Summer ‘To Do’ List

By Kate Riley May 27, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend marks the kickoff for summer activities  – like many of you there are busy days ahead, graduations, summer camps, and vacations to plan.  The days are quickly disappearing, and time seems to fly by faster and faster every single month!

I started to think about summertime, and all the opportunities for making memories.  I decided if I wrote it all down, if I created a ‘Summer To Do List’, there was a greater chance I could accomplish everything I’m scheming and dreaming of.  The children will be home with me this summer, which will certainly make for less time to myself, but I’m looking forward to time spent with family and friends in the great outdoors.   Here’s to dreaming of all the things I’d like to accomplish in the next few months !  

My Summer To Do List: 

I’m going to place some brightly colored chairs outside on the lawn and catch up on my magazines in the soft sunshine.  I’d like to watch the children explore the garden and find hidden treasures in the dirt. 

slingback chair country living


We’re going to throw a big 4th of July bash complete with BBQ, friends and fireworks!

flag fan country living

I’m going to throw impromptu picnics on Sundays with bright colored linens and fresh flowers and invite all my friends to come too.  

outdoor picnic country living


I’m going to fill my home with freshly picked flowers from the garden and farmer’s market and put them in plain glass jars all over the house. 

 country living dahlias


I’m going to bring more crisp white cottons and linens into our living spaces.

white linens country living


I’m going to make homemade ice cream with summer berries and serve it up in sweet cones. 

raspberry ice cream country living


I’m going to plan a vacation and go someplace relaxing, like a lake, a beach, or perhaps explore a new city. 

country living lake


I’m going to make iced tea every day, and experiment with new herbal recipes.

country living herbal iced tea


I’m going to try to grow big juicy tomatoes, and if I fail, shop for heirlooms at the farmer’s market. 

country living tomatoes


All images via Country Living

I’d like to take an afternoon nap on a hammock, read an entire book outdoors, and wear cotton floral skirts to afternoon barbeques.  I’d like to take more time to play, to relax, and to recharge.  To spend lazy afternoons watching the kids play in the sprinkler, and go camping in our own backyard.  Today I’m just dreaming of the possibilities of summer and the opportunities for simple pleasures and treasured memories.  

What’s on your ‘To Do’ list this summer ? 




  1. My summer “to do” list includes a lot of running and swimming and movement with my kids. I’ve gotten into the habit of sitting, and it’s not good for me! Your summer ideas sound great!

  2. Oh, I love your summer list. I want to start one right now! It will include alot of your items (love the Sunday picnic idea especially!). I would add “taking care of my skin” as I am too old to be a sun-seeker anymore. And I want to have a “ladies lunch” or happy hour for my girlfriends, impromtu on a Friday afternoon. I have been holding off on my summer decor but plan to do that soon. The starfish are calling me! Thanks for sharing…

  3. I definitely want to get some camping in this summer. Since we don’t have kids though, we prefer the more off-the-beaten path type places, so we’re going to have to do some searching!

  4. I love your list! I’m sure it will all happen! My summer list is surgery on my ankle today and cast for eight weeks! It stinks but such is life! Have a great weekend!

  5. I sounds wonderful. My top priority is to keep my two toddler boys entertained enough, so they don’t kill eachother and to keep my sanity while doing it. Your list sounds better! :)

  6. Funny that you posted this because my husband and I started making our own summer list last weekend! I want to write it up and hang it in the kitchen to remind us to stop and have some fun : )

  7. Your summer to do list sounds lovely! I plan on doing some relaxing at the beach, organizing my house and painting my kitchen cabinets! And lots and lots of cookouts with friends. I love summer!

  8. Your plans sound dreamy.. I want to make ice cream and iced tea as well. Entertaining is always a plus too. I just want to enjoy this last summer before my youngest starts kindergarten. I feel like it is the end of an era. Please pass the kleenex.

  9. “I’m going to bring more crisp white cottons and linens into our living spaces.”

    I totally agree cause this has been my to do list also for awhile.

  10. Hi Kate, love your blog! I am a professional faux finisher/decorative painter. I specialize in painting cabinets! I always use waterbased 100% acrylic paint. I do sometimes use oil based primer, it depends on the surface I am covering. I wanted to give you a tip; if you clear coat your cabinets with a 100% acrylic product in the sheen of your choice they will be even more washable and last longer. I use a specialty product called “Varnish Plus” from Faux Effects in Vero Beach FL. I don’t know what types are in the big box stores, but I’m sure Valspar has something like it. Two coats will do the trick, you can even do this on kitchen cabinets.

    PS: I am creating my new website as we speak, it’s not published yet, but check soon and you can see photos of my work!

  11. My BF is currently having his last session exam right now. He’s taking a summer class, but we’ll have him all the after noons! He actually didn’t want to write any list…. because he’s been making ones for his studies and now he does not want to follow anything! ahah

    So, in the to-do list in my head: Take care of my huge pregnant belly, go to the parc every chance we get, browse thrift stores and yard sales with my mom (who’s a teacher so no working for her). I also really want to go see my nephew who lives 8h of car away and will turn 3 month old on june 2… we haven’t see him yet! I want to go to the swimming pool with my soon-to-be 2 yr old. And possibly throw a nice bday party for her this summer, woodland fairy style!

    I’m also looking forward to not cooking much… make lots of milkshakes and smoothies!
    And BBQ at my mom’s and at the in-laws. I hope I’ll be able to pick up strawberries in their field!

    Of course, the biggest thing on my to-do list for this summer is giving birth! I’m due around august 10. I’ll be so big and complaining >_<

    oh, and I also want to make some more felt food to sell in my etsy shop before I have a newborn.

    I love your list with pictures! so dreamy! I agree with everything (except maybe the 4th july party.. we celebrate on june 24th in here!)

  12. I’m going to host two 40th birthday parties for my husband in a way that he likes, not for me.
    I’m going to plan two awesome kids birthday parties for my girls.
    I’m going to finish a half marathon and then enjoy Napa and Sonoma after.
    I’m going to go vintage shopping in San Francisco.
    I’m going to teach my daughter how to dive.
    I’m going to spend lots of time swimming with my girls.

  13. I love your list! What a fun idea, I think I might make my own with items like lounging by the pool and having people over.

  14. Wow, you have a busy summer ahead of you. :-) I am all about the homemade ice cream! Yum! I am going to get my back yard in order, and stain my deck. I would also love to build a few new planters for outside.

  15. Your summer list, while full, sounds absolutely splendid! :> Mine includes NOT mentally cursing a 5:40am alarm clock five days a week, growing our veggies & herbs, nurturing our graphed apple tree (with six different varieties on it) so that it may provide fruit (hoping we see some by next year!), swim lessons for a kidlet or two, oodles of great reading for all of us, runs to the coast, an anniversary spent in Fort Bragg, random local visits, BBQs, friends, and of course, some R&R before starting the whirlwind of the next school year! :> Happy summer planning to you! :>

  16. Total repaint of the outside of the house and certain rooms inside.

    Did I miss the winner of the giveaway?

  17. Oh, I love your list! :) My summer ideal list includes:
    Lots of relaxing.
    Reading a good novel or two.
    Swim lessons for the kiddos.
    Trying canning from our kitchen garden for the first time.
    Planting a beautiful garden.
    Shopping the Saturday morning farmer’s markets.
    3 weeks at the beach!
    Lots of casual skirts, t-shirts, and flip-flops.
    A romantic weekend getaway with Hubby.
    Parks & playtimes.
    Fun “field trips” with the kiddos.

    Wow, this is going to be fun to dream about!!

  18. SO not the list I was expecting – thank you! We all need a reminder to take time to enjoy life!

  19. I think you have a great “to-do” list! Mine tend to be overly ambitious for what I am capable of completing, but it’s fun to dream, right? ;) I need to work on my own To-do list for this year…

  20. I love your lovely design posts and read every one (I’m an email subscriber), but your To Do List post was right up my alley – and these are, of course, fabulous To Dos.

  21. aaahhh… this is a great post! This is what i want my summer to look like!
    I’m putting together a chore list as well as a list of fun things to do this summer. The kids and I will cross off our chores first and then pick a fun thing to do. I want to be intentional about making it a summer to remember. That means just enjoying the simple things too!

  22. wow, beautiful images! a very daunting but admirable list you have!
    i have about 10,000 projects in mind, starting with painting the back stoop a nice sage green (currently weathered, ancient grey), trying my hand at container strawberries and microgreens, re-doing the counters, floors, backsplash and appliances in the kitchen, painting everywhere including my new construction (knocked down half a wall to let light into a stairwell) and reorganizing and redecorating the whole house because my fiance just moved in o_O

    it’s going to be a busy summer!!!!

  23. I so wish my summer looked like that! But I guess bringing a new person into the world and learning how to be a good mom are pretty important things to do this summer! I’m just looking forward to not being cooped up in my office during the best months of the year. As soon as I’m up to it, I plan on taking daily walks around the neighborhood and through local parks to banish the baby weight and give the kiddo some fresh air. I never have the time or the inclination to do that, so I’m happy to have a very good excuse this year!

  24. I love your list! Our family just made alist like that last week. We call it our summer bucket list. It is full of ideas like yours and we are planning to visit some parks and places we always say we will, and then never do. I am sure we will all have a great summer and all it takes is a little dreaming, a little planning an d voila a summer to remember!

  25. You sound like a fun person. I love your Summer list. I wish I lived where we could spend lots of time outdoors , but Oklahoma has humidity, heat, mosquitoes, and sudden unanounced thunderstorms.

  26. My husband, 3 year old, and 3 month old bought a mini-RV and are going to tool around to all of our neighboring states this summer. We figured that with all of the “kid gear” that is constantly a necessity, even just to go to the grocery store, this would be the most efficient and fun way to do it. But now I want to add “Make homemade iced tea every day” to my list, since I can be in the kitchen while on the road! YUM! And thanks for always having such an inspirational site to visit.

  27. We are vacationing in Tofino on Vancouver Island for part of the summer. As my husband and I are are two teachers with no kids of our own yet….we are hoping for a summer full of relaxation, reading and adventure. Good times with good friends.

  28. Not sure what just happened but that post made my eyes well up :) Summer is slow down time, time to cherish the beauty that nature gifts us and to treasure family,playing together, eating good foods and just being together .

  29. This is a great list. One thing I’ve learned the past weeks is that life can change very quickly and we really should take time to enjoy it. My dad is still staying with me for another couple of weeks. I will go back with him for another 3 weeks to help go through my mother’s things, which will be very difficult…but, we will make time to enjoy the Florida sunshine (okay-it will be horribly hot) and hopefully the beach (after the sun is down…if the oil stays away). When I finally do get home, I want to have friends over and just relax and laugh again. I’ve also told my husband that I want a long weekend somewhere with a lake or pool and a stack of books.

  30. Hi Kate,

    I’ve only just discovered the amazingness that is homemade iced tea (I’m an Aussie, it’s not a common drink here). We have an amazing store here called T2, they exclusively sell tea, over 180 varieties. My favourite for iced tea is Strawberries and Cream. Yum

    As we are about to head into winter here in Australia, I’ve got a long list of things to get done before summer, mostly to do with the garden. We’re planning to extend our rear deck to provide more living space outdoors. I’m also keen to spruce up the garden with some more plants and a vegie patch.

    BTW I love you blog!

  31. Looks like a great to do list! Have you checked out Martha Stewart’s site for Patriotic ideas. There are SO many I think I’ll be borrowing one or six. =o) Have a wonderful weeekend!

  32. I am going to play more with my dogs (I have 3, 2 shelties and a border collie) and go on long walks with my husband

  33. I’m stealing half of your list! Right now we’re a childless couple so I’ll skip the ones with the kiddos (or kidnapp my “nieces” from my friends).

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