August 06, 2013

Building my Summer Family Traditions

With my son's 16th birthday next week, I have been thinking about family traditions and thought I'd share a bit:

Over the past few years, it's seemed like our family vacation traditions have been - we can no longer afford family vacations.  Job loss and tough times left us with few options. I felt like a bad mother when all I had to give my family, was a summer of memories we could create without spending any money.  It seemed quite daunting at first but I've learned quite a few things in the process.
Awesome Camping experience! Very memorable photo thanks to the look on my daughters face. One tradition we will NOT be continuing is the one of not spending the money on a big enough tent...LOL

1.  It is not the where or the when that makes a vacation fun, it is the WHO and the HOW.   Instead of bonding at Disneyland, my family invested in games.  Lots of games.  We so enjoyed that time together. This year, my children requested family game nights for their birthdays.

2.  Plan activities like camping with another family. Split the cost of food!  The tradition you will build is that our friends ARE our family, they are just the family we pick for ourselves.  Our kids learn great social skills while getting out of the house.  And bring all those fun games.

3.  We got into the routine of letting our kids help plan what our family would do together. When everyone knew what the time and money restraints were, they got more creative and saw it as a challenge. 

4.  Lastly, attitude is everything. Make yours a good one and everything will work out just fine.  Laugh and have fun. That is an unbeatable tradition.

What have you had to change and what traditions are your family favorites? 


  1. You are an inspiration June! Everyone seems to be tightening their belts and your experiences make me want to try harder. One thing our family did a lot this summer is float the river. The kids each bought their own tube and we went numerous times and had a great time.

  2. These are some great ideas. I grew up vacationing all over the country with my fam in a big van so that is what I've been used to. Now that I'm married and it looks like we won't be going anywhere spectacular in the summer, I start to get antsy and even a little onery and whiny. You have reminded me that vacations are mostly about togetherness and I can get creative and do smaller but really fun things with my family. You have a lovely family, by the way, June! I admire you guys and I can tell you know a lot about togetherness and having fun :) thanks for the ideas!

  3. Thanks for the reminders. My little family spends lots of time together but their mom gets a little whiny because money restraints limit getting away. I need to live more in the now and enjoy the little things in life instead of wishing for something different!

  4. I'm all for the family Stay-cation. I raised three kids as a single mom. Living in Utah we found lots of local sites and events to keep us happy. . . Great post! I love your ideas, June.

  5. I've recently discovered the joys of board games that you play co-operatively - instead of competing against each other. Think I might try to introduce that tradition with my kids.

  6. Such great ideas! Almost makes me want to go back and start again... almost.

  7. The most memorable family vacations seem to be the simplest ones. Great ideas June! I'm always impressed with what you do and how you do it.