Archive | FREEBIES

A LAIDBACK + KID FRIENDLY SUMMER CHORE + ACTIVITY CHART YOU CAN DOWNLOAD (PRINTABLE PDF)

I love when summer arrives and our daily routine gets turned upside down, breakfast get’s eaten anytime before noon and our laundry room (but really any flat surface) get’s piled with wet towels and swimsuits. That being said, there is a fine line between easy summer living and a total free-for-all. One allows for spontaneous trips to the pool or park and the other has me pulling my hair out while the kids complain of boredom and have death grips on their iPads. One of the things that helps keep the latter at bay is to add a dose of structure with a healthy helping of wiggle room. More important than anything though is being really clear with expectations and then sticking to them!

I’ve spent the last several weeks working on a chart that makes it easy to do both and I’m excited to share it with you today as a printable download (below!)! You can of course make it your own (the last few pages of the PDF are blank!) but I’ll explain a little more how we use it. Here’s to finding your summer sweet spot between buzz-kill mom and frazzled mom!

THE EVERYDAY STUFF, like getting ready, making their bed and contributing to keeping our home somewhat tidy-ish (with an assigned cleaning zone) allows them to earn an allowance but also frees them up to play with friends or get a craft or activity out to play with! So if at 10am a friend comes to the door, they want to build a fort or they have sea shells that they’re dying to paint, when they ask permission I’ll say, “Are you dressed and brushed? Did you do your chore? Is your bed made?” This is where checking their work is important (but not always convenient). They’re pretty good about it now, but I used to have to give an extra chore to any kid that fudges the truth :) Luckily they’re quick learners.

Regarding the cleaning zones; At the beginning of each week the kids pick an area to be in charge of. This is something I stole from a friend that homeschools and have been doing it for about a year now and I love it. So simple and keeps negotiations to one day a week, lol. Our current zones (it can change with the seasons!) are: organize shoes, sweep downstairs, tidy playroom, empty dishwasher, tidy bathrooms and tidy back yard and water plants. Again, super simple (and maybe a little wimpy compared to what others have their kids do!) but it works for us and is also very helpful because there’s very little micromanaging.

Poppy’s still a little young to complete most of those chores without help so she usually teams up with one of her sibs to help them or she can pick a zone and I’ll help her.

EARNING PRIVILEGES, which for our kids is screen time and friend time (I mentioned above). Again, this will be different for different ages and situations, but for us the kids have to read for 20 mins before they can have screen time starting at 7pm. If for some reason the kids read more than 20 mins one day, they can mark it off on their chart but that doesn’t carry over for screen time the next day — instead they can read more or do one of the other 20 minute activities. What usually ends up happening is that 7:30pm rolls around and they haven’t read yet so they get ready for bed and then cozy up to read and before you know it, it’s almost 9 and they’re sleepy so they either go to bed or get 30-ish mins to play before we tuck them in, lol. Which is the best case scenario if you ask me! Also before you think I’m running a tight ship, I’m wayyyy more lenient with screen time in the mornings while I work, especially for the early risers! Wigggggle room is my friend!!!

*SIDE-NOTE: 20 mins might seem like a lot to some and nothing to others but for us it works — it’s easy to enforce, no one complains and even Poppy can look at books that long if no ones available to read to her. However, if reading is a battle, start with 5 mins! Or cross it off the list… the intention is always to help and not discourage and there really is no wrong way to “summer”.

MAKE IT FUN, with stamps or stickers and of course a reward at the end of the week! I mentioned above that they have to read and or code (we love the Bitsbox subscription!), play the piano or do some watercoloring before they have screen time in the evening (usually not before 7pm) but giving them stamps or stickers to load up their chart keeps them motivated and engaged (small wins, FTW!) while they continue the week and work towards earning an allowance. Then for their reward we chose to do an allowance with the potential for bonus money because it works for all of our different age groups and is the easiest to keep track of. In the past we’ve also given prizes or planned outings (like ice cream dates!) as a reward.

*PARENTING HACK: Do yourself a solid and get 100 $1 bills in an envelope from the bank. It’s the only way we’ve been able to make this work because we don’t ever have cash hanging out in our wallets. Now that the kids are earning money they’re able to spend it on the ice cream truck or concession stands at games, but before we started this little system we used our envelope of $1 for stuff like that or fro-yo/popcorn days at school. It’s a true lifesaver!

(Did you see our stories last night of the kids coding with bitsbox? So much silly fun! We just got their second box so they’ve been trying out all the new project cards.)

ACTIVITIES THAT KEEP THEIR MINDS SHARP + HAPPY, I have honestly never been successful or consistent at this over summer break and I always regret it when back to school season arrives. This year instead of trying workbooks and learning/quizzing web sites I opted for more hands on activities and it’s been working so well! For coding we enjoy Bitsbox. For piano we’ve been using Jamzone (thank you to Phillip for sharing via DM!). And as another option I signed the kids up for my friend’s online watercolor class, too! All have been so fun and entertaining!

Last but not least is practicing gratitude! Depending on our schedule the kids can write their thoughts down in a journal or they can verbally tell me 5 specific things and then earn a stamp on their chart. Again, so simple but also effective! We did this last summer with one of the kids who had struggled with anxiety during the school year and by the end of summer they were a new person. Highly recommend!

EARNING BONUSES, isn’t something we’ve done much of in the past but because this is the first summer in a few years that we haven’t had a regular babysitter I figured it would be a good way to use the “leftover” budget :) If they do all their reading and fill up the other activities (coding and piano or watercolor) to the “yay” they can earn an extra dollar or two by doing more chores or activities. It’s again, another way for them to contribute and help with family life, but I also love how it can transfer over to adult life, too!

Ok you guys, that was a lot of info but if I missed anything please comment and I’ll be sure to respond.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE CHORE CHART WORKSHEET, PDF

OR THIS VERSION (YAY!)

And be sure to scroll to the last few pages if you want a blank one. Also, I’m happy to make minor edits if there’s enough need for it so leave a comment with your requests.

xo, Rae

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MERMAID HAIR SPRAY FOR POOL DAYS (+ A PRINTABLE LABEL)

Did you guys know that if you get your hair wet before cannon balling into the pool, it’ll absorb wayyyyyy less chlorine? Just one of the most helpful tips I’ve learned from my hairstylist after spending months trying to get the chemically smell, greenish tint and constant tangles out of my kids’ hair last summer. So today I thought I’d pass on that summertime wisdom along with a simple pool ready DIY using essential oils.

One of the things I love most about using oils is the freedom to make homemade sprays, scents, rollers and ointments for my family to use that work so good, smell delicious and are all natural. One of the best DIY’s for healthy hair is a MERMAID HAIR MIST so I figured a diluted version would be just the thing to pack up for the pool and spray on before we all go for a dip!

You can download the cute labels below and follow the recipe or play around with oil combos on your own! Typically mermaid hair is a mix of lavender, rosemary and cederwood, but I used geranium, peppermint and coconut oil to strengthen hair AND make it smell sweet and summery. Of course you can just stick the label onto a spray bottle full of water, but I encourage you 100% to add oils (comment below or email me if you have any questions!). Oh and don’t forget to use the mist on your boys too!

You’ll Need:

  • this cute label
  • waterproof sticker paper or card stock and contact paper
  • 16 ounce spray bottle
  • 1 tablespoon of witch hazel (target also carries it — helps the oil mix with water)
  • 10 drops of each lavender, cedarwood, + rosemary (rosemary isn’t my favorite scent so I usually skimp on it a bit!)

Here’s How:

  • Add witch hazel and oils into glass bottle and top off with distilled (or tap) water. Wipe bottle dry and apply label. Shake gently and spraying all over hair before hopping in the pool.

My leggings tan-line just above my ankles is pretty cute, huh? Ha!

But this tee, shorts and sandals are my new summer staples.

Oh, my goodness. Pop, I love you! Cutest swim suit ever from HERE!

Be on the lookout for a full range of labels you’ll be able to download and order already printed!

Happy swimming!

xo, Rae

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CABIN FEVER CURES + A PRINTABLE

We’re smack dab in the middle of that winter grind that seems to last for-ev-errrr (read in sandlot voice). Some days we leave the house for errands and activities, other days are a welcome break that involve pj’s, cookie baking, forts and movies and the rest seem to be full of bored kids, bickering and screen time negotiations. The latter can sometimes sneak up on me so fast that by the time I notice, I’m also feeling totally drained and in no shape to be scrolling through pinterest for activity ideas. Which is why I started making a list to stick on the fridge or bulletin board and thought I’d share in case you’ve been experiencing the same thing.

We have such a big mix of ages in our family but hopefully it still helps and if you want to make your own list, I included a blank page too… CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD

Do you guys have little tips and tricks for limiting screen time or do you tend to not worry about it and just go with the flow when it comes to tech and tv? The biggest help for us lately has been changing the passwords to everything so they aren’t sneaking off with devices. Oh and did you guys read about the youtube situation happening?… might want to make sure your kids aren’t around if you click on it! Tilly caught a glimpse and was up twice with nightmares last night. Poor thing.

xo, Rae

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NEW PRINTABLE VALENTINE’S

As promised! You’ll find a few new classroom Valentines below. They’re my favorite thing to design, so I hope you love, share and use them!!! Use the links below to download, then follow the instructions that are included.

OUT OF THIS WORLD VALENTINES
HAPPY HEART DAY VALENTINES
HEY BOO VALENTINES

Working on making all the designs from years past (that used to be in the shop) editable and will post ASAP… More to come!

xo, Rae

PS – You guys are so cute and clever and I love seeing how you use my designs so don’t forget to DM images or tag me in stories and posts so I can see the finished product!

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PRINTABLE ADVENT CALENDAR (REPOST!)

After a few email requests I thought it was time to bring back one of my favorite posts ever…. a scratch off advent calendar. Tilly was a squeaky clean 5 year old in these pics. Also worth noting is her amazing outfit. I think she wore that t-shirt weekly for 3 straight years and coincidentally, everything she was wearing today (you can peek at my stories) is from the same shop I mention below. Still one of my favorite places to find stuff for the kids!

We can talk more about that later. Here’s the REPOST:

happy day before turkey day!

i have a couple fun things to share with you today, including my new favorite place to shop for the kids, but first a tutorial!

if you are like me, you started thinking about christmas way before it was time to make a shopping list for thanksgiving; especially considering how close the two holidays are this year! in an effort to help you get ready for december 1st i thought i would share a free download and tutorial to make this fun scratch card, advent calendar. it takes a couple hours to make so hopefully you have time over the weekend.

…here are the details…

SUPPLIES: white card stock, the pdf template (CLICK HERE to download), clear packing tape, butcher or wax paper, metallic paint, dish soap, paint brush (the sponge kind), a bucket of candy canes or favorite christmas candy

STEP 1: sign up for emails at the bottom of this post, download the template that is located on the “success” page, print on card stock and cut along dashed line.

STEP 2: cut long strips of packing tape and stick to the wax side of your butcher paper.

STEP 3: mix 1 part dish soap with 3 parts metallic craft paint.

STEP 4: using your sponge brush, paint over the strips of tape until completely covered (this will take a few coats).

STEP 5: while the paint is drying, fill in the blank advent cards (i think there are 5 of them) with whatever you think the kids will like!

STEP 6: once the paint has dried completely, cut the painted tape to a generous 5 inches wide. peel the paper from the back of the tape and stick to the bottom of each advent card, covering the message and almost halfway up the card. trim any excess tape that hangs off the edges.

STEP 7: hang your finished advent cards on a wall, chalkboard or bulletin-board with a bucket of candy canes (or fave christmas candy) and a penny so the kids can scratch off the tape and reveal the message! the idea is to have the kids do what the message says and then take a treat, but you can do whatever works for your brood.

tilly enjoyed practicing scratching off the paint to reveal a message for out little photo shoot and wanted to do all of them at once!

i have a feeling i’ll either be making a set for each child or will have to have a clear system in place so it’s easy to keep track of who’s turn it is!

now let’s talk kids clothes… peek kids is my newest pint sized fashion obsession and it all started with this sequence skirt i purchased for tilly to wear to her roller skating birthday party in october. she has since gotten a ton of use out of it, usually with a fun and playful message tee (of which peek has a ton of!), but i am looking forward to dressing it up with a fancy top for the holidays.

gotta love clothes that are made for a child’s lifestyle (in terms of durability and function) with the style and personality to match! don’t you think? have you shopped at peek before?

let me know if you have any questions about the tutorial (or tilly’s outfit) in the comments and be sure to sign up for emails!

xo . rae

{images by stacy jacobsen}

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A MONTH OF SCHOOL LUNCHBOX IDEAS + PRINTABLE NOTE CARDS

YOU GUYS!!! It’s the first TGIF of the bts season and it honestly feels so amazing. Lots of emotions and excitement around our home since the kids started on Wednesday. Espen and Tilly basically poured themselves into bed last night around 8:30PM and fell asleep before Johan + I made it to their bed for prayers and back tickles. They are also the two kids who have experienced the most change this year and that seems to be overwhelming and exhausting. So hard to watch them feel “out of place” but I also know that it’s going to be such a great year for both of them!!!

In other news, there are some really cute and simple lunchbox notes (that can also be used for just about anything!) I made for the kids that you can download below AND this morning I kicked off a “what’s in the lunchbox” or “WITL” (ha!) post on Instagram Stories. I’ll be sharing what the kids are taking to school for lunch on the daily (minus wednesdays) in hopes that it’ll encourage me to be better about not wasting food while also keeping things stocked to make packing easier. I’m sure there will be many basic lunch days and some that look more like cafeteria money, but nonetheless, I think it’s going to be fun! Already got lots of messages back about it (you can see my intro here — will also add to a “lunchbox” highlight) so I’m thinking it might even turn into a thing and we can do it together!

(YESTERDAY’S LUNCH | TJ’s meatballs, carrots + ranch, string cheese, apricots, TJ’s spud crunchies (Griffin loves these… they look like french fries), TJ’s sparkling apple juice (sparkling water + juice mix = less sugar!).

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD, LUNCHBOX NOTES PDF | the cards are 3.5″ x 5″, download and print onto card stock or text weight paper, cut along dashed lines, add your message and slip into a backpack or lunchbox! Could also be used for thank you or teacher notes.

How do you feel about packing lunch!? Aside from mornings that we’re short on time, I really enjoy packing lunches!!! It’s the grocery list making and shopping that I dread (save me)… Wondering if I’m in the minority?

XO, Rae

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FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL PRINTABLE SIGNS + PHOTOGRAPHY TIP (A FREEBIE)

There are two things that get me through the back to school season 1. all the fun prep, shopping and planning that goes into starting a new school year (read: I love new clothes, lunch food and planners) and 2. football season. So I merged the two and made some festive but simple pennant flags for all the first day of school pics or daytime celebrations! There’s a link to download below along with the DIY and a BIG tip for taking first day pics too!!!!

FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL FLAGS, DIY

You’ll Need:

  • THIS PRINTABLE TEMPLATE
  • dowels from the craft store or man store (they’ll cut them for ya!), ours are  18-inches
  • tape
  • OPTIONAL: tassels or other decorations (found some in a party bin I keep attached to a confetti balloon I bought from target :)

Here’s How:

Download, print onto card stock and cut the template along dashed lines. Tape to dowel and decorate. That’s it!

In my experience fanfare and celebration makes transition easier so whether you’re dreading BTS or ready for a little more structure, but aren’t sure how to get everyone up and moving in the morning, my best piece of advice is to make it fun and playful — blast the music, put sprinkles in their cereal, make time for extra snuggles, shake off the little setbacks (i.e. tantrums or missing shoes) and overflow with encouragement and no matter what, the morning will be a win — even if you’re late. Ha!

I find it’s best to let the kids’ teachers know what to expect every once in awhile anyways. (Love you so much teachers!!!)

MY BEST FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL PHOTO TIP: I rarely get a good first day pic with all the kids in it. There’s just so much going on and everyone is going at their own pace and feeling differently about starting a new year (some excited, some grumpy/anxious… so many feelings!) and the light isn’t very good by our front door in the morning either. Sooooo I usually find another time during the week to snap a few pics — maybe outside of the school or at the bus stop — I think sometimes when we see alllll the BTS pics and they allllllll mostly look the same we create a weird rule for ourself that our pics need to also look a certain way, so I just want to remind you that there is no perfect BTS pic! Use what you have, do what’s easy, wait for the dust to settle, take the pressure off to get it at a certain time or even a certain day :) and have fun!

Remember these snapshots are not just for Instagram or facebook even though you might be posting there, they are for you and your family to enjoy, keep and cherish and maybe even add to your chatbooks!!!!

Speaking of chatbooks, are you guys avid fans of the little photo albums or new to the club?

XO, Rae

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10 PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS FOR DOCUMENTING MOTHER’S DAY WEEKEND

OK mamas, I don’t want to give you one more thing to think about over mother’s day weekend, but I also know how important it is for all of us to capture moments in time with our families… Our moments in time. Regardless of whether you’re a planned or spontaneous picture taker, I’ve put together a list of 10 tips we use to capture all the sweet moments as well as the tiny details of life. Hope they give you a boost of inspiration for clicking the shutter any day, but especially Mother’s Day weekend!

10 TIPS FOR DOCUMENTING MOTHER’S DAY

1. Keep your camera (or phone) close!

2. Think ahead just a little and consider lighting! Of course we want things to be natural and authentic, buuuut, there’s no reason not to open up the curtains in your room when you know the kids are on their way up with a breakkie tray.

3. Tell the whole story – the big picture and little details – Snap pics of your plate of food, cute notes, flowers, gifts, hand holding, your shoes, etc. :) This pic isn’t the best example, but I love her tootsies!

4. Remember WHY you’re taking pics – often times we want something to share right away or just want to check it off our to do list for the day, but taking photos is really about preserving memories for the future and capturing those precious relationships, everyday moments and time in general.

Maybe it’s just me, although I doubt it, but I love looking back at my mom’s outfits and accessories. Especially her glasses! So tryout your best pose and take a fit pic!

5. Focus on the relationships and let go of the pressure to get the perfect pic. Love this fuzzy pic of Poppy being silly and pretending she’s asleep! You can also see one of my frayed fabric swatch she set out to use as a napkin and the double spoons in the cereal bowl we shared — Priceless!

6. Take pics of the process and routine as well as the special parts. One of my favorite pictures is of my mom braiding my hair in the bathroom when I was 6 or 7. I’m on a stool looking into the bathroom mirror with my mom behind me in a hawaiian print off the shoulder dress that I’m pretty sure she made. At the time it probably seemed like an odd moment to snap a pic but I’m so glad my dad did!

7. Don’t forget about videos – capture “small” moments, conversations and interactions. Like their little voices reading their mother’s day cards to you. Ask them questions or better yet, have the kids interview you!

8. Need a group shot? Use your self timer or ask an extended family member or stranger. Want a variety of pics or just a little break from clicking the camera? Pass it off – even to the kids!!! Poppy took this pic of me and as random as it is, it’s also an angle and perspective that only she would take.

(Poppy had just finished pointing out my neck wrinkles which prob have something to do with the 10 lbs. I added to my bod over the winter. Or maybe it’s age? Most likely it’s both tho, huh? Lols.)

9. Practice positive self talk – you don’t need to be a certain size, have all your makeup on or even be dressed to be in a photo. Of course, you can plan ahead a little (like number 2 suggests) and be in cute jammies with makeup on by the time the kids bring you breakkie, OR you can stay in bed, in an oversized tee and hipster undies with a morning face like you deserve, LOL. It’s really about what you want and what your kids will remember most. Although if the no make up thing really bugs you, just avoid eye contact with the camera… instead, engage, play and love on everyone else in the frame.

10. Selfies! Always a good idea.

Hope these help, inspire, and maybe take the pressure off too. Remember, perfection is never the goal so snap away!

Now tell me… what else would you like to learn about photography?

We’re leaving in a couple weeks with my friend and brilliant photographer, Stacy Jacobsen, for a photography workshop weekend and I’d love to share some of the things we learn, so leave me all the questions in the comments!

xo, Rae

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FREE PRINTABLE LUGGAGE TAGS (FREEBIE)

When your a pint sized traveler, vacationing usually starts once the bags are packed and loaded in the car. But for those of us adulting, it starts long after the security check. Today we’re making the process a little easier on you with some cute luggage tags you can print at home, fill-out and tie to your bags before heading to the airport. Bonus, these cuties will also make it easier to spot your suitcases on the baggage claim carousel!

Details and the download below :)

LUGGAGE TAG FREEBIES

You’ll Need:

  • card stock
  • twine and ribbon
  • do-dads, charms, keychains, pom-poms, etc. (optional)
  • hole-punch
  • scissors
  • luggage tag PDF — CLICK TO DOWNLOAD!

Here’s How:

  1. Download file, print on card stock and cut along dashed line. Hole punch at the top in the circle, fill-out, and hang on twine.
  2. Tie to handle of luggage bags. Add ribbon, pom-poms, trim and other embellishments (see ideas below).

Pom-pom and tassel is from my gift wrap stash of goodies and the monster charm is from HERE.

I decided to design the tags for our trip to Phoenix and love how they turned out. Kinda fun to add a personal touch to our bags!

(suitcase from the Love Taza line at Target!)

What’s the most stressful part of traveling with kids for you?

For me it’s getting everyone, their carry-ons, tech devices, shoes and blankets through security without annoying the mob of people behind us…. I get anxiety just thinking about it, HA!

On the way home from Phoenix (I had all the kids while Johan returned the car), the guy behind us in the security line was so impatient while I unloaded all the thiiiings into the gray bins, that he cut in front of us (!!!). It was 4:45am and we were kind of a circus so I guess I can’t really blame him, LOL. But it was a good reminder to be extra sweet and encouraging to mamas who are traveling, running errands or doing just about anything with kids. It makes all the difference, right?!

XO, Rae

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STAYING IN IS THE NEW GOING OUT POSTERS (FREE PRINTABLE)

I’ve been sharing the files for these “STAYING IN IS THE NEW GOING OUT” prints via email so much lately, I thought it was time to officially make them available and easier for you guys to download!

A little bit of a back story — I designed them a couple weeks after moving into our new home and a couple weeks before Poppy was born so they’re extra special to me. After all is there anything quite as sweet as staying home to cuddle on the couch? Whether it’s date night in, movie night with the fam or all day snuggles with a newborn. I hope you guys are able to use and enjoy in your home too! Thinking about making a printable poster with the full statement on one print so it’s more versatile. If you’r interested, let me know. Until then, the link for the current design is below!

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD, “STAYING IN…” POSTERS

NOTES | The link will send you to a dropbox folder with three separate files to download. The specs for each poster are 30×40. They should be easy to resize to smaller dimensions, but will look pixelated if printed any bigger.

Most of my poster size prints I send to the costco photo center (online) because it’s inexpensive, has a quick turnaround and you can ship or pickup. If you know of any other print services, please share in the comments below!

I mean… staying in with these sweet faces is always a good idea!

xoxo, Rae

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SUMMER OUTING CHECKLISTS (TECH + PRINT FREEBIES)

It’s summertiiiime, and the living is easy… but every parent knows that there’s a lot of planning, packing, and cleaning up that goes into those sweet summer days. That being said, summer days spent away from the house are also my favorite! To make it easier to get out the door at a decent time with my sanity and at least most of the items we need to have fun, I put together some checklists. One for each of our go-to summer outings: beach days, pool hangs, play and park time and day trips. Files can be saved to your phone or downloaded and printed. Simple directions and links are below!

To download checklists from a computer, click on link below, then right (or left) click and click “save image as…”. AirDrop, dropbox or email yourself the image and save to camera roll. From there you can save to notes or wallpaper!

To download checklist from phone, tap on link then hold finger down on image and tap “save image”. Find image in camera roll then save to notes or wallpaper!

pool checklist

day trip checklist

beach day checklist

playground checklist

Click link below to download the printable checklists!

pool, playground, day trip, + beach checklist printables, PDF

The older kids just left the house for their last (half) day of school so these checklists seemed the perfect way to celebrate and also prep for summer adventures…. I hope you enjoy!

xo, Rae

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