It Is Okay If This Summer Is Not The Best Summer Ever

I’m sure you have all seen the meme that has been going around Facebook reminding us that we only have 18 summers with our kids. It reminds us of how fleeting our time is and how our children will only be little for a short period of time so we should make this summer count. With my oldest being 10, and already over halfway to adulthood, I appreciate the author’s message now more than ever. At the same time though, that meme made me feel guilty and like a failure.

See, in past years I made summer bucket lists with the goal of trying to cram as much fun into our summers as I could and make every second of summer perfect for my boys. I even wrote a post with tips on how to maximize the summer months together where I declared our summer starting May 1st one year so we had more time for summer fun. We would go on monthly trips, head to all these fun places, and do all sorts of exciting things I thought would make the kids remember their childhood for years to come.

This summer is unlike all the rest though. This summer I feel like I have been failing. I don’t have a bucket list written down nor exciting vacations planned. In fact, up until now, I wouldn’t even say we’ve done any typical summer activity other than going to the pool a couple times. Being pregnant, and in my first trimester, means I’ve spent more time with my head over a toilet and napping on the couch than I’ve spent doing anything even remotely exciting with my boys. To add to that, the month started with excessive cleaning as we prepared to host a few dozen people for a party in our home and ended with me having a horrendous toothache (complete with root canal) and basically hibernating for a whole weekend (per my doctor’s orders) due to an extreme heatwave aggravating my asthma.

Now that it’s July, and I’m feeling a little better, I hope to finally start our summer but it won’t be as exciting and eventful as years past. Nothing about it will be extraordinary that they can look back on with fond memories. I’m learning to accept that though because I have to keep this in perspective. This is one summer of my children’s lives. 3 months. And I don’t just have 18 summers with my kids, I have 18 whole years with them at home. Plus, when they get older I’ll still see them as much as I can so it’s not as limited a time frame as it seems.

In the meantime, I’m hoping they will remember the sweet times we’ve had together during this slow season of life before things get hectic with school, the holidays, and the arrival of baby #3. They will remember the time spent cuddling on the couch, the times I stood standing over the stove making grilled cheese sandwiches even when I was feeling nauseous, and the one-on-one time we had together.

Maybe you are pregnant like me and finding fatigue has overwhelmed your body. Maybe you are struggling with post-partum depression and struggling to just get through each day. Maybe you are taking care of a sick child. Maybe you are mourning the death of a parent. Maybe your chronic illness keeps you from doing everything you wish you could. Whatever the reason, I encourage you to find joy in the little moments with your children and to remember that if this summer is not one for the memory books it’s okay because there are plenty more seasons left that you can enjoy with your kids.

Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Family’s Summer

This is the first summer that my boys are not going to be in summer camp and I’m not going to be tied to my computer working so I’m excited to have a little freedom in our schedule now. Today I wanted to share tips about how we get the most out of our summer and how your family can as well. Whether you have the whole day free or your schedule is a bit busier, I think these tips can benefit all families!

My first tip? Extend your summer! Who says your “summer” needs to start in June and end in August or whenever the kids go back to school? I declared May 1st as the start of our summer one year and we are going to enjoy fun times as long as the weather will let us (which will hopefully be into September!)

Write down all of the fun things you want to do. I love creating bucket lists for every season and summer is no exception. When writing our summer bucket list I think of all the fun things I’ve enjoyed in the past, either as a child or with my own kids. I also make sure to add in a variety of ideas so we have ones for rainy days, places we can visit when we have a couple days of freedom, and a list of skills we have to practice or master over summer (like riding a bike). Keep your summer bucket list on your phone or in a notebook kept in your purse so that you can refer to it easily. I like having mine with me so, for example, if bad weather cancels Jake’s baseball game I can come up with an indoor activity to do instead of just going home and sitting on the couch in front of the television.

I also think it’s important to make sure to plan the fun occasionally. While I long for lazy summer days, that’s not always our reality between sports practices, therapy appointments, summer school and everything else we have to do. We’ve had many Saturdays that were filled with errands and, before we knew it, we’d wasted a gorgeous day with things that could have been done in little chunks of time elsewhere throughout the week. Schedule the fun in to ensure it happens!

I’ve also found it beneficial to put community events (like open gyms, library story times, farmer’s markets and anything else that has set hours) in my calendar so I don’t forget about them. If you are on a budget there are so many free and cheap activities available at stores (like lego building at Toys “R” Us and building projects at hardware stores), museums & aquariums (check for free days), and bowling alleys (we love the Kids Bowl Free program).

Enjoy some days of doing nothing. The school year will be back again before you know it so take some time to just sit around the house or the backyard and relax together. Dive into that book you’ve been meaning to read, stay in your pajamas all day or just go kick around a ball in the backyard. 

Lastly, don’t forget to record it! Take lots of pictures of your family’s summer fun (and mom, make sure to get in those pictures). Another thing we are doing this summer is having the kids write in journals daily. They’ll practice their writing skills but also record all the fun times they had which will be great to look back on.

How do you make the most of your family’s summer? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

Find more ideas in my ultimate summer guide as well!

 

Fall Bucket List {30 Fun Things To Do This Fall}

Fall is here! I loved sitting at Jacob’s football game yesterday because the sun was shining and I was nice and warm in a pretty sweater and boots. Along with it being football season and Pumpkin Spice latte time, there are a number of other fun things I’m looking forward to doing with my family. I love creating bucket lists of fun things to do so I decided to get all of my ideas written down (well, typed…) to share with you all and to have a list ready for next weekend. There is nothing better than a day spent with family that ends with everyone going to bed with smiles on their faces :)

Here are the things we hope to do before winter is here:

1) Go to the pumpkin patch

2) Take a nature walk and write in our nature journals

3) Make leaf men with leaves we find

4) Bake an apple or pumpkin dessert

5) Carve pumpkins

6) Go on a hayride

7) Have movie night in front of the fire

8) Go to a high school or college football game

9) Dress up in costumes and go trick or treating

10) Donate food to a local food pantry

11) Make homemade cinnamon apples

12) Have a fire in the fire pit and enjoy smores

13) Throw a football watching party

14) Take a road trip to look at all the beautiful fall colors

15) Make a bird feeder

16) Have a family game night and play a fall themed game

17) Go to ‘Boo at the Zoo’

18) Have a special Halloween lunch

19) Make chili on a Sunday afternoon

20) Attend a fall festival

21) Find a pile of leaves and jump in them

22) Make a list of the things we are thankful for

23) Have a fun dance party dancing to spooky songs like ‘Monster Mash’

24) Make leaf rubbings

25) Make a scarecrow

26) Fill a box for Operation Christmas Child

27) Go camping

28) Take a family photo

29) Host or attend a costume party

30) Make a fall snack mix with Goldfish crackers (we love popcorn, Goldfish crackers, raisins, dried apples and chocolate candies)

I’d love to hear what fun things are on your list to do this fall season and Goldfish wants to know how you enjoy fall as well! Share your ‘Goldfish Tales’ for a chance to win prizes. Click the image below for more details on entering.

Winter Outdoor Fun Bucket List

Disclosure: I am currently serving as a “Play Ambassador” for Let’s Play. This is a sponsored post, however, the opinions expressed are my own.

This is such a busy time of year. Between buying gifts, attending holiday parties, and traveling to visit out-of-town family members, making time to stay active is easily forgotten. A few years ago I created a holiday bucket list for our family so this year I wanted to share a bucket list of ideas for active winter fun!

Take a walk around the neighborhood to see the Christmas lights. If you don’t live in a neighborhood you can search for places in your town that have great light displays and walk around those areas. Make some hot cocoa before you leave and put on some extra layers to stay warm and toasty as you walk.

Have a snowball fight. Whether you play as teams or every man for themselves, having a snowball fight is a fun way to let out all the stress of the holidays while burning some calories as you run around.

Go ice skating. Ice skating and hockey are great winter sports to get involved in. Many ice rinks offer skating lessons if you have family members who don’t know how to skate.

Sled down the biggest hill in town. Sledding is a winter activity that my family looks forward to every year. It’s a long climb to the top of the biggest hill but that just means it’s more exciting to sled down!

Make snow angels. Whenever there is fresh snow on the ground, kids love to plop down in it and make beautiful snow angels. When they are laying in the snow remind them to stretch out their arms to make the biggest angel possible.

Go on a nature walk. Look for pinecones on your walk and then when you come home you can spend the afternoon making bird feeders. Here are some tutorials on how to make them.

Build a snowman. Remember how fun it is to make a snowman? Join your kids as they play in the snow and challenge them to build the biggest snowman ever. They’ll need your help!

What is your family’s favorite way to enjoy the outdoors in the winter? Join me and make active play a daily priority in the lives of your kids and take the Let’s Play pledge here. Follow along on Social Media, too! Find Let’s Play on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Instagram.

 

 

60+ Ideas For Fall Family Fun {Bucket List}

I’ve spent the past week or so thinking of all the fun things my family has done during the Fall season in years past. Here are over 50 ways to enjoy the Fall season.

1) Go apple picking

2) Bake a pumpkin pie

3) Stuff a scarecrow using old clothes

4) Rake leaves into a pile and jump into them

5) Go on a nature walk

6) Drink apple cider

7) Play with apple pie and pumpkin pie scented playdough

8) Go to a football game

9) Make a list of what you are thankful for

10) Make a bird feeder

11) Pick a pumpkin at a pumpkin patch

12) Have a bonfire outside (don’t forget the smores!)

13) Make a leaf rubbing

14) Go to the library and checkout Fall themed books

15) Have family game night

16) Carve pumpkins

17) Make cinnamon apples or mini apple pies

18) Dress up in costumes and go trick or treating

19) Have a football watching party and cheer on your favorite team

20) Go on a hayride

21) Make apple prints using halved apples dipped in paint

22) Paint pumpkins

23) Take a drive to look at the trees changing colors

24) Make a leaf collage

25) Go to the zoo or a farm

26) Donate food to a local food pantry

27) Drink a pumpkin spice latte or other pumpkin flavored drink

28) Make a Fall wreath for your door

29) Go camping

30) Bob for apples

31) Go to a turkey farm

32) Fill a box for Operation Christmas Child

33) Decorate your house for Fall

34) Make spooktacular cake pops

35) Go tailgating

36) Have a special Halloween lunch

37) Take a family photo

38) Make crockpot applesauce

39) Go through a corn maze

40) Host (or attend) a costume party

41) Eat candy apples

42) Make leaf print art

43) Bake pumpkin seeds

44) Have a family movie night and cuddle under blankets

45) Make chili

46) Attend (or watch) a Fall parade

47) Eat a big Thanksgiving meal

48) Go horseback riding

49) Volunteer in a soup kitchen

50) Make lollipop ghosts

51) Watch Charlie Brown Halloween and Thanksgiving movies

52) Attend a Fall festival

53) Make a paper turkey and on the paper feathers write what you are thankful for

54) Bake homemade pumpkin bread

55) Watch a Casper movie

56) Eat candy corn

57) Listen to spooky music (like Monster Mash)

58) Make tasty treats for Thanksgiving

59) Make corn cob prints

60) Make a fun Halloween craft with the kids

61) Throw a home canning party