Let’s talk about how to help an only child with summer goals.

Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while is well aware that we are big fans of summer goals around here (lots of links to other posts about that at the end of this one).

For what seems like years and years we have sat down with our kids at the beginning of the summer and helped them churn out some dreams for the summer.

Those kids worked together.

They were motivated by each other’s check lists.

So what changes as kids dwindle and head off into the big wide world?

How to change up summer with only one child at home

First of all the parents get more lax, am I right?

And second of all, they don’t have each other to stay motivated.

Thank Heavens our last little goal-girl left at home happens to be this one who is motivated by a schedule like nobody’s business:

She has been since she was young.

(She would color those little circles in each day with a dry-erase marker and was our best at this task.)

And even though this summer seems to have been a jumble in many ways with so many comings and goings of big kids (life gets so much more complicated with big kids!), Lucy has stuck to at least certain parts of the goals she set up in the beginning of the summer.

As I mentioned before it’s been down to “The Three Musketeers” for a lot of the summer:

And we have tried to use some of our time (aside from card games) to work together on summer goals.

Lucy had a recurring subject to most of her goals this summer:


Oh how she wants that, and what a great time to be able to work on all kinds of skills that will help her on that journey.

And all those five-facets sure work pretty beautifully into creating independence.

We’ve had some pretty good heart-to-hearts about all the things we can work on together to get her ready to head out into the big wide world on her own some day. She’s working toward being ready to join a “teen to work” camp for blind kids next summer.

One of the biggest goals we’ve been able to work on together in conjunction with being independent is learning to cook some of her favorite meals.

This girl loves to work in the kitchen.

And there’s not much I love more than cooking with my kids. I will say cooking with Lucy is a little bit different than cooking with other kids though. We are working hard on learning some tactics to measure things without spilling all the ingredients, how to feel the knobs of the stove to understand how large the flame is, how to open cans or cartons, (small motor skills are really tricky for Lu), knowing when things are boiling…I realize how much I take what I can see for granted.

But this girl is determined. And that’s a pretty beautiful thing.

How to cook with a visual impairment

She made us our favorite Nichol’s Vodka Sauce twice:

This recipe is no cakewalk…it involves baking the flavors so they can seep into each other, transferring the marinated flavors all together in the blender, squishing whole canned tomatoes that have a tendency to splat all over creation, etc.

But she did it. (And even made a fruit salad to accompany it, woohoo!). I have to say, I think her batches were better than I have ever made it.

Claire and Lucy eating the pasta Lucy made from her summer goals

She also made us her very favorite “Honey Lime Enchiladas.”

I realized how difficult it must be to see how “done” tortillas are when you can’t see very well (she watched really close for bubbles), and took it all in stride:

We gobbled that right up, it was so good (the gathering ready for the 4th of July):

The family gathered around eating the enchiladas Lucy's made.

Lucy also took a flight all by herself in her quest for independence:

Lucy heading on a flight by herself, helping her with summer goals to gain independence

(Heading to “Grammie Camp”…and that girl did it without a hitch and had the BEST time.)

We have a lot more work to do: braiding, reading (she is so good at this just naturally), new piano songs, more “friends” in the scriptures, etc.

But thankfully we have a whole two more weeks of summer to tackle these things. (Yes, you got that right, we start school again on the 26th, BOO!)

Hope everyone is having a great summer out there, and hope these goal ideas will help you and yours!


How to set summer goals with kids

Some Favorite Recipes

Similar Posts


  1. Hi, Shawni! I have come to love your family from afar and have appreciated your blog posts over the past few years. I admire your positivity and thank you for all the fun ideas and encouragement!

    My oldest child is 16 and the one question I’ve asked many of my friends with kids older than mine is: “What regrets do you have with your child/family?”

    Several of my friends had kids graduate this year and I wanted to learn from them so I can maximize these final years before my kids begin to leave the nest.

    One friend simply said her regret was, “the phone.” Another said she regretted letting sports rule their lives so much and that as parents we need to maintain control and not let coaches and programs dictate our kids’ lives so much.

    One thing my husband and I regret is letting our 16-year-old use social media this past school year (Snapchat and Instagram). But thankfully, we had this regret with time to make some changes and so we are backtracking and eliminating these apps (which is a very hard thing to do, but that’s okay). We feel it’s absolutely worth the struggle.

    Are there any regrets you’d be willing to share with us? I find this question so impactful and helpful in so many ways as I raise my own 5 children. I love to learn from the moms ahead of me.

    I can’t believe you’ll be back in school in 2 weeks. That’s actually terrible! 🤪😂 You should be at Bear Lake and enjoying the beautiful summer for much longer!!!!! No doubt you’ll maximize your time you have left, though.

    Congratulations to Lucy, and to you also, for helping her become independent. No doubt it takes thoughtful and intentional time and thought to navigate this. All the best to you! ❤️

    1. That is a great question Marie! I love the thoughts you shared. I will be thinking about it for a while, but some thoughts for now: one regret is that I had this desire for my kids to do the same things I did growing up. They worked so well for me and I just *knew* the same things would work for my kids. Ha! But I really can’t say that is a “regret” because we have all learned so much from the process. We are here to guide our kids, that’s what parenthood is, and all we have to base it on is our own experiences. If I had a horrible childhood I would be working diligently to do it all differently. But I’ve loved watching my kids take their own paths and figure out things on their own, some the same as how I pictured, and others different, and it’s so cool as a parent to be able to watch this.

      But the biggest real regret would be social media. Hands down. It’s a tricky one because Dave and I have tried to find the balance between understanding that an entire social life is based upon social media for this generation. I’m so glad we stuck it out and made Claire wait until her senior year for snapchat, but now I wish I could take it away (well, not now that she’s in college, but I sure hope she can find that balance!). There are all kinds of studies that show how teenager self esteem plummeted when social media was introduced. I applaud you for being willing to take on the struggle of backtracking and finding the right balance for your 16-year-old in your family. Everyone will find a different balance, but I think we need to think long and hard about social media!

      Dave and I just listened to such a great segment about the effects of social media. I’ll have to find it and share it soon.

      Thank you for the question!

      It IS actually terrible that we’re starting school so soon! We are all dreading it!

      1. Thanks Shabbat, for sharing such a valuable “not really a regret” regret! There are many paths to happiness and success. And happiness and success can look very different for different people. Hard to remember that sometimes when the “different people” are our own kids!

  2. I can’t imagine being in school on July 26!! I love the idea of year round school and more breaks during the year but when you mention school starting at the end of July it just makes me sad. Its summer! But I know where you live its summer almost year round. In Idaho we are just now getting hot weather.
    Love watching Lucy cooking. With her tenacity she will achieve independence. She will go far!

  3. I think it’s wild your school starts back on 26th July. We live in England and ours don’t break up until 22nd July!

  4. I love all the goals that Lucy has set for herself, especially the cooking one. It must be so hard to cook things when you can’t see properly.

    Just curious, is Lucy able to walk to your local supermarket & also get a bus to places?

    It’s sounds crazy to thik that a lot of schools go back on July 26th. Here in the UK most schools don’t break up until next week. They then go back in September.

    1. Forgot to ask, with going back in July are the younger children at school allowed to play in the playground at break time or is it too hot for them?

    2. Lucy is still working on bus skills (except for the school bus which she rides home). She has walked to the local supermarket with friends a couple times and we sometimes ride the tandem there. So hoping she can continue to learn these types of skills.

      They do cancel recess on days with extreme heat hazard. It gets so hot!

  5. Oh, I love this post! I recently went back to one of your early “summer goals” posts for inspiration. These are now a part of our family culture. I started reading your blog roughly around the time of the pictures shared above and it is just WILD how the time flies! I know a lot of pictures on older posts don’t display because of the older formatting, so it was cute to see these throwbacks!

    1. I’m so glad you have found some ideas to incorporate and we (my brother Josh and I…well, let’s be honest, mostly Josh) are working on those older picture formatting. Hoping we can fix it up! Yes time flies!!

  6. I’ve been following your blog for a L O N G time. Not sure exactly when I started, but Lucy was little, maybe 2 years old? She’s a year older than my oldest daughter and I have always loved following her journey. She is rocking those goals! Awesome job Lucy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *