Friday, June 28, 2013

Summer Fun Friday

How was your week?

We had lots of fun - maybe too much.  I'm exhausted!!  But in a good way.

Since this is the first post of the series I'm going to preface it a little bit.  There are a few things that we do almost every day that I'm not always going to write down.  We usually start our day with a bike ride right after breakfast.  It can be anywhere from 3 to 6 miles depending on the day.  That is our favorite way to get in our exercise.  Sometimes we toss it up with some roller blading or tae bo or something (watching a 6 yr old boy do tae bo is awesome!).

We also have some reading time every day.  Sometimes its morning, sometimes right after dinner.  Sometimes I throw it in whenever the kids stop being able to get along.  I kind of feel like its a necessary down time and it keeps their reading up while they are away from school!

So here is our week in a nutshell:

Friday and the Weekend
I'm just lumping that all together because it was all pretty much absorbed in one big activity. 
We spent last weekend camping with friends.  We braved the rain, and I'm so glad we did!  Once we got all set up it only rained on us for about an hour and a half of the whole 2 1/2 days we were there.
One of the big differences between mountain camping and midwest camping is the temperature.  There isn't anywhere (higher elevation) to go to get out of the heat here.  So Saturday afternoon we spent a few hours at the splash pad.   Which brings up another big difference.  The campground we went to is on a forest preserve smack in the middle of the Chicago suburbs.  The splash pad was just down the street!  Back home it would have been a good hour away.

Monday morning we were wading through all the camping aftermath - and it was pouring rain.  Art camp was cancelled, but we got lots done!  That afternoon my hubs took the girls on a daddy daughter date to Sky High Sports - an indoor trampoline fun center in our area.  They had an awesome groupon - we just couldn't resist!  And the girls had a blast!  While they were gone I put in some wii time with the boys and we made ice cream sundaes.

Tuesday we had to take my sister to the airport in the morning so we decided to stop by the zoo on the way home.  We decided that would be our 'membership' this year.  Last year was the children's museum.  I like to change it up each year - it seems like if we get the same membership multiple years in a row my kids get used to it and don't want to go there anymore.  A year at a time seems to work well.
Sometimes you just have to let them be.  That is where some of the best memories are made.  I know all the thoughts running through your head when your kid wants so badly to grab those special crayons and paint his very own animal face!  Just remember that soap was invented for a reason and their clothes can be washed and really, they will love every second of it.

On wednesdays I have piano lessons in the morning so my oldest 'babysits' for me.  They usually read and then get in a little movie time.  Wednesday is also park day!  As soon as my lessons are done we pack a quick lunch and head to the park that is scheduled for that week.  I have a friend that puts together the schedule at the beginning of the warmer season rotating to a different park each week, and everyone just passes it along to whomever might be interested.  It makes for lots of fun friends at the park - for kids and mom!  If you don't have something like that in your area - start one!  Chances are most of the moms you know would LOVE someone to hand them a schedule for playdates at all the fun parks in the area.

Before dinner we spent a little time painting toenails and my daughter made us all elastic hairband bracelets - then taught us how to make them!  I thought it was pretty creative, and I hardly ever use the colored bands anyway!
(I apologize for the awful quality pictures.  My camera was stolen last week so my phone is all I've got for the time being!)
You just make a chain of elastics.  Easy peasy.

Yesterday morning we started one of the girls chosen desserts for the week (then finished it up this morning).  It was called Tropical Island Dessert.
Haha!  It was a little bit of a fail.  The fish totally turned all white and squishy and the ring broke as we were taking it out of the pan.  My daughter was really upset at first but it was the perfect opportunity to teach her about how the fun was in the making, and it still tastes the same.  We had a good laugh about it and then stopped with one lime.

In the afternoon we went to a friends house and played in the water in their back yard.  There were probably 15 kids there ranging from 4 months to 10 yrs old and between the water, the swing set and the popsicles they were in heaven!

That evening we got together with friends for a BBQ and played a little kickball and frisbee.  It was a beautiful summer evening!

And that was our week in a nutshell.
What fun things did you do this week?  We'd love to hear about them!

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Girl's Camp Ideas

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I'm a Tent Mom this year to 7 cute Beehives. Since this is a 'Trek' year (a pioneer reenactment) the Beehives get their very own Girls Camp. And I am excited! Our theme is 'Bee Your Own Kind of Bee-U-tiful' and goes along with the scripture 1 Samuel 16:7. As a Tent Mom I get to help organize the campsite and create goodies to help the girls have the best time ever! I got a lot of my ideas from Pinterest, and some I created myself. Enjoy! 
Every day has a mini theme, and one of them is Princess Day!! So I decided each of my girls should be sporting a crown. :) Cute eh?
I found a bottle of Stiffy at Hobby Lobby and decided to do an experiment. Which works better:
Stiffy vs. Mod Podge?
I cut the lace in to seven equal parts, and sponged on the liquid...Stiffy was easier to work with, but it is very runny. And because of that Mod Podge dried faster, and the crowns held up better...less bendy.
Therefore, Mod Podge won in my book. 
I ended up using White Glitter instead of Gold. And I used another coat of Mod Podge to make those glitters stick!
I hot glued the crown onto plastic headbands, then bagged them up, and tied a little quote I found: 
front side
back side
Easy. :)
I found a great tutorial off of Pinterest for these headbands. My daughter and I are in love.
Go here for the tut.
I've made 15 today! Super easy.
In our stake, the girls get a Ward Bead for their boondoggle necklaces, it should have the year and go along with the theme in some way. 
I found these at Walmart for $2.
There were no instructions on how to use them, so make sure you peel off the protective covering on the glass before placing them in the metal charm piece.
First I found a cute ribbon that fit in the glass, and cut to size.
I found the square charms after I ordered these cute stickers on You can create whatever you want! My order was 20 stickers for $5. I think they turned out cute, so I was determined to make them work.
I cut them to size!
And used the part of the sticker with the most important information: the year.
Not too shabby. Each bead came out to be $1.20 each.
Each ward was given a color, flower and a theme. Our ward is the pink roses and our theme is from President Gordon B. Hinckley's Be's: Be Positive! Each ward has to make a flag for camp and here is ours. :)
I found a cute site here that had a great tutorial for Felt Roses.
My cute Beehives! I printed their pictures out on a Fabric Transfer sheet then ironed them on to some fabric, then I cut them out in circles for the center of the roses.
I'm still working on some more goodies! Yay for Girls Camp!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Summer with Kids

Have you ever wondered what in the world you are going to do with your children all summer?  As a mother you want the best for your kids.  You want them to have fun, you want them to keep busy, not to spend all of their time watching Nick Jr. or playing on the wii, xbox, DS, iPad etc etc.  We want them to still know how to read when they go back to school!  For many the thought of 2 more months of summer makes them want to curl up under the covers and hide.  The ideas across the blogoshpere are endless, but can also be a little overwhelming.  We have come up with a plan to help you out!

Friday Summer Fun!

This week we will be starting a series called "Friday Summer Fun!"  Every friday we will post some of the things we did the previous week.  This won't be a list of 50 craft ideas or 100 things to do with your kids.  It will be more like - Monday we did this, Tuesday was this outing or craft etc.  There will be fun recipes, there will be craft ideas and games. Its just a smaller bite - a little easier to manage.  And we hope it will be useful!

What spurred the idea?

I often hear "You are such a fun mom" or "How do you come up with all this stuff" or "I wish I was fun like that."  Here's a little secret.  You are!!  I had an eye opening weekend a few years ago and I realized that all it takes to be a fun mom is to have a plan.  Flexibility, of course, is always key.  But if you just take a little bit of time to plan,  you will be amazed at the results.  And its not that I'm a fun mom - I'm just a mom!  ANYONE can have a blast all summer with their kids!  I figure I'm planning it out anyway - I might as well share and help some of you get started.

So here's a little homework for you before Friday:

Print out a calendar and do a little research.

I am a very visual person so at the beginning of each summer I print out a calendar for each month.  Just a simple, Microsoft Word, boring little calendar that is 3 pages long.  June, July and August.  Then I take time to look through some of my resources.  Our public library puts on free events all through the summer.  We just went to a magic show last week - for free!  Our park district (out west it is usually the city parks and rec) does all kinds of workshops and free activities as well.  For instance, every monday they have a free art workshop at the park by my house.  I drop my girls off for 2 hours in the morning and they do crafts and play games.  Just long enough for me to make a quick trip to the grocery store with only 2 children!  Many of the surrounding cities and park districts do lots of fun things too.  Movies in the park, concerts on the riverwalk, nature workshops, etc.  Beyond the free activities there are lots of things that are only a dollar or two that are really fun as well.  Our local drive in has a killer deal on tuesdays, one of the other movie theaters is only $3 for the first daily showing of every movie - the new releases!  One of the pools is only $3 after 5pm.  Some local farms have some really fun things for the kids too.  Just do a little research.
They get to pick 2 desserts each week to make with me
Anyway - I look over things like that and write anything that sounds interesting down on the calendar.  Because, I know myself.  If it isn't written down it will never happen - because I'll never remember!  Once I get all of the "specific time" things down I start to make a quick plan for other things.  One morning a week we play at one of the local splash pads.  Wednesday mornings we check out new parks with friends.  Tuesday mornings we get new books at the library and turn in our summer reading program sheets for prizes.  We usually take one or two days a week to go somewhere a little bigger: one of the the zoos, the children's museum, downtown Chicago.  There is at least one day a week we hang around home all day - usually mondays.  I have to keep the house under control sometime!  That day I pick some sort of craft or activity (or 2) from the vast stockpile otherwise known as pinterest.

Its all on the calendar.  I sit down Sunday night and look over the week and see what is going on.  I add in any ideas I have and make note of a craft or two for that week so that I can pick up what I need at the store.  I can see that Wednesday at 1pm is the magic show at the community center - oh!  Well that morning we could go to the park, have a picnic lunch and then go to the show.  And even that much of a plan will get you through the day.  You'll find yourself having so much fun and the more you plan out ideas - the more ideas will spontaneously come to mind.  We are only 3 weeks in and already my kids are going to bed so happy and asking with a big grin "What are we going to do tomorrow mom?!"  I'll admit that sometimes I have to say "You know, I'm not sure - but it will be fun!"  And then I spend 20 minutes figuring it out before I go to bed.

So go start your research and we'll let you know what we did on Friday!

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Top Ten Budget Friendly Disney Gifts

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I have a few family members who love Disneyland...including me. Whenever a special occasion comes around, I love to shop for 'Disney Treasures'...something I know these family members of mine will love and treasure themselves. Since I live no where near Disneyland...I always head to the internet first. Some of the treasures on my list I have actually bought, some are for the future, and all are budget friendly.
1. Disneyland soundtrack of the actual rides in the Park
I purchased this for my Dad and he has enjoyed it, as have I. You can find this particular CD for sale on 
Below are some of the tracks found on the soundtrack...
Walt Disney's Dedication Of Disneyland
Yo Ho (A Pirate's Life For Me)
Splash Mountain Medley
Space Mountain
and more! There are 22 tracks.
We also listen to Pandora--there is a channel that is called Disney (Kids) Songs, and it will play many of the Disney Classics including some of these tracks.

2. Disney Air Fresheners
They smell like the real deal! And they look super cute hanging above your dashboard. :) Purchased the Mickey Ice Cream Bar for Mother's Day, and she loved it.
Again you can find these on

3. Disney iphone cases
These are kind of out of my budget, but they are so fun to look at! And maybe save up for...I found these two websites had the greatest selections:
Super cute!

4. Disneyland Fact and Trivia Books
I love to learn of the history of any National Landmark, and since Disneyland is our go-to Family Spot, it's fun to learn it's history too.
There are many to choose from, and many are affordable.
Search for them on
5. Disney Window Decals
I'm personally not a window sticker person, but whenever I see these on someone's back window, they make me smile.
So if I ever did buy one, it would be one of these. :)
6. Disney Tees
I love stocking up on Disney Tshirts before a Disneyland trip. The styles from Target and The Children's place have a subtle and vintage look that I love. And best of all they are affordable!
Whenever I come home with Disney Tees before a Disney vacation, it adds to the excitement. It would also be fun to get new shirts every morning before heading in to the park too!...if you could wait that long...I'm always bad with surprises...
7. Personalized Disney Water Bottle Labels
Found these cute labels on this cute Etsy site:
Super fun for parties! And even fun for a Disneyland Vacation!
Or if you want something more environmental friendly...
You can make something like this! I found this tutorial on this site here.
Love it!
8. Disney themed Wallets
Found these beauties on
 There were also purses to match...although more expensive.
9. Disney Themed Food!
Check this site out here for 30 Disney themed cupcakes...I'm already getting requests from my kids. :)
Would love cupcakes any day...
10. Disney Store Toys
I am always looking through this site here!
There are so many fun Disney toys here...just click the sale button for amazing deals.
There you have it, my top ten budget friendly Disney gifts!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Baby Girl Shower Ideas

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I recently got to throw a Baby Girl shower to my friend who has 3 boys. You bet we were excited to bring out the PINK!

We decided to serve brunch since the shower went from 10 to 12. 
Fruit Cake: made out of watermelon, whipped cream and more fruit as the toppings
Pink Drink: Raspberry Sherbet + 7up
We had a Bow Making station. We supplied the materials, the guests assembled them.
One of my favorite gifts that I saw: Shoes made out of felt!! Adorable!!!
There were three :)
First was the Icebreaker, or the game the guests picked up on arrival.
Feel free to use these to your hearts content.
The instructions are easy. The daughters names are listed, and the mothers names are in the box. Match em up! (If you need the answer key, email me and I will send it to you.)
After Brunch, we played 'Dad Knows Best'. The guests were to guess how many questions Megan would get right.
Megan would get a point for every question that matched Robbie's answer. She wasn't answering them according to her...she was answering them according to Robbie's answers. Make sense?
The guests could guess along with Megan.
*For some extra fun, I asked these questions to Robbie and recorded him while he answered. We watched the tape during the shower. :)
After presents, the guests played 'Parental Guidance'. I called the mother and the mother in law to get some fun stories about Megan and Robbie. The guests were to guess if it was a Megan story or a Robbie story. 
Below are the tags for the guest 'Thank Yous'. I filled the bags with Kettle Corn. Easy and Sweet.
Girls are so fun.