A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God.
Every summer for the last several years, I’ve organized a “summer initiative” for my kids. My kids look forward to these ideas every year (mostly because they involve fun treats). This year, I want to share my idea with you.
With my baby entering first grade in the fall, I know we should let go of a lot of toys this summer. We still have many toys in the “preschool” range—and the kids still play with them—but I doubt they’ll get much love after school starts. I decided to make sure these toys get a “one last play” before we pack them up (which, just like I wrote in the Toy Challenge post, will help me determine if we’re truly ready to get rid of them).
As I looked around for these toys, I realized that there are so many things around our house that we’re not enjoying like we could! Is this ringing a bell for you? That stuff clutters our spirits with “we should use that” thoughts. And “hey, we paid good money for that” thoughts. And “oh, we used to love that, what happened?” thoughts.
And so, in the fight against spiritual clutter, this year’s summer initiative was born.
Drumroll please… The Upton Family Summer Theme is…
Live It Up!
This summer, we’ll be Living It Up by enjoying the things we already have.
Here are some ways the Uptons are going to Live It Up this summer (and ideas for how your family can Live It Up as well):
- Play It Up: We’ll have “one last play” with the toys the kids are outgrowing, but we’ll also make sure that we’re playing with things that are gathering dust for other reasons. Games (board, card, and video) are big one for us—there are several we’ve only played once or twice, and I want to give them a fair chance before we toss them in the garage sale! What toys and games are gathering dust in your house?
- Eat It Up: I can’t be the only one with random items in the fridge and pantry, right? We’re going to eat that stuff up, perhaps as a part of the weirdest dinner ever. I’m also pulling out the restaurant gift cards and great coupons we need to use. And, I’m going to use some beloved kitchen appliances that have been a bit neglected: ice cream maker, bread maker, fondue pot, and Snoopy Snow Cone Machine. How can you enjoy your kitchen and be less wasteful this summer?
- Use It Up: We have so many things to use up! Craft supplies like finger paints and half-completed kits. Activity books with age-appropriate content. Random paper plates and plastic silverware from birthday parties long past. “Special” soaps and lotions. What random things need used up at your house?
- Read It Up: As with toys, we own many books that are no longer age-appropriate for my kids. As we sort, I’ll be challenging my kids to enjoy their “one last read” in unusual places, like outside on our hammock, in a sheet tent, and under the dining room table. My kids and I will be setting aside a quiet devotion time together for them to read through their children’s Bibles and books. We’ll also be sure to perusing scrapbooks and photo albums. I’m going to try to read a couple of unread books on my shelf, too! How can you encourage reading this summer?
- Watch It Up: We’ll be having one last viewing of some of our favorite preschool-oriented DVDs. We’ll be clearing out our DVR recordings. We’ll be watching home movies. We’ll also be unwrapping some movies that we’ve received as gifts and haven’t even watched yet! (What?) What do you want to “watch up” on a rainy afternoon?
- Trip It Up: Instead of taking a big family vacation, we’re taking some day trips to places I’ve had on my list for a while. We love zoos so much… so why have we never been to the Akron Zoo? I especially want to visit the Indianapolis children’s museum before my eldest starts rolling his eyes at the thought. Where are some local places you’d love to visit?
I wrote all of these things on notecards…
And then glued a clip to a picture frame to display them…
Each morning I’m clipping in some cards… or not. With the notecards, you can decide how many ideas a given day will allow!
Take the Challenge:
Live It Up this summer! You can make up your own notecards, or make a simple list to hang on your fridge and mark off as you go. You could even set a family reward for completing your Live It Up list before school starts again!
The real goal here is to be good and wise stewards… of our material goods, of the space in our homes, and of our time. God calls us to do that in His Word—and what a joy it is to take advantage of every blessing!
May you Live It Up this summer!
Help other moms organize their summer! Here’s a pin friendly image:
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