Sunday, July 14, 2013

Our Summer of Fun :: Week One!

I promised to share our summer plans awhile back and have just been so busy DOING them I forgot to share :)

Last summer was a rough year. I don't know why. Maybe because we had a longer summer vacation last year? Maybe because our oldest had gotten so used to being in school full time (he had just finished Kindergarten)? The new neighborhood, fewer friends? I am telling you it was horrible. That's right folks, I love my children, but I was one happy gal to see them get on that bright shiny bus come fall. Therefore, I knew going into summer this year that I needed a plan of action. Nothing crazy, but enough to keep the kiddos entertained, and for me to keep what's left of my sanity. 

We typically do a summer bucket list. It's fun, but I almost feel like we put things on there that are 'givens' like "go to the pool" or "have ice cream". Regardless of our list I knew we would be doing things like that, so I wanted to try to do all those fun things I always pin but never actually get around to doing. I also wanted to try to incorporate a bit of learning as well.

I was inspired by this schedule I pinned a few weeks back, so I created our own making sure each day had a bit of fun and a bit of learning. Also, by making my own I was able to really narrow down some of the things the kids need to work on (for instance, our 3 year old still needs help with his colors, so I have a day devoted to that). I had it printed and it now hangs in our hall:

Words in parenthesis are the learning activities.

 This is just a loose schedule. If the kids choose to ditch my fun activity for the day to play with their friends, that is fine. It's summer and I think things should be laid back and fun. 

On the back of this page I wrote a few of the ideas to do on each day, since as soon as Make-Something-Monday comes along, my mind suddenly reaches a huge blank. This also helps me plan out the weeks better. 

To aid in this I also printed up a few pages with just the images from some of the pins that I hope to do. Since I am a visual person, this works best to keep me interested and inspired. 

Although Wednesday is the only day it specifically lists a water day, trust me, most days are a water day. Early in the year we purchased our season passes to our pool, water spray park, and beach. (I am telling you after last year, I did not mess around!). One of my biggest goals this summer was to work on the kid's swimming. Already from the start of summer to now I see such a huge difference. 

Along with the daily activities, we also have weekly ones. 

I loved this idea of a summer service list and having activities for the kids to do for others. This is huge for us and something I plan to continue well past summer. I made a small list of ideas, but we are certainly not limited to these ideas. For example, for the first week our selfless deed was buying balloons for one of their friends who had broken his wrist. 

The second thing I did was start a Lego Club with some of the other local moms. Although we have a great parks dept here that usually offers programs like this, I knew that this was something that I could easily do for FREE. Each week the kids are given an assignment like "build a mode of transportation". At the next meeting they bring in their projects, talk a bit about it and show it off. Then it's free play with Legos and a snack at the end. 

Since one of my passions is art, I decided to do a small art class for the kids. I will be honest. We have not done one yet. This past week I stumbled across this pin about holding an art week, and now I am thinking about just doing that :) 

Not on the list is a little cooking class Jason is doing for the kids. Again, this is a program offered through our parks dept., but why NOT do it at home? Sometimes I think we see all these fancy classes we can put our kids in that we miss out on doing the teaching ourselves. Also, this gives us the chance to start teaching them some of the basics like cracking eggs and cutting fruit (done with a plastic knife for those of you worried *cough* mom ;) ).

Finally, if you look at Saturday, you will see that it says to work on new interests. I had each of the kids choose something they wanted to learn how to do. For Jameson, he is learning how to braid to make bracelets, Cayden is learning how to tie her shoes, and Braden is working on pedaling his 'big boy' bike. I didn't really get around to this until week 2. 

Ready to see how our first week went?

Monday, we made these Popsicles out of Sierra Mist and Gummy Bears. Um, instant hit. 

I knew we were onto something when the kids told everyone and anyone they saw the next few days about it :)

Tuesday we took a wonderful little trip to the beach we lived near when we still lived in the city. I love the beaches in Chicago, especially the bike baths that run along them. 

Our first Wednesday was a bit of a dud. We have gotten a ton of rain here this summer. But, we worked on our sight words (for Boo, we worked on ABC's) instead: 

Jameson got a few birthday gifts that are quite perfect for Thinking Thursday, like this volcano set. 

We also went on a little hunt for the circles outside (tires, etc). 

On Fun days I like to surprise the kids with a little kit with that day's theme. It also lets me sleep in a little longer, ha!

I forgot to mention that as well as the pool passes, we had each kid pick out one activity to sign up for (Ballet, baseball camp, etc). The course are not long, but it's nice for them to each do their own thing for a bit. 

I hope to share some of the other weeks with you soon! We are a few weeks into this now, and honestly having a bit of a routine that the kids can plan and get excited about has been wonderful. Not to say they still don't drive me bonkers from time to time, but I have to admit that I am loving this summer so far!

Hope you summer is going wonderful too :)


Want to follow along on all our summer ideas? Follow my Summer Business board on Pinterest!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Beach Ball Pool Party Reveal! {New to the Shop}

I know I have been a little MIA lately, but I am thrilled to show you this cute party I styled for a client who requested a beach/pool party for her friend's son a few weeks back.

My client already purchased invitations when she contacted me, so although these weren't used for the party, I went ahead and created some for the shop:

Guests were served hot dogs off the grill and an assortment of sides, like Cheetos "beach balls" and Doritos "shark fins".

Bent straws taped to the side of cups turned an ordinary drink into a scuba mask and tube. 

We lined the hot dog plates with tissue paper and stamped parchment paper. This was such a fun, easy, and free (I already had the stamp) way to dress these up. 

The dessert bar was dressed up in the same bright fashion:

We made "Sea glass lollipops" by melting jolly ranchers in the oven and sticking lollipop sticks in them. I love the organic shape they all took on. 

Blue jello was given a punch of color with these cute "beach ball" candies I found at the dollar store. 

The cupcake wrappers were one of my favorite things in this party package - they look like little sand buckets complete with handle! We blended up graham crackers to create the 'sand' on top of the cupcakes. The shovels were piped using yellow candy melts using the same tutorial I used for the spider webs I created for Halloween. 

For added decoration we placed large vases filled with sand on the table. Placing a small sand castle mold in them added a fun and playful look without the mess :)

To really dress up the table and just make it more fun for the kids, I created these accessories to attach to regular paper plates. I love how this turned something inexpensive (the plates) into something custom. 

Outside guests were treated with fun games such as water balloon and water gun fights, a sand box, and a small pool. 

Outside, the guests were served "grown up" cocktails as well - champagne and popsicles! Such an easy (and yummy!) treat. 

We staged our favor table to match the dessert bar since they were close together. The backdrop was made using colorful tissue streamers twisted up. Such an inexpensive idea, but it totally adds that color that this party needed. 

Guest left with sand buckets, pool noodles, and lots of other goodies. We dressed up the noodles with some extra water bottle labels.

But, let's face it : the lollipops were the star of the show ;)

Simple bags filled with shark crackers (also found at the dollar store of all places!) were made a bit more colorful with small sand molds (found in the dollar isle of Joann's):

I have had this valentine idea pinned for almost two years now, and I thought it would make such a cute idea for the gift table: 

I had a blast styling this party. How could I not with all these bright colors?! It was definitely the perfect way to start the summer :)

This party package is now available in my shop!

Here is a rundown of where I found all the items: 

The sand buckets, shovels, and paper lantern lights were all purchased from Five Below
Pool noddles, Rainbow Lollipops, water guns, and misc. candy was purchased from the Dollar Tree.

Happy Monday, ladies! Hope your summer is going well :)