Sanders Summer Camp

Every summer we have a summer theme at our house.  When my kids were little our themes were more elaborate (scroll down in the family section if you want to see some of our past themes), but now it’s more inspiration and ideas to make your summer more rich and meaningful.  Here are the last two summer themes that we have done.  Maybe it will give you some new ideas as school ends and the summer months begin.

Summer 2019


Summer 2018

2018 SandersSummerCamp



Fun Teen Birthday Party

My daughter recently turned 14 and she planned a birthday party filled with color.  It started with the girls throwing balloons filled with paint at an art canvas to create a picture together.  Then we headed across the street to the park for some great fun.  I ordered Holi Powder and the girls set up interesting photos and then had a giant fight.  Color filled the air and all of their faces.  After that we set up the game Twister with shaving cream on the circles.  The Twister game didn’t last long as it turned into a huge shaving cream fight.  The girls were covered with color and shaving cream so everyone had to rinse off before going on a scavenger hunt, eating cake and ice cream and snuggling up to watch a movie.  I highly recommend this teen party if you don’t mind lots of laughing, screaming and a giant mess….oh, and epic memories!


Chalk Art Christmas Cards

We have had fun creating our Christmas card the last few years.  My favorite one was in 2013 when we used a big chalkboard at our house that served as our background.  Here is the before and after….




This year we went across the street to the school and my daughter and I drew the scene and positioned everyone.  Unfortunately the sun turned out to be an issue and we had limited options so I had to do quite a bit more editing to capture our snowball fight.  Here is the before and after…



Merry Christmas!  Let your creativity shine…

Happy Birthday to my Teenager

When our children turn 13 we celebrate by giving them a special photo book.  We have family and friends write them letters of what they see in them and give them words of wisdom for the future.  With the letter there is also a picture of the person with our child.  When my son turned 13 this was a very meaningful gift to him.  Today my daughter turns 13 and I hope this book is just as meaninful to her.  She brings so much laughter and joy into our family.  We can’t imagine life without her!  Here’s some photos from her birthday book….

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Sanders Summer Camp 2015

Every summer at our house we decide on a theme for the summer and do our own Sander’s summer camp, which just means we make a summer schedule and are intentional about how we spend the summer with our kids.  As my kids have gotten older, the theme keeps getting more simple.  They have their own lives, goals, interests and fairly easily entertain themselves now that they are tween/teens.  This summer we decided on the theme of “Pick Two.”  Here’s what it looks like….Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 2.07.58 PMScreen Shot 2015-06-01 at 2.10.19 PM

I am looking forward to what my kids come up with and in August we will have a little family night to show what we have worked on over the summer.  My projects are focused on eating healthy and simplifying our home!  What are you planning on working on this summer?  Pick two!

Happy Halloween

Every year when the kids were little my friend, Brooke, and I would throw a Halloween party.  This year, even though our kids are getting older, we decided to revisit the old days and have a little fun…

Even highschoolers will eat a donut off a string…afterall it is a donut and you get to eat it!


A Halloween party just wouldn’t  be complete without bobbing for apples…



At every party I’ve ever had we have always thrown water balloons at targets on the fence.  For Halloween, it’s pictures of ghosts, spiders, skeletons, etc.  This year, the targets were knocked down fast and Dad became the new target…



We tried a new game this year, find the grape in the plate of whip cream.  It was a big hit…


We also had a fun craft, decorating mini pumpkins.  The creativity flowed: a ghost, a black cat, a gorilla and a dinosaur…





We ended our party by watching a Halloween episode of Spongebob…


Here’s a few throwback photos from years past…

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Make the World Better

This was our theme for our Sanders Summer Camp this year.  Here was the idea behind it…


Once we came up with our summer theme, we brainstormed ideas that would support that theme throughout the summer.  I put together a flip book for my kids with different things that we were going to do together and assignments that we were giving them.  Here’s what the book looked like and the other pages we included….


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It was a really fun theme that let us try lots of different ideas.  We didn’t get to everything on all these cards, but we can keep going throughout the year!  I’ll share some of our ideas that we have done during previous summers in the weeks to come!  

Adventures in Whimsy

sarahshannonballlegsFBI bought a giant ball at Target on clearance during the Winter months.  I wasn’t sure if my kids were too big for it, but it turned out to be some of the best entertainment of the summer.  Of course, it only lasted a few days before one of the sections popped.  My kids exclaimed, “let’s order another one!”  Take a look at the fun….


Sanders Summer Camp

When I submitted our Sunday “fights” idea to Real Simple the woman who emailed me asked how I came up with the idea.  I told her that the idea came out of our Sanders Summer Camps.  For many years now, as summer approaches, my husband and I talk about what our kids need and what we should focus on as a family during the summer months.  Most of the kids in our area attend multiple summer camps and so we affectionately call our summer at home, “Sanders Summer Camp.”  Usually it involves lots of swimming, biking and playing, with one or two things in the schedule that we are trying to focus on.  As the years have gone by it has developed into having a summer theme.  When I came up with the idea for the Sunday “fights,” the theme for the summer was Risk and Whimsy.  This theme was thought of after reading Love Does by Bob Goff.

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This book was very inspiring to us and we wanted to bring these ideas into our family.  During the summer we created a family risk book and our goal was to reach 50 risks taken as a family.  Our reward was a trip to Six Flags.  We hosted Campfire/Talent Show nights where we could take risks by performing for our friends, we let the kids drive the car (this counted as a risk for everyone in the car!), we jumped off rocks into rivers and rode giant roller coasters.  We also had the whimsy part that included things like our Sunday “fights”, ice blocking and picnicking on the roof.

checklistThe Risk and Whimsy summer was so much fun that many of these ideas have now become traditions.  It also launched us into having a more focused theme for our summer camp.  Next time I will share what our theme has been for this summer.  Needless to say, we never accomplish everything we set out to do in the summer, but having a theme and being intentional has helped us to move toward our family goals and create many memorable moments together.