Tuesday, May 31, 2011

In the summertime...

In the summertime, when all the trees and leaves are green

And the redbird sings, I’ll be blue

’cause you don’t want my love ...

Okay. So this classic Roger Miller ditty doesn't necessarily speak to the anticpation of a lazy and carefree summer...but I can't get it out of my head today. Andy Williams also sang this, but I prefer the folksy Roger Miller version. I do believe that my mom and The Studly Muffin know every lyric to every song Roger Miller ever cranked out. That particular bit of information is free. Won't cost you a thing. So the next time you see Troy (perhaps at Smillies picking up his favorite brand of buttermilk) ask him to belt out his favorite Roger Miller tune.
 
It's official. Pools across the Ozarks are open for business. So it must be Summer. Yesterday (Memorial Day) I was doing some shopping at Dillons. As I moved past the big boxes of watermelons and the stacks of marked down strawberries I thought about how surreal this past week as been. Here I was, gathering supplies for sloppy joes and corn on the cob, while an about an hour away there were so many people who had lost so much. I've stood in the middle of the devastation in Joplin. It is like something from one of those apocalyptic movies I hate so much. But far worse because it's real. And while our Memorial Day celebration was small and modest, we have so much.
 
What I have learned throughout my own struggles and sufferings is that you can do what you can do. We must love our neighbor as ourselves and trust that God has a plan. Sometimes that involves action on our part. Saturday morning on westbound I-44 was a sight to see. It was bumper-to-bumper traffic. Church groups, restaurants, businesses and (my favorite) pick-up after pick-up of good 'ole boys with wheelbarrows and chainsaws...all heading to Joplin. We travel that particular bit of highway every Saturday morning. I have never seen the like. There was a certain anticipation on the highway that morning. It was like the calvary was coming. Not all of us can pick up our shovel and head to Joplin. Not all of us can donate to the charitable organization of our choice. I know plenty of people who are helping organize supplies and gathering donated items to send. What I can tell you is that if you can't help today or tomorrow don't despair. This is going to be a long recovery. We need to remember that the need is great and will continue to be great for quite some time.
 
So I am one of those unreasonably craaazzy homeschool moms who school throughout the year. It works for us. I seem to function better in the summertime than I do in the winter and early spring. In full disclosure, however, I must tell you that this was the first year that I came into the summer 'break' thinking..."I really wish we could take the next 3 months off!" But, just so you know that I am not subjecting my 9-year-old to hours of scholastic endeavors each day we do have somewhat of a lighter schedule in the summer. I am not completely evil. Not Completely.
 
I love literature. I love words. And while Josiah doesn't like reading to himself he loves books and loves stories. We do a lot of reading. We are currently doing a unit on the poem and song "America the Beautiful." I found the most beautiful book and felt like I needed to share.
 
It is illustrated by Wendell Minor (who is one of my favorite illustrators). Each page was a unique stand alone art piece. And he captured the words so well in his artwork...originally penned by Katherine Lee Bates.
Isn't it gorgeous? Josiah and I were so inspired we had to share our favorite pictures with Troy. You can find the book at Amazon here. I love Amazon.
 
I also found the most adorable dessert idea. I believe in making things a little extra special when you can. And circumstances and my natural inclinations urge me to those special things as 'frugally' as possible. I'm not sure where I got my 'more is more' tendencies...but I have been known to take things a little over the top. Unfortunately, poverty does not lend itself to 'over the top' very often. That is why I love this idea.
 
 
These are Rootbeer Float Cupcakes in shot glasses (not that I am in possession of that many shot glasses), but I have some other kinds of dishware that will substitute. You can find the instructions to this cute dessert at Gourmet Mom on the Go. What a cute way to start the summer off!
 
There are plenty of things I am looking forward to doing this summer. A vacation won't be one them. Sigh. I am trying not to think too hard about it. So I am going to try and making the little moments special for my guys. Sometimes it doesn't take much. Today after our library trip we went to the park. Josiah loves to swing. Forget the monkey bars & slides. The boy is a swinging maniac.
 

 He had the best expression on his face.

You can tell he's having the pretty good time. And this kind of fun is free! You can't beat it!

 This is cute. Just his legs. He asked me if he was swinging on a vine in this picture. What a boy!
Such swinging requires refreshment. Good moms take bottles of healthy water and fruit to the park. I took Tacos from Taco Bell and root beer. Next time I'll take fruit. Maybe.

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