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Simple Summer Schedule 2 :: Bucket Lists?

Reading around the blogosphere this week familiarized me with a new key phrase.  Apparently, everyone and their dog must create a Summer Bucket List.    I even looked up the meaning of the term bucket list and found that it refers to creating a list of things to do before you "kick the bucket".  (We won't even go into what it really means to kick the bucket!

My mental wheels began turning and soon I was scribbling out a list of things to do during the summer.  I sat back, surveyed the list, and collapsed with exhaustion.  Why do we do this to ourselves, I thought.  I cannot even begin to imagine my own mother stressing about how to fit in all these ideal summer experiences for me and my sister (much less writing about it in a blog!).  What did Mom have to do with our summer at all?  My sister and I played with toys or the neighborhood kids, we suntanned and read books, we swam occasionally at the public pool and had one road trip to stay with our cousins.  As I recall them, my summers were wonderful, free-spirited and full. 

Please, don't get me wrong - I have completed my own list and I will be posting it on my blog and linking each post here every week.  I just don't want summer to turn into another "to do" list of obligations that, when left undone, feels like a list of things we failed to accomplish.  Furthermore, I've noticed that these lists are all geared toward entertaining the kids.  Hmmmm.   Shouldn't summer be about kids entertaining themselves? Didn't I learn here that boredom is an imagination's best friend? And what about Mom?  I came up with several things I want to do this summer that don't really interest my boys or even my husband.  They are also going on the list!

So, I am calling my list my Summer Opportunities List.  See?  Isn't that a little less frightening than a "Do this before you die" list?  :)  There are ten more weeks of summer before my boys go back to school so that makes for 70 days to do something summery each day.   I broke my own list down into ten categories:  Quiet, Active, Outside, Inside, Free, Outings, As a family, Just for Mom, Clean, and Create.

Every Tuesday I will post seven "Opportunities" that my family and I may or may not do this summer in one category.   However, my most important list for this summer is this Simple Summer Cleaning Schedule.  When that list is checked off each day we can move on to the "fun" list.

The first category I chose is quiet because after two weeks out of school already, I am longing for a little more peace and quiet in our days at home.  


1. At Bunco last week a girlfriend told me about creating stations around the house. This is what she does when her own three boys are getting a little wild and she wants to settle them down, keep them busy and keep them separated.  She creates five or six different areas or work stations and sets the timer for ten to 15 minutes at each station. 

Some station ideas are:
~ Legos/blocks
~ drawing/painting/coloring/doodling
~ computer games 
~ reading 
~ Play-doh 
~ exercise (such as jumping rope/running/sit ups/push ups/dance etc...)
~ summer skills workbooks/journaling
~ cutting/pasting/sewing/knitting

She assured me that with a little planning the night before and set-up in the morning has resulted in a quiet and fun day for her kids.

2. Stay up to see the sunset on June 21st, the longest day of the year.  

3. Have a "Popcorn Show" as my three year old calls our family movie night.  Watch a movie from the library or check out On-demand.  Pop some popcorn and snuggle on the couch.

4.  Write letters to grandparents, cousins or even friends who are far away.

5.   Reading Fort/Tent day.  Build a blanket fort or put up an indoor tent.  Load it with pillows, blankets and a flashlight or lamp and have a reading afternoon.

6.  Study cloud shapes.  Lie on your back in the yard and look for animal shapes  in the passing clouds.

7.  Nature scavenger hunt.  Send the kids outside with a small notebook and a pencil and a list of five to ten things they have to do.  Here are my ideas:
1.  Draw an insect you see.
2.  Make  a leaf rubbing.
3.  Look for tracks in the earth.  What kind of animal made them?  How do you know?
4.  Describe the weather as if you were a weatherperson on TV.
5.  Close your eyes and listen.  Then write down as many sounds as you can hear.
6.  Imagine you discovered  an animal or garden fairy that no other person has ever seen.  Describe what you observed.
7.  Collect four objects to bring home and show to the family.  Why did you choose them?
8.  How many different scents can you detect?  What are they?  Describe them.
9.  What did you learn from nature today?

Go celebrate summer in some small way today!

Next Tuesday check back for a list of Active opportunities.



  1. Every summer, I hope, I pray that me and my kids can be bored. Just hang on lyin' on the lawn looking at the blue sky and wonder when someone is going to get off their duff and make some iced coffee. A summer so relaxed, I can experience boredom. Reclaiming summer!

  2. Hi Misty, it's hard (for us) to imagine summer at the moment with the cold persist rain falling. Nice, though to imagine you swimming and enjoying the sun.

    One question: you said your boys have 10 weeks of summer stretched ahead of them before school starts again. How many weeks of holiday do school kids get every year? We have 4 school terms of ten weeks each. The spring, winter and autumn breaks are 2 weeks in length and the summer one is 6 weeks. But 10 weeks: wow! that sounds great!

  3. I love your idea of a summer opportunities list, rather than a bucket list. I made a to-do list, of things to do this summer before I have to go back to school, your idea is so much funner/less stressful. Love it :)

  4. Your list is a breath of fresh air! I'm so happy to see cloud watching and the nature hunt included.

    BTW, I don't have children, but am borrowing your #2 as a special event for myself and my husband...and I know exactly where we will be spending it. Thanks for the idea!

  5. Opportunities list, I love it. Really like some of your ideas too:)

  6. I love this! I found you on Amanda's post about blog myths and I thought that I would take her advise and head over here :) I have three boys too, and am always needing things to keep them occupied. This was a terrific post, with some great ideas. Would love to have you pop in for a visit sometime!!

  7. I just don't think that you understand how much I appreciate you. What a blessing your blog has been. A true breath of fresh air... Thank you. (And I hope that you don't mind that I linked to you? It's just too good not to share.) Enjoy those quiet times. :)

  8. Misty, that is one absolutely magnificent set of ideas for the summer. And it is far less threatening than a "to do before I die" list. Your babies are lucky to have a mom like you.

    Sometimes (probably more than sometimes) people ask me why I blog among "mommy bloggers". Your post today is a good example why. There is nothing like the heart of a mom. No heart on earth beats more like our God then the heart of a mom. I read, I catch glimpses of the special heart, and it rolls over to what I write – it inspires me. I've read multiple hundreds of male written blogs – and not a single one in the Christian community rights with the heart of this community – so that's why – and that's why I read you – and that's why I hearted today's post so much. God bless you and keep you – and God bless and keep each and every one of yours this day.

  9. I love your summer list!
    I love summer, and have a super hard time making a list for it....I just want to do everything...we just go as hard as we can! =)

  10. I love that you found a way to make this work and be fun for your family! Thanks for linking up to the summertime fun party and I hope to see more of your fun. Also, just to clarify, a summer bucket list is a list of fun to have before SUMMER kicks the bucket, not people :)
    Little Wonders' Days

  11. What a great post! And I actually did 2 of those things with my kiddos this week...the nature scavenger hunt and studying cloud shapes. :-) I think you have the right idea and we totally think our kids should be able to just "Play" without having to be "entertained". Thanks so much for sharing this at Inspiration Friday this week!

  12. Hi Misty! I'm just coming back by to thank you for linking this up to the Block Party too! :-)

  13. I really agree with what you are saying. Children DO need to get bored so they become creative and use their imagination!!!! PArents also need to rely less on computer games and TV and tell them to go outside...and etc, just start to happen. Of course we can go outside with them. Adults also need to connect more with nature! :)

  14. Lol! I have come to think of bucket list as a "bucket full of things to do"! I wasn't thinking about " kicking the bucket". :D

    Great list! That is what I want for summer- a time for my boys to be kids. So many (most) of their friends are so over scheduled that they don't have any time to play.

    Glad to have found your blog through NOBH. Made the ice chocolate milk today for my boys- yummy!


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