Finding Freedom Through Dumping the Summer Doldrums

Posted by admin on June 4, 2015

IMG_6224Got a case of the summer doldrums heading your way?  I am going to write a few extra posts for you that outline how I conquer them with our family!!  I want you to have freedom this summer.  You may or may not deal with depression, but putting up with kids that are "SOOOOOOOOO bored" can quickly put anyone in a funk...So, whether you're a Stay At Home Parent, working but taking some time off, or just need to find things to do in the evenings, these posts could offer you some assistance.

Well, I can't believe that I am just beginning to think about our plans for this summer.  Being an ex-homeschool mom, I still tend to want things planned out in advance, so I guess this means that I have recovered a little bit.  Haha.  Actually, I love having what I consider a BLUEPRINT for our summer, I feel like it makes things go much smoother, not perfect, SMOOTHER.

blueprint is not meant to be the MASTER of your summer.  It is merely to keep you from having this situation:

Whatcha wanna do? Jungle Book  (click to watch video)

You may not want to have your entire summer planned out, I get that.  But I found with my kids that if we had some routine through the summer, it helped them from the constant complaints and the doldrums:




Having my kids tell me they're bored for 3 months straight can eventually become one of my triggers for being frustrated, and feeling guilty, which can lead straight to depression or a major funk for me.  I found that it was best for ALL of us if I just take a preemptive strike, and stop the doldrums in their tracks, not letting them become an issue.  Today, I am going to share with you HOW I do that.

MAKE A BLUEPRINT:  Start with printing out the months (Here's a place you can print calendars for free; I print June, July, August, & September):
Printable Calendars

1)  Large events.  Start Here.  Is your family going on vacation?  Do your kids have any camps?   Block those out on your calendar, also don't forget to put the next school year's start date.  This will give you a realistic view of the time you need to plan.

2) Weekly Events.  There are a ton of free and inexpensive things you can plan for your family.  A few years ago, my kids and I started picking a Portland park a week to plan a picnic and go hang out at, we love the summer kid's movies-both at the theaters and at the parks, and we love Oak's Park's bargain days.

Pick a few that you and your family will enjoy, and then place them on your calendar.  Here are just a few suggestions for the Portland/Vancouver area, but I know that many areas have similar programs (try your local parks & recreation website, museums, movie theaters, and more):

Summer movies:
-Vancouver Parks:

-Van Mall Cinetopia: (couldn't find a link)  Every Tuesday, starting June 23rd at 10 AM; tickets are $1.50 (Movies in order:  LoraxPuss In BootsDespicable Me 2, MegamindThe Lego MovieHow to Train Your Dragons 2ShrekKung Fu Panda 2Penguins of Madagascar 2Hotel Transylvania)

-Regal Cinemas: Tuesday's & Wednesday's; tickets are $1.00; multiple theaters-2 movies to pick from each week
There are some great movies on Regal Cinemas' list, including PaddingtonBoxtrollsthe new Annie Movie, and so much more.

Summer concerts:
Esther Shorts:

Portland Parks
-$5 5Ks:
-Any Ammenities you want in a park?

I love Pittock Mansion: they have many great hikes, and I love their tours. For the summer, they have some behind the scenes tours, day camps for kids, and more.

Stuff going on at Ft. Vancouver:
Here are there first couple of upcoming events:
-Living History:  1st Oregon Volunteer Calvary-Saturday June 6th, 10:00AM to 3PM; FREE
-National Get Out Doors Day -Saturday, June 13th, 10:00AM to 3PM; FREE

Oak's Park Summer Discount Days:  Check out their discounts for the summer such as Two-for-one Tuesdays, and Z100 Wild Wednesdays.  These are really great days to go, but get there as early as you can, it will get busy :-)

3)  Daily Activities.  These are just some activities to keep up your sleeve when you're not sure what to do.  And quite frankly, I could, and probably will write another post about this.  There are a few things I like to do with our schedules, and creating a "summer camp" at home environment that could be helpful.

-Use camp catalogs/lists such as this one, or this one to create themes for your week, and pick daily activities to go along with that.  I love to do this throughout the summer.  A few ideas are: Astronomy, Kitchen Chemistry, Lego Mania, and more.

-One thing I like to do is to go to Dollar Tree and just buy some of their summer items-badminton set, water toys, bubbles and accessories, sidewalk chalk and more.  These are just fun to have around and to go play outside with, whether in the yard, at the park, or at a near by lake or pool.  I found that even some of the neighborhood kids like to join in.

-How about a super fun set of printables?  I love the ladies at Dating Diva's!  They give out a ton of free stuff, and have some very reasonably priced printable kits, (including a few of my favorites the Spouse Christmas CountdownPrintable Post-It Love Notes, and 365 Love Texts; but those are for another post :-))
Anyways, these ladies are pros at creating high quality printable kits, and they have put one together for Summer fun, jam packed with activities, games, even lemonade stand printables; all in one kit!!  Their Summer Boredom Busters kit is beautiful, and affordable.  I highly recommend it.

-Library Summer Reading programs.  Here is a link to Vancouver's program, and hey adults, this year they are including you in the action-check it out!!  My kiddos and I love going to the library at least once per week to check out a ton of books, and then get home to binge read all of them, getting ready to go again the next week.

-Have a few favorite swimming/water spots.  We are fortunate to have a few rivers, lakes and ponds around us that we can go swim in.  There are also a lot of parks that now have water features.  Water features=lots of fun!!

-Geocaching.  Just get an App on your smart phone (I won't make suggestions here, because they are always changing).  Then anywhere you go this summer you can check to see if there is one near you.  We have found geocaches in some very unlikely places.

Well, there you have it.  This is how I fight the doldrums, and create my Summer Blueprint.  How about you?  Do you plan for your summer?  Do you think any of these methods will work for you?  I would love to hear what things you and your family love to do.  Please share in the comments here, or at my Facebook page, or my twitter account.

P.S.  This post does contain a few affiliate links, and I do make a commission off of them.  However, my promise to you is that I will never try to just sell you anything, just to try to sell you something.  Everything I post is something I enjoy myself and that I wanted to share with you.  Furthermore, it is important to me that I am hopefully gaining your trust and friendship as you read through my blog, so I wouldn't break that by suggesting a crappy product.