As Summer gets into full swing, it’s time once again to share 10 items on my summer bucket list for 2016.
In no particular order, these are some of the activities and happenings I look forward to summer arrives.
- Attend an Iron Pigs baseball game – Summer and baseball is a natural combination. While I’ve already seen 2 MLB games this season, I look forward to another fun time cheering on the pigs.
- Return to Konmari – The spare room is calling out to clear out the “no joy” things that have accumulated.
- Take in some NYC sites – The WI-fam is coming for vacation in August & we are making some NYC tourist plans.
- Refresh my patio – Replace my current chair with an Adirondack chair; get a color pot or 2; spend more time out there reading.
- Read 15 books – While not signed up for any formal summer reading challenges, I have a goal. With an overloaded Kindle and overflowing bookshelves, I want to focus on books I own.
- Can Jam – As produce explodes at the farm stands, I look forward to filling my shelves with some jars of summertime. Even better will be to do some canning with friends!
- Restage the mantel – Since I took down the nativity, my mantel has just been “meh” with a hodge podge of items on it. In the last week, several ideas have been floating around about how pull it all together once again.
- Welcome my Texas girlies to PA – Later this summer, their family is saying farewell to Texas and relocating to about 3 hours away from me. Plans are already being made for first visits.
- Blog Italy – This July will mark 5 years since my sister & I had a fabulous Italian vacation. It’s never too late pull the highlights into several posts.
- Christmas Knit – There were a lot of Amy knits under the tree last Christmas and I have similar goals for this year. It’s time to get a jump start on projects.
Last summer, I managed to accomplish many of the items on my list. I look forward to seeing how this summer unfolds and what adventures will be had.
Linking up with Carole for 10 Things on This Summer’s Bucket List.
What is on your bucket list for these summer months?
On this Tuesday after the Memorial Day holiday weekend…joining in on the Ten on Tuesday Weekending edition to recap a great extended weekend in the ‘Ville with the family – earlier this month, Dad had emergency back surgery and the days and weeks since then have been filled with rehab and recovery. As the month progressed – and Dad progressed – I started formulating a plan for a visit…we decided it would be best for me to just “show up” and not tell Dad I was coming. Last week started with a work trip and when my meetings were done, it was time to detour to Georgia for family time.
- Caught the 5:55 Thursday morning flight from Milwaukee to Atlanta. The early departure time didn’t dampen my excitement to be going home.
- Walked into Dad’s rehab room at lunchtime on Thursday and rendered him speechless with my surprise visit for the weekend.
- Hung out with Dad each afternoon and balanced rest time for him with plenty of activities. While I spent a bit of time with him each morning and evening, the afternoons were “my” time to provide Mom with some respite for her nonstop presence by his side.
- Made yummy meals for us to enjoy as a family sitting together in Dad’s rehab room: Roma Italian Pie (with extra veggies) and Shepherd’s Pie. We have all decided that Dad needs “tastes of home” for each meal instead of the tray from the rehab dining room.
- Sat in salt…on Saturday morning, Rebecca & I tried out the halotherapy/salt room at a local med spa and thoroughly enjoyed it. We see future sessions for us.
- Colored pictures with Dad on a Friday afternoon. I pulled out my “travel” coloring book from my work bag and Dad worked on a coloring book that was under the Christmas tree for him.
- Strolled the halls each afternoon with Dad – our laps through the building provided more opportunity for him to strengthen his legs by powering his wheelchair with his feet.
- Knit on a new shawlette – digging into the stash from 2006 for this version.
- Read several books in my down time – when Dad was resting in the afternoons; while easing into the days after seeing Mom off to the rehab center; while waiting up for Mom to return in the evenings.
- Celebrated “Merry Mom Day” – finally spoiling Mom with gifts for Mother’s Day and her May birthday. The quick way to get everything wrapped was to use our Christmas fabric bags – which provided plenty of giggles for all when I carried in the bag of bags.
- Split a yummy Cheesy Chicken Sausage & Spinach omelette with my sister when we met “Uncle Mike” for breakfast on Monday morning.
Much too soon, the weekend was over and it was time to head to the airport and wing my way back to PA. Thankfully I managed to get through the security line at the ATL airport in under 10 minutes in spite of all the recent security line troubles. As I settled into the backseat of my ride home from the airport, I was so thankful for the ability to be home with the family for these 5 days.
What did you do over the holiday weekend?
As the calendar turns to May and Mother’s Day approaches, Carole prompts us today for 10 Favorite Foods Mom Made. Of course I’ll share in this list! My Mom is a wonderful cook and baker! When she was in college, she spent her summers as a camp cook; when I was in elementary school, she managed to cook for the high school youth group missions trips to San Quintin, Mexico in a small kitchen in an airplane hangar. From an early age, I learned the lovely art of hospitality from my Mom – she loves to share from the heart by way of the kitchen. Growing up, we were often delivering a meal to new moms at church – something that I have done many times since I’ve been on my own. Missionaries, church friends, college kids and more have sat around our table and shared life over simple and delicious meals from Mom. In the age of Martha Stewart and Pinterest and Instagram and trying to portray “the” perfect dish, I’m so thankful that I learned from Mom the true joy is in the making and sharing of the dish – not in the picture and presentation.
Mom’s Strawberry Pie
In no particular order, here are some favorites from her kitchen…and really, this list could go on and on and on…
- Strawberry Pie – I’ve written about this once or twice; a simple and tasty recipe that always brings to mind Grandma’s strawberry patch in the backyard of her home in Southern California…
- Lemon Chicken Florentine – A simple mix of chicken, spinach, onion, lemon juice & tumeric; a great make ahead dish – just as delicious hot or chilled…
- Santa Maria Beans – A simple and delicious staple of Santa Maria BBQ from our time in Lompoc – even better when paired with a Tri-Tip…
- Italian Squash Soup – Another Artisan Mom “recipe.” Brown & drain a pound of Italian sausage. Add in 24 oz tomato sauce, a couple of zucchini & yellow squash diced, some chopped mushrooms, & Italian seasonings (basil, oregano, pepper, garlic, etc) to taste. Bring to a boil & simmer for 20 minutes…
- Simple Sausage & Cheese Biscuits – A favorite for breakfasts and perfect for parties and holiday teas…
- Pot Roast with Potatoes, Carrots, Onions & Mushrooms & Gravy – Always a delicious Sunday dinner to come home to after church…
- Sugar Cookies – A recipe Mom discovered in a book on hospitality, this is a “go to” recipe – delicate and dainty cookies that are a good excuse to use a cookie stamp…
- Cardamon Cookies – A family staple in the Christmas baking – delicious with or without or without frosting…
- Tater Tot Casserole – Keeping the theme of simple…ground beef, onions, green beans, mushroom soup and a layer of tater tots on top…
- Green Enchiladas – A recipe that Mom found in the Air Force news when we were in Wichita more than 40 years ago – turkey, onion and cheese enchiladas with a spinach sour cream sauce. My sister requests this for her birthday dinner. Thanksgiving turkey leftovers often are set aside for a batch of these…
….and this list could go on…Lemon Meringue Pie…and on…Fresh Salsa…and on…Ebelskivers…and on…Applesauce…and on…
Today as I putter in the kitchen, I’m so thankful for all that my Mom taught me (& my sister) through the kitchen…not only the recipes…the kitchen tips and tricks…the fun…but also the art of simplicity…the focus on taste…the joy of hospitality…
What are some of your favorites from your Mom’s kitchen?
I’ve mentioned several times before on the blog how I’ve enjoyed some new coloring books and some coloring moments. During the last 3 weeks, the “anti-stress” quality of spending time coloring has come into full for me – time spent coloring has dialed back some of the crazy from an intense couple of weeks at work.
Long days spent in hyper-mode on one project turn to evenings at home where I am exhausted and yet my mind is so restless that sleep is still hours away.
Books wouldn’t do (gasp!). Simple knitting wouldn’t do (gasp!). Even “just” watching TV wouldn’t do.
So, I reached for my stack of coloring books and my jar of bright sharpies…and within minutes, I would find a zone of calmness and the intensity of the day slipping away from me.
I was glad for the variety of coloring books in my stack. Some evenings, a “big” picture was just too much to contemplate and so the pages from the pocket-sized books fit the bill.
Whether it was 10 minutes or 20 minutes or more. the time spent in these pages has been “just what I needed” to bring calm.
(And as I was finishing up this simple post, Carole sent this week’s 10 on Tuesday: 10 things to do to calm down…so, beyond coloring…here are a few more of the things that I’ve mentioned along the way that provide calm: knitting (simplicity & repetition); a steaming mug of peppermint tea; time on a recumbent bike can pedal away the day (must start doing this again!); lavender hand lotion; Tazo Wild Orange tea to end the day; listening to a favorite classical guitar album; the glow of a candle on the mantel; at work – the crunch of the lavender sachet that I keep next to my keyboard; looking through favorite pictures/moments on my phone)
What brings calm in your days? Are you coloring much these days?
An easy prompt from Carole for this Tuesday: 10 favorite things…right now. And since it’s a rainy Tuesday, the title for this post was inevitable.
- Clementines brighten meals & snacks! Especially on a gray & rainy days like today. And this “Cutie” was even cuter when it split at the kiss.
- Increasing daylight each day – it’s lighter in the morning each day as I am getting ready for work. It’s lighter in the evening when I’m leaving the office.
- Simple knitting – whether my “go to” dishcloths or a favorite Shawlette pattern that is basically half a dishcloth with some simple eyelet lace rows at the end – a lot of knitting is moving across my needles this month.
- Digging out a belt to wear so that current dress pants can continue to be worn without falling into low rider status – the meal planning is working!
- Cute silicone candy molds for some kitchen fun – healthy mint chocolates to include in warm beverages & ginger juice ice cubes for cold drinks.
- Bai Clementine & Bai Bubbles Peru Pineapple – I just picked up these drinks for the first time over the weekend – a bit of summer in a bottle.
- A charming new birch bark mug from Jennie the Potter is a great vessel for warm beverages these days.
- Discovering “Dreamland” on Netlix this weekend – an Australian sitcom that nails the “business speak” that permeates the workdays. In the tradition of Office Space, The Office, Parks & Recreation and more – it causes LOL viewing.
- Mrs. Meyers Sunflower dish soap and hand soap at the kitchen sink with bright new dishcloths – simple things that make kitchen chores “better.”
- Planning spring break adventures with my Texas cuties for my visit in March – it has been way too long!
What are some of your favorite things…right now?