Summer Screentime Checklist

So my kids, while not thrilled, were at least mildly happy to see this Summer Screentime Checklist reappear on the frig this summer.

Screentime-ChaosServedDailyDuring the school year, we stick to the no screentime on weekdays rule, but in the summer, we relax it a bit.  When they’ve completed everything on this list, they get an hour of digital time. What they don’t seem to realize, at least not yet, is that by the time they do all these activities, combined with the “summer fun” activity or camp for the day, they’re pretty much wiped out and just want to read or go to bed!  I think they’ve completed their checklists 7 out of the 10 days they’ve been out of school, and they’ve played digital 3 or 4 of those.  That all makes the hubs and me very happy!

This list is not original…I’ve seen dozens of versions on Pinterest, but I’ve tweaked it to fit our family and created a free printable for you!  Simply click here to download it.  THe printable version doesn’t have the watermark on it, so take all the credit you’d like with your family. I printed ours on cardstock, laminated it, and used magnets to stick it on the frig. You could also trim it to 8×10 and frame it, if you’d rather.  Enjoy, and I hope it helps your family find harmony for the summer!


Cute and Simple Barrette Holder

One of my favorite party favors (that my kids have received, anyway) ever is this cute Barrette Holder from a party Princess Thundercloud attended last year.


What little girl doesn’t need a place for barrettes?  We certainly do!  I’m sure you can figure this out on your own, but here’s a look at the back:


The ribbon is about an inch and a half wide and about 30” long. And it holds a ton of barrettes that previously weren’t used because it was too difficult to find them all jumbled together in a drawer.

The top flower is a pre-painted wood cutout from the craft store…I think they’re about 60 cents each.

Barette-Top-ChaosServedDail At the bottom, the ribbon is cut in an inverted “v” to prevent fraying and a large button is sewn on with contrasting thread, to add weight so the ribbon hangs straight.


Even if you don’t have a party to make favors for, this is a great little project any little girl you know!


Fun and Easy Kid Thank You Notes

One of my favorite things about my kids growing older is that they’ve learned to write…and now they can write their own thank you notes, instead of me doing it!  Granted, Princess Thundercloud just finished kindergarten, so her writing skills are super slow.  For her birthday, I made some simple fill-in-the-blank thank yous for her to complete. They’re a little impersonal, I know, but she gets the concept of gratitude a little more when she has to put in a bit of effort to thank people!

For the front of the panel card, I made a collage from her party and printed them in 5×7 size at Costco…39 cents each, I think. I used Photoshop Elements to make the collage, but you could easily use an online service such as Walgreens, Costco, or Shutterfly. Those are just three that come to mind, not necessarily a preference. In the actual collages, the guests faces showed, not snowflakes, but I wanted to protect their privacy on the internet!


To finish the cards, I printed this fill-in-the-blank form on white cardstock, then cut them in half. I used adhesive to stick them to the back of the 5×7 collage, so that a small amount of white matted the collage. I’ve made collages before with the fill-in part in the center of the 5×7, but there are two problems with those The photos have to be really small to leave space for the writing, and it’s hard for little ones to use a Sharpie to write on photo paper, without mistakes, that is.

Anyway, just click here to download the fill-in-the-blank portion.


Princess Thundercloud felt so grownup, writing her own notes, and her little guests loved getting a photo of themselves from the party.

Speaking of her party, we did a Frozen theme (because what else would she want, as a 6-year-old girl this year?).  I found lots of great ideas on Pinterest, including her cake, which was a little like her big brother’s Campfire Cake from December.  It has hard candy “ice” shards, which are hard to see here.

0414 Esme Cake 20414 Esme Food

It was her first sleepover party, and it turned out to be a lot of fun…we watched Frozen, of course, with snacks of white cheeseballs (Bunnytails left from Easter), snowman noses (carrots) and arms (pretzels) with ranch dip, some lemon Muddy Buddies that were powdered sugar covered, and frozen grapes. The frozen grapes were the biggest hit of the whole smorgasbord! Oh, and we also made individual pizzas, but there’s nothing Frozen-themed in that!

I also copied some water bottle labels that I found online and wrapped those around small bottles.

0414 Esme Water Bottles

The party favors were simple…just blue rock candy sticks with a little snowflake-embellished tag tied on them. I used a snowflake shape from Photoshop Elements on a blue background, left a strip of white, and printed them.  Then I just made a tag from kraft cardstock using a tag topper punch from Stampin’ Up! and tied the tag on with some sliver and white ribbon. Easy-peasy.

0414 Esme Favors

All in all, it was a fun, easy party, and the thank you notes (remember, that’s the real point of this post!) took no time at all to make. Love parties like that!


Last Day of School Autograph Shirts

This time a year ago, we were preparing to move from Wisconsin back to Washington, and the kids wanted a way (or lots of ways) to remember their friends.  I saw this great Autograph T-Shirt on eighteen 25, and I thought it was super clever and would be easy to duplicate. And it was!


I didn’t have any iron-on vinyl to use in my Silhouette (and not everyone has one of those, anyway!), so I just used iron-on paper that I printed on an inkjet printer. It was for dark t-shirts, I believe, and I found it at Michaels in the t-shirt decorating section.Autographs-ChaosServedDaily

I made a black clipart shape using a circle and the ends of two arrows in Photoshop Elements, but I believe you could use PowerPoint, Draw, or even Word. I merged them into one shape and added word art using Tangerine and 5th Grade Cursive fonts (both free downloads).


After printing them on the iron-on paper, the black shape was easy to cut out exactly.  Then I just followed the directions on the packaging and ironed them on.  After a year of pretty frequent washings, the shirts still look great.  The decals haven’t peeled at all, and the Sharpies that kids and teachers signed with are still vivid.


I sent each kid to school on the last day with a Sharpie and the other kids signed while my kids were wearing the shirts. It did bleed through and their little torsos were all spotted for about a week, but no harm was done. The PreK-ers were a little hesitant to write on Princess Thundercloud’s shirt…I’m guessing they’ve gotten in trouble a time or ten for having marker on their shirts when they came home from school!

My kids love to read their shirts each time they wear them and reminisce about their friends back in Wisconsin.  I think these were a perfect last-day-of-school idea!