A Peek Into Our Holiday Week

posted by Andrea | 07/8/2019

If you stopped by the blog last week, you probably noticed I wasn’t around all that much! 

I took last week off as a little “blogging break” over the holiday week, and it really was perfect timing. It was great to step away from my computer for a few days, and I honestly don’t think anyone missed me too much since I hardly got any emails or questions. Hopefully you were all too busy spending time outside or doing something fun with family and friends! 

Our week was actually VERY low-key, as we didn’t have anything special planned. The weather was HOT and HUMID every single day, so we basically lived in the pool and wore our swimsuits from breakfast until bath. In fact, I only did ONE load of clothes laundry the entire week, and that was mainly just PJ’s and undies! (I did wash swimsuits, towels, bedding, etc.)

We had a combination of friends, neighbors, and relatives over almost every day — for pool parties, pizza parties, and “just because”. 

I think we went through 3 watermelons, several pounds of cherries, 4 pans of different bars, and 2 bags of licorice — and that was just the snacks, not even the full meals! 

We also hosted James’ Monster Truck 4th birthday party over the weekend (his actual birthday isn’t until next weekend but we won’t be around much next weekend).

I’ll share more about James, his party, the food I made, etc. next week! 

Aside from making (and buying and cleaning up) food, swimming in the pool, and keeping our home and yard fairly maintained, I didn’t do a whole lot last week — which was nice for a change!

One “mini project” I started and completed in the matter of 2 days was to re-landscape the area in front of my parent’s house. They had pulled out the existing (overgrown) plants but never put anything back because they were waiting to have some brickwork done. I was tired of looking at the weeds and dirt, so I went there while they were gone on vacation and pulled weeds, spread mulch, and spruced it up a bit. 

Everything is movable for whenever their brickwork finally happens (it was too rainy this spring) and I’m very happy with how well it turned out. They were super surprised when they got home! 

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Of course, Dave and I still have a long list of summer projects we are hopeful will happen, but considering we’re nearing mid July already, I’m slightly less optimistic than I was at the beginning of the summer. 

Who can relate!! 

Speaking of “summer projects” the kids have all been working on various goals as well. 

Nora finished swimming lessons — and they were a HUGE success! She is much more confident in the water, she swims with her head down using actual strokes, and doesn’t have to use nose plugs anymore!

She also got her own library card and is reading like crazy. She is sort of taking piano lessons from me, and she has a whole pile of craft projects she wants to finish. 

Nora is outside most of the day — either playing with the neighbor kids, pushing Clara around in various scooters or strollers, swimming with the boys, or making various forts in our landscape! 

Simon is gearing up for soccer camp today (with Nora) and is just as excited to be outside all day as Nora is. 

He is tall enough to touch the bottom in our pool, which has made swimming much more fun for him this year. He now swims without any floaties and is excited for his week of swimming lessons next week. 

Simon wants us to take the training wheels off his bike, but every time we do, he decides he really just wants them back on! The goal of learning to ride a two-wheel bike is currently on the “back burner” because we’re tired of taking his training wheels off only to have to put them back on again 15 minutes later. 

Maybe he’ll master this later in the fall! 

James had a fantastic Monster Truck birthday party yesterday — I can’t believe he’ll be FOUR later this week!!!!

I have a feeling we’ll be celebrating a little bit every day!! 

After many LONG afternoons spent pushing him on the swing, I am happy to report James has finally mastered “pumping” — we are both super excited! 

James does not love the pool as much as the older kids as he can’t touch and he doesn’t want to get his face wet. He says, “I’ll get my face wet when I turn 4”... so I have his swimming lessons scheduled for the week after he turns 4 — we’ll see how they go! 

In the mean time, you can find him pumping away (usually singing at the top of his lungs) on one of our many swings, playing with Clara, or riding his bike “super fast” up and down our driveway!

Oh, to be a kid again! 

Miss Clara has grown up so much over the summer already — it’s fairly impressive how well she keeps up with her older siblings and neighbor friends!

She has been sort of trying to skip out on her afternoon nap — but I’m not ready for this to happen yet! We’re hoping she will keep napping through the rest of the summer and maybe we can phase her out of naps once the school year starts up again. 

However, I will say, she goes to bed even earlier (and sleeps SO well at night) when she doesn’t nap. We’ll see if I cave in and let her skip naps more often! 

Clara’s new favorite thing is to drink from a normal cup — not a sippy cup. Thankfully, we mostly just drink water, and we’ve been eating outside for most meals this summer, so it’s not a big deal if she spills. 

Clara is a pool rat — she wakes up pointing outside saying “mama, poool, mama, poooooooool, mama, poooooooooooool” until we finally let the kids get in after breakfast. 

She has no fear and will even put her face in (something none of the other kids did at her age). 

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Dave and I have so many projects in our heads and somewhat started — but nothing far enough along to share on the blog. 

Dave is trucking along with learning how to do more with video. Hopefully this will benefit our family by being able to create some fun home movies. I’m also hoping it will allow me to do more with videos on the blog — we’ll see!! 

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I have made some amazingly delicious sourdough waffles, but my sourdough bread hasn’t been good at all. It’s SO sour, I’m not sure if I’m doing something wrong, or if we just don’t particularly care for the taste of sourdough bread. 

I told Dave we should buy some really great sourdough bread from an artisan-type bakery so we know what the “end goal” should be. However, we’re not really sure where to buy it from.

If you have any suggestions for authentic sourdough bread in the West Michigan area, I’m all ears! 

Free Stuff!!

I came across 2 really great freebie deals this past week that I want to share with you. These freebies use my affiliate link, but I personally use the products and services listed below and wouldn’t recommend them if I didn’t! Read my disclosure policy here

1. Free 5-Piece Mrs. Meyer’s Cleaning Set from Grove.co

If you’ve never ordered from Grove before, you can get a FANTASTIC free gift with your first purchase. 

This 5-piece Mrs. Meyer’s cleaning kit has so many of my favorite products in it (I LOVE that little scrubber so much) and from what I can tell, there is no minimum order.

UPDATE: a reader emailed me to let me know there is a $20 minimum on the order.  However, it’s still a great lineup of freebie products, so probably still worth it in my opinion!

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2. FREE Kindle Unlimited (3 months) for Amazon Prime Members

I shared this deal on my Facebook page last week — but it’s still going on this week so I wanted to share again! 

If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can sign up for 3 free months of Kindle Unlimited (even if you’ve already signed up for free/discounted months in the past). 

I signed up again and already have a long list of books ready to read throughout the rest of the summer (perfect timing!) 

Just remember to make a note to cancel again in 3 months, otherwise you’ll be charged $9.99 a month — that said, if you are a big reader, the monthly fee might be worth it to continue with this service. I personally read so much more when I have books on my phone

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If my math is correct, we have 6-7 more weeks of summer left (6 for Dave, 7 for the kids) and while we don’t really have many grand plans, I’m certain we will make the most of our time together. 

One thing I’ve been doing lately is jotting down a few notes about the things we do each day (even if they are small or insignificant). I write it down on my wall calendar and it has helped me remember so many more details when I make our digital photo books. It’s also fun to just look back over the weeks and months and remember the simple but fun things we did together. 

 That’s all for now… I’m glad to be back to blogging again! 

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43 comments

  1. Blondie

    07/10/2019

    My family lives in Heritage Hill, so I’ve had a lot of bread and baked goods from Wealthy Street Bakery and I’d bet they make a good, authentic sour dough.

    I haven’t had bread from Nantucket Baking Co. but I have had their cake and it is absolutely delicious.

    If you made the neighborhood a day trip with your family, there is a nice little playground with a splash pad at the corner of Cherry and Eastern. Or, you know, everything downtown.

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  2. SandyK

    07/09/2019

    You have the cutest family. James sure got big. He’s adorable.

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    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, they’re all growing up!

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  3. Lara

    07/08/2019

    Field and Fire Bread is excellent, Nantucket is also very good. I can’t get enough of both of their breads!

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    Andrea Reply:

    thanks for this — I haven’t heard of Field and Fire yet!

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  4. Kim

    07/08/2019

    Welcome back! I always miss you on your breaks but am also reminded to take one myself!

    Thanks for the deals! Any advice for searching Kindle Unlimited?

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Kim! I’m probably not the best resource for Kindle Unlimited, but I’m certain there are other blogs out there devoted to just that. Do a search for reading blogs or book clubs and I’m sure you’ll find a bunch!

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  5. Debbie

    07/08/2019

    Glad you’re back! I get busy with all kinds of things and then all of a sudden sense an Andrea Dekker shortage. That’s when I realize I haven’t checked your FB account for the latest. You did a great job landscaping your parents’ yard. I bet they were surprised and thrilled seeing it look so tidy and pretty. How cute is the picture with the kids reading as a team! You planned this kid thing just right – 2 girls and 2 boys.

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha — thanks Debbie! My parents were surprised. They told the kids they thought they pulled into the wrong driveway when they arrived home. The kids thought this was hilarious πŸ™‚

    And yes, the 2-girl-2-boy combo is a good one!

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  6. Kim

    07/08/2019

    Please share your summer reading list ideas! Always looking to download books on the cloud library app before vacation.

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    Andrea Reply:

    I don’t have a summer reading list — just whatever I find that looks interesting when I’m searching. Maybe I’ll share what I read once I read it — but I truly don’t have a list right now!

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  7. Brenda

    07/08/2019

    We’ve had luck with 2 different methods for learning to ride a bike:
    1. take off 1 training wheel. If they feel like they need the training wheel they can lean that way and balance with the one that is left on.
    2. bend the training wheel up a little so they aren’t hitting the ground all the time. This one happened on accident when one son was learning on an old bike with well-worn training wheels that had been bent from constant bobbling back and forth off the training wheels. If you want to use the training wheels for younger kids, this may not be the best method as I’m not sure if you can easily bend the wheels back down.

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    Liz Reply:

    I learnt to ride without training wheels when my uncle didn’t reattach the training wheels tight enough so as I rode they rotated up without me noticing. Someone yelled out “look at you go!” and I ran into a tree, but I started to believe in myself :).

    I like the idea of only having one training wheel attached too though.

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    Andrea Reply:

    oh my — that’s one way of learning I suppose!

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    Andrea Reply:

    hmmm… I’m not sure we want to bend the training wheels because James will get this bike after Simon — maybe we’ll try taking one wheel off! Also, his cousin (who is 2 weeks older) will be here this weekend. he already knows how to ride a 2 wheel bike — so that might be motivation enough for Simon πŸ™‚ Peer pressure at it’s finest!

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  8. Barb

    07/08/2019

    And I’m so glad that you are back, Andrea! I missed you every day. πŸ™‚ But I’m also glad that you have learned how to pace yourself at your young age… Spoken by an elderly grandmother

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha — thanks Barb πŸ™‚

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  9. Dawn

    07/08/2019

    Good Morning Andrea!

    Deanna at homesteadandchill.com is an excellent resource for anything fermented and organic gardening,including Sourdough. Her loaves are absolutely beautiful. She is very sweet and very helpful. Just thought I would share. πŸ™‚

    Dawn Smith (fellow Michigan dweller)

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    Andrea Reply:

    Ok thanks Dawn πŸ™‚ I’ll check out her blog!

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  10. Denise Z

    07/08/2019

    Come on out to Sacramento. I’ll “let” you help with a little organizing and then take you to San Francisco for a sourdough experience! Just let me know when!

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    Andrea Reply:

    haha — if you want to fly the family out, I’ll definitely take you up on this πŸ™‚

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  11. Nancy

    07/08/2019

    When our daughter was learning, we took a break similar to what you mentioned for Simon. In the meantime, she transitioned from a 3-wheel scooter to a 2-wheel scooter. That’s basically balancing a couple of inches off the ground instead of at bicycle height. Once she could confidently handle the scooter, the skill transferred pretty easily to bike riding.

    I have friends who swear that starting with a balance bike is the way to go (especially as you have two more kiddos who could use it after Simon.) Hadn’t thought of taking the pedals off as Ann suggested above. Same effect!

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    Nancy Reply:

    Forgot to mention that I also think it’s great that you’re giving him time. Every kid is different. There was at least two years difference in age between when my two kids could ride a two wheeler.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Nancy! Simon has seemed to progress more slowly than Nora in almost everything (typical boy I think) so we just wait until he’s ready πŸ™‚
    Also, we DO have a balance bike and a 2-wheel scooter (both of which Simon can do easily) so I know he’s ready — HE just has to know he’s ready!

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  12. Rhonda

    07/08/2019

    I like that you jot down things you’ve done on your wall calendar. I do this in my personal planner. Even if it’s something not planned “ahead” of time, I write it in also, just in case I need to look back and remember. A couple years ago I write out a little sheet of paper for one of my girls at the end of the summer, with all the things we had done – it’s fun to look back.

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    Andrea Reply:

    yes, it’s been really helpful for remembering all the fun things we did! I love your idea of making a story out of it too. nora would LOVE that!

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  13. Chris

    07/08/2019

    Sounds like you had a really fun break! I’m glad you’re back though. πŸ™‚

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Chris — I’m glad to be back again!

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  14. Ashley

    07/08/2019

    I forgot to mention that unless you find a local bakery that makes a true sourdough then what you’re getting will be a bread that has sourness added with vinegar, so it won’t taste like your homemade bread anyway

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  15. Ashley

    07/08/2019

    Hey Andrea,
    I believe a longer ferment at a cooler temperature will give you a less sour taste than a shorter, warmer ferment for your bread. I use a recipe that calls for a 16 hour ferment in the fridge and it’s barely got a sourdough taste at all!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Ok this might be why. Our kitchen is VERY warm right now, so that probably makes the difference. I’ll try it in the fridge next time!

    And per your vinegar comment — I did know that, which is why I want to find authentic sourdough (probably not just the kind from the grocery store). I’ll keep looking!!! πŸ™‚

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  16. Marilyn Mulder

    07/08/2019

    I have been eating Stone House Bread San Francisco style Sourdough Bread it is from Meijer in the bakery area. I have only bought it at the Grandville Meijer. I have looked at the others but haven’t found it at either Hudsonville or Jenison. It is good and I am a picky eater so I say if I eat it it has to be good. lol

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    Andrea Reply:

    ok, I’ll take a look πŸ™‚

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  17. Trina

    07/08/2019

    I definitely missed you last week, but wanted to be respectful of your break. I read your black g in the morning with my coffee and really look forward to it and find inspiration. Thanks for catching us up, and I’m glad you got a break!

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    Andrea Reply:

    thanks Trina! Glad to be back!

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  18. Casey

    07/08/2019

    Welcome back! I loved reading about your week πŸ™‚

    I get my sourdough from Nantucket Baking https://nantucketbaking.com/ They are off of Lyon Street in GR. It’s an adorable little bakery, and their cookies are worth the trip alone. They have a lot of different sourdough varieties to choose from on their daily menu.

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    Andrea Reply:

    thanks — I’ve seen this bakery online.

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    Barb Reply:

    I agree. Nantucket has great sourdough!

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    Andrea Reply:

    thanks, i’ll need to check it out soon!

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  19. Ann

    07/08/2019

    Welcome back.
    In the Spring, I wasn’t sure our granddaughter was ever going to master a 2 wheeler. And now she is riding! Instead of taking training wheels on and off, take off the pedals and chain. He will get the feel of riding very quickly I bet by scooting and gliding with his feet. After taking my granddaughter on some “longer” (several city blocks) rides, she got the feel and when we put the pedals back on, she took off riding without a hitch! It isn’t as quick or easy to remove and replace the pedals and chain as training wheels but I bet you only have to do it once!

    I don’t know about bakeries on your end of town but Van’s bakery on Fulton and both Wealthy street and Hall street bakeries should have some good sourdough bread or rolls. And after paying bakery prices, you will be glad you make your own!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Ann,
    We do have a balance bike that Simon AND James both ride ALLLLL the time — however, it’s a lot different than actually pedaling and real bike. So yes, the balance bike was a big help, but not a perfect solution — at least not in our case!

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  20. Mrs. W

    07/08/2019

    Thank you so much for letting us know about the Kindle Unlimited free trial! My daughters will be so excited. Glad your family had a nice week!

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    Andrea Reply:

    you’re welcome — glad your family will be able to utilize this freebie!!

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