Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Just a little housekeeping note for those who might wonder what has happened on this blog today...
I've been posting, post dating a few posts today to publish in a few days. Accidentally my fingers did the walking and the enter button was somehow pressed prematurely.
If you've received these errors in your readers, I apologize in advance for them. :)
Oh keyboard! Oh keyboard! Watch me walk thy ways.... snickering.
Thanks for your understanding and hoping it won't happen again;
This summer I became the delighted recipient of an invitation to an afternoon tea party. Not a regular tea mind you, a very special "Summer's High Tea Luncheon".
The lady who invited me was the very first person who approached me after moving here when I attended a local "Newcomer Club" meeting.
My hostess is such a lovely lady, and I've really enjoyed getting to know her more. And, though I am not always able to get to much else thus far, other than the monthly meetings and such, she has never forgotten about me, always hoping to get me out to get to know a few of the group's ladies better.
This summer, this lovely luncheon hails at the top of my "simple pleasures list", for the memory it impressed upon me, for the beauty it offered, for the respite in the dead center of a busy week, where relaxation toppled the visit and good conversation reigned high.
And it offered a childlike and exquisite simplicity when dining and feasting over a special luncheon with lovely and dear ladies who haven't given up on me, the newbie who plopped herself right into their geographical area.
Every time I can enjoy the ambiance and culinary lovelies to accompany my hot cup of tea, I like to savor the moments, the joy of taking time on purpose to dine and visit with others, just laying low and sitting back while reveling in the moment, plunging into the depths of what lay before me.
Times like these don't present themselves too often, and it then becomes so much more than just a luncheon to me.
Kindred ladies in oh so many ways, yes, that's what they are.... these special new friends of mine.
Only once a year does this hostess select a date and invite a room full of the group's ladies, all warm and friendly, just happy to make time for each other for one wonderful afternoon together. And it was there I was so blessed to be in their midst for this special afternoon with them.
Grateful for simple pleasures, this one was a highlight this summer for me....
Monday, August 30, 2010
Summer is best served with plenty of "daddy time" in our days when he's off for vacation, and when the humidity isn't too thick and he leaps at the chance to get outdoors.
Time with dad is always well spent, even time when dad says,
"I have a job for you today"
...and grumbling is lessened to a mumble. :)
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Summers are for mothers who worry about their children spending too much time in the sun, getting overheated, ensuring there is sunscreen on all their epidermis, do they have a hat, are they drinking water, and a whole myriad of thoughts and concerns.
The girls are at the barn sometimes daily this summer, working the horse trails either on foot, on a horse or simply fetching, tacking and untacking before sponging down the horses.
There is so much to do at a horse farm, volunteers are the backbone of their communities. Plus, there are horse camps to run and children to mind, let alone the new puppy.
It's a pony by size! That of a great dane puppy, only ten months but HUGE! He's so playful and always getting in the way of a horse, the girls are always chasing it away or saving it from harm.
Another new experience.
And one more thing, it's been so cute this summer to watch all the gals get into the spirit of "colorful" at the barn.
Our girls have adopted the colors of light blue and red. Two of the other gals jumped on the bandwagon with bright yellow and neon green, another has purple.
Something so simple has grown into a bit of a tradition over there, so fun!
In the photo above, shown are the "Polos" their horses have been wearing during their lessons and horse training sessions.
As their reward, a fun ride or training lessons at the end of the day are always a boon, girls and their dirty faces and happy toothy smiles are continuously begging for just another hour - please oh mommy please?
And then, they continue to expand their horse loving horizons as I've shared here before, by turning their head and hearts toward horse show competitions.
This week our older daughter entered her first competition and I'll always remember the flurry of excitement in our home the days before, the day of with another overnight, and her super beautiful smile in the ring. She was thrilled to be there, and glowing with delight on her pretty face.
Friday, August 27, 2010
~ Summer is for campfires and flying bats
Campfires and bonfires with cooking saves the kitchen from the chore of dreading making a hot meal at the end of the day.
As we had hoped for many of these such evenings here this year, to be honest it's been hit and miss for the most part.
Either the night air is filled with a cloud of bugs, especially mosquitoes nosediving down to bite my husband to bits (a blood magnet to be sure!), the humidity is sometimes too high or the forest fire needle has been raised a notch to signal concerns with the locals.
There have been a few successful nights, with soccer and bocce abounding nearby, many hotdogs, dozens of marshmallows and chocolate in between those graham wafers (s'mores). Oh, and guitar playing.
It fast becomes a ritual to be able to sit and just be still, enjoying the sounds and sights of the night, and even appreciating those bats flying about over our heads (here bat, bat, bat - come and eat all the mosquitoes please so they don't bug us!).
I forgot to tell you about the bat box I bought this spring, the one from a local carpenter I was going to hang out yonder in the hope it would attract bats to reside on our property and eat all of our bugs.
A local told me its the town secret after he seemed aghast at first;
"What do you mean, YOU don't have a bat house".
Okay, so I caught the enthusiastic possibilities of this natural riddance of more bugs yet.
Passing along the idea to my husband though, wasn't so good. He thought the bats would come and reside here alright, but then he thought they would want to come in for the winter, right into our attic or something, following the weasel and maybe all the mice we've had dining with us at breakfast.
So, he burst my bubble for the time being and the bat house is still sitting on the garage floor against the far wall. Poor lonely bat house.
No bats to fill it to eat the bugs.
They would really enjoy our variety of bugs here, please stay and eat them all? :) ...to be continued...wink,wink.
(P.S. If you've had experience with bats, and bat houses, I'd love to hear from you.All it takes to get started is a few banana and orange peels. No upkeep after the little pushy push.)
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Summer offers us many opportunities to take in festivals and rides at a local fair.
I've seen some very sweet and oh so happy faces this year when we've escorted them to the water's edge for yet another festival and there are rides to scream on!
These two discovered; the octopus, the scrambler, the Gravitron and best of all - the ZIPPER!
Wooohooooooo......once my very favorite ride of all time, that is until someone threw up and it all fell through every cage in the air while zipping about.
But, I never shared that with these two, for only one was brave enough to go on at all, and he may not have braved it if such a tale was offered before hand.
Like a real trooper though, I told him after he got off, still green and laughing silly.
I'm happy the little memory banked story didn't make him hurl all over the ground. ha ha
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Oh yes, summer.... the time of year when the sun is high and the heat is higher.
At the end of a hard day (read; heat/humidity), there are occasional evenings when heading to the beach is a very, very good idea for my hubby to get some real air, and fresh at that.
It's always a pleasure to head there after the dinner hour, just when most folks are heading home after a long day of beach play.
Not us, we are like fish who flow upstream I'm sure these days, though I must admit, having those perfect seats to the sunsets have been blessing us continually as you might have noticed in my last post of sunset photos.
Like the sunset shown above with all sorts of color; purple, blues, pinks, and even yellowy hues.
Just a quick question if you've been reading these past seven posts of "summer's sweet and simple pleasures". Would you like to also join me in saluting the final days of summer before September arrives.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Summer would just not be the same within vast amounts of plain ole water and lots of squeezed lemon juice to create "floaties" in my glass.
There is such a serious thing as encountering dehydration, a very real danger to the body over time.
As I've been continually reading about the importance of water replenishment, our children have developed great habits of drinking more and more of it.
To think that each cup of caffeine negates itself away from the direct benefits of a simple glass of water, seems crazy, but it's oh so true. Tea is the same, anything with caffeine, even some sodas will negate the benefits of water for the body's rehydration.
I've also learned if I want to savor and slowly sip on the flavor of the liquid from coffee beans, or a deep appreciation for enjoying a specialty celebratory coffee, I had better offer myself at least three times more water around it.
And I do...believe me I do.
Oh, and speaking of water.... we have no city water where we live, rather a nice deep well on our property.
New to us in this home, we were instructed to supply a water bottle sample each week for three weeks to the public health department, as suggested, and all results came back just fine, except for the last one. There was no conclusive evidence for either bacteria or ecoli, but just to be same, it was highly recommended we offer another sample for safety reasons.
It was a little nerve wracking, one more thing to get used to having to place on our summer schedule, but well worth it when the latter test came back with flying colors in our favor, all was great!
Summer's sweet and simple pleasures for me is gulping back plenty of water with a refreshing slice of lemon in it.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Summer is for playing in the backyard together...
Loving our property this year when the bugs offer a bit of mercy and the humidity isn't too thick.
Last year we weren't able to utilize the back property much at all due to the landscaping after knocking the trees down, when grass seeding was in progress and no one could romp about over it.
Fast forward to this year when the bocce balls, the croquet set and the badminton rackets are frequent visitors to the back deck surface, and I get giddy just thinking about them!
Playing bocce ball was always a favorite but we never really had a whole lot of room many years ago when we first acquired our set.
Our former home offered playing space, loads of grassy area for throwing and aiming wildly out yonder. And then with the absence of play fields last year while work was in progress, it seems a while new outlook was gifted to us this year as summer approached in our midst.
Families need to recall a time when the simplicity of everyone gathering round for another game didn't require money, just time spent together having fun and making memories.
The whole idea of taking that time is one thing many families have become so dreadfully busy outside of their own homes, they forget the gentle nudge and happy faces who might benefit from remembering to box in a game or two occasionally when the weather is grand and snow isn't requiring a wide brimmed shoveling.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Playgrounds - they're FREE!
Summer is a time when teens and tweens haven't grown "too cool" to continue casting glances out the window or while out and about on foot or bike, noting all of the local playgrounds we might pass, often finding themselves yearning for an unstructured free spirited playtime, even if only for a while.
Some of our children's most satisfying playtimes have been a direct result of taking time on purpose, for a playground social, especially appealing after a great walk or bike ride to them.
True confessions; there was a time when our children knew every playground within a 20 mile radius of our home! True. Well sort of....
Living on a small city lot in a cul de sac, without mature trees to keep us from summer's high temperatures, often we would set out for a picnic at a great park.
Gone are the days families do this, or at least they seemed to be to me a few years back. As a child, my family often took in a day at the park, or beach with park, for no reason at all.
I recall vividly thoughts of my father having his quick power nap in the shade of an old oak tree, or my mother reading a book on the family blanket while keeping an eye on her brood. We were free to play, or swim int he lake, or feed the ducks, or watch that baseball game in session, all while the entire family also play or rest nearby.
I have always had the personal philosophy that picnics should be an event held often in the life of a young child.
To that end, our children would amuse us often calling from the back seats, not usually from little ones mind you, rather the older ones blurting out things like;
"Hey mom, that playground looks great even for older kids. I'm not too tall for some of those things. Can we stop for a while to play?"
Yes, that would be me stopping to appease happy-hearted children who corralled anyone within their midst to make teams and get going with a fabulous game of "grounders" on the playground apparatus, or they might be so bold as to walk right up to another child, introduce themselves and say;
"Want to play?"
One of our daughters used to make "a new friend" within seconds, every time we stopped somewhere, leaving the rest of us marveling at how easily she could converse and simply enjoy the social chatting time with another.
Nine times out of ten, all of our picnic events, or playground/park times were wonderful. There were the odd few where we felt compelled to walk elsewhere, though not too many I can remember myself.
Usually an accompanying toddler or baby siblings would magnate the one taking turns playing with them on the playground with even more "new friends", and I never worried about one of our children being left out or forgotten in such social situations. There was always something going on with either themselves banding together if only they were the only children playing, or with a group of others included.
I'm not sure how many times we played so much longer than anticipated, not wanting to depart at all, leaving me in search for last minute luncheon ideas, just so the children could return and play some more.
Always in summer my vehicle would be equipped with an umbrella for the sun, a tablecloth for a picnic table, folding chairs, baby stroller, water jugs and cups, hats and sunscreen, and assorted other helpful items, those types of things were always staples in my vehicle.
When able, "Subway" restaurant became a favorite, especially when I felt a park yearning come to call, we either had a picnic to go with us from home, or made a quick stop at Subway to appease the hunger pangs while resting under a shady tree or sitting at a park picnic table.
Oh, the photos I have snapped through the years and those I continue to snap still today!
I once thought I should just go ahead and crate a "park scrapbook" , detailing and naming all those we frequented and/or all of those our children knew exactly where they were located from area to area, city to city and town to town.
One either desires a great picnic morning or afternoon near one, around one or a drive toward one upon occasion, returning home refreshed, knowing all of the children will be sleeping well later on.
There are just days when one is a homeschooling family when the temperature hits a hundred degrees and the shade of a huge oak tree warrants a walk or drive for an afternoon outing.
And it's free for all to enjoy, anytime, in an city.
Marital engagement gifts from my husband and myself have been things like a picnic basket filled with goodies, just so the new couple might consider forming traditions for taking time out for such a simple pleasure. A red and white blanket might just be a great addition to these.
Friday, August 20, 2010
Summer and Ice Cream just go together...
Summer heat warrants trips to the store for buckets of ice cream.
Favorites in this family are;
- Vanilla (plain, yep that would be me with cold coffee remnants poured on top)
- mouse tracks
- fresh gelatos, almost any flavor will do
- other assorted bits and flavors are additions like sauces, nuts, coconut and real fruit.
- Always a good thing is chocolate! Chocolate anything.
But when we do have the mouse tracks, our children do this above!
They savor the little peanut butter cups, and munch on them at the end of their spooning activity from the bowl.
I laughed when I saw this son recently, obviously never growing too old for saving the best until last.
Ahhhh, the sweet and simple pleasure of observing another in deep celebration of his bowl filled with little treasures to savor for later.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Florals straight from our garden...
I love flowers everywhere and have chosen to take this summer season to bless our family's living spaces with our own home-grown bouquets of floral designs, those simple pleasures right outside of our doorways in our very own gardens.
Though I have not the varieties available to me like those of our former home grounds, I am benefiting from more this year than last, loving each new bloom and snapping way too many photos of them in growth progression.
There's nothing so fine as heading outdoors in the early morning hours, with wicker basket and snippers in tow in search of pretty varieties of colorful florals to create summer's simple pleasures, those of ever- cheery bouquets.
And, best of all, it develops the happy habit of "using what we have" on hand, freebies to boot.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Every season offers its gifts to us in simple to complex ways.
When thinking of seasonal activities, immediately weather patterns seem to come to mind before all else.
During the season of summer, definitely the hot and humid are first and foremost, and then comes the reprieve of a summer storm, or a dip in the lake, perhaps a nice cold shower and leaving freshly washed hair to dry on its own.
- Simple things prevail
- Simple meals
- Simple activities when the heat is just too high
- Simple pleasures abound, only though for the person noting their possibilities, and sensing their timing to dive in and treasure them for what they are - utterly satisfying at the very least.
As I hear about my American friends beginning their schooling once more, it's just way too early for me to even phantom the whole idea of getting back to the books yet. We've only just begun our summer. Aren't we?
Oh yes we are... I have another 2-3 weeks left on my calendar for schooling purposes, though I have to admit too much time away from number figuring and reading makes a person might silly when having to return and memories fade for number facts.
When one of our younger children in the past would have a few schooling trivia questions or a bit of review thrown at them, I have always gauged when it's time to renew the flashcards when one of them tells me the answer to "what's 7X7?" and comes up with the answer of "14".
Oh, yes, several of our children have thought themselves mighty bold and proud in years gone by, for at least a second until they soon realize, that is definitely NOT the correct answer.
Blushing in a shade of crimson always became a subsequent facial involuntary action, and I'm awaiting the time until I need to throw that one in again, just to check the mental math and quickness of a reply answer.
Away we go then with my thoughts on summer's simple pleasures then.
My aim is to post a daily batch of photos, some of those summer's sweet and ever simple happenchance and special seasonal pleasures many of us don't take the time to reflect on.
I want to be thankful for them, always ~ for the summers in our lives naturally come and go, becoming only a spark of a memory over time.
I plan to weave and thread in stories in the batches of photos when I ponder occasionally over my own little stories of times past, those I cherish and those that still make me smile - often! For they are but a memory to me now....precious simple and sweet summertime memories - for always.
Here are a few of mine in recent days ... a few photos for today that is.
Games, Games and more Games!
When the humidity climbs and the chores are complete, for those days when the weather becomes an *inside activity day* with air so thick one could slice it, games can become a staple in our home.
With the schooling and game area all nicely revamped and organized (that was one of the rooms I shuffled the past while), beloved games are coming off the shelves back to back, resulting in hours of play.
But, a deck of cards can provide entertainment and happen anywhere. And they do.
In the kitchen, the dining room, on a couch, in the van, a deck in a knapsack, they really do travel well within our family.
Playing "hearts", "crazy eights", "speed", and all sorts of card games, those aren't the fun times you know. The fun times are gathering round, laughing and recalling days gone by with logical thinking in the foreground, but conversation in the background.
It's taking in a snack while in full play, not being in any hurry to move elsewhere away from the hub of the action taking place front and center.
It's having dad to play with.
It's having mom take photos of their card hands and not having anyone balk about showing another their hand...ha ha.
It's playing, with 2 or maybe 4 players, rotating and challenging yet one more game before another task calls and finally breaks up the party.
It's taking out old games, board games, and ensuring all is well played, often leaving them out in full view in the hope of another such session possibility in the near future. Oh yes, games in this house are like that.
They come and go, just like the seasons, but when they arrive again, it's always sweet and great.