Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Fantastic Summer Day

Some days are horrible days.  But then, often for no known reason, there'll be a day that's just so good.  Today was one of those days.

It wasn't that we went somewhere really cool.  Come to think of it, we didn't actually leave the house all day!  It was just exactly what I think of as a "summer" day.

I slept in until 8:30.  Aaaaahhhh.  I got out of bed and pulled back my bedroom curtains (yes, I finally put up curtains!) to let the sunshine in.  This is not the start of a cheesy fairytale.  This is actually how my day started.

I came out to find that my boys had already eaten breakfast.  It's a beautiful thing when kids can get their own breakfast.  Nora came out just after me, and she was warm and she was soft.  She snuggled me on the couch for a little bit before wanting breakfast.

After breakfast I sat down by Nolan on the couch.  I thought I'd read my Sunday school lesson while he watched tv.  However, I got sucked into his History Channel show about an island with possible buried treasure, and I didn't read any of my lesson!  How fun to snuggle my babies and daydream about hidden treasure.

Eventually I figured we should do something besides watch tv and play iPads, so we did a little activity I had found on Pinterest.  We made Erupting Sand Foam Dough from Learn~Play~Imagine.  Ours didn't quite turn out as "dough" because I forgot to tell Griffin to shake the shaving cream before squirting it into the mixture and also because we ran out of corn starch.  It was still messy and fun nonetheless.

After they mixed the ingredients and colored sand, we divided the messy "dough" into three foil pans and took them outside.  I gave each child a squirt bottle of vinegar and let them make mini eruptions in their pans.  

That naturally led to playing outside for the rest of the morning.  I weeded my garden while the kids jumped on the trampoline, played on the swings, rode bikes, and made up summertime kid games.  The kids even helped me weed, for a few minutes at least.  Nolan discovered the first sign of hope for this year's garden--the first pods of sugar snap peas!  Peas may be the only vegetables we successfully grow this year since record rainfall keeps my garden flooded.

When I was finished in the garden and the kids were done playing in the back yard, we moved our fun to the front yard.  We played with a bubble gun and some giant bubble wands.  We discovered ant colonies, blooming Tiger Lillies, and unidentified mushrooms (that my brother later identified via text).

"Elegant Stinkhorn"

"Fairy Inkcap"
As we were playing and exploring in the front yard, a girl who lives down the street rode her bike to our house.  She carried a walkie-talkie that her mom uses to check in on her.  She played with the kids while I made Nora's lunch (the boys make their own!).  The kids sort of ate in shifts so someone could stay outside playing with their friend.  While I ate my lunch, I finally got down to the business of reading my Sunday school lesson.

After the kids ate their lunches, they enjoyed homemade popsicles that I made with Jello.  Most purchased popsicles are not safe for Nolan, and the kids really like the Jello ones.

I was able to talk to my sister on the phone and text with some friends.  All while I wore grubby clothes, had my hair pulled back in a fuzzy ponytail, and wore absolutely no makeup.

Eventually, as we knew would happen, the sky turned gray and the wind picked up.  Our little friend's mom radioed her that she needed to come home, and we watched her ride her bike safely home while the cool wind sent us rushing back in the house.

I let the kids play/watch electronic devices during the afternoon storms.  Once I finished studying my lesson, I sat on the couch watching Downton Abbey (or as Jared calls it, "my stories") while I alternately browsed Pinterest and read a novel I borrowed electronically from the library.

Something wonderful happened.  Something that hasn't happened in months.  I got the itch to bake just for fun.  This used to be such a regular occurrence.  Then my life got so overwhelmingly full of responsibilities that I didn't have time to do something just because I felt like it.  Plus I was baking for so many other people's events that I didn't ever have the chance to bake just for enjoyment.

It felt weird to think about baking something just for the fun of it.  Where would I start?  What would I make?  I considered making cut-out sugar cookies and trying some new piping techniques for decoration.  However, that would take hours and I wasn't sure how long this urge would stick around before I might scare it off.  So I searched "summer cookies" on Pinterest.  You know--since I was so happy with the summeryness of the day.  I found some fantastic ideas.

I got up off the stories/novel/Pinterest couch and worked on getting dinner in the oven.  It was a recipe I had found in a magazine awhile back that turned out to be a huge hit the first time I made it (about a month ago).  It was a huge hit tonight as well!  Sometimes just not having to fight anyone over eating dinner feels like a huge victory.

If you're curious about the recipe, here it is:

After dinner Jared took the kids to go play on the soggy playground at the nearby school while I got to baking.  I was nearly giddy.

I chose a recipe that was new and summery without being too fussy or time-consuming.  I made Pina Colada Cake Mix Cookies from Eat At Home.  When I made the frosting for the cookies, I chose to make it a bit thin, more like a glaze.  I turned each cooled cookie upside-down and dipped the cookies into the glaze (rather than spreading the frosting on top of each cookie).  It was faster this way, and I liked the effect of the thin coating of pineapple-coconut glaze.

Jared LOVED the cookies and even called them "dangerous."  I liked them and would make them again, but I would probably make a couple tweaks to the recipe to amp up the flavors.  But that didn't stop me from eating more than just one or two.

My kids came home fantastically muddy from playing at the school, and then they all showered and came out soft and tan and smelling good as they told me tales from their adventures with Dad this evening. 

This really has been such a fantastic day.  This, to me, is the quintessential summer day.  Some playfulness, imagination, laziness, inventiveness, productiveness, togetherness, aloneness, eatingness.  Ok, now I'm just making up words, but you get the idea.

Oh, AND I wrote a blog post.  So really this day was unbelievably good!


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