things to do with the kids backyard swing

Things to do with your kids – Week Three

by Jennifer Blaak

April 14, 2020

Welcome back to our nest!

So here we are.  The end of week three.  Is your list of things to do with your kids growing?

I hope you are starting to settle into this new (temporary?) normal!  I think we finally have *knock on wood*! (that being said, I’m fully aware that distance education starts for Miss A. next week so I may be a bit premature in saying we’ve found our groove! LOL)

This week was filled with a bunch of things – one really special thing for a friend, a surprise for the kids, some painting, and baking (yes a recipe will included in this blog!)

For those of you new to this blog, let me tell you what it’s all about!  Since we are all home with our kids, I wanted to help by starting a weekly blog where I could share a look inside our week and share links to recipes, crafts, academics, and the things to do with the kids.  Obviously, I’ll also be sharing a bunch of photos of these activities!  I’m even going to do my absolute best to jump in front of the camera too.

(Did you miss week one and two?  Check them out by clicking here and here)

So here it is – some things we did with the kids during week three!

April 5 – 11, 2020

The most important and amazing thing we got to do this week was participate in a car parade.  With all the social distancing going on, keeping distance from those high risk is more important than ever.

Lauren (a family friend) was diagnosed on Friday October 25th, 2019 with stage 4 colon cancer that had spread to nearby organs. This all came fast and out of nowhere, being concealed by pregnancy symptoms and pains.

The doctors planned on having Lauren deliver her baby by c-section on Tuesday so that they would be able to start chemotherapy as well as radiation. But to everyones surprise, on October 27th, 2019 God blessed them with the birth of baby Eden Rose – born early but perfect – weighing 3lbs 9 oz.

Earlier this month, Lauren’s husband, Russ, shared that Laurens cancer had spread to her lungs.  This was devastating news and not the miracle so many people were praying for.

Knowing that Lauren and Russ (and their three beautiful girls) needed something special, their amazing friends planned this car parade.

On April 8th, 100 cars formed a parade, with the help of the local police as escorts, to drive in front of Russ and Lauren’s home and show them that even though we have to be distanced right now, we are all still in their corner cheering them on and covering them in prayer.

It was the most amazing, beautiful thing we’ve ever been able to be a part of.  Here are a few photos from that morning.

To read more of Lauren’s story and find out how you can help,  click here. #LaurenStrong

Lauren strong signs.jpg


Car parade group.jpg

Car parade Laurenstrong.jpg

LaurenStrong Family Parade

One thing that has been super important, as this social distancing thing continues, is connection with people, however possible.  The kids are managing ok, but Brandon and I have noticed that we are really missing our friends – and we are feeling it.

We hopped onto zoom and this online game website with one of our favourite Chicago people to play some cards.  Seriously check this out if you haven’t yet.  If the card games on this site aren’t your cup of tea (there selection isn’t the best, I’ll admit that!), there are plenty of other sites!  We like this one because it’s free! #DutchToTheCore

Even a quick game of cards with a friend goes a long way when you’re feeling all the feels of social distancing!

Online games with friends.jpg

I’ve noticed that I’ve been “riding the waves” with the emotions that a lot of people are feeling as we navigate through this crazy new world.  This week, Mr. D was feeling it all too (he’s a big empath!).  We took extra time for snuggles this week – it was a great way to ground both of us!

If your kids aren’t snugglers (and even if they are!), check out this blog by April Brown (M.Ed) for some great mindfulness techniques that are great for parents and kids alike!

Snuggles on couch.jpg

Ok, I promise you a photo of what youth group looks like for Mr. D these days!  On the main video on the screen is his incredible fearless leader, Kristin.  She is amazing.  Seriously.  Amazing.  You can check out all the amazing youth stuff she has going on here.

If your kids are in grades 5 – 8 (Energize group) and they’re looking for something to do on Wednesday nights, click that link to get all the details!  As a side note, the high school group (Thrive group) meets on Thursdays – you can find that information in the same link!

Video chat with friends things to do with kids.jpg

Anyone else buy paint with all the right intentions?  Yep, us too lol!  This week we got out the paint and finally painted our kitchen cupboards.  Guys.  I now know why most people just buy new cupboards LOL!  Painting cupboards and drawers are a huge pain, but the results were seriously worth it.  I even managed to rope in Mr. D to help me with the last coat on the drawers.

Painting drawers things to do with the kids.jpg

Raise your hand if you have had to venture into the world of haircuts!  Mr. D was in desperate need of a haircut and asked if I could cut his hair.  I watched probably close to a million YouTube videos, talked to a few friends, and we jumped in!

It’s definitely not as good as if we had gone to his favourite hairdresser, but it’s not half bad and he’s happy!

Pro tip – use a #4 on the clipper and you won’t go wrong LOL!

Mom giving haircut in livingroom.jpg

Back to that whole thing about making sure you stay connected with people – these ladies.  These are some of the funniest ladies I know.  We worked together years ago and have kept in touch!  Typically we managed to get together once a year (I’ve missed the last few!) for drinks, apps, and tons of laughs.  I absolutely couldn’t pass up the chance to join in this time – but this time from our own homes!

Next time you are missing your tribe, set up a night in on zoom or skype, or facebook video messenger…grab yourself a drink and a snack….and spend the night catching up with your people!

Girls Night Zoom


Ok – with all the parks and playgrounds being closed our kids have been going a bit nuts with not being able to access the playground equipment.  One things our kids need, especially when our life has changed so drastically, is a way to ground themselves.  For these kids, swings is the main thing.  Mr. D has a therapy swing in his bedroom (which I will touch on more next week along with other therapy items we have and love) but it’s not the same as a swing hanging from a swing set.

Brandon and I decided to surprise the kids with this beauty.  If you’re in Canada, you can find it here.  Check your local store for inventory.  Their stores are closed, but they are doing online orders with curb side pickup.  The kids were obviously thrilled!  Mr. D helped me build it, Brandon tightened all the final screws and anchored it down, and then Miss. A came out to help attach the swing and, of course, test it!

Miss A’s favourite thing about the swing is that it’s a disc swing!  She struggles with balance and core strength so the body mechanics required to sit on a swing you’d find at the playground can sometimes be a struggle.  When she realized she could sit OR lay on the swing, guys…her smile almost blinded me!


P.S. Miss. A lost one of her front teeth earlier this week – how great is her smile!?

Building new swing with the kids.jpg

Playing on new swing things to do with the kids.jpg

Movie night.  Now I know *most* of you are probably seizing this time to catch up on your favourite shows or let your kids binge watch their favourite shows, BUT, did you know that Disney + has a BUNCH of classic movies?  We’ve been LOVING this opportunity to introduce our kids to some of the classics.  This night, we were watching The Muppet Movie.  The kids LOVED it!

Have you had a chance to introduce your kids to some of the classics?

Movie night muppets with the kids.jpg

Up next…FOOD

This week we were spoiled when Brandon’s parents stopped by and dropped off these gorgeous onion rolls  (oh, and some Costco goodies!).  They were delish!

These were made with the bread machine, so all of you people busting out your bread machines for the first time, this one’s for you!

1 cup milk (80F – 90F)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, cut into pieces
1 tablespoon instant minced onion
1 teaspoon caraway seeds (or whatever seeds you prefer)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 1/4 cups bread flour
2 1/4 teaspoon active dry or bread machine yeast
1 egg white
Additional instant minced onion

  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Measure ingredients, except egg white and additional instant minced onion into bread pan in the order listed.
  3. Insert bread pan securely into baking chamber, close lid. Plug unit into wall outlet.
  4. Select DOUGH.  Press the START button.
  5. The complete signal will sound when the bread is done.
  6. Using pot holders, remove bread pan from baking chamber and place dough on lightly floured surface.
  7. Invert a large mixing bowl over dough and let rest for 10 minutes.
  8. Shape into your favourite dinner roll shapes such as pan rolls, braids, or rosettes.
  9. Place onto lined baking sheet.
  10. Brush tops of rolls with beaten egg white and sprinkle with additional instant minced onion.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes.
  12. Allow buns to cool slightly before serving.  Enjoy!

    **Makes 12 – 24 rolls depending on size.  If making the size in the photo below, this recipe will make about a dozen.**

Buns from Nana for the kids.jpg

Most amazing flatbread ever:

Next in the world of food are these delicious flatbreads that Brandon has been making.  For those of you who don’t have yeast, this recipe is for you!

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 teaspoons oil (either olive, vegetable, or canola)
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix flour, salt, baking powder, and oil together in a mixing bowl.  If including the optional ingredients, add these at the same time.
  3. Add one cup water and keep mixing.
  4. Continue adding the remaining water and mixing until the mixture has the consistency of tacky pizza dough.
  5. Knead for a few minutes and then let rest in a greased bowl for 30 minutes uncovered.
  6. Divide the dough into 6 pieces and roll out to your desired thickness (he rolls them to 1/4 to 1/2 an inch thick).
  7. Put your rolled out pieces onto a lined baking sheet and put into the oven for 10 minutes.
  8. Let set on a cooling rack for 5 minutes before serving.
  9. Store extras for up to…..we have no idea – they’ve never lasted in this house to find out how long it takes for them to go bad LOL!

But seriously, these are so good.  Do yourself a favour and make them!  Get the kids to help!  Baking is a great activity to do with the kids (and having them do the measuring reinforces some of those math skills!)

Baking Flatbread with the kids.jpg

There we go!  Week three!

Next week I’ll dive into what we’re doing academically, some of our favourite therapy tools that help us get through our academics, things we do to help the kids self regulate in the home, how we pulled off Easter dinner, another fun way zoom (and video chats in general) have become a norm in our home, and a fun game we played with the kids that got them off screens for a bit!

Jennifer is a lifestyle family photographer located in Southern Ontario. Jennifer is a newborn, baby, maternity, family, and creative branding photographer. She serves Ancaster, Brantford, Burlington, Cambridge, Hamilton, Kitchener, Oakville, Niagara, Woodstock, and the GTA.

To book your own session with Jennifer Blaak Photography after the social bans are lifted, please use the contact tab at the top of the page.  You can also contact me directly at

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