Tag Archives: summer vacation

If We Were Having Coffee…Sunshine and Sand

If we were having coffee this Saturday you would have had to travel a bit further southeast to find me here at the Jersey Shore (and, BTW, the “Jersey Shore” we go to is nothing like the TV show, not even a little).

Miss Dee and I are enjoying our annual girls weekend at the beach. Today’s plan involves no plans at all, going with the flow and totally relaxing. We left the boys at home. They have tickets to a Phillies game tonight so they don’t really mind.

If we were having coffee we could sit by the pool and enjoy the sunshine. The beach is about a block away so we could even walk down there and watch the waves. The condo we stay in here, thoughtfully shared by my husband’s stepmom, is in the quiet, family friendly area of Wildwood Crest. The beach is huge but at this time of the year it can get still get rather crowded. Since Miss Dee and I like to have space we go to the beach in the morning and pool in the afternoon so let me get right to catching you up on my week.

If we were having coffee I would tell you that STEAM camp this week went very well. The children enjoyed learning about Inventions and Inventors. We designed new cars and got to see a cool demonstration by a Tesla Model X car. We learned about the advantages of electric vehicles and it even “danced” for us, flashing its lights and opening and closing its wing doors in time with music!

The campers made hydrological elevators with Popsicle sticks, created their own board game, learned about lasers and really got into the Invention Scavenger Hunt we put together. It was an exhausting but fun week.

If we were having coffee I would invite you to put on your swimsuit and accompany us to the beach. We can continue our chat, have a swim, do some people watching and just relax! I’m so glad you stopped by. After you’ve brushed off the sand, visit Eclectic Ali, our Coffee Share host and catch up with the rest of the Coffee Crew.

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Reviving the Summer Bucket List

For the past thirteen years I have worked at a job that allows me to have the summers off. This is a treat, of course, but it can also seem daunting to someone like me, who thrives on routine. I found that instead of being productive with my time, I was wandering around half-doing a lot of stuff with no direction or plan. A few years ago, I decided to try a little experiment. I called it my “Summer Bucket List” and you know what? It really worked! I wasn’t able to finish everything on the list but it did keep me motivated and focused and when September rolled around, I was able to see exactly what I did with my time off.

Last summer I dropped the (beach)ball and never got around to making my list. As a result chaos reined from June to August. I reached September feeling exhausted but not quite sure why. This summer I’m getting back on track!

Some of the items on this list are repeats from summers past, either because they were not accomplished that year or, they were so much fun, I wanted to do them again! I update it regularly and mark it with a star once it’s complete. If an item is something that I need to do multiple times, it gets a star for each time I accomplish that task. Anything marked with a (c) is something that makes me a bit nervous or is something I tend to procrastinate about and will therefore be more of a challenge to accomplish.

Yesterday was my last day of work so I am taking this weekend to reset myself to “summer mode. Come Monday (late)morning I’m set to go!

Wish me luck!

SUMMER BUCKET LIST 2019

  1. Have one lunch date a week with a friend or family member
  2. Paint the living room and kitchen
  3. Organize my growing pile of photographs (c)
  4. Visit the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia to see their Marvel Exhibit
  5. Visit the nearby Grounds for Sculpture (I’ve never been!)
  6. Walk on the beach as often as I can.
  7. Visit a winery
  8. Go to the theater to see at least 4 movies or plays
  9. Have a picnic meal
  10. Spend some time on a boat in a lake or the ocean
  11. Go zip-lining (c)
  12. Go up in a hot air balloon (c)
  13. Catch up on annual dentist and doctor visits
  14. Spend time working (playing) in my art room creating at least every other day.
  15. Continue a daily routine of either yoga or some other form of exercise
  16. Complete work on Inventors scavenger hunt for STEAM camp (post to follow)
  17. Take a train ride
  18. Write at least one blog post per week and finishing my “Adventures in Hollywood” series
  19. Spend time each day reading other blogs, getting inspired and keeping up with what my blog friends are up to.
  20. Relax! Enjoy the simple things and be a little lazy.:)

READY, SET, GO!

If We Were Having Coffee…Prelude to Summer.

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If we were having coffee on this fine breezy morning in Southern New Jersey, I would probably start off with “Hey, remember me?!” It’s been a while since my last coffee post or any post of any kind.  Why return now, you might ask? Well I work in an elementary school and because that wonderful thing called “summer break” is almost upon us, I now find myself with more time to do fun stuff, like blog writing and blog reading.  I can’t wait to catch up with the many things that have been going on with you all!

So lets chat! What’s been up with you?

Seen any good movies lately? (went to see ENDGAME few weeks ago. LOVED IT!!! It needs an entire post of it’s own so stay tuned).

Read any good books? (Just finished “Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens. Excellent read.  I highly recommend.)

Gone on any new adventures? (Hubby and I are in the midst of planning a trip to New Orleans to celebrate our 25th Wedding anniversary which was on May 21st. The trip will happen in November when the weather is more agreeable!)

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This cutie is enjoying having us around more too. She is such a social cat that I think she might be part dog!!!

How’s life been treating you and your family? Our family is doing well.  Mr D is wading his way through “adulting,” working in one of our neighborhood schools and taking classes towards getting his certification to teach special education. He was also best-man in his friend’s wedding a few weeks ago which was fun for all of us to see!

Miss Dee has bravely conquered her junior year of college and is enjoying her well earned break.  She has also started seeing an anxiety counselor which is really helping her get a hold of her stress levels. It is helping her focus on all the wonderful things about her like her creativity and compassion. Having all her friends back home for the summer really adds to her joy as well!

As for the D-Man and I, with the kids no longer being kids, we are enjoying more and more  time as a couple including a weekend at the beach and dinners at new resturants.  I think it’s shaping up to be a pretty good summer around here.  I hope the same holds true at your house.

I’m off to read some other Coffee Share Posts. Stop by and visit Eclectic Alie, see what she is up to and visit the rest of the Weekend Coffee Share.

 

If We Were Having Coffee…7/16/17

Good morning!

If we were having coffee today you would find me lounging at the kitchen table still in my jammies, hair all askew and my coffee cup within reach. Hope you’re okay with that because I am now in full summer mode. For we school employees, that means that “run-around-and-get-all-your-errands-done-Sunday” becomes “stay-in-your-pajamas-and-have-some-more-coffee-Sunday,”

School officially ended on June 16th so it’s taken me a month to finally get to this point. For two weeks, at the end of June and the second week in July, I was preparing for and working at STEAM camp. Whew! What a lot of work, but it went really well and the kids had a great time. Here is Miss Dee and a “friend” modeling one of the photo boards I made….

In between camp weeks, I was preparing and finishing up art work and projects for the second week and celebrating July fourth so now, this weekend is what feels like my first real weekend off. The first few days my brain was in relaxation heaven! Ahh!  Just not having anything nagging at the back of my brain was wonderful. Welcome to the mind of an obsessive, over thinker!

So…

If we were (finally) having coffee this morning I would pour you a cup, offer a donut and ask, “How the heck have you been?” I would ask about books you might be reading, movies you might have seen and activities you might be involved in? I would also inquire about your work or projects and any challenges you might be having there or with life in general? I hope they are few and far between.

My last coffee share highlighted my first whirlwind week of summer break. That was fun, but crazy! My biggest highlight since then was this Wednesday night. Miss Dee and I went to see Ed Sheeran in concert! Her birthday (number 19) is tomorrow so the tickets were a present from her dad and I. The D-man was kind enough to act as our chauffeur since I don’t drive in the city (it’s better for everyone, believe me) but I got to enjoy the concert with her. What a great show! She has been a huge fan of  his for years but I was only familiar with a few of his songs. Now I’m a huge fan too. This was Miss Dee’s first ever concert and it couldn’t have been a better experience. She is not a big fan of crowds and noise but Ed seems to have a very eclectic fan base, both young and old, so we were surrounded by a pretty tame crowd and since it is only him and his guitar on stage, the noise level wasn’t the same as most other concerts I’ve attended! We really had a blast dancing and singing along and I’m so glad she chose to share this memory with me!

In other news, Mr D was down for the count with strep throat last week. His temp reached 103! I know it’s just the bodies way of getting rid of an infection, but high temperatures  freak me out! He missed almost a full week of work and spent most of his time curled up on the couch while I tried to force food and juice on him! Even at 21 years old, he is still my baby when he gets sick! Thankfully, he is back to normal and actually just got home from the beach himself last night.

He and Miss Dee are enjoying having all their friends home on college break. I love having the crowd back around too (except when they come and go in the wee hours and hubby and I are trying to sleep)!

Okay, If we were having coffee, I would probably feel the need to get on with my day by now. The first few weeks of summer have been too crazy to even bother looking at my Bucket List, all though I’ve checked off a few things without even trying. So maybe I’ll take a look at that today….or tomorrow. Mostly I guess, I should put on some clothes, brush my teeth and try to be productive!

Thanks so much for stopping by. Hope your weeks is awesome! Don’t forget to visit either  Nerd in the Brain or Part Time Monster (the ladies are co-hosting this week) so you can check out the rest of the Coffee Share Posts! 

The 2017 Summer Bucket List

Woo-hoo! It’s that time again….

For the past eleven years I have worked at a job that allows me to have the summers off. This is a treat, of course, but it can also seem daunting to someone like me, who thrives on routine. I found that instead of being productive with my time, I was wandering around half-doing a lot of stuff with no direction or plan. A few years ago, I decided to try a little experiment. I called it my “Summer Bucket List” and you know what? It really worked! I wasn’t able to finish everything on the list but it did keep me motivated and focused and when September rolled around, I was able to see exactly what I did with my time off.

Naturally, I was ready to make another handy dandy bucket list this summer!* Several of the items on my 2017 list are repeats from other summers, either because they were not accomplished that year or, they were so much fun, I wanted to do them again! Anything marked with a (c) is something that makes me a bit nervous or is something I tend to procrastinate about and will therefore be more of a challenge to accomplish. My last day of school is this Friday, June 16th so that means that on June 17th I’ll be off and running! Wish me luck!

BEHOLD THE 2017 SUMMER BUCKET LIST!!

1. Take at least six day trips (parks, beach, etc)⭐️
2. Clean out and organize the household file cabinet⭐️
3. Repaint the living room walls
4. Travel some where by train
5. Ride a train into the city (c)
6. Create at least six art projects⭐️⭐️
7. Visit at least 2 museums
8. Take care of some “self maintenance” by catching up on yearly physicals.⭐️
9. Clean out and update the kitchen pantry. ⭐️
10. Go canoeing or kayaking
11. Have at least six lunch dates with friends or family⭐️⭐️
12. Go zip-lining (c)
13. Walk on the beach⭐️
14. Have a picnic somewhere next to the water
15. Have a romantic weekend away with my Hubby
16. Join a book club and attend meetings monthly⭐️
17. Maintain my newly planted herb garden and use the herbs often (c)
18. Attend the theater at least three times (films or plays)⭐️⭐️
19. Try to awaken my inner “chef” by researching and attempting some new recipes. (c)⭐️
20. Experience a ride in a hot air balloon (c)
21. Finish organizing and labeling our family tree and photos
22. Visit a local winery and enjoy a wine tasting.
23. Listen to some live music, preferably outdoors
24. Go dancing with my Hubby
25. Catch up on a full season of the “Once Upon a Time” TV show with Miss Dee (we got a little behind!)

*BTW It would be super awesome to have some company on this adventure so feel free to make your own list if you’re so inclined.

We can compare notes and cheer each other on! 😊

Staggering Into the Home Stretch or Where Oh Where Has My Summer Gone?

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I’ve lost it.

Totally and completely lost it. My motivation. My focus. My purpose! Here it is 20 days till the end of my summer break and I have stalled midway through my Bucket List. It seems like I spent most of the last two months running around like the proverbial headless chicken but I don’t exactly remember what I was actually doing. Have you ever had days (or weeks) like that?

Today, I took stock of the cursed list and the number of items I have checked off of it are about half. “Not too bad,” you might say, but a lot of those items were done during the first few weeks, back when the summer was just a fledgling with so much promise and possibilities. By mid July my motivation was BLAH. I shouldn’t say that completely though because parts of July were fun. We had birthday and graduation parties and the STEAM camp that I worked at was certainly a blast, however, I’m thinking that camp may have been what threw me off course. I was so busy getting ready for it and was so exhausted when it was done that my get-up-and-go just sort of…..went.

Well, the days are short so it’s time to hop back onto that Bucket List train! Let’s get to planning! But where do I start? If you happened to visit my last Coffee Share, you know that items #9 and 10 are off the table. In addition, remember item #17? The one about maintaining and using my newly planted herb garden?  Sad to say, my herbs have become a casualty of the heat wave. They are now pots of brown crispy things that don’t much resemble herbs anymore. Guess that one is off the table too. (“herbs” off the table…get it?! *snicker*)

Hmm..maybe…Yes, I think my first order of business will be item…

#11. Have at least six lunch dates with friends or family.

I even have one planned already for Wednesday! Ba-zinga! It’s actually sort of a working lunch. A friend, who is a teacher and therefore also has the summer off, is moving in a week. We have been trying to get together all summer but being a single mom with a five year old, trying to pack up one house while fixing up the new one has kept her pretty busy. Finally I decided that the sensible thing to do, instead of us actually going out to lunch, would be for me to take lunch over to her house so we could eat and then pack while we visit. I happen to be a maniac when it comes to packing and organizing! She was thrilled with the idea.

So that’s one lunch date down….I might not get to six but I have a gift card for Red Lobster that I bet I can get my sister to help me with!

The next item I want to work on is…

#7. Visit at least two museums.

This sounds like an excellent thing to do during a heat wave- a nice air conditioned museum! If I take a friend…and we have lunch there….I can kill two birds with one stone!!! Excellent!

Okay. Good. I’m feeling much better. I’ve got this, right? Twenty days is a pretty long time. I’m sure I can squeeze quite a few more items in. This summer is not getting away so quickly!!

Stay tuned….

 

The Weeky Smile….Happy and Healthy!

our happy little family of home grown VEGETABLES enjoyIng some time in the sun...

imageMama and Papa Tomato with their eight little ones (I think the guy on the left is an Uncle from out of town). 😊

 

imageThe Weekly Smile is brought to you by Trent’s World.  Stop by and collect a few more smiles or maybe leave one of your own!

If We Were Having Coffee…7/2/16

Good Morning!

If we were having coffee…the first thing out of my mouth would probably be “Holy cow! It’s July! How did that happen?!” Is seems like the weeks are just breezing by. Maybe not for those of you that are hard at work but when you are on vacation, naturally time flies.

Anyway, after I filled your cup with some rich French roast or iced tea, if preferred, we could settle ourselves on the porch and enjoy the lovely cool mornings. As you can see, the hibiscus my FIL gave me for Mother’s Day is still alive and thriving. Hubby has been keeping it watered because the poor plant has a much better chance of survival if I just keep my distance. 😊

If we were having coffee…you would have noticed that my Hubby has also been tending to the front of the house, decorating and preparing for July the fourth. The flags are out and he even gifted me a pot of red, white, and blue petunias (which he will also be in charge of keeping alive)! We get very enthusiastic about the Fourth of July in our little town, but that’s another post altogether. For now let’s just relax, enjoy the sunshine and our beverages and catch up!

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If we were having coffee…I would ask you what you have been up to this week? Have you enjoyed exciting developments or endured frustrating problems? I would hope for more ups than downs. My week has been busy but enjoyable for the most part.

After our adventure at the Blueberry Festival on Sunday my honey and I mostly spent our time on day to day stuff. It is an odd feeling having both children head off to work while Hubby and I hang out at home! I’m kinda liking it, especially the part where they complain and grumble on their way out the door…

“Boy, I wish I was on vacation and could just hang out all day!”

“Must be nice not having to go to work.” 

We just smile and wave them off….”Have a great day. We’ll be here when you get home! “😊

If we were having coffee…I would tell you that I finished another backdrop for the STEAM camp. Day four is going to be “Island Survival Day” where the campers are asked  to pretend they’ve been stranded on a desert island and need to use resources available in nature in order to survive. We are going to learn all about various plant life and they are going to be making sundials.

Here is the photo back drop:

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It measures 6′ X 4′ and I was a little intimidated because I’ve never painted anything that big before but I’m really pleased with how it turned out.  I used a paint roller to make quick work of the larger areas and to avoid brush strokes. It’s a good thing I’m finished, though, because my family was a little tired of my taking up the entire kitchen with paints and foam board!

If we were having coffee…I would share one really annoying part of my week. On Thrusday, Hubby and I decided to go grocery shopping together…that’s not the annoying part 😊. Usually I go alone but it was nice to have company and strong arms to carry the bags. However, after all the $123 worth of groceries were rung up and I swiped my debit card, the computer kept coming back saying we only had 21 dollars available?! I knew there was over five hundred dollars in the checking account and Hubby had just deposited his paycheck that morning as well. After trying the card three different ways on two different machines (with a line of people forming behind us) we gave up. Luckily, after we pooled our cash, we had just enough to pay the 101 dollar balance. If we hadn’t been together, one of us would have been putting some food back on the shelf or just leaving it all behind!

When I got home, I went online and discovered the problem. All of the funds in our checking account (except for $21) was being held untill Hubby’s paycheck cleared. This made no sense to me because we have two savings accounts with more than enough money in them to cover the check. And why $21? Electronic banking makes me crazy. I can never figure out how they determine what is “pending” and what your “available balance”is!!!!

Okay, I’m done my little rant. I know how lucky we are to have enough money to buy food in the first place so I’m just going to shake off my frustrations! (I hope all those people who were stuck in line behind us are feeling the same way.)😊

If we were having coffee…you would probably glance at the clock and realize that the time has gotten away from us again! We always have so much to chat about that I quite forget about all the other things I have to do today. This is my afternoon to volunteer at the Thrift Shop downtown and then Miss Dee and I are going to our local “Miss” pageant with some friends this evening. The rest of the holiday weekend will be filled with parades, barbecues and fireworks.

For my friends here in the U.S-  “Happy Independance Day!” and for my friends in the rest of the world (where July 4th is just another day 😉), I hope that your weekend is pleasant and joyful and that you are surrounded by those you love most! Thanks so much for stopping by. Make sure to visit Diana over at Part Time Monster so you can catch up with the rest of the Weekend Coffee Share posts!

Summer Bucket List, The Epilogue 

This was my first week back to work so that means that summer break is officially over. It is time to tally things up and see how The Summer Bucket List stands. Here are the totals…

  1. Take one day trip per week (beach, park, museum, etc) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (out of 10)
  2. Drive over a bridge. (c)
  3. Volunteer for a cause (c)⭐️
  4. Travel somewhere by train.
  5. Take a train into the city (c)
  6. Create one art project per week.⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️(out of ten)
  7. Visit at least 2 museums⭐️⭐️
  8. Paint the living room and the upstairs bathroom⭐️
  9. Go camping
  10. Go canoeing or kayaking⭐️
  11. Reconnect with 2 friends with whom I’ve lost touch (c)⭐️⭐️
  12. Go zip-lining (c)
  13. repair the kitchen floor (it seems to be coming apart)⭐️
  14. Have a picnic somewhere next to the water⭐️⭐️
  15. Finish the trim in the kitchen and upstairs hall (I have completion issues)
  16. Try one new food per week.⭐️ (out of 10😕)
  17. Maintain my newly planted herb garden and use the herbs often (c)
  18. Try drying some of the herbs for future use (c)
  19. Reorganize the upstairs closet
  20. Go to a drive-in movie (we actually still have one in the area)
  21. Finish organizing our family photos.⭐️
  22. Visit a local winery and enjoy a wine tasting.⭐️⭐️
  23. Listen to some live music, preferably outdoors⭐️
  24. Go dancing with my hubby⭐️
  25. Have a “Lord of the Rings”/”Hobbit” marathon

Okay, so I out of 25 items I managed better than 50%. I’ll take it! You know why? Because this whole “Summer Bucket List” experiment was very enlightening. I learned a few things about myself and having a goal kept me focused even when there was no comfortable routine to keep me grounded.

Here is what I learned…

  • Next year there will be no bucket list items having to do with food (#16,17,18). Except for baked goods, food and cooking are really not my thing. I love to eat out but not so I can try new foods. I just hate to cook!
  • I should work on the more expensive items (#4,12,15) at the very beginning of the summer before I start worrying about money. Cost anxiety won out over my desire to cross things off the list.
  • Don’t put things on the list that require someone else’s cooperation (#19) I couldn’t get Miss Dee to part with any of the stuff cluttering up that closet so it was impossible to organize it.
  • Painting and drawing are much more fun than housework and since it was on the list, I still felt like I was being productive!

As for the some of the other items like “zip lining”, “train travel” and “LOTR marathons” there’s no rule that saying  I can’t do those things anyway. Maybe I should make another list? Hmmm..?

How about you? Did you accomplish a lot this summer? Did you feel productive?

Beach Babies.

Summer Bucket List item #1

Last week we were finally able to squeeze in another day at the beach! Hurray! My sister and her husband had rented a condo at the shore for the week and invited us to come hang out so Hubby, Miss D and I packed up the car and headed south. Sadly our young Mr D had to work so he missed the sun and the sand this time.

My niece and her 8 month old little boy were staying at the condo with my sister so they came to the beach with us. As we sat there watching the baby enjoy the sand and the water for the first time, I started thinking about what a different experience the beach is for children than it is for adults. For grown-up me it’s all about soaking up the sun and relaxing with a good book and a cold drink. I find the smells and the sounds calming and rejuvenating but as a kid it was a totally different story!

When I was young, we vacationed at the shore for three days every summer. That was the amount of time my dad could stand staying in a motel! I guess he was a homebody like me. Anyway, on the ride down I couldn’t wait for that first breath of sea air. I would stick my head out the window breathing in the ocean scent, my body humming with excitement! I couldn’t wait to get to the beach.

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I love to swim and did go in the water but the ocean is a little unpredictable and I often found myself getting knocked over by a wave and ending up with stinging eyes and a mouthful of sand, so most of my day was spent creating in the sand. I realized, quite young, that you could build almost anything out of sand if you had the patience. The more sand toys the better. Anything became a mold for sand and I remember my mom saving empty containers for weeks before the trip so I would have lots of shapes and sizes to choose from. No store bought castle shaped buckets for me!

I usually built a castle as expected but I didn’t stop there! My most favorite thing to build were giant faces in the sand. I used to think that it would be fun for the pilots in the little planes that flew past the beach towing the advertisement banners to have these funny faces looking up at them. You know, give them a laugh!

I also built huge fortresses with underwater tunnels and pools made of clam shells as well as giant fish and turtles. My sand art was nothing like those amazing sand sculptures you see on the beach sometimes but they sure kept me busy for hours and hours. My parents would have to drag me off the beach at the end of the day.

When my kids were little and we went to the beach we built things in the sand too but I think as a mom I was more preoccupied with keeping them safe and happy. I didn’t get overly creative. Besides, Hubby and Mr D were usually more interested in beach sports than beach art so it was just me and Miss D left digging in the sand. I do remember a summer when Miss D was about five a group of young girls ask if they could make her a mermaid tail out of sand. She was thrilled when they finished burying her from the waist down!! Those were my kind of girls!IMG_1527

Maybe now that I am older and more relaxed on the beach I can revisit my passion for sand art. My niece’s son will be ready in a few years to help me scoop, pack and build.

How about you? Were you a beach baby?