Though we've been back in (virtual) school for a few weeks, I consider Labor Day weekend the "official" end of summer. Normally, we'd spend as many hours as possible at the pool, trying to squeeze in every last drop of summer fun before the pool bag and beach towels make their way to a closet to be stored until next summer. This summer... well, it has just been one long blur of days that all seem the same. I'm still reluctant to see summer go because the unscheduled bliss of summer is undoubtedly easier than navigating our new virtual school schedule. Our state just moved to phase 2.5 of reopening, and while our family plans to continue as we were before, I'm hopeful that we are (very slowly) inching towards a day when we can feel more comfortable with social interaction.
As we head into fall, I'm rounding up a few of my favorite things from the summer.
BOOKS // I've read quite a bit while we've been home, and appreciate more than ever the ability of books to help us travel in our imaginations. Highlights of my summer reading have been Beartown & Us Against You by Fredrik Backman, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawhorn, Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, The Dutch House by Ann Patchett, and Use Your Words: A Writing Guide for Mothers by Kate Hopper.
KIDS BOOKS // My oldest and I started reading the Little House on the Prairie books at the beginning of quarantine. We're almost through with On the Banks of Plum Creek, and sharing these childhood favorites of mine has been such a joy! We've also gotten a few of the My First Little House books, which my four year old loves. Other children's books that have been read on repeat this summer in our house are the Little Vehicles series by Margery Cuyler, Just Like My Brother by Gianna Marino and Little Excavator by Anna Dewdney. Picking up library books through the books-to-go service has been a highlight of our weeks, and checking out audiobooks for the kids has also been a big hit for us--Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, Mercy Watson, and Magic Treehouse have all been playing over our speaker this summer.
WATCHING // I loved The Babysitters Club books as a kid, so of course I had to check out the new Netflix series. I've watched a few episodes so far, and have really enjoyed it--it's updated to take place now, but the characters seem pretty true to what I remember from the books. I also enjoyed The Greatest Showman (I know this came out several years ago, 'm horribly behind on movies and tv) and of course, Hamilton. I'm looking forward to season six of Schitts Creek being released on Netflix this fall, and for season two of the Morning Show, whenever it is released.
LISTENING // My podcast consumption is WAY down since I rarely drive anymore and that's when I typically listen to podcasts, but I try to keep current on Pantsuit Politics, Coffee + Crumbs, and the Exhale Creativity podcasts. I also enjoy Today by the Way and the Medium Talk podcast, but I'm usually listening to those a few weeks after the fact. Anytime Serial Productions puts something out, I stop to listen and the five part Nice White Parents series was no exception. Music-wise, I've been rotating between Taylor Swift's Folklore, and the Avett Brothers latest, The Third Gleam.
LOVING // If I had a uniform for the summer, it would be the Old Navy Swing Dress. I pick up a couple of new colors each summer, and wear one at least 5 days a week. On a recent Target pickup order, I grabbed this Raw Sugar scalp treatment in an effort to give my much neglected hair a treat. Once a week, I pair it with the Beautycounter Charcoal Face Mask for a little self-care, and my face and hair always feel refreshed afterwards. Our backyard has become boring for my oldest after so many months at home, so in an effort to make it a little more exciting, I bought the Swurfer Swing, which has been a big hit (still looking for backyard ideas, so if you have anything great for younger elementary kids, send all your ideas my way). I've been on a mission to get all my digital photos organized, and I'm catching up on printing with Chatbooks. I'm not really sure why I didn't start using Chatbooks earlier, but I'm glad I finally did (and if you want to try them out, use the code LAURABASS-HXKT to get your first book free).
BAKING // I was doing a lot of baking in the spring, but fell off the baking train this summer. I did recently make this chocolate chip banana bread that was devoured before it had a chance to cool off and my middle child and I baked an apple pie as part of his homeschool preschool curriculum--we used the recipe from Apples by Gail Gibbons. I don't love apple pie, and he discovered that he didn't either, but we had a lot of fun making it, and the rest of our family enjoyed eating it!
KEEPING ME SANE // Our water/sensory table has been a lifesaver this summer. We've used it constantly. Our DIY backyard pool and the hose/sprinkler also have gotten heavy use. We've also been venturing to different trails, greenways and nature preserves which has been a much-needed change of scenery and sanity-saver. Our area has a great parks and greenway system, and our empty calendar has given us more time to explore new spots.