Well, hello there! It’s so much fun to be hanging out in new surroundings today. Can I consider this MY vacation? Hmmm…maybe not. BUT I’m ready to have fun! I was thrilled when I was asked to guest post over here while the Nugget fam was out in sunny California. I wish it was me. I’m Lolli, the crazy mom of 5 over at Better in Bulk (you might know my blog by it’s “old” name, Life is Sweet) Like my Wise Nuggety friend, I am also from California, currently living in Maryland. I also have a rather large family (check out my family picture–they’re all mine!), and I am a Fishful Thinking ambassador, too. Woohoo! Go Goldfish! AND we’re both going to the SITScation in Vegas in October (which just happens to be my birthday weekend. I’m counting on presents, you know).
Today is the last day of school for my kids (I know, I know–most of the country has been out of school for ages already. Whateva!). Everything changes when summer begins, doesn’t it? Since I’ve had kids in school, I’ve learned a few things about making summer break successful. Have you noticed that summer can either be the best time ever, or a complete flop? Let’s make sure that this summer isn’t a flop.
Here are a few suggestions. It’s nothing new. Just a few reminders. 🙂
1 – Develop and keep a schedule, but plan some lazy time. It’s ok to not get up at the crack of dawn every day and summer time naps are heavenly. But structure is neccessary. Knowing that Monday is the day that we go to the library, and Tuesday is movie day, etc, helps the week flow so much better. Otherwise, every day feels just like the last and the weeks drag.
2 – Pick something you’re interested in and do a little research. Maybe you want to develop your photography skills. Go to the library and check out as many books on photography as you can. Do a bunch of google searches. Read my blog. (hint, hint) By the end of the summer, you could be an expert! The same goes for kids. Give the summer a theme or a purpose. Be focused on developing a talent. When you focus on one thing–be it cooking, photography, sewing, a sport, etc.–you will see that in everything you do.
3 – Become a tourist in your own hometown. The Nugget family and mine have an advantage–we both live within driving distance of Washington DC, one of the most fabulous tourist destinations in the world. There is an endless supply of museums and historical locations to visit. But the funny thing is, I rarely go down south. There is plenty to do in my own town. Look at your hometown through new eyes and think of what an out-of-towner would do if they were visiting.
4 – Spend a day each week at the local library. The kids love to sit and read books. It’s cool, it’s a calm environment, and there’s usually free wifi for you! Many libraries have summer reading programs. Check yours out! I know that my kids get coupons from local restaurants and even the county fair for their participation.
Once you come home from your library trip (and every other day) set aside a block of time for reading together. I love reading novels to my kids, even those who seem to young for novels. And if your kids are old enough to read on their own or read to each other…..then you can have your own afternoon blog reading time! Perfect!
5 – Pack a picnic. And then pick a different place to eat it every week. Set the picnic up in your backyard, or take a walk to a park. Lay a blanket out on your kitchen floor and eat inside on a rainy day.
6 – See if your local theater has a free or discounted movie program. Our Regal Cinema, which is just 10 minutes away, has free kids movies every Tuesday and Wednesday at 10:00. The only challenge is getting there early enough to get a seat. Free movies draw lots of attention!
7 – Plan play dates (and be smart about it!). Schedule play dates together (if you have multiple children). Have each child invite a friend over on one day, and then when you’re planning away play dates, plan those on the same days too, to get a little alone time every once in a while.
8 – Pick your own berries. Find a farm and pick berries or other garden foods. This is seriously one of our favorite things to do during the summer! If you can, plant a garden yourself. The effort is so worth it! Not only do you get great-tasting food, but you create great family bonding, working-together time.
9 – Take advantage of the free summer programs around your home. In our town, there are free children’s concerts twice a week. The kids love to plant down on a blanket and relax in the shade while listening to music. Where I grew up, there were weekly farmer’s markets with children’s activities. Find out what’s going on in your area.
10 – Get wet! If you don’t have a pool, find a local community or neighborhood pool (or better yet, a friend with a pool!) and enjoy a refreshing dip every now and then. For a little less work, set up a little pool in your yard. Cooling off in water does wonders for the summer-time blahs.
PS–thanks for reading today. You are now officially invited to come visit me. Stop by and say howdy!