Summer is here!! I have been DREAMING about these lazy early summer weeks with my kids, before camps, vacations, or anything else begins. I love late June for precisely that reason. It is slow going. Trips to the library, the local beach, and plenty of time for the kids to laze around the house and play pretend with each other. With a very busy spring schedule, we have been in desperate need of this time together.
For the past several weeks I have been thinking up ideas and trying to plan out some goals for our summer. But after some nice quiet reflection this morning, I have decided to keep everything very simple. Rather than come up with individual goals for each child (I have 4), I've decided to keep the focus the same for all of us: Healthier bodies, healthier minds and healthier habits. Here is my game plan:
With our busy spring schedule and end of the school year sprint, our eating habits have taken a hit. I've relied on Lara Bars, chips and fruit a little too much, and I've said "sure" to too many sweets at all of these spring time gatherings. It's definitely time for a re-boot. My kids are all in need of more savory and nutritionally dense foods, and less empty carb, snacky foods. So here is my plan:
- More veggies (we all need this!)
- Morning smoothies at least 2-3 times per week (frozen berries, banana, kale, raw egg yolk, a little cultured yogurt, splash of raw milk, small splash of fresh organic juice, and maybe a very small piece of frozen beef liver- shhhhh don't tell me kids!) Surprisingly this smoothie is pretty good, as the fruit flavor and creaminess of the banana and yogurt dominate!
- Morning bone broth and/or miso soup 2-3 times per week. If you don't know all of the great benefits of bone broth or miso soup yet, look them up!
- Grass-fed beef sticks! This is the best way to get my two-year-old and my fourteen-year-old (my two pickiest eaters) to eat more good quality meat. This brand is amazing!
- Raw cheese to snack on. This is one that all of my kids love!
So that is the plan. Simply to take out some of the empty, sugary/carb snack, and add in the more savory, nutritious food.
I've already informed my kids that we will be putting away electronic devices for the next month. They can watch World Cup soccer matches and the occasional movie or show when Mom says so. If you haven't experienced the attitude benefit of taking away screen time for at least a week, I highly recommend trying it. It's astounding. We are two days in and I have already seen a big attitude shift with my older two. Another great benefit is that it makes kids hungrier for entertainment in the forms of creative play and reading. Also, it is a great time to introduce an educational show series that they can really get into (and they will because they're desperate, lol!) For the past couple of summers my kids have gotten into Where in The World Is Carmen Sandiego, and I am currently on the hunt for something similar in entertainment and educational value (If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear from you!) Here are a few other ways that I will be focusing on building healthier minds for my children this summer:
- Morning prayer time together. We desperately need Jesus in this house. It's so simple but I love gathering up my babies in the morning hours on our living room floor to pray together. We ask God to cover our home, help us love him whole-heartily, and love and be kind to each other. Amen! Sometimes I will follow up with a short scripture and talk quickly about the meaning. Very simple, easy, and on-the-fly!
- The library! I love a good weekly trip to the library where we can all pick up books that we are interested in reading. Our library has a great online feature, which makes it possibly to get our hands on basically any book we want through library share! (Or book on CD!) And we can put books on hold in advance a few days before going. Two summers ago we all got into Roald Dahl books on CD, and probably listened to about 6 of them that summer together in the car. I've also taken out some of the latest Christian books on CD for my alone time in the car. I encourage you to check out your local library, instead of buying books on Amazon. You can save a ton!
- I always make joint or separate learning bins for the kids. So at any given time I can say: "Spend some time doing something from your learning bin!" Past and present learning bins have included these items:
- Mad libs
- Fun books
- Pattern Play
- Snap Circuits
- This book with various roles of colored duct tape.
- An old telephone, clock, or toaster with screwdriver to disassemble
- Whatever eles you can imagine!
Side-note: This summer I am very excited to read this book with my 14-year old son! It is originally offered as a class in classical education, but because he won't be able to take this as a class in school, we are going to read this book together in bits and pieces! (I just reserved it at the library:-)
This is a big one that we are all in need of, including myself! And this is the only thing my kids actually know we are focusing on (the first two will just be integrated in without them really knowing). Rising up out of bed with good attitudes, kindness, cheerful obedience and good work ethic. It is a tall order, but I am really praying that we experience growth in this area as a family. I myself am in need of more self-discipline in the morning. More resilience and self-control when it comes to moving forward in healthy habits, and not letting my emotions or moods get the better of me. I really want to train my kids to operate more this way, but I find it hard when I am not "there" myself. We have figured out that hard work in the morning is good for my oldest son and helps set a better tone for the day. I am really praying for his heart and mind this summer, as he is 14, and I think by God's grace, did not get the job he applied to this summer. He already has a small lawn-mowing business, but for now, he gets to spend most of the day home with me. This will probably be the last summer in which this is the case, and I'm really asking God to do a lot of work in adjusting the areas of his heart that are selfish, wayward, prideful or resistant to cheerful obedience. Would you pray for him? And for me, that I would know how to mother him well? Where to let go and where to lean in? How to respond, and how to love? Oh, and this reminds me! My sister sent me a fabulous book for Mom & Son relationships. It's pure gold if you are struggling at all to parent your son of any age!
I hope these goals help you to shape and dream up your own summer goals for you and your family. Cheers to love, health and lazy summer days!