Category Archives: 30 Days Of Summer

Fresh Green Beans, The Bubble Wrap Satisfaction For Summer

If you’ve never snapped the ends off of green beans, you’ve missed out.

I remember sitting on the front porch of a friend’s house snapping green beans. Not sure whether we agreed to do it or a requirement but it’s a happy memory either way. 

Of course, the confession comes now: I’m not a huge fan of the canned version of the vegetable. Neither are my boys.

When my husband and I were first married, I did often make the canned kind adding Cajun seasoning for some reason until he requested a break from that seasoning.

I used to try to make them for Easter brunch using frozen green beans. They don’t work well as a buffet brunch food over here as they tend to get cold quickly.

This spring/summer we planted green beans in our garden. They’ve pretty much finished now (we’ll perhaps plant them again this fall).  However, we did use our tiny crop about two weeks ago: 

Funny realization that I had no idea what to do with fresh green beans. I knew to snap off the ends of them. Aw, that snap! Snap! So satisfying.

I ended up putting them in a pan with a little butter and salt and sauteing them for about 10 minutes. Turns out I do kind of like green beans after all.

Tonight we had a simple summer supper of ham steaks, sautéed green beans, fresh pineapple, and slices of toasted sourdough bread.  These green beans were from the grocery store but I still enjoyed the snapping.  They didn’t taste quite as good as our tiny crop but still so much better than the canned ones.

Fresh produce used to make simple summer meals is a highlight of the season for me. What’s your favorite fresh summer vegetable?

(Don’t forget to visit the 30 Days of Summer Blogging series hosted by myself and Rebecca from Proverbs 31 Mom)


Gentle Summer Rain

I love the summer rain.  We’ve not had much lately. It’s been August heat advisory HOT most of July. Almost ALL of last week, yesterday included.

Today we had a lovely summer rain. The pleasant temperature arrived first. Then, the rain started with a slight thunderstorm, nothing serious. And turned into a steady downpour.

I went outside and stood in it for a bit.  First in the backyard on the deck under the roof overlap. However, I moved out and the raindrops fell on me for a few minutes. I returned to the house and decided to go stand on the front porch for just a few more minutes.

During the majority of the rain, we stayed inside (the cat included for a change!) and watched movies (or did our own thing). First, I watched Spiderman 2 with G, a nice treat. And then, my husband decided to watch Jurassic Park 3 so I sat and watched it as well.

Again, I found my way outside. Our little gray cat tagged along with me. The birds chirped happily.

I spent a few minutes watching a little group of sparrows eating seeds on the neighbor’s driveway.  Jumping up to pull them down off the weeds. The camera came out for the show.  With the little gray cat complaining about the lack of attention, I turned back to check out the garden (and yes, give her a bit of love).  No need to water the garden and the flowers looked happy.

Why Summer Rain Is Better

(than the other seasons, my opinion)

  • It smells good. The scent of hot pavement cooled off by summer rain, surely there’s a fancy word for it?
  • The best of refreshments after sweltering heat
  • Not freezing cold, doesn’t turn into any serious road hazards (thinking of ice, snow, etc)
  • Provides a good reason to sit inside and watch movies or read
  • Saves on the watering of the garden and refreshes the flowers (I think my flowers prefer rain water. I know they’d verify it for me if they spoke.)

I’ll end my post with one of my favorite songs about rain:

Do you like summer rain?

(Including this post in the 30 Days of Summer Series)

Summer Simplicity And Our Next Link Up

I wasn’t sure what I’d post about today. When trying to do a blog series, I think there’s a tendency to want the subject to be more.  The trap of disappointment set it sights on my summer and my postings.

My kids (and to some extent) husband were not cooperating with *my* big fancy organized summer bucket list.  Work’s plentiful this summer (not a bad thing, just hard to balance at times) and of course, everyone seems to be doing more exciting things than us. I should know better to fall into that trap.

However, I started thinking about why I love summer so much more than the other seasons. And I realized, for me, it’s all about the simplicity of the season.

Everyone loves the fall and while after my last 30 days series, I embraced the season. It still doesn’t hold the special magic in my heart like a warm summer afternoon with cotton candy clouds floating against a blue sky.

Winter holds both my birthday and Christmas. However, it also holds the prospect of not just stepping outside the door. Coats and shoes and shopping.

Spring for me is like a summer tease. The weather sometimes arrives but the simple slow down of the schedules take a bit of time.

Tuesday evening our a/c broke and led to yesterday being a simpler one than I planned.

We skipped searching out a new pool. And just as the sadness settled on me about having 2 teenagers not wanting to “hang out” with poor mom, J popped out of his room with a “surprise” movie for us to watch together.  We spent the afternoon watching How To Train Your Dragon and eating popcorn for lunch.

Just before dinner, G agreed to go with me and get a free 7-11 Slurpee. A quick, fun and simple outing. (Side note: the Captain Crunch Berries Slurpee is oddly good)

No huge to-do list, no demanding schedules, shorts and tee shirts weather, simple foods (no, I’m not counting a Slurpee as food), easy days at the pool or not. These are the things that make summer my favorite.

What are some of your favorite things about summer?



Our Days In Duluth: Fishing, The Tower, And A Milkshake

On our last full day in Duluth, Minnesota, we did a bit more local exploring.  I’m a little bit late finishing my posts about our June vacation. You can read more about our days in Duluth here and in this post. And this post describes our time exploring the north shore.

J wanted to fish while on vacation so we took him to a lake to do that:  Finding the lake turned into quite the adventure as google apparently thought we wanted to visit “friends” near the lake and took us down a private residence road. Oops! After turning around, we arrived at our destination and J could finally cast a line. 

After a bit of lunch at Perkins (I had no idea a BLT could include only ONE slice of bacon! Did not make me happy.), we searched out Enger Tower for some amazing views of Lake Superior and the city of Duluth. 
We finished our final night in the city by walking along the Lake Walk to get malts at this cute little Malt Shop:  I didn’t manage any pictures of our wonderful malts. Worth the walk! However, have I mentioned how the whole city smelled like lilacs while we were there?  Once back at the hotel, I ran out to enjoy the Lake Walk (and snap another photo or two) one last evening. If possible I would have brought the Lake Walk home with us, it would be in my backyard. Lake Superior as well!  

Just looking at the photos makes me want to return.

Sometimes Summer Bugs Me: Link Up #3 For 30 Days of Summer

Even though summer’s my favorite, sometimes it still bugs me.  Literally.

Once the heat arrives, so do these obnoxious little bugs pictured above. They leave a disgusting trail of little black specks on my favorite front porch sitting area. And this year, they decimated my rose-bush!

Am I the only one battling the Japanese beetles? And I have news for the Farmer’s Almanac and numerous other on-line sources: Box wood bushes do not repel them!  Come visit our bushes and watch the swarm. YUCK!

Geraniums are a mixed blessing. Apparently, they both attract them and harm the nasty little things. Did I mention the bugs give off a quite disgusting odor? For about a month, I’ve walked by my geraniums commenting: Wow, those are sure stinky plants this year!

Except, my geraniums were fine and not overly stinky. The bugs put out a scent to attract others. Ugh. And why, I won’t buy the traps. I have enough of these beetles, thanks.  The only beetles I want to trap (and then let go) are lightning bugs.

After spraying dish soap water without any success, I found some answers.

Nature To The Rescue!

I knew these little shell spiders were my favorites for a reason! Guess what I found in this web? Yep, lots of tiny Japanese beetles. You are welcome in our yard anytime, little spider.

This morning, I noticed a neighborhood of 3 spiders with 2 webs between the box wood bushes and one in my flower garden area. Hopefully, they’ll focus on ridding the yard of those nasty pests.

I also recently read paper wasps are natural predators of the Japanese beetles as well. While I’m still not a fan of wasps, the tiny tidbit of information makes me a bit more tolerant.

Another Random Use For Essential Oils

After spending too much time reading about how to eradicate the world of Japanese beetles, I decided to spray my bushes with my Thieves cleaning spray. I sort of did it on a whim to see if it would help.  Cinnamon is a primary ingredient.

So far after spraying my rose-bush and box wood bushes with it, I do think I’m seeing fewer of the gross bugs.  I may have sprayed a few beetles directly to make sure they were unhappy with the scent.

Between myself and the spiders I think we may win back the yard!

Just in case we need reinforcements, I’m open to suggestions for dealing with these summer pests.

Our 3rd Link Up in the 30 Days of Summer Blogging Series Follows

Remember you can link up as many times as you’d like (just make sure your posts relate to summer) and our link ups last until the next Wednesday.

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