{7QT} The One With A Squeaky Clean Tree Frog

7QT TATL ThumbI am a day late with this 7QT Weekly Wrap Up, but I have a good excuse.  If you are new here, you won’t notice, but if you are old here, you might see that I have been busy updating the blog design.  Check out my new header and sidebar.  The blog was in desperate need of more orange, and my awesome, free template (Weaver Xtreme) had a big update, so it was time for a change.

As is pretty typical with me, I only get a chance to write up one of these posts about once a month.  Here are the major developments from mid-June until today.

1 | Italian Wedding (cup)Cake Fail

Hubby Daddy celebrated a birthday, marking the end of our Spring Birthdaypalooza.  The rest of the family’s birthdays are sprinkled in once a month or so until October.  Then it is a nice big break until April when the whole thing starts again.  I am truly astounded by Kendra’s dedication to have a themed birthday party for every one of her children.  She considers it a way to stay normal despite a very un-normal sized family.  I consider it insanity, but she does live in Southern California and probably doesn’t get twitchy just thinking about large gatherings at her house.

We keep all celebrations as simple as possible.  The guest list is almost always immediate family only, and I don’t switch around dates so everyone can be here.  Either you make it or you don’t.  There is no theme or special decorations.  The celebrant does get to choose the food for the day, and I try to make a homemade cake.  That whole paragraph just screams joy and happiness, right?

Kendall’s favorite kind of cake is Italian Wedding Cake (a.k.a. Italian Crème Cake.)  Specifically, he loves the one served in the cafeterias at Oklahoma State University when he was a student.  It is a bit more complicated than opening a box and adding water, but I decided to give it a go.  Since Pioneer Woman has never steered me wrong before, I was delighted to find this recipe in cupcake form.

It was a big, fat fail.

The cupcakes were dry and flat, although the flavor was okay.  I also made the fancy buttercream icing in that recipe.  It was good, but dear Lord, you need less than half of what this makes.  I had enough leftover to cover a Buick.

Less than a week later, we learned that OSU Dining Services still makes the beloved cake and you can order it.  I guess I know what he is getting next year.

2 | Jurassic World Date Night

I really, really, really want to have a monthly out-of-the-house date night with my husband.  We managed one in June and it was AWESOME SAUCE.  We began with a lovely dinner (and a glass of wine) at a local Italian restaurant situated right next door to an Olive Garden.  I haven’t decided yet if that was a brilliant or terrible marketing strategy.  At any rate, they suckered us in.

We spent some time after dinner driving around and listening to Matthew Kelly’s 7 Pillars of Catholic Spirituality.  Nothing says romance quite like examining all of the ways you are failing at this Catholic thing, am I right?

Speaking of romance, we then spent a few minutes at the grand opening of our very own Academy Sports & Outdoors.  We were killing time until the movie began.

That movie was Jurassic World.  It was loud, predictable, even silly at times, and a whole lot of fun.  We weren’t sure what to expect after hearing some mixed reviews.  Kendall told me that if you go in wanting an Oscar-worthy, Hollywood masterpiece, you will be disappointed, but if you go in realizing that you are about to see a film about a dinosaur amusement park, you might just have a good time.  We had a good time.

3 | John Philip Sousa & The Stillwater Community Band

Many years ago, before the likes of Cooper and Josh, Kendall would play in the Stillwater Community Band.  They have four performances in the month of June and have now been permanently moved indoors.  Apparently someone finally realized that we live in Oklahoma.

Seriously, try to count the number of old people in this video about to keel over from heat exhaustion.

We attended most of the concerts together as a family, and I was so surprised by Josh.  I thought he might jump at the loud noise.  Silly me – he lives with three older brothers.  I think he might find silence more unsettling.  He sat on my lap and was completely captivated the whole time, even tapping out a little beat on my leg.  Not the right beat, but still, very musical.

The last concert of the month featured a military band and a set of patriotic songs.  The boys recognized some of the John Philip Sousa pieces that we studied last year.  You can find them on my YouTube third grade MODG playlist.

4 | Seussical the Musical

Summer offers us several opportunities to expand our fine arts appreciation curriculum.  I almost forgot that we have a community theatre.  In college, I was kept busy enough with the shows at OSU without adding in Town & Gown.  A few of the acting students would land roles there, and I remember seeing at least one.  I need to look into getting season tickets.  They tend to offer more family friendly selections than the university.

I took the big boys to a Sunday matinee of Seussical the Musical.  They loved it.  I may have enjoyed watching them have fun a little more than the actual show, but I’m glad we went.

5 | Swimming Lessons

We do begin our school year in June, but that doesn’t mean the boys lose out on all the summertime fun.  This was the first year that I enrolled them in swimming lessons.  For the past few years, Alex has taken an art class, but the Multi-Arts Center priced me right out of the market this year by doubling the fee.  What the heck!

I gave Alex a few alternate choices and he wanted swimming.  Excellent – that’s a sport.  We certainly need to work on some bodily strength and coordination.  Let’s just say that no one in this house is in danger of winning a gold medal.

They had a wonderful time at the pool the past two weeks, and thanks to my fabulous BFF, JoAnn, I didn’t even have to take them.  I did watch her baby a few times though, which left me with a 3, 2, and 1-year-old.  That’s a whole lot of toddler for one lady to handle. I am approaching professional status.

6 | Food Truck Friday

More summer fun coming at you.  Our town was kind of a breeding ground for the new Oklahoma phenomenon known as food trucks.  I’m sure we didn’t invent the idea or anything, but now that our little community’s food truck fleet has grown to almost two dozen, I’ve seen other cities begin hosting block party events.

Typically, the trucks are randomly spaced all over town at different days and times, but in the summer, every third Friday, they all gather downtown.  The city sets up tables and trash cans, there are those inflatable things that children think are so cool to cram into, and a live band.  It is quite the little festival.

The best thing is the authentic Belgian waffles truck, Stillwaffles.  My priest has made it his personal apostolate to introduce every Catholic OSU student to this delicious pastry.  He knows where the truck is located at any given moment of the day.

7 | The Cleanest Frog in Oklahoma

Finding wildlife in and around my house is nothing new, but when Alex discovered this guy inside the washing machine after it had run a load, I was reminded that nature will never truly be conquered.  Thank goodness it was a tree frog and not a toad.  His suction cup feet probably saved his life as well as the integrity of my washer and the boys’ clothing.

In other critter news, I removed one HUGE dead mouse from the floor in Ryan and Josh’s room.  A cat had displayed it proudly right smack in the middle of the carpet.  Awesome.  And Josh has deemed it his personal chore to gather up all the “B bugs” he can find and put them out the back door.  He saves a lot of roly-polies, but also raisins and pieces of carpet.

There you have it. Don’t forget that all this month at the iHomeschool Network is the ‘Not’ Back to School Blog Hop.  You can link up your own posts or browse everyone else’s.  I will be preparing my very own Day in the Life Post with a play-by-play of the chaos that is our life.  You won’t want to miss that.

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MODG 3RD GRD History: Substitute for If You Traveled on the Underground Railroad

MODG Hacks

Below is a sneak peak of a substitute book or two for the Mother of Divine Grace history readings in the third grade syllabus. While the listed books are great choices, some may be expensive or even out of print. I am trying to save money by finding adequate substitutes at my local library.

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