Every year I have the grandest of plans for the summer months.  I’m going to clean my house from top to bottom, read every book on the NYT bestseller list, update my gardens so that they rival those at Versailles, and workout like a fiend (or someone who enjoys working out) every day and return to school in the fall drop-dead-gorgeous.

Then I had a kid and my list expanded to include lots of fun, educational things that would guarantee Miss O would start kindergarten reading Tolstoy.

Then I discovered Pinterest and I don’t have to tell you about that.  Now, not only am I expecting to clean my house from top to bottom (with a 3-year-old in it), I have to do it with cleaner I make myself from vinegar and essence of butterfly milk, or whatever.  And even though the aforementioned 3-year-old is perfectly happy spreading dandelion seeds around the yard, I must provide multiple educational activities that involve baking soda and vinegar, and document the whole process in pictures I later arrange in a collage.

Oh, the things I can do!  My Pinterest board actually includes these things:

bike wash Create-a-light-up-cave-of-wonders-265x350 table

Seriously.  Feel free to roll your eyes or flip off the screen.

Not that there’s anything wrong with these projects.  They’re very cool – that’s why I pinned them!  They’re just…

Never. Going.  To happen.

You can see my whole board here.  It’s not all like that – I do have some things on there I might actually do.

But let’s face it.  I am not going to make my own scavenger hunt so that Miss O can drag a bunch of random crap to someplace they don’t belong, and I can put them away.

I’m not going to spend hours making a quiet book that she will spend 5 minutes playing with.

I am not going to do anything that involves PVC pipe and a hose.  Period.

I’ve written previously about the play area we’re making in our side yard.  That’s work I’m happy to do because she will enjoy it for years and we can easily add or remove things as she grows up.  The ratio of time (and money) spent to time spent playing is reasonable to me.  And really, that’s what it’s all about.

Reasonable is different for everyone, and can change as the situation changes.  Who knows?  Someday I may find myself assembling a pool noodle structure that I would scoff at today.  Summer does some crazy things to people.  Last year I had a list of crafts and projects a mile  long.  Some were successful, like sidewalk chalk paint, some not so much, like exploding chalk bags (they totally worked, but Miss O couldn’t have cared less).

However, this year I’m taking a new approach to summer.  It’s called “The Ahhhhhhh Approach.”  I’m going to enjoy summer.  Don’t get me wrong.  I still need to get stuff done.  But I’m not going to make myself crazy.

So here’s my list.  Here’s my plan for my Ahhhhhhh summer.

1. Clean my room.  It’s the messiest room in the house and I’m sick of it.
2. Make Miss O help more.  She helps, but it’s not a regular thing and it should be.
3. Try 1 new recipe a week.  My recipes are getting stale.  If I add 1 new recipe per week over the summer, I’ll have 9 new ones for when school starts again.
4. Get rid of excess stuff.  Clear out my closet of stuff I’m never going to wear.  Sell the dog crate we’re never going to use.

Family Time
1. Go places.  There are lots of cool places that are driveable for a day trip and now Miss O is old enough to enjoy them.
2. Try 3 new, locally owned restaurants.  No chains.
3. Go out without Miss O at least once a month.  I love my daughter.  But sometimes I feel like I’ve forgotten how to be a wife.
4. Use the play area.  A lot.  We’re foregoing a membership to the town beach this year so we can use what we’ve got.

1. Do 1 craft a week.  It doesn’t have to be fancy or even planned, but I love seeing Miss O’s mind be creative.
2. Pin things that I might actually do.
3. Read.  Is there anything that spurs creativity more than a good book?
4. Do something with my photos.  Every July I make a Shutterfly photo album for our anniversary, and it’s great, but if anyone looked around our house they’d think Miss O was still an infant.

1. Go to 2 networking events a week.  I can’t do this during the year, so when summer comes, it is on!
2. Learn Hoot Suite.  For something that’s supposed to make my life easier, it’s pretty frickin’ complicated
3. Blog.
4. Let school go until August.  Teachers don’t take time off.  Even when we’re away from school, we’re still thinking about it, planning for it, reflecting on it.  After a challenging year I need to give my self some time off.

So that’s my list.  And quite frankly, I may still be over shooting, but it’s a lot more realistic than years past.  What’s on your list for an enjoyable summer?