Tag Archives: summer

Summer cookin’!

Even though here in the Seattle area we’ve only had about 2 1/2 weeks of summer, I am aware that the end is drawing near.  School shopping is in full force.  Fresh canned goods are being stock piled in pantries.  Even days are beginning to feel a bit shorter.  But in the midst of autumn on the horizon,  I feel the need to keep summer close to me for a bit longer.  The following recipe is by far one of my favorites for summer and something that I make a few times each season.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Caprese Pasta Salad

  • 1 pound of pasta (any small shape works fine)
  • 5 cups diced beefsteak tomatoes, (2 pounds)
  • 2 cups diced fresh mozzarella, (3/4 pound)
  • 1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and Pepper
  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente, according to package instructions; drain.
  2. In a large bowl, toss warm pasta with tomatoes, mozzarella, onion, olive oil, basil, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or chilled with some nice ciabatta bread.

Honor your father and mother. And your brother and sister.

I’m sure our family is like most families.  Our kids get along great at times and not so great at other times.  Sometimes it feels like the not so great out-weighs the great.  Especially during the summer when we’re all together all the time.  So what does a parent do to maintain peace in the house?

Autumn, Audrey, and Austen all snuggled up in 2008 right after August was born.

Last year my children’s pastor husband came up with a great idea.  We call it the honor chart.  They each earn points during the day for either being honorable or dishonorable.  The goal is not for them to treat each other with “normalcy,” but with honor.  There are a number of ways that they can earn honor marks.  Offering to do someone’s chore.  Offering to help one of the younger kids with something.  Doing something cheerfully and right away when they are asked by an adult.  If they get 5 honor marks in a day then they earn something the next day.  My favorite was when my 10-year-old, Austen, wanted to use his honor marks by snuggling with my for 30 minutes before bed.  But it usually has something to do with extra X-box time or an extra TV show (they only get a 1/2 hour of each).

On the flip side, they can also earn dishonor marks.  This happens, obviously, if they are dishonorable to each other.  Arguing, yelling, short tempers.  If they earn 5 dishonor marks in a day, then they lose something the next day.

The goal is for them to earn 5 honor marks each day for a week for an ultimate prize.  So far only one of them has earned this all summer.  Austen chose to use his honor week by going to Shnoo yogurt with his dad.  Of course, Duane didn’t mind either.

Here’s what we’ve found by using an honor chart:  they will go above and beyond being nice and decent to each other.  They are happy to show honor to one another and to us.  We originally started doing this for the older 3 kids (5 1/2, 10 1/2, and 12), but August (2 1/2) has joined the honor bandwagon, too!  If he is helpful with his brother and sisters he gets an honor mark.  But the best thing about that is watching him react when he finds out he earned one.  Jumping, clapping, and cheering are among his rituals for behaving more than kindly to his siblings.

I guess the big idea is that we want our children to be more than nice to each other, to their friends, and to us.  Treat each other with honor and your rewards are more than Shnoo.  More than game time.  The rewards are peace and harmony in the house all based on biblical teachings.  Good habits are starting to be realized which brings joy to this mommy’s heart.  And that is the best reward for me!

Summer wish list

It’s almost midnight. But in the spirit of keeping with my word, I’m posting a super short “blog” tonight. I’m not even really sure it can be called a blog since it’s really more of a wish list of  some new faves of mine.  I hope you enjoy it and can find some inspiration and style of your own!

Jeans with super sexy pockets. These jeans by Rock Revival might be a little out of my league, but I think they’re super cute!

Go with everything wedges!  Wedges are comfy and cute and can be worn by just about everyone!

I love being able to change my makeup colors depending on the season and what I’m wearing.  I’m so excited about these new color pencils from Mary Kay!

Sunglasses are such an easy way to change your look depending on your mood.  These Raybans are so much fun!

It’s summer, so now what?

Aahhh, summer. Those lazy days. I love summer. For the first 3 weeks. Then, I have trouble keeping my kids and myself occupied. This summer should be even more fun because not only do I have my 4, but my sister’s 2. Don’t be surprised if you see me frequently holding a cocktail midday. But how will I keep 6 kids from feeling bored come July 5?  For you locals, I have a few ideas that I’ve used over the years.

1. SUMMER MOVIE EXPRESS by Regal Cinemas. 2 days a week during the summer months, Regal Cinemas is showing kids movies for just $1. This is not new, but what has changed is now they charge you. In years past it has been free. There are a couple of upsides for this charge, though, that I’ve noticed. The movies are fairly new. I’ve been to some screenings in previous years where the choices of movies for the week are less than nap-time worthy. Also, since they are charging this year, I think the theaters will be less full. We’ve actually been turned away before because the theaters fill up so fast. I think this will help remedy the situation. And $1 for a new-ish movie really isn’t that much. Go to http://www.regmovies.com/summermovieexpress for more information and to check your local theaters.

2. The Beach. Although I tend to not love our beaches here in the northwest, my kids do. And many of them have a nearby park. It’s an easy answer to summer boredom.

3. Waterparks. This is my favorite summer “hang-out” now that I have kids. We have a very close, very clean water park to our house and for the last 3 summers, I have splurged and bought the season pass. The bonus to this is first, if you go more than 2 times, you have paid for it and second, no long wait lines. We pack a lunch, snacks, and water bottles so we don’t have to spend any money once we’re there. For my local friends visit, http://rentonwa.gov/living/default.aspx?id=190 for more information.

4. National Parks. We have become a family very fond of our national park system. It started 5 years ago when we took our first multi-state road trip and visited several national parks along our route. Since then, every summer, we find at least one destination to pack up the car to visit. It’s so much fun learning about America as well as viewing the beautiful countryside along the way. To make it even better, the National Parks System offers a Free Entrance Day every June 21, the first day of summer. Normal entrance fees vary by park. Visit http://www.nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm for more information.

5. Reading programs. I’m not much of a reader, but thank the Lord, my kids are different from me when it comes to reading. There are so many local reading programs that, chances are, you wouldn’t be able to participate in all of them if you tried, but some of our favorites are run by the local library system and Barnes & Noble. It’s fun for kids to read new and challenging books and then get a reward for accomplishing their goal at the end of summer. Go to http://freesamplefreak.com/summer-reading-programs-for-kids-2011/ for some great ideas!

6. The Dollar Store. This is kind of a “what should we do today?” pit stop that I access frequently. We can usually find enough change around the house and in the car for each of the kids to choose something and it usually takes them around 60 minutes to figure it out how to use their dollar wisely.

These are just a few ideas that I hope you will use. Please leave feedback and any other ideas that you might have. I’m always up to finding new things to do.  Oh, and don’t forget to pack the sunscreen!