Sunday, 30 June 2013

Summer Bucket List

Summer officially began on the 21st of June, but now that school is officially over for all, it feels like summer has arrived! The rainy wet coast June is finally transforming into hot summer days. Even though I have parenting responsibilities, my two months off (as a teacher I get July and August off) feel like a return to the golden days of my childhood, with no worries or timetables. My girls will be going to swimming lessons and perhaps a few other little activities, but largely our summer is a blank slate. I am looking forward to waking up each day and deciding if I will spend the day in Mama's Do Nothing Chair, or embark upon a grand adventure. Of course I have some organizing projects to do around the home, some crafts and other projects, but my summer bucket list is full of outdoor activities and adventures. Time to get some vitamin D, fresh air and connect with nature!

My Summer Bucket List:

  • Pick berries at a local farm: We have many local farms with U-Pick options and my girls always enjoy doing this. The local strawberry season will be over soon but we can choose raspberries, blueberries, or the roadside wild blackberries. 
  • Visit our favourite local beaches: Our favourite spontaneous trip is to bike ride to Garry Point and play at one of the small reclaimed land beaches, but for more adventure Centennial Beach is a winner, with many warm tide pools to explore.
  • Go back to the UBC Botanical Garden Greenheart Canopy Walkway: We went for the first time last summer and we said that we would go back with more time to explore the rest of the garden. However, the highlight really is the suspended tree bridges. Last year we went around the circuit three times.
  • Hike on the trails around the Capilano Suspension Bridge: When we visited, for the first time last December for their festival of lights, we received a free year membership with our admission, so I am looking forward to exploring in the daytime and going on little hikes with my girls.
  • Go on regular bike rides around our community: Now that the weather is warmer I am determined to get out on our bikes more for daily trips. We have local shops and activities that are within a short bike ride and I intend on engaging my kids more with this. 
  • Go swimming at outdoor pools: We have two local outdoor pools and a lovely one close by in a neighbouring community. Being outdoors helps to minimize the impact of breathing in harmful chemicals like chlorine. 
  • Prepare my garden for winter gardening: Now that my summer garden is in full swing I don't have much to do besides watering and weeding, and harvesting all that delicious zero mile diet food! I can't believe that in a few short weeks I need to start prepping and sowing seeds for a fall and winter garden. 
  • Enjoy going on Fraser River dyke walks: We have mile after mile of gorgeous paths along the mouth of the Fraser River, where we see herons, bald eagles, hawks, snakes, and sometimes even owls and coyotes. 
  • Visit the Reifel Bird Sanctuary: We love spending a day exploring the different trails, identifying as many different birds as we can, feeding the ducks and having a picnic there. 
  • Have backyard campfires: We recently added a covered fire pit in our backyard to roast marshmallows. Due to a variety of reasons, we may not go camping this summer so having a campfire (the best part of camping) will help me feel like I am not missing out as much.
  • Have a daytime backyard campout and possibly a nighttime campout: We like to set up a little tent in the backyard for our girls to play camping, and I may sleep outside with them one night. I have fond memories of doing this from my childhood and I hope to pass on the tradition. I very much enjoy actual camping at a campsite, but it is still up in the air if we'll make it this year.
    Manning Park camping last summer. My littlest did not take
    well to camping and we had to leave early. Maybe we can try again.
  • Visit the Terra Nova Sharing Farm and their special events: I love the local festivals and the community events at the Sharing Farm. We have attended the hugely successful Garlic Festival in the past, but the Raptor Festival will be a new one for us. 
    The cob oven and chickens at The Sharing Farm. Last year we
    participated in their CSA. There are lovely community gardens too
  • Go on a ferry trip to one of the Gulf Islands or Sunshine Coast: There's nothing more West Coast than a ferry trip to one of the Islands. If we're lucky we may spot an Orca pod swimming nearby.
    Two ferries passing each other in the Gulf of Georgia.
  • Go on a transit tour: It is one of our family's annual adventures to take a local bus, Sky Train and Sea Bus from our home, through the airport and downtown to Lonsdale Quay to have a meal, go window shopping and play. We feel like tourists in our own city! I realize that we can do this from a place of privilege (being able to afford a family vehicle for regular trips) and that we should endeavour do take public transit more frequently.
  • Visit the Steveston Farmer's and Artisan's Market every other Sunday: Our local community has a bi-weekly farmer's market that is a real highlight for us. Fresh lemonade, local organic produce, local artists and goods, music, and yummy treats abound.

But before I start crossing some of these off my bucket list, I need a little bit of relaxing in the Mama Do Nothing Chair. Ahhh.

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