Yesterday I happily set aside a bunch of Monday routines in order to spend some time with my two beautiful nieces on their last day of summer break.
Kenzie is entering fifth grade, and Chloe is entering sixth, and both attend school in Oklahoma City where they have year-round schedules.
As I was inhaling dramatically to offer them much needed comfort about the sad end of summer and the horrible bummers of being thrust back into early mornings and unoriginal uniforms, they both rocked my world with outbursts about how thrilled, excited, and motivated they are for the new school year.
I was like, wait, what?
Personally? I always loved school. The beginning especially was magical. But in recent years I have noticed so many kids bemoaning it. These girls are legitimately happy. Their burst of enthusiasm really caught me by surprise and made me proud of them.
As soon as I arrived, Chloe sat me down on the couch for what became a 45-minute backpack tour. She pulled out, modeled, and explained every notebook and accessory, every color scheme and organizing tool, all the details of her new gym bag (she gets to have volleyball practice before school, shower at the gym, and “clear her head” before study hall, be still my heart!) plus new shoes that aren’t too new, they’re broken in just perfectly.
Kenzie admitted to having a little more in her new back pack than she needed, but every item had a solid reason for being there. And she was very much infatuated with her chosen colors and patterns, too. The whole display was terribly endearing. Oh, and I got to bring her a belated birthday gift!
After luxuriating in back to school joy and the girls’ plans to make good first impressions, we made lunch. Chloe mixed up a chopped Asian salad for us to share, Kenzie toasted bagels, and I made each of us an omelette. We could have gone out to eat, but the girls surprised me again by saying they’d rather stay home to play cards, eat small foods, and just talk.
“Umm hello, where are the modern, bad attitude, spoiled preteens please?”
As we assembled our little bistro lunch, Chloe explained that volleyball season had just started and that this year it’s lasting longer and is a bigger deal than before. She is trying to take it more seriously, think of herself as an athlete now, and therefore really consider what food she puts in her body.
I KNOW. Obviously I will need to order her a copy of Matt Fitzgerald’s Endurance Diet, right?
Then for fun (because even athletes need to have fun) we made mug cakes. Have you tried this yet? They are as easy as the internet claims, and they are highly customizable and satisfying. I recently made a peanut butter variation at home for Handsome, and it murdered his sweet tooth that night. Mug cakes are a great trick to have up your sleeve if you’re trying to limit but not eliminate desserts.
Here is an easy starting point for a single serving chocolate mug cake. Obviously the sky’s the limit on what you add in before cooking or how you top it afterwards.
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 TB unsweetened cocoa
3 TB milk
3 TB vegetable oil (or melted butter)
1/4 tsp vanilla
All you do is coat a good sized coffee mug with nonstick oil spray, mix those 6 basic ingredients in it with a spoon, add what you want (like marshmallows, chopped nuts, a dollop of peanut butter, chocolate chips, broken up candy bars, etc), and microwave for 2 minutes. It comes out piping hot and not very gorgeous, but you can conceal the weird surface with all sorts of pretty, delicious things like cool whip or ice cream. I dare you to try it!
My half-day with the nieces ended with a raucous card game of “Baloney,” which was so fun. My nephew, their beloved big brother who grew up alongside my own two girls, and his girlfriend got home and joined us for that bit of nonsense. What great kids, in every way. I am so thankful for my family.
The rest of Monday was spent back at the farm making a dent in house work, which included a big effort clean the downstairs floors. Over the weekend I had grabbed this spray cleaner to try on our wood floors, and it smells nice and cleaned them okay, but zero gloss. What do you guys use for shining wood floors?
Then Handsome and I had a pretty romantic Monday night, to cap it all off. We have been binge-watching Mad Men and both love it so much. Neither of us got the foot rubs I mentioned in yesterday’s post, haha, but maybe that’s what Tuesday nights are for.
Now, midday Tuesday, I am diving back into projects around the house while the farm soaks up many hours of cool, gentle rain. Unheard of weather for August first in Oklahoma.
This morning I joined two local friends for a 6+ mile run, just as the rain got started, and it was pure heaven. This is one of days that helps you catch your breath and makes you crave deep cleaning, fresh sheets, Spanish guitar, and soup for dinner.
If I get caught up enough on housework, then my big fancy afternoon plan is to mellow the entire house, shower and even wear perfume (ha), then read somewhere quiet and cozy for as long as Klaus will tolerate it. Cross your fingers for me that the rain makes him sleepy. I am in the middle of three really good books right now, and everybody knows that rainy afternoons are best for reading.
Tomorrow afternoon I have two special guests coming to the farm, then in the evening my husband and I will be guests at our friends’ home for dinner. Very excited for all of that, and I will share stories and photos soon!
Happy Tuesday, friends. Keep on carpe-ing those diems!
“There shall be eternal summer
in the grateful heart.”