first week of summer

coming to you in my pjs @8:38 on a monday morn with a cuppa java in my new orla kiely mug (the green pears) that i got ON SALE for 50% off!! i got one of each except for the "brown & grey pear." lazy mornings enjoying my coffee are one of the best things about summer. my first week off was pretty relaxing, yet eventful. i did take some photos, but haven't uploaded them from my camera yet, so i'll update with photos later. also, i did not get hired for summer school, which starts today, and i'm very content with that. my section didn't have enough enrolled to make. probably a blessing in disguise as i have my work cut out for me at home this summer.

so what did we do this first week? for starters, i began getting caught up with yard work, pulling weeds in the flower beds and preparing to mulch, which i plan to do as soon as i get dressed today. i am probably one of the strange few who actually loves manual labor, especially yard work. it's a great way to work out and the results are so rewarding. i'm the happiest when there's no clutter around, inside my home or out, so ridding it is something i'm willing to work for, especially if i can tone my arms in the process! we finally got our sunflower seedlings in the ground after tilling and prepping the soil. hopefully they won't get destroyed by another hurricane this year! i've planted a few other seedlings including swiss chard, beets, cilantro and lavender. they're in small pots right now and i'm hoping they'll grow big enough to enjoy.

my preschooler had his taekwondo graduation on wednesday. he went from white belt to orange and was so proud, even though he claims to hate taekwondo! he's been training since february, and has greatly improved, mainly because he's gotten into the routine and learned to follow directions better. we think it's a positive outlet for him and will encourage him to continue as he gets older. the "tiny tigers" learn self-discipline, respect, how to listen and follow directions and to get along with others. of course, they stress these things over the actual forms in the tigers class. they're so cute to watch!

mastering the art of balloon sculpting was not on my agenda for this summer, but thanks to my balloon-loving son, i've become an expert. :) it started a couple weeks ago when i had to purchase some balloons for a baby shower. my son and i were in the party isle at target. since i was buying a bag of balloons, he had to have one too, only he picked out a kit with pencil balloons and a small hand pump for inflating them. it was only a buck fifty, so i thought what the heck. we barely made it to the car before he had the package opened, proud of his new treasures. he was DYING for me to help him inflate them as SOON as we walked in the door at home, but i had to start dinner first, which was absolute torture for him. once dinner was cooking, i inflated and knotted a couple balloons and the twisting began. i wasn't sure what i was doing, so i found a video online and was able to make a basic dog figure. it's much easier than it looks! we made several dogs, a fish and a few "abstract" figures until all the balloons were inflated and sculpted. of course, he wanted to go back to target for more, but it would be a while before our next trip. in the mean time, we had visited the library and found a book on balloon sculpting. last weekend, we finally made it back to target, where i found the aforementioned coffee mugs, as well as a basket for organizing a cabinet, and my favorite natural hair products, all on sale! needless to say, we were all happy campers after our recent target trip! target rocks! the rest of that afternoon was devoted to balloon sculpting. i graduated from the simple dog to a wiener dog, a mouse, a rabbit, a toucan, a swan, and a couple of hats. i even figured out how to make a kangaroo WITHOUT INSTRUCTIONS from the book! i was so proud of myself! :) of course, there were several failed attempts: a few balloon duds that prematurely popped, a failed attempt at an alligator, in which you have to CUT a bubble in the balloon for the feet, and half a frog because the balloon wasn't long enough to make the whole frog. we had a blast and now i want to go to the party store for more "professional" balloons that are longer and more durable. thanks to my preschooler, i've found a new hobby, tee hee! :)
it will be difficult to top off the balloon art blurb, but this will come close. this entire season, my son has grown to appreciate nature and wild life. of course, we have the pond in our back yard with turtles, minnows, frogs and the things those attract such as ribbon snakes, lizzards & geckos, tree frogs, dragonflies and various other insects. we've also enjoyed a cardinal pair who had been visiting us daily for birdseed and some hummingbirds who love the trumpet vine flowers. every morning during breakfast, the box turtles are actively foraging for food while the cardinals peck at the seed and we get a moment by moment update from monkey who happily exclaims, "the cardinals are back" or "the box turtles are out!" it's been really special. on a recent walk, we found another female box turtle to add to our "family." we found her in a spot on the road where they love to cross and we frequently see them not so fortunate to make it. we weren't going to let this happen to the new girl, so we brought her home with us. last week, monkey and i were out on an evening walk, with him riding his new bike, and i spotted a slider hatchling. we put it in his bike pouch, finished our walked and proudly showed dad when we got home. then we put it on a rock so it could slide into the pond. ever since then, monkey's been on a turtle watch and obsessed with finding more turtles! can't say i blame him as it's easy to become addicted to the search. oh, and i almost forgot to mention that we rescued a poor, little leopard frog from the jaws of an evil ribbon snake! actually, i understand the food chain very well and all, but the skinny snake had the frog by his leg and the poor thing kept yelping pathetically and monkey was traumatized so i had to do SOMETHING. i got a stick and poked at the snake, who let go of the frog and slithered away as the frog leaped into the water. this reminds me of a time when we were watching youtube videos of frogs and saw a giant pac-man frog ingest a little pinky mouse! i didn't think anything of it, but monkey kept screaming, "GET IT OUT!" so i had to censor that one! it's going to be tough teaching him about mother nature's dark side.

in between balloon sculpting, turtle hunting, rescuing frogs and yard work, i've also baked some banana bread and the BEST oatmeal cookies that my husband decided to polish off for lunch! we've also taken some time to work on art projects. i love to hear one or both of my boys asking if we can do art! now the day (and my son) are beckoning. time to get outside and start sweatin! happy monday to all!

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