Blake Snow

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5 things that made my summer

Courtesy Sara Snow

My family and I have had a memorable and adventurous summer so far.

In addition to a remarkable rafting trip, we’ve sustained two emergency room visits (broken elbow, large fishing hook removal), gotten lots of extra sun (without any burns), and planned one more road trip before it’s “back to school.”

Although I’m a big believer in buying experiences over things, the following five products have undeniably delighted our household this summer:

  1. Waterproof speaker. I’ve taken my Corbett Mini ($50) backpacking, river rafting, and to the pool. Not only is it durable, it gets a lot of attention and has great sound, either via bluetooth or with a micro SD card so you don’t have to bring your phone with you at all times.
  2. Bang! I’ve lost count how many times my family has played this old favorite this summer. What a game! There’s also a dice version we like that’s a little faster but not quite as strategic as the original card game. To make it even better, I like to play Ennio Morricone while playing.
  3. Kubb. We played this trendy yard game recently and quickly fell in love. It’s sort of like Bocci ball mixed with corn hole and chess while played on the lawn. Can be played one-on-one or with teams. Nice!
  4. Netted gazebo. Last month my wife and I went to Walmart to buy some ribs and came home with this impulse purchase, in addition to the ribs. Although we’ve wanted one for years, we finally made the jump after seeing it and the accompanying rug, house plant, and furniture on sale. I especially like the sun panels, ceiling lights, netting to keep bugs and dirt out, and the numerous nights, mornings, and afternoons we’ve already spent in it. It’s like vacationing at home.
  5. Alexa Dot. I bought another Alexa device this summer on a $22 flash sale, because she is an awesome DJ, stereo, home phone for the kids, timer, question answerer, smart home controller, scheduler, fact finder, recipe reader, and so much more. I won’t go as far as saying we can’t live without it, but Alexa has made our life easier and more convenient, especially when it comes to streaming any song we want to hear at anytime while connected to our boom box.

BONUS: Weekly screen fast. As I wrote about in my book, we did this for the first time this year and even the kids embraced it. Not only can screen fasts reset your relationship with your phone, they’re a great enabler of even more offline, analog adventure.