Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘June Is – Summer Fun!’ Category

Yesterday my children and I donned our swimsuits, packed the cooler full of drinks and food and headed to the beach!  I originally thought that my youngest would just sit on the edge of the beach where the tiny ripples of current meet the sand, while I, well lubed with tanning oil, would lie on my towel near by trying to catch up on some reading.  As you can see from the photo above, that’s exactly how my day went and I was able to get a lot of reading done.  For about 3 minutes…maybe.

It didn’t take much watching of her older siblings splashing around and playing in the water for her to decide she was a big, brave girl this summer and that she was ready to try out her flippers.  Thus extinguishing the nice little dream I had of actually getting a chance to read.

Was I bummed?  Yes, I was (After all, as a mother of four I get very little reading in unless it’s late into the night, which could technically classify as wee morning hours, and then I’m extremely tired and zombie-ish the next day.), but as I watched the excitement on her face as she ran, foraging for fun in the sparkling water, I willing laid down my book and chased after her.

We are so busy during the school year, usually only having one, maybe two nights, a week when we have nothing going on.   Life seems so rushed, flying from one activity to the next.  Some days I feel like I haven’t seen my school aged children or husband except to hurriedly say hello and good-bye as we scurry off to the next thing on the calendar.

As I got caught up in the laughter, splashing and games being played by my children I thought, “This is what I love about summer!”

I’m not much of a summer person, I hate heat and humidity.  I would so much rather trudge 5 miles through a blizzard than walk 5 steps outdoors in the hot sticky air.  But this time that we have off from school and all of our extra curricular activities. being able to lay aside our agenda, schedules and the busy-ness of life and taking the time to just enjoy being with each other is EXQUISITE!

I say bring on the heat if it gives me more moments like the ones I’ve already enjoyed this summer…

 

*Last reminder to enter LE’s current giveaway at the bottom of this post.  The winner will be announced on Monday along with July’s theme.  Good luck!

Read Full Post »

Food!  You know I love it!!!  So I thought I’d serve up some of my families favorite summer treats!  These are just a few of our favorites, we have lots more, but these are the ones we’ve enjoyed so far this summer!

Strawberry Shortcake:

Freshly picked strawberries and a large dollop of Cool Whip over still warm shortcake…yummy!

Ingredients:

Bisquick Shortcake Recipe (I also sprinkle sugar on top of my shortcakes before baking.)

Strawberries

Sugar

Cool Whip

Directions”

Pre-heat your oven and make your shortcakes according to the Bisquick recipe above.  As your shortcakes are baking, wash and cut your strawberries and put them in a medium sized bowl.  Add 1/4 of sugar per lb of strawberries to sweeten.  Once your shortcake biscuits are at a desired temperature (we prefer ours warm) cut them in half and scoop desired amount of strawberries and Cool Whip on top!  Enjoy!

Pudding Pops:

As a child I loved Bill Cosby’s pudding pop commercials and the pudding pops were pretty good too!  I’ve created my own recipe for the timeless treat that my kids are constantly asking for during the summer months.

Ingredients:

1 – 6.5 serving size box of desired flavor instant pudding

3 3/4 C milk

*You’ll also need a popsicle mold

Directions:

Mix your pudding and milk together for about 3 minutes then pour into popsicle molds and freeze.  Once throughly frozen serve and enjoy!

As you can see in the picture above we have bananas in one of them.  We’ve also done strawberries in our chocolate ones and adding these fruits is really good!  You can also make a couple different flavors of pudding and keep alternating spoonfuls of each flavor to your popsicle for another fun way to make pudding pops!

*This recipe will yield 6 pudding pops

 

Ice Cream Bar:

When I say the words, “ice cream bar,” in my house it is promptly followed by excited cries, clapping and joyful leaps.  My kids love ice cream bar nights!  Most of the time its impromptu (like the one featured below), but sometimes I plan it and buy all sorts of delicious goodies to go on top of our ice cream.  There are no specific ingredients or directions for this treat except to think of your families favorite ice cream and toppings, set them up buffet style and let your kids pile their ice cream high with what ever they want!

Smoothies:

One of the things I love about summer is that my kids often request smoothies as a meal and I’m happy to comply.   It’s a completely healthy breakfast, lunch or treat that’s packed with lots of vitamins from yogurt and fruits, plus they are delicious!  Below I’ll share two of my kid’s favorite recipes with you.


Cinnamon & Sugar Peach Smoothie:

Ingredients:

1 C vanilla yogurt

8-10 ice cubes

1 whole peach

1 1/2 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

Cube your peach and add it and all other ingredients to blender.  Blend thoroughly and pour in to glasses.  Top with Cool Whip if desired and enjoy!

Banana Split Smoothie:

Ingredients:

1 C vanilla yogurt

8-10 ice cubes

1 1/2 C whole strawberries

1/2 banana

1/3 C cubed pineapple

1 1/2 – 2 TBSP Hershey’s Syrup

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend thoroughly.  Poor into glasses and serve.  We always add Cool Whip and mini chocolate chips on top!

*Both of these recipes make two servings (two full) glasses or 6 smaller servings.

** We sometimes substitute yogurt with frozen yogurt for a sweeter treat.

And now to celebrate that LE has reached 100 followers and this will be the last week of the “Summer Fun” theme, a…

 Treat-tastic Giveaway!!!

In keeping with the “Summer Fun” theme and today’s posts theme I went with strawberries!!!

To enter to win these stuffed strawberries:

1)  Follow Life Exquisite here at wordpress

2)Like this post

3) Comment below on what your favorite thing about summer is!

Read Full Post »

Kids love to explore the great outdoors and nature gives us so many wonderful ways in which to enjoy summer!  Added bonus…it’s super cheap, if not completely free! Here are some ways that my family takes advantage of natures free entertainment during the summer months:

Scavenger Hunt

We’ve been doing this every summer since my oldest daughter was big enough to toddle along and hold a pale.  We mix our scavenger hunt in with a walk or hike but you certainly don’t have to leave your yard for this to be enjoyable.  I make up a list of things that they will look for while we are out walking or hiking and they each carry a pale and find as many things on the list as they can. When we get back to the house we look at all the treasures we found!

This is the most recent picture I could find of one of our scavenger hunts and it’s almost two years old! How sad is that?! I guess I’ll need to bring my camera with on the next one.

Look To The Clouds

Kids love to use their imaginations.  So let your kids use theirs while lying on a blanket together looking up at the sky.  It’s fun to see what masterpieces they’ll observe in the clouds and even more fun to listen to how they explain the cloud images they see!  The other day when we were out we saw a mermaid, monster truck & jelly fish, among many other cloud masterpieces!

Capturing Nature

Watching kids run around, laughing, while chasing after a butterfly or grasshopper with a net in hand is always so fun to watch!  My kids love to catch bugs or frogs or whatever in a bug catcher and observe them as they move and squirm around.  My kids favorite catches are butterflies, frogs and fireflies.  (Let them catch a jar full of fireflies and bring them into their room to watch them blink as they fall asleep…my kids love doing this!)  If you have a magnifying glass it’s even more fun as you explore these creatures a little BIGGER!

My son is the child in our house who most loves catching things.  Because I’m not entirely fond of bugs, reptiles or amphibians (Yes, I’m girly.) we do have a few rules like we have to treat the captured critters gently, the little critters can only come in the house if they are in containers, and all critters have to be released after 24 hours, except caterpillars (So we can watch them metamorphose, but we let it go as soon as it’s out of its cocoon.) and Dot, a salamander we caught this spring who has become a pet.

Have A Picnic

Pull out that picnic basket, or just use a grocery bag if you don’t have a basket, and have your kids help you pack a lunch to enjoy on a blanket in your yard.  My kids love picnics and we do them quite frequently either in our back yard or on our porch.   I’m not sure why but they always request lemonade for out picnics so I must always be prepared!  It’s usually after our picnics that we enjoy cloud art!  Double fun!

Star Gazing

A few times each summer we let the kids stay up really late on a Friday night and we lay down on our lawn chairs, snuggling under quilts and see who will spot the first star of the night.  Then as more and more stars appear we look for different constellations, like the big and little dipper and Orion.  Since we aren’t constellation experts we love to use my husbands Google Sky Map  application that locates constellations for you when you hold it up to the starry night sky!  We are hoping to do this tonight after our first bonfire of the summer!  The kids always hope to see a falling star so we’ll see!

What are some ways that your family likes to enjoy nature!

Read Full Post »

After my kids and I drew GIANT sidewalk chalk art…

…we decided to take it to a whole new level!

They soared above roof tops with the birds, Mary Poppins style!

Had an “Alice In Wonderland” Moment among giant flowers and a shy giant baby butterfly!

Okay, our butterfly wasn’t being shy, she just didn’t like the sun in her eyes and decided she was through laying on the hard ground and looking into the blaring sun at this point…

They also got to be astronauts!  What child gets the chance to stand on the moon and touch the stars?!! 

As you can see the butterfly and her brother decided they didn’t want to be astronauts.  They said the sun was too bright so I think the next time I pull the camera out to take fun pictures with sidewalk chalk art I’ll do it on a cloudy day.  But it was still a lot of fun and they did all enjoy it, even the youngest two…at first!

Okay so this idea is not an all new idea.  People have been doing it for years in pictures like this…

And I always thought these were really cool and wanted to do something like it but I’m not that talented of an artist so when I saw this image on Pinterest…

I thought, “Hey now I can do that!!!”

I really wanted my kids to have a say in what these pictures would be like so I told them that we were going to make giant pictures that they could pose in for some fun photography moments.  I didn’t want to show them any of the images because I wanted their masterpieces to be original.  My oldest daughter did the outer space picture all on her own, and my second to oldest daughter helped me with the garden (That’s her ladybug that she wanted to pet in the picture.) and drew the Mary Poppins picture!  My youngest two helped fill in flower petals and stars and drew frogs and lizards in other places.  I have quite the little artists!

If you want to get pictures like this of your kids I would do the same thing, by not telling them what to draw, let them use their imaginations so that your pictures are all them!  Besides you child’s imaginations, sidewalk chalk and your camera, you will need a tall ladder so that you can get above your kids high enough to get a good angel on the pictures.  Oh, and wait for a cloudy day!

Read Full Post »

I love summer and fresh strawberry’s just for these babies right here!

A large dollop of Cool Whip and Strawberries on top of two chocolate chip pancakes with Hershey’s Syrup drizzled on top…Yep, this is my favorite way to have pancakes!!!  It may not be healthy but it is Y-U-M-M-O!

Ingredients:

Prepared desired pancake batter (I cheat and use Hungry Jack Just Add Water Extra Fluffy Pancake Mix.  Don’t judge.)

Chocolate Chips

Strawberries cut & mashed (however many you want)

sugar (to sweeten strawberries if desired)

Cool Whip

Hershey’s Syrup

Directions:

Pour pancake batter onto a hot pan or griddle and add chocolate chips to the top of these.  Flip when ready and cook the rest of the way.  While these are cooking add the sugar to sweeten the strawberries.  I usually add about 1/8 c per pound of strawberries.  After the pancakes are done you will move them to a plate and top them with as many strawberries, as large of scoops of Cool Whip, and as much Hershey’s syrup as you like!  Enjoy!

*I usually do not add Hershey’s syrup to mine, my kids enjoy this but I think it tastes better without the syrup.

** I categorized this under Recipes-Breakfast but we have never actually had it for breakfast it’s usually a desert or very unhealthy dinner.

Read Full Post »

I’m a big time crafter and love to do craft projects with my kids also.  All the things I will be sharing here are crafts we have already made or, since our summer vacation just started last week, plan to do sometime this summer.   Admittedly pretty much all of these have been pinspired!  Thank you, Pinterest, from me and my children!

What We’ve Made So Far:

Ocean Waves

Okay, we actually made this one back in May for my sons birthday, but my kids are still playing with their ocean waves in a bottle!  This is the one craft I didn’t get from Pinterest, it’s all thanks to my middle school days!

What You’ll Need:

A bottle that has a lid/cap (Most people use two liter soda bottles, we used 20 oz water bottles.)

Clear or opaque oil (We used baby oil because I couldn’t find a clear oil at our local grocery store.)

Water from your faucet

Blue food coloring

Hot or Super Glue

clear or white craft sparkles (If desired)

Shells or other items that will float (If desired)

Fill 1/3 of your bottle with water add blue food coloring and stir to mix thoroughly.  Next add your sparkles and floating pieces.  Fill the rest of your bottle with clear oil.  Make sure you fill it almost completely to the top for best results.  Last, put glue around the rim of your bottle and secure cap.  (The glue will help to make sure your kids don’t accidentally open it when they are playing with their ocean waves.)  Gently move bottle back and forth tipping it lightly to create an ocean wave effect!

 

Umbrella Wreath

All you will need for this simple craft is a foam ring and cocktail umbrellas.  Open the umbrellas up and allow your children to stick them into the foam wreath, creating a beautiful summer wreath to hang on your door!  (It is a little tricky because they like to break and the tooth picks on our umbrellas were too long so we had to break them off.)  The kids really enjoyed making this and want me to by more umbrellas so they can each have a wreath for their rooms!

Hungry Caterpillar Day

Yes, we made a day out of it and actually we did this one today!

First we read the book:

Then we did a craft:

What You’ll Need:

Blue, Red, Green, Yellow & Brown non-toxic paints

White construction paper

Your kids cute little hands

First paint the palms of their hand with the green paint and their fingers (excluding the thumb) with the brown.  Have them press their hand to the paper three times to make the body.  Wash this off and then paint the palm of their hand red and their middle and ring finger brown, and press this at the front of the first three prints.  Wash those darling little hands again (Yes, there’s a lot of hand washing involved.)  You will then paint the tip of their thumb yellow and press this onto the red head twice for the outer eye part.  Next you will paint their pointer finger green and press it into the center of the yellow thumb print for the inner eye parts.  Last you will paint their pinkie finger brown and press down for the little nose.  Allow to dry and hang their masterpiece where they can enjoy it and show it off!

Last we had a snack:

I laid out a buffet of some of the different foods from the book that “The Hungry Caterpillar” eats and I made a special “Hungry Caterpillar Snack” inspired by this picture that came up when I googled images for a Hungry Caterpillar snack.

What You’ll Need (For the Caterpillar Snack):

2 Granny Smith Apples (I only used 1 1/2 apples)

Caramel Cream Cheese Apple Dip

Red Food Coloring

Red Grapes

One orange

Make the  Caramel Cream Cheese Apple Dip and mix in your red food coloring until desired color is achieved.  Wash and cut your apple into slices and arrange on a plate shaped like the caterpillar.  After your apple is arranged how you’d like you will add some of the apple dip and shape it into the caterpillars round head.  Next cut  two red grapes in half, one big and one small.  Put the two bigger halves where the eyes should be and one of the small halves where the nose should be.   Next you’ll cut three bigger grapes into of little caterpillar legs and position them where desired.  You will then cut an orange in round slices, going opposite of the grain.  Put one of these slices in desired location for the sun.  Last cut the rind off of one of your slices and cut into 1/2 – 3/4 long inch pieces and arrange around the sun to make rays.

 

 

Crafts We Plan To Make:

*Since we haven’t made these crafts yet I have created a link to the sites of these crafts creators so that you can see how they did it.  Just click on the pictures of the crafts and it will bring you to their sites.

Natural Art

I’m not sure if we will do both of these this summer but we will definitely do one of them!  All you’ll need is some construction paper, paint and let nature supply the rest!

Another fun way to use nature for a fun summer craft …

 

Popping Poppies!

I know my girls will really enjoy this one because they love a chance to use my scrapbooking supplies!  Though I’d like to think of something boyish like this to make for my son while the girls do these poppies.

 

Who’s Too Cute?

These Are!  My oldest daughter and I have a thing for owls and these are just so darn cute.  Unfortunately she doesn’t give a detailed tutorial so ours will probably not end up near as cute but we’ll give it our best shot.  I can’t wait to make these little guys.

*Since there is not a detailed tutorial for these adorable little owls here is link for how to make the base.

Lava Lamp

My kids love lava lamps when they see them in stores so I  knew when I saw it on Pinterest that we had to try this one out this summer.  Though I think it’s more of a science project then a craft.  I thought it was interesting when I saw that the creator of this craft/science project had “Summer Fun” in the heading since that’s LE’s theme this month!

Sparkling Fairies

This is another one I’m really looking forward to!  Mostly because I know that my kid’s faces will be bright with smiles and full of awe if this is as cool as it looks.

Paper Plate Aquarium

A maintenance free aquarium, how great is that?!  Super!!! I think it would be really cute to put a mermaid in one too!

 

That’s All Folks!

Yes, that all we have planned to do this summer.  I’m sure that these along with things I’m making for our master bedroom and my daughter’s room will keep us pretty busy crafting this summer, although I’m sure there will be lots of other things working their way into our summer schedule as I become even more pinspired.  I hope you’ve been inspired to make some summer crafts of your own!

Read Full Post »

Yesterday was the last day of school for my daughters and I love that all of my kids will be home for three months now!!!

 We always celebrate the last day of school with a trip to Dairy Queen and a camping trip, but since our budget is tight now because of our bedroom project (There I go blaming the project again.) we didn’t do our end of the school year camping trip.  However, we still got Dairy Queen!!!

See this chocolate on the ground…

…it’s supposed to be here on my ice cream.

RIP, hard chocolate coating.  Your untimely demise maid my chocolate covered strawberry sunday a little less gratifying.

Okay, now that I’ve paid my respects, on to the Schroeder family officially kicking off “Summer Fun”!!!

We took our Dairy Queen treats to the park where we ate and played.

The kids were thrilled their cousins decided to join us…

My husband was trying to decide if he could fit in the child’s swing…

He decided he couldn’t, but I thought I’d give it a try since I had done it in high school and fit…

Guess I’m not quite the same size I was in high school!

Yes, we do this type of stuff frequently.  (You should see the picture of my husband riding in a baby carrier on my brother-in-laws back!)  Yes, we are a little strange, but we’re okay with it because it’s fun!  And, yes, I did need help getting out!!!

I love our daughter looking at us laughing!!!  She’s thinking, “Silly Mommy that swing is for kids!”

After one more dizzying spin on the twirly thingy (I’m pretty sure that’s the technical name for it)…

We headed home to make our Summer Bucket List!!!  Every summer we make a “Things We Want To Do This Summer” list up on the computer, laminate it and then randomly choose activities off the list.  I changed it up a bit this year thanks to Pinterst!  Same idea just cutified! (I just made up a new word!)

You may like to do this too for a fun way of choosing this summer’s fun activities!

I used scrapbook paper to decorate a tin can…

The kids then wrote things like: have a water balloon fight, go hiking, have a tea party or catch frogs (Hmm…wonder who wrote that one?) on little cards that I had made up.

Once or twice a week we’ll draw a card from our bucket and do the activity on that card!  It’s a great way to let your kids have a say in your summer activities!

Not sure of what things you’d like to do this summer?  Here’s a bucket list I found on-line, it’s got some great ideas!!!

Since we couldn’t camp this year my husband and I decided to surprise the kids by laying out the sleeping bags, blowing up the air mattress and having a movie/popcorn night in Dad and Mom’s new bedroom!  (We frequently do slumber parties in Dad and Mom’s room or in the living room.)  The kids love it and it was our way of celebrating the new carpet and the beginning of summer vacation!

Thus commences summer fun!!!  We are all looking forward to some time off of school and schedules, sleeping in, the beach, hikes and many more summer activities!!!

I’m super looking forward to when I’ll be sleeping in my new room every night and on a much more comfortable bed than the air mattress!!!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »