Looks like we all survived my first post. So first, I offer you my thanks to all you who took the time to read or send positive feedback my way. Secondly, I want to apologize to anyone who has an addictive personality and, like me, feels committed to something if they do it even once. Because now you’re in it for the long haul.
Given that I’m a mom, my kids are kinda sorta a big part of my life. Given that I’m a stay at home mom, my days basically revolve around them. Consequently, this blog will likely be filled with things related to my kids, whether that be our daily grind, a funny anecdote, or sharing something fun or interesting that we did. This post is dedicated to sharing with you all how I am planning and structuring our summer activities, since that’s what will be the bulk of the blog for the next couple of months.
I’m doing things a little differently this summer. In the past, I have tried a couple of methods.
Method 1: Completely wing it. Whatever happens, happens. Spoiler alert: Nothing really ended up happening.
Method 2: Plan. Schedule play dates and plan events in advance. The result? I’m completely stressed out and end up scheduling things three to four weeks in advance and just feel overwhelmed.
Method 3: Make a list of fun things to do and then realize two weeks before summer ends that we didn’t do any of them. Then shove as many amazing summer activities into said two weeks.
This year I pulled a little from each method and I’m feeling relatively positive about the summer.
Pulled from Method 3: I made a list of places to visit and things to do. Some activities are for home, others are nearby, and others require a better chunk of the day due to traveling. I also made sure that there are a decent amount of free or cheap activities (hellloooo, remember the ‘I spend slightly too much on my kids’ clothes’ thing? I have to conserve money somewhere, and it ain’t gonna be there). I decided to not overwhelm myself by looking on all the popular “100 best things to do this summer!” lists and just went by whatever popped into my head. I’ll include the list at the end for anyone local to Connecticut interested in spicing up their summer plans. I know this doesn’t sound any different than what I’ve tried before but read on and you’ll see!
Pulled from Method 2: I decided I was going to slightly randomize our activities by putting all the possibilities into a jar. That’s the short version. Here’s the long version: I typed up all the possibilities and printed them off solely so that I could laminate them (my laminator and my label maker truly make my world go ‘round). I know they’d look way cuter if they were folded in half and filled up a jar to the brim, but I can’t resist an excuse to use the laminator AND now I can reuse this idea next year with minimal effort. I digress. Turns out we don’t have a cute little bell jar that I imagine someone on Pinterest would have, so I tossed them into a Ziploc bag initially. Then when we our doing errands I figure I’d grab one, but they only sell the cute jars in packs of “way more than I need”. So, we settled for whatever else they had and, guess what? My kids think it’s great! Even though it isn’t Pinterest worthy! In fact, I found a three pack today of something that would be perfect and my four-year-old said, “I think the ones we got yesterday are juuuuuust right”.
Pulled from Method 1: Here’s where the magic happens. Every week I will have each kid reach into the jar and pull out an activity. I will then schedule those two activities into the next week. If I think it’s something a particular friend would enjoy, I will invite them along and try to plan it on a day they can join. If it’s something we can do at home after naps, then we still have the morning free to schedule a play date. While I feel like I’m being flexible and not completely Type A, I’m actually completely in charge. Win, win, extra win. This means we should have three completely free days to either wing or plan play dates in advance. I’m excited for the balance and my kids are salivating at the anticipation of what the next week is going to bring. I know this because they’ve taken every opportunity to tell store clerks and innocent bystanders what they will be doing for week one.
There you have it…the complete thought process of how I settled on a very simple system to make this an amazing summer. I’ll end by leaving you all with what I have compiled so far. Please note: a lot of these are cheaper than they appear. Many places I bring the kids we will pack our own lunch and just purchase something small so that we can enjoy their outside area. Also, we have memberships to several local places which also offer reciprocal benefits at some that are listed. This also isn’t an all inclusive list, as we LOVE our yard and always have a lot going on at home and will inevitably add more ideas as they pop up.
• Devil’s Hopyard
• Ruby Cohen
• Gillette’s Castle
• Ferry ride
• Playground in WH
• Wickham Park
• Mystic Seaport
• Paint with pudding
• Water balloons
• Steam train
• Blueberry/ Raspberry picking
• Fish Family Farm
• Ray of Light Farm
• Two Wrasslin’ Cats
• Yard Goats game
• Lunch at Skyline Restaurant
• Miniature golf
• Salmon River
• UConn Dairy Bar
• Quester’s Way
• Make popsicles
• Science Center
• Tea room
• Nectarine picking
• Lunch with Dad at work
• Beach house
• Dinosaur place
• Gramma Duke
• Farm at Carter Hill
• Jessica’s Garden
• Dinosaur State Park
• Book Barn
• Boston Museum of Science
• Paint with ice
• Make an obstacle course
• Pinecone bird feeders
• Flower shoppe
• Launch trampoline park
• Harkness Park
Stay tuned to find out what we have coming up this week!
Oh, one more thing. Keeping busy is totally for my own benefit. Want to know what my kids said when I asked them what they wanted to do this summer? Here’s how the conversation went:
Me: What do you want to do this summer? I want you to think about anywhere you want to do or anything at all you want to do.
Carson (4): I want to visit Grandma Duke.
Me: We will definitely do that. What else?
C: And go to the beach house!
Me: We go there almost every weekend in the summer. What else?
C: That’s all. Leilani, what do you want to do?
Leilani (2): I want to go see the horsies neigh. That’s all.
My grandparents are THE best grandparents and even better great-grandparents. If I were to be honest, our summer would be perfect if the only thing we did was spend time with Gramma and Grampa Duke.