Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Just Keep Swimming

One of the girls' favorite ways to get wet and stay cool in the summer is to go swimming. We are fortunate that our neighborhood has a pool so we can go just about every day during summer break. When it is hot, there is just about no place else they'd rather be. Watching them play in the water brings back so many memories for me, as I about lived at our neighborhood pool as a kid. They are much braver than I was, putting their faces in the water and even going under at a much earlier age than I did.

I am always sad when summer break ends and our pool time is over, as we really have found no indoor pool to go to in the winter months. And of course summer always goes by so fast - time flies when you are having fun right? So we will continue to spend our summer days sleeping in late, doing whatever we feel like without worry of a schedule, and of course going to the pool as much as we can. Now if only the weather would cooperate. . .

*check out more fun ways to get WET and have fun with your family at Mom's Marbles.

Monday, June 29, 2009

And They Danced. . .And Danced. . .And Danced

Kiki and Boo both had their dance recitals last weekend and had a blast performing onstage. "Recital" is a somewhat misleading word. The studio they attend puts on a real show. They have themes for their "recitals" and the students are on stage several times during the show, not just for their class routines. It truly is a magical experience for all of the kids involved and quite entertaining for all watching them perform.

We practically lived at the auditorium the week prior with all of the rehearsals and the actual performances. You would think that would have made them sick of dancing for a while, but no, they have been playing their recital music and acting out their dances over and over again. I could practically sing their songs in my sleep I've heard them so many times. They've even had recitals with their Polly Pockets and Barbies and have "danced" their routines in the water at the pool. I think I've had as much fun watching those "routines" as much as the ones on the stage. I enjoy watching them dance (and of course love dancing with them), just simply for the smiles that appear on their faces the minute the music starts. Even though classes are over for now, I have no doubt they will be dancing all summer long.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Boo has an active imagination and one of her favorite bedtime stalling tactics is to tell us she is scared of the dark. She is worried there are monsters or ghosts out to "get her." After many, attempts, we've managed to convince her that monsters and ghosts only exist in the movies and shows she watches on T.V., that they aren't real.

All of that convincing just about went out the window last night when Boo and Kiki spent the night at their Uncle Mark's house. After eating pizza with their cousins, a strange thing happened. The door at the top of the basement stairs suddenly opened all by itself. Or at least that is what Boo thought, and it freaked her out. It took quite a bit of convincing (and a hilarious video) by her older sister, cousins, and Uncle, that opening a different door in the same room is what caused that basement door to spontaneously open.

Must have worked because she had no trouble falling asleep! Thanks to her fun uncle and cousins, Boo will have quite a story to tell all of her friends. . .

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I Scream for Ice Cream

With all of the rain we've been getting this summer, I have had to come up with more than the usual amount of activities and such to keep the girls from driving me crazy going stir crazy. We've baked cookies, set up a school in their playroom, played JumpStart on the computer and had mini dance recitals in our kitchen. And that was just in the first two weeks!

I was beginning to run out of ideas, but then I remembered Kiki brought home a recipe for homemade ice cream the last week of school and thought we'd give it a try. I love ice cream (who doesn't?) so I am always game for some. This was so much easier than making it in one of those old fashioned crank style ice cream makers and just as yummy. We pretty much followed the recipe to a "T", but added chocolate chips in the end. I think we just might have to experiment with this and try adding different flavors (which will give me an excuse to make some more - heh).

So next time you are craving ice cream, or are needing to keep your kids from killing each other occupied, try making some homemade ice cream in a bag. That'll keep them busy (and quiet too) for at least a little while!

1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup salt
ICE CUBES (enough to fill half of a gallon-size bag)
1 pint size ziplock bag (sandwich bag size)
1 gallon size ziplock bag

1. combine sugar, milk, and vanilla extract in the pint size bag and seal it tightly

2. Place the salt and ice in the gallon size bag, then place the sealed smaller bag inside. Seal the larger bag. Now shake the bags until the mixture hardens (about 5 minutes). Feel the small bag to determine when it's done

3. Take the smaller bag out of the larger one, add mix-ins, and eat the ice cream right out of the bag. Easy cleanup too!

*check out more fun ways to CREATE and have fun with your family at Mom's Marbles.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Holiday Road

Last Friday, we took off on the "Holiday Road" (think of the movie "Vacation") to explore southern Indiana for a trip to Holiday World, an amusement park in Santa Claus, Indiana. With school out for the summer, we thought this would be a great way to reward the girls for all of their hard work this past year. While this was not our first time taking the girls to an amusement park - we've been to Kings Island, Dollywood, and the ever popular Disney World - we had yet to take them to Indiana's beloved Holiday World.

So many people I know who have been to Holiday World talk about how great it is, and they aren't exaggerating. It is easily one of the nicest parks (and yes I am including Disney) that we've ever been to! Holiday World boasts they are "#1 for family fun" and they have reason to brag. The park was sparkling clean (probably cleaner than my house), the staff was friendly, and the lines were fairly short. Plus, we enjoyed free parking, free sunscreen, free UNLIMITED soft drinks all day, and didn't die of heat stroke because there are actually TREES IN THE PARK. Yes, you heard me right, they have TREES. How often do you see real trees at amusement parks? That was so refreshing, because so many other amusement parks make you bake in the sun just to stand in line for their rides.

The girls had an absolute blast. They loved all (well most) of the rides, and because of the short lines, we could go on their favorites more than once each day. They also enjoyed going over to Splashin' Safari, which is the water park within Holiday World. And of course they were fascinated to see where Santa spends his summers. Who knew he was in Indiana this whole time?

Holiday World has three of the best rated wooden roller coasters, including the #1 rated Voyage. Kiki couldn't wait to ride them all, until we got into the park and she saw the size of the hill on Voyage. Within the first hour we arrived at the park the first day, she rode The Raven, the smallest of the three coasters. She loved it but said she didn't think she would want to ride the other two coasters, The Legend and of course, Voyage. We kept trying to convince her, without wanting to push her into it, that she would love those rides too. The Legend was shut down the first day we were there, so she didn't have to think about that one, but we walked her by Voyage several times and showed her how fast the coaster would make it down the hill. Count to three and it is over, and then just enjoy how much fun the roller coaster will be. Bill and I each took a turn by ourselves, as Boo wasn't tall enough yet. Finally, towards the end of the second day, she decided she wanted to go on the Legend. She loved that, and so we tried once more to convince her she would like Voyage.

Kiki kept saying "I want to go on Voyage, but that hill just scares me." Having conquered that hill myself, I didn't really blame her. As much fun as it was going down, the anticipation of going up the hill was more than a little intimidating. I told her she didn't have to go on it, that I understood why she was nervous. She thought about it some more, and still wasn't sure. However, while we were getting drinks, she saw a girl about her age, wearing a shirt with the words "I Conquered Voyage, " printed on the front, and all of the features of the coaster printed on the back. Kiki saw that shirt and the age of the girl, and decided she was going give it a try! Before she could change her mind, Bill grabbed her hand and they got in line.

Meanwhile, Boo and I waited and watched for them to go. Before he got on the ride, Bill sent me a text (gotta love technology) and told us they were next. So we watched and waited for them to go up the giant hill. . .

and a few minutes later Kiki came off the ride beaming!

While she was on the ride, Boo and I decided her bravery needed to be rewarded with a special prize. . .

As we were leaving the park the second day, Bill asked Boo what her favorite ride was at Holiday World. "I don't know, " she said. He said "was your favorite ride at Holiday World?" Boo just shrugged. He continued, "Or one of the slides at Splashin' Safari?" Boo shrugged again and then said "I don't know, it was ALLLL fun!"