Since this has been a really great summer for our family, but especially for Jere and I, I thought I'd share my list with you.
10 Things I Will Remember This Summer By
- The Trampoline Gift. The neighbor decided he wanted to rid his yard of outdoor toys that his boys have outgrown, so we were gifted a really nice trampoline, complete with netting and ladder. My husband even drove over and picked it up and delivered it to our yard on Jack's 7th birthday.
- A Baker Re-Invented. I have recently begun to enjoy baking again. It used to be my passion before children, but especially before the egg allergy diagnosis my son had at the age of 2. Now that he (by he, I mean we) no longer suffers from this allergy, I have been enjoying baking all kinds of yummy treats for my family. I found this excellent recipe for raspberry cobbler here. I have used this same recipe to make blueberry and blackberry cobbler, as well.
- Picking Berries. Jere and I have been spending extra quality time together, this summer, picking berries. Our state's Upper Peninsula is loaded with wild blueberries, so we found ourselves spending 2 weekends back to back in the U.P. picking them. They are soooo much better than the big blueberries you get in the store. One day in July, Jere discovers a U-Pick Raspberry Farm near his work. So, I spent a Saturday with my Father-In-Law in the raspberry patch picking 8 quarts of raspberries. Even though we arrived separately, he refused to leave until I was finished. He's very thoughtful and loving, and I'm lucky to have him in my life. And the past week, has found Jere and I picking in the blackberry patch. Mosquitoes and humidity can't keep us away. We've had some great laughs.
- Jammin' As We Make Jam. We have only canned one other time in our 18 year relationship, but this summer, we started making all kinds of fruit preserves. It started with Strawberry Jam in early June, followed by Raspberry Jam and Blueberry Jam in July, and this month we've been busy making Blackberry Jam. We have even canned extra blueberries and raspberries for desserts and hobo-pie making for the next year. It's been so nice, after the kids go to bed, to turn Pandora on, and sing along to the classics as we make jam together. Home-made Jam will make perfect Christmas gifts for school teachers, family and friends.
- Camping. I never thought I'd say this, but I actually love rustic tent camping. There is something to be said for making a last-minute camping trip spur of the moment. We planned out the first one, and while I was pretty unsure of what I was getting into, and even scared crazy that a bear might mistake me for lunch, after the first night, I loved it. I loved camping with my husband where it was quiet and the only noise we really heard was the birds and the occasional ATV. We even foraged for wild blueberries and popped them into our pancakes one morning.
- Becoming One With Nature. Okay, so this one has a bit of an "eww" effect to it, but it's really funny. That first time we went rustic camping, Jere went into the woods to use the outhouse. About 2 minutes later, he comes flying out of it being chased by some angry bees. Apparently, he mistook a bee for a mosquito and began swatting at it as he was trying to use the bathroom. You can guess who won that round. Turns out, our lovely cabin in the woods had an outhouse being occupied by 100's of bees. Joy.... After holding it the entire night because I didn't want to be a bear's bedtime snack, I was suddenly struck with the idea that I was going to have to use a tree each time I had to go. Putting on my game face, I said to hubby, "So I guess I just pick a tree, right?" I march to the edge of the woods, check out a tree, see the blueberries growing under it and decide that wasn't the tree for me, I find the next one. Keeping in mind that I had to "suit up" with DEET because the mosquitoes will carry you away in the U.P., I squat down next to a tree, with toilet paper in hand. I'm trying to get a feel for how a girl is supposed to do this without getting it all over themselves, while holding the toilet paper in hand, and trying to keep baggy boot-cut pants aside, when I hear the mosquitoes begin swarming around my backside...an area that wasn't covered in DEET. I swear I looked like I was trying to ride Sea Biscuit as I sat there answering Nature's Call, just to keep from getting eaten alive in the process. About an hour later, hubby comes walking back through the woodsy trail and says "You should see the neighbor's outhouse. It's really nice." $@#%!
- Growing A Weed Garden. I have already mentioned this that the hubster has put us on a tight budget. He had this grand idea to plant a garden this year to save money on vegetables. Memorial Day Weekend, he plants the seed. 3 weeks goes by without a drop of rain. Needless to say, what vegetables that did pop up, had to be uncovered by the weeds that I would have to fight with just to get to them. Turns out that we were about a week late picking the peas. They were woody. The green beans decided to mature while we were spending our third weekend in a row camping. By the time we got back, they were woody. The corn tassled out before it reached the right height to grow the actual corn. Our pumpkin plants have blooms but no pumpkins. The deer have treated it like a 24/7 buffet, so I'm not sure we will actually have pumpkins come Halloween. But with all of its pitfalls, we've had some fun family moments in the garden. My daughter loves to pick vegetables.
- Going To The Fair, Going To The Fair, Going To The Northwest Michigan Fair. That is a song we used to hear on the radio every summer as a kid, and the jingle has stuck with us. A week ago, we had the fair in town, so we met up with Grandma and Grandpa and had many laughs as the kids rode the rides or went through the mazes with a grandparent in tow. Grandma began backing up shaking her head "no" when she realized the only way out of the maze was a giant curly slide. As she came down the slide screaming, Grandpa had to help her up and then walk her to a bench so she could get her wind back. Definitely a "Laugh Out Loud" moment for the whole family.
- Meeting Brother's New Girlfriend. Back in July, I opened up Facebook one morning to discover that my brother had a girlfriend, his serious first in many years. Last week, we had them up to dinner and met Jaime and her little girl, Katie. They have won the Bennett Family's hearts. I pray this one sticks around because my children have already decided that Katie is their new cousin.
- A Regular Churchgoer. When I was a child, I used to go to the Catholic church in town with my Grandma. In our town, the Catholic church is the biggest and grandest of them all. My mom and dad were even married in that church. I used to sing in the choir with Grandma every Sunday when I was just nine years old. Because mom and dad were never comfortable in a church setting, I fell out of practice with it. I window shopped a few over the years but never really found my niche. In July, my Mother-In-Law and I began attending service together. I feel like I am more a part of the community now. Yesterday, she even told me that it's been so nice going with me to church...it's like going with her daughter. That was such a special thing to hear. I'm lucky to have her in my life.
So that's that. It's been an amazing journey for us, this summer. I feel very blessed. God has given us many wonderful things, but most of all, the love we have for one another has grown this summer, in a more spiritual way. We definitely have much to be thankful for.