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Monday, May 30, 2016

Unofficial Start of Summer With a Few of My Favorite Things

This Memorial Day weekend, as we remembered all those who fought and died for our freedom, our family also kicked off summer with some our favorite summer traditions.  The temps were hot here in the Allegheny Mountains, and we even turned on the AC, which I would have never dreamed we'd need to do a couple of weeks ago when we actually had sleet and snow on the mountains.  Even if the official first day of the season is still weeks away, it definitely looks and feels as if summer has arrived in the Northeast.

We started the weekend by taking the cover off our pool, and what a mess!  Leaves, dirt, tadpoles, and who knows what all else fell down in those murky waters.  It will take us days and days of vacuuming and dumping loads of chlorine in there before any of us will be willing to jump in.  The children went wading in the creek instead.

That's not to say that no one was swimming in our pool because there were most definitely plenty of creatures in there.  We'd scoop them out and let them go free, but ten minutes later, there they were again.

Fortunately, I have a number of amphibian lovers in our house who have been more than happy to catch and release them...maybe a little too close to their little sister who is afraid of every amphibian and reptile.  She doesn't even want to go to the zoo this summer because she remembers the crocodiles that she was certain were just waiting for her to fall over the fence to provide them with their dinner.

Frogs and toads were not our only weekend guests.  A bush on our patio was full of these newly hatched moths.  They were everywhere, including in the spiderwebs on our back porch.  They're so interesting to watch as they emerge and stretch out their wings.  I absolutely love all the wildlife here in the summer time.

Hanging out on our patio in the evenings is one of my favorite ways to relax in the summer.  We always have a few "barn cats" nearby to keep us company. The only problem with this spot is that I get a great view of our surroundings---beautiful but always wild and unruly.  We never get caught up on the yard work.


At least for now, we have these beautiful yellow irises to distract me from all the overgrown shrubs, grass, and weeds.  Trying to focus on the positive.

 First thing on weekend mornings, when it's still a little cool and we have no place we have to be, I love to sip my coffee and read a book on the front porch swing.  All I hear are chirping birds and buzzing bumblebees except for this weekend, when cabin owners with four-wheelers spend their time zipping up and down the mountain at top speed.  I'm not fond of them at all.


When the temperature climbed to over 90 degrees one afternoon, we all came into the air conditioning, and watched this movie about Mother Teresa on Netflix.  This woman has been such an inspiration to me for years.  The way she continued for decades to treat the poorest of the poor with dignity, kindness, and love despite the dark emptiness and loneliness she felt inside, moves me to tears.  I couldn't be happier that she is to be canonized a saint this fall.  The movie is a great introduction to her life.

Last evening we fired up the charcoal grill and ate out on the patio for the first time this year.  Nothing fancy, just the traditional summer foods: watermelon, baked beans, cheddar & bacon hamburgers, potato salad, potato chips, and Arnold Palmers.

That was followed by a campfire...

...and some firecrackers, sparklers, and all the ingredients to make smores.  My kids never, ever get tired of smores no matter how many campfires we have.

Now I'm off to retrieve the kiddos from the creek and slurp on some lemonade swirl popsicles before we all head off to our last full week of school.  I hope all of you were able to enjoy some summer favorites this weekend too.

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