Serendipitously, our neighborhood H.O.A. put on a “Catch the Bug” themed craft/mini-lesson at our clubhouse today, and so I took the kidlets. Katie has been passionate about studying bugs, and she loves to pour over her bug charts and find bugs in the yard. It just so happens, too, that we drove around the UCR campus the other day right before Uncle Chet’s surprise party. We were early, and he lives one street over from the campus, so we decided to show the university to Katie quickly. I made it a point to show Katie the entomology buildings as we passed them, and we talked about how she could pursue her passion for studying bugs—or anything else she wants—at a university when she gets older.

Today at the “Catch the Bug” event, three female graduate students from the UCR entomology department came with living and preserved bug and arachnid specimens. COOL!!! Cool times…well, times a bazillion. Since Katie had just been to UCR and seen the entomology buildings, this was such a perfect connection. We started the session by making a bug box and a coffee filter butterfly. Then the grad students taught some facts to the kiddos, and then we all got to look at and/or handle some of the critters—not the scorpion, though!

Katie loved the walking stick! Such joy!

Katie opted not to hold the tarantula… I loved petting her, though! We also liked the Madagascar hissing beetles.

When we got home, we had lunch, and when Eric fell asleep for a nap, Katie and I read some more out of the third Harry Potter book. I also had a bit of time to work on my yearly scrapbook of the kiddos. I used to make my deadline Katie’s birthday (as the first three feature just her), but this year, I am going to have it out at Eric’s birthday and shift my deadline to the summer. I had already worked out most of the papers and mounts earlier this year, so really for the winter and spring sections, I just need to print out and paste my pictures in now. I do need to design all of the summer section still, though. Scrapbooking is so relaxing, so I am glad I have part of this project still to look forward to.

Then, we worked around the yard this afternoon.

Eric helps to water the flowers. When I say, “Eric, go water the flowers please!” he goes right over with his hose. What a sweet boy!

Eric tries to push the wheelbarrow.

I love this picture. I had just given the kidlets strawberry yogurt and banana smoothie pops that we had frozen. Katie started walking to a new place to eat hers, and Eric followed. He adores his big sister.

And back again…

Enjoying his smoothie pop (and a little dirt on his shirt).

Tonight we had a movie night (the second Harry Potter, since we finished reading it this week). After eating some rice and turkey and veggies, Katie and I shared some stove-popped corn and then… a handful of Jelly Bellies. I bought that container of them from Costco, and every once in awhile, we share a small custard cup full and try all the different flavors together. I remember doing this with my brother and mom one summer at Berkeley while playing cards and cooking and visiting him in his apartment. It is fun to mark summertime by being fanciful with things like that, I think.

Oh, and:

A couple of days ago, we made this, a strawberry crumble pie. We put it in our Pi/Pie plate (get it? 3.14159ETC har har). My best friend Rosa passed along the recipe (and also a Greek orzo salad, which we also made—Eric LOVED it, especially the feta bits). Rosa Camp’s alter ego is the Catty Critic, and she has a popular food blog (which she has maintained while working as a computer programmer at Lockheed Martin these many years). She can be found at Dining with the Catty Critic. Rosa is my friend who is due with her first child, Nolan, in September. SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO EXCITED!!!

Summer days…summer learning…summer food…summer crafts…summer garden… Life is good.