Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Thirty Ways to Enjoy What's Left of Summer

Every July I go into “Where in the heck did my summer go?” mode. Like many adults, my days are spent doing the mundane “must do” tasks that we all have. If you go to work every day, it can be even worse. Each day seems like every other day and all of a sudden---boom!---the Back-to-School sales are here and your summer seems shot, like a dud firecracker.

To counteract that sense of impending autumn, I make a list of summery things I still want to do. See how many of these summer activities you can still accomplish. We’ll compare notes in thirty days, so let’s go! Send me some pictures if you like, and I’ll post them at the end of August.

1. Make a lemonade slushy. I throw lemon juice, honey, ice cubes and water in a blender and whip up an icy lemon drink. Throw in some strawberries for garnish. DONE!

2. Organize a family and friends baseball game at a local park. Let the kids play!

3. Watch the Perseids shooting stars on August 12. Find a state park with no lights for best viewing. Woo-hoo! Saw about 25 in 45 minutes!

4. Crack open a watermelon. Invite your kids’ friends over. Let them make necklaces out of dried watermelon seeds.

5. Get up before the sun does. Sit outside and wait for dawn. Watch your neighborhood come alive.

6. Attend a nearby county or state fair. Go to the carnival and munch some caramel corn or let cotton candy melt on your tongue.

7. Take a day trip to a lake or an ocean (unless you live in Nevada and it takes more than a day to find water.) Build a sand castle.

8. On an extremely hot day, find a good movie and go lounge in an air-conditioned theater.

9. Slather some soft butter on a hot piece of corn on the cob.

10. Splash in a pool—either your own wading pool or a full-sized city pool. Even better, find a water park complete with crazy slides and inner tube rides.

11. Go outside at dusk and sit there until the stars come out. Pay attention to the sounds of your neighborhood.

12. If you planted a garden, go pick something and eat it. If you didn’t plant a garden, go plant something quick-growing like radishes or marigolds. It’s not too late!

13. Sunbathe. Sit on a lawn chair in your yard and bask. Remember the suntan oil. No summer is complete without a whiff of Coppertone.

14. Go to the library on a hot afternoon and curl up in a chair with a novel.

15. Get out the grill and barbeque your dinner. Don’t have a grill? Almost every city park does.

16. Turn on your lawn sprinkler. Sit on the periphery of its reach, and let the mist cover you.

17. Make dinner and serve it on the front lawn on a blanket.

18. Go for an after-dinner walk with your family.

19. Google “Things to do in [your state]” then pick one thing from the list to do.

20. Attend an outdoor concert. They’re easy to find in the summer.

21. Go on a Sunday drive with no destination in mind.

22. Invite your friends over for a water balloon/gun fight. You’ll be amazed at how many of your guy friends own water machine guns.

23. Have a family and friend ice cream night. Buy different flavors and have all kinds of creamy toppings and fun sprinkles to put on top.

24. Play Frisbee.

25. Take a neighborhood bike ride. You will discover all kinds of things that you never saw while driving by in your car.

26. Go to a baseball or soccer game or a tennis match.

27. Be lazy in a porch swing or a hammock.

28. Make your own popsicles out of fruit juices.

29. Play volleyball. If you can play sand volleyball, even better. Pretend like you’re Kerri Walsh or Misty May-Treanor.

30. Crank up the air conditioner or turn a fan on “high”, grab a blankie, and take a nap in the cooling air. Having a migraine helped!

Have a great thirty days!


  1. Randi,

    If my mind is a thought mill, your mind is a practical idea factory, although I think you do a better job of combining assembly-line quantity with hand-crafted quality. Great post! I'm off to cycle down a country road.


  2. Randi:

    Here in Florida it's almost endless summer. Folks think we don't have season changes, but we do. Along about November, when there's a chilll (70 degrees) in the air, and I think I'm in Paradise, people bundled in sweaters and jackets start a conversation with, "Cold enough for you?" Anyway, that's about when I start doing some of the things you suggest doing before summer ends: Go to the beach and ooh and ahh at the sunset, get a scoop of ice cream at Big Olaf's, walk the neighborhood and chat with people who've been hibernating inside all summer.

    When we took the grandkids to the Maryland beach in July, it was fun seeing them build sand castles,
    having Grace and Sarah bury my legs in sand, and searching for shells, a special one for Mommy. The most fun, though, was making flower dolls with the girls. As a kid, my sister and I made hollyhock dolls, probably learned it from our mother, who learned it from her mother, who learned it.... I'll bet your mom taught you to make them, too. I made them for my daughter and now my granddaughters. I have a photo of Grace with her dolls. I can give instructions on how to make one if you'd like.

    In my book, Dolls Remembered, to be published soon, one writer tells her story about flower dolls.

  3. Hey Randi! How did you know that I'm having the "almost end of summer blues" too? I needed this list ASAP. Thanks so much. Lots of great ideas. You really know how to make summer fun. I'm also hungry after reading some of these choices :)

  4. Robert: Thank you so much! I'm glad to see you're back from vacation (that wasn't six weeks, was it?) Have fun on your country road trip--it sounds fun!

    Auntie M: I laughed at the "70 degree chill" comment. 70 is just about perfect in my book. It would be nice to have a long summer like that, yet I think in the end, I must have snow.

    You'll have to send me some pictures of you and the kids at the beach. My grandkids just got back from Disneyland, a trip paid for by Daughter M's boss. Seashells were a highlight of their trip too.

    I'm afraid I got ripped off on ever having a Hollyhock doll! My mother taught me many things, but how to make the doll was not one of them. I do have some Hollyhock seeds though, so please send the instructions. I'd love post them on my site!

    septembermom: I always get those "end of summer" blues. And I always end up making a list like this so I don't feel like summer flew by without a nod. It was worse when I was working and felt like I scarcely even knew the sun was out. You'll have to let me know how many you accomplish!

  5. all beautiful ideas!
    anything to make the days go a little bit slower!


  6. Hello Chuck! Thanks for dropping by and for leaving such a nice comment. I checked out your site. Stunning photos. Congratulations on the new book! It looks like you have a lot of fans already.

  7. It felt like summer just reading these! We have two weeks before the kids go back, and this glorious list has reminded me not to let them be gobbled up buying school uniforms and supplies. Wish I could be over there with you on the 12th of August!

    I smiled when you mentioned suntan cream - I made the mistake of going all holiday nostalgic when my husband wore the same brand we use in Greece by the sea; he loved the fact that I closed my eyes, inhaled deeply and swooned every time I was around him, so he wore it every day on our staycation! (This is rainy Scotland, remember ;) )

    I'm all ready to compare notes in thirty days! May I be a teacher's pet and suggest another couple?

    ~1 Buy some postcards of your town and sit in an outdoor café or the park and write them to loved ones in different towns, telling them how you're spending your day and what you've been enjoying. Tourists love everything!

    ~2 Go to a local gift shop and choose one small hand-made souvenir that a tourist with an artistic eye would buy if they visited your town on holiday. Wrap it up, and write a gift tag that says "Thank you for being you, for filling my life with sunshine, summer breezes and love-filled moments all year long!" and at Christmas, give it to...YOURSELF! You deserve a glimpse of sunshine in winter for all of the wonderful loving things you do for everyone else all year long. Most of us don't love or cherish ourselves enough, especially those of us with young kids.

    Thank you, Randi - I love your blog; it feels like a wee break every time I visit and I always feel at home here!

    (PS - Lovin' the gravatar!!)

  8. Janice: Suntan oil was one of the scents I forgot to put on my "smelly" post a while back, but it is one of my favorites. That's cute how your hubby wore it to drive you wild. You go, Tigress!

    I loved your suggestions on prolonging summer! Thanks for adding them. I adore sending people postcards. The idea to buy yourself a tourist gift was a good one too! I never think of buying something for myself that normally a tourist would buy. But we should buy things that remind us of home.

    I'm glad you feel at home here. I hope everyone does. I've been blessed with really nice visitors on this site--people who help make this site feel homey.

    P.S. And thank YOU for making it for me!


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