Summer of Fun {2019 Edition}

Summer of Fun

I just looked and for six years in a row now, I’ve done a post where we list out all of the super fun things we want to do during the summer.  These lists vary…some things are free, some cost money, some are at home, some require you to leave…it’s a random assortment.  Now that my kids are getting older, when I look at our summer calendar, it’s pretty full already.  All three big kids wanted to sign up for some sports camps, Kensington signed up for a church mission work day camp, and other things like that.  Plus, throw in a vacation or two and of course, an amazing road trip, and before we know it, it will be FALL!  So, today, I’m sharing our list for 2019, and then, of course, I’m hoping you chime in with suggestions too.  #prettyplease.

Now, if you have littles at home (not school age), you should look back at my first Summer of Fun post HERE

…because those ideas are all perfect for preschool aged kids (and let’s be real, many of them are good for any age of kid!).

I also looked back at this list from last year

Summer of Fun

…and laughed because it’s very similar to the things they wanted to do this year…

I sat the kids down (and by that, I mean I asked them while they were eating breakfast because they were already seated and not going anywhere), and we created our list for 2019…

Summer of Fun List

…now, obviously reading through here you can see that not all of them pertain to everyone (for example, Ashby is the one who wants to learn how to ride her bike without training wheels), and I did omit a few of them (we will not be getting in the creek behind our house to “hunt” snakes).  BUT when it was all said and done, these were the 12 things we decided to try and conquer this summer.  So many of them were the same as last year’s that I’m hoping you guys can give us some fresh ideas (because clearly, we’re running out).

On top of our list, I also thought I’d share just a few of our favorite summer necessities to get us ready to start checking things off one at a time.

I found this

on Amazon and bought it to help make our summer dreams come true 😉 .  Why do I think Andrew will have more fun on it than any of the children????

These are always our favorite pool noodles.  My parents started buying them years ago, and now we do too.  They’re thick and not scratchy.  Is that weird?  Some noodles are just scratchy!

I bought these biodegradable patriotic straws for our outdoor entertaining this summer…because nothing says “fun time outside” like a festive straw!

A sweet reader told me I need this waterproof phone case for pics in the pool and guys, I love it!!  I’ve used ones before and didn’t love them because I couldn’t push the buttons on my phone through the plastic, but this one is working great!!

On my way out to the pool this weekend, I threw on two different coverups to show you.  This festive one right here and then…

this fun one too!

Now, it’s your turn!!  What are your favorite summer things to do with your family?  They can be big, small, or anything in between.  I have gotten our best ideas from reader comments!  Please share and let me know!!

Happy (almost) summer vacation!!! xo

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  • Erika Slaughter May 21, 2019 at 4:44 am

    I need that case for the summer! My old one doesn’t fit my new phone! Ordering NOW!

  • Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog May 21, 2019 at 4:59 am

    The portable pool looks so fun! The kids are going to have a great summer with all that you’ve planned, Shay! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  • Alisha May 21, 2019 at 5:09 am

    We love to go camping!

  • Ahna @ Hammers N Hugs May 21, 2019 at 5:15 am

    A fun idea for a rainy summer day at home is something we call a “festival of games.” I have to give my dad credit for the basic concept from when we were kids, but I hide a game in 4 or 5 different rooms (or however many you want!), and I give the kids clues to the first room. Once they figure out the right room then they have to find the game, and we all sit on the floor and play it as a family. The winner gets to pick something out of the “prize bucket.” Rinse and repeat until we hit all of the rooms. It doesn’t have to just be board games. I will also throw in a game like the old school “Twister” or even bring in corn hole from our outdoor games pile. For various ages of kids one room may have a younger game and another room may have an older game, but regardless it’s a fun twist on playing games together as a family!

    • Mix and Match Mama May 21, 2019 at 7:06 am

      I love this idea!!

  • Amy Heinl May 21, 2019 at 5:22 am

    Have a Christmas in July party. We have done this often and it’s great fun (I know you like Hallmark and they even do a Christmas movie week to celebrate in Juky). Here is a link to an article with some great party ideas and there is a ton on Pinterest as well.

    • Mix and Match Mama May 21, 2019 at 7:06 am

      That’s so fun!!!

    • Shelia May 22, 2019 at 5:30 pm

      Since I am Nonna, I get my beautiful granddaughters 1 weekend a month.
      So our plans are Arkansas visit to see family, I usually get a hotel suite for a night & let the cousins have the biggest slumber party, all kinds of treats, pizza & swimming!!!
      On the way home sometimes we drive through Hot Springs to get a Fat Bottom Girl Cupcake, she won on Cupcake Wars, delicious!!!
      Then we have a plans for the pool & new pool rafts, Molly always has to get some kind of animal raft, last years was a turtle, a HUGE turtle raft!!!
      We have a movie planned, Aladdin.
      Then in July, we always do Christmas movies & just hangout in our jammies.
      We also may do ceramics at the shop in downtown McKinney or do a craft at home.
      Then to end the summer the BEST is yet to come… a Disney Cruise!!!
      The grands are so excited its ALL they talk about…they will have to show me the ropes, its my first cruise!!!
      Thanks to Mix & Match Travel Agency for ALL your help booking this great adventure!!!
      I’m sure along the way there may be some shopping involved!!! Lol

  • Kristen May 21, 2019 at 5:24 am

    Summer reading program at the public library! Also Vacation Bible School! ❤️

    • Tara G. May 21, 2019 at 8:23 am

      Barnes & Noble usually has one, too, & we used the same books for both. For littles, we did the Chuck E Cheese rewards charts. 🙂

  • Ashley May 21, 2019 at 6:02 am

    That slip and slide looks like so much fun! Here are some of ours: eat Mexican popsicles, go to a baseball game, be a tourist in our own city, smoke some ribs in the backyard (we live in Memphis), my kids also like to climb their favorite tree, and my kids want to swim by themselves this year. Happy summering!

  • Paula Nelson May 21, 2019 at 6:10 am

    My youngest graduates from high school Friday and I was thinking that I wished I had thought to do a summer fun list when my kids were little. Then it hit me!!! One day I’ll be a grandmother!!!
    I will be a cool grandmother with a fun summer list!!
    Enjoy your summer—the years go by WAY too fast!!

    • Mix and Match Mama May 21, 2019 at 7:05 am

      I love this, Paula!! What a wonderful perspective!!

  • Krystle May 21, 2019 at 6:18 am

    We started this a couple years back too, love it. We decorate a poster and hang on the pantry door so when we have a break from ball and other commitments we can decide what we want to enjoy versus time wasted or just plain forget a request from one of the 4 kids.

    • Mix and Match Mama May 21, 2019 at 7:06 am

      I love this idea!!!

  • Laura May 21, 2019 at 6:19 am

    We love doing the same thing. We have such a big colorful list, some of them already the same as yours. Ill add: catch fireflies, stargaze at night, build a fort, do arts and crafts, go for walks, picnics at the park and in our back yard, waterbaloon fight with friends, watch fireworks, go to the zoo, cooking lessons for the kids (by me .ages 9 and 12) bubbles, make popsicles, eat bomb pops, etc. We also usually do a “christmas in July” where we stay in on a super hot day and watch christmas movies 😄 maybe make some Christmas cookies as well. Its fun!

  • Sheaffer Sims May 21, 2019 at 6:21 am

    Adding those pool noodles to cart right now! Yes, others are totally scratchy! Do you have pool saddles? They’re awesome. They’re made out of the same foam as your pool noodles, and they are these little saddle things that you can sit on and float!

    • Mix and Match Mama May 21, 2019 at 7:06 am

      Um, ordering them right now!

  • Narci May 21, 2019 at 6:39 am

    Can’t wait for “swim with our friends!” It is going to be a great summer!

  • Elspeth Mizner May 21, 2019 at 6:56 am

    Great suggestions for summer fun. One idea I always do is have a mystery trip/day. Have something planned, such as an outing or a day trip but don’t let the children know, wait until you get to the destination and they are surprised with a fun day. Looking forward to what other ideas people share. Have a great day!

  • Kasie Miller May 21, 2019 at 6:59 am

    How fun! We just sat down yesterday and created our list, too!:) Among our new items are visiting a drive-up restaurant and a drive-in theater—sharing a little nostalgia with the kids! Of course we had some big suggestions like going to Paris (!?!?) and living on the beach for Summer. I love what kids come up with!😍

  • Laura May 21, 2019 at 7:00 am

    We always do tie dying, which my kids LOVE. We also have a lemonade stand, family bike ride, strawberry picking, and night swim on our list!!

    CanNOT wait for summer!!

  • SS May 21, 2019 at 7:03 am

    We make our own sidewalk paint. It’s equal parts water & cornstarch add favorite food coloring. We hit the dollar store for paint brushes…viola outside fun. We hit our friend’s pools, but sprinkler running is fun!!! We have signed up for classes at the local library in the past, bonus most are free or under $5. We will be making some bleach painting tshirts. We can’t wait for July because blueberry picking starts!!! We are out there picking once a week. We freeze a lot of them to eat all winter long!!!!

    • SS May 21, 2019 at 7:43 am

      I forgot bonfires!!! Making dinner & dessert over it! We try at least once a week!

  • Amanda Wilson May 21, 2019 at 7:05 am

    Our summer vacation doesnt start untill June 27th so for now we will live vicariously through you. I cant wait to follow along on your summer adventures!

  • Elisabeth Hogue May 21, 2019 at 7:31 am

    Be sure to check Costco for your favorite pool noodles – I think they are on sale for &14.99 right now!

  • Kelly Roach May 21, 2019 at 7:36 am

    Love these ideas! Things I have done with my kids in past summers include the following:
    – We go strawberry picking and then have a “strawberry day” where the kids make homemade jam and a strawberry cake! They love it ❤️
    – My 8 year old wanted a Jurassic movie marathon with friends. We went all out and decorated the floor with dinosaur footprints and cute snacks that were Dino-themed. Each kid got a “movie ticket” to enter!
    – Horseback riding
    – Nature hikes that the kids led on easy parks near the house. They had to use an old school map to direct the family!
    – Old school roller blading park!
    – My favorite tradition is that I also take a million pictures each summer and our final summer activity during the last week is creating a scrapbook with all the pictures. Each kid gets different pages, and then we write out a list of everything we did for the front cover and the kids add comments or highlight their favorite ones! It’s a great activity but also so fun to have scrapbooks from each summer to look back on❤️

  • Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams May 21, 2019 at 7:39 am

    Thanks for sharing those straws!! That’s exactly what I need for my Fourth of July celebrations! I also totally get the scratchy pool noodles lol. What about making a summer music playlist together?! The kids can pick their favorites songs to listen to by the pool, during the road trip, etc. Summer is just the best!!

    Amanda @ Cupcake N Dreams 

  • Melissa Terry May 21, 2019 at 7:57 am

    This will be our 10th year of making Summer Fun Lists and they have become such a precious part of our summer memory bank. I’ve found simple is best, but I do try and throw in a few bigger events as well as one ridiculously sweet treat idea just for fun. This year, I’ve put Six Flags (meh but the kids are excited), Dallas Museum of Art, seeing Toy Story 4, and Whirly Ball as well as our summer read aloud (we always read a book at lunch together) and sorting through our crayons to donate to the Crayon Initiative. With VBS, sleep away camp, community camp, youth camp and football practice almost every single day for our oldest, it’s going to be a little crazy, but I’m can’t wait!!

  • Rachel Tran May 21, 2019 at 8:00 am

    Presidential libraries are so neat to visit! Great idea!

  • Tammy May 21, 2019 at 8:00 am

    Are you going to Hawaii this summer? Can’t wait to read about your traveling summer plans!

    • Mix and Match Mama May 21, 2019 at 8:25 am

      I wish!

  • Connie May 21, 2019 at 8:02 am

    We usually go to our Zoo a few times, a water park, we go to two parks, we like to walk the trail and play tennis at one. At Kensington Metropark we will walk the trails, have a picnic-you can grill too, go to the nature center and petting zoo, go fishing, swim at the beach and you can even rent a big Duck or Swan paddle boat to go on the lake. We also go to an arcade place once. We go to the movies a few times. We try and go to a Tigers baseball game once or twice. We hit up the cider mill. We go to city events at times as well. I’m sure there’s more I’m forgetting about. Ha! A road trip to Mackinac Island is always fun! 🙂 We are going this summer! Lots of fun stuff!

    • Mary Jane May 23, 2019 at 9:48 am

      Mackinac Island! My favorite place on earth! (Shhhhh…don’t tell anyone about it! We need to keep it small!)

  • Tracy May 21, 2019 at 8:10 am

    Cracking up at the snake hunt idea! Hilarious (and scary!).

    Other ideas…visit a local cupcake shop, s’mores party with friends, make homemade pizza (grill it!), scavenger hunt on your town square, make sno-cones (the little ice shavers are cheap if you don’t have one already – you’ll use it all summer!), join the summer reading program at your library, work on a big puzzle together, bake cookies & deliver them to your neighbors (they’ll love you!).

    I used to love doing these types of things with my kiddos. Have fun!

  • DONELLA G DULWORTH May 21, 2019 at 8:20 am

    I just ordered the straws, my granddaughter wants to be a marine biologist, age 11, and after camp at sea World in Florida last summer, is boycotting straws because of harming the sea life! Thanks this Nonna will score big when I go to see them next week!

  • Tara G. May 21, 2019 at 8:20 am

    Re: #7…something to consider ~ take the pedals off & let her learn to coast balanced, then put them back on & you’re good to go. (& cheaper than a balance bike). My younger two never used training wheels & were riding within weeks. Have the best summer!

  • Amanda May 21, 2019 at 8:30 am

    We have several similar but a few others are lunch at a tea room, stockyards, klyde Warren park & ride the trolley, farmers market and factory tour (we live near the U.S. mint). But we also have random acts of kindness which could be picking up litter on a walk, picking weeds for grandma or neighbor or putting the grocery carts up that people leave out at the grocery store.

  • Claire Klein May 21, 2019 at 8:30 am

    Shay, this made me think of you! 🙂

  • Monica Quiros May 21, 2019 at 8:43 am

    searching the recipe for the strawberry cake has been added to today’s to-do list! Seeing that it seems to make each year’s summer list, it must be a must have!!

  • Rachel May 21, 2019 at 8:50 am

    Love all of these ideas and your seasonal posts always get me in the mood for each season! Here are a few from our list: seafood and ice cream at the beach, boat ride and fish in river, make smoothies, lots of pool swimming, butterfly exhibit, grape picking, day trip to Disney’s water park Typhoon Lagoon, swimming and tubing at the springs. Can’t wait to read the other suggestions!

  • ashley May 21, 2019 at 8:55 am

    What a fun list! We created ours the other night and have a lemonade stand (donating the money they raise to charity) and sonic at night for ice cream in their jammies made the list.

  • Yvonne May 21, 2019 at 9:48 am

    This summer I get to spend more time with my granddaughter (hoping to have sleepovers during the week). I decided we need to do some sort of volunteer project. She is 5 and I am looking into taking her to the local nursing home to hand out flowers and hugs to the senior citizens. Maybe you could find some sort of volunteer projects? Your summer list looks like a lot of fun!

  • Karen May 21, 2019 at 10:22 am

    I laughed at the suggestion to go to the creek and “hunt” snakes! I wonder if Smith came up with that one? hahaha How about buy ice cream from one of the ice cream trucks that drive through the neighbourhood? Not sure if they have those kinds of things where you live, but they do here, and even my teen and pre-teen love getting that.

  • Ann May 21, 2019 at 11:08 am

    Random question but do the pool noodles squeak? We have the regular kind but my son HATES the squeaking noise they make if you twist them in your hands.

    • Mix and Match Mama May 21, 2019 at 12:38 pm

      Oh my gosh! I just LOL! I guess they do sometimes. I’ve never thought about that before…but now, it’s going to drive me crazy. Hahaha!

  • Susan Shelton May 21, 2019 at 11:09 am

    My kids are 14 and 18. We go to LOTS of movies in the Summer because there always seems to be so many good ones then! Also we drive over to 30-A which isn’t far from our house and eat Chocolate Fondue at one of our favorite places. It is a treat and we can pretend to be tourists for the day. 🙂 We also love a good road trip to Tampa or Atlanta to see a baseball game.

  • Amanda @ That Inspired Chick May 21, 2019 at 11:55 am

    LOVE that navy cover-up!! We love a good slip-n-slide too but Craig hates how it ruins the yard! Party pooper. haha (Not that it stops us.)
    That Inspired Chick

  • Jackie May 21, 2019 at 11:58 am

    Hi Shay! Just curious, what size did you order the first coverup in, the festive colorful one? Thanks!!

    • Mix and Match Mama May 21, 2019 at 12:37 pm


      • Jackie May 21, 2019 at 4:00 pm

        Thank you!

  • Paula May 21, 2019 at 12:06 pm

    You make summer fun. We invested in a pool & giqnt deck, so that shall be the fun.

    I do need to say, I have a HUGE adverse taste to the paper straws. Can’t do it. Give me plastic…lol

  • Becky Carl May 21, 2019 at 12:14 pm

    Check out Bluebonnet Ridge in Terrell TX. They have cabins and it looks like a great get away for your road trip.

  • Leslie S May 21, 2019 at 12:17 pm

    Thanks for posting the strawberry cake link! On our list is making s’mores in our fire pit, watching a sunset, lots of pool time (plus swim team!), making tie dye shirts, and something we call around the world suppers – we make a supper from a different country every night for a week. It started when our oldest was little and a very picky eater – it worked! So it’s now a summer tradition! Sometimes we make it educational and play music from that country, watch a movie related to the country, read about the country, etc. other times we just enjoy the food!

  • Els van den Hoek May 21, 2019 at 12:36 pm

    My mom used to make a little scrapbook/diary during our summer holidays especially on vacations. Every evening she wrote a little bit about what we did that day and add for example tickets from an activity we did, or a little drawing.

    Super fun to look back now that we are all adults.

    • Mix and Match Mama May 21, 2019 at 12:37 pm

      That is so sweet!!

  • Kim May 21, 2019 at 12:51 pm

    THE MAGIC TOWEL. All three of my kids, now 18, 20, and 22., learned to ride their bikes in one day using the magic towel. Wrap a beach towel, (A MAGIC TOWEL wink, wink), around their abdomen, and hold onto it like a harness while they are riding. They will soon begin to feel comfortable and you can lighten your grip on THE MAGIC TOWEL little by little until they are off on their own. You will not believe how fast it happens! I PROMISE!

  • Lisa D May 21, 2019 at 2:19 pm

    Make summer reading fun! We had “Reading Bucks” at our house and the 3 kids earned the Bucks when they read. At the end of summer the cashed in the Reading Bucks for a day trip to a water park for the day. I loved summer when the kids were all young, it gets so busy as they get older.

  • Laurel M May 21, 2019 at 2:37 pm

    Do you guys go camping? We love camping here and hope to take our daughter for the first time this year 🙂 we are also big on going to the farmers market, blow bubbles (my daughter is 1 haha so still a big hit) grill dinner, try new parks and playgrounds!

    • Mix and Match Mama May 21, 2019 at 2:39 pm

      We’ve never been camping together!

  • Adrienne N May 21, 2019 at 4:25 pm

    Try geocaching! You can download a free app that leads you basically on a treasure hunt to hidden items around your city. Like a box with a notebook in it where you can log you found it, etc. You just find items and can add something or a note and leave it where you found it!

  • Kacy M May 21, 2019 at 6:02 pm

    I went to A&M and have been to the George Bush Library once as a student (free) and once as a kid. It’s beautiful and really nice. Tip: visit the pond and garden behind it (has a nice path along it) and cross the bridge to visit his tomb. It’s really something! So historic! Also eat at Fuego (tacos) if you go, a College Station staple and the one thing I miss about living there haha.

  • Sarah May 21, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    I love love love posts like this from you! Our summer bucket list is pretty extensive but some of our favorite things to do are:
    1. Go to our Aquarium’s splash pad
    2. Have a picnic at the park
    3. Go see a movie
    4. Go out for ice cream
    5. Visit the zoo
    6. Children’s museum
    7. Host a play date
    8. Go swimming
    9. Go to the beach
    10. Make homemade popsicles
    11. Go to an amusement park
    12. Bowling
    13. Watch Disney movies
    14. Make homemade pizza (super fun and easy for kids to help with!)
    I also want to be very intentional of spending one-on-one time with each of my boys this summer and plan lots of fun things with grandparents and cousins!

  • Jamie May 21, 2019 at 7:01 pm

    Hi Shay! I was looking at the second cover up in yellow and was wondering if it was sheer? Concerned you’d be able to see right through it?

    • Mix and Match Mama May 22, 2019 at 4:31 am

      I don’t know about the yellow one??? I don’t think mine is though!

  • Mimi May 21, 2019 at 7:37 pm

    I ordered the h2o go triple slider blow up water slide on amazon today! Thank you!!!! I can’t wait to use it with my daughter! I love your blog : )

  • Robin OSBORNE May 21, 2019 at 7:49 pm

    Have you shared the recipe for the strawberry cake before? It must be pretty awesome if it got mentioned two years in a row! I make a strawberry jello poke cake where I add frozen strawberries to the jello and let it set up a little before covering a white cake with it. I then mix more strawberries with whipped topping and frost with that. It is delicious in the summertime.

  • Ella and Kate May 21, 2019 at 8:19 pm

    This is SOOOO cute!! Sounds like you’re going to have a great summer!! We are huge fans of your blog, and we think your kids are absolutely adorable!! Madeley, is SO cute with her little facial expressions! It cracks us up! Sweet Ashby seems like such a fighter. No little kid should ever have to go through what she does. She is so brave, and such a inspiration for us! Smith, seem hilarious…so wise beyond his years. Kensington is so pretty! She seems so sweet, and has such a sweet friendship with Ebby Lee! Much like us!! One question…What do you use/do to keep your kids occupied during the summer? We get so bored!! Ha!! Thanks so much! Shay, you seem so sweet too! All of your family is just so cute!


  • Cherise May 21, 2019 at 9:40 pm

    For those in the DFW area, Burger’s Lake is a must! It’s like taking a trip back in time. With four kids at young ages, you definitely want to take Tab with you however. Cook hot dogs and burgers on one of their grills and spend the day!

    • Mix and Match Mama May 22, 2019 at 4:29 am

      Ah!! I remember going there when I was a kid!!

  • Amanda May 21, 2019 at 10:08 pm

    Do you know if your Stars and Stripes shirt is still around? I remember loving it last year!

  • Laura May 22, 2019 at 12:01 am

    Mine are older now. But we use to make crayons. Meaning we gathered all the old broken
    Crayons , peeled them amdbroke them up
    More and then sorted them to make fun new crayons like yellow and black was Batman. Red white and blue was Spider-Man, rainbow of colts was unicorn, etc. we broke them up and arranged them in muffin tins. So neat! Also “painting” with water on the house or sidewalk
    Etc. just with a water bottle. That’s great when it’s hot. Also here they offer things free or nearly free, on certain days. Science center on Friday. Wtf. We also did church camps and vbs. There was so much when they were younger. Now not so much lol

  • Debbie Lei May 22, 2019 at 12:56 am

    That pool noodle stock photo looks just like a teenage Brooke!!!

  • Erin May 22, 2019 at 9:23 am

    I’m hoping to plan a trip to Dallas for some history sights…have you been to the George Bush library before?

    • Mix and Match Mama May 22, 2019 at 10:34 am

      Not yet!

  • Tiff May 22, 2019 at 10:41 am

    Summer is a great time to volunteer! I like to suggest mixing your volunteer time with activities they already enjoy – going to the humane society and helping walk/play with the animals is usually fun for kids. I know a lot of your kids enjoy baking, so it might be nice to bake some yummy cookies or cupcakes and bring to a women’s shelter or children’s home. I was a camp counselor for two summers at a YMCA camp, and letting kids produce their own play or talent show during a rainy day was always fun. And scavenger hunts – indoors and outdoors!

  • Lara May 22, 2019 at 11:30 am

    How about a family squirt gun/water balloon fight in the backyard? Another idea – we used to always travel to NC over the summers and my mom would create these big scavenger hunts for me and my brother and we had so much fun figuring out the clues!

  • Robin May 22, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    This is my first summer that I will not be working full-time and I’m here for it! I am definitely making a bucket list and will for sure revisit these posts. On my list will also be: visit the botanical/sculpture gardens in Grand Rapids (we bought season passes), make tie dye shirts (never done this before but always wanted to try it) and try as many of your bread/muffin recipes as I can – my kindergardener and I recently made one of your bread recipes and she is now all about the quick breads, so I think it may be a little weekly thing for us to try a new one each week 🙂

  • April Wesley May 25, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    Where is your America shirt from? Love it!