2008 at 3:57 pm | by Kristin Chesemore
Homemaking Holidays and Seasons Motherhood
You all suggested enough summer activities to keep even my energetic boys busy for more than one summer! Rita is our winner for today:
When my children were little and it was a hot summer day, I made sure they were all occupied with something in the house. Then I took a box of popsicles I had purchased from the store, used a hole punch to puncture the wrapping, tied a string to the popsicle wrapping and then hung them from the tree branches of our front yard tree.
I then went into the house and announced, “The popsicle tree is blooming! The popsicle tree is blooming!” They ran outside and saw our tree covered with hanging popsicles! They ran and got their little neighborhood friends and everyone sat outside enjoying popsicles.
To this day, that is the one summer memory they will almost always bring up! It’s inexpensive, easy and a fun surprise!
2008 at 4:06 pm | by Kristin Chesemore
Homemaking Holidays and Seasons Motherhood
Some more great ideas coming your way today and three more winners to congratulate for their worthy endeavors. May God prosper all of your summer goals and projects!
SUMMER GOALS AND PROJECTS
Create “square foot” gardens with the children (build a garden for each child 3’x3’ or 4’x4’ and let the child choose what they will grow and help them (if they need it) with planting, watering, weeding and let them serve the family (and even neighbors) by sharing the fruits of their labors
The first is something that I’m nervous about, but I think God is calling me to do it. I will be babysitting for two kids from a broken home this summer, 8 hours a day, 3 days a week. That is a lot longer than I have ever worked before! My goal in this is not only to minister to that family, but also to train and prepare myself for my dream job: being a mother.
We’re planning Summer Without Television. We’re doing this because every summer we are easily, easily sucked into hours of watching television. So we’re coming up with activities that will be more interesting, and more fruitful.
The plan is to list things we’d like to learn, or places we’d like to visit, and group those things by theme (art, outdoor activity, etc.) Each theme will get its own day of the week.
So far we’ve got one child who wants to learn how to make stained glass, bake extravagant pastries, draw, and go canoeing. The other wants to make jewelry, learn macrame, knitting, preserve some jellies and jams, and go horseback riding. Both want to visit museums and go hiking and camping.
So, Monday may be designated Art Day, when we’ll work on some projects together. Tuesday could be Baking/preserving Day, (I forsee a lot of care group members getting jellies this Christmas!) Wednesday may be Parks&Rec Day, when we see what the local parks have to offer. Thursday will likely be Visit the Museum Day (almost all of them have free days that we’re taking advantage of)....and you get the idea by now. We’re throwing in a couple weekend camping trips for good measure. (And for those days when everyone wants a break from the schedule, we’ll just pack up some juice boxes and head for the pool!)
If all goes well, we won’t know if America’s Got Talent, who The Mole is, or who wins the NBA finals. But we will have some new skills, and some great memories.
2008 at 5:06 pm | by Kristin Chesemore
Today we’ve combined in one document ideas for summer vacations and summer traveling with kids. Once again, you all are amazing! These ideas are so great they make me excited to go on a road trip with my young kiddos. We could only narrow it down to three winners—one for the Summer Vacations category and two for the Summer Traveling with Kids category. Congratulations ladies, and let us know what book you’d like to receive. More super summer suggestions come your way tomorrow….
SUMMER TRAVELING WITH KIDS
My idea for summer traveling with kids comes with a little story:
When my oldest son, Tim, was 2 1/2 years old my Mom moved to Northern California. Many of our vacations included a 6 1/2 hours drive from southern California to "Grandma’s house". To help answer the questions of, "how long until we get there?" and " how much farther do we have to go?" I gave Tim a visual aid. I used a highlighter pen to trace our route on a Calif. map which I then covered with clear contact paper. A sticker was used to represent us and it was at first situated on the location of our house on the map. As our trip progressed the sticker was peeled off and repositioned to our current position along the route on the map. This helped give Tim a grasp of how much distance we had traveled and how much was left. Over the years, as Tim became a reader, he was able to read road signs and move the sticker on his own. Tim grew to be fascinated with maps and traveling. (In elementary school he even started a collection of maps from all 50 states). He is now 23 years old and enjoys planning trips and has even traveled to China and throughout Europe.
One of our favorite things to do on a trip is to read a missionary biography together as a family. Geoff and Janet Benge have written a series of books Christian Heroes: Then & Now through YWAM. We have read about Eric Liddell, Nate Saint, Amy Carmichael, George Mueller (who had a very interesting life before God got a hold of his life, his in particular gave us great topics of discussion). Around a campfire or even in a hotel these are great things to read before the kiddos head off to bed. This year we will be reading about Betty Greene who helped found Missionary Aviation Fellowship. We have also memorized a passage of Scripture together as a family. I make verse cards for each of the kids and then we can practice in the car as we travel. It’s humbling how quick the kids can memorize, but it keeps us faithful when we are all memorizing the same things. This year we are hoping to memorize a section of Ps. 119.
Plan a “surprise trip.” When our 4 kids where all under 10, we packed
all their bags in advance and then awakened them early (4:00 AM) one
morning, put them in the car and headed to Disney World from Virginia!
They learned of where we were going when we stopped for breakfast after
3 hours of travel and put a toy Mickey Mouse on the table! They still
say this was one of their favorite memories. It doesn’t have to be a
big trip like Disney; just any surprise get-a-way (maybe Grandma’s
house!) will make a cherished memory!
2008 at 4:22 pm | by Kristin Chesemore
Homemaking Eating and Mealtime Holidays and Seasons
Wow—you outdid yourselves this time! We received so many wonderful entries for our summer contest. As always, we’re sorry we can’t post them all.
Let’s begin with summer meals. You can download this Summer Meals pdf which contains over thirty delicious looking recipes and creative tips for simple and yummy summer food.
Our winner for today is Talitha. She sent in four creative ideas for summer eating fun. Congratulations Talitha and thank you for sharing these suggestions with all of us. Let us know which of the fabulous books you would like to receive.
To all of you, my husband and three growing boys thank you for the new recipes they’ll enjoy this summer!
SUMMER MEAL IDEAS from Talitha
Have a Picnic
Number one is the obvious one and not really original but… eating outside is one of the most enjoyable things to do in the summer! With family and friends enjoying good conversation, a ray of sunlight in your hair and fresh air while eating your lunch. From breakfast to supper, outside is the place to be when the sun is shining.
Make Your Own BBQ
One of the fun things to do is make your own BBQ roaster with branches and aluminium foil. When we were little we often roasted little sausages outside. Each of the neighbour kids had to bring something: ketchup, a can of sausages, bread… This way we made our own hot dogs. (First ask the parents for permission of course)
My brothers also liked to build special ovens in the ground. (We, the girls, had to carry along the heavy stones…) We worked a whole week on it, every day a little further towards the final result. At the end of the week we could bake food on the stones. Fun! You can find inspiration for different kinds of ovens to build in survival books.
Make Norwegian Pinnebrød
Another all-time popular thing to do outside is baking bread in a small fire. (You can even do it in a fire basket or inside on a rainy day.) Since I learned to bake pinnebrød in Norway we have repeated it many times on parties or family & friends nights. You just make dough for a white bread and gather some sticks. You roll a small piece of dough and twist it around your stick. You hold the stick above the fire for a while and watch your bread until it is finished. The first time you have to give yourself some time to learn, so be patient.
You can also put a sausage inside the bread. Another idea is to put cheese, smashed tomatoes, pizza spice in the bread. You get a very tasty pizza bread! As dessert… you eat some more bread But now you put brown sugar, cinnamon and butter in the dough. It is fun for young and old to do! I did it last month again on a party with and everybody enjoyed it so much!
(UPDATE Another reader, Karen, wrote in with a suggestion to add: We call the Norwegian Pinnebrød “doughboys.” We use the inexpensive biscuit dough, wrap around a thin dowel, and bake over the fire. It has replaced smores as the favorite dessert while camping!)
Do a Snack Bar with Kids
Since I have no family on my own I like to cook together with my little nephew and niece. This morning we cut potatoes into chips, cut vegetables and set the dinner table. It is a morning-filling activity—really time consuming but rewarding!
One time as children we had our own snack restaurant as a family event. We did everything, including baking the chips, preparing the pitas, hamburgers… Much fun for older children! First of all the preparation, building the bar, putting up a plate with the name of the snackbar… And then the fun of ‘playing’ with real food and customers.
Cutting the peppers (it is easier with scissors)
2008 at 9:08 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Fun Stuff Friday Funnies
I love the Friday Funnies we receive about kids. This cute one is from Dina.
Looking forward to summer ideas week!
Nicole for the girltalkers
One date night my sweet in laws were over to babysit our then young family, so we could get out on a much needed date. My nice father in law was holding my young son, about 6 years old, tossing him up and down, and wrestling in the chair for fun. At one point, he was holding my son upside down. Then all of the sudden, our son asks sweetly, "Grandad, why do you have eyelashes in your nose?"
2008 at 4:56 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Fun Stuff Girltalkers Homemaking Vacations
My son, Jack, is counting down the sleepies until summer vacation. I smile at his childish anticipation, but I too need to anticipate—to plan and prepare for vacation. I need to prepare to worship God for His good gifts, I need to prepare to fight sin, I need to prepare to serve others, I need to prepare good food and fun memories, and I need to prepare for reentry.
For the men who read this blog (or whose wife or mother drags you to the computer to read a post) you need to prepare to lead. My dad has just concluded a three part series on leadership and vacations that is must reading for both men and women. If you truly want a vacation worth counting down the sleepies for, check it out.
And finally, I’ll leave you with some thoughts from the young fathers in our family. In jest, my husband and brothers-in-law once posted their top five suggestions for dads of young children on vacation:
1. Play 18 holes of golf, not 36.
2. If you have children, don’t use the last of the milk for your third late-night bowl of Lucky Charms.
3. Offer to watch the children during the afternoon nap.
4. If you’re going to take a toddler on the jet-ski, try to keep the speed under 50 mph.
5. Consider giving your wife the remote control during the 5:00-6:00 a.m. slot.
Guys, I think we can do better this year. How about the girls watch the kids during afternoon nap and you take the other shifts?
Only 44 more sleepies.
2008 at 1:47 pm | by Kristin Chesemore
Biblical Womanhood Reading
My sisters and I were blessed to grow up in a neighborhood with lots of kids. Summer days started out with “free swim” at the local pool from 9-10 and ended some twelve hours later with a big nighttime game of “Capture the Flag.”
Mom was happy for us to enjoy our summer playtime. But she also insisted that every day, from 12-3 pm, we come inside and do something productive. And at least one of those three hours had to be spent reading.
When I think of summer goals for my kids—and especially my eight-year-old Andrew—reading is at the top of my list. So I’ve decided to continue with a plan his second grade teacher has implemented all year: DEAR (or Drop Everything And Read) time. No doubt many of you with kids in school are familiar with this practice. After recess, each kid in the class finds a place and spends time with a good book.
We’re going to have DEAR time at home this summer. I’ll let the boys each pick their own special place in the house to read. Even though Liam and Owen can still only do picture books, I don’t think it’s too early to train them in a habit of reading. To further encourage them, I’m going to do my own Book It program with some kind of prize at the end of each month for reading an assigned number of days.
And who knows, I might just grab a book myself and join them in some summer DEAR time.
2008 at 4:41 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
Homemaking Holidays and Seasons
The idea of planning for a productive summer may not sound all that appealing. It could even be overwhelming to some. But it need not be. Planning ensures that we make progress, even if we don’t accomplish everything in our plan. Again, from Shopping for Time:
“If you develop a plan to change in one area, you will be surprised at the dramatic difference it will make. If the only action you pursue is to wake up early and seek God, no corner of your life will go untouched. If you simply reach out to one non-Christian neighbor, you will experience joy that lasts for eternity. Remember this: even if you only change in one area, you will be doing more than if you hadn’t sat down to plan at all.”
If we take a few minutes now to develop a simple plan for the next three months, imagine what eternal potential summer may hold!
2008 at 4:49 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Biblical Womanhood Living Intentionally Homemaking Holidays and Seasons
Sellers of deck furniture and lemonade try to entice us with images of a long, lazy summer. And while summer can be a restful season to the glory of God, we must not give into laziness. Ephesians 5:15-16 is an exhortation to a different kind of summer: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”
Our comments on this verse in our book Shopping for Time have application to summer:
“We are to walk with the utmost accuracy, with extreme care…We are not to trudge blindly or routinely through [summer]. We shouldn’t just let [summer] happen and try to deal with the results, be what they may. We should not allow one day to flow simply into the next, being concerned only with the present moment. No, we must look around. We must develop keen eyes. We must examine our lives. We must evaluate our present manner of living and consider how to prepare for the future. We must walk circumspectly through each and every day.”
So how can we make the best use of summertime? We must,
“approach [the summer] the same way we go after bargains. We need to discern the best opportunities [summer] has to offer. Then we must seize these opportunities and make them our highest priorities. Every [summer] day presents us with countless options for how to spend our time. However, only some are truly great deals. Only a few things are really important.”
Let’s enjoy God’s gift of rest this summer in the form of lemonade on a deck chair, but let’s also live carefully and wisely, making the best use of summertime. Ask yourself, what are the one or two really important things God would have me do this summer?
2008 at 7:17 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Thanks to all of you who’ve already submitted entries for our summer contest—keep ‘em coming! In the meantime, I tried this new Epicurious recipe for berry crisp yesterday and if you can measure its yumminess by how many helpings my husband’s had in twenty-four hours, then it is quite delicious. Best of all, it is really easy. Oh, and per some of the comments I doubled the topping which is definitely the way to go.
Mixed Berry Crisp
The frozen berries aren’t thawed before you use them, so this dessert is super fast.
Servings: Makes 6 servings.
2 12-ounce packages frozen mixed berries (such as blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and raspberries; about 6 cups), unthawed
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, diced
Preheat oven to 375°F. Combine berries, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup flour and lemon juice in large bowl; toss to blend well. Transfer berry mixture to 9-inch-diameter glass pie dish. Combine remaining 3/4 cup flour, oats, brown sugar, spices and salt in medium bowl. Add butter; rub in with fingertips until topping holds together in small moist clumps. Sprinkle over berry mixture.
Bake crisp until berry mixture bubbles thickly and topping is golden brown, about 1 hour. Let stand 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.