My Bucket Runneth Over: Our Summer Bucket List In Review

Summer is officially OVER (sniff! sniff!)! The countdown calendar has switched from the number of days until school starts to the number of school days left, which is WAY too many! I’m feeling sentimental because we’ve had a FABULOUS summer!

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.

This was the first time we’ve ever attempted a Summer Bucket List, and I’m so glad we did! My baby is now 5 ½, so this was the first summer in 8 years of being a parent that we weren’t tied to a nap schedule! Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED the nap years and I’m kind of in denial that they are gone…But, on the upside, there was so much more freedom to explore this summer – so we took full advantage of it!

So here it is…our Summer Bucket list, in review!  We ended up with 30 different items on our to-do list. The list was dreamed up almost entirely by my kiddos and we didn’t really give them any parameters from the start. In retrospect, we probably should have but we lucked out and they actually didn’t come up with anything unattainable or terribly costly. In fact, the far majority of the activities were FREE! We’ve taught them well how to be cheap, I mean, “money-wise”!



Now, as of today, September 5th, we have checked off 22 of the 30 activities!! Woo Hoo! I think that is pretty good for our first attempt! Especially since, technically, summer isn’t over until September 21, so technically, that still leaves us 16 days to polish off the remaining few items. And we are determined to do so!

The Garibaldi Summer in Pictures – Bucket List Adventures

(and a few off-the-chart adventures!)

Bucket List 5

1. It topped the kids’ must-do list for the summer so I’ll let it top mine: The whole family went under the red bucket at our town’s water park.  After filling with water, a giant 6- or 7-foot tall bucket topples over and dumps its contents with quite a bit of force. Going “under the bucket” is a rite of passage for kids in my community so it was a big deal that everybody was old enough this year to all do it together. Can you find me in the photo? 🙂

Bucket List 2

2. Take a train ride. We had a wonderful family reunion this summer in Colorado with all the extended family on my mom’s side – 40 or so people representing 3 generations from California to Florida and several states in between! Oh what a beautiful state Colorado is! We took 10 days to explore and riding this Georgetown Loop Railroad and exploring the Georgetown silver mine were among our favorite Colorado adventures!

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3. Swim all the way across the pool, side-to-side. This one was for Lucy. Here she is being congratulated by her swim teacher, Miss Jill, for making it all the way across by herself!

Bucket List 3

Bucket List 4

4. Visit to The Focus on the Family Institute in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Wow! What a fun place! We are big fans of FOTF’s “Adventures in Odyssey” kid’s radio drama and loved getting to enjoy super yummy ice cream at Whit’s End Soda Fountain, explored many of the fun places portrayed on the radio show, and we even got to record our own episode of “Adventures in Odyssey”! That was definitely a highlight! Colin and I had speaking parts, while Kevin and Lucy handled all the sound effects.

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5. Build a sandcastle. We actually built quite a few sandcastles this summer! This one was a cooperative effort with some special friends, the Dorn family, visiting from our college town on the Central Coast of California.

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6. Have 3 sleepovers. This one was with two of our best, best buddies – Andrew and Anna-Kate. Notice the matching jammies? A must for any good sleepover!

Bucket List 10Bucket List 11

Bucket List 12

7. Walk to Juice It Up for smoothies and walk to the other side of town and across the Ladera bridge. This ended up being about a 4-mile walk, so it was a big accomplishment for little feet! The smoothie stop is at the top of a large hill so we stopped to enjoy the refreshing smoothies and play our new favorite card game, Bang.

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8. Build a fort. What summer is complete without a fort? This was nice for one of our hot days when we wanted to keep cool inside! And, another opportunity to play Bang

Buckket List 13

9. Eat at Denny’s. This is kind of a random one, but ever since my son was little, he has been asking to eat at Denny’s! We don’t eat out a ton and when we do, Denny’s isn’t the first place we think to go, so it hasn’t happened. Until now! When we asked Colin what he wanted for his birthday dinner, he wanted to go to Denny’s! So we did! Happy Eighth Birthday, Colin!

Bucket List 1

10. Hold hands and go in the ocean. I’m not sure why holding hands had to be a part of it, but I’ll never argue with my kids wanting to hold my hand! I’ll take that for as long as I can get it! 🙂

With a little bit of creativity, it doesn’t take much to turn an ordinary summer day into an adventure. And it really doesn’t have to cost much – if anything – either! What were some of your favorite adventures this summer? I’d definitely love some new ideas to store away for next year. Anybody else try a bucket list? Tell me about it!

Blessings for your last few days of summer,molly


  1. I’m loving the bucket list idea!!! When the girls are older we’re definitely doing this!!

  2. (I like how you threw “Clean out Mommy and Daddy’s closet” in there, too!). I noticed it didn’t get done! LOL!!!

    • lol!!

    • Oh Beth, you are funny! A careful reader, too…Yes, too many other MUCH more fun items to cross off on the list! I do have until the 21st though, so I’m still hopeful! 🙂 Although, I’ve waited 8 years to clean out my closet…so I’m obviously not in a hurry! 🙂

  3. I’ve really loved seeing what you guys have been crossing off this list all summer, so I loved seeing the pics from your adventures, too!! So fun!!

  4. Btw, I noticed “no electronics day” didn’t get done either – I don’t blame you. I’m not sure that’s possible… 😉

    • I know, sad, huh? We have to find the right opportunity for this one! The rule is – no computers, no email, no texting, no internet. Cell phones can only be used as phones!

  5. Best summer ever! What a difference a list can make!!!

  6. Ok, I know I am always late in my responses, but I loved this post and the fun review of your summer!! Next year I really want to make a Summer Bucket List! This summer we were tied to a 2 times a day nap schedule with the little one, so next year will be easier (I think). 🙂 I laughed about the Denny’s part because my 4 year old (Jacob) always asks to go to Denny’s and we have no idea why, other than that we pass by it a lot when driving around town. We’ve never been there, but now I’m thinking maybe we should just go sometime since he won’t stop asking about it, and you obviously survived your Denny’s experience! haha The highlights of our summer revolved around our garden hose 🙂 – Jacob found so many fun things to do with the hose, including filling up lots and lots of plastic cups, buckets, and our baby pool, watering flowers, washing everything in sight, and making puddles to splash in or play with monster trucks in. Even now I am loving the fun memories! (and it’s 92 degrees today so it definitely still seems like summer!) Thanks again for sharing!! 🙂

    • Hi Jenny,
      I realized that I never responded to your cute comment! How funny that our boys are both drawn to Denny’s! My best recommendation – go for a fun treat! They have something there called “Pancake Puppies” – they are essentially pancake batter balls fried and rolled in cinnamon sugar! Wow! So, so good! Probably not a very healthy breakfast but a delicious dessert! One serving could feed the whole family and they are very inexpensive!

      • Pancake batter balls sound amazing!! 🙂 Thank you for the suggestion! I guess we will be heading to Denny’s sometime soon, Jacob will be so excited! Haha I’m glad that I came back to this post because I love the “Joys of Christmas” idea!! So looking forward to the Christmas season and all the joy it holds! 🙂

  7. Oh, we loved seeing your fun adventures documented !:-) Great ideas and fun for everyone! We’ll definitely be trying out that in a summer or two when our kiddos are a little bigger too! Thanks for sharing such fun memories and your awesome ideas!;-)
    So sweet!
    We did a list for “The Joys of Christmas!” – In. Honor of the Christmas season , we thought it would be fun to make a list and take some photos to document our ” 25 days of Christmas with our babies!;-) ” it was literally a fun list of things to do, or be part of going to. Last year we made our Christmas ‘Joys’ list on thanksgiving day to help us celebrate and teach our little ones the joys of celebrating Our Saviors birth! Anything hosted or fun to go to that would, celebrate, teach, serve, & rejoice in that could point us back to God and to Christ – we did, and then some !!;-) it was so much fun and memorable that we decided to do it again this year!;-) We’ve started our list earlier this year – and some things we added are new and some are from last years list! 😉 blessings!!! One of our favorite memories on our Christmas countdown was being a part of packing up the ‘The Blessing Bags’ project that you and Kevin worked so beautifully to organize! We really enjoyed watching our little ones have another opportunity to bless and encourage others through that precious project during that time of year! Maybe you’ll do it again?:-) We love you guys!
    Love and blessings in Him
    Dani and Family!;-)

  8. Dani, Thanks for sharing your fun ides for a “Joys of Christmas” list! That’s a great way to ensure that you keep the focus on the right things in the midst of all the Christmas chaos! I love it! The Blessing Bags Project was such a joy for us too! Glad you all have such great memories of that! We are praying and waiting to see what God has in store for this year!
    Molly 🙂

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