Friday Fives | Favorite Summer Activities

Every summer our family makes a Summer Bucket List of all the things we want to accomplish before the end of summer. Some things are recurring events every year and multiple times throughout the vacation months, but some are new things that we’ve never done. Here are some of our favorite things to do as a family during the summer break!

1) Free movies at GQT Savoy 16! That’s right — FREE! If you have a GQT Rewards card, you and up to 5 people can see a free movie every Monday-Friday at 10am during the summer. They post the schedule ahead of time, and there’s a new kids or family-friendly movie every week. We LOVE it, and typically are able to get a few snacks since the movie is free. :D


2) Kids Bowl Free! Ding ding ding! FREE again! (Are you sensing a theme here?) Bowling alleys all over the country partner with this program to provide 2 free bowling games each day to kids. All you have to pay for is shoe rental. And there is also a family program where you can add adults for a nominal fee and they then get 2 games each day for the summer also. We’ll utilize this one more too as our kids get older!


3) Frozen Yogurt/Ice Cream/Custard! I’m not ashamed to say that nearly every local froyo or ice cream place is on our bucket list and we’ll try to hit all of them before the summer is over.


4) Visit the library! It goes without saying that the library is free (I mean, outside of taxes LOL), and my kids love to play and search for their own books at our library. There are also computers and headphones where they can play online games or watch YouTube, and we use it to search for my son’s favorite keywords and authors too. They also have a train table, a lightbox, and magna tiles, which usually keep them pretty busy. There are also scheduled activities on certain days — book readings, lego classes, art classes, music, and more.


5) Boating with Grandpa Mark & Uncle Nathan! Grandpa Mark has a pontoon boat on Lake Decatur, and Uncle Nathan has a speedboat on Lake Michigan. One of our favorite things to do is take the boat out on Lake Michigan, maybe swim for a bit, and then go through the lock system to enter the Chicago River. On Lake Decatur we usually grill some hot dogs, swim, and one year on 4th of July we stayed out and watched fireworks!


Honorable mention: berry picking, free Thursdays at Scovill Zoo, swimming at Grandpa Mark’s or Papa’s houses, swimming at a local public pool, playing in the sprinkler, picnic in the park

Friday Fives | Favorite Color Images

I went back and forth a bit about how to structure this post and then decided Friday Fives is a free-for-all and I should just dive in! You may remember the color project I did a couple of summers ago. I did a model call for couples and got 2 couples that were willing to be dragged all over town to a bunch of spots I had scouted over the previous months. There’s also one in this set of 5 from a friend’s headshot, which was inspired by my Color Project.

My main goal was to have a rainbow grid on my Instagram following the sessions, and I was absolutely thrilled with how it turned out! So today for Friday Fives, I’m showing you my 5 favorite colored wall images!

Keep an eye out soon for a reprisal of the color project! We’re using some new walls for this one — can’t wait!


Friday Fives | Favorite movies!

Fair warning ahead of time, this list is going to be ALL OVER THE PLACE, because I have really random taste in movies. LOL Some of these have been favorites since I was a little girl, and some are more recent faves that have worked their way into my heart.

1) First up, the mother of all musicals, in my opinion — The Sound of Music! I remember growing up watching this every year when it came on TV (I think around Easter time?), and then eventually we got the 2-tape VHS anniversary edition so we could watch it whenever we wanted. I now own my own copy of it on DVD and it still gets watched at least once a year. :) You may even recall that I did an entire styled shoot based on the film. It definitely holds a special place in my heart! <3

sound of music.jpg

2) This one NEVER gets old. You’ve Got Mail. So many good one-liners, an inspiring love story, and Meg Ryan’s adorable haircut. In fact, while I’m writing this post I’m watching this movie!! You probably don’t want to watch it with me because I’ll recite the whole thing. “Don’t you just love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies.”

I also wrote a blog post for the Happy Togs blog last year called “It Ought to Begin by Being Personal,” which was inspired by a quote from the movie.

youve got mail.jpg

3) “Damn, we’re in a tight spot!" A long-time extended family favorite of the Birches, and one that most of my family members know all the words to — O Brother, Where Art Thou? Again, lots of great one-liners, and so funny in a quirky kind of way that is typical of Coen Brothers film.

o brother where art thou

4) This is one of the more recent additions to my Top 5 — The Sex & the City movie. I first saw it when a group of girlfriends for a bachelorette party, and since then will usually stop to watch parts of it if it happens to come on TV. The story is so beautiful and heart-wrenching all at the same time, and I think it perfectly sums up the foursome’s friendships, relationships, and is the perfect tribute to the TV series. The story is well written and makes me fall in love with the characters all over again.

sex and the city.jpg

5) I know someone will point out that this photo is actually from Guardians 2, BUT the film that makes my Top 5 is the original Guardians of the Galaxy. Guardians is a member of the Marvel Comics family and is so colorful, witty, and has an AWESOME soundtrack. Seriously, my favorite Pandora station is “Guardians of the Galaxy.” So good. A couple years ago we dressed up as Star-Lord, Gamora, & Rocket for Halloween (we couldn’t talk Hadley into being Groot.) Ha!

We love to quote this movie too, and find the characters all hilarious. It’s safe to say my family is very much looking forward to the Avengers: Endgame movie coming out later this month! #downwithThanos!


Honorable mentions go to:

christmas vacation.jpeg

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation — we usually watch this one 2-3 times during the Christmas season, and often once in July also. It’s THAT good!

“Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?”


Stepbrothers — If this one is on TV, you bet your butt we’re stopping to watch it. It is hands-down our favorite movie to quote, and maybe even the funniest movie that Aaron and I know of.

“Did we just become best friends?” YEP!

Armageddon (high school Holly’s favorite movie of all time) — HAHA!

“Man, why do you have a gun in space?”


The Cutting Edge — another favorite of high school Holly’s, and one of the earliest love stories I can remember being drawn to. Toe pick!

“It was either that or Curious George plays hockey — I took a chance.”

So there you have it! My Friday Fives! I’d love to hear what your Top 5 movies are! Leave a comment below or on FB or IG! Also, thanks to 2018 bride Katelyn for this post’s cover photo from her thank you box I sent last year!