Sunday, June 4, 2017

Summer, this week

This was our first week of summer break, 2017.

We went to the library to watch Inside Out, which I loved! My children enjoyed it too. What a cute movie, with some really important educational moments. I always take advantage of movie showings at the library, especially in the summer. A couple of hours in relatively quiet, air-conditioned darkness, for free? Sign me up!

I finished two books this week. I read The Fall of Lisa Bellow by Susan Perabo, a novel that I wasn't sure about when I added it to my summer holds list (it came in very quickly for me), but I actually loved it. The story is from the perspective of a thirteen-year-old girl who was "the one left behind" when she and another girl were innocent victims in the holdup of a sandwich shop; the holdup ends with the other girl being kidnapped. The author leaves a lot to the reader's imagination, and there are a few disturbing parts, but it's a good story.

The other book I finished was less satisfying: Framed: Why Michael Skakel Spent Over a Decade in Prison for a Murder He Didn't Commit by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Do you know about this case? Michael Skakel is a cousin of RFK's children, through their mother, Ethel. In 1975, a teenage neighbor of Michael's named Martha Moxley was murdered in their wealthy Connecticut neighborhood. The murder went unsolved for decades, before they tried and convicted Michael, who was 15 at the time of Martha's murder. I've been following this case for years, since I first saw a segment about it on Unsolved Mysteries in the 1990's, and had read all the books on it. RFK Jr.'s book is new, and explores some other theories. It was an interesting read, well-written and perhaps unintentionally kind of funny in places, but I still don't know what to think. I'd say I'm about 50-50 on his guilt.

We made our first ice cream of the season. I think I'll share more in a few days, but it was a very luscious and rich vanilla recipe that was so incredibly good. OMG.

There were several rainy days during the week, which was so pleasant. June can be a relentlessly scorching month here, dry and very hot, with few storms to speak of. But we had three or four days with rain at some point! It was very welcome. The forecast looks to be reverting to Normal June Conditions for the next week or more, so I'll just have to reflect on the cool, grayish days we enjoyed. Only a few more weeks until monsoon season!

Garden report: our tomatoes are budding now, and our herbs are ready to eat. The sunflowers are about six inches tall. The nicotiana is blooming. There are tiny green grapes. The hibiscus stalks about about a foot tall. The roses are on their second bloom. The geraniums in the patio barrel are thriving!

I had another Kir Royale. What a lovely drink, fizzy and ladylike. I think this is going to be my new summer tipple.

The dryer has been repaired, by Mr. Bear. The new heating element took about five seconds to install, and I was right back in business with the laundry the same night of the installation. It would have been just fine with me if the shipping and installation had taken slightly longer.

Swimming lessons begin this week, along with summer ballet. We've never done summer ballet before, always thinking it would be nice to have a break, but Miss GB is becoming a serious dancer (she'll start her sixth year of ballet in August) and it will be good to keep up her skills over summer.  We have guitar lessons for the LB earlier on the same afternoon each week, so we'll just go right from one to the other. My talented, determined children!

The swamp cooler is back on, as of yesterday. We held out as long as we could. Now we have our old friend blowing cool, damp air through the house again. You know it's summer when you've fired up the old swamper.

I hope you have a good week! We'll be summering it up over here. Tomorrow, I'll be back under my shady pine tree on the hill next to the pool - year seven, I think!


  1. I love it when you start on your summer holidays, it reminds me that it won't be too long until we have ours. Seven weeks in fact, but no doubt it will fly by. It's nice for the children to keep a couple of activities up over the summer I think. My youngest always wants to carry on with his guitar lessons. Hope you have a lovely week. CJ xx

  2. Miss Bear and Master Bear look like they're enjoying the ice cream! :oD

  3. Great thoughts and photos. Warm greetings.

  4. It sounds like a very satisfactory first week of summer Jennifer. We had a very cool, rainy day today here. Only 50°! A warm up to s expected this week and I'm heading back to the lake tomorrow after physical therapy. I'm looking forward to experiencing a summertime of fun with you and your children this summer. It reminds me of the days when my children are home. Have a lovely week my friend. Blessings, Betsy

  5. Sounds wonderful, you certainly appear to be enjoying the break. I have never tried to make ice-cream before so looking forward to hearing more.

  6. The library movie sounds perfect!
    Aw, a ballerina. Have you read Ballet Shoes? You can listen to it.
    Your garden looks lovely. Ice cream! I bet you'll have a nice ice creamy summer, Jennifer!

  7. Sounds like a lovely week. I really enjoy a Kir Royale, my other summer favourite is a big jug of Pimms and lemonade, with cut up oranges, strawberries and cucumber floating on top. I regard it as very elegant, though perhaps that is just my personal,outlook, I'm not sure. It is perfect for drinking on a sunny summer evening if you have friends round X

  8. I used to love how busy it is with two children and how time passes so quickly. When mine started to do their own thing and needed less of me I was often at a loss as to what to do with all that new time. There's always reading, Crochet and making big fruit salads though! Some things never change. My son would be very happy if I tried making ice cream!

  9. Hi to chickens and children, and to the tempting Cassis! Your Summer has really arrived, it seems, what with swimming and the swamp cooler. And right on cue, our Winter is making a determined effort this very week. Carry on Summering :)

  10. Sounds like a great start to a promising summer! Do you make your ice cream in an ice cream maker? I recently bought the Cuisinart one. My plan was to make "healthy" ice cream using the recipes from I belong to their FB group and everyone was saying how much they loved the ice cream. It's basically coconut milk, maple syrup as the sweetener, and then whatever flavors you want...cocoa powder for chocolate, strawberries, vanilla extract, etc. It was terrible! More icy than creamy and tasted more like coconut than anything else. Not sweet enough either. As you know, I've basically given up sugar, but there's just sometimes where I want some good ice cream. I'd love to have your recipe for your vanilla ice cream if you make it in an ice cream maker!

  11. So many lovely pictures..
    We are having far to many wet days and am in dire need of some sunny ones. This has been my first year planting anything and am afraid everything with drown in the rain.. I have been tarping it.. now just praying for some sun.
    That ice cream sounds yum. I have been making Popsicle for the boys.. but yet again.. the weather just hasn't been warm enough to enjoy them :(
    yay for a working dryer!

  12. What a lovely first week of holidays! I enjoy reading about your summers very much. Our holiday is due to start in three weeks, exiting but also stressful (childcare still not arranged). I haven't made ice cream for a long time, now that you mention it, I fancy some. Maybe an orange sorbet.... My daughter only just stopped ballet, she was doing it for about 9 years. It is excellent exercise, disciplined and graceful at once. I hope Girl Bear enjoys her summer ballet. x

  13. Ice cream is on my list of things to make this summer. Your two look like they find your vanilla ice cream very tasty!

  14. Hi Jennifer, you have some good plans for the holidays best of which is to drink Royales! Heidi got too involved with 'inside out' and was an emotional wreck when we came out lots of things to discuss. Jo x

  15. It sounds like the destressing after the busy last few weeks of term is going well. I don't know about the Michael Skakel case but it sounds interesting, I love watching these type of documentaries on tv.

  16. it all sounds so perfect....
    we're heading into the colder days of winter. so while you are shedding the layers we are piling them on.
    loved your moments shared with us. thank you x

  17. It sounds so lovely. I'm glad you had a little rain, some respite from the heat. It could do with warming up a little here, it's been cool and windy. Your summer posts make me want our holidays to hurry up and arrive . X

  18. Your sitting under the tree at the pool during swim lessons reminds me of my dear mom faithfully sitting under the pavilion while I took swimming lessons, many summers from Beginners through Red Cross Sr. Lifesaving levels! xx


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