summer fun…

Welcome to the June Carnival of Natural Parenting: Outdoor fun

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared their stories and tips for playing outside with kids. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

Summer is right around the corner. After surviving a ridiculously cold and windy winter, followed by a ridiculously rainy spring, I’m looking forward to the sunshine (and ridiculously hot temperatures that I’m sure I will hate in another month). Thinking about the things I hope to do with my children this season, I realized that they are all things I enjoyed doing with my mother as a child.

Nature walks – We’ve all been looking forward to taking walks again, except for my husband. He’s afraid we might see a snake. The kids and I plan to hit all of our favorite nature centers and parks this summer. One of my favorite pictures of my mother and me is an old newspaper clipping about her that shows a picture of us walking hand in hand.

Berry picking – I’m not certain where we will go berry picking, but we really want to go. Growing up, we had our own berries on our farm, and my mother used to make the most wonderful blackberry cobblers. I took my children berry picking a few years ago, and we brought home a lot of blackberries. It was the first time my husband had ever had any, and he couldn’t get enough.

Fireflies – What could be more fun than going out at dusk and chasing fireflies? My mother would always hand me a jar and some foil so that I could keep a few overnight, releasing them in the morning. This year, we plan to use our insect habitat.

Gardening – We don’t have a garden yet, but I have such fond memories of sitting near my mother working in the garden or flower beds. This was our quiet time and when we would talk. It was a great time to connect. We plan on painting the house this Summer, but after that, we have plans to build flower beds off the back of the house. I hope to get a second season garden planted. Regardless, I’m looking forward to spending that quality time with my children.

Swimming – My mother was a swim coach and synchronized swimmer at one time. She was offered a spot on a rather prominent team at one point, although she turned it down. She had me out in the pool by the time I was two weeks old. When I was older, she was always willing to not only drive a car full of kids to the pool but to also be in there swimming with us and helping those who didn’t know how to swim. I’m not certain how much pool time our family will get this year. Our local pool is more like a small water park, complete with water park prices. However, the kids are already looking forward to it.

Sprinklers – I can remember my mother smiling as we raced through the sprinklers during the summer. The water was cold and we would dare each other to race through, cooling down from the hot summer. While most of the other mothers sat around in their lawn chairs, my mother would work out in the garden and then occassionally race through the sprinkler herself.

Picnics and grilling – I love the smell of a grill. When my mother spent the time to grill, she would grill a lot. We would eat it for a week and still have more in the freezer. I introduced my husband to the wonderful world of hickory chips early on in our marriage. That smokey flavor is like none other. I love it when we grill or just eat outside for a picnic. It feels uncaged.

Evenings outside – Summer always seems more laid back and relaxed just because of the added daylight hours in the evening. We’ve been taking advantage of our extra time outside.

BLTs – My favorite summer food growing up was bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches. Sometimes we didn’t have any lettuce on hand and we would just make bacon and tomato sandwiches. Divine. I also plan to track down the recipe that most mimics my mother’s macaroni and tomatoes – it sounds gross until you try it. It has elbow macaroni, stewed (I think) tomatoes, bacon, sauteed onions, salt, and I don’t know what else. 

Popsicles and Ice cream – I have to admit that we have already made ice cream. I’ve never been a huge ice cream fan, but I can make exceptions for homemade ice cream. I also want to find some popsicle forms like we had growing up. Better yet, I’d love to find some freezable slush making mugs like we had.

Visit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants: