Suddenly, the seemingly unattainable and coveted summer break is upon us. The quirky and awkward school year is becoming a fading reflection. If I’m honest with myself, my excitement of summer is dampened by the thoughts of lost memories from last year’s summer. So I’m striving to make it a summer to remember — again.
My hope is to soon rekindle beloved memories, as well as create new and different memories. Taking the time to soak in each moment that I still have with my rapidly growing children. Going out on a limb to make unforgettable times may have neighbors asking questions, but leaves lifetime memories to cherish.
Below is my family’s highlight list of past summer memories. Perhaps this summer will allow somewhat of a repeat of these, and additions to the list. Maybe there are a few you’d like to try? If you do, please let me know. I love to hear about your adventures!
We Made Our Own Sports Field
We didn’t intend on having a baseball field in the backyard, but it happened, and I’m so glad it did. I am probably the most nonathletic person alive, but I value the joy and entertainment this simple, yet fun, activity has brought. This also gives the kids something interesting (and outdoors) to do when friends come over.
In the past, my husband has hosted multiple adult home run derbies (complete with a cheap plastic trophy). Several baseball teams have held banquets on the field, and it’s been the focal point of a few birthday parties. The initial reason for the field was the annual Fourth of July family celebrations. Gearing up competition among my husband’s softball-loving family was the ultimate goal, the other adventures were bonuses. It was only a matter of chalking lines, a bit of equipment, and we were preserving memories for life.
We Made a Self-Serve Produce Stand
Initially, this sounds like work, and well, it is – but it’s worth it. Even something simple, like growing cucumbers in a bucket, or letting some tomatoes take over a sunny spot in your yard. There are plenty of ideas out there for simple container gardens. Children and adults alike get satisfaction in seeing the fruit of their labor. More on this in my article about teaching your child responsibility: 10 Ways To Make Teaching Responsibility To Your Child Easier And Fun.
Our produce stand is actually just a self-serve table displaying our surplus harvest. It includes a simple price list and money box using the honor system. A nod to the method my grandfather used for years. (Read more at Gardening: learning from my trials and errors) It’s fun to set up shop and see how much you can earn selling your extra produce. We consider it part of our summer entertainment fun budget.
We Made a Fixer-Upper Oasis
For years we had a mud pit right outside our backdoor. Beautiful Maple trees provide shade, but those trees also did not allow grass to grow. It was our least used area.
One gloomy winter day, my husband peered out the back window and started verbalizing the plan running through his head: a patio area with white pebbles, relaxing chairs, and a fence to ward off wandering eyes. I chuckled and walked out of the room. It sounded good, but the reality of it happening seemed slim-to-none. Much to my surprise, in February of that same year, he slowly started working on the area. We did a little at a time; waiting until we found good deals. Bargains such as purchasing second-hand fence panels at a great price, gradually adding the pebbles, and using gift cards for the patio furniture.
We Enjoyed Amusement Parks To The Fullest
The sounds that come out of my mouth while on a roller coaster mimic a mix of a hyena in distress and an X-rated movie soundtrack. Don’t judge – it’s how I subconsciously work through the fear I’m dealing with as I descend on some ghastly twisted metal ride that my loved ones talk me into. Heights terrify me, so amusement parks were iffy on my list.
However, Pre-Covid, we teamed up with another family for several summers and had a blast at these fun-packed parks. We used our summer vacation budget to purchase season passes. Being located 3 to 4 hours from two different parks allowed many spur-of-the-moment trips, surprising the kids and feeling spontaneous ourselves. Most parks have many more activities than just roller coasters (such as international foods, animals, and live shows) so it gives everyone something to enjoy. Despite my acrophobia, I am still looking forward to returning to this one day.
We Soaked In Nature and Activities at Parks
Slowing down and taking advantage of local parks (especially State Parks) is great entertainment. We set a goal to visit new and various parks each summer, trying new activities and making a day of it. Soaking in nature is refreshing and therapeutic. A sure way to make summer memories.
We Learned More About Abandoned Places
I grew up in a rural area, so taking a Sunday drive was nothing new to me. There’s something about taking new roads, seeing new things, and especially discovering mysterious places that most certainly have a story. Exploration began with our town’s history, then moved on to other legendary locations. Read more about our adventures of the abandoned below.
Making summer fun and adventurous doesn’t have to be difficult and expensive. Take joy in the simple things. Try something new. Remember, sometimes less is more. Bigger, more elaborate vacations are great, but given our recent life experiences, it’s also nice just to appreciate what is around us. Make it a summer to remember.