Monday, June 27, 2011


We have our SUMMER BUCKET (TO DO) LIST all done and it is going well so far. If you'd like to see the list of 42 things we are going to try and do this summer see this post.

So I knew what "fun" things we were going to do but I didn't know how I was going to organize the "less fun" necessary things we needed to do like, cleaning, practicing our instruments, reading, journaling, etc.

I saw this post from Somewhat Simple and it inspired me. I borrowed heavily from their list and tweaked it a little for my family. Their list is a little more fun oriented than mine, but since I had the fun stuff listed already, I was looking for structure. My favorite part of my list is NO TECH TUESDAYS, where we will shun our DS's, iphones, ipods and VCR/TV for an entire day. (I just realized that this means for me, the computer should be off limits too, whimper., this isn't going to be easy)!

Happy Summer Structure!


Friday, June 24, 2011



90 CRUNCHES (we do reverse crunches)
70 LEG LIFTS (we vary these, sometimes to the side, sometimes to the back)
50 CRUNCHES (I do 10 regular sit-ups and then bicycle my legs 50X to work my waist)
40 SQUATS (no cheating, get low)
10 MINUTES RUNNING (we either crank the music and dance for 10 minutes or speed clean for 10 minutes depending on the debris level)

Welcome back to another FITNESS FRIDAY!! Now that the kids are home for the summer, my gym workouts are a little more sparse than usual. I have been seeing a lot of the 100 workout, shown above, on the blogs lately, so my 10 and 12 year old daughters decided to try it out with me. My daughters are trying to supplement their swim workouts so that they can make some goals they set for themselves in summer swim team this year. For me, it is a nice supplement to the two times a week I get to Zumba.

We started last week. Doing this workout one time through each day. I have noticed my legs are much more toned already! Yay! The great thing about it is that it really doesn't take much time, give it a try!

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I usually just add my "sign for the week" over on the sidebar to the left, but I saw this and I ADORE it, so I had to give it it's own post. Isn't it awesome? It originates from an ETSY shop where you can buy this for yourself in vinyl. The link is here. I am not affiliated with that seller, just thought this was very cute.

So, how is your summer going? I know for some of you, it has just started. As for me, all my good intentions of having summer activities at the ready has mostly worked, though there still have been a few days in which my children lay comatose on the couch staring mindlessly at DS's and IPhone games. Sigh. Though to be fair, since they do summer swim team five days a week, even their laziest days involve a minimum of one hour of swimming. Even my youngest gets one hour on the playground, or doing some learning games with me while we wait. So at least they get some exercise.

We have stayed on task a little better this week. Today they helped clean-up without too much whining and even did some extra chores that weren't on the list, I guess they were on a roll. Then we did a weaving craft which they all really enjoyed. You can see it on our summer fun list, here. It is much easier to get them to help clean when they know we get to do something fun afterward.

I have given them a little break this last week, being their first full week out of school and all, but next week we will start working on some structure. I am thinking of instituting a "NO TECH TUESDAY" a "15 MINUTE MONDAY" in which we spend 15 minutes in each room of the house, cleaning, organizing or beautifying, and maybe a "THINKING THURSDAY" where we do something using a little brain power. We'll see.

I will post what I come up with.

How is the start of summer at your house?

Monday, June 20, 2011


More fine motor skills development. Last week we worked on pouring. This week we will develop these important muscles by using tongs. My daughter (almost 2) is all about strawberries lately. That is what I absolutely LOVE about this age. It is so easy to let her interests lead our learning. The whole world is new and unknown to her and I get to be the one to help her explore it. So, we have gone strawberry picking, made polka-dot-strawberry shakes (way yum) see this post for recipe, planted strawberry plants in our garden, read books about strawberries and have drawn pictures of strawberries, phew.

For a fine motor strawberry activity, I put some red "fuzzy puff balls" into one of those plastic strawberry containers from the store. I then placed the container on a tray, with an empty bowl and a pair of tongs. The tray serves to define her workspace. The tongs I have are somewhat large but she was able to make them work. Eventually I'll find a smaller pair but I'm glad I didn't put off this activity because I didn't have all the "perfect" materials, she wasn't bothered.

First, I showed her how I used the tongs to pick up each puff ball "strawberry" in turn and put it into the bowl. I picked up every single one, emptied the bowl back into the container and handed her the tongs. She jumped right in and she LOVED it!! She enjoys this activity so much that I have used this as a grab and go activity by putting everything in a tote bag, and she works on it during her older siblings swim practice.

Friday, June 17, 2011


Note: A few links are not currently working, I don't know if this is a Blogger problem or mine. They were working a day ago. I am working on this problem. The links to the websites do work and they take you to the post of the project listed.

I have completed our list of fun things we are going to try and get done this summer. This really didn't photograph well, looks much better in person. I have a description on how I made this here. I love that the list is right in the kitchen where we can see it often and stay on task. We wrote our list right onto the glass with a Sharpie (it will come off later with glass cleaner). I might turn this frame into a weekly MENU in the fall.

I have purchased most of the necessary "stuff" for the crafts so they are bagged by activity and ready to go, finally.

No promises that I won't add to the list, but this is what we have so far:


2. Sign up for the LIBRARY READING PROGRAM - maybe create a fun book reading nook, fort or teepee, like the one seen HERE, from TATERTOTS and JELLO, just for reading, complete with bookmarks, reading log, comfy pillows and treats!
3. SCRAPBOOK DAY - bring out the scrapbook supplies, put on some music, set up a clean, well lit place to work, promise a yummy lunch break and get to work making memories while documenting memories.
4. Go BERRY PICKING Google "pick-your-own" crops for your area. Freeze what you can't eat for later.

5. Make STRAWBERRY POLKA-DOT SHAKES (shown above) directions here, from the SWEET PAUL blog.
6. Assemble "MAKE AHEAD FROZEN SMOOTHIES" yum. From THE TIDY NEST. See this post.
7. Have a PICNIC by a stream or river. Collect RIVER ROCKS.

8. Make some RIVER ROCK CRAFTS, from MY YELLOW SANDBOX. The DIY shown here.
9. 30 DAYS OF DRAWING - CHALLENGE. I bought a new sketch book and pencils for each child. Nothing inspires like fresh blank paper! Then, list 30 things they should draw over 30 days. Such as, a self-portrait, a favorite animal, a dream they had, something orange, their foot, a sibling, etc.
10. Visit a FACTORY, we have a potato chip factory nearby that offers tours and of course free samples.
12. Visit an ART MUSEUM
14. SEWING DAY - I have a looooong list of things I've been wanting to sew. Do you need inspiration? Check out THIS post of 100 THINGS TO DO WITH FAT QUARTERS
15. BREAK POOL RECORDS on summer swim team. This has been a goal for my kids a few summers now, this year they are about one second away....

16. Make an INSIDE FORT like the one above, which is from a British online store, but it looks like it wouldn't be too difficult to DIY. There are also many teepee tutorials out there, check out the A-FRAME tent seen above, here.
17. Make an OUTSIDE FORT, still need to research this one, I'm sure there are many ideas out there.

18. Make GIANT BUBBLES, shown here at Tater Tots And Jello.
19. SUMMER SLEEPOVER where my kids and a few friends take over the basement and guest room.
20. Visit the HARBOR.
21. FAMILY CONCERT, this was my kids idea, two play instruments, the other two will be outfitted with bongos, bells or egg shakers.
23. Neighborhood WATER BALLOON FIGHT. I'm thinking of putting a fun flyer with some water balloons (empty) in everyone's mailbox.
24. CAMP OUT, with some scary stories at the ready.
26. DINNER AT THE POOL!! This is one of my favorites, and will be done several times over the summer, yay!
27. Make I SPY BOOKS. Take pics of small groupings of your childs toys, pick out a few items for them to "spy" out of each grouping and take pics of those too. Assemble into books. I like to do a page of a grouping of family photos.
29. Make HOMEMADE ICE CREAM. The new ice cream makers are great!
31. MAKE A MOVIE, this was my kids idea, can't wait to see what the come up with!
32. BUILD A HOUSE OF CARDS my kids have never done that, oh, the electronic age...

33. Make SIDEWALK CHALK, great how-to HERE from Oh My Handmade.
34. Play TENNIS
35. Make QUIET BOOK PAGES for our soon-to-be two year old.

36. Make 3-D Stars, tutorial here, from ANEKATA

37. Make "HOT AIR BALLOON" see info here.

38. Make FELT GLOBE. I saw this several months ago at FROM CUP OF COCO and have been wanting to make this. I thought the kids would have fun helping me. Tutorial here.
39. Make a WEAVED NECKLACE or KEYCHAIN seen here.

40. COOKING DAY like home made poptarts, or the pudding pops pictured above, from Endless Summer. recipe here.

The Idea Room, seen here.

42. Make Wacky Sacks (play dough filled balloons) from Somewhat Simple, DIY here.

Thanks for visiting and

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Thursday, June 16, 2011


We FINALLY completed our Summer Bucket List. My twelve-year-old pointed out that it is more of a fun "to-do" list than a "bucket list" because everything on it is very do-able and the idea of a bucket list is that it is a "once-in-a-life-time" type of thing. Thank goodness I have her to help point these things out to me, ;-). She is still excited about the things on our "TO-DO" list though, and only slightly upset that watching the Northern Lights, or traveling to Stone Henge will have to wait another year (or three).

If you missed it, I've been discussing our summer To-Do lists in a couple posts, including some ideas others have come up with, read them here, here, here and here.

I made this list using a regular frame, inserted some scrapbook paper, used some lettering, some fabric and stickers for the "summer", and used Sharpie marker on the outside of the frame, right onto the glass to write our list. The Sharpie comes off easily with glass cleaner. I like that it is nice and visible and will be reminding us of our summer plans to keep us on track. I also like that it was so quick and easy to put together. Many of the activities I have all set and ready to go. The activities that require craft supplies, have been purchased and are waiting in labeled bags, which I think will up the fun and spontaneity value.

We have brainstormed as a family and the list is almost complete. I will post what we will be doing this summer, complete with links and how-to's soon.

Did you see this post about "FAMILY MONEY" over at TT&J? I am pondering that fun idea to keep some order and structure in the house over the summer.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


I have almost finished my "Summer Bucket List" framed check-list. I will post-it soon along with the specifics about the crafts and activities we have chosen to do this summer.
Meanwhile, I saw this list of 50 more crafts over at "The Long Thread" and thought I would share it here. We have added a few more crafts to our list, from this list, like the cool DIY HOT AIR BALLOON, shown below. This will be a ton of fun, and the kids can change what they put into the basket and see how that alters the way the balloon floats.

I hope you will find one of these 50 crafts worthy of your summer list!!



Years ago, when my oldest was 5, we lived in an awesome neighborhood filled with friends and fun! Those friends joined in on ritual known as "Summer Swim Team". They all grew up with this ritual but I thought the idea of getting up early for several Saturdays in the summer, sounded insane! Well, they finally talked me into giving it a try, and we have been one of those crazy swim team families ever since!!
There is no better way for your kids to learn how to swim than to be a part of a summer swim team. Last year, my 5 year old went from doggy paddling in the baby pool to diving in and doing freestyle and backstroke up and down the 50 meter pool. He was one of just a handful of five year old's that was allowed to use the slide and diving board, (you have to be able to swim a lap to do so) and it was great for his self-esteem.
Swim team is the one sport in which you are all together at the SAME EVENT at the SAME TIME. You are not playing tag from field to field to see your various kids in various games. We all sit together as a family, under our canopy and have a great time together enjoying each other and our swim team friends/family.

If you haven't given it a shot, please consider it, we are so glad that our friends talked us into it seven years ago!

Monday, June 13, 2011

POURING - Fine Motor Skill Development

THIS WEEK: Warm weather is a great opportunity to develop pouring skills. Pouring helps develop those fine motor muscles. Fine motor muscles will be very important when it comes time for your child to start writing. Many children, more common in boys, resist writing because they are simply not comfortable holding a pencil in their hand. Fatter pencils help, as does helping them develop these muscles by playing with small toys like Legos and marbles (supervised of course) and skills like POURING. It's nice to have a plastic liquid measuring cup, but any small plastic container that holds liquid will work. Head outside and put water in one container and demonstrate for your child how you pour it into the other cup, and back again. Pouring sand or uncooked rice or beans works too. Be sure not to get frustrated with any spills, but do invite your child to help clean up when you are all through. Note: I keep forgetting that my almost 2 year old is left-handed. I am right handed and keep setting things up for her as if she were right handed, duh. She did okay, but was much better at pouring when she switched it to the correct side for a lefty. :-)

Friday, June 10, 2011


Finally I have time for another FREEZER FRIDAY and it's a good one!! Is saw these over at THE TIDY NEST and I am soooo excited about these!! My kids love smoothies and I love how nutritious they can be. But, they can be a tad overwhelming to make quickly, and can be expensive with all fresh ingredients.

PLEASE head over to her tutorial HERE on how to make your own. It is more than just putting some fruit in a bag in the freezer, promise. It is genius, and I think my kids would even like to help me on this one. Now, we just need to go berry picking....

Thursday, June 9, 2011


I guess I am working on a theme again this week. I saw this at Tater Tots & Jello and thought it was another fun way to assemble a list of things for the family to do this summer. If you didn't have a cool lunch box like this one, I think this would be very cute in a simple beach bucket/sand pail. This post comes with the free printable's to make your own, check it out here.

I think I am almost ready with my families summer list of fun, now I just need to think of a way to make sure chores and other responsible things still happen over the lazy, dangerously unstructured days ahead. Any ideas?


My daughter wanted to have her friends over and decorate Field Day shirts for their Field Day at school. They actually call their day "Play Day". I offered to help them applique fabric onto them and use my Silhouette to give them a polished look. They decided to use the first letter of each of their names and spell "ARMS", they called themselves, "the TWISTERS" so wanted a "twister" logo. They picked out their fabric colors and fonts, and settled on a design. The fabric for the first letter of their name for their t-shirt was different from the others, and the font on their name was in bold.

I used my Silhouette SD to cut the fabric letters, which I had a hard time with. I think in the end I just did them by hand because I couldn't get the fabric to feed properly. Looking back, I think I was cutting too small of pieces of fabric and it wasn't laying on the rollers correctly.

To applique them by hand, I just printed the letters like I wanted them onto card stock paper. Cut the letters out using a craft knife, and used those letters as a template. I traced the letters onto fabric with fusible webbing ironed on to it. Cut out the letters, ironed them onto the shirt, and sewed around the edges. I made the little "twister" with the same method, though on that I layered several little pieces of fabric onto it and sewed it all together so that is was one big applique before sewing it onto the shirt.

I did use my Silhouette for the iron-on lettering, which really did look cool, and once I figured out how to use it, it was easy. I had been cutting down the heat transfer material to page-sized pieces, but later learned that it is better if you just feed your entire piece into the machine and cut off the bit you need after it is done cutting. I used black heat transfer material for the PLAY DAY part ant their names, and I used silver metallic heat transfer for the 2011. It is hard to see in the photos but the silver looked very cool.

The girls had fun decorating the backs of their shirts with puffy paint.

Anyway, the shirts were a big hit on field day and are still being worn, yay!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011


I LOVE today's giveaway at Tatertots and Jello! I have really gotten bored of the material that I can find in my local craft stores. TT & J is giving away $60 worth of Poppy Seed Fabrics, and they look great!!

Go see for yourself here.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

High Chair Drop Cloth DIY

I saw this today over at JUST ANOTHER DAY IN PARADISE and had to share it here even though I think I am finally beyond this stage. Isn't it frustrating when you find the absolute perfect solution to a problem about 3 months too late? A few months ago when my youngest was making huge food messes under her chair I couldn't find a floor cover that I liked that wasn't way over-priced. This is great because, since it is a DIY you can personalize the colors to match your style and living space. Perfect!

The drop cloth is made using a simple vinyl tablecloth. You can find these table cloths all over the place this time of year so I thought I would post it just in case someone else can make use of it. Find the tutorial here.

Good luck!

Monday, June 6, 2011


Craft Camp DAY 1

I know many of us are desperately trying to make some lists of things to keep our kids happy and busy this summer. See this previous post for a tutorial on how to make a cute Summer TO-DO list to display and check off as you go.
Today I noticed a great post over at Skip To My Lou for 3o days of craft ideas. I will definitely be adding some of these to our Summer To-Do List. I like that they are all listed out so that we can collect all the necessary supplies and be ready to roll when summer malaise sets in.
Check them out here!


Make a "sequencing" busy bag for your child. There are many resources on the internet with stories, or events laid out in cards for your child to put into the correct order. Depending on the age of your child, you may want to put several different "stories" in one bag. My favorites are those that are based on my childrens favorite books. I include the book in the bag as well. Or, if your child is age 2 or less, you may want to teach this concept by "big, bigger, biggest" with putting objects or pictures in order by size. You may want to use a picture of their favorite story book character, animal, etc. and just use your computer to copy the image in different sizes to be put in order from smallest to biggest. Once you have your cards, place them in a bag and you have a grab and go learning activity to keep your child busy. One of my favorite resources for sequencing stories is from

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Are you ready for summer?? I am so not ready. I can't believe how fast this year has gone. I blame the Kindergartener. The Kindergarten class has fun activities all year that keeps us parents very busy and the school year flies.

I know one thing, I DON'T want this summer turning into a couch full of slugs playing video games and watching videos. Summer swim team keeps us pretty busy at the beginning of the summer, but if I'm not careful late July and August gets way too lazy. I need to have some ideas ready to keep us going.

I have started a list of about 25 things I want to try and do this summer. I think we will have a family night and brainstorm for at least 25 more ideas as a family. Then, I think I will put it all up on the wall as a giant checklist. I like this one (shown above) that eighteen25 did. Check out their tutorial here. The tutorial includes the free printables! You simply use a frame, and use permanent marker on the glass (it comes off later with Windex). I love it, though I think mine will be a little more plain, or it won't get finished, ahh, time, my biggest enemy.

I also want to come up with an inexpensive, easy snack bin. Here are two sample ideas from Real Simple. I'll have to tweak it a bit for my kids but I like this idea a lot.

Once I get it all done I will post it here. Good luck getting your list together. What other things do you do to prepare for summer?