Monday, June 16, 2014

Make Something Monday

A lot has been happening around the Prater household here lately. May is always such a busy time, and with all the snow days we had this year, that excitement bubbled over into June. The end of the school year has such a liberating feeling, palpable in the hallways and classrooms for weeks as the days dwindle down. I remember loving those end-of-the-year butterflies as a child, and now they never end as I pack up my own classroom and head home for the summer.

This year, in addition to the normal frenzy of senior ceremonies, final grades, classroom checklists, and professional development days, I've been taking a killer online class. I whined about it to anyone who would listen for about the first week, as I filled half a notebook and ran ink out of two ink pens. Now that it's a little over halfway finished (and I got a 95% on the midterm exam!) and I'm not working every day at school plus juggling five or more hours of British Literature work on top of it, I'm finally starting to settle into my summer pace. It's not quite as laid back as my normal summer would be, but it's a start.

Today marks what I consider to be the first day of my summer break, even if I'm still taking classes. It's Bella's first week off pre-school and it's my first full week at home. I still want us to stay in a routine, and I want us to keep being active, something I will have to be even more mindful of myself since I'm spending so many hours on Blackboard. I found a summer calendar for kids on Pinterest and modified it to fit our summer plans. Today was "Make Something Monday," so we headed out bright and early to get started on our project: leaf rubbings!

I was such a nerdy kid. This was one of my favorite artistic things to do when I was young. I'm glad I passed the activity on to Bella, especially since she loves arts and crafts so much, but I have to say that she enjoyed collecting the leaves more than the rubbings themselves. Here's what we did.

We walked all around the yard picking leaves from different plants. 
Luckily, we have great landscaping here. At our old house, this would have been really hard!

Next, we gathered our materials inside. 

white paper
card stock or construction paper

Then, we arranged the leaves on the card stock. Bella made a pattern.
When I was little, I made pictures with the leaves. I tried making a princess today.
It didn't really work. 

Finally, put white paper over the leaves and rub with crayon. 
This works best if you take the paper off the crayon and rub the sides on the paper. 

When you're finished, you're left with all these neat details of the leaf underneath!

I cut mine into squares to use as notecards, to-do lists, and grocery lists. 
I copied a daily cleaning plan from Pinterest on this one and stuck it on the fridge. 

"Make Something Monday" turned out great. We ended up outside most of the morning. I actually got a sunburn, only the second of the year! I was pleased to learn that our wifi reaches the swing set in the bottom corner of the yard, so Bella played while I worked. She also had fun with her hopscotch sprinkler while I worked some more from the deck. 

But the best part of the day came after dinner (grilled bratwurst and corn on the cob...I'm tellin' ya, it's full-swing summer here!) when we finally drove to a nearby wildlife preserve. Listen, I accidentally found this place when I got lost doing homevisits a few years ago, and I've been meaning to go ever since. Like, I think three years ago. Seriously. I've asked people about it, and I've never, ever met a single person who says they have been there. Well, we went. It's only ten minutes from our house now, and it. is. amazing

The trails close at dark so we didn't have a ton of time, maybe an hour, and none of them were labeled with lengths, so we weren't sure how far into the woods we'd be when the sun set. Before it was all said and done, we found four other trails, a pond, a shelter house, and a sign for an amphitheater. We also saw and heard a gazillion birds, 2 frogs, 6 deer, 1 creek, 2 different blackberry patches, and more honeysuckle and other wildflowers than I could count. I have a new favorite place, and it's not just the cafe downtown that I also finally got around to visiting. I feel like a tourist in my own town. Summer, here we come!

I mean seriously, how beautiful is that trail? 
And there was no one there!

If you're reading this and you live around here, don't ask where this is and don't tell anyone else I ever mentioned it. I want to keep pretending like it's my own private backyard! :-)

I think "Make Something Monday" might just make us a few memories this summer.