Summer Memories

School has been in session for almost two weeks now, but before I write about how Claire's doing in kindergarten, I've got to record some of my favorite summer memories. First up, how I spent my weekdays with all three girls at home.

Summer Weekdays

Well, we spent A LOT of time at the park with friends. We loved going to the Tuesday morning kids' concerts at the beach, playing in the water, enjoying a picnic lunch, and sharing ice cream sandwiches from the snack stand for dessert. We joined the Y again and made it there at least once a week. We were sad that our parish didn't have vacation bible school this year, but Claire and Maggie did a little tennis day camp at the park and had a weekly soccer clinic there as well. All three girls did swim lessons - the place where they've done dance/gymnastics for the last couple years also has an outdoor pool and starts lessons for kids at eighteen months. We started on Betsy's half birthday in August! Even though she didn't really learn anything, it was worth it to have her happily splashing in the pool instead of grumpily watching from the sidelines. The girls and I all agreed that the swim instructor was much, much better than the teachers at the private swim club in our neighborhood, where we'd done lessons the last couple years.

At the very beginning of the summer, I devised a plan for spending a little learning/spiritual growth time with my big girls during Betsy's afternoon nap. I drew up this schedule for myself:

Monday: Bible journals + books on CD
Tuesday:  Saint story + wipe clean workbooks
Wednesday: Bible journals + audio book with quiet activity
Thursday: Catholic treasure box story + board game
Friday: Rosary + sensory activity

For quiet activities, I mean puzzles, pattern blocks, and perler "biggie" beads. Just something to keep their hands busy while they listened to Little House in the Big Woods and Farmer Boy. For sensory activities, I mean play dough, kinetic sand, or these water beads. We prayed the rosary by listening to these CDs from Holy Heroes and coloring in the accompanying coloring books. The Catholic Treasure Box books are from the 1950s, but were also purchased from Holy Heroes. We can't recommend them enough - our girls love the stories and we've learned a lot from them as adults.

We didn't stick to this schedule exactly the whole summer. Sometimes I knew they were just too tired from spending all morning playing at the park or the beach. Sometimes they were deep into an pretend world that I wasn't about to interfere with - both because I think imaginative games with your siblings are the very best education of all in early childhood and because it meant I could sneak off to finish chores or read a book on my own!

We were most dedicated to our bible journal project. We used Maite Roche's Bible for Little Ones because the stories are very simple and her illustrations are gorgeous. I found some blank storybooks at the Target Dollar Spot. Basically, I'd read the story to the girls, they would draw a picture in their bible journal, and then I'd write their narrated versions of the story.

Here's a page from Maggie's journal:

Maggie Bible Journal Old Testament

She said, "The big guy, Goliath's, shield gets stuck in a tree. Then he can't attack. The little guy, David, throws a rock at him. One of the trees falls over. Goliath is killed. David wins the war and a rainbow comes out!"

This is the page she was looking at in the children's bible: 

David and Goliath Example Page

Here's a page from Claire's journal: 

Claire Bible Journal Old Testament

She said, "Isaiah is telling everyone that God is real. A dove flaps onto his shoulder. The big star in the sky is trying to show that God is real too. Jesus is going to come tomorrow!"

This is the page she was looking at in the children's bible:

Isaiah Example Page

We made it through the twelve stories in the Old Testament. Next summer, I'd love to have them work on the New Testament in a new journal - it would be really fun to see how their artistic style has changed. They were both very proud of the finished product. Claire even brought hers in for her first show-and-tell in kindergarten. 

My other summer goal was to have them greatly improve in their ability to clean up the toys at the end of the day. I paid them a quarter for a job well done and periodically took them to spend their money on new books at the thrift store or new puzzles and coloring books at the dollar store. We're very much still a work in progress (especially when it comes to completing this task without whining, tantrums, and a million reminders to focus) but there's been definite improvement.

Summer Weekends

On the weekend, our town's summer fair and farmer's market are always highlights of the summer. We also made it to the beach as a family twice, where Adam demonstrated that he is most definitely the fun parent.




For us, summer means lots of berry picking. We kicked it off with strawberries on a particularly warm Saturday morning in June. Claire and Maggie are true Seattle children and were not enthused by the unusually hot temperatures.







In July, we picked raspberries and blueberries. In August, we picked blackberries - wild blackberries grow everywhere in Seattle, so there are no u-pick farms. We found an abundance at our local playground. We also harvested the apples from our backyard tree in August and turned them into applesauce. We use the strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries in homemade ice cream, as well as enjoying lots fresh with whipped cream and angel food cake (made with all the egg whites leftover from ice cream). We just freeze the blueberries to use in muffins and pancakes throughout the year.











We spent a very fun Saturday morning at Remlinger Farms, an amusement park for little kids. This was the last year Claire could go on all the rides (before she's too tall) and it made us realize that our family outings will have to change when we don't have only small children anymore. I imagine we'll have to split up sometimes, but hopefully we'll mostly stick to things everyone enjoys.






We spent another enjoyable Saturday morning at the zoo, although since it was another unusually warm day, most of the animals were hiding in the shade. I think the zoo is really a better spring or fall activity - as long as it's not pouring down rain, it's a pretty good time. We were surprised to see the hippo out of his pond, since it seems like we never get a good glimpse of him. Along with the rest of the zoo patrons, we were most excited to see the baby giraffe born earlier in the summer.

Summer is such an odd time of year here in Seattle. We want to squeeze in as much fun as possible while the sun is shining, but we also have more chores to keep up with, since there's always yard work to be done. This year, we also wanted to get a few house projects finished before our new baby arrives in November and knew we would have much less time once school started. I actually felt quite relieved when the rain, cloudy skies, and cooler temperatures returned this week!

1 comment:

  1. I love your little plan for each day of the week. Would you mind if I borrowed it ;) ??? I need something low key to do with my 3 year old while big bro is at school now and I am a terribly overanalytical person when it comes to coming up with stuff like that


You are awesome.