Our Top 11 Summer Fun in Tulsa List:

Bust out the Owencorn.

Greetings, friends from the TulsaKids nebula! The end of the school year is an intense time for parents. Schools send home enough backpack notifications to wallpaper a small guest bathroom, and between graduations, parties, and competitions, even slacker moms like myself turn into PTA wannabes. For Team Union, we have one week left. Coming back after the walkout meant longer days and extending our school year by a week, and the anticipation of summer has all of us excited.

If you’re following me on Instagram (you should be–one of my favorite recent Union grads says my Instagram is poppin’), you know that I have been pretty busy with end-of-year activities. The first graduating class of the Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program at Union High School just got their tassels, and I couldn’t be more proud. Congrats to all of my Union Redskins. It has been an absolute honor to take this journey with you the past three years, and you have been the living example of what makes Union an incredible, community-driven school.

I also got to attend the graduation of my super fabulous cousin Brittany Reese Manuel and all of her fellow Owasso Rams. Brittany, it seems like only yesterday that you were Lucy’s age. I am incredibly proud of all of your hard work, and I wish you a beautiful, bright future.

A thousand congratulations and heart emojis!

If that wasn’t exciting enough, Arthur participated in his first Robotics competition with his Grove Elementary team and a portable washing machine that would be perfect for Bonnaroo Music Festival. We celebrated 17 years married by checking out Blue Dome Festival, and Lucy finally lost her second front tooth.

All of this excitement comes with the buzz of knowing that in less than two weeks, we are going to have every day home together as a family. In the past, summer has been an amazing, dreamy time, but also very difficult because as a support employee, I do not get paid in the summer. But just in the nick of time, I took a permanent freelance web content writing gig that I can do from home on my own time. That means not only are we going to have three months off together this summer–time to grow, enjoy each other, write for myself–but we will not be struggling as hard.

In the past, I have mentioned that we are not a bucket list type of family–we are more of the purse food at the last-minute dollar movies type of family. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have some kind of summer list. For us, it’s a list of all the amazing things we plan to do this summer, and the realization that it’s just a week and change from getting started is the best feeling. I’ve put together a list of the top 11 things we’re looking forward to this summer:

1. Outdoor Concerts

We love an outdoor concert. It’s a great way to get a live music fix with kids in tow. We load up the blankets, throw pillows, and cold beverages and head to Guthrie Green or Utica Square. This summer in Tulsa, there will be a free outdoor concert somewhere around town every week.

2. Library Visits

On hot summer days when the mercury climbs into the upper 90s, this is the perfect time to hang out at our local library, Brookside. The kids use the library computers to play an hour of Roblox while I read or work, then we each check out a bunch of books and videos. Last year, we all participated in (and completed) the Tulsa Library Summer Reading Program–it was the first time in years I had read a book all the way through since Lucy was born, and it feels good to be reading again for fun.


3. Backyard Campfires

Probably our favorite family summer activity is laying out pallets of blankets and sleeping bags with loads of throw pillows, grabbing Scrabble or Pictionary, and hanging out around the campfire in our one-acre backyard. We set up around dusk in time to watch the bats circle wildly overhead, and at twilight, the lawn becomes a magical fairyland of fireflies. We usually let the kids fall asleep out there and have a little parental alone time before we put out the fire around midnight and drive the kids back to the house in the car. And did I mention there were s’mores? Here’s hoping for a summer of no burn bans!

4. Baking With Lucy

Since she was three years old, Lucy has dreamed of becoming a cupcake baker when she grows up (hence her self-assigned nickname, Cupcake). Every summer, we look up cupcakes and baked good online and make them together.

5. Garage Sales and Thrifting

Back before we ever had kids, Justin and I used to spend every summer Saturday hopping around town on our scooters perusing garage sales and estate sales for the tchotchkes of our dreams. We still love a good garage sale date, but nowadays we load up the family and take turns hopping out to browse. Since we recently decided to redecorate rather than move, I am extra jazzed about hitting the junk circuit this summer.

6. Slushquest

Tara Rittler of Spaghetti on the Wall and I are planning the best summer mayhem, shenanigans, and/or tomfoolery! Included in this bananapantsness, we are going to sample every slushie at QuikTrip and then branch out to other slushie purveyors. Stay tuned!

7. Smash Books are a summer staple at our house.

An entire corner of our living room is devoted to art supplies, and the kids love to experiment with mixed media art journals when the weather outside is too hot to play.


I wrote last week about our family’s deep and abiding love of the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen. This year, Tara is participating on my team WallaWallaBingBang, so expect lots of amazing (and completely bananas) Instagram posts re: clothing made of food products.

9. Summer Treats

Our favorite summer treat is sno-cones from Josh’s Sno Shack. With flavor combos like Peach Cobbler, Wedding Cake, and Creamsickle, there’s a lot to try. We all have our personal favorite–mine is banana, peach, and bubble gum.

10. TV Goals

We always have a TV show we watch as a family from start to finish. Last summer, we watched Psych and LOST. This year, we are going to watch all 13 seasons of Supernatural.

11. Drive-In Dates

One of our family’s very favorite summertime activities is almost down to a ritual. We head over to the Admiral Twin Drive-In, where we make a super comfy pad of cushions and sleeping bags to sprawl out on and bust out the Owencorn, which is basically several kinds of popcorn, candy, and random snacks all mixed up. The kids usually fall asleep by the second movie, which gives me and Justin the chance to hang out together like an actual date.

What summer activities are you looking forward to this year? Hit me up in the comments, and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram!

Categories: Coffee Nebula