Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Good Cheap {Summer} Fun

Summertime ranks right up there with Christmastime for me. I love it. Every ounce of it. Hold up... let me backtrack. I could certainly do without waddling around in 90 & 100 degree heat. But aside from the sweat & stink of a hot summer day, you'd better believe I'm plunging for every last dive stick summertime tosses my way. 

I especially love the experience of summertime as a momma. To see the sheer joy a frozen popsicle brings. To hear the high shrieks of a tot whose been doused by the water sprinkler. To lug sunblock scented babies home from the pool & up to their beds for a late afternoon nap. It's my thing. I'm in my element when I'm spending time with my kids, filling up their memory banks with moments they will carry with them forever. 

I hope my children can look back & have some great memories of the summers they had as kids. Because as a momma, whether it's planning a big beach vacation, or taking a roadtrip to the mountains, or just lining up a bunch of simple activities that will keep their little hearts happy, it's not the easiest of tasks to keep our kiddos entertained & active & having a chocked full of fun, summer.

Am I right, moms? Can I get an amen up this blog space? 

For various reasons, namely me being pregnant, Jared & I decided to keep this summer a low key one, where we'd stick close to home & be resourceful with what we've got--like the local pool, our backyard, our place at the lake & some of the specialties that our very own city has to offer. Sure, there have been moments where a trip to Seaside calls my name & makes me regret ever agreeing to this low key 2014 summer plan of ours. But it's also nice to show our kids, to show ourselves, that the magic of summer? It's what you make it. I am beyond thrilled that my children know the feeling of sand between their toes, that they'll one day experience the majesty of standing before a Colorado mountain & that eventually, down the road, they will catch a Cubs game at Wrigley Field & walk along the Navy Pier in the busy, buzzing city of Chicago. I feel blessed that they will have summers--not all summers--where they will get to travel & jive to the hum of a different pace of life. They will breathe in the the beauty there is to behold in places far from our own home. 

But I also want them to grasp the beauty in the simple, the low key. Catching fireflies at dusk. Diving off the side of the pool edge umpteen times, until that dive is completely mastered. Drippy sprinkle covered ice cream cones as an after dinner treat.

It doesn't have to be over the top & extravagant to be fun. And we've got proof...

An outdoor movie in the park. 

This night may very well go down as one of my favorite memories of the summer. Not because it was easy. Or because our kids sat still & quiet & watched the movie like little angels {why no, we never once for a second thought that our children's behavior may get us kicked out of the arena...ahem}. It was awesome because we were surrounded by friends, passing babies & bags of candy & Capri Sun drink pouches & laughing until we were literally sick. For a dollar admission, I'd say we got more than our money's worth.

So...whose bright idea was it to pack a bunch of glow sticks for this little outing? I'm sure the guy three rows up who got nailed in the head by a glow bracelet turned lasso is still cussing us to this day. Whoops!

A fun afternoon snack

I'm always on the lookout for something fun to do with the kids at home during the afternoons. Afternoons are tricky. I feel like they drag on a bit, but then really there's only a couple of hours between the time the kids wake from their naps until Jared gets home from work. I hate to get everyone loaded & out the door to go somewhere, just to have to turn around & get home in time to start dinner. So, our afternoons are usually spent at home. And I'm usually perusing Pinterest for something fun to keep them occupied when baby dolls & tractors aren't cutting it. 

This summer sand pudding was a huge hit with the kids. You can find the recipe HERE

I like to include the kids in cooking. More mess? Oh, you'd better believe it. Get this. The sand in this recipe, which is simply made up of Nilla wafers & Oreos crushed & blended, actually feels like real sand when it is spilled onto the floor & you walk across it. But I suppose I'll take the {sticky} sand between my toes considering it is so much fun for the kids. It kept their minds & hands busy at work & gave them such a sense of accomplishment. A snack & an afternoon activity... I dig it.

Water slide rides

You've probably already seen this idea a time or two. It has come across my Pinterest & Facebook feed numerous times so I pinned it & saved it for a quiet afternoon at home. The kids got a huge kick out of sending marbles sailing down pool noodle slides. They raced them & launched them & lined them up in rows like a train. And then when they were all finished, they splashed in the blue colored pool of water at the bottom. Cheap, easy, fun AND educational {those fine motor skills were being put to use & the teacher in me couldn't help but smile about that}!

See? Summer...it's what ya make it.

And with only one full month of summer left, we've got a nice little line up of simple, low key summertime fun waiting to be had.

How are you keeping those kiddos busy this summer? Extravagant or simple, I would love to hear.

Happy Summer!


  1. Water table :) Nothing too fancy around here :) But mine are still little too. Since they have been playing outside- I think it is about time we have popsicles. I haven't tried them so far as I didn't want to have to mop the floor every day! I've missed your blog- glad to see you back again :)

    1. Thank you for the warm welcome back, Catie! We LOVE the water table! It is such a life saver--especially when the kiddos are little. I agree with the sticky popsicles--outside only! =)

  2. Great blog babe! I love how much fun you have soaking up the summer with our kiddos. They will forever have wonderful memories of all the exciting summers growing up!

  3. Love the sand pudding! We are planning on make dirt and worms cups next week. :) Sand pudding might come after that.

  4. We made dirt & worm cups for Lulla's Peppa Pig birthday party--they were fun! And yummy, too! ;) I have a funny story for you--that I couldn't help but think of you when it was happening--what's your email?! =)