Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Summer Survival Day 2: More planning

Summer Survival
I am really not very organized. My husband has a very organized brain, he puts things in the same place, repeats the same routines and he almost never looses his keys or his phone or forgets an appointment - he has never gone to a doctor appointment on the day before the appointment. True story - and I've done it twice. Yeah, that is pretty much as embarrassing as you're imagining right now that it would be.

However my kids require me to be more organized, especially during the summer. I mentioned in yesterday's post that I plan for (at least) one activity every day. You've heard the saying "to fail to plan is to plan to fail" and while that might be somewhat of an exaggeration I've had plenty of excruciatingly long boring days to know that it's worth the time and effort to plan and prepare for the kid's activities.

So what goes into a summer plan? To me the process is the key to a no-stress plan.

I start with a glance at my master-calendar and I write down any appointments, play-dates and must-not-forget dates such as Bible Study, VBS, classes etc.  If I'm feeling particularly organized I might glance at the weather as well and check for especially hot or rainy days.

Next I add an activity (or two) for each day. One or two days will have an activity that requires going someplace but I just can't afford to take them out every single day so the other days will have at-home activities. This summer I'm going to keep lists using an online tool like Evernote. You could also use Pinterest.  I'll have a list of places we want to visit (i.e. zoo, museum etc. and if I'm extra-organized I'll jot down special dates/promotions) a list of activities that require more preparation and supplies (i.e. make a cardboard box dollhouse, paper dolls etc.) and activities that require less prep (i.e. bubbles, play dough etc.) I'd also like to rotate who gets to pick each activity from the list. That way when it comes to filling out the planner it's just a matter of picking items from each list.

First I add the recurring activities to my planner - like Library day and a day to go to the Park and another to go to the Farmer's Market. Then I'll have an at home day and a field trip day. I may not be able to get them to a field trip every week - but every couple of weeks would be really nice.

Then I work out a menu that fits the schedule I've written. This summer I want to make sure that the kids get a chance to help prepare one meal every couple weeks, I also want to take advantage of some of the Kids Eat Free nights at local restaurants. My general rule is two nice meals and three cheap staple meals for the weekday and stuff that is quick and easy for the weekend. I'll add lunches and snacks if I'm struggling with the kids complaining or I feel like I need to work on the variety in their diets. Again, this is when it's helpful to keep lists when you're feeling inspired so it's just a matter of picking from the lists when it comes to writing out a menu.

I find that when I am picking things from my lists that I'm surprised at how quickly our week fills up instead of agonizing over a vast blank emptiness of meals and activities. I place this schedule on the fridge so that the kids know what to expect the next day and have something to look forward to.

I don't write every detail of every day - tomorrow I'll write about our summer schedule and daily routine and during the next couple weeks I'll give you a peek at those lists and I look forward to hearing YOUR summer survivals tips.

I found these free printables yesterday and thought I'd share them with you. You probably want to print them out on card stock. You could laminate it or put it in a page protector so you could write on it with a dry erase marker - if you want something re-usable.

via Taylor Gray design blog & Tip Junkie
Week at a glance free printable

via the Shy Socialites
colorful calendar free printable
(I like this one because there's the option to have multiple schedules) 
via Issa Sarza: Creative Living & Tip Junkie
Colorful menu planner free printable
Super cute free printable menu planner
also cheek out these menu planners 
via Delightful Distractions & Tip Junkie
chore check-off free printable

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