Friday, June 20, 2014

Summer Bucket List 2014

Last summer, I cheated a Bucket List and just copped Martha Stewart's Summer ToDo List. Needless to say, very little of that was achieved because, let's face it, I'm not Martha Stewart. Who is? Other than Martha Stewart, of course... and that chick on "Saturday Night Live," who actually makes a better Martha Stewart than the Domestic Mothership herself. So, this year I tossed around my own ideas for a while and comprised this list, which fits me, my family, and our lives.

1. Big Brother - When I feel the itchings of Summer coming on, Big Brother is one of the first things I start looking forward to, even sooner than I start looking forward to the end of the school year. I watched the first few seasons, missed years upon years of it, and then picked back up as a loyal (obsessed) fan during the past few summers. I've read all the negative feedback lately about celebrity cling-ons and a lack of diversity in casting, and I too wish it was a greater throng of different people as once before... I can't even remember who won last season (or even care enough to Google it, sad). (I do remember the nerdy little Ian that won the summer before though. I loved Ian.)

2. Steamed Crabs - I'm not all about "my Hometown" or "Where I come from..." but one way in which I am very much an Eastern Shore girl is my love of seafood, specifically steamed blue crabs (And thinking Crab Legs is the same thing as "real" Crab is as bad as thinking Diet Pepsi the same as Diet Coke... just, no.) So, I hope to have at least one good Crab Feast this summer. A few years ago I spent my entire (ENTIRE) Labor Day shucking crabs and froze bags of crab meat. It was great to have the crab throughout the year, but my hands were so cramped the next day from the shucking marathon! Still, I would do that again if we could get a good deal on crab.

3. Watermelon & Sweet Corn - These two foods say Summer to me and I usually let summer fly by too quickly without having some ice cold watermelon and sweet sweet corn while they are still fresh and plentiful. (When I googled "watermelon and corn," I saw several pics of a salad like this. I am intrigued by the mixture.)

4. Go Blueberry Picking and Try One New Recipe with fresh blueberries - Cameron and I did this last year and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. I didn't have a chance to make it out to strawberry picking this year, so I do not want to miss blueberries!

5. Make Popsicles - A while ago, I picked up a Zoku, Quick Pop Maker, which you fill with juice or other liquid ingredients and make popsicles in a magical 7 - 9 minutes. I have not used this yet though Cameron and Jason have. I am not a big "ice cream person," in general, and hand-held ice creams even less so, yet I want to give a few concoctions a try. I've been collecting ideas and recipes on a Pinterest Popsicles board.

6. Visit the Farmer's Market - We've made it a few times so far this season and hope to make a few more times. I love the market and the town that it is in, but finding the free Saturday morning to drive an hour out of town to go can take some planning.

7. Go Yard Saling - I do love a morning spent Yard Saling, an entire morning. I do not like chit-chatting with sellers or running into people I know. I am on a mission when I am Yard Saling. The listing is a Treasure Map and I am on a hunt, preferably with a sidekick to feed addresses into the GPS. At least a couple of times this summer, I'd like to grab the listings for Virginia Beach and set out for the hour trek to Yard Sale Mecca. I can easily hit 35+ yard sales in the five-hour window of Saturday morning when I embark on these Treasure Hunts.

8. Craft - I really wanted to make another list, probably not as organized- not as definite or planned, just general ideas, about crafting goals this summer- dreams, hopes, maybes, possibilities. However, when I saw that this list was turning into a "Where to take the Boys," actually just a "Where to take Benjamin" this summer list, I decided to toss in a couple of general For-Me goals. Crafting something, sometime, somehow is definitely one of those.

9. Household Cleaning, Organizing, Decorating - Likewise, I wanted to jot down another list of fluid goals for the house, but decided to expand this Summer Bucket List beyond idea that which involved the output of gas (although that too would be associated with accomplishing most of this). So, like most teachers, I am sure, I have all kinds of vapid aspirations about cleaning and getting organized this Summer... but two concrete household fix-ups I would like to do are to make the Chalkboard Wall in the upstairs hall and to bring home the library catalogues I scavenged to create a front hall display.

10. Summer Reading - This is a given, but it merits mention. Soon, I think I will collect Summer Reading recommendations to post soon. Finding books is so easy by the looks of my bookshelves but so hard by the fact that I can never find something on them I actually want to read. I'm not sure if this is a new program, but our library is having a Summer Reading Program for adults. I almost don't want to share it and add to the competition because you can win Amazon gift cards weekly by just posting about what you've read! (English Teacher Nerd Heaven, I am in.)

11. Children's Reading Program - I also want to get Benjamin involved with the Children's Summer Reading Program. Cameron has also volunteered with this program over summers past. There are weekly events every Tuesday for the kids and you pledge to read 10 books weekly to get your card punched and enter prize drawings.

12. Regal Summer Movie Express - Better known (or at least, more importantly known) as "The $1 Movie." We've only done a couple of movies with Benjamin, but I'm hoping to catch a few more this summer on Wednesdays (since Library programs are on Tuesdays, the other day they are offered). One big suggestion from me to those of you new to this frugal find, is not to get there too early and when getting your tickets specifically ask for a theater that does not have a daycare/summer camp group!

13. Visit Two Out-of-Town Parks - I have two new ones in mind, and one we discovered last year to fall back on, as needed. Note to self: On very hot days, playground equipment is very hot.

14. Go to a Tides Baseball Game - Our wall calendar is (perhaps a little obsessively) marked with Every Home Game and Promotion for the entire season. I have wanted to catch a game for a couple of years now and not made it back. Free Jersey Night and Navy Night are looking like good options for our clan!

15. Visit the Children's Museum of Portsmouth - I love this place. Love. Seriously love. It is going to be hard to visit and not renew our family membership that I let lapse over a year ago. And that was even before I knew that teachers get in free! Super excited when I surfed around their website and found that a Wizard of Oz interactive exhibit is coming for the Summer. Super. Excited.

16. Visit the Living Museum - Also love, love, love this place. If only everything wasn't a flipping hour away! This one's a bit more pricey, especially given my goal of frugal finds this summer. However, the summer exhibit is all about Dinosaurs... and I do have a four-year old boy!

17. Visit Busch Gardens Multiple Times - We have season passes to the park that we do not use enough. Unfortunately I deserve a swift kick for not taking advantage of the free (FREE) Pre-school Pass for Benjamin before the deadline... and since I will have to pay for his pass (in addition to the passes we already pay for), we really need to be making the trek across the ferry to Busch Gardens this summer... often.

18. Visit Water Country Multiple Times - The Water Park partner of our 2-park pass. Ditto every statement in #17 for this one too. I really want to put a number on it, like say we will make it to each park five times or go to one or the other weekly... but I am hesitant to fake-commit to something I am going to feel like I fluked if it doesn't happen. We also need to look at pic'nicking and timing arrivals/departures so we are not spending $35-50 on food to use the "free" passes!

19. Visit the Beach a Few Times - I can freely and honestly admit that I like the idea of the beach much more than the reality. Trekking across hot sand that is tucked into unmentionable places for days afterward becomes less appealing as the years past... as does the crowded tourist beaches that I once preferred.

20. Spend some time with Justin - I haven't seen this face in real-time since Thanksgiving. I would like to plan an Eastern Shore trip but I don't know if that can happen. It may have to be a day trip or mayyybe a simple overnighter. There are lots of "back home" places I would like to visit and make a trip out of it, but mainly I need to spend some time with the first boy that made me Mom.

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