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What to stick on your end-of-summer bucket list

Drive-In Theater

A list of five inexpensive ways to take hold of summer and make it last

I walked into Wal-Mart last week to buy a birthday gift and almost crashed into the neon yellow school supply bins decorating the store’s aisles. I groaned at the sight of things to come: a return to school and a calendar full of events and to-dos. Although I know some moms and kids alike jump for joy at the mere thought of prepping school supplies, I’m still relishing slower-paced mornings and multiple cups of coffee — in my pajamas, no less — from the scenic view of my couch.

Yes, I blinked and summer is halfway over.  

Every year, I have grand plans at the beginning of our summer break, intentions to create amazing! memories! and experiences! with my children. But amidst the care and feeding of the pint-sized people with whom I live, and the daily rigors of adult responsibility, I’m always surprised at the lightning-speed pace in which we throttle though summer. These summer months are not always filled with the hazy, lazy days for which I long all year.

That said, I want to capitalize on a few Seize The Summer Day moments before we wave goodbye to this delicious season. So I’ve been thinking about what I’d like to do before fall arrives, and I made a list of five inexpensive ways to take hold of summer and make it last.

Solar Eclipse on August 21, 2017 

If you are in one of the 14 states (from Oregon to South Carolina) in which the total solar eclipse will be visible, be sure to secure some NASA approved safety glasses and take your kids outside to view the celestial spectacle. A solar eclipse is when the sun, moon, and earth create a straight line and the earth falls into the shadow of the moon. This particular event is dubbed the Great American Solar Eclipse because it’s the first solar eclipse visible only in America since the year 1776. Totality will happen for just over two minutes. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event that would be a tragedy to miss sharing with family.

Camp in the backyard

When school let out, our girls asked my husband, John, if they could pop a tent and sleep under the black cloud of darkness outside at least once this summer. My husband agreed to the deal, but we have yet to make it happen. We’re rectifying this neglect soon. We’ll unearth the sleeping bags stored somewhere in the belly of our basement and purchase the materials for proper S’Mores. John will sleep with our passel of children in the great outdoors and I’ll repay him with a cup of coffee and a hot pancake breakfast in the morning.  

Catch a flick at a drive-in movie

I was maybe 8 years old when I last saw a movie in an automobile in the middle of a big parking lot, but I’ve wanted to recreate the experience ever since. There was something magical about sitting outside while fireflies swirled at our heads as we watched a film on the big screen. There’s a drive-in theatre about an hour from us and some day soon, I’m planning to load kids, blankets, and snacks and hunker down for a double feature.


We’ve actually been burning meat this way all summer long, but I’d like to invite a bunch of family friends over, set up our 100 foot homemade slip ‘n slide, and let the kids run wild while the adults visit. Adult beverages may be served as well as ice cream sundaes for the kids.

Make time for something we’ve wanted to do, but haven’t

We have a lake a stone’s throw away from our house, but we haven’t stepped foot on the shores all summer. We also have a pick-your-own fruit and fresh flowers farm not far from us and a travel carnival is coming our way soon. So in the next few weeks, I want to pick at least one of these adventures and make it happen.

I know some of these ideas take effort to plan and implement (hence the delay), but I won’t regret the sweet familial memories we create.

What about you? What are some other summer bucket items you’d like to check off the list? Share them in the comments!

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