Saturday, August 23 - We relaxed during the day and chose to do whatever we wanted to do. It's been nice to have free time and choose to spend our time how we want to spend it.
Sophia and Paige went out in the evening for their monthly activity.
Sunday, August 24 - Sophia, Olivia, and I took my mom to the church festival at St. Anne's in Hamel. We had a very generous and delicious meal of chicken, dressing, gravy, coleslaw, rolls, beans, and apple crisp.
After we ate, we went to their garage sale and ended up finding tennis rackets and covers for only $5 each. The girls also found hard-cover books for only $1. Great deals!
We played a game of Bingo, and then it was time to head back home. We all had a nice time together.
Monday and Tuesday, August 25-26 - These were days of clean up and repair. The dumpster that has been sitting in the front yard along the driveway for what seemed like most of the summer thanks to multiple home reconstruction projects is finally gone. What a relief!
The soft-water system was repaired and the old system hauled off on Tuesday. Now we have soft water again plus a reverse-osmosis system in the kitchen since our water has tested with a too-high of a nitrate level for drinking because of being surrounded by farmland that is being traditionally farmed with lots of chemicals.
Wednesday, August 27 - Mary B. came over to spend the afternoon with Sophia and Olivia. They made a chocolate zucchini cake that had a ganache filling in it. It was one of the best cakes we've ever tasted - super moist and lots of flavor.
Thursday, August 28 - Sophia spent time preparing for her presentation at the State Fair tomorrow while Olivia finished reading a book that she's been working on for a while now.
Friday, August 29 - Sophia and I headed to the Minnesota State Fair early in the morning so she could be at the information session by 8:30 a.m. She was in the first judging group for food preservation which was nice.
Both of us were surprised that the other youth in her group were all boys. One did jam, another jelly, and a third pineapple salsa. Sophia did a project on drying fruit.
After her judging, she changed from wearing a dress to more comfortable clothes. We went around the fair and looked a natural playground exhibit.
We spent some time in the Eco-Experience building and learned about a variety of things related to preserving the environment. We even raced little cars that had vegetables attached to them down a racetrack.
Around lunch time, we went back to the 4-H so Sophia could get her t-shirt that they give out each year (this year the color was purple). After that, we enjoyed a healthy and well-balanced lunch.
There were chicken fajitas filled with grilled vegetables, rice, and beans. You could add salsa and sour cream if you wanted to on top of that. They also had a plate of nacho chips with cheese. There was homemade salsa on the side which was delicious. There were two types of bread with butter; key lime cake or Rice Krispie bars; watermelon, cantaloupe, or fruit bowl; and chocolate or white milk.
After lunch, we went down to see the judges' decision about who won the grand champion award for food preservation.
When we found Sophia's project, I noticed the purple sticker next to her blue ribbon sticker. Sophia won the grand champion award!
Needles to say, she was SO happy! She had her picture taken by the 4-H representative who was taking photographs of all purple-ribbon winners at the state level.
Afterwards, we went to the butterfly house where we spent a lot of time enjoying the butterflies that flew onto us and/or we placed on us.
It had been a long day, so Sophia just wanted to spend time at the butterfly exhibit. As we walked out, we saw Lee at the KOOL-108 booth and stopped by to say "hi" to her.
We got a Icee on the way out to enjoy on the ride home.
Sunday, August 31 - Both of the monarch caterpillars we found in our backyard and that we have been feeding milkweed leaves, are now in their chrysalises. Now we wait as the caterpillars transform themselves into butterflies over the next couple of weeks.
We'll release the butterflies as soon as their wings dry and are strong.
Monday, September 1 - We took the dogs and went to Chuck and Don's Pet Food Outlet so we could use the gift card that Aspen won in the Northwoods Humane Society Summertime Foto Fling contest.
We got a special bowl with deep groves in it (patterned like a flower) to put Aspen's food in it. It helps dogs who eat very fast slow down. Getting their food is a bit more work - kind of like it is in the wild.
Also bought some food with bison in it (which they love to eat!), a harness for Aspen for walks since she's strong and pulls which is not a good combination on her neck and trachea, and some treats. Even with all those items, we still have $35 leftover to spend on more items!
When we came home, Olivia made a recipe from her Five in a Row cookbook that she's been working on since third grade. She has about one-fourth of the recipes left in the book to make.
With each of the recipes, I take pictures and we've put them into her cookbook (it's like a scrapbook/cookbook) so she knows what the food looked like and the process she went through to make some of the recipes.
Today's recipe was red, white, and blue shortcakes.
Aspen found a great spot to lay down right at Olivia's feet. She was hoping that Olivia would accidentally drop some fruit or dough.
We had the shortcakes after dinner. They were delicious! You can't go wrong with fresh fruit and homemade shortcakes...not to mention real whipped cream.
So, as I look back on the summer, it is very different than what I envisioned. Although I had anticipated doing a fun activity each day of the week during the summer, that is far from how it played it.
At the beginning of the summer and about mid-way through it we were doing different activities each day. Some were ones I planned, and others were ones that simply came up and we did those instead.
By the middle of the summer, however, we were undergoing a major and unexpected reconstruction project on our upstairs bathroom and the duct work throughout the home. That greatly changed what we were able to do - both in terms of leaving our house (since construction workers were here daily for over a month) and financially (since it was a major investment that we had not planned on undertaking this summer).
We found that some of our most enjoyable time this summer was simply relaxing. With our homeschool schedule and activities, many days during the majority of the year have some sort of activity going on. To have a block of time where we didn't have to go anywhere or do anything that was deemed "educational" or related to homeschooling was a pleasant and well-needed respite.