Summer Bucket List: Hogle Zoo


So we learned right out of the gate that it now makes more sense for our family to buy a season pass to Hogle Zoo. Yes, we’re THAT big now.

So much has changed since our last visit. And it all looks fabulous! The train and playground were taken out while they work on a new area called African Safari. But we did get to see the brand new Rocky Shores area. And it looks like they’re getting ready to put in a splash pad! Hogle Zoo is going to be amazing when it’s all finished.

These are life-size animals made from Legos! They’re located next to the exhibits of the real animals. It was a very cool and unexpected surprise. I had no idea this was going on at the zoo this year.


Rocky Shores was awesome! They have an area where you can go to see underneath the water. The kids loved watching the otters.


This guy was so nice to my kids! He had a smallish group of people come in and listen to the story he told, but then my kids wanted to stay and ask questions about every.single.thing. in that little hut. LOL! It was fun though and I think they guy enjoyed having kids that were actually interested in his area. He showed my kids how to use a singing bowl and how to use chopsticks.


Gavin’s first time on the Carousal. He rode a seal, I think? I couldn’t get him to look at me!


Some of our favorite memories of this trip:

– Lucy walking the entire zoo without any assistance –

– the frisky peacock –

– Lego animals –

– getting rocks chucked at us by a disgruntled elephant –

– seeing a tortoise actually move fast –


Hybrid Tutorial: Summer Bucket List

This is a tutorial I wrote up for Deena Rutter’s blog, but I thought I would share it here too. It’s been so much fun for our family every year!

So this is our Summer Bucket List. It’s a list of all the stuff our family wants to do before school starts again in the fall. It was a just a single sheet of paper the first year we did it, but it’s since evolved into a photo diary of sorts that now hangs on our wall all summer long. The only thing we’ve really done on this board so far is the water balloons. I printed off a couple of photos from last year so that you’d be able to better understand how this will look once it’s all filled in.



–       Digital scrapbooking kits – I used mostly Pura Vida, but pulled in bits and pieces from some of Deena’s other kits: D-Cuts: Basic Shapes; Count on Me; Sail On; Scenic Route.

–       White cardstock

–       Photo-editing program – like PS or PSE

–       1 large corkboard

–       Spray paint (optional)

–       Small clothespins

–       Tacks

–       Hot glue gun and glue sticks


1. Totally optional: I spray painted the frame of the corkboard brown to match the Pura Vida paper. I used painter’s tape to hold down some butcher paper on the actual corkboard part before I sprayed the frame. It protected the cork from getting sprayed.

2. After the paint dried, I printed off some of the blue-striped paper and cut it into 1/2” strips. I adhered the strips all the way around the frame.


3. Next, I used hot glue to attach a tack to each of my clothespins.


4. In PSE, I designed a small tag for each of our bucket list items. I printed these, cut them out, and then chalked around the edges.


5. I used a very small amount of hot glue to attach each tag to a clothespin.


6. I arranged the clothespins on the corkboard, leaving enough room between them for our 3×3 photos.


7. Now all that’s left is to hang it up! We add a photo for each bucket list item as a way to visually cross it off.


Now go make some fun summer memories!

2012-2013 School Year: Completed

It’s been such a busy year for us! The huge task of getting us all out here meant we weren’t super consistent with the school stuff while we were still in Upton. In fact, I had packed away all the school supplies early on because we thought we’d be moving a whole lot sooner. And then we decided to put them in public school so it made for a new and exciting transition. Lots of changes. But the kids thrived.

The report cards at the end of the year showed Bethany and Max above grade level on all counts. Liv was above grade level in math, but a little bit below in reading and comprehension – not a surprise. We’re going to continue to work with her over the summer, but she does learn a bit differently than the others. Plus I think she’s one of the youngest in her grade. We started her education at home without any concern about the public school cut off date for Kindergarten. So I think she was actually supposed to be finishing up Kindergarten this year, not first grade. Oh well. It’s done. And she’s doing really well so I’m not going to worry about it too much.

All three of them were sad the school year was coming to an end. I think they’ve made lots of friends and I know Bethany especially will miss the routine and the course work. She loved learning Russian and she embraced the challenge of filling in the gaps in her learning. She would bring home the math and science textbooks and study on her own. Funny girl! But I’m so proud of her.

As a surprise for the first day of summer vacation, Lucy and I conspired to start a water balloon war with them. As soon as they got on the bus for the last day of school, we started filling up water balloons and setting things up.

We set this up on the front porch:


150 water balloons, 3 squirt guns, 3 buckets

And I put this on the front door:


I stole this idea from someone on Pinterest.

And then we prepared for battle:


We failed at putting our serious game faces on. But how cute do we look?! We’re totally cute. AND! I made a layout about our cuteness.


Now all we had to do was wait for the unsuspecting kids to get home. Mwhahaha! Some of us were more patient than others. Lucy totally managed to empty our squirt gun three times before the war even started. We watched from behind the fence as they got home, walked up to the door, and read the sign. Bethany understood first and started to get her stuff together. There was much squealing and shouting. So fun!

So here’s the aftermath:


Lots of fun and hopefully something they’ll remember! And we were able to cross our very first item off our summer bucket list: Have a Water Balloon Fight.