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Bye Summer '17

Summer of 2017 you are almost over. One kid (can I still refer to high school sophomores as kids?) starts school Wednesday, and the other two next Monday. We have been busy school supply shopping, buying new lunch boxes and backpacks, trying on uniforms, packing pencil cases and checking school schedules. 

Summer '17 you have been good to us. One of the best yet. It took me a good week or two to find my groove. It was a summer full of travel yet was probably our most laid back one to date. Other than our planned vacations we took advantage of not having set plans and did what we wanted. Want to go to the beach? Let's go. Movie? Let's do it. Rock climbing? Sure. I did have to work here and there, but I tried to do during two weeks of summer camp the younger two had. Two weeks was just right to give us a little routine, me time for work, and them time with friends. 

The photo above was taken from our recent camping adventure in Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park. Definitely a highlight of our summer. We explored and hiked and cooked on open fire, collapsed into our sleeping bags each night, and came home with hearts full and muscles sore. 

We are all excited about this school year. I am particularly excited to be back to only TWO schools! Three school was tough last year and I am thankful I will not be back at three schools anytime in the foreseeable future. Two it is from here on out! We made it through last year, challenges and all. I think I only forgot two kids one time each. Not too shabby if you ask me lol. I will never complain about having kids in different schools ever again. I usually start school years anxious and a pile of nerves and this year I don't have those feelings. I am certain it will be full of good and bad, challenges and tears, and new and old friends, and I feel like we will get through all of it together. It's going to be ok. I love the changes that this school year is bringing for our family. I love having Greta back at school with her brother. We are ready for you.

Maybe it has something to do with how good you were to us Summer. Thank you for your sunshine, your warmth, your cool nights, your long days, and your open roads...come again soon.

xo

Catarata Falls - Costa Rica

I've received a lot of questions about these falls and I thought I would explain as best I can for those traveling to Costa Rica and wanting to visit. I had these falls on my list without really knowing where in the world they were, all I had was the name and a photo!

The morning we were heading into Rincon de la Vieja National Park I asked our tour guide if we would be anywhere near Catarata Falls and showed him the photo I had. He immediately said we would be five minutes from the falls. Honestly, I thought he was joking and would take us to a similar waterfall nearby. But when it actually worked out, my heart just burst with happiness. 

I cannot remember if Catarata Falls was inside the National Park or just outside the entrance, but there is a fee to hike to them and swim, about $5 American dollars. The key is to make sure the water is clear and clean when you go. Because it's fresh water, and we were traveling during the rainy season, our tour guide explained that we would need to check with the desk people to see if it was safe for swimming, because rain can bring a lot of run off with it. Low and behold they said it was crystal clear and perfect conditions. The hike down is about 5-10 minutes, and you have to cross a narrow suspension bridge, but it is worth all of it. The clear blue water was just amazing. And they have a little ladder built into the rock for climbing up to jump off the rocks into the lagoon. My three kids all loved it and did it over and over again. We were the only ones there and it was the best part of the day for me. 

Graduation Party Ice Cream Bar

Dessert bars at parties are probably one of the most exciting things for kids, and each time I've thrown a graduation party I've let my kids take ownership of the the whole dessert she-bang. It's one of the parts of the party that they can scour ideas for, inject their own personality into, and it's fun to create what they envision. 

In the past Sawyer's candy bar was a huge success, and Gunnar chose root beer floats.

 This time Greta opted for an ice cream bar with all the toppings. I found these cute sturdy paper ice cream cups, 8 oz was the size we ordered. They come in a variety of colors and patterns.

We debated on cups or cones and ultimately we bought these cones and stuck the cone inside the cup of ice cream as we handed them to each kid. There was plenty of space for toppings and they could enjoy the cone without having to sacrifice toppings because of space. Win-win.

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For spoons, we went with these cute but sturdy wooden ones, and Greta designed a few patterns with Sharpie and decorated them all. We attached them to the outside of the cups with different patterned washi tape and fanned them out as we stacked them. 

For toppings we went with the following:

We served up vanilla or chocolate ice cream, and a few fruit sorbets and dairy free options that Ben & Jerry's carries now which we discovered that day. I think the ice cream bar was a big hit and most of all my girl had a smile on her face the whole night.