Archives For summer bucket list

The Sewing Bug

Leigh —  October 19, 2012 — Leave a comment

So  I haven’t mentioned the Summer Bucket List in quite some time, and I have two reasons for that.  One, the weather has cooled down and our long lazy days spent poolside have been replaced with schooling and running from one scheduled activity to the next.   I’m no longer looking for fun ways to fill our days because our days have a way of filling up on their own.  And two, I’d kind of forgotten about it.

I did mark off a lot of the ideas on the list, some of which I didn’t even update here on the blog.  In fact, I’m still marking some off even though it’s no longer a goal.  For example, recently Edie and I made a nightgown together, an idea I had inspired by the summer bucket list.

It originally started out that Edie and I were going to complete a sewing project together.  And the more I mulled over the idea of sewing with my girl, the more I accepted that she’s just not ready to sit behind a sewing machine.  It was a good thought, and perhaps it will be a 2013 Summer Bucket List item.  But Edie sewing right now is just not a good idea. There’s a lot of sharp objects involved in sewing with the scissors and needles and all, and there’s just too much that could go wrong.  I have a feeling that if her first sewing experience ended with either losing a pinky or sewing her hand to a pillow, it’s going to spoil her desire to sew in the future.  As I’ve learned, you really need to love sewing before you stitch an appendage to a garment so that you’ll stick with it. (No pun intended!)

So I decided to wait a bit, but that doesn’t mean that she can’t sit beside me while I explain to her everything I’m doing.

So that’s what we did.  We talked about different fabrics and how we use them for different things.  We discussed all the different kinds of stitches a machine can sew and why we sometimes use a serger verses a regular sewing machine.  It was step in the right sewing direction.

She wants to learn, and she wants me to teach her.  And I will, one day, but for now, I enjoyed having her next to me, keeping me company while I worked on this project.

When I bought this material, I was still thinking that she might actually sew some on this nightgown.  So I totally bought it with her in mind.  On my own, I would never have picked out something so animal print-ish, but I was trying to find something she might pick out for herself.

It’s just your average pillowcase dress, but made out of a knit fabric.  It was inspired by this pinterest idea.

Edie loves it.  It’s her go-to nightgown these days and the first one she wears after the laundry’s been done.  Even though technically she didn’t sew a single stitch, she still feels like she was a part of the project, and that’s made her love this nightgown even more.

And yesterday when we were talking about her upcoming birthday, she said a sewing machine was at the top of her wish list.  Oh yea, she’s been bitten by the bug.


We’ve had a really rainy summer this year.  Really rainy.  And while there are some benefits to rainy summers such as green grass instead my normal brown lawn, rainy days do get old after awhile.  There have been many nights this summer when I have gone to bed with big plans for the next day, only to wake to storm clouds and a day indoors.

However last Monday, it was supposed to rain, but didn’t.  It was one of those rare occasions when we woke up to a sunny day with nothing to do.  Sounds like Bucket List time.

On the spur of the moment, I decided to take the kids to pick blueberries.  We went to the Mae-Berry Farm in Odenville.


We came to this same farm about two years ago, and everything seemed pretty much how I remembered it except for this sign.  That seemed new.

Sidebar: I really like the word “yonder,” and while I’m thinking about it, I like the word “holler” too.  They make me feel southern even though people don’t use them much anymore.  Those were words my grandmother use to say.  You know, things like, “Lei-Lei, grab my pocketbook from over yonder.”   And she use to call her wallet a “billfold.”

It makes me sad people don’t talk that way now.  I would totally use words like that everyday if I thought I could get away with it, but I’m not over 65.  And somehow, I just don’t think I could make it sound as natural as my grandmother did.

Back to the blueberries.

Well, we followed the sign’s directions and headed over yonder toward the blueberry fields and parked our van next to a horse trailer.  We had the place to ourselves.


I think it is pretty safe to say that picking blueberries is not one of Roark’s favorite activities.  Actually, the whole purpose was kind of lost on him.

“Why are we picking blueberries, Mommy?”  If I could finish his thought, I’m pretty sure he would have added, “…when we could just get them from Publix?”

Because it’s fun.” I tried to convince him.

“It is NOT fun.”

The only reason he kept at it was because Edie would call out every couple of minutes that she had more blueberries in her bucket than he did.  He would then pick a couple off a branch before he resumed his complaining.

Edie, of course, totally loved it, but this goes back to how my kids are so different from each other.  She’s the ying to his yang.  If one of them loves something, you can bet the other it going to hate it.  Not because they are trying to be difficult, but because they are individuals that way.  Either that or because they like to keep me on my toes.  Maybe it’s a little of both.


Edie kept posing for pictures which was really unlike her.

“Take my picture while I’m picking this berry, Mommy!”

Her asking for her picture to be taken is a new thing with us.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed that she is outgrowing her hatred of a camera in my hand.

It only took about a forty-five minutes to pick a gallon of blueberries.  Then we were on our way back home.  In my attempts to convince Roark that picking berries is fun, I started to really talk up the cake we were going to bake when we got back to the house.


He was finally convinced it was worth it when he saw the ice cream.

So here we are in the throws of summer.  Smack dab in the middle of it.  I’ve mentioned before that it’s not my favorite season with the heat and lawn maintenance and all, but it does have some perks.

For instance, you can’t ride a sprinkler frog in January…not even in Alabama.


The frog was an act of home defense on my part.  After several rainy days of being inside, we needed an outlet to release some energy STAT before the kids tore the house down.

Things were a bit crazier around here last week because I added two kids to my normal workload.  A friend of mine was under the weather, and so I volunteered to watch over her little ones for a couple of days while she re-cooperated.

It wasn’t an entirely selfless act on my part.  My plan was for her kids to entertain my kids while I got caught up on the mountain of laundry I’d been avoiding.  And it worked well for a while, but by Friday it was time to get everybody OUT.

So I thought it sounded like a perfect time to tackle some of our bucket list items since we had friends tagging along with us.

First stop, splash park. DSCN5840 It was a hit, and a good time was had by all.  I’d brought a book and lawn chair thinking I might get to clock out for a little bit and enjoy some alone time while the kiddos ran wild, but that was wishful thinking.  Roark wasn’t having it.

My kids are so different from each other that I still find it shocking after all this time.  When Edie sees a chance for fun, she is all in.  No holds barred. She doesn’t stop to notice where I’ve put my chair and set up.  She throws off her shoes at the first sight of fun and takes off running towards the adventure.

Roarkie, on the other hand, doesn’t even go near the sprinklers until he knows exactly where I’m sitting, and then spends the next half hour laying on his towel, begging me to get in.  It’s only after I’ve conceded that he decides it’s safe to get on the frog.


Alone time is over-rated anyway.

Next on the agenda was Edie’s favorite place in the whole world:  Yogurt Mountain (or what I like to call Bucket List: Number 27).

I should mention that up until this point, I’d never been to Yogurt Mountain.  Edie had been a couple of times.  First was at a birthday party.  When she came home she didn’t give me any details about the party except, “Mom, we HAVE to go to Yogurt Mountain!” and then the following week, she weaseled her Pop into taking her and her brother one night when he was babysitting.  But Yogurt Mountain was a new experience for me.  If I had known what was involved, I might have rethought taking four kids by myself, but you live and learn.

When we walked in, there wasn’t a soul in the place except the guy behind the counter.  I looked around and assessed the situation.  Apparently, it is totally self-serve.  You put the frozen yogurt in your cup and then pile on any toppings that suit your fancy.  Then you place your mountain of yogurt on the scale and pay by the pound ounce.

Feeling cocky I thought, “I can manage this.”  I quickly came up with a plan to let the older kiddos fix their own while I monitored and helped the younger two.  But before we could start gorging ourselves on frozen yogurt, everybody needed a bathroom break.  It sounded like the responsible thing to do after running around the splash park for two hours.  So we all piled into the bathroom.

I’m not sure what transpired outside in that five minutes we were washing hands, but I swear they must have unloaded a tour bus of folks at the door.  We came out of the bathroom and found the placed packed.  PACKED! Fifty people at least. I immediately knew this was a bad idea.

Before I had time to come up with a new plan of attack, Edie had a cup and was shoving her way towards the yogurt machines,  getting lost in the group of people.  The younger two started whining they wanted ice cream, and before I could even get a head count of my kids, the line to pay was twenty people deep.

I wanted to gather up my group, load them into the car and just forget I’d mentioned anything about yogurt or mountains of toppings, but who am I kidding?  That would have caused an even more horrific scene.  So I chose the lesser of two evils and braved the crowd.


Everybody did eventually get their ice cream, but I’m not sure I got a fair Yogurt Mountain experience.  In fact, in all the chaos I forgot to get myself a cup of yogurt.  I didn’t need the calories anyway.  Besides, I think Roark enjoyed his enough for the both of us.


I always wonder how to re-enter the blogging world when I haven’t posted in several weeks.  Do I list a bunch of excuses regarding my absence like anyone cares or do I just pick up where I’ve left off and act like I didn’t fall of the face of the blogging world for a month?  Well, I’m choosing the latter.

Even though I haven’t been blogging, I have been working away on our summer bucket list.

For starters, we signed up for the Library’s Summer Reading Program.  We’ve read a boat-load of books, and we’ve even been to a couple of the summer activities they’ve offered.

I always struggle with these library events.  Quite honestly, Edie is really the only one that enjoys them.  She’ll sit there, Indian-style in the middle of all the kids, being the ideal audience participator, raising her hand to be called on, and answering in unison with the other kids.  While Roark, on the other hand, is wallowing around on the floor, getting border by the minute, until eventually I have to step in for disciplinary actions.   These events are really a labor of love for me, but who I am kidding?  A lot of motherhood could be classified as a labor of love.

I also took the kids bowling last month.  Well, we went to a bowling birthday party, but I’m totally counting it for Summer Bucket List: Item #8.  I even took a picture of some snazzy shoes to prove it.


This is also just proof that my kids look cute in anything.  I don’t know anyone else that can make bowling shoes look adorable, but somehow, Roark pulled it off.

DSCN5749Wow!  Bowling has become much more kid-friendly since the late ’80s, when I was doing most of my childhood bowling.  Everything is automated.  You just have to give a kid a ball and point them in the direction of the pins.  The computers do the rest.  No more trying to compute those pesky bowling scores and remember how many points you’ll receive on your next turn after a spare.  You just throw the ball and then enjoy watching the little pins dance on screen.

DSCN5750And how much do I love those rails that come up automatically to prevent gutter balls?  A bunch!  That’s how much!    My kids loved it even though they knocked down about twenty pins between them the entire game.   One thing’s for sure, bowling will now be added to our list of rainy day activities.

That brings us to Item #17: Wash the car at home.  This is another one of those, “Why haven’t we done this before?”  It’s so easy, and they loved it.   It’s free, and I would even argue that it saves money…maybe not enough to really matter, but five bucks is five bucks, right?   Edie is actually really good at vacuuming out the van.  She gave it her all, and by the time she was done, there wasn’t a crumb in sight. And that’s saying a lot for our car.


Roarkie got put on tire duty.  His little hands were perfect for scrubbing the hub caps, and what’s great is that they didn’t even realize that they were being put to work!  In hindsight, I should have let them wear their swim suits so when they sprayed each other with the hose it didn’t seem so shocking, but overall, a good time was had by everyone.

And finally, Item #21: Make cupcakes.  I actually modified this one because when I went to get the ingredients from the pantry, I realized that I didn’t have any frosting.  And you don’t make baking promises to the McKibben children and then not deliver.  The outcome will be disastrous.  So we improvised with a little help from my pal, Pinterest, and we made these instead. 

Very yummy.  In fact, if you come to one of our birthday parties sometime, we might make them for you.  They had a very “birthday party” vibe, and Edie and I both agreed they should be on the menu of our next shin-dig.

We’ve done a zillion other things as well, but if I tell you about them, I’m going back on my word about not giving excuses for where I’ve been.  But just to give you an idea, here’s some pictures of the kids feeding our friend’s chickens…even though it’s not on the bucket list, I thought it was worth showing off.


DSCN5821This was Edie’s short lived attempt at holding one of the chickens.  This kid has never met an animal she didn’t want to hold even if it’s only for a second.


So Friday night, Roarkie was finally allowed to unroll his new Cars sleeping bag that he’d received months ago at Christmas and climb in between it’s layers.  Boy was he excited!  He laid next to Edie who was also snuggled down in her sleeping bag.  Princess, of course.  Not Cars.  I’ve realized that it doesn’t matter if you have a son or a daughter.  Either way, it’s really hard to get away from those marketing geniuses over at Disney.

I popped them a big bowl of blue popcorn, and yes, it was as disgusting as it sounds.  I had a weak moment at the grocery store the other day when Roark had been exceptionally good while shopping.  I absentmindedly asked, “Which popcorn should we get?” not realizing that one of the choices was blue colored popcorn.  As soon as he spotted it, he let his request be known, and I totally gave in to reward the good behavior.

He stuck by his choice as he sat in his sleeping bag, cramming handfuls of blue colored popcorn into his mouth.  You can see the blue coloring around his lips.  I’m not one to jump onto the organic bandwagon.  We just try to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and don’t eat out that much.  However, even I find the blue colored popcorn a bit too processed and I’m tempted to throw the rest of the box out.  I’m not even going to tell you what it did to his bathroom routine later that weekend.

Edie decided to be a bit more traditional in her popcorn selection and stuck with the tried and true, butter flavored.

We watched two movies and an episode of Shawn the Sheep, and then called it a night.  I laid on the couch while they both laid in the floor.  I waited until their bodies were still and their breathing became deep and regular before going upstairs.  In other words, I’m too old to sleep on the couch when there’s a perfectly good bed upstairs, but I didn’t want them to know this until the morning.

I think their morning came sometime before 6:00 a. m.  I’ve been told that as soon as Roark woke up, he was in Edie’s face asking her to get up and play.  I wandered downstairs around 7:30 and found them jumping on the furniture.  From that, I assumed they had a decent night’s sleep.

I think this will probably become one of our summer traditions.  No dollars were spent and the kids had a blast.  Thank you, Summer Bucket List.  You are working like a charm.