summer: unplugged

note: DesNes just published an article on this very subject — Heber Valley Unplugged: Turn on Life challenge. The city council has created a reward system and a list of 101 activities. Pretty cool. Made me feel a little less silly about this post.

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laughter bubbles up from the basement, music spills from the kitchen and the front and back doors slam open and shut as giddy, buoyant children race in and out, glide up and down the stairs– what to do first? play house? run through sprinklers? a lemonade stand?
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I unabashedly adore summer. Tis the season of roses and honeysuckle, afternoons reading on the back porch, corn and watermelon for dinner. After our long cold winter, stepping outside without a coat, walking across the grass in my bare feet, watching my garden come to life feel like miracles.

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But summer with kids– with it’s long lazy days and freedom from school schedules– requires some planning. We’d been talking about summer goals and wishes for a few weeks when Gabe excitedly told us over the dinner table, “Truman’s family is doing no-electronics all summer! We should do it too!”

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sometimes iPhone photos really are better

Sharing our goals and ambitions can feel a bit braggy (Truman’s mom, Sarah, said she was afraid to tell anyone), but Gabe’s response was the perfect example of why we should speak up. Hans wants to learn another language because his friend Paul loves languages, Mary wants to sew because her friend Isabelle took lessons, Gabe wants to learn the basics of piano because Ben did the same at his age and Xander is practicing lacrosse with his soccer friends.

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Despite Sarah’s hesitance to share their summer goals, she and her sister Emily set up a website detailing how they make an unplugged summer work:

I love their pledge:

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Sarah and Emily’s emphasize the “Yes” list much more than the “Don’ts.” Yes, they’re keeping the television and computer screens dark, but they are also crafting, volunteering, learning new skills. They have some great ideas, but they’d love contributors to their blog (and yes, they do catch the irony of blogging about an unplugged summer).

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It’s so much more fun to brainstorm everything we can do, rather than the don’ts. I’m also inspired by my brilliant friend Montserrat, who just compiled lists of indoor and outdoor games.

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iPhone again 

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You should have seen the kitchen after Xander and friends made cardboard helmets (or maybe not). But I accept the price of creativity.

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The house may be messy, but what do we get in return? Hugs and kisses, games on the lawn, sunrises and sunset, the best hours of our day. Of our lives.

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Happy summer days are like eating healthy– it’s not that hard when all your friends share their best recipes. I’d love to hear yours.

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June 4, 2013
June 12, 2013



  1. Chocolate on my Cranium

    June 10, 2013

    That is some serious bedhead in the first photo. LOVE it! Are all those roses in your yard? I bet it smells heavenly.

    I love the idea of unplugging at least part of the summer. I plan on not blogging for some, if not all, of July, just to relax a bit and concentrate on other things around here.

  2. chococatania

    June 10, 2013

    beautiful…and will you teach me how to garden? 🙂

  3. annie

    June 12, 2013

    I love this and fully support it! We always do “No TV month” in June and this year I added “no screen time” to the month as well. I may just extend for the whole summer!

  4. Mormon Women: Who We Are

    June 12, 2013

    This post feels like it was a tender mercy. You’ve given me some ideas here that I think will have an impact on our summer. So thank you!

  5. Lori

    June 15, 2013

    I’d love some ideas on what kinds of things your boys do to stay busy. I’ve seen that they like to make videos; what kind of software to they use? My girls seem to have no trouble finding stuff to do, (crafts, cooking, reading, playing outside) It’s harder for me to keep my boys busy. (ages 11 and 6)

  6. Karina

    July 13, 2013

    I want to live my life the way you do. It’s so beautiful and so good and so sweet. I am glad I got to meet you, though brief. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

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