Today I’m sharing our 10 must haves for summer vacation!
1) We must have a plan! It doesn’t have to be strict. It doesn’t have to be rigid. But I know our personalities, and if we just coast into summer vacation without any ideas of how we want it to go then we will end up not doing anything!
I used to create summer bucket lists and even last year we made a Summer Boredom Jar.
This year, I’m trying to be a little more free-spirited about it while still retaining some control! I printed out the listing of free movies at our theater, I’m looking ahead to the activity days that are scheduled for our pool, I’ve already told the kids that they won’t be sleeping until 11:00 every day… and we’re just going into the summer with general expectations and excitement because we’re planning ahead!
2) Speaking of some of our activities, in addition to going to the beach, our town also has free movies and concerts in the park. A couple years ago, I bought a beach blanket for all of those activities and it has been a life saver! We used to pack and carry so many towels to go to the beach. Every time it was time to head out the door to a movie or concert in the park, we’d be scurrying around looking for a blanket that I didn’t mind being out in the dirt.
Now we just use this beach blanket for EVERYTHING! We never have to look for it, it wipes clean and is mildew resistant, and it folds up so nicely (with pockets) so we aren’t trying to balance everything while a folded blanket is falling apart in our arms! I have even caught my daughter just laying it out in the backyard and using it to read. We actually own two now because we love them so much!
3) While we’re on the subject of going to the beach… or, well, just existing…my biggest must-have is a good book! I read a lot and summer is no exception! I do get into more easy, light-hearted books for summer and I can’t recommend Kindle Unlimited enough! I pay $9.99 per month for my Kindle, my son’s and my daughter’s. We can take 10 books out at a time and as soon as you finish one, you just return it and get another! I take cookbooks out if I need a quick recipe, my kids will take joke books out, and there are tens of thousands of great beach reads too! You are limited to books that are designated Kindle Unlimited, but I don’t know how you’d ever run-out with over 800,000 titles to choose from! We average about 30 books a month, so it comes out to about 30 cents that we pay for each book! Soooo worth it!
4) Another must-have for all of us is a good water bottle. This is especially important for me this year as I try to wean myself off of sodas! I splurged and got myself one with a funky color sleeve, so I am completely mental and this somehow makes it taste better to me! I also knew I wanted a glass one so I could add citrus oils to it, to make it more enjoyable! We all tend to get headaches in our family and overheat easily, so staying hydrated is never far from my mind!
5) We have a lot of kids in our neighborhood and visiting that are always hungry! I had a few summers where I spent a ridiculous amount of money on popsicles feeding all of them, and then listening to my husband get annoyed because he’d find popsicle sticks all through the yard! I finally wisened up and bought an old-fashioned popsicle mold. SO much easier on our wallet, they NEVER just drop the plastic holders in the yard and it has the added bonus of giving my daughter one extra activity to fill her day! She loves making the popsicles! Sometimes it will be as simple as a fruit juice or Kool-aid popsicle. Other times she gets creative and puts in some add-ins! But it keeps her busy and all her little friends fed!
6) Another must-have for our summer vacations is making sure the kids have alone time! My kids are 11 and 13 and actually get along really well. Sometimes they enjoy each others’ company so much, that they forget to take breaks from each other. This usually means they go from BFF’s to bickering siblings in .2 seconds with no warning. We encourage lots of breaks and a daily dose of alone time around here!
7) Another must-have for us is a bonfire! The kids love it, but I think it’s important for us parents as well! Especially as our kids get older, they don’t really need me outside anymore. I find I see my neighbors less and less because of that! A weekly bonfire is great for the adults to get outside too and catch up! A fire pit is a must around here!
8) We love taking day trips and even longer roadtrips during the summer! Our GPS is a must-have for us! In fact, we lent it to my dad last year, and my husband kept saying, “Just make sure we get it back before summer!”. Last summer, we took a roadtrip through New England, and I kept saying “I don’t even understand how people made trips like this before GPS’s and the internet”! Our GPS works hard for us each summer!
9) Every summer, I pretty much empty my purse and put everything into a big beach bag. Or maybe I should call it a beach/pool/everything bag. It goes everywhere with me. It’s almost like I revert back to having a diaper bag again. I can fit extra sunscreen, bug spray, water bottles, magazines, Kindles, and more in my beach bag. It’s my life line during the summer months!
10) Really I feel like this should be #1, because our absolute must-have for summer is A SMILE!!
Once, when my son was younger, an older kid on the bus was pushing him around a little coming home. My son told him to knock it off a couple times, but it made the kid pick on him worse. My son looked at him and said, “What’s your problem? It’s Friday!”. He was honestly dumb-founded? Like what kind of knucklehead is in a bad mood and feels like picking a fight on a Friday?!
That’s how I feel about summer vacation! I can’t even understand if someone is grumpy or bickering! It’s SUMMER, put on that SMILE!!
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