Fill the longest days of the year with special people and meaningful activities.
Summer is here, and with it comes the activities weve been waiting to get to all year. The sun is out, the weather is perfect, the days are long, and adventure is in the air. The nice thing about adventure is that it can come just as easily as an unexpected cup of coffee on your patio with a friend or as something grander, say, redecorating your entire home. Here are some ideas to get you started dreaming up your own summer escapade. RECONNECT WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS With daylight lasting hours longer, theres more space in everyones schedule to invite folks over and spend time together. A good old-fashioned barbecue cant be beat for feeding a crowd with ease. Hang some party lights, pull out your nice china, and do a mashup of formal dining with the casual feel of an outdoor picnic. See page 8 for tips on how to host with elegance and ease. CAMP IN YOUR BACKYARD Sometimes the convenience of your own home is too compelling to leave, yet the great outdoors are calling! Make a win-win compromise by doing an overnight campout in the backyard with the whole family. You can cook dinner on the barbecue, roast smores over the fire pit, and of course tell ghost stories in the tent. If you're really getting into the camping spirit, put up a hammock and bring the cooler out with drinks and snacks. The inside of your home is there if you need it (summer thunderstorms are always a possibility!), but this is a chance to enjoy the outside of your home, too. DECORATE THE KIDS' ROOMS If you're getting the classic complaint (Mom, I'm bored!), it's time to entertain the kids with something productive that will also hold their interest. Start small by buying a plug-in night light in the theme of their choice. Then, paint their rooms in a color they get to pick out themselves. When you use zero-VOC paint (this protects their developing bodies from the harmful toxins in regular paint), they can join in the fun and learn a life skill while theyre at it. Finally, select a sporty ceiling fan in the shape of a plane or a flower (or any number of other options) to bring some colorful motion to the room. REJUVENATE YOUR EATING HABITS With the bounty available during the summer months, take the opportunity to develop some new, healthy habits. Plant an organic garden (page 6) and teach your kids about growing foods naturally. It's also a great excuse to be outdoors more. Then, use all that produce as a side dish to pair with the Seared Scallops recipe featured on page 10. Add in some friends and a bottle of wine and you have the makings of a perfect summer night. CELEBRATE Hang string lights (page 35) Use your formal dinnerware SLEEP OUTDOORS Roast s'mores over the fire pit Bring out the cooler with snacks CHANNEL ENERGY Use zero-VOC paint Add a kid-friendly ceiling fan PRACTICE CLEAN EATING Plant a vegetable garden Try some new recipes Learn how to make your own succulent planter box (like the one pictured above) at Build.com/summer2014 Written by Jenny Hildenbrand Photography by Brent Holland
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