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Catching Up on Summer

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It’s 4 weeks today since we got Willow!
You say cat bed, I say dog bedI can’t believe how quickly the time has flown. She’s definitely grown bigger already, I’m pleased to report she is housebroken, and now she sleeps in our bedroom at night (though not on the bed.) We’ve gotten a routine down (which unfortunately does include some very early rising) and I can confidently say she loves us as much as we love her. Last week we took her on her first hike, out to Ringing Rocks with us. She was bonkers with excitement–at the the scenery, another dog, people, etc. It was an exhausting afternoon for her. Willow's first hike, Ringing Rocks. She's going cuckoo #ringingrocks #puppy

Untitledatop a rock
She also had a playdate with another dog, which was wonderful to see. She loved having another dog to chase and play with.
Liesl and Sweetie are growing accustomed to her, but slowly. Liesl is more willing to come out when Willow is around and even touch noses with her. But then if Liesl walks away Willow gets excited and jumps after her, and then of course Liesl just runs away. Sweetie is not yet willing to get that close. The cats clearly miss their interactions with us and we try to find them as much as possible without the dog to squeeze in some cuddling sessions.
As for us, well the kids and I are mostly busy with the dog, or sometimes playing with friends. The day before Ringing Rocks we did go to the Sourlands for a hike, too. We’re in the midst of a humid heat wave which just makes me want to stay inside and watch movies.
Paul and I have almost completed our summer of concertgoing with the headline show of the Xponential Music Festival on Saturday, which was St. Vincent and My Morning Jacket.
On the waterfrontInterestingly I was more excited about MMJ than St. Vincent, but ended up being enthralled by St. Vincent and less so with MMJ. St. Vincent is Annie Clark, and she was so striking and an amazing guitarist, and it was just a really great show. This picture does no justice to what an incredible dynamic performer Annie Clark is.  Great set by St Vincent at #xpnfest #stvincent
MMJ was rocking and loooong, and they were great, but I got tired and it was the second Saturday in a row where we didn’t get home until 1:45am. And have I even written here about the first Saturday of that? I don’t think so, which is nuts. Well, you might recall that last fall it was a dream come true for me to see Neil Young. He is one of my absolutely very favorite musicians and it was incredible. This summer he’s touring with a band and it’s a very different show, so we got tickets. a dream come true, a second time

Both of these shows were at the Susquehanna Bank Center, which is on the Camden waterfront. Paul, sunset skylineIt was a dream come true a second time! So now I’ve gotten to see him solo acoustic (in a beautiful venue where it was very quiet) and a rocking show where he played for over 3 hours and it was incredible. A favorite band (Band of Horses) opened for him, which he really didn’t need and though I was thrilled to hear them again I felt like there was so much Neil anticipation that they didn’t get much love from the crowd. Neil simply blew me away. The band playing with him is called Promise of the Real and two of Willie Nelson’s sons are in it. The big highlights were a 20 minutes jamming version of Down by the River and an encore (who needs to encore after 3 hours?) of Cortez the Killer and Cinnamon Girl. It was a real thrill and treat. You can read Paul’s full description here.

Other stuff going on-we got a new-to-us dishwasher that some friends were getting rid of in the midst of a kitchen reno. It’s leagues better than the old one, which was Paul’s nemesis. He handily installed it himself, too! It fits perfectly and is making us very happy. Also a tree fell down yesterday to our great surprise. No storms, apparently it had just rotted at the bottom (the top was full and leafy) and there it was, on the ground. While my personal reading is not particularly thrilling at the moment, our family reading has been a dream come true for me. We listened to Return to Gone Away Lake, which is the sequel to Gone Away Lake. We had listened to that a few years ago and I think the kids might not even remember it. Anyway, they were a pair of favorites of mine, read many times, and I was so happy to have them hear it. The same amazing author, Elizabeth Enright, also wrote my all time favorite books about the Melendy Family. This is finally the summer when I’m sharing those books (i.e. I am going to read this and you will listen and love it) with the kids. We finished The Saturdays and have just started The Four Story Mistake. I can’t even express how much I love these books and how happy I am that the kids genuinely are enjoying them. The insane garden continue to be insane, but I did manage to get two beautiful ripe tomatoes out of it. I’ve been buying and zipping good corn and also cooking lots of it. Is there anything better than trying to plan a dinner when your fridge and counter have fresh NJ blueberries, corn, tomatoes, zucchini, and basil in them? summer trinityI ended up doing a quiche with corn, tomato, and basil in it and it was delicious. IMG_3951
I should probably be making blueberry jam, but can’t muster up the enthusiasm to do so. Like with the garden, I suppose some years I’ll be more engaged in doing those things than others, and that’s ok. I think this will mostly be the summer of getting a dog and getting used to that again (and oh, it is so nice to have a dog again.)


About Sarah

I'm a librarian living with my lovely family in a gorgeous spot of New Jersey, where we raise chickens and love the outdoors. I try to find enough time to indulge all my hobbies-cooking, photography, gardening, sewing, and I write about it all on my book blog & personal blog.

7 responses »

  1. Sounds like a perfect summer. Lots of fresh produce, great music and happy family outings. Who would ask for more. Your food looks delicious and I am hungering for fresh tomatoes and basil. Oh well our winter in Australia is coming to an end and I can plant in the vegie garden again. Enjoy your summer days. Cheers Linny

  2. Hi Sarah, Recently I learned of a website where you can design your own fabric! You make the art, upload it, choose the repeat, choose the fabric and voila you’re a designer. I just ordered my first yard of fabric to make tea towels as a test project. If you don’t know of it yet, you should check out Can you image making quilts with your own designs! WOW

    • I love Spoonflower! I’ve never ordered any myself, but I love their design contests and a friend once had some cool fabric made out of a sketch her grandmother had done. I’d love to see what you designed/make!

      • My fabric shipped last night! So excited 😀 I think you should be able to see the design with this FB link (cover photos are public)

      • Toni that looks amazing!!! Did you draw it and then scan it? What did you use to create your design?

        On Wed, Aug 5, 2015 at 1:29 PM, So what? Sew buttons! wrote:


      • Thanks! I did the original drawing freehand in navy Sharpie on a piece of 5″x5″ card stock. I scanned it at high quality (600 dpi) and cleaned up the edges in MS Paint before uploading it to the Spoonflower site. There I selected the mirrored repeat and sized it down a bit until I like how the repeat looked on a tea towel sized piece of fabric. It took a little trial and error and a few ‘cleanup’ sessions before I like how the final pattern looked. Repeated flaws and edge shadows are really noticeable.

        I think I’m hooked! It is really fun getting fabric in the mail that I designed myself. I did order an 8″x8″ swatch right away with a different drawing. I think that is going to become coasters.

        If you’re going to give it a try I HIGHLY recommend ordering their $1 fabric swatch booklet so that you can feel the weight and sheen before ordering a bigger piece since it isn’t so inexpensive.

      • It looks really great, and what a wonderful way to have your own drawing in a project.

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