Thursday, May 22, 2014

Summer is here!!

     I love summer! I love the heat, sitting by the pool, shorts and tank tops,  and no alarm clocks that require getting kids out the door ready for school in approximately 17.5 minutes from the time they woke up. I love every little detail!
    Are you like me a lover of the season  or are you already counting down the days until summer is over?  Two months and some odd days until the first day of school in case you are counting. I wonder if it depends on what stage of life you are in that makes a difference with being ready or not  for summer. For my family, we do college ministry and so when the schools are off so are we! We get to rest and catch our breath and  take longer family moments together. For my sister who works as a Reading Assistant teacher she has the same schedule as her kids and together they get to enjoy every minute of those 2 1/2 months. I have several working mom friends  who find summers a challenge because it  brings the desire  to be home with their children, but still needing that paycheck. They start in the spring time looking for camps, child care, VBS,  and other activities their kids can do to keep busy. Stay at home moms have the same challenges in trying to find things to occupy their kids time and avoid the dreaded "Mom I am bored! What can we do!!" spill the kids give.  What about you? Do you love summer or find it a challenge? Maybe you are on the fence and have a love/hate relationship with this time of year. What do you do during this "free" time? How do you keep your self and your kids sane during the endless summer days?
   As a mother of 5 let me be the first to say that having a plan is essential to my sanity. Without one you will find me banging my head against a wall in the corner with a blank stare in my eyes. Here are some things we have planned  for  this summer. My husband found this water balloon kit for about $5 at Walmart. We bought two sets and plan on having a huge water balloon fight. Before we start the rules are as follows.........the baby wins :) And by baby I mean she is 5, but seeing that she is the last of the five kids, she will always be my baby. She is allowed to  throw water balloons at everyone, but they can't  hit her.  This may be a bad parenting tactic, but we will deal with that later and in another blog.
    Painting is a must, which of course will be fun for me because I love to paint, but having ways to keep it stress free make it easier no matter if you love to paint or not. We have an old sheet, coloring books, paper, different size paint brushes, old and new water color kits, and plastic cups for water, all  which are stored together in a plastic storage container. You could even add in some old shirts or paint aprons to keep with the gear. This makes is super convenient for kids to grab on their own and get started with out us having to spend hours hunting down those darn paint brushes. I don't even have to help with clean up because  my kids range in ages 16-5, but if you have younger kids, you can set the number of pages they do so they don't go crazy and paint one stripe on all 400 pages on that Giant coloring book you just bought. Also you  MUST use water colors because it wipes off easily and dries fast. Using coloring books give them another option besides crayons and added bonus if you  get a coloring book of letters  it is great summer practice for little ones and helps the bigger ones not forget everything they learned in school!
    Egg hunts is always fun to do and it doesn't have to be something that is only done during Easter. You can do some many things with them like hide money, candy, riddles, or even clues to a fun adventure you are having later that week. For example you can hide a letter in each egg and once they find them all they have to unscramble  the word to see where they are going. Maybe it is the pool, the park, a visit to the grandparents, or maybe even going to get ice cream.

    A few other quick ideas are:
1. Turn off the electronics! Hold on mommas hear me out before you start running in circles screaming at the mere thought of taking away your "quiet time".  I have found time and time again that when I make my kids turn off the tv, ipod, or anything else that involves electricity they will start using their imagination!! Ok let me honest first they will probably fall to the floor and cry and maybe stomp their feet, but if you stick to your guns ( don't actually bring out the guns) they will see that you are not going to budge and they will find something to do!! At the very least they are giving their brains and eyes a break.
2. Find local parks and use them! We have at least 5 that are fairly close to our house and we will be going! I usually try to post on Facebook letting my friends know that we will be here at such and such time and have them join us! Pack a lunch and make a day of it!
3. Pool!! What fun would the summer be if you didn't get into some sort of water! We will be visiting our YMCA pool, but most areas have public pools that you can use and they only cost a small fee.
4. BMX- this is a great sport without a huge commitment. You can go when you can and if you can't no problem because there is not penalty. It runs all summer into November. Check your area to see if you have a track.
    We are also going to be doing some traveling this summer and our first challenge is always who sits where.  With  7 of us we take up every inch of space. If you have any suggestions to make this time in the car less stressful and "fair" for all involved so someone doesn't have to sit in the middle the whole way or next to someone that would be awesome. Prayers are always appreciated as we embark on a vogue with our slew of kids and keep our sanity intact!
    Melinda and I have 8 kids between the two of us so we would love to hear how you keep summer a fun time  and make awesome memories and avoid your children counting down the days till school starts simply to escape the boredom! Have a blessed and eventful summer!


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