Sunday, May 15, 2011


We're gearing up for summer vacation. This summer I hope to focus on the rhythm of our days. I'd like to give the kids (and myself) something fun to look forward to each week, but also balance busy, physical activities with quiet, creative ones. In my experience, the joy of summer dissipates quickly when you don't build a little structure into your day. Our house is small and tends to feel even smaller when we don't get out of the house before noon. Here's our summer bucket list (so far):

*Invite one of Lil's friends over to make body art with homemade Henna 
*Start a writing club with Lil
*Start Lil's own gratitude journal and "hunt" for gifts to be grateful for together.
*Decorate t-shirts with fabric paint
*Practice hula hooping
*Beginning embroidery - buy burlap, an embroidery hoop, a blunt sewing needle, and embroidery floss 
*Write letters 
*Catch lightning bugs
*Stay up late (every now and then) and study the night sky
*Weekly movie night - FINALLY get around to watching Up & Toy Story I.
*Set up a scavenger hunt with a map and hidden treasures
*Braves games
*Water balloon fight, running through sprinklers, and the Slip 'N Slide
*Write a song with the kids - piano and guitar
*Visit Daddy at work
*Camping (even backyard camping will do)
*Spend lots of time with Grandma, Granddad, aunts, uncles, and cousins at Lake Chatuge
*Take Jonny-boy fishing 
*Visit Cochran Mill Nature Center (20 miles south of Atlanta)
*Blueberry picking at Hard Labor Creek
*Hike up Arabia Mountain 
*See Martha Speaks at Atlanta Center for Puppetry Arts (July 19-31st)
*Visit Squire Boone Caverns, near Corydon, Indiana, while we're visiting the grandparents in Louisville.
*Meet Aunt Jessica at Aunt Helen and Uncle Jim's house in the corn fields of Indiana

I recently purchased an incredible book entitled Making Make-Believe, by MaryAnn F. Kohl and have gleaned all sorts of creative ideas for our summer vacation. I'm think my kids will be thrilled to make their own TV out of a cardboard box, crawl inside and host their own show; create a miniature garden in a pan with real plants, dirt, rocks and toys; make an edible goldfish container using jello, mandarin oranges, gummy worms, star fruit, etc.; build a sticky cracker cottage (much like a gingerbread house, but with graham crackers and peanut butter); and make our own purple mural, inspired by Harold and the Purple Crayon (one of Jonny's favorite books). The author also recommends setting up a play office, a flower shop, a carpenter's workshop, and my personal favorite: Let's Play Window Washer, because we all know how messy the house gets with everybody home 24-7. Hmmmm, how about let's play housekeeper, let's play masseuse, and then let's play naptime? Notice in the picture above how Jonny is being forced to play make-believe with his big sister dictating every single move.