Reading List Summary, August 2014


Mom's List
Counting By 7s (Holly Goldberg Sloan)
I Like You Just The Way I Am (Jenny Mollen)

Jack's List
Then Again, Maybe I Won't (Judy Blume)
Soccer Superstars: The Best of the Best (Amanda Bishop)
Day of Doom (David Baldacci)
Spymasters (Clifford Riley)
Other Worlds (edited by Jon Scieszka)
Out Standing In My Field (Patrick Jennings)
When Objects Talk: Solving a Crime with Science (Mark P. Friedlander, Jr.)
Loot: How to Steal A Fortune (Jude Watson)
Nowhere to Run (Jude Watson)
Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus (Tom Angleberger)
Wonder (R.J. Palacio)

EJ's List
The X'ed-Out X-Ray (Ron Roy)
Lights, Camera...Cats! (Carolyn Keene)
The Yellow Yacht (Ron Roy)
The Zombie Zone (Ron Roy)
Marion Strikes A Pose (Callie Barkley)
Moose (Ellen Miles)
The Old Motel Mystery (Gertrude Chandler Warner)
Detective Camp (Ron Roy)
Teacher's Pets (Stephanie Calmerson)
Frankly, Frannie (AJ Stern)
Attack of the Dust Bunnies from Outer Space (Johnathan Rand)



Olivia's List
Three Up A Tree (James Marshall)
Dear Tooth Fairy (Karen Gray Ruelle)
Firehouse Fun! (Abby Klein)
The Fantastic Flying Bicycle (Johnathan Rand)
Tadpole Trouble (Johnathan Rand)
Mr. Chewy's Big Adventure (Johnathan Rand)
Attack of the Dust Bunnies from Outer Space (Johnathan Rand)

Read-aloud List
The Cricket in Times Square (George Selden)
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (E.L. Konigsburg)

Summer Reading Wrap-Up


This summer we started a new method for tracking reading.  Every time a (level-appropriate) book was read, the kids got a penny to use in the super ball machine.  After 20 books read, they got to choose a reward activity.  Well, the machine has gotten lighter and the jar of super balls has been growing more full.

As of today, we have read 91 books during this very busy summer.  And even though the summer is coming to close, I have a feeling they will reach 100 and get one last reward choice.  I truly have no idea what their last choice will be though.  I haven't been able to guess what they will agree on once so far, so why have it any different for the last one!

Reward #1 - Trip to the penny candy store (each pile represents $3)

Reward #2 - Night swimming at the local pool

Reward #3 - Out to dinner where I had to allow before dinner popcorn & post-dinner popsicles

Reward #4 - Sour Cream & Chive Fries at Saz's (they discovered their love for them at Summerfest)

I've loved seeing their choices and excitement about this method.  And I've loved seeing their reading choices change and their reading improve this summer.  Can't wait to see how this school year changes them yet again!

V-Stitch Work-In-Progress


I can't say that's I've worked much more on the v-stitch blanket, but it's a nice one to pick up here and there.  I find myself spending the most time picking out the colors and the order for them, so I've been doing a big batch all at once and then doing a row or two when I have a minute.  The downside is that I have a row of yarn balls sitting in the living room most of the time.  I guess the "blanket" is growing...it is shawl-size for Olivia now.

Wonder Woman


This past weekend, EJ went to a friend's birthday party with a mythical theme.  They were asked to dress up as a princess or a mythical animal or a fairy or a superhero.  EJ chose Wonder Woman and I worked to do a Wonder Woman outfit that was easy to play and get crazy in (and also used very little of my money to purchase).

The most essential purchase for a Wonder Woman costume is the wrist cuffs (at least in EJ's eyes) and I found them along with this awesome felt crown from Shoppe 3130.  We already owned the cape and EJ had the perfect shorts but she needed a red tank top.  However, the only red item in the girls' department was a thick polo shirt.  So we headed to the boys' department and bought a cheap t-shirt that I refashioned into a tank using this tutorial.  It worked really well but I also saw this tutorial that I thought would be helpful if I attempt making a tank again.

The costume was the perfect party play-wear and now she can be Wonder Woman whenever she wishes!

Liv's Summer Sports


I was just browsing the Fall rec department catalog and getting soccer games on the calendar, and I realized that the summer sports season is over.  Yet, I haven't really posted about all the cool, active things Livie (finally) got to participate in this summer after years of watching the siblings.  First, there was t-ball (she was extremely focused).

Pom poms -

Her quest to dribble a basketball with one hand -

She has been working the last month or so at getting two-wheeled biking down

This Fall she is starting soccer, so she spent a little time last week working on skills with some very nice boys from the Marquette team.

It has been a lot of fun to watch the "designated spectator" (seriously, she was 2 months old when Jack played t-ball) finally get in on the action!

Bookworm Gardens


Bookworm Gardens has been recommended to me so many times and we have never visited, so last week we finally made the trek up to Sheboygan to check the gardens out.  I was worried if we didn't visit this summer, my kids would "age out" and I think that is very true.  Olivia had a lot of fun exploring the gardens.  EJ liked that there were a few of her favorite books (like Little House on the Prairie) included. And Jack was a good sport and helped the girls navigate the paths so they didn't miss anything.




After we spent time in the gardens, we headed over to another cool place in Sheboygan, the Kohler Arts Center (full disclosure, I used to work there) and spent some time in the galleries checking out the Arts/Industry anniversary exhibition.  Unfortunately, that was all we had time for as we had to get back in time for soccer practice, but there is a great marina and lots of amazing food in Sheboygan as well.  Despite my aversion to reminding myself of driving there every single day, it really is a fun place for a day trip.

Solar S'mores


I'm not much of a camper, so my kids do not get as much access to s'more-eating as they would like.  I had this project on the summer list and it came in handy yesterday when I did something to my neck making it impossible to drive anywhere (or do much at home either).  Thank goodness for having a big kid to handle the construction of our solar oven.  The chocolate melted more than the marshmallows, but they were still yummy (I'm kicking myself at not getting an after pic of Livie...she was a hot mess!).  They were definitely a hit!

Sassy Cow


Last month, my city kids had some fun on the farm.  But it was really so much cooler than that.  We visited the dairy farm from which we buy our milk.  And given that we buy our milk at our local grocery store, it was nice to have the kids make the connection that we are buying from a Wisconsin farm.  We met the family (actually two brothers and their families) that run the farm.  We toured the farm itself and the creamery.  And, of course, we sampled some of their yummy products too!  No one would ever accuse this household of being super healthy eaters, but I do try to make choices that are semi-healthy and local when possible.  It was nice to show the kids how simple it can be (moving down one refrigerator door in the store and paying pennies more per gallon) to support a family working hard to make great products in our home state.  Besides, with a name like Sassy Cow Creamery, I think they are perfect for this family!




Work-in-Progress Wednesday 39


After seeing the v-stitch (pattern here) all over Instagram, I could not be stopped on starting one myself (and once you start, it's hard to stop).  It is the perfect blanket to use up scraps (one row uses a very small scrap ball) and it's fun to kind of make up colors as you go along.  Right now I feel like I have a primary color section and then secondary colors in a big block, so I'll need to mix it up a bit as I go on.  But there is still plenty of blanket to do, so plenty of time.

I'm still plugging along on my ripple as well.  It's Attic 24's ripple pattern but I only work in the back stitches to create the texture.  I love it and it's nice to work without color changes as well.  Nice and mindless while I watch tv.

And this project is right where it was last time I showed it.  I haven't had a lot of create time this summer, but I'm getting there.

Summer Weather Might Just Be Here


This last week, it feels as if summer might finally be here.  It took a bit longer than any of us anticipated but we will take the warm weather for as long as it would like to stick around.  We've been trying to enjoy as much time as we can outdoors...biking, walking, exploring and eating/drinking on patios.  It has been awesome!

Last week, the weather forecast included afternoon thunderstorms every single day.  Luckily for EJ and her week at Girl Scout camp, it didn't rain at all during the day (and very little at night).  She was at an art week of camp, but the biggest project has been these lanyards (she even brought some home at the end of the week and got Matt & Jack working on them).

Yesterday we spent the morning at our State Fair.  Normally I go on a weekday with the kids as Matt is not a fair fan, but this year our over-scheduled summer is not allowing for that to happen.  So, Matt spent the morning there with us (and I think he enjoyed himself).  The kids definitely had fun!