Kick-off to Summer! Summer Bucket List and Summer Anthems Playlist

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It’s official. Summer has begun. We kicked it off yesterday with lots of honking and summer anthems blaring as we drove away from school car line (these window crayons came in handy to decorate a “School’s Out” summer theme all over our van windows), and kept it going at home with summer treats, outdoor fun and a kick-off beach party with what felt like half our school.

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(summer berry pie cupcakes, made with m&ms, from this amazing cupcake book I use a  lot)

Last night, watching all these little friends play in the water and scanning the beach to see crowds of parents talking about their summer plans…it all felt so special and celebratory, definitely of the memory-making moments category.

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I finished and hung our summer bucket list yesterday as well. We’ll roll it up and take it with us to Michigan at the end of the month (I used a roll of this easel paper I keep in my craft closet).

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2017’s Summer Bucket List up close:

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And finally, sharing our summer anthems playlist. We played them all day yesterday:

That LFO song though. Brings back all the 1999 memories of blaring it with the windows rolled down and my hair blowing in the wind, feeling like I was the coolest girl in the world. You know, in my teal Ford Escort station wagon with the duct tape-attached fender. Ah summer, you dawg.

One more word to the wise: Do NOT walk through Target’s summer entertaining aisles in the back of the store. Holy self-control, man. We’re talkin’ retro summer cups and trays, popsicle-shaped sidewalk chalk, rainbow stripe paper plates, bomp pop pool floats. HOLD ME BACK, MAN. HOLD ME BACK.

Enjoying: Summer Dreams, Rainbow Wands & Little Libraries

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This is the Gauntlet week, the last stretch before the summer finish line, and we are giving it everything we’ve got. We’re hustling by day for class parties and teacher gifts and coming home when it’s done to dump backpacks full of crap that’s been rotting in their desks for nine months. Come Thursday, we will celebrate. For me, the beginning of summer commences in my mind with that last school pick-up, and then it’s on–our second “Christmas” of the year. I love all the hype leading up to it–the summer bucket lists, the school countdown–but mostly, I love the way summer sparks my inner child. It’s like the adult in me hands over the control board come June every year, takes some time off and lets my 8-year-old self take over for a while. So while I may try to pull off the responsible adult look (pssst…carry a purse, wear sunglasses, be serious), know that my brain this time of year is all STICKERS!!! STICKERS! OH MY GOD, STICKERS! BOMB POPS! LET’S HAVE A LEMONADE STAND! WAIT, LET’S MAKE S’MORES! LET’S LIGHT 100 SPARKLERS AND WRITE HEARTS IN THE AIR WITH THEM. OOOOOH, ICE CREAM CONE TEMPORARY TATTOOS, LET’S COVER OUR BODIES WITH THEM! WHO WANTS TO GO TO THE POOL? WHO WANTS TO BUILD A FORT? WHO WANTS TO PLAY CAMP? LET’S MAKE A HAND CLAP ABOUT SUMMER AND PERFORM IT IN A NEIGHBORHOOD SUMMER TALENT SHOW!!!

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It is highly likely that, three days into summer, I will be all “DEAR GOD, WHAT WAS I THINKING?”…but for now, we are happy anticipating.

There will be some squirrely days for sure, but for the most part, I like having my kids home and love the open slate for adventure these two months give us. The best part? Slow mornings.

We prepped for it this weekend, trading in ideas for Memorial Day barbecues and beach excursions for some much needed stay-at-home time instead.

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The result was replenishing, making me even more excited for more of this to come.

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Enjoying lately…

Nella’s requests for a “foot clap” after a hand clap.

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House calls from our resident doctor

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Her obsession with ribbon wands right now. She takes them in the pool, brings them to stores, sleeps with them…rhythmic gymnastics, here we come.

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Slow morning art…

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Spending 50% of our days in the pool…my favorite, night swims by twinkle light.

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Mini Adventures. Short trips (the heat! the humidity!) this time of year to nearby parks and boardwalks. 

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Nella’s pout stance, killin’ it…

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Nature spotting guides…

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Little libraries around town…

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Little donuts around town (Peace, Love & Little Donuts)…

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Outside activities that don’t require moving around because it’s already too hot…

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(several asked on IG about this gypsy embroidered dress. I got it for a swim suit cover-up, but love it for a dress)

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Happy, happy.

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Summer Necklaces: Frida, Iris & Anne with an e

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Hear ye, hear ye, I have the cutest accessory for your girlies this summer, and it’s so much fun to make. I was searching for some fun statement piece necklaces for the girls to wear with t-shirts and tanks this summer and was hoping to find some cute literary characters like Anne of Green Gables (Lainey started watching the new Netflix series with me and likes it!) or great women icons like Frida Kahlo. I decided I’d make some myself because I had a vision that incorporated my long infatuation with Shrinky Dinks. This is definitely my favorite thing we’ve made with them yet. In fact, I’ve fallen so much in love with these, I’ve turned my dining room into a Shrinky Dink necklace factory, wore one of the necklaces to drop Lainey off at school this morning and left with three orders for more.

We started with Frida Kahlo and Iris Apfel, and I LOVE how they turned out.

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Then, I couldn’t stop.

Anne of Green Gables:

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Audrey Hepburn:

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…and a list of summer treats:

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Okay. Here’s what you need.

We use the 8×10 Shrinky Dinks Rough & Ready sheets because one pack lasts forever and makes tons of charms.

Other supplies (all available at Michael’s)

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The pom pom beads have plastic tubing that runs through the middle, so you can string them. The leather tassels come in a pack of 8 for about $5. The little embellishments like flowers, pearls and rhinestones can be hot glued on your charm after it comes out of the oven and adds some fun 3D detail.

We wanted fun oversized charms to make a statement, so I drew our faces about 6 inches high. I pulled up several illustrations on the Internet to look at for drawing guides, but it’s much easier to make a recognizable likeness of a figure who has iconic features. Also I drew my illustrations on paper first–easier to erase mistakes–and then, once I was happy with it, placed the Shrinky Dink paper over it and traced it.

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We punched holes at the top of our charms for a necklace jump ring and one at the bottom for charms where we wanted to add a tassel (the bomb pops are earrings).

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Here’s the trick with Shrinky Dinks. DO NOT INTERVENE when they’re shrinking. I think I’ve advised before to watch them closely and intervene if they’re not curling right, but after several trials and errors yesterday, we got it down to perfect charms when we let those baby go. I do stay close and watch them with the oven light on (they only take about 1 minute to shrink all the way), but the only time I stepped in was at the very very end when they were already shrunk and just needed a dish towel lightly pushed on them to flatten them perfectly.

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The opportunities are endless. For kids, illustrated books hold so many favorite literary characters that are easy to trace. One of my favorite children’s illustrators is Julie Morstad. Her book Today is one of our family’s favorites and is brimming with the most darling illustrations that are begging to be turned into jewelry. So we did just that.

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(Let her curl up…she’ll fix herself!)

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Simply obsessed with how this little lady charm turned out.

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Cannot wait to accessorize Nella’s little red gingham dress with this.

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I love the way Iris looks on this stripe tee.

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Family and friends have now requested Betty White (for the Golden Girls lover), Ruth Bader Gindsburg, Little Bear, Olivia, Madeline and Kevin Spacey.

Ima be busy. Happy Friday!

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