Minnesotans love to soak up each moment of summer. We are enslaved for so long by icy winds and mounds of snow that at the first sign of warmth we need no encouragement to pull out our shorts and sunglasses. By June, our calendar is completely booked–we want to make the most of every minute that isn’t dampened by the snow. But you know what they say: time flies when you’re having fun. We feel like we are just getting used to the sun by the time the leaves begin to fall again. Now that summer is truly upon us, let’s try to slow down just a little bit. An easy place to start is how we do dinner.

One thing my family tries to do, sometimes successfully and sometimes not, is to set aside one day a week to have as little going on as possible, including how much time we spend on meal preparation. This applies year-round, but we most severely feel its effects in the summer months. Try to simplify where you can. That might mean putting dinner in a slow-cooker in the morning, or ordering take-out (our favorite is Shuang Cheng in Dinkytown). Relaxation looks different for everyone, so once you decide on dinner, spend your evening doing something that helps you unwind. For me, it’s sewing. For my husband, it’s the Xbox One (tomato, tomahto). If it isn’t raining, outdoor activities are always nice, but don’t feel guilty if you stay indoors–there’s nothing wrong with a night in.

A more festive idea is to host a small get together–on your own terms. Fire up your grill, rummage through your refrigerator for some kebab components, and invite some friends over. Put on your comfy pants, don’t worry about deep cleaning your house, and set out whatever drinks you’ve got on hand. Don’t even insist on homemade–there’s nothing wrong with picking up some coleslaw or cheesecake at the grocery store to fill in some gaps. Hospitality can feel a little phony without a dash of real-life authenticity. The purpose is to relax, enjoy your friends, and relish a warm summer evening.

Whatever you end up doing, put on an attitude of thankfulness. Let yourself enjoy the things you have while the weather lasts. Roast things over a bonfire. Breathe in the summer air.  See how many constellations you can find in the night sky. As beautiful as Minnesota summers are, before we know it it’ll be snowing, and we’ll be wishing and waiting for summer again.


By: Whitney Grindberg