Tag Archives: Summer

End of Summer Projects

It is that time of the year. The summer for public school kids in our area is coming to a close. I love that we have a bit of freedom in our homeschooling. We have a handful of projects to still get worked on our homestead for this summer season

  1. Our aquaponics system is being put back up. In this process, we are researching a solar power system to save on the moneys that we spend on this. Our power bill is already OUTRAGES at over $400/month. Thanks APS (Northern Arizona Power Company) for upping your prices again. So, our goal is to find a “do it yourself” solar panel system to get our water system back up and running to help save some money and not tap into the power grid. Fresh produce year round for this family is ideal. For now too, we are planning on putting in just goldfish, but eventually will put back in tilapia.
  2. We are taking out annual family photos early this year. My AMAZING nephew Brent is leaving for the ARMY next week. So our photos for our Christmas cards/calendars and gifts to my sister and parents are going to be created early. We normally don’t take them until November… so a bit of a change. This year, Trystan will be back in them and we have a new family member, Michael. 🙂
  3. We have 7 goats and 10 kunekune pigs to sell. That would cut down on our feed bill immensely. So hopefully we can find some home for these babies. But, if not, we will have some full freezers in December.
  4. We have the county fair coming up in about 5 weeks. We can not wait! My kids love to go and see animals, compete in the showmanship and ride the rides. I can not wait to have some fair food. I have lost over 50 pounds so far this year and having fair food will be mom’s special treat!
  5. We start back up with homeschooling in about 2 weeks. I am still gathering our curriculum and writing our daily schedules. We have picked up a few books to fill in the gap and will be starting out with the comic book writing projects.
  6. Working on 3 new books from our homestead. One is a collaboration with the kiddoes. And has been in the works for a while. It is an Advent projects, ideas and scripture book. Another one (actually a 3 book series) about Haka. This one is about complete. Missing some artwork. We had been so terribly busy with traveling to see Trystan in Phoenix that now that he is back home again, I have an extra day each week to be able to complete these tasks. And the 3rd is a book project (fiction) that I have been working on for a while.


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 www.geocaching.com 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. www.projectwild.org


  • 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 (www.heightschurch.com) 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

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!



A surreal feeling – Yarnell Fire and a last alarm

The final photo Arizona firefighter Andrew Ashcraft texted to his wife before dying in the Yarnell Hill fire.

Last week, I posted how we were under a possible smoke evacuation for the Doce fire in Prescott, Arizona. It was a crazy situation. The fire was only about 10 miles from our home and smoke was filling the valley.

Then that fire was 100% contained, and the flames were down (except for a small flareup on the side of the mountain last night that we could see from the house again.) The firemen and hotshots got everything under control with no injuries, no structures burned.

Then, we got word that there were several lightning strikes and that there was a small fire in Yarnell, Yes, just a SMALL fire!. I remember reading the paper to my hubby on the way to Prescott on Sunday morning to drop Griffen off to catch his scout camp ride and that the Yarnell fire was at 200 acres. After returning home, I jumped back on the computer and saw that it was at over 1500 acres and that there were firemen trapped. I called my dad. Next thing I knew, there were reported deaths.  My heart dropped. My dad got choked up.

I called my dear friend Stacey. She and I have grown close over the last several years. Her brother was a friend of Larry’s in high school. She and her hubby, John, homeschool as well. She let me know that the Parker family had lost their son. NO! I have known the Parkers for 20 years! Like father, like son, both AMAZING FIREMEN, Both heroes in our community’s eyes!

Jesse Steed, Gone but not forgotten
Jesse Steed, Gone but not forgotten

Then I saw a fellow alumni from CVHS, Cassidy, brother to another firefighter posted a message that Jesse Steed (Federwisch) was gone.  Jesse and I weren’t close in high school as a matter of fact, I was never really accepted into the popular group after moving here in 8th grade. I was an outsider.

But Jesse was always kind to me. He was a joke-ster. He played soccer. He was really good at soccer! We were in the same class at Chino Valley high school, class of 1995. I have been reading facebook posts and blog posts from friends. And the tears continue to stream. He grew to an amazing man (a marine, a husband, a father, brother and a great friend to many).

Yesterday the list came out. I will mourn these great heroes as will hundreds of thousands of others all across our country. So many we knew or were customers in the shop. We have seen them around our community.  How do you mourn for so many? How do you grasp that “MANY” someones are gone doing what they love?  That is exactly how I have to see it. The passed away doing something that they loved. And we will remember these fine men for that. Pray for their families. Or better yet, tell a police man or a fireman THANK YOU! They put their lives on the line everyday to protect us! Godspeed to all of these fine men. Thank you for your service.

Your last alarm sounded.

A picture of Granite Mountain Hotshot Wade Parker sits at a makeshift memorial near the Hotshot crew’s fire station in Prescott. Parker was one of the 19 firefighters who died Sunday.

Ashcraft, Andrew – Age: 29
Caldwell, Robert – Age: 23
Carter, Travis – Age: 31
Deford, Dustin – Age: 24
MacKenzie, Christopher – Age: 30
Marsh, Eric – Age: 43
McKee, Grant – Age: 21
Misner, Sean – Age: 26
Norris, Scott – Age: 28
Parker, Wade – Age: 22
Percin, John – Age: 24
Rose, Anthony – Age: 23
Steed, Jesse – Age: 36
Thurston, Joe – Age: 32
Turbyfill, Travis – Age: 27
Warneke, William – Age: 25
Whitted, Clayton – Age: 28
Woyjeck, Kevin – Age: 21
Zuppiger, Garret – Age: 27

John 15:13 says “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends”

Thank you Carrie Z for reminding me of this scripture!


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.


Summertime Activities – Chalkboard wall

Leave a message for your kids every day, or every week or every month. A chalkboard wall or message center is the perfect spot to do that!.



chalkboardoys kboard-girls

One of the highlights that the kids love in our home is the many chalkboard walls that we have. I have a full wall in my office and then there are stripes in the little girl and little boy rooms.

I have found that since I have put in the chalkboard sections, we do not have anyone writing on the walls in any other places… no crayon, paint or pens! YEAH! And their walls change often. Sometime they are just scribbles… others they are filled with flowers and hearts.

We have converted a corner in my office to a “quiet zone” with a glider, books, felt toys and the chalkboard. It is utilized often! We have found that when our little boys need a bit of relaxation, this is where they both tend to circulate to.

Every week, I change part of my wall near my desk to have a quote for the kids.  Some are bible verses, others are fun quotes that I find online. I do not take a ton of time with the font… I mean, I could make it look like restaurant signs if I wanted…




 Creating a chalkboard wall or section is really REALLY easy. Essentials that you need: Obviously Chalkboard paint (I got mine at Ace Hardware. – I love our local Ace in Chino!!) It is also available online if you are not in a hurry – It is on Amazon- I put a link to the right.

You will need blue tape to mark off your area and a paintbrush.  – My FAVORITE TOOL that I use to paint with it the As seen on TV Point and Paint. I put a link to this as well. I know… CHEESEY!  I have used mine on everything from walls to craft projects… and I just ordered another one too.

My full wall took a quart and a half of paint. I buy them 2 quarts at a time so that I have some all of the time.

Here is the wall in my office – Please ignore the clutter on the shelf! LOL Just keeping it real!!