This is my husband and me on a leisurely "do anything you want" trip to Charleston in May. It was great. (I will get to a point, I'm not trying to rub in all the free time I have as an empty nester...really!) Last Saturday I sat on a shady island visiting with my good friend and almost empty nester Vickie who was having a romantic camping trip alone with her husband (until I came along.) We sat in comfy camp chairs, felt the warm breeze, ate raisinettes and did absolutely nothin' but gab for a couple of hours. We watched her soon-to-be-gone son, and my boat (which was jammed with blissfully happy sun burned young adults) speed back and forth in front of the island and reminisced about all the great summers we've had at the lake watching our boys having thrilling boy adventures as we sat on a dock or on an island or floating aimlessly and watched. Louise , Connie and their kids came by and I thought about the next generation who will be having all the fun now.
Point? Those lazy hazy days of summer are on lakes! All a mom has to do is provide food and sunscreen. Dad provides shelter and the water provides all the fun a kid can dream up. Plus you get to have a big old bonfire at night with s'mores and more gabbing with other lake rats. Sigh! It's a bit of heaven.
I really will give some good ideas kids can do at home...next time.
There is an old expression - the lazy, hazy days of summer - but with the kids out of school its anything but lazy...except maybe the sleeping-in part. As my daughter Melissa recently blogged, they are continually snacking, fighting, whining, and being bored. What to do, what to do. (her kids in above photos...my angelic grandchildren don't look like trouble makers do they??)
Well since my former whiners are out of the nest and now the whine-ees, I have time to give some suggestions.
Kids love plans. They want to know what they can count on and look forward to. Kids are used to structure during school hours and they need it now also. Before the dam broke, I mean school let out, I would sit down and made some lists; what did I want them to learn that summer, how would our days be structured, where would we go on vacation (usually to grandma's for some free babysitting) what fun stuff would we do and what would the summer rules be. Prepared with some plans I wasn't on the defense just being frustrated. Plans prevent punishment....usually.
1. Just face the fact that your free time is now mostly gone for a couple of months.
2. Have a family meeting to plan out the summer: rules, consequences for breaking rules, expectations, things to learn, possible activities and write them down in the "family book".
3. Sketch out a loose daily time frame with big blocks of time and tape it to the fridge. Include wake up time, basic cleanups, THEN breakfast, etc. Kids like to know what they can count on and look forward to...I always made sure there was a block for quiet time after lunch, for naps, reading etc.
4. The main activity the first week off school was cleaning out closets, and sorting outgrown clothes....teaching the skill of organizing. This was done again the week before school started again.
5. Mommy money! All my kids remember this and it really worked! Make monopoly-like money of different denominations out of card stock. This money is earned by the kids and then used by them to buy pre set privileges, like having a friend over at night, a popsicle, staying up an extra hour, or a trip to the treasure box (mommy's personal dollar store) or whatever means the most to them. Kids will do positive things to get things they want. The money is earned according to a chart with the worth of each bit of money, like reading x amount of books, pulling x amount of weeds, take out garbage, washing windows (even though they will likely look worse after). You are teaching the value of work and learning to earn. These chores are "extra" and not a part of their regular chores. Mommy money needs to be age appropriate. I remember giving mommy money to the little ones just for getting hugs. They just wanted the paper like the older kids! I usually snuck it back later.
Hmmm. that's the structure....ideas for activities next blog.
LOVE this book! Everyone over 40 should read it, seriously. My friend Dixie turned me on to it..I read it and made some big changes - no more white streak in my hair for one thing. I think its good to reevaluate and shake things up every 5 years or so. It's the best book of this type that I've ever read. And let's just get over the "growing old gracefully" thing. Why would you want to look older than you have to? It's NOT about looking young. To me the goal is to look modern, current and NOT OLDER THAN YOU ARE - and some women do. I'm not against aging...aging isn't ugly and I don't think wrinkles are ugly - I'm for looking your best whatever your age - like I said, modern and fresh and not looking like you've given up and could care less. Plus, how you look affects how you feel, energy level and self worth.... nuff said, starting to rant.
There are simple changes that everyone can make, such as changing your lip liner color from matching your lipstick / or dark liner , ugh! - to nude liner and the right pink lipstick. Easy!
Here are the chapters titles:
Cut some bangs - lighten your hair - tame those brows - chic up your eyewear - lose the heavy eyeliner - unmask your foundation - manage your wrinkles - put on pink lipstick - whiten your teeth - wear your own nails - unmatch your wardrobe - shorten your skirts (no midcalf skirts, please!) - slip into the perfect pair of jeans - learn to love the shapewear - show some leg (good stuff here about hosiery) - slip into sexy heels - and putting it all together. Very cool book!
also see video: YouTube - How not to look old. I tried to upload a link to it but got an error message. If you google the book title, the video is listed as a choice and is worth watching.
My friend Marilee shared the coolest thing - cook up a big pot of nice healthy brown rice. This takes almost an hour which is why last minuters don't cook meals with brown rice very often. Cool the rice a bit and then scoop into meal portion size freezer baggies and then FREEZE!. This is such a no brainer, but this brain never thought of it.
Now I can whip up a quick stir fry meal by lightly thawing a bag (just leave is out on the counter for a few minutes) and then tossing it into a stir fry at the end and just stir it around a couple of minutes and its done.
I grill up some chicken in oil and minced wet garlic, then toss in some frozen stir fry veggies, add seasoning ( we like sweet soy sauce - ABC sauce is the best ever, I put it on everything.) and then plop in the rice, give it a stir and you're good to go! Who knew long cooking rice could be so fast.