Sunday, July 9, 2017

Summer, this week

In our sixth week of summer break, we saw the first hibiscus of the season, followed by many more! They were right on time, blooming as usual in the first week of July.

But the eggs were the biggest news. This week Ginger, our Buff Orpington hen, laid three small eggs. She is the first of the young hens to lay and we're very proud of her.

This is one of her eggs compared to a store-bought egg. Just tiny so far.

For a Fourth of July treat, I made one of my favorite festive recipes, a strawberry Poke Cake. You know me and my kitschy, old-fashioned desserts. I arranged blueberries on top in my best attempt at a star shape. It was hard! Some people thought my star looked like Patrick from Spongebob Squarepants. They liked the cake anyway.

Look at those lovely strawberry streaks! This is such a fun recipe. I make other variations sometimes too. My favorite is what I call Creamsicle cake - I use orange Jello! YUM.

On Saturday, we woke up to a cloudy sky for the first time in weeks. It was so pleasant to water and prune my backyard plants in the cool air. The sun was just peaking through the clouds when I finished. These July days bring much more interesting weather. Rain is predicted every day in the coming week.

My barrel of geraniums is just blowing me away right now. I'm so excited about them. I can see them through the sliding glass doors in the breakfast nook and they remind me that I really can grow flowering plants if I put my mind to it. I've finally got the hang of this.

I bought myself a few craft supplies. I've been on a supply diet, including yarn, for the past few months. I want to use what I have before I lay in much more of anything. But my cross-stitched butterfly inspired me to get back to stitching again, and I want to make a large design for my gallery wall. I bought a nice hoop and I treated myself to a set of good embroidery needles. I'm going to stitch this gorgeous floral heart design from Galaborn Patterns on Etsy. I've been saving the pattern for almost a year. I'm so excited to get started.

I'm still working on my lunches. My favorite lunch this week was a salad (some of the lettuce was from our own garden!) with tuna, cannellini beans, tomato and a few kalamata olives. I used bottled vinaigrette dressing. My salad was delicious and very filling, a grown-up's lunch.

School won't start for another month, but I bought new lunchboxes for the small Bears this week. They'd used the old ones since preschool and it was time to replace them. These are the ones they chose - plain blue for the now-big boy and colorful crayons for the still-little girl. You can see their personalities reflected in their lunchboxes.

I made five Maybelle squares this week. I wanted to make more, but I was engrossed in a book instead. Do you enjoy Anne Tyler's books? I find them to be hit-or-miss; some are amazing and some I just can't get into. I found an older one, The Amateur Marriage, at the library and it was just fantastic. I literally couldn't put it down - I was reading while I cooked, book in one hand, wooden spoon in the other. It was so insightful, and the characters were so intensely real. I was completely enthralled. For me, it was one of those books that comes along maybe every couple of years, and always leave me hoping I'll love a book that much again someday.


I hope you have a good week ahead, my friends! Thanks for your lovely comments lately. I'm glad you enjoy reading these posts about our summer days. I have to say that writing these posts has really helped me feel more at ease in the long summer break, both last year and this. It's helping me savor the time as well. Thank you for being supportive and kind. Thank you for continuing to read along with our adventures, I'm glad you're here.


  1. Those little eggs are so cute, I remember them from when our hens laid them. I missed your butterfly post but the final decoration is stunning and looks great on the wall. I am on a stash diet too and it has been going well - it makes buying/choosing something really exciting just like your new project. Jo x

  2. Another good week, Jennifer. I have to say, I *love* GB's new lunchbox. How fab are those crayons?

  3. it is really nice to document the wonderful the things that are beautiful and be thankful for all the good things in our lives! I love that barrel of beautiful flowers!!!! Can't wait to see your new cross stitch too!! a (HUG)

  4. Hey Jennifer,
    I loved that particular Anne Tyler too!
    I'm really enjoying your weekly summer posts. I'm hopeful to be back blogging soon, and I think I shall do a similar series to get me into the swing of it all. I love your daughter's face with the egg! She's looking so grown up!
    Leanne xx

  5. Nice egg, and delicious cake, you've given me an idea of what to do with my glut of blueberries. I've got an Anne Tyler (A Spool of Blue Thread) in my reading pile at the moment, I'll let you know what I think. The new cross stitch is lovely, I think you'll enjoy making it. I hope you have another good week Jennifer. CJ xx

  6. Lots of lovely things. I'm supposed to be reading Anne Tyler's - A Spool of Blue Thread for the book club. I'm re-reading some Debbie Macomber books instead. Enjoy the rest of the school hols, they do seem longer than the UK schools.
    Cathy x

  7. Hibiscus are so pretty, we've been having trouble with someone/thing eating ours. Your salad looks perfect for a summer meal.

  8. I am going on another yarn diet. I added up my stash yardage and am slightly appalled at myself. Just slightly. Your summer sounds wonderful. Good news about the egg.

  9. I'm not ready to think about school starting! It always comes so fast. I love your geraniums. That's such a pretty picture. Hooray for eggs!

  10. Aw, well done little Ginger hen, what a cute little egg. It seems a pity she has to grow up and make big ones. Your white with a touch of pink hibiscus is really pretty, and one I don't see here in Australia. How lovely to have a tree of them. Fourth of July cake looks great, a clever way with red, white and blue.

  11. How wonderful the little hen is laying such an amazing achievement. Loved your cake, the blueberry star was such a clever idea. I finally managed to read a little over the weekend, I had to give in and rest up a little. Sounds like you are having a wonderful summer.

  12. It must be a very proud moment when your hens start laying. Your cake looks delicious and you'll now be able to use Ginger's eggs in your baking. I love finding a book that I can't put down, I haven't read anything by Anne Tyler before.

  13. Lots of lovely things here Jennifer! I always get inspired by your food pictures! I love Anne Tyler's books...she is one of my most favourite writers and one of the few I re read after a few years and enjoy all over again. And your pretty Maybelle have reminded me I have a collection of Maybelle flowers somewhere I meant to turn into squares and never did! Have a lovely week enjoying these sweet summer days.
    Helen xox

  14. I didn't know what a poke cake was so followed your link, yum, I don't think any of my family will have heard of it before, so I shall surprise them with one. Clever little Ginger, her eggs may be smaller, but I'm sure they taste better. We still have this week and next until the school holidays start here xx

  15. I'm living vicariously through your family's chicken experience. We live in the city for the time being, so chickens are not an option. How exciting that the younger ones are staring to lay!

    I also was inspired by your previous Martha and Me project and treated myself to a copy of her magazine after a frustrating Target trip the other day. Lots of healthy salad and vegetable based recipes; I recommend the issue!

  16. Now you have me wanting to find a copy of "The Amateur Marriage!" It is exciting to me to see your stitching projects progress, and your gardening success, as well as admire Ginger's egg. I finished the Ruby Shawl at midnight last night. WooHoo! A celebratory post is being prepared :)

  17. That cake looks delicious Jennifer. And eggs! How exciting! I so enjoy your weekly posts. And you know what? Someday your little bears will enjoy going back and reading of their younger days. I hope you're having a lovely week.
    Blessings, Betsy

  18. Going to try you butterfly, so pretty. I have order the book too, just about to finish mine so good timing, thank you :D Love Sue in Sunny Suffolk

  19. I just discovered poke cakes earlier this year.. and love them. I have only made one so far and have been eye a coconut one that looks so good..
    Yay eggs!
    That pattern you have picked out looks lovely.. look forward to seeing your version.

  20. That salad looks so delicious! I'll have to look for a similar recipe.
    I can imagine how hard that star was to do, but it was worth the effort.
    So glad to see you back to stitching! Your butterfly is gorgeous. I agree that the white outline really made the difference!


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