FAMILY SAVINGS: Summer Fun

Getting Back to Basics

by Brittany Pufahl


Summer is in full effect, the kids are out of school asking the age old question that every parent fears – “I’m bored what are we going to do!?” if they haven’t already!

Photo by @indiemediaphotography

As a mom of two little girls, I face this question almost daily – the minute they get home from school. “Bored?? You just spent the entire day with friends doing activities! You should be exhausted!” Is my usual answer, I know I am! But then again, how can they be bored? I remember never being bored as a kid, mostly out of fear of my mother. If you were to ever utter the words “I’m bored”, there’d be hell to pay. I would be outside all day, until I heard that fateful yell from the house, “Dinner time!” and I’d race home from the neighbors house, or from wherever I was having fun… not being bored.

Photo by @indiemediaphotography

I feel sorry for children these days, there is so much continued stimulation with endless television, iPads, and iPhones. Growing up in the late eighties, early nineties, I had none of these. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t live in a cave, I had TV (I loved getting up Saturday mornings and watching Power Rangers!), and we had a “computer”. The sound of dial up internet still haunts my dreams to this day. But the wide range of accessibility to, well everything was none existent. Kids these days can’t even comprehend the struggle, and I take full responsibility, my husband and I are the ones who bought the extra channels like Disney + and Netflix and the iPads. But I believe in balance in life – so when I tell my girls to go out in the backyard and play, they respond with, “Play what?” “Your imagination!!” is always my frustrated response. Has imagination evolved out of children??

Photo by @indiemediaphotography

This brings me to a conversation that I had with a close friend and neighbor a few months back. It had been some time since we had gotten together with her two girls who are the same age and we made plans to go over to their house for dinner and BBQ and enjoy the warm Spring weather we were so lucky to be experiencing in May. A day or so before our dinner date, she messaged me that her backyard was under construction and didn’t want to be in the house. She suggested that she would pack a dinner for the girls and us and we would go down to West Neck Beach and have a dinner picnic.

And boy did we ever! She packed salads for us and bento boxes for the girls including grilled chicken, pasta, mini mozzarella balls and cucumbers. It was so simple and yet so elevated at the same time. The girls weren’t really interested in eating at first, after they found out the water was warm enough to swim in, they were mermaids for 90% of the time (lesson learned: don’t assume the water is too cold and make sure to bring bathing suits and towels!). And just like that, their imagination had been ignited. I wonder if it is the monotony of each day – same thing over and over again. And as a parent, I guess I thought that breaking up that monotony was solved by spending money and going somewhere. I guess my imagination was on ice for a while as well.

Photo by @indiemediaphotography

Having worked in the city and commuted from Long Island put me in a really complacent state. Work, commute, come home, cook dinner, go to bed. But this was a routine of the past. I had been working from home since 2018, even before it became “fashionable” due to COVID. In March of 2021, I changed jobs and was working hybrid from my home and my office in Syosset, a far cry from the commute I used to do to the city and then to my home office. Even without the horrendous commute and the ability to get out of my house and interact with fellow employees, my complacency with still there.

Photo by @indiemediaphotography

Since becoming friends with Meghan who is a life long Huntington resident, and me being a decade long transplant from Western Massachusetts, she is now opening my eyes up to the simple pleasures of where I live and how to make the best out of it in the little ways. Dinner on the beach felt like I was transported to Florida and was on vacation, turning a very ordinary Wednesday night into something so much more for me and my girls (sorry to both of our husbands who were stuck working!) That very night, we decided that this would be a weekly tradition and we would switch on and off of who would make and bring dinner. This really showed me and reminded me that getting back to basics is good for us all and not to mention saves money!

Photo by @indiemediaphotography

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