I didn't take on any extra writing assignments in June; keeping up with Chasing Roots and my social media responsibilities for the Red Cross while juggling our summer activities (and protecting at least a few hours a week of completely disconnected downtime) proved to be all I could handle.
A piece I wrote earlier this spring about one of the most iconic photos taken during WWII (for the National American Red Cross blog) ran this month though - check it out here!
At least 10 books sit, gathering dust, on my bedside table. Every few nights I pick up one of these books and read two or three pages, all of which when combined equal no more than 20 pages read since school let out for summer. Won't you kindly comment below or on Facebook with the titles of books - the kind that draw a reader in quickly and remain engaging and/or entertaining until the last page - to help me get out of this rut? Thank you in advance!
At the recommendation of a friend who teaches elementary school (and in preparation for the movie coming out later this summer), the kids and I started reading The BFG earlier this month. So while I may not have made it through any adult books this summer, I will most certainly make it through at least one children's book.
Perhaps I couldn't get into any books during the month of June because I spent too much time at the movie theater... I took the kids to see "The Angry Birds Movie", went to "Me Before You" with friends, and watched "Now You See Me 2" with Tom. "Angry Birds" kept the kids and I laughing; as fans of the first "Now You See Me", Tom and I felt satisfied with this second installment; and "Me Before You" proved exactly what I wanted and needed as far as girls' night entertainment was concerned. (If you read and enjoyed the book, you'll enjoy the movie as the script stays true. If you read and didn't enjoy the book, skip the movie because, as I mentioned, the script stays true. If you didn't read the book, mentally prepare yourself for a - SPOILER ALERT - less than picture-perfect ending.)
I love Tom for countless reasons, not the least of which is his willingness to learn on the piano just about any song the kids and I request.
Will's request: The Little Einsteins Theme Song
Hallie's request: Let It Go
I first heard Hallelujah Christmas a couple of years ago. Though I learned shortly thereafter that the Christmas version wasn't the original, I found the original just as captivating and asked Tom to learn it by way of a Saturday afternoon to-do list. This is one of my favorite versions, and I have been listening to it on repeat in preparation to perform it for...well, for no one. Except maybe Tux.
A few months ago I started experimenting with essential oils. I wanted to diffuse an air freshening oil in Will's room and try those with anti-inflammatory and pain relieving benefits on my foot. After experiencing moderate success, I realized I might be able to use oils to help reduce anxiety and create a calming environment for homework and sleep. (Will and Hallie are predisposed to anxiety, and at times I can already see them struggling to cope.) Last week the diffusers I ordered for their bedrooms came in the mail - 70% on Amazon and free shipping with Amazon Prime for the win! - and this week I set both of them up and began trying different combinations of oils.
Will and Hallie's rooms smell amazing, but I don't think we've "solved" the anxiety - especially when it comes to summer school work - quite yet... (If you look closely you can see the diffuser on the window sill.)
Four and a half weeks into summer and I've already given up on fashion. The heat and humidity, along with a schedule that requires me to spend a fair amount of time outside, prevent me from wearing anything that needs to be dry cleaned so I now live in my gym clothes, my swimsuit and cover-ups, and my new "sunshine, tan lines, and good wine" and Texas tank tops. I have talented shirt-making friends!
Here are a few delicious recipes we tried this month!
Crockpot Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole
(Edits: I skipped the bacon, used 1/2 c. chicken broth and 3/4 c. water instead of 1 1/4 c. water, and substituted a bit of leftover gravy I had in the refrigerator rather than a can of cream of mushroom soup.)
Cheddar Garlic Beer Bread
(Edits: I used 1 c. whole wheat flour and 2 c. all-purpose flour rather than 3 c. all purpose flour and only 2 T. of butter.)
Orange Buttermilk Cake w/ Orange Cream Cheese Frosting
(Edits: I made this as cupcakes instead of cake, added an extra T. of orange zest to the cupcakes, and left the orange extract and orange marmalade out of the frosting.)
I never found a counter-top water picture I liked, and the cups to which I had glued magnets (so they could hang on the refrigerator and be readily accessible to the kids) fell apart, so when a friend came across an on-sale infusion water pitcher and offered to get me one, I took her up on that offer. This week we begin experimenting with fruit-infused water!
What have you been up to this month?