Indoor Strategies For Outdoor Living

June 18, 2010 by Amy Clark

Last time I shared tips to help your family make outdoor living a priority. Now, let’s see how to plan ahead inside so you can enjoy your outdoor living to the fullest.

Revise your homemaking schedule with the weather. Check the forecast at the beginning of the week and try to format your schedule according to the weather.

If it’s sunny on Tuesday, use that day for outdoor errands and yard chores. If it’s raining on Thursday, make Thursday your day to clean the house. If it’s sunny all week long, then accomplish chores during your child’s naptime or after they head to bed.

By revising your homemaking schedule to fit the weather forecast, you can take advantage of as many beautiful days as you possibly can.

Be prepared for outdoor excursions. The past couple of years, I’ve learned to become more prepared for those unexpected outdoor adventures. On our door hangs a beach bag that’s ready for any fun outdoor getaway. It’s filled with sun block, bug spray, towels, bathing suits and a water bottle.

In our car, we have a collapsible bag filled with activities for the park. I try to keep containers of bubbles, a ball, a waterproof blanket (for sitting on wet ground), a Frisbee and a lawn chair. These toys come in handy when we take a trip to the park, and are invaluable when we visit friends who don’t have activities or toys to keep my kids occupied.

Make the evening routine easy. After a long day of playing outside, I bring the kids in and we start tackling baths. After the kids are bathed, they can have a small snack and watch a television show while I work on getting our dinner ready.

Happily, this usually leads to a little napping or general zoning out since they’re usually exhausted from playing outside. With this time, I tidy up and get an easy dinner together for us to enjoy outdoors. After that, the kids play outside until bedtime and I’m usually able to put them to bed earlier after all their outdoor fun.

My husband and I trade off doing chores and playing with the kids, so we can do what needs to get done. One of us does outdoor chores, like mowing the front lawn, while the other parent is playing with the kids in the back. But many of these chores are just done side by side with the kids while they play or help out.

Savor these summer moments and revise your schedule so you can enjoy every minute. Seek a little shade with them. Create with them. Hop in the kiddie pool with them. Indulge in homemade slushies (recipe below) and popcorn every single day and blame it on “the kids” and “staying hydrated.” This is the time to be selfish with them! Treasure them.

As my husband and I remind each other after the two hours we spend putting away the outdoor toys and cleaning up after dinner, “We’re making memories.”

How do you make outdoor living a priority in your family?

World’s Greatest Homemade Slushies
2 cups ice water
1 packet fruit-flavored drink mix (use your favorite flavor)
2/3 cup sugar
4 cups or 1 full tray of ice cubes

You will need a blender to prepare this recipe. Put all of the ingredients into your blender. It will be about 2/3 to 3/4 full. Put the lid on. Process the mixture on high for a full minute. Stop the blender and use a spoon to stir it a bit. Look for unchopped ice chunks. If all the chunks are grated up, then go ahead and serve it. You may need to process it for another full minute. Serve immediately. I usually have to spoon this out of the blender with a measuring cup because the mixture is so thick.

Makes 4 – 8oz servings.

Amy Clark

Amy Allen Clark has been the driving force behind MomAdvice since 2004. In addition to running a successful community for women and running after her two kids, she has appeared on The Early Show, and in Parents magazine, Redbook, Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food, MSN Money and The New York Times.