Monday, May 19, 2014

Month 5: Get Organized for Summer

After the winter we've had, I didn't think summer would ever arrive. But here we are…a week away from Memorial Day!!

To most, Memorial Day is the official kick-off to summer. For us, Memorial Day is the official kick-off to CAMPING SEASON!! And party season. And beach season. And enjoying-every-minute-of-sunshine season.

I feel like summer breaks get shorter and shorter every year. It doesn't help that my kids have several snow days to make up too. We already have a list a mile long of summer activities, camping trips, parties and cookouts and I just know this summer is going to fly by.

So before all of the summer chaos begins, and before the kids are out of school, I think it's time to...

I know, I know…Summer is about RELAXING! Taking it easy, being spontaneous, throwing our schedules and routines out the door. Trust me…I can't wait to turn off our alarm clocks and take a break from school pick-up lines and homework. But at the same time, I'm a planner. I like having things in order (or at least as close to "order" as I can get). I want to be organized for our camping trips and the parties/cookouts we plan to host. I also want to keep up with meal planning and household chores and projects. I also need to keep the kid's summer activities straight and still schedule time for all the fun little things we want to do together.

Luckily…I have a bunch of GREAT tools and resources to help us get organized for the summer craziness. 

First up…a book to add to your summer reading list :)

For the last few years, I have had the privilege of reviewing all of the books in the 100 Days series by Jennifer Tankersley. Her newest book, 100 Days of Summertime, begins THIS SUNDAY and is packed full of fabulous inspiration, motivational tasks and activities, printables and more! Here is a little excerpt from the book:

What I have always loved about these books is the way that Jennifer not only helps you manage the chaos of summer (or the holidays), but also reminds you to slow down and enjoy the season. It's great to spend your break organizing your home and preparing for the school year ahead (which this books helps you do), but don't forget to celebrate the little summer holidays like National Ice Cream Day and create new traditions with your family, like Olympics Day in your own backyard.

And speaking of your backyard, don't forget that June 28th is the Great American Backyard Campout! I had no idea this was actually a "holiday" until I read this book last summer. Camping holds a special place in my heart…it's been one of the greatest bonding experiences for our family and we have already made some of the best memories together. If you haven't ever taken your kids camping…make this one of your summer goals. Whether you stay at a national park or pitch a tent in your own backyard…I promise it will be one of the highlights of your summer {Special Camping Post Coming Soon!}. 

100 Days of Summertime comes with 34 different lists and planning pages, including monthly calendars. And if you aren't a paper person, the ListPlanIt app will help you keep all of your lists right on your smartphone!

Now, since I have no idea what it means to NOT be a paper person, here are a few of our NEW printables planners!!

This first one is our Happy Camper Planner, NEW in the shop this month! It comes in Large (8.5 x 11) and Small (5.5. x 8.5).

And for all of your summer party planning needs, here is our new Party & Events Planner! This set also comes in Large (8.5 x 11) and Small (5.5 x 8.5).

The beginning of 100 Days to Summertime is all about getting your summer schedule in order. Deciding when you will travel and what parties and holidays you plan to host are important details. But what about your days at home with your kids? We all know how loooooooong some days can be when everyone is "bored" and looking for something to do.

Last summer, when I was struggling to come up with something fun to do with not only my two kids, but also my niece and nephew, I followed Jennifer's plan from 100 Days and set up a Day Camp at home! I planned out different weekly themes like "Ocean Week" and "Space Week" and then every Tuesday, we would have Day Camp!

The Internet and your local library are the BEST resources for setting up your own Day Camp. Our library already had themed "Vacation Bags" filled with books and a DVD. I also found some fantastic websites that have FREE printable worksheets, games and activities for a variety of different themes and grade levels. My three favorites are RoyalBaloo...

Jump In to Learning Ocean Theme - Week 2   A summer learning program for toddler, preschool, kindergarten, and first grade.

Printables Packs from 1plus1plus1equals1

Having one day a week to spend on "school practice" made such a huge difference for us, and the kids really looked forward to each new theme (and so did I). It did take some prep each week to get the activities together, but having it planned out in advance made things run a lot smoother.

In fact, I found that planning out our entire week each Sunday night was helpful for all of us. The kids and I would talk about what we wanted to do that week, what camps or activities we had scheduled, and then I would decide what errands and to dos I needed to accomplish. Lately I have been doing the same type of weekly planning and it has been working out well. I currently use the Working Mom Weekly Docket that we have available in our shop, but I decided to make a fun, summer-themed weekly docket as this month's FREEBIE!!!

{You can download this fun freebie in 3 sizes HERE}

I realize that 5 paragraphs ago I said that I understood that summer was about RELAXING, and yet all I have done is talk about planners and schedules and day camp :-) I know I am not alone in this, right? Maybe what all of us type-A planners need to do is set some goals that do NOT include organizing. I'll go first. Here are my Five R&R goals for summer:


2. GARDEN (and by garden I mean grow a tomato plant).



5. UNPLUG (at least a few hours every day).

So…once all of your summer planning and organizing is done, what will your Five R&R goals for summer be?

100 Days of Summertime ends with a quote from Henry Rollins…

We know that in September,
we will wander through the
warm winds of summer's wreckage.
We will welcome summer's ghost.

We wait so long for summer…and it's gone in a blink of an eye. Above all else this year, be sure to enjoy every moment with your friends and family. Read good books, eat ice cream for dinner, swing in a hammock, cook some s'mores over a fire, and make lots and LOTS of memories :)


{Purchase your digital copy of 100 Days of Summertime HERE}


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