It's July! What's not to love about July? It's summer! The only month during the year that doesn't involve school books, when everyone seems to be on vacation, the month of red, white, and blue. Just relax and enjoy.
1. It's time for a parade. If your town doesn't have a 4th of July parade, you should find one. I still remember the parade the town I grew up in had each year. My family would set up lawn chairs along the parade route and kids would throw candy out into the street. Well...they still do that. We spend the 4th enjoying the Orleans parade. It's filled with marching bands, a collection of classic cars, bagpipers, veterans, more music, our favorite local baseball team, and kids throwing candy into the street.
2. Of course there can't be a parade without fireworks. When we delayed our vacation, we watched Atlas put on quite the show here in town, then we'd find at least a couple of towns down the Cape that hosted their own displays. We've even watched them from the beach where it seems everyone is exempt from the no fireworks permitted law, and again in August during the Festival of Fireworks. I even love to hear them go off all summer long as I'm drifting off to sleep.
3. Have a watermelon spitting contest. A potato sack race. Play kickball. Volleyball. Just some good old-fashioned fun that doesn't require anything electronic. Can you unplug for an entire day? How about a week? Try it.
4. Swim until you can't swim any more. If I'm lucky, I get to spend most of this month under water. In the ocean, in the lake...it doesn't matter to me as long as I'm thoroughly submerged.
5. Wear red, white, and blue. You don't have to look like an American flag, but you can combine all three if you're careful. And if it's just too much, then the combinations of red and white, blue and white, or blue and red work well too. Or decorate your rooms with touches of red, white, and blue. Get crafty with these ideas and don't forget to decorate the kid's bikes with lots of streamers!
6. Shuck some corn. Nothing tastes better than local produce, so if corn isn't your thing, take the time to find a farmers' market and enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables every day. Don't bother cooking them. Snap some beans and eat them raw or slice up a big, juicy tomato and add a little salt or olive oil. Then dig in.
7. Go barefoot. Feel the grass and sand between your toes. Even if you're not keen on walking around barefoot, slip off your shoes when you picnic in the park or your backyard. Then pamper those feet with this wonderful homemade foot scrub.
8. Eat lots of ice cream. Did you know National Ice Cream Day is July 20th? Visit one or several of your favorite places this month or try out some of mine.
9. Enjoy all kinds of outdoor entertainment. From baseball games to concerts or movies in the part, to arts and crafts fairs, library book sales (that's entertainment to me), to yoga on the beach. These are simply things we can't do during the winter months and must be enjoyed if you have the opportunity to do so.
10. Camp under the stars. Pitch a tent in the backyard, find a national park or private campground and just marvel at nature. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the bullfrogs, the birds, and a the delightful smell of a campfire. Just because you're camping doesn't mean you can't enjoy the comforts of home. Pillows, blankets, books, food...bring all your favorite along. If you want to rough it, do so in style and with these tips.
Image: Brewster, MA