Enjoying Summer without Losing Your Mind

We all love summer.

The long days, relaxed schedule, vacations with friends and family, but then there are the really long days at home with bored kids.

And wouldn't it be great if we didn't have to work and do adult things like laundry and housecleaning?!

There are a few tips I would like to share to help you make the most of your summer and still ensure that your "unfun" tasks are getting done.

1) Keep the meals simple -  Our dinners revolve around fresh salads, fruit and grilled meats or vegetables. I might make a large bean salad that will stay fresh in the fridge for a couple days, and easily works as a lunch or a side dish for dinner.

 I keep fruit washed and ready to go so we can just pack a quick snack if we decide to go to the park.

I also have 2 to 3 different meats in a tray in the fridge, so they're ready to go on the BBQ.

This isn't the time for elaborate meals and who wants to slave away in a hot kitchen anyway?! 

2) Keep your schedule light - I feel like summer is a great time to relax and not be in my car, driving kids constantly.

I want the freedom to decide from one day to the next whether were going to hang out at the pool or the library.

Other than work, we only have a couple day camps & overnight camp booked.

We don't have anything else on the agenda - and it's glorious!

3) Keep a summer fun list - We started this a couple years ago and I like that it reminds us of a few "must do" things we wanted to try over the summer.

These are not expensive or elaborate plans, some of them are very basic like going to the library, checking out some garage sales, having a candle light dinner on the deck or a day trip to the beach.

One of the reasons I started this list is so that we could pick a few things every week to do and my kids could feel like they were helping to plan their summer.

4) Keep the daily chore list simple and everyone pitches in.

I actually sat down with my two youngest kids and explained to them that a household cannot function unless things like laundry and dishes get  done every day.

I made a simple list of 5-6 chores that need to be done daily and once these were accomplished we could go and do some things on our list. I believe it's really important for kids to understand that while they are off for the summer, there are still tasks that need to be done.

5) Change your works hours if possible.

I've had summers where I was working almost full time and other summers where I have been home all day with kids.

The summers that I worked, I would try to get as much of my work done first thing in the day, as I could.

I left lists for my kids of what I expected from them while I was gone. Another friend of mine has an administrative job from home and she gets up at 5AM to get her work done.

6) Don't forget to have some time to yourself and schedule a few dates with your spouse.

This is really imperative if you are home full time with kids, especially if the kids are going to bed later and your not getting any down time, or quiet time with your partner.

Arrange some playdates if you need to and go get a $10 pedicure or sit in the air conditioned library and read some magazines.

It really doesn't have to cost a lot to get some time to re-charge.

So that's how my summer looks, what about yours? Are you gone all summer? At home with kids? How are you keeping your sanity?!