Kids summer rec. and a story

Lunch break planning session. Each kid has an oversized calendar - all info on camps, VBS weeks, summer programs, and rec guide in one place. I master plan the budget and available weeks and sign up in one afternoon. Hopefully. That's the idea anyway.

I’m the youngest of 4 kids and before my parents divorced we lived in Texas. I was born in Africa and all of this has a point, hold on, because my parents were missionaries there and while doing so my father was a pilot – he flew supplies (medical mostly I think) to remote areas. He took sick people to the hospitals. I was hours old the first time I was on a plane, legend has it. This profession carried through and my father is still a pilot … so growing up my mom had all 4 of us kids to entertain and keep busy on a very different schedule than any of my friends.

I think thats where I get this from. My mom was (still is) the queen of recreation organization. If there was something free happening in our small towns and cities – we were there. City pools, block parties, VBS camps, parades, and celebrations. We frequented our Libraries, always stopped at the Big Read Bus, and I was a champion Salamander hunter. (That last one is just for fun.)

When my kids were very little so much of this free stuff was for us … something to do, something new for the little kids to see. Although for a while it was enjoyable because we were all together; now these activities are fun because they’re excited about them. Their interests are being catered to, their senses. Riding bikes isn’t exercise … it’s an adventure.

So when my kids started getting to the age of appreciation or eligibility – I started making lists of all the fun things to come:

Summer Jar 2010
Spring Break Staycation
I Live in Holland, Mi (And freaking love it.)
Labor Day weekend circa 2007
Tulip Time 2013! (And every year after … I love this festival)
A collection of resources and links

This year, similar to years past, I’m working this summer. I’ve done a few different things with my kids like nannies/babysitters, daycare centers, summer week day camps … and I’m going to do the same again this year. I’ve been compiling all the information and we talked over a budget for both kids for the entire summer and then one afternoon I gather everything up, take two oversized desk calendars (one for each kid) and pencil in every possibility.

Then I master plan, fill in holes, rearrange classes or workshops as needed, and register.

So. Here’s my list this year – we aren’t doing everything but this is what I found available for the summer of 2014.

Vacation Bible Schools (VBS)

Beechwood Church June 16-20, 9am-12pm
Central Park Church June 16-20, 9:30am-12pm
Rose Park Church June 23-27, 6pm-8:15pm
Park Church of Holland June 23-25, evenings, with picnic on 26th.
Providence Church July 14-18, 6:30pm-8pm
Christ Memorial June 16-19, 9am-11:30am (had to call to get info)
Calvary CRC July 21-25, 9am-11:45am
Community Reformed in Zeeland June 16-19, 6:15pm-8:30pm
Harderwyk Church June 23-26, 9:30am-12pm Thanks, Julie, for the info!

Holland Local Recreation Programs

Degraaf Nature Center Various classes for various ages. Day trips, 3 day (mornings or afternoons) classes, etc.
City of Holland Playground Program
City of Holland Junior Adventure Club
Hersheys Track and Field Age 9-14, June 11.
Holland Rec (Here’s the bulletin online)
Herrick Library various events, have to search for them. Fridays they have a free lego club for an hour. Just show up and build! (This link might help)
Holland Farmers Market events for kids and chef series.
Zeeland community activities

Zeeland picnic, local links

Macatawa Bank’s Movies in the Park
Macatawa Bank’s events
Kids Summer Movies Goodrich Theaters
Holland Events Music in the parks, at restaurants, Summer film series…
Huntington Bank Summer Concert Series


Critter Barn
Frederick Meijer Gardens Classes and camps
Downtown Market GR summer classes and camps
SpringHill Day camp Zeeland, Mi
Kids Rock Summer Camp Zeeland, Mi
Winding Creek Dive Camp Sleep-away camp in Hastings, Mi
Camp Roger Sleep-away camp in Rockford, Mi
Camp Geneva Sleep-away or day camp in Holland, Mi

Information overload much? Yes. If you’re sticking to free things only your best resource is going to be your cities event calendar, the libraries and the local attractions (free days for residents, for instance.) or for the banks in your area who host or sponsor events.

Don’t overlook the touristy things in your town that you never really check out because you live there. Many of them have freebies for residents or events and classes you’ve always wondered about and they’re discounted because you live there. Museums are a good check-in point to remember. In Holland we have Windmill Island and Dutch Village. Great little day trips. Nurseries (Countryside Greenhouse, as an example) have great playscapes for the kids and often a hot dog cart out front. You can go for an afternoon just to play, or scavenger hunt for certain plants and plan to eat lunch.

I’m hoping we make it to a few of the events in GR this year, movies on Reeds lake? Yes. We have full calendars, I’m so excited for Summer!

I’m sure I missed many things – so if you have something (even other areas) that you want added to the list, leave them in the comments and I’ll keep building this as a resource.

Caught up

It’s so easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing (which usually means, for me, that I’m not happy with what I’M doing …). But I know I’m not alone in this. There’s a reason self-help books, organizational and inspirational speakers, and classes/conferences do so well.

There seems to be a cusp I walk right up to, look over the edge, see the success (or whatever it is my vision of success might be) but the fall, maybe the climb, to the destination is too unknown. Or it’s entirely too much to chew all at once. So I sulk backwards. To safety. I gather my goals and we cheer each other on (hooray!) and then, together, we hold hands as we seek comfort underneath our blanket of voices telling us we’ll never get that far.

Saturday's at Good Earth

Sometimes it feels like this inside my heart; a mess of colorful ideas strewn about my wakeful moments … none of them in order, most of them out of focus.

Last week I had the privilege of hosting a meeting in my home with a few other bloggers. (86 Lemons, Girl Meets Paper, Stacey Says) We shared links, got excited, encouraged one another to go further … to lean in.

Then, as I was going through the backlog of posts in my Reader, I came across a few different ECourses, some great posts on pushing yourself, and I wanted to share them just in case you’re there too.

Snow days at Good Earth

Some of these links are geared towards the blogger-minded. Take what you can from them, pass it on.

I haven’t read this yet, but I want to: 31 days to a better blog

The “Treasure Hunt” e-course caught my eye, got me thinking about color and how much I crave it when I’m hiding: SuperHero Life Courses

Young House Love does an amazing job of being a two-person team. Not all blogs that are successful take time/energy from resources so often outside of our reach. Their honest approach to being “just two people” really inspired me to think big(ger): Young House Love breaks it down

This site was passed around as a great resource, one I’m excited to start to use: Blogging with Amy

Another link passed around: How to pitch blog campaigns

These classes are $10 and not limited to members, this was another link passed around I hadn’t seen before – but the topics (and price point) are worth a second look for me: The Influence Network

Lastly, this blog (mega information/inspiration) and the courses offered are highly recommended: Braid Creative. I actually took their first course (I think) but didn’t get what I should have out of it. I was in transition and thinking through my creative process or dreaming big was such a chore for me at that time. But as I gear up, I’m excited to check back in and see what I can gain from their community.

What pushes you when you feel like the only person at the dance without a date? How do you keep yourself from becoming the wallflower in the abyss?

Owning a home

There’s something about owning a home that makes me think I know how to coupon. Amirite?

You might remember this list of things I don’t do includes COUPONING. But, I have zero defenses against this draw now that I have a house and a place to stock pile a few things. Maybe it’s something about not having to move again in less than a year? Our last rental was a dream – the homeowners were amazing, the house perfect. Just … I knew it wasn’t gonna last. It wasn’t ours. So many things yanked around in my head and heart because of this.

So I’ve asked my mom to start saving me the coupons out of the Sunday Paper again. I’m going to work on Walgreen’s deals first to get the hang of things. I’d like to be able to get our toiletries and paper products for close to free. That’s my couponing goal – aside from that (and shopping sales for groceries) I’m not gonna get Extreme Couponer’s on my family.

Shelves of canned goods and cereal in my bedroom? NoThankYou.

But also? Confession? I am beyond obsessed with Pinterest. We all are, really. But I’m obsessed with DOING things off of Pinterest.

For instance … I tried this tub cleaner and yes, it’s true. A little bit of magic. Heat the vinegar, I think that’s the trick.

After seeing this floor treatment I promptly tore a wall out of our basement by myself (with help from my brother’s via phone and text) and then bought some vinyl 12X12 stick down tiles and laid me a new floor.










Remember the giant JENGA set we made? Me, too. It’s so fun. All because of Pinterest.

After seeing this pin for a face mask I gave it a whirl.

I don't know what to tell you. I can't be left alone? Nah, that's not it.

I used this pin’s information for a free RedBox rental. I’ll never pay for a movie rental again, happily!

Tried this out on my hair with little success. I have to figure out how to dirty up my hair to hold curl. Working on it.

After seeing this trash can turned bedside table I finally knew what to do with the black mesh trash can hanging out in the basement doing nothing. Voila!

Pinterest inspired bedside table. Trash can flipped over and painted. Take that, no one in particular.

And the list keeps growing. Like this pin on DIY curtain rods (or this one or this one) which turned into these:

One down, 7 to go.



I love having little projects going on and having access to all these ideas is priceless.

What are you guys up to lately?

Let’s catch up

I’ve been a busy girl and we’ve got exciting things happening – here’s where I tell you all about them and get you excited about what’s to come AND THEN, here’s where you tell me what you’ve got going on, because friends: I am your cheerleader.


A few weeks ago this happened and it was awesome.

Life List: Learn Botany (arrange flowers)

via jodimichelle on flickr.

Then I was part of the Mom’s Night Out event with Mom’s in Tow (link) where there was fun had by all and donations were out of control:

What a haul! Way to go @momsintow and @nestlingsdb

via jodimichelle on flickr.

It was such a fun event to be a part of; pampering all you ladies and listening to live music.

WOOHOO! I’m gearing up to take this trip with Jessica in a month.

Details: I’ll be leaving on June 6th and heading Westward. No plans, specifically, but if you have ideas – leave them in the comments here or in that specific post. I’ve also started a Pinterest Board dedicated to all the things we might want to see or do (or helpful hints) on this very special trip. I’d love for you to contribute to the board (I can add you, just ask) and to be a huge part of making this dream come true.

I’m going on this adventure no matter what, but if you’re interested in getting behind it in any way – we’ve got some fun ideas to contribute to your possible involvement and you can email Christi or myself for details, specifics or questions or simply leave a comment.

I’ve been talking my head off over at Turnstone lately – here’s what’s been on my mind:

Upcycle an old spring
10 reasons to leave your desk because I said so.
An office and it’s walkability
Desktop yoga, let’s get stretchy!
Let’s hang out

And on Curvy Girl Guide I’ve tackled a few kitchen quandaries for you:

Oh, except first I talk about my bad parenting: The cardinal sins of babysitting
3 ingredient margarita’s
Gourmet murder let’s eat a live sea creature, I’ll show you how to kill it first.
This shrimp cocktail will change your life … no more shrimp cocktails that fall flat and boast indigestion and heartburn.
Raspberry bran muffins
Totes Adorbs: easy DIY doughnuts.

So, now that we’re caught up: what’s exciting on your end? What are you doing soon to make your dreams come true – and how can I help?

7 fun ideas for Spring

Perhaps, like me, you collect ideas and go back every once in a while to tackle one. (I’ve talked about my idea obsession before)

There’s some really fun stuff buried in the archives here – so for Spring 2012 I’ve found seven of my favorites for you.

How to make nutty paddle pops

{how to} make nutty paddle pops!

DIY Shoe Pallet

{how to} make a shoe pallet

How to create Quiet Boxes

Quiet Box

I Spy: Underwater

Picture 2

How to build a fort kit

{how to} build a fort kit

How to make a ribbon curtain

{how to} make a ribbon curtain, no sew!

How to make mini pinata’s

{how to} make mini pinata's!