I’m joining in on the fun at Cheeky Visionaries. Join us for 13 on Thursday! Make your own list of 13. “13 what?” you ask. Whatever you want, just keep it family friendly.
Without further ado, here is my entry for this week.
Here are 13 things I think are special about summer here in Texas.
1. Those minor breaks in the heat
It’s amazing how much we appreciate a storm that lowers the temperatures by even ten or fifteen degrees. But after days of heat indexes over 100, you can imagine our delight when an unexpected storm dropped the temperatures down into the 70’s. It was amazing!
I must admit that I have a love/hate relationship with the sun. Between pale skin and a propensity to burn and then freckle, many times the sun has not been my friend. But it is necessary. The sun helps your body produce Vitamin D which is vital to good health. How much time it takes to do that depends on the color of your skin and where you are located. There’s a wonderful chart here that can guide you in getting enough, but not too much.
Some foods just taste like summer, and for me, watermelon is one of those. The red, ripe, juicy flesh spiked with those hard, dark seeds tastes and smells of the goodness of the season. Yes, I know there are seedless varieties, but they never taste quite as good to me. It always amazes me when I look at the nutritional facts about foods and see that God provided the exact nutrients we need for the season we’re in. Did you know that the lycopene in watermelon (and tomatoes, too) makes your skin more resistant to sun damage? Isn’t that awesome?
4. Frozen treats
We’ve been having some fun this summer making our own ice pops. I bought some ice pop makers and some sticks to go in them and started experimenting. It’s lovely to have ones that aren’t just a mess of artificial this and that. So far, mine have all made with fruit and juice. We’ve had some with fresh nectarines and blueberries and some with just fruit juice or fruit and vegetable juice. Right now I have strawberry ones in the freezer and the ingredients to make strawberry/blueberry/peach/kiwi pops. After that I’m trying out some coconut cream pops. Yum!
A local friend has been plying us with the abundance of their garden and we have been the recipient of several bags of tomatoes, mostly cherry tomatoes. However, the last bag also contained a handful of yellow pear tomatoes. They always remind me of my mother (they were her favorites) and just the sight of them made me smile. They are like eating little droplets of sunshine.
6. Free time
We are on break from school right now and that’s given me time to deal with some projects and read some books. Even if you are tied up during the day, it’s hours until sundown and there is time to go outside and get some fresh air and maybe even some exercise.
7. Summer holidays and observances (US)
While Memorial Day is technically in May and therefore at the end of spring, I always think of it as the jump start of summer. It always fell just after school ended when I was a child, and Labor day was always just as school was beginning again, so it seemed to mark the end. And in between, we have Independence day with all the fireworks displays and flag-waving. We also have a few family birthdays in the summer months, including mine!
8. Beach reads
You won’t find me near a beach this year, but I always love seeing the lists of beach reads every summer. It’s like summer comes and people give themselves permission to read something lighter just for fun or something they just want to learn about. I always pick a handful of books to savor over the summer. My favorite so far this summer has been The Lifegiving Home: Creating a Place of Belonging and Becoming by Sally and Sarah Clarkson. I have been recommending it to everyone I can get to listen.
9. Road trips
This summer, between the daughter interning at the camp and the ones going as campers, we have made many trips across the border into Oklahoma where my kids go to camp. It’s nice to get out of the house and see some different scenery. In addition, we’ve gone out a couple of times just driving around and looking. It’s fun to see the subtle differences in the trees and wildflowers and even the color of the soil between here and there.
10. The heat (Really? Really!)
Yes, I know. Call me crazy. But that blessed, scorching heat makes us appreciate both the air conditioning and the cooler season ahead just that much more.
It wouldn’t be summer without lemonade. That wonderful blend of mouth-puckering lemon and the sweetness of sugar blend together to make a powerful thirst quencher for the summer. Hmm. We might need to make some lemonade ice pops.
12. School supplies
When the new school supplies hit the store shelves, I am like a kid in a candy store. I love the sight of new notebooks, so full of possibilities! And those new sharp crayons and colored pencils and untouched paints and art paper. I’m almost swooning at the thought. And I would totally love it if someone sent me a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils! (Anyone recognize the movie reference there?)
13. Preparing for fall
Here in the sweltering heat of summer, I’m already mentally preparing for autumn. I’m starting to think about knitting and crocheting again. I’ve started looking at heavier fabrics and planning what I’m going to sew. I’m making a mental list of what needs to be done to the house before cooler weather sets in. Before you know it we will be crunching our way through the fallen leaves and feeling the chill in the air. I can hardly wait. How about you?