July (Free Printable) Calendar + Fun Summertime Ideas!

Our kids don't often say "I'm bored!"...but when they do, we often head to Pinterest and pick something fun to get us out of a slump. Whether it's activities with fidget spinners (I still don't get the draw of those things), games with water balloons, or fun and goofy science experiments, there's enough fun stuff in here for every day of summer!

As your kids scroll through these ideas, brainstorm what neighbors and friends you could invite over to take part in the fun!

Maybe you and your kids could even write up a list of children from your neighborhood to invite in so your kids begin understanding how simple it can be to live a life of hospitality. As you print out this month's calendar, write those names into various days, inviting them to take part in these fun and goofy activities.

Not only will no one be bored...you'll be showing your family how to live with an open door!

Note: Head to The Library to download and print out the calendar! The password is at the top of all my emails I send out!

If you don't already follow me on Pinterest, do it here!

Fun Summertime Ideas

(list approved by my kids!)

. . Click here for the board Summertime Fun . .

Do you have any favorite summer activities? Tell us about them below in the comments (or link it)!


Take Joy,


Summertime GIVEAWAY!


Summer is such a perfect time to gather, don't you think?

Whether it's spreading out an old sheet for a picnic in the park, dinner under twinkly lights on your patio, a casual BBQ with all the fixings, or an outdoor movie in your backyard...these warm months make everyone want to live a little slower and enjoy moments more fully.

In honor of opening our door and inviting people in, I thought a giveaway full of fun hosting essentials would be a fantastic way to welcome summer.

Who says paper plates need to be boring?  These pretty floral plates will liven up your outdoor tablescape (even if you have a black thumb in the garden, like I do)!

Wondering what this cute little swan is? Leave it to Anthropologie to come up with the cutest bottle opener ever (PS I have it, too! With a maiden name like Swanstrom, I'm kind of a fan of swans).

Ahhhhh linen. I may not wear linen clothes often because hello, wrinkles! But there's something just so elegantly casual about using this beautiful fabric on the table (especially when it comes from Williams Sonoma). And this light mint color is neutral enough that it can be used all throughout the year!

Truth be told, I nearly kept this little salt grater. How cute would she be on the table (yes, it's a she)? I found it at Williams Sonoma the day I bought the tablecloth, but realized later you can find it for less on Amazon (yay Prime)!

What meal is complete without pretty napkins? I'm including not only cocktail napkins for drinks and appetizers but floral cloth napkins as well!

Are you in absolute LOVE with these metal rose gold napkin rings?! I sure am.

If ever there was a season for salad-eating, Summer would be it. These wooden salad tongs are a favorite in our kitchen!

Need some Entree salad recipes (and great summer dressings, apps, and an easy/yummy/beautiful make-ahead dessert? Click here!)

I know, I know...I had you at Kate Spade. These charms will definitely help you remember which drink is yours! 

Are you a fan of place cards? I sure am. I love helping my guests get outside their comfort zone, sitting them next to people they don't know well (but folks I know they would love!).

My favorite part is seeing guests sit down uncomfortably at the beginning of dinner and exchange phone numbers and hugs with their new bestie by the end of the night!

I just had to include this little bag of coffee by Two Rivers Coffee because, well...doesn't an iced coffee just sound so good right about now? I bet your guests would agree!

I use these paper bowls all the time. From ice cream to popcorn to watermelon wedges and frozen berries, they're the perfect way to add color to the table without having to wash a single dish! And the wooden spoons just remind me so much of buying ice cream from the ice cream truck when I was little. So nostalgic.

Speaking of paper, if you've ever been to a party at my home, you've probably sipped a cool beverage through a cheerfully colored paper straw. I'm more than a little obsessed with them.

What do you think? Good stuff? Entertaining essentials you'd LOVE to use at your own little dinner or brunch?

Which are you most excited about??

You ready to talk rules??



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The winner will be chosen at random (by looking at Mail Chimp's list of those subscribed to the blog as well as Survey Monkey's response) and will be announced on Instagram and Facebook on Friday, June 16.

If the winner does not provide their mailing address by Tuesday, June 20th, an alternate winner will be chosen.

Good Luck!

Take Joy,


(free printable) June calendar!

Are your kids out of school yet? Every morning mine are already asking me, "What's the plan? What are we doing today?" and "When are we going to the mountains? When are we headed to the zoo and hiking and doing our outdoor movies?"

Rather than allowing them to make my head spin with all their questions, always asking to see the calendar on my phone as well as my Anchored Press planner, I decided I'd print out a calendar to tack up on the bulletin board in our kitchen.

That way they can see exactly what days we have plans and what days they know they can laze around, ride bikes to the pool, and play with their neighborhood friends.

I thought I'd make it available to you, too!! Just in case your kids are big question-askers like mine are.

I'll commit to making a new one for July, August, and September, getting us through the summer months. And if y'all are liking having them, I can continue each month after that! Let me know if you want them to continue! Happy to oblige! ; )


Take Joy,


P.S. The calendars will be available in The Library (you must subscribe to the blog via email to receive the password).

To access The Library, click this button here (in the sidebar)...

Motherhood: How to freak out less + laugh more

The phrase "The days are long but the years are short" seems to be on repeat in my mind as the realization that our kids are growing older hits. It's been quite awhile since I've bought diapers or filled a bottle. I don't often wake in the middle of the night to a little one's needs.

Though I love the baby and toddler stages (like loooooooove them), I always figured I'd be excited to be out of it and onto the older years. And it is undoubtedly fun to be able to snuggle on the couch and read books side by side, have water balloon fights in the front yard, and cook dinner together...and yet, I'm realizing something.

The stage that I considered to be the most challenging of my life because I was tangled in a life of exhaustion and spit-up, has shifted into something else...another season more challenging than the one before.

Though I now have a few minutes to shower every morning (sometimes even without a kid interrupting!) and generally sleep through the night without someone needing me at 2 am, this stage is a hundred times more demanding.

Our kids have opinions and personalities and giftings and struggles. They have expectations and hurts and fears. There are days of tremendous elation and others with lots of tears.

I realize each and every day that I have no idea what I'm doing and pray that I don't screw them up...too much.

I pray deeply and fervently that Christ speaks to their little (and big) hearts as they begin making choices that will impact who they grow up to be. Our youngest may be four, but our oldest is seventeen. We're nearing the four-year mark with both these two and though it seems like we've had them forever, I also realize how fast time is going.

I think sometimes I stress out too much. Do you?

Sometimes I forget to celebrate the little things like I used to and see the weeds rather than the flowers.

Last night six-year-old Imani had her kindergarten performance. The spring weather was beautiful and warm and we smiled as we walked to and from the elementary school. We were all hungry afterward and as we fixed some snacks before putting on pj's, one of the little ones put on the La La Land soundtrack. The music is so fun and upbeat. I've played it so often that we all know the words to our favorite songs and the younger three and I danced around the kitchen, lip syncing and laughing.

But when I tried to bring one of the older kids into the fun, he got angry. Some of our kids have a lot of trauma from their past and unpredictable anger flares up now and then because of it. But this was not one of those kids.

The way he shunned our fun was surprising and unexpected. And it made me really sad. Like heartsick kind of sad.

I looked at him and wondered where his joy had gone.

I'm not saying he's a depressed kid. I'm in no way detecting a constant spirit of sadness or anger. But it does flash more often than I think it should and definitely more often than it had when he was young and every conversation had to do with superheroes, trucks, and legos. Now he talks about mean girls in class and struggling in math. He shares when he feels like he doesn't fit in and that he's not good enough, cool enough.

Ohhhh how that breaks my heart.

Motherhood is hard to maneuver, isn't it?

So my challenge for this summer is to bring more joy to the house.

To freak out less and laugh more.

I came upon Rachel Macy Stafford's post today titled, The Day My Child Lost Her Joy—and What I Did to Revive It and realized this isn't only hitting my family. Is it impacting yours?

I think it's partly my own fault. I've noticed as the number of children in our family expands, the more order I need in our home and when order is not there, I get tense and frustrated.

And as we know, mothers are the heartbeat of the home.

How does the saying go? "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." Gosh, it's true.

Life is so chaotic and loud in a family of eight that I think it's my way to restore a little calm. The more kids in the house, the less I can handle mess and clutter. And my patience wanes as our old-enough-to-clean-up-after-themselves children either don't clean up...or they whine the entire time they do.

And because they see impatience in me, they're impatient. Because I'm stressed, they're stressed.

But if I ooze joy, they'll ooze joy.

And in all truthfulness...I yell. You guys, sometimes I yell at my kids for almost no reason at all. Sometimes it's simply because I'm stressed and they did something that broke the camel's back.

I've never been a person who yells. What is my problem??

I don't want them to remember me as a "Yelling Mom."

I want them to remember me as an affirming, goofy, fun mom.

Something has got to change. And I think joy is where I'm going to spend my time first.

How do you infuse joy and happiness into your home? How, as your kids enter elementary, middle school, and high school...do you help them brush off hurt in a healthy way and turn their faces toward the light of Christ?

How do you see the flowers and not the weeds in your day-to-day life? From one mama that often feels in over her head to another...I'm so glad we don't have to pretend everything is always ok and perfect. No facades here. Let's grasp authenticity.

Take Joy,


my FAVORITE end of school tradition


I posted this last year...but it's truly such an end-of-school highlight, I wanted to share it again!


What we do on the last day of school is hands-down my favorite family tradition.

I'm not sure how many years ago I thought of it (maybe three or four?)...or how it came to be...but as the kids walk home from school, we pelt them with water balloons.


Those of us who are home wait outside, all sweet and unassuming.


Maybe even hide behind bushes or trees.


And POW! A full on war breaks out.


Since we have kids at three different schools, this fun battle happens a few times, depending on when their last day is.


It's kind of like a Jack-in-the-Box. You know it's coming...but it still gets ya every time.


Every year I struggle actually making the water balloons though.

I prefer getting the biodegradable ones, but they're so thin, they snap and break faster than I can fill them.


Ben though, found these on Kickstarter awhile back and hallelujah they came in the mail just in time for our yearly water balloon fight!!


Can you see how cool this is?! The balloons are all attached to a thin plastic straw and you just screw the end into the hose. Once the balloons are filled, they simply pop off the straw and are all ready to go!

(and yep...still biodegradable!)

Amazing. I hope these people are making millions.


Do you have a favorite end of school tradition at your house?!

If not...you're welcome to steal ours!!


Take Joy,