Free printables: Summer Bucket List and Morning/Evening Survival Routine

Summer break seems to have crept up on me like ill-fitting underwear. I wish I could say I was more well-prepared for both littles to be home with me all day. Slowly, I’m getting my bearings, though. ūüėČ

There are two free printable resources I wanted to share with you today that have become super helpful to me during the summer months. (Click on the title or the photo to download a full-resolution version of each printable.)

The first is my Summer Bucket List. The kids absolutely love coming up with fun ideas for us to plan and do during the summer! I will warn you, they will hold you to every.single.item on the list, so I would recommend keeping the number and types of activities at a reasonable level. ūüėČ

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The second¬†is my Morning & Evening¬†Survival Routine¬†printable. This list helps us¬†keep our house – and our lives – in reasonable order during the school year and during activity-packed summer days. You’ll notice that “Kids prepped for school” is on the list. In lieu of that in¬†the summer, I use that time to get the kids breakfast and get them started on their¬†daily chore list.

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Do you have any summer survival tips to share? I’d love to read about them in the comments section.

‘Get ready for guests’ printable holiday checklist

Well,¬†it is officially the time of year when many of us start hyperventilating under the weight of all our holiday commitments. Personally, I know if I don’t take a deep breath, start making checklists and repeatedly tell myself to calm down, I can easily go into “freak out” mode.

Over the years, I’ve tried a lot of things to simplify my holiday experience. But honestly, I just can’t help but embrace all the hoopla. I love the music, the decorations, the food, the gift-giving, the fellowship with family and friends … did I mention the food?

Since I know I’m not ready to give it all up and declare, “Bah humbug,” I try¬†to be intentional about my schedule and use my resources wisely¬†to create the most meaningful and joyful holiday season possible for my family.

One thing¬†I absolutely won’t give up is spending time with extended family members. My husband’s side is from Michigan and we typically travel west to see them. But sometimes¬†we’re blessed to have them come stay with us. That’s why I’m glad I took time last year to renovate the office/music/guest room so they have a comfortable place to sleep when they visit. Eventually,¬†I’d like to upgrade the guest room and add some new pieces like this¬†queen sleeper sofa¬†from Havertys.

And this driftwood-inspired cocktail table. (Hmmm. I wonder if I could DIY this one.)

I’m also digging these¬†gorgeous accent pillows and this table lamp.

I’m sure my guests would feel extra special in a¬†room with all this beautiful furniture from Havertys. Come to think of it, maybe they could sleep in the master bedroom and I could take this space instead. ūüôā

When I find out guests are planning to stay with us, I like to prepare in advance for their arrival by using a checklist. I find this helps me stay focused and keeps me from getting overwhelmed. Here’s a free copy of my “Get ready for guests” printable holiday checklist. (Click here or on the image to download the full-resolution version.)

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I’ve noticed as my life gets busier with kids, commitments, etc., I rely on checklists more and more to make sure things get done. And they seem to be extra helpful this time of the year because they free my mind up to focus on the things (and people) that really matter!

I hope you’re able to take time out from your busy holiday schedule to enjoy the magic of the season this year.¬†For some more help making¬†your home gorgeous and guest-ready for the holidays, check out my Holiday Wish List of Ideas board on Pinterest here.

Havertys board

(This board also includes some more furniture inspiration from Havertys.)

Whether you are looking for the perfect couch or an accent piece to tie the whole room together, Havertys has everything you need to prepare your home for guests this holiday season!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Havertys. The opinions and text are all mine.

Cheap and easy holiday chalkboard art

I was recently invited to share a few tips on how to do seasonal decorating for less with the lovely and amazing women from the Ladies in Fellowship Together (LIFT) group in Juniata County, Pa.

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I had an absolute blast talking, laughing, crafting and snacking with these sweet ladies!

During our time together, I thought it might be fun for us to whip up an easy and inexpensive holiday chalkboard art craft/gift.

PicMonkey CollageEvent photos courtesy of LIFT

There are so many free Christmas chalkboard printables available through Pinterest right now. I chose a few of these and had 30 5″x7″ prints produced at Walmart for about 50 cents apiece.

Then I took some 2″x6″ boards that were collecting dust in our garden shed and cut out 30 pieces on my miter saw that were each 7 1/2″ in length. That made each piece 5 1/2″ wide by 7 1/2″ high by about 1 1/2″ thick (2″x6″ boards lose about 1/2″ of width and depth due to planing and¬†shrinkage).

I sanded them really well on all sides and applied a coat of Minwax Express Color Wiping Stain and Finish in either Emerald or Crimson. (Of course I was sanding and staining like a madwoman the night before the event because I refuse to take my own advice and quit procrastinating!) 

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I took the dried blocks and chalkboard prints with me to the LIFT event. The ladies chose a block and a print, then distressed the edges of their blocks with sandpaper and adhered their prints to the wood blocks using Mod Podge (matte finish).

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Tip: When using Mod Podge on wood, I recommend coating both the wood and the back of the photo with Mod Podge, then using something like a Bondo plastic spreader to make sure the seal is tight and to eliminate all air bubbles between the wood and the print. I also like to apply a coat of Mod Podge over the entire top of the print as well. (Don’t worry. It dries clear and won’t damage the photo.)

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These decorative holiday blocks look great standing on their own on a side table, windowsill or mantel. They also make inexpensive, yet thoughtful gifts.

Thanks again to all the lovely LIFT ladies for a fabulous time of fellowship!

I’m linking this up to Saving4Six.com¬†and A Glimpse Inside.