For those of us living in the Midwest, the arrival of summer is no joke. The anticipation of warm, lazy summer days is an activity unto itself. After the slog of winter, having a longer day and a warm breeze is a game changer for my mood!
Given the current circumstances of quarantine and social distancing in the world, we are all spending more time than ever at home. Most activities I know of are cancelled for the summer, and everything we turn to for simple fun, like outdoor playgrounds, are still closed here in Ohio. All of this means that it’s a good idea to sit down and think about what you want your home to look and feel like this summer, because let’s face it, none of us are going that far from our little nest! Yes, it’s not what any of us thought (I had a whole bucket list of things I wanted to do that’s getting delayed), but with some creativity we can take this situation and make it a reset for the whole family. Make it a summer to remember, where the kids don’t look back and think of fears of illness, but a summer spent growing closer together as a family, filled with simple joys.
Here’s what I’m doing to prepare my house for summer, to make it the kind of place I want to be.
- Get rid of winter stuff - If it’s cozy, furry, warm, if it reminds you of winter - time to put it away! When you take it back out during the colder months you will be happy to see the accessories again. Move the coats out of your coat closet, put away winter stuff. Honestly just doing this step will take you halfway there. Do you have heavy curtains? Consider replacing them with light colored linen ones or something else that’s light and airy.
- Plant a garden - Now hear me out. I grew up with gardens in Russia, as did Yana. Back there, people grow them not as hobbies, but as necessities. We brought this ability here with us, just take a look at popular Ukrainian food blogger Natasha’s parents garden! I can only dream about a garden like this! Even with the small amount of space I have, we have planted some dill, parsley, spring onions, basil, rosemary, oregano. We will also be planting tomatoes in pots and at least one cucumber plant. We live in a regular development without a large amount of land. There is NOTHING better than a home grown tomato, it will ruin grocery store tomatoes for you forever! This activity is good to get the kids involved. Choosing plants, planting, watering, weeding. It teaches kids (and us) to be observant about the world around us, and the results of growing and eating things yourself are incredibly satisfying. For those just starting out, the YouTube channel GardenAnswer is a great resource.
- Have a box of family outdoor activities ready to go - I have a giant bin in the garage for my two kiddos filled with their outdoor toys. Bubbles, chalk, wiffle balls - you name it. A big bin of things for them to play with outdoors is also simple to deal with, just throw all the toys in there at the end of the day and shove in the garage.
- Bring nature indoors - There’s nothing like a vase of freshly cut flowers, you can decorate with any tree branches or wildflowers you find! We are lucky to have a small patch of forest by us, and I will sometimes take the blooming wild sambucus branches and stick in a vase, or anything else that strikes my fancy. I even have a little vase for when the kids and I take a walk and they pick all the dandelions they see. They are always so proud of whatever they pluck! It’s nice to make an arrangement on the table too, maybe some flowers in a vase, a Lemon Mint, or Eucalyptus Mint candle perched on a stack of books, you get the idea.
- Set up an outdoor living area - Whatever the size of your outdoor area, think about what you can do to make it a place you want to spend your time. Don’t let your deck, patio, porch, balcony go to waste this year. Make breakfasts outside the norm. I did that last year, and one of the big benefits - no crumbs to clean up after! Maybe get some fresh outdoor pillows, an outdoor rug, some lanterns or string lights. For now, home is not only where the heart is, but where summer is, and safety is.
Keep in mind, that despite the news swirling around us and the stressors and pressures that are now added to our lives, that kids absorb more than we realize. This is a reminder to myself as well as you, to not get so wrapped up in the news. Take some time and catch up, but try not to have the news on all the time. I learned this the hard way when my 5 year old heard me turn on the news, promptly covered her ears and went “blah blah blah Mom you’re always listening to that!” Needless to say I realized I had been too absorbed in all the goings on and decided to turn it down and just chat with her as I made dinner.
How have your summer plans changed? Do you have any ideas you’d like to share with us?
Thanks for reading!