Saturday, June 11, 2016

Summer, this week














This was our second week of summer break.

We started swimming lessons this week at the nearby city pool. Technically, we could walk, or bike, there, but we have to use two very busy roads and I don't have the patience to do that alone with two children. This is our sixth year of lessons up there and it's the same each year: I sit under a big, shady pine tree for thirty-five minutes and read a book, or chat a little with other moms, but mostly I read.

The book I read this week at the pool was In a Dark, Dark Wood, by Ruth Ware. I finished it yesterday. It was a suspense novel in the vein of Gone Girl, or The Girl on the Train. It was good, but I figured out most of the mystery fairly early and then I had that problem where you keep reading and hoping you're wrong about the mystery. Does that happen to you?

This week also saw the start of weekly summer reading program events at the library. We actually went twice, both Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons. Tuesday was a special program for "tweens" (the LB was enrolled officially; they kindly allowed the GB to play along too) on the topic of balance in creating mobile sculptures. The children made their own mobiles using all sorts of junk. Wednesday's program was the general all-ages event, a really good storyteller this week. I'm participating in the reading challenge for adults this summer. I could win some really good prizes just for the reading I'd do anyway, so wish me luck.

It's really hot out now. I feel like an old dishrag by the end of every day. I hate to be hot - really, really hate it. I don't like the sticky, greasy feeling I always seem to have in the summer. I'm making the best of it, but I'm so much more a cool-weather person than a hot-weather one.

We've been eating endless quantities of blueberries - by the handful, in our cereal, with yogurt, and this week, in muffins. I made my old standby recipe from the Betty Crocker book, with optional streusel topping, and they were wonderful. I should make muffins more often.

Cooking is less appealing in general, however. This always happens to me in the summer. I think that if I could just eat things like fruit and ice cream all day, every day, I'd be very happy. I have to provide more than that, unfortunately. I get more inventive in the summer, at least, just trying to keep it going. I made turkey chili this week with canned Ranch Style Beans instead of the usual kidney or black beans. I thought it came out really well. I love Ranch Beans.

I did some sewing this week, finishing up some things for a special doll friend. I'll share more about that soon.

My cross-stitch pirate ship is coming along quickly now. I finished all the sails and flags this week and have just started the boat part today. Now I have the boat and the waves underneath to do. I have a couple of other stitchery projects I'd like to work on this summer. It's going to be a stitchy summer.

There has been no crochet at all. I'm not happy about it, but I think a break is the right choice. I still don't know what I want to do for my bed afghan, but I have been considering starting a simple blanket just for something mindless to work on, especially at night. I have many blankets already, so this seems kind of ridiculous, but I think I'd put it to good use. I could use up stash yarn too...and buy new yarn.

We have a new orb-weaver spider on the back porch. We had one last summer too, and it was so interesting to watch her grow and maintain her web over the course of the summer. I don't like spiders much, usually, but I think orb-weavers are beautiful and interesting, so she can stay.

The Bear and I finished "The Seventies" history series on Netflix and also watched "The Poisoner's Handbook." It was fascinating! I put a hold on the book it's based on at the library. It's popular.

We had a surprise kid-free lunch out yesterday. The small Bears went to their grandparents' house to have lunch and play, so we took ourselves out for sandwiches and cake.

At home, we're working on crafts, computer skills, math and reading. We're trying to keep our plants and veggies alive in the heat, and we're enjoying bread baked by the Bear, from recipes in his Tartine Bread cookbook. Tonight, we're making pizza with one of their recipes for the dough, and fresh mozzarella and basil on top. I'm going to have a cold bottle of Strongbow in a few minutes, and I'm already very excited for dessert - mint-chip ice cream.

36 comments:

  1. It looks like a good week!
    I've read books and had that happen to me too, and I really don't like it!
    Your muffins look so good!

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  2. I so hear you about summer! It's so tiring, the heat!! Just got hotter here, we had a nice break for a few days.... I love that you also use the Betty Crocker cookbook. :) I have a newer one and a vintage one and they are both great! Wow about the bread making that Bear is doing, that's really impressive. I have the book on bread but have not tried it yet. So much going on, just not what is happening right now. Library reading and programs are so wonderful! Hope you win something! :)

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  3. Lots of pretty summery goodness Jennifer, against the background of your attractive mountains. The cross stitch is beautiful, and matches the mosaic at the library :)
    Have another great summer week with the kids!

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  4. Sounds like you are making the most of those long summery days, you certainly have a lot going on. You are making great progress with the cross stitch, stunning work. I love the look of those muffins. Take care.

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  5. I do sympathise about the heat. Lovely for a short while but totally draining when it's continual. Those swimming sessions look good. Nice to be able to read by the pool while they swim. Love the sound of the muffins and pizza. B x

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  6. What luxury to have an outdoor pool within walking or cycling distance, albeit via busy roads. If only more people walked or cycled ... For six years I lived nearby a wonderful open air pool and I used to love evening swimming there. It has been too hot to bake here and as its salad city and strawberry time at the allotment the living is very easy. Our weather in the south east has been quite tropical lately - hot and humid with regular torrential downpours (we are experiencing one right now so even though it is a Sunday I may take myself shopping soon to try and buy a new dress for my son's graduation.) I especially like the effect it is having on my garden and allotment with everything romping away. Keep cool Jennifer. May I recommend a jug of iced water flavoured with fresh herbs and a slice of citrus - my current favourite is lime and basil.

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    1. Thanks, Sarah. That is a great tip about the water, it sounds delicious. I have basil and limes at the moment too! I know what I'm drinking tomorrow. :)

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    2. I can also recommend a slice or two of cucumber, with a slice of lemon. It is very refreshing.

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  7. I always enjoy your posts! Wish I could win prizes for reading. I'm already tired of the hot and summer isn't even technically here.

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  8. Relentless heat can be exhausting, can't it? Lots of summery things to love though. Where we are in the UK we have to make the most of it when it comes, could be cold and rainy tomorrow! Actually, it's rainy here now, so no gardening or outdoor stuff today. xx

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  9. Good Morning Jennifer! It's good to catch up with you and read about all of your happy family activities for the summer. I'm right with you on heat, although it was only 53 yesterday! Cold compared to the upper 90's earlier in the week. Your cross stitch is coming along quickly and you can never have too many blankets. :-). Enjoy your Sunday.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  10. You've got so much going on during the summer holidays, it will keep you busy. The reading challenge sounds like fun, both for you and the children, and it sounds like there's lots of fun happening at home too. Those muffins look delicious.

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  11. Hi Jennifer! I am so with you about hot weather, but the funny thing is that while camping I really enjoyed it this past week. I posted a photo of a Thistle for you in my last post :) I am usually terrible at figuring out "who done its" and the book I read on my trip was no exception. "In the Company of Others" by Jan Karon was set in modern times in Ireland, but referred back to folks living in the 1800's and I enjoyed reading it and I did not figure out who done it before the author told me. I love how your ship is shaping up...and your summer routine thus far, too! xx

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  12. It sounds like you are fully into the summer thing.. we have a regular kid camp going on here. Some noisy hide and seek just happened.. a shriek here and there. Your muffins look delish. I just had a bran muffin for breakfast and it was like eating tree bark. I'm reading "The Secret Keeper" by Kate Morton and it's pretty good. Just finished "Saving CeeCee Honeycutt" by Beth Hoffman, also very good. Have a great summer! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  13. You have Strongbow in America! I had no idea. I know exactly what you mean about the heat, I find my energy levels really drop when it gets hot. Although it's rarely that hot here. I wouldn't mind it if I didn't have anything much to do, but whizzing around trying to get things done when it's hot is extra hard work. The outdoor pool looks lovely. I like to go for a swim outside when it's hot here, but it does have to be hot for me to enjoy getting into cold water. I love the idea of an adult's reading challenge. The library is somewhere I love to go, especially in the school holidays. It sounds like a good week, despite the heat. I hope the next one is too. CJ xx

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    1. Thanks, CJ. Strongbow is my favorite! I wish all cider were that good. :)

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  14. It sounds like a perfect week two of summer vacation. So much to do but still time to just create and be with the little bears. We just started our vacation in the middle of last week. Little Buddy starts swim lessons at our house tomorrow, I will be at work so I hope they go well.
    Hugs and have a wonderful summer,
    Meredith

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  15. Looks like another good week, Jennifer. Good luck with your reading "competition"! :o)

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  16. I love reading your blog and seeing the pictures of Alberquerque as my husbands family live there! I too have crocheted many blankets and don't need another one, but am working on this gorgeous blanket
    http://sandra-cherryheart.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/faded-painted-roses.html
    I just couldn't resist and I find blanket making so soothing. Hope you find some respite from the heat. xx

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    1. Hi there, thanks! I'm really tempted to start another blanket...I've been denying myself yarny pleasure for too long! :)

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  17. Oh I love the fabrics you in your quilts and I also prefer colder months Autumn is pefefect x

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  18. I think we should all just eat ice cream and fruit during these hot summer months!

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  19. I was just about to get the Ruth Ware mystery ! They are going to make a film from it .
    I often figure out the mystery and I hate it when I am right lol

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    1. Thanks! It was a pretty good book, overall. I think it could make a really interesting movie. I hope you enjoy reading it!

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  20. I love the summer reading programs at the public library. I was probably more excited than my kids about tracking our books. I do love reading and making lists. The turkey chili looks yummy. I have been trying to come up with non oven recipes for our summer menu. I'm not such a cook and I fear grilled hot dogs will soon be banished from the dinner time list.

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    1. Thanks, Lisa. I know exactly what you mean...at my house, it's things like spaghetti, grilled chicken breasts, and yes, hot dogs. They're so easy, but after awhile, people revolt when you don't get a little more creative now and then. :)

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  21. Food on really hot days is a difficult one isn't it, you just don't feel like cooking or eating. I always turn to salads made from anything and everything :). Your summer is shaping up to a busy and creative one, so many lovely things going on around you out and about and at home.

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  22. I love the sound of your summer. I remember my childhood summers were similar. We practically lived at the outdoor pool on hot days. I love love love the heat, could spend all day in the sun if only it was safe to do so. You'd love to live in Scotland, it is cool here (we are back to normal after a three week hot spell). Maybe one summer we can do a house swap, us holidaying at yours, you at ours. Have a lovely week. I just finished reading 'The sudden appearance of Hope' by Claire North and I imagine it would make a nice poolside read. xx

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  23. Your town has a gorgeous library. When we would visit my aunt in Michigan when the boys were little, I took them to the library summer activities. So interesting and wonderful since they were free. It's hot as heck here so I don't get out much and still trying to get over all my little niggly health problems that are quite irritating at this point. Take care and have a great week.

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  24. The Tartine bread book is one of my husband's favourites, too! He's very keen to visit the bakery when we go to SF in the summer. Gosh, that pool looks inviting. I don't like it too hot either; I'm more of a spring and autumn girl. Hope this week is as good as last week and you manage to keep cool. I remember eating crushed ice by the handful one summer... Sam x
    PS Your pirate ship is looking great.

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  25. What a great start to the summer! I love the rainbow at the pool and those muffins look delicious!!

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  26. What a great start to the summer! I love the rainbow at the pool and those muffins look delicious!!

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  27. the cross stitch pattern turned out really pretty.
    i'm not a summer person either.. i love the spring and fall..

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  28. Pretty quilt! Gardening in the extreme heat is hard! Good luck with the reading.

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  29. That first photo is just lovely. I can really imagine sitting under that tree. And I love the mosaic at your public library which is a lot prettier than ours! It sounds like you're settling down into a good routine. Thank you for sharing your daily life with us, I for one am loving these posts. x

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  30. Loving these 'summer' posts Jennifer, they suit your writing style very well. I love the vibrant colours in your cross stitch, and the dark blue backround colour is perfect. X

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