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?
When most people think of homeschooling, they picture young children studiously working around the kitchen table. It may even extend to older children poring over textbooks or looking into a microscope. But homeschooling is so much more, not only for those ages, but extending beyond. That’s right. Even grown-ups can learn stuff at home!
This year I plan to further my own education at home, while teaching my four homeschool students. There are so many great resources available to learn almost anything you want to learn. Wish you had gone further in math or learned a foreign language or two or three, read the great books, or studied auto mechanics? You can. it’s not too late. I will be posting resources for adult learners throughout the year, but i would love to hear from you. What is it that you want to learn most of all?
One of my goals for the new year is to improve my health. One of the ways I intend to do that is through expanding my diet to include more vegetables. I plan to add them to main dishes, serve more of them alongside, and eat more Vegetable-rich soups and salads. I plan to try out lots of new recipes from my some of my Pinterest boards. If you’re looking for some new recipes, here are some boards to get you started.
What are some of your favorite vegetable recipes?
It’s a brand new year and that can only mean one thing. Wait. You thought I was talking about resolutions? Nah. It’s reading challenge time! There is a challenge for just about any kind of books you can think of, and every year about this time, I lose control and sign up for a bunch. This year, despite my best intentions, I ended up signing up for way too many. But, hey, if I get all these books read, it will be glorious! Here are the ones I have signed up for this year.
The #NewYearBooks 6-Week Reading Challenge—Read books related to one of your New Year’s Resolutions or goals, but hurry because this one ends Feb. 1st.
Determined: 2 books
2016 Anne of Green Gables Reading Challenge
all 8 books of the Anne series
2016 Cloud of Witnesses Reading Challenge—Read books from those great Christian saints of the past.
4 books from the cloud
2016 I Love Libraries Reading Challenge—Read books, e-books, magazines, or even listen to audiobooks from your local library.
Chapter books: 12 books
>2016 I Love Picture Books Reading Challenge—Remember those great picture books you loved as a child. Read them again or find new ones. Better yet, find a child to share them with!
25 picture books
2016 Mount TBR Reading Challenge
Pike’s Peak: Read 12 books from your TBR pile/s
2016 Operation Deepen Faith—This is a multi-layered challenge that gives you lots of options, but all of them are about helping you to grow spiritually.
I. Wonderful Words of Life. Goal: Read the Bible
VII. Christian Nonfiction Goal: At least 6
2016’s Ultimate Reading Challenge from PopSugar
40 books in specific categories
2016 Southern Literature Reading Challenge—Southern authors with southern voices are the thing here ya’ll.
Level 1–C’mon in the house! Read 1-2 books.
Books in Translation Reading Challenge 2016—There are wonderful books being written all over the world in all different languages. Many of those are then translated into English for those that don’t read in all those languages.
Beginner: Read 1-3 books in translation
Charity Reading Challenge 2016—Who doesn’t love snatching up a bargain book at a thrift store or the yearly library benefit sale? I have carted home boxes of books from the library sale myself. Have I read boxes of books from the library sale? Not so much.
10 books bought at the library sale or thrift store
Clocks, Cogs, and Mechanisms Reading Challenge 2016—Love the idea of living in a past time, but couldn’t bear to be without your technology? Steampunk is the genre for you.
Brass Gears: Read 1-3 steampunk books
(Fairytale) Retelling challenge 2016—Who said you had to give up fairytales just because you grew up? I mean other than political speeches. Find a fresh twist on an old favorite!
Enchanted Moura: 1 – 4 books
Foodies Read 2016—Do you like to read about food? Cookbooks, chef biographies, culinary mysteries? This is the place.
a la carte (we’ll see how many get read)
Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge
50 books this year
The Lady Detectives Reading Challenge—Old ladies with their knitting who don’t miss a thing, energetic caterers, frazzled moms, or even full-fledged PIs or police detectives.
Jessica: 7 books
The Modern Mrs. Darcy 2016 Reading Challenge—Modern Mrs. Darcy strikes again with her one-book-per-month, each-in-a-different-category challenge.
12 books in the designated categories
Newbery Reading Challenge 2016—Newbery award winners and honor books are on tap here. Whether you are re-reading childhood favorites or finding books from the last few years, it’s all fair game.
L’Engle 15-29 points
Nonfiction Reading Challenge 2016—Take a break from the fiction and read to learn something or be inspired.
Dilettante–Read 1-5 non-fiction books
What Would Jane Do Reading Challenge 2016—Do you love Jane Austen? Whether books written by Jane, inspired by Jane or even movies based on those books, it’s all right here.
Jane’s Wisdom: Read 3-5 books and watch 3-5 movies
If you’re interested in joining in the fun and madness, it’s not too late! Choose from the ones I’ve listed above or go find ones that suit you better at A Novel Challenge. What challenges are you signed up for this year?
As a stay-at-home mom, I am always trying to find ways to expand my horizons and keep my brain from atrophying. One of the things I turn to is reading. That can easily get crowded out when things get busy. One way I keep myself going is yearly reading challenges. This year, I am signing up for a ridiculous amount, but they look like fun.
Jane’s Wisdom: Read 3-5 books and watch 3-5 movies
2. Clocks, Cogs and Mechanisms Reading Challenge 2015
Brass Gears: Read 1-3 steampunk books
3. 2015 Read Your Freebies Reading Challenge
Coupon Clipper: read 12 ebooks
4. 2015 Cloud of Witnesses Reading Challenge
5. Operation Deepen Faith
I. Wonderful Words of Life. Goal: Read the Bible.
V. Christian Nonfiction.
6. Newbery Reading Challenge 2015
L’Engle: 15 – 29 points
7. I Love Picture Books – 2015
20 picture books (reading these with my youngest)
8. The Foodies Read 2015 Challenge
Short-Order Cook: 1 to 3 books
One thing I’m really focusing on is using what I have, so much of my reading will be books I already have including a plethora of e-books I’ve downloaded onto my Kindle.
The narrow bud opens her beauties to
“I do think New Year’s resolution can’t technically be expected to begin on New Year’s Day, don’t you? Since, because it’s an extension of the New Year’s Eve, smokers are already on a smoking roll and cannot be expected to stop abruptly on the stroke of midnight with so much nicotine in the system. Also dieting on New Year’s Day isn’t a good idea as you can’t eat rationally but really need to be free to consume whatever is necessary, moment by moment, in order to ease your hangover. I think it would be much more sensible if resolutions began generally on January the second.”
*note: While I don’t have to deal with the nicotine and hangover, I always start resolutions on the 2nd. The first is my anniversary, and there’s no way I’m not celebrating! Today was our 30th anniversary!
” The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective.”