I'm so glad you're here. The journal is where you'll find my recent work as well as my heart. It’s a space for me to record snippets of our family life and serve you - whether that’s tips & tricks for photographing your children, connecting with them on a deeper level, or simply looking at beautiful family imagery. I hope you feel welcome, inspired, and heard in this space.
I think we can all agree that last summer was strange. The pandemic summer felt like such a bummer for me. It was the last summer I had with just the boys and was looking forward to all the things we could do before their little sister arrived in the Fall. Instead, we spent the summer at home and made the best of it with lots of water play, process art, and nature hikes in the woods next door to us. It was a wonderful summer and we created so many memories! If we’re being honest though, I’m thrilled things are more open this year than they were last. We have a long list of things we’ve done/want to do during this season of warm weather in the midwest and I thought I’d share 10 things you can do for free this summer! No need to spend a dime!
Creek Stomping – find a local park that has a creek. Pack up a few things to play with (some of our favorites are buckets, shovels, spray bottles and Schleich animals), a snack, and some water and head out! Creek stomping is always a favorite around here so we go frequently!
Nature Walk – Choose a spot to go for a nature walk, even if it’s just around your neighborhood. See what things you can find and talk about the beauty around you. You could always pair a simple free printable scavenger hunt with it to make it even more exciting.
Ice Cube Play – Freeze ice cubes the night before for some ice play. It’s a great way to cool off and a fun sensory experience. Don’t have ice cube trays? No problem! Freeze water in plastic cups, ball jars, or any random container. Just pop them out the next morning and go to town! We recently did this and put picked flowers in the water. It made for some extra pretty and chilly play.
Take a Photography Walk – Grab a camera (just your phone is perfectly fine) and take a walk. Take turns with the camera capturing things along the way. Come home and go through what you all photographed – such a fun way to connect with your kids. Seeing the world through their eyes is so sweet.
Explore a New Park – We are trying a new park near us soon, The Fisher’s Agri Park. We’re looking forward to trying a new place out and seeing all the park has to offer. I’m sure we’ll be going often. It looks like something we’d all really enjoy.
Splash Pads – Most splash pads at local parks are free. And most of the time there’s a typical playground nearby, too. Double the fun!
Car Wash – Get out some dish soap, a bucket of water, and let your kids go to town washing their cars, bikes, HotWheels, etc. Plus, it’ll cool everyone off!
Muddy Play – Find a spot where grass isn’t growing in your yard (or even somewhere at a park) and let your kiddos play in the mud. Just give them a few shovels and old kitchen items. Encourage them to grab pieces of nature they find on the ground (sticks, pinecones, flowers, etc.) and open a little mud kitchen/restaurant! Wearing rain boots and old clothes are bonuses, but definitely not required. 🙂
Have a Picnic – just a simple picnic outside is such a fun summer activity! Set the intention to avoid looking at your phone. Chat with your little ones and connect with them on a deeper level while enjoying a yummy lunch.
Process Art with Music – Gather any art supplies you have, turn on a fun playlist, and create without any rules, guidance, or “end-goal”.
And, as always, I think something super helpful (though, if we’re being honest, it’s not easy and it definitely doesn’t happen here all the time), try to unplug and find those little moments to connect with your kids. Making memories rich in connection + building strong relationships with them is an instant mood-booster! A wonderful way to live life fully and end the day feeling proud of your time being present as a parent.