Summer 2020

Covid Summer Week 1: Lip balms and Candles

Lip balm sticks, handmade clay erasers, crayon candles…we did it all! I know what you might be thinking…there she goes again…with her overachieving little self bragging about what a creatively wonderful time she had with her kids! Wrong, my friend! Okay…so the overachieving part may have some element of truth in but it should be understood more in terms of (a) never learning a lesson, (b) never being able to understand that kids will ALWAYS be kids; and that (c) enthusiasm and interest should NEVER be misunderstood for ability! – More of these 3 points will be revealed through my Covid Summer posts. 

Having thus set up the context, let me tell you about the things we have been up to in the last three days of our summer vacation – I know I got a little ahead of myself and titled this “Week 1” when in fact, we’ve barely scraped through Day 3…sign of days to come, I have to admit, because, I am pretty much done for the week. I have kind of signed off on the overly ambitious inability-to-tell-enthusiasm-from-ability personality for now.

Monday – Day 1 of Covid Summer Vacation 2020

The last week of school was a bust in many ways because both J and I had lost our mojo for school work. Even though I made him do what needed to be done, I was beyond myself with a general sense of lets-be-done-with-it-already..ness! J, meanwhile, had already checked out a few weeks ago, and needed to be coerced and threatened to get his school work done. I use those words jokingly of course because bribing was what actually worked (M&Ms, favorite dessert, and extra TV time…). Inspite of myself, because even though I claim to be a cautious pessimist, I may be a closet optimist, I had high hopes for the weeks to come. Accordingly, I had excited the kids about making our very own homemade LIPBALM!! Go figure. Had I made this before? Of course not but since when is that a big deal in an age of YouTube and DIY divas everywhere you look!

All of last week, I had viewed a few dozen ‘make you own homemade lip balm’ videos and ordered things as they came up in the videos. By the time Monday rolled around, I was set to go. First, however, I wanted the kids to get a good sense of what to expect the rest of their “vacation”.

So, we went for a bike ride, henceforth to be called, “daily bike ride”. With J on his bike which he now rides with pride without training wheels and E in a stroller, we set out for a pleasant morning bike ride/stroller jog. We walked a beautiful trail with a total of 2.2 miles on us. J did great and was amazing in how he rode his bike, listened for my voice telling him to stop or wait for us as was needed, and just in general, being a standup kid!

The little one on the other hand, sat awesomely and lazily in the stroller wishing other walkers a good day and passing on plenty of hellos to everybody she encountered. She didn’t get much of an exercise but if she had, I wouldn’t have gotten any…given the difference in the pace between the two kids in biking (E still has her training wheels on). 

After we returned home, the kids did snacks and after some rest, without much of a complaint, J cooperatively sat down to work on Grade 1 activities. I bought a few first grade books for him recently so he doesn’t go through the dreaded summer slide and keeps up with his work and builds an ethic for hard work even as he plays and enjoys his summer. Something I have to note for posterity is that because the last few months of kindergarten were spent schooling at home, he is much more advanced academically than he would have otherwise been. Even as a kindergartner, I have taught him and he has been able to successfully grasp many advanced concepts. As a result, when I look at first grade books, I really feel like he could theoretically advance straight to second grade but only with regard to Math. He still has a lot to learn with language arts. 

Following academic work and lunch, I did a 2 hours of ‘Pick you activity’ or in other words, ‘Don’t-bother-Mommy’ time. They could switch activities every 30 minutes and pick whatever they wanted from 30 minutes of TV, 30 minutes of reading, 30 minutes of quiet time in your room, or 30 minutes of playing. This one was only partially successful. Regardless, at 3:00 p.m., we reconvened and got down to the business of lip balm making. Every way I look it, this first project on the first day of summer was a resounding success!! 

Look out for a blog post on how we made this: 

Homemade Lip by TheCraftyMama a.k.a. ThePhdMama and her kiddos
Homemade Lip by TheCraftyMama a.k.a. ThePhdMama and her kiddos

Tuesday – Day 2 of Covid Summer Vacation 2020 

We made handmade clay erasers. You buy a packet of eraser clay, create your design, bake it, and it’s ready. I have to say I was pretty darn impressed that this thing actually works! My experience with such things are usually that they are a boatload of crap. They are great when you see the box and it makes you think that you could do it too except that reality is way different from visual marketing/advertising enticing packaging. I wasn’t able to find the brand I used with the kids but here is a similar one from Amazon – OOLY, Creatibles DIY Erasers, Set of 12 (161-001)

Also on Tuesday, the kids helped me make meatballs from scratch. This was exciting for me and was a little skeptical of how everything would go but go it did and really, really well…

J meatball
E meatballs

 The images above merely show them chopping garlic and getting an onion prepped for dicing but they also helped put in the ingredients, mix them all together, and eventually they were also excited to get their hands into the meat and make balls. Of course, the “balls” were all kinds of shape but that was totally cool…we had a great dinner of homemade = kidmade meatballs with pasta and sauce. They were really excited for this and since having learned how to make egg omelettes, J picked up how to make coffee all by himself purely based on the power of observation. I am impressed and grateful now when I come downstairs in the morning and there is coffee waiting for me! I may be the world’s okayest mom but just for this one thing, I give myself a 100% on parenting!! 🙂 

Wednesday – Day 3 of Covid Summer 2020 

Today was a relatively slow day. We went to one of our gorgeous local parks and the kids had fun (for the most part) riding their bikes, walking the trails, noticing little things like the variety of flowers, bird baths, bird feeders, and so on. It was an overall fun walk/ride with the kids breaking to snack a couple times, then ride again…which is to say, I didn’t get much of an exercise but still, just getting outdoors before the sun makes it impossible to do so, was great!

The big plan for today was to make crayon candles. Just like with lip balm making, I had collected all the things we needed to make these candles and we were all set to get them made today. However, because a certain someone didn’t get his academic work done until 4:30, it was really late when we got going. By the time dinner time rolled around, we were losing our minds making candles. In the end, the kids and I ended up making one layer of one candle (FallLeaves/CampfirePumpkin Fragrance). Over the evening, I completed the rest of that candle and went on to make a couple more – a Chocolate fragrance and a Violet fragrance candle. So far, they look great. They need to be cured 48 hours before being lighted so I am looking forward to it. More on how we actually did it will follow in a few days. 

Crayon Candle Making
Crayon Candle Making
Crayon Candle Making


A former Communication Studies professor turned a somewhat reluctant stay-at-home-mom (SAHM), I blog about my adventures raising two multiracial kids. I write about parenting and living a multicultural Indian-Canadian-American HinJew life with honesty, a few tears, lots of laughter, and gallons of coffee.
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Follow me: @thephdmama

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