Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Kids are Coming, The Kids are Coming - Are You Ready?

Before we know it, our little ones will be out of school and running around - wanting us to feed them, play with them, drive them, entertain them!! Kids! Truth being said, as a stay-at-home mom with an on-line business, I love having them home but it's a lot more work for me when they are out of school. Granted, it's great being able to swim in the pool at night and not worry about getting homework done or staying up late to watch a movie. Sleeping-in in the mornings is nothing but fantastic! We have some fun family traditions, and not-so fun rules, that we use to make summer a little easier on everyone -

1. Buy "special" individual cups for each member of the family. This is something I try to do year-round but it's really not that bad during school since the kids aren't home. During summer, my girls will go through 4-6 glasses a day. I finally said enough. On the first day of summer break, they each get a monogrammed cup to use. It's their cup for the day, and everyday. I am not to see anymore cups used, laying around, or they have to hand wash them!!

2. Something else we do is lazy week. The first week the girls are home, they get to watch as much TV as they want (but we still monitor what they watch - no MTV in our house!!), sleep as much as they want, play on the computer or Wii/Playstation as much as they want. I know it sounds nuts, we call it our Week of Debauchery. We have done this for several years and it works well in our house. By the end of the week, they are not interested in TV or the computer, they want to see friends, swim, ride bikes and they get it out of their system. They have worked super hard in school and deserve some down time so we give it to them. The one rule is that they still need to do their regular chores for the day or they don't get debauchery the next day (not sure I used the word right but that's what we say!!). "Don't make me take your debauchery away!"

Not my real kids but they look like this, except still in jammies!
 3. Plan fun outings. We live in the Tampa Bay area so we have so many great things to choose. This summer, we are so excited because we are taking a trip to the MOSI museum. They are having this awesome mummy exhibit and so it's a must see. We usually plan a fun lunch out and maybe even take some friends. This can be expensive so we also plan less expensive outings. One year, a group of us rode the city trolley to a handmade chocolate shop. We called ahead and they allowed our group of kids to take a tour of their kitchens. The kids loved seeing how the chocolate is made and everyone got to pick out a couple of pieces.  We also plan a special kind of "happy hour". We gather on the beach around 4-5ish, you could pick a park if you are not close to a beach, and let the kids play. Then it's not so hot, the parents visit and relax, the kids get to be with their friends, and we all watch a beautiful sunset. We usually plan for Friday nights and this is a great way for the kids to get exercise and then get tired out! If your lucky, your kids will be asked to spend the night at a friend's afterwards and mommy and daddy get a night out!

4. Something else my girls are into these days are cooking. Just like when I was a kid, over summer they are going to cook a meal a week (hopefully they expand their menus a little more than I did because I was obsessed with the Bisquick Impossible Pies - I still love them!!). The girls can find the own recipes, plan the meal, write the grocery shopping list, and actually shop for their items with their own cart. This is a great way to learn to plan a well-balanced meal, see how much things really cost, and just familiarize themselves with a kitchen. The rule in our house is, whoever cooks doesn't have to do the dishes so my husband and I will clean up that night. The girls love to sit on the couch and watch us work!

My kids would never cook with that many veggies though!
5.  Another great summertime activity we do is watch "old" movies. Now let me just let you know, my youngest daughter, came to me over Christmas break a couple of years ago and said she wanted to watch an old-school movie. I get excited thinking maybe "It's a Wonderful Life" or the original "Miracle on 34th Street". I ask what movie so I can get it for her and she replies, "the original High School Musical!" Egads! My husband and I are now trying to correct that. Every summer, we rent movies that every person should see but beware, we were caught off guard by some of the language because we are used to seeing them on TBS. We have watched Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Gremlins, 3 Stooges (my husband's choice), Mr. Mom, Benny and Joon, Edward Scissorhands, The Princess Bride, ET, Karate Kid (both girls like the original better), and so on. While most of these aren't considered classics (LOL!), they are just fun movies! We are currently watching the Rocky series. We are waiting for Rocky IV to arrive. After watching the first Rocky, my youngest replies, "all that and he still loses?" My oldest is now 14 so I have some movies lined up for her - Breakfast Club, The Outsiders, Pretty in Pink and Say Anything. We will also watch Grease and the old and new Footloose. Now if I can just get them to read some of the classics!

6. Another family summer tradition is Christmas in July. We try to shoot for July 25 but it doesn't always work. We turn the A/C down cold, light a fire, put on a Christmas movie and bake Christmas cookies. This is not about gift giving, just creating some family fun time. The girls love it and it's a great way to spend a day.

There are so many great opportunities over the summer. This is when kids get to be kids and so do parents! Now I am off to grab my calendar so I can figure out when my sister is taking my kids for a week (another great week!) and then I get her girls (an even better week!) but that's for another post!

P.S. Those of you who know me also know I have another blog associated with my on-line store, Too Chic Gifts, called "Days of Our Too Chic Lives?". Now I just wrote the above blog for the Too Chic blog but I liked it so much, plus it took a long time to write, I thought I would share it here too - so enjoy, twice!

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