The Summer List for 2018

Summer appears to be upon us, so it’s time for the eighth annual summer list of things to make the most of the season. This year, Baby-Girl and I each came up with three things to add to our growing list.

Baby-Girl’s Suggestions:

  1. Make a batch of chocolate chip cookie dough without the eggs (or use pasteurized ones) so your “so strict!!” mother will let you eat it without baking it to avoid salmonella poisoning. Note: You may still hurl, however, if you eat the whole batch, which is Baby-Girl’s plan (the eating, not the hurling), but you can rest in the knowledge that you didn’t consume raw eggs. Just saying.


  1. Designate a rainy day as “Board Game Day.” Everyone involved picks a game (or several) and hunkers down in the family room with their games and a boatload of snacks. To take it to the next level, keeping track of the winner for each game and declare a “Game Day” winner at the end of the day. The day’s winner earns a coveted prize (i.e., eggless cookie dough).


  1. Declare it “Goofy Dress Day.” Give people thirty minutes to put together the weirdest outfits they can find with what’s in the house. No borrowing from neighbors or buying anything allowed. The person with weirdest outfit wins by collective vote. Then, if you’re that kind of family or group, go for a walk. (This part may have been added by her mother.)


My Suggestions:

  1. Read a book you never thought you’d read. Now don’t dig up dark memories of English class; bear with me. Some of you have books you’ve spent your whole life avoiding, cringing at even passing references. Mine’s Moby Dick. I know, I know, it’s shocking coming from a former English teacher. But The Old Man and the Sea was the first book I ever read (for eighth grade English) that I actually hated with a perfect hatred. So I decided maybe books about men, boats, and fish were not my thing. Then, I tried to read A Farewell to Arms as a freshman in college and disliked it, so I thought maybe it was Hemingway. It wasn’t. I had to read A Farewell to Arms for an American lit class exactly one year later, and I couldn’t put the book down. Turns out I love Hemingway. I like to think I can occasionally learn from my mistakes, and recently, Moby Dick has come up several times in intriguing conversations, even in conversations with people who seem like they haven’t practiced literacy since college. It’s being put in front of my face, y’all. So I’ve put it on my summer list to read so I can pass judgment knowledgably. Your selection doesn’t have to be a classic. It might be Toilet Installation for Those Who’d Rather Not, a masterfully written and illustrated how-to you’ve avoided for years because then you’ll no longer have an excuse not to install the toilet you bought back in aught five for your powder room. Just doing more saying.

  1. Read the paper on the beach. I saw a guy doing this and it stopped me cold. People read books and magazines on the beach, but no one reads newspapers, I thought. And then I thought, “Why not? What better way to read up on what’s happening in the world than when you’re sitting on seeming edge of it?”


  1. Years ago, I wrote about scaring the wits out of my kids with a campfire story that got a little out of hand. Don’t do this. Instead, I thought of a way everyone can have a part in how scary/exciting/funny/etc. the campfire story gets, and it’s easy to do. One person starts the story with a sentence, and you move around the circle and let each person add another sentence to the previous one. This gives everyone some control over the mood, plot, characters, and so forth. You can either designate a story-ender, or that can be an “as the spirit moves” sort of thing.


Check out the other seven lists for more thrilling activities like dipping your hair in buckets of cool water, walking through your yard with a lantern at night, and my favorite, a Mom camp.

Summer List 2011

Summer List 2012

Summer List 2013

Summer List 2014

Summer List 2015

Summer List 2016

Summer List 2017


Happy Summer All Y’all!

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