Ice Cream Treats

I feel a little bit of pressure when June starts. After all, who doesn’t want to have the most magnificent summer ever? When my kids were little we had a “Summer Bucket List” and while I loved it, I felt anxiety to get it all done. Every time the kids pulled out an activity I’d hold my breath and hope it was something attainable for that day. (I’d often ask them to re-pick, and always hid the Canada’s Wonderland slip) If I’m not careful I get caught up with needing everything to be big and grand, but over the last couple of years I’ve been learning that there can be so much joy in the small moments.

So, my summer goals have changed. Now it’s all about embracing the things around me that make me happy. Here are some little ideas that can make your summer full of great memories:

Sunset Watch – I’ve gotten a little obsessed with sunsets in the past couple years and they are just SO DARN PRETTY! Usually every night around 9:30, I do a sunset check. I go out to the back deck and I sit and watch. If it’s extra-spectacular I text everyone to come out and watch with me. (they don’t usually come) Sunsets are like a big beautiful art gallery in the sky. (Note: Sunsets are free)

Outdoor Kitchen – A few weeks ago we got our deck ready for summer. With very little cost, I got some pretty lights to hang up, some potted plants to put around and planted my small vegetable garden. (I love rescuing shrivelling discount plants from the garden centre! I also find extreme joy in growing vegtables) Then, I started the most annoying proclamation ever, “Outside is the new kitchen.” My family finds it incredibly tiresome because I say this every night but I’ve decided unless it’s raining, grab your dinner plate and come eat outside. I’m sorry there are flies, but you’ll be ok. (Note: Eating outside is free)

Neighbourhood Walks – Besides the fact that I need exercise and it’s good for the soul, I’ve been loving the neighbourhood summer walks. I’m not a winter outdoors person at all. I’ll shamefully admit that I pretty much stay inside from Jan-March so this is the time of year when its just so good to be outside. Walk time is also good talk time. Grab a spouse, child, sibling, friend – whoever you can find and walk those summer neighbourhood streets. (Note: Walks are free)

Patio Goals – Last year I set some patio goals for the summer as I noticed a lot of people were living the exciting patio life. My husband and I have a pretty regular date night and those date nights in the summer now involve patios. Depending on where we go the cost can vary, our last two dates nights were selected based on summer menu’s that I noticed with choices under $10. There are tons of other places that I consider to be in the patio category that are very affordable. McDonald’s has the best iced coffee (ONLY A DOLLAR ALL SUMMER!!!), Tim Hortons, Starbucks, Wendys – all have good choices and have patios. If you’re going to go out, you might as well sit on a patio! (Note: At the right place our family can all have an ice cream patio treat for under $10)

Community Exploring –  Our little town is surrounded by vineyards, fruit trees, farms and wineries. I can buy a bunch of flowers off the side of the road for $5, there are fruit stands on charming country roads and I recently found a secret street that leads up the escarpment with the most stunning views of the Lake I’ve ever seen. About 15 minutes from our house is a beautiful marina and beach that goes great with a coffee, a carousel you can ride for 5 cents and benches to sit on and watch boats go by. No matter where you live, there are places you can explore that can be part of your summer traditions. (Note: Exploring is free)

Maybe you don’t have a big exciting summer vacation planned – that’s ok! Your summer can still be full of memories. Enlarge your circles, embrace your family and friends, and celebrate small moments with big enthusiasm.

Leave joy prints wherever summer brings you.

Make summer beautiful.