5 Favorites

7 Quick Favorite-Takes Summer Kid & Family Activities 2

I’m going rogue and combining a “Favorites” post with a “7QT” post. If you have no idea what I’m talking about that’s probably a good thing. Ignore my blogging nerdiness and read on. And now it’s Saturday night so I’ve missed out on that link-up too. I just can’t get my blogging together these days!

Here are a few favorite simple and easy summer fun activities we’ve all enjoyed recently.

1. Gigantic Bubbles

Our friend and neighbor is doing “Summer School” activities with her kids and  I asked if maybe we could join their summer school fun. We got together last week for “Science Week”. The kids learned how to make bouncy balls and huge gigantic bubbles!

I had the kids measure the length of the bubbles and the longest measured one stretched just past 15 ft!

My friend saved a bunch of great ideas to her Pinterest “Summer School board” if you’re looking for inspiration.

2. Bubble Art

This is a fun and simple art project that combines kids’ favorites: bubbles, straws, and food coloring and/or paint. I had the kids do this in the garage while I worked on painting the door and bench for my Entry Way Bench project.

Before you think I made this up, I got this idea from a great book my genius mother-in-law gave me. 101 Kids Activities That are the Bestest Funnest Ever! by Holly Homer & Rachel Miller

It’s very easy, get some straws, a shallow dish, bubble juice and food coloring, and paper. The food coloring is the only part I might try to change to just regular washable paints next time since food coloring stains badly!

Pour the bubble juice into the dish and add the colors your kids want. Gather up a few straws together and keep them together with rubber bands. Dip the straws into the colored bubble juice and then blow through the straws over the paper.

Voila – Bubbles and Art!

Warning: Make sure your kids only blow OUT of the straws and not IN! 😉 You might just want to let your younger kids play with finger paint and blow the bubbles. I’m not an expert but I’m guessing colored bubble juice isn’t all that safe for mass consumption.

3. Exploding Pop

This was my husband’s idea that he knew about because, well he’s a boy.

All you need is Mentos and Diet Coke.

Get a cup of water and ask the kids what they think will happen when you put the mentos into the water.  (This is the “control” of the experiment in case you want to get all sciency about it.)

3 of our 4 said it would explode, 1 said it would dissolve.

Drop the mentos in the water and see who is right.

Then, ask what they think will happen when you drop the mentos in the Diet Coke.

4 of our 4 said it would explode.

Open up the unshaken bottle, drop the mentos in (or more than one) and see what happens!

We were all a little disappointed when it didn’t shoot up as high as we thought it would but it was still a neat experiment. I bought a small bottle of the Diet Coke because I’m cheap and didn’t want to waste a whole 2 L of pop just to see it explode. Though we don’t ever drink soda so I don’t know why I cared so much.

Next time, I’ll get the larger bottle and see if it makes the explosion more intense.

It could be fun to try this experiment and see which type of soda causes the greatest reaction with the mentos. That video also has a good explanation of how/why this physical reaction works.

4. Volcanoes

I also took my cue for this one from the same book as the Bubble Art.

This is very simple and the kids had a “blast” with it.

All you need is:

  • An empty plastic water bottle.
  • Baking Soda
  • Vinegar
  • Red Food Coloring (again, you might be able to use washable red paint to avoid the staining of food coloring. I’ll try this next time.)

Ask the younger kids to prepare a place in the dirt or a sandbox for the volcano.

Older kids stay in and help pour the baking soda into the bottle. We didn’t have too much this day so we only filled the bottle up about 1/4 full. I’d like to try it with more next time.

Add the red dye in, put the cap back on, and shake it all around….and do the hokey pokey, that’s what it’s all about, hey!

Sorry, I digress. Once the volcano is ready outside, have the kids put the prepared volcanic bottle in the volcano hole and cover it up so only the top is barely visible. Take the cap off, pour in the vinegar, and –


Ok, it wasn’t that big of an explosion but it was still pretty cool. The nice thing is we could do this activity again using either the same bottle or a different one. I might just have them make a few “volcanic bottles” to have ready so when my kids are “bored” and “have nothing to do”, they can go out and play explode some volcanoes in the back yard.

5.  Tape Measures

Here’s what you need: A tape measure for each child. These can be easily found at the Dollar Tree or any home improvement store.

What you do: Give them to your kids and tell them to go measure things around the house.

They’ll take it from there.

My boys have been going around the house measuring tables, couches, hallways, and of course comparing their heights to each other. I also had my boys and some of their friends lay down on the floor and make a human “totem” on the floor and then we measured how long they all were together.

Warning: I did have to remind the kids a few times that measure tape is a tool not a sword, a gun, or any other kind of weapon.

6. Cheetah and Antelopes

We discovered this gem of an outdoor “tag” game while reading about Cheetahs and Antelopes. My six-year-old son was so intrigued that he begged us to play every day for the past week until we finally played and it was a lot of fun. It’s a great way to get in a good workout too!

Here’s how you play:

It’s even more fun if, when you’re the antelopes, you pretend like you’re grazing in the grass when you suddenly look up and see a cheetah coming for you!

7. Late-Night Star and Planet Gazing and Fire-fly Catching

As many of you may know, my awesome husband has become quite the astro man and we love sharing interest and hobby with him when we can.

Since it’s summer and we don’t have to worry as much about the kids getting up early for a full day of school, it’s a little easier to let them stay up late every now and then so we can all enjoy some stargazing together.

This past Monday marked the Summer Soltice (First day of Summer) and June’s Full Moon, which unbeknownst to me at the time, is known as a Strawberrry Moon. This made June 20th, 2016 both the longest day of the year and the brightest on account of the bright full moon. This only happens once in a generation so I’m glad we got to see it! If I’d known, I would have bought strawberries for us to eat under the full moon. But then our neighbors might have thought we were wickens masquerading as Catholics by day. 😉

So we had the kids go to bed early before 8 (and I did too actually!) and then we all woke up around 10:30/11 again and laid a blanket out in our back yard. My husband brought out his telescope and we all took turns looking at the planets – which are visible during a full moon unlike most of the stars.

We spotted Jupiter, Mars, and Saturn in the night sky and then we each got a closer look at them through the scope.


The most impressive one to see in the scope is always Saturn. It’s so amazing to think that those bright dots in the sky we see are actually gigantic planets out there thousands and thousands of miles away from our world.

I thought the kids might be too tired to enjoy this, the 3 year-old basically slept on the blanket the whole time and my daughter curled up next to him but the other two boys, who always have high energy, were super charged and ran around chasing fireflies while not looking through the scope. Our poor neighbors.

Whew, well that’s all for now. What fun have your families been having this summer?

Six Summer Favorites 2

It looks like the Five Favorites Blog link-up has once again vanished into the black hole of the internet and is floating around somewhere who knows where. It’s like grade school all over again; I finally get my act together to join the cool kids circle and they mysteriously vanish as soon as I start walking over.

Oh well, I’ll share SIX favorites anyway.

1. Sunscreen AND Bug Spray in ONE!

Do you ever wish you could find a sunscreen and a bug repellent all in one bottle? Well, if you wish it you will get it. (If someone else thought of it already.)
Last year, thanks to Facebook friends recommendations, I found the Avon Sunscreen Bug Repellent product. I use the lotion as my body lotion in the morning and carry an extra one in the car and use the Pump Spray when we are out and about and need a quick spray before we an adventure outside or swimming.  It looks like they also sell an aerosol spray can too. I got ours at a local Avon retail shop but it looks like I over-paid compared to the great Amazon prices!

2. High Waist Active Shorts

I think I shared how excited I was to find high-waist athletic capri and high-waist long legging pants but I’ve been on the look-out for some high-waist athletic shorts now that it’s much much warmer outside and in the gym. (It’s more like exercising in a sauna! Which I guess is one way to “sweat off the pounds”.)

I was super excited when I discovered Target had again heard my telepathic request and produced these High-Waist Performance Shorts.  Again, I bought two sizes smaller than I usually wear so I can use these under my looser athletic shorts more like a splint to support my bulging diastisis recti so my insides don’t spill out while I’m jump-jacking and burpee-ing. (haha.) It holds my tummy in very well but they do cut into my legs so I can’t wear them for too long before my legs turn into tingly jello…or maybe that’s from all the burpees?

3. Drawstring Cargo Shorts

I realize using the words “high-waist” and “drawstring” in succession immediately screams “MOM SHORTS!” but well…I am a mom and I need shorts that fit my mom body. 😉

A couple years ago, I discovered the amazingly comfortable yet still flattering capri cargo pants like these. They’ve worked out so well for casual wear to hiking in the mountains. Again, because I’m a wuss for heat, I kept my eye out the shorts cousins to the capri pants. I had to go to Kohl’s to get a replacement strap for my son’s watch so I took a detour through the women’s section and – tada! – drawstring cargo shorts!

I picked out one of the “Loyal Blue” since I am obsessively loyal to blue and one “Paperbag” because, apparently, it may be taboo to wear a paperbag over your head but when it comes to shorts it’s all the rage!

4. Simple Summer Capsule Wardrobe Plan

I realize I’ve neglected to post a Summer Capsule Wardrobe plan – yes I’m still riding that bandwagon.  It’s not all that exciting in that it usually consists of either a t-shirt and shorts, either one of my two church dresses or skirts, my gym clothes or swimsuit – because who has time to dry off and change after swimming with 4 kids in a public pool? (Really, anyone?)

In lieu of a whole post showing off my lame and lazy Summer Capsule Wardrobe plan, I’ll beg your pardon with a few less-than-flattering-but-hopefully-entertaining pics of me trying to get fit my whole self into a selfie  to show off the whole outfit.

Can’t go wrong with a striped shirt, “Royal Blue” shorts, and my 90’s nostalgic “Keds”. (I get my stripe cues from the best in mom fashion.)

Is this thing working?

And of course, one can never go wrong with a solid black shirt and “Paperbag” shorts.

And the hiking/running shoes to make me look more athletic and less lazy.  I think I see a mountain lion in the distance.  Oh wait, that’s just a bush.

Me trying to figure out if I’m taking the picture of not. I was.

Ahh, here we go. It finally worked.

5. Prescription Goggles

Earlier this summer a friend of mine opened the door to the idea of using prescription goggles, so I bought some for me and absolutely love being able to swim and see! My son has bad eyesight too and so I decided to get special prescription goggles for kids  for him also and he was overjoyed.  “Now I can see under water and people far away in the pool!”

We’ve had some challenges with getting him to enjoy swimming and these have been a huge help in getting him to enjoy getting in the pool without the inconvenience of having swimming with a bunch of blurry people all around you.

6. Haley Stewart’s Spring 2016 Spotify Playlist

Just to throw in an odd number, I’ll share my current favorite Spotify playlist. It’s actually Haley Stewart’s – from Carrots for Michaelmas – that I somehow came across. It’s got some new music I hadn’t heard before that just speaks to where I am right now and soothes my soul. I put it on in the car – when the kids are driving me bonkers – or in the kitchen as we wind down from a long day.

I especially like this one:

Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise: Avett Brothers

And this one, I love the “dreamy” intro before the more upbeat refrain.

Past Lives: BORNS

What are some favorites of yours this summer?

School Lunch Ideas {Five Favorites}

School is just around the corner and I’m trying to prepare as best as I can to get back into the school routine – without going too crazy. This year I’d like to do a better job with making/providing better lunch options.

The lunches at school are good and not terribly expensive but when you have more than one child it is definitely more cost effective to make your own. Making our own lunches also offers a great opportunity for the kids to learn how to make their own lunches and how to do a little work to save money.

For today’s Five Favorites, I’m sharing –

5 Favorite Make-Your-Own School Lunch Ideas

~ 1 ~

This year we bought new lunch box containers – The Sistema Klip It Lunch Cube

I also heard great things about the Ziploc Divided Rectangle Containers

We went with the Sistema Klip It Lunch Cube because they fit into the kids’ lunchboxes better and I think it might do a better job at keeping food in but we’ll see. As long as the kids don’t put their containers sideways it should be ok…

~ 2 ~

With the new lunch containers, I’m planning on mixing “bento lunch” ideas with the classic “lunchables”. I’ve been going pin-crazy searching for fun DIY Lunchables ideas that I’ll share with you now.

30 days of lunchbox recipes: No Repeats!

School Lunch Box Ideas

Cute tortilla roll-ups – and healthy too!

 ~ 3 ~ 

School Lunch Roundup!

School Lunch Fruit Kabobs

I love the Fruit and Sandwich Kabob idea!

~ 4 ~


Healthy School Lunch Ideas

Again, LOVIN’ The Kabobs ideas and the muffin cups for cute & easy food separation.

I might have to go looking for fancy Toothpics and pretty silicone muffin cups!

~ 5 ~ 

Lunch Made Easy: 20 Non-Sandwich School Lunch Ideas for Kids!

Non-Sandwich Lunch Ideas

We get so tired of sandwiches every day – these are great non-sandwich ideas to get you thinking out of the box.

 What do you pack in  your kids’ lunches?


Tiny Moments of Joy That Got Me Through the Day Today {Five Favorites} 4

Today was…rough. Well, there were some very rough moments but now that it’s all over and the kids are fast asleep I guess the whole day wasn’t completley awful. Coincidentally, at the peak of the rough time today, a friend of mine posted this on Facebook (and I hope she doesn’t mind me quoting her) –

At the time, I was too infuriated with the situation I was dealing with to comment but I “liked it” and stifled a quick prayer asking God to help me do this…later. I didn’t get to write anything down, but I used my phone camera (a.k.a crappy camera) to remind me of some of the more joyful teeny tiny moments from the day. This proved very therapeutic and helped end the day on a better, more positive, note. I’m also incredibly thankful for my wise, level-headed, and patient husband and a friend who reached out and offered help when I needed it even though I was trying to pretend like I didn’t. 😉  (Thank you!!) So without ado, I’m linking up with Hallie’s Heather’s (Mama Knows, Honey Child) Five Favorites to share…

My Five Favorite Tiny Moments of Joy That Got Me Through the Day Today:


Opening my book and finding this silly picture my 4-year-old drew for me and wants me to use as a bookmark. It makes me smile every time I see it. He drives me crazy but I love his goofiness.


Listening to my eldest son read a whole book aloud to me. It made up for our rather terrible morning today.

We made it almost all the way through the book without any interruptions…almost.


Evening Girls Only bike ride with my daughter. It’s hard to find time just for her and me so I’m relishing these solo bike rides with her.

I can’t believe how big she’s getting! Sigh.


Yup, he’s still my baby. We had a bonding evening nursing session filled with milky giggles and stinky feet in my mouth.


And we ended the day with a brisk evening stroll with my husband, our dog, and our baby with lightning bugs for the perfect mood lighting.

How about you? What little moments of joyful treasures can you find from your day today?

Summer Fun Ideas For Kids {Five Favorites} 4

Happy Wednesday! I’m joining up with Hallie Moxie Wife’s Five Favorites today to share –

 Five Favorite Summer Fun Ideas for Kids to beat the Boredom Monster 

1.  The Boredom Buster Jar by The Better Mom {With Free Downloads}

I love this idea!

2. The “B.O.R.E.D” Checklist from Simple As That 

Downloadable Printable of this at her site

Click for a Free Printable Download


3. 100 Fun Summer Ideas for the Whole Family by Mommy Bear Media

4. Fun Summer Service Ideas from Pennies of Time – Teaching Kids to Serve

Since “being entertained” isn’t the only thing our kids should think about, right?

 5. Summer “Schedule” from Full Plate Living

While summer is a nice  time to relax and enjoy the “non-schedule” time, I still find it helpful to stick to a “routine” of some sort. Here is an example of a basic summer schedule to build on or refer to.   

Those are some of my favorite ideas I found via Pinterest. How about you?

Do you have any tried and true boredom busters?

Be sure to head over to Hallie’s for more fun Five Favorites this week!

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