Monthly Archives: August 2013

Feeling Blue

Feeling Bue

I snapped this picture a few weeks ago on a day trip to the beach.  I’ve never in my life had the color blue on my nails – hands or feet.  But I thought I would try it out on a whim, intending more to amuse my girls than to be trendy.  And while I’m fairly certain I didn’t rock the polish, it was fun while we were in the throes of summer.  Maggie even painted hers to match.

But now I can’t wait to take it off.  I’m not feeling the blue today – or perhaps today I am feeling blue?  Most likely it’s a little bit of both.

The kids went back to school and the lazy days of summer have once again slipped away.  Don’t get me wrong.  I am beyond ready for the return of some routine and order to the days (not to mention some much-needed order to the house!)  But at the same time, I am sad to have the hectic schedules return and the house to be so quiet, echoing as I type.  As ready as I am for school to start, I love having everyone home together and underfoot – even though it often tests my patience and tolerance for noise and chaos and mess.  And by often I mean daily.

It’s bittersweet, this return to school.  I am sad to lose lazy mornings, afternoons at the pool, family dinners that stretch into evenings of popcorn and board games.  I am sorry to say goodbye to days at the beach, movie nights that start much later than they should, late sleeping teenagers, and pancakes on weekday mornings.  It seems so odd that garage cubbies that were only days ago strewn with beach towels and swim bags now hold cleats and backpacks and gym bags. Calendars that were near empty a week ago are again near full with school and sports commitments, volunteer assignments and carpool dates.  I want to yell, “wait! what just happened?!”  But I don’t think anyone would hear me and the world would certainly not stop at my protests.

The end of summer seems to bring with it such an abrupt shift from relaxed to scheduled, slow to hurried.  And it makes me kind of sad, really.  I am left to wonder, once again, where all the time goes.  I’m reminded to slow down and enjoy life’s blessings. Each day’s bright sunrise should be a gentle nudge for me to be intentional and to delight in all the little joys that fill the day, the week, the month, the season.  Because before I know it, the day is done, the week is over, a new month begins, and the season changes.

Which, when I think about it for too long, leaves me feeling just a little bit blue. Or a lot bit blue. And tired and stressed. So, I think I’ll change the nail polish, find a new color that is more my style, and embrace all there is to love about the return to school, the comfort of routine, jam-packed schedules, and the end of another glorious summer.




Farmers’ Bounty


Farmers' market bounty

Farmers’ market bounty

I love the farmers market this time of year. It abounds with color and beauty and goodness. It just makes me happy walking around, my arms full of beautiful produce and glorious flowers. These days it’s peak season for so many summer fruits and vegetables it’s hard not to buy everything I see. I usually buy more than I intended to, but I can’t help it. I somehow justify the market gluttony by reminding myself (several times) that I am buying vegetables not cupcakes and supporting our local farmers. Both of which are good things.

We are lucky to have the North Carolina State Farmers Market so close by. But there are lots of other smaller farmers markets around too. They are cute, quaint, charming, and equally full of beautiful produce. I am just partial to the “big one.” I like that the farmers literally back their large F-150 pick up trucks right up to the stands and unload their overflowing flat beds. And usually the goods were picked that very morning.  Pre-sunrise, no less.  Got to love those early birds!

This week I came home with delicious tomatoes, perfectly ripe peaches, incredible corn, sweet summer squash and zucchini. While at the peak of perfection, they are nearing the end of their season, so we are enjoying them all while we can.

Here are a few things I made with the goods I brought home:

Peach crisp.  Seasonal perfection and that’s all there is to say about that.

The southern delicacy: a perfect and simple tomato sandwich. Ridiculously good and so easy a 7-year-old could do it.

Farmer’s Market Pasta, which is a very close cousin of kitchen sink pasta.  Which is a second cousin once removed from my grandmother’s vegetable soup.  Family food trees can be so complicated.

But I digress … Find a farmer’s market near you and enjoy the rest of summer’s produce.  Or at least have a conversation with a local farmer. They are full of personality and character and they are more than happy to brag about their bounty, or the weather predictions for the upcoming season, or the mischief their hound dog got into the day before.  I promise you will leave with a smile on your face and in a good mood.  And that alone is worth the trip.

Heavenly Tomato Sandwiches

Tomato Sandwich

I am not sure there is anything more perfect than a tomato sandwich in the middle of summer. Unless, of course, you don’t like tomatoes. And that would just be wrong (ahem…and I am not singling out any certain husbands). Tomatoes are the jewels of the gardens in so many backyards this time of year.  And this sandwich is the beloved delicacy we wait for all year long…most likely because it is so incredibly hot that any meal that can be prepared without the added heat of an oven is cause for celebration.  If you haven’t had one of these babies, then you’d best get on it.  Because, bless your heart, you are missing out.

Here’s what you need.

Old fashioned white bread.  The very kind that makes you feel like you are doing something wrong when buying it.  Wonder, Merita, Texas toast –  it does not matter. The squishier and softer, the better. Do not waste your time (or your tomatoes for Heaven’s sake) on low-calorie or wheat bread.  It will not be the same.

Mayo.  And a big ‘ol slather of it.  Pick your favorite one and go to town.  Spread it all over your illegal white bread. Do not feel guilty.

Tomatoes.  Here’s the important part.  These need to be picked straight from your garden or grabbed at the farmers’ market.  Period.  There is no substitute for a garden-fresh, homegrown tomato. They often don’t look perfect.  But perfect appearances are overrated, don’t you think?  They may be misshapen or the coloring may be varied.  But that is what makes them so good! These jewels of summer are hard to beat.  Your grocery store ones may be pretty, but they won’t taste as good.

Finish with fresh ground pepper and a little bit of salt.  Let your masterpiece sit a few minutes until some of the juice from the tomatoes meets up with the mayo and the bread.  They will get married and live happily ever after.  Simple. Delicious. Perfection.

The End.