The kids were quick to include a Karaoke Party with our friend Cindy on their list. We've had a few fun ones in the past and they couldn't wait to do it again. It turns out she couldn't wait either; she just moved into a basement apartment and the upstairs tenants will be moving in at the end of the month, so if we wanted to make lots of noise we needed to do it soon! We made a plan to get together after church on Sunday (we don't usually dress this well for karaoke) and pooled our resources for a really yummy lunch.
After lunch we got down to some serious karaoke business:
(a blurry Cindy is in the middle...sorry Cindy, my aim was off!)
Someone is beating someone in versus mode:
A certain young lady had a sleepover with a friend the night before...and faded a little on us...
...but not as much as her Dad!
...snores started drowning out the singing!
When we tired of Karaoke we had a Bohnanza smackdown. SOMEONE stabbed me in the back and won the game by clever stealing of MY cocoa beans!
Claims he found a loophole in a previous agreement. Traitor!
We had a great time! Thanks Cindy! Next time we'll have to have her out to our place so we don't disturb her neighbours...but there will definitely be a next time!
On Saturday we crossed a big item off of our summer bucket list. We packed a picnic lunch, located the mp3 player, hopped in the car, and headed off to beautiful Saint Andrews by the Sea for a concert...and lots of other fun things.
Our first stop was the Huntsman Marine Science Center (we have a membership). We arrived right on time for the morning seal feeding. It was so good to see Snorkel and Loki again and see what new tricks (ahem, behaviours) they had learned over the winter.
We stood and looked at the "river" (the water goes in and out with the tide, so I have a hard time considering it a river, I consider it ocean)
and debated going down to the beach and doing a little beachcoming, but we knew our time was tight and we really wanted to get in to the touch pools, so we went in.
Hello to the skates!
Touch pool time! We adore the touch pool...
...even I get in on the action...
The Boy's favourite thing in the touch pool is the sea stars, but there weren't very many this year. He barely finished asking me where they all went when we spotted this sign:
Poor stars! He still managed to find a few though!
This year they added back several terrariums as well. Some of the Boy's favourite critters here:
Then it was time to head downstairs and see everything from an underwater perspective.
A stop at the info screen:
...making sure we can see the seals when they swim by...
...the skates are kind of awesome from down here...
Our local schools don't have any sort of an instrumental program. No band, no orchestra, not even a little recorder group. Since Hubby and I are band geeks missing our instruments, this pains us, and I really wanted the kids to have a chance to try out some instruments. The "zoo" did not disappoint.
They tried the snare (all 3 were surprisingly good!)
They tried the flute
Sweetpea moved on to trumpet
...and then cello
Meanwhile, the other two decided to slide on over to trombone:
The Princess pleased her Daddy by trying out (and getting a very nice tone on) the French Horn
And then it was over to Cello again
The girls tried violin and viola
then the younger two got bored and put themselves in the world's best time out chair
while the Princess gave clarinet a whirl (she didn't care for it).
Eventually it was time to close up the "zoo" and settle in for the concert. We had a simple picnic lunch and settled in as close as we could.
This is how Sweetpea watches a concert:
A little collage of the Sistema Orchestra. This orchestra has children aged 6-12 and they played beautifully. They started off with the William Tell Overture because they love it so much, and they ended with the 1812 overture. So fun and very impressive!
We did so much more as well; once the concert ended we toured the entire garden and posed with all the statues for photos. We went for ice cream and ate it by the wharf, then walked all around the historic downtown. We went and played on the very awesome play structure and finally dragged our tired and sunburnt selves home. I have many more photos to share but this post is LOOOOONG so I'll save them for another post. We loved our day. Not sure how anything else on the bucket list can top it, but we'll sure have fun trying!
It's the final week of school and we're stretching our way toward summer. We're still crazy busy, but this weekend we were able to cross a couple of big things off of our bucket list. I'm going to share them slightly out of order because...um...I took 700+ photos of all our fun on Saturday, and it's going to take me bit to sort through them and decide which are keepers and then which I want to share.
Sunday was Father's Day though, and yesterday was Hubby's birthday. We basically call this Dad Weekend and we do whatever Hubby wants. It's also our unoffical summer kick-off; we feel like it's time to get serious about summer fun when Dad Weekend comes. For his actual birthday our family tradition is to have a picnic. No matter what, every year, his birthday, PICNIC. It's law in these parts.
This year, not for the first time, our picnic ended up on the living room floor due to rain. Our spirits were not dampened though, indoor picnics are great--NO BUGS!
Most of the spread:
This year's menu: sausages, pasta salad, watermelon, juice or pop
This year we did a lemon "Graduation Cake", as my mom always called it. I think on Pinterest it's more commonly called "Poke Cake". You make your basic cake, poke it full of holes, pour jello in the holes, chill, then cover with a pudding layer and finally a whipped cream layer. It's a nice summer cake, and I loved the lemon (the kids weren't as excited, but Hubby chose the flavour).
And here's the Birthday Boy, being silly while we sing.
Love that man!
Let the summer fun begin!
PS. If you would like to join the #happyfamilysummer fun, there's still lots of time to sign up and start your own summer bucket list!
Things have gotten pretty busy around here and the busier it is the harder it is to blog. Even though we've already crossed a couple of things off of our Summer Bucket List, summer isn't ACTUALLY here yet. For one, it's been cool and rather rainy of late. For another, school isn't out until the end of June. Right now 'tis the season of Enrichment Presentations, Drama Productions and, naturally, field trips.
Last week the Grade 4's got to go on a field trip...and I was happy to tag along! Sweetpea sat behind me with one of her friends (but she saved me a seat).
Here we are being welcomed and getting some ground rules. I have to tell you, my Dad was a member of Ducks Unlimited when I was a kid and they never had cool pink hats! Love the direction they've been going (education, conservation).
Shortly after arrival the two classes split up. Sweetpea is in the french class but the English class didn't have any parents with them so I was asked to stay with them for a bit. I managed to snap a shot of her class learning about different types of wetlands before sticking with the other class for a while.
(She loves wearing her bug jacket. There was actually enough of a breeze that she didn't really need it, but she wore it the whole time.)
With the English class we had a little chat about what wildlife we might see in the park, then we all got binoculars (I stuck with my camera but switched to the long lens) and went for a quick hike around the Beaver Pond Trail to do some bird watching.
Once back from the hike it was time for most people's favourite part of the day...
After watching the E's dip for a bit and getting some good photos I was given permission to slip off to spy on Sweetpea (there was lots of supervision). Her class was back on the trail at this point, doing their own bird watching.
At one point on the trail I could actually see both classes. It made for good photography too!
A little instruction for Sweetpea's class...
Then the classes met once again...
They wanted to share their discoveries with each other, but it was time for the English crew to head up to the field to play some games and the French group to have their turn dipping for critters.
Lots of critters were found, but the most exciting catch of the day was this tadpole, which was actually caught by both classes (they released all the critters after the first class and the second class promptly recaptured the poor thing).
After the dipping and the games it was sadly time to head for home, but we had a great day. Sun shining, hardly any bugs, beautiful sights. Yay field trips!
Today was another sticky scorcher, though the clouds were moving in and out, warning of possible thunderstorms one second and revealing sunny skies the next.
We wanted to cross something off of our bucket list, but we didn't want to go far from home and get caught in a storm.
We decided to try to find our first waterfall (we have find 3 waterfalls on our list). One of the students in the Boy's class did his Triad Presentation on waterfalls and said that there was one quite near us. His directions were less than helpful though, and when I asked him for better ones he looked at me like I was stupid and repeated himself. Never try to get directions from an 8 year old! (To his credit though, his directions were to "go past King's Landing and it's just down the road a bit off Rte 2", and those were correct, they just weren't too precise.) I found a list of NB Waterfalls through my powers of Googlefu (and promptly pinned it so that we can find it again). It took some searching, but we found a listing that sounded promising, the one for Lower Joslin Falls, and we got ready for adventure.
To get to the falls, you literally (no, really) park on the side of a major highway. Yay us! Here we've parked and we're ready to explore. Except the Boy says "We don't have to go UP, do we?"
I snapped a quick before photo of each of the girls, since they were game:
Setting off across the rocks. We agreed that this probably wasn't a spot we could get any of the grandparents through. They'll have to just enjoy the photos.
We had to squeeze through a deer gate in the fence (I've secretly always wanted to do that!).
I spy a river! Creek?
Timidly tiptoeing our way across the creek
A trillium! I almost cried. I haven't seen trilliums yet in this province but they used to be everywhere when I'd go walking in Ontario. I've been missing them.
We hear the roar, we're on the correct side of the creek, and this is the "cliff". Could this be all there is?
No! After a tricky walk along the cliff edge we could see the "upper" falls. Time to pick our way along and down the cliffs to see the "lower" falls as well.
The full view of the falls. Worth the tricky footing!
We started out tentative about footing (and this mom was doing some worrying) but the kids gained confidence as they went. Crossing the river to get as close as possible to the falls for a good photo:
I found a new friend!
THE photo (thanks kids!)
The boy discovers that water on rocks SPLASHES. Hehehehe.
Hubby gets as close as possible to give everyone a context for the height of the falls. He is exactly 6 feet tall.
As it turns out, my kids have mountain goat DNA. They had a TON of fun hopping about on the wet rocks, while I tried not to turn into helicopter mom.
No one wanted to leave. The bugs were bad, but the cold water felt SOOOO good. It was really tempting to "fall" in, but we managed to resist. We eventually convinced everyone to head out. One last look at the falls from the bottom.
Peeking through the trees from the cliff:
If you look closely at the upper left (top of the waterfall) you'll see why I have so much grey hair:
I'm calling this one and a half waterfalls because on the way home we stopped by "our" falls. They're a little set of rapids just down the road from us and we've always called them a waterfall. Somehow after our experience with the rush and roar of Upper Joslin though, we just don't think we can call them that any more. Sorry little water spill. Maybe some day you can grow to be big.
We came home to puddles and wet roads, so apparently it rained while we were gone. We had a small thunderstorm move through once we were all settled, but the heat didn't break. It's not officially summer here yet; school isn't out until the end of June, but it sure FEELS like summer! We're having so much fun with our summer activities and we're excited to pick something else off our list. Thanks #happyfamilysummer!
Earlier this week we had a frost that killed my marigolds.
Yesterday it was 32C and the humidex was 37C.
Canada, you're so droll!
Given the sudden suffocating heat and the sticky humidity, I wasn't in a cooking mood. Perfect time to cross Ice Cream for Dinner off of our bucket list!
Here's our spread, ready for hot, greedy people.
I put the camera away after this, because ice cream, but it was delicious and cooling and oh, so sweet. And the best part? I didn't feel guilty for not making something nutritious (hey, there were fruit and nuts as topping options) because we were crossing off a bucket list item.
Here's something you should know about me: I'm a procrastinator. At times in my life I've alternately embraced then tried to overcome this negative personality trait (then usually settled back into embracing it). By being a procrastinator I've actually avoided a great deal of unnecessary work and quite a lot of disappointment when things get cancelled or plans change (relief!). I've also caused unnecessary panic attacks, missed deadlines, and general mayhem. Pros and cons to everything.
Being a procrastinator means having a procrastinator's mind (my crafting friends tell me that this is an artist's mind). This means that I can keep myself very, very busy doing things that don't need to be done in order to avoid doing the things that need to be done. In general everything gets accomplished, just not in any logical order (unless you're a fellow procrastinator; then it all makes perfect sense). So it is with To Do lists. I love a good to do list, but immediately after making one I find myself finding LOTS of things to do that aren't on the list. Do I amend the list? Do I recognize that this is my old pal avoidance coming to play and try to stay on task? Decisions, decisions.
Now when I signed up for the Summer Bucket List Challenge with The Happy Family Movement I really was just wanting to have some fun with my family. I liked the idea of having some clear cut summer fun goals, of sharing ideas with like-minded families, and of getting the whole family involved in planning an epically fun summer (and if I win a giveaway or two along the way, bonus!).
Since making our list, I can't stop thinking of fun things to do that we "forgot". I'm seeing great stuff on pinterest, I'm seeing great stuff when I check out fellow participants' lists, I'm having stuff come to me in dreams. I snuck a few things on the list when I typed it up, and I'm doing my wall display today and may sneak a couple more things on, but if I keep amending it my amendments will be longer than our list! Procrastinators brain is locked on full power, even when the list is FUN!
All of this is a really long way of saying: we had some fun last night. It wasn't on our list, but it was awesome and it SHOULD totally count. ;)
Yesterday was a big day with the Boy's class Enrichment Presentation and the Princess's Green and Gold (school talent show). We had piano and dinner and then we were off to town where the Faith in God (church youth group for the 8-11 year olds) group had arranged an evening at Science East, one of our favourite local destinations. We were going to head out as a family but the Boy said he'd had enough people already that day (introverted parents understand) and he and Hubby stayed home to play computer games while the girls went to get their Science on.
At Science East we were delighted when our new friend Amy gave us an explanation and hands on demos of static electricity! Yay! We learned about friction and conductors and insulators and how electricity always seeks the ground. We made aluminum tartlet plates fly and yarn float:
Then we got to do it with our own hair!
We did some other fun things and then learned about how electricity travels in a line...did you know the human body is a great conductor?
We then had lots of time to run around and try out all the cool stuff that Science East has to play/learn with, including their brand-new Hurricane Simulator!
When our time was up at Science East, we were heading for the grocery store, but first I had a little surprise. I noticed my friend Vicky "liked" a place on facebook and they had a cute little cartoon logo, so I hovered over it to see what it was. I saw that it was some kind of frozen yogurt bar and that a new one was coming to Fredericton, and we were conveniently in town on opening night. Who could resist?
It's called Menchies and apparently it's a big deal? At least all the Hollywood photos on the wall would suggest so. It was the first I'd heard of it but it won't be the last. It was fun! Here are the girls with their concoctions:
(in our raincoats, because it decided to start pouring again)
And here's my monstrosity:
I took the pina colada yogurt and 1 (one) piece of pineapple that was MASSIVE! I seriously put on a show trying to eat the thing. I could have used a knife and fork! Huge! Anyway, it was super fun, we still did our grocery run and eventually made it home, though I had a hard time waking anyone for Breakfast Program this morning.
So weigh in--does this "count" as a bucket list check, or did we have stolen procrastinator's fun? ;)
The title of this blog comes from my best friend's mom; who critiqued my high school English journal as "full of superfluous fluff". This is where I embrace all that fluff and share it with you in its pure, unedited, rambling glory.