Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

May 24, 2012

Summer Manifesto

Last summer I got a chance to be in Andrea’s house for just a bit and will never forget the summer list she had on a chalkboard near her door.

I loved the idea of putting into a list what you want to have happen over the ever-so-short months of summer. Setting an intention sounded like a great plan to me.

Above you see the beginnings of my list. I don’t want it to to be too long. I do want it to be things we will actually do and/or things I’d really like to do or have it within my power to make happen.

As I was working on this post I asked Simon, “What are your favorite things to do in the summer?”

“Stay home”

Yep, that’s his answer (Oh how I love you Simon) said with a really big smile.

And then he said, “play video games.” And then something about not wanting to go camping because there will be dogs there (he’s not a fan).

Anna told me she wants to go to the park.

I’m sure we’ll do a little bit of everything – staying home, going to the park, playing video games, eating watermelon (yes, I know I spelled it wrong in my list), riding bikes, swimming and maybe even a bit of dreaming. I’m mainly looking forward to the pace and the warmth and being in together.

As I started writing this I googled summer manifesto and found a link to an exercise via Simple Scrapper from 2009: Writing A Summer Manifesto. That post links to a post written by Andrea of Scout that is just completely lovely and awesome. Totally inspiring way to write out a manifesto.


Do you have a summer manifesto (or if you’re in another part of the world maybe a manifesto for the season you are about to enter)? If you create one for you or your family and post it on your blog I’d love for you to share it below using the link widget or in the comments. Please link directly to your post vs. your general blog link. Thank you!


  • 1.
    J3SS1C4 said…

    I sounds like you guys are in for an awesome summer!! :)

    I wish it was summer here in Aust, but we’re only just coming into winter!

  • 2.
    Toni From said…

    We are already into summer here in Raleigh, not technically, but it is in the 80′s so I think that counts. The kids and I will make one together this weekend. Thanks Ali, what a great idea!

    I hope you have a lovely summer with your children. You are embracing this new stage in your life and I commend you for your efforts. Simon and Anna are lucky to have you.

  • 3.
    Jennifer said…

    The Sunny Side Up Blog. May 14th post has her summer list posted.

  • 4.
    dawn said…

    Great list of ideas Ali, love the staying outside, movies outside, pickles, these will bring fun memories for all of you. I love making our summer list and have been talking to my kids about their ideas and so far we have

    Summer, wants to visit my childhood park, we didn’t last summer.
    Renee, sleep sleep sleep, yep she’s had to wake up early this year for HS and is only thinking of sleeping in
    Sam, wants to play video games and go to the local bounce house

    these will all happen but I will be adding some other things to the list. This is a fun idea to link up and share with others, thanks for the idea Ali. Looking forward to reading them and will get started on mine today.

  • 5.
    Toni P said…

    This made me smile. All of my kids are grown but I so remember those summer lists. I wish I had saved them! I have the summer reading lists from the library summer reading program (loved that. ..) especially the year when our 3 year old wanted one and the library was not yet enlightened to offer that so big sister duplicated hers in exact detail for her sister :) now at 57, why shouldn’t I have a list??

  • 6.
    Michelle M said…

    I love this post! Last year, I sort of made a list but don’t think I ever did anything with it. This has really inspired me to make a list this weekend and USE it this summer! Thank you for the inspiration!! :)

  • 7.
    Nicole said…

    What a terrific idea! We have a bulletin board in the kitchen that currently has last years vacation “scrapbooked” on it – I’m going to take that down and have everyone write 5 summer ideas/wishes on paper. As we do them I’ll post pics and “stuff” from our summer adventures! Thanks for the inspiration!!

  • 8.
    Jenni Hufford said…

    love this ali!! i just started writing down my summer list the other day — love the change of pace and clean slate it offers!

  • 9.
    diane said…

    Thanks for the great idea! What fun!

  • 10.
    Jen said…

    We have done this the last 2 summers and it really helps us to add some purpose to those lazy summer days. It is too easy to let the days slip by. We build our list as a family – kids are 6, 4, 2 – I always put in things i know we will do and some I know may stretch us – we don’t always end up doing it all but we try really hard. Our list runs Memorial Day to Labor Day…this years list…road trip to Colorado – Camp at a new place – Read 50 books (6 yr old) – Make Crafts – Waterpark – Pick Berries – Lemonaid Stand – twins game – State Fair – Go to a new Park – visit a Flea Market – walk on the Stone arch bridge – fishing – lots of bike rides – picnic – try a new sport – grow Tomatos – Visit the Farmer’s Market Weekly -Grill something New!

  • 11.
    Kari M said…

    Love number 8. One I need to work on too :)

  • 12.
    Kendra said…

    Summer Fun To-Do:

    1. GO to the Drive In Movie
    2. Have a neighborhood movie night on the garage door
    3. Go to the pool as often as possible (especially in the evenings when mama is home:))
    4. Picnic – either at home or in a park
    5. Visit Pompeii (At Cinic Museum center)
    6. Ride bikes. Teach Gabe to ride his.
    7. Learn to use the grill!
    8. Sit outside and unplug at night. Even if it’s hot.

    That’s it for now.

    PS – Ali- A bed sheet on a flat surface makes a great movie screen. Be sure to include popcorn or make-your-own sundaes


  • 13.
    Suz said…

    Ali–love this manifesto!! Especially number 13. ;)
    Have a beautiful weekend and summer. :)

  • 14.
    Monica said…

    We created a summer bucket list just yesterday. As soon as the blog post goes up I’ll come back and link it!

  • 15.
    McAmy said…

    Love it! I was just thinking we need to make a list for summer vacation which starts here in a couple of weeks. I had a list for April vacation, and although I came down with something and was too sick to to many of the things, something about having the list and checking off a couple things made us all feel happier. I also planned to include on my summer list something about spending less time on things that “need to get done” and more time playing with the kids and doing whatever they want. Thanks for your continued inspiration and also the links which I’m going to check out.

  • 16.
    Heather G said…

    What a great idea, Ali! Hope you have a wonderful summer.

  • 17.
    Patti L said…

    Really cool idea…gives me something to think about. I love the summer! I was born in July, so its always such a festivus time for me. Will work on my manifesto…

  • 18.
    Theresa H said…

    My husband and I sit with our son and make a summer wish list. Here is what a 7 year-old wanted to do in summer 2011:
    1. Swimming
    2. Bible School
    3. Build-a-Bear
    4. Eat at Friendly’s
    5. Go stay at Grammy and Papa’s
    6. Play Baseball
    7. Have Friends over for a Sleepover
    8. Go to an Akron Aeros baseball game
    9. Camp with Cub Scouts
    10. Go to Canada

    We captured it all in pictures and put in his scrapbook using the project life page protectors. My son did most of the journaling.

    We discussed a 2012 list last night at dinner!

  • 19.
    TracyBzz said…

    I agree with Simon – I’m not a fan of dogs either. Wow, watch a movie outside. We live too far north (northern Alberta) to do that. We’d be up til at least midnight waiting for total darkness.

    We’ll have to start thinking of our list. We’ve got a ways to go before school is out on June 28.

  • 20.

    Oh I love this idea! I’ll try to post a list soon. I know one of mine will be: read as much and as often as possible. My want-to-read list is ginormous! :D
    Catherine Denton

  • 21.
    Deirdre said…

    What a coincidence to stumble upon this this morning. I just happened to post a photo to flickr with my “season’s goal” as part of the description:
    (more barefoot time, more picnics, more time being part of what is around us and not just passing through)

  • 22.
    Deirdre said…

    Oh — I also plan to make Fridays internet-free days.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Oh I love that idea too.

    • ….
      Macys said…

      Wonderful list ! Like the idea of trying 3 new things this summer and new salads are at the top of my list too. Thanks

  • 23.
    {vicki} said…

    Summer Maifesto

    1. Read on the front porch as often as possible
    2. Go to the beach (we’ve got this planned for June 9th)
    3. Go to the Grand Ole Opry (planned for July 14th)
    4. Go to a Braves games
    5. visit a water park
    6. Enjoy our swimming pool—Often
    7. can our home grown tomatoes
    8. have cookouts and invite folks over
    9. take long walks
    10. enjoy some local car racing events

    ps–Ali–I have the BEST sweet pickle reciple for canning —I would be happy to share with you if you are interested in it.

  • 24.
    marsha j said…

    i love this idea. i do not have small children but i have grandchildren and i love taking them places like the library or the musuem or doing crafts with them. i try to watch for any free things to do that come along in our city. sometimes the local colleges may put on children plays. they like to bring their bikes over to go bike riding. so many options that do not cost anything.

  • 25.
    Quinna said…

    I have the best refrigerator dill pickle recipe! They are super crisp for they are NOT cooked. Would you like a copy?

  • 26.
    Sue M said…

    My husband and I just did this last weekend, and I labelled it our “Summer Bucket List.” It includes fun things — like a BBQ every week, making a quilt for my nephew, going to the San Juans — and some around-the-house tasks like painting. Then made a separate list of friends to invite to those weekly BBQs … and have already begun the invites. Working from a list (for someone deadline-oriented like me) helps, and it will be great to see how many we can mark off as the summer too quickly goes by!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I love the weekly BBQ idea…

  • 27.
    Kathy Reid said…

    Love this!!

  • 28.
    Christine said…

    My son and Simon would get along well. I am always amazed when we go on trips and he is ready to go back to the hotel at 5 pm. And he is 16! No closing down the park for this kid. Swim, read, text, room service……and he is happy. Loves his video games too.

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Yep – they could definitely be friends!

  • 29.
    dawn said…

    I have been thinking and writing all morning after reading your blog earlier, here are both my lists. Every summer I concentrate mostly on making the kids happy and busy and my “CREATIVE TIME” never seems to happen so this summer I’m fitting it in.

    Our family list:

    library reading program
    more bonfires and smores
    camping at least 3x over the summer
    the zoo, Waldameer, Cedar Point
    the park from my childhood
    sit outside with blankets/pillows and read, dream, watch the clouds
    just get in the van and go with no destination
    less electronics for me and the kids
    start a gratitude journal
    read scriptures in the am, this will be a new thing for us
    go to the track 3x a week
    eat more fresh produce, visit farmers market
    free music night in the village on Thursday’s
    cousin switch day ( my sister and I switch kids for the day&night)
    buy a new blender so we can make smoothies
    HOMEMADE TRAVEL BAGS ( I get the kids each a little bag and fill it with games, pens, snacks, books etc) we leave them in the car ready to go for car trips

    here is my list, I wake up at 5 each day so most of these will be done early then a few spread the day.

    morning reading, hot tea, porch time
    scrapping, painting, art jouranling
    exercise tapes
    shower and breakfast read blogs
    have kids and I all make our own lunches and EAT AT ONE TIME
    activity to go with that morning scripture
    go outside for one hour each day, all of us together
    breathe, smile more, laugh lots, have patience, ENJOY LIFE
    embrace the heat, no complaining
    art projects outside with kids, PAINT BIG OUTSIDE!!
    clean up house after dinner so we can relax/play in the evening
    let kids stay up real late once a week
    movie days, we forgot to last summer

    I think this should be a good start, sure I will think of a few things later on to add. Hoping to write all these down on poster board this weekend.

    Ali, I like that Simon answered “HOME” as that is my fave thing always, seems all my kids are complete opposites of me though. I think it’s great he wants to be home, enjoy it while you can.
    Thanks for the summer list idea, was fun reading the others.

  • 30.
    Linda Marie said…

    LOVE this idea! I am going to put together my own list.

    I already had planned on creating a summer mini book (inspired by Elise Blaha) so my manifesto will be a great planning tool.

    I love all your mini books (bought your Halloween tutorial). Would be interested in a summer one if that is something you have on your project list…..I know that list is super long :)

    hear’s to a fantastic summer for everyone!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Thanks Linda – it’s actually something I’ve been thinking about and seeing if I can make time for it -

    • ….
      Linda Marie said…

      my credit card is ready :) your ideas inspire me to do better and do more…thanks!

  • 31.
    Michele H. said…

    wonderful list ali! i like the idea of trying 3 new things this summer and new salads are at the top of my list too.

  • 32.
    Bonnie said…

    Hi Ali! I love the manifesto idea. :) I wanted to share some ideas for your “make 3 salads” goal…personal favorites of mine. Quick, features summer veggies, and yummy:

    1) Red pepper, cauliflower, sweet white onion, fresh parsley, dried dill, garlic, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar & olive oil. Chop up all of the ingredients into small bite-sized pieces and stir so all of the veggies are mixed together including the onion. Add garlic, salt & pepper to taste. Mix in the parsley and dill. Top with a good dose of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I make certain the final touch is a beautiful big ceramic bowl and viola!

    2) Sweet English cucumber, avocado, buffalo mozzarella, olive oil, dill, parsley, salt and pepper. Slice the cucumber in medium size circles and do the same with the cheese. Slice the avocado in thin strips. Take out your favorite large platter and place the cucumber in one layer on the plate. Add the avocado and the cheese in that order. Drizzle the olive oil over the veggies and then sprinkle with parsley, salt and pepper. Beautiful, delish, and healthy.

    I hope you like them! They are both my favorite salads and yes, they are addictive. Big hugs to you! XO

    • ….
      Linda Marie said…

      bonnie, I’m going to try that second one..anything with avocado, I’m in. My summer list includes trying quinoa salads, so I’m going to try your recipes with quinoa. thanks!!

  • 33.
    patsy custodio said…

    Ali, you are so awesome for inspiring people everyday! Thanks so much for this post, and for encouraging me to make my own list and fully enjoy this summer. Thank you!!!!!

  • 34.
    Paula said…

    Love your post today & I’ll be back tonight to add my list and read everyone else’s – looking forward to it when my workday is over :)

    Wow, Simon and my sweet daughter Amy who is a child with Aspergers sound like they are silent partners in this deal! Their lists are very close except Amy prefers to be on Tumblr on the computer with the occasional WII game worked in! I remind myself that Amy is Amy – and I love her so much for that – and what she wants to do is just as valid as what I want to do — then I remind her that we all need a little variety too…but we learn from each other every day which is what I find most meaningful! Cheers to everyone – may your summer lists come true!

  • 35.
    Jill Kane said…

    LOVE this idea. I’ve been thinking about my own list – time to put pen to paper.

    I received an email from a writer I’ve taken classes from at my local writing studio. I love this sentiment she shared:

    “Whatever draft you find yourself in this summer, take heart.” Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew

  • 36.
    hannahk said…

    Hi Ali ~ I love the idea of putting the manifesto up in the home… and love your ideas and links.
    I created mine in diary format a week or so ago, using Aby’s guidance over at Simplify 101

    now I’m rewritting it as I love Andrea’s one too. thank you so much for more wonderful inspiration

  • 37.
    Deborah said…

    Simon is apparently on the same exact wavelength as my kids. Just asked them the other day (while we were playing hooky from school at Disneyland) what they want to do this summer and was unanimously bombarded with “Stay home!” “Video games!” “Ice cream everyday!” Sounds like a good summer plan to me!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Me too :) .

  • 38.
    Camilla Blue said…

    LOVE #9. Yum! Truly one of the BEST things about summer. Always a flood of good memories with every bit of watermelon!

  • 39.
    sharin said…

    totally “sick” idea as the kids say today. I still dont get how sick means something to outstanding or really neat as we said in our days! guess that just shows progress and age….anyway back to ;ist love the idea it keeps me grounded…

    1.Swim every morning daily and enjoy time on patio a book a week blueberries
    5.go north to Oak Creek scrabble or board game
    7.tackle a conversational new language
    8.BBQ more
    7.make dill pickles and pickle beets( Yum)
    8.vacation Bible class
    9.ride bikes with nephew and nieces. on political campaign
    11. volunteer at shelter
    12.make a art project once a week (besides scrapping)
    13.start making Christmas items
    14.visit the ocean Catalina or San Diego

    Sure I could add more as time progresses…difficult to believe half year is almost here!!! Yikes Did we just not finish Christmas!!! LOL

    blessings & hugs

    sharon Phoenix Arizona

    • ….
      Ali said…

      I love beets.

  • 40.
    J3SS1C4 said…

    Hmm, reading through all the fun stuff everyone will be doing over summer has me jealous! I think I might make a list for winter here, and have stuff like movie nights snuggled in on the lounge, trying some new soups and slow cooker meals and I’m not sure what else… Will talk to my partner over the weekend for ideas! :)

  • 41.
    Sara said…

    Ali – I’ve gotten some of your digital brushes for my PL and am LOVING using them on my photos. Question – I really want some school ones, you have some, but most of the ones in each file wouldn’t work for us, we home school. Any way that you would ever consider making some brushes geared towards us who school at home?! Thanks for all your work and thank you even more for sharing it with us!!

    • ….
      Ali said…

      Sure! Please email me a list of words you’d like to have included:

  • 42.
    Kathy L said…

    Love this idea! Memorial Day Weekend seems like the perfect time to stop and jot it down. Can’t wait to get started.

  • 43.
    Paula said…

    Back with my list! The word “alot” is what Amy emphasized most!

    Watch ALOT of episodes of The Big Bang Theory!

    Go to the beach ALOT! Rent a small beach house for a couple of nights.

    Morning trips to Dunkin’ Donuts for Amy’s favorite Chocolate Frosted Cake donuts ALOT!

    Go in our pool every day! Swim when it’s raining!

    Scrapbook our Taylor Swift concert photos together.

    Have Amy’s cousin over for a long weekend of girl time.

    Walk barefoot most of the time.

    Go to a concert.

    Go to the Science Center.

    Play with Whiskers (our cat) ALOT!

    Go strawberry picking.

    Read ALOT of Harry Potter (again.)

    Join the church we’ve been wanting to become a part of and hopefully the youth group. (Mom’s really hoping most of all for this one, Amy is worried about her sensory issues during the service and timid about joining a group. Saying a little prayer we can make this happen after
    several failed attempts.)

    Listen to ALOT of music together.

    Go on ALOT of crazy lady rides (Amy’s name for late night aimless drives.)

    Go out to dinner at a few new restaurants (mom & dad’s wish, Amy hates eating out.)

    Watch Grandma get ALOT healthier as her radiation treatments progress.

    Laugh and hug ALOT!

  • 44.
    Ruth G said…

    Ali, I shared the bits about Simon’s comments with my hubby and we both smiled. We had a similar reaction from my son about summer (without him admitting the video games part because he knows better than to go there – Alex is an Aspie.) Like you said, if we keep it balanced we stay balanced and that means everyone should be satisfied in some way over the course of the summer. Thanks for sharing your list!

  • 45.
    Christine said…

    My daughter and hubby and I are making our list. At the top of the list is to visit the King Tut exhibit at the Pacific Science Center in Seattle. Last time in North America. Can’t wait to see this!

  • 46.
    Jayne said…

    I need to remember to do number 8 a lot more too! Thanks for the reminder.

  • 47.
    MonicaB said…

    Thanks for the push to get our summer list together. We did one last year and the boys loved it. This year we kept it short and sweet.

  • 48.
    aliza said…

    I love this idea, and will get to my list…eventually. Making my list, will be first on my list.

    But, I also wanted to say that I totally get Simon. Yes, I hope to get out and explore a lot this summer, but after 10 months of teaching, and the hustle and bustle of daily life, I am SO looking forward to just ‘being,’ inside my home. I love my home, my space, and getting to be here without rushing out each day, is one of the best things about summer vacation.

  • 49.
    Mel said…

    I love this idea! I’m a new Peace Corps volunteer in a rural part of Morocco, and there’s not a whole lot going on this summer. Therefore, I know that for my emotional health and sanity I’m going to have to stay busy! I’ll have to think about this some more…thanks for the inspiration.

  • 50.
    mindy said…

    i love this list… you have to try a cucumber cosmo, my new fav! happy almost summer, ali!

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