masterchef mondays 

Hello, friends! Before I embark on sharing our summer plans, I want to offer a few qualifiers:

NO, we will not be strictly following these plans every day of summer. Summer is about flexibility and freedom, and we’ll be sure not to forget that.

YES, sometimes we will get super lazy (that is, full of summer freedom!) and throw all of our plans out the window in lieu of whatever strikes our fancy that day.

NO, we aren’t looking to spend a lot of money with these summer plans. Some, yes; but I’m trying to keep these plans as accessible as possible.

YES, even in summer, even if we scrap the themed activities of the day, we will still complete our daily chores (to the best of our ability). The daily chores are — get dressed/get in pajamas, put dirty clothes in hamper, make bed, water/tend to garden plot, read, and practice piano.

Outdoor activities are always encouraged, and screen time will be limited to 2 1/2 hours per day, split into half hour increments. John will be given five 30-minute “screen time” cards he can use at his discretion, but when they are gone, they are gone.

I know how I operate and how my kids operate, and a plan like this will work well for us. It might not work as well for you, and that’s fine! However summer hits you, I hope it’s a good one.

Without further ado… MASTERCHEF MONDAYS!

Making lemonade in our pjs, because it’s kind of how we roll.

John and I recently watched Masterchef Jr. on Hulu, and he loved it so much (and so did I!). Our main goal for Mondays will be choosing and making some sort of food, and John will do this (somewhat) by himself. We’ll probably do our grocery shopping for the week on Mondays also, so this will coincide well.

We own several items from the Curious Chef line of products. We don’t own this exact set in the Amazon link, but we have a few strong (but safe!) knives and other cooking utensils that are perfect for John’s little (clumsy) hands. The Internet is, of course, swimming with kid-friendly recipes, as any Google or Pinterest search will prove, but if you want to put a book in your child’s hands, here are a few I love:

Cooking Class by Deanna F. Cook — I like this book because it starts out with the basics. What are your basic kitchen tools? What do they do? It also has a fun overview of kitchen vocabulary with photos.
National Geographic Kids Cookbook — This book is great because it is divided into months, with different recipes and activities for the entire year. Although it’s subtle, it touches on eating locally grown foods in season, which is a passion of mine.
Wild Eats and Adorable Treats by Jill Mills — This one is just fun! All of the recipes require way more time than I would normally spend “designing” food, but if John wants to make a turkey and cheese sandwich that looks like a cow, more power to him.
In addition to actually prepping and making foods, our “masterchef” activities will be: watching Masterchef Jr. (told ya this would be here), making sand pies at the beach we are lucky enough to live five minutes away from, washing dishes (because it’s truly an important part of the food-making process/I don’t want to be stuck with it all at night), and — everyone’s favorite — MATH WORKSHEETS!

Now there’s the face of a kid who is excited to math.


I also want us to do at least a few worksheets everyday, so we don’t forget things, like writing our names on papers and stuff. Math seems to work nicely with the cooking theme, so here are a couple links with free, printable math worksheets for preschool-elementary aged kiddos. — Math

That’s all for Masterchef (Mathterchef I’m so sorry) Mondays! Tune back next week when I hit you with a bunch of ideas for Tech-Free Tuesdays… and yes, this one scares me a little (a lot). Happy planning!

premeditated summer

I know this statement has the potential to cause offense, but I’m saying it anyway: I’ve never been a summer girl. Sure, there are summer activities I enjoy. Give me a week of summer, and I won’t complain. OK, five days and I won’t complain. As long as humidity stays low and I can stand to be outside. Is a cool breeze too much to ask?

But summer has its way of coming around. And it’s true that I probably wouldn’t cherish cozy nights under blankets in front of fireplaces if they happened 365 days a year. And so, I embrace you, summer. I embrace you like one embraces going to the doctor for an annual exam. It’s not too awful, it’s good for me, and it only comes around once a year.

Summer — as fun as a doctor visit.

Maybe slightly more fun than a doctor visit.

But seriously, I am a lover of routine, and summer turns it upside down. I am a firm believer in “play time” and allowing kids to be bored, but as studies have shown, kids do well with structure. Mine do, at least. Wonder where they get that from…

And so, over the next five weeks, I’ll be sharing with you my plans for the summer. When John isn’t at summer camp (he has two week-long day camps and a couple other random “camp” days sprinkled in), we will be focusing our activities for the day based on a specific theme. Those themes are as follows:

Masterchef Mondays: the boys and I will pick new recipes to try, we’ll shop for ingredients, and we’ll cook them together. My hope is that each Monday, John (who is 5) will learn how to cook something independently.

Tech-Free Tuesdays: As the name implies… there will be no screen time on these days. Even for mama. I’ve taken the oath as well. My oath will end when the boys go to sleep, because Netflix. And I’ll still use my phone for calls/texts — just not excessively.

Wacky Wednesdays: We’re doing arts and crafts, and they’re going to be wacky! Mostly because I couldn’t think of another great W word for arts and crafts.

Thinking Thursdays: Science experiment day!

Field Trip Fridays: We are seriously blessed to live in such a cool town in such a cool state. Michigan has so many awesome things to offer, and we’ll spend our Fridays exploring them. We will usually stay pretty close to home, but we may drive (or take a train!) a bit as well.

In addition to our themed activities, the boys will have their normal chores (these are mostly John’s, but Ev is a great picker-upper): make beds, brush teeth, get dressed, clean up toys, etc. John will practice piano daily, and we’ll all be aiming for at least an hour of outside time if/when the weather allows. I’ll also be scouring the internet for summer school work; 1st grade readiness pages for John, and preschool pages for Ev.

And here’s the fun part (if you’re me) — I will be sharing all of this information with you! You can use it regardless of whether or not you want to follow our themed days plan, but it’ll be a place for links to worksheets and activities (and my hilarious commentary) that you can reference if you are in need of summer activities. Think of it like an annotated pinterest board tailor made for summer fun.

So stick around, because next week I’ll start with activities and ideas on how we’ll participate in Masterchef Mondays (and yes, some of those activities will be “watch old episodes of Masterchef Jr. on Hulu with your child,” because I am a realist).

Happy summer planning!