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Summer Organization

As summer vacation approaches I find myself furiously planning out the days ahead.  Ninety(ish) days of total freedom.  No work.  No school.  Okay, maybe that’s a little overstated.  I tutor and work a very part-time job over the summer and I do a relaxed homeschool schedule with the boy-child.  But after that, baby, it’s all fun and sun.

Some people plan big vacations in the summer.  Personally, I find vacations to be stressful.  The packing, the traveling, the stress of navigating a new location, the spending exorbitant amounts of money.  In my opinion, there is a very short period of time in which said vacation is enjoyable and more often than not, it’s just not worth the hassle.  Thankfully, my husband feels the same way and my son, while he loves dreaming of going away and doing things, is really a dyed in the wool homebody at heart.  As a family, we decided a few years ago to compromise and do a larger family vacation biennially.  In the off years, however, we opt for a quiet “stay-cation” at home.

While the idea of having nothing to do and endless hours to lounge and laze around does sound appealing, it would get old after awhile.  Really.  Really.  Old.  In all honesty, I would go out of my mind.  I need some structure.  So, what in the world do you do with three months worth of freedom when you want to keep your budget reasonable but still have a memorable summer?

Early on I will typically spend some time researching special events that will occur throughout the summer and write them on the calendar.  Then, as a family we will sit down together and make a list of local attractions that we would like to visit.  This year we’ve also compiled a “100 Things of Summer” list, which includes some personal goals for each of us, home projects, day trips and fun free things to do at home.  Finally, we purchase season passes for places that we will frequent many times.  Every year our season passes include a State Park pass, Philadelphia Zoo and Plumpton Park Zoo a small, locally owned zoo where we sometimes volunteer.  While it may seem redundant, we get our money’s worth and then some from both of these zoos.  I love the Philadelphia Zoo pass because of its fantastic Reciprocal Zoo and Aquarium program.  In recent years we have also added a fourth pass to the mix though it has changed each year.  A local museum was usually the choice, however, this year we have decided to go with a private pool that is less than 5 min. from our home.  To say that they boy-child is excited would be an understatement.  I can’t even begin to count the number of times that he has asked, “how many days until the pool opens?”

At the beginning of the summer I lay out a basic template for each week:

Monday – library
Tuesday – park/$1 movie day
Wednesday – zoo
Thursday – stay-at-home, board games, movies etc.
Friday – misc. outings

Sometimes the weather dictates that we swap days here and there but this gives me a general idea of what I want to accomplish in a given week.  My husband has off every other Friday throughout the year and in the Summer, he will typically take off those other Fridays using his vacation days.  This gives us one day as a family to head off to places I might not necessarily drive on my own.  Making Thursday our “stay-at-home” day is perfect then since we are able to get the house clean before my husband’s day off.  The other days are pretty self-explanatory.  We go to the library each week for new books, CD’s and movies.  We hit a state or town park each week and sometimes participate in the $1 Regal Summer Movie Express.  I am excited since this year the theater will be playing plenty of movies that we haven’t seen in the Summer Movie Express.  On zoo day we visit our small locally owned zoo and oftentimes volunteer.  On weeks that we don’t volunteer we make sure to take bags of produce and herbs for the animals.  Last summer the boy child and I were able to feed Jimmie the Giraffe some of said herbs.

Something else that we do in the summer is a modified summer homeschooling but that is fodder for another post.

Until next time!

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The 100 Things of Summer!

I love lists more than any sane person probably should.  After reading a To-Do List For Summer 2012 at The Provision Room I was inspired to create my own list of 100 things to accomplish personally, around the house and with the family this summer.  I can’t wait to get started!

  1.  Visit the Plumpton Park Zoo
  2.  Visit the Philadelphia Zoo
  3.  Visit Longwood Gardens
  4.  Visit Hagley Museum
  5.  Visit The Franklin Institute to see “The Dead Sea Scrolls”
  6.  Go ice skating
  7.  Sleep on the back porch
  8.  Make strawberry lemonade from the garden
  9.  Hiking at Lums Pond
  10.  Hiking at Iron Hill Park
  11.  Ghost Tour at Rockwood Mansion
  12.  Delaware Shakespeare Festival
  13.  Wilmington & Western Railroad
  14.  Cecil County Fair
  15.  Have a bonfire with roasted hotdogs and marshmallows
  16.  Make the boy child a root beer float
  17.  TCM Essentials, Jr. Family Movie Nights
  18.  Go-Karting
  19.  Batting cages
  20.  Miniature Golf
  21.  Walk 100 miles
  22.  Get certified as a NWF Wildlife Habitat
  23.  Make ice cream
  24.  Go berry picking
  25.  Watch a meteor shower (in July!)
  26.  Do at least 5 of the 77 Super Fun Date Night Ideas from Stay At Home Susie
  27.  Make Homemade Bodywash courtesy of Proverbs 2 Six
  28.  Brew my own Kombucha thanks to Delicious Obsessions
  29.  Make Homemade Natural Bug Repellant thanks to Frugally Sustainable
  30.  Make Homemade Sunscreen courtesy of Sustainable Life
  31.  Make an Important Documents Binder thanks to Your Own Home Store
  32.  Summer Reading program
  33.  Attend at least one extra activity at the pool this year (ie. Floating Movie Night, Wiggle Worm Night, Family Fun Night etc.)
  34.  Build a Fairy & Gnome House at the park on Sat. July 7
  35.  Pan for Gems at the park on Sat. July 23
  36.  Visit 5 State Parks
  37.  Have a sleepover for the boy child.
  38.  Camp out
  39.  Make sno-cones
  40.  Visit someplace we’ve never been.
  41.  Visit Booth’s Corner with DH
  42.  Make Strawberry Freezer Jam
  43.  Make a succulent terrarium
  44.  Stay in bed one stormy rainy day with the boy child watching movies and reading books
  45.  Picnic at the park
  46.  $1 Regal Movies
  47.  Watch fireworks
  48.  Go to a baseball game (the males)
  49.  Invent a new type of pizza
  50.  Make breakfast pizzas
  51.  Take flowers to mom’s, pop pop’s and Memi’s graves
  52.  Hooked on Fishing – Fair Hill July 11
  53.  Blackberry Festival – Milburn Orchard July 28
  54.  Read aloud 2 books to the boy child (titles to be determined)
  55.  Build a seed packet organizer
  56.  Make flashlight puppets
  57.  Stargazing and dessert at night
  58.  Let the boy child make dinner by himself
  59.  Take an exploratory drive to nowhere
  60.  Build a Mazon Bee House
  61.  Technology Free Day!
  62.  Take a walk in the rain… barefoot
  63.  Go bowling
  64.  Play race cars with the boy child in the driveway
  65.  Have a paper airplane race
  66.  Listen to 10 audiobooks
  67.  Swim… a lot
  68.  Lazer tag
  69.  Freezer cooking day at the beginning of summer
  70.  Make something for someone
  71.  Volunteer
  72.  Take an archery lesson with the boy child
  73.  Go to Washington DC
  74.  Go to Hershey Park
  75.  Start a gardening/herbal medicine binder
  76.  Read the Bible through in 99 days
  77.  Go out to breakfast
  78.  Write to my Compassion child
  79.  Spa day
  80.  Declutter every room in the house
  81.  Summer Home School
  82.  Watch the Olympics
  83.  Visit the museums in Old New Castle
  84.  Celebrate Christmas in July
  85.  Play balloon volleyball
  86.  Make banana bread
  87.  Set up Vermicomposting Bin
  88.  Have a picnic breakfast
  89.   Read 10 books from my shelves
  90.  Install a third rain barrel
  91.  Build and install rooftop garden boxes
  92.  Paint the bistro set and trellis
  93.  Install the bat box
  94.  Remove Weeping Cherry Tree
  95.  Plant Apple Tree
  96.  Have a garage sale
  97.  Finish the turtle pen
  98.  Organize photo albums
  99.  Whittle down the boy child’s clothes
  100. Pare down bookshelves

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