The end of August is here, and for me, that means the end of summer. Vacations are over, school starts back next week, and cooler weather is moving in here on the mountain. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for fall. I hear a lot of people saying they’re doing everything they can to hold on to the last bit of summer, and although I enjoy the warm summer months, autumn is my favorite season so I’m ready to welcome it in. I look forward to the cooler weather, warm clothes and new styles, and the coziness this season brings!
Today, I’m back with another “Things I Love” post that will wrap up our summer, and as usual, I’m sharing 5 of my favorite things from this past month with you. Enjoy!
PS. If you like these kinds of posts (a mix of personal and educational), you’ll love my Letters To Natural Mama emails because they’re very much the same. You can learn more about them and even check out a sample email right here. I’d love for you to join me there. I love getting your letter replies and connecting with you in a more personal way!
My favorite memory from this past month was by far our family vacation to Maine! We were gone 12 days total—with 8 days spent in Maine and the other 4 spent driving. And yes, we stopped at different places along the way to break the 13+ hour (more like 16+ with kids) drive there and back!
So, why Maine? As a teenager, I loved Dawson’s Creek! My sister-in-law and I (before we were sisters-in-law) used to binge watch it at her dad’s house every now and then, and since that time, I’ve always wanted to visit an area that was similar to it… meaning coastal beaches with cool summers. I also loved the movie, Message In A Bottle, and seeing how I’ve grown up in the mountains and only vacationed at beaches in South Carolina and Florida, I’ve never experienced anything similar to the regions depicted in those movies. So, when Dean and I started talking about our vacation plans earlier this year, I knew immediately where I wanted to go.
Speaking of planning vacations, our typical vacations are 4-day, long-weekend type vacations—mostly because my hubbie has a hard time leaving the shop for extended periods of time. However, his brother convinced him to take a longer vacation this year, and he accepted, which was a miracle! The last time he missed this much work was for our honeymoon, and that was eleven years ago! And you know what… the shop was there when he got back and nothing had fallen apart. Plus, he really enjoyed himself, and I think he realized how good it was for him (and all of us) to have some time away from all the regular responsibilities we face on a daily basis. Now, if I can only convince him to make this a yearly occurrence. Hmm…
I’m not going to cover everything we did on our vacation in this post. I’ll save that for a separate one (or you can check out my Instagram feed for photos!), but I will say, we did a lot of fun things, a lot of educational things, and a lot of relaxing. It was so worth it, and yes, I got that perfect coastal New England experience I was looking for.
At the beginning of the year… around March, I decided to challenge myself to read 12 books this year. Although I normally read a lot for work, I don’t read for pleasure as often as I’d like so this seemed like the perfect way to make that happen. I chose 12 books on various subjects and got started. I recently posted how my progress was going, and although it’s still going really well, I keep reading books that are not on my list because other things influence the books I choose to read, which is why new ones keep getting added in.
I’m not going to go into how or why I choose the books I do to read, but I will say that I try to vary the subject matter and give myself a mix of educational and entertaining choices. With that said, this past month, I read 3 Kindle books (yes, three!) on our drive to and from Maine. My husband prefers to drive, and that’s something I’m totally okay with because I really wanted to have time to read! The first book I read was Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy followed by Wuthering Heights by Charlotte Bronte and then Jane Eyre by Emily Bronte.
Now, I don’t have a lot of experience with English literature (I’m more familiar with American literature), but at my age and season of life, I have this desire to open my mind a bit more to things I’m curious about. Seeing how I’ve missed out on many of these classic books, I’m all for reading them now. And you know, like many people who’ve read them, I too loved them! They were entertaining (even my husband kept asking me what happened next!), and there were some interesting themes that run through them and really make you think.
I’m not sure what I’ll choose to read next. Maybe Dante… since it’s on my list and I’m on a classic kick. We’ll see.
I admit… I rarely clean my makeup brushes. It’s gross. I know. But, hey… I have like a bazillion things to do, and cleaning makeup brushes is rarely found at the top of my priority list. However, when they start feeling stiff and they’re no longer soft because they’re so caked with makeup—that will get your attention and get you to cleaning your brushes. At least that’s what did it for me.
This past month, I finally made some super simple DIY makeup brush cleaning solution (my friend Kristen’s recipe) and used it to clean my brushes. I cut the recipe in half and added 1 drop of lavender essential oil to it since I only need enough solution to clean my brushes once a week and I wanted the scent and antimicrobial properties of the lavender essential oil. And guess what? My brushes are now clean, super soft, they smell great, my makeup looks better because it’s actually being applied correctly, and it really didn’t take that much time.
I’m really trying to be consistent with cleaning my brushes each week. The easiest thing is to let them soak for an hour or so on Friday evening before rinsing them well and laying them out to dry.
Favorite Home Project
Earlier this spring, as my husband and I were working on our big landscaping project, we were trying to decide what to do with a section of land in front of our house. I’d been wanting to dedicate an area to growing flowers so I could use them in fresh-cut flower arrangements for our house. We decided that this spot would be perfect so we moved a bunch of rocks to make a border, we brought in some good soil to mix with what was already there, and we scattered mixed wildflower seeds in that area.
Over the hot, rainy summer months, my seeds sprouted and began to grow. I was excited, but I didn’t know if I was growing weeds or flowers. Seeing how we live in the mountains, trees drop seeds and nuts constantly and because I didn’t know what plants were in the mix or what they would look like as they grew, I didn’t know what was actually growing in that spot. However, we came home from our vacation in late August, and my flower bed was full of tall, green plants with little colorful flowers all over them! Yay!!!
Dean and I are at a point in our lives where we’re happy with our family size. Sure, every now and again, if I walk through the baby section of a store, I get “baby pains,” as I call them, but then I think about going through 9 months of body and hormone changes, having another natural delivery, a year or so of breastfeeding after that, plus diapers and no sleep. Suddenly, those baby pains go away, and I’m very content with my life and moving forward with my four guys!
To keep these baby pains from becoming true baby pains, I use a fertility/period tracker called, My Flo, which has changed my life! LOL! It only costs $1.99 in the app store, and it’s totally worth every penny if you ask me.
Not only does it track your cycles (so you can get or keep from getting pregnant… and say goodbye to period surprises!), but it tracks any symptoms you may have during the month, it gives you advice on what those symptoms mean and how to get past them, and it offers tips for foods, exercise, and productivity throughout your cycle. Not only that, but you can sync it with your partner so they can know what’s going on with your body at the same time. Who doesn’t want their man bringing home some flowers because he knows you need some extra attention this week or offering to do something with the kids one night because he knows you’re in hustle mode at work? Hello!
Goals To Shoot For In September
So, before I get to my September goals, let me tell you how I did meeting my August goals. I successfully gathered all the books we’ll be using for the 2017-2018 homeschool year. I even got everything organized, printed, and scheduled! We’ll see how it goes sticking to that schedule, though. We prepped for our vacation, had a great time while we were there, and made it home safely. And although I didn’t read any of the books on my reading challenge list, I did read 3 that weren’t on the list so that’s progress of some sort, right?
This month I’d like to:
- Start school and refine our daily schedule, if needed
- Purchase and plant fall plants for landscaping and add more mulch to all plants
- Shop, sort, and organize all clothes, shoes, and coats for fall/winter
- Pick apples with the kids and make some yummy apple treats
- Get the fall decor out of the attic and in the house
- Pressure wash the house and deck… and maybe touch up the trim
- Get new bedding for the master bedroom
- Have a successful first month of Herb Folk and write lessons for another month
And that’s it for this month’s Things I Love post! I hope you had a great August, friend, and as always, thank you SO MUCH for reading Growing Up Herbal!