Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lemonade Stand and Honeysuckle?

One summer we decided to have a lemonade stand. We rode our bikes over to our neighbors house a few streets away, convinced that it would have more traffic and therefore customers. We made a full jug of lemonade and made a big sign that said "Lemonade 25 Cents."

We were doing quite well, and had a steady stream of Fairway residents, joggers and mom's with strollers on walks. After a few hours (well, probably minutes...but we were young, so it seemed like hours) we made a crucial economic decision for our business. We agreed that selling lemonade was not good enough and we needed to expand. At this time we decided that a desirable product for our customers was honeysuckle. Yes, honeysuckle. We picked a ton of the little flowering plant and put it in a basket next to the lemonade. Whenever a customer came by we would demonstrate for them the proper technique for extracting the little dewdrop of honey and encouraged them to purchase a bundle of this "sweet treat" for a mere 10 cents.

We were quite the business success story, and by late afternoon we were sold out of both lemonade and honeysuckle...the $7 we had made burning a hole in our pockets!

I don't remember how we spent that $7 and some change but I do remember persuading customers to buy lemonade, with a side of none-other than honeysuckle....strange.

Love and Prayers,

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Running Out of Time and Funny Pictures

I'm running out of time on my 24 (time off from Kamp) to blog the next several posts soooo I am filling space with some funny "summer pics"...enjoy!

My studly twin brother reading at the pool :)

Homestead Pool Rats...

Emma and I 

Love and Prayers,

Thursday, June 16, 2011

TLC Lineup and Mini Cini Waffles

I apologize. These summer posts are somewhat  greatly lacking in pizazz and personality. The goal here was/is to share some fun summer memories and keep this little bloggity alive while I am livin it up in Lampe, MO at Kanakuk. If you are highly unamused by my childhood summer antics, I don't blame you at all...come visit again around the first week of July when I return! :)

Okay, Mom, now I can safely assume that with the above disclaimer you are likely the only one still reading. I know that this little "summer series" is amusing to you because it reminds you of the glory years when we were all in elementary school :) Enjoy!

The usual schedule upon returning from the swimming pool or a morning of running around outside was to park it in front of the TV and have "rest time".  I remember one summer Emma and I became addicted to the morning lineup on TLC. Do any of you remember the fabulous lineup? Im pretty sure the morning started with an episode of "A Dating Story" followed by "A Wedding Story", perhaps an episode or two of "Trading Spaces" Re-runs then "A Baby Story". Inevitably, every day Emma and I would catch some or all of this line up and comment on the dress choices, arrangement of furniture and more. This was before the time when there were four zillion brides shows on TV so we LOVED watching the weddings and seeing what choices the brides made.

For some reason when I think about this line up I am also reminded of one of our favorite summer snacks, Mini-Cini-Waffles (disclaimer: not their actual name, but this is what we called them. Apparently they are actually "Eggo Cinnamon Toast") We went through boxes of these things!!  If you have never tried them, they are amazing and I highly recommend them- they are cinnamon-y-crispy and delish!

(always thought this was an awkward opening picture...strange!)

Love and Prayers,

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Survivor and Newsies


Andrew and I played outside for hours in the summer. Two of our favorite games we played were Newsies and Survivor. I distinctly remember grinding up various leaves and berries to make "war paint" for our "challenges" while playing survivor. We would often go down to the creek and have various competitions. 

We also LOVED the movie Newsies and once, while acting out the film, wrote STRIKE with chalk on the privacy fence...(if you have seen the musical, this will make sense to you) It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it took off a layer of the stain on the fence, so for probably 8-10 months our fence had STRIKE on it before it finally wore off! 

Oh summers, at the Pennington's...always an adventure!

Love and Prayers,

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Summer Reading and Library Events

My mom did a great job of keeping us busy in the summers. When we weren't swimming or playing outside we were at the Dickenson summer movies, having a play date with friends or at the Johnson County Library. 

The library had many fun summer events, chances to see authors read their books aloud, or work on sock puppets and act out a children's book we had just read. There were arts and crafts, experiments and story telling. All of these experiences at the library helped me grow to love reading, as they made reading an active engagement rather than a passive activity. I remember how excited I was when my mom let me sign up for my own library card. I felt like the coolest person ever! I even had to sign the back of the card, about cool. Sure, it took longer at check out and was a hassle when Andrew, Mom and I each used separate library cards to check out our books, but it was worth it...we were so "grown up"!

Every summer we got a list of suggested on or slightly above grade level reading. I loved to read and would always work my way through the list, crossing out the ones that I had already read and circling my next pick! 

The Johnson County Libraries had this little reward system for summer reading that after you read each book and your parent signed off on it, you got to put a sticker on a chart, and would recive prizes and privileges at various benchmarks.

I have strog memories of going to the library on rainy days, then returning home for a bowl of kraft macaroni and cheese. The rest of the afternoon I spent curled up with my book, or perhaps watching one of the VHS movies we checked out of the library. To this day I still love mac and cheese and reading on rainy summer days!

Love and Prayers, 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Summer Movies and Pixie Sticks

Every summer when we were little, we would pay for a package of summer movie tickets at the Dickenson Theatres. Appealing to the sweet stay-at-home moms, faced with entertaining rambunctious elementary schoolers for hours a day each summer, each summer they showed slightly out dated kids movies on the big screen.

These movies were a saving grace during rainy or cold days when being at the pool all day was not an option. They also sold mega pixi sticks and jolly ranchers for 25 cents. It was epic. Sugar rush, kid movie...pretty much a recipe for a great summer afternoon.

Love and Prayers,

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Nannying and Corkin

I have loved my summers as a nanny! It has been amazing to watch "my" three little kiddos grow and change from year to year. Nannying has given me a whole new appreciation for motherhood, as from 8-6 I was responsible for being the comforter, nurse, artist, chef, driver, entertainer, disciplinarian, teacher and friend. I chauffeured back and forth from tennis, swim team, play-dates and more.

Something that was fun for me was to re-live all of my favorite summer activities (which you will continue to read about in these posts) with the kiddos that I nanny for. We went to the Summer Movies, played all day at the pool, had lemonade stands, visited my favorite parks, went blueberry picking and ran through the sprinkler.

We would also have Treat Thursdays and go to sonic happy hour for slushies, bake cookies or get popsicles!

Nannying was a wonderful experience and makes me excited to someday (not right away) have kiddos of my own!

Love and Prayers,

Monday, June 6, 2011

Theatre in the Park and Picnic Blankets

I have spent many summer evenings under the stars on a picnic blanket at Shawnee Mission Park watching musicals come to life on stage. For as long as I can remember, this has been a part of the “Pennington’s Summer Traditions” We have the whole process down to a science. First of all, packing the picnic. The preparation starts early on and includes filling coolers and picnic baskets with dinner and treats for the show. We pack soda pop, sandwiches, chips, dip, and ALWAYS red licorice…It just would’t be theatre in the park without it. We always get there SUPER early, before the box office opens and stake out our place in the line. We typically have 2-3 people in the line and 2-3 people at the ticket counter so that once the tickets are in hand we can run over to the “waiting group” and streamline the process. Once the gates are opened…the selected “runner” from the group will bound down the hill as fast as they can, arms filled with quilts and blankets to throw quickly on the ground and reserve our space. Not to boast, but the Pennington clan often gets the prime spots—several blanket lengths back from the orchestra…center stage err…hill.

The show starts once the sun goes down so in the mean time we feast, play card games, and Frisbee. Occasionally, in my younger years I would also work on my summer reading or make ankle bracelets. Before the show the orchestra plays a medley of show tunes, which inevitably my mom knows every single one of.

As the sky dims the stage lights come up and the show begins! I attribute a lot of my love for musicals from theatre in the park. Through the years I have seen Oklahoma, South Pacific, The Music Man, The Sound of Music, Joseph, The King and I, Gypsy and a million more. When the show is over, we quickly gather up all we came with and dash to the car, trying our best to beat the parking lot traffic. Always on the way home we debrief about the show, and often fall asleep before we reach the driveway. Theatre in the park is a wonderful part of my childhood. I hope to continue to make at least a show or two for many summers to come!

Love and Prayers,

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Blueberry Picking and "ku-plink, ku-plank, ku-plunk"

Blueberry picking days were always marked with a great excitement in our family. Early one August morning, every summer, we would pack up the car and make the trek to The Berry Patch. We would read the "Picking Report" and determine the perfect week to venture out and collect all the blueberries we would eat over the next year. 

Often, sometime earlier in the week we would read one of my favorite books, "Blueberries for Sal" to get us prepared and excited for what we considered quite the adventure! 

When we got to the farm, we would get a pail and twine, tying the bucket around our waists for optimum two-handed blueberry picking! We would pick blueberries for hours (or what seemed like hours when you were 8). I loved pretending to be Sal from the book, listening for the "ku-plink, ku-plank, ku-plunk" of the berries, and of course sampling a berry or two out of every handful :) The trip was never complete without a trip into the farmstore for some blueberry lemonade, a fresh baked good or an old fashioned candy.

We would head back to the car with bags filled to the top with juicy fresh blueberries, perfect for baking into pies and muffins, topping granola or yogurt or just eaten plain by the handful...

In recent years, I have continued the tradition by taking the kids that I nanny to the blueberry patch, to this day, blueberry picking is still one of my favorite summer activities!

My favorite way to enjoy blueberries is with my Mom's homemade I thought I would share the recipe, trust me, it will be a favorite of yours as well!!

Mom's Famous Granola
My mom makes this all the time, year round. It makes a great hostess or teacher gift, it is always a hit!!

  • 6 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 3 cups flaked coconut (sweetened)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cups canola oil
  • 1 cup honey (I add more, I like clumps!)
  • 1 teaspoon tablespoon vanilla ( I always add more!)
Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Combine oats, coconut, and pecans in large bowl.
Microwave oil, honey, and vanilla in small bowl until honey thins out, about 45 seconds to a minute.
Pour honey mixture over oat mixture and combine well. Spread this onto a 15″ greased sheet pan and bake at 225 degrees for 2 1/2 hours, turning granola every 30 minutes to keep it from over-browning. (It makes the house smell amazing) :)
Remove from oven and spread onto waxed paper to cool. Transfer to cookie jar, baggie or other won't last long sitting on the counter!

Love and Prayers, 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Homestead Hurricanes and Swim Team

We were pool rats.

For years our entire summer revolved around swim team schedules. Between swim meets twice a week, practice, setting up for banquets and more...we basically lived our summer at Homestead Pool.

We were the Hurricanes, the "Mighty Homestead Hurricanes" and we were proud! I can remember waking up in the morning, putting on my swimsuit and packing a whole day's worth of snacks, entertainment, towel, goggles, swim cap...the works. Andrew and I would have swim practice first, followed by Emma an hour or so later in the morning. By the time our practices were wrapping up the pool would be opening and we would find our friends and set up camp for the day. We spent hours playing in the water, taking breaks occasionally to build a fort out of pool chairs or lounge, read and "sunbathe" like the "big kids". We would dive off the boards, pester the lifeguards to play with us, and beg mom to let us get a treat from the snack bar.

One summer my mom was the Swim Mom for the team and we lived at the pool even longer. She would help with meet entries, clerk of the course and stuffing ribbons in the swim team files. We would be helpers and run around doing all kinds of errands for my mom and the coaches, thinking we were so cool!

Swim meets were always a blast as well, we would get to pick out something special to have in between races, a snack to re-fuel. I remember getting pretzels with peanut butter inside them one year, and thinking it was the most amazing snack ever! Also, to prepare for the meet, we would paint hurricane flags on our fingernails and toenails. So, you could say we were wayyy ahead of the black nail polish trend :) We would set up our towels next to our little swim team friends, bring decks of cards and play "go fish" and "nertz" for hours in between events. When we weren't swimming, playing or resting we would be the team cheerleaders. A favorite was always "Homestead Hurricanes couldn't be prouder...if you can't hear us, we'll yell a little louder..." and "give a yell, give a yell give a real substantial yell and when we yell we yell like hell and this is what we yell..." (I will admit, at the ripe age of 10 the previous cheer was a favorite because of the addition of the curse word "hell", golly, I was such a rebel)! Swim meets always ended in a trip to Sheridans frozen custard with the gang, a Homestead tradition which we all gladly took part in!

Champs were even more fun, just an extended day of hanging out with those summer friends. Trying to stay under the tent in the shade on those scorching hot July afternoons. One year we all got those little spray bottles with fans attached and used those to keep fun!

It would be impossible for me to think of summer without swim team, it was just such a part of my life from the ages of 5-17...Somewhere in the basement I still have hundreds of swim team ribbons stuffed in a gallon ziplock baggie--a tangible reminder of the hundreds of races I swam over those 12 summers.

Love and Prayers,