How We Have Spent Our Summer Outside

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This is a sponsored post, I am a Kmart blogger, though all opinions are my own.

Since I live in the midwest area we experience all four seasons. By the time winter is over, we are more then ready for warmer weather to come. Summertime brings so many fun opportunities, and I thought I would share with you how we have spent our summer outside.

We love to go to the park in the summertime! We love to go to the park in the summertime! We have a favorite park that is kept up really well, and even has a lake nearby at the local Bass Pro.

Fun on the jungle jim bars! Our older boys love to climb the monkey bars in a variety of ways. :)

Washing Clothes at a Historical eventWe went to a historical day at a Mill and old house, and the children loved getting to wash clothes by hand, make rag dolls and rope, watch the sheep being sheered, tour the house, and see all the historical costumes. It was a fun day outside as a family, yet we were learning about history while we were together!

horseback riding in the summer months! We have let the children go horseback riding at a children’s farm, and they all love it! The boys have gone with family on actual trail rides before and love doing that in the summertime as well.

Lazy Fun in the Sun Then there is the lazy summer days of eating snacks outside (popsicles are a must!), reading books on a blanket outside, jumping on the trampoline, exploring in the ditch, catching fireflies at night, and sidewalk chalk and bubbles.

Are you looking for ideas for the summer months?

How about…

Making a tepee outside with branches.

Fun with water guns.

Slip and Slide (add bubbles to make it even more slippery!)

Put a sprinkler under the trampoline and bounce away while you cool down.

Take a long bike ride as a family.

Cook an egg on the hot sidewalk.

Make homemade ice-cream.

Go swimming.

Go to a drive in outdoor movie theater (I did this once as a child and it was a totally new experience!).

Set up a tent in the backyard and sleep outside.

Invite friends over for a BBQ outside.

Fly a kite.

Make a treehouse.

Have a water balloon fight.

These are just some ideas of things we enjoy to do in the summer, or things we want to do!

If you are looking for a place to get some fun summer toys, Kmart has a great selection! Here is a list of their Hot Deals for Summer! #KmartSummerFun

I’d love to hear what you stay busy doing in the summer months! 

My Weekly Menu Plan

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My weekly menu plan for our large family!

When Sean and I went away on our trip recently we had some really good conversations. They were not easy converstations, it was one of those moments in your marriage where it stretches your relationship, and you are both working so hard on finding the middle ground on how to balance everything.

I mentioned in a previous post that we have lived a crazy busy life the past few years to get Sean through college, but that after he finds a job things will need to change for me. That doesn’t involve closing everything down, rather it means focusing my efforts wisely and hiring more help.

What does this all have to do with menu planning? Basically for the last two years I’ve done very little of it. We have survived on burritos, taco salad, sandwiches, and spaghetti. Seriously. It’s been sad. Oh and Costco pizza. Can’t forget that!

My family was understanding, but they are ready for better meals now! I planned a menu plan for the week and we have been enjoying new meals!

Our Week Long Menu Plan



Cold Cereal

Stuffed French Toast

Yogurt smoothies for me





(I was inspired by this blog post on having soup for lunch!)


Chicken Barley Soup 

Chicken soft tacos

I marinated chicken breast using this recipe, then made the Pioneer woman’s rice recipe from her holiday cookbook.  I served it with black beans (sprinkled some taco seasoning in those), cheese, sour cream and lettuce. They were yummy! We had these twice this week. Yes, still a mexican dish but my family loved it. :)

Lasagna Style Spagetti Squash

Enchilada Casserole 

Parmesan Orzo,  steamed veggies and baked Chicken Tenders

Sunday lunch is normally at my sister’s house

I love pinning recipes on my Recipe Pinterest Board!




Large Family Lunches {simplified}

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Large Family Lunches


A Guest Post from Katie at Simple Foody blog. 

In our family, lunches can be the one thing I’m always unprepared for. It’s generally just me and the kids, there are enough of us now that I need to actually prepare a large meal yet we ate breakfast only a few short hours ago and no-one is ‘starving’ as they like to tell me at dinner.

It’s an inconvenient meal, it breaks up the homeschooling rhythm, nothing ever ‘sounds good’ and the baby is generally ready for a nap and a lunch time meltdown is sure to come shortly. After months of grumbling about our lunchtime routine, I finally found something that works!

Large Family Lunches

Soup. We’re gluten-free in our home due to two celiac children and little boxes or packets of microwavable food just don’t work for our large family (and our budget, ahem). But soup….soup works. And I think it will work for you too!

Every Monday morning I make a large pot of soup during breakfast clean-up. This pot of soup would ideally feed your family twice (you’ll eat it for lunch on Monday and then again for lunch on Wednesday). Double or triple your favorite recipes to make this work for your family. Tuesday morning I make another large pot of soup during breakfast clean-up, this pot of soup will feed you Tuesday and again on Thursday. Friday we have a meal the kids help assemble: sandwiches, veggies fruit and hummus, or crackers and cheese. It’s a fun meal and since Friday is our errand day it works well with our schedule.

Why Soup?

Soup is generally frugal, easy to assemble, nourishing, and who doesn’t love the thought and smell of a simmering pot of soup. Once bowls are ladled up for the day I carefully pour what’s leftover into half gallon glass jars and store in the fridge for it’s appropriated day.

Large Family Lunches

Depending on the soup served depends on what I serve with it. A chicken and rice soup is generally hearty enough to be considered a meal all on it’s own. Vegetable soup or tomato soup are served with a slice of cheese toast (easier to make than grilled cheese and I use half the bread). A beef stew will be served with a veggie platter and on occasion I’ll serve our daily soup with a heaping bowl of home canned peaches or applesauce much to the delight of the children.

What are your favorite lunchtime meals?

A Non-Disney Princess Birthday Party!

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A Non-Disney Princess Birthday Party! |

We normally just do family birthday parties with our children, or invite a family that we are friends with to join us at our family party. I thought it would be fun to have an actual party for my oldest daughter who turned six recently, and invite her friends over! We are not into Disney movies, but I loved the idea of a princess party. If you have ever shopped around for princess items that are not Disney related, you know that it is very difficult!

I was happy when I found this amazing princess decor on Zulily. It was a splurge, but I used some credit I had to get it. The brand is Meri Meri, and the exact same princess decor is actually on Zulily right now for a very limited time! You can also find the Meri Meri princess items on Amazon here. It is much cheaper on Zulily right now, so I’d grab them there!

Princess Cupcake Stand! | themodestmomblog.comI made cupcakes and put the beautiful princesses on top. The castle is so sweet; my girls enjoyed playing with it before the cupcakes went on it!

Sisters waiting for friends to arrive! The girls were waiting at the door for their friends to arrive! Carrianna is wearing her Abigail Adams play dress.

Reading Princess Books I read to the girls some princess books about what a true Princess for God is like.

Here are some of my favorite Princess books

The Princess and the Kiss

The princess and the Kiss

The True Princess

The True Princess

My Girls really liked these:

Princess Grace and the Little Lost Kitten

Princess Joy’s Birthday Blessings

I kept everything simple and we did an activity making butterflies.

Making butterflies They ate snacks at the princess table.

princess table

I gave all the girls little gifts (flexi clips, paint with water books, and some other things from the dollar store).

opening gifts together Then the girls ran off and played together while the moms visited!

It was a fun day, and I thought you all might enjoy seeing the pictures. :)

You can find modest, quality play dresses at Little Deborah