Sweet and “Cool” Summer A, B, C’s…Inexpensive, Fun and “In Real Life”

Summertime ~ Chasing Fireflies. Photo by Andrew Sullivan via Flickr. All rights reserved by photographer.
by Joey Rodman
I don’t know if you’ve noticed but we’re smack dab in the middle of an Oklahoma summer, complete with blistering heat and a dry spell that’s threatening life as we know it. Hey, at least it’s not humid right? Summer in Oklahoma can be a tough pill to swallow. For those of you who are barely holding on until fall, here are a few activities that can maybe help you enjoy the summer while it’s here. Get your friends and family together and try these out!
A. Home-made Ice cream.
What you need:
Rock salt
Quart sized sandwich bags
Gallon sized freezer bags
  1. Fill a gallon sized bag for each person about halfway with ice and rock salt, seal them up and put them somewhere cold.(like the freezer if you’re indoors or the ice chest if you’re outside)
  2. For each person put 1/2 cup of milk, 1 1/2 teaspoons of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla in a quart size bag and seal it.
  3. Put the little bag into the big bag, make sure both are sealed well.
  4. Shake it up! It takes about 10 minutes for your “ice cream” to get to a consistency similar to soft serve. You can eat it right out of the bag. Make sure you shake it and mix it well or you’ll get pockets of sugar that are gritty.
B. Catching fireflies.
What you need:
A jar with a lid
A glow stick or flashlight
  1. Clean a jar. My favorites are Ball Quart sized jars, but you can use any jar….mayonnaise jars are also nice.
  2. Poke very small holes in the lid. Grown-ups should do this carefully. Don’t make the holes too big or your little friends will escape early!
  3. Scout out a place beforehand. You’ll want to arrive around dusk. Fireflies are easiest to catch in the hour after sunset. If you don’t see a lot in your backyard you may need to go somewhere else like a park.
  4. Embark on your adventure with your glow stick and jar. Try not to produce too much ambient light or you won’t see the little guys. When you find one scoop him up with the jar using your left hand and put the lid on quickly with your right hand before he can get out.
  5. Catch as many as you can, take a picture. Let them back out before too long, it’s not nice to keep them cooped up forever.

On July 3rd Martin Nature Park is hosting Firefly Fun. Registration is required, you can register by calling 405-755-0676 Meet up, catch fireflies, let them all out at once. The experience is worth the $2 fee! More information available at: http://www.okc.gov/parks/martin_park/index.html

C. Star-gazing.

What you need:
A blanket
A sense of wonder
There’s nothing quite as beautiful as an Oklahoma summer sky. On a clear night away from the city lights you can see thousands of stars. Get as far out of the city as possible, bring a blanket, lay down and watch the show.
If you want to know what exactly it is you’re looking at, join the Oklahoma City Astronomy Club for their Novice Session on July 8th at 6:45. They’ll teach you a few things about the sky and answer more questions than you’ve ever thought to ask. You can visit their website and learn about becoming a member here: http://www.okcastroclub.com/