End of Summer Checklist & My Birthday Excursion to Port Dover | Woman in Real Life:The Art of the Everyday

Monday, August 29, 2016

End of Summer Checklist & My Birthday Excursion to Port Dover


How do you feel about summer winding down? I confess it saddens me. Summer never feels quite long enough. I'm fine with returning to the routine of school and work. I just think it would be great if it were warm enough to hit the beach after school or have a gathering on the deck with some fruity summer cocktails, just for maybe two more months. As the end of summer approaches, I always think about whether we did everything we planned to do.

A couple of weekends ago, I checked one summer fun activity off my list. I visited Port Dover, Ontario with my husband, the kids and my mom and dad for my now-annual birthday dinner. We happened to hit the weekend of the Port Dover Summer Festival too, which is a wonderful bonus.

The Summer Festival sees a park full of vendors selling everything from vintage-inspired underwear and fabulous wood serving boards to vintage and antique gems. I saw this vendor at the same location last year. I love all of the big vintage letters, although I never shell out the money for them.

Does the grouping on the right spell "PMS" on purpose? Maybe that would be a good grouping to buy, haha. Kind of as a warning to others in the house.

My husband browsed the vinyl records and the comics.

My son was attracted to this bin of collectors' cards, above. I browsed the books and resisted buying any. (I just gathered 70 kids' books today to donate. We still have way too many books in this house.) I mostly browse nowadays and rarely buy. My mom and dad sat on a park bench and chatted with other people.

For the second year in a row, we went to Lee's Garden Chinese Canadian Food restaurant for my birthday dinner courtesy of my mom and dad.

We had a very friendly server and they were kind about making us vegetarian dishes, without MSG. The food was tasty and fresh.

After dinner, the kids hit the main public beach in Port Dover for a bit. The water is really shallow so they can go a good long way out. And the beach is nice and sandy. It's a lovely little touristy kind of beach town. Check out this post from three years ago with more pictures from Port Dover. I can't believe how much the kids have grown since then!

My Summer Fun Checklist:

  • watch movies at the drive-in (done once, but I'd like to go again - one year we went at the end of the season when it was getting a bit cold outside but it was still so great)
  • have a bonfire (my daughter and her friend and I had a beautiful fire on the beach at the cottage; we burned homework and papers to launch summer and it was a lot of fun)
  • hang out at the cottage (aka my parents' house; I have done this three times for a couple of days each time)
  • eat birthday dinner in Port Dover, Ontario (clearly done)
  • visit Canada's Wonderland amusement park at least three times (done - I even went on a ride, The Fly, and that's when I realized I don't need to be going on any more rides; it just isn't for me; I go purely for the kids.)
  • spend a day at the beach (maybe Wasaga Beach? - the family spent the day at the beach in Barrie while I was working, but I have yet to take a day trip to the beach, aside from the one at the cottage)
  • read a couple of great books (did this - see this post for my book recommendations)
  • watch a movie in a local park (there's one coming up this week)
  • walk through Kensington Market in Toronto and eat vegan ice cream (still need to do this!)
  • AND (update)...how could I have forgotten? The family has to do an all-you-can-eat sushi gorge-fest at least once in summer - we are off to do that now...

I am sure I missed a couple of activities too. We attended a pool party at a friend's house this past weekend. A pool party is another summer necessity, don't you think? The kids had a blast in the pool. My lovely friend Jackie bought vegan ice cream bars just for me. (That reminds me. Making homemade ice cream and popsicles should be on that list too. And we haven't done enough of that this summer!) Jackie's husband, Bill, made me a rum and coke. Perfect party.

Next week we're going hiking in the woods with friends (fun!) and getting Indian takeout afterwards (even better!).

One thing to note - you'll never see suntanning on my list! I'm of Scottish and Irish background and I have two colours - white and red, with a smattering of freckles. Ain't no browning over here.

What About You?

What are the activities you just have to do each summer? Did you do them all this summer? Are you happy to see fall?


  1. Looks like a great birthday celebration :) Spring is starting here in a few days and as usual I'm not looking forward to our summer though I vow (again) to go berry picking this year. Well done on purging those books, I've been continuing with purging stuff and have a few boxes to donate tomorrow. The four month purge really is a very long four months, but I did manage to mostly complete one room that was a problem and now it sparks joy. Now I have to get the rest of the house to spark some joy!

    1. Thank you! It's so fascinating to me that you don't look forward to summer when we are always dying for summer after a long winter. Yes, you need to go berry picking to keep up the joy. I need to do things in winter that keep me going, like putting on the fireplace, drinking cocoa and reading a good book. Otherwise I feel miserable. Yes, our 4-month purge is really going on isn't it? I feel I'm just getting into it properly at 6 months. Sigh. But I am noticing a difference in our home and it's easier to keep it tidy. Kind of. :) I'm glad your one room (spare bedroom?) is looking good!