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Summer Bucket List, 2015 Edition

Though it might not officially be summer according to the calendar, it FEELS like summer here at my house.   We’re just tying up a few odds and ends with school, which means that my schedule is way more empty than usual, in a very delightful way.

summer bucket list

Since I’m a big fan of not wasting even leisure time, every summer for the last few years, I’ve made a big ‘ol list of things I want to do before summer ends (or, kicks the bucket, so to speak!)

I want to spend my summer days in ways that are meaningful and refreshing (with a dash of productivity thrown into the mix), and making a list really helps me with that.

This is kind of a mix of practical tasks and fun stuff and it’s in no particular order.

1. Declutter my house.

I do this pretty much every summer, mainly because things start to pile up during our homeschooling year, and it’s nice to start out the new school year with more order.

I do some organizing along the way, of course, but my main focus is decluttering.

Less, less, less.

decluttered linen closet

(So far I’ve decluttered my linen closet and coat closet.)

2. Make a Travelwee photo book.

Mr. FG and Joshua took Lisey’s travelwee on their trip to California, and I think it would be fun to make a small photo book of the travelwee’s adventures.

3. Paint Sonia and Zoe’s room.

Theirs hasn’t been painted since 2006 or so.   And the color of their walls (light purple) was chosen by Lisey, who doesn’t even share that bedroom anymore.

Sonia and Zoe's purple walls

So.   I just have to get them to agree on a color (which might not be a “just” sort of task!   We shall see.)

Before I paint their room, though, I think we’re gonna have to do some decluttering.   Too much stuff to paint around right now!

(Summer usually brings painting projects for me.   Last summer I painted Joshua’s room and his craigslist bed, and the summer before, I did Lisey’s room plus my kitchen cabinets.)

4. Teach my kids to cook meals.

Several of them have been wanting to learn more about cooking (most of them can bake just fine!), but during our busier season of the year, I’m usually in, “Get dinner on the table in a hurry.” mode, which is not conducive to mentoring young chefs.

chicken pomodoro

But I think this summer would be a perfect time to get them more comfy in the kitchen.

To make this a measurable goal, I’m going to say that I want to get one kid cooking one meal each week.   If I surpass that, great, but at the least, this will be a good baseline.

5. Say yes to swimming/water play twice a week.

This is weather-dependent, of course, but if the weather is good, this is my goal.

6. Eat outside.

We’ll probably do some picnic lunches, but I’m also gonna apply the last tip in this picnic article and think outside the lunch box.   Bring on the breakfast picnics!

7. Grab small moments to do fun things.

Laura Vanderkam’s I Know How She Does It got me thinking about using little bits of time in fun ways.

Sometimes I fall into the trap of thinking that we can only go to the park if we have all day to spend there, or we can only go swim at the neighbor’s pool if I have a few hours to spare, or we can only go on a bikeride if we have an empty afternoon.

seize small moments

This isn’t a very measurable goal, but I’m going to try to seize the smallish bits of time for fun things…a quick dip in the pool, a short park trip, a little bike ride, and so on.

8. Initiate/say yes to playdates/sleepovers.

We do get together with friends during the school year, but it’s a whole lot easier when we’re not doing school and when friends aren’t in school.

9. Clean out our shed.

I’ve pretty much never decluttered the shed.   Also, there’s still some stuff in there from the previous owners, and we’ve lived here, um, ten years.

It’s getting awfully crowded out there, and I know the shed would be much easier to use with less stuff in it.

10. Finish odds and ends left from the wood floor project.

We had new wood flooring installed, which is great, but there’s some work left for us.

I need to paint the new trim around the wood floors, and we need to finish staining/polyurethaning the steps and railings in our foyer (they are solid oak and so we didn’t replace them.   But they have to be refinished to match the new.)

stain stairs

11. Landscape the front borders.

I’m sort of a clueless landscaper, but my brother (who is great at landscaping) has promised to help me.   After ten years, our front borders will actually have things growing in them, hopefully!

12. Go to the beach once.

I’m not talking a week at the beach or anything, but given that we live not super far from the coast, a beach day is do-able.

13. Plan for the next school year.

Obviously this needs to happen before the school year starts.   😉

14. Keep the library basket full.

My kids do love to spend time reading in the summer, but in order to read, they need material.   So, I want to make sure I keep our basket stocked so that they have plenty of options.

keep the library basket full

15. Teach my girls how to use the sewing machine.

Lisey and Sonia have been wanting to give it a whirl, and summertime seems like a great time to do that.

(During the school year, I only have my sewing machine out for necessary mending jobs.)

16. Redo chore lists.

I do this every summer, since over the course of a year, my kids’ ability to handle tasks changes.

(This usually means they get a little bit more responsibility every go-round.)

framed chore lists

(I hang their chore lists on their walls.)

17. Go see a cheap movie once a month.

We rarely go to the movie theater because for 6 of us, $8-$11 tickets equal a fairly expensive few hours.

But, during the summer there are the $1 Regal summer movies.   And there’s also a super-cheap-but-nice theater here that has $3.50 matinees, and even for 6 people, that’s still doesn’t end up being crazy expensive.

18. Write to my grandpa once a month.

He doesn’t do email, so snail mail is the only way to write to him.


Alrighty…that seems like enough things to keep me busy for the next three months.

I’ll do a bucket list update at the beginning of each month to let you know how I’m doing, and because knowing I’m going to do an update somehow ups my motivation factor immensely. 😉

If you wrote a summer bucket list, feel free to leave a link in the comments.


P.S. In case you like looking at bucket lists, here’s my 2014 bucket list, my 2013 bucket list, and my 2012 bucket list.

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Thursday 11th of June 2015

Here's my bucket list! I've been so inspired reading everyone else's posts too!


Friday 12th of June 2015

Love your goals to get out and about to enjoy free community events!

Ali @ Anything You Want

Thursday 11th of June 2015

Teaching your kids how to cook full meals is such a great idea. They'll thank you when they're in college or on their own!


Wednesday 10th of June 2015

Nice list!! For us it will be pretty basic. We bought a new house, we are moving in in 3 weeks, so we will be prepping the garden for next (yes, next) year, and fix little things. We also have to keep the current house ready for visits (to sell it). Then we are having our family holiday in 2 weeks, hubby 30th birthday in july and our 5th wedding anniversary in august, then my oldest is starting school in September.... ouff!! Busy summer ahead!


Wednesday 10th of June 2015

Just curious how you get all of this done when the kids have relatively unstructured time? We school during the summer for flexibility, but also because I don't want to hear them fighting all day long if they have large stretches of free time. How do you handle this with your kids?


Thursday 11th of June 2015

As kids, we were encouraged to make ourselves scarce or else Mom would find a new chore for us to do ( was always dusting. Such an annoying task!). You learned pretty quick to go outside or hole up somewhere that wasn't under foot!


Wednesday 10th of June 2015

Are you just wondering what thy do to keep occupied? Joshua has a good friend here in the neighborhood that he hangs out with, and the girls have several friends here too that they play with. Also, they do spend a fair amount of time reading/drawing/playing together.

And a number of things on my list involve them...the cooking, sewing, swimming, doing fun things in small bits of time, etc.

Don't get me wrong...there's some, "I'm bored!" that happens and there's some fighting too. ;) But there's also enough peace and self-entertainment to allow me to get some things done as well.

Gladys (The Pinay Mom)

Wednesday 10th of June 2015

You're such a passionate mother for teaching your kids how to be responsible at their early ages.My grandmother taught me how to cook (started with rice) when I was barely seven and by the time I was 10,I can cook few meals.I'm glad I learned that because as a mother,it does really help!

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