Simple Summer Bucket List

 

With so much happening in May, the end of preschool and the beginning of homeschool for our family, this summer seems like a great time to slow down and focus on simplicity, enjoying life right now just as it is. I asked our oldest son to help me put together a summer bucket lis focused on the simple things he loves to do!

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SIMPLE SUMMER BUCKET LIST:
+ Play at the pool with friends
+ Stay up late and look at the moon and stars with our telescope
+ Lay on a blanket outside at night and look at the stars
+ Chase fireflies in the backyard
+ Make homemade strawberry ice cream
+ Go to the beach!
+ Run through the octopus sprinkler with friends (ours was a gift, but this looks neat!)
+ Pick blackberries and make jam
+ Finish our Summer Brain Quest book and start the next one!
+ Go on our annual family reunion in North Georgia (the waterslide is a favorite!)
+ Start a bi-weekly dinner club with some local friends + their little ones

We will add to it as we go if we think of other things as well. What is on your summer bucket list??

 

Cooper Creek WMA

 

One of our favorite quick weekend getaways with our kids is the Cooper Creek Wildlife Management Area in north Georgia! The river is easily accessible from the road or campsites, so it’s a fun place whether you are just up for the day or if you are camping! We will often drive up and take a picnic lunch, then just set up for the day next to the river to let the boys play, fish and explore. I also really enjoy cooking breakfast at the campsite and sitting by the fire with a cup of coffee. Sometimes it’s the littlest things that make us the happiest!

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Most recently we went up to camp and although all the sites were full, we were able to find a spot on the side of the road that worked just fine. We spent the day in the river building fairy houses, splashing around and doing a little fishing. The Department of Natural Resources stocks the creek with trout, so the likelihood of catching something is higher here, especially after a stock happens!

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Camping with the boys is one of my favorite activities. While it can sometimes be stressful with tiny ones, pushing through and going anyway has always been so rewarding. (Tips on camping with babes, toddlers and kids coming soon!) We started camping with Elliot around the six month mark and Isaac when he was just a few weeks old! It is worth every back packed, every car ride song, every hour of missed sleep to see them love and explore nature, to hear the things they say around the campfire, and to get some really great snuggles at night. We are already looking forward to all our fall trips, including one to Grayson Highlands in Virginia!

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Friday Favorites: Simple Swaps for a Green Home

 

Simplifying our cleaning products and routine can feel like an overwhelming task, so here are a few simple swaps that you can make today to ditch and switch!

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+ Wool dryer balls:
I used to be a devout dryer sheet gal! I love for our clothes and sheets to smell good, but I found a better way! You can ditch the toxic dryer sheets and switch to sustainably sourced wool dryer balls + essential oils for scent! This is a super simple and inexpensive switch that will impact your health and the plant and make your laundry smell so good! We love peppermint or eucalyptus oil for adding yummy smells!

+ Foaming hand soap (DIY or DI-Buy) and glass dispensers:
Instead of purchasing single use hand soaps, opt for a reusable container and either make your own or use our favorite foaming hand soap (gentle on the skin yet kills all the ick!).

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+ One all-purpose plant-based house cleaner:
Our favorite cleaner is the Thieves cleaner! Because it cleans our ENTIRE home, it has replaced all the cleaners we used to have under the sink. Simplicity at its best! Thieves cleaner is safe for pets and little ones and is super cost effective - one capful makes a 16oz glass spray bottle. We use it in in a lot of simple DIYs - stain stick, stain pretreatment, mattress and upholstery spray, sink and tile scrub (find all of them here!). I like to keep a spray bottle made up in the kitchen and one in the bathroom so that even the five year old can clean up after himself!

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BONUS:
Grab an essential oil diffuser and our favorite essential oils to make your entire home smell like Anthropologie without the toxins from candles (EPA now says candle fumes are the new second hand smoke, so crazy!) I used to love scented candles and would wait anxiously for my favorites to go on sale each year. Now we diffuse some of our favorite blends, our home smells so good, and I can even leave the diffuser going when we’re gone and come home to a clean, purified and amazing smelling home!

 

Simplifying for the Summer

 
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This year our calendar was completely full the first two weeks of May - things to attend, gifts to prepare, family functions to organize. It was a beautifully sweet time, but it left us feeling a bit frazzled and solidified my desire to ensure that our life doesn’t maintain such a pace. As a family we want to make sure we are moving at a slower pace, enjoying the little things in life and not rushing through our days, and with homeschool and extracurriculars just around the corner, it seems important to emphasize this now. We want an ‘old fashioned’ childhood for our little ones - bare feet in the grass, leaf piles for jumping, summer days with sprinklers. So I put together a list of areas to really focus on simplifying over the summer.

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SIMPLE ACTIVITIES:

We want our kids to be excited about little things like leaf piles in the fall and sprinklers in the summer! Though that doesn’t mean that we won’t throw in a family beach trip!

+ Early summer camping - before it gets too hot! We love heading up to the Nantahala river and playing in the stream.
+ Backyard pool days - we have this pool sitting between our raised garden beds and recently thrifted a big slide to up the fun!
+ Family walks and bike rides on the local trails
+ Dinner on the back porch - Friday nights are family night, and during the colder months we build a fire and watch a movie. For the summer we’ve decided to take family night outdoors! I’m envisioning grilling, dinner on the patio, solar twinkle lights and kicking around the soccer ball.
+ Star gazing - One of our favorite things about our annual trip to Grayson Highlands is all the beautiful stars! We’re bringing the feel of the mountains to the backyard with later bedtimes, blankets on the hill and peeking through our thrifted telescope.

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SIMPLE RECIPES:

I want to focus on recipes with just a few ingredients and utilize all the wonderful summer produce from our garden and local CSA!
+ This simple strawberry crumble is a huge hit, easily comes together and is perfect for using all the summer berries (or peaches)! Our blackberry and blueberry bushes are full this year, so we will be trying this out with our backyard haul!
+ This lemon chicken salad is a staple in our house and is perfect for summer picnics! We love it with gluten-free crackers, homemade tapioca bread (recipe coming soon!) or with sliced avocado.
+ Canning our summer tomatoes (full post to come!)
+ Five ingredient salads - I will share these as we go!

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PHYSICALLY DECLUTTER + SIMPLIFY:

+ Playroom - I’m planning a major clean and purge for our playroom this summer! There is a local consignment sale in September, so toys will either be donated or saved for the sale.
+ Homeschool area - Since we are beginning kindergarten homeschool soon, I want to carve out a little space in our dining room for us to use. We have a sideboard in there that we’ll clean and tidy to have some space for organizing any school items.
+ Boys’ closets - At the end of every season I go through the boys’ clothes and donate or store any items that not longer fit. I also want to take inventory of what we have for the fall/winter to keep their wardrobes as simple as possible!

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I’d love for you to join me! I’ll also be sharing over on Instagram (with plenty behind the scenes in stories!), and I’d love for you to join me! Let’s focus on simple, chase slow and live the little things together!