Monday, June 15, 2015

I Love Summer

Mark with the barbecued pork ribs he grilled for last night's family dinner.
14 June 2015

Most people probably assume that, as a teacher, my favorite thing about summer is staying home from work, sleeping in, spending more time with my family, and doing the things I love to do. Okay, they'd be right. I admit it. But there are other things I love about summer, too!

Grilling. It's true that we grill all year round, but never so much as in the summer. Not only does grilled meat taste totally awesome, but there's the added excuse of not wanting to heat up the house by cooking indoors. We've grilled for the past 4 nights in a row. Tonight we'll give Mark a break and heat up leftover grilled chicken in the microwave!

Summer salad with avocado.

Availability of Fresh Produce. Not heating up the kitchen is a good excuse for another favorite, dinner salads. As different vegetables and fruits come into season, the prices go down and there's no reason not to enjoy these healthy meals and treats. Yesterday I ate a perfectly juicy nectarine that was tastier than any store-bought confection. Nature's candy!

Ready for the freezer!

Strawberries. Hands down, my favorite fruit is the humbly delectable strawberry. They aren't cheap, unless you wait until that two-month period when they're at the height of their growing season. Two days ago I purchased 5 baskets at 99 cents per pound. Four baskets were cleaned and cut and put into the freezer for future batches of my famous sugar-free homemade strawberry ice cream. We do have three birthdays and the 4th of July coming up in the next three weeks. Good reasons for homemade ice cream!

Hand-dipped chocolate strawberries. To die for!
I use sugar-free Ross dark chocolate.

The fifth basket was put aside to be enjoyed immediately. And we did. They were perfectly ripened and sweet. I think I'll buy more tomorrow, before the sale ends, for the freezer and for now!

Mark talks to our new across-the-street neighbor.
They've become chummy over the past several weeks.

The Great Outdoors. It's true that I don't get out much, but that doesn't mean I don't love the outdoors. Most of my beloved projects tend to be easier handled indoors: writing my novel, blogging, reading, scrapbooking, sketching, organizing, watching films on Netflix. Not to mention the dreaded daily chores involving dishes, laundry, dusting, vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, scrubbing, preparing meals, and planning menus and shopping expeditions.

But I also love camping, hiking, horseback riding, and just sitting outside absorbing the peace that comes from the sunshine, the wind, the rain, the snow, the trees, the sky, the water, the earth, and nature's creatures. It just seems like everything else in my life drowns out the simpler stuff. That's where Mark makes a difference. He's always been a child of the outdoors, and I can find him in the yard several times a day. Sometimes I find myself out there with him. 

In fact, now that their dad is back in the picture, our kids have decided to coordinate their work schedules so we can have a family camping trip sometime in July. They are extremely excited about spending time together in the great outdoors.

And that's why I love summer.

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