Category Archives: 30 Days Of 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.

Fourth of July Traditions, Past and Present

Maybe as a kid I had a different favorite holiday. However, I don’t remember any holiday but this one being my favorite.

Why is the Fourth of July my favorite holiday? 

  • It happens during my favorite season (summer!)
  • For the most part, it’s a low-stress holiday (no extra shopping except for fireworks)
  • I love fireworks!
  • There’s always good food!
  • I get to see my family!
  • There are lots of things to do but not so much as to feel as though you’ve missed out if you skip it

I thought it would be fun to write a post about Fourth of July traditions. Reflecting back on the being a kid during this holiday to what I do now. An Independence Day through the years post if you’ll indulge me.

My Fourth of July Holidays as a kid

I’m pretty sure the food from this holiday might be why it became my favorite. My mom made barbecued chicken, homemade macaroni and cheese, and later, a cake mix lemon cake I loved.

My dad took us each year to Blue Springs, MO  to buy fireworks. And we’d get “the tour” of the area as he grew up there.  His dad’s house (I never knew my grandfather as he died long before my arrival) and farm set on an area now occupied by the police station.

While the cooking happened in the kitchen, I along with perhaps my older brother or a friend as I grew older, spent my time outside worrying my parents as I set off my small collection of fireworks.

Later in the afternoon, we’d get in the car and head out to Aunt Thelma’s house, she lived in the country with plenty of space to explore as well as worry my parents with more fireworks. I vaguely remember walking to check out “the pond.”  And of course, there were fireworks from all the cousins (and my own family) at night. And lots of great food including my mom’s contributions.

Fourth of July With My Family Before Our Own Kids Arrived

Once Aunt Thelma passed away, my different family members hosted Fourth of July, usually one of my brothers.  My brothers were firefighters which always made the holiday um, interesting and exciting. Still does. Choosing the Fourth of July as a family event to bring my (not yet) husband around to meet family certainly was a test. Lucky he stayed, I think.

After my husband and I married, we alternated holidays. Smaller family with a smaller gathering followed by simply going somewhere to view a display didn’t do much for me. (Not that there’s anything at all wrong with it.) At some point, I quit sharing this holiday. We see his family quite a bit more than mine (easier with fewer people) so I think it’s fair.

And Now, My Favorite Holiday Traditions With My Own Kids

We still go to my family’s gathering most of the time.  J loves this holiday possibly even more than I do. Mainly, he’s quite the fireworks expert. And can discuss the best brand to get, value, and pretty much everything else about them. G, however, lists this one as his least favorite holiday (and that’s okay).

At some point, we started decorating cookies for the Fourth of July but the boys started to outgrow that one. And I always watch my favorite Fourth of July movie every year: Independence Day! (Stay away from that  remake unless you favor stink bombs). We also visit the Fireworks stands on the Fourth to check out the discounts.

If you live in the US, do you enjoy this holiday? What are some of your Fourth of July traditions?


Our Days In Duluth: Exploring The North Shore

Turns out you don’t drive north when you explore the north shore. From Duluth, it’s the north shore of Lake Superior but you’re actually driving east. That stumped me for a bit.

On Tuesday, we roused our boys early enough to eat the free breakfast in the hotel. Then, we set out to explore the North shore of Lake Superior.

Traveling The North Shore Scenic Highway

Taking a minute to say we hardly ever take the scenic routes because my husband is a no unnecessary detours kind of driver. I’m more a stop and see everything type. Getting to take the scenic route for day: a highlight of our vacation for me.

Exploring The Rocky Shores Along Highway

We took our time. And stopped to get out and check out the shores.  And waited for J to explore all the rocks. 

Two Harbors, Minnesota 

We stopped for lunch at Subway in Two Harbors, Minnesota. We played it safe in our food choice. And did a bit more exploring. 

Gooseberry Falls State Park

Eventually, we arrived at one of our primary destinations, Gooseberry Falls State Park. I added quite a few license plates to my ongoing list in the parking lot.  Note the guy off to the side in the photo above in swim trunks, we decided that group must be from Alaska! We were wearing sweatshirts though it did feel fairly warm on the hiking trails.

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park

I couldn’t get my husband to drive any further up the highway Our final stop, like the others, felt like walking in a postcard. 

We opted not to tour the lighthouse but rather enter the state park and view it from the shore via a short hiking trail. The shores of the state park were on par with the beauty of the lighthouse. The shore also proved to be a great place to take a rest and watch the waves.

“Home” again

Once “home” again, we watched a big ship go under the bridge before calling it a night. 

I’m posting our vacation recap as part of the 30 Days of Summer blogging series! You can read other posts about our days in Duluth here and here.

Organized Summer Bucket List and Our Second Summer Link Up

Even though I’m not really the bucket list type, I still wanted to make one. I decided to divide mine into categories.

Some of the categories overlap a bit but dividing it up helps me think and be semi realistic about what I include. I’m going for 10 items in each category. Of course, the items listed in each category appear in completely random order.


  1. Go on a family vacation Done, we visited Duluth, Minnesota!
  2. Visit family in Oklahoma
  3. Celebrate the Fourth of July with family (in town)
  4. Go swimming at the local pool
  5. Water balloons in backyard (or front yard)
  6. Visit the Powell Observatory in Louisburg, Kansas (day trip! Or rather night trip!)
  7. Spend a day fishing
  8. Go swimming a new place (I have my eye on another day trip location)
  9. Ride the KC Street Car
  10. Have a video game tournament (hopefully, Mario baseball so I have a chance of winning)


  1. Give the bathrooms and bedroom more of a spa feeling
  2. Put the boys’ band pictures in frames and on the walls
  3. Clear out the art supply cabinet
  4. Get rid of the clutter in our bedroom
  5. Clear out the linen closet and do a towel/wash cloth inventory/get rid of the super old ones
  6. Do a tea towel/dish cloth inventory in the kitchen, replace old worn out ones
  7. Replace all or at least some of the shades (this isn’t a vanity thing; it’s much-needed)
  8. Place some rugs on the living room floor
  9. Add some art/interest to kitchen wall above sink
  10.  Run the oil-diffuser a bit more often or add some scented candles


  1. Read 4 of the books on my 18 list
  2. Sit on the front porch (or read my books there)
  3. Embrace the slower pace of the days
  4. Start doing yoga every morning
  5. Go on a nature hike (or 10)/visit my friend, Rebecca’s state park!
  6. Have my own spa day
  7. Eat too much saltwater taffy
  8. Attempt a good photo lightning bugs at night and/or a starry sky
  9. Plan out a new garden area for the yard
  10. Learn how to edit my photos in either Adobe Photo Shop or Lightroom


  1. Have a cookout here for friends/family just because (or maybe a s’mores party)
  2. Pretty up the deck
  3. Make the boys go forest bathing one day
  4. Paint the clothespins we’re using for chip clips
  5. Go to a farmer’s market
  6. Movie marathon (maybe even Christmas themed)
  7. Go out for snow cones/ice cream
  8. Backyard (mini) bonfire
  9. Try camping again (somewhere somewhat local)
  10. Celebrate our 20th anniversary in August


  1. Make a strawberry ice box cake
  2. Make S’mores using a Terra cotta pot
  3. Try to make sun tea
  4. Kool-Aid sherbet
  5. Homemade popsicle
  6. Ice cream in a bag
  7. Try to bake cookies in the car on super hot day
  8. Grill pizza
  9. Assign everyone their own cooking day and let them be in charge
  10. Root beer floats


Do I think we’ll manage all of these? Nope but it’s fun to dream. What’s on your summer bucket list?

Want to join in the summer blogging fun? Join us with a summer-themed post. The link’s open until next Wednesday so you have plenty of time! Feel free to link up more than once as well.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...