Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Ahhh Summer!!!

A friend wrote and asked what our plans were for summer and how we usually plan our life when all the kids are home. so I thought I'd just put it all here. Don't know if it will help anyone with their plans, but I'd love to hear how anyone else does their summer if you'd be willing to share.

I'm glad she asked because although I've been looking forward to it for so long now, I honestly haven't thought out the nitty gritty of what we're going to do. We'll definitely be changing our regular summer running-around-everywhere ways this year because of gas prices, but I think nearly everyone is in the same situation. I tend to be a bit hyper and have a tough time sitting still and being home when my kids are all home. I don't want them to be bored. I want to make sure they are stimulated and learning everyday.

Every year, the day school gets out we head straight to Barnes & Noble and get the kids workbooks just to keep their skills honed; the Summer Bridge series is well worth the money. It covers all topics. We don't make a huge deal of workbooks everyday, but when possible, I use them to have one-on-one with the kids for about 15 minutes a day. We always eat a snack while working on workbooks. Food works wonders for our family--you'd never guess it with our skinny kids.

We are big berry pickers, so I'm sure we'll have plenty of trips to berry patches. We have one just down the street from us. Then we make freezer jam and pie fillings with those that help us remember the fun times of summer as we enjoy them throughout the rest of the year. We started this when the kids were really young. They are now super berry pickers and love doing it. I hope this enthusiasm will continue for many more years.

The free movies are a big hit. I love to go when I have a little baby; it's not going to be so easy this year with a 20-month-old, but it's great to have big kids to help take care of the littler ones if I have to take Teagen out. The schedules are out for this summer, so we've planned according to which movies we want to see and when we'll be in town. We usually switch between three different theatres--Movies on TV, Sherwood, and Tigard--depending on who's playing which movies when. I think these will be the only days we'll run around in the car for the week. For this year, this is our plan:

June 17 – Nancy Drew @ Sherwood
July 1 – Water Horse: Legend of the Deep @ Movies on TV
July 2 – Surf’s Up @ Sherwood
July 8 – Alvin & the Chipmunks @ Sherwood
July 9 – Wallace & Gromit @ Movies on TV
July 15 – Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium @Movies on TV
July 16 – Alvin & the Chipmunks @ Movies on TV
July 22 – Everyone’s Hero @ Movies on TV
July 23 – Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer @Movies on TV
July 29 – Shrek the Third @ Tigard
July 30 – Babe: Pig in the City @ Tigard
Aug 5 – Jonah: A Veggie Tale @ Tigard
Aug 6 – Happily N’ver After @ Movies on TV
Aug 12 – Bee Movie @ Sherwood
Aug 13 – Shrek the Third @ Movies on TV
Aug 19 – Mr. Bean’s Holiday @ Tigard
Aug 20 – Nancy Drew @ Tigard

If you'd like to join us, we'd love to have you. Just let us know.

Movies are on Tuesday and Wednesday, so we will probably do the grocery shopping after the Wednesday movie. We also make it a habit to hit the library once a week, so this year we will probably go after the Tuesday movie. Another thing we have taken advantage of in the past and will continue to this year is the library reading program and all of its rewards. Anything to motivate kids to read is a winner in my book.

Another thing we do is go to one of the schools that offers free lunch. Some schools have breakfast also. At Zan's former school, they had their library open once a week for kids to check out books, play on computers, etc. We always used to think this was for low-income families, but when they did them at Zan's school, we learned that it was intended for anyone. His entire PTO presidency would bring their kids and come and eat and then play on the playground afterward. I quickly learned that this really was intended for everyone and it has become part of our summer plans. The kids LOVE it. It's also been really good for our preschoolers to learn how the whole school lunch thing works for when they start eating in the cafeteria in first grade. This year, I think the plan will be to walk to Aloha Huber Park or Aloha High School for lunch.

We don't do playdates all that much because I like to see my kids interact with each other. I want my kids to be each others' best friends. There's also the fact that if one kid has a friend over, they all feel that they have to have a friend over and then the house gets crazy.

I think this summer we'll take advantage of the school's playgrounds near us. Lots of bikes, sprinklers (let's hope for good weather), and lots of popsicles.

One year, the kids wanted to have a huge tag game, so we threw a tag party at the elementary school. That next year Quinlan would be moving on to middle school and was bemoaning the fact that there would be no recess tag games for her, so each child was allowed to invite three kids and their siblings and come to the school to play tag for an hour. We sent out postcards and it was so fun! I think this year I might just have enough energy to pull this one off again. We did it in August, when summer activities had pretty much died down, so most of the friends showed up. A lot of the moms came and stayed too and stood around and chatted, so it was fun for everyone.

In the past, I have assigned a particular activity to a particular day of the week. I still may do this, but without the ability to run on a whim, it will definitely be different from years in the past. I also love the flexibility of summer. If we choose to change plans on any particular day, great. Nothing quite like going with the flow! Bring on summer!


Tonya said...

Would love to join you at the movies. Have never been berry picking exept at the blackberry bush down the street. Maybe we could have a berry picking party one day too!

Rory Baxter said...


thanx a ton for posting all of your awesome ideas! We are still a "work in progress" with our plans and with preston and ceana both out of town all next week and the new baby I think we are going to wing it and give the kids a "freebie" week during that time and then get ourselves together after that.
I esp loved your ideas about berry picking. I think my kiddos would really enjoy doing that so we may make a day trip somewhere soon. Thanx again for taking time to post and send some fresh ideas my way! You are AMAZING!

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