by guest blogger Amanda Harding, copywriter at Rodale’s
You don’t need to fly to some far-flung tropical island to have warm days and nights filled with joy. In fact, you don’t need to travel any farther than your own backyard this summer.
When you take time to appreciate the beauty of everyday life, uneventful weeknights can be transformed into memorable experiences in an instant. Below, we’ve put together a list of 5 simple, inexpensive ways to make lasting memories and experience happiness right where you are.
#1: Grill dinner outside
Not into hot dogs and hamburgers? No problem! Think beyond the bun and grill up fresh seafood, chicken, veggies, kebabs, pizza, or even fruit, and enjoy the peacefulness of nature when you dine out under the setting sun. Keep bugs at bay naturally with an organic insect-repellent candle, which also helps to set a little ambience. Cleanup is a breeze with our nontoxic grill brush.
#2: Make popsicles
Whether you have kids at home or you’re just a kid at heart, making popsicles is an easy activity that’s also fun. This stainless steel ice pop mold offers a fresh way to beat the heat during the hottest days of summer. Check out healthy recipes, round up your ingredients, pop them in the freezer, and then enjoy a nice cold refresher whenever the mood strikes.
#3: Stock your pantry
If you planted a vegetable garden this year, it’s time to start thinking about canning and preserving the fruits (and veggies!) of your labor. Opt for high-quality jars and handy canning tools to make life easier. No garden? Shop your local farmer’s market or roadside farm stand to stock up on fresh produce. The bounty you preserve now will get you through those cold winter months ahead, and of course there’s that sense of satisfaction when you make your own jam or sauce from scratch.
#4: Play outside
When’s the last time you took a moment to reconnect with nature? Spend an afternoon enjoying your backyard or a local park. Bonus challenge: Try leaving your phone at home so you can truly disconnect from energy-zapping technology. Recapture the magic of childhood by hanging a classic tree swing from a sturdy branch – you’ll experience joy as you swing higher and higher, plus it counts as exercise! Just don’t forget to protect your skin with some nontoxic sunscreen and a pretty hand-woven palm hat while you linger under the summer sun.
#5: Have a campfire
Even if you’re not into camping, roasting s’mores as you sit around a fire conversing is a great way to spend time with friends and family. If you’re feeling inspired, get out a guitar and host a sing-along, tell stories, or play a game. Just don’t forget the bug spray!