warm days and cool nights * avocado toast with fresh-from-the-garden tomatoes * monarch butterfly sightings * our tiny, but tall, sunflower patch * porch time * a return to routine * meal prepping vegetables for the week * ripening tomatoes on the windowsill * this dough hook * this app (for a secure connection to one I love so far away) * jigsaw puzzles * lemon ice water * kitchen dancing * fall baking (more on that another day) * football season * curtain- billowing breezes * 43 new students * this (clean) hair styling treatment * end of season sales (for back-to-school-shopping) * mums on the stoop * goal setting * evening walks * hot, buttered popcorn * zinnias * Spotify * five o’clock bird play * red tips on maple leaves * friends and fire pits * four day weekends * this granola recipe * Community Share Agriculture * peach juice dripping down my chin * watercolor painting *
recent present participle verbs at home, work, and play
- (weight) lifting
- eating (more intentionally)
- paring (down our possessions)
- (re) connecting
- (jigsaw) puzzling
- playing (cribbage)
- worry beading
And what are you up to?
I’m sitting smack dab in the middle of my comfort zone: summer.
I’m living like I mean it. I’m a shell gatherer. A flower picker. A storm cloud watcher. I’m a bird listener. A porch sitter. Healthier. Happier. Whole.
Around the house, I putter at this and dabble at that. No pressure. Not many have-tos. I make my bed every morning and tumble back into it at night, satisfied. My blood pressure’s down, and my hope’s up. And yes, I have sorrows. But blessings too. So many blessings.
I thrive in summer. All steam heat and sultry days. Plenty of time and lots of the very best things to eat, see, and experience. In essence, I’m living all summer has to offer. Just picked fruits and vegetables. Digging my feet in the sand. Estimating the time I have on the hard sand before the tide rises. Endless and awe-filled gazing at our grand daughter.
All the important stuff.
Ive read this book
and this one
and this guide has helped me create more simple and healthier options into our cleaning caddy.
I’m paging through this new cookbook
and so thrilled to be spending more time experimenting with this one.
Yep. It’s summer. And I’m living like I mean it.
Headed here for the day!
Postcard to follow!
We’re summering our way through the alphabet again this year.
Not letter by letter in order, of course, that would be far too constricting. However, the structure the alphabet provides is some sort of reminder to get out, go out, find out, and do something with the lovely (and fleeting) days of a New England summer.
In no particular order, we’ve summered the alphabet so far with:
S: strawberry picking
T: tennis, both at home and away (our racquets travel with us)
Some letters fill up quickly, and others are a bit of a challenge. Last year’s Y: yard sales will likely be this year’s as well since I’ve got a new classroom come fall and find myself in need of several solid bookshelves. It’s okay. Repeats are fine. I impose no rules or restrictions when summering the alphabet, although I usually only document those people, places, and events we meet, visit, and experience together as a couple.
I’d rather not summer solo.
We add the destinations we reach like some sort of alphabetical post card documenting the places we’ve dreamed about visiting throughout the long winter while waiting for summer to come.
Of course, V is for visiting Vermont in all her fine, full-on summer greenery and the bluest skies I’ve ever seen. We’ve stayed with our favorite Vermont family at I: Inn at Manchester (which incidentally also appears on our fall and winter alphabets,) and for the first time ever, we’re also summering at the Woodstock Inn in Woodstock, Vermont – which of course means W is all set.
The alphabet’s filling up fast this year … it’s not even July, and we’re almost halfway through. Maybe this summer we’ll experience a letter or two more than once.
And won’t that be fun?
Little Miss Maggie arrived in our lives early this January.
I’m pretty okay with the fact that my first grandchild is a dog. And I spoil her accordingly ~ especially when her daddy’s not around!
Here’s the recipe for the healthy homemade dog biscuits I make every week for our girl:
MAGGIE’S PUMPKIN BISCUITS
preheat oven to 300 F
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup non-fat dry milk
- chopped fresh parsley ~ about two tablespoons
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup pumpkin
- 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
Mix together the flour, oats, parsley, dried milk, and salt.
Add the eggs, pumpkin, and peanut butter and mix well. Add water a bit at a time to bring the dough together.
Flour a cutting board and roll out dough to about 1/4″ thick. Cut with cookie cutter or roll into small ball-shaped treats and flatten with your hand before baking. Keep re-rolling the scraps until you’ve used all the dough.
Bake for about 45-60 minutes until crisp and browned.
Today, I baked eight large dog-bone shaped biscuits and 32 tiny heart-shaped treats for my Miss Maggie. I pulled the tiny hearts out @ 45 minutes and the larger treats at about 60 minutes.
Such an easy way to love the girl who’s brought so much love to me.
My husband tells me I leave a trail behind me wherever I go. Bags. Books. Projects. Clothing. The deeper I get in the work week, the longer the trail. Our bedroom gets looking like a locker room, and the kitchen counter’s in piles of disarray.
Life goes on, hence the trail.
Life stacks up too. I could tell you about the laundry pile, the work pile, the bill pile, and the to-be-read pile. I’m sure you have some such versions of your own, so you probably don’t need to hear about mine.
Make no mistake: I’m all about order, but there’s only so many hours in a day (and I probably need to note that I’m none too perky during some of them.) Scheduling life helps. (I wrote about it here.) When push comes to shove, or I’m pulled in one way or pushed in another, order’s a little low on the priority list.
If you think about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, however, I’m pretty knee-deep in self-actualization (achieving one’s full potential, including creativity,) which is a step higher on the pyramid than esteem needs (prestige and feelings of accomplishment.)
So it’s all good. But back to the trail.
Here’s a little trail I’m leaving behind here, so you know what I’ve been up to:
- exploring in northernmost New Hampshire … all the wilderness a girl could want, and then some. We stayed here where you have your choice of accomodations from the lodge to your own lakeside log cabin. The food at both the Rainbow Grille and Tavern is just this side of scrumptious with a shot of tranquility all around.
- shooting photography here, there, and everywhere … according to my husband, I spent 45 minutes taking photographs of frost-covered grass in Pittsburg, but that’s an unsubstantiated claim. Meanwhile … I’m back at studying my favorite creative outlet at our local evening adult education program. (See above link to Hierarchy of Needs and Self-Actualization.) I’m also using this book for reference.
- reading this, this, and this
- writing about childhood memories with my Nana … picture book?
- decorating for fall, and eventually Thanksgiving with pumpkins large and small, orange and white, dried Chinese lanterns, gourds, burgundy-colored eucalyptus .. and of course, candles … Did you know Walmart sells these in a 12-pack?
I hope you’re all well and pursuing your own trails! I’ll be around and about as I have time or something to say.
As surely as April brings thoughts of throwing open the windows to the warmer, fresh air, September starts me layering, feathering, and gathering. Yes, I’m sad to see summer go … but I’m determined to welcome fall and find a bit of time for some fun before the snow flies!
Although it’s not formally fall, it feels like it, and it’s starting to look like it too. Yellow and orange mums sit on the stoop where it seems only days ago were daisies. We kick acorns down the road when we go for a walk and hickory nuts too. We’re gathering the last of our luscious tomatoes and saying so long to our flowers. I’m thinking less about burgers on the grill and more about soups in the crockpot. Suddenly, I’ve a hankering to bake bread!
Just now, apples simmer on the stove on their way to becoming apple sauce. It’s the season of cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. We’ve been to the orchard once already and will probably return today. Later, and by request, I’ll make the first pumpkin recipe of the season: pumpkin whoopie pies. We’ve got neighbors to thank … and those pies are a whole heaping handful of fall gratitude.
Just as we did this summer, we’ll be living out a (fun-seeking) fall alphabet:
A- apple and peach picking (of course!) — B- bonfire in the fire pit out back — C- cider and crisps and cornstalks on the porch — D- E- F- festivals and fairs and foliage — G- H- I- J- K- L- M- mums from the garden center N- O- P- pumpkins on the steps and in the oven! — Q- R- S- T- U- V- W- X- Y- Z-
We fill it in as we go along and somehow, the alphabet inspires us to keep looking for all the fun we know is out there … but we’re sometimes too busy or tired or overwhelmed to think about. It’s a fun kind of fill-in-the-blank we look forward to.
I can’t wait to leaf kick (L) and discover what face emerges on our Jack o’ Lantern (J). It’s time to pack up the beach towels, layer on the sweaters and boots, and feather the bed with our winter quilt (Q).
I’m hoping for a few more walks on the beach and a couple more tosses of the tennis ball, but mostly, I’m headed toward autumn – full steam ahead!
And if you’re looking for an easy fall side or transitional topping for the last of summer’s ice cream, you’ll find my go-to applesauce recipe below:
from my mother-in-law’s Betty Crocker cookbook
- 4 medium cooking apples, each cut into fourths
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Heat apples and water to boiling over medium heat; reduce heat. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally* to break up apples, until tender, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling; boil and sitr 1 minute. Makes about 4 cups.
*I used a potato masher!