Tuesday, August 23, 2011

#15 on Summer List 2011

Read Three Books. Pretty simple since one of my New Year's Resolutions was to read a book a month. Three months of summer. Three books.
The first book I read was Julie and Julia by Julie Powell. I saw the movie before reading the book, which I usually try to avoid. In my opinion neither were that spectacular. If you enjoy cooking like I do you can at least appreciate all Julie went through to cook every recipe in Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." If you ask me most of the recipes sounded gross. I'll take tacos any day.

Several weeks ago I went to a yardsale where there was a box of FREE books. Well, you know how I am. I can't resist free. I picked up a copy of All the Finest Girls by Alexandra Styron. This is a weird book that goes back and forth from present day to main character's childhood. She was raised in a dysfunctional family and felt very alone and misunderstood until her nanny moved in. The book primarily takes place in the island homeland of her former nanny. Not sure if I strongly reccomend it or not, but if you want to borrow it you may.

The Last Summer of You and Me by Ann Brashares (The author of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) was a good read. I read it in only a few days during our trip to Tennessee. It is a coming-of-age book that takes place in a coastal New England. Parts of it were slow, but it kept my interest because I just kept wanting to know what was going to happen next.

Since we are talking about books I strongly reccomend you read Love and Respect. I've been hearing about this book for years now and I started reading it a few months ago. If you are married it is a must-read. It has changed how I relate to Ysmaille (at least how I am TRYING to relate to Ysmaille).

Monday, August 22, 2011

Summer List #14

I added "Clean Basement" to my Summer List 2011, not because I thought it would fun, but because I knew I needed to do it this summer or it simply wouldn't happen.

Our basement has been a source of stress for me for awhile now. Mostly it's filled with the baby items Amirah no longer needs and Ysmaille's tools, building materials, etc. It's not that I don't contribute to the mess, but my craft items are generally neat.

Here's what the basement looked like before... Yes, I did let Amirah play in the midst of the mayhem. The after. Now I know it's not perfect, but it's definitely an improvement.

The picture below is what Ysmaille's tool are looked like before. (It was actually a lot worse than this, but the picture cut off some of the worst mess at the left)

I purchased this 5 shelf rack at Target to help organize things like saws, spray paint, nails, flashlights, wire, cones, putty... well, I think you get the point.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

#12 and #13 on Summer List 2011

On my Summer List 2011 was to have a "MELANIE DAY". I dropped Amirah off at April's house and headed to Harrisburg for some shopping. I also intended to stop at Barnes and Noble, have a delicious treat and read magazines, but I ran out of time. I did manage to squeeze in enough time for lunch at Panera Bread where I read my book. I was looking for "pops" of color to add to my wardrobe, but was unsuccesful. As you can see I mostly got some basic neutrals, but I'm pretty excited about my purchases. For under $50 I was able to buy a denim shirt, a t-shirt, a flowy vest, a cardigan, a shirt dress, a pair of khakis, and a necklace. Plus two of the items came with belts-- an added bonus!

Later in the week we travelled to Tennessee to see Dukens and Angela (and Eli). It was a long trip with a crying one year old in the backseat, but we had a ton of fun in the short time we were there. I feel so blessed to have such a great relationship with Ysmaille's family. Angela and I got off to a rough start two years ago when we met, but she has quickly become one of my best friends.

Ysmaille and Eli-- these brothers CANNOT get together without wrestling. Here is Ysmaille trying to poke out his brother's eye.

We went to the aquarium in Gatlinburg. My favorite part was walking through the shark tunnel. You just cannot go to a place like that without marvelling at what an AWESOME and CREATIVE God we serve.

Amirah just adores her Uncle Duke. Here they are reading together.

Angela, Amirah, and I spent Sunday afternoon in Knoxville. We stopped at Market Square for Amirah to play in the fountains.

With summer vacation officially ending in one week I will be hard-pressed to finish my list. I've got 6 more things to complete. Wish me luck!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

#11 on Summer List 2011

I am so dissapointed I forgot my camera on this excursion. One of the things I wanted to make sure I did this summer was visit Grandma Harnish, my Dad's mom. She is an amazing lady who is now in her upper 80's. Last week she canned corn and tomato sauce. Just yesterday she made applesauce. She doesn't let anything slow her down.

Today Ysmaille, Amirah, and I traveled to Lancaster County to visit her. She told us she would have lunch for us. This is what we ate:

-Stouffer's lasagna
-Bread with butter and jelly
-7-layer salad (I'm pretty sure this is a Mennonite dish, and it not very good for you because it has lots of mayo, but I love it anyway!)
-crackers and cheese
-homemade applesauce
-sugar cookies
-peach dessert

Isn't that crazy? It was just a Saturday lunch. She loves making food for her family though and so Ysmaille and I ate enough to feed a small army.

I'm so glad that Amirah has a chance to know her great-grandma. She is the only grandparent I have left and the way she is going I expect her to be around for a long time. Love you, Grandma Harnish!