2014 Summer in Review

So on Monday I posted about how much left we have to do this summer.  Despite the fact that we left so much undone, I have to admit that we definitely did have a bit of fun along the way.  Here’s what we accomplished this summer:

  • Wendy was confirmed
  • Princess Anna graduated from preschool (sniff!)
  • 1 day trip to the beach with Prince Charming to watch Wendy play sand soccer
  • VBS (x2)
  • Community Fun Day
  • 1 minor league baseball game (not including the Mother’s Day game)
  • Hosted a 2-day yard sale (made barely anything…oh well…)
  • Visited the church yard sale
  • Had fun with friends on the 4th of July
  • Visited the library (multiple occasions!)
  • Put together puzzles
  • Played Hide & Seek
  • Used our imagination to have fun
  • Played with sidewalk chalk
  • Learned a dance
  • Made a video
  • Spent some time with some of my favorite church ladies
  • Spent some time with some of my best friends in other cities and states
  • Yard Game Day
  • 1 trip to the beach with my parents and the little ones
  • Princess Anna went to Kindergarten Camp
  • Went to church camp!
  • Hands on House
  • Please Touch Museum
  • Princess Anna and Rapunzel both completed 4 swimming lessons
  • 17 locations for letterboxing
  • Princess Anna and Rapunzel read for a combined total of 1,012 minutes
  • I completed The New Dare to Disciple by Dr. James Dobson
  • Even Wendy read a few books (and she doesn’t like to read!)

In the middle of all that, Prince Charming and I began counseling and parenting classes; we worked together to vacuum every day for 6 weeks, did laundry every day for 6 weeks, and lived out of containers to rid our house of pests for 6 weeks; Rapunzel attended play therapy every week; finished one soccer season and began another; went to the dentist; completed one school year and prepared for another; taught Princess Anna to buckle herself (HOORAY!  Thanks to Wendy!); celebrated several birthdays (Princess Anna turned 5!); tended a garden; became even more involved in our church (if it’s even possible); babysat my little buddy from church); exercised; colored; did extra work for money; and went to the park.  I’m sure there was more, but I’ve listed enough.

How did you spend your summer?

The Seven-Day Sprint

Oh my goodness…I am just thinking about the next couple of weeks in a panic.  Some of you may be sharing the same thought: WHERE DID SUMMER GO???

Crazy mom that I am, I had this summer completely booked.  I don’t know what it was about last summer, but I feel like I got so much more done.  This summer completely got away from me.  I can’t possibly be the only mom who feels this way, as I know some of you had kids who went back to school a few weeks ago!  (Our kids start on the 19th.)

I have to admit: some things came up this summer that kind of threw a wrench in my plans (happens often!).  We had some issues with Cinderella that needed addressed, which has added more to our calendar.  We added swimming lessons to the schedule for Rapunzel and Princess Anna.  An impromptu trip to the beach with my parents also came up for the little ones.  Mix in some pest control issues (which required some in depth house cleaning we didn’t anticipate) and an extra VBS and you have a full summer.

Still, I have to say I am a bit disappointed that we didn’t accomplish certain things.  For instance, we have 13 locations left to find for our letter-boxing adventures.  The insane mom in me says we will do seven this week.  The sheets are due on Sunday, so we will have to give up there.

We are many minutes short of our 800 minute goal.  At this point, Princess Anna needs to read 50 minutes a day to reach our goal by the deadline, and Rapunzel needs to read 34 minutes a day to reach the same goal.

If they were to complete all of the worksheets I had for them, they would need to complete 12 worksheets per day.  I have the feeling that is not going to happen; however, for incentive, I think I will offering bonus points for each worksheet completed.  (Hopefully this will also help keep them out of my hair while I work this week!)

I can’t wait to post about our adventures visiting museums this summer!  I had really hoped to go to one more tomorrow, but Cinderella is working, so that won’t happen.  We have a membership though, so we’ll probably go several times throughout the rest of the year.  We were able to have Yard Game Day, and we have scheduled Spa Day for this Friday.

All of that being said, this post is entitled “The Seven-Day Spring”, because I intend to make the most of the next seven days I have with the kids (technically 8 if you want to include next Monday, the day before school starts).  Here is what I’m hoping for:

  • Squeeze in as many review worksheets as we can (I’ll probably give them a break the day before school though)
  • Read 50 minutes each day with Princess Anna and 34 minutes each day with Rapunzel
  • 1 more swimming lesson each for both Princess Anna and Rapunzel
  • 7 Locations for Letterboxing (4 on Tuesday, 3 on Saturday)
  • Take Rapunzel to Hershey Park with the tickets she earned last school year (so excited for her first time!)
  • Spa Day!
  • Picnic at the creek on Saturday (catch some minnows and crayfish, find shapes in the clouds, and watch the birds)
  • Corn Roast

Let’s go ahead and throw in counseling, parenting class, chores, preparing children’s church and Sunday school lessons, checking the teacher’s list at the schools (SO EXCITED!), work, and spending time with one of my besties, and you’ve got one crazy to-do list!

How are you spending your last summer days with the kids?

Avoid the Summer Slide: Review Packets Worth Investing In

I spent quite a while this past month searching for a summer packet for the kids.  Now before you think I’m crazy, I don’t make them do schoolwork all summer.  If you saw my last post, you know I love to fit in lots of fun.  But I also hate to think that my kids missed out on great learning opportunities and fell behind just because I decided to let them completely veg out over the summer.  Must be the importance of education that my grandma ingrained in my head.

So finally I came across some great packets that I thought would do the job.  I hate spending money, but I don’t have the patience to make my own worksheets (or the knowledge for that matter!), and I worry that the workbooks available at the store cover the common core.  What better way to know than to get it from a teacher.  So we decided to invest.  And $6-$7 per packet really isn’t bad for keeping your child up-to-par for three months.

Here are my favorites.  I hope you like them as much as I do!

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On My Way to K by Miss Kindergarten Love – $6.75 at TPT

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Ready Made for 2nd Grade by Lyndsey Kuster @ A Year of Many Firsts – $7 at TPT

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1st Grade Summer Packet by Faith Wheeler – $7.50 at TPT

Know of some other great summer packets for this age group?  Please share!

Planning Summer: Theme Days

Not one of my parenting priorities, but just something fun: theme days.  Having theme days allows to do a variety of different things under a certain theme.  This keeps the kids busy and sometimes allows me to be more closely involved with their play.  Here are some of the theme days we have planned for this summer:

First Day of Summer Party
Construction Day
Craft Day
Yard Game Day
Sports Day
Splash Day
Spa Day
Last Day of Summer Party

I always plan for plenty–that way, when I don’t get to all of them, we still remember the ones we were able to have fun with.  Our favorite: Spa Day!  Last year, each of the kids invited a friend over, and we painted nails, made homemade chocolate face masks, and did some hair.  This is another MUST DO for this year!

What are some of your favorite themes?

Super Summer 2014 Is Almost Here!

Before I even knew it, June was upon me!  I always feel like I’m in a frenzy, trying to get things done.  Working.  Driving the kids.  Other work.  Soccer.  Cooking.  Cleaning.  Taking care of the kids.  More chores.  Groceries.  Working.  You know.

So many of you have already entered the blissfulness of kids-are-home-for-the summer.  For some of you this might be wonderful.  For others, this may be terrifying.  I have a love-hate relationship with school summer vacation.  Yes, I love being able to do things with my family.  But I have to say I really DO NOT like to take them to work with me.  It seems like no matter what I do or give them, they are still constantly fighting, hungry, thirsty, wanting to sit on my lap, using all the tape, drawing on things they’re not supposed to…

But back to the fun part.  What I like best about summer: memory-making.  I love love LOVE knowing that I am making memories with my kids–the kind of memories I remember spending with my grandparents over the summer when my dad was working.  Church camp.  Ice cream.  Fireworks.  Museums.  Outdoor activities.  I loved fishing with my grandpa, playing wiffle ball in the back yard, playing in the lake.  Going to the library.  Ah, but we’ll save that for another day.

I realized I am way behind in revealing my summer calendar!  I hope you will check out my summer calendar and come up with some awesome ideas of your own to fill in there as well!  Oh, and while you’re here–let me know what you think and what your favorite ideas are!

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Planning for Summer: Play Dates

Less than a week ago, after picking up Princess Anna from preschool, she announced from the backseat that this summer, after camp and after her birthday could she have a sleepover at her friends house?  And could she play at her friend’s house?  Because she would have fun.

Now a planned out family summer is fun and all, but sometimes kids just need time to blow off steam with their friends.  Her preschool friend doesn’t live quite as close to us as some of her other friends, but even last summer we made sure they had plenty of time just to play.

That being said, one of the first things I wanted to do when planning this summer was to include her friends.  Last year we had an absolutely wonderful time during spa day, so we wanted to make sure they were included in that.  Craft day was also a hit, and they were there that day also.  And of course a play date here and there.  Now that I have her friend’s vacation schedule, I know when to plan the activities that they won’t want to miss!  But don’t let the play date schedule run your summer.  You still need time to unwind, and you still need family time.  We’ll shoot for play dates every other week maybe, and I think that should be a good balance.

Missed my post about summer trips to museums?  Check it out here!  And keep watching for my next post in my Planning for Summer series: theme days!

A Disney Frozen Birthday

Check out the Disney Frozen birthday at my new home by clicking here.

Word Searches for Preschoolers and Young Elementary – FREE PRINTABLES!

Last week, we planned to stay at home all week and do some different home activities.  One activity I had on our bucket list for the summer was to do a word search or crossword puzzle.  I was somewhat limited, as the kids I was planning for are 3 and 6.  There’s only so much they can do with a word search and a crossword puzzle.

So after a bit of searching through some blogs, my favorite websites, and (of course!) Pinterest, I ended up with these:

Curious George Word Search

I found this Curious George Word Search on TeacherVision.com.  Every so often I find some good free printables on here like this one.  If you’d like to download this resource, click on the word find image above.  I used this one for Rapunzel, who is 6 and who will be entering first grade.

A-Z Letter Hunt Worksheets by Confessions of a Homeschooler

Since Tinkerbell is only in preschool, I found it more appropriate to give her a Letter Hunt instead.  I found a few things I liked, but what I ended up with was this resource from Confessions of a Homeschooler.  I gave her letters A-D on Monday, and she did very well with them!  I will definitely have her finish this packet for more practice.  If you click on the image above, you will be linked to the site, where you can download this free resource.  There are many letter printables listed; this one is called A-Z Letter Hunt Worksheets.

Hope you enjoy these as much as I did!

Summer Scavenger Hunt (with FREE Printable!)

I know it’s been a while since my last post.  I must have had a crazy week, because it’s been a blur and now I can’t remember what on earth I did.  I can tell you I didn’t do anything I had planned, that’s for sure!

I did spend most of the day planning for the next two weeks at home, searching activities, creating activities, moving plans around, etc.  One thing I was looking for was a summer scavenger hunt.  I couldn’t find a whole lot online that I really liked, and I had my own things in mind anyway, so I made one up myself.  I’d love for it to be a little snazzier, but I don’t have great access to good graphics right now so this is what I have.

When you look closer at it, don’t freak out.  I’ve created this scavenger hunt to be a summer-long hunt.  This scavenger hunt is not meant to be completed in a day!  If you want to complete it in a day, by all means go ahead…but this is supposed to allow the kids to keep their eyes open all summer, notice certain things when they go somewhere different, and learn in the process.

Click on the image below to access the FREE printable!

Summer Scavenger Hunt - FREE Printable

PLEASE NOTE: If you’d like to share this printable, please do not post the PDF.  Instead, please link to my blog page.  Thanks!

Hello Summer!

Well, as I announced to my Facebook friends earlier today, as of today we are officially parents of a preschooler, an elementary schooler, a middle schooler, and a high schooler!  I don’t know whether to be excited or scared!

No matter how you look at it, one thing is true: it’s summer, and the kids are out of school.  Now officially begins our Summer of Fun 2013!  I’m so excited for more first summer (mostly) at home!  You have seen my calendar already, so you know we are booked for more fun than we can handle.  We’ve already started some activities, as my last week’s posts have indicated.

Unfortunately, due to some unforeseen circumstances, we were unable to do a few activities this week, but after Tinkerbell’s end-of-year preschool picnic today, we were able to squeeze in some of those.

little girl playing Pop the PIg game

Game Day was supposed to be on Wednesday, but we were able to fit that in today.  Kids this young still have a relatively short attention span, so this didn’t take long.  Our first goal for Game Day was to play a favorite game.  TInkerbell loves Pop the Pig, so we played that one first.

Our next task was to play a game we had never played before.  Surprisingly enough, we found one.  Thank goodness–Rapunzel’s teacher sent home foam dice and a few summer worksheets, one being a dice games packet and one a card game packet (learning activities in disguise!).  We played one of each.

I love these packets that the teacher sent home–they’ll keep the kids’ brains working over the summer so they don’t lose that important segment during their time off.

Last thing today: dance party!  This didn’t last very long either.  The kids didn’t want to do a whole lot right away, but once they got into it, it was dance party turned ring-around-the-rosie slash horseplay followed by some rest time on the floor.

I’m looking forward to the park’s fun day tomorrow. it’s supposed be chilly but not rainy and the kids always have fun there.

What did you do with your kids on the last day of school?