An Inexpensive, Inspired Summer

Good Harbor Beach, Gloucester, MA

So, I have basically taken the summer off. I haven't worked, blogged, marketed, taken any classes, or even been on Pinterest...much.

But, I have been inspired this season. Just not in the "usual" ways. I have been inspired by beach views, friends, FB posts (yes, seriously!), and the simple and relaxed (lazy) pace we've kept for the last two months.

Of course, there is a price to pay for all this relaxation - a steep decline in our expendable income! In other words - no play money. No new summer clothes for mom. Very little dining out. Zero budget for new home furnishings or for new cars - which my husband and I both need/want. (He needs a new one, and I want a new one...but that's another story.) However, there has been a BIG pay off too.

Usually, I work during the summer and my kids camp-hop = exhausting and doesn't feel much different from the rest of the year - there are just more towels to wash. And/or, we go on vacation and take a long road trip to see family and friends. And though I truly love our road-trip adventures, we seem to speed through the summer on overdrive, going from one planned event to the next = fun, expensive, & exhausting! And, before we know it - before we can transport nearly enough sand home from beach trips - the summer is over, and we are back-to-school shopping.

But this budget-tight summer, we didn't go on vacation, enroll in one camp program, visit an amusement park, a zoo, or any other pricey, exciting location. And it has been so nice. We have done and enjoyed so much right here at home. We got super friendly with our local beaches and our hometown ice cream shops; we played in our own backyard, exercised, danced to music, played board games, ate lots of fresh fruit and veggies (some from our own garden), made our own ice cream, spent time with friends & made new ones. We walked to our favorite parks. We watched movies together and became hooked on the TV show, American Ninja Warrior - talk about inspiring!

Stage Fort Park, Gloucester

My husband and I were even able to spend a kid-free week together completing home-improvement projects, while our kids were camping with their grandparents. THANK GOD FOR GRANDPARENTS!

But the biggest payoff for me, has been time. Time to Read. Not just magazines and blogs. But a real, hard-bound, literary, written-by-a-Pulitzer-Prize-winning author, BOOK. Time to Learn - from blogs about parenting, to posts about exercise and eating healthier. Time to Explore and appreciate our town. Time to Dream. Time for Friends. Time to Sleep. Time to Reminisce. Time to Love. Time to Teach - teach my children that KINDNESS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT POSSESSION. Beyond having smarts, beyond having beauty, having kindness is the most important thing to have. To teach them about getting along and to love one another. To teach them that money doesn't come easy and goes very, very fast.

 And, the summer isn't over yet. We still have TIME. And it doesn't cost a cent.