most were wanting the fabric, not the yellowing crates they sat in. They’re great on their own, I have a couple that work wonderfully in my great shelved closet in the sewing room. (Cam did a great job, then we both did an even better job of overfilling it, ha! See it semi-empty and clean here.) But they’re not stacked! I think their age is just really showing in the inability to sit straight and stack as they should. Perhaps it’s the load of fabric… they look much cleaner and less weighed-down here. Might be time for Hubbs to try and intervene with some ideas of his own… I wonder if we have enough spare lumber lying around to throw together a little shelf to help “stack” them without really stacking.

I’m always pushing the kids to finish their chores so they can “play” – amazing how many different things one word can mean. The word “play” around here has endless meaning! Hopefully just not all electronic, right? Olivia’s been doing a great job and has been finishing in the mornings so that she has the rest of her day, the ideal  way to do it. Duncan does the same UNLESS his rooms gets messed. He has a very difficult time getting from a mess to clean again. Once he’s there, maintaining is pretty easy for him.

Sometimes I try to do this by literal example, though it’s not easy. As a parent things get shoved and left to me, and keeping on top of that is much more difficult then “gather your dirty laundry and start a load” or “make your bed and check your floor”. Especially, as you can see, when it comes to the sewing room//office! It literally has become the junk drawer of our home. Very frustrating.

I’ve also been trying to throw in random chores and requests for them to respectfully respond to and then fulfill so that I’m not the only one pushing through all the other miscellaneous work. I try to remember to praise. Sadly, it’s easy to overlook when negatives are looming around the corner. I’m doing my best, trying my hardest. So far we seem to be winning the entitlement battle.

In other news, we have an upcoming family date this weekend that I’m looking forward to. Cameron found a Groupon for bowling and then pizza (another Groupon, of course – have you met my husband?) to top off the outing. I think it’ll be really good for us, it’s been a while since we’ve gone out and had a good time, ALL of us, together. It might also be a great opportunity to push out those often overlooked praises that everyone is in need of working on. Through the screaming fights over monkeys, and lies about laundry being finished so snack can be inhaled, eesh… we need to focus on some positives! A good start to the new year? Definitely.

Besides, I think we’re all just dying to see Cameron’s best two-handed granny bowling techniques again. Right?!

2014 is almost over!

Christmas 2014 is over!

Can you believe it? We’re sitting in the last days of December 2014. That was fast. It seems like just yesterday I was trying to get used to writing “14” at the end of my dates on various things.

This morning, I was pre-filling out some food/mood/sleep/etc. tracking forms. My new doctor suggested I track what I eat, when I exercise, and so forth so that she can look at my nutrition and health as a whole versus gathering what she can from me relating my history orally. My next appointment is on the 9th of January – yes, 2015. So as I’m filling out these forms, just the date on the top, I got to January and it was very surreal writing 1/1/15. Crazy! Before you know it, we’ll be gearing up to write 2016. Sick.

2014, certainly the tail end of it, has left me feeling beat. Chuck gives a good visual example.

Along with that as this week has started slowly, I’ve developed a renewed dedication to my health. Just wanting to feel good! Not going to stress over weight, just going to focus on getting my exercise in as I should, and eating healthy. I don’t want to leave 2015 as exhausted as I’m leaving 2014. I’m done wanting to be a certain size or a certain weight. I should be happy with my body and know that it’s acting as it should be, and lately – with both my attitude and my body – that hasn’t been the case. So I’m trying to fix that!

Thomas S. Monson, a general authority of my church (I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints put out a message on his page [we’ve become such a Facebook world!] that I really liked about the new year:

“At the advent of a new year, I challenge Latter-day Saints everywhere to undertake a personal, diligent, significant quest for what I call the abundant life—a life filled with an abundance of success, goodness, and blessings. Just as we learned the ABCs in school, I offer my own ABCs to help us all gain the abundant life.

A in my ABCs refers to attitude.

B is for believe—in yourself, in those around you, and in eternal principles.

C is for courage. Courage becomes a worthwhile and meaningful virtue when it is regarded not so much as a willingness to die manfully but as a determination to live decently.”

Definitely food for thought. It’s penciled in, right with the rest of goals for 2015. (Or right next to the empty space where my goals should be!) There’s a lot I want to accomplish but I tend to procrastinate writing it all down. We’ve got a lot of recovery work to do this year in our family, and unfortunately I think it’s in our nature to think that a year is an endless amount of time. That is one thing I’d like to accomplish this year – more attention to time! To simply pay attention to the pass of time, pay attention to the questions like when did I last get out my camera? When did I last tell my husband I appreciate him? When was the last time the bathtub was cleaned? Okay, maybe not so much on that last one. I think we all avoid that question…

Lots of thoughts, lots of goals, but all in all I think I’m sticking with my resolution of avoiding resolutions. I’ll make changes, gain good habits, and celebrate victories. But I definitely don’t need a “new year” to do it.

During which I avoid fetching the iron.

Should be working on some Christmas gifts. Instead? I’m organizing my Documents and Downloads folders. A bit obsessive compulsive, yes, but oh so satisfying. Apparently at some point I had messaged this moment to a friend and randomly I also copied it into a word file and saved it. Not sure why I did at the time, but I’m glad I did. Weird thinking that Charlotte is already so big and Rachael isn’t even at home anymore!

“lissieinthesky: so while trying to take photos for this online course thing, Charlie decides I need a hug.

lissieinthesky: I mean, perfect 1-year-old hugging height – kneeling by the sewing table with my camera body resting on the tabletop and taking photos of TMNT shot glasses in a row.

I’m trying not to move at all so I can get essentially the same exact shot but then show the differences with my f-stop

So she crawls up, grabs on to stand up and plants her face (with two steady streams of snot) ALL OVER MY SIDE.

So much for this shirt.

I yelp out noooooo Chuck!

and Rach goes “it’s okay mama, she just likes you the best” LOL

lissieinthesky: I guess there’s that. :-P”

Miss the little goobers being… little!