Ahh, summer vacation. Longer days. Change from the regular routine. No school, no homework, vacations and day trips. A slower season with time to make slower food, have longer conversations, and learn together .
Now school starts in a week, and we figured out the pitfalls and benefits of this vacation thing. Here’s a few things we love that seem to benefit both our brains and bodies.
Big Breakfast: I love breakfast, and it’s a great meal for teaching kids kitchen skills. French toast, scrambled eggs, omelets, and home-made granola are some of our favorites. I love the slower mornings because the kids can make it, we had time to deal with the inevitable messes, and we can sit down together and enjoy their creations.
Remember the adage “breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper”? Summer is the season to do it! This is also the time of day we worked on Scripture reading and memory. The kids’ minds were fresh, we post the verse of the week above the table for everyone to say together, and the big kids and I take turns reading our Psalm of the day then singing our hymn of the day during cleanup. It’s been a great way to start each day, and something I want to maintain even in the school morning crazies.
Scheduled Snacks: Along with the looser schedule can come boredom munchies. The downside of an open kitchen floor plan is that kids are constantly in view of the kitchen and food, which lends itself to mindless eating. As much as I naturally love grazing throughout the day, it can lead to tooth decay, poor food choices, and weight gain. We had an afternoon snack at three-ish, along with our three solid meals. This was their schedule during the school year, so I knew they didn’t have to be eating all day. If kids asked in between meals they could always grab a drink of water or a banana and wait an hour or so until the next time we sit down to eat together. This saved so much time on snack prep and cleanup, as well as helping them develop a healthy appetite for meal time.
Pre-prepped fruits and veggies: Every time I chop carrots, celery, cucumbers, or peppers I have a cutting board and knife to wash, dry, and put away. If I pre-chop these veggies and store them in glass-lock containers it is easy to pull them out for lunch or snacks and serve along nut butter, hummus, or dip. If I have to do the extra washing (can you tell I don’t like doing dishes?!) I’m more likely to pull out crackers than veggies. I also love having them pre-cut to add to my daily salad.
And I finally figured out a new way to cut a watermelon that works well for those with little mouths or no front teeth! I slice it lengthwise in half, then cross-section into sticks rather than wedges. I usually just chop the rest into cubes and store them into the fridge for snacks or watermelon icees later.
Leftover lunches: No packing school lunches! I love the ease of serving a few dinner leftovers for lunch. Or mixing it up for “choose your own adventure” lunches in which they pick which leftovers they wanted to eat.
One last week of summer to savor- enjoy!