So what I am realizing is that summer is busy. Very busy. Despite all my best intentions to have one of those summers where there is nothing to do, my kids are not really into that sort of thing. And it turns out neither is the world. So we are carving out spaces to relax, but we are also attending VBSs (yes that’s plural – we have 2 VBSs on the docket), having beach days, swim lessons, Bible studies, and guess what we homeschool year round right now so we still have some work we are doing. For the bored out there, I thought I might give you a little round up of what we’ve done and where we are headed!
The husband gave me some new gardening tools for Mother’s Day and I finally got to use them! I had already planted potatoes, carrots, and cantaloupe in the backyard, but once it was clear some of our plants were not going to rebound after the winter they had, it was time to pull them up and plant new things! I went for beans and tomatoes. Down side – when I pulled up the plants it turned out that they had tiny shoots of green on the bottom that just had not broken the surface yet, but the plant was past saving after I pulled it out. I was really sad because I hate the idea of killing anything off. Not my thing. But I did plant some seeds and I even got a new sprinkler head (mostly for the kids, but who doesn’t like something that serves more than one purpose) that I used to water them!
The older two kids have gotten really into games lately, especially during the afternoons where 100 degrees and climbing is just two much for them. The oldest prefers Catchphrase and Taboo while the middle prefers Guess Who!? Above was my attempt to teach them Scrabble which, it turns out, is not a good game for kids their age. Especially for the one who can’t read very well yet. C’est la vie!
We looove spicy food! It had been ages since we cooked Indian food and we were jonesing. Who cares if the temperature says, “add ice not spice!” We went all in and boy was it worth it. Now I’m wondering if there is a way to make Indian food while we are camping. It would be amazing. Maybe I could bring little balls of dough and make fresh naan over the fire. Yes, yes, yes. Granted nothing I cook will be as amazing as the real deal, but for now (when the funds are too low to eat out at the best Indian restaurants) we will have to just delve deeper into our Indian cookbook and enjoy the results.
The husband had a birthday! The oldest and I made him a delicious apple cake – I should really say that the oldest made it more than I did as she is determined to become an excellent baker like her mom. I also sent three dozen cupcakes to his work (1 dozen butter cake, 1 dozen french vanilla, and 1 dozen white chocolate) and they were all demolished in one day. You know what’s better than apple cake? Apple cake, sitting outside, with a big ‘ole dollop of vanilla ice cream. (I opt for Nada Moo because I’m dairy free)
We finally broke down and bought a pool! Can I just tell you that if you’re living where summer is near unbearable, this is a life saver. Not only do the kids play in it almost daily, during nap time I take a camp chair out there and put it directly in the pool. I sit up to my shins in water, reading a book, and finally reaching the perfect temperature. A little shade, a little heat, and a little cool water. This is my nap time heaven.
The husband and I went to the OneTribe Gala, People Building Peace. This beautiful non-profit works in areas like South Sudan to empower locals to build peace from grassroots up. We got all dressed up and really enjoyed celebrating the work God has done through this group. Afterwards, it had cooled off just enough that we got to walk around the area and grab an ice tea (passion fruit specifically) before heading home.
I got to hear this excellent band play while some girl-friends and I sat outside enjoying an evening of raucous laughter. I mean we were loud! But what’s better than getting together with the best people, eating some good food, and listening to amazing music? Answer, almost nothing. The only regret I have is that I could not find anyone to dance with me! I’ll be back.
Okay friends, this is not a drill. I hate kombucha, it is too too vinegary. But, my gut is messed up and I need something that is slightly less sweet to drink while I am hanging out outside in this crazy heat. How is a woman supposed to survive 100+ degrees without a cold beverage. So, I was at Central Market to grab a sandwich during my break at work (because there are no cheap places near my work), and decided to give this a try. I got one for then and one for later. It turns out that Strawberry Serenity is my favorite! I so encourage you to go try this. It will not taste like juice so don’t expect that, but it will also not taste like a swig of vinegar. You’re welcome. You’re gut is welcome too.
We frequent the local Korean grocery store and a good friend introduced us to these ice cream bars. Now, I can’t have them because me and dairy have a long standing hatred for each other, but my friends loves them so I bought them for the kids. The kids went NUTS. They’re little hands were covered in sticky green happiness from the melting of this popsicle all over their mouths and hands. My friend also told me they are lower sugar than the normal stuff we buy (turns out, I looked and she’s right). Win!
My beans are growing! We got a good rainstorm and they exploded! Officially all my plants are growing although only about 1/3 of my carrots grew. I’ll have to figure more out about that later. I also have been in contact with a neighbor who is going to let me garden their backyard and I will pay them in produce! Get ready for more plant pictures. Those tools I got are going to have their work cut out for them.
Solo premier! Not only did we got together, we went with another couple and got to ride in their Shelby Mustang. The husband was a very happy man. The sounds that car made, I’m convinced, are the sounds of his heartbeat. We even all went to get tacos from a truck afterward. Boom.
I have baked my brains out. I have made cakes, donuts, cupcakes, scones, biscuits, etc. I don’t know why summer makes me crave sweets, but it so does. Here are just two of my creations. That ruffle cake for the sweetest couple’s baby shower and it was such an honor to make the cake. A sick kiddo prevented me from going, but getting to bless them was still worth every minute spent icing that cake.
The oldest and I officially have a spot we love to go together. We love the iced chamomile tea with just a dash of honey and the pastries available here are the bestest. Plus, they have this amazing relationship with farmers in Rwanda. If you are shopping mostly chains, consider supporting your community and other communities around the world with your dollars. Don’t hear me saying that you can’t shop at Target because I cannot survive without Target, but I can do my best to shop local and to shop small whenever possible. They’re even starting to recognize us and that makes the oldest just insanely happy. So we sip our tea and share our turnover while we chat about life and answer all the questions. All of them.
Ok the picture is crazy grainy, but swim lessons are upon us! We have some kiddos who have water fear and one with not enough, so here we are learning water safety and swimming. There have been happy smiles, but also tears as they navigate the water. I think overall it is creating confidence in my littles. Have you ever heard the theory that children need a little calculated danger in their lives? There’s this idea that if they do something that they perceive as dangerous (riding a rollercoaster, learning to swim in the deep end, learning to cut up vegetables with a real knife, etc), they grow in confidence and courage. They step up to the challenge, meet it head on, and stand up a little straighter. Of course these things have to be done with appropriate supervision, and safety protocols, but a little danger stretches them and helps them gain maturity.
Not pictured in this round up is the VBS we already attended and the numerous play dates we have been on. Summer is a time for friends! We still have one more VBS, beach day, learning to ride a bike, more swim lessons, and so many more fun things coming.
You might think to yourself, “but you haven’t gone camping at all.” Yes, the summer has been much less campy than the spring, but I think you will notice something they both have in common. They are unplugged.
We are intentional to put our phones, screens, and worries aside to focus on each other, to commune with Creation, to do something fun, to learn something new, to create beauty, to foster relationships. We are walking forward and creating intentional spaces where we don’t need Facebook to fill us up, we don’t need Instagram to tell us that our lives have meaning. By all means enjoy those things, but also take time to just “be”. To just enjoy where you are, and what you’re doing.
See You Outside!