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I couldn’t let the last day of July slip by without sneaking in a Short List for the month! July flew by for us, mostly because it was packed with lots of summer fun. We fit in cookouts, s’mores, fireworks, lots of pool time, a trip to the beach, Symphony on the Prairie, and more. Tonight, though, is the night Elena and I have been looking forward to since last Christmas: we’re going to see One Direction! I’m just as excited as she is, and not the least bit embarrassed to admit it.
Next week we’ll be celebrating a certain guy’s 8th birthday. It will be our last full week before school starts back up. Thankfully we did our back to school shopping last week, so we can spend our remaining days doing fun, carefree summer stuff, including a day at the Indiana State Fair.
Before I switch the computer off and switch full boy band celebration mode on, here are a few things I wanted to share with you this month!
We have two episodes left of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt … we love it, but we epically fail at binge watching anything! Unless I’m sick and wiped out on the couch, I can’t sit and watch more than two episodes of anything. Mike and I have been watching Ballers on HBO. It’s actually pretty terrible, but we can’t look away. Well, until the next season of Hard Knocks starts on August 11. We have high hopes for the new Netflix original series Wet Hot American Summer.
I just finished the sequel to Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Hollow City, by Ransom Riggs. It took me a few chapters to remember how the last book ended and to get my characters straight, but then I tore through it. I think Elena and I are going to have to give up listening to All the Bright Places and finish it by reading the book. We both love it, but we’re hardly ever in the car together alone to listen, and we’re dying to know how it ends! I’m just starting another book I originally picked up for her, The Aviary by Kathleen O’Dell. I was hoping it would be a book we could discuss together, but as I get into it I see why she wasn’t into it. I’m intrigued enough to finish it, though. Eli and I finished Masterpiece and have moved on to Wildwood by Colin Meloy. So far it’s a great read aloud for almost 8-year-old boys! Through Audible, I’m listening to We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas. I think I would’ve been turned off by the length and tediousness of it in print form, but I’ve enjoyed listening to the long, drawn-out pace of the family’s story while puttering about the house. My free Audible trial is over, but I’ve enjoyed it enough that I’m going to continue with it. I also downloaded the Kindle app on my iPad and have been reading some advanced reader copies of books via NetGalley. I love the feeling of always having something to read or listen to no matter where I am, and I’m reading so much more this year thanks to all of these options.
I have a thing for grocery stores … not because I’m in love with grocery shopping, but because I love looking at food! One of my favorite things to do when we’re in a new place is to go to the store. I know I’ll find new-to-me, unique foods. I just love trying new flavors and ingredients. So when I was asked if I’d like to try Mary’s secret ingredients, a seasonal subscription box that features a curated collection of unique food products, I didn’t have to think twice. My summer box was delivered full of fun stuff.
Eli tore into Love Grown Food PowerO’s minutes after the box was opened. I saw that it was made with navy beans, garbanzo beans and lentils and held my breath. He saw that it was made with chocolate and devoured it. The Rufus Teague barbecue sauce has been a hit on the grill. My favorite find from the box has been the Villa de Patos Maguey Sweet Sap. Made from the maguey plant (in the Agave family) native to Mexico, the Sweet Sap is an unrefined and unprocessed sweetener. I used it to sweeten our fresh watermelon lime margaritas last weekend and it was fantastic. Each box also includes some kind of kitchen gadget, which is a fun splurge for me. The summer box a pretty funky, yet useful, Speegee spatula. I appreciate that the purchase of each box helps support Feed the Children. I also like that there are only 4 boxes a year, one for each season, so as not to overwhelm you with the cost or the amount of food. It would make a fun and affordable treat for your own kitchen, or a unique gift for someone who loves food and cooking.
Have you heard of Rebrickable? If you have a LEGO fanatic in your house, it’s a great site to get even more play value out of your bricks. You tell it what sets you have, and it searches the database to show you new things you can build. So cool.
I’m taking this list of the 5 best wines under $10 to drink with pizza with me on my next Trader Joe’s trip. (In case you’re wondering, rosé is my unofficial drink of summer.)
I really appreciated this post from Gabrielle at Design Mom about not stressing over picking a school. Ever since I wrote about our transition from Montessori to public school, I get emails from frantic and stressed parents about choosing the right school for their children and how to know when it’s the right time to move them. I try to be as reassuring as possible, but from now on I’ll include this post in my message as well.
What’s on your short list of favorite things right now?