Ultimate Everything Summer {LINK UP} {via www.walkinginhighcotton.net}

Today (and for the next two weeks!) I’ll be co-hosting the Mom Tested Family Approved Everything Summer {LINK UP} to share great posts about family friendly activities to help you enjoy your summer. Food, crafts, places to go…all right here! Be sure to {LINK UP} at the bottom of this post! {By the way, did you see that this week’s ebook bundle is also everything summer? 5 great summer planning books for only $7.40! I paid more than that just for Jessica Fisher’s book alone last year!}

Last year the summer was very different for us. The kids were home full-time with a babysitter (except for a couple weeks of day-camp while Ms. Maya was at church camp) and I sat down and scoped out a summer learning plan for all three months.  And for the most part, we were really happy with how it all went! This year is a bit different again because Ms. Maya got a full-time job at a professional daycare center and won’t be here. (We like to take credit for having helped develop all her caregiver skills–if that daycare center ever has a problem with snakes, she’s got it covered thanks to working for us!)

But this year we’ve got Ms. Emily, a neighborhood college student (meaning she lives across the street because there’s not that many people in our “neighborhood”) home for summer that will be with us until August. So far we’ve made it to Day 6 and she still thinks it’s going well! {grin}

I’ve gotta say, before last summer I would never have imagined that a high school or college-aged girl would “make the cut” for me as a full-time daycare provider. But now I have to say, we’re happy with how it worked out and are looking forward to another good experience. I would choose it 100 times over Y-camp!

There was a lot of mowing going on this past weekend!

There was a lot of mowing going on this past weekend!

If you’re looking for a summer solution, here’s a few tips and thoughts about what I think makes this work for us…

  • I’m local. I work in the county we live in. If there was an emergency, I could probably beat the rescue squad to my house. I also have enough flexibility to head home and handle any discipline issues right away–the young ladies have to be firm and in control, but they don’t have to be disciplinarians. This did come up once or twice last year with the Cowboy and I think me coming right home and handling it last year will keep it from even happening this year. (Plus our Cowboy has matured by leaps and bounds this year!)
  • We know their family. The young ladies we’ve worked with are from our church  family and our neighborhood. We trust their parents as much as we trust them. This is critical to me, because of the next point…
Mr. Fix-It and the Cowboy did the orchard and the backyard so there were no accidental mowing down of our fruit trees.

Mr. Fix-It and the Cowboy did the orchard and the backyard so there were no accidental mowing down of our fruit trees.

  • They have a strong family relationship. This goes hand-in-hand with the previous point. I did a lot of babysitting growing up. A lot. And the first person I always called when I had a problem was my Mom. The first time I had a sick child while babysitting, my mom actually came over and helped me clean up before the parents got home. We know and trust that these young ladies can reach out to their own mommas and that we can trust the help they’ll get.
  • You’re comfortable firing them. This sounds so negative, but I think it’s a serious point. If it’s your boss’s daughter and you don’t think you’ll have the nerve to tell her it’s not working out–that’s not a good fit! (This is my big issue with using grandparents as well!) I would have hated letting Ms. Maya go, but I definitely feel like I could have if it became necessary. I was not backed into a corner to hire her, we freely chose her. (And are so glad we did!) You’ve got to feel that comfort that you are the complete, final authority on your children’s care and that you’ve hired someone who is going to respect your parenting values and expectations. Then you can relax and enjoy the summer!
Later the Ladybug mowed the top field all by herself--since there was nothing but grass to worry about! {smile}

Later the Ladybug mowed the top field all by herself–since there was nothing but grass to worry about! {smile}

  • Give them resources. I make sure they have craft supplies, bubbles, play-doh and moonsand, paint, and other fun activities as well as their toys and games. We’re not trying to make the summer boring and it’s nice that they can do those “messy” activities with someone who can relax and enjoy it with them. {smile}
  • Give your sitter room to shine! The munchkins have minimal daily chores (about 30 minutes morning and 30 minutes afternoon, then one or two 20-30 minute special jobs a day); a limit of 2 hours max daily TV time; and we insist on a one-hour-quiet-time after lunch each day. Otherwise, these young ladies are in charge of organizing their day, planning activities, etc. Last year they had water day, baking day, story day, and game day. This year they’re still feeling out their plans, but Ms. Emily has definitely been keeping them busy! I gave both ladies guidance and suggestions, (like using rainy days as a special exception pj and movie day) but let them work out their plans with the kids, as long is it fit into our basic boundaries.

So far we’ve really been blessed by the quality of care we’ve been able to have for the crew since I’m not home full-time. This is a big, huge, deal for families without one parent home full-time. If you have any questions, or want to chat about it, feel free to leave a comment, or email me. I know what a burden it can be!

Ultimate Everything Summer {LINK UP} from May 29th--June 11th. {via www.walkinginhighcotton.net}

In the meantime–here’s the Mom Tested Family Approved Everything Summer {LINK UP} even more tips, tricks, and great family friendly ideas for your summer!


  • LINK UP up to 3 anything-summer related posts (food, fun, travel tips, etc.) of your own over the next 2 weeks!
  • Visit as many posts as you’d like!
  • Stop by to visit my co-sponsors if you have a chance–Dollie from Teachers of Good Things and Vicki from Vicki Arnold!
  • Pin to your heart’s content!
  • Share all the great links with your friends on Facebook and Twitter!
  • Use what you find to make great use of all your time this summer!

Next month’s Mom Tested, Family Approved Home {LINK UP} will be Everything Food Prep, starting June 25th. Do you have great canning recipes? Do you buy in bulk or do freezer cooking? What are your great food prep and kitchen management tips and tricks? Be sure to come by and share!

And don’t forget to visit our Featured Bloggers from last week’s Everything Frugal {LINK UP}…

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Tips for Choosing Summer Daycare…and the Ultimate Everything Summer {LINK UP} — 5 Comments

  1. I’m so glad that you were able to find a solution to summer 🙂 That has got to set your mind at ease. We haven’t had to think about baby sitters much – but I know that day is coming!!

  2. Thanks for providing another summer link-up. Glad I’m taking advantage this time around and hope to have a garden post from THIS year available tonight 🙂

  3. Thank you for the invite to join the link-up 🙂 I want to return the invitation for our Wednesday link-up party, as well. We would love to have you join in if you haven’t already 🙂 I am praying for this summers and that it is peaceful, safe, and a blessing to everyone. Blessings!

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