Sunday, June 6, 2010

Summer Bucket List

Summer Pictures, Images and Photos">
In the good ole' summertime... in the good ole' summertime... strollin through... okay, okay, I'll shut up! But, as of tomorrow, my summer will have officially begun! I've scoured the web with my friend Christa over the last few weeks trying to figure out how my little family can make the very most of our summer this year. I dedicate this post to my children as our "Summer Bucket List".

So, I will admit, I love a project. There's nothing like a blank canvas and a mental to do list to get the old blood pumpin' through my wee little brain. It's been fun to surf the web and scour through blogs looking to see what everyone else does to make the most of their summer days. I feel like a detective searching out what would make the best use of our time, give us the most bang for our buck and leave us with some fantastic memories.

The first step in making my bucket list was to just basically create a list. I went through so many resources there is no way to give credit to any one particular place because many that were on my initial list before even surfing were on their list too. So, I feel like I corroborated with the world to get a list and then tweaked it just for me.

Next I went into Excel (you know me, I love my spreadsheets) and created a doozie of a worksheet set. I have a worksheet tab for schedule, bucket list, field trips, cooking, vacations, themes, ideas (for things that didn't really fit anywhere else). This is, however, where it gets tricky (for someone like me) in that can't ever seem to be totally happy when I'm creating something for the first time. Generally speaking, I need a trial/error period but since MY summer starts TODAY, I don't have that luxury. So, this will be how it is THIS summer and then NEXT summer I'll have "one down" and will be able to tweak it and make adjustments in case something didn't really work for us. Things I"m talking about are silly (and probably stupid) like... if I have a field trip listed on our Schedule, do I leave it on the list of field trips? My solution this time is YES... only have a column so that I can put an "x" on the ones we do go on and leave the others blank. Next year, we can assess which ones we liked enough that we'd like to repeat and work in the ones we didn't get to this year.

My "Schedule" tab is the first one and it has the following columns:
  • WEEK
Beneath each column is a single row where I list what we're doing. Each row is a obviously a new week. There are 10 weeks of summer; I have ten rows. My weeks run Monday through Sunday so tomorrow is the first day of the first week.

Something I choose to do is to utilize a theme for each week. This is basically just to have something topical for us to undertake... the possibilities are endless here. However, I think letting your kids give you a list of the things they'd like to learn this summer would be the BEST WAY to get them on board with the whole idea of learning over their summer break, but since my 11 year old is in Iowa and Drew is just excited to do anything, Momma got to choose this year.

Basically speaking, if I didn't have a plan, Drew would be whining that his friends couldn't come play, crying to go swimming in the heat of the day (you know, when it's a cool 110 degrees outside), in front of the Wii or dumping 1,487,246,204 Lego pieces in the playroom floor while pretending to watch television (it's just on for noise for him) only to feel the need to dress up like a superhero fighting Poison Ivy and leave it all over the floor for me to discover when I try to walk through in the dark. Big brother Josh would spend 90% of his day fondling the remote control in a semi-comatose state only to come up for air during commercials, during restroom breaks or when he needed nourishment. They'd each want to stay up until 10 or 11pm and sleep in (which completely wastes the only tolerable part of the day when you actually CAN be outdoors engaging in activity). So, having a plan (even if we don't follow it) will definitely help keep us sharp and give room for planned spontaneity!

Our 10 weeks of themes this year are: Summertime, Oceans, Dr. Seuss, Space, America, Snakes, Geography, Ice Age, Zoo, Police/Fire

Since I have the other columns set up, you're probably able to see how it's going to work out. As I surf, I can easily put the ideas into my spreadsheet so that I can see the craft ideas, food ideas, etc. all in one place. If I have craft ideas, I print them out immediately and put them in an actual file folder (conveniently labeled: "Week 1" "Week 2," and so on) so that I can see what I need to grab at Wal-Mart on our weekly trip there.

Our first week is -- SUMMERTIME! What are we going to do? Talk about the sun, do a water color painting of a flower (think a Georgia O'Keefe painting here), make ice cream in a bag, play on the slip n slide, watch Surf's Up, review the number 1 and practice writing it as well as three letters of the alphabet (still to be decided), play in the sandbox and make a sand castle, make popsicles.

My field trip ideas are obviously local but maybe my "inspiration" list will help you ring a bell with something in your own neck of the woods. We are definitely not going to do all of these but I'm keeping the list so that I never have to make it again. Why recreate the wheel?
  • Athens Fish Hatchery
  • Bedford Boy's Ranch Water Park
  • Blue Bell Factory (Brenham, TX)
  • Chisholm Park Water Park
  • Dallas Children's Museum
  • DART Train Ride
  • DFW Airport (area to view planes)
  • Dinosaur Valley state Park - Glen Rose
  • Farmer's Market
  • Fort Worth Arboretum
  • Fort Worth Museum of Science and History
  • Fort Worth Nature Center and Refuge
  • Fort Worth Zoo
  • Fossil Rim Wildlife Center
  • FW Cats Baseball game
  • FW Mint
  • Gaylord Summer Entertainment
  • Keller Public Library
  • Library
  • Log Cabin Village
  • Mesquite Rodeo
  • Mrs. Baird's Bakery tour
  • Nash Farm - Grapevine
  • NRH20
  • Omni
  • Post Office tour
  • Pump It Up / Lets Jump
  • Putt Putt Golf & Games
  • Russell Stover Candy Factory
  • Sharkarosa
  • Six Flags
  • Skating at Skate Town
  • Summit Climbing Gym
  • Texas Rangers Baseball Game

And if you want the MASTER BUCKET LIST... here it is! What I intend to do is look through about a week in advance and pick several things that either go with our theme or that we want to do (I'm going to get the boy's input) and work them into our schedule. One outing may be able to take care of three or four of these easily so limiting them by assigning them to a week before we know what we're doing is, to me, a waste of time.

baseball game
BBQ with friends
Bike Ride
blow bubbles
Build and Grow Workshop at Lowes
camp-out in the living room
catch fireflies
celebrate each kiddo's "birthday" on each day of the month that it falls
Chuck E Cheese
Collect rocks (paint, decorate and make animals or pet rocks or other crafts)
concert outside
craft days
date night with mom/dad for each kid
Design and/or decorate a shirt
drive-in theater
Eat popsicles
family camping trip
Feed the ducks
find a turtle
go bowling
go to grandmas
Go to the beach
Go to the cabin in Oklahoma
Go to the top of a Dallas skyscraper
go to video arcade (Main Event or Gameworks)
keep journals
lay under the stars (learn about constellations)
lemonade stand
let the kids cook
mini golf
outside movie
Pajama day (breakfast for dinner)
Photographs in the summer flowers
pick fresh fruit
play board games (Sorry, Monopoly, Chess, Checkers, Backgammon, Chinese Checkers, Yahtzee, Clue)
Rain Forest Café
reading ___ hours or ____ books
ride horses
shaving cream fight
stepping stones
Take a spontaneous trip
take a gazillion photographs
tie dye
Vacation Bible School
wash the cars
Water balloons
water park
Workshop at Home Depot
Hit balls at the batting cages

So, as you can see, the ideas really are endless as to what you can do! It's just a matter of putting it all together in one spot.

I will give you our week at a glance AFTER the week has come so look for my post on Sundays as to what we did the preceding week. I'll give a glimpse into what we're going to cover each week as well on Mondays.


Amooretto said...

you go girl! Proud of ya making your spreadsheet! I made my laminated calendar today {patting self on back finally} and am going to jot down the weeks info in a minute. Summer starts Thursday here.

Good luck and hope you get to tackle as much as you can this summer!

ModernMom said...

That is an fabulous list!
Best of luck getting it all done:)

chksngr said...

That settles are officially my hero. Cuz my little one is six months old in a few weeks and I couldn't think my way out of a paper bag, let alone come up with a list like this!

brandt! said...

oh my goodness! Want some teenagers help?? .. hahahaha!!

Frugal Vicki said...

I started a list like this, but then my computer crashed. You just imspired me to make another!