I have a confession: summer kind of stresses me out. I feel the pressure to plan the perfect vacation, pick the right camps and somehow get work done with the kids around more. This year I caught myself after reading a post about how to have a seventies summer. Summers should be about taking it easy and not stressing, right?
So I thought about what we really want to do this summer. And I came up with this list of 10 (non-hardcore) goals.
1. Take real time off
When you work from home, it can seem impossible to take time off. But this summer I want to take my first “real” break since starting this blog 5 years ago. We are renting a beach house in August and I plan to read lots of books and enjoy the kids without even thinking about work.
I also am putting off some of my projects until fall so I don’t feel stressed this summer. Come September, I will have both my kids in school full-time, so that’s a great time to ramp up the work.
2. Clear out stuff
We had a fire threat recently and I was worried we’d need to be evacuated. This made me think: what are our most prized possessions? And where exactly are they stored?
We have a small place so it’s easy for it to get filled with too much stuff. I’ve been picking different areas in the house and going through them and choosing what needs to go. My goal is to clear out what we don’t use and have a good feel for where everything is by summer’s end. The organization of it all will take a bit longer.
3. Get started on a photo project
One project that has been hanging over my head since the dawn of digital cameras is photo organization. We take lots of pictures and then store them on our computer. But that’s about it. For the last two years, I have made yearly photo books but I’d like to do that for years past and store photos and videos in an organized way. I know I can’t be alone on this one!
4. Get summer cooking
I’m aiming for some new meals for summer grilling, especially sides. One side I have been making is this black bean salad (I add less oil and skip the corn). I have goals to work on a roasted potato salad without mayonnaise, a cold lentil salad and a go-to (summer) kale salad with fruit.
5. Lunches with kids
We will do plenty of packed lunches while we are on the go but there will be days we will eat at home. I’m going to take advantage of this to hopefully get more lunch ideas for when school starts. So we will have make-your-own sandwich/salad/wrap days to spur new ideas.
6. Time with hubby
I was asked to give a short presentation for the Dairy Council of California this past Friday in Napa and my hubby and I turned it into an adults only trip. It was so relaxing to get away without kids. I hope to slip in more time together this summer with a less tight schedule.
7. Relaxed dinners
The other night we were having leftovers so I decided to take the kids to our community pool around 5:30. There was no pressure to come back because there’s no homework to do, no cooking required and no reason to get up early.
I don’t want to be rushing to get dinner on the table like I usually do. I will invite the kids to help more and leave room for spontaneity.
8. Go to the beach once a week
Last summer when Big A asked to go to “a beach without sand” I knew we didn’t see the ocean enough. People assume because I live in San Diego we are at the beach all the time but it’s a good 20-minute drive — and kind of high maintenance — so we tend to go to the pool instead.
To remedy this I’m picking one day each week to be “beach day.” We may not go every week but hopefully by summer’s end, we will have been quite a bit.
9. Enjoy the kids
My kids are 5 and 7 now and they are the funniest people I know. I feel like I’m in that sweet spot of parenting this post articulates so well. They like to be with me, still want to cuddle and have relatively few tantrums compared to the toddler days. I thought about doing more camps but we decided to have a less structured summer. When my patience runs thin, and it already has, I will remind myself of how short-lived this phase is.
10. Get in touch with friends
I’ve lived in a variety of places and have dear friends all over the country. Since having kids, I haven’t been as good at keeping in touch. So my goal is to call friends and reconnect before school, homework and work overwhelm me once again.
What are your goals for summer (it’s okay not to have any!)?
Get your family meals organized this summer (and kids cooking) with The Family Dinner Solution: How to Create a Rotation of Dinners Meals Your Family Will Love