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Saturday, July 30, 2016

Dog Days of Summer!

It is getting close to the start of a new school year but the long, hot days of summer carry on! When I have some yard work to do, I kind of plan to make a day of it! That way, I can get as dirty or as hot as I want. I take lots of dunks in the pool and then usually plan to spend the last of the day floating in the pool or sitting on the deck with a glass of wine and a good book. This plan has kept my summer yard looking really nice-well, this and the help of Mother Nature with our afternoon or early evening rain showers. The grass plugs that we put down were doing fine but then I spread some enriched top soil over it all and now they look fabulous! They are sending out lots of feeders and filling in really nicely. Too bad it looks so good that I got excited and ran out and bought 12 more bags of soil...that now need to be spread as well!

So with my household chores all pretty much up to date, I began my thoughts for back-to-school.

With daughter #3just returning from a long trip to Europe and her design business even busier than usual, she asked if I could help out with the kids this coming week. That worked out perfectly for my plans. They will be here Monday and Tuesday so I needed to come up with a good many ideas to keep them busy. As I looked back over previous years, I realized there isn't much worth doing that we haven't already done. And then I went WAY back in my memory and remembered "Shrinky Dinks". I did these with my girls, our neighbors and scouts many, many times. Then, I repeated the process with my first four grand daughters. BUT, this is one craft I have not done with the three youngest. Imagine my surprise when I actually found Shrinky Dinks still for sale. The last time I looked for them I think I had to use a similar product but not the Shrinky Dink I remembered. Since the kids are so good with the computer, I am going to let them find whatever images they want and then they can have fun with my copy machine tweaking the sizes until they get it just right.

If you have never done these before, they are a child's delight! It starts with a clear (or white) sheet of plastic. Using permanent markers, you draw on an outline and then fill it in with color. Then you cut around the shape and add any holes you will need now. Then, the piece goes into the oven and you must be able to watch. As the piece heats up, it shrivels and bunches and you are sure you have ruined it until suddenly, it flattens itself out. When you remove it from the oven it is about half the size it was and many, many times thicker and, as soon as it is cool, it becomes very hard plastic. These "charms" can be used in so many ways and the possibilities are endless. We still hang ornaments on our tree that we made at a neighborhood party I hosted the first year we moved into this house-43 years ago! Another of my favorites that also get hung every year were our grand children's handprints "shrunken" and then strung with beads on pretty wire.

 We will probably just add a clip to ours this time so the kids can hook them on their back packs but we will see if they have other ideas. My stockpile continues to grow and I think I have more than enough for their goodie bags now. Funniest thing is that as I was shopping for back-to-school, I found rainbow Nerds and huge rainbow erasers. Anything "rainbow" says St. Pat's to me, so I now have a start on that holiday as well!

I think we will use Monday to also make the table decorations and some of the favors. About three years ago we made the "Rolo" pencils and Hudson and Presley were so small that I think we will do those again. We will also make any new decorations and any food that can be done ahead.

Then, we will have Tuesday to swim, play some games and do the "heavy duty" cooking. All three of these kids love to bake and cook so we should have fun. Then, Mom and Dad will join us at the end of the day and we can hear all about Jen's European adventures.

Speaking of which, look at the fun gifts that came our way:

The mugs and chocolate are from Switzerland and the ornaments are from Germany. They are a traditional ornament and the funny thing is that when our children were young-and WAY before computers-we had World Book encyclopedias and belonged to their "Christmas Around the World" club. Every year we would receive a book about Christmas in that year's country, recipe cards, an advent calendar and an ornament. The one we have have from Germany is a miniature of the boy above. I can't wait to pull out our ornaments this year and compare the two.

Presley has her big #7 coming up this week but today she and her friend shared a birthday party at Picasso's Palette- a local ceramic, painting, glass and mosaic studio. Presley loves art and all things related to art so this was right up her alley.

It was no surprise that she chose a horse as her project-she likes them about as much as she likes art!

It seems like it has been a long day already so I am heading off to do some "loafing". Tomorrow is another day and it will be full of list making, scheduling, prep work and shopping. Can't wait! Stay tuned.

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