Return of the Bucket List!

The hot sun is shining bright, the sky is a radiant blue, and the smell of a nearby BBQ is in the air. SUMMER BREAK. The most glorious of moments, when the final bell rings and the doors of the school burst open with happy, smiling children, running to freedom. No schedule! Lazy mornings! The excitement is palpable, the giddiness is teeming.

For about two weeks.

Then you find yourself getting perhaps a little stir-crazy. The newness of summer whimsy is beginning to take its toll, the glory of no schedule is starting to feel a little less like freedom and a little more like chaos. And there are still at least two months of “freedom” stretched out ahead of you.

Enter the Summer Bucket List!

You’ve probably heard this term before and perhaps you already employ one. We started Summer Bucket Lists when our kids were toddlers, to help break up the sometimes monotonous days when the sun is rising SO EARLY and going down SO LATE.

A Summer Bucket List is simply a list of intended activities for the summer. This can include trips, camps, and events that are already scheduled (because, let’s be honest—summer can be crazy!), plus a few ideas to keep in your back pocket for the days when you are itching to get out of the house. Or this is simply an alternative to barricading yourself inside your bedroom to a barrage of little voices asking, “What are we going to do today, Mom?” “What are our plans today?” You know, like my life. Whatever your situation. I love freedom, I like routine, and I vacillate between the two. So this kind of thing is right up my alley!

The activities can be simple, like trying a new sno-cone stand, participating in the summer reading program at your local library, or doing a random act of kindness. Or, like I mentioned before, you can throw in activities that are already planned. Ours is a blend of already-scheduled things, plus some other activities sprinkled in. The format is totally up to you. It can literally be a simple list written on a piece of paper, if that’s your jam, or something written on a chalkboard or poster. For us, we like to print each event on its own piece of paper and include a photo of said event once it is completed. It’s a fun display, plus it's cool to have a visual of everything we accomplish throughout the summer. At the end of the summer, we punch holes in each page and stick them in a binder, which serves as kind of a scrapbook. It’s a fun way to look back on preceding summers when your kids were so little and squishy and gushy and oh my GOSH where has time gone and OH MY HEART WHERE ARE THE TISSUES.

We're into crafty things over here in the Sweet Shade, so my girlies were all about helping me cut out our list and assemble the final product! Little hands, lots of tape, perfectly imperfect.

And here's a pro tip if you're stumped with your list: ASK YOUR KIDS. Ha. Obvious, right? Sometimes I get so into planning things that I forget this thing is really all about them. Yeah, I know, I KNOW. Our kids really want to do a family baking challenge (we're all about Zumbo's Just Desserts over here), which was something I hadn't thought of! It's fun to get their input. Tempered, of course, with reason (no, darling, we will not be going to Australia).

We like display our list in a prominent spot in our house. It's kind of like a living list, as photos get added throughout the summer. This year we hung it in our family room, above our well-loved leather loveseat. I scored this lattice at IKEA several years ago and it's just one of my very favorite things, perfect for seasonal decor and such. This year it's our Summer Bucket List Display Lattice of Awesomeness.

Let me let you in on a little mom experience here: There’s a good chance you won’t do every single thing on the list. Hey, maybe you will! But don’t beat yourself up if you get to the week before school and realize you NEVER PLANTED THAT FLOWER. WHAT EVEN HAPPENED. Summer happened! A better offer probably came along, like hanging out with friends, and you took it. This is a guide, not a hard and fast rule. Make it fun, get input from your kids, and use it when you need it.

And there you have it!

And now, coffee. :)

What about you? Do you use a Summer Bucket List? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Have a lovely day, my friends!



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