Keep Summer Simple & Memorable - A Summer Family Bucket List

Summer break is upon us and the weather is turning warmer. It’s natural for our sights to be set on making the summer special with our families. Whether we’re planning a major vacation or have smaller activities in the works, we all hope to spend the precious days of summer intentionally with families and friends.

The days will go by quickly, that’s for sure.  While sometimes family bonding happens through an extraordinary activity, a lot of times it’s found in simple living. So, if I were to write up a family bucket list for summer 2015, it would go a little something like this.

Eating Outside

Outdoor Eating

We absolutely love and look forward to eating out on our deck this summer. It’s fantastic to sit around the table, whether with friends or just family, and enjoy the evening with nowhere to be. Our youngest will eventually make her way down from the table to ride her tricycle  around the deck. The good-night calls of birds will ring through the air and the scent of lilacs will remind us why we love them despite their fickle and fleeting presence.

Taking in Wonder


We are currently on our second try of observing a caterpillar go through its miraculous change.  Last summer we waited…and waited…and we’re pretty sure it died.  So we dumped it in the woods. But since we’re not quitters, we’re giving it another try. 

Recently the kids caught a smartweed caterpillar in the backyard …but it’s been hanging out in its chrysalis for about three weeks now. I’m wondering how to break the news again. But alas, it remains on the bucket list folks. We’re going to get this right, and at some point, maybe a caterpillar will let us into the wonder of metamorphosis. 

Family Gardening

We are learning and hoping to continue to allow time for the kids to be a part of the gardening process this summer.  Even little hands, with some direction, can get down into the dirt and remove weeds and prepare the soil. Planting and watering the seeds has brought a lot of excitement to our kids as well, especially with the hope of harvest.  Our older two remember now WHY we are planting….so they can bop out into the garden later in the summer and grab a fresh grape tomato, green bean or sugar snap pea whenever they want. They think this is so great!   Even though it’s a lot of work in the beginning, we look forward to the long-term fun, learning and benefit that comes from gardening together.

Boy with a Frog

Water, Water, Water!

Our kids love being in the water! I mean really….what’s a summer without a lot of fun water play? We will definitely get our fill at camp’s waterfront.  A splash park nearby, perhaps an outdoor waterpark for something different, and lots of water-gunning, sprinkler-running, slip-n-sliding in the yard will be had as well. That is, if it gets up to 80 degrees!

Ice-Cream Stops

We live just a couple blocks from a little mom-and-pop restaurant we affectionately refer to as “Dougie’s”.  We hope to take walks this summer to get an ice-cream cone, a pop, or if we get really crazy, we might order a large pizza – half pepperoni, half meat-lovers.  Sometimes, these simple, nothing-fancy moments add up to be a million meaningful memories.

Camping…Festival Style

This summer we have our eyes set on a special camping trip. Yes, we work at a camp, but no we do not live in a tent. Yes, we have three children seven and under and we will go camping with them. But no, we are not crazy, (… though check back with us mid-July post camping trip).

We plan to allow for some backyard camping for sure, but the highlight will be taking our family camping at a Christian music festival.  We wanted to combine our love of music as a family and the desire to experience the positive aspects of camping – removing ourselves from responsibilities at home, the distraction of technology, and having the opportunity to participate in experiences as an entire family. It helps that there will be a kid’s bounce house set up close to our campsite. Bounce-house + camping, for the win!

Whatever You Do, Keep it Simple

I’m under no allusion the Huffington Post will pick up this bucket list. It doesn’t touch the exotic lists some might have. But as a family, when we set our expectations on a beautiful reality, verses a too-high ideal, we set ourselves up for a summer that will bind us together with one another.

So whether in the well-thought plans, unexpected challenges, or downright fun moments, we’re choosing to chase some goals and hold on to our hats in the meantime!  Happy Summer-ing friends!

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