Summer Bucket List
Photographer + writer Katie Currid shares her bucket list for soaking up the last weeks of summer.
Confession time: Summer is probably my least favorite season. I’m a basic fall lady at heart, and as someone who hates sweating as much as she hates celery, I’d be super content to just live in an air-conditioned tunnel all summer long.
However, after having a kid, I realized living an air conditioned summer wasn’t really an option, especially since taking a toddler to the movie theater (which is a summer staple, isn’t it?) is the stuff of nightmares. So, I had to brave the outside — one of my first Missouri summers since we moved back to the area, 80% humidity and all. But honestly, as we’ve been ticking things off our list, it’s been a really enjoyable summer and may have me rethinking the season!
You don’t have to have offspring to have a summer bucket list — it’s about embracing all the best parts of the season so you can focus on the fun and not the mosquitoes. What’s on your summer bucket list?
See a drive-in movie
I really feel like there’s nothing as classically summer as going to the drive-in. I love retro things like this, and can’t wait to go see a film in our pick-up truck and fill it with blankets and coolers. We’ve got our pick of drive-ins in KC, with the Twin Drive-in in Independence for you folks out east, or the Boulevard Drive-in in KCK for Westside locals.
If you’ve gotta be hot, there’s nothing like cooling off with a popsicle — whether it’s a freeze pop wrapped in a plastic tube, or a homemade one! I’ve been brainstorming flavors, and think I might make some virgin mojito popsicles with mint and lime — yum!
Take a hike
My husband added this to our list, I think because he forgot about the miserable weather. But we did hike the Parkville Nature Sanctuary up north, which has a fun waterfall and creek to cool off in! We also love Weston Bend State Park, which is right down the street from us.
Take a ceramics class
I haven’t had time to research this one yet, but I’ve been really wanting to do something meditative and creative and think a wheel throwing class would be perfect! If you have recommendations, send them my way.
Catch (and release) lightning bugs
I have fond memories of catching fireflies in mason jars growing up, and when we moved away from Kansas City for awhile, I missed their summer presence. We’re happy to have them back, and it’s time to keep the tradition going.
Go to the county fair
I’m a sucker for a county fair — I love corn dogs, carnival rides, cotton candy, and a good ol’ demolition derby. We missed the Platte County Fair due to being sick this year, but there’s plenty more coming up, such as the Leavenworth County Fair. And if we can’t make that, there’s always the Missouri State Fair for ten days in August!
Go on a date night
This one is good for any season, and honestly, we have it on every seasonal bucket list because it’s something we just need to do for ourselves as a married couple and don’t do enough, especially since our son was born. We still haven’t gotten around to this (surprise!) but we’ve been thinking a special dinner at Noah’s Cupboard in Weston, though my husband is a huge seafood fan and has been asking to go to Whole Foods’ Friday happy hour with their $1 oysters — sometimes just getting out of the house together is all we need. It doesn’t have to be fancy!
Finish up some household projects
We have an ongoing list of household projects, but some are more conducive to certain seasons than others. This summer, we’ve been tending our garden (even though it’s not doing very well! RIP, snap peas), we installed a custom built-in bookcase with the help of Noble & Oak carpentry, and I gave our porch a makeover with a coat of paint! It feels good to make little bits of progress on our space.
Go mini golfing at the Nelson-Atkins
My husband has been talking nonstop about the new Art Course mini golfing at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. I’ve been able to see it but we haven’t golfed yet, and every piece of art mimics a piece of artwork in the museum. They also have a bar for adults, and ice cream for the kids! Tickets are $14 for adults ($11 for members) and you can buy your tee times ahead of time on their website.
Make your own pizza night
This was a fun one that we completed early, and was way easier than I thought! I made a quick & easy pizza dough from a New York Times recipe, then threw on some fresh mozzarella, canned sauce (maybe next time it’ll be from scratch!), olive oil, garlic and some salami and yum! Using our new pizza stone was a game changer and it was a simple homemade meal that we can custom make and involve our son in.
Go for a swim!
Is it really summer if you haven’t put on a bathing suit? We’ve been swimming a few places, such as the Gladstone Municipal Pool, and also have loved the splash pad at Dagg Park in North Kansas City. We also have the Jarboe Pool on our list, since it’s ~free~ and it’s great for younger swimmers, though of course, I dream of one day taking our son to Ocean’s of Fun — a classic!
I love you-pick farms! Summer is a great time to pick berries in this area, and this year we went blueberry picking at Oregon Trail Farm in Leavenworth. Last year, we went to Benny’s Berries out south (they’re in Wellsville now) for strawberries. Both times I made pie from our picked berries, naturally. It’s something fun to do as an activity, plus I love to take photos and it’s usually not very expensive. Win, win!
Finish planning a trip!
We’re off to Colorado this fall, and I honestly love just looking through Airbnbs, whether I’m planning a trip or not. Summer is a great time to travel, especially for families whose kids are out of school, but if you weren’t able to go anywhere for the summer, it’s always fun to plan something for the future, instead of brooding while scrolling through your Instagram feed of friends on their European vacations.
Host a party
I love hosting parties — it gives me an excuse to cook something fun and get the house all clean and spruced up. We hosted a Fourth of July party this year, with the barbecue staples like potato salad, deviled eggs and hamburgers, and we also had our crazy tap truck, Fizzolino, set up in our yard, serving Prosecco and virgin mojito soda! It was a great, low-key event.
Go to a farmer’s market
I’m gonna get real with you guys, and let you in on a secret – I never make it to farmer’s markets because I can never get out of the house before they’re over with. We live up north, so our drive is a little longer than most, but I need to stop making excuses, get my teeth brushed and get out there so I can get some fresh produce and support our local farmer’s! Amy McDaniel wrote a great round-up of farmer’s markets with tips for newbies!