Next week is the last week of school for my kids and I am trying to gear up for summer. I have to admit that at this point in the calendar, after an intensely packed school year for me and my kids, I just want to sit on the porch, read books and drink lemonade for the next 2 months.
However, the reality is that my gang needs me to be a cruise director rather than a checked-out mom. I start to have flash backs to Julie McCoy from The Love Boat. (Or was this before your time?)
Thinking through and trying to create a strategy for managing (and maximizing) long summer days has become an annual ritual of mine. As I looked back at my post this week last year, I saw that I wrote about this AND the Chewy M & M bars that I had just discovered. I can’t tell you how many times I have made them in the past year, since that post! They were on heavy rotation in my kitchen.
Recently, I have added another bar cookie to my Go-To list. A few weeks ago, I was looking to make an easy but delicious dessert for small group in honor of Caroline’s love of peanut butter and chocolate. I found this one online, and it far exceeded my hopes. It is gooey, just the right amount of peanut buttery and chocolatey, and is a bar which I love – as it is so easy! It’s made with things I had on hand, and is a cinch to whip up.
On days when I need to make a treat for a party, or a picnic, or a get together this summer, these Peanut Butter Chocolate Blondies are a good bet.
(I found the recipe on a blog and it made a small batch- which I wasn’t expecting because her pan was rectangular and it threw me off- since I am used to a small batch being in a 9 X 9 pan. I quickly doubled the recipe and made the large batch (9 X13 pan) for the crowd I was serving. I have included ingredient measurements below for both sizes, as you might need the big for a crowd or might want a small batch if you are just making them for yourself- as they are hard to stop eating!)
So, in addition to making these bars and eating them, I’m working on a summer strategy for reading, projects, filling our days with productive, seasonal, relaxing and connecting things. I am asking my friends with kids for good ideas to help with this. I used a punch card system last year that worked pretty well for my people. My sister is working on this list of “optional activities” for summer that I am trying to figure out how to best mobilize into action.
I’m looking for a “summer central” type of spot in my house to post our plans/ideas/etc. Maybe the laundry room…or clear off the refrigerator and do it there?
We are also making a Summer Bucket List of things we want to do this summer including:
making lots of variety of popsicles and ice cream (more posts to come on those),
taking hikes to different trails/parks in the area,
pick fruit from local farms, just to get started.
I have all of these pipe dreams of learning to embroidery, learning how to play Rook as a family, working lots of jigsaw puzzles, doing house projects, and the list goes on.
And I have created my annual summer book stack- ones I need and/or want to read this summer. I don’t know how much of a dent I will make on this, but I am sure gonna try.
(I welcome any of your suggestions for managing the chaos of summer with kiddos!)