Garden, Summer Cocktails, and Chores (SQT)

Just catching my breath between the craziness of May and the end of the school year (when one is married to a teacher; we don’t even have any kids IN school. Can’t imagine that combo!) and the start of Grad School Year 2…tomorrow!

  1. The weather here has finally gotten really hot and humid and summery. I suddenly got the burning desire to grow beautiful flowers in our gardens, which have been hit-or-miss as far as veggies the last 2 years. My dream is one of those magical English cottage gardens, you know, like so… (never mind we’re minus the actual thatched cottage part…)

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A girl can dream, right?! Anyway, we did order a bunch of old-fashioned heirloom flowers in that style, planted them yesterday and are hoping for the best! In the meantime we do have a couple squashes and cilantro in front doing well, beans coming up, a volunteer cucumber (so random!), reliable zinnias and cosmos about to bloom, the hilltop hydrangea bursting forth, and we’re harvesting our cauliflower (they are disgustingly FILLED with these tiny slimy caterpillars…does anyone have any tips for preventing/cleaning them?!).

It’s hard to take the yard/garden little by little when we have all.the.plans! to fix it at once. But, since we have neither the time nor the funds to do it that way, little by little it is. A hill weed-whacked there, a section of vine-and-weed-covered undergrowth pulled up here, and eventually, we’ll have a yard we actually like to look at/be in. We still need some ideas for shade-loving or tolerant bushes and ground cover (other than hostas and ferns!) so we’re all ears if you have recommendations!

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2. I took the girls to a local meadow/botanical garden (well, it’s over 90 acres, so “garden” seems a paltry term), on an absolutely beautiful day this week, and got a lot of inspiration (and a lot of exercise!)

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3. It struck me a few weeks ago that we absolutely MUST have a go-to summer cocktail recipe in the house. I’m all about drinking wine 90% of the time, but something about the temperature rising just makes a chilled cocktail sound way more inviting. I did a lot of (obviously very important!) research on just such a go-to easy cocktail recipe, with my main criteria being ease of prep (no shaking, straining, etc), and all ingredients we’d pretty much keep on hand (so no special syrups, mixers, or impossible to pronounce liquers). I didn’t really find much, to be honest, but then I got some little lime-flavored tonic waters at TJs and when mixed with a shot of vodka and fresh-squeezed lemon or lime juice, it is the very thing I was hoping for. Super refreshing, citrusy, and so easy! But, still open to any other summer cocktail recipes!

4. In an effort to a) make our house slightly less ruled by crumb and clutter and b) build responsibility and good habits, I’m starting to hand off some of my annoying little tasks that are coincidentally things they can definitely manage, at 4 and a month shy of 3, respectively. (Maeve is actually capable of tiny things too, like putting her dirty clothes in the hamper and picking up toys with us, which is an enthusiastic and often less-than-helpful endeavor). Not surprisingly, children are capable of much more than we either think they are or are willing to ask of them. So, the older two got colorful little laundry baskets (thanks, Dollar Tree!) and they are completely in charge of putting away all their clean laundry. They both do that well and usually get all the clothes in the right drawers, and I am not held hostage by clean, folded, not-yet-put-away laundry. Lucy either mini-vacs or does a little sweeping after breakfast and Lena clears all the dishes from the table. Eventually, they will do those jobs after dinner, too, but we’re starting small. Either way, it helps me move on to finishing the breakfast dishes so that the whole lower level doesn’t look like a disaster the next time we walk downstairs. Also gets me excited for completely handing over cleaning the kitchen over by the time they’re 8 or 9….I hope!

5. Up till this week, the weather’s been pretty good to us: park and ice cream dates with cousins, a trip to the park in Georgetown where Mommy and Daddy got engaged (with an obligatory and cranky shot in “the spot”), and tons and tons of outdoor play.

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6. Speaking of getting out of the house with these kids, I have literally gotten comments from strangers every.single.time. I am thinking of making a little drinking game which I play after I get home, of course. A drink for every time I hear any of the following:

“Are they all yours?!” (the most popular one by far lately!)

“Are they twins?”

“You didn’t get a boy?”

“…how close in age/what’s the age difference/BUT THEY’RE SO CLOSE IN AGE!”

“Wow, you have your hands full!”

Heh, I don’t know if it’s just because I’m just more able to get us out of the house a lot more often this year or because of the very different hair colors, but wow, it’s so funny (and getting really old and predictable!)

7. Hope everyone had a lovely weekend and is gearing up for a fun summer!

(Linking up these seven random thoughts way late with Kelly!)

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Currently, Vol. 3

Praying For:

We are storming heaven for my dear cousin’s little baby. He is a few weeks older than Magdalena and was just diagnosed last week with a large brain tumor. My heart hurts incredibly when I think of my cousin and her husband, watching their tiny boy go into surgery (twice now) and all the uncertainty and fear in this situation. I just cannot imagine. Please, please, please join us in praying for little Liam.

Celebrating:

My sister graduated from college! We journeyed out to my alma mater two weekends ago to witness the event (over a tv screen in the adjoining student center). I can’t believe she’s already done.

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Nappers gonna nap when graduation is during nap time.

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Magdalena entertains herself as we wait to watch Anna get her diploma on the screen

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The lovely grad and silly niece

Was it five years ago that I was in her (smaller sized) shoes? Anyway, she’s about to go on a pilgrimage to Lourdes with our cousin, Angela. If you can, please consider making a donation to facilitate their trip with the medical pilgrimage team. She’s also leaving next week to begin a two year missionary teaching/grad program in Memphis in an inner-city Catholic school. We will miss her but are so proud! She will be an amazing middle school teacher.

We also celebrated Tom’s birthday last Friday with dinner at our favorite pizza place down the road and had their home-made lemon doughnuts with Nutella whipped cream, instead of cake. And then none of his presents had arrived yet (they finally did yesterday. Let it be known that he ordered them himself and took a looong time deciding…) BUT my first Stitch Fix had, so we had fun opening the box and seeing what clothes worked. I highly recommend trying it out if you need new clothes but hate going out shopping. It was painless to fill out the style profile and the stylist did a fantastic job catering to my tastes and needs. Price and sizing were the only issues. We kept 2 out of the 5 items and have another one scheduled to come next month. (The link above is my referral link which gives me a $25 credit if anyone orders through it, fyi).

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Playing:

It’s HOT here. Humid, upper 80s/90s, how-can-this-be-May, hot. But we still try to get outside as much as we (I) can stand it. A baby pool will be making its way to our front yard ASAP.

The girls are both also really enjoying some new-to-us outside play stuff, donated by a family moving away. It does kind of make our front patio/yard look a bit like an ongoing yard sale, but we’re not in the running for Best Lawn anyway, so who cares. (Oh, probably our elderly neighbors with the all-seeing eyes who have noted every move of our existence in this house since the day we moved in and are currently calculating the dip in their property value due to our plastic kid toys and non-uniform grass). But the kids are having fun!

See?!

See?! Lucy ecstatically rides in the see-saw “hairplane” on my parents’ deck before we transported it to our yard

Clicking:

This is just the coolest video. The makeup artistry is unbelievable. And how crazy/fun would it be to see what your spouse or future spouse will look like wayyyy down the road?!

How to Drink Like a Saint— great thoughts!

Eating:

I’ve been using Pinterest a lot for recipe ideas. Here are a few of my recent favorites, in case you’re anything like me and your brain turns to mush the minute you sit down to meal plan:

One Pot Cheesy Chicken Taco Rice (subbed in ground beef from our freezer stock)

Sweet and Sour Pork Chops

Baked Honey Garlic Chicken

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

(Anything that is one-pot or slow cooker is highly preferable to me these days).

Considering:

A “No Soliciting” sign for the door, since I was just rudely interrupted by a knock on the door. We get sooo many people knocking on the door offering free estimates for every possible type of home repair, financial planning, yard work, etc. They are exceedingly pushy.

This sign spells it out a bit and is basically how we feel, especially during a) nap time (there are the aforementioned toys/trikes/balls in the yard. It’s the early afternoon. Are you daft?) or b) dinnertime. We need all hands on deck to feed our small pack of hungry wolf cubs, let alone ourselves. Ain’t nobody got time to answer the front door and listen to your spiel.

So go away.

Hope you are having a lovely and less-humid week.