How I’m Simplifying Summer

I’ve been in a simplifying season around here lately. Streamlining various areas of my life so I can actually enjoy summer. You know, all the BBQs and weddings, trips to the lake and spontaneous picnics? Bike rides and Berry Picking? And all the glorious hours each week digging in dirt and picking and preserving the garden and orchard’s bounty? All that can only be truly enjoyed if I’ve made room by backing off on other stuff…

My online presence:  I’ve been writing for three of my all-time favorite blogs over the winter and spring,  (YLCF, Passionate Homemaking, and Allume). As I shared in my Spring Newsletter, it has been a delicious time of connecting as well as growth in my writing, but it’s time to step back from each of those commitments to focus on my own blog in the diminished computer time I have in this season.

{Did you miss the newsletter?  So sorry!  All you need to do is subscribe here so you don’t miss the next one!  If you email me at trina @ trinaholden . com (remove spaces) I’ll forward you the one you missed.}

In my fridge: During the winter months, I get a lot of stuff going in my fridge – especially in the cultured dairy department. I have so many jars of various forms of milk, I have to use a dry erase marker on jar lids to keep it all distinguished – yogurt, sour cream, buttermilk, kefir. For summer I’ve decided just to stick with kefir. It’s the easiest one to make (especially since I got grains!), and I can use it most places I use the other cultured dairies. It works fine in my Soaked Whole Wheat Sandwich bread in place of buttermilk, and we prefer kefir to yogurt in our morning smoothies.

Email and RSS: Last week I went through my email inbox and my Google Reader RSS feed and unsubscribed to anything that wasn’t relevant to me this month. That was hard, people! I want to gather as much lovely goodness during my time online as possible! But the reality is I can’t read EVERYTHING anyway, so why am I trying so hard? I’m going to let the Lord direct my summer reading, rather than an overwhelming inbox and clogged reader. I’ll trust Him to bring me the posts and articles I need to read, and let the rest go. Ahh, feels better already…

Family Bike Rides

Book list and To-Do list: When I look back to my New Year’s Resolution post, I’ve checked nearly everything off the list. It’s time for me to relax a bit on the productivity front. I’ve read some awesome books so far this year, in keeping with my goal of being well read, but now I’m going to let my reading list be dictated by what I have on my shelves, rather than inter-library loans–that have the pressure of deadlines!

School/time with kids: Yes, I’m still going to do school over the summer– it’s too much fun for the kids–it wouldn’t be kind to quit. 🙂 I’m just going to focus on a few subjects though. I’m gearing toward Math and Character Training for our Summer focus. And I picked up some read-alouds at the homeschool used-book sale so I don’t have to be running to the library to keep us stocked with bedtime stories. (I’m so not into library fines during the summer, you know?)

Cooking/Meal Planning: I’m making a concerted effort to live by the principles in my own book of bulk food prep, cooking once to eat several times, maximizing leftovers, and enjoying simple, nourishing meals so that I don’t have to spend glorious summer days in the kitchen. Last month I made a double batch of pizza dough, and each Friday we’ve been thawing a dinner’s worth and throwing together individual pizzas on the grill. Oh. My. Word. This. This is what summer is all about…

grilled pizza

I love what my friend, Lisa, posted on the same subject…

“If we want our summer days to leave lasting memories and offer soul refreshment, we need to put a little bit of time into thinking intentionally about some simple summer goals.”

She’s hosting a link-up where you can post your Summer Goals and find inspiration for balance and fun for summer, and she’s got a free download if you’re a list maker. 🙂 I linked up – you can too!

How about you? How does your Summer look different than Winter? Got any other ideas for ways I could simplify?


18 responses to “How I’m Simplifying Summer”

  1. Jessica @ Muthering Heights Avatar

    It sounds like you’ve taken some wonderful steps toward simplifying! I should take a page from your book on the RSS feeds… 😉

  2. Sharon from Arkansas Avatar

    Just discovered you the other day. Was so excited you answered me about no brainier wardrobe but was unable to get info as I’m on my iPod since pc is down. I too have struggled with anxiety since a child. I was able to overcome through educating my self on the subject and went for counseling which is what started me on my way to wellness. It showed me how to see things in a different light as I was taught to believe. I too thought everyone was watching and judging me and have learned to concentrate on myself and quit thinking about all the other. I as I will put it stay informed but put mt blinders on as I go about my business and have learned that other people have their own thoughts and problems and aren’t dwelling on me. My lightbulb moment was when the therapist said the word panic and anxiety. I have a panic disorder which is caused from chemical imbalance and have taken vitamins, digestive enzymes and learned what foods that I need to just eat a small amount. I could go on and on but so glad I found your westebas I enjoy it so much and thank you for sharing all. The more we learn the better we are. Sometimes I feel like my brain is a sponge wanting to soak up more. Seriously use the blinder concept it really helps me. Have a great day .

  3. Jess Avatar

    For us, Summer is the opposite. It’s our crazy time of year: Between different cooking events, the fair and multiple birthdays, as well as swimming lessons…we run. A lot.

    This summer is going to be a first for us…it’s the first summer we’ve had EVER that we don’t have the store and we have kids. I’m looking forward to it.

  4. Elizabeth | ReadySetSimplify Avatar

    Hi Trina,

    I just found you today through Allume. My blog is about my journey in simplifying (I have a long way to go). I think your ideas for simplifying your summer sound great. I just wrote a post yesterday about our summer bucket list. For us not having school simplifies summer quite a bit and I love the relaxed pace and simple fun.

    1. Trina Avatar

      Elizabeth! Thanks for stopping by! I shall have to visit your blog.
      When my kids are older, I probably won’t school through summer, but right now it’s their favorite hour of the day and how I make sure I spend quality time with them!

  5. Ellie Avatar

    We are definitely in the simplify season, we moved to a smaller place and did a major purge so we could save money and pay off debt. It been a faith stretching time, but good. I love all your simplifying, Thank you for sharing. On another note, I see Character Training, Are you a Charlotte Mason homeschool? We start Kindergarten this year following Charlotte Mason, we are so excited…. would love to talk more with you about homeschooling. 🙂

    1. Trina Avatar

      Hey, it’s boyandabride! (still love your blogname)
      I’m reading a lot of Charlotte Mason, Raymond Moore, Sally Clarkson, and I like Sonlight. I’m probably going to end up eclectic like my mother – picking and choosing stuff and very charlotte mason-ish. I just heard Rick and Marilyn Boyer at our state homeschool convention and their emphasis on character training really resonated with me. (Oh, and my MIL gifted me two of their books! :)) So we are going to ‘play’ with our new Math-U-See curriculum and focus on character for the summer. Come fall I’ll probably pick up with Sonlight books wherever Jesse has progressed to (he’ll either be ready for K or 1st grade – we’ll see how the summer goes)
      I’d love to chat with you – email me and we can connect further! trina @ trinaholden . com

      1. ellieeugenia Avatar

        I would love to connect over email, I’m going to do that right now.

  6. kathi bailey Avatar

    i had MAJOR plans this summer … and just a few weeks in, we decided to stick with just a few library activities. and a plastic pool. 🙂

    oh … and a move to SC. yay!

    enjoy your rest, Trina. and i’m so glad you’re only taking a break from everywhere else, and not here!

    1. Trina Avatar

      Ha, yeah – a cross-country move does demand simplifying, doesn’t it? We have some big stuff going on this summer, (which I’ll blog about soon) which really inspired my simplification.
      Yeah, I’ve got fun plans for here, thanks for joining me!

  7. Crystal @ Serving Joyfully Avatar

    Simplify (and focus!) is the word of the year for me 🙂 Still working on perfecting it, but it’s definitely been on my heart. Thanks for sharing ways that you are simplifying, and giving us ideas in the process 🙂 I hope you have a blessed summer!

    1. Trina Avatar

      Hi, Crystal! Thanks for stopping by!

  8. Susan Avatar

    Hi Trina,

    I’ll miss your posts at Allume, but I’ll follow from here! And for what it matters, you’re making a right choice. In God’s economy, it really is the little things that matter.

    Blessings & hugs from VA!

    1. Trina Avatar

      Susan, I so appreciate your words of affirmation and for confirming the decisions I’ve been making. Thanks for visiting me here!

  9. Stacey Avatar

    I adore simplicity and believe that you will be well rewarded for the decisions you are making. I try to be simple, but some days the chaos takes over. LOL Those pizzas on the grill look wonderful!

    1. Trina Avatar

      Oh, Stacey, the pizzas are awesome. I hope to have time to blog about them soon. I totally want to convert the world (or, at least my readers!) to grilling their pizza this summer!

  10. Noël McNeil Avatar

    Great ideas! Now to implement them… 😉

  11. Lisa Avatar

    Love your simplifying approach. I’ve been up to the same sort of thing. Here’s where I’m talking about it: … you should link up your post! And also here:

    I love the idea of simplifying what’s coming in your inbox. I’ll need to do that, too!

    Blessings, friend,

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