Ooooo, I actually do not like Summer as much as Spring, but I do love all the opportunities. We live in St. Louis, MO and are immensely fortunate to have so many awesome, fun, free things to do year round. In Summer, it multiplies tenfold. If you have never visited the Gateway City or have not visited in Summertime, let me explain a few things. St. Louis is hot and I mean HOT and I mean oh so humid (we have three rivers that meet here) and lately we do not get a hard winter freeze, so it is buggy too. St. Louisans though LOVE to be outdoors. No matter how hot, you will smell grills a blazing on every block, kids hollering in the middle of ball games or sprinklers, dogs barking, parties getting started. How do we do this despite terrible environmental factors? A simple strategy I will call "Ignore It."
Therefore, we have so many fun activities every Summer that I have a hard time getting them into our schedule. First of all, we have so many city and county parks that I have yet to visit them all, but I am on my way. Some even have fountains that actually encourage kids to jump in...awesome!! Tomorrow we are going to our first Summer event and I am so excited because it is the first and it will make my son say "Go, Go, Go!!!" (this is his generalized name for all vehicles...he has specific names too) over and over. We are going to an event called Meet the Machines that occurs only once in the Summer. Mr. B will get a chance to climb into large machines, dig for treasures, get a free and real hard hat, watch cranes, etc. Amazing stuff and my almost 2 year old will be beside himself. For a comparison, we went to the zoo with his best bud a few weeks ago and rode the train for the first time. Now all conversations about the zoo or going anywhere involve trains, per Mr. B. And, it is close to home and it is free!!! Life is good.
We've got our heat, our grills, our free activities, and smiling toddlers. Yep, that's my version of happiness.
I know it has been said before, but it is worth saying again. Check out your communities free activities. Thus far, our plans this Summer include picnic dinner with wine while watching free concert in the park, movies in the park (one in our very neighborhood and others all around town), evening concerts at Botanical Gardens with yet again a gourmet picnic dinner and pre-dinner play in the children's garden, all the parks with fountains, Science Center when we need to cool down, Children's time at the library, Hot Air Baloon Races, Festival of Nations, farmer's markets (ok they cost), local circus (costs a little too, but so much fun), mushroom hunting and blackberry picking (no special event just family fun and no I will not give away our hunting spot), the zoo, and the Wild Bird sanctuary. Pretty amazing and yes we are blessed and yes it helps this mostly SAHM afford summertime entertainment.
The Compromise: See above description of local weather, use of gas to transport, finding creative ways to pack vegetarian meals for a family so that we do not get bored.
The Sweet Reward: Free, frugal, fun in the fantastic outdoors...wow I hit the corny mark tonight.