Tag Archives: summer

Summer on a Budget

Summer time! FREEDOM!

But let’s be real a minute, parents. Summer can be costly. Summer camps, road trips, stops for slushies (sometimes you might even buy one for your kids). Cha-ching! Long-time followers know I like to share my budget-saving ways so I’ve compiled the various activities and programs we have implemented to have an amazing summer, but not break the bank.

Games are always a fun and easy way to spend quality time together. The $1.50 to buy a fresh pack of cards is money well-spent. But you know what’s even better? FREE. Here are some games that are free or almost free and guaranteed to please at least some members of your family.

Stop Being Ridiculous

It’s Okay Not to Fight About Dumb Stuff

You Don’t Own Air

I Was Watching From the Corner of My Eye

He’s Allowed to Look Out Your Window

Games aren’t really your thing? Looking for a more structured program? Why not run your own summer day camp? Here are some that are consistently popular with our crew.

Camp Fend-for-Yourself. Young campers have the opportunity to learn skills such as sandwich making, cereal pouring, and juice distribution. Merit badges can be earned for Counter Wiping, Fridge Closing, and Eating Over Your Plate. Gold Star award presented to the camper who achieves “Leave No Trace Behind” status. Broom sweeping skills are recommended, but not required.

Camp Quityerbitchin. A popular one with parents, this camp teaches children that life involves chores, particularly if you want to live in harmony and for free. Ample opportunities are given to practice tucking shoes away, hanging up hats, and putting away the clean clothes that were washed, folded, sorted, and stacked for them in advance. Merit badges for Timeliness, Lack of Eyerolling, and Least Amount of Sighing.

A great one to pair with Quityerbitchin, is Camp Clean Your Room where the motto “If it’s on the floor, it’s out the door” comes to life. Merit badges include Under the Bed, Only Furniture on the Floor, and Bring Your Dishes to the Kitchen.

Finally, friends, nothing beats Camp Call on Your Friend to provide hours of fun and entertainment. A classic, this camp cannot be matched for simplicity. Unless they congregate at your house and keep asking for snacks. Then might I recommend a remedial session of Camp Fend-for-Yourself? Merit badges for this family favourite include Ring the Doorbell Once, Least Amount of Snacks Eaten, and Bicker-free Afternoon.

 

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Coming to my non-existent Etsy shop soon!

Break-out sessions are a great addition, if you have the resources. Some suggested titles include “Sunblock is Not Optional”, “Yes! You CAN Change the Toilet Paper”, and “Why Popsicles are Not a Meal”.

 

 


Closing Time

This is neither profound nor original, but it’s been on my mind a lot recently.

Semisonic was right.

Semisonic – you know? That band from the 90s? They had that song “Closing Time.”

Closing time
Open all the doors and let you out into the world
Closing time
Turn the lights up over every boy and every girl.
Closing time
One last call for alcohol so finish your whiskey or beer.
Closing time
You don’t have to go home but you can’t stay here.

I know who I want to take me home.
I know who I want to take me home.
I know who I want to take me home.
Take me home

Closing time
Time for you to go out to the places you will be from.
Closing time
This room won’t be open ’til your brothers or you sisters come.
So gather up your jackets, and move it to the exits
I hope you have found a friend.

Closing time
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

Yeah, I know who I want to take me home.
I know who I want to take me home.
I know who I want to take me home.
Take me home

Closing time
Time for you to go out to the places you will be from

I know who I want to take me home.
I know who I want to take me home.
I know who I want to take me home.
Take me home

I know who I want to take me home.
I know who I want to take me home.
I know who I want to take me home.
Take me home

Closing time
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end

Summer is over. A new school year is beginning. We finish school and start jobs and careers. We move houses and create a new home. We end relationships and initiate others.

With each change there is some sadness for what or whom we leave behind. I am sad that my year of being part-time is over and I am not home with our boys after school. I will miss being there as they rush out the school door each day asking me for popsicles or to stay and play at the park. I will miss seeing my other parent friends as we corral our children and commiserate about making lunches. But today I embrace a new teaching assignment. In addition to providing planning time coverage for the kindergarten classes, I will be teaching Bearded Husband’s grade five class at the end of each day. I am nervous and excited and a teeny bit emotional (about not being home with the boys, not about teaching with Bearded Husband).

This keeps happening – these changes. Some are easier than others. Some are more exciting.

Summer began and ended. This school year has begun. Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.

I am grateful.

Song written by Dan Wilson • Copyright © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc

My Five Rules for Summertime

Lemonade, biking, camping, swimming, walking to the store for slushies, eating M&Ms while hiding from your children in the closet – these are all classic summertime pastimes. And summer is an ideal time to reconnect with your family and spend time with friends. I’ve found it’s always good to lay down a few ground rules at the beginning of the season just to avoid unnecessary complications and to maintain realistic expectations.

And so, I present to you, My Five Rules for Summertime

    1. Parents are only going to “lookit” a limited number of times. Listen, we love to see your developing skills and yes, that cannonball off the diving board was great. It was just as great at the other 17 cannonballs you did leading up to it.
    2. No wet hands in the chip bag. Actually, no wet hands in or near any of the communal food. That goes for sand, too. So no wet or sandy or sandy-wet hands in food, okay? I think this rule also applies for all seasons, not just summer.
    3. Close.
      The.
      Door.
      All the doors, all the time. Just close them.
    4. Applying sunblock is not the same as being dipped in battery acid. Please stop acting like it is.
    5. Go ahead and ask for a snack/drink/screentime but for the love of Moses, just ask once. You might think that persistence will pay off, but no. It only makes your parents want to cry. Also, you come across a little unhinged. Or maybe that’s me. I don’t know because you won’t stop asking for all the things.

But seriously, CLOSE THE DOOR.

Happy Summer Everyone!

 

 

 

 


Serenity Now

It’s a cool summer morning in August. The family is spending some laidback time at home catching up on some chores and starting the day slow and easy.

Mom serenely ties party favours with ribbon, anticipating the fun of the birthday party the next day. The four boys hover nearby watching her deftly curl the yellow ribbon on each package. She demonstrates the technique for the oldest son and encourages his efforts to try his hand at it. The brothers stare on in amazement as she turns out ribbon after ribbon of perfect(ish) curls. Excited banter about the upcoming party ensues: the pinata, the pizza, the games. Everyone is smiling, everyone loves each other and maybe someone starts humming “Kumbaya”.

Then the toddler spies a package of Angry Birds Gummies.

Highly addictive. May induce temper tantrums.

Highly addictive. May induce temper tantrums.

Mom gently responds to the toddlers demands for high fructose deliciousness:

“Those are for tomorrow.”

“Later, you can have a treat later.”

“Not now, treats are later.”

“I wonder what Daddy is doing? Is he outside?”

“I WONder where DAddy could be?”

“I think he might be moving rocks. Bet he could use a couple helpers. Shhh, listen, he IS moving rocks.”

“Who wants to dig for worms?”

Nope. The toddler will not be moved. Neither will any of the other three boys. Once digging for worms has Mommy’s approval, it loses all its appeal.

Mom brushes stray hair out of her face, regroups to finish the party favours, takes a deep breath and —

“Ok, what’s that smell?”

Thus begins the “Dance of the Diaper Change” which follows the same pattern every time: Accusation, Denial, Avoidance, Retrieval, Capture, Cleansing, Clenched Teeth Utterances, and Release.

The sound of a toddler protesting a diaper change is a siren call to the brothers. Suddenly, it is of the utmost importance to find out if they can have iPad time that afternoon. Or to locate a certain Pokemon card. Or to nail down the exact time and menu for Snack. Or to ask for help counting the money in their piggybanks (because nothing reminds you that you have a jar full of coins to tally like the smell of poo).

This day is like all the rest, and the moment Toddler Son starts his war cry, one brother is at Mom’s side asking questions in a very soft voice, another cries at the bottom of the stairs, while the third loudly denies any culpability in making anyone cry. So naturally, Mom leans over the banister and kindly, but authoritatively says:

“STOP CRYING I KNOW YOU ARE FAKING AND WHATEVER YOU DID TO HIM WAS NOT OKAY I CANNOT ANSWER YOU RIGHT NOW BECAUSE I AM DEALING WITH POOP STOP WIGGLING AROUND AND LET ME CLEAN YOUR FOOT EVERYONE JUST STOP YELLING.”

And then it is (mostly) quiet.

Oh, the windows are wide open.

Bearded Husband chooses 2 minutes after this exchange to return to the house and glibly remark, “Oh, that was you, I thought the crazy mom came by to visit.”

To which Mom calmly replies with expansive hand gestures, “Let me paint you a picture…”

—–

Ever have a moment that made your eye twitch? Share.


Camp Rules!

Camp counsellor in training.

Camp counsellor in training.

Trying to decide if a summer day camp is for your child? Debate no longer! The answer is “yes”.

Day camp is a great opportunity for friends and strangers to gather together for a week or more to explore a common interest. Lego, sports, nature, faith, games and crafts – there’s a camp for you!

Concerned about the qualifications of the camp leaders? Not to worry! Camp counsellors are born with special DNA programmed for this very role.  Most CCs come out of the womb chanting, “Peel bananas, peel peel bananas.” As toddlers, you frequently here mini CCs telling their playmates to “Stop, Look and Listen” – any kid who doesn’t reply with a speedy, “oh, yeah!” is stricken from future play date lists.

Still not sure? Maybe you’re worried that there won’t be enough structure and rules. Or maybe too many rules. Nope, not at camp. There is just the right balance of routines and freedom. Okay, there are a few rules, but they are important (and universal).

Camp Rules

Stick with your crew.

Follow the leader.

Keep it peanut-free.

Wear sunscreen.

Grates are not for jumping on.

Stay with your crew.

Don’t lick other campers.

STAY WITH YOUR CREW.

Socks stay on your feet.

Wait.

STAY. WITH. YOUR. CREW.

Camp is a rite of passage – whether as a camper or a leader. You start learning life’s lessons at camp. Look out for your group. Travel with a buddy. Ask for help when you need it. Take turns. And always stay with your crew.