Last Days of Summer

Summer is ending.  There’s no getting around it.  There are only a few more days of August and then September is here.  That month brings with it colder weather, school, and all of the other things that mean that summer is over.  Eventually, we’ll need to get the big coats out again and we’ll be watching the weather for snow.  So for now, we’re enjoying the remaining moments of summer with the most quintessential of summertime activities.





(Once summer ends and school begins, our Doctor Who time will become much more limited so we’ve got to cram as much in as we can!)

What activities do you engage in as the summer winds down?

It’s Time To Meet The Muppets in My Muppets Show

my-muppet-showI’ve been a fan of the Muppets for a very long time.  When I was a kid, I used to love watching The Muppet Show on TV.  Then there were the many Muppet movies.  They always promised some hilarious, slightly out-of-control fun.  After that, I would regularly watch Muppet Babies and awed at how the Muppets – as little kids – would have amazing adventures.  (I just wish Muppet Babies was available on DVD or on Netflix.  My kids would love it.)  Recently, we all fell in love with the Muppets again with their movie and their YouTube shorts.

animalA week ago, B found out that there was a new game for Android phones: My Muppet Show.  (Apparently, it had been available for iOS for awhile but just made the Android leap.)  Within minutes, it was installed on B’s phone, JSL’s Galaxy Tab 2, my phone, a spare Android phone that NHL uses for gaming, and our iPad.  The boys and I were hooked instantly and soon the sounds of Muppet performances were echoing through our house.

The premise of the game is that Dr. Bunsen Honeydew has come up with a new invention – the Digitzer.  Using this, he can transport Muppets from the real world to the digital one.  You transport Muppets to your digital stage, but it isn’t glamorous to start with.  Instead, it’s run-down with garbage strewn everywhere and cramped, tiny dressing rooms.  Thankfully, though, it doesn’t stay that way.

digitizing-chickensAs your Muppets perform, they earn money.  Money can be used to remove trash, buy dressing room upgrades, and purchase various enhancements.  Some of these enhancements will make your Muppet performers happier.  And happier Muppets earn you more money.  Money can also be used to buy food which – when fed to your performers – allows your Muppets to increase their level which, in turn, means they earn even more money.  Along the way, your various actions (including completing tasks assigned to you by Scooter) gain you experience points which unlock more characters and enhancements.

stageYou can even become friends with other players and visit their stages to see what they have and how they arranged their performers/items.  You can get friends via Facebook, Twitter, or e-mail.  In a stroke of genius, you can also just enter a person’s friend code to add them as a friend.  (You become their friend as well automatically.)  This is so simple that NHL discovered this feature the second day he played it (before I found it) and he set it up so he and his brother were friends.

fozzie-and-rowlfThis game is very addictive.  I can’t stop playing it and love seeing all of my Muppet performers strutting their stuff.  I love watching the Digitizer slowly forming a new Muppet and hoping it is the one I was trying to get.  (Dr. Bunsen Honeydew’s inventions aren’t 100% reliable.)  By the way, my friend code is 777218FE.  If you get addicted to the game the way I and my boys have gotten, feel free to let me know and add me as a friend.  I’ll stop by your stage to see how your Muppet performers are doing.

Coincidentally, the teaser trailer for the Muppets’ next movie was just released yesterday.  This looks like it’s going to be tons of fun.  I can’t wait for spring 2014!

Boat Beach Day

We celebrated the Fourth of July by going to our family’s house near Saratoga Lake.  During the visit, we first took a ride on the boat:


After the boat ride, we were deciding whether to go to the pool or the beach.  B prefers pools over the beach, but I generally like the beach more.  The pool was too busy so the beach won out.  The boys and I had a great time splashing around in the huge waves and playing in the sand.


How did you spend your Fourth of July?

Sandy’s Halloween Trick

Wednesday is Halloween.  However, thanks to Hurricane Sandy, going Trick or Treating is the last thing on many people’s minds.  We knew that Wednesday was likely going to be a washout here.  Of course, if that’s Sandy’s only legacy by us, we’ll count ourselves lucky.

On Sunday, the sky was cloudy, but there was no rain.  It was a perfect time for the boys to a) be outside (something they won’t get to do for the next couple of days) and b) try out their costumes.

Boys In Costumes

JSL had decided he wanted to be Buzz Lightyear.  Unfortunately, all of the Buzz costumes were for little kids and didn’t fit him.  After Buzz, he couldn’t decide on Indiana Jones or Captain America.  In the end, Captain America prevailed.

Captain JSL America

The costume itself was purchased for Halloween, but the mask and shield were items JSL already owned.  (His mask fit better than the costume’s included mask.)

NHL chose Harry Potter, of course.  We’re in the middle of reading the books and he’s in love with the entire series.  When he needed glasses, back in March, he even picked a frame out because it looked like Harry’s.

NHL Potter

NHL loves casting spells with his wand, even if he wasn’t quite character-accurate with the magic he was doing.  Hint: Harry Potter does not tend to use Unforgiveable Curses like Cruciatus or Avada Kedavra.


The kids had a blast playing in their costumes.  We don’t know what the next few days will bring.  Hopefully, we’ll escape this hurricane with minimal damage.  At least the boys were able to have some fun before Sandy struck.

Kids At Play

Today is the first day of school.  This means that summer is over (unofficially, at least).  My kids once again need to worry about getting ready in the morning, homework, and other "fun" school-related chores.  Before the sun set on summer fun for the last time, though, we had one more fun moment.  We went to Aunt S’s house by the lake.  There, they enjoyed many fun activities with their cousins and other members of B’s family.

Mountain Climbing

Ok, this is just a steep hill and not a mountain.  Still, the boys had a blast climbing the mountain and running down it.  I, meanwhile, liked climbing it for the view it afforded me.


Boat Trip

What good is a house on the lake without a boat?  Though NHL opted out in favor of the pool (more on that later), JSL and I went out with Nana, Papa, Cousin A and Uncle M.  The trip began in an eventful manner with the engine dying.  We were just far enough from the dock to see it slowly drift away with no way to get back.  We did have a good view, though.

Luckily, Cousin A found a loose fuel injector line, fixed it, and we were good to go.  JSL loved driving the boat and watching Cousin A water skiing.

The boat ride ended with a bang.  Or rather a splash.  JSL was standing at the front with Papa when a big wave hit the boat soaking both of them.  (Sadly, my camera was pointed elsewhere at that moment, so I didn’t capture it.)  JSL was first upset by the sudden face full of water but he quickly decided that it was funny instead.


Pool Time Fun

As mentioned before, NHL opted to go in the pool.  As I understand it, he and Cousin S did some diving into the water.  The next day, JSL, NHL, B, and I went to the pool together.  B didn’t have her swimsuit, so the boys and I went into the water together.  JSL was apprehensive, especially once he felt the cold water, but he soon got in the pool spirit and was laughing along with NHL and me.


Sand and Surf

Our last visit was to the beach right near the pool.  There, NHL and JSL broke out some sand toys and had fun digging in the sand.  We also walked all the way out to the buoys that mark the end of the "safe to walk/swim" area.  Having grown up on Long Island, the beach brings back some great memories for me.  I still find it very relaxing to just sit chest-deep in the water and let the waves rock me back and forth.  I showed this to NHL and he agreed that it felt nice and calming.

Of course, calm isn’t as much fun and getting down and dirty in the sand.


Yes, school might be starting now.  Their freedom to do whatever they want will be curtailed as things they WANT to do take a backseat to things they HAVE to do.  Still, it’s nice that they had one last summer weekend milked for every ounce of fun it contained.

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