Times that Try Mothers’ Souls: Summer Ideas for All

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Two words:  summer vacation

Instead of retreating into the couch with a sugary coffee and some bon bons, I’m taking this challenge by the horns.  I will survive!  (Feel free to break into song and dance.)

I printed the June and July calendars, and I filled the back of one sheet with ideas and general daily outlines.  The other sheet is filled with “Expectations of Behavior,” “Do These Every Day,” and a list of consequences.  No, I didn’t make these all up on my own.  The older two kids were right there with me.  I got their input, too, which is really crucial if you want an effective plan of action.

That said, my kids are notoriously good at the first couple of days in any new action/idea/concept/etc.  The proof will be at the end of the week and in the next eight weeks — whether I’ve gone mad and if my kids are ravaged with boredom.  We have so much fun stuff planned, though, that I really don’t see why it wouldn’t work.

To assist others in their summer planning, I figure I’d offer our ideas for June.  Next month, I’ll share July/early August.  (Their school starts back Aug. 14.)  And, just in case you’re wondering, I added our “everyday” list. 

Hope this helps!  Let me know if you have other suggestions, though our calendar is quite full!  : )

Do These Every Day

  • Speak kindly to everyone
  • Use words, not violence
  • Obey parents
  • Cooperate

*yes, my kids need these reminders!

June Schedule

Monday: Cleaning day, walk to park; if finish cleaning have family movie/game
Tuesday: Morning gardening/yard work, outside play; evening at Free Geek to learn to build computers
Wednesday:  library, botanical gardens; craft time
Thursday:  play at park/mall/outing; gardening/yard work
Friday:  free play, quick clean; swim time

Activities

Week 1:  Terra Studios, weekend at gradma’s
Week 2:  Vacation Bible School, weekend road trip
Week 3:  Breakfast outing, Children’s dance party, movie outing
Week 4:  Blueberry picking, Magician at library, pizza party, library concert

My kids are already checking to see what’s going on tomorrow.  It’s nice to be able to tell them.

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One of Those Days . . .

Lest I let a Monday pass without a post, I figured I could at least be honest with my readers and admit to a day of feeling . . . blah.  A puking kid at 3am Saturday, an overnight camp-out Saturday night with half the family, and a late night Sunday resulted in one tired momma come Monday.  I should have known.

I’d like to file an insurance claim for the tornado that apparently went through my house, too!  Maybe they’d pay to have someone professional come in and get it all done in a day.  Every time I even thought of doing it myself, I got even more tired and just wanted to nurse and sleep . . . but mostly sleep.  Of course, the toddler didn’t want to sleep until after I got up from a short nap, taking over my cozy spot in the bed.

In an effort to find a quick fix, I did a little search online for home decluttering.  Again, The FlyLady crossed my path.  I might give it a try.  What have I got to lose, right?

I heard on the radio that going to bed before eleven means better rest, so I’ll give that a try, too.

Don’t worry, I’ll feel better tomorrow.  I wish you good energy, too.

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Crafty Meal Planning

food_bananas_banana_240848_tn.jpgIt may be a stretch, but I believe planning meals for your family requires a great exercise of creativity — especially when many kids would like pasta with a side of pasta.  And making sure you get a variety of color and texture requires skill, too, though Mother Nature seems to have no problem providing it.

Fortunately, my kids like their fruits and veggies, and we’re able to fit those into our diet regularly.  But kids, like us, get burned out on the same thing over and over.

So I thought I’d share my past month’s menu (for what it’s worth) to see if it inspires some new ideas for you.  Maybe I’ll do this regularly once a month to see how I’ve improved.  If a meal sounds good to you and you can’t come up with your own recipe, I’d be happy to share.  Just leave a comment asking me for particulars, and I’ll oblige.

It should be noted that I have a family of six, so there usually aren’t loads of leftovers, and when there are, they are usually lunch for the next day.  When we don’t have leftovers, it’s usually a PB&J, unless it’s one of those days, and we head to fast food.  (Honestly, I’m trying to curb this tendency.)

For snacks we keep on hand fruits, crackers/pretzels, cheese and the occasional chocolate or candy — I won’t lie!

You’ll notice this particular month or so seems like a bit of a rut.  We all go through phases.  Right now we’re just buying hot dogs and macaroni and cheese by the case.   It’s quick, easy, and the kids like it — same for tacquitos.

Don’t miss the links at the end that offer some great recipes and managing tools or help me out and use some of the ads to the right!  I haven’t gotten so far as to use Tasty Planner regularly, but it would be nice!  Suggestions/comments on your own successes/tips are welcome.

(* means we either ate out or had help with the meal)

Week 1

*Gathering:  Potluck — Italian pasta salad
Breakfast — waffles, sausage, eggs
Hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, green veggie
Grilled ham and cheese and tomato soup
Meatloaf, potatoes, peas, rolls
Paninis, fruit, chips
Lasagne, salad

Week 2

Meatloaf, potatoes (apparently not used in first week, moved to second)
Black bean burritos, guacamole, chips
*Out — hamburgers, etc. — it happens
Beef Stroganoff, green beans
Chili, cornbread
Chicken salad
Chicken pasta medley, salad

Week 3

Chicken salad
Loaded baked potatoes, salad
Leftovers
Pot roast, veggies, rolls
Hamburgers, fries
Leftovers
*Dinner with in-laws

Week 4

Tacquitos (frozen chicken&cheese variety), corn, fruit
Hot dogs, mac-n-cheese, green veggie
Breakfast — blueberry pancakes, bacon, eggs
*Out
Spaghetti, salad
Ham steaks, potatoes, peas
Goulash, green beans
Pizza

Week 5

Leftovers
Tacquitos, corn, fruit
Rotel chicken, beans, green beans
Chili, cornbread
Leftovers
Hot dogs, mac-n-cheese, green veggie
Meatloaf, potatoes, peas

Some Meal-Planning Links/Sites

    • RealSimple has this article that links to meal-planning sites, some of which have a subscriber fee.
    • WOW.  Family Fun comes through again with a whole month of meals; dishes link to recipe.  Gotta love that.
    • This place lists some of the World’s Healthiest Foods, in case you need new ideas/inspiration.
    • Especially you homeschoolin’ moms will appreciate this free organizing download and their Menus4Moms.
    • For organizing and sharing recipes and making shopping lists, this newer tool is good, though it has a couple of flaws (like putting every ingredient on your generated shopping list, unless they fixed it recently) — Tasty Planner.
    • Just Google for meal planners or weekly meal planners, and you’ll see all the 200k+ possibilties!

Bon apetit!

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