Ah, the infamous statement children solemnly and exasperatedly say at some point during summer break.
The school year is finished, and the thrill and excitement of summer vacation is upon us. I’m craving the hot and carefree summer days, popsicles, and getting to work on our family’s summer LIVE list.
You all have heard of bucket lists, I’m sure: a list that contains a multitude of dreams one would like to accomplish within a certain amount of time (i.e. before one “kicks the bucket”). A Live List, however, is celebrating life’s big and small moments and is an idea that was developed by an inspiring mother that I met on Instagram. I’ve “met” an incredible network of moms through Instagram. I’m constantly pulling inspiration from this network of strong and powerful women and sharing my own experiences as well. Kelly Jensen (@kellyejensen – follow her!) came up with the Family Live List after years of working on her personal list.
We are in our 4th season of creating our Family Live List. The list doesn’t necessarily have an expiration date, it’s motivation and goal setting for what our family aims to accomplish during this season in our life. The list challenges us to appreciate the big and small things around us and root for each other along the way.
To create the list we start with a brainstorming session. We pick an evening that we can all sit down as a family to talk about what we want to include on our list. We make sure we have snacks, beverages, and our comfiest PJs and make it a fun family meeting! The only rule we have during this sesh is to be respectful of everyone’s ideas. We try to get really creative and include things that we’ve never done or don’t often do.
I make sure that we have a variety of things on our list, from serving our community and doing projects to fun and messy days and physical activities. Be sure to include simple things too, like building forts for movie day, having a dance party in the backyard, or writing a note to your neighbor. We also jot down things that we already have scheduled for summer, like birthdays, trips, or holidays. Community events are fun to add and encourages you to explore our city. I regularly keep an eye out for community events at the public library, Newbo City Market, and around Cedar Rapids.
Once we have our list complete, we hang it in a place that we all will regularly see it. It’s a great way to keep us motivated to accomplish our goals while spending quality time together as a family. My kids now remind me that it’s time to make our Live Lists, and they are proud to cross off big and small tasks.
Last year, we put “have a family water gun fight” on our summer list. On the last day of school the kids came home to Super Soakers filled with water for a little Parents vs. Kids water war (side note: parents obviously took the W!), and we kicked off the summer by crossing off our first activity. You’ll find that it’s really simple to incorporate your lists into your family’s lifestyle.
I try to capture a photo or two when we are conquering our goals so that we have a visual keepsake of what our seasons in life looked like throughout the years.
Below are a few examples that we have used or are on our list this summer.
Summer Live List Ideas
Kids cook dinner
Celebrate Christmas in July (This is something we do every summer. We simply make frozen hot chocolates, wear Christmas jams, and watch a festive movie!)
Send a care package to a family member
Find live music + dance
Roll down the biggest hill you can find
Take a road trip
Dance in the rain
Have a fancy tea party using items you already have
Bake a cake
Pay for someone else’s parking meter
Fry an egg on the sidewalk
Visit the Farmers Market
Make sushi at home
Have breakfast outside
See a play
Have a lip sync battle
Bouncing ideas off of other moms can help get you started. Our schedules fill up quickly, but creating this list and carving out time to complete it will allow you to relish the short amount of time we have to “let them be little”. Making our lists has provided so many memories for our family and I can’t wait to see what this summer holds for us!