2017 Summer Bucket List

2017 Summer Bucket List | rock + paper + skillet

You guys. It’s here. The weather fought it hard. I applaud the effort. I fought it with silent begging and pleading with the school calendar gods. But my wishes fell on deaf ears. The school year has ended. Summer 2017 has officially begun. And once again the old adage rings true: Failing to plan is planning to fail. Enter our 2017 Summer Bucket List!

I didn’t intend to be like this, all checklists and reading logs and shit. I’ve seen all the “Giving my Kids a 1970s Summer” and “Hands-Off Parenting” posts and to be frank, I AM SO IN. I want my kids to have a life outside of mine. I want them to roam their neighborhood, picking up kids as they go. I want them to make up games, stop into what’s-his-name’s house for a popsicle break, and chit chat under a shady tree that they may or may not scrape up their legs to the high heavens trying to climb. I want them to walk home from the pool in wet bathing suits with soaking towels hanging across their shoulder, exhausted from endless diving board jumps and full from an afternoon spent “putting it on the tab.”

But here’s the rub. NYC is conducive to NONE of this for my kids. Like not one part. Except for maybe the tree climbing. Of which I would need to be present for because hell if they’re walking to Central Park OR Riverside by themselves any time soon! We also live in a part of the country where many families head to a summer home the day school’s out and stay until the day after Labor Day. Many MANY kids go to “sleepaway camp” a week after school ends, for 7 weeks. SEVEN WEEKS. Then August is for family time either at said summer house or on a trip. If the kids aren’t going to sleepaway then they’re signed up for day camp. And THIS is why that whole “roaming the neighborhood with friends” thing is impossible!

So stopping just short of eating Donette powdered donuts for breakfast and washing them down with a pitcher of Tang, we regroup. This is the first year our girls are going to a day camp. For 4 weeks they’ll get on a bus that’ll take them north of the city to grass and ropes courses and daily swimming. The other 9 weeks (Let that sink in. Even after 4 weeks of camp THEY STILL HAVE NINE WEEKS OF SUMMER) are a combination of visiting family in Kansas and family vacation time on Cape Cod. Hey – remember what I outlined above? NO ONE IS HERE TO PLAY WITH. For any of us! However, the girls have several weeks of hang time in the city and that’s when we break out the Summer Bucket List.

I started the Summer Bucket List idea when LB, my oldest, was 4 years old. Which means her sister Little R was 2 and still napping pretty regularly. I did this mostly to give us some semblance of structure in our days (oh nap time, how I miss thee). But I also did it so that if they couldn’t be wild banshees running through sprinklers in our backyard, then I could give them what having a backyard couldn’t: New York freakin’ City. The museums, exhibits, concerts, story hour, craft time, play spaces – all these things created specifically FOR kids. Mix in a little spontaneity with a subway or taxi ride and a little mess in the sandpit? That’s summer for a New York City kid.

A few rules of the Summer Bucket List. First, we make it TOGETHER. It works best if everyone’s invested. I also check in on occasion to see what they really want to do and make sure we do a little for LB and a little for Little R. Second, simple daily chores and reading are part of the deal. Those get done in the morning so that we can have the afternoon for fun. If we’re going to do a travel activity from the list then we’ll go in the morning with the understanding that reading will be done in the afternoon. And third, there is NO PRESSURE to complete it. Like NONE. It’s summer for chrissakes!

To streamline your list-making I’ll share what we do. We break our bucket list into SEE, MAKE and DO activities. For whatever reason the girls and I find it easier to categorize things this way. Some of the items in our list, particularly the entire SEE category, are specific to NYC. But I encourage you to check your local listings for events and shows. For nearly all of our SEE activities I went on individual museum websites to see what they had going on. The MAKE and DO categories are a compilation of Pinterest pins and activities the girls have expressed interest in at one point or another. It’s always fun to see what comes up year over year. Like we ALWAYS hold a lemonade stand in August, with the proceeds going to a charity of their choice. And we ALWAYS make some sort of frozen treat. This year it looks like Creamsicle Frozen Popsicles. YES.

So without further ado, here’s our 2017 Summer Bucket List. Hope you can glean some ideas to add a little memory-making to your summer!

2017 Summer Bucket List | rock + paper + skillet

No one operates in a vacuum – especially with the creation of Pinterest. What in the hell did we do before Pinterest?! Below is a link to my //Summahtime pin board. I’ve referred to many of these pins over the years for inspiration and craft ideas.

Follow along on Instagram and Facebook as we make our way through our Summer Bucket List. We’ve already been to the Cloisters AND had a picnic in Central Park! I’m at rockpaperskillet on both IG and FB 😉 For any crafty things I’ll either link to the original source or write it out myself over on Insta. Ok, gotta run. Just heard the dryer ding with clean clothes ready to pack for our trip to Kansas on Monday. Family, acreage, and sunsets on the deck with wine. It’s like the ONLY Monday I’ve ever been excited for. Unless the first day of school falls on a Monday this year…

Happy summer everyone!

xoxo,
maggie

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Day 23: Make Peppermint Play-Doh

I’m gonna cut to the chase. It’s now December 30th, Christmas is long gone, and we’re all gearing up for what I think is going to be the BEST. YEAR. YET! But I can’t close out the Advent Activities without telling you how this one wasn’t even on the list! Because at 8 and 6 I thought the girls were totally over play-doh. Nope. They asked for this activity by name with lots of “pretty pretty please!” begging. So OF COURSE WE MADE HOMEMADE PEPPERMINT PLAY-DOH. I don’t know how many more years they’re going to humor their poor old mother who simultaneously begs them not to grow up while she kicks them out the door to school after 2+ weeks home for winter break. That one, she’s a nut case 😉

READ MORE »

Day 21: Decorate Gingerbread Houses with Friends

At no time in my life has the phrase “Failing to plan is planning to fail” rung more true than for the mother of all Advent Activities. There are lists. And lists of lists. That circle back to the Master List. BUT, I’m going to share ALL of these lists with you to make sure you can host or coordinate or participate in one of the most festive activities of the holiday season: The Gingerbread House Decorating Party.

I’m going to be hella honest right now. I wasn’t sure I was going to pull it off this year. I’m usually a well-oiled machine when it comes to this event. I channel my inner Santa: I have my lists and I check them twice. But as I’ve noted in nearly every blog post in the past 2 weeks, this year I’ve felt like I’m the driver of a car that’s trying to outrun the cops. Flying across the finish line only to self-eject and watch the car burst into flames! I’m serious – I was gluing the roofs on the gingerbread houses as the girls’ friends were ringing our doorbell.

To ensure that this is NOT you, I’m going to give you all of the information and then let you choose your own adventure.

READ MORE »

Day 19: Make Bird Seed Feeders and Hang them in the Park

Remember back in the day when Home Economics was a required class in middle school? All I remember learning was how to make cream puffs, a totally useful life skill. OH – and the room-cleaning checklist. I’m pretty sure this was just a way the school gave back to families. “We know your pre-teens are total PITAs so as part of the class requirement your baseboards will sparkle from space.” Another somewhat useless skill because now we have the Baseboard Buddy. Ahem.

When we entered high school you could take Wood Shop. Hanging out in the shed behind the school with a bunch of high school boys using power tools? Sounded like the equivalent of a truly live SNL skit. For credit. But my mom wouldn’t let me “waste” an elective on art in junior high, so woodworking in high school was out. Which is why I never got to hear the hum of the circular saw or feel the jolt of a power nailer. And therefore a homemade bird house was out of reach. Again, fine, because the bird house section at Michael’s is EXTENSIVE, as seen here. And yes, we all see the irony that I became a graphic designer. Without a middle school art education. If you see it you can be it!

READ MORE »

Day 18: Make & Send Cards for Our Family

When LB was little she was obsessed with writing letters. Like actual letter forms. She would ask how to write “cat” or “boat” and although I could tell her how to spell it she was still small enough that she didn’t know the letters yet. We’re talking like 2yo. So I would make dot-to-dot letters and she would trace them, terribly proud of herself. We had pages and pages and PAGES of this. Once she got the gist of writing her name, our names, family members’ names and a few key phrases she wanted to do it all herself. And send them to her cousins and grandparents. So then I taught her how to address envelopes. When Little R came along she was less interested in writing and more interested in trying to break her neck through various gymnastics feats. Still is. Yet LB’s the one in a hard cast… But as any self-respecting little sibling can attest to, the desire to keep up with the big siblings is strong. And that is why one day last spring a mom at school told me her son received the sweetest letter from Little R, and asked if there was any particular reason – like a birthday party or something she might have missed? – that would explain the unsolicited letter. Um no. My daughter just knows where the stamps are! I had no idea she had mailed anything. Apparently this little boy was one of a handful of kids who received a handwritten note for no reason other than to tell them “You rock!” – one of the few phrases Little R knew how to write by heart 😉

READ MORE »