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Thursday, June 21, 2012

134 Our Summer Schedule

If you have been following along for awhile now, you have probably noticed that I try to keep the fam in check with a good routine.  When the kids went back to school, we implemented a structured bedtime and morning routine, and it was essential in helping our evenings and mornings run smoothly.

As we all know, life happens and we can't predict what each day will bring, but I have absolutely witnessed the benefit of having a simple and consistent routine with the kids.  When we don't have a routine, things seem to be more chaotic and I hear, "mooooom, what can I do?"  And now that the kids are out of school and home for the summer, I wasn't about to spend my days worrying and wondering if the kids would have enough to do, if they would get bored, if I would be able to get them to help with chores and if I would have two seconds to look at this here blog.

So, I decided to stick with what works, and whip up a summer schedule for the kids.  Here are a few things I considered:
  • I would be home with the kids all day, every day.  This mama will need breaks from time to time, and lucky for me, I have an older boy that makes a great helper {and one that is looking to make a little moolah this summer!}
  • I wanted to put together a schedule that would be simple for the boys to follow on their own, with a little aid from yours truly. 
  • The schedule was intended to keep the day moving right along with a mixture of activities and plans.
  • The schedule will be in effect from Monday through Thursday.  To ensure we don't feel too cooped up all summer, we have declared that Friday as "Family Fun Day", which means working together on a few chores in the morning and then heading out on a fun adventure together for the remainder of the day.
  • I wanted to keep the schedule in a common area so the kids always have an idea of what to expect next.  I have learned that my kiddos adjust better when they know what is coming, vs. being surprised with what is happening next.

So here is a look at the daily schedule, popped up right on the front of the fridge:


Shown above is our daily schedule printed and mounted in a frame, a timer to offer a helpful reminder for when it is time to transition to the next activity and a motivating "fun day" reward ticket.

I whipped up a freebie for you to download as well!

{click HERE to download your free Summer Schedule printable}

When the kids first wake up, they get to curl up on the couch and watch some cartoons.  This is our morning snuggle time and it is my favorite way to start the day.

Around 8:30 we have a quick breakfast.  We save the big breakfast for the weekends, so weekdays typically consist of waffles, bagels, oatmeal, eggs or cereal with a side of fresh fruit.

By 9:00 the kids are dressed and ready to play.  I thought it would be fun to get their minds working early by playing games or doing puzzles:



Since I still have a five year old boy with a short attention span, half an hour increments for most activities seemed to be the sweet spot.  Once game time is over, they head to the kitchen table for art time:


{Yes, that says, "I like blogs".  He intended to write, "I like dogs", but made a B instead of a D.  So now he is working on giving me some art for my studio}


While the boys craft and create, I am sitting at the end of the table looking over blog things.  When it is time to clean up, I start making them a simple snack.  Since we keep most snacks prepared in the snack bin, there are days when they can get snacks on their own, but I like to hop in and help, especially on hot days when smoothies are in order!


Other snacks we enjoy are home made trail mix, rice crackers, veggies and dip and graham crackers.

After snack time is over, the kids get oodles of free play outside.  We have a fenced in backyard so it is extremely convenient for me to keep the patio door wide open while they play yard games, swing or play in the sandbox...


I am teaching my oldest how to do some light cooking this summer, although I have a feeling he will be cooking better than me in no time.  He is loving it and feels really "grown up" when he can serve us with a plate of spaghetti.


After lunch, the boys take some time to let their food settle and snuggle in for story hour.



Then, back to the playroom for toy time.  During that time, they do whatever is clever.... build lego cities, play train tracks or race matchbox cars....


After inside play, they get some more fresh air.  Maybe play in the sprinkler, a good game of tag or some wiffle baseball.


Once they have had their fill of play time, I built some time in for them to offer up their helping hands around the house with a few simple chores {I will save those details for another post}.

Another snack later and the rest of the day is free play.  By this time, we are starting to gear up for our evening and we adjust our schedules based on our plans for the night. 

As I mentioned, this is our Monday through Thursday schedule.  Fridays we have a list of quick household tasks we work together to complete, and then we head off for our fun day away.  We brainstormed all sorts of things we want to do this summer, everything from heading to the children's museum, going to a movie and spending a day at the zoo.  I popped those items on little cards and on Monday we draw out our Friday fun day activity and pop it up on the fridge.  It gives the kids something to look forward to and allows them to see their reward for being so helpful throughout the week.


Do I wish that our days could be carefree, lazy and schedule free?  Sure, but I admit I gave that a whirl the first two days the kids were home from school and it didn't work so swell for any of us.  Since we implemented our daily schedule, the days seem to go so much smoother.  It has curbed my five year old from sneaking into the pantry all day for snacks {since he knows when his next snack time is}, it has completely eliminated the questioning of what to do next and has built in a few spare seconds for me to still work while the kids are set up with the tools they need to create and play.

For those who stay home during the summer, any other tips or tricks for getting through each day with a grin?  What are some of your favorite summer activities?

134 comments:

  1. Love it! kids love a schedule, they just don't always admit to it ;)

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    1. Hi, I love your blog. Any ideas for a family with 4 kids ages 17, 15, 14, and 10? We used to do all those things when they were little. Now they wake at different times and it seems like there is a lot of TV watching going on. I have found it hard to plan for different ages.

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  2. Thank you for sharing what works for your family! And of course... for the printable! :)

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  3. thanks so much! i will be trying this since i work outside the home my 6yo comes to work with me during summer except for the days he's at camp and this will come in handy to keep him from vegging in front of the tv with cartoons or video games.
    Thanks!

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    1. I hear ya! That's what my boys would be doing without the schedule as well.

      xoxo!
      Jen

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  4. Great idea! Love it! My oldest just turned 5, youngest is 9 months and we need a schedule, especially since the oldest is missing preschool! Just wish we could do more outside time like you do, but it is 100+ degrees already down here in Texas.

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    1. We definitely add lots of water activities on the super hot days, or just find something fun to do inside instead.

      xoxo!
      Jen

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  5. Your boys are so CUTE!!!!!! I am also a huge believer of routines so I like that you keep one even during the summer.A question: any advice on what I can do with my son? he is one years old. Just though I will ask.
    Thanks so much for your blog, it has change my life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. Thanks so much! :) I remember being home with my first when he was one. It was a challenging summer for me. I would suggest lots of play dates and trips to the beach and park.

      xoxo,
      Jen

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  6. Uh oH, your boys are little heartbreakers already!!! How handsome they all are! I agree with you, a schedule is mandatory when you are home with them all day. I have a 2 and a 4 year old (girls) and on the days when we just do whatever, those are the days they get whiny and things go south quick! lol Thanks so much for the free printable! You are so sweet...I will be printing it out and framing it for my kitchen. :)

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  7. wow - this is great! I love your Friday activity idea too.

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  8. Oh, p.s. We are getting through the summer by having a new theme each week and then doing games, crafts, field trips that are related to that theme. For instance, next week is "under the sea" week and we'll be going to the Aquarium one day, watching "The Little Mermaid" on movie night, doing lots of related crafts and checking books out about fish and sea creatures at the library. Totally working so far! I'll be posting all the fun on my blog.... http://sunnysweetlife.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks so much Angela! LOVE your theme week idea! So smart!

      xoxo,
      Jen

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    2. Cool idea to expand on Jen's awesome ideas. So motivated right now ladies.

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  9. I love this and it is so timely for our family of 5 little boys. The two oldest are going to camp for a couple weeks this weekend, and when they get back we will be on a similar schedule for the rest of the summer. Thank you for all your inspiring posts!

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    1. Wow, five boys?! :) I can only imagine how busy life must be.

      xo!
      Jen

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    2. I wish there was a way to "like" comments (like on fb!) I REALLY agree with that! We just had our third 3 wks ago- boy. =) At least I get to see all the cute clothes again! (love!)

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  10. Great idea! My son is only 11 months old (so obviously he is on a schedule) but I remember summers being lazy and I like the idea of a schedule. You get more done. Have a great time with your boys!

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  11. I work full time and have often wondered what I'd do with my son all day if I was at home, and now I know! This is a great schedule and I bet it stops that feeling of "Ugh, what am I gonna do with them next???" feeling. I love the idea of picking a Friday out of a hat. Despite being "scheduled" it still seems very low-key.

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  12. Love this!

    My son is 5 months and I work full time. The only real "schedule" we have is a bath/bed routine.

    Your boys are adorable!

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  13. I love the idea of a schedule (so neither daughter nor I start to waste the time by just doing nothing really) and am already thinking of how this might work for us. I also love Angela's addition of each week having a special motto! My 6-year-old daughter and I will be at home together for 6 weeks. Our summer holidays start in 2 weeks time. So I still have some days left to think about what we want to do (we have already decided we want to go swimming at least 2 times each week because she has just taken 2 swimming classes and needs more practice and she really loves it). I'll also make her read and do some maths each day so she won't forget what she has just learned (she's a first grader), but I think that 4 days a week might be enough "school time". Cooking together will be a special treat for us as everyone in our family usually eats out at school/work and we don't get to cook together very often. Thanks for the printable!!! *HUGS*
    Jule

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  14. This is great! I need to make something like this just because my son gets bored so easily

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  15. This was great!
    I'm just laughing at what a playmate all together would be like (mine, B7, G6, B3)!
    We don't have the days so worked out, but I DO need to work on something so the TV is
    on less. I am a SAHM and have been since the day my son was born, anyways...

    We do have a bit of a Summer homework schedule...

    Magical Mondays (something science related)
    Terrific Tuesdays (crafts)
    Where in the World Wednesdays (they pick a place on a map and have to learn all about it!)
    Thankful Thursdays (learning Bible lessons)

    (I just may do a wee little blog post about this as well! =)

    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Leah, what a great way to make each day special and interesting! My wheels are spinning already from Jen's wonderful post, and your additional comment with your ideas are getting me even more excited! Thank you Jen and Leah!

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    2. I am such a fan of themed days/weeks. I bet the kids love it!

      xoxo,
      Jen

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  16. Your boys are so cute! And your printables are simplistic but amazing as always.

    http://frugalmeetsfab.blogspot.com

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  17. I love this and would be interested to hear how you guys stick to it (knowing you, probably very well). I don't have kids, but this reminds me so much of my summer camper/camp counselor days. I always loved knowing what was on our fun, outdoorsy schedule.

    At camp, we always had "rest hour" after lunch. It was a state law. As an adult, I miss that glorious, quiet hour SO much.

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    1. Oh, I think it will stick. I love watching my kids check their schedule to see what is next. We have a good enough variety and mix, but if they seem to start getting board from it, we can always switch it up down the line.

      xoxo,
      Jen

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  18. I really like your Friday Fun Day cards! Great idea!! Would you consider sharing those as well? (Or at least letting me know how you create the funky border around them? ;) ) They'd be perfect for our family!

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  19. we homeschool, so summer doesn't differ a lot (at least the home part)- so my guys don't get bored too easily since they still have a lot of free time compared to schooled kids. They're accustomed to entertaining themselves but outings are essential so home doesn't get too boring.
    In the summer, water is excellent for entertaining kids- running through the sprinkler, washing the car even watering the garden are fun times for hot days. Not to mention, as much beach time as we can squeeze in before schools out and it gets crowded.
    I like the outing posted as a reward and scheduling daily clean-up are great ideas. We have a matrix for weekly and daily jobs but having a scheduled time would be helpful.
    I think it's great to teach kids to cook young- there's much they can do at different stages (even my 7 yr old son helps cook). They have rotating monthly responsibilities, so one of them with help me prep dinner every day for the month, while the other will set & clear the table, etc. I love having company in the kitchen and they learn excellent life skills early.

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  20. Love the idea!! Where did you get the timer?

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    1. I found it on clearance from Sur La Table, however, I have also seen them around at other home and kitchen stores, such as Pier 1.

      xoxo,
      Jen

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  21. You NEVER cease to amaze me!!! I am putting this plan into action Monday!!! LOVE it!!
    I mean....... HEART IT!!

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  22. Jen - I don't have kids, but I love this idea! I've shared this post on my facebook page - SLMPetersen. Want my mommy friends and followers to know about this great idea!

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    1. Awesome, thanks so much for sharing!

      xo,
      Jen

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  23. You are my new favorite blog! I can agree with the other commenter about the Texas heat. I looked over your schedule and thought, "well, we would 'x' off all that morning stuff because that's our outside play time." My 6 year old loves to be out in the garden with us or playing on the swing set. She's learned about gardening, been rewarded with a substantial tomato harvest, and helped can them. Keeping kids on a schedule does keep them, and us moms, productive. Thank you for the free download.

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    1. Awww, thanks Julie! Love that your daughter is getting into gardening! My kids love to pick the veggies and even help pull weeds. Anything they can do to get dirty is a win for them, lol.

      xoxo,
      Jen

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  24. Love this! I'm wanting to try a schedule, but was overwhelmed at what to do! So helpful! I also love the friday fun day!

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  25. Thanks for this super useful thing :)

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  26. great idea. My boys are at three different stages in life though ( 12, 8 and 1 1/2). Any ideas from anyone so the older one can do stuff too? Thanks

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    1. Hi Jen!

      My boys are 11, 8 and 5 and they all do these things together. My 11 year old is great about helping with the boys throughout the day {so I can work} so I reward him with a weekly allowance to keep him more motivated to be home. Once 3:00 hits, he is off for the night and free to play with friends so that is a motivator for him as well.

      xoxo,
      Jen

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  27. I love the brainstorm idea on cards! I can't wait to see your "cleaning/chore" schedule. We really need one of those! I never know what I can expect my kids to be able to do.

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  28. I have to say when I first started reading this I thought Oh no, she's gone too far. As I continued reading I TOTALLY changed my mind! The teacher in me loves this fun schedule that doesn't revolve around the T.V. Kudos to you on keeping your boy's brains working all summer long and keeping them used to a schedule just like a school day. LOVE IT!

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    1. Lol, schedules aren't for everyone, but with our busy lifestyle and the fact we can't run wild each day, it absolutely is working for us. :) My kids seem to thrive when they have some sort of structure.

      xoxo,
      Jen

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  29. I love your blog and this idea! Although I don't have children, when I do, I would love to follow something as structured as this!

    Thanks so much for sharing!

    Eva and Kobe

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  30. In the UK school doesn't finish until late July but I am already organising what I want to do with them, and blogged about it here:

    http://atypicalenglishhome.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/how-we-organise-our-school-holidays.html

    I don't schedule, but do create long lists of ideas for activities to easily tackle the "mummmm I'm borrrrred" moments!

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  31. I think you just saved my life!
    My 5 year old daughter has been in Preschool all year and I have been considering taking her out for a month before she starts Kindergarten. But I'm freaking out! What can I do to keep her busy??

    I think this is going to work great! Now I'm brainstorming our own schedule... water toys outside are a must!

    Thanks so much :)

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  32. Love this post! I have 15-month-old twins, and a meal & nap schedule has been a must. You've totally inspired me to give more structure to playtime, too!

    My idea is to bring certain things they like out at certain times of the day (blocks, bubbles, their push/ride-on toys, etc). I think this will keep them more engaged and excited about stuff than just having everything out all at once, where they can cycle through it and quickly get bored. I think it'll also help with organization and cleanup of their toys.

    Every time I visit your blog my mind just starts racing in the best possible way! Thanks for the great ideas as always!

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  33. This kind of made me laugh, because I know you used to run a daycare in your home and I used to work at daycares and preschools for many years. The daily schedule thing obviously didn't bother you! For me, after years and years of that, I tend to get annoyed by a rigid schedule now. We don't stay at home much either, so there isn't much need for a daily schedule. Of course, I only have one very active 5 year old who loves going places, so it works for us.
    Your boys are SO handsome, and your oldest has the most amazing eyes! You are going to have to have a phone schedule in a few years for all those girls who will be calling! :)

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    1. Hi Jen!

      I think I tapped my daycare days when I created this years summer schedule. I remember how my days were so much smoother when we had consistent schedules with the daycare kids, and how the days that schedules needed to shift seemed to really impact the kids. We live fairly removed from many quick outings, so we really don't travel all that much throughout the week {except for outings to parks and play dates}, not to mention if I weren't home all summer, this blog would be sad. :)

      xoxo,
      Jen

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  34. Just wondering, do you wake your boys up in the morning? Or do they wake at the same time everyday? I am a SAHM of a 4 year old girl and 2 year old boy. They still sometimes have nights where they wake once or twice and on those nights usually wake up later, which puts our whole day later usually because they get more tv in the morning because I am so tired from waking multiple times in the night. Usually I wake at the same time every morning because one will have slept through the night so im still up earlier. I've never really had to wake them in the morning so I fell kind of bad doing it for no reason.

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    1. They wake up on their own during the summer. We have baseball most nights so it gets a bit later than I like at bedtime, so I let them sleep in the mornings. However, they have little internal clocks and don't seem to ever sleep past eight, which is why we snuggle and don't start breakfast until around 8:30.

      xoxo,
      Jen

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    2. I never...ever woke my kids during their summer vacation. I felt since they had to wake up early 5 days a week for school, I let them sleep in during summer vacation. Like Jen said, "They have little internal alarm clocks." But, if they woke up a little late one morning I think they earned it after 9 months of school.

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  35. what computer program do you use for all your charts?

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    1. HI Tara!

      I use Microsoft Excel, it's my fav!

      xoxo,
      Jen

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  36. One word- Impressive!

    Adorable boys you have too~ :)

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  37. I think this would be great when my girls get older! I usually try to find something most days to get us outbid the house. Sometimes it's just the grocery stores, we have gymnastics one day a week, and then I made a list of things to do to hang on our frig to prevent the "I'm bored" days. With a 1 year old I think a schedule like this would be a bit tough but perhaps a modified version would work.

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  38. I LOVE this!!! Thanks for sharing!
    ~Gini :)

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  39. This is great! I've been thinking about making a schedule for the summer so we don't watch too much TV and have some routine. My son just finished school on Tuesday so perfect timing to start next week!

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  40. Love the Summer Schedule! Thank you for sharing it!

    Each weekday, my 9-year-old does 1 school worksheet and writes 10 spelling words and then on Friday he has a spelling test. Luckily, he really enjoys doing a daily worksheet ~ sometimes it's math, language arts or science activities or a word search. Sometimes it's a children's Bible activity sheet. He also reads independently at least 15 minutes each day. We have done this each summer since preschool and honestly we both feel that he is super prepared to start each new school year.

    So, while we certainly have plenty of summertime fun (living room camp-out anyone?), we squeeze in a little educational activity, too. :)

    Oh, and I L-O-V-E this blog big time! :)

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    1. Oh, and we do a very similar summer schedule ~ we just add the educational worksheets mentioned above. Our Fridays are called Treasure Day (fun adventures)!

      P.S. Thanks for always sharing such super pics!

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    2. There are days where we swap out arts and crafts with pages out of learning workbooks. In fact, they typically opt to work on those on their own, which makes my heart smile. Nothing wrong with a little learning during the summer months.

      xoxo,
      Jen

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  41. How super fun AND organized!!!

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  42. Such a GREAT idea! I have a 3 year old and 1 year old (boys). I swear they are beginning to eat me out of house and home! Also, my 3 year old saw the picture of 'james' the train and said, "i want to go play with that boy tomorrow!" Trains are a big thing at our house too! :)

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    1. Come on over! :) We LOOOOOOOVE train tracks! :)

      xoxo,
      Jen

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  43. It's great that you have lots of outside time, but what do you do if it rains?

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    1. We improvise! Make forts, watch movies, play additional games or find a fun indoor place to head to for a few hours. Although the schedule is a great guide for most of our days, we are definitely flexible and laid back.

      xoxo,
      Jen

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  44. Such great summer ideas for kids. Once my daughter gets back from vacation at her grandma's I'm going to need a lot of these ideas. I love your blog. It's one of the inspirations for me starting my own http://afreshstartonabudget.blogspot.com/ keep up with all the great ideas and tips

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  45. Jen, you're pretty much my role model. I'm living in a small apartment with a 6 week old baby girl, and I'm struggling to get things as organized as you have them. Before I got pregnant and moved in with my husband, I had everything organized and scheduled out, but since I got married, pregnant, moved out and now have had a baby in the last year, you can pretty much say my old schedule has been in some serious need of tweeking.

    I'm wondering what advice you may have for me to get reorganized. And also, what you suggest I do to ensure my daughter gets on a schedule like your children are. I know its pretty early to be worrying about it, but I love the idea of art and snack time and reading time, and am worried that since I'm so unorganized now, she won't fall into a good schedule when she's older.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this and I LOVE your blog!
    Jessica
    thatssewcrafty@gmail.com

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    1. Hi Jessica!

      Don't be too hard on yourself. I wasn't always on schedules or organized, it has just evolved over time. It's a matter of setting small obtainable goals to work towards. In fact, although my kid's schedule is awesome, mine needs some major attention. I just prioritized them before me. Babies are game changers and I remember going through quite the adjustment period with each one we had. As they change and grow, their daily schedules and needs will change as well.

      Just start jotting down a list of areas you would like to work on and tackle one at a time and don't feel bad if they don't go off without a hitch the first time around. Organizing is absolutely a work in progress!

      xoxo,
      Jen

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  46. This is great! I always like to plan the summers, as I find that if we don't get out and about first thing in the morning we just end up hanging around watching TV and not getting too much accomplished! LOL! My 8yr old daughter loves routine; I made a check-box chart for her daily routines when school is in and she just loves checking the boxes off!!! (Totally reminds me of me! LOL!)

    I have a huge list of over 100 activities I have gathered (check it out on my blog), which is especially good for my 3yr old boy to keep him busy! And my older daughter still loves all of those activities as well - bonus!

    Thanks for sharing your routine and can't wait to see what else you have planned, such as the fun cards and chores for the kids. With the kids getting older, I think it's high time they start doing more chores! :) Oh, and thanks for the printable, too!!

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  47. You make me wish I was a stay at home mom! :) Sadly I'm the breadwinner so that's not possible. But I think you're kids are going to be so well-adjusted in life thanks to the structure. Plus they're adorable. Good work!

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  48. What a great idea, as always! Thanks for sharing. Do you buy a special frame for the fridge or stick something to the back to make it magnetic? I haven't used one before. Thanks!

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    1. Hi Heather!

      It's just a regular 8x10 frame from IKEA, and I used 3M mounting squares. You can also use picture hanging command strips or strong magnets.

      xoxo!
      Jen

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  49. Just curious when do you do your errands? I'm finding that if I head out my day seems completely out of control.... do you pick one day to do that or just as needed but at a specific time? My kids have been home for a few weeks and so far it's going great when we follow a schedule, but those days that I have to get groceries or whatever just aren't the smoothest. Any tips would be great!

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    1. I typically run my errands on the weekend. We live thirty minutes from any shopping stores so I save it for the times we are out and about or make a special trip on the weekend when I have my husband's help. I prefer not to take all three kids shopping on my own if I can help it, so going on the weekends and getting everything done at once is what works best for me.

      xoxo,
      Jen

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  50. I've got to say i'm not the most organised person and i'm trying to change this, it's a great idea as i'm a busy mum to B12, G11, B6 and identical twin boys 5. I'm trying to get in a routine and this really helps :)

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  51. OMG! Thank you so much for doing this post! I am SO unstructured by nature and I always have a hard time with summer breaks. My kids suffer because I don't have a scheduled day, so they are always bored not knowing how to occupy themselves. I play referee a lot because of the fights between them. I know that a schedule like your would help. Your schedule is exactly the type of things we do

    My problem is, however, how do you fill an entire day? What happens after 4? Are you able to do your own mommy stuff while they are doing theirs?

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    1. Hi Yvette,

      We still have a few moments of crazy around here, but all in all the kids seem pretty interested in the things they are working since we have so much packed into one day. Once four rolls around it really depends on what we have planned for our evening. We go to baseball almost nightly so getting ready for dinner, letting the kids play with friends, down time and spending time with their dad when he gets home from work are all things that happen. I do my mommy stuff at certain points throughout the day when the kids are playing together or crafting, and in the evening after they are in bed.

      xoxo,
      Jen

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  52. Hi Jen,

    I can tell that you care so much about your boys! I just wanted to mention that this is probably not developmentally best for your kids.

    As an elementary teacher, I am all about routines! Routines are great (to a point). But at home for those long stretches during summer break, it is good for children to have that unstructured time. A big part of parenting, and teaching, is helping kids learn how to control themselves and not just control them. This might make your day run more smoothly and might seem easier for now, but it's going to make things harder for your children as they grow up. They need to be able to make choices about what to do with their time (and yes, you're still giving them room for that under the big umbrella categories but I think bigger choices are in order) so that when they are older, they can make daily decisions and not run into emotional problems if they can't fit their day's "routine."

    I think giving your kids a set snack time and lunch time is fine- and that will keep your young mister from wanting to eat all the time! :-) But other than that, it's good for them to choose their other activities. Plus, this will be better for each child on each of their levels- your youngest can still move around from task to task, while the older ones can spend lengthier periods on their choices (which is better for them as they need to practice having longer amounts of time focused on one thing).

    I'm saying this all with a positive attitude and I hope I don't come across as rude. Just want to share my thoughts about what I have learned to be developmentally appropriate. Please try it, for your kids. :-) You can even leave your list of ideas (not with set times) that they can run to the fridge and see if they can't think of anything. Kids might complain about being "bored" and might not know how to occupy themselves, but they've got to learn how to move past that- and us simply telling them does not help them develop individually, socially, or mentally.

    Thanks for listening!
    Melanie

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    Replies
    1. I would have to agree! I'm all for routines, but kids need to learn how to be kids especially on summer break!

      Delete
    2. Thanks Melanie for your thoughts! Sharing any kind of post on kids is always hard for me because there are thousands of opinions on the subject of what is right or wrong for our children. What we feed them, how we dress them, how we parent them and how we discipline them. There is never a right or wrong and we all have different ideas and opinions. I am just sharing what our plans and schedules look like for the summer, and hope that those that find it helpful, will, and ask that others not judge as I wouldn't ever judge how another mother decides to raise her kids. Such a touchy subject.

      It may seem a little harsh or military like, but I assure you, it is not. Its just a great guide to keep the day interesting and moving along. We have had schedules and not had schedules and we just function better as a whole when a little structure is in place. My kids make all sorts of choices, what they would like to craft, which games and sports they wish to play, they pick out their clothing and most of the time even select snacks, breakfasts and lunches. If they decide they want to skip an activity because they are having so much fun with one they are doing, then awesome! We have days we may decide not be home and run errands or go on a play date. If they want to take a nap or sleep in or a friend wants to come over for a play date, its on! :) It's just a guide for days we are home and I personally don't find harm in that.

      Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!

      xoxo,
      Jen

      Delete
  53. Great idea! These aren't 15 year old boys who love to lounge around and wake up late PLUS they are still young and love to learn and be busy! I have three boys too ages 7,6 and 4 so I get it -lol! We just finished a 3 week summer school and they LOVED it!

    Come check it out!

    enchantedyankee.wordpress.com

    Shannon

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  54. I love it! Random question - where did you find those cute straws in the picture of the smoothies?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Camilla!

      Found them on Amazon, they come in a variety of colors: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004K8N18Q/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=iheaorga-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B004K8N18Q

      xoxo,
      Jen

      Delete
  55. YOU are a rock star. We are not quite as organized but try to structure the day with the snuggle morning time, puzzle time, errand, playroom, etc. Summer can be a little overwhelming with the bickering and time at home so I think structure and a plan can really be helpful. And so cute to see your son learning to cook. Trying to incorporate a "journal" time each day, too. We shall see! :)

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  56. We also do a summer schedule in our household, but I definitely did not have such a cute way to display it! Thanks so much for the free printable!! Love it :)

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  57. Hi Jen,
    I love reading you blog and your organizational tips and tricks! I noticed the gray chair in your living room, would you be willing to share the cource?
    Thanks!

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  58. Thank you SO much Jen! This is such a great post, with great timing. I'm a teacher/Reading Specialist by training, but now that I'm home with my first little one I'm searching for a new routine. Do you have any suggestions for organizing my day and keeping a one year old learning, growing, and engaged? We also live a 1/2 hour from major stores, so finding activities at home are a must. Right now, I try to work in plenty of time for outside hikes and dog walks, inside "walking" practice, puzzles, and of course tons of books! I'm finding it a challenge to keep him occupied while I do even the most basic of chores, so I usually have tons to do after he goes to sleep at night.

    Thanks! Any suggestions will be most appreciated!
    Rainey

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    Replies
    1. Hi Rainey!

      I agree, that is a hard age to get much mommy time since they seem to need you most at those early ages and have little span of attention to stick with just any one activity for a long period of time.

      As most say, utilizing naps and bedtimes is best at that age {even though that was usually when I wanted to sleep also}. That and sharing time and responsibilities with my husband helped me a lot. You are doing the right things, I would also search around on Pinterest as I am sure there are all sorts of other fun activities and ideas there as well.

      xoxo,
      Jen

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  59. Just thought I should throw out a reminder to the whole world that each parent knows what's best for their individual children. Jen, thank you for sharing in this post both what has worked and what didn't works as well for your kiddos.

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    Replies
    1. I completely agree with Kathryn's comment. I understand Anonymous meant well, but I think it's inappropriate for her to beg you to make those changes "for your kids." You're amazing and you're doing just fine. Your blog is fantastic and has helped me so much. My kids have had a little TOO much free time this summer, which has led to a lot of bickering, so I'm implementing a schedule for them as well. I guess if it causes emotional difficulties for them as adults, I'll foot the therapy bills. LOL! xo

      Delete
    2. Thanks guys! Parenting is such a touchy subject which is why I don't chat about it too often here on the blog. All we can do is what we feel is best.

      xoxo,
      Jen

      Delete
  60. What a great idea!! i work full time so I don't now if this would work for me, but i love the concept and will try and incorporate it when I can.

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  61. I love reading your blog and all the great ideas! My problem is implementing them for my own family.

    I love organization but I am not as organized as I would like to be (like you!). I have two year old twin girls. I think a schedule would be great for them, besides lunch/nap and our reg. playgroup. What did you do when your boys were younger?

    Most of my day seems to be picking up, cleaning/laundry, running errands or just taking a breather from the twins. I feel like I spend more time on household tasks then really bonding with the girls :(

    Any suggestions on how to be more organized and have a schedule for the girls without spending my day cleaning?

    Thank you for sharing. I just love all your posts - so smart!

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  62. I did a schedule last summer for the first time after many summers without one. My boy was getting older and a little too comfortable with the lay around the couch all day feel. The schedule allowed him to understand we still had certain responsibilities we still had to do (devotion time, reading, library, etc.) while we were able to have fun (pool time, art time, etc.). Since I am also home with him all day it helped, as you said, to build in time where he understood mommy still had to get things done (like clean and cook or just read on her own!) and he had to do an activity on his own. (The horror of mom having time to herself, LOL!). Great ideas.

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  63. Great Post! Can you tell me where you bought the timer? Awesome Idea!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Maritza!

      I found it on clearance from Sur La Table, however, I have also seen them around at other home and kitchen stores, such as Pier 1.

      xoxo,
      Jen

      Delete
  64. Thanks for the printable Jen! Just wondering if we can get it so we can type on it too isntead of just a pdf we have to print and write on... I like the clean look from the computer ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not sure if it will work but try googling 'pdf to doc' and doing it that way :)

      Delete
  65. Jen, this is absolutely the best idea around. I think it would be perfect for SAHM all year long. I'm definitely going to be referring to this for my kiddo. Thank you! p.s. that rope basket is AWESOME!

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  66. Hi, I love your blog. Any ideas for a family with 4 kids ages 17, 15, 14, and 10? We used to do all those things when they were little. Now they wake at different times and it seems like there is a lot of TV watching going on. I have found it hard to plan for different ages.

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  67. I have a 5.5 and almost 4 year old and totally 'get' schedules. We've always kept a pretty simple, but effective schedule that included nap times for both.

    Wake up: Some TV while I make breakfast.
    Breakfast
    Play: Their choice. They don't have any gadgets, so it's usually imagination games, puzzles, drawing, etc...While they play, I prepare and pack a lunch for the park - we're usually there for about 1.5-2hours.

    Bike to the park. There, we bike/play ball/swashbuckle in the bushes/get in the fountain/whatever. Again, their choice. I either or watch from where I'm planted!
    Home + Nap
    Wake up: Either a little TV or play while I get some stuff done.
    Park again (most of the time)
    Dinner (and again, this be might another picnic at the park, since it gets dark at 9 or so (we're in Paris, France).

    It's a very loose schedule, but one that works so well FOR US. They're tired enough for a nap after our morning activities, and tired enough at night to sleep well. And we all get plenty of outside time for learning games, or just goofing off!

    (To those who are concerned about their lack of eating 'at the table' during our summers. We live in France, where kids have been eating at the table, with knife and fork since or before 3 years old, including everyday at school. Dessert is automatically fruit and/or yogurt, and anything else like ice cream or cake is a treat. No worries in the eating or table manners dept!.) --Phillippa (an American in France)

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  68. This is so awesome, Jen! My daughter is only 14 months, but I definitely hope to revisit this in a few years. My first thought when reading through it was, "when is nap time???" I can't imagine not having those couple of hours during the day to decompress, lol! There are perks to every age of child, and I guess that's the main one for me now. :)
    There will always be naysayers, but judging from the pictures, your kids look very happy with this routine! I love the idea of brainstorming for the fun day activities, too!
    On a completely different subject, I'm attempting a pantry reorganization after a leak in the ceiling resulted in the entire thing being emptied. I picked up some really cute plastic baskets w/ a single handle on one end at Big Lots and thought I'd share here for anyone in the market. They were clear, very inexpensive and come in 3 sizes. I need to grab some large storage containers from Ikea for dry goods, and then I think it'll be ready to display once I can figure out how to get a little bit of color in there. I'm thinking some type of decorative paper/ribbon/etc across the front of the wire shelves for a little pizzaz. ;)

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  69. I posted our very similiar schedules on our blog a few weeks ago. I have been doing this since my kids were little now my oldest is 18 and still thrives on a schedule! But doesn't everyone? Great job!

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  70. Thank you Jen, This is great!
    We are into our winter holidays here in Australia, this will come in very handy in my home with two little ones!
    I love your blog, so very creative and motivating.
    all the best,
    Leyla

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  71. Thanks so much for sharing. I have always been curious about what a day in the life of other stay at home mom's is like.

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  72. thank for this! just printed it out and filled in the blanks. here's hoping for a smooth transition into summer life!
    barbara

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  73. Awesome idea! Thanks so much for the the post. I think we forget sometimes that kids really love structure and knowing whats happening it makes for a happier home ad happier mama!!

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  74. Thanks so much for the printable and the good info. We just moved to a new state, and my husband starts his new job tomorrow. I'm taking the summer off from working to get us settled, and a schedule will definitely help me keep the kids in a routine we can all be happy with - giving us time to explore our new area while also doing fun stuff at home. I've printed it out, written my first stab at a schedule, and it's posted on the fridge for them to see first thing. Wish us luck! :-)

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  75. Hello Jen,
    I'm new to your blog, and I am already a super big fan. Thank you for sharing all your wonderful ideas with us -- I'm loving them!

    I love your idea about the family fun activities that your children get to pick. I was wondering if you would share a downloadable with your activities with a couple of blank ones (kind of like in your Christmas countdown) here or in your store?

    Thanks for sharing all of your great ideas with us! :)

    ReplyDelete
  76. Wow this is so helpfull. I don't have a family yet but if I do I would definitely reference this blog post. Thank you for sharing.

    http://sajerlily.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  77. I would love to do this but it seems more suited for families with more money as opposed to the minority. I have two children and cannot buy them crayons/paint/markers or balls or even books. I'd really like to know what I can do with my children without having to buy anything at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The library is free and has tons of great books. :) Parks are free, and you could contact some local churches and organizations that help families who are struggling. Also - grandparents, friends who have kids, local charities.

      Honestly, though, I don't understand how you can't get them crayons or a ball or cheap toys - the Dollar Tree has that kind of thing for $1. I don't know your situation, but where there's a will, there's a way! Kids need things to do, God made them very active and they are absorbing so much!

      Take them out and look at the world - insects, how birds behave, what shapes the clouds make. Surely you have a pencil or two, get some paper and let them draw pictures or "make up a story" based on what they observed....play games with them - ring around the rosy, London's Bridge, jump around to music. Lots of options.

      Delete
  78. i actuall going to copy cat and try this with my 4 year old but with learning time throw in that schedule right now me nor does he have a schedule and this one sounds very tempting thanks my inspiring friend you inspire me to do everything. and i really do mean that Jen thank you.

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  79. Thanks for the summer schedule. I have 1 boy age 14 and 5 girls ages 11, 9, 7, 6, and 4. We usually just go with the flow and the kids would get bored easily. Today was their last day of school and I will be implementing our schedule starting monday. Thanks alot Jen!

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  80. This is amazing! I'm so glad I stumbled across your blog! I am printing, pinning, and following you! Cause I am so lost when it comes to being organized with the children!

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  81. Thank you so much for this great idea! It is exactly what this worn out mama needed! I love the Friday fun cards. Would you be willing to share a printable of those?

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  82. This is such a great idea! I was wondering if there was a place we can get the cards to go with the summer routine?
    Thank You, Tamara

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    Replies
    1. I'm also hoping the cards are available somewhere!

      Delete
  83. I absolutely love this, quick breakfast, puzzles and games, and then art. I hope I can get a schedule like this going at my house. Where did your get that art table?

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  84. Replies
    1. Hi Penny!
      I found it on clearance from Sur La Table, however, I have also seen them around at other home and kitchen stores, such as Pier 1.

      xoxo,
      Jen

      Delete
  85. I live in Australia and I've just come across your blog, I'm absolutely loving it! I work for a small family business and 3 out of 5 days a week I work from home with my 2 kids at home with me (4 yrs and 11 months). I'm going to implement your summer routine into an every day one, and perhaps change it every couple of months. To be able to set them up with things, other than the t.v, will be great, and we all know that kids love routine :)

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  86. I love the ideas and routine for a summer program I've been looking for something like this for a school age summer program in Minneapolis. So thank for the blog I really enjoyed it.

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  87. Hi Jen! I incorporated your routine idea into a post on my blog, giving you full credit and a link back to this page! Here's the link to the post- http://welcometograndcentral.com/2014/06/visual-summer-routine-kids-special-needs/

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  88. Hello Jen! I look forward to using your schedule this summer. I have four boys who have sports camps too. I will incorporate that into the schedule as well. All of my boys will also be working on school lessons as we had a difficult year staying ahead. Wish you the best summer!

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  89. I Heart your blog! So helpful to make things faster and easier for busy moms. Not sure how you do it all.
    Also, on this particular post, do you have a list of ideas for your Friday treat activities?

    ReplyDelete
  90. We have had three very crazy, very chaotic days of no schedule and YUP--ain't going to work! I started googling summer schedules and landed here. I have already printed a schedule out for today and *fingers crossed* next week will go MUCH smoother. Thanks for the download and can't wait to read more of your blog. It looks fantastic!

    ReplyDelete

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