A Refreshing Summer Bucket List

It’s that time again!  Our local weather keeps teasing us with hot days that make it clear that summer is just around the corner!  I’m depending on my Summer Bucket List more than ever this year, as my children have reached a whole new level of fighting that I am certain will send me to the loony-bin if I don’t have a clear plan of attack.  That clear plan of attack comes in the form of my Refreshing Summer Bucket List. Continue reading


Chore Board for Kids

Huzzah!  Remember my last post?  How I said I had three items on my Task List that I had begun to ignore, as they had been on there for so long?  Well, guess what?  I did one of them this week!  I was so thrilled with finally accomplishing it that I’m sharing it as my First Friday Find!  A while ago, I saw this idea for a chore board for kids presented in different ways on Pinterest, and I finally got around to completing my version!

Chore Board for Kids

Let me start by saying, I hesitate to give my children money for chores.  Both my husband and I try to instill in our children that they are not entitled to any money by helping around the home.  We want our children to know that some things get done simply out of respect for their living area and things.  So, making any sort of system that created an allowance based on chores was a hard sell for us.  However, I can understand how they might like opportunities to make money.  That is why I created a chore board for them that includes tasks above and beyond the other chores that are expected of them as part of our family.  As their part in sharing the load in our home, my two eldest are responsible for doing the following without rewards: clearing the table, sweeping under the table, emptying the dishwasher, taking out the trash, cleaning up toys/books/clothes/crafts/etc, bringing laundry down, putting laundry away, and more.  As my boys grows older, their load of responsibilities will increase.  I may ask more or less of my children than most, I don’t know.  But, for now, this is working in our home.

With my daughters getting older though, their abilities to help around the home have increased.  As a result, our chore board for kids is FINALLY going to come to pass.  I have 8 clothespins on our chore board.  The current list of chores include: dusting upstairs ($.50), dusting downstairs ($.50), vacuuming upstairs ($1), vacuuming downstairs ($1), cleaning downstairs bathroom ($1), cleaning upstairs bathroom ($1), washing windows in our TV room ($1), and parent’s choice ($1).  I put cleaning specifications on the chore tags to avoid any shortcuts being taken.  I also noted that on “parent’s choice” it may involve more than one chore to earn $1.  This may not seem like much money, but, again, they have a responsibility to be a contributing part of our family first and foremost.

In an effort to keep some sort of order to this system, I have a few plans in mind.  First, they will need my approval of their work before they receive the money.  Second, I am going to ask that they write their name on the back of the paper so that I can keep track over a longer period of who is doing what in our home.  If it turns out that washing the windows is the coveted chore, I don’t want to find that one of my daughters is always snagging that chore first.  So, to be fair, they can’t do the same chore twice in a row.  Lastly, I plan to refill the money in the chart every two weeks.  This will slow down the rate at which they try to earn money and keep my husband and I from going broke.  I can see my second oldest dusting every single day, if it meant more money.  She actually enjoys that chore.

Chore Board for Kids WIP

As for the making of the chore board for kids, it was really quite simple.  I picked up a decorative piece of wood at Hobby Lobby and used some paint, clothespins, and tacky glue that I had from home and VOILA!  I wanted to come up with a catchy title at the top, as I still regretted not putting “Seeking Sole Mate” at the top of my Lost Socks craft.  So, while many other websites called their system “Work for Hire,” I settled on, “Earn more by doing a chore.”  I love how my eldest questioned where I got the line from, not believing that I was capable of such creativity.  I managed to paint the letters freehand with the printed version as my guide.  You can see by the picture that I had a change of heart during my creation from sizing down on WAY TOO big a font to switching out the word “make” for “earn.”

Chore Board for kids back

Once the craft itself was complete, I picked up Sawtooth Hangers from Hobby Lobby, snack size bags from Target, grabbed some small bills, and typed up the chores on card-stock paper for durability.  Once I finished it, I couldn’t wait to hang it in our laundry room/mudroom over their filing bin.  That hanging filing bin was another lifesaver in our home.  I was so sick of seeing the girls papers and random drawings on scrap papers, that I finally made them in charge of deciding what papers and drawings were worth keeping in their designated space.  That may sound heartless, but my second eldest is notorious for writing made-up song lyrics, menu items, directions for x-y-z, and more.  The clutter adds up fast.

2016-02-03 21.33.50

So, there you have it!  This month’s First Friday Find is a combination of finding a morsel of my mojo and sharing a crafty find I stumbled upon years ago, but only recently made a reality.  I know my kids are especially grateful that the chore board for kids is complete, and not just something I keep promising them will be implemented at an undetermined date.  Here’s to my hired help making my life a little easier.

50 Fabulous Summer Bucket List Items

For many, Memorial Day Weekend is the kick-off for Summer.  School does not get out until mid-June for my kiddos, but that’s not stopping us from getting a head start on some summer fun!  This weekend, we’re going on our first camping trip as a family.  So, I’m sure you can expect a camping related post in the near future.  In the meantime, I am so excited to share with you my 50 Fabulous Summer Bucket List Items to do with your kids!

2015 Summer Bucket List

My personal summer bucket list includes the following 50 items along with 20 more items that are specific to the region where I live.  I highly suggest that you take this list and add some of your favorite things to do locally.  Most of these were on my list last year, but I’ve added some new ones and removed the ones that were a bust.  This will be my third Summer using a bucket list and I can’t wait!  My Summers have never been better, since I let a bucket list guide my way.  My love of completing lists keeps me motivated to carry out all these items, and makes it a fantastic Summer for all of us!

  1. Find and Follow a YouTube Tutorial – The possibilities are endless.  I recently just used a YouTube tutorial to create a low-budget Cleopatra costume for my daughter’s Wax Museum Project at school.
  2. Take a Full Moon Walk (6/2, 7/1, 7/31, 8/29)
  3. Do a Day of Service – Last year we spent the morning serving at a church event, then we took cookies to a Fire Station, and homemade cards to a local Retirement Home.  We did this with some friends, which made it that much more fun.
  4. Celebrate a “National” Holiday – National Ice-Cream Day is on Sunday, July 19th, this year.  If you’d prefer National Watermelon Day, you can celebrate on Monday, August 3rd.  Don’t let me hold you back though, celebrate as many as you want by looking through Foodimentary’s National Food Holidays.
  5. Do Letter Boxing – What a fun activity this was to do last year!  I had never done it before.  We did it as a family with my BFF, who was visiting from Southern California.  If you’re not familiar with it, it’s like going on a treasure hunt.  I feel like the Letterboxing websitemay be able to describe it better than I can.  We completed two locations.  Not only was it fun to follow the clues to the Letterbox, but it was also nice to see the beautiful sites along the way!

    Letter Boxing
  6. Attend a County Fair
  7. Participate in a Reading Program – Last year we did the Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program.  Your local library likely has one available as well.
  8. Have a Water Balloon Fight
  9. Go on a Picnic
  10. Make a Popsicle Stick Puzzle

    Popsicle Stick Puzzle
    Popsicle Stick Puzzle
  11. Have a Family/Friends Game Night – I may have cheated and had our friends play Pictionary with us (#45 on this list) last Summer, so I could kill two birds with one stone.
  12. Host a Minute to Win It Night – My best suggestion is to hit up Pinterest to decide which games you want to do for this one.  We did a few different ones that involved plastic cups so that we could get the most out of the supplies we had available.  We also did two activities that used a tissue box.  One activity was to see who could empty a tissue box faster removing the tissues one-by-one.  Once we had an empty tissue box, we used it for the Junk in the Trunk game.  Some of my most hilarious video footage from the Summer was from this night with friends.
  13. Go Camping
  14. Go on a Bike Ride
  15. Wash the Car
  16. Stargaze
  17. Help in the Yard
  18. Have a Lemonade Stand
  19. Play Glow Stick Horseshoes – We played glow stick horseshoes while we waited for the fireworks to start last Fourth of July.  As I noted last year, I found this cool activity posted by one of Design Dazzle‘s contributors, Jamie from C.R.A.F.T., titled Summer Camp: Glow In The Dark Ring Toss
  20. Do Sidewalk Chalk Drawings
  21. Write and Illustrate a Story
  22. Host a Talent Show – Hands down my favorite Summer Bucket List Item.  I have done this for the past two years.  Every family that participates has to have at least one child and one adult perform in the talent show.  We use my friend’s sound system, and families bring their chairs, some treats to share, and their talent.  We hold it in our backyard and it is such a fun night!  You can learn more about this activity by checking out my post The Power of a Bucket List, which also includes my first Summer Bucket List.
  23. Complete a Jigsaw Puzzle
  24. Get a Manicure and Pedicure
  25. Visit the Coast
  26. Read a Book, Then Watch the Movie – As mentioned in last year’s Free Printable Ultimate Summer Bucket List post,  Andrea’s Notebook is perfect to make your search easier for the right book-movie.  We did Nim’s Island last year, which my kids love.  I’m thinking we’ll do Charlotte’s Web this year.
  27. Build an Indoor Fort
  28. Play a Board Game
  29. Make Play Dough – I have not done this before.  I’m going to try out a no-cook Play Dough recipe I found on Laughing Kids Learn.  This recipe calls for glycerin, which is also found in the Mega Bubbles recipe (#36 on this list).  I had no idea where I could buy glycerin last year.  I ended up finding it at Walmart in the First Aid aisle.
  30. Sleep Wherever You Want Night – A friend of mine does this in her home sometimes.  The kids get to pick where they sleep that night.  Sometimes her kids have chosen to sleep in the closet or in an empty bathtub (ouch).  Kids just love to try something different.
  31. Pick a Craft to Make and Make It! – I am not crafty, so I was happy that my Mother-in-law took this item on with my girls.  They made charms out of clay.  She purchased the kit at Barnes and Noble, but I found the same Make Clay Charms byKlutz for cheaper on Amazon.

    Clay Charms
    Clay Charms
  32. Eat a Snow Cone
  33. Have a BBQ with Friends
  34. Watch Fireworks on July 4th
  35. Attend a Farmer’s Market or Festival
  36. Play with Mega-Bubbles – This one was a blast!  An important thing to note is that the mixture needs to sit for at least one hour before use.  I didn’t see that until after the kids were already geared up to start making bubbles right away.  Take that time into consideration.  Also, the more bubbles you make, the easier the mixture gets to use.  Last year, I used a Homemade Giant Bubble Recipe I found on the website Happy Hooligans.

    Mega Bubbles
    Mega Bubbles
  37. Read a Book in the Shade of a Tree
  38. Play Balloon Ping Pong – All you need are spoons, a balloon, and a table.

    Balloon Ping Pong
    Balloon Ping Pong
  39. Make a Backyard Obstacle Course – MyBFF and I set up this course for my girls to do, but we took our own turn at it.  We each  did the course one at a time and timed each other to see who could get through it the fastest.

    Backyard Obstacle Course
    Backyard Obstacle Course
  40. Go on a Scavenger Hunt – My favorite scavenger hunt to do is one where you have each letter of the alphabet with a blank line following it.  This makes it a little more flexible, plus it helps the younger ones work on the letters of the alphabet.  For instance, we had spent a couple of days with a scavenger hunt list and we had yet to find something that started with an “O.”  We went to watch a movie and during the movie one of my kids spotted an octopus, which gave us our “O” item.  I thought this was a fun way to integrate our activities.  Last year, we did the same type of scavenger hunt on a road trip to help the drive go smoother.
  41. Do a Science Experiment – Last year, I did a couple of science experiments that didn’t prove as exciting as I had hoped.  We did the paper towel/food coloring/water experiment, but it took too long for my kids attention span.  I plan to pull from BuzzFeed’s 24 Kids’ Science Experiments That Adults Can Enjoy, Too for this year’s experiment.

    Science Experiment
    Science Experiment
  42. Write & Mail a Letter to Someone
  43. Play Hide and Go Seek
  44. Go on a Date with Daddy
  45. Play Charades or Pictionary – Pictionary seems to be a crowd favorite at any age.  The best part is that all you need is a Game Word Generator, a large paper pad, and a pen.
  46. Have a “Late-Over” Night – I’m a “No Sleepover Type Mom.”  This is the alternative that I give my kids.  All the fun of a sleepover, but the other kids head home around 10 PM.
  47. Have a Tea Party – I have a friend who has four daughters.  It’s an absolute blast to co-host this one with her every Summer.
  48. Play at a Water Splash Pad
  49. Go to $1 Movie at Regal Cinemas – The 2015 Summer Movie Express includes nine weeks of kids movies offered for $1/person.
  50. Kids Cook Dinner Night

There you have it, Folks!  Please feel free to download the free printable version list of my 50 Fabulous Summer Bucket List Items.  Preparing this post has me pumped up for this coming Summer.  It was fun to remember all the activities we’ve done since I started this tradition two Summers ago.  I can’t wait to see what the Summer of 2015 has in store for us!

Decor to Hide TV Cords

This is not my typical post, but I was too excited not to share!  As I’ve mentioned before, I am not crafty.  So when I attempt something crafty, I feel the need to share my success (or failure) with you fine readers.

This past Christmas, my BFF gave us a Roku 2 Streaming Player.  She’s pretty amazing like that.  If you’ve never heard of it, check out the link above.  It’s sweet!  Alas, it required some extra cords, as our TV does not have HDMI input.  With the Roku 2 cords adding to our already abundant amount of cords, it was turning in to a bit of an eye sore around our TV.  Because we are renting, we can’t start drilling holes and such, so I tried to come up with something to hide the cords.  The planter box proved to be my solution.

I realize that it’s not perfect, but it sure is prettier.
Everything I used to make the planter box came from Jo-Ann‘s.  In their wood aisle, they had a two-part wood crate and a crate with one section.  I bought them both and nailed them together to give it a planter box look.  I also bought the word “Family” from there and painted it with some paint I already had at home.  I used tacky glue to add the “Family” piece to the boxes.  I purchased the flowers, cut off the stems, and placed them in some Spanish moss.  Voila!
It was a fun and useful craft to do.  It cost me $45 to make, which is a bit steep for me.  I still feel like it was worth it though, as it turned out just as I hoped it would.
Each time I accomplish something that’s out of my comfort zone, I feel a little better about myself.  This website is all about beginning and improving upon yourself, so I guess this is one of my typical posts after all.  
Are you doing anything out of your comfort zone lately?
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Fall Craft: Leaf Mason Jars

Here in our neck of the woods, Fall is quickly becoming a thing of the past.  Winter greeted us with a significant snow storm that served as a reminder to get cracking on my Awesome Autumn Bucket List before I embrace the next season.  So, when I was walking the girls home from school, I told them to grab all the leaves they could find so that we could work on our Fall Craft, which was an item on our bucket list.  Sadly, we started this project too late in the season for it to be a complete success.  However, it still turned out pretty cute, so I thought I would share.

You may be asking yourself, “Hey, didn’t she say that she isn’t crafty?”  You are correct, I did say that.  But for some reason, if you put some sort of brush in my hand, it somehow seems easier for me to tackle.  This time it was a sponge brush to pull off the DIY Leaf Mason Jars that I found on Pinterest through the website Plan Provision.  It doesn’t provide much of a how-to on the site, but it does tell you what you’ll need.  The problem in our results was that I wasn’t aware that the leaves this late in the season would prove to be too crispy and therefore would not stick properly to the mason jars.  We had to cut up the leaves a bit to make them stick at all.  While I still think they turned out nice, I plan to do this project again next year earlier in the season for a more professional looking final product.

If you still have a bit off Fall hanging on where you live, you may want to give this project a go during your Thanksgiving break.  If, like us, winter is upon you, then keep this in mind for next year!  It really did add a beautiful effect to our dining room.  Even better, it left us one bucket list item closer to completing our goal of creating the most Awesome Autumn yet!

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First Friday Find: Lost Socks

You got it!  This month’s First Friday Find is about finding my lost socks.  And, hopefully, your lost socks too!

I am neither artistic nor crafty, so the fact that I did something like this is shocking.  I originally came across this idea while perusing the glorious world of Pinterest.  It was on a blog called Stories by Me and the woman was posting it as a mod podge project.  I did not complete this project doing mod podge, as that sounds too complicated for me.  I simply bought the wood piece, three satin acrylic paint colors, and clothespins from Michael’s to make the project pictured above.  I already had glue and a picture hook available at home.

Painting the wood was so much fun!  Why is painting so pleasant?  I don’t want to paint pictures.  I don’t want to paint walls.  But painting a simple item was somehow therapeutic.  It gave me the same satisfaction that coloring or putting together a puzzle often gives me.  Is it the mindless focus on a project that produces rapid results?  Who knows?  But it sure was enjoyable!

Putting the project to use was the best part!  I was actually excited to do my wash the day I hung it up to see what socks would find their “sole mates.”  Two of the socks found their match and I got oddly giddy.

May you find the same joy that I did in creating this super easy and fun project in an effort to get a handle on all of your rogue socks.

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