Monday, July 10, 2017

Backyard fun in the Summer

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It's July. The weather is hot and we've hit the midpoint of summer. We're getting used to a slightly different routine. Or maybe we're getting used to not really having a routine since every week is different camps and different combinations of kids at home. I've actually only had two kids at a time for the last month! That's weird in some ways and nice in others. I like seeing the interactions they have with each other when there's only two. Plus their reunions are pretty sweet.

We don't have a vacation scheduled this summer. The kids get their camps and they each have a week at Camp Grandma and Grandpa. Otherwise, we're sticking close to home and enjoying our new house. One of my most favorite things here is the backyard. I've always wanted a fun backyard for the kids to play in. Even though we're renting and recognize that this one isn't permanent, we've still found some fun ways to liven it up.

First of all, my Mother's Day present was something I've always wanted to have. Ken got me a fire pit! We like sitting around it in the evenings. We've roasted marshmallows plenty of times and Frances is learning to whittle. The smoke keeps most of the bugs away too.

Next came Memorial Day and we realized that our grill hadn't survived the move. It had been on it's last legs before we moved, but the line to the gas tank just wasn't functioning properly and we decided that we probably didn't want to blow up our new home. Off to Lowe's we went to get a new grill. This one is pretty great because it has infrared heat. I'm not really sure how that works, but I know it makes the meat really moist. Also, I don't have to cook when Ken grills, so I love it even more!
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Obviously, the backyard is not just for Ken and me. The kids want to have some fun out there too. I purchased an extra laundry basket which is just perfect for holding all the outdoor toys we have like frisbees, water guns, hula hoops, balls, etc. The hamper is easy enough to carry outside when we need to and small enough to fit in the corner by the backdoor when we don't need it around.

Last year I bought the kids a slip and slide. The boys loved it (Frances is a little nervous around it), but we didn't take good care of it and it didn't make it past the end of summer. This year I found a similar one and decided it was worth the money to try again. I decided that if it lasted past the summer that was great, but if not, it was still worth $10 of fun per month. So far we've taken really good care of it by airing it out after each use. We did use it on a hill once and discovered that wasn't a very good idea, but we found some water proof tape to fix it with and it's been fine since.

My big splurge for the backyard was our swing. There's just no way to look at this big beautiful tree in our backyard without imagining a swing there. It has the perfect branch in the perfect location, so I set out to find the perfect swing. The one we got holds 600 pounds. I don't imagine we'll ever have that much weight on it, but I didn't want to have to police it constantly and tell kids to get off. It will hold 3-4 kids easily, but you can't really fit more than that on it, so it self-regulates in that way. I got a strap for it that is weighted for 1000 pounds, so once again it's completely safe for however many kids want to climb on.

If you can't tell, we really love our new backyard. It's a great place to hang out, play, read a book, or swing for a little while. In the past when we haven't had such a great backyard, we did some of these things in the front yard because that's the space we had. If you don't have a yard at all, hopefully you can find a fun space to hang out somewhere in your community.

And if you need some other ideas for hot summer fun, check these out!

Check our Karen's Spicy Broccoli Slaw and Chicken Salad at Baking in a Tornado

Lydia from Cluttered Genius shares her great idea for using what you have on hand to decorate

Kia from Think in English has some great ideas for keeping your ESL classes laughing and learning

A Clay Pot Lighthouse from Spatulas on Parade

Packing tips for your next Caribbean cruise from Eileen's Perpetually Busy

Southern Belle Charm's Red White and Blue Wreath


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