Balanced Lifestyle

I have waited for this season for nearly a year. Warmer temperatures, no coats needed and carefree days are much of what make summer my favorite season.

With many restrictions in place around the country, however, summer 2020 might be a bit different for many families. Though it might not be how we all imagined, that does not mean it can’t be fun. I have quickly realized that my family and I do not need to take fancy trips or make extravagant plans to have fun summer nights — and you do not either!

Here are four simple ideas for enjoyable summer evenings with your family:

Outdoor Evening Family Walk with California Walnuts

1. Evening Neighborhood Walk

Despite staying home this summer, we are determined to enjoy it. With work, learning activities and playtime, our days are generally busy. Therefore, my husband, sons and I enjoy slowing down at the end of the day with a leisurely walk through our neighborhood after dinner. We talk about our day and enjoy each other’s company. It keeps the kids occupied yet relaxed, enables us to get out of the house, and provides me and my husband some light exercise. If you would like to venture outside of your neighborhood, a walk in a park could be just as easy to do and enjoyable.
Beach Family Picnic with California Walnuts

2. Beach Sunset Picnic

There is no doubt about it — the beach is my favorite place to be in the summer. My kids absolutely love it too, especially when dipping their toes in the ocean. Living on the shore is one of my favorite parts about where we live. The ocean breeze, sound of the waves and beautiful sunset sky make for a truly quintessential summer evening. It gives us the opportunity to pause without distractions, enjoy nature and realize what a gift it is to be together. If you don’t live by a beach, do not worry — any waterfront will do!

Some family-friendly recipe recommendations perfect for picnics are Chickpea & Walnut Salad Sandwiches and Walnut & Mushroom Teriyaki Burgers. So grab some walnuts and get ready to have fun! Walnuts are nutritious, have good fats and are heart-healthy.* Walnuts are the only nut with a significant amount of plant-based omega-3 ALA (2.5g/oz). In addition, they offer protein (4g/oz) and fiber (2g/oz).

Cooking together with California Walnuts

3. Family Baking Night

I have often joked that I have never cooked or baked more than I have these past few months. As daunting as it has sometimes felt, it has actually provided my family with much bonding time. As a result, my older son has become a lot more interested in helping me cook and bake — cracking eggs is one of his favorite tasks. His favorite desserts to bake are brownies, and I love chocolate so I feel just as excited as he does when we have a brownie baking night. If you want to change it up from chocolate, you could try your hand at baking Walnut Banana Bread!

Family Movie night with California Walnuts

4. Outdoor Movie Night

As parents, seeing our kids happy is one of the greatest things. When we told our kids we were going to watch a movie outside, they ran around with excitement. It is amazing to see how seemingly small gestures and new activities can mean so much to them. All we had to do was bring our portable projector onto our back deck and hang a sheet to watch the movie on. While watching a movie, we also gazed at the glimmering stars, listened to the nighttime sounds and neighborhood fireworks, and enjoyed each other’s company right before bedtime. If you would like to venture out, check out a drive-in movie theater. I am sure kids would love that, as well! Don’t forget to pack the snacks, like this Spiced Walnut Trail Mix complete with the classic movie munchie: popcorn!

As a mom, it is important for me to enjoy uninterrupted, unplugged time with my kids. I know the older they get, the less they might enjoy doing so, and eventually, they might prefer to spend time with their friends over me and my husband. That is why I am trying to make the most of our summer nights now. Hopefully, you can do the same. Get outside. Enjoy the fresh air. Make memories with your kids and loved ones. Do what brings you the most joy. Take care of yourself. And be present this summer.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by California Walnuts. However, all opinions are my own.

*Per one ounce serving. Supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 ounces of walnuts per day, as part of a low saturated fat and low cholesterol diet, and not resulting in increased caloric intake may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. One ounce of walnuts provides 18g of total fat, 2.5g of monounsaturated fat, 13g of polyunsaturated fat, including 2.5g of alpha-linolenic acid, the plant-based omega-3.

Generated with Avocode.Generated with Avocode.