on why I refuse to have a Pinterest summer

Usually about this time I put up this amazing post with amazing charts, a link to my pinterest board filled with fabulous ideas for summer and other ridiculous things that
In 2011 we tried these jars. Fail. It was exciting for about a week and then it wasn’t.
In 2012 we had great summer schooling plans and implemented these technology punch cards. The schooling never really happened, but the cards were somewhat of a success. It still didn’t curb our drive to go straight to tech when we are bored (mom included) and honestly I got tired of always punching the cards. I also tried to implement this amazingly complicated chore chart. Beautiful yes. Practical no.
Last summer I chilled out a little bit and I really don’t think I even attempted a chore chart. We did have some sort of a schedule and I did have intentions of doing some summer schooling (which never happened) and tech time was loose in the sense that you got an hour after lunch giving us tech free mornings which typically help curb off the grumpies first thing in the morning.

This year, I don’t know if it’s because I’m so burnt out from a busy and overwhelming spring, because my kids are older, because of this post or what. But I started out with some minor ideas including this post-it chore chart. I bought the post-it’s, wrote it all out and even printed the actual post-its. Then reality set in and I realized I didn’t want to keep up with this.

And I gave up on the idea of having a pinterest-worthy summer. I gave up on the idea of filling our summer days up with checklists, calendars, activities pinned from the web and a stack of enrichment activity books. I decided that this year I was going to do what works for us and our family. I wasn’t going to make up all these crazy ideas and force us to be something that we are not. Giving up on the idea of a “pinterest worthy” summer means that you are living your life and what works for you. This is what works for us…

Summer 2014

Yes, it’s still a chart, but honestly it’s a loose one. I’ve got one child who likes to check boxes and another who just likes to have a list to go by. It’s really just a guide for what we need to accomplish during our day. It’s a way for me to hold them accountable to doing a few things before they veg out in front of a screen or a box of Legos.

We are doing some summer enrichment “schooling” and more than likely these will carry over into our after-schooling homework that we do during the school year. (Our schools don’t really do homework, giving us the freedom to do some extra enrichment stuff at home after school). The boy wanted to learn Latin so I splurged on part of a Latin curriculum and for the chick we are working through a simple language workbook.

We are horrible about chores in this house. Really it’s just expected that you will put up your laundry after it’s folded, that you will take the dog out to the bathroom or that you will help empty the dishwasher. It’s just a natural thing we all do in the house. But for the summer I’m trying out assigning each child a dinner chore. One child will feed the dog and the other will set the table and wash it after dinner. We’ll rotate back and forth throughout the summer.


Summer 2014

The husband and I rethought our house rules and consequences and condensed them down to two main house rules. Being a peacemaker and following first request. These are our two biggest issues in our house and something we decided to really had to crack down on. We revamped our consequences and so far so good. Before we just sent them to their rooms, but this time they have to write a note of apology to the offended person before they can come out of their room. Remember those post-it’s? It’s a short note, more than just I’m sorry, but no longer than a post it. They aren’t too happy about the consequences, but I think that’s the point.

We had a family meeting after dinner one night and each of use got some tiny post-its to share some items to add to our summer bucket list. It was fun to see what everyone came up with.

In the world of technology, my goal all along as been to figure out how to encourage my kids not to go to tech the first instant they are bored. I’ve tried this in a million different ways and honestly it really comes more from my example. But this summer we are handling it this way. Every year when we do our well child check ups I always have to share how much technology my children get in a day. I always reply around 2 hours. I don’t know if that’s totally sure, but it’s what we strive for. So this summer, each day a child gets 2 hours of screen time to “spend” however and whenever they want. I’m encouraging them to keep up with the math (obviously I am too) and if they want to watch a show or a movie they have to figure out how much they might have left, if any. So far it’s been working great. When the 2 hours is gone, you are done with screens. End of story.

Ultimately I’m trying to create freedom in our days. I agree so much with the article from The Gospel Coalition that with this world of pinterest and blogs and facebook we are honestly living such visible lives that we are wearing ourselves out as mothers. We are engaging with our children just to have a photo-op.  I’m all for schedules and lists, but there’s a point where it’s all just for looks and nothing more. I’m hoping to make a change. I’m longing for a peaceful and fun summer.  And one where we just live life and not life lived through a lens.

Here’s hoping this is the summer.

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summer 2013 wrap up

It may still be crazy hot outside and the calendar might still read July, but summer has come and gone for us. Our schools go “year round” essentially, which means we have a shorter summer break but longer breaks during the year. We love it and both my kiddos were excited to head back to school.

We didn’t do hardly anything on our science of summer list. These few weeks off went by like a hurricane and before I knew it I was standing in the library at school during open house! But we did do a few things that were pretty fun and broke up the monotony of the crazy rainy summer we had.

On one particularly dreary and boring day, the kids set up a nerf gun shooting range. Using some boxes, ping pong balls and golf tees they had fun trying to shoot all the balls down.

nerf gun range

I will admit this was a pretty messy activity that was kind of short lived. But they did enjoy it while it lasted.

nerf gun range


One day my son was busy doing something else so the chick and I decided to make a box puppet theater. The only box I had laying around that would work was this Priority Shipping box from the post office. It’s kind of flat so you don’t have a ton of room to move around in it, but honestly it worked out great and doesn’t take up of ton of space either!

box puppet theater

We cut a hole in the top part of the box for the flap to lift up to make the name for the theater. I had a dowel rod laying around that we used for the curtain to hang on. The curtain I just cut out of some scraps with pinking shears and just quickly stitched a seam across the top for it to slide on.

box puppet theater in use

The back has a hole in the bottom for you to stick your puppets up through. We just printed out some coloring pages of specific animals the chick wanted onto cardstock. She colored them and we collected some sticks from outside (Popsicle sticks would work better, but alas couldn’t find any) to make holders for them.

box puppet theater

We used construction paper to decorate the front and make a backdrop inside. All pretty simple, but fun!


The other thing I did this summer that was on my personal list was making bug spray.

DIY bug spray

I combined a couple of recipes I had seen floating around Pinterest and ordered some essential oils and put it all together. Here’s the recipe I put together:

50/50 mix of distilled water and witch hazel
30-40 drops of citronella oil
20ish drops of lemongrass oil
10ish drops of tea tree oil
few drops of glycerin

Overall it works pretty well. You can’t let it sit though and then use it again. I really think you have to mix it up fresh. I love how it smells and I love how cold it feels going on. The husband gave up on it though and went and bought the “real stuff” just because he is like a mosquito magnet.

I also made some citronella “candles” using mason jars, water, floating candles and some citronella and lemongrass oil. They worked pretty good too and man oh man they smell great!

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saving face…

In an effort to make sure that I’m always on the up and up, I share this little bit of background information in order to save face a little bit.


Ages ago when I joined Pinterest I saw a really cute printable that had been pinned with this quote on it. At that point, I wasn’t in the habit of checking links or anything along those lines (which I do know almost religiously and encourage everyone to practice responsible pinning!) I had no intention of copying the design, I merely wanted to stitch a version of the quote.


I usually do make a habit of researching a quote before I design something to make sure that I can give credit due to the speaker. This time around, I didn’t do that. I guess in the back of my mind I was thinking that if it was a specific quote from someone, the printable would have had the speaker’s name on it.


I came to find out later that this quote was indeed spoken by a person who was seeking her name attributed to her words. No issue from me at all. Per her request, I pulled my listing down and recently the pin was pulled off Pinterest too.

I share all this just to make known that I had no intention of “stealing” someone’s artwork or words. I think as artists we all take bits and pieces of what we see all around us and hodpodge it all together to make something new that is every bit our own. I do admit fully that there are people out there who are actively copying other people’s art, but I want no part of it.

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school’s out for the summer…almost

Now that I have the roaring head banging song in your head, I present to you our summer plans. I do a great job of making it look like I have it all together and this summer is no different. This is the last week of school and so I’m hurriedly trying to paste all my last minute ideas together so that next Tuesday (because Monday is a holiday) we are ready and going.

One thing we will do this week is have a “yes” day. I implemented this day as the first and last day of any vacation that we have. It’s a no holds bar kind of day where you can cram your head with as much technology and anything else (within reason) because after that we are on a schedule.

Last year we had this crazy magnet thing that I had come up with. While we kind of held it together in the beginning,  it pretty much all fell apart after a few weeks. It was a little bit too lax and the follow through wasn’t happening.

After spending Christmas vacation with one child who seriously needs some sort of schedule and me realizing that I am going to have to still work on the shop this summer, I knew we would have to have some sort of framework.

summer 2013

So this is what I came up with. A loose schedule filled with assigned days for things and different themed hours in our house. One thing I know that could easily overtake us is technology, so we are going to be very rigorous on this one. Both of my kids are getting to the age where if they are bored they want a screen. Not gonna happen this summer. We also have this Apologia science book that we’ve been talking about doing for at least 2 years and I swear we are going to do some of it this summer. So this is the lay of the land.

1. We have a family calendar hanging up that we will mark off the days as we go. This gives everyone a heads up for what is coming up that is planned for.
2. We have assigned days for things: Monday mornings we will have a chore time. They will be assigned one weekly chore that they will do on Monday mornings. Wednesdays is movie afternoon. Hopefully this helps with the “I want to watch a movie” whines. Friday mornings we will hit the library.
3. We will be unplugged between 8:30 and 1:00. No questions asked. I’m also trying to get rid of the t.v. as soon as you wake up habit. If they do wake up before 8:30, then PBS is totally fine, but if you wake up later than that….too bad.
4. We will have a loose structure to our day: breakfast, school time, work time for me with play time for them, lunch and then the tech hour. During this hour they are free to have whatever screen they desire: Ipod, Ipad, computer, Leapster, Wii…whatever. And then quiet hour. My hope is to have 30 minutes of reading time for all of us and then 30 minutes of quiet time in their rooms. This is more for my sanity than theirs! Then we will hit the pool 🙂
5. Obviously there are days where this won’t happen and to be honest we only have 4 weeks this summer that are totally open (we go to school year round so we have a pretty short summer). But these weeks we are “down” I hope will be pretty routine.

summer 2013

The second thing I did was our bucket list. I have a bunch of things I’ve pinned on my Summer2013 board and many of these ideas came from there. The idea for the mock chemistry board came from here.

summer 2013

I did ours a little differently and color coded the post it notes for free activities (pink), those that involve money (yellow), those that involve planning (blue) and a couple of open spots (green).

I have a tendency to be too structured and then never follow through, so I tried really hard to make this whole thing be a system of guidelines for us. Giving us all space for summer life to happen, but also a little roadmap for those of us that crave that sort of thing.

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master bathroom BEFORE

I’ve got a big project ready to go this week (well actually this month or maybe the next couple of months!). Our master bathroom has bugged me to no end since we moved into this house almost 3 years ago. But it’s been on the back burner for a while as I wanted to get so many other places painted first.


We have a pretty nice cabinet and countertop in there, but I’m not crazy about the natural color so I’m planning on painting it a glossy white-ish color. I’ve found a few good tutorials via Pinterest.


I have a budget of about $200 to get this job done. Pretty small, but for the most part I’m doing the biggest changes with paint.


The walls right now are this weirdo greenish-white-brown color and I’m planning on painting the bathroom a sort of neutral creamy color.


The floor is horrific. Sticky tiles stuck to lovely hardwood. Smart people. The plan is to paint the wood a brownish-grey. I’ve gone back and forth on trying out a stencil, but I think the room is too small. This is a scaled down version of what I would love to do the floors in our bedroom and what we hope to for sure do in the kitchen down the road.


The toilet is blue. Enough said. We are replacing it. This will be the bulk of our budget, but the blue toilet has to go. The tub is blue too, but alas there isn’t much we can do about that right now besides hiding it behind a shower curtain.


Speaking of shower curtain this cheapy one has to go and I am replacing it with this awesome crazy quilt top that my great aunt made. It’s amazing and it’s the reason why I’m going pretty neutral with this space.

My overall desire is to do sort of a vintage modern look. The shower curtain rod and the rod for the big window will be galvanized piping like this

Source: hometalk.com via aimee on Pinterest



And I plan on hanging a simple white tablecloth remnant or tea towels or even just some white muslin in the window. Something plain, but pretty.


I would love to make something like this to set on the counter

Source: flickr.com via aimee on Pinterest



And get some cool doorknobs for hanging towels on



We have this long angled wall in the corner that I would love to find a cool window to hang there



That’s about it for now. The plan this week is to finishing sanding all the spackled holes and get to painting the walls. Then I hope to clean and prime the cabinet doors so that by the next paycheck we can get some paint for the cabinet!

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