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

 

Beautiful Beach

The weather has finally turned a little warmer here in Michigan and it is great to see people out walking, jogging or biking, even if we are still surrounded by snow!  Oh the life of a Michigander!  I can’t help but dream of warmer days and often find myself thinking of a vacation we took last February to Destin/Okaloosa Island Florida.  The Mister was there on military training for a month and we joined him for a week.

If you have never been to that area of Florida, I would definitely recommend it.  The white, sandy beaches are filled with shells, sea glass, sand dollars and interesting rocks.  It is a beach combers dream and my girls had a blast walking up and down the beach searching for treasures.  We did a Vacation By Owner Rental whicht had a spectacular ocean view and was just a short walk away from the beach.  The sunsets were breathtaking and one evening as Little One and I were walking and searching for treasure, we looked out to the ocean and saw dolphins frolicking in the waves! It was such a peaceful, family-friendly place.

So if you live here in the north and are tired of looking at the dingy, slushy snow, let your eyes rest on one of God’s beautiful creations.  Here are some of my favorite photos from our trip.

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Now wasn’t that a treat for your winter-weary eyes!

~Blessings,

Jen