Posted in Activities, Friday Favorites

Friday Favorites: Summer 2020 Top 10

Hello and Happy Friday! I’ve almost made it through my first week back to school which has looked very different than my previous eighteen years in education! I completed online trainings, planned, prepped my room (let’s hope I get to use it soon!), responded to emails, engaged in Zoom calls and meetings, and much more.

I’m ready for the weekend! I’m linking up with Erika and Andrea for this week’s Friday Favorites post.

Yesterday, I recapped our 2020 Summer Fun List activities that the kids individually wanted to accomplish. We were able to cross most things off our “Fun List” that we made earlier this summer. Most of the family activities made it to today’s post as I’m writing about our “Top 10” favorite highlights of Summer 2020.

I feel like this summer was less busy (for obvious reasons), but then again, it seemed like by mid-June, we were out and about a bit more, activities started back up, and I felt like we were kind of busy again. I do feel like we needed this break. While the kids still had things going on, it was definitely a slower paced summer with staying up too late and lots of sleeping in. There are some summers where I feel like I can’t even catch my breath. This summer did not feel that way even though there always seemed to be the underlying stress of the virus. But…we tried our best to make lemonade out of lemons. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here are our favorite highlights of the summer.

1. Florida Vacation

In June, we spent a little over a week in one of our favorite places: Siesta Key, Florida.

2. Extra Homer Time

Homer loves having us around! We’ve enjoyed this bonus time with him…and apparently that extra time will continue for at least the first six weeks of school ๐Ÿ˜‰ He’s a hit on the class Zoom calls! ๐Ÿ˜‚

Pool update: It was #homered a couple of weeks ago. Thankfully, it’s three layers, so he only punctured the top layer! I’m sure the pool will end up in the trash in a month or so, but I will still use it as much as I can to keep my tan and read a book.

3. Slower Pace

I’d say June was about the same pace as the spring months, but July kicked it up a notch with dance and baseball.

We did enjoy sleeping in since the kids didn’t do swim team this summer. There were nights where it was dark out, and the kids were still outside playing! I had to beg them to come in.

We all had extra time for the things we love: reading, Netflix, Xbox, walks, and more.

A couple books I read this summer, and I’ve been watching Alone on Netflix with Hayden lately.

Hadley is the MVP of sleeping in!

We found time to occasionally play games like Monopoly Deal.

I’m probably the queen of pool lounging, but Hadley is the runner up!

4. KC

We were able to make a visit to Kansas City in July. It was nice to see family we hadn’t seen in a while…including my mom’s dog Gus. It was a very low key visit spent relaxing with family, splashing in the pool, playing on the golf course, and playing games like Monopoly and Dominoes.

5. Hiking

We went to McConnell Springs Park and Shaker Village for hikes this summer. We also took walks in the arboretum when it wasn’t too hot outside.

McConnell Springs
Shaker Village

6. Fun with neighbors and friends

Keeping guidelines and social distancing in the mind, the kids ran around with neighborhood friends and rode their bikes a lot.

Hadley went to the lake with her friend one Saturday.

4th of July sparklers with friends is always fun and a favorite.

7. Picking Strawberries

We had our first experience picking strawberries earlier in the summer. I took the kids to Evans Orchard in June. It was a beautiful day, and the berries were delicious.

Strawberries are our favorite summer food.

8. Activities

Again, June included vacation and not many activities. BUT…in July, the kids were able to start back with some to the activities they love like…

Golf. A few times this summer, Travis and Hayden were able to play golf.

…which also included hitting golf balls at a course in KC when we were visiting my family.

Hayden has had a great baseball season where he’s grown as a player, gained lots of experience as a pitcher, and had so much fun with his coaches and teammates.

A couple of weeks ago, Hayden and his friend went to a local 5 day basketball camp. They were gone all day, and had so much fun. We were very impressed with the protocol and procedures of the staff and the camp facility.

Hadley took a few hip hop dance workshops, had her recital pictures taken, and started back full time a couple of weeks ago to make up for April and May classes.

Silly Sis is always smiling.

9. Cincinnati Zoo

I took the kids to the Cincinnati Zoo in June, and we had a great time. It’s about an hour and a half drive from Lexington. We purchased tickets in advance to arrive at a certain time and were able to social distance from other zoo guests. The weather wasn’t too hot, and we were able to see most of the animals!

10. Canoeing

We went canoeing on Elkhorn Creek with friends. It was a six mile trek, but the weather was great, and the water was cool and beautiful. I’d definitely like to make canoeing a summer tradition; it’s a new favorite activity, for sure! Maybe next year, we can try the kayak.

We had a really great summer. I never knew how much we needed the extra downtime (as most summers for us are booked solid), and we sure appreciated it. I can safely say I will always remember the summer of 2020!

A few more faves…

Favorite Mom Meme:

This meme made me laugh and cry at the same time ๐Ÿ˜‰

Bonus Fave: Flashback Friday

Both of these pics are from August 2017.

I love these pics of seven-year-old Hadley at the beach. Her sass and smile are the best!

2017

I love this cousin pic so much. We had an impromptu photo session thanks to Trav’s brother in August 2017, and this pic is so sweet. All of these cousins are so blessed to have each other!

Weekly Recap:

Real talk: I’m just as tired at the end of this first week of school (where I was both at home and at school) as the regular first weeks back. I’m going to take the time this weekend to get some rest and spend time with my family in hopes of being recharged ready to start another week of learning, Zooming, planning, and more on Monday!

Thanks so much for reading, and have a great weekend.

Posted in Activities, Family

Summer Fun List Update

Well, the days of sleeping in and easing into the day are almost over. To be clear, they’ve been over for me since Monday ๐Ÿ˜‰Today, I’m sharing an update on where we stand with our Summer 2020 Fun List.

When we wrote down our ideas for this list in mid-June, Hayden and Hadley each listed some thing they’d like to do, and we brainstormed a few ideas to complete as a family.

Here’s a breakdown on what we’ve accomplished this summer:

Hadley

  • Learn a (new) Tik Tok dance: Yโ€™all, she seems to master a new dance daily! AND…we all get to be audience ๐Ÿ˜‚
  • Tie Dye: Hadley did tie dye a shirt and socks with some friends.
  • Bake: We haven’t baked too much this summer because we have ZERO self-control when it comes to sweets in this house, but Hadley has made the Lemon Freezer Pie on her own a few times.
  • Cook dinner one night: Well, I’ve forgotten about this one, and need to hold her to it ๐Ÿ˜‰She does help me dinner prep sometimes. #summerisntoveryet !!
  • Dance Workshop: She was able to take a couple Hip Hop workshops this summer, and is now back dancing full time to make up for April/May classes.
  • Try S’mores Frapp: She did try this frapp from Starbucks this summer and liked it!
  • Go to Bob Evans Restaurant: We haven’t made it there yet. I’m not sure if our local BE has dine in service right now? I guess we could get carry out one night.
  • Dog walking business: Yes! The kids have taken care of a few neighborhood pets this summer and regularly walked the neighbor’s dog.
  • Art Project: Hadley did complete an art project or two as well as some crafts (a hand scrub, a lava lamp, and she painted a Mason jar for her pens and pencils). She also completed some of the crafts from her camp box since camp was canceled this summer.

Hayden

  • Teach Homer some tricks : Yes! Hayden has been working with Homer some on “sit,” “down,” “come,” and “shake.” Most of those are commands rather than tricks, but he has fun with Homer. Seriously, I’ve never seen a kid love a dog more than Hayden loves Homer.
  • Take golf lessons: Well, once baseball started back, we didn’t have lots of time to schedule actual lessons, but Travis and Hayden went golfing a few times this summer just the two of them and then with friends this past Sunday. Maybe we can get him lessons once baseball is over. (Interestingly enough, he’s a left handed kid—but bats right handed and golfs left handed. So crazy to me!)
  • Get/play video games: I do not think we’ve bought any new games, but he’s certainly played on his Xbox this summer! Great way to cool off after playing outside.
  • Take Hadley to camp for a week: Unfortunately, for Hayden, Hadley’s camp was canceled this summer ๐Ÿ˜‚
  • Baseball: Yes. All the baseball. Practices. Games. Backyard practices and games. Baseball lessons. On repeat.
1st base and pitcher
  • Go shoe shopping: With a delayed back to school start date, we haven’t bought new shoes just yet. BUT Travis did score a great deal on a pair of Air Max tennis shoes, but they were a bit too big. They will fit Hayden soon enough, I’m sure!
  • Play outside: We were just discussing with friends that this summer, for our kids, felt like our own childhood summers. Since we weren’t at the pool, there was more time for neighborhood kids to ride bikes and run around together. It’s been a pretty simple and sweet summer in that regard.
  • Draw things: Hayden loves to draw. Do you know when his most favorite time to draw is? BEDTIME! ugh!
  • Watch sports: Yes. He’s found the time to watch NBA games and Royals baseball!
  • Not get braces: Well, technically he hasn’t gotten his braces in yet…but he does have his Herbst appliance in for the foreseeable future. He’s definitely gotten used to it, and knows what to do if it gets stuck! haha

Family:

I will share some more for the family list details in tomorrow’s post but we were able to:

  • Go to the zoo, go on a couple of hikes, take a vacation to Florida, visit family in Kansas City, pick strawberries, and kayak/canoe with friends.

Other activities:

  • Lake: We never made it to a lake this summer which is a bummer because I do love the lake life.
  • Drive in movie: We had plans a couple of weekends ago to go to the drive in, but it rained all weekend. We haven’t re-scheduled just yet, but I’d love to take the kids sometime soon!

Overall, I’d say we did a pretty good job of using our list to guide our fun this summer. We were able to make memories and have fun together even if it was a quarantine/COVID kind of summer.

Posted in Activities

Shaker Village Hike

Last Friday, Travis and I took the kids to Shaker Village to hike. I’ve been to Shaker Village a few times to explore the property, learn about the Shaker community, and visit the Historic Centre. That being said, I didn’t know they had hiking trails until a friend posted her family’s photos near a beautiful waterfall.

With Friday being my last official day of summer, Travis took the day off, and we headed to Shaker Village which is about a 30 minute drive from Lexington.

There are various trails, but we knew the Shawnee Run trail would take us to the waterfall. That particular trail is label “strenuous” and says it’s a 6 mile loop. We saw signs sending us to a different connector so after seeing the waterfall, we hooked up with the Chinquapin trail to finish our hike. All in all, we hiked about four miles in about an hour and 45 minutes. So, we didn’t do the complete loop of that trail, and the trail was very doable for all of us.

We hardly saw anyone on our trek, so it was definitely a socially distant activity with beautiful scenery.

I’m a sucker for a run down red barn. We parked right by this beaut, so of course I had to snap a pic.

and…make the kids stand in front of the chippy red barn!

The grounds of Shaker Village are so beautiful. Stone fencing like this always stops me in my tracks.

Off we go…

We probably only hiked about a mile to find the beautiful waterfall. We hung out in the water and by the falls for 20-25 minutes.

Hiker Boo:

Hiker Sis:

Such a pretty place to explore with the falls, the mossy rocks, and the cool water.

Parent pic:

After the falls, we continued on for the rest of our hike stopping every once in a while to let the kids splash in the water.

After the hike, these guys were waiting for us by the chippy red barn.

The horses have a great view!

Now that I know these trails exist, I certainly hope we make it back again soon. The kids are at a great age for hikes like this because they can keep up, and even sometimes lead the way!

I hope you have a great day!

Posted in Activities

Family Fun: Games

We were really on a roll playing games as a family in March and April. Then, I guess we kind of got burned out. Recently, we’ve added a few more games to the mix, and I took all of these to KC with us because I knew we’d have the downtime to play.

Presidents Game

Hayden has had this game for some time, but we’d never played it. There are lots of Professor Noggin’s learning games.

It’s definitely a quick game and great for learning.

A little info: It says this game is for ages 7+ and 2+ players are needed for the game.

There are 30 illustrated cards with “easy” and “hard” questions.

Before you begin, you decide which level you will play and then roll the die. The person who rolled the die asks the player on their right that number question. If the person answers correctly, they keep the card. If they don’t answer it correctly, the answer is shared and the card goes to the bottom of the stack.

Then, the person who just answered, rolls the die, asks the player on their right the question and so on.

Once all the cards are gone, everyone counts the number of cards they have. Whoever has the most cards wins!

It’s as easy as that.

Uno

I think everyone knows how to play Uno ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s the game that I usually throw in my purse if I know we’ll have time to kill.

Uno is for ages 7+ and 2-10 players can participate.

We do love this game as a family because it takes some time to play but not too much time. Also, just when someone yells “Uno,” they usually have to draw more cards. haha

Qwixx

Andrea shared about this game in the spring. I purchased it, and we played it a few times. Then…it got #Homered. I ordered another set, and it’s one we all enjoy.

It’s a “fast family dice game” for ages 8+ and you need 2-5 players.

This game does have strategy involved and can take a few rounds to fully understand. The object of the game is to score the most points by crossing out as many numbers in the four color rows as possible without getting penalty points.

One of the main rules is that numbers have to be crossed off left to right in each of the color rows. If you skip a number, it can’t be crossed out later.

You can also lock a row by crossing out five numbers in that row. Then, that color die is removed from the game.

When the game is over, players add up their score to determine the winner.

Monopoly Deal

Monopoly Deal has definitely become a family favorite. Andrea shared it recently as well, and I purchased it before the KC trip to add to our game collection.

The game says, “Play in 15 minutes,” but we were never that quick! That being said, each game we played took about 30 minutes which is much quicker than the board game.

It’s a game for ages 8+ and you need 2-5 players.

When I bought it, I thought the kids could play it in the car…but that’s not the case. You want to have as many cards laid out on the table, so you can play them. You can’t play cards from your hand…only the ones you’ve put on the table.

There are three kinds of cards: money cards, property cards, and action cards.

Each player gets 5 cards. When it’s their turn, they draw two cards from the middle pile and can then play up to 3 cards. So, you could lay down a money card in case you need to pay someone, lay down a property card to start building on, and tell the other players an action like swap a property, pay you because it’s your birthday, etc.

Another rule is that players can never have more than seven cards in their hand.

The first player to collect 3 full property sets of different colors wins.

The instructions actually say, “Start playing and all will become clear.” That proved to be true ๐Ÿ˜‰ We figured it out as we played, and it’s definitely a favorite game now.

What are some of your favorite games to play? I even love Solitaire (with cards! No my phone!) when no one wants to play a game with me!

I hope you are having a great week.

Posted in Activities, Holidays, Weekend Top 5

Weekend Top 5

Happy Monday! How was your 4th of July weekend? We were busy. I’m so tired! Thankfully, this week we don’t have much going on besides a couple of ball games.

I thought I’d do a little Top 5 recap of our busy weekend.

Canoeing:

We are adventurous, yโ€™all. We started our holiday weekend on Friday canoeing. Kayak/canoeing was one of the activities we had on our Summer 2020 Fun list!

We went with a few friends and got our canoes from Canoe Kentucky in Frankfort. While I was excited, I was a little hesitant because I didn’t know what to expect. Long story short, about four years ago we had a tense and sometimes scary creek tubing experience in North Carolina. I figured a canoe is more substantial and the kids are older, so the canoe trip should be fine…and it was! Itโ€™s a great outdoor and socially distant activity. Win win.

We all met to get our life jackets, instructions, and canoes and then we rode on the bus (while wearing masks) to the entry point on Elkhorn Creek. Then, we canoed back which was about 6 miles and took us about 3 hours. We did stop 3 times to let the kids swim and to kind of regroup. Altogether, we had 11 people in 5 canoes and 1 kayak….and we all stayed together! Of course, it was a hot day, but on the water, it was fine. There was shade and the water was cool.

When the instructor dropped us off he said we may see turtles, a bald eagle, deer, and more. We did see the bald eagle, deer, and even a little water snake.

There were a few rapid points that we could easily navigate and there were even times I wished the water would move more! ๐Ÿ˜‚

The adults sat in the back of the canoes to steer while the kids paddled (adults paddled too)—but definitely needed to be in the back to steer.

We really had a great time, and I definitely hope to go again (or make this a summer tradition!)

Hadley was my co-pilot
The littles
They enjoyed swimming more than paddling ๐Ÿ˜‰
Travis and Hayden
Our crew

After we canoed, we headed to one of our favorite spots for dinner…Wallace Station. It’s the perfect spot with picnic tables and shade…and easy to social distance from other diners.

I got the shrimp wrap with orzo side and it was so good!

Festive Food:

I ordered some red, white, and blue cookies from a local baker, L’oven Cookies, and picked those up on Friday. We enjoyed them throughout the weekend.

On Saturday, we had our traditional red, white and blue waffles. This year, Hadley made the waffles using a mix and our mini waffle iron. (I usually just use frozen waffles and the toaster ;). She’s become a big help in the kitchen. I put the toppings on!

4th of July:

We actually did have a relaxing day with not much on our plate on Saturday. We lounged around, watched tv, the kids biked with friends, I hung out and read in our pool and that was about it…until it was time for dinner.

The kids did oblige with a red, white, and blue outfit pic with Homer and his new scarf.

He’s good at posing for pics if he knows he’ll get a treat.

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

Then we grilled out with another family in our neighborhood. The kids see each other pretty often these days to ride bikes and know they can play but to keep some space, and we keep up with the hand washing, of course.

After dinner, we set off a few fireworks before heading home to go to our favorite fireworks viewing location.

Sparklers are my fave.

The 30 minute fireworks display from a local country club did not disappoint.

Then, we came home, set off a few more fireworks (I had just bought a few things at Kroger) and then we headed to bed.

Netflix:

Friday night after we returned home from canoeing, I was exhausted. By 8:00, I was showered and in bed. I turned on Netflix, and The Babysitters Club popped up. I had forgotten that they were doing a series on the books. I swear, as a kid, I read every single one. I remember going to the book store to buy the books one at a time as they were released.

Hadley’s only read a few of them, and enjoys them. I knew she’d love the show and was excited to watch a couple of episodes, so we did. Then, we watched a couple more episodes throughout the weekend.

The show is an updated version that touches on modern topics while also including plot elements from the books.

Sunday:

Sunday was a lazy day mixed with a bit of productivity. We changed all the bedsheets and I made my grocery order for the week.

Hadley and I watched a couple more episodes of the BSC. I snuggled with Homer while the kids played outside.

Then, we met some of Travโ€™s family at The Stave for an early dinner.

Sunday ended with showers and early bedtimes for everyone. Iโ€™ve tried to make Sunday nights a good time to reset for the kids (& myself!)

Tomorrow is Trav’s birthday, so we have more celebrating to do tomorrow.

I hope you have a great week.