Well, summer is almost over and here I am not accomplishing all of my summer goals. I had such big plans. I was going to clean out my storage building and have all of our homeschool courses organized for next year and get my next book started. What have I done? I played games with my kids and cleaned out a drawer. One drawer. I am okay with it because the time spent with my kids this summer has been invaluable. It’s been all about quality time. Sometimes we just sat next to each other doing nothing in particular. Sometimes we did chores. We played a board game at least once a day. We have been having a lovely time. But now that we are nearing the end of summer, I would like to at least get a few things done that I would actually put on a list. I need some end of summer goals.
Since we only have a few weeks left, the goals need to be small and simple. No big trips or gigantic projects, but instead find some value in the smaller things. I mean, that drawer I cleaned out makes me happy every day when I open it. So why not do some more of that? Look around. What is in your line of vision that you could turn into an end-of-summer activity? From where I am sitting I can see some shelves that need straightening, a book I haven’t read yet, and a pile of mail that needs to be sorted. Then think of how you can turn that into something fun to do with your kids. Ask for their help then reward a job well done with a trip to the mini-mart for an ice cream bar. Or set a timer and give everyone a job to do and race each other. The winner gets to choose the game you’ll play afterward. Our end of the summer list doesn’t have to be dramatic or expensive. Look for small things to do that will help the school year get off to a better start then turn it into a family activity. Here is my list for my end of summer goals:
- Reorganize the cabinet under the kitchen sink. That area has become the black hole of grossness in my home and it needs to be dealt with. So I will get one of my boys to help and we will challenge ourselves to get rid of half of what is under there. Afterward, we can have a little “we did it!” party complete with snacks and dancing.
- Read 2 more books aloud to the kids. We absolutely love reading aloud, but it gets lost in the shuffle of the day to day so our pile has gotten high. I’ll set aside time to get that done so that we have those memories. Reading a book together is great for family bonding.
- Have breakfast dates. Breakfast dates are my current favorite way to spend individual time with my kids. One at a time we either go out for breakfast or take our meal outside where we can be alone and we talk. I get to connect with their ideas and dreams and it’s become something they really look forward to.
- Take a drive. One way to spend time together is to go exploring right in your own community. We all get in the car and just start driving. We go down streets we have never driven down before or we call out the names of all of the businesses in a section of town. There are always a lot of stores we hadn’t noticed and sometimes it leads to great discussions about what those companies do. It opens up our world just a little and we get to be together.
- Help a friend. We like to try to help someone as a family at least once a month. When we keep our eyes open there are opportunities all around us. Someone is clearing trees on their property or has a parent in the hospital or is struggling financially and we can pull together to help them. It makes us all happy in our exhaustion and we shift our focus away from ourselves. That lifts the mood of the entire house!
The secret to this is to keep it simple. Make some small goals and incorporate the whole family in accomplishing them. Write them down and post them on the fridge so everyone can participate in the planning and execution. An activity doesn’t have to be grand to be valuable!
Making an 11th Hour Bucket List with Shannon McAvoy with The Simple Moms
Yes! I totally get where Lisa is coming from. As soon as Independence Day comes and goes, summer feels like it is starting to wind down. The sun starts to slant at a different angle. It’s getting darker earlier. School is just around the corner. If I think too hard about it, it might just put me into full-on panic mode! But rather than letting the impending end of summer steal my joy for the next month, I’m planning an 11th Hour Bucket List!
Just as Ephesians 5:16 tells us that we need to “redeem the time because the days are evil,” I will be “redeeming the time because summer is ending!” We only get 18 summers with our children before they are grown and on their own. Kind of a sobering thought isn’t it? As Lisa said, time spent with our kids is invaluable! So here are a few things you can do to take advantage of those last few days of summer. Next year, those kiddos will be a year older, so “don’t put off until next summer what you can do THIS summer!”
- Go Camping – Nothing says summer more than being outdoors and soaking up every ounce of beautiful weather that you can (well, at least that’s how we feel here in Michigan!). Camping helps you take full advantage of being outside! Lazy evenings around a campfire soaking roasting marshmallows, splashing in a lake, going for long walks along sandy beaches… Those are just a few things you can enjoy while camping! If going overnight somewhere just seems out of reach for you, recreate camping activities in your back yard! Have a campfire and let the kids stay up late. Look for fireflies under a setting sun. Go for a day hike as a family. The possibilities are endless!
- Slumber Party in Mom and Dad’s Room – Once school starts back up, routine becomes ultra-important again. Take a break from that routine this summer and have a slumber party. Pop some popcorn, put in your favorite movie, and snuggle up in mom and dad’s bed. Enjoy spending time together and being close. Tickle fights, throwing popcorn into each other’s mouths, and lots of hugs and kisses are a must!
- Go to an Amusement Park – One of my fondest memories as a kid was going to amusement parks with my family. As a parent now, I realize how much that was a sacrifice on my parents’ part. I know they enjoyed doing it because WE loved it as kids… not necessarily because they loved it. They just love US that much. Riding roller coasters with my dad is still a vivid memory for me… and I want to recreate that for my kids!
- Get Wet!! – Nothing says summer like getting wet! A lot of communities now have splash parks and pools open to the public, so look to see what is in your area. If you don’t have anything available to you, a good ol’ fashioned sprinkler is awesome! Watch your young children light up with glee as you decide to run through it with them. Have some watermelon cut up and waiting as a treat afterward.
It’s the simple things that create the best memories. They don’t need to be over the top. They just need to be done TOGETHER! Whether you spend your last few weeks of summer trying to accomplish personal goals, sneaking in a little extra fun (or both!), it’s never too late to make the most of the time we’ve got.