Then comes summer…

I do like to make special memories with my family during the summer. More daylight hours mean that there’s more opportunities to build relationships with my kids and my husband as well as our friends.

Here in California we’ve actually been experiencing REAL seasons in 2019! Course, they go back and forth, unable to make up their mind which order to follow. But hey, it’s actually looking like summer is coming along the coast! Every foggy morning quickly brightens into a sunny day with light breezes…it’s one of my favorite parts of where we live.

While I haven’t joined the craziness of school aged kiddos with finals, end of year parties and such, I do like to make special memories with my family during the summer. More daylight hours mean that there’s more opportunities to build relationships with my kids and my husband as well as our friends.

Beach days are a must for us!

I’ve been seeing lots of great ideas to be more intentional about how the summer is spent, especially with littles. It got me thinking, there’s gotta be other mom’s or peeps out there who’d love some ideas to navigate the glorious days of summer! So here ya go…all in one place! These are some of my favorite ideas from around the internet. Happy summer everybody!

Don’t forget to tag #thesproutedcottage and the people below if you try one of their ideas! I’d love to see what you and your sprouts end up doing this summer!


Fun, FREE, printable for your summer days!
Printable courtesy of @chalkfulloflove on Instagram

Summer Bucket List by Chalk Full of Love.

There are tons of summer bucket lists out there. Just search Pinterest and you’ll know what I mean. What makes this one unique and super fun is not only the cute lettering and summer sherbet colors, but the idea of community behind each item on the list. From hosting a game night (our cup o’ tea right there, see below!) to spending the night under the stars, this list will have you making memories all summer long. I can’t wait to start this list and I have it right on my fridge as I type! Best part, it’s available as a free download at the link above

Photo Credit: @CottonStem on Instagram

Summer Banner for Kids by Erin at CottonStem on Instagram.

This is such a fun idea and can be endlessly customized to fit your fam! Erin always has such cute, crafty ideas to do with her girls. The banner reminds me of an updated version of the construction paper chains I use to make as a kid getting ready for Christmas.

Photo: @radandhappy on Instagram

Color Happy Subscription by Tara at Rad & Happy

Oh my cuteness!!! This has been a super fun find for my Sprout. New coloring pages every single month, print them as many times as you like, only $5 a month! And best part…I don’t have a million coloring books all over our house! Coloring has been a great way for me to connect one-on-one with my girl. Our Little Big Dude took up a lot of my time in those first months (what newborn doesn’t?) and coloring was something Sprout and I could do after he fell asleep for a nap. It gives me a chance to just connect with her and build our relationship. We choose one each month to put in her art journal. It’s been SO MUCH FUN!!!

Photo by Robert Coelho on Unsplash

Family Game Night

Summer is the perfect time to start a regular family game night. We are big board game people here at the cottage. Dave wrote an article a while back and built a great list of games to get you started! We love that there’s no wrong way to do a game night. A couple snacks, table inside or outside to play on, and the people you love are all you need to get started. Sometimes we’ll have friends over and make a whole meal out of the evening. Another idea that crossed our mind was “board game date night.” Get several couples together at one house and hire a babysitter to watch the sprouts at another. Make it a potluck and you’ve got a fun evening for grown-ups for a fraction of the cost to go out.

Photo Credit: @casscayucos on Instagram

Community Night at Cass House Cayucos

The specifics of this idea are definitely for my local readers, but the idea could be applied to almost any town. Live, local music, paired with delicious food is becoming so popular across the country!

About 10 minutes south of us is the cute beach town of Cayucos. Right as you hit downtown, there’s a gorgeous venue called the Cass House. It’s most known for being a fabulous wedding venue, but they’ve done a lot to the property to make it so much more. They have a bakery, outdoor grill style restaurant, and our favorite…Community Night. They host local musicians and serve up delectable tapas style dishes every Monday night from March – November. Tapas is the style of food that brought Dave and I to the central coast in 2012. Think family style, elegant, comfort food in a laid back atmosphere. Perfect date night out on a summer evening.

“Community Night is a casual dining experience where the menu changes weekly and consists of seasonal flatbreads, market salads, and chef’s specials. “

Cass House Cayucos

What on Earth is a “Cheeseboard?”

A cheeseboard (or cheese course) is often served at the end of a meal, frequently replacing dessert. It has also become popular as an appetizer course when gatherings and parties are hosted in a more relaxed atmosphere.

There are a lot of things that take the subject of cheese to a deeper level than just grabbing a block from your local grocery store.  Especially these days.  With the dawn of exported foods and easy travel, we have variety available to us like no other time in history.  We have also entered a period of local craftsmanship and animal husbandry (fancy term for raising animals in case you were wondering!) that allows us to access food raised and crafted in our local cities and towns.  Throughout California and other states, you can meet your farmers and ranchers and even tour their fields and farms.  Not only is it possible (and has been for a while now), but its becoming more and more encouraged by these small family farms.  They want you to come and see what they are so passionate about!

As people learn more about their food and where it comes from, it opens us all up to a whole world about history and techniques as well as traditions and flavors.  This was our favorite part of learning about cheese. Continue reading “What on Earth is a “Cheeseboard?””

The Best Things in Life Are Cheese

Cheese…what more can we say? It’s one of those ingredients that can make a simple meal so much better, a small party into a great gathering, and basically make most humans the happiest humans around! It’s a year round crowd-pleaser and satisfies those midnight cravings for munchies.

Cheese…what more can we say?  It’s one of those ingredients that can make a simple meal so much better, a small party into a great gathering, and basically…make most humans the happiest humans around!  It’s a year round crowd pleaser and satisfies those midnight cravings for munchies.

Cheese Boards by the Sprouted Cottage - Tips for choosing, assembling, and serving cheeses to a crowd.

We are big about cheese around here.  Busy days often call for homemade mac and cheese or a delicious, grilled-to-perfection, grilled cheese sandwich.  Before the Sprout came along, Dave and I would often frequent our local cheese shops and select a couple types to take home for Sunday afternoon lunches and beach side picnics.  Then the Sprout came…after two months of her experiencing acid-reflux symptoms and the screams to match, we discovered that she was lactose intolerant.  Heavy sigh…cheese was a way of life for Dave and I!  Well maybe not a way of life, but we definitely survived on it often!

Cheese Boards by the Sprouted Cottage - Tips for choosing, assembling, and serving cheeses to a crowd.We aren’t the kind of people who give up easily, though.  After all, Dave’s a chef…so we set out to find ones that she could tolerate, which also meant that I could eat them while nursing.  And find them, we did!  We found many varieties that she not only tolerated, but enjoyed discovering when she got older.  Life had returned!

Continue reading “The Best Things in Life Are Cheese”

What on Earth Should I Plant in My Veggie Garden?

So, here are some tips about what to plant in your veggie garden that we’ve figured out along the way. We hope they will point you in the right direction in deciding what plants to get and what seeds to start.

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Easy tips and strategies for planning your best veggie garden yet!It may be a bit early to think of gardening for some of you and we know the groundhog saw his shadow and all that jazz, but here in California we are getting warmer and warmer everyday.  Winter was very, VERY mild this year and never really held on.  I’m sure this sounds wonderful to some, but we really missed the snow,  rain, and chilly weather that reaches a lot of areas in our state.  After that horrific, record breaking drought and wildfires, we hoped for more than just one wet year (2016-2017).   It wasn’t meant to be apparently, so now it’s time to move on and be grateful for longer days, (and hopefully some spring showers!)  Longer days mean there will soon be new fruits and veggies popping up in grocery stores, farmers’ markets and possibly your own back yard!  Not sure why you should grow your own food?  Check out our post about why you should consider homesteading and why its great for modern families.Morro Bay Overlook Highway 46

“I’ve never grown my own food, what on earth should I plant in my garden?!”

One of the questions we get asked a lot is, “I’ve never grown my own food, what on earth should I plant in my garden?!”  It’s a good question and super complex.  Until we moved to the cottage, we always had limited space to plant or unique gardening circumstances like minimal sunlight, poor soil etc.  As we’ve mentioned before, we both grew up with summer gardens that we loved,  so we knew we just needed to work with what we had and figure out the rest.  We learned that even a small deck can provide a good amount of fruits or veggies if you choose the right ones for you and your family.  You may not be able to grow everything you want, but you’ll know what you can grow successfully and save yourself a ton of money and frustration. Continue reading “What on Earth Should I Plant in My Veggie Garden?”

One Seasonal Soup You All Should Try: Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Spiced Cream and Pepitas

This twist on classic pumpkin soup will please everyone around the table. No one can resist this creamy and smooth soup with a hint of heat, and topped with toasted pepitas and spiced cream.

Around here, we eat a lot of soup this time of year.  It’s chilly and blustery and soup just comforts you.  Our Sprout enjoys soup too. She gets antsy at dinner time because she has to sit still.  Haha!  I’m sure you all know what I mean, especially if you’ve ever had a high energy, strong willed toddler. Anyways, soup is a quick meal for her and for us. Which is just what we need this time of year.

Soup requires very little skill, which makes it great for busy families like ours.  Basically any soup is comprised of a base (usually broth or cream), meat or protein, vegetables, flavor add ins (think bacon, scallions, etc.), and toppings.  Once you get that down, the options are endless!  It also freezes easily for future meals.  Make a big batch a freeze for up to 6 months! Continue reading “One Seasonal Soup You All Should Try: Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Spiced Cream and Pepitas”