Keep Summer Night Magic Alive Year-Round

September 27, 2013    |    By +
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During summer, the days are long and full of adventure. Even better, these sun-drenched days turn into sunset-filled nights that give new meaning to the words “endless summer.” From twilight picnics at the beach and family concerts in the park to hotdogs roasting over an open fire, these are the memories that make me forget about bedtimes and homework. I have to admit, the all-too-quickly shrinking days but a damper on the “hallelujah, the kids are back in school” joy I feel every September. Are we really back to eating dinner when it’s dark outside? Total bummer.

So this year, I’ve made a vow: my family and I are hanging on to every bit of the magic of summer night—daylights savings time be damned.

Gooey S’mores on My Kitchen Island! Really.

No summer night is complete without the ultimate go-to campfire staple: s’mores. What’s not to love about gooey marshmallows and hot melted chocolate? Bring the fire inside with the Casa Moda S’mores Maker ($137.97), and you can practically hear the crackling of the logs with every decadent bite. (Added bonus: your hair doesn’t smell like smoke for days after!)



The best way to carve out space on any crowded beach is with an “ez up” canopy, so I brought this same concept inside with Crazy Forts ($36.99). The kids set up snacks and games in their private tent while the adults get to relax, converse and sip wine. We’re together in the same, shared space but in two different worlds: awesome.


Of course, no summer night is complete without a picnic blanket. Indoors or out, the Picnic Time Sunshine Blanket Tote does the trick ($22.99). It’s the perfect size, easy to fold, and machine washable—which is especially helpful after it has been covered in sticky chocolate fingerprints.


For the finishing touch, I brought a living touch of the outdoors inside with the Butterfly Garden by Insect Lore ($19.38). The days might be getting shorter and the air a little chillier, but watching caterpillars transform into fluttering Painted Lady butterflies adds summertime joy to any home.



In the real world, summer may not last forever. But in our hearts, it’s here to stay—and we’ll do our best to keep the magic alive all winter long. If you are shopping for children and tweens, we have other great ideas on gifts for kids and the Top 20 Toys for the Holidays, and check out Jennifer Benson’s blog on Birthday Party Survival.


When Jennifer Benson is not wrangling three spirited children, she can usually be found wrangling words. Preferably from a coffee shop, though the kitchen island is the next best place since the day fifth grade homework took over her office. She’s an avid hiker and walker who picked up the pace this year and took up running. With a half marathon under her belt, what began as a forced activity has surprisingly become more of a necessity. This is good since rumor has it that every six-mile run burns off a whole bottle of wine.

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Meet the Gurus

Kathryn D.W.
Kathryn Drury Wagner is the senior manager of content at She was formerly the executive editor at Honolulu Magazine, and is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Shopping on Oahu. Her career has included staff positions at Country Living Gardener and Power & Motoryacht. Her latest book is "Hawaii's Strangest, Ickiest, Wildest Book Ever!"

Gwen P.
Gwen is the Editorial Curator at In addition to writing blogs, she creates gift guides, curates the site, and produces content for our social media channels. As a freelance writer, she created blogs on fashion, art, travel, health and lifestyle. A talented jewelry designer, she's also a yogi and a hospital volunteer with her therapy dog, Lilo, a Pomeranian.