You still have time for last minute summer fun

I would like to apologize for the lack of pictures, for some reason I have not been able to download them (error every time I try) and I did not want to keep putting off posting because of pics, so I hope you find the information informative and not judge me to harshly for the lack of photos.

School starts back for many youngsters within the next couple of weeks, but it is not to late to get in a few more summer fun activities.  Myself, like many working households have not had an opportunity to take a nice long vacation with the family, but with a little preparation and great attitude you can make some summer memories before school starts back.

Here are my top five things to do with your kids before the summer ends.

Water Day In the Backyard

Get out the sprinklers, water balloons, water accessories, water table, and have some good old fashion water play.  Fill six buckets with water and have the children try to throw objects that will create a big splash into the buckets.  Play games like “Red Rover” with the water sprinkler as the border that you have to run through.  Play “Tug of War” over a small water pool.  You can also use the water pool as a spot for the kids to relax and sit in some water safely.  Make you own slip and slide (if you don’t already own one) or have a contest to see who can stand under the water sprinkler the longest (safely).  Have rubber duck races or small boats that you have to blow across the pool.  There is much fun to be had in the backyard with water.  Let your imagination run wild and prepare for hours of fun.

A Day of Hiking

This is one thing my family loves to do, and it can be accomplished in one day, but with memories that will last a life time.  Find a state park that is less than three hours from your home.  Pack food, water, bug spray, sunscreen, sun visors, and a change of clothing.  Choose a challenging hike, a scenic hike, or both.  Plan to spend the entire day appreciating nature.  Allow your children to be the photographers to see things from their point of view.  Take nature breaks and enjoy your surroundings.  See who can find the most unusual bugs (but don’t touch), How many plants they can identify, or make up names for the plants and bugs that you see.  Bring a notebook so that the family can document this time spent among fresh air and living creatures.  You can research the parks online before you visit, to plan your trip according to your family skill level.

Bike Riding

This may take a little more preparation than the previous two suggestions, if you don’t have a bike.  You want this to be a family activity so make sure everyone has a bike they can be comfortable riding for a short or long period of time.  Plan to ride through the neighborhood or find a local bike trail to explore.  When my family bike rides we put the youngest in a bike trailer, and everyone else has a bike to ride with or without training wheels.  I always choose a trail that has hills and beautiful scenery (like the lake front, the pier, or through the botanical gardens). Make sure to pack healthy snacks and plenty of liquids, although the more you drink the more you pee and that means the more stopping you will do.  Take plenty of pictures and stop to smell the roses.  Also you don’t have to bike during the day, you can take a night time ride (if you have older children) through the neighborhood.

Backyard Carnival

This can be as small as you like or as grand as your pockets will allow.  I have known families to go as far as having a petting zoo.  I have also known families to collectively host a carnival for the children in the neighborhood.  I have done this on a much smaller scale.  I order everything I need through Oriental Trading and set up games and fun booths in my backyard. I do backyard games like bean bag toss, the Bozo game, ring toss, knock down the cans with a ball. I invite family and I allow my children to invite two friends and we just let them have run of the place.  The adults act as the game attendants.  We also do races like sack racing, egg on a spoon racing, and leg tied to a partner racing.  There are prizes and the menu is similar to a menu you would find at the carnival; popcorn, hotdogs, pizza, cotton candy, and funnel cake.  You can also take a healthy approach and not serve sweets at all and replace them with fruit shish kabob and smoothies.   We always end our night with a movie on the big projector outside.  This is the best part, you can use a sheet, a screen, a wall, whatever but keep the party going with a kid appropriate movie and more popcorn.  We also have tried ending the night with a bonfire, which are always nice.

Olympic Games

This creates the best memories.  We do this every year and compare our times and results with the previous year.  This takes about a week to prepare, but it is worth every minute.  Try to include as many olympic games as possible; track and field, swimming, tennis, volleyball, and the list goes on.  Most subdivisions have a clubhouse with the use of a swimming pool and tennis courts.  Also I have each family member over the age of ten pick their team players and we compete in all the sports.  This is so much fun and it can get quite competitive.  I order some medals from Oriental Trading and we use a huge dry erase board to keep up with all the activities.  Each team is a winner in some way, because we want everyone to come out a winner.  We create posters and t-shirts for our teams and we invite family members and friends to cheer for the teams.  This sounds like work, but it is awesome and the memories are the best.  Your family will be talking about this far into the school year.

These are just some of the ways we try to hold on to the summer.  With school starting soon you just want that extra time with the kids, because as a working parent I know time gets away from us all and we are often feeling like we didn’t spend enough time with our children. My mom has always told me it is not about the quantity but the quality of time you spend with your love ones.

If you would like to share how you spend your final days of summer break please add to the conversation in the comments section.

The art of taking 5

I will be the first to tell anyone that I did not know how to take time for myself.  I had for so long believed that if you are a SAHM your job is to do everything and please everyone in the household.

A wise lady told me how wrong I was, and if I don’t take care of myself than there is no way I can efficiently take care of others.

So what did I do with that new-found knowledge, I learned the art of taking 5.

I have a busy household and taking on writing children’s books and blogging has made my life a little more “interesting”. Here are the top 5 ways I sneak in me time.

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I wake up 30 minutes earlier than anyone else.  On school days no one wants to wake up, so I set my alarm clock for thirty minutes before it is time to wake up the crew.  I make me a cup of coffee and have me some uninterrupted internet time.  I am able to respond to emails, search products, watch how to videos, and research ways to grow my audience and books.  I love this time, because I can really focus on one subject, one topic, one thing at a time.


The art of taking 5


I take an after dinner walk or bike ride around the block.  After dinner the house can become a little chaotic. I finish my meal before everyone else and take a quick 10 minute stroll around the block.  This allows me to get some air, clear my mind, and if nothing more than to breathe.  I don’t get to do this as often as I like, but when I do I cherish that alone time in rain, sleet, or snow.



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I sometimes have an after dinner treat.  While washing dishes after dinner I try to have a little treat that I can savor while cleaning.  A piece of chocolate, a yummy cafe drink, or my favorite





The art of taking 5

Music is my vacation.  Sometimes when the kids are doing homework and the toddler is engaged in an activity I will put on my headphones and listen to three or four of my favorite songs.  I call it my mini vaca.






The art of taking 5Schedule mandatory me time once a week.  I know that some moms have mandatory me time daily, but it is unrealistic in my household.  Once a week has me singing the “Happy” song.  I usually have the whole day to leave the house and do whatever I want, but I never take the whole day, and most times I just want to be lazy and lay around the house.  Most times I will sleep late, curl up in bed with a good drama or romance movie, read the newspaper, or chit-chat on the phone with my family or friends.

I love me time because it gives me the opportunity to be totally unproductive.  Yes I meant to say unproductive!

Other ways that are not always successful, but when they are it is so worth it

Working out

Bath time for myself (candles, music, low lighting, and no interruptions)

meet up with my book club (once a month)

Church events that are for women only (scrapbook parties, brunch, clothes swap, etc.)

Staying up after all have went to sleep (This is not always successful because I am exhausted by the end of the day and all I want to do is sleep)

Share some of your mommy me time activities.  I would love to learn how you take 5.

Also check out for more advice on learning how to take time for yourself.

Angry Mom On The Loose

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Have you ever just had one of those days where everything makes you mad or nothing makes you happy?  Well that was me yesterday.

It’s funny because I can’t really remember why it was such a tense day.  I had scheduled too many things for one day, parent teacher conferences being one of those things.  I had conferences with three different teachers and that can be draining in itself.  I had to do grocery and my youngest had a therapy session.

The kids were unnecessarily loud and active, or are they always that way and I was at a moment of tuning in to the many sounds of my household.

My husband was listening to music with headphones on and trying, and I stress trying to sing along with 50% knowledge of the lyrics.

The house was a mess, from the days before, because I have been sick, which means nothing gets done or things only get done to their specifications, which means nothing gets done.

I was moody.  I was pouting like a five-year old.  I didn’t want to talk, I didn’t want to be talked to, I didn’t want to sleep, eat, or watch t.v.. I just wanted to be alone with my thoughts and the sound of quietness (yes quiet has a sound).

My husband eventually started to read the signs of an angry mom and tried to get the house under control.  When that failed he sent everyone to bed 20 minutes before bed time and left me alone in a room with my own thoughts.

My thoughts were too many to handle so I opened up the Macbook and indulged in Netflix.  I don’t remember much about the movie I watched because I was sleep within 15 minutes of watching.  I awoke at 2 am, sneaking into each room to kiss the girls goodnight, filling the dishwasher, and picking up the toys I had stepped on, on my way to the kitchen.  Finally I jump into bed close my eyes, and not a minute to soon I am awakened by the sound of my husbands snoring.

I laugh turn over and force myself to sleep.  This is the life I think as I doze off.

It seems as if I was not the only one who had a difficult day mommy training wheels has a similar story to share and also Raising 5 Kids with disabilities and remaining sane blog.

How was your week?



Wait, why are you wearing green?

Today is St. Patrick’s Day and everyone around me is celebrating in some way.  We, in this household acknowledge this day, but we don’t really celebrate the holiday.

We will eat corn beef and cabbage tonight for dinner.

We do wear green to school and work.

Oh yeah,  I also made up some fun activities for us to do today. Take a look!

St Patrick's Day craftI take a piece of cardboard (This is the back of a cereal box) some green paint and a paint brush and let the kiddos free paint.  I prefer the free painting to giving them a template to paint within.  After they have painted as much as they like, I cut out the template, tape the template to the back of the board and cut.

painting for St. Patrick's Day Once I have finished cutting out the template, this is the final product.

4 leaf cloverWe take the clover and play a game called “What’s at the end of the rainbow” Now I totally made this game up in the moment.  I used colors that are not in a rainbow, but the kiddos did not judge me.rainbow game

The Rainbow Game is played with felt, foam, paper, whatever you have on hand in different colors placed to resemble a rainbow.  A die (we made our die out of cardboard) and your moving pieces (in this case our clovers).  Roll the die and move the number of places according to the die.

The winner makes it to the pot of gold first.  You can put whatever you want at the end of the game.

rainbow gamerainbow gameI wanted to make sure I read a book with the St. Patrick’s Day theme, but of course I don’t have any of those books, so I did what all great writers, parents, teachers, and caregivers do, I made up a story.  I made popsicle puppets and told a story about a man, a girl, a pot of gold, and a rainbow on a journey to find St. Patrick.  I drew my background and also used the images in my picture as part of the story.  Please don’t judge my drawings, my husband is the true artist in this family.

St. Patrick's Day storyWell, I guess we do celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in our own made up way.

How are you and your family or students celebrating St. Patrick’s Day?


Speak those words I long to hear

If you know my story, you know that I have lovingly struggled with my 2-year-old and her inability to communicate.  In the beginning I was sad and frustrated, but then I put myself in her shoes and realized that this must be a struggle for her as well.

I sometimes do get sad when I am around other children her age.  To hear them call out to their parents “mama” or “dada”, Oh how I long to hear those words.

I never realized how precious those moments are when you hear your child speak for the very first time.  I cherish what limited communication we do have with each other, and I am thankful everyday for her bright smile and tight hugs.  We have made progress  or shall I say she has made tremendous progress, and the effort is always there.

I have read many books and have searched the web tirelessly for tips and suggestions to encourage language and this is what I found works best for us.



Reading is our number one love and the reason for her progress.  I have always known the benefits of reading and how it unlocks the mind, but it has opened my eyes to its true power.

The type of books we use to encourage language are books with repetitious text and rhythm like “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See” by Eric Carle

Picture books with vivid pictures and minimal text, like “All About Winter” by Frankie Murdock

Books that we read on our iPad device.  These particular books read to you, they are interactive, and many times they offer cool features like hidden gems and age appropriate games.

Books that encourage letter recognition and counting.  My daughter loves to make the sounds of the alphabet song, which brings me to the next discovery of works for her development and that is



We sing songs with minimal lyrics, but catchy phrases and funny sounds, like Old Mc Donald, BINGO, and If your happy and you know it.

We love to get out the instruments and make up our own songs as well.  I will repeat a phrase over and over again, but allow her to create the beat with the instruments.  She loves trying to form the words and sounds that I am making, and the beat of the music gives her the ability to make the syllabic sounds.

Familiar children television songs like Daniel Tiger and Angelina Ballerina.  During her t.v. time she likes to watch the same episodes over and over again.  She can imitate the sounds and some of the words of the songs.  During the day when the television is off I can start to sing some of the songs from those shows and she will try to sing along.

She will occasionally show interest in other tunes, but she prefers many of the songs from PBSkids.



We do so many different arts and craft projects, but drawing is the one activity that brings out the language.  She does not use words per se, but she speaks her gibberish in efforts to describe her pictures.

I have an easel that I keep supplied with paper and markers.  Throughout the day she will just go and draw and pull someone over to show and describe what she is drawing.

She also loves to imitate what I draw.  We are working naming the parts of the face and body, so I have been drawing happy faces for her copy.  This has helped with her identifying different parts of the face.

Some stories that are classics, that I do not own, I will draw out the story on the board and have her follow along.  On her own she will try to replicate what I have done and tell the story in her own words.



We are fortunate to have a speech therapist come out to our home once a week to help with my daughters speech.  The therapist has toys and learning games and uses those tools to encourage her to speak.

He focuses on blends and beginning and ending sounds.  He also encourages her to initiate words on her own through different types of play.

All of these things have helped with her speech development and has given her the confidence to try new words and sounds.  I am excited about the future for her and I hope that maybe this can encourage another family, who may find themselves struggling with the same thing.