Summer Fun = Financial Crisis?

Summertime and the feeling is...BROKE!

Wait...isn't it supposed to be "EASY"? Well, that depends.

The things that my husband and I love about summer are the same as many parents we know: we don't have to pack hundreds of lunches or drag cranky kids out of bed. We don't have to carpool to three different schools and we get a break from homework, projects and activities. Hallelujah!

But that's not all we love about summertime. We love that the kids play outside in the neighborhood ALL DAY. We love regular bike rides to Juice it Up for Congo Lime smoothies, walks to Hill Top Park with our doggy, visits to the Ladera Ranch Library for more reading material, beach days and pool days and sprinklers-on-the-lawn days. We love picnics and play-dates and barbecues - CONNECTING with each other. Those are the highlights of summer.

In the last few weeks, we've been inundated with fliers and emails about summer camps, enrichment classes, amusement park discounts and activities galore...all of the possible options to fill our summer to the brim. But we don't want to go into debt to "entertain" our children as though they're relatives visiting from out of state. We've scheduled a few things but we can't do it ALL. Even if we could afford a trip to every local amusement park, luxury movie theaters, trampoline centers and water parks, on top of surf, cheer and tennis camps...even if we could, we wouldn't.

If we schedule away the peaceful, easy months of summer, we'll miss out in the fun of being spontaneous, which is sorely undervalued in our busy culture. I don't know about you, but we want the freedom to enjoy a day trip just because, or say yes when the kids come up with a great plan. We also want our kids to find value in creating their own fun, like cardboard forts, neighborhood obstacle courses and fresh-squeezed lemonade stands. And nothing beats a Netflix-family-movie-night with real buttered popcorn, or lazy, lounging mornings with absolutely nothing on the agenda. If we overbook our summer, we will miss every bit of it.

So as you sift through the options, resist the urge to fill every free moment. As a family, decide on the definite musts. Make sure you take advantage of your non-scheduled time, don't forget the local, low-cost options, and enjoy a peaceful, family-bonding, fun-filled summer. Who knows, with the money you save, maybe you can start planning a family vacation for winter break. It'll be here before you know it!


Holly and Jenn


  1. So we made a summer bucket stuff to do close by. Some simple and some more detailed. Ice cream at the new Sprinkles to Catalina, playing basketball on the court in Laguna Beach to visit a college campus. We hung our list on the refrig and off we go:)

  2. That's a great list! Enjoy it! And thanks for stopping by.

  3. I was just in my mode of printing out the three month schedule to fill in with activities. Thank you for the reminder to breathe a little easier and make time to stop and connect.

  4. We all need reminders and it makes such a difference when you can get everyone's buy off. We had a conversation with the kids about what our 12-week summer will look like and for the most part, they got it. I'm sure we'll need reminders as we go along. Enjoy it!

  5. This is wonderful, Jenn! I agree 100%! We've been working on our summer bucket list as a family and I was so encouraged when the first thing my 7-year-old son came up with was - "all of us go under the bucket [at the Ladera Ranch water park] together!" He gets it! Fun, spontaneous, memory-making, and FREE! One of our favorite summer traditions is "Fun Fridays at the Park". We pack sandwiches or leftovers and take them to the park for dinner every Friday night to meet up with friends. We pick a different park each week. We've got an open invitation to anyone who wants to join us!

  6. That's awesome Molly! We might see you on a Friday night. LOVE it and thanks for reading the blog. Have a great summer!

  7. I'm bringing my family to your house for the summer...

  8. Carla---we'd love you to come visit! Happy Summer!