Posts tagged endless summer projects
Photo Transfer Journals: Endless Summer Projects

This post is sponsored by Bing.

It's always awesome to end with a grand finale, right? Well, Miss Amy of This Heart of Mine has pulled it out for us! Today brings us to the close of our Endless Summer Projects series.

I'm a journal hoarder...err, I mean, I appreciate a beautiful journal or sketchbook. Amy has this great process for showing us how to transfer your photographs to journal covers. The final result is spectacular! What a great gift these would make.

These makers are so good at what they do, and I've been truly blessed to work alongside them yet again. Oh, and we have a few more projects up our sleeves... with sparkle and disco balls and all that jazz. It's not the end of this collaboration by a long stretch!

To catch all of the Endless Summer Projects, catch up with the series here:

What was your favorite project of the summer?

xoxo, MJ

PS. For all of you headed back to school today, like we are, best of luck for an amazing year!



Printable Map Memories: Endless Summer Projects

This post is sponsored by Bing.

Our summer is almost coming to an end, and we are reliving happy memories! This printable map from Lulu the Baker is the perfect way to capture our epic beach trip and plan for future adventures.

We have dreams of going out West next summer, but my husband and I wonder if the kids are old enough yet to appreciate the sights and experiences. As a child, I often traveled in my uncle's RV with my parents and siblings. I loved being about to sleep, eat, play cards, and see the sights all from our vehicle. I'm fancying doing the same for my kids. Have you made a long road trip with your children?

Melissa's map today would be awesome for a little back-to-school learning, too. A review of the state names and/or capitals? A sharing of where various members of the family were born? And I love her idea of embroidering a special journey on here and framing it.

There's one more week in the incredible Endless Summer Projects series. Be sure to tune in next Wednesday and catch up on all the projects here:

xoxo, MJ


Shell Memories: Endless Summer Projects

This post is sponsored by Bing.

Endless Summer Projects returns this week with the perfect way to combine travel and nature. Ali has crafted these adorable shells that capture their summer adventures. They are a sweet way to relive a wonderful experience, and I think they'd make a great conversation starter when put out during dinner parties, too.

We took the family to the ocean for the first time this summer, and the experience of the ocean's tide was a beautiful discovery for my children. Seeing the constant movement and listening to the well as experiencing all the fresh leftovers the waves reveal...shiny bits of shells, running crabs, bubbles upon bubbles.


Now we have a new way to savor the memories within our shells!

Don't forget to catch up on all of the Endless Summer Project posts:

Upcycled Camping Lanterns: Endless Summer Projects

This post is sponsored by Bing.

Summer is the perfect time to travel, even if it's just to your backyard. Last weekend, we even perched our tent in my son's bedroom so that he could have a special sleep over with his sister. Since then we've had camping on the brain. Staycations are always great on the budget, and here's an idea to up the imagination on your next adventure at home. I'm delighted to share my last (how can summer possibly be coming to a close?) Endless Summer Project for this season: an upcycled camping lantern.

Using oatmeal containers that a friend had given to us for our crafting, we painted and doodled our way to a working camping lantern. To create, grab:

  • A battery-operated candle (pull out a few from the Christmas stock)
  • An oatmeal container with the wrapper and plastic ring around the top removed
  • Acrylic or poster paint and paintbrush
  • Wire, rope, or heavy string
  • Transparency sheet
  • Construction paper

1. Hole punch one hole on either side of the top of the canister.

2. Cut large rectangular holes on either side. This is an easy job for an X-Acto knife, but even child scissors can cut through the cardboard cylinders with some assistance.

3. Put little hands to work on painting. We chose campy green to make our lantern look like official camping gear.

4. Cut a large circle out of the construction paper. Cut a line into the center. Overlap and glue the excess paper to form the cone top of the lantern.

5. Cut a letter-sized transparency in half. With a permanent marker, doodle your design. Remember that the light will shine through these two panels so color to your heart's desire. Consider even making shapes to create special shadows on your tent wall.

6. Attach the transparency to the interior of the canister with invisible tape.

7. With double-sided tape or a hot glue gun, attach you candle to the bottom of the canister. *If your candle has an on/off switch at the bottom, cut out a small hole to reach the switch before gluing into place.

7. String wire or rope through the holes punched on the canister and through the cone roof.

The warmth of the candlelight makes a charmed evening feel like one of the best of childhood.

The kids are excited to use theirs inside and outside. We haven't yet done an overnight in the tent (outside), but these upcycled camping lanterns might be the inspiration we need to stay brave in the dark.

We've had such a blast sharing these creations with you throughout the summer, and there's still more to enjoy! Join in next Wednesday for another great Endless Summer Project! Here's the entire list in case you missed them:

Here's to the last glorious weeks of summer, friends!

xoxo, MJ


Vacation Mobile: Endless Summer Projects
This post is sponsored by Bing.

I stink at scrapbooks and photo albums, but a vacation mobile? I can get behind that. Today's Endless Summer Project is a sweet one from Jen over at Classic Play. It's a three-dimensional way for your kids to put together the images, words, and memories of their special trip, and I know my kids are excited to give this one a try.

We had our first visit to the ocean this summer. Living in landlocked Indiana, we rejoice at sport lakes and adore Lake Michigan, but wide-open, amazing ocean space is a whole different story. They were clearly blown away in the most positivie ways. During our long drive and leisurely dinners, we wrote down and sketched our memories so that they would always remain fresh in the pages of our journal. I'd love to see how they'd turn these doodles and writings into a creative mobile like this.

There's still plenty of time to soak up all of the Endless Summer Projects:

Next week we'll be hosting Endless Summer Projects with an outdoor project that you can enjoy well into the fall!

And thank you for your patience with my two posts-a-week schedule lately. Summer is so full, and it's been a wonderful one, but I almost miss investing time here. But that, too, will soon change! Lots of great ideas coming your way in August.

xoxo, MJ

Outdoor Cooking with Kids: Endless Summer Projects


Summer to us means a whole lot of outdoors. Playing, swimming, chalk, bubbles, and eating! I'm delighted to try out the incredible recipes and ideas that Melissa of Lulu the Baker has for us today on the Endless Summer Projects series.

We use our grill a ton in the summer for kabobs and corn and s'mores in the summer, and Melissa is taking this to a whole new level... Chicken and bacon for dinner! Peach cobbler! I can't wait to try these out.

Here are all this year's Endless Summer Projects:

What do you love to cook outdoors? Isn't there something just grand about the experience?

xoxo, MJ

Screen Printed T-shirts: Endless Summer Projects

Screen printing t-shirts are a great way to give your child something really unique that they love. Our next Endless Summer Project comes from Amy over at This Heart of Mine blog. Her kids are adorable and so is this fabulous project.

We love to tie dye, and I'm excited to take our creations to a new level with this tutorial. Also, you need to check out all of the cute designs that Amy created for his kids wearables.

Next week Melissa of Lulu the Baker has an awesome project that the whole family will love! Tune in on Wednesday.

Catch up on all of our Endless Summer Projects:

Don't forget to tag your projects #endlesssummerprojects so we can see your creations and join in the fun!

xoxo, MJ

Firework Tablecloth: Endless Summer Projects

Let's make a firework tablecloth with the kids today to celebrate the Fourth!

These are a ton of messy fun! And I love the final result for a tablescape that shows off the joy that comes with the summer celebration of the Fourth of July. Alexandra has all of the details for today's Endless Summer Project! What are you up to for the holiday weekend?

In case you've missed any projects thus far:

Join us next week for an awesome project that you and your children will love!

xoxo, MJ




6 fun water balloon games: Endless Summer Projects

The hot days of summer bring on lots of water play at our house. And beyond the sprinkler and waterslide, we love water balloon games. The surprise of the break in combination with an instant soaking speaks to the unique beauty of summer fun! For today's Endless Summer Projects, we're sharing 6 water balloon games that we love.

1. The Fast Fill

The first (and sometimes most difficult task) of a good water balloon game is having lots of water balloons at your disposal. This game is for the older kids/adults in your group. It's a race to see how many balloons you can fill up and tie off in a set amount of time. Be careful, you're likely to spray yourself and others as you attempt to knot balloon ends and find the ones that leak and explode!

This game is a great way to kick off the balloon festivities because it gets everyone a little wet and laughing at themselves and each other. Make sure you have a secure location, like a bucket or baby pool to hold all the completed balloons.


2. The Balloon Pinata

A twist on the traditional pinata game with the prize being a great splash! Fill a handful of balloons and tie them together with string strong enough to hold the weight of the full balloons. Find a great location to hang the pinata for the various gamers to reach. Perhaps a tree limb, a playset, or a gardening tool might work well.

Be ready for a few sets of swings to make sure all the balloons have burst!


3. The Balloon Toss Through a Hoop

Of course, you can do the traditional balloon toss back and forth, moving one pace further with each successful catch.

But we like to get everyone involved and take it to a different level. Have someone hold a hula hoop and have two team members work together to toss the balloon through the hole to their partner on the other side. Be careful, that hoop might cause a quick break in a balloon!


4. The Spoon Balloon Race

This is a take on the outdoor egg race game. If you have small water balloons like we do, find large serving spoons to balance them upon. Some of our balloons broke before we even got the race started, so if you're a fierce competitor, use both hands to keep your balloon steady until the GO! signal is made.

Determine how far you want your race to go (and if you want to lap back to the start line), and go as fast as you can. The object is to make sure you finish the race with your balloon balanced and in tact on your spoon - and you can use only one hand. If your balloon falls off, you have to go back to the starting line. If your balloon breaks, you're out of the game!


5. The Balloon Explosion

Lay out a tarp or vinyl tablecloth on the ground. Sprinkle baking soda on top of it. Fill balloons with a mixture of vinegar and water. Watch the explosion!

This one is all about who can make the best effect. Consider making small piles of baking soda on the cloth so that participants have something to aim for. This one is a great science experiment brought to life!


6. Soak Your Sibling

This is our favorite - a combination of balloon pinata with a hint of a dunk tank. Caution on this one. Be sure you have gentle participants with good aim so that they do not hit one another with the bats, but only hit the water balloons.

Everyone takes a turn sitting under the pinata. The batter keeps his/her eyes open and tries to break the pinata in as few hits as possible to get his/her sibling as wet as he/she can while remaining dry themselves.


Summer is the perfect time to burst open water balloons - even if it's just to throw them right at someone who needs to get soaked!

Join us for Endless Summer Projects next Wednesday to get you ready to celebrate the 4th!

xoxo, MJ

A Backyard Circus Party: Endless Summer Projects

Minted is the premier marketplace for independent design and art. They sell the best work of indie designers and artists as fine stationery, art, and party decor. Their newly-launched collection of birthday party invitations and party decor suites would be perfect for summer birthdays, fitting every theme from movie nights to pool parties!

Today's Endless Summer Project is an incredible array of circus themed goodies topped off with a fabulous DIY from Jen at Classic Play. We're making stilts this week, and I am giddy about the final product! I have no idea how to walk on stilts, but I think it would be a ton of fun to try it out with our kiddos.

Have you ever been to or thrown a circus party? I haven't yet, but I want to! Especially after seeing all of the possibilities. I spent some time looking at invitation ideas for our party over at Minted, and I was amazed by the many options and awesome designs.

Minted offers a platform for independent artists and designers to showcase their work. If you find a design that you love, you can easily personalize and adapt it to the theme that you want. So, if you see a birth announcement that is just what you need for a summer party, you can easily make those changes right on screen.

Check out just some of the celebratory invites and cards over at Minted:

You can find all of these and more under the circus search of Minted. The top two are my favorites, and I can imagine my guests getting excited after receiving one of these!

The circus theme is such a fun one that we've expanded it across all of the blogs in Endless Summer Projects. Click around to see some amazing creations from these ladies!

  • On Lulu the Baker today, find a round up of circus treats that would make the ideal menu for your circus party.
  • This Heart of Mine features delightful circus party decor.
  • Alexandra has some super cute costumes that you can DIY to bring the circus to life!

Have fun making your stilts! We're living the high life this year.

Join in next Wednesday for a watery-good post in the Endless Summer Projects series.

xoxo, MJ







Mid Century Modern Bird Feeders: Endless Summer Projects


This week's Endless Summer Project is a real treat from Melissa of Lulu the Baker. Combine the love of color, architecture, and modernism into one fantastic project for the family to create. Her midcentury modern birdfeeder is simple in design, with full instructions included.

We love watching the birds in our backyard. With the warm temperatures, we've been eating dinner out on the deck and have discovered a momma robin feeding her nest of four babies in one of our plum trees. When I mention to my three that they once resembled those desperately hungry hatchlings, they snicker and giggle. It's awesome to watch another family in its beginning stages.

Hop on over to Lulu the Baker to get all the info you need to make one of these modern birdhouses, and be sure to check out all the other projects we've had so far in the Endless Summer Projects series! Next week's post is a full on circus to delight...

  1. The printable summer banner from Classic Play
  2. A large-scale art project with tape from Pars Caeli
  3. A ready-to-go, free printable scavenger hunt from Alexandra Hedin
  4. A collapsible cardboard playhouse from This Heart of Mine
  5. This mid century modern bird feeder at Lulu the Baker

 Happy summer? Have you started any projects yet?

xoxo, MJ


A collapsible playhouse with Endless Summer Projects

Summer Wednesdays are the best! Our team of bloggers is sending you great projects to do alongside yo ur children this summer. This week Amy has an amazing collapsible playhouse to share. How perfect is that? Kids can create and play, and parents can have the freedom to collapse the house when it needs to be stored away! I can imagine my children loving to decorate and get inside this creation.

Also, I love Amy's unique design and special attention to the interior space. The house looks like a little jewel box.

Save your refrigerator and moving boxes for this project! We'd love to see your creations.

If you've missed a post in the Endless Summer Series, here's what we've done so far:

Jen made a free printable banner for the last day of school! We created abstract art with tape. And Alexandra crafted a scavenger hunt that is ready to go.


School ends on Friday here, and we're excited to dig in to even more Endless Summer Projects! Have you made your summer bucket list yet?

xoxo, MJ



Endless Summer Projects: Scavenger Hunts

One of my most favorite activities ever? A scavenger hunt. My favorite birthday party (in 6th grade) was a complex scavenger hunt that my dad and brother planned for me. And for my husband's last birthday (which falls on April Fool's Day) we planned a silly scavenger hunt for him to find his presents.

Scavenger hunts pique curiosity and extend problem solving skills in wonderful, new ways. I'm so delighted that Alexandra has decided to make one as part of the Endless Summer Projects series! And I mean make the entire hunt for you, ready to go, just press print.

My preschooler has his final day next Thursday (before his big sisters do), and I'm planning this adventure to kick his summer off the right way! Hop on over to Alexandra's blog to get the hunt for yourself!

And if you missed them, catch up on our first two posts in the Endless Summer Projects series!


We have something really great up our sleeves for next week! We'd love to see what you're doing this summer, too! Share your projects using the hashtag #endlesssummerprojects, and we'll show off your creativity.

Have a bright one, friends!

Large scale art with Wayfair

Wayfair offers a zillion things home – the largest selection of home furnishings and décor across all styles and price points. For more information and inspiration, visit Wayfair and follow Wayfair on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest. Wayfair compensated me for this post but all opinions and project ideas are mine.


Welcome to week #2 of Endless Summer Projects! I'm delighted to team up again this week with my blogger pals: Ali, Melissa, Jen, and Amy. We taking our project to the big leagues this week with a large two foot by three foot canvas. Grab your favorite tapes and some scissors and let's get to work.


When my little guy L was an even littler guy, we took he and his sisters to the Art Institute of Chicago. They ate up all the painting and sculptures, but the wing of modern art was a favorite. At 2, L fell in love with this giant striped piece and ever since then I've been thinking about how to bring this idea to his space.


With all of the awesome washi tape and duct tape varieties now available, this striped project got a whole lot easier. The supply list is simple: a large canvas (the large scale can better handle the wide variation in pattern), tapes, and scissors as well as your favorite stripe lover. L is just a little bit bigger than this canvas, which was a fun way to note his relative age/size as we were creating this together.


We decided together that we wanted vertical stripes, and we began off center so that we could create a non-symmetrical striped pattern. You can predetermine the order of your stripes or do what we did and create balance as you go by making some of the stripes extra thick and others thinner.


Secure each stripe by extending the line to the back of the canvas. Perhaps the most challenging part of this DIY (though none of the steps would really be considered challenging) is making sure that your lines stay straight as you pull the tape down the canvas. Little hands can easily select what colored stripe comes along next and guide the roll of tape as you straighten and trim the ends.


Let's just say this project had us at hello, and L was so excited with his new canvas, even if it had one lone stripe. But we kept moving forward, mixing up the width of tapes as we added new colors to the canvas.

We had five different colors and a windy day, but all in all this project took us 30 minutes from start to complete in his room.

L and I worked together to hang our new artwork above his dresser. It already houses some Wayfair pieces! And I've been looking at these three as other fun additions to this big boy room (a fire extinguisher water hose is the best)!


Wayfair Firefighter Gear  + Whitney Bros Mirror  +  WallCandy Arts Mural


The finished art offsets L's very special items and pops all the bright colors in the room in a fun and festive way. L pulled out a classic quote on me while we were making this, "Mommy, whenever I look at this, I'll think of you and all the fun we had making this!" Awh. So sweet. How could I not give this kid something special?!

My blogger gals and I are hopping around today to show off our favorite picks from Wayfair for children's and tween's bedroom and playspace. Click on over and see the adorable ice cream supplies with Alexandra, the colorful picks at Lulu the Baker, the chic art prints at Classic Play, and all the animal love you could want at This Heart of Mine!

Alexandra Hedin, Lulu the Baker, Classic Play, and This Heart of Mine

If you missed it last week, be sure to grab Jen's printable summer banner for end of the academic year celebrations that kicked off our Endless Summer Projects series. Thank you all for visiting and sharing and enjoying time spent with your kids in the creation process!

xoxo, MJ

Summer Banner Printable: Endless Summer Projects

I can hardly believe it! It's that time of year again?! Bring on the Endless Summer Projects! Jen, Alexandra, Melissa, Amy, and I have been working for months to put together a fun, creative collection of projects. Well, it wasn't all work...there was a fair amount of laughter, sharing, and good old-fashioned sarcasm thrown around to get us to today.

Over these next 15 Wednesdays, stretching us long into August, we'll be sharing some fabulous ways to spend time with your children this summer and soak up all the sun-kissed joy of summer!

Most of us are not yet into the official summer schedule. We have 19 days left of school (but who's counting, right?), and I'm always looking for memorable ways to celebrate the close of another year. Our typical tradition includes stopping by teacher's classrooms to thank them for a good year and enjoying a lunch out all together, since the last day is typically a half day.

Jen of Classic Play has a great printable banner ready for all of us to celebrate! Imagine the joy of your children breaking through the streamers as they run out for the bus or into the car.

Click on over to Classic Play to get the downloadable pdf and get it ready for your end-of-the-year party. I want to put one on our minivan and maybe one on their bedroom doorframe the morning of the last day.

What are your year-end traditions?

xoxo, MJ

P.S. I'm hosting next Wednesday's project, thanks to our friends at Wayfair. Grab a large canvas and some washi tape...


Endless Summer Projects 2014

Friends! I have some exciting news to share!! Now is the perfect time to get excited about summer...and projects...and vacation...and extra time with our children. That combination of things doesn't always lead to shouts of joy and enthusiasm. But thanks to the fabulousness of four of my pals, we're going to turn the 15 weeks of summer into one big ball of fun.

Get psyched, lovelies, and join Melissa of Lulu the Baker (also BHG style spotter building her dream home), Alexandra of Alexandra Hedin (and those great Seattle TV spots), Jen of Classic Play (love her PBS series), and our new addition, the amazingly talented maker Amy of This Heart of Mine (the DIY-r behind so many Design Mom projects). I've been pinching myself, wondering how I got so lucky to work with these beauties, and I'm delighted that I get to share their minds with you! Treats all around.

Beginning May 12 and running every Wednesday throughout the summer, the five of us will be sharing cool projects to engage you and your children in the joys of summer loving. We're bringing aboard some fabulous sponsors and more than our fair share of suprises along the way.

Our first five weeks will star our Mini Makers, with activities that will get all hands on deck with some cool results. Throughout June and July will take the laughs outside for unique projects that will give you time to soak up some sun (SPF, please), and into August, we're making travel and vacationing something that brings on happy memories!


None of other than Jen Cooper of Classic Play designed our kicking ice cream cone logo. And guess what? She made it into these super cute baggies and temporary tattoos.

And as a special teaser to the Endless Summer Projects, she's showing us how to do the same today. If we're hanging out on Instagram later, you'll see my kiddos sporting some wicked cone tats.

Parents, what are you looking forward to about summer and, perhaps, a little extra time with your children?

xoxo, MJ

Endless Summer Projects: Super Soaker

Today is definitely an oxymoron around here. It's the end of Endless Summer Projects!! When the four of us conceived this series way back when, it seemed like August was worlds away.

Here we are.

Huge thanks to my collaborator girls - Melissa (the brains behind the series) of Lulu the Baker, Jen of Classic Play, and Alexandra of We have something cooking already to help with the happiest holidays ever.... stay tuned.

Today's project is over at Classic Play, and it's such a great one to close the summer fun. The Super Soaker is made right from items you have in your kitchen, and your kids are going to love it!!

In my house, we're in T minus 6 over here for the start of third and first grade as well as preschool. All my kiddos will be at the same school this year, and it's getting me all emotional...and all excited that my commutes will be just a bit more efficient!!

I'm taking off tomorrow in blogland, but I'll see you here next Tuesday for the final Celebrate the Normal post. Please join in!! It's going to be a beautiful way to mark the close of summer.

xoxo, MJ


The Entire Series of Endless Summer Projects:

Mosaic Stepping Stones by Lulu the Baker

Weeknight Barbeque by Alexandra Hedin

Sharpie Dyed Tee Shirts by Pars Caeli

Endless Summer Projects: Shoebox Frames

I cannot believe it. Here we are at my last Endless Summer Projects! We've been planning these and posting them for so many weeks now, that I can't believe we're at the finish line already. And that feeling of quick endings is all around us as we squeeze the literal juice out of the remaining two weeks of summer.


In our house, August brings the start of school preempted by one of our favorite (made up) holidays, Siblings Day! To foster great relationships and celebrate the special people we have right around us, our family indulges in a special dinner, a lasting craft, silly games, some storytelling of great memories, and silly pictures together.

My children are 8,6, and 3, and although rather close in age, their ability levels and interests can seem light years apart at times. Lots of "he's not old enough" and "she's too big" get thrown around in conversation. I wanted a way for everyone to see each other on a level playing field... So we spent some time going through baby pictures as a family. Each sibling heard stories of the other sister or brother and their habits as babies, the toys they loved, the ridiculous noises and first words they said.

And each one selected a baby photo of their brother and/or sister to hang in their rooms. Sometimes it's good to remember that your bossy older sister was once an adorable baby, too. And that annoying little brother, well, he was super huggable with those pudgy cheeks.

Once we had our photos selected and printed, we were ready to get to work.


Wanna make some, too? Super simple supplies for this one: sturdy shoeboxes, quality paint, brushes, photographs, scissors, and washi tape


My daughters picked the box lids, and my son wanted the box bottom, (and either side can turn out quite nicely)! Have children paint the boxes, likey 2-3 coats, depending on the coverage.


Once the box lid is completely covered in paint, assist your children in trimming the baby photos to all the same size. For the size boxes we had, I trimmed the photos to 3" x 3".


Line up photographs on the long flat surface of the box or box lid, and carefully adhere to the box with washi tape. I also glued the photos onto the boxes to insure that the washi tape would have some assistance in keeping the pictures in place.


Finished boxes make cute photo bricks on dresser and shelves.


Add fun washi tape patterns to add some visual interest to your frame.

And don't forget to find a spot on the wall to show off your new creation.

Endless Summer Projects: Spray Tablecloth

Just two more weeks left in our amazing summer series of Endless Summer Projects! We have had so much fun getting our hands dirty and getting crafty over these summer weeks. My kiddos start back Aug. 22 so we still have more days to enjoy before the fall routine hits.

I'll be posting some great end of summer activities and beginning of school ideas for you and yours so stay tuned!!

In the meantime head over to Alexandra's site to see her fabulous new tablecloth, fit for any kiddo celebration.

Have any projects you want to share? Add the hashtag #endlesssummerprojects to any of your tweets, instagrams, or FB posts.

xoxo, MJ

Endless Summer Projects: Marbelized Paper

Another Wednesday and another great Endless Summer Project to share with you! Today Miss Melissa of Lulu the Baker is whipping up some marbelized paper with her kids. If you have not had the experience of shaving cream + kiddos, you are in for a treat.
We plan on cutting giant letters out of these, and making a banner for one of the people we love the best!
An entire list of go-to Endless Summer Projects:
Next week we join in the party with Alexandra!
xoxo, MJ