July 29, 2011

Week In The Life 2011 - Wed & Thurs

I'm still enjoying capturing a week in our life this year and reflecting on how wonderfully different it is from the last time I did it. If you missed my Monday and Tuesday recap, check it out here. And for your viewing pleasure, here are a few of my favorite snaps from Wednesday and Thursday:

More morning smiles - really the best way to start any day!

I love how this picture shows my perspective while driving- always glancing back to check on those sweet cheeks

A successful trip to the grocery store

A quick lunch before heading off to our playdate
 (I have cute pics of the playdate too, but not sharing here as I didn't ask permission of the other mamas!)

mmm breakfast

One of our many ways to play - he's a bit of a narcissist really ;)

More cuddles and playtime
I think it's important to capture the ordinary along the extraordinary parts of our everyday 

Hudson is just (barely) figuring out the jolly jumper, he mostly likes to just hang there

Happy when he realizes it's daddy taking him out of the car - after daddy being gone for a couple of days

paper goodness from the Paperie

new recipe ...  kale chips ... recipe will be shared next week
sweet sleepy boy
Hope your week is shaping up nicely too.

July 28, 2011

Pinterest Scrapped!

Have you heard of Pinterest? It's kind of my newest addiction. I think it's probably a good thing that I have a child to feed, change, bathe and play with as I would otherwise spend way too much time on there!

For those who haven't ventured into the world of Pinterest, it's essentially an online bulletin board where you can 'pin', or save, photos you find online all in one place on 'boards'. So whether it's a recipe you'd like to try, clothes you're itching to buy, a home decor look you love, an inspirational poster, or whatever else tickles your fancy really, you can now save it all in one convenient online place for reference. You just install a little 'Pin It' button on your menu bar and whenever you find something you'd like to pin, you click it to pin it - easy peasy lemon squeezy!

Yeah, yeah you say, I can already do that with bookmarks and favourites and such, what's the big deal? Well there are a few cool features that I think make Pinterest far superior to bookmarks and favourites menus:

1. When you pin an picture - let's say of a delicious coconut cream pie - your pin automatically saves the original website with it so you can go back to the source - or the recipe - quickly and easily.

2. You can repin items that other pinners have pinned. Basically, you can look at what images have recently been pinned on the site and if you like it you can repin it onto one of your own boards. AND it still saves the original source website so you can still easily find that recipe, tutorial or give proper photo cred when needed.

3. You can follow other pinners who share similar tastes and interests as you, or who otherwise inspire you. The when you login, you can go right to the boards you follow and check out what they've pinned recently, which very likely will be things you like and quite possibly things you may not have otherwise come across during your travels around the huge worldwide web. Neat hey?

4. You can create as many boards as you like, allowing you to pin like items together, themed if you will. You can then easily refer back to your inspirations at a glance rather than having to sort back through bunches of bookmarked pages in your favourites menu. Way quicker, way easier.

If you can't tell, I really enjoy the site. I could spend hours (if I had hours to spend that is) just wading through the recent pins, there's so much cool stuff out there. Even though I don't have oodles of time, I do have a bunch of different boards around my many (p)interests - one for scrapbook layouts, one for fashion, one for cardmarking, one for home decor, another for recipes and so on. I have pinned a bunch of pics that inspire me and just last week used one of those pins to create a scrapbook layout.

Journaling reads: Hudson, so many people were eager to meet you. You were snuggled and cuddled and held close.
Still so new to the world, yet already so very loved. April 2010.
EDIT: Hudson was born in 2011 ... will change that on layout!
I saw this and thought it would be the perfect way to scrapbook a page about all the people who came to meet Hudson during his first week. I pretty much copied it exactly and loved the way it turned out - great way to fit a bunch of pictures on one 12x12 page in a layout that totally suits the story I wanted to tell.

Whatever you're into, I'm sure Pinterest would be valuable. It would be a great resource for planning a wedding or a kids birthday party. I can totally see myself pinning kids crafts and games and such as Hudson gets older. Perfect for storing those home design and decor pics if you're planning a reno. If you've not yet gone into the world of Pinterest, I encourage you to try it.

July 27, 2011

Week in the Life

You may recall I wrote about finally finishing my 2010 Week in the Life album here ... and even though it took me until 2011 to complete, I'm so glad to have it. Already looking back at it shows how so much can change in so little time - uhm baby anyone?

This week, I'm again joining Ali Edwards in documenting a Week in the Life 2011. I'm not sure I'm going to use the digital templates this go around ... maybe, maybe not. I'm also not sure I'm going to focus on the time theme she's chosen throughout, maybe on one or two days. Overall, I just plan to capture what life looks like for us Right Now.

So far, a few of my favorite photos from the last couple of days that show our everyday life around here are:

Love that I finally need sunscreen after many rainy days

Nothing like those `good morning`smiles as I peer in over the crib

Daddy and boy, enjoying a snack break in the sun

I can`t get enough of those baby blues!

So typical - walking and working at the same time

Enjoying some fro-yo with fresh strawberries for dessert, on the deck in the sun to boot!

Hanging out back with the fam, enjoying the boys first fire in the pit

All smiles for the diaper change, holding Sophie tight

What mornings look like around here these days: boy plays on his beloved bee mat while mama sits close by
enjoying a coffee, checking emails and of course chatting with him

Enjoying some tummy time and building up those arm muscles for crawling

At Bowring Park for a hike with a bunch of other mamas and babes

Reading time (note the naked babe and fan nearby, it was a hot afternoon!)

And for fear someone think I have an ever-pleasant child, here`s the typical `Feed Me Now` face
Of course, those are just a few snaps out of the hundreds taken over the last few days, but they give a good look at the everyday around here Right Now.

What does your everyday look like?

July 26, 2011

Pull Up Your Peonies

For anyone who grows peonies, you know how difficult it can be to keep those beauties upright once they start to bloom. The gorgeous big flowers are just too heavy for the stems and they droop forward and/or, as in our case, often lay on the ground. We tried the wire hoop things from the gardening centres without much luck. We've strung them up with heavy strings and household wires to no avail. They've always just drooped and looked pooped. That is until this weekend when my ever-creative hubby came up with this ingenious solution:

Yes, that is a old wooden chair you see in our garden. We have a bunch of these in our attic. While some are waiting for a home in our hall/entryway, this one has made a home in our garden. It holds up the peonies wonderfully and blends in perfectly with the rustic (aka grassy-n-weedy) garden and clapboard-sided home.

I love it!  

July 25, 2011

Shop Local

I love shopping. Full stop. To wit, this scrapbook page made about my outlet shopping excursion south of the border during my honeymoon (and yes, this was after I spent a week in NYC!). I got off to a slow start on that trip, but quickly made up for lost time as you can see from the various clothing tags used on the page as embellishments and (perhaps more obviously) all the bags stuffed into the trunk of the car!

But what I love most about this page is that the background is actually a bag from Johnny Ruth, a local clothing store. When I got that bag with its pretty sketch, I immediately thought it would make a nice addition to a scrapbook page. I held onto it for a long while before it found the perfect home on a page about shopping.

I love that I was able to recycle the bag rather than throw it out and I love that it is from a local store because as much as I love shopping, I love shopping local even more. Fortunately, St. John`s offers some great local stores. A few of my current favorites include:

Johnny Ruth - While I`m not in the market for much more than sweats and t-shirts these days (mat leave pay + spit-up + poo  ≠ splurging on fun, trendy clothing), I do love the cute selection of ethically made, quality clothing. Even if I`m not buying right now, the window displays alone are always an inspiration for colour, texture and style. If you`ve never been, be sure to drop by their store on Water Street when you get the chance.

Bellies and Bundles - I first discovered Bellies and Bundles when I was pregnant and was instantly grateful. First, their selection of maternity wear (hence Bellies) was exactly what I needed for both work and play. While a little pricier than the mainstream maternity store, the quality and style of their clothes was waaay better. Waaaay better. I needed only a few key pieces to mix and match and I was good to go. Now, their selection of eco-friendly and natural baby products (hence Bundles) make great additions to our family. And the service and product knowledge is always excellent. I would have been lost trying to decide on a carrier without it. I ended up with the Cybex one seen here and love it (also available in blue, black and red!). Visit them on Torbay Road today!

GingerSnap - Another baby store, this one downtown on Water Street, offering a great selection of natural and stylish products for wee ones. I particularly like their selection of toys and onesies. In fact, we have our eye on a great vintage-style toy for the little guy for Christmas. And like Bellies and Bundles, the service is awesome.

The Rocket - For the foodie in you, drop by the Rocket. You`ll find it where Auntie Crae`s used to be on Water Street. I love the double Americano with a slice of quiche or perhaps an almond filled croissant or a hunk of the honey carrot loaf or maybe a fresh ginger cookie or ... ah, who am I kidding, all the treats are tasty and best enjoyed in the fresh, bright common area. Pull up a chair or curl up in the window seat perfect for people watching and you`re all set. I`ve also picked up bread for home and wholeheartedly vouch for the multigrain and the cracked black pepper foccaccia. I`m eager to try the olive bread as well. And for my gluten free friends, you can stock up on great quinoa and gluten-free products anytime and they offer almost-wheatless-Wednesdays.

Lesters Farms - And of course, Lesters is the place for fresh produce and locally grown goods. Right now, you can stock up on spinach, assorted lettuce and other greens and yummy summer sweet strawberries at the u-pick (or already picked if you`re in a hurry!). Before long, you`ll see root veggies on the shelves, the corn husks growing high and pumpkins piling up in the patch. Fun for families and foodies!

The Paperie - Finally, as a scrapbooker, I`d be remiss to not mention the Paperie. They always have the latest and greatest of supplies in stock and if they don`t have what you`re looking for, just ask, they can usually order it in for you. I can just browse the racks of pretty papers, stamps and inks though more often than not I walk out with an item or two (or three or more!). I also love their classes where they showcase new products and techniques. If you`re new to scrapbooking, try an intro class and before long you`ll be browsing the shelves and snapping up the latest goods too.

So, while I do shop the malls, the outlets, online and pretty much anywhere I can, I love to shop local too. Do you?

July 19, 2011

The Help: A Review

The Help by Kathyrn Stockett,, set in the early 1960s, explores the racial divide between the black domestic help and the white households they serve. Written from the perspectives of three very different women - Skeeter, a young white woman fresh out of college; Aibileen, an older black maid whose wisdom is rivaled only by her heart; and, Minny, a young black maid who takes no crap from anyone except her husband Leroy - the story weaves together their lives and the risks they're willing to take to make a difference.

Skeeter is intelligent and different than most of her southern belle friends. She's unmarried and possesses a desire to do something with her life, though her mother would prefer her to become the next Housewife of Jackson instead. As she resumes playing bridge in the homes of her friends waited on by their help, Skeeter realizes she can no longer stay ambivalent about the world around her. Nostalgic for the black maid who raised her and suddenly disappeared, though it is seemingly only Skeeter who doesn't know where she is or why she's gone and no one will tell her, Skeeter believes there's a story to be told about the life of black 'help' in Jackson, Mississippi.

Through her work at the local paper writing a domestic advice column, she strikes up a semi-friendship with, Aibileen, the maid of a friend of hers. Initially, Aibileen provides the answers to common household cleaning questions, though Skeeter gets around to asking her to help write the story she wants to tell. Resistant but forever changed by the loss of her son and from a lifetime of raising white babies, Aibileen agrees. Along the way, she brings her friend Minny - who`s been fired from almost every house she`s worked in - into the fold. Even Minny, who infamously can`t hold her tongue, is initially reluctant to help out on the book, but she sees the future of her black children being no different than her present if she doesn`t. Hiding from the world around them, the three woman work together despite the risk to each of their lives to tell the real story of what it`s like working for white women in the southern US in 1962.

As the book unfolded, I found myself keenly interested in how it would all play out. I was eager to find out, good or bad, what would become of these women if, once the book was finished. The Help certainly played up the household life that was in the 1960s, the outward segregation of white and black inside the home while reflecting the quiet intimacy that also existed between some white families and their maids. There is quite a bit of juxtaposition throughout Stockett`s writing, including the blatant irony in how white women trusted their black maids to feed, bathe and raise their white babies while refusing to let them eat at the same table or use the same toilets.

I`d like to say that this behaviour is of a time passed, but unfortunately not. There may no longer be the same inequality between black and white as there was then, but discriminations in many a form live on. In fact, as the pages turned I found myself thinking about how too many states still do not allow gay and lesbian marriage and wondering when I will read a book that reflects back on this as a bygone era. Sadly, that won`t be soon enough. But I digress.

I did find the story of the racial inequality interesting and well laid out with a good balance of truth, humour and sadness. Though I was most struck by a realization Skeeter has near the end that was less about black and white and more about people in general. In conversation with another white woman with whom she`s acquainted but never really known, Skeeter suddenly sees how alike they are even though on the surface they seem to live very different lives. I re-read those sentences a couple of times letting them sink in, realizing that`s what I enjoyed so much about the book and it`s reflection on life. Whether black or white, old or young, gay or straight, university or life educated, employed or not, we`re all just women living our lives trying to do and be the best we can. Why we have such difficulty seeing that in the world around us is hard to fathom.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the characters in the book, particularly the three main characters. They`re heartwarming, likeable, and real. You feel for them as they undertake the biggest risk of their respective lives and root for their courage. They make you remember that we can all make a difference in some way if we so choose. I also enjoyed how the story unfolded in a way that most novels about segregation don`t, steering away from the usual violence. With only subtle references to the realities of segregation in the 1960s, The Help takes place quietly in kitchens around Jackson where words are whispered and some semblance of so-called politeness is attempted to be upheld. It makes for a different, perhaps more feminine, view of the change that`s gonna come.

One of our book club`s summer reads that came highly recommended to me, I can happily highly recommend to you in return.

July 18, 2011

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Unfortunately, a friend of ours recently lost a loved one. To show we were thinking of her and her family, I made up a batch of lemon poppy seed muffins and boxed them up for her. Having been through this experience myself, having food around and ready makes life a whole lot easier.

I also think that muffins are a good food gift, whatever the reason for giving - a new home, welcome to the neighbourhood, new baby, the holidays or, as in this case, a death in the family. In almost any of these situations, you can end up with an abundance of food, so muffins make a good snack or breakfast choice balancing out the rest of the casseroles and dinnertime meals you tend to receive (and appreciate!). They're easy to eat on the run, good for when time needs to be spent dealing with more important things than cooking and eating. You also don't need to have a mega-appetite to eat one and they go perfectly with a comforting cup of tea. And of course, they freeze well so if you have more food on hand than you know what to do with, you can pop them in the freezer to enjoy whenever you're ready for them.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

This recipe is from Chatelaine and makes very tasty, abundant muffins. In fact, the recipe yield is supposedly 12, but I upped to 15 and still ended up with sizeable muffins. The only thing I'd try differently next time is adjusting something to make them a little more moist. Not that they're dry, I just prefer a slightly moister muffin.

These actually don't require a lot of ingredients and most you'd likely have on hand.

2 lemons
1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp poppy seeds
1 egg
1-1/4 cups milk (I used buttermilk)
1/4 cup melted butter

While you preheat your oven to 375F and after you've lined your muffin cups, zest both lemons. Mix half of the zest with 2 tablespoons sugar and set aside to top muffins later on.

Then squeeze juice from both lemons. It helps to do this over a mesh strainer to catch the wayward seeds and pulp that's bound to come out. You should end up with 1/2 cup juice from both lemons. If you have more, just measure up the 1/2 cup amount and then stir in remaining lemon zest. If you have less, you can either used the bottled stuff to top up or increase milk accordingly to account for difference.

Mix your flour, remaining sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and poppy seeds in a large mixing bowl.

In another bowl, or in my case a measuring cup, whisk egg first and then whisk in milk, lemon juice and melted butter. Make sure to temper in your butter if it's still hot, you don't want any cooked egg in your battah! And of course, the milk may curdle when it hits the lemon juice, just as it would if you were making a buttermilk substitute.

Stir your egg mixture into flour mixture just until combined. Resist the urge to over stir, it makes muffins tougher, chewier and/or drier. Perhaps I should mix less next myself ... hmmm.

please excuse the mess... I keep meaning to get an ice cream scoop so my muffin-cup filling is a little easier and tidier!
Spoon (or scoop if you've got one) into muffin cups, which as you can see are full to the top and I still made three extra muffins! If you like a smaller muffin, you could get up to 18 no problem. If you like a larger muffin, go crazy and make 12. Top with the reserved lemon zest/sugar mix and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. In my oven it was 20 minutes even.

Cool in pan for 5 minutes before  transferring to cake rack to finish cooling completely. Store in airtight container for up to two days or freeze for later indulgence.

And of course enjoy one right away while still slightly warm :)

July 17, 2011

Simple Things - Strawberries

Most of the year, the only strawberries available around these parts are the ones shipped in from some strawberry farm. While good at filling the out-of-season void, they don`t even come close to the ``real``, small, sweet, juicy strawberries that symbolize summer. Such a simple thing.

What made you smile this week?

July 15, 2011

Savouring The Moment

Just a moment I want to remember. Walking and dancing with the boy, brightening an otherwise dreary day.

July 14, 2011

A New Suppertime Staple

Every family has 'em. Those treasured recipes that get pulled out week after week usually because they're either quick, easy, or tasty-as-in-everyone-loves-'em. Better again if it meets all three criteria! I refer to these as my suppertime staples. The recipes I can count on every time to get a warm, home-cooked, usually healthy, meal on the table in short order. Now that we have the boy around, having an assortment of these in the recipe file has become even more important, so my tastebuds were pleasantly surprised to find another one to add to the rotation last night: Chicken with Zucchini and Mushrooms.

Oddly enough, I realized I don`t have any cooking photos of most of our suppertime staples to share. I have plenty of the various new recipes and more complex endeavours of tried, just not of the ones we return to again and again. I guess that`s because they`re the ones we cook up after work, after the gym or when we are otherwise in a hurry. Same applies to this new discovery...I whipped it up close to 7pm last night as bellies grumbled and a teary-eyed baby fussed nearby in a bouncy chair. Needless to say grabbing the camera to snap photos wasn`t high on the priority list. Soothing my child and my stomach simultaneously was.

Fortunately, most of our fave recipes are found online where someone else has taken the time grab a snap and I can share the link to the recipe and the photo instead. I highly recommend giving these suppertime staples a try:

Chicken with Zucchini and Mushrooms: This one literally took about 20 minutes, including prep time. I modified slightly to make it a little healthier by cutting back on the oil, as a little sesame oil can go a long way for flavour, and I used water to finishing steaming the veggies once they were browned. I also added in a few green onions that I had figuring they would go well with the Asian flavours - and I was right. The only other change I`d make next time is using a better quality soya sauce rather than the run-of-the-mill cheapo grocery store one I had on hand.

(Skillet) Chicken Parmesan: Though not a traditional chicken Parmesan dish in preparation, it is a very tasty version. So tasty that I say it easily rivals many a traditional version. You`ll note the recipe calls for making your own tomato sauce, which I have done and it is quite good. However, I`ve also cut the cooking time down by using a favourite store-bought jar of tomato sauce with almost equally tasty results. Again, this is not intended to be gourmet Italian cuisine, but a tried and true suppertime staple, so for me the jar o sauce is a-ok. Though I still add in the wine and extra garlic, as you can really never have too much of either of those ;)

Grocery Cart Chicken Chili: This is one of several recipes from Janet & Greta Podleski`s cookbook series that is always on our stove. Even in the summertime heat, we`re known to crave the sweet chili heat. Now this one isn`t necessarily quick, but it is worth the effort. It also doubles and triples nicely (I have a dirty big cast iron dutch oven that holds a triple batch perfectly) and freezes up superbly, so of course come the fall we`ll cook up a triple batch in almost the same time as a single, then freeze the rest to enjoy for weeks on end.

This one I actually have in a cookbook!

so yummy!

Winter Minestrone: Another hearty dish perfect for those chilly autumn evenings that also doubles up and freezes very well, this one courtesy of Giada. I often omit the white potato in this dish and add in more beans to compensate for the bulk. Healthier and the beans freeze better.

Sausage and Pepper Orzo: For those of you looking for a new summertime staple, I encourage you to try this one on for size. So simple yet so good. I also often bypass the grill on this one and saute the veg and sausage instead. You do lose the smoky grill taste, but it is still very very very good. Even if cooking for two, I make the full batch of this and enjoy the leftovers al fresco the next day for lunch.

What about you, what are your family`s suppertime staples?

July 13, 2011

Soy Far Soy Good

I've put off writing an update to this post mostly out of fear I'll jinx it all. I'm a little superstitious like that (I come by it naturally, just ask my mother who won't cross a fork and knife on a plate and awaits company any time the broom handle crosses the doorway). Anyhow, out of courtesy for those who have been following along, I figured I should throw caution to the wind a let y'all know how things are going with the little man and his tummy these days.

As mentioned here, we switched the little guy to soy formula somewhere around 8.5 weeks old and saw an improvement the very same day. He actually slept for a little over two hours that afternoon (cue chorus of angels), a first for him since his first week of life. However, after a few days the improvement plateaued and even seemed to decline a bit, hence the trip to the ER. There we were scheduled to meet with a pediatrician, which we did somewhere around 10.5 weeks, give or take a few days.

Through the jigs and the reels, the pediatrician ruled out the ERs guesses of colic, acid reflux, and UTI and concluded that there was likely a sensitivity to milk. He also noted that it's likely something Hudson will outgrow by the time we're ready to introduce real milk to his diet, which was the case for all the others in or family as well.I must interject here how great the doctor was. He was thorough, patient, interested and kind. We didn't feel rushed or like we were just being over-concerned first-time parents. We were able to ask questions and get real answers. So while we were already on the right track in dealing with the issue, using the soy based formula, it was reassuring to hear an experienced medical professional say so.  His advice was essentially to keep calm and carry on, allowing the boy more time to adjust and settle out on the soy.

While keeping calm on no sleep was a challenge, we did carry on, successfully. After about 2.5 weeks on soy formula, the little man started to sleep. And by sleep, I mean like you expect a baby of his age to sleep. Maybe even a little better. We can put him down sometime between 8-9pm and he's good for about 6 hours, up for a fresh diaper and a bottle and back down within about 30 minutes for another 2-3 hours (cue chorus of angels again). He still squirms to no end, sometimes almost spinning a 360 in the crib, and often works his way out of a tightly wrapped and securely velcroed swaddle, but his groaning and grunting has pretty much disappeared.

Yes, there are times between feedings where he's unsettled in the night and needs the pacifier stuck back in or the swaddle adjusted, but overall he's significantly improved. Seriously, the more consistent sleep pattern, even if broken, is like heaven on earth for this momma. I can actually function during the day. Heck I even started running again this week, something I couldn't even muster the energy to think about before now, let alone do.

So (with fingers, toes, and eyes crossed to mitigate any potential jinxing) I happily report, soy far soy good.

A bonus of introducing formula, is that dad gets to enjoy some feeding time cuddles too :)

July 12, 2011

Making the Most of Summer

There's something about the summer that boosts the spirit and relaxes the soul. I find myself more willing to abandon chores and savour the moments. I guess it's the boost of Vitamin D and warmth of the sun's rays. Or perhaps it's just knowing that summer in these parts is so short-lived. Either way, I plan to make the most of the next couple of months and enjoy the warm summer days and long summer nights. Here are few of the things on my summer to-do list:

1. A few more Saturday mornings at The Rocket with my men. So love that they kept the common area from when it was Auntie Crae's and that they serve the sweet pastries, rich coffee and savory treats.

Having a yarn over coffee, sweets and the weekend paper. Love.
2. Some hiking with the boy on board in his new carrier and sporting the SPF gear we picked up for him downtown.

some cute in the spf stuff :)
3. A visit to the Ferryland Lighthouse. It's an annual tradition for D & I that I'm eager to continue now that we are three.

The food is delish, the view amazing and the experience just wonderful. A must-do for tourists and locals alike.
4. Sitting around the fire in our backyard with wine in hand, at least once (or twice or thrice, now that would be nice!).

We have a different fire pit these days, but the experience is the same.
5. Our first official roadtrip with the little guy.

6. A visit to the beach.

7. Introducing Hudson to swimming at the pool. I'm thinking our visit to the beach/the ocean might be a bit cold for his first experience!.

8. Completing my first post-baby 10km run. I survived a 5km one with some walking on the weekend and enjoyed another 5km yesterday, shaving a couple of minutes of my weekend time, so easy as she goes on this one.

9. Scrapbooking a few pages about the little man. Perfect rainy day activity.

10. Reading. I'm already well underway with this, almost finished The Help by Kathyrn Stockett and enjoying it immensely.

11. An out-of-province excursion, complete with Hudson's first plant ride and catching up with great friends.

12. Lots of dining al fresco on the deck with my hubby.

Again, we have a new BBQ these days, but the experience is the same!
I'm sure there will be many other wonderful experiences woven among these as well, making summer as full and complete as I'm hoping it will be. What about you, what's on your summer to do list? How do you plan to make the most of the short-lived long summer days?