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Most area students finish school this week or next week. Some even finished late last week. To all graduating from high school, kindergarten, grade school or whatever school or level, congratulations and best wishes in your next steps in life!

My daughter’s 2013-14 school year wrapped up early Monday afternoon. I took a vacation day to enjoy it with her. My son and I greeted her as she stepped off the bus.

Heading to the house, we donned our swimsuits, grabbed our gear and ventured to an area state park for swimming, snacking and outdoor fun. While the water was chilly, it didn’t stop my kiddos from frolicking in the water for nearly four hours! We also took the time to bury Jacob and I in the sand (well, our legs. Nothing like a spa treatment at the state park! Ha ha).

We capped our day with dinner and ice cream at Friendly’s, and while you could call it a nice start to summer vacation, my little family’s kickoff to summer began the day before with a backyard picnic.

I fired up the gas grill and made hamburgers and heated up leftover wings. I paired them with corn, baked beans, beets, rice and gravy. Amber helped me spread a blanket on the grass, and she and Jacob laid out the plates, utensils and napkins. We plan to get a patio set this summer so we have a table, but this was still fun!

As we enjoyed our picnic supper, Amber and I did some homework. Pen and notebook in hand, she and I listed things we would like to do and visit this summer. Quoting Disney’s “Phineas and Ferb,” she said she would like to have the “best summer ever!” (Well, Phineas usually says “best day ever,” but you get the idea! Lol.)

Most of the ideas appear doable. I plan to take another look at the Summer Fun special section that will appear in Thursday’s edition of The Republican-Herald for more ideas. It features a sampling of trips to take on a tank full of gas and ads with upcoming events, like block parties and festivals. Check it out!

Do you and your family do anything to kick off summer vacation once school shuts its doors for the academic year? Share your stories in the comment section and, as always, thank you for reading Mommy Mentions!