Summer Fun: July Edition

A little over a week ago our second week of having the grandkids at our house began.  We met our daughter-in-law and grand kids in Springfield which is about the halfway point between our two homes.  We arrived home after eating supper “on the road” and got the kids settled in their rooms.  We went to church Sunday morning and out to eat lunch at Tios, a local Mexican restaurant, with our good friends Pam and Perry.  Then we headed home to — swim, of course!

Monday was my husband’s birthday.  As soon as he left for work that morning, we got busy making him some birthday cupcakes.  They were to be “Minion” cupcakes.  The grand kids and I had lot of fun decorating them.

Icing the cupcakes.

Icing the cupcakes.

Putting on the Twinkies to make the Minion.

Putting on the Twinkies to make the Minion.

Next we used icing to put on the eyes.

Next we used icing to put on the eyes.

Working on the details.

Working on the details.

Now the brown candy sprinkles for the hair.

Now the brown candy sprinkles for the hair.

Minion cupcakes!  I had to help with the black eyes, goggles, and mouth.

Minion cupcakes! I had to help with the black eyes, goggles, and mouth, however, they told me EXACTLY how to decorate them!

Originality abounded when decorating the faces.

Originality abounded when decorating the faces.

Each Minion had it's own individual character!

Each Minion had it’s own individual character!

Their Minion cupcakes turned out pretty cute.

Their Minion cupcakes turned out pretty cute.  Ooops!  Open your eyes, Jackson!  🙂

After we finished making the cupcakes, we had to hurry and change into our swim suits.  I had scheduled a former student of mine (Brooks), who is now a Junior in high school and a life guard and swim instructor, to come over and give a private swimming lesson to the two little ones.  They “swim,” so to speak, and do quite well in the pool, however, they have gotten to the point where they think they know how to swim and won’t listen to our instructions when we’re trying to help them improve their strokes.  I thought a young man like Brooks might be able to get them to listen and work on their strokes a little better than we could.  I was right.  He worked with each grandchild individually for 30 minutes while Jade, the oldest (who is a great swimmer!) and the other younger one and I swam on the other side of the pool.  He said the kids did great and I could tell an improvement.  It was well worth the money.  Now we had to hurry to get ready for our birthday lunch surprise because their Papa Jack would be home for lunch very soon.

My husband finally came home for lunch – LATE – and I was sure glad for once that he was late!  After we all ate, we brought in the Minions and had the celebration.  We sang “Happy Birthday” and ate our Minion cupcakes.  Then we gave Papa our birthday gifts.

"Happy Birthday to you!"

“Happy Birthday to you!”

I new Keurig coffee maker.

I gave him a  new Keurig coffee maker.

The GIANT birthday card from the grandkids.

The GIANT birthday card from the grandkids.

The grandkids got all the coffee accessories.

The grandkids got Papa all the coffee accessories.

After a stormy Monday night, we awoke to a very stormy Tuesday.  Without the option of swimming, I had to resort to The Nana Files (aka:  Pinterest!) for ideas of things to do to keep the grandkids busy.  Look for The Nana Files coming soon!

Summer Fun: June – Part 3

We had so much fun with the grand kids in Branson that we just had to bring them home with us (that was the plan all along anyway).  They were going to spend the week at “Nana Betty’s and Papa Jack’s” house (aka: The Huffman Resort as our children jokingly affectionately call it).  We didn’t have a lot of activities “planned,” but we found plenty of things to do that kept us busy.  Of course, we spent some A LOT of time in the pool!

Can't believe that I caught all three of them in mid-air!

Can’t believe that I caught all three of them in mid-air!

Since Jade didn’t get an actual birthday cake or birthday cupcakes, we made cupcakes one day.  The grandkids had fun icing and decorating the cupcakes.  Of course, we had to lick the icing bowls!

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A few weeks before the grands came to visit I couldn’t find any toothpicks in the house.  I intentionally bought a big a HUGE box of toothpicks. When I returned home from the store, I found my toothpicks, of course!  🙂   It was another huge box, too.  I figured it would take at least 10-15 years for us to use all those toothpicks.  Then I remembered an activity I had pinned on Pinterest for kids using mini marshmellows and toothpicks.  We spent one morning discovering our “engineer” aptitude.

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Now we're getting the hang of it!

Now we’re getting the hang of it!

Building it higher.

Building it higher.

Nana, can I eat JUST one? Pleeeeease?

Nana, can I eat JUST one? Pleeeeease?

Finished!

Finished!

Double toothpicks = double the structural support.  Finished!

Kylee thought:  double toothpicks = double the structural support. Finished!

Ok, I'm finished.  NOW can I eat one?

Ok, I’m finished. NOW can I eat one?

My creation.  It's my husband standing in front of the bank where he works.  What?  You don't see that?!

My creation. It’s my husband standing in front of the bank where he works. What? You don’t see that?!

On Saturday we took the kids to Grant’s Farm in St. Louis.  Grant’s Farm is the 281 acre wildlife preserve and ancestral home of the Busch family (Anheuser-Busch).  It is also the former home of Ulysses S. Grant, 18th president of the United States.  The farm itself has an intriguing history (you can Google it), not to mention you can see the world famous Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales while there.  If you haven’t been there, you absolutely must go sometime.  First of all, admission is free (well, except for the $12.00 parking fee-but just PACK your vehicle with as many people as possible)!  You begin by taking a tram ride with a guide through the wildlife preserve.  You get off the tram at the main attraction where there are all kinds of animals to see, an area resembling a German Beer Garden with stables where you can eat lunch as well as sample a couple of Budweiser products, and enjoy the other attractions and shows.  You can buy a special coupon for kids for $5.00 which gives them milk to feed the baby goats (a MUST do!), a free snow cone (well, it’s not really free because you paid $5 for the coupon), and one ride on the merry-go-round.  The coupon was definitely worth the price.

Waiting in line for the tram ride.

Waiting in line for the tram ride.

Look at those HUGE tortoises behind those adorable grand kids! :)

Look at those HUGE tortoises behind those adorable grand kids! 🙂  If you look closely you can see my husband’s and my reflection in Jackson’s sunglasses (Lol!  I just saw that typing this!)

Oh my goodness!  Camel rides are now offered at Grant's Farm for an additional $5.00 per person.

OMGoodness! Camel rides are now offered at Grant’s Farm for an additional $5.00 per person.  Of course, Papa said he would pay.

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Feeding the baby goats is fun.  However, watch out - some goats do get a little aggressive.

Feeding the baby goats is fun. However, watch out – some goats do get a little aggressive.

Hey!  Stop eating my shorts!

Hey! Stop eating my shorts!

Jackson suddenly leaned down to help a smaller goat.

Oops! Jackson suddenly leaned down to feed a smaller goat.  The other goats are wondering why they didn’t get that milk.

Jack!  The milk is for the GOATS!

Jack! The milk is for the GOATS!

Now I got a picture of him standing up.

Now I got a picture of him standing up.

One afternoon we took the grands to see the movie Epic. The kids and I really enjoyed it and I think Jack even liked it — he only dozed off ONCE!

Waiting for the movie to begin.  Kylee didn't touch one piece of popcorn until it began.

Waiting for the movie to begin, and Kylee didn’t touch one piece of popcorn until then.

The grand kids really worked hard this week on one special project, but I’ll tell you about that in the next post.

Coming Soon:  Sumer Fun: June – Part 4

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