Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Bucket List - Complete!

Even though August has just begun, summer is officially over for us. The boys started back to preschool on Monday so that I could go work on my classroom. Teachers have to officially be back THIS Friday!

I am so glad we did this summer bucket list. The boys and I did some new things every week and it really did help to break up the daily routine a bit. We have officially completed every item on our list and have the picture documentation to prove it.

1. Build a camp fire  
Back in June, we knocked off numbers 1, 2 and 4 of our bucket list all in one night during our kickoff to summer camping trip. For the second year in a row, we headed out with some good friends of ours and had a very simple, very primitive night out in nature. Camping, campfire, and s'mores - all complete! It was a great way to get the summer rolling and introduce ourselves back into the great outdoors. As it turns out, the gorgeous, cool, summer weather has pulled us outdoors pretty regularly.

Our Simple Little Campfire

2. Make s'mores

Mmmmmm! Marshmallowy goodness!

3. Build crystal sun catchers
This was an easy fun activity, that basically required stirring and pouring. Click on the link above to see the full tutorial on how to use nothing but epson salt, water and a plastic lid to make these cool sun catchers.We also tried making a rock garden, also on the website, but those didn't turn out as well.

4. Go camping

The Forest is our Playground!

5. Catch fireflies 
Is it just me or has their been a crazy amount of fireflies this year? It usually seems like there are only a few weeks that they are really out, but we have had them all. summer. long! I thought this was a novel thing to have the boys do for our bucket list, but it turns out that catching fireflies has become pretty routine in our backyard. If I told Lex to go outside right now and catch one, it would take him about 20 seconds. These pictures were taken on the very first night we saw fireflies in our yard. The boys were already in bed and the sun was setting and then... the fireflies showed up - lots of them. We went and got the boys out of bed and sent them to the backyard, pj's and all, for some firefly fun.
Both the boys are expert firefly catchers now.

6. Build sand castles
This was the last thing we knocked off our list. It isn't grand, but it is made out of sand. We bought lots of buckets and tools to make something bigger, but this is about as big as it got before the boys wanted to put their foot through it. Yeah. That is really more fun than building.

7. Run through sprinkler 

8. Have dessert for dinner 
Here was a yummy frozen treat on our trip to Ohio - One night we had an unusually early dinner so we could go to the park and watch the band. This was our treat when we got back. Ice cream, bananas, strawberries, whipped cream, nuts, and a cherry on top. You could contest whether it really was a "dinner" but I'm counting it - and I get the final say.

9. Have a picnic.
Complete X 2! We had a Mc'D's picnic in Ohio earlier this summer and then again on a recent hiking trip. 

Here are 7 of the cousins eating in the park after a morning at the splash pad.

A much needed snack after a hike at the state park.

10. Water paint outside 
This one was easy because the boys love to paint and we do it all the time anyway. Some water colors and a drop cloth on the deck and we had an outdoor art studio. The boys, Lex especially, are pretty serious about their painting, and once they get started, they are entertained for quite a while.

11. Make root beer floats

Need I say more?

12. Make a bird feeder
 Well, I didn't say it was going to be fancy, but the boys had fun making them. Toilet paper rolls + salt-free peanut butter + birdseed = this cute little bird feeder which our backyard birds don't seem to mind at all.

13. Make homemade lemonade 
Now that I'm looking at this picture, my mouth is watering for some freshly squeezed lemonade. I'm going to have to make this one more time.
Get the recipe here! 

14. Participate in library's summer reading program 
The boys completed their sticker charts after reading 30 books. They got a cool certificate and a new book when they turned these in to the library. The boys both love reading anyway, but this was a great way for them to be active in our library. We've done this program every year since Lex was born.

15. Go to a Nature Center
Live spiders, and lizards, and snakes. Oh My! If you want to see more, read the post about our recent trip to Runge Nature Center.

16. Visit a new park 
We actually did several new parks, but this was the first one. On our first trip to Ohio this summer, I took the boys to the park where I grew up playing. So much had changed, but some things were still oh so familiar.

17. Go fishing 
You can't beat a day at the pond, petting horses and waiting for the fish to bite. The boys did great on their first fishing trip. You can read about all the details here

18. Hike a new trail 
Hiking has been the theme to our summer. The beautiful weather combined with boys who can walk on their own for at least a mile made for the perfect summer of hiking. We are still scouting out new trails to hike before the season's end. Here are the links to some of our trips. My favorites by far are the Three Creeks trails. The views are just beautiful.
 Rock Bridge State Park
Tecumseh Trail and Yellow Springs
Three Creeks
Grassland Trail

Three Creeks (creek swimming) 

Our family waiting out a thunderstorm on our Yellow Springs hike.
19. Swim in a creek - Here's the story of our afternoon at the creek on one of the Three Creeks hikes. This picture was taken before the crawdad fiasco. Long story short - I think we'll be staying out of the creek for the rest of the summer.

 20.) Last but not least - I can't leave out the last thing from the original bucket list - Potty Training! As I began this post last week, I was going to say that we weren't 100% there yet, but every day we are getting closer and closer.  We are diaper free and just fine tuning our schedule a little bit. Eli has been such a trooper and just like everything else, he will get there when he gets there. I'm so proud of him for coming as far as he has. For a little boy who is way too que sera - sera to be bothered with things as trivial as potty training, he has done really well. Mommy and Eli are both happy so I'm declaring a potty training victory.

I'm excited to get back to school but am sooooo happy to have spent all this amazing time with the boys for the past 9 weeks. It has been a blast and I feel rested and ready to tackle another school year. I hope your summer has been amazing, too!

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