Sunday, August 31, 2014

A Summer Tradition and Charmin Goes to Primary!

We started this crazy summer tradition in our family a couple of years ago where we go out for ice cream for dinner one night in the summer. We never tell the kids what day it will be, one night we just show up at the ice cream (or frozen yogurt) place at dinnertime and tell them that’s what we’re having.

There is usually some screaming and jumping with excitement.

Charmin was thrilled to join us! We took him to our favorite local fro-yo (frozen yogurt) place, Sweet Frog.

He checks out the flavors- should he do blue cotton candy...or cake batter...or both? There were also cheesecake, strawberry, graham cracker, chocolate, cookies & cream, mango, and a few other flavors. You just grab a cup and fill your own!

Once you have your cup filled with your choice of frozen yogurt, you get to choose your toppings- anything you want! There’s candy, cookie crumbles, nuts, whipped cream, hot fudge, warm caramel, chocolate chips, sprinkles- whatever you want! (You pay by weight, though, so watch out!)

Charmin is ready to eat- he’s got my concoction of blue cotton candy, cake batter, chocolate, brownie pieces, caramel, and whipped cream. Charlotte has all kinds of things in hers- looks like some gummy bears on top.

Teeny wanted to share.

Audrey tries to help Teeny warm up after she says, “I cole!”

We love our sweet tradition!

Today we brought Charmin to church with us. He went to Primary and hung out with Tyson.

The kids are standing (most of them) for our Spotlight. The Primary President is naming off one child’s favorite things and if it’s not something that’s your favorite, you are supposed to sit down. We keep going until there’s just one child standing.

Charmin gave the talk today.

(Just kidding. He was just messing around after Primary.)

The kids pose with Charmin outside the church building. It was HOT today! Mid-90’s!

Do you guys have any fun family traditions for the summer, or any other season? Do you have anything like Spotlight in your Primary? :-)

ANOTHER Fair Bear!

Tuesday night we headed out to our own county fair here in Chesterfield, because it was Boy Scout night. Not sure how much y’all know about Boy Scouts, but Tyson is a Scout and he gets to wear a uniform and works to earn badges for things like camping, hiking, woodworking, mechanics, communication, sports, etc. It’s a great program that teaches boys leadership skills, encourages them to serve their communities, and helps strengthen their faith. 

Our first stop at the fair was to get some kettle corn from a vendor. Because fresh, hot kettle corn is really the entire reason I go to fairs in the first place.

Clearly Charmin agrees with me.

While Charmin pigged out, Teeny enjoyed her own little cup of corn.

Here comes the parade!

There’s Tyson with his Scout troop! Don’t they look handsome?

I liked this guy. Very patriotic.

Charmin watches the fire trucks go by.

And of course, tractors. We Americans do love our tractors.

When Tyson was done with the parade he posed with Charmin for a pic. Charmin is atop a free balloon Teeny got from a politician. 

Woohoo! My brownies won second place!

Charmin watches the model trains go by.

Quick pic with Audrey in front of the trains in the Arts & Crafts building. 

I wasn’t the only winner- Tyson’s “Splaticus” painting won first place, Audrey’s got third, and Charlotte got a very nice participation ribbon. (I took these photos on the day we picked them up- we weren’t allowed to touch them until pickup day, so I couldn’t get a photo of all of them together with their art and their ribbons.)

Charlotte with Charmin on the midway.

There’s a ride coming out of Charmin’s head!!

Once again, we didn’t do any rides, but they sure were fun to look at!

We did get to catch some pig races, though. Teeny made sure she and Charmin got a good seat atop her dad’s shoulders.

Aaaaand they’re off! See that pig coming out of the gate? And yes, that is a baby in a play pen in the middle of the race track. His dad was the race master, and the kid was having a great time.

We had a lot of fun at the fair and we were so excited by our prizes! We are looking forward to entering again next year, and maybe saving up our pennies and riding some rides next time. :-)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tag goes to Hogwarts

This morning, an owl arrived with a letter addressed to Tag... sadly, not really, but Tag did go to Hogwarts.  The whole family went to The Making of Harry Potter at Warner Brothers Studios, just north of London and a little over an hour from our home.

Here are Tag and Ceri waiting outside with some of the actual chess pieces used in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

We have to go school uniform shopping this week, as school starts next week. Ceri wondered whether her school would mind if she turned up in Hogarts uniform.

The sorting hat said that Ceri should be in ... Gryffindor! (For the record, Roderic and I are Ravenclaw, Hari is Hufflepuff and Gwen is Slytherin.)

There was an introductory film presented by Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson. Then the main doors opened and there was the great hall!

Ron Weasley's broomstick

These are the costumes used in the last two films.

I managed to get a sneaky photo of Gwen and Hari with Hagrid, Snape and Dumbledore.

The Gryffindor boys' dormitory

Ceri admires the Goblet of Fire. It's carved out of a single piece of wood.

This is the dramatic entrance to Dumbledore's study.

Here's Molly Weasley's kitchen in the Burrow. I was thrilled to see that she has the same plates as my grandmother!

 This is the monument from the centre of the Ministry of Magic, showing the muggles being crushed by the might of magic.

Outside, it was raining (there's a surprise!) but that didn't stop Ceri and Tag going to knock on the door of no. 4 Privet Drive to see if Harry Potter or Dudley Dursley wanted to come out to play.

Tag, Ceri and Dad tried Butterbeer. It tasted like caramel-flavour cream soda. 

Tag, Ceri and Dad pose with the Knight Bus, the entrance to the bridge, and the Potters' house at Godric's Hollow (although it was actually right next to Privet Drive!)

Some scary creatures - Aragog and a Dementor.

 Diagon Alley was fascinating. I had to stand in the doorway of Gringotts to take this picture.

Ceri thought about getting an owl, but decided a bear was enough.

These friendly Quidditch players offered to teach Tag to play, but they couldn't find a broomstick small enough.

We all agreed that our favourite part of the day was seeing Hogwarts. It's a huge model, very detailed, and was used for all the exterior shots in all the films.

We had a wonderful day at Harry Potter Studios, and it was fascinating seeing just how much detail and effort went into making the films. We all agreed that we wanted to watch them all back-to-back as soon as we got home.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Splash Park and Hiking

We’re trying to cram in some good stuff before summer ends in a week! Last week we decided to head over to Pocahontas State Park, named after the famous Native American who helped Jamestown settlers. We often come to this park to go hiking, since it’s close to our house, but this time we came to SWIM!  

Tyson and Charmin check out the rules.

This is after we swam- we went outside the fence to have our lunch up on the hill at these picnic tables, and it was a nice view of the splash park & pool, so we took a picture. 

We invited our neighbors to join us, so they’re in the photos too!

Today we were blessed with yet ANOTHER gorgeous weather day- sunny, blue skies, in the 70’s F, so we knew we wanted to play outside but I didn’t feel like running around, so we stuck close to home. I let the big kids ride their bikes around the neighborhood while I took the girls- and Charmin- in the red wagon.

Teeny’s rockin’ her shades again. They loved relaxing in there!

After our neighborhood walk/ride, we decided it would be fun to explore the woods at the end of our cul-de-sac. There are all sorts of trails back there, so I let the kids bring their bikes. That blur back there is Tyson gearing up to take a jump.

Oh no! Charlotte’s in a hole!

Those big towers are for the electric lines that cross through the backyards in our neighborhood. We just happen to live next to those main lines. Charmin relaxes among the wildflowers and other various plants in the field. 

Charmin likes the woods.

When we got home Teeny and Charlotte wanted to give Charmin his own ride. 

We are loving this cool summer! Can’t believe it’s almost over!