What’s on Your Summer Teacup List?


Have you heard of the teacup list? Instead of the bucket list with its dramatic, “before-I-die” goals, we have the teacup list. Instead of feeling panicked you haven’t gone on that cross-country road trip or hiked in Thailand or parachuted in the Gobi desert, you shrink all expectations. With this in mind, here in no particular order are the small (okay, very small) things I wish to do this summer…

Avoid the news as much as possible — I know, it’s hard. But there comes a point where we need to come up for air. I have to take a break from the daily litany of tragedy, sorrow, and horror. I need to concentrate on fleeting summer beauty – orange daylilies, white egrets, sailboats, a honeysuckle-scented breeze, fat, ripe tomatoes, and pink geraniums in the sun. Yes, I need things that make me happy instead of making me want to cry.

Get a tan by sitting outside ten minutes a day – I hear the gasps of sun worshippers now. Ten minutes? That’s it? You must understand, people. I’m an indoor person with white, pasty skin. Ten minutes in the morning will help me get that (for me) toasty look I need, without baking for hours on a beach.

Listen to the drone of insects – Believe it or not, when I was a kid that sound meant summer. And is it me or did summers seem slower back then? The hum of bumblebees around a rhododendron brings back blue freeze pops, “I Love Lucy” reruns, riding bikes to Woolworth’s, and playing hide and seek behind backyard trees. When I listen to that sound, it’s a reminder to slow down and enjoy life.

Eat cotton candy, a Chocolate Éclair popsicle and buttered popcorn – These each have specific instructions. The cotton candy should be eaten while walking around my town carnival. The Chocolate Éclair popsicle should be ideally purchased from a Good Humor truck. And the popcorn should be munched on while seeing a summer blockbuster in a movie theater.

Listen to the following summer songs – “Hot Fun in the Summertime” by Sly and the Family Stone; “Grazing in the Grass” by Friends of Distinction or “Tighten Up” by Archie Bell and the Drells. These bring back walking barefoot on warm country roads in cut-off shorts and halter-tops. They bring back lying on beaches slathered in baby oil. They bring back sitting and laughing with friends at night on cool, summer lawns.

Watch fireflies – As kids, we ran around capturing these insects in jars. We’d pierce the top and fill them with grass and sticks. We put them next to our beds at night and watch them light up. And we’d let them go in the morning. The strange thing was they looked like ordinary insects by day. You’d never know they possessed such powers of illumination. Fireflies remind me there’s something magical about summer evenings. 

Eat lots of meals outside — If you live in New England (or anywhere with serious winters) you know the feeling. You gaze on your back porch in mid-February and sigh. Snow’s piled up. A freezing arctic wind blows the sad wind chimes. Summer seems an impossible dream.

So when the weather’s warm, eating outside is a treat and celebration.  It means sun and warmth and barbecued chicken and potato salad.  It means watching hummingbirds flit around their feeder, sipping nectar.  It means sitting and talking and listening to music. In the summer, our porch becomes the family room.

And as I write this, I realize that (for me) summers aren’t so much creating new stuff, but recapturing old.  

Enjoying summer was easy as kids. Most of us did what we wanted. We didn’t need a list — teacup, bucket or otherwise.

We didn’t care if we went to Thailand or rode off to California on Route 66. We were happy just to be alive and free for a few months.

And maybe that’s the key to summer.  It’s all about simple pleasures — old songs, fireflies, eating outdoors, hummingbirds, potato salad, pink geraniums, and of course, Good Humor trucks.

Maybe the perfect summer isn’t about adding things at all… but slowly taking them away.


What’s on your summer teacup list? I’d love to hear and if you like, please share. Thank you.


  1. Yes! I just posted a few days ago about how summer is a feeling. For me, summer is a feeling of comfort and childhood and barefooted memories. I’m glad I’m not alone in trying to recapture those moments every year for a few short weeks. 🙂

    • Laurie Stone

      Thanks so much, MaryBeth. I totally agree. Summer is about getting back something we lost as adults.

  2. I love the idea of a teacup list. I haven’t heard of it before. It is not so daunting as a bucket list, which is overwhelming. I am trying to make time for fun things this summer, even if they are routine and usual for most people. I usually work too much, so taking time to do simple things is a triumph of sorts.

    • Laurie Stone

      Michele, I think small things are what its all about. They add up to a great summer. Thank you for reading.

  3. Michele – I LOVE this – the TEA LIST 🙂

    1. play in my garden
    2. sit on my porch and read or take naps
    3. Have my oldest grands over for the weekend
    4. Spend time with friends
    5. I’m finally checking off my big list, “See Coldplay Live” – Foxboro July 30th!
    6. Walk…a lot
    7. Spend time on my yoga mat
    8. Help youngest daughter plan her wedding…
    9. learn to kayak
    10 go to the beach as often as possible 🙂

    And that adds up to an awesome summer!

  4. I love this, Laurie. You’ll see on my blog several posts about thinking small, and how big the small things really are. Plus, I’m down with anything involving tea, teacups, teapots, etc.! Great insight about recapturing the old, too. I think that’s true, and I also love to recapture that freedom and the small glories of yesteryear.

    • Laurie Stone

      Thank you, Reba. I’m also a tea lover so the name appealed to me. Its all about the simple things, even though the big ones are exciting too! Thanks for reading.

  5. I absolutely love this post and this idea! And I think maybe you were my secret companion through childhood because you have pretty much nailed my treasured memories of those summers. Lightning bugs (as we called them in Pennsylvania) in empty Skippy jars with grass on the bottom and ice-picked holes in the lids. I can’t believe you did that too! I feel more relaxed just having read your list!

    • Laurie Stone

      Thanks so much, Lee. Yes, just reading your posts I can see we would’ve made good childhood buddies!

  6. my summer tea cup is full of riding my bike. no matter how hot it is outside,–and sometimes you hacve to get up early or you’ll faint in the noon time heat– you make your own breeze and feel so free and health-ful and great to be alive..

  7. Love this list! You brought me right back to some great fun summer memories. I remember running after the Good Humor truck to get a toasts almond ice cream bar!

  8. I so love this. I too remember catching fireflies or lighting bugs as we called them. And to me the hum and buzz of the cicadas on a hot summer night is pure heaven. I have some new things to add to my summer teacup list. thanks for sharing these beautiful ideas.

  9. Ooh! I love this:). I’d add “Into the Mystic” to that playlist. And eating esquites. And have already had a picnic. Your list is rock star–think I need to work on mine:).

    • Laurie Stone

      Thanks so much Candace. We all have our little cherished memories. I think that’s what summer’s all about.

    • Laurie Stone

      Bikes are great. Haven’t been on one since I was a kid! Hey, maybe I should put that on my teacup list. Thanks!

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