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What I Was Up to this Month-June Edition

July 2, 2014

Where in the world did June go?  I am trying not to panic, knowing the first month of summer is over already.  However, I am intentionally not filling up the fridge with calendars past July, because it only reminds me that school will come again soon.

But why am I talking about school in July?

This happened in June:


Someone turned 9.  We had our first sleep over, complete with Angel Food cake.  Between the cake and the madeleines (see the end of the post), I was baked out.  Instead, we had birthday root beer floats with good root beer.


There was lots of time spent at the pool–playing, scaling trees, celebrating swim season, and swimming.



Don’t Mess with M!! My fierce girl!


We have different emotions about receiving the swim trophies.

The month ended with the arrival of my cousin, Kim, and her boyfriend Kevin.  It helped us finally get out of the neighborhood and go do summer in Austin.  We watched the bats for the first time (ever for the kids) in probably 11 or more years.   I forgot what a thrill it is to watch the bats emerge.






Ripper by Isabel Allende.  Allende is one of my favorite authors, however I just didn’t love this book.  I suspect if it was by another author, I would have thought nothing of it.  Allende was the author though, so I expected the rich imagery I found in her other novels.  At one point, I hoped it was just a poor translation.  It was switch of genre’s for Allende-murder mystery, instead of her usual magical realism/historical fiction mix.

The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Purse by Alan Bradley.  This is the second in the Flavia de Luce series.  I found it as enjoyable as the first book, Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.  I mostly just love the protagonist–Flavia de Luce is a 10 year old girl who loves chemistry, is picked on cruelly by her sisters causing her to plot revenges, and solves mysteries better than the small town police.  The challenge in a series of a detective in a small town is exactly how many murders can really happen in a very small town in short periods of time with a different culprit each time (similar to the challenge the Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny).  This was quite an enjoyable book though and I look forward to reading the third book.

The Age of a Spirit: How an Ancient Spirit is Shaping the Church by Phyllis Tickle.  This was my introduction book into Phyllis Tickle.  While the book wasn’t earth shattering for me, I did enjoy learning the church history around the Trinity and Holy Spirit and was thankful to be pushed to think about the Holy Spirit for a change.

Soil and Sacrament by Fred Bahnson.  I read this book back in March/April and loved it.  In June, SheLoves read this as their book club pick so I took the opportunity to buy the book for myself and read it again.  This remains one of my favorite books, combining two of my favorite things; food and faith.  Love, love, love.

Bringing it to the Table:  On Farming and Food by Wendell Berry.  Bahnson inspired me to finally read Berry’s essays on farming.  I must admit, I didn’t read every essay in this compilation–after a while some of them felt repetitive and to be honest, I was more interested in the food part than the farming part.  There were three essays in the middle I didn’t read.  I found myself simultaneously agreeing with Berry and wondering if maybe he was a bit extreme–suggesting we leave machinery by hand and only farm with actual horsepower (from horses).  Other parts though, I found inspiring, especially the sections on living as a producer/creator and not only a consumer.

Everything Else:


Watching all that soccer on TV meant the boys were dressed and playing soccer by 7:30 in the morning some days.

Once again, I mostly read and talked to people–I did very little TV viewing other than World Cup Soccer.  Messi is now a well-known name in our house.  Music also revolved around the World Cup–I downloaded the FIFA World Cup Mix and found it makes wonderful dance party music.  I think the only movies I watched this month were our Saturday, post-swim-meet movies, the most memorable on being Holes.


This was also a sad month for eating out.  The most exciting food I had was from a food trailer at the Mueller Farmer’s Market.  Mmm…I have no idea what I ordered, but Madeleine and I shared it and both loved it.  It’s been a solid month of the kids and I which doesn’t bode well for exciting eating.  There was that peach shake from PTerry’s….


Tomatoes are in full swing in Texas–our season is considerably earlier than most because when the upper 90’s hit, the tomatoes quit.  I bought 30 lbs of tomatoes from our CSA and canned 20 pints of pasta/pizza sauce.  I also made gazpacho and caprese salad (tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, with a little bit of olive oil and salt).  From our garden, we’re getting tomatoes and a very occasional red pepper (I found those produce better in the fall than the summer for some reason).  I also made a mess of madeleines for someone’s birthday.


The big food news?  A new cookbook.  I checked out Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream from the library because I’ve heard her ice cream is pretty good.  I made two recipes from it:  Backyard Mint Ice Cream and Buckeye Ice Cream and immediately ordered a copy for myself.  Since then I’ve also made Salty Caramel Ice Cream (my favorite I think) and Watermelon Lemonade Sorbet to give to a friend who has a daughter who can’t eat dairy.  Yum.  I must admit, my initial reaction to the book was meh.  Corn syrup in ice cream?  What??  Why would you do that?  However, ice cream is not made to be healthy and that ice cream is so good, I quickly got over my initial dismay.  I also made Smitten Kitchen’s Pretzel Rolls.  Yum.  I didn’t use lye, but stuck to the basic baking soda bath and I was just fine with that.



I’m linking up again this month with Leigh Kramer’s What I’m Into


One Comment leave one →
  1. celiamellinger permalink
    July 2, 2014 10:44 am

    Melanie, your life sounds perfect. I kid–I know it isn’t. But I love hearing about the swimming, baking, reading, and soccer-watching with the kids. We just got a last-minute request from some NC friends to stow their camper-trailer at our house for a few weeks, while they went further in their 4-week summer camping/relative-visiting/music festival attending vacation, and it made me realize how refreshing it is to hang out with people who share priorities of family, community, and summer fun rather than earning money, career success and kids full of scheduled enrichment.

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