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Summer Bucket List Update (Number One)

Every summer I make a bucket list; a plan for how I want to spend my time before summer kicks the bucket.   And every month I share an update to let you know how I’m doing at knocking things off my list.

summer bucket list

1. Declutter my house.

Decluttered so far:

-the linen closet

-the coat closet

-Sonia and Zoe’s room

-our schoolbook bookshelf

And I’ve started on my office bookshelf and my office desk.

decluttered linen closet

I feel like I’m being pretty ruthless (ALL THE THINGS MUST GO.), so hopefully that’ll pay dividends in the long run.

2. Make a Travelwee photo book.


3. Paint Sonia and Zoe’s room.

Noo…but! We did do a big declutter of their room, which had to happen before painting (there was far too much stuff in the way!)

Sonia and Zoe's purple walls

And Mr. FG did help them pick up some paint swatches.   So, now we need to get a couple of sample jars to test on the walls.

(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.

I got a little bit of a late start on this but Lisey made pizza!

Lisey making pizza

We’d planned on making thin crust, but didn’t get that dough made in time.   So we made regular pizza, using this recipe.

And the other three kids have all picked their meals to make during the next three weeks.

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

We’ve met this every week so far!

summer water play

6. Eat outside.

Yup!   We had baked oatmeal at the pier on morning.

breakfast at the pier

And we’ve had some picnic lunches at parks as well.

7. Grab small moments to do fun things.

This isn’t super measurable, but I’m seeing progress here.   I’ve gone out for short rollerblading excursions with Mr. FG and Sonia and Zoe, I’ve taken the kids on short trips to the closest pool, and last week, we went on a spontaneous short trip to a park with friends.

seize small moments

8. Initiate/say yes to playdates/sleepovers.

We haven’t done tons of sleepovers yet, but we have had quite a few playdates and outings with friends.

9. Clean out our shed.

Yup!   Still working on freecycling some more odds and ends, but I did manage to give away a LOT of stuff.

It was difficult to even walk one step in there before, and now there’s so much more room to maneuver bikes and such.

shed cleanout

This was, um, BEFORE the cleanout.


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

Erm, nope.   We discovered that the stain we were using on the railings/steps is too red, so now we have to resand and restain everything we did so far.

Womp, womp.

stain stairs

We haven’t quite gotten ourselves psyched up for that yet.

11. Landscape the front borders.

Yes! My brother and I managed this in a day.   I still need to mulch, and that’ll hopefully happen next week (we’re waiting on mulch delivery).

12. Go to the beach once.


13. Plan for the next school year.


14. Keep the library basket full.

Yep! Much reading has been going on.

keep the library basket full

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


16. Redo chore lists.


framed chore lists

(I hang their chore lists on their walls.)

17. Go see a cheap movie once a month.

Yes!   We went to a $1 Regal summer movie this week.

regal summer movie

18. Write to my grandpa once a month.

Not yet.   Whoops.   I’m gonna write him a letter today, count it as my June letter, and write him another one in July.


How’s your summer going?   Have you been spending your summer days in ways that are meaningful to you?   Let me know 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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Wednesday 29th of July 2015

Well, we, as grandparents are a generation older than you, but I have LOTS of bucket lists. Scraping and repainting the wooden patio got finished, although it took ten times longer than we planned.

We live in So Cal and there are must dos for us every summer. So far we have spent a day in Catalina, one on Coronado Island, have gone sailing in San Diego bay, driven up to Idyllwild in the mountains and had joyous pool days with the beloved grandkids. And, like you, realize it is only July.

Our plans for August so far include a day in San Clemente and our annual summer malt at Richie's restaurant. I think summer is my favorite season.

Laura Vanderkam

Monday 6th of July 2015

I knocked a few items off my summer list over the past 10 days- the overnight w/my husband, some boardwalk runs. Decluttering isn't really on the list but a few home projects might happen!


Monday 6th of July 2015

Ohh, sweet! Why did I not put an overnight with the husband on my list??? ;)


Sunday 5th of July 2015

Hi Kristen!

I was wondering if you can share the baked oatmeal recipes! I love the recipes you post :)


Thursday 2nd of July 2015

I love your post, however, I'm very bothered by pop up ads that I can't get rid of while reading on my phone... The ads automatically scroll through SoyConnection, Motortrend, Trident, Snapple, etc. Very annoying and makes it hard to see your always-great pictures! Just fyi...


Thursday 2nd of July 2015

Oh dear, that should NOT be happening. When I access my site on my iphone, I'm not getting any ads. Could you send me a screenshot of the ad so that I can troubleshoot the problem?


Wednesday 1st of July 2015

Hello. I have to tell you I love reading your posts. I've been reading for quite a few years now and enjoy the way you look at things. I just had to comment on one of your bucket list items that gave me the sads. I see you put "teach my girls how to use the sewing machine". But not your son? It just struck me as sad that he isn't on that list too. I mean perhaps you did ask and he isn't interested, in which case I'm good with that. It's just that I'm raising a boy and girl, and I come from a family where my little brother liked to see quite a bit, and design costumes, etc. So I guess I just hope it is the case where he isn't interested, not that it didn't occur to you to teach him too. Man...I'm trying not to sound preachy or judgemental and I feel like it sounds exactly that way. So I need to apologize for that. I just have been reading lots of blogs too about this whole "boy toys" and "girl toys" and why do we even gender toys in the first place? So it's something that has me a little unsettled.

Anyway, thanks for all you do. And I really just want to encourage rather than judge. Sometimes I know I get stuck thinking along gender lines myself and have to stop and recalibrate. Ok. Stopping blathering now.


Wednesday 1st of July 2015

Yep, he's just not interested, whereas the girls are chomping at the bit (well, Lisey and Sonia are. Zoe's not really interested right now.)

I'm totally teaching him to cook this summer, though...he's interested, and also cooking is, to me, a more necessary skill than using a sewing machine (so I'd probably teach him to cook even if he wasn't interested!)

I'm totally in agreement with you about toys and jobs being gendered. Mr. FG is better at taking the kids shopping, while I happen to be pretty decent at fixing appliances. It's all about what skills you have and what you enjoy!

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