In high school, there was a weekly newscast by the school media class. One of my brother’s friends, Chad, had a little segment where he would push some interesting activity, like rock climbing or visiting a fish hatchery, and he would sing a little opening song: Stuff to do, stuff to do, here’s Chad with a tip for you, blah blah blah something something that you haven’t done but you may just like to try! I forgot some of the words in the middle. I get that song (or parts of it, anyway) stuck in my head when I’m trying to think of something to do. This week, my partner has been out of town again, and I’ve been trying to think of things to do with the kids that would be exciting enough to make them forget about video games and movies. They are grounded from games for 2 weeks, and I really think movies should happen once a week or less (not that this is how we do it, it’s just how I wish it were done). They have to do 1 hour of reading for every 20 minutes of video games, and there’s no credit. Calvin has successfully done at least 20 minutes of reading a day this week, but when he informed me that he was starting the Harry Potter series at the end of the second book, I had to object. He said the beginning is too boring, but sheesh. You can’t possibly know all that’s going on if you start with the basilisk battle. (He told me he was reading the part where Harry kills Slytherin. See? He doesn’t know what’s going on.)

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Last week, I took the kids to our local Audubon farm for a wagon ride and ice cream. While we were there, we visited some gardens, lots of chickens, geese, turkeys, pigs, goats, miniature horses, and sheep. On the wagon ride, the driver told us how the farm is mostly organic, and I found out you can get pastured eggs and beef and stuff in the gift shop. There’s this great big deep freeze just sittin’ there, and it’s even pretty cheap. Too bad the farm is 1/2 hour away. We’re going there next month for the apple festival, where you can press your own cider, get apples, apple butter as it’s being cooked in huge kettles with steam from a steam engine, make apple pie in dutch ovens, talk to lots of Amish and Mennonite folks, and eat funnel cakes, something I was not familiar with growing up in the West.

Yesterday, I took the kids rollerskating. This was pretty entertaining for me, since it was a complete shock for the two younger ones. Calvin has been skating before, but Zeeb and Kiki were pretty stunned at how different it was from walking. Which didn’t prevent them from attempting to walk. Kiki persevered valiantly for about and hour, Zeeb fell on his butt 3 too many times, and Calvin figured out how to let go of the wall and glide. It was so awesome. When I was a kid, one of my friend’s moms took a bunch of us skating every week, and I loved it so much. I had pretty much forgotten about skating until I watched Whip It last week and decided to join a Roller Derby team.

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