summer “school”: week 1


In addition to Theme Days this summer, we’ll be doing summer school with the kids.


Goal #1: Keep our daughter fresh on all she learned in kindergarten, and to work on alphabets, colors and numbers for our 3-year old son.


Goal #2: Have something for our kids to do that’s planned/organized. ūüôā ¬†I’m choosing Tuesday and Wednesday as school days. ¬†That gives us Monday off, and Thursday to prepare for Theme Day on Friday.


That’s at least 3 days a week where we have at least a 20-30 minute activity to do. ¬†We just finished day two of summer school and I am loving having a planned activity! ¬†Even if it’s just a few minutes, it’s a big deal to the kids, and after we finish, they are so happy to go play on their own and entertain themselves.


So, our schedule will be as follows:
Tuesdays – Our son will do alphabet/number puzzles or watch a Leap Frog video about letters and numbers. ¬†Our daughter will illustrate and write a short story each Tuesday. ¬†We’re planning to scan them all in and make a photo book online of her whole summer’s worth of stories!



Wednesdays – Creative learning day. ¬†Paints, shaving cream, chalk… something fun! ¬†Our daughter will work on math/numbers on Wednesdays, as well as have individual reading time.






That’s it! ¬†Just a short activity to keep the summer moving.

Anybody out there have good ideas on creative ways to teach kids over the summer, with a little hint of fun? ūüôā

kid summer theme days

50 days.

That’s about how many weekdays we need to fill this summer, with a 6-year old, 3-year old and a coming-soon newborn.

I’m looking forward to summer. ¬†It means no waking up at 6am to get ready for school. ¬†Maybe someday when ALL our kids are in school, I will understand the other moms who love school time, and don’t like summertime when all their kids are home bored, looking for something to do.

In any case, we do still have to fill the time… and not just fill it, but make it count. I tried last year, and only made it through 2 theme days, so we’re actually making a plan this year. ¬†I wanted to plan days that are fun, educational and yummy, so here you go! ¬†(Sorry, no pictures! ¬†Make your own!)

Summer Theme Days. ¬†One day per week, we will have a theme, and each theme will have some combination of the following: A craft, a snack, an activity and some type of media (related Disney movie, YouTube instructional video, a “How It’s Made” video, Mr. Rogers factory tour, etc.)

I’m going to plan theme days for Fridays, so I can prepare over the previous weekend and get supplies together during the early week. Also, I plan to do some specific days when it’s most convenient: ie – Plant Day (Picking berries at a farm is best during June-July…)

So, for all you moms who are looking for something to do with your (younger than 10 years old?) kids this summer, here is a list of what we will be attempting!

Bubble Day
Craft: Colored bubble paintings Рput food coloring in bubble mix (3-4 different bowls).  Put out large sheets of white paper and have the kids blow the bubbles directly onto the paper, forming colored rings when they pop!
Media: Search “bubble shapes” on YouTube and find some fun ones
Activity: Giant Bubbles!  (compliments of this blog)
Snack: Circle snacks – Ritz crackers, M&M’s, Chips Ahoy cookies, etc.

Art Day
Craft: Edible finger paints (Google search and find a recipe that contains the stuff you already have!)
Media: Mister Rogers video at the art museum, or this Pinterest board with all kinds of art videos
Activity: Paint on a canvas, hang kids’ art on the wall like a museum! (Hobby Lobby 40% coupon and you can get 2 canvases for pretty cheap)
Snack: Colored pudding on an artist palette paper plate

Bug Day
Craft: Accordion folded paper butterflies (paper squares folded, clothespin body, string to hang from the ceiling in their bedroom)
Media: Pixar’s A Bug’s Life, or YouTube video on how a butterfly is formed¬†
Activity: Catch bugs, put in a jar and build a habitat for them
Snack: Gummy worms in crushed Oreos

Dino Day
Craft: Dino Rocks (compliments of this blog)
Media: Bob the Builder’s Dino Dig or educational video on types of dinosaurs
Activity: Bury items in the sandbox/dirt.  Have kids excavate them with shovel and brush.
Freeze plastic dinosaurs in bowls of ice, put the ice blocks in a small wading pool and have kids excavate with shovels, warm water in squirt bottles, or by rubbing with their hands.
Dino Cards & Maps (compliments of this blog)
Snack: Google “dinosaur snack idea” and take your pick!

Bob the Builder Day
Craft: Coloring book pages from Bob the Builder website
Media: Bob the Builder cartoon
Activity: Building something with hammer and nails or screwdriver
Snack: Pretzel sticks with large marshmallows (use like Tinker Toys and build something)

Farm Day
Craft: Mix cornstarch, water and brown paint to create a mud pit for plastic animals. (pigs!)
Media: Mr. Rogers Cow video on how milk is produced
Activity: Feed the birds, collect eggs from chickens, visit some horses/ride
Snack: Animal crackers – stick them in blobs of peanut butter to make them stand up in the “mud”

Camping Day
Craft: Indoor camp fire – Using a flashlight or glowsticks for fire, put them under a pile of toilet paper tubes (logs) and tissue paper (red, orange and yellow) so that the light shines through the tissue paper.
Media: Educational video on stars and constellations
Activity: Create your own stars on the ceiling!  Use colanders with different size holes.  Shine a flashlight up through the colander onto the ceiling to see what shapes they make. Set up a tent if you have one and do them inside the tent.
Snack: S’mores: Marshmallows on toothpicks – hold them over your indoor campfire!

Water Day
Craft: Make a Water Blob or Sponge Bombs
Media: How to Swim video, Niagara Falls, Different phases of water (gas, liquid, ice)
Activity: Play in the sprinkler or pool, Water balloons, or use your Craft
Snack: Popsicles (buy or make your own – you may have to make your own the day before if you want to eat them this day)

Chef Day
Craft: Make a paper chef’s hat
Media: Ratatouille
Activity: Bake something fun
Snack: Whatever you baked!

Ocean Day
Craft: Cardboard Box Boat
Media: Finding Nemo
Activity: Magnet fishing poles Рfish from your box boat!
Snack: Goldfish crackers

Crayon Day
Craft: Wax paper Crayon Stained Glass Рsharpen crayons with a pencil sharpener, put the shavings onto a piece of wax paper.  Put another sheet of wax paper on top.  Iron with an iron until melted together.  Trim with construction paper and cut to the shape you want to make a stained glass window.
Media: Mr. Rogers – How Crayons are Made
Activity: Coloring pages, or draw pictures with crayons
Snack: Anything rainbow colored!

Plant Day
Craft: Crayon rubbings of leaves and flowers
Media: Google “kid video about plants” and take your pick!
Activity:¬†Pick flowers, Go to a farm and pick berries, Go to a farmer’s market
Snack: Garden fresh veggies Рcarrots, cucumbers, celery

There are tons more that I’ve thought of, so if we run out, I’ll post some more! ¬†Enjoy! ¬†How are you planning to keep your kids busy, entertained and educated this summer?

craft: crib mobile

So… third kid and we’ve never had a mobile over the bed. ¬†They’re not necessary, but they’re cute, and I figured it would give Little Guy something to look at (when he can actually focus that far away), and it gave me something to do while I wait for his arrival. ūüôā

These are so easy!  I did mine with wooden circles (because I had them), but you can also do them with paint swatch cards for cheaper and an even easier project.  It probably took me an hour or so, plus the hanging time.

I opted for the branch hanger (because it was FREE in the backyard) but you can use a wooden embroidery hoop if you want a cleaner look to it.

My easy steps:
Paint the wooden circles.
Drill two holes in each.

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Thread twine through the circles.  Tie a knot at the bottom and then tie to the branch.

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Figure out how far down you want it to hang over the crib (I made sure that 6-9 month sitter could not reach it from the bed and pull it down on themselves, AND that we wouldn’t bump into it while trying to put baby in the crib.)

That’s it! ¬†I used a tiny eye hook screwed into the ceiling to hold it up. ¬†For me, it was FREE! – I already had all the supplies in my craft station.



I think we’re ready for this Little Guy. ¬†Can’t wait to meet him!

recipe: banana pops

This should hardly even be called a recipe. ¬†It came home with my daughter in her school newsletter. ¬†One of the few that I would actually try, because it has 2 ingredients. (Well, 3 if you add the chocolate syrup. ūüôā¬†photo 1

Here’s what you need:
Bananas (half a banana for each person)
Vanilla Yogurt
Popsicle sticks
Wax paper or Foil

Instructions: (I love how simple this is…)
Cut banana in half. ¬†Stick popsicle stick in banana. Dip in vanilla yogurt. (careful pulling your banana pop out of the yogurt – it could slide off of the stick and break! *see photo below) ¬†Put on plate covered with foil or wax paper. Stick in freezer for 2+ hours. ¬†If you wanna get really crazy, put chocolate on them too. ¬†We couldn’t resist at least trying it! ¬†Maybe next time I’ll try chocolate and peanut butter banana pops?

photo 2

photo 3

photo 4

That’s it! ¬†Enjoy! ¬†We’ll be eating ours after dinner tonight. ¬†What kind of fun summer snacks are you planning to do with your kiddos?

craft: palette wood blanket rack

So, I had a leftover piece of palette from my palette wood hanging garden project, and I knew I wanted to make it into a blanket rack for the living room.


Finally did! ¬†A little time consuming, but so easy! ¬†The palette I had, had slats that were spaced out pretty well, so it made it great for this project – some palettes, the wood is too close together, so you’d have to take out every other one.


Basically, the work included sanding, sanding and more sanding to make sure there weren’t splinters or rough edges that could get caught in the fabric of the blankets! ¬†Then I stained it with some leftover water sealer stain I had, and sprayed with a matte finish clear coat to give it an even more smooth surface.


That’s it! ¬†Lean against the wall, hang blankets on it, and you’re done.

craft: bowtie & suspender onesie

Well, we have about 2 more months until Little Guy (baby #3) arrives. ¬†I’ve never been big on the “take-home” outfit when you bring a newborn home from the hospital because:
1) The shirts they give you at the hospital are free.
2) Fancy outfits usually don’t fit babies, cost too much and they only wear them once.
3) They have that funny belly button thing going on, which makes fancy clothes difficult.

However, Third-Child-Syndrome is in full swing, and this little guy is getting the short end of the stick in so many other ways, that I thought he deserved at least one cool thing. So far his “room” is a changing table in Big Brother’s room and he’ll probably live in a Pack ‘N’ Play for a while.

I came across some¬†blank white onesies that we never used with Big Brother, so I thought they needed to become Little Guy’s take-home outfit. ¬†I found this tutorial online and there are TONS of these on Etsy and Pinterest… selling for $20 a PIECE!

photo 2

photo 3


I’m not a professional seamstress, so my version is way simplified and not exact… partially because I’m not a perfectionist when it comes to sewing, and because I still know he will probably only fit in them once and then I’ll pass them on to someone else. ¬†I had the onesies already, and the ribbon, so my only cost was a 97 cent swatch of gray/black fabric and $2.50 for the snaps.



photo 5

But… they were fun to make! ¬†And they’ll be worth the 2 photos that we’ll get of him in them… before he spits up or poops on them. ¬†ūüôā

Ready for you to be here, Little Man!

craft: palette wood garden

It’s Spring! (finally)

Spring makes me want to be outside, and garden… and do crafts! ¬†There’s just something about warmer weather that makes me happy and motivated and inspired to do “stuff.”

I had some extra palette wood from a project at our daughter’s school. ¬†I had taken a full palette and just cut it in half with a circular saw, so I had a¬†piece left, and was wondering what to do with it.

Here’s what the leftover piece turned into: (Thanks, Matt, for not complaining too much about the pieces of unfinished craft that I have lying around the house everywhere. ¬†ūüôā


Plants, $4 at Walmart. ¬†Buckets, $1 a piece in the Target Dollar Aisle. ¬†(love that place) ¬†We have a huge yard to plant in, but with a new baby on the way, I figured I wouldn’t want the upkeep of the full garden this year, so I just settled for basil and some begonias.

My other idea was to use the palette as a towel or blanket hanger, which I still think would be great in a living room, playroom or bathroom. Maybe I’ll do that with the other palette. ¬†Stay tuned for that final product.


I love making stuff. ¬†ūüôā
Like my mom says, “It’s cheaper than therapy.”

learning to be and do

A few weeks back I had a day all to myself with no kids, so I treated myself to a trip to the local antique store. ¬†Is that a pregnancy craving… antique shopping? ¬†Cause I have that.

Anyway, I found this fun little wood-framed window screen. ¬†I didn’t know what he was for, but I needed to bring him home with me. ūüôā

In the meantime, I found myself thinking about all the things I want our kids to know (practical stuff) and be (character stuff) so I was wanting to make some type of visual for them to remember our behaviors and virtues.

Hello, little window screen.


I decided to focus on 4 practical tasks each month, and one character quality per month, that I’m taking from Galatians and the fruit of the Spirit list. ¬†With each “fruit,” I looked up a few words that describe it and put them as a definition (one that kids would understand).


On the crafty side, the screen is metal, so it was great for magnets. I covered the fronts of the magnets with fabric (glued) and made a little pocket that could hold the future cards.  The cards, I just printed on the computer and cut out.  Voila.

I’m hoping that this will encourage us to work on our character, as well as simplify our learning; we can still work on other behaviors, but we’ll be especially intentional to learn and work on these 4 practical skills, then move on to 4 more… and more independence!

What behaviors or skills would you include on a list for kids under the age of 10? ¬†Also, if you’re interested in a pdf download of the cards I made, let me know!

he knows me: craft weekend

My husband performs weddings for lots of former students, so beforehand we have the privilege of meeting with them for premarital counseling.¬†¬†At one session, he asked the groom-to-be, “What are her needs?”

The groom gave the deer-in-headlights look. “Like, she needs to be provided for?…”

My husband answered, “Every woman needs to be provided for. But what does¬†SHE¬†need? ¬†… Like, my wife NEEDS to be creative. She needs to makes things, or she’ll shrivel up.”

He knows me. 
That’s why the gift he gave me 2 weekends ago was so perfect.
At Mother’s Day, he gave me a card saying to reserve last weekend for something fun.

Over the next 3 months I started to wonder and put together a few pieces, but he kept it a surprise until the moment we were at the airport (going on a “romantic getaway”), when he checked me in and printed ONE boarding pass.

“Here you go. Have fun!¬†¬†You can probably tell from the ticket where you’re going. ”

I looked, and it was what I suspected, but didn’t dare dream.¬†¬†Wichita, Kansas. Craft Weekend at Meg Duerksen’s house.


If you don’t know what this is, you should follow her blog.¬†¬†She has five kids, is crafty, and is real. And to make it even better, you have be invited to one of her weekends – by placing your name on her email waiting list, and then being randomly chosen.

What makes it even better?¬†¬†My husband emailed her and put his name on the list… ¬†A YEAR and a HALF ago!
Mine has been on there just as long, but his name got picked!

Even better?
He knows me enough to know that I would have wanted to have a friend with me.¬†¬†So he sent her…


I sat in the Dallas airport by myself for over an hour wondering. Then she rounded the corner and we both said, “I’m so glad you’re here!” ¬†(She was afraid¬†¬†her husband was sending her to a weekend away by herself… ALL weekend.¬†¬†Her husband knows her, too.)

We chatted all through the airport, and even ran into one of Meg’s best friends there. “You’re not heading to the craft weekend are you?¬†¬†Meg is one of my best friends!”

When we got to Wichita, we had a 2 hour wait until the “craft van” would pick us up, so he had arranged for one of his students (who lives in Wichita) to pick us up and take us to a local coffee shop. ¬†(yes, I know. ¬†he’s awesome.) ¬†To my surprise and excitement, when we got back to the airport, the ladies who picked us up for Craft Weekend were familiar to me. ¬†I follow 2 blogs. ¬†Count ’em… 2. ¬†I decided I don’t have time for more than that. ¬†One is Meg’s, the other is Ashley’s.

Ashley and her sister picked us up at the airport! ¬†I was hoping… ūüôā

Arriving at Meg’s house was so strange, a place so familiar from her blog, and there we were standing on her porch, browsing her house, and sleeping in the (cute!) beds there. ¬†So weird, and fun, and a total blur.

I’ll let the pics speak for themselves. ¬†We walked inside the house and introduced ourselves to the other ladies there. ¬†We were greeted over and over with, “Ohhhhh, you’re the HUSBAND girls!”

You see, they all knew each other through emails, Instagrams and Facebook BEFORE they got there, but we didn’t know them. ¬†Our husbands had told them not to contact us, but they took the time to send in all our info so the other girls could get to know us. ¬†“The Husband Girls.” ¬†They were all swooning.


These were our beds for the weekend.  So fun.


Our first crafts were the famous ruffled aprons.



New friends!


Happy place.





Meg was such a sweet hostess.  She took care of us, and not only that, her kids had just started school (one moved to college!).  Try cramming all that into one week!


These girls came and picked us up at the airport. ¬†Ashley’s blog (on the right) is the only other one I follow, and I LOVED getting to know her and about her family. ¬†She has such a sweet heart, and it was fun watching her interact with her sister there too. ¬†What a duo!


We left the weekend, boarded the plane and commented to each other, “What just happened? ¬†Was that real?”

As we were leaving and loading up in the van to go to the airport, the other ladies told us again, “Tell your husbands we think they are rock stars.”

Yes ladies, we know.

good ol’ fashioned puppet show

When I was a kid, my best friend and I loved to tell stories.
We’d spend all afternoon setting up our toys to play, and we’d never actually get to play because our moms would tell us it was time to go home.

One evening, when my best friend was spending the week at our house, we decided to put on a puppet show with my little brother.  I think we were 9-10 years old and he was 5 or 6.


We hung two sheets over the accordion doors of my closet, made a backdrop from paper that we colored with crayons, and crammed 3 of us in that tiny closet to perform a puppet show for my parents. ¬†I don’t recall the story that we told, but it involved a Cabbage Patch brand stuffed horse, a Mexican marionette and an Ernie puppet dressed to be the girlfriend.

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Our daughter is quite the storyteller too.  When she plays with her animals, she narrates.  As in:
“Then, the dog said to the horse, ‘Let’s go to the park,’ he said. ¬†Then the horse gasped and said, ‘The park! I love the park!,’ he said.” ¬† As if she’s reading a book to herself as she plays.

So naturally, when I saw¬†this idea¬†on CraftGawker from¬†this¬†Etsy shop, I had to make one. ¬†And little girl’s birthday was a few months away so that was the perfect excuse. ¬†Here’s what we ended up with! ¬†I made a few changes to the design… (maybe I’ll make a craft post on that with instructions.)



We gave it to her for her 5th birthday, and the stories have been flowing ever since. ¬†This morning’s story involved this guy… Yes, that is the same horse. ¬†20+ years later. ¬†(and I didn’t prompt her to bring him out for a photo shoot, I promise.)


My husband thinks it’s crazy that I’ve saved toys for this long. (it is)
I say it’s for stuff like this that I saved them… watching my daughter do a puppet show with the same animals I did.

Here’s to many more stories to be told!