Settling into Summer at Home

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Taken at the Amtrak’s Grand Union station the day we left

We are back from our second planned vacation of the summer, an amazing trip to Chicago.  (Look for future posts about the trip.)  For now we are getting used to being home again.

Right now I am debating how I want these stay at home summer weeks to look.  How much structure, how much of a routine do I want to establish?  I have been trying to give my son more freedom and trying not to freak out if all he wants to do with it is watch tv and use the computer (or watch tv on the computer!).

My first thought was to let him have an hour or two each morning and afternoon to do as he pleased.  And what was I going to have him do the rest of the time?  I pictured lots of sulking and whining and both of us being miserable.

And then I thought about flipping that mentality around.  What if I asked him to spend up to one hour in the morning helping with chores or errands and one hour in the afternoon doing learning?  Fun learning like playing Yahtzee to work on his multiplication and addition skills. And the rest of the time would be open to his choices.

Do I trust that eventually he will get tired of all the screen time and join me in the pool or play a game?  Do I trust that he is truly doing what he wants to do?  He is one of those kids that gets obsessed with something for awhile and then moves on to something else.  Right now he is stuck on “Stuck In The Middle”, some Disney show.

 I am planning on doing some sort of outing each week.  Will that be enough of a break from screen time? Of course what I am really hoping is that at some point he will add more activities to his time, of his own volition.

This parenting thing is really hard.  I have no idea what the right answer is for my son.  And that is the key, my son.  I can read all the contradictory advice in the world and still not have the answer as to what is best for my son. 

I am going with my instincts.  I will let him make his own choices for the next week and see how it goes. I will be as patient as possible with the screen time but if his behavior deteriorates or he is overtly bored or unhappy then I will intervene.

Afterall, if I could spend all day doing whatever I wanted it would include some time on the computer and a little television as well as reading a good book.  I am hoping once the novelty wears off he will be more interested in doing other things.

Here’s to the start of a hopefully happy summer at home!

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I had a glazed and an orange chocolate cake donut. (I miss them already!)
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Sweet summer in Chicago!

Being Prepared

Ah, the first day of summer vacation.   I am ready for a change in routine, some travel and hopefully some swimming soon. The weather has been very odd, I still haven’t turned the a/c on for the summer. Our pool is only up to 75 degrees ( I am a wimp who needs it at least 85, preferably closer to 90). I am sticking with my prediction of a very rainy summer.
I am prepared though.

I have a list of things to do, projects and activities. My list is divided into four categories: things we can do daily, cleaning projects, craft projects and special days.

  • Daily
    some sort of cleaning (wash the car, dust, vacuum, picking up etc)
    swimming (if the weather cooperates, if not we can play badminton, ride bikes or go hiking)
    spend about 20 minutes doing worksheets or educational computer games to prepare for 2nd grade
    Play some sort of board game (most likely after lunch)
    Also looking at once a week combining grocery shopping and bowling with a trip to the base
  • Special Cleaning projects
    wipe down the kitchen cabinets (I figure E should help since most of the dirt is from his hands)
    wipe down doors, door jambs and light switch plates (ditto)
    paint a very short hallway
  • Craft projects
    latch hook kit
    soap bubble pictures (where you add food coloring to soap bubbles and then try and get them to pop on paper)
    decorate pickle jars with dyed glue (use q-tips to paint on dots)
    make bookmarks and then hide them in random books in the library
    an embroidery hoop mobile
  • random special days
    stay up late and eat ice cream outside
    reverse roles (I can’t wait to be the kid for a day, very ‘Freaky Friday’)
    paint at ben’s bells
    neighborhood scavenger hunt
    picnic on the summer solstice
    make simply crackers candy
    “Little House on the Prairie” day (no electricity, swim in the “creek” etc)
    Christmas in July (watch a holiday movie and read Christmas books, turkey for dinner and I have a Snoopy Christmas magnet kit)
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Our school basket

I don’t know if we will get to do everything on the list.  I recognize the need for unstructured time too.  But I am prepared for when the I’m bored whine comes out or he wants to spend all his time on the computer.

We also have three trips planned, one to the beach, one to the mountains and one to visit the Grandparents.  Let the summer commence!!

Last day of school!

Honestly I am pretty happy school is over.  I am ready for the freedom summer brings.

I thought about how I wanted to spend my last few days of alone time and really there wasn’t much I wanted to do.  I did enjoy a last leisurely shopping trip to Target.  I went primarily to get a gift for E’s teacher but it was nice to just browse around and pick up a few odd items.

I bought some of those removable decals, one set of the Eiffel tower to decorate my closet doors and some glow in the dark stars and moons for my son’s ceiling.  I hope they stick okay since the ceiling has a slight texture to it.  I put up enough to surprise him tonight and if they seem to be sticking okay we can add more together.  I also got an oversize badminton set which I hid in the back yard.  I decided to get the oversized set so I would a have a fighting chance to return the birdie once in awhile.

I also picked up a new eyeshadow.  It is such a small thing, I don’t wear much makeup, especially in the summer when we are swimming all the time but I saw this group of colors that I really loved and I went for it.  I can’t remember the last time I bought eyeshadow and for some reason this tiny treat felt like quite the, well treat.

Tonight for dinner we are having ice cream and cake with chicken nachos for dessert.  I think I am more excited about the start of summer vacation then my son is but I am sure he will get over it!

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A simple wacky cake

I made a chocolate wacky cake, iced it with leftover vanilla frosting and sprinkled chocolate chips on top so the cake matched the chocolate chip ice cream we had with it.