Friday, May 11, 2018

Hot and harried

Hello! Gosh, it's been a while since I've been here - almost three weeks! I'm not sure I've ever gone so long without blogging. It's been such a relentless whirlwind lately as the school year winds down. Every activity has an end-of-year program or performance or must-do festival, fair or get-together. It's all a bit much, really, and I have to admit that I'm completely exhausted. In addition, a member of our household has recently started having some issues with dairy products, so that's been a learning curve - and let's face it, kind of a hassle - when it comes to cooking and stocking the fridge. I'm happy to accommodate, but it hasn't been simple. Otherwise, when I'm at home, I'm pretty much vegging with a magazine or something lighthearted on TV.

It's quite hot outside now, so we're trying to keep as cool as we can. We've just started using the swamp cooler again. I underwent a rather frustrating repair to my car's air-conditioning system, which began failing last summer and totally died a couple of months ago. I thought I was being Mrs. Responsible by taking it for service in March, to beat the rush as well as the really hot weather. We paid a pretty penny for a new system, which I assumed was the end of the story until last week when the heat really set in and the A/C only blew roasting-hot air. Long story short, the new parts themselves were faulty and needed to be replaced too. Fortunately, the repair people saw their error and did not charge us extra for the second fix. I was thrilled because one more expensive repair on my twelve-year-old car, and I'm really going to need to consider buying a new one instead. I'm actually pretty excited about that because and I've never had a NEW car before and we do plan to buy it new. Even better if I can drive it for a couple of years before the LB is ready for his learner's permit. You can get one at 15 years, 6 months in our state. The countdown is on; he has just under three years left, so I may need to get on this soon.

We've done our spring planting, a couple of weeks ago, actually. I planted geraniums in my barrel on the back patio, as I've done for several years running. They really do well in the barrel, and aside from occasional dead-heading, need very little effort to look great. I got to Lowe's early enough in the season - and early enough on a Friday morning, it turns out, because they were going like hotcakes - to get four different colors of geraniums. They don't photograph as well as I'd like, but I have a fuchsia with reddish marks, a pale lavender-pink, a basic red, and a bright coral. The Bear and LB rigged up a great watering system for different parts of the backyard, including my barrel, so after the first week or so, when I watered daily in addition to the automatic watering, I haven't even needed to water them myself. Awesome. We also planted lettuces, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, watermelon and several herbs. Our grapes are putting on fruit, and our apple tree is absolutely loaded. I think it will be a decent produce year overall, especially if we ever get any rain.

I'm almost finished with my hexagon blanket, though I haven't taken any photos of it lately. I have one more row to add, then it will be plenty big for whatever we want to do with it. I still think I might put it on our bed; it's crazier and more colorful than I've lately wanted for my bedroom, but it's cute and folksy and it makes me really happy, it's just so cheerful. My warm-weather bedding is very plain, just a grayish-green coverlet which could use a little perking up. I haven't done much other crafting lately, but I'm really hoping to get back to cross-stitch when school is finished. Meanwhile, Miss GB is becoming quite the master of friendship bracelets. I wish I'd known her when I was a kid, I could have used some tips back in their heyday!

School will let out the week after next, and we're all ready for the break. It's been kind of a rough year, for various reasons. I'm very much looking forward to a slower pace, though it won't even be all that slow because I've got swimming and diving lessons scheduled (four weeks for each child), weekly "tween" events for both children at the library, summer ballet and continued guitar lessons, and a couple of weekend camping trips too. We'll have plenty to do, and I'm never one to enjoy toooo much downtime anyway. It's all good; I'm looking forward to library and pool trips, hopefully some good summer storms, and a general break from the hectic life of late. I'll be pulling my hair out by the end of June, probably, but for now, it's looking pretty good from here.

I hope you're doing well. I'm sorry to say that I'm quite behind on blog-reading, but I hope to get back in the swing of it soon. Have a good weekend! Here, we'll be continuing the yard management and doing things around the house. I'm thinking about making jam, maybe on Sunday, if the strawberries on sale at the store look good when I shop tomorrow morning. Hope you have happy, peaceful things going on where you are too. Happy Mother's Day!


  1. Love the photos, especially the red ones!

  2. we really do have busy months/seasons in our lives! Sorry for the dairy-allergy; that is hard! I hope you can squeeze in some down / quiet time this summer! April-May really is a busy time!

  3. It's good to see a new update from you! I'm sorry to hear that a family member has a dairy allergy. I know how challenging it can be when someone has an allergy, as my daughter is allergic to nuts. I know what you mean about being tired and just ready for the school year to come to a close. May is always so busy for us. My daughter's last day of school is June 1st and we are so looking forward to a slower pace and some lazy, summer days and maybe a few days away at the beach. Your flowers look beautiful! I hope you get a chance to make jam on Sunday. Enjoy your weekend and have a wonderful Mother's Day!

  4. Hi Jennifer! Your patio looks gorgeous! It IS exhausting when school winds up for the year. You'll love the lazy hazy days of summer. I hope you get some good rest.

  5. Your flowers are beautiful! It looks like summer there. :)
    I can't believe LB is getting so old, driving is right around the corner!

  6. Such beautiful photos!
    I remember first as a teacher and then as a parent just how hectic May could be!
    Now, we homeschool, but it still seems to pass in a blur.
    Have a blessed and Happy Mother's Day. : )

  7. Lovely to see a post from you Jennifer. I know exactly what you mean about the craziness of those last few weeks before the summer holidays, it's madness. My middle boy eats very little dairy, in particular no cheese, so I understand the adjustment. Your garden is looking lovely, that iris is amazing, as is your rose bush. Pool and library plans for the summer sound blissful. We've got a long time to wait here, well over two months to go still. I hope all is well with you and yours, have a lovely weekend. CJ xx

  8. I remember those last few weeks of term when my kids were young, it was madness and I was always glad to get to the holidays, though it sounds as though you're still going to be busy with everything you've got going on. I've planted up some geraniums too, I've got them in my hanging baskets this year as well as the ones I always have in tall planters at each side of my back door. The scarlet varieties always look stunning. Wishing you a very happy Mother's Day.

  9. It is good to hear from you Jennifer. I am sorry all has been a bit much. I find the end of year madness gets better as the children grow older - they do fewer activities and some may not do end of year shows etc. Hopefully, this will happen as yours grow older, too.

    It is difficult to adjust to special diets. There is lactose intolerance in my family and generally, I find that the lactose intolerant family members naturally stay away from dairy. There are lactose free alternatives, which is useful for cooking, cream etc. My mum and sister in law both take enzyme tablets (on prescription) that help them break down lactose for those occasions when it is more difficult to avoid dairy. I hope you find a way to deal with the new special needs in your family's diet. It'll get easier :-)

    Your garden is looking lovely, colourful and cheerful. How nice to be able to spend time outside! I bet the geraniums smell beautifully in the evening. Enjoy those early summer days before it gets too hot to stay outside for long.

    Wishing you a lovely weekend and some extra energy to deal with the stresses of the next two weeks. xx

  10. Glad you're back and except for the lactose problem that all is well with you. Sounds like a good summer, busy, but not too busy.

  11. Jennifer, I’m tired just reading your blog today! You have definitely been a busy, busy lady. So much wonderful news in your blog. I enjoyed reading all about the children, although I’m sorry to hear someone is having dairy issues. I well know what that is like. Miss Piper is very allergic to all dairy and our other two grandchildren have celiac‘s disease, so it’s always a challenge to cook when we’re all together.
    Oh, it would be wonderful tfor you to have a new car wouldn’t it? I really did not want a new one as I loved my old Honda CRV so much. But Hubby wanted to buy me a new one and I gave in, I am finding that I really like all of the new conveniences on this new CRV even better. I’m looking forward to seeing pictures of your He you blanket and I hope you have time to enjoy the last few weeks of school.
    Many blessings my friend, Betsy

  12. Good to hear from you, busy lady! Lactose intolerance is quite common. Phil had it, so I was used to dealing with that. My mom and aunt both are lactose intolerant, too.

    I hear you about old cars and repair bills. Can you believe my car is 17 years old?! It's a Honda Accord but it only has 157,000 miles on it, which isn't bad at all for a 17-year old car. It still runs and looks like a dream, but this past year it has cost about $1500 in repairs. However, those repairs were all just maintenance stuff - which will happen with any car. My husband's car is 10 years old (a Toyota Corolla) but has well over 200K miles on it (I think about 220K) since he drives 28 miles each way to work. Sooo...we know we're both on our last legs with these cars, which freaks me out because I keep thinking we're both going to need a new car at the same time. Of course, we'll only be able to afford one new car and the other will just have to be a used one. I'm all good with that - new cars don't mean anything to me. And the only new car we've ever had is the Corolla that Brian's driving now. It was actually less expensive to buy that at the time than a used one that was only a few thousand less but a higher interest rate. And since he puts over 25,000 miles a year on a car and I'm lucky if I put on 10,000 miles a year - he gets the new one. ;-)

  13. 15 years and six months for a learner's driving license, goodness! I can't bear to think about Bella learning to drive. I hope your car doesn't cost you too much more. It sounds like you're in the midst of end of term summer craziness. Not long now! Xx

  14. I remember those days well with our three daughters and now they have families of their own. Time just flew by so enjoy every minute. Your garden is looking beautiful, so bright and cheerful. I have just potted up some geranium in the hope of adding a little colour to our rather drab garden. Have a great day, hope you will be spoilt.


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