The simple joy of collecting shells can last long after summer is over

The simple joy of collecting shells can last long after summer is over

The telltale signs are in place.  The sun is setting earlier.  The catalogs in the mailbox are peddling lunchboxes and back to school bargains.  There’s no denying that summer is winding down and busy fall days lie ahead.  Days that will inevitably start with alarm clocks and a race for the bus and end with a scramble to check homework before bed.

Days like that are the only excuse I need to savor days like this… the ones that start when the little ones naturally wake up and end later than they should so that fireflies can be chased.  Here are a few great ways to make the most of the remaining days of summer while creating memories and mementos that will warm you through the cooler days ahead.

Hit the beach – and bring some of it home with you.  Whether you fancy sand or seashells, a little memento of a day at the beach can make you feel warm and fuzzy all winter long.  One of our favorite family activities is taking long walks on the beach and collecting unique, pretty shells and rocks.  These treasures from the sea and sand adorn our house, bringing back happy memories in unexpected places.

  • A simple but supersized clam shell doubles as a soap dish in our bathroom
  • A jam jar full of tiny shells graces a shelf in our kitchen
  • White stones polished smooth by the sea line our garden – and provided an activity that kept the kids busy for hours
  • A collection of conch shells brightens our bookcase
  • Painted scallop shells decorate our kids’ dressers – and provided a perfect rainy day activity

If you’re not in the mood (or proximity!) for a day at the beach, gather in the kitchen – and let summer’s simple bounty guide an afternoon of family fun.

  • Pick (or buy) some strawberries. Or blueberries. Or raspberries.  Get out the blender, add some yogurt, apple juice and ice and voila! Homemade smoothies everyone will enjoy.
  • Gather basil from your garden (or farmers market) and make pesto.  This has become an annual tradition with our kids and my aunt.  They love picking the leaves off the stems, helping to peel the garlic, taking turns pulsing the food processor and best of all, eating the end result for dinner!
  • Make lemonade out of lemons.  Get out a big pitcher, squeeze some lemons, add sugar, water and ice.  Sip and sigh.  This is what summer is all about.

It saddens me to see summer come to a close but taking the time to take it all in provides memories and mementos to keep us warm until the seasons change once again.

NOTE: This post (and many of my other musings on motherhood!) originally appeared on Moonfrye