best of summer

Is it really almost Summertime again? It’s such a wonderful time of year for families and we are getting so excited! School is out in less than a week and family trips, late nights and days at the pool will reign supreme. We’ve been brainstorming what we want to bring to Small Fry this Summer and had to take a peek back in the archives for inspiration (and to jog our memory, too!) and here our some of our and your favorite posts for Summertime!

Favorite Summer PostsThis Backyard Tent DIY was the very first post we created for Small Fry, ever! The bright and happy photos instantly take us back to a new and exciting time! And how small do our boys look?!

This Firework in milk science project was so much fun to do. It was part of our Summertime School series to keep everyone’s minds learning and everyone should try it at least once!

Washing and reusing swim diapers blew a couple of minds.

A chores and cleaning printable to help start or keep a routine of responsibilities!

Our Road Rally with Freshly Picked was such a hit and the boys are still talking about it. Locals, mark your calendars for July 8th, we’re planning the 2nd Annual Road Rally and it’s gonna be better than ever!

Chalk provides hours and hours of entertainment. We showed a few games to use with chalk and there’s about a million more on our Pinterest!

Sometimes all it takes is a little hype. Simply saying “We’re going on adventure!” and then letting it all unfold. Kids are magicians and don’t need much, just a little push to get them going!

Another post in our Summertime School series, the handwriting wall! Keep those fingers practicing all Summer long!

So while we have you, anything you’d like to see Small Fry cover this Summer? Have a great weekend!


We heard from so many of your regarding our use of Essential Oils we partnered with the Oil Rn for a free webinar to teach the basics of it all. Join us! We have two – Saturday May 17th, 2014 – SIGN UP HERE – at 2pm EST and then again Monday May 19th at 9:30pm EST – SIGN UP HERE – we’re excited to see you there!

We were featured on POPSUGAR Moms with our favorite budget friendly Summer clothing for kids! Check it out here.

Monster Puppets [Giveaway!]

Our Paper Bag Puppets have been such a hit with the boys and their friends, we had to add to the collection, so today we’re sharing these awesome Monster Puppets! We put these together with Astrobrights awesome line of paper and they’re giving away stacks of their vibrant paper in 26 different colors. Basically you’ll never have to buy paper again, amazing!

Monster Puppets

Quinn’s Vest // Dash’s Tee

Last time we used standard brown lunch sacks which are great, but couldn’t really stand up to our boys’ vigorous play, so for these we upgraded to a small brown paper gift bag! It is made out of really thick craft paper and has yet to rip or tear. It’s definitely a worthy upgrade.

Monster PuppetsWe use these Astrobrights colors literally everyday for something or other. Crafting, gifts, projects, it’s been so nice having such an expansive collection on hand (we’ve been known to hit the craft store multiple times a week just for a new must-have color of paper, have we lost it?)

Monster Puppets

So you awesome crafty friends, let’s get you the chance to win your own giant collection for your own stash. Stacks of paper this size are usually at least $5 so you’ll be getting $130+ worth of paper! Just to make it extra interesting Astrobrights is throwing in another $50 gift card to Office Depot which has the most extensive Astrobrights selection.

Astrobrights Paper


Ready to Colorize your world? Enter below, and good luck!!

Clothing for today’s post provided by Good Boy Friday!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Tiny Tour : Chicago

This post is sponsored by Warner Bros. Pictures through their partnership with POPSUGAR. We received compensation by POPSUGAR to write a post about Blended and as always, all opinions are our own.

Summertime is the absolute best setting to create awesome family memories and Blended — out May 23! — is getting us so excited for some Summer shenanigans! The movie is all about how two unlikely families bond on the accidental shared African safari trip of a lifetime. (Drew’s character and her two crazy boys are reminding us of someone?) Getting family to bond is such a tricky thing, and sometimes you can’t plan or orchestrate it, it just happens. So today we brought on Jaime to sharing her tips for bonding all over the next stop on our Tiny Tour: Chicago! Welcome, Jaime!


First Lincoln Park Zoo:

This is such an awesome Zoo! It’s beautiful and has some amazing views of the city, but the biggest bonus is… it’s FREE!! Its open year round, everyday! They always have something going with exhibits, concerts, playgrounds, running trails and fun for the whole family. Since we moved to Chicago we have visited the zoo weekly! We just pack a lunch and spend the day exploring.

Tip: Free activities are always a great option when creating memories together. Without the stress or expectations of “making every penny count” you can just enjoy one another!Tiny Tour | Chicago

Lincoln Park Zoo | Chicago Tiny Tour

Millennium Park:

When you come to Chicago, Millenium Park is a must see! The summer is jam packed with events. And there is so much to see and do! My boys love the “Face Fountain” as we call it.  It’s basically a giant splash pad on Michigan Ave that projects faces on the sides of the fountain, while it spits water at you!  Photos at “The Bean” is on every tourists checklist. And to end your night right you can enjoy a free movie or concert in the park, while you lay under the stars and the beautiful city skyline. Creating traditions lays the foundation comfort and belonging in your family.

Tip: Being spontaneous is always fun, but small children blossom best when they know what to expect! Fill them in beforehand as much as you can.

Millenium Park | Chicago Tiny Tour


Millenium Park | Chicago Tiny Tour

The Museum of Science of Industry: Out of all of the Incredible Museums here in Chicago, this one is our favorite. It’s HUGE! You could spend the whole day here and still not see everything! So be sure to plan on getting up early. This Museum is one of the most popular in the United States, and experiences close to 2 million visitors per year. So planning your trip on a weekday isn’t a bad idea. Some of our favorite things to see were the Trains and Planes, The Tornado Exhibit, and “Animal inside and Out” I love it when I leave a place feeling like my kids learned so much, and were excited while doing it! *Learning experiences are so great for families, because older siblings help the younger ones, while the younger ones bring a youthful outlook to things teenagers might completely miss.

Museum of Science and Industry | Chicago Tiny Tour

Northerly Island Beach: Lake Michigan looks more like an ocean than a lake! Something that makes Chicago so fun in the summer is hanging at the beach.  And one of the best kept secrets is Northerly Island Beach. It’s this perfect little cove, that is so great for your little ones to splash around while you catch some rays:) And it’s right downtown, so when you have had your fill of sunshine, the restaurants and shops of the Magnificent Mile are nearby.

Tip: The beach or lake is always a good place to bond! Kids can run free and aren’t contained by so many rules and crowds. Our best vacations always happen near the water!

Northerly Island Beach | Chicago Tiny Tour

Navy Pier: This Place is uber Famous, and such a good time.  You can ride the Ferris Wheel, Eat a “Chicago Dog”, take an Architecture Boat tour, Watch an Imax, and shop till you drop!

Navy Pier | Chicago Tiny Tour

Parking can be pricey, so walking or public transportation is the best solution. But this is a perfect place for you and your kiddos to have some major fun! Planning activities together might feel daunting or even exhausting, and maybe under appreciated. But when your kids brag about how great and exciting their Summer was all those memories are thanks to you!

Doesn’t Chicago sound so perfect for kids, so many wonderful things to do! Thank you so much to Jaime for taking us on the tour. Are you all planning on any fun adventures with your families this Summer? Blended has us inspired to do something a little out of the box. Check out the preview, or better yet lets all go see it together!

Follow along Blended’s release via Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr.

Blankets & Books

The weather has been switching off from freezing and rainy to sunshine and warmth. We can’t really keep tabs on it, so we’ve been running out to our front yards for some rays to only quickly scoop everything back up to go back inside while it downpours. It’s thrilling! We shared the steps to making this hand painted quilt below this post here, but took it out for a spin for some beauty shots before, you guessed it, we got rained out!
Picnic Blanket DIY

Tiny Toast Pillow

Sleepy bubble pillow via Tiny Toast //  Floral top via Joules

Joules Summer Line

Striped Wellibobs (best name!) via Joules

Picnic Blanket DIY

Reading: Flo & WendellMadeline and the Old House in ParisThomas Jefferson: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of EverythingThe Nine Lives of Alexander Baddenfield

Park Blanket with Joules

We love the Joules boots for kids (see our fishing adventure from last Summer!), so we were extra excited to try out the adult’s line of boots and their super great pieces for women too! Here are some of our favorites:

Favorite Joules

Indigo Stripe Tunic with Beaded Neckline //  Dog Print Poncho for girls // Blue Floral Welly // Boys Shorts // Taupe Dress for women // Green Stripe Jr Welly

Blanket DIY steps right here.

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Picnic Blanket DIY

Photos by Jylare.

We love to gather all our local friends for big play dates in the park. It’s so easy, everyone comes and goes as they please, no one’s house gets trashed, and there’s plenty of space for chaos. Do you do these types of play dates where you’re at? One thing we noticed is that everyone brings their own picnic blanket, but then each of us ends up all on the same blanket together anyway. So, why not bring one that’s big enough for all? Here’s a DIY for taking even the most tragic quilt or most boring blanket and making it play date in the park worthy.

Picnic Blanket DIYWe’ve made this two ways, black paint on a white fleece throw, and multi-color on a cotton quilt. It works wonders on either! Got a quilt you’re not especially fond of? Flip it over and paint the plain side! The other side of this quilt below is tan and brown leaves.
Picnic Blanket DIY Here’s what you’ll do:

Lay out your blanket with plenty of room to stretch out, a driveway is ideal if you’re using a King size throw like we did. Then we used the Green Frog Tape to create the pattern. We started with a larger border around the whole rectangle. Then match that same shape just slightly smaller inside, maybe two or three inches! You’ll paint in between your borders giving you nice and crisp lines. Once the border is in place you can add shapes in the middle, we stuck with a few triangles, but like with all these types of projects, so many possibilities!

Picnic Blanket DIY

Once you’ve got all your borders and shapes taped, you’re ready to paint! If you’re doing a fleece throw put down newspaper or something underneath your taped off areas in case of bleeding. (A cotton quilt you won’t have a problem!) We just use acrylic, it washes up great, with minimal fade. This is when you’ll want LOTS of space versus trying to stretch it out in a small confined area. The fleece absorbs paint pretty quickly so you’ll need quite a bit to get a saturated covered look. Once the paint is mostly set, remove the tape lines and let it dry completely. Don’t try to transfer it until it’s completely dry! (Sorry again, Jenna!)

Picnic Blanket DIYSince unique and on-trend quilts can really cost an arm and a leg, painting your own is a super easy project that’s actually pretty fun! It only takes an hour or less depending on how ambitious your patterns are, but try it out and be sure to tag us – #SmallFryDIY – if you make one!