I've been making seasonal bucket lists for years. Just lists of things we could do / might feel like doing when the weekends roll around and we have a little free time.
For me, they're a really effective way of getting us out of the house when it's all too tempting to permanently stay locked up behind closed doors, working on a never-ending to-do list of homework, housework and odd jobs.
Yes, there's no way to avoid those things, but as long as we're organised enough to stay relatively on top of them, there's no reason at all why we shouldn't make the extra effort to fill our free time with something fun.
Something that involves taking a few photos and making some memories.
Days we can all look back on as being happy times.
Yes, I fully accept that there are always going to be days when the best-laid plans have to be cast aside.
They seem to happen here with worrying regularity;
- Weekends or entire school holidays when we end up having to work because we're just too snowed under.
- Weekends filled with crazy complicated school projects.
- Weekends when people are revising for exams.
- Weekends where we really do have to clear out of the attic before the ceiling's collapse or when we have to cut the grass before half the surrounding wildlife decides to move in..... you get the idea, but it's nice to have a bucket list for when life doesn't get in the way.
I try to fill our bucket list with things that are easy to achieve. Often things that are seasonally specific, nature and craft-based. Things that won't take up huge amounts of time or money because while it's lovely to make a picnic and bundle everyone into the car for a day at a theme park, the beach or the zoo, realistically, it's just not that practical.
For one, we live in the middle of Suffolk UK and we're a good 2 hours drive from any of those things.
I also always try to come up with around 20 things, so we have a bit of choice and can pick things that suit the weather - no point having 20 outdoor activities if it rains every weekend for 3 months!
There are 12 weekends in January, February and March, so 20 activities gives a bit of wiggle room.
So here's my seasonal spring family bucket list.
What would you add or take away? I'd love to know.
- Get out and about and take some photographs with those first flowers of the year. Towards the end of January Hazel catkins and snowdrops should be scattered throughout the countryside, braving the frosts and bringing a delicate beauty to everywhere they grace with their presence. February 10th is the start of Snowdrop Walks Week, so National Trust and English Heritage sites around the country will be hosting events. February will also see the arrival of wild daffodils, daisies, and primroses.
- Start an annual scrapbook, so you have somewhere physical to store your very best photographs of the year, complete with annotations explaining the where, the when, the how, the who (rather than just storing it on Facebook). It needn't be complicated or expensive. I'll be writing a little about how to start this if you're totally stuck very soon, so watch this space.
- Make some homemade bubble bath or bath bombs. Cosy, comforting activities for days you have to spend indoors. There are plenty of free online tutorials for both of these. We've been using this one from BBC Good Food: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/how-make-bath-bomb .
- Another one for the indoors, how about making some botanical honey infusions. You don't need to make massive jars of each. Decant one large jar into several smaller ones (make sure you've cleaned and sterilised them first), then add lemon, lime or orange peel, lavender or scented garden herbs (many of which you can buy in the supermarket vegetable aisle).
- The spring season can be a tough one for the birds in your garden especially as food is scarce and the weather harsh. Bird food cakes are super easy to make and your feathered friends will more than appreciate your efforts. Simply add birdseed, raisins, and lard to a mould. Then hang them high up around your garden, out of reach of interested cats and other predators.
- Movie nights in. Get out a good movie, toast some marshmallows over one of those disposable gel fuel burners (if you haven't got a real fire, or have little children) and pop your own popcorn.
- Make a garden or allotment plan - What do you want to plant? Work out where and when.
- Although there's not that much to do in the garden just yet, you could get outside and try to encourage some prickly hedgehog friends in. Hedgehogs will always appreciate a shelter at this time of year and they're not too tricky to build. You could also put some food down for them - just not anything that contains milk or fish as you could make them poorly.
- Go out for a bird walk - Sometime around mid-February, going for a walk becomes a bit more interesting, as the trees start to be filled with an array of different birds. Nothing against robins or Magpie's, but there's just something cheerful about seeing those first blackbirds and chaffinches. As February falls behind and the earth warms just a little, if you're observant enough, you might also see ladybirds and bumblebees making an appearance.
- Feed the ducks! It would be unusual if you didn't live somewhere close to a pond or stream. There's been a lot of confusion in recent years with conflicting advice over whether it's ok to feed ducks bread. After a little digging around, it looks like the current official advice is that it's ok in moderation (don't feed them entire loaves or anything), as although bread isn't that nutritious, it's important they don't go hungry.
- Plant something - Avoid days when the ground is totally frozen (for the sake of your fingers as well as the plants), but daffodils and grape hyacinths will be available in most garden centers by the end of January and will start to bloom in about a month.