My friend and I packed up our boys and headed out to central Bucks County for the day. It was miserably hot and humid, but it was also a bit overcast, so the sun wasn't too strong. Our destination: Peace Valley Lavender Farm. We had been there several times before, but never when the lavender was in bloom. We were so lucky this time. The lavender field was covered in blooms and smelled amazing. We were even luckier as that was the day they were harvesting!
We were able to check out the drying room where they hand bundles of lavender from the ceiling and on racks to dry out, along with a distiller. The entire place smelled amazing! The boys were great too. They thought it would be boring, but they had a blast running around and then making up their own game while the moms shopped. We bought some lavender honey, some sachets and enjoyed the relaxing smell of it all.
The boys (and the moms) got a kick out of watching Lily the border collie heard all the cars down the driveway! She stood guard and really did heard the cars. It looked just like the way the dogs at the Maryland sheep and wool festival demo we saw heard the sheep. She was a friendly dog!
We stopped for lunch at Tabora Orchards, just down the road. They make incredible sandwiches and have the best baked goods. I love their bread. The boys enjoyed their cookies! After lunch we stopped by the Peace Valley Winery, a great local wine shop on the grounds of their winery. We got to taste several different wines. I bought a bottle of nectarine wine, which had a great taste, lightly sweet and perfect for summer. We concluded our day with a short walk at Peace Valley Park where we checked out Lake Galena. The boys found a pay phone and enjoyed playing with that old relic! It was a great day during our Summer of Fun 2013!
It continues to be too hot to eat...or cook! We ate lots of green salads topped with chicken this past week! We also went out for pizza when it was just too hot to bake or even grill. This week the temps should be cooler, but the humidity is still very high. I'm focusing on making lots of cold side salads in addition to green salads. I've been craving soup lately, but it's just too hot!
So how do you keep the kiddo entertained when it is truly too hot to play outside? While back-to-school shopping at Target last week I had a mini-brainstorm. I found a cute silcon ice cube tray for a buck and crayons were on sale for 50 cents. Instead of using my traditional method of melting crayons into shapes in the toaster oven, I decided to see if they would melt in the car, on the dashboard.
I broke up the unwrapped crayons into small pieces and filled the lightning bolt shaped molds. The kiddo and I carefully set them on a small tray and put it on the dashboard of my car, which was paked in my sunny driveway. We closed up the car and waited. We checked them after about an hour to see that they were melting. After a bit over two hours they were completely melted. I brought them back into the house and stuck the tray into the freezer to firm them up. They are now great lightning bolt crayons! We did it a second time with other colors too.
This experiment led to a safety discussion as to why its important to not stay in a closed up car in the heat. Not that my son would ever do that, but I thought it was still a lesson to hear.
We are in the midst of yet another heatwave. This summer has been particularly weird in regards to the weather. When it isn't pouring rain or thundering, it's ridiculously hot out. I've done more grilling but this week I'll be using the crock pot too. I may end up picking up a rotisserie chicken for some of these meals too, which works great for recipes where pre-cooked chicken is needed. It's nice that someone else roasts the chicken too!
I've decided to not to assign days yet to these meals, as what I serve may depend on what day I get to the grocery store and what I pick up from the CSA on Monday afternoon. Most meals will include a green salad or whatever veggies I get from the CSA.
For breakfast we've been enjoying lots of icy cold yogurt smoothies. The kiddo's favorite lately is PB and Nanner. I have been craving baked oatmeal with blueberries lately, but it may be too hot to make. I might try to wing it in the slow cooker.
I have to end with this: I've been listening to/sort of watching SharkNado on Demand while writing this tonight. OMG it is too funny. Reminds me of those crazy scary movies from the 1970s. Good for a laugh, but not kid safe!
Doesn't every kid need a good place to hide and play? One that is for kids only? My dear friend Sherry makes these incredible teepees for kids and sells them on Etsy. She gave this one to my son (So sweet!!) To say he loves it would be an understatement. It is so much cooler than the nylon tents we have indoors. Not only is it huge inside because it's five-sided, but it has a built in window and pocket to stash things, like snacks! Three friends could fit inside comfortably to plan their next expedition or to play a game. It's about six feet tall, so it's great for outdoor play, although on rainy days we have set it up indoors. I love the quality of this mom-made product! My son loves playing inside it and having a place that is just for him and who he invites inside!
Sherry also makes awesome super hero capes for kids that are on her Babypop website and on Etsy. This week at vacation bible school the theme is super heroes of the bible and she is providing every kid there with their own super hero cape! I can't wait to see all the little super heroes running around together! Maybe the wind their capes generate will cool us off during this heat wave!
This past week's menu plan went well. The hit of the week was the mango noodle salad. It was made with organic whole wheat soba noodles and mangos, scallions, carrots and sesame seeds. We loved it! The kiddo, not so much, but he at least tasted it. I also enjoyed the baked zucchini fries.
This weekend was ridiculously hot here. I only baked blueberry muffins and stuffed French Toast in the morning and didn't cook inside later in the day. The muffins were awesome! I used blueberries we bought at Solebury Orchards on Friday. They tasted best right out of the oven, but two days later were ok when toasted. I would definitely use that recipe again.
This summer my son is participating in our local library's "Dig into Reading" program. We are keeping track of the books that he reads with us on a form and he gets to earn prizes. He is really excited by it. We usually read before bedtime, but he asked if we could also read during the day. Most of the books we read are picture books but we also incorporate some beginner chapter books too. He loves the Bad Kitty chapter books, as they are a mix of words and illustrations. Last week we borrowed a new favorite book, A Couple of Boys have the Best Week Ever! It is such a sweet story and the illustrations are hysterical.
The Construction Alphabet Book was also really great. It gave very detailed descriptions of various construction equipment. The Tortilla Cat is another new favorite. It's a book I picked up for him that is more reading than illustrations. I did not read it before bringing it home, so when we read it I edit it, as the mother in the story dies from a fever and then her ghost as a cat comes back to save each member of the family who subsequently become ill with "the fever." It is morbid and spiritual, and I'm not comfortable explaining that parents die to my son just yet. I'm not sure why he likes it so much, but he does!
We'll go back to the library again this week to pick out some new books to read!