Your Summer Bucket List
Creating a Summer To-Do List with Your Kids
article by Cindy G. Foust
Happy 4th of July month to the BayouLife nation! Gosh, I am so grateful to live in America, land of the free, home of the brave. But this month, my heart is heavy at the climate our great country is experiencing. I would never even begin to write about politics in this column, because I don’t want to be fired or stir the proverbial pot, but I think it’s okay for me to say that there has got to be some unification in our country, and soon.
It doesn’t matter which side of the “aisle” you put yourself on, we can disagree and argue over opinions and laws and decisions. That’s the American way, right? It’s just so heartbreaking when lawmakers, innocently practicing softball for a fundraiser, become victims to such violence. Senseless, I tell you. My heart has been heavy since hearing this news and I pray for these victims, their families and America.
Wow! That’s a Debbie Downer way to start my column this month, when July should be full of fireworks and BBQ and watermelon. Of late however, I seem to be on a roll for dire, sad and forlorn columns. So, we are making the break this month and bringing the three “F’s” back to Bayou KidZ; the three F’s of course being food, fun and fellowship. Right?
Always one to advocate for family time, family togetherness and quite simply, family bonding, I want to bounce a little idea off you, that I’ve been mulling for my own self. You know, I turned “50” last year and with that milestone, I have been busy planning the second half of my life. Ha! (wait, did I just laugh out loud in my column?)
During these strategic planning sessions, I have been working on the proverbial “bucket list.” You know, things I want to do before I die. Wait, did I just bottle rocket (another holiday shout out) us back to doom and gloom?
Stay with me readers, as hard as it might be, but have you ever made the same kind of list? Come on…admit it, even if it’s a mental list, we all have things we would really like to do one day, right? Well, I got to thinking, rather than make a list that covers the rest of our lives, why can’t we pare it down, with our children, and make the list for a shorter window of time? We can, I tell you, we can. I think the idea of a “summer bucket list” with our children actually sounds like a great idea.
Now, my real-life bucket list includes taking a cooking class in Italy (in fact, I just asked my husband if we could do that this morning over coffee and he looked at me like I had two heads) or learning a second language or biking the Golden Gate Bridge. No, that’s just a big lie. I have already biked the Golden Gate Bridge (BayouLife, August 2014…simply a must-read) and it wasn’t on my list before, and if it’s on yours, scratch it off before it’s too late! I still walk with a limp.
Where was I? Oh, my bucket list, which incidentally doesn’t include parachuting out of a plane, because I will be the one whose parachute doesn’t open and then the second half of my life would end rather abruptly and suddenly and then Cassie would have to find someone else to write this column, and that would be a huge burden on her, and well, I can’t do that to her, so I’m not jumping out of anything (except this window I’m looking out of because I am chasing yet another rabbit and forgot where the rabbit hole was.)
Right, summer bucket lists with your children. Readers, think how fun this would be to sit down with your children and a very inexpensive sheet of cardboard and make a bucket list for the summer. Listen, it doesn’t have to be taking a trip to Disney (although, we did do that two summers in row for my son’s World Series, and I don’t recommend doing Disney World simultaneous with a baseball tournament, but it truly is the most magical place on earth) or a vacation to some exotic locale; it can just be food, fun and fellowship right in your own backyard.
For instance, start simple with a picnic (I know it’s hot as blue blazes outside, but do it on your patio with the ceiling fans to keep you comfortable). Kids love picnics, and we have a fabulous park right at our fingertips. Or how about cooking burgers and inviting another family over for game night? Listen, there is nothing more fun than a table full of people playing Mexican Train (except for a cooking class in Italy, now that would be more fun, and I think my editor should send me there on an all-expense paid vacation, so I can write about it for her magazine, but what do I know?) Well, and unless you are at the Mexican Train domino table with my family, and then, it can get a little heated and there is a distinct possibility you might get hit in the head with a domino just because you are trying to play strategic for the win and refuse to start someone’s train for them.
Rabbit hole? Where are you? Next, camp out right in your own backyard (I wrote an entire column on this very idea, BayouLife, August, 2015), complete with tents and sleeping bags and Smores (and here’s a little bug…you can do like my good friend Annie did, and camp until about, say 9:45 and then hire some teenagers to come “chaperone” the rest of the night, so you can sleep in your bed…brilliant, I tell you.) Of course, it might be cheaper to go to Disney World after you do all that.
What about heading to the Farmer’s Market (one of my favorite places to frequent), and let your kids pick out what they want you to cook for dinner. Or perhaps it can be a family “cook night?” I know this next one will make you want to tear this column from the pages of this magazine and use it to start that fire you will need to make S’mores, BUT, we have several local berry farms, and you can take the family on a berry picking expedition. And don’t let dad sit in the car in the air conditioning, make him get out and get to picking.
Lastly, and certainly not leastly (I know that’s not a word, but I like the way it sounds), parents, how about just taking a random day off work, don’t tell the kids and plan a surprise trip for them. My parents did this one time when my sisters and I were young and took us to Six Flags (many, many years ago, when the original Texas Giant was original).
Or you can just stay home for the day with your kids, you don’t have to go anywhere, just get in the pool, or go the mall or take in a movie (wait, take in? I have no idea where my brain and my fingers and this computer take me sometimes). The point is to have a big poster board hanging in the hallway and getting to scratch off some fun, family activities with your kids. And make some memories. That’s what I remember about those surprise trips to Six Flags; being with my family, in the back of the Chevy Citation (later passed down to me and then renamed the “Cindy Citation,” and was the color of a purple grape.)
As we all know, time is flying at warp speed, I talk about it in nearly every column I write for this wonderful magazine, but we can jam pack these days with experiences that our children will remember for all their lives. To me, that’s more important than world traveling and jumping from hot air balloons.
So, get with it parents, get those lists going and I’ll see you next month when I’ll likely be talking about how I can’t believe it’s time for school to start and planning my pumpkin carving party. I hope you and your families will enjoy the holiday that celebrates the birthday of this sometimes flawed, but wonderful country that we live…by being together, no matter where that might be.