For the first time in almost 18 months, I dropped Moose off at school this morning!
Even though he’s a sophomore (I can’t believe it!), this is his first year in the high school building. It’s a strange way to experience the (continued) transition to high school, but I’m sure he’s up to the task, and he’s already excited about some of the things he’ll get to do this year!
It seemed like the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics would never get here, and now they’ve already come and gone. Here’s a look back at our Japan-themed summer school.
We visited Origami in the Garden at the Missouri Botanical several times over the summer. The large-scale art installation was the perfect field trip to coincide with Tokyo 2020 (and was also postponed from last summer).
We also visited the Olympic Spectacular in St. Louis at Francis Field, home of the 1904 Summer Games:
I made a few fun treats for the Olympics…Olympics torches (white chocolate covered pretzels) and Team USA CHEERios treats.
We did a lot of cooking and tried a lot of Japanese foods. I worked really hard to find things we hadn’t had before, and used a variety of cooking methods and unfamiliar ingredients. We tried:
Matcha Mochi Cake
Fluffy Japanese Cheesecake
Kani Cream Korokke
Chicken Katsu Sandwich
Matcha Green Tea Cookies
We were supposed to go out to a Japanese restaurant this summer, but COVID-19, so we got a party platter of sushi instead:
I’ve been holding on to the Lego Architecture Tokyo skyline since last year, and we finally got to build it!
Our American Girl dolls got into the Olympic spirit:
In between watching as much of the Olympics as we could, we also did some more traditional school work. We learned about Japanese history and culture, as well as the history of the Olympics. We read a lot of books…some I read out loud, and some were book basket choices. We also watched a selection of Olympic documentaries:
The Everlasting Flame—Beijing 2008
Atlanta’s Olympic Glory—Atlanta 1996
16 Days of Glory—Los Angeles 1984
Athens 2004: Stories of Olympic Glory
And we also did several crafts, including origami, paper lanterns, Koinobori (Japanese carp windsocks), pipe cleaner and tissue paper cherry blossom branches, and medals (of course!):
I’ve been holding on to Ticket to Ride: Japan since last year, and we finally had a chance to play! I really enjoyed the new game mechanics introduced in this edition, and it was fun to get to know the geography of the area a little bit better.
We updated our medal chart every evening…here’s a look at the final results…we were very excited that the US won the gold medal race and had the most medals overall!
And, better late than never, our Family Olympics, which was delayed due to heat. We only had four events this year (frisbee throw, broad jump, soccer kicks, and a running race), thanks to time constraints and a lack of basketball hoops on the backboards we normally use. Technically, Turkey came in first, but since we participate as a family, we all won gold!
This summer school was a long time coming. I think we all still have mixed feelings about the fact that the Olympics were held at this time, but we had to just accept that that was out of our control, and embrace the Olympics as we usually do. It’s always hard to say goodbye when they extinguish the flame, but the Winter Olympics are less than six months away, and we only have to wait three more years for Paris 2024!
Our travels this summer might not yet be back to what they were in pre-COVID times, but we did actually go somewhere this year! Since we weren’t quite as busy as we have been on previous vacations, I’m just going to take a look at the whole trip instead of going day-by-day.
On Monday, we left for a short trip to Bowling Green, KY. Any visit to Bowling Green includes a meal from Zaxby’s. Fortunately, we have always done carryout, so that wasn’t even any different from our usual dinner.
On Tuesday morning, we drove into Nashville to visit Cheekwood Estate and Gardens and see the Nature Pop! Lego exhibition by Sean Kenney. Both the sculptures and the estate were breathtaking!
We also drove down to the Cumberland riverfront to get a look at the Nashville skyline.
We were going to get lunch at Hattie B’s, one of the locations in Nashville known for hot chicken, but the line was unbelievably long, so we went to Chaney’s Dairy Barn and had ice cream for lunch instead!
Our day ended with a beautiful double rainbow!
On Wednesday, Bunny and I went with her grandparents to tour Western Kentucky University, where she is planning on attending after she finishes at community college:
And on Thursday, we visited the Aviation Heritage Park in Bowling Green, where we saw not only an authorized replica of Marine One, but also an aircraft flown by every astronaut who walked on the moon!
We also had an early birthday celebration for Bunny that night:
We were up early on Friday morning to head home, but we did stop for donuts at the Donut Bank on the way:
It was a little challenging coming up with fun things to do outside in the summer heat, (I wanted to go to a Bowling Green Hot Rods game, but between the temperatures and the fact that I’m still a little hesitant to be in a big crowd, even outdoors, made me table that for the time being), but we found something to do every day, and it was so nice to get away for a bit!
We actually went somewhere more than 90 minutes from home!
On Tuesday, we visited Cheekwood Estate and Gardens to see the Nature Pop! Lego exhibition by Sean Kenney. We also stopped by the Riverfront Landing so we could get a good view of the Nashville skyline.
It was so nice to get away from home for a few days!
It’s been a while since I shared an Independence Day outfit! I’m really happy with the look I put together today, featuring a red Harley top and blue harlequin circle skirt from Pinup Girl Clothing and a red, white, and blue Splendette duchess bangles stack. The Starlite necklace from Meteor Jewelry and star brooch from Erstwilder are also a perfect fit, and let’s not forget a bright blue mask, because there’s still a pandemic going on. My favorite part of the outfit, however, might just be the red and blue PUG hair flowers I added to my Unique Vintage bonnet.
This morning, Chickadee had braces put on! Just on the front four teeth on top for now, and it’s just the first phase of orthodontia she’s going to need, but it’s a start! She looks so much older to me!
She also has a nice souvenir of having braces during a pandemic:
This is definitely new for us…none of her siblings needed braces while they still had baby teeth, so she is in uncharted territory!
Since we’ve stayed home for so much of the last 15 months, I haven’t had the chance to see many of the masked statues in and around St. Louis. I did finally catch a glimpse of King Louis IX in a St. Louis city flag mask when Bunny and I went to the Art Museum last week, though!
It’s been a long time since we’ve been to Grant’s Farm!
Last week, the day before they announced the opening of the park to regular guests, we took a private “Deer Park Adventure” tour. We’ve been on a private expedition at Grant’s Farm once before, but it was before Chickadee was born, and long enough ago that Moose and Ladybug really didn’t remember it. I decided we needed a special end-of-the-school-year activity, especially after the last 15 months of staying home and missing all of our usual (not to mention spontaneous!) field trips. The tour was very much like I remembered it from last time…we got to ride in a safari van with a great driver and narrator who made the experience amazing, and go on trails not taken by the normal trams, and see the grounds up close and personal! Of course, some things were different, from temperature checks and masks to being pretty much the only visitors in the park, and not getting to see some familiar things like the Tiergarten and the Clydesdales, but such is life during COVID-19.
We had a nice moment for a family photo in front of Hardscrabble cabin before we took a peek inside the house built by Ulysses S. Grant:
Probably the best part of the private tour is getting up close to the animals:
We even got to hand-feed some of them, including elk, buffalo (a buffalo actually licked me!), and, of course, goats:
This was a fun and memorable activity, and I’m really glad we had the chance to do something special as a family before the school year ends. I’m looking forward to going back now that they’re open to the general public again, too!
For as long as I’ve shopped with Erstwilder, they’ve had a remembrance collection featuring poppy pieces, which not only serves as a way to honor those who have lost their lives in the defense of freedom, but also supports RSL Victoria’s Poppy and ANZAC Appeals, which aids current and ex-service men and women and their families. This year, they added a brooch to the collection featuring rosemary, which has long been used as a symbol of fidelity and remembrance.
I purposefully chose to wear this brooch today, the day I received the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, in memory of the many, many people around the world who lost their lives too soon to this horrible virus. May we never forget how quickly our lives can change, and may we remember them.
Time for another look at this year’s hottest accessory…the mask! This time, I’m taking a look at some of my favorite floral-print masks for spring:
I really love these masks from Old Navy. I like the way they fit, I like that they have adjustable ear loops, and I love that there are so many colors and prints. If you had told me a year ago that I would have a preferred mask, and a whole bunch of variations of that favorite on top of it, I never would have believed you, but here we are…I like that I can still be fashionable and express myself even during a pandemic!