Congratulations to Lecy Bros Homes and Remodeling, for being awarded the 2015 Readers’ Choice Award for Best New Home Builder, by our readers in Eden Prairie, Excelsior, Shorewood, Chanhassen, and Wayzata; and Best Remodeling Company, by our readers in Minnetonka and Excelsior, Shorewood, Chanhassen!
Do you or your nanny need help thinking of kid-friendly activities for summer? Here are great ideas to get you started.
Summer may be a time to relax, but tell that to kids who are bouncing off the walls or shrieking “I’m bored” every five minutes. How can parents and nannies keep kids entertained, active and out of trouble for an entire summer?
The trick is to plan ahead. Brainstorm ideas for things to do now, so you don’t wind up spending the entire summer watching cartoons.
Jill Tipograph, summer expert and founder of Everything Summer, suggests that you: “Take advantage of those bright sunny days and warm summer nights and plan something new a couple of times a week.” Jesse Koller, of Play, Create and Explore, holds regular art workshops for local kids. “We have a blast focusing on mostly process art and projects, as well as some sensory activities.”
So start creating your summer bucket list today. If you need inspiration, we’ve come up with 101 things that will keep kids happy — and you sane.
Hey families, want help making your way through this list? Print it out and give it to your nanny to do with your kids, or hire a new nanny or babysitter to entertain them this summer. If you’re a nanny, follow this list to keep you and your charges busy all summer long.
Want more ideas? Check out these 62 Summer Crafts for Kids.
- Bake cookies for ice cream sandwiches.
- Volunteer at a nature center.
- Make a photo journal or a family yearbook.
- Have a luau in the backyard.
- Visit the beach and collect shells.
- Make a fort out of cardboard boxes.
- Visit a farmer’s market.
- Stage an A to Z scavenger hunt, where you have to find something that starts with every letter. Here are 8 more scavenger hunt ideas.
- Pick berries.
- Have a picnic at a state park.
- Make ice cream. Tipograph loves using YayLab’s ice cream ball, which you fill with ice cream base and kick around until frozen.
- Go canoeing at a local lake.
- Build a sandcastle.
- Write and illustrate your own book and have it published into an actual hardcover book using IlluStory.
- Forget cooking — set up an ice cream sundae buffet for dinner.
- Clean up trash at a local park.
- Have a backyard campfire…or just use the grill! Roast hot dogs on sticks, pop popcorn and finish off with s’mores.
- Make homemade pizza.
- Go for a walk and then make a collage from nature objects you find along the way.
- Take bread to a creek and feed the ducks.
- Set up a lemonade stand.
- Have a water balloon fight.
- Practice your origami skills and make objects to hang from the ceiling.
- Go biking on a trail
- Interview an older relative about what life was like when they were young.
- Plan a picnic at a local park — or in your backyard.
- Print out a list of children’s books that have won Caldecott Medals. Visit the local library throughout the summer and try to read as many as you can.
- Create salad spinner art: Place circles of paper inside a cheap salad spinner, dab tempera paints on top, cover and spin away.
- Practice making interesting shadow puppets and then put on a show with your characters.
- Plant a garden of herbs and veggies.
- Make a sidewalk chalk mural.
- Go ice blocking (sledding) in the grass with a towel-covered block of ice.
- Have an outdoor painting party using huge canvases or cardboard.
- Visit a fish hatchery.
- Plant a butterfly garden with flowers.
- Pretend to be pirates for a day — dress up in costumes, plan a treasure hunt and talk like a pirate.
- Make an indoor sandbox using colored rice: mix 4 cups of rice with 3 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol and a few drops of food coloring and let dry overnight.
- Turn the backyard into a carnival — set up a face painting area and games like ring toss.
- Make totem poles out of paper towel rolls and decorate them.
- Visit a museum you’ve never been to.
- Make a giant hopscotch or Twister game on the lawn (with spray paint) or driveway (with chalk).
- String beads into jewelry.
- Make a bird house out of Popsicle sticks.
- Learn about stargazing and identify as many constellations as possible — see if there are any local astronomy groups for kids.
- Create leis with wildflowers.
- Go fossil hunting near a lake.
- Break out your baseball gloves and start a game, sandlot style.
- Make paper boats and race them in a kiddie pool using straws to propel them.
- Play mini-golf — or set up a course in your driveway by laying different size containers on their sides.
- Make your own colored sand and create sand art.
- Get a map of the United States and mark off all the exciting places you want to visit — create the ultimate road trip.
- Set up a net and play badminton and volleyball. Or try one of these 11 Backyard Games for Kids.
- Visit an amusement park or water park.
- Wade through a stream and search for minnows or tadpoles.
- Go zip-lining.
- Have a tricycle race at the park.
- Investigate an ethnic grocery store and make lunch using interesting spices and kid-friendly international recipes.
- Visit a fire station.
- Collect rocks and paint them to use as paperweights or pet rocks.
- Go roller skating.
- Visit a zoo or aquarium to learn about animals.
- Run through the sprinklers.
- Blend your own smoothie.
- Set up a bike wash and raise money for a local charity.
- Batter up at a batting cage.
- Let kids paint the sidewalk or patio with plain old water and sponge brushes. When their creation dries, they can begin again.
- Bake cupcakes in ice cream cones and then decorate them.
- Assemble a family cookbook with all your favorite recipes.
- Go horseback riding.
- Make popsicles in Dixie cups using fruit juices.
- Catch fireflies in a jar (and let them go at the end of the night).
- Stage your own Summer Olympics with races, hurdles and relays.
- Create a backyard circus — kids can pretend to be animals and dress up as clowns.
- Decorate bikes and have a neighborhood Fourth of July parade.
- Take a sewing/crochet/knitting class.
- Make Mexican paper flowers using different colored tissue paper.
- Go to a flea market.
- Volunteer at an animal adoption organization.
- Visit a retirement home and read stories to residents.
- Attend an outdoor festival or concert.
- Pick a nearby town to visit for the day.
- Visit a cave.
- Get a map of your area, mark off all the local parks — then visit them, take pictures and vote for your favorite.
- Take in a fireworks exhibit.
- Make crafts with recyclable items like stickers using old photos, magazines and repositionable glue.
- Make your own hard-to-pop bubbles with 1 cup of distilled water, 2 tablespoons of Dawn dish soap and 1 tablespoon of glycerin.
- Paint canvas sneakers with fabric paint pens or acrylic paint.
- Create three dimensional buildings using toothpicks and mini marshmallows.
- Make bird feeders by covering pine cones with peanut butter and rolling in birdseed.
- Paint with ice by freezing ice cube trays with washable tempera paint.
- Create unusual s’mores by experimenting with ingredients like cookies, bananas, flavored marshmallows and white chocolate.
- Have a fancy tea party.
- Make a giant slip-n-slide with a painter’s tarp and shaving cream.
- Go camping in the backyard or at a campsite. Follow these tips for camping with kids.
- Let kids paint each other with washable tempera paint, then wash it off in the sprinklers.
- Visit a national park and help the kids earn a junior ranger badge.
- Go to a ballgame and teach your kids (and yourself!) how to keep a scorecard.
- Set up a tent in the backyard to use as a summer playhouse.
- Take a free kid’s workshop at stores like Lowe’s, Home Depot or Pottery Barn.
- Have a game night with charades, Pictionary and bingo.
- Take a boring brown paper bag and have kids brainstorm creative things to do with it — you’ll be surprised at how many things you can come up with.
The vegetable garden is in full glory during summer, filled with ripe tomatoes, rapidly growing squashes, hot and mild peppers, melons, cucumbers, corn and a host of other summer vegetables that can threaten to take over your yard and your kitchen. Most fruit trees are in full production, and berries are at their peak. Is it any wonder that by fall, most people are looking forward to relaxing indoors with a seed catalog and planning for next year rather than actively nurturing their own edible landscape?
Still … there’s that empty space in the yard. And while most vegetables did great in the summer heat, there were those plants that literally went to seed when faced with warm temperatures. That’s when the cool-season garden comes into play.
A cool-season vegetable garden is filled with plants that prefer the cooler temperatures and soils of spring and fall. Some even do their best with a touch of frost. For most people, cool-season vegetables are the ones you plant early in the year, when you simply can’t wait to return outdoors after winter. They’re also the ones that linger on after the rest of the garden has been put to bed for fall and winter. If you live in a warm-winter climate, the cool-season garden might actually span the second half of the gardening year, producing fresh veggies even in winter.
Wondering what vegetables you can harvest in fall and early spring? There are more options than you might think. Click these links for growing guides for each variety:
Consider a cold frame. Cold frames and cloches let you put out vegetable seedlings earlier in the season and keep crops producing later in the season. They’re available commercially, but you can also make your own. Hinge the top of a cold frame to allow ventilation. If you want to plant directly in the garden, simply put the cold frame in place and remove the lid when the air temps warms up, replacing it as things cool down.
Go green. Lettuces and other greens will quickly go to seed and become bitter in summer, but plant them during the spring and early fall and you can enjoy fresh-from-the-garden goodness for salads and sandwiches for weeks.
Go up. Tender peas have long been considered a harbinger of spring. Start them early; you can use the same supports later in the summer to support beans, then get one last harvest of peas in during the fall.
Give back to your garden. Fill in the empty spots in your landscape with a cover crop. While you may end up with more fava beans than you know what to do with, that’s the idea. These crops aren’t grown for food; instead, they are tilled or dug into the soil as amendments. There are a number of options available. Legumes, as fava beans and clovers, help add nitrogen to the soil; grasses add organic matter. In this photo, clover is used to cover a hillside, but it would work just as well in a vegetable garden.
Come and see our newest custom home
So many exciting features; and the quality
and detail you expect. Three weekends only!
June 7-9, 14-16, 21-23
16000 Hastings Street NE, Ham Lake
This rustic, yet elegant, 7,100 square foot home sits on the shore of Ham Lake and showcases beautiful lakeside scenery.
The four-bedroom, five-bathroom home features exquisite hickory cherry and walnut woodwork; a spacious kitchen, formal barrel-vaulted dining room with seating for up to 16, and a spectacular lower-level custom Irish bar, billiards room, and home theater – complete with cotton fiber walls for the best acoustics. Exciting amenities include a working elevator, dinette space, craft room, and state-of-the-art technology to adjust the temperature, lights, and music from a smartphone or tablet. The estate, set on 33 acres of family-owned land passed down from generation to generation, is complete with a four-car garage, as well as a massive, detached, storage garage.
Directions: I-35N, exit west on US-10 travel 2.8 miles, exit north on MN-65 travel 9.4 miles, turn right onto Constance Blvd. travel .5 miles, turn right onto Hastings Street NE travel .4 miles, Home will be on the right.
A kitchen is the heart of the home. It often serves as gathering place for entertaining guests and creating warm memories with your family. More than any other room in the home, the kitchen should blend form with function, but also reflect your lifestyle. If you find that your kitchen isn’t working well for you anymore, it may be time to give it a facelift.
When undertaking a kitchen remodel, make sure you remain consistent with the aesthetic vision throughout your home. If your home reflects the warmth of antiques and country classics, for example, your kitchen may be best suited to follow a traditional style. Consider replacing old cabinetry with cabinets adorned with interesting carvings. Choose natural stone countertops and brushed metals to create an inviting atmosphere. Even your appliances can evoke a vintage feel, with a copper range hood or a retro-inspired stove. Create the illusion of a larger space by staying with a monochromatic color palate. A traditional kitchen is warm but open, so rearrange the layout for a better flow.
On the other hand, if the style throughout your home is marked by clean lines and modern touches, a more contemporary design may best fit your kitchen. Update your cooking area with new stainless steel, minimalistic appliances and features like industrial-inspired lighting. Choose cabinets with simple lines or frosted glass panels for added urban flair. You can create a dramatic focal point to the room by adding a striking backsplash in bold color.
Some homes blend traditional and contemporary designs together, creating an eclectic transitional style. To keep that character going in the kitchen, contrast cool granite countertops and sleek stainless steel appliances with rich cabinetry for an interesting balance. Industrial-inspired accents give a modern feel, while remaining reminiscent of older classics.
A quality kitchen renovation will seamlessly blend the utility and aesthetics of the room, and add extraordinary value to your home. The Lecy Brothers team has helped homeowners create stunning designer kitchens with their attention to detail and creative concepts. Contact Lecy Brothers to help you turn your dream kitchen into a reality.
If you like your home, but have found you no longer have enough living space, moving isn’t the only option. Remodeling or adding on to your current house is a great way to create additional space and add value to your property, while simultaneously giving you the room and amenities you desire.
Homeowners want more space for a number of reasons, including lifestyle changes such as an expanding family, or the desire to have high-end amenities such as a gym or spa. No matter what your reason for home expansion, one roadblock homeowners face is deciding if remodeling or an addition is the best option.
Industry experts, such as the experienced craftsmen at Lecy Bros. Home & Remodeling, can help you evaluate your options for adding space to your existing home. By looking at your current space, unused areas often can be remodeled into luxurious areas, an option that can be more cost-effective. For example, the unused space above the garage might be the perfect place for a workout room or bathroom suite. An empty side porch might be easily converted into a library or spare bedroom for guests.
If after consulting a qualified builder you find that an addition is your best bet for creating the space you desire, be sure to get a project timeline and budget proposals. While an addition is a great option for many homeowners who want a large increase in space, it can be a complex project that takes more time and is typically more costly. If homeowners don’t have the liquid assets to invest, a loan borrowed against the equity in the house is common.
Before starting on any remodeling or addition project, make sure you or the builder you hire checks with the municipality to ensure you’re adhering to local zoning and building codes. If your property is part of a homeowners association, make sure your plans are approved by any necessary committees.
Remodelers Showcase: Maple Grove
This Maple Grove basement remodel is one of our most beautiful projects. Over a number of years, the homeowners spent countless hours visiting remodeling showcases and fine tuning their vision to include all of the design elements and features they wanted in their dream basement. A once empty, unused lower level now features a luxurious bar area, pool table room, media center and complete bathroom with a shower.
The bar area is absolutely stunning; with a deep chocolate stain on clear alder woodwork adds richness, and the twisted barley columns make this bar is one of a kind. In addition to these custom features, the bar also has a stacked stone backsplash, granite countertops and a pressed tin ceiling. Another unique feature is the clock mounted in the wood above the sink, which we sourced to meet the homeowner’s very specific vision.
Dividing the media room from the pool table room is a stone wall with a see-through fireplace. The stone wall adds an updated yet natural look to the home and the fireplace is able to warm both rooms. The media room contains a home theater system that is completely encased in custom woodwork and brings added elegance to the basement.
The remodeled bathroom brings added livability to the basement, and features top-of-the-line design elements like pebble and slate flooring and an open vanity topped with a vessel sink. This beautiful bathroom completes the basement remodel and is a spectacular feature on top of the luxurious bar area and stylish media and pool table rooms.
This project fulfilled the dreams of these homeowners and features the unmatched quality, craftsmanship and value that all Lecy Brothers projects embody.