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Things We Love: Artkive

It feels like summer is flying by. As much as I hate to admit it, I can’t just ignore that I need to start thinking about the next school year. Actually, scratch that. That just ruined my day. Forget that I even brought it up. Deal? Deal.

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But while we’re not going to talk about that thing I promised not to talk about, organizing kid projects and artwork is something that always needs to be talked about. It (often always) feels like shelves and plastic bins are overflowing with hand drawn family portraits and crayon drawings of rainbows and firetrucks. We all know how much we love it all (we do, we really do!) but all the paperwork and…stuff is just so overwhelming. It’s hard to know what to do with it!

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While at Mom 2.0 Summit, I had the opportunity to meet and talk with the CEO and co-founder of The Kive Company and the Artkive app. I thoroughly enjoyed and learned so much from our conversation but I was also so impressed with everything about the Artkive app. My kids are 16 and 12. Let’s just say I have A LOT of projects from over the years. Taking a picture of a project (with my iPhone) and uploading that photo to the Artkive servers that will later be made into a photo book of the school year’s photos? GENIUS.  I dream of a bookshelf with fantastic photo books instead of huge plastic bins of unorganized school pictures and projects.

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Someday, in all my spare time, I’m going to do this for my kids’ projects. Or, you know, pay someone to do it for me. Same same. 

 

Photo credit and more information.

Time For Camping

Ponderosa: American River,
Ponderosa: American River,

When I was younger, camping was how we spent our family vacations. Or just random summer weekends when we wanted to get away. My dad would pack us up, and the gear, and we hit the road to our (semi) local destination. Whether it was in the hills, mountains or by the coast, my dad always knew where to go. (He still does.)

I would never, ever, say that getting five kids to go camping was easy, but my dad kept things simple and, well, to the point that you could almost imagine that it was a simple undertaking. Uncomplicated food choices. Minimal packing, only the necessities. All we needed were the basic camping gear to make it a successful trip.

This weekend I was reminded how awesome an impromptu camping trip could be. I haven’t been camping in years thanks to our busy schedule, but we found ourselves with an open weekend perfect for a quick trip to the mountains. And luckily my dad was up for the challenge.

With it being so last minute, an open reservation was hard to find. But my dad knew of a few “first come, first serve” campsites up above Foresthill and we decided to take the chance. We took the simple hour and a half drive up the hill, making sure to grab some dinner on the way, and found just what we were looking for: an open campsite. 

Once the tents were put up and the mosquito repellent heavily applied, we sat around the campfire pit chatting. There wasn’t a fire in the fire pit (thank you, drought and fire restrictions) but being completely unplugged and away from it all was just what we needed. Not bad for a very last minute camping trip.

At the end of the day, I’m just so glad that we did it. It made our kids happy. It made us feel like we actually “got away” from our every day insanity. We definitely couldn’t have done it without me dad (we don’t have *all* the gear) but keeping it so simple meant that we also kept it pretty stress free. Which means, I hope, that we can find our way back very soon.

Do you have a favorite place to camp? How do you keep it low-key but still fun?

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Summer Reading Just Got A Whole Lot More Fun

In about an hour, our fabulous CCM Book Club will be chatting it up over food and drink about Where’d You Go Bernadette. (Our book club selection for May/June.) Everyone I’ve talked to so far absolutely loved it. Quite frankly, I want to read it again because I blew through it so fast the first time. Even if you weren’t able to join us as we read it together, you really should put this on your list. So. Good.

Next up for CCM Book Club 

But before I forget, the month of July is in full swing which means it’s already time for our next CCM Book Club selection.
 

As Sarah mentioned, Wallbanger may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I have to tell you how funny it is. (SO FUNNY.) The characters are so much fun, it’s summer-reading-steamy…and did I mention it’s damn funny? You’re gonna love it.

Now, not to make you feel bad, but we have a really great time at our book club meet-ups. I’m just being honest! We’ll announce our Wallbanger meet-up next month and I’m pretty sure you don’t want to miss it. Like, at all. To join our CCM Book Club Facebook Group, click here. Happy reading!

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I Can’t Quit Harry Potter

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Many years ago, my youngest brother gave me a book to read. I would tell him over and over that I would read it, but I actively kept NOT reading it. I just assumed that I wouldn’t enjoy it at all. I started reading it thanks to the guilt I felt, but I never gave it a chance. I stopped about 10-15 pages in.

“Not my thing, dude.”

“I promise you’ll like it. Just keep reading.”

So I did. Eventually.

He was right. I absolutely loved Harry Potter. (Duh.)

From that point on, I was hooked. I read those first three books in record time and then played an epic patience game as we all waited (in agony) for the remaining books to be written and released to find out what is happening to Harry and the gang. Getting to the end of each book was TORTURE as you knew it would be a couple years before you found out what happened next. I remember being so sad that book 7 (and the series) was ending I went back and re-read the last several chapters before finally “letting myself” finish the book.

With millions of readers being so attached to Harry, Ron and Hermione…and, ahem, all the rest of them, I’ve loved how J.K. Rowling has kept talking about all of the characters even after the last chapter was written. I’m sure it could be seen as not being able to move on (for all of us) but when you invest so much time and energy into these characters over so many years, of course it’s going to be hard to let go. Or impossible.

So yes, I am going to get ridiculously excited when we get to learn a little bit more about Dumbledore’s Army folks. (Thanks for the full option, Today Show.) It’s going to make me want to re-read the books (again) and probably watch a Harry Potter movie or two.

It also will make you want to watch a Harry Potter vs Twilight dance battle. Probably. Because I’m pretty sure that’s one of the reasons that the internet was created.

 

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Car Safety in the Summer Months

I have been heartbroken to hear of a few different cases of children dying after being left in hot cars. It’s so easy to sit here and pass judgment, but it’s not helpful and, honestly, it doesn’t solve anything. Even if this is nothing that you or I have ever experienced, it’s absolutely something that we all need to be aware of.

(And while I’m not comparing pets to our children, these rules also apply to the furry members of our family. Pets and children should not be left in hot cars. Period.)

As the Today Show covered these stories, they also had some smart tips to help us all avoid these tragic situations. One of the ideas was to put your cell phone in the back seat. I know it seems sad that anyone would remember the cell phone before the baby, but we’ve all had days where we are on autopilot. Why not take some extra steps to be sure we stay aware of the situation?

We have really warm summers here in the Sacramento area. We all need to be careful.