June, 2011

Summer Solstice and Backyard Camping

What joy radiates through the house as summer begins!  The warmth of summer fills us with a languid feeling. Why hurry? This is the time to relax and recharge from Father Sun’s amazing energy. The celebrating of the Summer Solstice is an ancient custom that is as appropriate today as it was long ago.

The week leading up to the solstice is the time to gather anything you have around the house that has images of suns and fairies. Plan to have a feast that day. Grill out and eat as many yellow foods as you can think of! Corn on the cob, yellow peppers, squash, and golden apples to name a few. Our dessert is a giant sun created by covering a giant pizza size cookie with vanilla ice cream. Then we split 4 bananas lengthwise and place them as rays of the sun. Chocolate syrup draws the circle of the sun with chocolate kisses for eyes and strawberry syrup for the mouth. This is cute to look at and very tasty!

We decorate our yard with yellow streamers and sun shapes we cut out of paper plates and aluminum pie plates. Sun wheels are made with Popsicle sticks and yarn. We place candles in the yard and deck and leave our treats for the fairies.

That night we sleep outside. Could there be more fun than camping? Fresh air, trees, lightening bugs, mosquitoes, snakes, ticks … wait a minute! I got carried away. Let’s see, there were air, trees, bugs and Fire! Yes, the greatest draw of all is the campfire. I never really understood the attraction.

Of course, I did have my tennis shoe catch fire at Girl

Scout camp. OK, this is not about me, this is about the kids. And that includes Dad!

Our house has a backyard full of trees and a river. Over the years a campsite was developed.  Deer walking past tents in early dawn make it memorable. The kids like the cooking aspect. S’mores and french toast are the two sacred items on the menu.

No matter what kind of yard you have, even if you have an apartment balcony, sleeping out of doors is a magical treat for a child. Everything seems different and adventurous when sleeping outside. What child doesn’t like a flashlight? Kids don’t seem to mind the hard ground and sleeping bags, either. And on hot nights, sleeping on top of a sheet is enough. Kids don’t wake up with kinks in their necks and sore backs, like some grownups! Judge your yard and the age of your kids. If you trust them overnight without you, enjoy a quiet night inside. Otherwise, join them in the fun!