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Saturday, May 18, 2013

What are your times to treasure this summer?

With this being Victoria Day weekend in Canada, and next weekend being Memorial Day for the US, it feels like the unofficial start to summer is upon us.

Now, while my children are still near to my husband and I (so near I can holler up the stairs to reach them), I want to squeeze every precious moment out of our time. So, as the chief social director of this family, I've been thinking about how I want us to spend our time. Obviously, my grown kids will have their own ideas. But if I get my way, here are some of the times I want to treasure this summer:

     1.  Start up our long walks again. Summer Saturday mornings are perfect for us to walk either down to the beach or up to the market and coffee house.

     2.  Dinner of fish and chips on the beach. There's a walk-up window for Ivar's (fish and chips place) down at the beach. At least once each summer we go "out" for dinner. We take our fish and chips over to the shoreline and sit on one of the logs just feet from the lapping waves, while we dine al fresco.

     3.  Saturday evenings around the campfire making s'mores. A little more difficult to do as a family, now that my son is busy most Saturday evenings. But maybe he'll squeeze us into his busy calendar once or twice. In any case, we build a fire, roast hot dogs and make s'mores. Then we wait, and listen to the birds' last song, and look for bats. Some years are bat-ier than others. They're interesting to watch fly around.

     4.  Have some friends over for an evening of games and dinner.

     5.  Make ice cream and sorbet at home. And for my daughters -- make slurpies at home! That got a +1 from both of them. Just an FYI, every summer on July 11 (7-11), the store 7-11 gives away free, small slurpies. Just keep that in the back of your mind. I usually check online near to that date, to see if the promotion is a "go" again this year.

     6.  Visit the lavender festival in July. This may be a girls-only excursion. I could be hard-pressed to interest the men in the family to go traipse through fields of lavender. But it's been on my list for several summers, and I couldn't get away. Sometimes the girls just gotta have fun, right?

     7.  There's an annual art festival in the downtown area of my town. We've missed it the last 3 years, due to scheduled dance performances of my daughters. But this year, the performances have been moved up one week! Woohoo! A fun Sunday afternoon for the family (not that the dance performances weren't fun -- back peddling, back peddling -- but we get to attend both activities. Whew, saved that one!).
     8.  Which brings me to this, lately our Sunday afternoons have been filled with yard and housework. For this summer, I'd like us to have more time for recreation and relaxation on Sunday afternoons. A nap on the chaise on a lazy Sunday afternoon, or a good book in the shade of the plum tree, or just a long lunch on the grass, will all fit the bill.

     9.  Some cheap backyard fun is also planned. We'll have our croquet tourney, play horse shoes, throw the frisbee, and get out the small ping pong table.

     10.  And finally, a family vacation. And yay! The whole family will be going. We're driving down the coast to California for a week. The 5 of us, stuffed into our small-ish sedan -- this should be interesting! It's a good two days drive to So. Cal. Are we there yet?

You'll notice, this isn't a list of projects to accomplish. There will be time for those, too. These are togetherness, "ya love me don'tcha?"  times to make memories to hold for my rocking chair days.

Do you have any times to treasure on your list for this summer? Please share.


  1. Lili, it all sounds fabulous, great plan!

    We'll be camping quite a bit this summer in our rv. I'm really looking forward to relaxing around the campfire with my family!

    1. Hi Sharon,
      I've always thought an RV would be great -- no unpacking once you arrive, beds that you're familiar with, and no tent to set up.

      Have a great time this summer!

  2. I would love to experience the fish and chips at the beach. Sounds wonderful!

    I am eagerly awaiting long days with no homework to deal with.

    My 8 yo and I will spend a lot of time reading our own books on the patio, or for a treat, at a coffee shop.

    We like to get up early on a Saturday morning and the whole family walk about 3 miles to a local bakery.

    We will be taking our first trip to New Mexico, on the train no less. My daughter loves Native American-anything and history in general.

    We are also having our first ever block party!

    Best of all I don't have to share my daughter with school ;)

    1. Hi Jen,
      Oooh, a train trip to New Mexico -- that would be fabulous. You will see so much! We've only been on a train trip once. But I'd really love to do that again.

      Your summer plans sound awesome!

  3. Beautiful ideas. Being British, fish and chips at the beach holds all sorts of wonderful family memories for me. Perfect

    Lesley x

    1. Hi Lesley,
      We call it "waterfront dining", and we giggle over the small fortunes people spend to get a table with a view of the water at local restaurants. Eating the fish/chips right there, with the smell of beach everywhere, and the sound of seagulls and lapping waves, it really doesn't get more "beachy" than that!

      I hope you make many wonderful memories this summer!

  4. Healthfulsaver we are planning a trip to New Mexico also. So many things to see and do there, we're having a hard time narrowing down our itinerary.

    As for other activities, we enjoy walks at the local parks and we have several free museums. Actually anytime we are in the car together, there is always good conversation. I think that is because there aren't many distractions. Wally and Theo plan trips out together for this reason. A good time for them to connect without the parents.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      I've always thought of car trips as golden moments with the family, as we have a captive audience.

      I enjoy reading about your visits to local parks and museums. It's a bit like being there myself.

      It sounds like you have plans for a lot of summer outings!

  5. Bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches wrapped and and eaten at the beach in our side by side lawn chairs. Hiking parks we have never been to. Exploring new towns on Vancouver Island. Picking berries (and eating them). Reading in the sunshine on our patio furniture (we bought two chairs and a couch instead of a table so we can call it our outside living room). BBQs and drinking cider. Watching the birds frolic around our feeder. Long walks on the beach finding new creatures and picking shells.

    1. Hi Cheapchick,
      Beach/lawn chairs -- that's what we're needing! There are logs at the beach to sit on, but a couple of low beach chairs would be great (and easier on my back).

      Still being relatively new to your area, I'm sure you'll have a lot of exploring to do.

      Can't wait to read all about it!

  6. Love your pictures, Lili! They give a real sense of summer fun.

    Our list is similar to everyone else's--time to rest and relax, eat sweet corn, go out at least once for hand-dipped ice cream, go camping, visit friends and relatives, have them visit us, and of course go to the beach. My daughter can't wait for going to the library (our library has fun summer activities for kids--neat!).

    Summertime ... and the livin' is easy ...

    1. Hi Kris,
      Eat sweet corn -- yes! I forgot about that. There's a farm not too far from here where we like to go picking in late summer. Yum! Fresh-picked corn is sooo sweet. I also can't wait for watermelon. I almost bought one yesterday!

      Aren't libraries great resources for summer fun? Ours also has an adult reading program -- read 3 books, get a free gift card to Starbucks. We've already begun talking about which books we want to read this summer.

      Your list sounds great! You and your family will be making memories all summer long!

  7. That sounds like a thoroughly wonderful summer! I LOVE those little backyard campfire things... but it's probably a good thing that I don't own one since I have a tad bit, ahem, of the pyromaniac gene in me!

    Anyhow, CatMan and I suck at making plans, but here's what's on my wish list for the summer: Lots of long bike rides together (barring any future accidents, this should be a given.)

    I'm hoping that we'll get to go down to Manitou Springs for a day - we have a dear friend down there who recently lost his wife to breast cancer, so it would be good to see him. I also want to take some pictures in Cheyenne canyon, where CatMan spent much of his youth rock climbing.

    And... if the stars align (which they may not, because this one would require an overnight stay and with a sick kitty that might be hard to pull off) I'd love to take a trip to Leadville, where my father's family lived when they first came to the US. My great-grandfather owned a saloon there, and I've been doing all sorts of genealogical research on I'd love to see if any of the houses they lived in are still there. I also recently inherited all of my grandmother's old photos - ones she took about 100 years ago when she was a little girl growing up in Leadville. I'd love to see if I can find where some of her photos were taken. And, of course, I want to do some research at the local Catholic church and cemetery to see if I can find any more of the family records and/or identify the "mystery man" who appears in several old family photos. That trip might have to wait another year, but we'll see...

    Here's wishing a wonderful and relaxing summer to one and all!

    1. Hi Cat,
      Do you know anyone who could kitty-sit for a couple of days for you, so that you could make that trip to Leadville? That would be an amazing journey into your ancestors' lives.

      Your summer of excursions and long bike rides sounds, well, very summer-y. Take lots of pictures for your blog, where ever you go this summer. I love "traveling" to new places through someone else's trips.

  8. Summer for me is strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, Concord grapes, cherries and corn on the cob - I definitely have food on the brain! I like going to festivals and for walks on the beach. Our area has a lavender farm too and I've never been - maybe this year!

    1. Hi anexacting,
      You do have food on the brain! But it all sounds so fresh and yummy. I grow tired of all the apples, bananas and oranges we eat all winter, and really look forward to the fresh produce of summer. I'm in the mood for a watermelon today.

      I was completely amazed to find out that my area has a lavender festival. You would think it would be too cool and damp here. And it is rather surprising that lavender grows well there, too. I had this mental picture of lavender in the Mediterranean, hot, dry and sunny. How little I knew!

      I hope you find plenty of time for walks on the beach, festivals and fresh produce this summer! And let me know if you go to your lavender farm. We can compare notes on what they can and can't grow, and do with, in the way of lavender.

  9. Now it's my turn to be jealous as we're moving into winter here :) It sounds like you have a great summer planned.

    My last four summers have been filled with fieldwork for my PhD, so it will be nice to have a summer without that at the end of the year. I will be working hard on my thesis, which is due at the end of summer, but it will be nice to be home. Summer also coincides with Christmas here, so I'll be seeing my whole family.

    For winter, my main plan is my trip to Thailand to get away from the cold :)

    1. Hi Economies,
      Your trip to Thailand sounds fabulous. You'll have to blog all about it when you return!

  10. Gardening. Hanging at the beach (easier to do now that I've moved closeby). Having dinner with friends and family. Hanging out on the back deck/dock area of the local bar (I'm not much of a drinker but that is a fun night out when the weather is nice). Going to the local festivals. Taking long walks. Oh, I cannot wait for the summer!

    1. Hi Pamela,
      Those sound like some wonderful ideas for summer, the kind of things that don't need a lot of pre-planning for, but that you can just go and do when it fits your schedule.

      I can hardly wait for summer to begin here, as well!

  11. Pretty much all your things would be on my summer list. Lavender fields were high on the list last year but I still didn't make it - this year I really will! What's a slurpie??!

    1. Hi Sarah,
      Are lavender fields nearby for you? We'll have to take a ferry and drive about an hour north, but it should be worth the time and effort.

      Slurpie (I think I misspelled it -- Slurpee) is the store 7-Eleven's name for a slushie, sometimes called an ICEE. It's a frosty, frozen beverage. They might be like an Ice Blast.

  12. Lili,
    You have a wonderful Summer planned-I think everything on your list will be a joyous celebration of life, family and love!
    Great Post!


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