Reading List Summary, August 2016

Mom's List
Jack's List

EJ's List
Just Like Me (Nancy J. Cavanaugh)
A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel (Hope Larson)
The FBI (Sheela Ramaprian)
The FBI (John Hamilton)
The Red Blazer Girls (Michael D. Beil)
New Girl in Town (Julia DeVillers)
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (E. L. Konigsburg)
Kid Athletes: True Tales of Childhood from Sports Legends (David Stabler)
Friday Barnes: Under Suspicion (R. A. Spratt)
Wonder (R. J. Palacio)

Olivia's List
Michigan (Jan Mader)
Lunch Lady and the Field Trip Fiasco (Jarrett J. Krosoczka)
Lunch Lady and the Mutant Mathletes (Jarrett J. Krosoczka)
Lunch Lady and the Picture Day Peril (Jarrett J. Krosoczka)
Violet Mackerel's Natural Habitat (Anna Branford)
Humphrey's Creepy-Crawly Camping Adventure (Betty G. Birney)
Miss Kraft Is Daft! (Dan Gutman)

Read-Aloud List
Are We There Yet? (Dan Santat)

Our Road Trip Around the Lake

We kept our vacation close to home this year and decided to take a road trip.  We had a couple different ideas, but ended up deciding to take a road trip all the way around Lake Michigan.  We started in Chicago checking out Daley Park and exploring as much of the Art Institute as possible.

We recently read The 68 Rooms so everyone was very excited to stare into the windows of the Thorne Rooms.  They are amazing!

Next we headed to Indiana to climb all the dunes.  We weren't even sure if we were going to attempt any dunes (especially with Olivia), but everyone climbed the dunes and did a fantastic job.

Then we headed into Michigan where we spent the majority of our time.  It is truly amazing on the other side of Lake Michigan (very different than the rocky Wisconsin coastline).

Big Sable Point Lighthouse in Ludington, Michigan

Someone couldn't quite wait for the toast to be over...

Grand Haven Lighthouse

Sleeping Bear Dunes - We spent two days exploring this park and I feel like there was still much more to see.  It is beautiful.

Dinner at an old train depot in Traverse City

Cut River Bridge (we made it to the UP)

Side trip to Canada for a 5K walk to a waterfall (none of the kids had been to Canada)


Walk to Lake Huron

Tahquamenon Falls

Pictured Rocks National Park on Lake Superior

We did a lot of hiking in Pictured Rocks State Park, but the weather was terrible and we were unable to take our boat tour as planned.  Even so, we had an amazing trip!  4 states (plus a bonus country), 8 days, 7 different hotel rooms, 3 Great Lakes, plus countless miles hiked, paddled, and driven.

Writing Letters

Every week of summer, the kids write a letter.  It's part of their summer homework and while they do like to do it, it's often something I hear complaints about them having to do.  At the beginning of the summer, I let them write to anyone they want, so they often write to friends, Grandmas, and sometimes Dad at his work address.  But at the end of summer, I make the task a bit more difficult and ask them to write to a community member, an author, or someone they do not know.

Last summer, EJ received the letter she is holding in the photo above.  She had sent a letter to her favorite DJ at our favorite radio station.  He does a series of interviews called Community Stories and EJ had lots of questions for him.  She was so excited to get a thoughtful reply (and some goodies), but ever since, the other two kids were a little jealous...understandably so!

This summer, the other two kids had much better luck though.  Olivia received an awesome card in reply to her letter to our local fire station.  The firefighter who wrote her back answered all her questions and encouraged her to become a firefighter (one of her aspirations) when she grows up.  Best of all (in her eyes), he included a set of Hello Kitty firefighter stickers!

Jack and I both read (and LOVED) the book, Ready Player One, this year.  Jack wrote a letter to Ernest Cline and when I went to send it for him, I realized that Mr. Cline is much too high-tech to have a snail mail address. So we ended up snapping a pic of the letter and sending it electronically.  Less than a week later, we were shocked to see a written response to Jack in our mailbox.  We were thrilled at the thoughtful response and also loved the Back to the Future themed trading card he included.

I don't think I'll hear any complaints next summer when we start letter-writing again!