Craft/DIY Ideas, Parenting Tales

Summer Boredom Buster Series: Spy Obstacle Course

Well, August is literally right around the corner and we’re starting the back to school countdown in our house.

Today I am sharing a little idea that I actually did the first week school was out and it is one of my favorites.


Think obstacle course mixed with a little spy/secret agent intrigue.

It would be a great one to break out on a rainy day or when the kids are bored to death and driving you bonkers.

All you need is a ball of yarn, scissors, painter’s tape, and a hallway area.

Cut lengths of yarn long enough to stretch between both walls. I used red to mimic the laser lines used for security systems in a spy movie. (I was thinking along the lines of spies and secret agents, but my kids instantly thought bank robbers and jewelry store thieves. Hey, whatever.)

I placed them at varying heights and at different angles so they would have to maneuver through them all to get from one end to another.


We started out with some yarn lines, then as everyone had a turn, I stepped it up a notch and added more lines to make it more challenging.

My older kids obviously had a harder time as their bodies are much bigger.

The twins, who are still little and wiry, did a pretty good job of it. My 8 year old niece, who is also very wiry and flexible, was the only one who didn’t eventually knock down a yarn line. When we were all done I let her run through them and knock them down for fun.

Overall, a fun way to kill some time and get those little minds and bodies working.


Apricot Pineapple Jam





This recipe is a newbie for me as I have never really worked with apricots much before.

At first I was planning to make a basic apricot jam, but then in my research discovered that some people combine it with pineapple.

I am so glad that I did, for this was a winner! In fact, it turned out so well that I plan to make another batch later today.


The recipe was taken directly from Sure Jell’s website, seen here. The only variation I had from this was that I used the basic yellow box of Sure Jell, not the MCP box (which I’ve honestly never even seen before).

Here is a breakdown of how to make this:

3 C prepared apricots

1 can crushed pineapple, drained

1/2 C lemon juice

1 box pectin

1 tsp butter (to reduce foaming)

8 C sugar

Prepare jelly jars. Wash, pit, and then finely chop apricots (with peels on) until you have 3 cups of it. Place in a heavy-bottomed sauce pot, then add drained pineapple, lemon juice, and pectin. Heat until it comes to a rolling boil, stirring often. Add sugar and stir in, then bring to a boil once more, allowing it to boil about 4 minutes. Remove from heat. Skim off foam if desired.
Ladle into jelly jars, then place lids with bands on tightly. Process in a hot water bath about 10 minutes. Remove from water and let jars sit about 24 hours before removing bands.

Craft/DIY Ideas, Parenting Tales

Summer Boredom Buster Series: Ice Excavations

Today’s idea is one to bust out on a hot day when the kids are bored or looking for something different to do.

By the way, have your kids been bored yet? We’ve had maybe two days where this was the case. I felt like we were not busy at all, then suddenly had WAY too much going on, now we’re headed off on vacation. Maybe I’ll find a happy medium come late July:)

Anyway, back to today’s little idea.

Ice excavations.

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The idea is super simple and easy.

Take a large container, fill it with water, and then add various toys to it.

Freeze for a number of hours until everything is solid.

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Give your kids some “excavation tools” and let them go at it. We used a variety of kitchen utensils.

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The goal is to excavate all of their toys out of the ice. They can also experiment with salt to see if that expedites things.

Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures from when everything was solid, but you get the idea.

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My little boys really enjoyed this, especially since I let them pick what toys they wanted to freeze, then did a separate container for each kid.

As you can see, army men were the prime choice for one of my guys, but they can put in about anything.

Well, that’s all I have for now. Hope you’re having an enjoyable summer!