Category Archives: Summer-time FUN

Summertime Activities – Chalkboard wall

Leave a message for your kids every day, or every week or every month. A chalkboard wall or message center is the perfect spot to do that!.



chalkboardoys kboard-girls

One of the highlights that the kids love in our home is the many chalkboard walls that we have. I have a full wall in my office and then there are stripes in the little girl and little boy rooms.

I have found that since I have put in the chalkboard sections, we do not have anyone writing on the walls in any other places… no crayon, paint or pens! YEAH! And their walls change often. Sometime they are just scribbles… others they are filled with flowers and hearts.

We have converted a corner in my office to a “quiet zone” with a glider, books, felt toys and the chalkboard. It is utilized often! We have found that when our little boys need a bit of relaxation, this is where they both tend to circulate to.

Every week, I change part of my wall near my desk to have a quote for the kids.  Some are bible verses, others are fun quotes that I find online. I do not take a ton of time with the font… I mean, I could make it look like restaurant signs if I wanted…




 Creating a chalkboard wall or section is really REALLY easy. Essentials that you need: Obviously Chalkboard paint (I got mine at Ace Hardware. – I love our local Ace in Chino!!) It is also available online if you are not in a hurry – It is on Amazon- I put a link to the right.

You will need blue tape to mark off your area and a paintbrush.  – My FAVORITE TOOL that I use to paint with it the As seen on TV Point and Paint. I put a link to this as well. I know… CHEESEY!  I have used mine on everything from walls to craft projects… and I just ordered another one too.

My full wall took a quart and a half of paint. I buy them 2 quarts at a time so that I have some all of the time.

Here is the wall in my office – Please ignore the clutter on the shelf! LOL Just keeping it real!!


MIA this week – Sumertime activities – Leaving the house to the pool

I can not take credit for this beautiful photo of the Doce fire…It was taken by a friend from high school, Chade Woodard Arnold . We live the direction that the smoke is blowing. 🙁

I wanted to post an apology for this week. I don’t know if it has been on your local news, but there is a forest fire (The Doce Fire in Prescott, AZ) less than 10 miles from our home. We were actually on a possible smoke evacuation watch because of the air quality.

Here is the smoke wall that was raining ash at our house. 🙁


So this morning, because the winds hadn’t picked back up and the smoke was still at a minimal, we decided to venture to the pool. There were only a few other families there so it was much easier for the boys. The water was a bit chilly so here we are enjoying the warm June sun in northern Arizona. By afternoon it was smoke filled again in our area, eyes were itchy and everyone took GREAT NAPS! (hey, 5 of 7 sleeping, I am a proud mama!)




Summertime Activities for Kids… Hop Scotch

STEP 1-3

With 7 kids at home during the summer time (Yes, I know that we homeschool 4 of the kids but that does leave 3, all special needs, that are normally gone all day!), I have been finding activities to do every day with them. As a child, I loved playing hopscotch. I started thinking – I have a TON of cement driveway around my house and I was sure that I could make one fairly easily. I mean… I draw them all of the time with chalk anyhow!

Hop scotch is one of those age-old games that can be found around the world as well as in every language out there. There are no set rules, as a matter of fact I was amazed to hear how Breckin learned the game at school too!

Today, we taped the ground outside on the driveway and created a hopscotch on the sidewalk. I had left over blue painters tape from the girls room and my office chalkboard wall (I will post about those soon!)

This will prove to be hours of fun for any number for the kids and will probably drive Berlyn a little crazy with OCD and Autism. As a matter of fact, Berlyn kept peeling and straightening my lines for me.


Step 1 – Blue tape the outline of the hopscotch. There are many different patterns that you can find online for a hop scotch.

Step 2 – Create the inside lines. Remember to put one tape down, then a space and a second tape down to form lines that you are going to paint.

Step 3 – Tape around the entire outside to make a space between the step 1 line and this line.

Step 4 – Take scissors or a blade and remove any over lapping tape to make a continuous line form. 

Step 5 – Spray paint the open lines to form a permanent hop scotch on the cement.

NOTE TO SELF: DO NOT  spray paint while it is windy like I did or you will get stray spray!

Step 6 – Remove the blue tape – Fun for the kids once your paint dries… Breckin was right there to volunteer for me! And he even took it to the garbage for me as well!

Step 7 ENJOY!!!!  This can prove to be hours of fun for your littles!



Found a cool site with some FUN information:

Hopscotching Around the World

As mentioned the game is a bit different around the globe, and variations are plenty, from the French version which features a spiral instead of the usual set up, to Ekhat-Dukhat in India which only has two squares.

The New York version of the game is Potsie, which comes from pot or the home base which a player gets too (if he doesn’t fall off). The New York term for hopscotch, which is played pretty much the same as the English one, dates back to the late 19th century.

The French version might be a bit harder to play if you are used to English hopscotch. The course is a spiral, much like a snail’s shell, and players need to hop to the centre and back. A player can also pick out a square of choice and can land on this square with both feet; this is because there aren’t any squares side-by-side.

Hopscotch in German-speaking countries is called “Heaven and Hell” and has different rules; players need to kick the stone from square to square when advancing, and cannot stop at the “Hell” square which is the second-to-last in the game.

In Cyprus and Greece, they play Ayaktasi (try saying that with a mouthful) which is similar to how the Australians play hopscotch. The player throws a stone into a square in the usual way, but the game is played in stages and only ends once the stone has landed on all possible squares.

Fun Summertime Foods… Hummus

I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical about HUMMUS… My sister is amazing and for the last 3 years has been trying to get me to even try hummus. It is UGLY and (I think) smells FUNNY. But, then I gave in and now, for the last 6 months we ALWAYS have homemade hummus and pita chips for a snack. Yes, I admit, I was wrong!! It is SO GOOD! Thanks Jen for finally just shoving a chip with hummus down my throat. I am sorry that I acted like a 2 year old and wouldn’t try it.


Hummus and chips is a good snack for kids in the summer-time. We make the chips from scratch along with the hummus… when have I not made anything from scratch!?!?

Since Pita chips and hummus are now a staple in our home, I wanted to share with you how to make BOTH! It would even make a good snack to take on a picnic this summer!!

Hummus is VERY easy!!!


Cilantro Lime Chicken in solar oven
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  1. 4 boneless chicken breasts
  2. 2 green onions, chopped
  3. 1 bundle of cilantro, chopped
  4. 3 limes zested and juiced
  5. 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted or 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  6. 1/4 cup vinegar
  7. 2 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  1. Wash and add chicken breasts into your solar oven pans.
  2. In a blender, blend together cilantro, lime zest and juice, oil, vinegar and garlic.
  3. Pour the sauce over the chicken.
  4. Top with chopped green onions.
  5. Bake in solar oven for 6-8 hours. - Homeschool and homestead
Our "chunky" hummus
Our “chunky” hummus

Summertime Fun – Backyard Camp Out

Who said that you need to leave your driveway and go into nature to go camping? Surprise the kids with a backyard BBQ and camp out.

The only thing that you need is a tent and a flashlight…  I have a 4 person one that the boys in our family use for these mini-camps. My nephews normally come over too and they sit outside with their flashlights and lanterns and giggle and tell jokes.

So, even if you can not venture out into nature… This is the perfect alternative!! And MOM still gets to sleep in her soft bed!


Summertime Fun – Find a Local Library Program

libraryprogramsMost children’s libraries put on programs during the summertime. Yes… I am telling you, if you have children, CALL YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY!

Our local children’s library website is:

The library in Chino Valley, Arizona (where the kiddlings and Larry and I live) has an FANTASTIC summer program. We attend the Special Needs one for Berlyn and Trystan. (Autusm and ADHD are interesting things to try and get children to sit still… but the program for the special needs in not terribly busy and allows the kids to move around. The best part is that there are a lot of “get up and dance” . )

Today, the Prescott Heritage Park Zoo visited the kids! They let the kids touch the  snake, hissing cockroach and the tortoises. They also brought a pink-footed tarantula and 2 prairie dogs that were in a rolly exercise ball.

The Chino Valley Library has an AMAZING Children’s Librarian by the name of Darlene Westcott (better known as Ms. Darlene to the kids.) I have known Darlene for 20 years. Her daughters went to school with me. In 2010, she won the 2010 Arizona Youth Services Librarian of the Year because of all of her  phenomenal work with children.

Here is a link to the Chino Valley Summer Reading Program –

Here is a link to the Chino Valley SELF Club (SPecial Needs) Summer Reading Program:


So if you have kids at home this summer… call your local library!

You never know what they have in store for you!



Summertime Foods – Saving your herbs

Summertime is such a great time to not only grow your own gardens with vegetables but also herbs to use in your kitchen! I have a pretty large herb selection in my garden as well. I store all of my bulk herb that I dehydrated in quart sized mason jars. I have them each labeled with chalkboard labels so that I can change them out… Then this year, I found the new BALL Herb Jars… (I found mine at my local ALCO store – But they are also online at AMAZON – link to the left)


I still have all of my bulk herb jars in my pantry, but now, I have my little jars filled and labeled by my stove in a drawer. This makes it so much easier than searching for the big jars!



Herbs are REALLY easy to dehydrate (And you DO NOT need a dehydrator to do it) If you live where there is low humidity, you can lay your herbs out on trays and they should be dried out within about 24 hours. You can also use your oven set to the LOWEST temperature. You will need to flip the herbs over at least once while they are in the oven. 

So, You want to have fresh and/or dried herbs from your garden for your cooking? What herbs do I have in my garden?

  • Dill – I use in my potato salad, on fish and when I can my pickles
  • Cilantro – Think Mexican food – Cilantro is a staple here – in my guacamole, hummus, mixed with re-fried beans, taco meat and I even have a cilantro lime dressing that I make every week.
  • Parsley – I use mostly fresh to bring out the flavors and meld together other herbs. Tastes great with fish, chicken and veggies.
  • Lemon Balm – Use in my tea, to season my green salads, poultry and fish . The herb has a lemon taste with a hint of mint.
  • Chives – I use chives in my salads and on veggies. They have a slight onion taste.
  • Basil – this is another herb that I CAN NOT live without – Brescetta with tomato/basil, pesto and I love when I mix it with butter for toast with dinner!
  • Oregano – My basic Italian seasoning – oregano is best in italian dishes, in chili, with vegetables, soups.
  • Mint – in yogurt, with fresh fruit and dried for teas.
  • Rosemary – in potatoes, with roast

I do mix all of my herbs in my bread doughs for an added artisan flavor.

Summertime Activities for Kids… S'mores at home

You do not need to go camping in order to have S’mores!!

blog-smores1We have a fire pit that I picked up at Wally-World for my hubby for father’s day a few year ago. It is portable and we can move it throughout the yard to where ever we need or want to sit for the evening.

Every once in a while, I will surprise the kids with a “ranch-camp fire” and get out everything for s’mores. 


2-Graham Cracker Squares

1 3-piece section of hershey’s chocolate

and 1 large marshmallow toasted

Those 3 ingredients are made into a sandwich!!


I have a fun alternative to roasted s’mores!!

During our adoption party, we premade marshmallows on a stick.  Then, we dunked them in melted almond bark and then in crushed graham crackers. … THEY WERE A HIT!

Summertime Fun – A MUST HAVE book

It is not often that I do reviews on books. I actually avoid them because for the most part, I know that everyone is different and has different types of writing so I always feel that I am judging another person’s art.

However, that being said, I have found the ULTIMATE go-to book for the summer if you have kids. Link to the right –> This book has literally HUNDREDS of different games, and indoor and outdoor activities. Every activity has how many players, ages, location and equipment listed along with the riles and ways to play it. There are indoor games like card games, mind games, word and brain game, pencil and paper games, and tabletop games. There are also outdoor games that include categories like blacktop games hide and seeks, relays and races, tag and chases and ball games, water games, party games and more.  There are even ROAD GAMES for the car!! YEAH!

Shelby and El are going to lead our homeschool park day with some games from this book today!!


Fun Summertime Foods – Mojito for Kids

blog-kidmojitos-drinkMy kids don’t get to drink soda often.. but occasionally, like Sunday dinner with the grandparents or a special occasion like a party or holiday we make this fun and refreshing drink. This drink is a kid-friendly and can be made into an adult only.

We have been tweaking our recipe for years, but now that we have an abundance of mint growing throughout our yard, we are making so many recipes with mint. For drinks,  I make a lot of mint infused water to drink during the day and we dry mint leave to make mint sun tea to drink.

We picked up a container that has a sport on the side so that this crew can serve themselves. My container is one gallon and during the summer, I fill it with water, mint or lime/lemon slices and ice and have a selfserving water center for the kids. It keeps them out of my fridge!

Another summer-time tip it to purchase a set of “solo party cups”. I write each child’s name on their cup and they use it over and over again. This makes doing dishes so much easier and kids are not reaching for a new cup out of my cabinet every time that they need a drink. Instead, they use their cup over and over… and their name is on it!