Summer Vacation Sanity Saver!

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Tomorrow is officially the first day of Summer, but many of you with school-age children have already started your summers with school ending for most students this week (Finally here in Michigan!  We all had a lot of snow days to make up!)  I am a teacher so I am very blessed to be able to enjoy lots of time with my kids during the summer.  Those endless days can seem pretty dreamy at the beginning of summer vacation, but I find that all too soon those free days result in restless kids hanging around saying they are bored, or the temptation of too much TV or electronics creep in.

I’ve seen a lot of ideas floating around on Pinterest that are great ways to schedule your child’s summer, but I wanted something a little simpler.  What if we just couldn’t make every Tuesday “Take a Day Trip” Day?  I just didn’t want to commit to that much of a schedule all summer long.

The first day of vacation I tried to just “go with the flow” and see how things went and it was okay for a little while, then Little One became grumpy when I asked her to do some chores and practice the piano.  She had not planned on that in her day!  It continued with endless requests to do things that were not really feasible at the time.  We both just seemed a little out of sorts.

So today I tried something different.  I knew we had things we had to get done, but I also wanted some time for fun.  So in about two minutes I wrote out a tentative list of how her day would go.  It included some chores and some school work (I know, I know-school work?  the teacher in me just can’t help myself!) as well as plenty of outdoor time and a bike ride with Mom.  Oldest has a full week of marching band practice and seems to keep pretty busy on her own, so only Little one got an agenda list. I presented it to Little One after breakfast and she read it over and got to work on the first item, no complaining or grumbling to be heard!  I think she really liked knowing what to expect from her day and the fun things to look forward to made the chores and schoolwork bearable.  We have already had to adjust the list a little because we had lots of outside time planned and it turned out to be a rainy day, but she was okay with some substitutions.  Instead of a bike ride, we may do a board game or art project.

I know this type of thing might not work for all families, but as a teacher, I find that most young kids do better with at least some structure.  Little One really liked checking things off of her list and I think she felt a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day.

How about you?  How do you fill the extra time at home during summer vacation?  We would love to hear your ideas.

~Blessings,

Jen

 

Bucket List Day!

Do you have a Bucket List?  I have not formally written one, but I have always had a few ideas floating around my head.  Last week, my family traveled to Amelia Island, Florida for Spring Break. (More details on the island to come in another post.)  Amelia Island is one of the few places in the United States where you can horseback ride on the beach.  This particular activity has always been one of my top Bucket List items and I am happy to say I have checked it off my list.  Next to my wedding day and the birth/adoption of my girls, this was one of the happiest days of my life.  I could not stop smiling!

It was a spectacular, sunny, cloudless day with temperatures in the 70’s.  We chose Debbie with Ride The Beaches of Amelia Island and I highly recommend her.  She was friendly and has an obvious love of horses.  The proceeds from the cost of the ride are donated to a horse rescue.

Oldest and Little One enjoyed the ride and even the Mister seemed to have a great time.  Here is a picture collage of our experience:

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So if you love horses and are looking for a once in a lifetime experience, I would highly recommend this!  This whole experience inspired me to sit and write down my Bucket List.  Taking the leap and doing something on my list gave me great joy and a re-newed energy and outlook on my life.  So I started my list and here are my top three:

1.Ride a horse on the beach. (check)

2.Visit Hawaii with my Mom and family.

3. Be a contestant on a game show. (I know this is a weird one, but I love game shows!)

I would love to hear from you in the comments section.  What are your top three Bucket List items?  Maybe I’ll get some good ideas from your list!

~Blessings,

Jen