The Joy of an Unscheduled Summer

For the majority of my childhood, I lived in the country and probably had the most unscheduled summer a kid could ask for.  I was lucky to have kids my age or close to it, living all around me.  On most days, I’d get up in the morning, run out the door and rarely seen by my parents until dinner time.  My parents always knew I was at one of 3 or 4 different places and all the other parents in the area felt the exact same way about their own children. We were our own little gang of kids playing freely with nothing but our imaginations and countryside around us.

I’ve always wanted that completely unscheduled lifestyle for my child in the summer but in this day and age of planned play dates, summer camps and with sharing custody, it’s always been scheduled – all day every day.  I’ve always had a meal plan in place, groceries bought ahead of his arrival back from his Dad’s and almost always all of the time we have together planned.

Don’t get me wrong, there is always a ton of room for flexibility and last minute changes in that plan, but there always is some sort of plan in place.  I’m like that throughout the school year and as a creature of habit, I’d keep it going throughout the summer. And I am not going to lie, there have been times when I would get super frustrated when people weren’t on the same page  and planning things ahead of time like me.  For me, the planning is mostly due to the fact that I don’t like being unprepared and having to rush around at the last minute.  That’s when my anxiety gets the best of me.

But this summer, somewhere, somehow my mindset changed.  Aside from having to plan my vacation weeks from work, I really have had no real plans in place.  We’ve planned a few things here and there,  but I don’t have every waking moment of our lives this planned summer.  It’s actually been quite freeing and I have found that being unscheduled has allowed us to enjoy more than we probably would have if I had made a week full of plans.

There have been last minute sleepovers, trips to beaches we’ve never visited before and lazy days where we didn’t get out of our pajamas at all.  And even when we’ve had tentative plans in mind, there have been days where those plans went completely out the window and we ended up having an even better time.  I have barely meal planned and luckily that hasn’t had us eating out as a quick and easy alternative. We’ve been making meals based on what we have on hand and if that means lunch is as simple as a peanut butter and jam sandwich with some carrots on the side, so be it.  I no longer feel the need for Pinterest worthy meals.

I’ve often felt the pressure to be “that” Mom as a sort of need to prove something to others that being a single parent doesn’t make me any less of a parent.  My child loves me unconditionally and that is all that is important.  He’s been loving these fly by the seat of our pants days and has said he actually prefers it.  That does mean I am throwing all of planning ways out the window, it just means that I am going to be doing a better job of living in the moment and living life as it presents itself.  If something presents itself and it needs to be scheduled, so be it.  If several days pass unscheduled so be it.  All I know is it will be a summer of laughter, fun and lots of memories made.


Amber Alerts – My thoughts, my rant

Amber Alerts

Today I woke up, and I was tired.  Really tired.  More tired than I usually am, thanks to being woken up at 3am by an Amber Alert.  I don’t say “thanks” to be miserable, I say “thanks” because I am grateful.  Grateful because due to Amber Alerts, a little girl is now safe and out of harms way.

Although the technology to have Amber Alerts sent to cell phones has been in place since April 2018, it seems we’ve been getting them much more frequently in just the past few months.  And yes, it seems like they are always being sent to us in the wee hours of the morning.  But because of those alerts, children have been found.  We haven’t always been able to see a happy ending but these children are being found.

And in the cases when the children are luckily being found safe and sound, the good news is often marred by the follow up news reports of people clogging up the 911 lines to complain about being woken up by the Amber Alerts.  I really have trouble putting into words (or at least words I can include in this post) how messed up this is.

Even if you aren’t a parent, how can you not understand the pain and heartache these families are currently going through?  How is your sleep so much more important than that child’s life? How can you justify clogging up phone lines that could be potentially needed to save that child’s life?

Yes, I am a terrible sleeper and getting woken up suddenly in the middle of the night results in a multi-coffee, feeling extra tired kind of day but really, it’s the price I am more than happy to pay if it helps save a child.  Sure, when I am in my bed at 3am, I am probably not going to be of any help finding this child, but someone who does receive it could be that one call to find that missing child.

Recently a petition has been created to bring about people that call 911 to complain about the Amber Alerts waking them up to be fined.  It’s something I fully support.  It may not make me popular with some people, but I am not here to win a popularity contest.  As a parent, if god-forbid it ever happened to my child, I would want every resource available put into finding my child.  If that means waking every person in the province, so be it.

If you are one of those people that want to complain, use your social media – your Facebook, your Twitter, your Instagram.  I’m sure all your friends and followers want to know what is really important in your life.  But good God, don’t be wasting the valuable resources of the 911 system.

If you don’t appreciate my rant, move on, unfollow, what have you but I am going to continue my day with yet another coffee in hand and be thankful a little girl is safe and sound this morning thanks to a 3am wake up call.

Parenting/Life · Travel

5 Ways Your Kids are Learning While on Vacation

beach vacation

School, unfortunately, cannot teach a kid everything. They are visual learners, where experience is the best source of education. When going on a family vacation, you may not have the intention of trying to improve your kid’s smarts. It is just a hidden plus that comes with traveling at a young age. Taking a trip to a new and unknown area creates many fun learning opportunities for your family. 

  1. Geography 

  2. Vacation globes

Geography is a subject that is often overlooked in school, that many students miss out on. But understanding locations, maps, or sense of direction is essential and incredibly useful in the “adult” world. 

When kids are exposed to different physical landforms or characteristics, it tends to stick in their mind. They can point out something unusual and figure out or relate to what it is. Traveling somewhere with peculiar features or completely unlike home, kids’ knowledge of geography broadens. 

Animals also play a role in this topic. Sure, going to the zoo can be an insightful experience, but seeing new creatures in their natural habitats can be breathtaking and exciting for children. You observe and witness real animals rather than look at pictures of them or listen to them in a story. 

  1. Culture

  2. Vacation culture

Growing up, you are usually only briefly introduced to the cultures of your family or maybe where you live. Taking a vacation where all aspects of life seem dramatically different to a kid can be eye-opening.  

Although mac and cheese and chicken fingers are quite divine to any child, even on vacation, trying an array of new types of food is essential.  Cuisine varies wherever you travel to, and there are usually delicious specialties in the area. For example, if you go to New Orleans and don’t try the famous beignets, did you really go to New Orleans?

Clothing and language may not have a drastic change wherever you go, but it is still present in many places. Your kids may see unfamiliar outfits where they can learn it is part of a particular culture. Street signs, menus, billboards, may all have phrases in a new language, where kids might be able to pick up or use pictures to help learn what they mean. 

  1. Sense of Adventure

Family vacations are often packed full with as many activities as possible. When you travel somewhere, you make the most of it, even out of the limited time you have. Kids like to follow their parents’ footsteps, so when they see you try something risky or audacious on vacation, they learn to partake. 

Life shouldn’t be lived passing up fantastic opportunities due to nerves or timidness. You may have heard the term “when in Rome,” and it can apply to this situation perfectly. If you are in the tropics, go snorkeling. If you are in the mountains, don’t be afraid to take the riskier trail. 

It is important to emphasize that there ARE boundaries, but kids quickly learn what it is like to get your knees a little dirty and have fun. They are more motivated to see what the world has to offer and explore the unseen. 


vacation cooperation

Not all families get along during trips. In fact, fighting can be a complete buzzkill. With the right amount of talking to, kids can learn to cooperate. If they cannot get along they may not be able to go to the place they have been looking forward towards the whole trip.

Vacations can be a time to collect themselves, and learn to ignore their instincts. The best way to enjoy a family getaway is graciously keeping it together, which can be eventually learned by a kid. 

Not all children can easily pick this up, but once they realize it, it can be much easier to roll with. Maybe you are fiddling with a map or squinting to read street signs because you have no idea where you are going and are desperately trying to hold it together. Cooperation can be as simple as keeping their mouths shut. 


We all know those people who grew up spoiled and completely ungrateful for everything. And no one wants to purposely raise a child to have those attributes. Vacations can be an escape from home where kids learn to take in and appreciate every moment. 

“You Only Live Once” is a cheesy phrase, but particularly popular with the younger generation. The meaning behind it is actually thoughtful and something kids can keep in mind on vacation. 

They may be watching a sunset with a spectacular view, and try to fathom how beautiful this is. Or they could catch of glimpse of a whale’s tail splashing up and crashing down while driving past the ocean and be full of joy and happiness because that may be they last time they ever witness that. 

Appreciation is a wonderful thing to learn at a young age, where the perfect place to discover it is on a trip with your family. 


Children learn through senses. They touch, feel, hear, smell and taste. Vacations offer awareness, curiosity, and education to play and experiment with all their senses. There is hidden knowledge learned by kids on each individual one. 

 Post written by Emma Johnson, Beaches Resorts.