Owning Summer (instead of surviving it)

I am being super intentional in making summer great again.  Summer is simply not what it used to be.  I remember the days of waking up at 10 AM ( or later ), having my Lucky Charms and lounging by the pool until it was snack time or my mom made me dinner…..and this was when I was 17 lol.  I would be outside riding around on golf carts in the power lines with my neighborhood friends and having tan lines so dark that they stayed till December.  It was easy and carefree and felt like it lasted forever growing up in Central PA.

summer old

These days I am a full-time working mom with 3 kids, 3 dogs and the additional “hiccup” of having a husband deployed so I am playing “single mom” for the year.  It is hard.  It is even harder when my all I want to do is collapse on the couch when I get home from work and do absolutely nothing.  But, I’ve read the articles about how you only have 18 summers with your babies and it’s pulled at my heartstrings.  I know that my oldest is 9 years old and we are already halfway to that mark of me not having him there to experience it with – I must make summer great again and own every second of it!

I know, I know, summer should be carefee and no schedule, right?  The thing is, I know that if I don’t have a list or something scheduled, the motivation to get my circus out the door solo will not happen, and before I know it we will be buying school supplies.    Having a rough guideline of what we can do and lists available to pull from quickly helps us move through the day/week/month a little easier.

To start planning our summer, those of us that can write put down our top 5 things we wanted to do for the summer.  These are to be the “must do’s” no matter what.

summer list

Next we made up a list of all the things we want to do every week:

1 new recipe ( such as Corky Dough )

1 new craft/outside game ( things like T-shirt to Tank)

1 new park in the area (Butterfly Garden, Coffee Creek Watershed etc)

1 new place to eat – dining outside is so much more fun!

Lastly, we made a list of all the towns within an hour and a half drive that had something fun to do in it.  For us it is places like: New Buffalo, St. Joseph, Chicago, South Bend etc.    The idea behind this is that for any weekend that we don’t have something going on, we can pick a town off of that list and go explore.  Especially during the summer with our Blue Star Museums program for our military family, there are a ton of places we can get into for completely that free that normally cost a ton.  For example, our family saved $100 last year going to the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago – bonus of a military member!  (sometimes during a deployment you really have to focus on those small positives!)

Blue Star Museums

We are also planning an end of summer trip to Saugatuck, MI again.  Although the kids will already have been back in school for 2 weeks, having that to look forward to helps add a little excitement.  Our 3 days there last year felt like we were in the Midwest Hamptons with boats, beaches, wineries and quaint restaurants & art shops lining every street.


Saug loft


It is easy to get caught up in the soggy bathing suits and toys all over the house, sticky popsicle hands and wearing the same shorts 3 days in a row.   It is easy to get overwhelmed with work and kids and playdates and laundry ( so much laundry).  But by making quick and accessible lists, that is how I control the chaos.  So working mom, I see you.  FRG family, I see you too.  Stay at home mom wishing you could work just to be able to go to the bathroom alone and have hot coffee….you too.  Summer is supposed to be fun and YOU ARE IN CONTROL (even if it doesn’t feel like it)!  Need some help?  Follow me as I will be posting weekly recipes and activities we are doing to make it the best summer yet!


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