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Whether your kids just got out of school or they’ve been on break for a month now, summer just officially started this past weekend and it is time to start enjoying it! I’m trying to take this summer slower, have more fun, relax, say yes more to the boys, smile and laugh a whole lot, and ENJOY life.

As the summer kicked off, I made a list of things that make summer more fun for me and I’m incorporating all of them in to our every day. This recipe for summer fun is totally working for me, so I had to share! I would love to hear your ideas for each ingredient in the comments!

Ingredients for Summer Fun

Five Ingredients for Summer Fun

Great music

Yep, we are the family who pulls into Costco in our minivan with Star Wars stickers on the back with the bass thumping to some TobyMac. We are all singing along and dancing in our seats and I just love everything about this time. We are in the car a lot going to play dates and the zoo and the pool, so fun tunes make the ride not just bearable, but totally awesome! And if we’re stuck at home, great music really does make for a happy household! Our favorite tunes this summer include TobyMac’s Eye On It, Newsboys’ Restart, Ellie Holcomb’s As Sure as the Sun, Slugs and Bugs Sing the Bible, and “Happy” by Pharrell.

Summer smells

Meat cooking on the grill. Sunscreen at the pool and aloe vera afterwards. The smoke from the fire pit in our backyard. Freshly mown grass. Summer rain. Anything and everything citrus. Each season has its own distinct smells and summer is capturing me with them right now. I love adding to the summer smells by diffusing citrus essential oils in our home! Not only do they smell great, but they put me in a great mood, as well!

Summer Tennis Drink

Fresh air

I will freely admit that I prefer the cool air of fall to the hot weather of summer, but fresh air and sunshine make any day better. The kids and I have been intentionally planning at least 60 minutes of outside time every day and it really changes things. I have to put down my to-do list. We notice the big and little things God has given us in His creation. We try new things, get exercise, fill up on vitamin D, and we are all the better for it! Some days, our 60 minutes is met with our time at tennis lessons, but other days we run through the sprinklers or go to the zoo or paint with water on the hot driveway. It doesn’t matter what we’re doing – it just matters that we are breathing in fresh air! And anything involving swimming or water makes it even better!

Summer Camp

Bucket lists

Summer bucket lists are SO much fun for the whole family. Mine looks totally different from the ones the boys made, but we all enjoy reading what each person wants to do over the summer. And it is great fun to help someone get an item checked off his or her list! The boys and I have both checked off riding the skyfari at our local zoo. Big J can now check off church camp. I just checked off writing another magazine article. Goals are good, and while bucket lists aren’t “goal” lists in particular, they do function as a motivator in the same way – just for really fun things! A tennis date with The Hubby, making homemade ice cream, and driving a jet-ski are high on my list next!

Summer Fresh Air

Loosely-held expectations

I ended with this because this is hardest, yet most important, one for me. I have grand ideas for our family and our summer. They aren’t all going to happen. And I need to be okay with that. Even in the day-to-day, I can see God asking me to let go of my plans for the day and leave room for Him to move. My high expectations and the frustration that comes when they aren’t met are usually projected onto my husband and children  – and they never did anything wrong. God spoke to me at the beginning of the summer about going with His flow and embracing grace for myself and my family. Low expectations doesn’t mean I don’t still have lots of fun plans for the summer. I’m just holding on to them more loosely and looking to Him for a better way when things don’t go my way.

The kids are doing tennis and swim lessons and we have a few vacations planned, but overall, this right here is what summer is all about for us: fun and family and grace!

What ingredients would you add to this list for summer fun?