With three weeks to go until school breaks up, the countdown to the summer holidays has officially begun. We are going away to Sweden for two weeks at the beginning of August but the rest of the time we will be at home. As my job is not term time only, I will have to work two or three days a week so I’m trying to be a super organised (not something that comes naturally to me!) to make sure we have lots of quality time on the other days.
Here are some of my strategies to hopefully maximise the chances of a fun and relaxing summer:
1. Take a break from cooking. Not completely, obviously, as we still have to eat and going to restaurants all the time would get too expensive. But I think it’s fine to take a more relaxed approach to meal times in the summer. Leave the elaborate recipes for the colder months and serve simple dishes like big platters of cold cuts and various salads together with crusty bread. We tend to eat a lot of fresh fruit and veg in the summer and the kids have healthy snacks like strawberries and raspberries or carrots and cucumber with hummus, so having hot dogs or cheese on toast for dinner is not the end of the world. Other simple options are omelettes and homemade pizza (I buy ready made bases though) loaded up with vegetables.
2. On a similar note, I plan to take advantage of the fact that we have a pick-your-own farm 15 minutes down the road (Not quite the same as a vegetable patch in your own garden, but the next best thing). Somehow the kids seem to find fruit and vegetables that they have picked themselves more palatable than the shop bought versions.
3. Spend more time outdoors doing things with the kids rather than trying to catch up with the housework. I have actually employed a cleaner to come once a week between now and September. An extravagant move perhaps, but one that will free up lots of time, especially now that I’m working again.
4. I have asked the kids to write a list of (realistic!) activities, both outdoor and indoor that they want to do this summer. We will cut them up individually and put into a hat and pull one out when we’re stuck for things to do. Hopefully we will get a good mix of indoor activities like painting and board games and outdoor ones like going to the park, as well as activities that require a bit more planning such as going to the cinema or the bowling alley.
5. I’m going to try to stick to our current rule of keeping the X Box and other computer games for the weekend, unless we get really awful weather in which case I may take a more lenient view!
6. As far as I can, I’m also going to try and limit the amount of money we spend. It’s so easy for it to spiral out of control – a trip to the cinema (with the obligatory snacks) for three children and one adult can cost an arm and a leg and, to be honest, the children are just as happy getting a DVD out from the library and popping their own popcorn in the microwave.
7. I intend to take lots of pictures and also film the kids more – they love watching old footage from when they were younger but we have been really lax about it lately. Now that my phone has a video function there really is no excuse.
8. There are also some things I want to do for myself, including updating the blog at least three or four times a week.
9. And I hope to keep up my exercise regime. It really does make me feel better and more energised and I will need all the energy I can get to survive the six weeks off school with a smile on my face!