We got to spend nearly an entire weekend with a couple of mermaids. Did you know that nieces turn into mermaids when there's a pool to swim in? It's true! I spent so much time in the pool with them that I felt like a mermaid myself.
Our adventure started on Friday, when I picked them up at home and we began the long drive to our little farm. On the way, we stopped at Goodwill for a shopping extravaganza. They asked me how many things they could get, and I said we should just put everything we wanted in the cart and then see how much we had in the end. Oh boy, did we shop! First, we each picked out a purse, and then a wallet to match. Then we found cute pajamas and some fun t-shirts, which led us to fancy dresses to match the purses. Shoes, of course, to go with the dresses, and while I perused the kitchen items, they dove headfirst into a giant bin of toys and after much debate made their choices. Hours later, we left the store with a pile of treasures for about what it would cost to buy one pair of new shoes. Brandon laughed when my youngest niece walked in the house wearing a bright orange Dollywood hat and carrying a toy riffle. He said that wasn't what he expected!
After shopping our hearts out at goodwill, we made a trip to the grocery store to buy food for the weekend. Brandon and I are still on the elimination diet, so the girls were supportive and agreed to a no sugar weekend. We loaded up on fruit and broccoli, which they declared was a vegetable they would both eat. By the end of the weekend, Brandon said he had never eaten so much broccoli in three days! I tried to hard to make food they liked that was healthy, but I still think they had hot dogs for at least two meals. Hot dogs plus broccoli. Feeding kids is a challenge.
We spent a lot of time in the pool, of course, but we also gave the zip line a good workout, and picked some pretty flowers for bouquets. We made popcorn and watched the Dark Crystal, which is a Jim Henson movie from 1982. I remember the Dark Crystal from my childhood, and it was creepy. Turns out, it's way more creepy than I remembered! The Little Buck seemed to be the favorite farm animal this time, and they wanted reassurance that I wouldn't eat him someday. No promises.
They caught a monarch butterfly! It's the first one we've ever seen at our place, and it was exciting to find. The girls had fun running around the yard making swipes at butterflies with the butterfly net. When they would catch one, Brandon would help them put it inside this collapsible mesh insect viewing basket. Most were released after a few minutes, but we kept the monarch for a few hours so we could show it to Uncle Jamie. We tried to feed it a watermelon slice, but it wasn't interested.
I'm glad that all my effort to save the milkweed plants from the mower are starting to pay off.