When my boys were little, we enjoyed some quieter summers.  Aside from a few zoo camps and vacation Bible schools, we preferred days where there was no schedule and we could just do what ever the day felt like.

As they got older, we and our friends started to notice less and less time available to enjoy the downtime.  Empty calendars are a thing of the past and I (like so many parents I know) spend much of my time running carpools between various summer sports, jobs, and clinics.

A few years ago, Himself and I arrived at August 1st and said, “what happened to July?’  LITERALLY we had lost a WHOLE MONTH with camps and activities.  It was then that we developed our family Summer Bucket List, vowing to make the most of the limited time we have in the summers (and the few summers we have left with our boys at home).


Taken from the concept of listing all the things we all want to do before we kick the bucket, this is a more family-friendly version without the impending death (though my kids tell me back to school is pretty much the same thing). We sit down and create our ultimate wish list of fun activities and even some personal goals for the summer.

Ideally, we try to have something from the following categories: food (duh.  Teen boys?  Of course!), adventure, history, learning, and if we are really lucky–celebrity.  Not everything needs to be huge, either.  Sometimes we have something simple like “act ridiculous at the toy store” on the list.










Before I get to our plans for 2017, I’d like to highlight a few CRAZY adventures we had last summer as examples:

 Captaining a boat.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland





Segway tour of the city (this is on the list again this summer so Tbone can try it.)



Playing oversized children’s games during a walkabout in the city (ok the games were a TOTAL bonus, but the walkabout and our city Arts Festival were incredible with our dear friends).


The time we met Tom Savini, C3PO/R2D2, and Mom and Dr Jen met Anthony Michael Hall! (Steel City Comic Con is ALWAYS on the list.  We’ve met soooo many celebs and have a fabulous time)

















And finally, a surreal night at Bare Naked Ladies/Howard Jones concert last summer with a private meet and greet with the bands!!!

HOJO with my friend and me, the boys and me with the members of BNL (did I mention the private concert before the show?  Thanks, Kate!)

Quick sidebar–this is an example of both planning AND spontaneity–we had the plan to attend, and I got a call about 2 hours before from my friend who works at the venue to rush down for the private pre-show.  Sometimes you just have to say YES!!)  The kids were silly and funny and we ALL have an incredible memory.  (click HERE for some fun video)


So the plan for this year is some more of the same…concerts, bike rides, food hunting.  Since we have the blog this year, though, the boys don’t know that I’ve upped the game a bit. I have a few surprises up my sleeve that will push us all WAY out of our comfort zone (have I mentioned my fear of heights–yeah, THAT comfort zone).  I will share what we do locally for YOUR family to enjoy, but research what may be similar in your town.

Creating your own doesn’t have to be huge!  Find a museum in your city you haven’t visited, search for the best milkshake in your town, kayak, bike ride, whatever.  Take photos.  Remember these times.


My kids are 16 and 14.  They are BOYS. They will be off to college sooner than I can imagine.  Somehow, we have managed to keep them interested in FAMILY first and that is NOT easy in today’s society.  We don’t totally ban electronics in the summer, but we do seek ENGAGEMENT.  If it takes a little creativity, so be it.

And if we are really, REALLY lucky, this will also be the ultimate sales pitch for our fair city and dear old mom and dad–perhaps keeping them nearby when they have families of their own.


PLEASE SHARE!!!  Post and tag YOUR adventures with #moxiesummerbucket17 Send me ideas of places WE should visit and cover for the blog.  I’ll have wrap-up postings about the BIGGEST adventures, but make sure to follow my Instagram and Facebook for daily STORIES for what we are doing…