Bucket O’ Fun: Our Summer Bucket List

Happy Summer Everyone! Summer is in full swing for us as we are nearing the end of week 2. (Not that I’m counting down the weeks of vacation because I most certainly am NOT! In fact, that’s the last you will hear of any such numbers. We are taking it a day at a time and trying to soak it all in! :))

Like many of you, I imagine, we’ve made our “bucket” list of activities we’d like to do before summer’s end. In summers past, it has been a mental list but this year I decided to make it official. We hung a poster board up on the wall next to the dinner table and the whole family got to put their two cents (and more!) into the discussion.


As you can see, I started with the recording and was alternating colors in a red/blue/black pattern in my teacher handwriting (just because I’m that way!). My 7-year-old wanted a turn at the pen and I fought my natural urge to insist Mommy do it! Even I could see that controlling the pen was a bit counter-productive to the whole point of a summer bucket list!


My purpose in creating a summer to-do list was to get the whole family involved in the planning and scheduling. Now, as I write this, I realize that “planning and scheduling” sounds opposite of what I hope to accomplish! We have such a full schedule during the school year and summer vacation provides a much-needed time of freedom and spontaneity – fewer constraints on our time and calendar! However, I’ve also learned that my family does best when we have at least a little direction, even in our down-time. As driven and type-A as I am, I can get lazy very quickly when given the opportunity!

Summer fun and relaxation are an integral part of this season as we recharge and regroup so we can prepare for another school year. But I believe summer should not be without goals. What are your goals for summer? Have you thought about it yet?

I’ve got a few that include, in no particular order…family Bible verse memorization, making (or at least getting started on) quilts for my kids made from their special baby outfits we’ve saved, using our passes to the San Diego Zoo at least 3 times this summer, spending LOTS of time reading with my kids and working on a few educational skills (can’t escape the teacher in me!), reading through the Jesus Storybook Bible with the kids from cover to cover, and organizing a long-overdo neighborhood block party. Gosh, now that I’ve put that in writing, you all can hold me accountable to accomplishing those goals!

Hmm…setting goals: great at that!

Meeting the goals: historically, not so great!

That’s what I love about the summer bucket list we created. For the most part, everything on the list is free, or nearly free. Most everything on the list takes little or no planning. We can wake up and simply choose something off the chart to do for the day. Sun’s shining? We can head to the beach and cross off “Build a sandcastle.” and “The whole family goes to the beach and holds hands in the water.” (That one was Lucy’s contribution – don’t you love it??) One of those overcast June Gloom days? We can have an “Electronics-free day” or “Complete a puzzle of more than 500 pieces”.

So here’s how we are doing with our list so far…

Trip #1 to the San Diego Zoo with my best friend and her sweet kids. The Daddies were working…someone had to play! They loved the new Koala exhibit which allows for some hands-on exploration.

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A little fishing, but no catching!

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My husband has been on a several-year unlucky streak and he is determined that we will be catching AND eating fish this summer! This week’s adventure included a rough and tumble fight with a catfish estimated at 10 pounds. Kevin discovered the hard way that his line was rated for 6 pounds and under! If you look closely you can see the big bugger’s head peaking out of the water:


“Crazy Pancakes” breakfast:

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Have you heard of pancake pens? Super fun! This is the one we have. Guaranteed to up your cool parent status in just one meal!

So we are off and running…I’ll let you know how we do in completing the goals we set for the summer. I’m really regretting the inclusion of “Clean out Mommy & Daddy’s bedroom closet” on the list. The ONLY closet in the whole house that has not been fully cleaned out since we moved in over 8 years ago! That one’s not fun, nor relaxing! What was I thinking?!?

**Just a side note: If you haven’t already made a summer bucket list but want to, my sister upstaged my poster board by finding this adorable FREE printable that she and my nephew colored themselves.

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It is available in a B & W and color version at penandpaintblog.com HERE.

I’d love to know what’s on your summer bucket list! How are you going to spend the season?


Summer Blessings,molly


  1. Sounds fun! If only I had a summer break 🙂 Let us know when you come down to the Zoo! Maybe we can take the day off and join you, plus my sister in-law Rebecca works there! XO, Laurin

    • That’s a great idea Laurin! I forgot Rebecca works there. We are hoping to get my parents tom join us at the zoo next time. We will get something planned and let you know!


  1. […] Though I’m not ready for this summer, in particular, to end, I am so thankful for the many blessings we’ve enjoyed. My bucket truly runneth over and I thank the Lord for the many, many ways He has provided for us, giving us time, energy, good health, and finances to do so much! It may sound funny, but I truly think a large contributor to the success of our summer was our Summer Bucket List. If you missed my post about our summer to-do list back in June, you can catch it HERE. […]

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