Summer Guidelines And Theme Days 2017

Every summer I attempt to find the elusive balance to my days.  This summer is no different. It continues to be an ongoing attempt.  Today, I thought I’d share our summer guidelines and theme days for 2017.

As I searched for summer guidelines for my boys, I focused on articles geared to teens because that pretty much describes them now (okay, one’s 12 but close enough…especially with the attitude, yikes!).  Most of my inspiration for the summer guidelines came from this article over on the Alpha Mom website: Summer House Rules For The Teens.

I’m calling mine guidelines because I was frankly too lazy to make that many rules and if I call them guidelines I can give myself a bit more flexibility and not feel like I’m policing my kids all summer.  Plus (cliché warning) since rules were meant to broken, calling them summer guidelines might give us better chances at success.   summer guidelines

Our Summer Guidelines 2017

The most important one for me focuses on bedtime.  It seems strange giving teens and almost teens summer bedtime but letting them stay up until all hours just wasn’t working especially when my husband and I do work.  Well, okay I only work sometimes but still…

Bedtime Hours Monday-Through Thursday:  Midnight!  All gaming and television screens need to be shut down.

Friday-Sunday:  No limits although I’ll probably get up and yell if they are keeping me awake and it’s after 3a.m.

*I’m not designating wake up times since they get up earlier if they go to bed at decent times.  By earlier, I mean 10:30 or 11:00 which is okay with me.  I can even handle noon but that waiting around until 2:00 for a kid to get out of bed didn’t work so well for me last summer.

Household Help:  This starts today so wish me luck!  Everyone will be assigned one room (kitchen, living room, bathrooms) for the week.  They are responsible for keeping it presentable by cleaning it for 5-10 minutes each day. Bedrooms should get 15 minutes of attention (cleaning) each day or an hour at the end of each week.

Outside Time: Spend some time outside every single day.  I’m not setting any limits here just as long as they get some exposure to sunlight.  J is usually more than wiling to water the garden for me and G often walks places with his friends.

Outings:  Since my kids are homebodies, I need this one.  We will go on one outing every week not counting library day.

Do you have summer guidelines or rules for your kids?  I want to give my boys freedom and yet I’ve quickly realized they need a few limits with that freedom (as do I).


I was also pleasantly surprised to find out J still wanted to do our summer theme days!  Again, we’ll have to be flexible as I’ll be working some but here are our summer theme days for 2017:

Sunday: Lazy Days

Monday: Science Days (Focus on Physics, help me! and Chemistry)

Tuesday: Library Day

Wednesday: Outing Day

Thursday: Cooking Day

Friday: Game Day (games we can all play)

My plan is to once again review our theme days of the week on Tuesdays.  It may not happen every Tuesday as my word for summer, I suppose is flexibility.  Do you have any guidelines or theme days for your summer planned yet?


Happy Homemaker Monday, First Full Week of June

Getting a bit of a late start this morning but it’s still earlier than most of last week.  It’s time to try to return myself (and maybe the kids) to a bit of routine.

The boys are still sleeping but I actually set my alarm (ugh, yes, in the summer) for 7:00a.m. this morning.  And then, I slept until 8:30a.m.   Still, I am up earlier than last week plus I’ve showered and eaten breakfast.

Of course, a steady part of my routine whether it is the school year or the summer is joining in the Happy Homemaker Monday link-up hosted by Sandra over at Diary of a Stay At Home Mom.

The Weather

It rained just enough yesterday to interfere with my lawn mowing plans but I think this week is supposed to be more summer like with less rain. Highs in the low 90s today and mid 80s the rest of the week and sunny.  Hello, summer!

On My Reading Pile

In addition to the overdue library books?  I read 2 books over the weekend.  I read The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood (by the way, it’s free to read if you have Amazon prime) in one night.  Despite being a bit flowery with the descriptions at times, overall it was a great read in that it certainly was a disturbing view of the future that made one think. It bothered me a bit more than other dystopian novels I’ve read simply for the reason the idea of the government coup seemed so possible.

Secondly,I picked up G’s copy of Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.  I had never read it before so didn’t realize how similar and yet different the two novels would be.  Somehow, I’m kind of glad G didn’t bother to read it this past school year.  I did think Huxley’s novel contained a bit more substance and ideas to think on in a philosophical sense than Atwood’s novel.   I’ll probably read Brave New World Revisited later this week as the copy I read contains it as well.

Movies Or Television Shows I Watched This Weekend

I spent most my time reading this weekend.  Early last week, we did watch Doctor Strange as a family.  Nothing like picking up a movie at Red-box and having Netflix e-mail you it’s available for streaming the next day.  Still, a great movie that I’ll probably watch again.

On My TV

I’m not sure.  I did catch Still Star Crossed last week and enjoyed it.  If I can figure out when that airs again, I’ll probably watch it.


Summer menus are hard for me to plan and part of the reason I need to get us into some sort of summer routine.

MONDAY:  Pork chops, potatoes

TUESDAY: Chicken of some sort (maybe chicken strips? maybe grilled chicken?), corn on the cob

WEDNESDAY: Ham steaks, mac and cheese, salad (carry over x2 now)

THURSDAY:  On their own *I work 9:30 til 6* *Mom’s Night Out*

FRIDAY:  Spaghetti

To Do List

  1. Cat to vet (and buy flea medicine).  Tried to do this last week or week before but to busy
  2. Mow front lawn
  3. Target run
  4. Grocery store
  5. Library (didn’t go last week)
  6. Take G to take ACT on Saturday morning
  7. Plant flowers in front yard (working on phase 2 of my landscaping project)
  8. Work on blog posts (my idea is to do this in the mornings while the boys are still sleeping)
  9. Have G put his trip pictures on computer so I can share a few on Facebook (already talked to him about this one)
  10. Take G driving, do something outside with J
  11. Usual stuff: clean house, bills, laundry


Started working on phase 2 of my garden areas last week.  Still need to plant some flowers and apparently buy more pea gravel.  One bag wasn’t enough for my vision (apparently all that math and measuring stuff is real, so annoying).

Looking Around The House

Same as last week except now it would take at least 2 days to deep clean it!

From The Camera

I love the neighbor’s overgrown hydrangea!

What I’m Wearing Today

Blue tee-shirt with geometric flower design, navy blue shorts, tennis shoes

Simple Pleasure


Quote For The Week

This above all: to thine own self be true,  (William Shakespeare)

Between watching Star Crossed last week (the plot line of the story is basically what happens after the deaths of Romeo and Juliet) and reading Brave New World (if you’ve read it, you understand), I may have to find a Shakespeare play to attempt to read this week.  I’ve already read the required Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, and Othello way back in school.  Any suggestions?


Birds Of The Neighborhood, Part 2

Last Sunday morning, I awoke to the call of “pretty bird, pretty bird, pretty bird!”  At least that’s what it sounded like to me as the local cardinal sang.  It seemed very loud but then, my morning person husband had left the back door open.

This fellow usually hangs out quite high in the trees making a photo of him let alone a decent photo of him with my current camera just about impossible.  I got lucky though!  Most my attempted shots look more like this:  He really is a pretty bird though isn’t he?  While sometimes, I’ll spot him & his lady friend in the front yard, they mostly stick to the backyard.  I did capture (on film) another neighborhood couple in the front yard though:  These doves nest in a nearby yard.

I also spotted the following camera elusive birds (well, not the grackles or robins) in or near or front yard this week:

  • The tiny titmouse family making lots of noise to steer away a nosy grackle.
  • More grackles including a family teaching their younger bird and feeding it.  (I can’t decide if my grackles are neighborhood guardians or a neighborhood gang)
  • The robin debating a nest in our maple tree
  • A flash of something small and yellow which may have been a goldfinch
  • A Chimney swift finally flowing low enough for me to use my bird app and id it
  • A turkey vulture soaring high and making shadows on the ground
  • A couple of pigeons (not on our street) as I was driving home from work one day

They aren’t always in our backyard and usually much like the singing cardinal, they like to hang out high in our trees but earlier this week I heard their somewhat (to me) bizarre and prehistoric sounding calls.  Since they were low enough in the trees, I grabbed my camera.

The woodpeckers were working hard on this day!

First I spotted a pair of downy woodpeckers, who were not in the mood to be chased by the people paparazzi so these blurry blobs were the best I could get of them: The red-bellied woodpecker proved to be a bit more of a cooperative subject:   Finally, this Northern flicker was the most cooperative bird of all. I used to see these woodpeckers a bit more often after rainy days but haven’t in some time: birds

Also spotted in our backyard but not photographed:

  • An English sparrow chattering at me before flying off to a different backyard
  • A nuthatch happily hanging out in a tree without a titmouse family chasing him
  • The pesky bluejay who simply refuses to be captured on camera
  • The robins and grackles who run the neighborhood

Once again, I’m joining in with the weekly link-up over at I’d Rather B Birdin’ and since I missed Five on Friday yesterday, I’m letting this post do double duty and joining in that link-up hosted by the F.A.S.T. blog as well.

What birds did you notice this week?

Happy Homemaker Monday, Memorial Day

It’s Memorial Day here so a holiday but my husband is off working this morning because the weather didn’t cooperate this weekend.  G is on his way home from a week-long band trip. I can’t wait to see him later this afternoon! And J is still sleeping away.   Garden flag hanging in honor of the holiday.

Decided I better use some of my quiet time to get this planning post written. As usual, I’m joining in the link hosted by Sandra over at Diary Of A Stay At Home Mom.

The Weather This Week

After storms with yet more rain on Saturday, yesterday was a beautiful sunny and not too hot day.  Today is supposed to be another one of those with a high near 80 degrees.  Looks like highs in the 80s all week-long with a chance of more storms tomorrow and Saturday.

On My Reading Pile

I hadn’t read anything all week so over the weekend, I picked up my other James Rollins’ library book, War Hawk, and read that in just 3 short days.  It took a minute to get into the novel but once I did, I read pretty much nonstop.  It focused on high-tech weaponizing of drones and using misinformation as warfare, pretty timely and scary stuff really.  I really liked the main characters, Wayne Tucker and his dog, Kane, a pair from another novel of Rollins.

My books are all due back tomorrow so I’m not sure I’ll finish my 3rd book, a biography by former fist lady, Laura Bush.

Movies Or Television Shows I Watched This Weekend

Movies: J watched The Secret Life of Pets with me on Friday.  He’d already seen it at school (a year-end reward thing or something) but knew I’d enjoy it.  It was cute.  I also watched Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them and enjoyed it as well though I found it a bit long.

TV Shows: Not much.  I started watching That 70s Show on Netflix, forgot how raunchy that one could be but it doesn’t require a lot of concentration and makes me laugh.  Just not one to watch with the kiddos! Also, watched 15 minutes of The Bacherlorette last night and was done.  Just couldn’t do it.  Switched over and found a rerun of The X-Files on a random station.

On My TV:

The Flash is done for the season and the weather is supposed to be mostly beautiful, so hopefully, I’ll be outside doing stuff or reading my book on the porch as opposed to watching TV. Probably just Netflix if I do watch something.


I’m not sure how we got so far off eating dinner last week but I need to get us (me) back into a routine in a serious way this week.  And I think I was going for a record in the how much unhealthy junk can I eat department, yikes!

Somehow, despite our odd eating times, I did manage to make 4 of the 5 dinners planned so there is that I suppose.

MONDAY:  Not sure, maybe OUT as G gets back right at dinner time and we haven’t talked about if we are all going to greet him at the airport or just one of us.

TUESDAY: Ribs in the Crock pot, corn, salad

WEDNESDAY: Fish, baked potatoes, salad (either frozen shrimp or chicken for J & G)

THURSDAY:  Ham steaks & potatoes (carry over from last week)

FRIDAY:  I work either part or all day, someone (that would be me) didn’t do a good job of updating my calendar, so probably OUT or frozen pizza.  Whatever is easy.

To-Do List

  1. Still Need A Summer Plan For My Sanity
  2. Fight With Husband Over Vacation Plans..Finalize Vacation Plans
  3. Clean Out Fridge And Get Some Healthier Snacks Ready To Go
  4. Check In On Friend Having Surgery Tomorrow, Take Her Meal
  5. Usual Trio: Clean House, Pay Any Bills (might be caught up), And Laundry
  6. Books Back To Library, Bribe Get Kids To Sign Up For Summer Reading (They’ve Added Adult Summer Reading as well!)


All the rain has sort of dampened my gardening efforts but I’m still slowly making my plans for what to add to our front garden areas.  Might keep myself busy with some of that today.

Looking Around The House

It’s not awful but I could use a solid day to deep clean it.

From The Camera  

I always feel like some bunny’s watching me…

(sorry couldn’t resist the cheesy caption on the photos! Bonus points if you sang it though)  )

What I’m Wearing Today

Still in my PJ’s but I’m going to change into a red tee-shirt with a patriotic flower design & shorts after I shower

Simple Pleasure

Having all of us here at home.  Love being on the go but I also love when we are all here together even if we are doing our own things.

Quote For The Week

There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.

Quote from Morpheus in the movie, The Matrix.  Currently hanging my head in shame as I had to look up the source of this quote and was surprised to find it came from one of my all time favorite movies.

Interestingly, a picture of a tree with this quote hangs just inside the doors of one of the classrooms where I work.  I’ve always been drawn to the picture and its words.  They are true.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I feel a movie marathon coming on…

Birds Of The Neighborhood, Part 1

Since I love watching birds, I’ve decided join in the weekly link up over at I’d Rather B Birdin’ Please, let me introduce some of the birds who call our neighborhood home.

Birds of a feather:

I’ve noticed our local bird gang of Grackles tends to be more active during the rainy weeks.  I think this is their leader:

While Grackles are never going to win any bird contests for looks or singing, they are interesting ones to watch.

I guess they aren’t all bad as they do try to do their part in cleaning out the neighbor’s much neglected gutters: However, I don’t see their car washing venture taking off any time soon.

Rocking Robins

Probably a bit more popular than the gang of Grackles are our resident robins.  They sing a softer tune and tend to hang out in numbers low enough to not give a person nightmares.

Thanks in part to a much welcome blaring sun, we had to identify this young robin spotted on our Thursday walk by listening to the songs on the bird id app on my phone:

I startled this bold little robin coming around the side of the house one day and it ruffled it’s feathers right back at me.  Not put off by me or our little gray cat, he likes to frequent the front yard areas of our neighborhood: Who says only the early bird gets the worm? Pretty sure I took this photo later in the afternoon:

Our robins also like to perch on rooftops:

Of course, they also seem to be busy birds!

Other Birds I Spotted This Week But Missed Capturing With The Camera

Spotted in and around the front yard, while sitting on the porch with my mighty protector:

  • a redheaded woodpecker, gone by the time I returned with the camera
  • a pair of titmouse birds (do they have nest nearby perhaps?) chasing off a little nuthatch
  • a couple bluejay taunting me but refusing to cooperate for any decent photos by remaining very high in the treetops
  • a dove gathering nesting supplies
  • a cardinal flitting about in the woody area at the end of the street as well as perched on the power lines
  • a mother crow taking off with her flock (one large crow and several smaller crows)
  • several little swallows too far away and high in the sky for me to properly id them

In the Backyard:

  • the Carolina wren who has been a bit too quiet lately, a relief to spot him!
  • sparrows though not too many
  • another pair of cardinals
  • probably the same blue jays

*I also spotted a hawk of some sort swooping in the wooded area as we were taking our evening walk on Thursday and also saw the resident geese of the pond at the end of the street.

Hopefully, I can capture (with the camera!) a few of the birds listed above at some point this week.

What kinds of birds call your neighborhood home?

If you love watching the birds like I do, click the button below and go visit Anni’s blog for some amazing bird photos!

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