I’m sharing this post as part of the #CelebrateFamilyValues campaign, sponsored by Kimberly-Clark. Check back throughout May and June for more posts on celebrating time with family and information on great Kimberly-Clark products!
You know how it feels in April, when you’re enduring rainy, gray day after rainy, gray day? Around here, I tend to dream excessively of summer, knowing that warmer weather will bring with it endless fun and boundless energy.
And usually, that’s true…at least for those first few sunny, beautiful days. But somehow, those longed-for summer afternoons have a funny way of becoming old hat again. Instead of embracing the warmth, we begin complaining about the heat and retreating indoors to the air-conditioning. Next thing you know it’s September, and I’m once again asking where the months went.
I’ve found that making the most of June, July and August requires setting us up for success. I’m not big on rigid structure, but setting intentions – and a bit of planning – can go a long way.
Here are five ways I’ll be helping my family really embrace summer break this year:
1) Eat seasonally.
Shopping farmer’s markets and roadside stands – or even choosing the “local” berries at the supermarket – is a super-simple way to recognize where we are in our regional food cycle, as well as eat the most delicious possible food! If you live in a northern climate like me, it’s also the very easiest and most delicious time of year to enjoy the local harvest. Sometimes this means embracing a bit of repetition – after all, who cares if you eat peaches every single day for two weeks, if they’re ripe and amazing? I’ve found that overdosing on super-fresh, in-season local produce also gives me a great excuse to try new dishes. Use those berries in pie, crumble, pancakes, freezer jam…or just serve ’em up with fresh homemade whipped cream and a drizzle of lemon curd.
2) Open the doors!
Some days I’m just stuck inside. Sick kids, lots of work, or a major cleaning project…none of those things get put on hold for the entire three months of summer. It might sound obvious, but on those days, simply opening the doors and windows can help keep me connected to the season. Plus there’s nothing like a morning breeze in my kitchen to make me feel alive.
3) Do something different every week.
You know that family bicycle excursion or ziplining adventure you keep meaning to go on? If you don’t plan those out-of-the-ordinary activities, it’s all too easy to get stuck in a rut and miss the opportunity. This summer I’m striving for one unusual (for us) activity every week. It doesn’t have to be something highly unusual like, say, riding a unicycle around the neighborhood, but simply something that appeals to you that you rarely – or never! – do. Maybe that’s camping out in your backyard, traveling to the sand dunes an hour away, or something as simple as visiting the new frozen yogurt place in a nearby town – just make a point to try something new or different on a weekly basis.
4) Grow something.
By nature, I’m the kind of person who likes to keep myself occupied. If you’re like me, it’s not always easy to go outside unless you have…something to do. Growing something – whether it’s starting a small container garden or launching a full-on vegetable plot – is a perfect way to keep me out in the fresh air while still feeling productive. And if you grow something edible, it gives you yet another way to enjoy the season!
5) Seize every excuse to celebrate.
There aren’t many holidays in the summer, and the lack of school-year structure can start to make everything feel rather monotonous. But you don’t need a national holiday to find something to celebrate. Create your own reason for a party: blueberry-picking season, the first ripe tomato on the vine, or the first night that the fireflies come out in full swing.
A big thank you to Kimberly-Clark, our sponsor for May and June! You can find out more about the #CelebrateFamilyValues campaign at PickUpTheValues.com. We’re also discussing the campaign in episodes of The Mom Hour – tune in next time you’re folding laundry or doing the dishes!