Category Archives: Summer-time FUN

Solar Oven cooking – DUMP CAKE

IMG_20160421_174700585_HDRDump Cake is one of those super simple recipes that we LOVE to make in this house. 

Dump Cake

  • 1 package of cake mix (or a homemade cake mix)
  • 3 cups of fresh fruits (berries, cherries, apples, peaches, etc)
  • ½ – ¾ cups water
  • 4 Tablespoons butter

(Substitution – if you are using canned fruit rather than fresh, use one full can, including liquid and omit the water)

In solar oven pan, stir together cake mix and fruit. Add water and mix. It will be lumpy!! Do not over stir. Place 4 tablespoons pats of butter on the top of the batter. Cover with pan lid.

Cook in the solar oven for 6-8 hours.  (This cake will not rise. It is a gooey cake, not a fluffy one.)



If you haven’t geocached, you need to take your kids out and start doing this FUN activity. It is a high tech treasure hunting where the treasure is finding a piece of paper and signing your name in most cases. The best part is there is now an AP for your smart phone to look up geocaches while being out and about. Go online to and create an account. The real fun is following your GPS (or smart phone), reading clues on each cache and problem-solving to find the hidden container. We work together as a family and that makes it more fun. Today, in order to reach one, Elwyn had to sit on Griffen’s shoulders just to reach it.

Check out an older post on geocaching from our blog

Geocaching with my crew in Chino Valley
Geocaching with my crew in Chino Valley

Every day of June … Summer fun with the kids.

Our goal for the summer is to have an activity or “something” everyday as a family. It could be simple as making cheese, watching a movie together or going to church… or of course it could be an overnight trip or something else more “advanced”. My goal is to make the memories that many kids don’t get with my children. bio, adopted and foster.

  • June 1 (Monday) – Project Wild with Amanda at the park. The kids got to learn all about Black Bears. Did you know that they can stand up to 6 feet tall!!! We joined other homeschool families and gathered at Memory Park to start our 6 weeks of Project Wild. This is such a cool program.


  • June 2 (Tuesday) – Made Lemon Curd Goat Cheese… SO YUMMY! And not hard at all!!! Here are a few different videos that I found: (you can make it with vinegar too… but I like the citrus taste using the lemon juice.)

    Lemon Curd Goat Cheese
    Lemon Curd Goat Cheese

I have known the Henry family from Henry Milker for over 25 years!!!

  • June 3 (Wednesday) Gymnastics – I know… not too exciting, but the kids have fun!
  • June 4 (Thursday) – Eddie Siller the Magician. Every year this amazing man comes in and supports the special needs program through the Chino Valley Library. LOVE THIS FAMILY! Berlyn got to be one of his “assistants” this time too!

    Eddie Siller with Berlyn
    Eddie Siller with Berlyn
  • June 5 (Friday) – Mom needed a Break YARD SALING!  When I got home, we fired up the BBQ and made S’more over the outdoor fire pit. SO YUMMY!
  • June 6 (Saturday) BeachBlast at church. It is the start of the summer. Silly me! No photos…. But our church ( puts this on every year… Berlyn got such a kick out of riding a “mechanical shark”. Yes, you ready that correct. Ate BBQ burgers, played in really cold water. We took several of the kids’ BFF with us as well. What a BLAST they had at beach blast.
  • June 7 (Sunday) Griffen joined a HeroClix Tournament in Prescott Valley at the GAMEON store out there. What might you ask is that? HeroClix is a collectible miniatures game that uses the Clix system that centers on the world of superhero comic books, especially the Marvel and DC Comics universes. (This definition is directly off of the wikipedia website.)

    Griffen and his HeroClix Samuroid
    Griffen and his HeroClix Samuroid
  • June 8 (Monday) Project Wild with Amanda at the park – We learned about the difference between domesticated and wild animals. Kids went through magazines and cut out photos of animals. Each got to make a little poster to share with each other.
    Project Wild with Amanda
    Project Wild with Amanda

    We also started back to school. My poor kids, they really don’t get a break from school during the summer. My kids seem to forget over the summer if we don’t school so we school year round. We found a FANTASTIC Science and History curriculum for the summer that even got Berlyn into it.  Here is Breckin reading to the other kids (in the rain) out of the textbook.

    Breckin reading out of the Astronomy textbook outside in the summer rain.
    Breckin reading out of the Astronomy textbook outside in the summer rain.
  • June 9 (Tuesday) Goonies at the Theater (I LOVE Tuesday night classics at Harkins). Several of the kids packed up in the car and took their mama to her FAVORITE 80’s cult classic movie, GOONIES that was playing. HEY YOU GUYS! We were off… to a sold out viewing with all of the other Goonies in the theater.

    Goonies Never Say Die!
    Goonies Never Say DIE!!

I am sad that summer is coming to an end!

Yes, I know that it is only July 19. (It is actually my beautiful mommy’s 60th birthday) But, I tend to see that Summer is ALMOST DONE! (I say that only because kids in Arizona go back to school at the beginning of AUGUST!  As most of you know, I do homeschool some of my kids, but I also have several in public school as well.

Shelby is going back to Chino High as a Junior! Griffen is off to the local middle school as a 7th grader. Both Breckin and Berlyn are entering 3rd grade at a local Elem. School. I do have Elwyn at home as a 6th grader and both Trystan and Rowan at home as 1st graders. After a lot of prayer and consideration, we decided to enroll them into an online school this year. Trystan still needs that little extra and I want them to get back into a routine this year.

What are some of the activities that you have been doing this summer?

Our summer bucket list projects is getting longer and longer!!

  • We picked up a tie-dye shirt set along with 2 5-packs of kids tee-shirts (you know the ones in the boys undies section.) What a FUN project for the kids! (The whole project was less than $30 and we made 9 shirts!!)
  • We have gone camping.
  • We have planted a garden.
  • We have been to the library for their library program every week.
  • We have painted the picnic table in the back yard(It is now an AWESOME Pea Green!)
  • We watched a movie outside on the back patio and roasted s’mores.
  • We finished out solar oven cookbook.
  • Grif and El learned how to BBQ.
  • Shelby got her driver’s permit.
  • We sat outside on our back patio and watched the bats catching bug and caught toads the size of hamburgers as they were hopping around our feet.
  • Bought and restored a high-school locker for our front hall to organize kids.
  • Redecorated the little girls room (in a French Parisian theme – using mostly yard sale items) and cleaned out Shelby’s room – got her organized for the new school year!
  • Went to the movies 4 times so far this summer as a family.
  • Slip’n’slided and launched water balloons in a war (kids against big people)
  • We made snowmen out of marshmallows.
  • Danced in the monsoon rain.
  • Made about a hundred different bath items using essential oils.

We have so many other things to share with you!!! And more things that we plan on doing.

Library Program, too.
Library Program, too.
Library Program
Library Program
Painting the Table
Painting the Table
Outside fire pit
Outside fire pit
Camp Out
Camp Out
Outside movie time
Outside movie time

Pool Noodle "Stick" Horses – Summertime activities

I love Dollar Stores!! I found $1 pool noodles… I don’t have a pool… What am I going to do with them?

I am going to make pool noodle HORSES!

My little LONE RANGERS need these!!! These were so easy to make.

We ended up making 15 of them for our house (and for the motorhome to take with us camping!!)

krisandlarry-poolnoodle ponies



These are so simple to create! Here’s what you need!!

  • pool noodle
  • large, thick rubber band
  • twine or ribbon
  • felt  – cut to create hair. (fold the piece in half long ways and cut strips towards the folded section but not all the way through to make fringe)
  • sharpie marker
  • low temperature hot glue gun or gorilla glue – school glue didn’t hold well. (The high temperature WILL melt the noodle!)


  1. Fold the noodle about 12 inches from the end and place the large rubber band around both pieces (see, it needs to be a large this one!).
  2. Tie the ribbon on the horse around the “nose” and the body and make a rein.
  3. Glue the Felt Hair on the pony and draw a face with the marker…

krisandlarry-poolnoodle ponies2

Making chalkboard clipboards

chorechartsMaking chalkboard clipboards are very easy and they are usable over and over again. They are great for “in the car” activities, traveling, and chore charts for the wall. Our family uses them for all 3. We are making new ones today for the missing one and for our 2 new boys as well.

We have been using the same clipboards for 3 years – Here is the original post:


You will need the following:

  • wooden clipboards (These are sold at walmart or kmart or target for less than $2 each),
  • bottle of spray paint (chalkboard) – I found this at our local Ace Hardware
  • blue painter’s tape
  • Foam stamps and paint
  • matching ribbon


Blue tape the “Metal Hinge” and spray paint the entire front of the board. After 24 hours, remove the tape carefully. Stamp your child’s name on the board and tie matching ribbon at different lengths on the hinge.





Summertime activities – Positive Behavior System – Quarters

We have had SO many views of our POINTS AWARD SYSTEM (Click here to see information on this) that I wanted to share another system that we have been using this summer in our home.

Quarter Reward System

On the first of the mquartersonth (or what ever day works best for you), each of you children receive ONE roll of quarters in a jar. Mom also needs to have a roll of quarters as well.

Every time a child in our home is disrespectful or mean to another (and mom or dad hears or sees this happening) then that child owes the other a quarter. If they backtalk mom, mom gets a quarter. Mom can hand out quarters to any kid who is going above and beyond – doing a chore without asking, being extra nice, etc.

If a child runs out of quarters in the month, then, they will have to do an extra chore for each time that they act out.

One the first of the next month, the child will get to keep ALL quarters that they have in their jar to save or spend… And mom starts over with a new roll of quarters.

This has worked AWESOME with our new little boys… They do NOT want extra chores and LOVE to help extra around the house to earn quarters.

Summertime Activity – Enjoy to sights and sounds

Grif and one of his good friends, Scott, enjoying Fain Park in Prescott Valley, AX
Grif and one of his good friends, Scott, enjoying Fain Park in Prescott Valley, AZ

Take time to spend a day out enjoying God’s beautiful sights. Everyday, I give my thankfuls for everything that I can. I was taking photos for a wedding and I spotted Grif and his friend Scott  just sitting there, looking out over the lake.

I challenge each of you to take a minute out of your day and sit still. Listen to the sounds around you and just relax.

Summertime Activity – Repurpose old furniture

Poor Shelby… Her room in our home doesn’t have a closet. I am assuming that it was meant to be an office, but, she decided when we moved into this house 3 years ago that she wanted that room. 

We found the next best thing… a “yard-sale” dresser can EASILY be converted into a wardrobe! And we even painted it to match!



Summertime Foods – Dehydrating Pineapple

I refuse to buy processed kids snacks, especially during the summer. I tend to buy in bulk and case quantity. last week we picked up 2 cases of pineapple, A FAVORITE in our household. They were FINALLY ripe

I used my slicer and then I have even thickness and no skins on them. I can easily cut them into smaller, bite-sized pieces too. 

I place them on my dehydrator trays (I have the Excalibur dehydrator… LOVE IT!) and put on about 125 degrees… It takes longer, but they taste so much better.

These are the BEST snacks and can be added to trail mix, oatmeal and even cakes and cookies (if you grind them smaller)

***NOTE: I DO NOT sugar coat these like the ones that you get at the store. If you over dehydrate, they are hard to eat and turn brown.