Tag Archives: summer

Embracing a simple summer…..

apple orchard picture

“Mom….just ten more minutes to ride my bike”…

“Maybe later”.

“How about you play barbies with me in the basement?

“Maybe later”.

Maybe later….maybe later (sigh)……I can’t tell you how often I’ve used this phrase with my two youngest. I’ll tell you….the “mom guilt” is strong. Strong because, as parents, we constantly are reevaluating our decisions and the life that we are providing our children.

As hard as my children work during the school year, I need to work just as hard to make sure that we “live it up” in the summer. I have spent the past three weeks thinking about this….and all these questions come to mind:

Are my little girls getting the same childhood as their older siblings?

What happened to the simple joys of childhood?……and can I get that back?

If I am going to demand hard work during the school year, I will have to let my kids just “hang out” for the summer…..

bria bike

I often think back to the days of creek jumping, and endless picnics. When my oldest wasn’t yet schooling, we filled our days with endless fun. She was too young for school and still too young for structured activities, so our day included afternoon walks with leaf collecting and puddle jumping. I sat in attendance for many a puppet show, or “culinary experience” from our play kitchen. Life wasn’t too “busy” to just have fun and “play” with my children.

And yet…..my little girls fall second to the three older children and their academic success in homeschooling. I know I need to find the balance for this coming fall, but for now…I can plunge right into summer with this simplistic mentality.

So…I made a few phone calls. No piano lessons for the summer. No dance class. Nothing that would require the kids and I to have a schedule.  Two vacation bible schools and one overnight camp…but that’s it. The rest of the summer is totally up to us!

It means late night and late mornings.

It means extra snuggles at bedtime and cuddles in the morning.

It means staying late at the pool and grabbing takeout for dinner.

It means last minute playdates with friends, and endless nights on the porch.

So….how exactly will we spend our summer? I’ve got a few ideas……

So I have decided to include a printable of some simple summer suggestions here:

blog post list butterfly

It’s my first free printable!  Trust me as I learn how to perfect these…they will get better. haha

Take a few minutes to print off that printable and let your mind start sailing off…..

So that you can enjoy having beach days and surfing parties:

surf club

Or maybe your kids can ride in a space ship…made of table chairs…

space ship

or stay in your pajamas and play….


Life’s too short to spend your summer driving kids around to activities. Spend your days cuddling in the sun, and picking yummy fruit.

Spend your summer days reminding your kids how make fun YOU ARE!!!

Allow yourself to “slow down” and soak in the laughter of your children.






Our Summer Scrapbook…..a pictorial “update” of 11 ways we are enjoying the summer!

We are FULLY engaged in our summer over here at “Chasing Time…. ” and we are loving every minute of it.


Unfortunately, that means less time “checking in” with my blog.

I thought a quick pictorial blog could give you an idea of what we have been up to.

Here are 11 ways we are getting the most out of our summer.


1.) Plenty of Outside Fun!!!

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Playing in the sprinklers….

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Washing the van….


Playing in the creek and at the park…..


2.) Blueberry Picking!!!!

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3.) Hanging by the Pool!!!!

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 4.) Imaginative Play!!!


Billy the kid and an outlaw……


Playing grocery store….



Filling up the shopping cart….




one really “tall” 3 yr old….haha


Playing “hospital”….


Diving lessons……


Getting a little gangsta….haha

5.) The Fashionista’s Birthday!!!

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Enjoying her birthday “Mega” donut….


Ready for her party……

6.) Six Flags!!!!!

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image7.) Summer Reading


8.) Growing our Garden!!!!

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9.) Getting Healthy!!!

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10.) Lake Time Fun!!!

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11.) First Ice Cream Truck Visit!!!



We are cramming as many things as we can into this last month of August.

I pray you are enjoying this summer with your littles as well.

Join us in making memories!!!!!


Summer Reading!!!

Summer Reading is in full swing here at our house!


And we are loving every minute of it.

(This picture shows the pool that included a “swim up” library…)

“Can we get an armful of books, mom?!”


“Can we read two books at one time, mom?!”


The library is definitely one of our favorite places to visit during the summer. And there are few things I love more than cuddling up on the couch with a new library book and a hot cup of tea.  Unless, it’s cuddling up with a cute wee one and a fun read aloud book.

We have our personal favorite “go to” authors that the kiddos love. For the past few years we always get out some of our favorites from Keiko Kasza….like the Wolf’s Chicken Stew:

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or  Badger’s Fancy Meal…..

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Even the older kids will crowd around the couch to hear one of these books read.

We keep a nice big basket on our fireplace to house all of our library books and to contain how many missing books we have when they are due. Let’s just say I am sure there have been “community rooms” fully funded by our family library fines.

So…although I have some children that LOVE reading….aka “Turn off the flipping light and go to bed”….I also have children that I have to bribe to read. DDD loves reading Captain Underpants and Diary of a Whimpy Kid but forget any real form of literature. Sweet Pea loves reading….from the classics to Babysitter’s club. The Fashionista has a tougher time with reading and so this summer is about getting her excited about challenging herself. We are trying to move her beyond Junie B. Jones. haha.

Now….I have been known to come up with great incentive programs that leave me with a lot of work to do.  However…….I have learned that the simplier the better…..both for me and the children.

Intro….our Summer Reading Program……

Goal: to create a system that creates enthusiasm for reading and is easy to maintain.

I found these great Reading logs for the younger two girls.

I write the name of the books that I read them and I let them color them in.

FREE Reading Logs Kids Can Color - This Reading Mama

Once their whole sheet is colored (30 books), I take them out for ice cream. I have showed the hubs and the big kids how to fill these forms out in case they read to the girls.

The older children need a little more incentive since they are reading chapter books.

So for them I found these great reading “chains” that we are working on. They each received a $5.00 Rita’s gift card for finishing their first book…and a $5.00 gift card for each 5 books they finish.


The name of their book and the date gets placed on these strips of paper and then stapled to make a paper chain.

I simply place these someplace that the kids can see them often. For us, this was on the door to our basement. This allows the little ones to continue to color in their reading logs and the big kids to add to their reading chains.


So with half of our books due back on Wednesday, we will be renewing and grabbing new books this week.  Thankfully,  I created a “recommended” book list for each child which we take to the library and they get assistance, from the librarians, with finding their books.

Here’s to more literature in your life!!!


10 ways to be the “Worst Mom Ever” this Summer!

It’s already starting in my house..

“This is the worst day ever!”

“I’m so bored.”

“I have nothing to do.”

“I’m hungry.”

Oh…the sounds of children who need direction and some activities.

So…how can you survive this summer with your kiddos home?

I’ve got 10 ways for you to be the “Worst Mom Ever” this summer.

So let’s get started…….

Give them two weeks of college life.

For the first two weeks after school lets out, just let them do whatever they want. Let them wake up when they want and just hang out. Watch their mannerisms, weaknesses, and see what the summer holds for you. This is your “gathering information” session for the summer. You will quickly find out what goals you have for each of them and what behaviors are not going to “work” for your summer home with them. (You will then use this information to set up your daily schedule and chore lists.)


getting their own breakfast

 Set up a daily schedule.

I like to have some semblance of order for the summer. Of course, my days are not filled with homeschooling checklists, but the children function better when they know the “plan”. Our mornings will be pretty laid back in terms of wake up times and breakfast. At around 10am, we will gather to work on a daily scripture verse, morning prayer, chore assignments, and the schedule for the rest of the day. Our local YMCA pool will open at 11 so the children and I will set up our day around an after lunch pool time and errands and appointments will be set up to alternate pool days. Since we do have two vacation bible school sessions scheduled this summer for the mornings, it makes more sense to set up our pool times and errands for the afternoon. I have also chosen to give myself one day, Wednesdays, where we will remain at home. This will allow the children to plunder my home while I work on housecleaning and home projects. I strongly recommend this if you are in the car driving a lot. You will want to have one day that you can “veg” if you need it.


swimming lessons

 Turn off the TV: Encourage your kids to “feed their brain”.

You will be amazed at how many grocery stores, fashion shows, and lip syncs will grace your home. My kids decided to plan a bake sale for the weekend community yard that my development was having and earned $28. It’s amazing what they can do when they aren’t sitting in front of the TV.


bake sale!


the fun of an empty box

Make them earn their ipod/kindle/ipad time:

For every job/chore that my kids do, above and beyond their responsible daily chore, they can earn 15 minutes of “technology time”. Technology is a priviledge…not a “right”. You will be surprised how many extra jobs they will do for technology time.


making dinner


chopping veggies

Institute a mandatory reading time for your whole house everyday…including you.

If you have little ones, give them the first few minutes of your time and read aloud with them. If you can fit it in, start reading a novel together. The minute I start reading a book aloud, I find that my bigger kiddos start crowding around me on the couch. The kiddos love when I add voices and really throw myself into the story.  Reading aloud, at any age, will only increase their vocabulary and their knowledge of subject matter.


Make them eat their fruits and veggies.

This is way more fun if you let them help you grow them. Our strawberries just came in and the kids are loving it. I actually found that the kiddos will eat roasted veggies from the garden too if they know it was the one that “they picked”.


our growing strawberries


Make them sit down…with you.

I know…there is always so much for us to do. But….a mom sitting down is like a bug to a light. Kids LOVE being close to mom but we are rarely relaxing. Let them lay on top of you….dangle off the couch from your lap….I’m sure they and you will absolutely hate it.


Mini Me and I

Teach them more responsibility.

When my teaching hat gets put aside for the summer, I really push the kiddos in the cleaning/responsibility department. There is a greater number of “commission” earning jobs that can be done during the week for money. I also pair my kiddos up together so I can get to some summer projects that need my attention.


folding dishcloths


playing together in the garage

 Make them go outside everyday.….even if its raining.

Teach them to dance in the rain and stomp in puddles. Pull out the old jump rope and teach them how to jump “old school”. Play tag or jump on their bike and take it for a ride. I’ve been known to grab one of my kid’s scooters and race them down the street. The summer is the perfect time for a late dinner and bath after a long day of outside play.



family walk…


Create some “Mom Time”.

During the school year, I made sure that I had an hour a day to myself. My children played in the basement while I made business calls; watched one of my favorite shows; or ate some chocolate. Haha. It was really important for me to have this “selfish” time so that I could give to my family without frustration or fatigue. We, as moms, need to recharge. We need to find strength in our day to be our best.

Your kids might think that you are the “Worst Mom Ever”, as you are ruining their plans for their summer…but you will bask in the joys that will come from these few tips.

May you find peace and joy in your home..and in your heart.


Summer Vacation: What are you giving your kids this summer?

It’s midnight and I’m sitting in my bed with my laptop. It’s been a long past two days. And well…. I felt compelled to  share it with you.

So…lucky you…haha.

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When I started blogging a few years ago, I wanted to share my life experiences with others. Not because I am “an expert” on anything but because I love life. I am a natural extravert. I pride myself on “bringing the fun” to any situation and I’m always up for a good party or a cozy night with wine on the couch. I love watching people be transformed by God’s love, some good advice, or the love of family. My blog is about sharing my heart with friends everywhere. Some blogs are lighthearted…and some blogs are a little heavier. However, that’s very reflective of my life and where God has me at any given moment.

So…..moving on to yesterday….this picture says it all….

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Yesterday, was a physically tough day. My husband left for a business trip on the same day that I started one of the toughest days of my cycle. To give a brief history, I have struggled with endometriosis for years. After having three years of infertility and a surgery to remove endometriosis tissue, I was able to naturally conceive my first daughter, Sweet Pea.  Five children and 12 years later, my body has finally returned to those infertile days and all the terrible side effects that come with it. To say that I felt terrible would be an understatement.

Nausea, dizziness, painful cramping, diarrhea, heavy bleeding…and five kiddos who just want to tackle and love all over me. My first thought was just to cry…but …crying was not going to help everyone get through the day, nor make dinner, or put kids to bed.

So I decided to take everything slow.

I called the kiddos in and explained that I wasn’t feeling well. I needed them to “step up” and help each other. And then…I just started doing everything in slow motion. My son brought me a glass of water and my oldest daughter helped make me comfy on the couch. I laid on the couch with a pillow and blanket and watched them play. It was something close to the kitchen scene in “Nanny McPhee”…They used their “imaginations” and like several hurricanes they “devastated” my house. There was pots and pans for their “bakery” filled with legos. I watched them mix large bowls of “cake mix” with my vacuum, and they danced around to music. Their outfits changed constantly as did the activities they were playing. My house was decorated with puzzles, and music sheets, and tons and tons of barbies!!!

found these in the fridge.

found these in the fridge.

I didn’t have the strength to yell at them…so I didn’t. I spoke slow and deliberately. I didn’t care if someone came by and saw my house….I was in survival mode.

I wasn’t rushing around meeting the demands of a schedule…I was just trying to get through the day. There was no TV on in the background, so the children could hear me when I called.

When it was time to leave for piano lessons, I gave plenty of notice about needing to leave. There was no yelling, or rushing out the door since I was just trying to find the strength to drive. I paired the little girls up with the bigger kids and asked them to help them in the van. I watched as they helped put on shoes and grab water bottles. My directions were clear and concise…and the kids met my expectations.

Why am I telling you all of this?

Because I realized something important about yesterday….

I need to slow down.

My kids need a mom who slows down.

Life is passing me by and I’m missing so much. I’m trying so hard to give them the best of everything that I am missing what they really need which is …..me….

In the words of Jon Legend:

         “All of me loves all of you….all your perfect imperfections. Give your all to me, I’ll give my all to you.”

My kids really don’t need to do more…they need more of me.

  • I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve actually said, “We have to get in the car. You have about 3 seconds to say what you want to say…
  • I’ve watched my younger two daughters grow in frustration as they feel ignored.
  • I’ve put the TV on to “entertain” my crew so I could fit it more time to get stuff done.
  • I’ve heard countless times “you NEVER listen to me”!!!

So what are my kids getting this summer…..a mom that slows down and enjoys every minute. Instead of sitting down with my checklist and my “bucket list” for the summer, I have decided to slow it down…and give my kiddos the best “me” this summer. A mom who lives “in the moment” not awaiting the “next big thing”……

A Mom:

  • who sits down and enjoys a cup of tea.
  • who wants to watch endless ballet and karaoke performances.
  • who listens to an endless supply of the worst jokes and provides some of her own.
  • who thinks that dinner can be ice cream at 7pm because we were having too much fun at the pool.
  • Who tries to “out swing” her kids at the park.
  • Who plays hide and seek
  • Who wants to sit on a blanket and watch the stars
  • Who teaches her kids silly songs to make them laugh
  • Who just wants to make memories…and soak them in.

I’m eager to see what beautiful blessings will come out of this  new “mindset” in parenting. I am certain that God will continue to strengthen our family and draw us closer to him.

May God show you what path you need to take this summer and throughout the year.

God bless,


Kids in Charge day 2013!!!!

Annual Kids in Charge Day 2013…

…these kids can sure pack a TON into one day!!!

This day always gives the hubs and I a chance to see what is important to them.

It allows us to know what is important to them now and to see how their interests change as they get older.

so…it all started like this…a meeting of the “minds” a few days before…

making sure all the kids got what they wanted out of the day..

the planning meeting

the planning meeting

I got a tentative schedule and a grocery list so I could make sure they had everything they needed.

the food menu

the food menu

Sweet Pea produced this list a few days before. Dinner says Enchiladas. haha. She decided that she was making all the meals and would call me in when she felt like it. When I read German Chocolate cake under dessert, I recommended that she might want to make it the night before….

and she did… all by herself….(just like the Little Red Hen)

yeah....it was good

yeah….it was good

Two words summed up this day…..electronics and quality time.

I have no guilt showing these pictures because…I’m not raising my kids like this everyday. Today is about their choices. For good or bad.

IMG_1450Check out Missy Missy. She was definitely getting the best of all worlds. Watching Doc McStuffins; while sucking on a nap-time only nummy; while playing Dora on the Ipod. Clearly, she has her mom’s gift for multi-tasking.

more electronics

more electronics

I mean…come on…the Fashionista just HAD to work on the salon app on the kindle and Mini Me was content to watch Doc McStuffins and wait her turn.

DDD and Sweet Pea

DDD and Sweet Pea

As you can tell, everyone is proudly sporting their pajamas until the afternoon when they will exchange them for bathing suits. DDD claimed the Ipad for a few, while Sweet Pea tinkered on her kindle. Check out his face…he is sending me into the kitchen to start his sausage and pancake breakfast…..

oh, and he’ll have a piece of cake too….for breakfast.

(any chance of me cutting myself one??? nope…didn’t think so….kid’s on a power trip.) =)


So demanding…he MUST get that from his dad…=)

Speaking of his dad, this was his job until breakfast…….

IMG_1440I know, gasps from moms everywhere at this injustice.

This was his view….birds humming, gentle water rapids…..calm

and this was mine…

splattering grease and heat…..

just sayin’….somehow this just didn’t seem right….

IMG_1446Sweet Pea created a Master Schedule for the day….which included quality time playing board games; a visit to the pool; and root beer floats after dinner.

the schedule

the schedule

The kids started their schedule with some rock painting. (Poor Sweet Pea still has her eye mask on from sleeping.)

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Apparently on Kids in Charge day, you don’t have to clean up either.

game of life

game of life

Barbie's messy house

Barbie’s messy house

Next was DDD’s turn to use a present he had been waiting on. These really cool Geodes.

IMG_1462He and his dad took a hammer and crushed these on the driveway behind the garage.

banging out some eggs

banging out some eggs

After Miss Missy woke up from her nap, we fought the rain and headed out to the pool. Since it was labor day and raining off and on, there was hardly anyone at the pool. The sun came out really bright and it was a great day!


eating a messy popcicle


“take my picture….oooohhh……ooooooo”


Mommy always wants kisses….=)


DDD loves his sister....

DDD loves his sister….


Dad…packing it up for the day…

After a delicious dinner of enchiladas, the kids assigned daddy the job of “clean up” duty. (Thank God!!!…sweet justice!!!) While he was in the kitchen, he decided to make the root beer floats while we selected our movie….SPY KIDS!!!!

IMG_1471Of course, Shayla came in and helped dish out the candy.

IMG_1470A whole lot of snuggling with big fluffy floor pillows and blankets finished off the evening.

  The kids made it really clear that their bedtime was 11:00. As daddy was leaving for a trip in the morning, the kids could not take over our bed as they had planned. I wish I had taken a photo of them all gathered in the bunk beds in the girls’ room.

I was put to bed promptly at 9:30. Thankfully, I was given my laptop and some reading time. These kiddos are tough…

Unfortuately, I knew that my work was going to be awaiting me in the morning, as I was looked around at all the mess from the day and took that walk of shame to my room.

But…it was worth it. All of it….

It was a great day….I’m so blessed that my children enjoy special days like today with us.

Bring on Kids In Charge Day 2014.…..well…..give me another 12 months…

God Bless,


Summer bucket list!!!!….

Every year, the kids and I look forward to making our summer bucket list. It is the perfect activity to get the kids excited for all the possiblities that the warm sun lavishes upon us.

I LOVE pinterest. I mean LOVE…… The kids and I have always enjoyed hosting parties at our house; decorating for the holidays; and finding new yummy recipes to fall in love with. If you search Pinterest for “summer bucket list”…you will be FLOODED with all these cute ways to create a bucket list and it’s so easy to get “caught up” in “making” a project about a list of activities you are going to partake in.

If you struggle with inconsistency like I do, just make a simple list. Don’t try to find something complicated off of Pinterest. You know….like you write all those cute ideas on a craft stick that you pull from everyday. (Let’s be honest….you want MORE control than that. The last thing you want to do is pull  Family Obstacle Course when you are recovering from late night “cocktails” with the hubs)  So with that in mind, here is a picture of our summer bucket list that is on the side of our fridge.  

summer bucket list

summer bucket list

It is color coded into three categories: cheap/free; little money/no planning; expensive/involves planning. I can then plan something for us to do during the week that falls into whatever category I am looking for. We can continue to add events when we think of them and we can cross off events when we complete them.

So far the kids have:

  • been on a family hike
  • been to a drive-in movie
  • gone on a family picnic
  • been to the pool
  • visited grandmom in MD
  • joined the library’s summer reading program
  • gone to Vacation Bible School at our church
  • made snow cones
  • planted our vegetable garden
  • made forts

Most of all, we are spending the summer having a great time!!! Enjoy your summer!

God bless,