Q&A: What are your summer finale plans?

School is starting soon for many of our kids. The heat still sizzles, but days are now spent buying school supplies, registering, turning in forms, and getting medical checkups.  Don’t know about you, but the lazy days of summer have definitely flown by for me this year.

But it is still summer for those of us in the northern hemisphere, and hopefully, you’ve got a few weeks left before the fall season begins. So… What’s on your agenda?

Last call for summer plans

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Vacations, staycations, and relaxing days spent at home practicing the liturgy of life… All these things are part of the rhythm of summer. Today’s question asks you to brainstorm a few last ideas to help you sprint your way to the last leg of the season, before we get into the coolness of fall:

What are the last few things you’re going to do as a family this summer? How will you enjoy these last few days of August before school starts?

Be specific — maybe you’ll help someone else with a few ideas!

As for us, we’ll continue on our family road trip. We’re currently in Colorado, but this weekend, we’ll drive through Wyoming en route to see family in Montana. We’ll stop by Old Faithful, of course, but mostly, we’ll simply enjoy some quality family time while escaping the brutal Texas heat.

Your plans don’t have to involve travel, of course. It can be a simple summer finale barbecue in the backyard, an outing to a local tourist destination in your city, or lots of time spent at the library and neighborhood pool.  The most important thing is that your plans focus on relationships and building memories. And simple almost always works best for that.

So…  Have any plans?

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Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. My children will stay next week with their grandparents. I’m sure they will have a great summertime there. They can work in the garden, play and do some small trips in the area. My husband and I will enjoy time for us and I will do some gardening and sewing. Yeah, it will be great!

  2. For the last weeks of summer we try to keep things relaxed. No big plans, just enjoy each other’s company. This doesn’t mean it will be boring and there will be no activities. There is my birthday, shopping with my sisters, the neighborhood barbeque and I will be hosting some dinner parties. Next to that I hope to finish the first draft of the children’s book I’m writing. Exciting!

  3. My husband and I are going away for the weekend together. I know, it’s not very ‘family’ oriented, but it is what this family needs right now. It’s partially to celebrate my birthday, and we’ll also attend a wedding, but we need the ‘us’ time!

  4. It’s not summer until we’ve been to the beach. So a beach trip for a couple of days is in the planning stages. We may have to take a break from school to get to it, but we’ll get to it!

  5. I am a single mamma and I am taking my two children on a seven day camping trip to a state park we have never been too. We leave in two days and I am very excited.

  6. Heading down to North Carolina and the beach for two weeks after labor day! One thing we love about being homeschoolers is the ability to vacation after everyone else has gone back to school!

    • We’re spending two weeks in Kona, Hawaii, for the end of August. My inlaws from Australia met us here and we’re spending quality family time just enjoying being here. We have a lot of fun things planned, including fishing and snorkeling and seeing the volcano. But mostly, my 4 year old son is getting to spend time with grandparents who live on another continent.

      When we get home, my son starts 5 days a week preschool. For now, I just want to enjoy this family time.

  7. We’re going to a cabin with friends for a few days and then their mom and I are going to a women’s retreat for 3 days. My husband travels for work part of the year so I’m ready for my break!

  8. We are meeting our cousins and their kids for a trip to the zoo in less than 2 weeks! We live 3 hours apart, so we’re meeting in the middle. It will be my daughter’s first trip to the zoo. I can’t wait to see her expressions as she comes face-to-face with the animals!
    Other than the zoo trip, we are taking it slow the rest of this summer. I’d like to do some more reading and relaxing, because that is one of the true joys of summer for me.

  9. School started two weeks ago (Aug 2) for us. However, the weather clearly insists that we are still in the blast of summer. So, this weekend we will visit the city pool before it closes, we may take a trip up to the mountains and we’ll spend time a the park.

    Also, we NEED to clear some of our garden…the sunflowers are spent and the pumpkin vines are needing more space.

  10. 1. Make icecream
    We STILL haven’t made icecream this summer. Not sure how that happened, but that’s definitely in the plans for this week.

    2. Go on a Safari
    There’s a drivethrough zoo/safari about an hour from our house, so I’d like to take the kids on that next week.

  11. Just got back from a trip through Tennessee and North Carolina to see family and friends. Now we’re hoping to visit the zoo, and I plan to get a babysitter during the day once a week for the next several weeks so that I can prepare for the busy fall season ahead! It’s the only way I can clear my head and square away intentional time for some of those preparations!

  12. Glad to know we’re not the only one saying, “Where did summer go?” and “How did school sneak up on us like this?”

    Our summer is more staycation time for us since we’re busy raising meat for the winter – asking our neighbors to take care of 50 chickens, 3 turkeys, 2 goats and 6 pigs (we raise some for other families) is a tall order. So we just spend more time enjoying our local haunts.

    We’ve found a new backroad/offroad shortcut to the lake we like to swim at that also goes by the library so we’ll be beefing up our mountain biking and swimming quite a bit these next two weeks.

    And we’re aiming for one trip to the White Mountains to try out a new zip line at Bretton Woods and maybe do some mountain biking up there.

  13. With the idea of staycations, we are hanging out in the local parks, learing to bike on two wheels, playing soccer and running around! Still be swimming at our local Elk Lodge too! Some family get togethers are planned. I plan to take my camera everywhere to capture it all and make it seem more like a vacation! I also think a backyard camp-out is necessary!

  14. Christine says:

    This is the two weeks of summer I dread. We’ve finished all our travels. My son is desperate to return to school. And he’s only 2. I kid you not. He was in my bed at 6am yesterday asking, “Go see friends?” Mom is no substitute for 10 other 2 year olds and he’s starting to notice.

    In our town, everything shuts down for the next two weeks, inexplicably. There is no storytime, no public swimming pool, no toddler time, no nothing. So I’m making plans to do a great deal of exploring. Berry picking outings, procrastinated trips to explore new parks, visits to friends who live a little drive away instead of in town. I just hope the baby can keep up with having her morning nap on the go!

  15. Skip Old Faithful and check out Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, instead!

    If you’re making a loop on your road trip, check out Pompey’s Pillar just east of Billings and Little Big Horn National Historic Site and Big Horn Canyon. These were impressive if your family is into history, they were awe-inspiring for us! Have a wonderful trip!

  16. We’re planning to spend a day at the Iowa State Fair, and I’m sure we’ll hit the zoo and the living history farms again once before school starts. The bonus of homeschooling is we can wait till the kids are all at school and then have all the fun spots to ourselves. 🙂

  17. We have a 10 month old and so this summer had been a wonderland of discovering outdoor life and play. My husband recently finished cleaning up our backyard that had been so neglected after baby came along.
    In these last few weeks of warmth and while my husband still works summer half days we are going to finish up with our yard. We are creating a family wonderland that includes new patio furniture, made from plans my husband drew himself, an outdoor bar, and for the baby a puppet theater.

    All of these things will bring us closer as a family over the next year and as we head into next summer we will be able to jump right in with family entertaining and creative play.

  18. Mother of Pearl says:

    The boys are off to spend a week with the grandparents next week. That gives me a week to get some extra time in with my husband and daughter, my friends, and my housework and canner!

    Then we get back to school (because we already started our school year) and take another break for a camping trip in September.

  19. As timing would have it, we will be moving over the next couple weeks…just before school starts.

    This year is a doozy too…my oldest starts the Big K. She is overwhelmed with excitement (I’m not sure how I feel about it just yet…other than I’ll be crying my eyes out on her first day, I’m sure. And of course missing her terribly throughout each day!).

    So we will be busy making our new home a home…and hopefully remember where the new back pack & school supplies are!

  20. I was just thinking about this! This weekend is a “down weekend” rest and have low key events. Followed by camping next weekend, beach trip the following weekend, and camping again for Labor Day weekend. Then I have my dad visiting from out of the country for the rest of September. Then is it Fall! WOW!

    Hope you have fun on your roadtrip! Drive safe!

  21. We will follow the college boy back to Austin tomorrow to help him move into his new apartment. It’s a 6 hour drive from our home. I’ll be bringing along a bag of books, including some for homeschool prep as well as something to give my brain a rest. Hopefully we can enjoy some meals together with our oldest before leaving him behind. He wants us to join him at his church away from home, so I’m looking forward to that.
    When we get back, before I’m willing to call summer over, I would like to: help my middle daughter sew something (I must), take the littles swimming as much as possible, complete at least a few scrapbook pages along side my oldest daughter, and drink iced tea on the porch everyday.
    Somewhere in there I’ll have to finish school plans.

  22. We are preparing for our very first road trip which will begin at 4am on Wednesday morning. We have a 2 year old boy and a 4.5 year old boy and I have printed out your “Family Road Trip Packing List” and will begin getting everything together this week end. I am excited and nervous. Our destination is my cousin’s house in Milwaukee, where she is hosting a family reunion in honor of my aunt’s 90th!!! birthday 🙂 It will be the first time my husband and children will meet this side of my family, and I am super excited.
    Other than that, upon our return early the following week, we are adopting a cat, who will arrive form the rescue organization on the 24th of August, and we will be returning to the neighborhood pool, parks and playgrounds until September 15th, my oldest son’s very first day of preschool!
    Enjoy every moment with your family!!! Happy summer.

  23. We are going to the drive in movies for a double feature. My kids just love that.

  24. We are staycationing again! Staycationing is so much fun. We are lucky to live in a beautiful coastal town with lots of frugal fun things to do!

  25. We are planning an Ice Cream Social here at home for all our friends. One last time to get together before school starts up. We supply the ice cream, and everyone else brings their favorite topping! YUMMY!

  26. To end our summer we are finally going camping in the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington State…every single summer we say we’re going to do it and for 7 years we haven’t. After losing my husband’s dad this year very suddenly we learned (again) how fast life can change so we’ve done all sorts of things this summer that we’ve long wanted to do.

  27. We’re going bowling, taking one last trip to the beach (we live in central FL) and enjoying some more poolside time with friends.

  28. We are ending the summer the same way we began it, with a quick weekend trip to our friend’s cottage in the mountains of NC. This is the first year we’ve don this and I think our boys will harass us to make sure we continue it in the future.


  29. i am hoping to take a day to enjoy a little family photo-focus. there are tons on my computer that i want to organize, and a few iphoto books i want to work on (vacation, and homeschool yearbook–one of those ideas i’ve been meaning to try). along with that maybe showing my kids some pics of when i was a kid, and having those fun automatic prompts of childhood stories i usually can’t seem to recall! and then of course a silly photo shoot in the yard or a park with many attempts at getting all three kids to look pleasant together and individually (all with mommy promising to keep good humor throughout) would be a delightful day of memories, i think, to punctuate a new school year. we’ll see if i can swing it!

  30. We are having our first baby in a few weeks!

    My hubby just started his vacation so we’ll be spending the next few weeks getting ready for baby, spending lots of time together, and spend a few days by the lake. Can’t wait to really enjoy these last few weeks!

  31. My guy had a week with my parents while my husband and I were traveling (a first for us — so strange how much a 3 year old can seem to grow up in a week!) We have some fun family history to work with these last few weeks. My brother, keeper of all books, is moving to a smaller apartment and bestowed us with boxes of our childhood books, some of which are out of print. They are becoming favorite bedtime reading now.

  32. Our final couple weeks before school are packed: yesterday we went for a day trip to Jasper National Park; we’ll go to a honey farm to drop off buckets and see the farm (our first time buying local honey – still an hour away); my son is in a one week basketball camp; middle daughter has a friend spending a week with us and they’ll swim, bike, etc.,; we’re invited to friends’ for a BBQ & games (we stay till dark and bats are flying around which the kids love); a couple visits with friends; 16th anniversary date for my husband and me :); a day at the local annual fair… lots of activity. I’m hoping for more reading time outside/lovely weather too before school starts.

  33. We kicked off the end of summer with a long weekend away at the beach. It was a surprise last minute thing on our part. My husband’s aunt and uncle own a small condo within walking distance to the ocean and 9 of us stayed in a 2 bedroom 500 sq. ft condo for 3 nights 🙂 We had a blast! Even though we didn’t get much sleep and shared that not much sleep with a 14 month old, a 7 year old and a 5 year old in our room. I know we made memories and for that I’m grateful.

  34. I’m hoping to go for a canoe trip before the summer is truly over. We jog around that pond several times a week. Every time, when we go past the canoe livery I think, I need to do that. So I need to make it happen!

  35. This is our last week before school starts. My husband is also gone on a week-long+ business trip. That translates to me needing to come up with ideas to keep my girls busy (and not drive me crazy!). We’ve already done a lot of traveling this summer so I’m hoping to go low-key and visit local tourist-y places. We’re heading to the Mississippi River Museum today (with friends), we’ll have a play date with other friends on another day, we’ll head to the zoo for a fun play date, go swimming at our local pool before they close up for the summer….
    Someone mentioned making ice cream….I think we’ll do that! (I think we made only one batch this summer…it has been a busy summer!)

  36. Tsh, that picture–where is that? I just got chills, I think I may know where it is.

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