Summer of Fun 2016: August Recap

It’s a bittersweet thing… My kids are back in school, and our “Summer of Fun” has officially come to an end! Here’s a look back at some of our highlights from the month of August!


August 1st: All about Volcanoes! We researched volcanoes and then made some with baking soda and vinegar 🙂




August 2nd: National Coloring  Book Day! So glad we have a Dollar Tree nearby!



August 3rd: We celebrated National Watermelon Day with some watermelon/lime slushies!



August 4th: Today the kids helped me organize the pantry, and then we made Reese’s Pieces cookie bars!



August 5th: We went to the tidepools with some friends to search for sand dollars. It was quite the adventure! My youngest two did NOT like walking through the seaweed and soft sand. My older two had much more fun!



August 6th: National Root Beer Float Day! YUM!!



August 7th: A friend gave us a kit to make bouncy balls!


August 8th: The kids had a special visit from their Papa this morning! Later in the day, we made some produce paint prints!




August 9th: Jon and the kids finger-painted while listening to classical music! Picasso’s painting of “Three Musicians” and his style of cubism were their inspiration!



August 10th: We played with Pablo tiles, and celebrated National S’mores Day!




August 11th: Today we went on a walk and to the river with friends!




August 12th: We mailed postcards to some of our dear friends who live in another state! This was such an inexpensive and fun activity… our local Walmart had postcards for 18 cents each, and we already had the postcard stamps!



August 13th: We did a water balloon toss! First, the kids took turns throwing their color of balloons into a bowl. Next, we paired up to see who could toss the balloon the longest without popping their balloons! Ava was my partner, and once she figured out that my feet could get wet from the balloons, that became her goal! đź™‚



August 14th: Today we played Legos. For a long time. We also put together a cute bird feeder with a Mason jar and chick feeder!


August 15th: Today was Day 1 of VBS at our church! The kids had such a fun week!



August 16th: We found gluten-free ice cream cones! In our small town! They do exist! A whole 12 pack for under $3! So today, we ate ice cream. In cones. 🙂



IMG_5670(As in most of Ava’s pictures with food, she did NOT want to say cheese. She just wanted to eat her yummy food.)


August 17th: I surprised the kids with prizes from the dollar store! 🙂



August 18th: Today was Jon’s birthday! After VBS, the kids and I spent the afternoon decorating and getting ready for his special birthday dinner!



August 19th: We celebrated National Aviation Day by making paper airplanes! We held some outdoor contests to see which plane could fly the farthest, the fastest, and perform the most tricks.



August 20th: Pool time in the backyard!



August 21st: Today we went to an all-church picnic and carnival for the kids!



August 22nd: We call this activity “Create-a-Story”… We work as a team, writing a story together, taking turns to give our two cents. We used Story Cubes to inspire our word choice. Then Ava illustrated the story for us!


August 23rd: Today we painted rocks!



August 24th: National Waffle Day! While I had intended to get up early and make some homemade GF Belgian waffles, one of our kids had an appointment to get to… So thankful we had one more box of GF Eggo waffles in the freezer!



August 25th: We went on a color hunt in the backyard! We made a list of colors, and worked together to find them! (We had trouble finding purple… until we looked at Ava!)


August 26th: Jon and I went out of town for the weekend, so each of the kids got to have an adventure of their own with different friends! Everyone took homemade banana bread and fresh picked lavender to their host home 🙂



August 27th: Grandma Tami and Aunt Lea-Anne came over to babysit for the rest of the weekend. The kids had a blast! Plus, they got to go up to Hurricane Ridge!


August 28th: We went to JC Penny to do a little shopping for school clothes!



August 29th: Today we got to go to the Museum of Flight in Seattle! (Thank you Dad & Debbie!) We have a couple plane lovers in our family, and this was a wonderful adventure for all of us!


August 30th: Two of our kids had Open House at their school, and afterward we stopped by Safeway for a special treat!



August 31st: We celebrated the first day of school (and the end of our summer!) with homemade GF maple bacon donuts!! Here’s the base recipe I used 🙂




Summer of Fun 2016: July Recap

I can hardly believe that summer is almost over! My kids go back to school at the end of this month… CRAZY! Summer is flying by, and our daily “Summer of Fun” activities are definitely helping us make memories and spend quality time together.

Here’s a glimpse of what we were up to in the month of July! 🙂


July 1st: We visited the Dungeness Spit! This is such a fun and affordable activity for our family of 6… to get out there and enjoy nature, and it only costs $3! PLUS we found two kind strangers to take a picture of our family all together!




July 2nd: We love going to the Goodwill to find a great deal, so for this adventure each kiddo had to pick an article of clothing at the lowest price. Pink tags were 50% off that day, and Ava ended up winning the challenge!

7.2 IMG_4298


July 3rd: We went berry picking at Graysmarsh! It’s the perfect way to kick off our July 4th festivities… picking fresh berries for a patriotic dessert!




July 4th: We celebrated Independence Day with sparklers, yummy BBQ food, and homemade GF shortcakes with our fresh-picked blueberries & raspberries! 🙂




July 5th: We had a quick visit to Grandma and Granpa’s… Grandma gave the girls pedicures, while Granpa took the boys to get their hair cut (“High and Tight”)!




July 6th: Our oldest had an appointment in Bellevue, so while he and I went there (and had a special Starbucks date), Jon and the younger three kids went to a local park!




July 7th: Another shopping trip! This time to the clearance section at Walmart to see who could find the best deal! It was a little chaotic, but we survived – full of smiles and awesome deals! I think Jon won this challenge… he found a headlight restoration kit for his car; originally $14.97 marked down to a $1!



July 8th: Today the kids each got to plant a new tree in our backyard, and we finished the night off with some GF S’mores! (We found the graham crackers on Amazon!)




July 9th: We went to the local Farmer’s Market! We had a blast! We got to try and buy some of our favorite fudge, get some fresh blueberries, and sample amazing honey and buy a jar! PLUS, it was National Sugar Cookie Day. (Yes, I looked online for all the silly National Holidays and incorporated some into our Summer of Fun.) My friend Judi sent me an owl cookie cutter a while back (I LOVE owls!), and we finally got to use it to make some delicious GF sugar cookies. Click here for the recipe we used!



July 10th: We played Hula Hoop Croquet, a returning favorite from last summer (thank you Pinterest and Crafting Chicks)! And we enjoyed our fudge that we got from WeDo Fudge at the Farmer’s Market!




July 11th: My family loves puzzles. So every summer we attempt a 1,000 piece puzzle together. The goal? To finish it in a day. And to teach my kids perseverance. This activity carried over to the next day, but we did finish it within 24 hours! I think next year we need a simpler design… this one is tricky!




July 12th: We could have called this “B” day! We baked some GF banana bread, then blew bubbles in the backyard! 🙂



July 13th: My family loves music, and we also love our local library. They have some fun kits to check out, like the Lil’ Rhythm Bucket. My kids took turn leading a marching band to their song of choice with the different instruments. Also, it was National French Fry Day! Since half of us have Celiac and most places around here don’t have dedicated fryers for GF, we made our own!




July 14th: Another thing we love to check out from the library – the Birding Kit! Today we spent some time bird-watching in our backyard! We befriended a White-Crowned Sparrow, and we also spotted a Bald Eagle!





July 15th: Today, the kids got to garden with Grandma Tami! ❤



July 16th: Jon and the kids got to visit Grandma Terri and Papa Earl at their new house! And they got to play with their cousin!

7.16 - Visiting Grandma Terri & Papa Earl


July 17th: National Ice Cream Day! We happened to be in Edmonds, and decided to celebrate with ice cream from Dick’s Drive In.



July 18th: Today’s activity was another favorite from previous summers… building structures with toothpicks and mini marshmallows!


July 19th: Recording Session with Dad! Jon is a gifted musician and has the ability to record music from home. The kids got to pick an instrument from the library’s rhythm bucket and play along with the music!



July 20th: After dinner and baths, we made Frozen Hot Chocolate! We used this recipe, and it was delicious! Basically a chocolate milkshake, but there’s something about it that makes it amazing! 🙂



July 21st: Our church recently got a new playground, so I took the kids to play on it during Jon’s lunch break. They had a blast!


July 22nd: Today I surprised the kids with fresh baked chocolate chip cookies!



July 23rd: We went to a BBQ with a ministry team from our church! The hosts had some toys and games for the kids… and ours LOVED the dress-up clothes!


July 24th: Today we went to John Wayne Marina and explored at the beach! The kids love to lift up the bigger rocks and watch the tiny crabs move around! Except Ava. She warmed up to them a little, but she was pretty terrified of the crabs. If you go, make sure you check the tide chart first! The kids had also been taking turns pet-sitting for a family from our church, so today we all went and took care of the animals together!




July 25th: Tonight we had some very special dinner guests! We made a breakfast feast and enjoyed the company!



July 26th: Our new friend Sheri joined us for dinner and games! We had chicken tortilla soup, chocolate zucchini bread, and we played Whoonu & Guesstures!



July 27th: I found an idea on Pinterest a couple years ago to make animal artwork with handprints. We tried it last summer and the kids loved it! So we decided to do it again, and they turned out great! We ended up with a butterfly, eagle, giraffe, peacock, Stegosaurus, and Baymax! 🙂




July 28th: Water fun at our friends’ house! From pool to sprinkler to water table, it was the perfect way to cool off on a HOT summer afternoon!



July 29th: The kids had some money they had earned burning in their pocket, and they all agreed to buy a pet fish! After dinner we headed to Petco and settled on a female Crowntail Betta. She’s white with pretty blue and pink highlights! We already had a bowl and food, so the kids bought the fish, rocks, water treatment and a plant. We named her Tiny Queen. (At the beginning of the month we discovered three baby Violet-Green Swallows living in one of our vents. Jon rescued them but only one survived. We moved him to a birdhouse with its nest, and his mom continued to feed it! Miraculous! Anyway, we gave him two names: Donald Duct and Tiny King. He recently left the birdhouse and we miss him! So Tiny Queen was a natural fit… Crowntail Betta, the colors reminded us of Queen Elsa, and we already had a Tiny King!)




July 30th: Over Memorial Day Weekend we went to Sunriver in Oregon for my sister’s wedding! ❤ The kids brought home some wood to write on as a souvenir. It’s been sitting in the garage for two months, so we figured it was time to break out the Sharpies and get writing! They put their piece next to the tree they planted!



July 31st: We went to one of the local parks! This one in particular is a favorite because it’s fully fenced! AND it has a tire swing! 🙂 It was a fun way to end our month of July!!




As mentioned in the June Recap, I hope you’re inspired and encouraged to get creative in how you spend quality time with your kids! Even if it’s a stressful day (or week, or month!) there is an opportunity waiting for FUN! And yes, these are the highlights of our summer together… tears, sibling rivalry, and yelling are interspersed throughout our days as well, but my purpose here is to share the good and uplifting!


Summer of Fun 2016: June Recap

We have this thing we do as a family called “Summer of Fun”… basically every day over summer break we do something different, as a family, that’s fun! It could be an art project, an outdoor adventure, a yummy treat, etc. My original inspiration came from this blog I found back in 2012. It was our starting point, and our version has changed and morphed over the past few years. I used to spend weeks leading up to summer break planning out each day. This summer I was fairly overwhelmed by the task, so we’re being a little more… spontaneous. We may plan a certain day a little in advance, or we may just decide what to do the day of. As long as we do something fun, as a family, every day this summer… and take at least one picture of it. 🙂 Our daily adventures definitely help pass the time! They also help to ensure that we’re making memories together in the midst of this crazy, wonderful life.

Here’s our “Summer of Fun 2016” recap for the month of June!


June 16th: Cupcake Adventure with the boys (while the girls were at Grandma & Papa’s)! We have the BEST cupcake shop in town, That Takes The Cake… their gluten-free ones are AMAZING – you can’t even tell they’re GF. The owners were having a contest that morning, and our boys won a 4 pack of cupcakes that they gave away (for “Pay It Forward Thursday”)… What a fun way to kick off our summer break!

6.16 (2)


June 17th: We rode the Bainbridge Ferry and ventured up to the Sun Deck (our youngest hates how windy it is up there… since she wasn’t with us, we took advantage of the opportunity)! The boys thought it was pretty cool! It was a beautiful day for a ferry ride!



June 18th: The girls had their “Frozen in Summer” birthday party with our extended family! We also got to have a Father’s Day BBQ for dinner. A fun-filled day for sure!

6.18 IMG_4190


June 19th: We went to Port Williams to walk along the beach and throw rocks!



June 20: We went to our local library to get signed up for their Summer Reading Program… each of the kids got to pick a new book!

6.20 IMG_4293


June 21: Froyo at Costco!

6.21 IMG_4044 6.21 IMG_4045


June 22: We thought we’d try a new item from the produce department… plantains! Since we were grilling up homemade turkey burgers and zucchini, we grilled up the plantains too! (It received mixed reviews from the fam.)

6.22 IMG_3463


June 23: Time for a Tea Party… in our pajamas! The kids had chocolate while I had tea, and we shared some freshly baked banana bread. The best part though – we got to FaceTime Jon while he was on a lunch break at the office, so he didn’t have to miss out! He even drank some tea 🙂 One of our top favorites from June!

IMG_4055 IMG_4062


June 24: The “big kids” were off to their grandparents’ for the weekend, so we went to Safeway with the “littles” and sipped some Starbucks while we shopped!

6.24 IMG_4169


June 25: Riding bikes with Dad (while Mom pulled weeds)!

6.25 IMG_4214


June 26: Ava got to help Jackson with his summer job of feeding cats, and then they took turns on Jackson’s motorcycle!


IMG_4130 IMG_4133


June 27: Indoor Camp-out!



June 28: The big kids came home, and we celebrated with popsicles in the backyard!



June 29: Family Game Night! We played Six Cubes, and Elijah won!



June 30: We picked up some gluten-free treats from Bell Street Bakery and ate them at Jon’s office!



That’s all for June! We can’t wait to share our moments from July with you! Until then, we hope you’re inspired to have some “Summer of Fun” moments with the ones you love!



Learning about the Moon Phases

Today was bittersweet!! It was officially our last day of summer, so it was also the last day for our “Summer of Fun” activities! Having daily activities and adventures helped keep us very busy this summer, and we had so much fun making memories!! But we’re also excited to finish settling into our new home and transition into this next season! This picture of the kids says it all:


#1: Sad that summer is over
#2: Happy that we had so much fun this summer
#3: Excited for fall!

So our last activity today: learning about the moon phases – with Oreos!! I got the idea from Pinterest of course (, and used this website for more info: It was a fun, delicious and simple way to end our summer.


I’m hoping in the next day or two to compile all of our activities from this last summer into one list. Also, stay tuned for more adventures from our family!! With school starting, we’ll be going back to our usual once-a-week family adventure, which we’ll blog about. And I’m thinking December might get a “25 Days of Christmas” activities blog… We’ll see as it gets closer!! 🙂

Moving & Unpacking

Yesterday’s activity: Moving! Today’s: Unpacking! It’s been a busy couple days but we are finally settling into our new home. The kids got to stay the night at their grandparents house last night, and Elijah & Laci got to go to the fair today! So they had some adventures of their own 🙂

Learning New Languages

We’re gearing up to move tomorrow (crazy way to end the summer!) so today’s activity was short & sweet: learn phrases in a new language. I got an app for my phone, Google Translate, and we typed in the phrase “I love you”. Then we listened to quite a few translations in different languages, including German, French, Italian, and Japanese. We all took turns practicing how to say “I love you” in the different languages. It was fun!! 🙂