Friday, June 22, 2012

9 cheap ways to enjoy the summer, part 1

I planned to post this list of cheap things to do over the summer on the first day of summer, but life got in the way. So, consider it a list of possibilities for summer weekends, in honor of the first one of the season.

Because, despite not having any money or a whole lot of time off this summer (job's in flux, but that's a long, sad, silly story for another day), it's summer, that time of year when I want everything to change (which it's doing, what with the fluxy job), but really, it should be slowing down and being more fun and changing in a good way, not like it seems to be changing this summer!

I want time off and a trip to the beach and lots of good books to read and friends and family to visit and good food and, well, you get the picture. I want a summer vacation, just like I used to have as a kid--only with wine.

So, how do you get that, when you have no money and not much time off? Here are my first three suggestions, some kid-friendly, some not-so-much, for fun on a shoe-string--although that particular cliche never made much sense to me. I don't care how broke I get, it's impossible to have fun while trying to balance on a shoestring!

1. Pick blackberries or your favorite fruit or vegetable. Or if you don't have access to picking, plant your own. Container gardens are great if you don't have room for a real garden. Even just one tomato plant can ramp up the flavor of summer salads, sandwiches--I live for BLTs in the summertime--and fresh pasta sauces.

2. A cold glass of cheap wine (or lemonade or iced tea), a hot book (nothing you have to think too hard about) and a comfy chair on a porch, patio, deck, dock or, best of all, bit of sand at the beach. This should probably be my number one suggestion--although if I add the sand and the beach, it's no longer a cheap way to spend the afternoon.

3. Take a kid (or two or three) to a pool--and play with them there. Don't just sit and watch. You'll have fun reliving your own childhood with games like monkey in the middle, diving contests, catch, Marco Polo, races and more. And when you stop for milkshakes or Icees or cokes (I'm from the south, all fizzy drinks are called cokes here) on the way home, you won't have to feel guilty about the calories.

How about you? What's your favorite cheap thing to do in the summer?

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