July sped past at light speed, and now August is here. To be perfectly honest, I don’t mind. While I love summer, I long for the fall season. I want steaming tea, crackling fires, yellow-orange-red leaves, and crisp air, and August is one step closer to that utopia. So while it’s a little scary that time flies past so fast, I’m good with August. We’re going to be friends, August and I.
But before we leave July behind, I have a few pictures to show you of what I did. I had 3 weeks of PTO in July; in Sweden all employees are guaranteed at least five full weeks of vacation time per year, and I took three of mine in July. Here’s a few glimpses of what I did.
Let’s start with the best part, shall we? My beloved grandbaby W, my ray of sunshine, my little bumblebee, was visiting for almost three weeks: first ten days at the beginning of my time off and then they came back the last weekend before I got back to work, and stayed for whole other week. Which meant I came home from work and was greeted by a sunny smile and lots and lots of babbling from little W, I was served dinner cooked by my son-in-law, and was treated to hugs and closeness and conversations with my darling daughter. “Lovely” doesn’t begin to describe it, and I wish I could convince them to move here permanently.
Since little W is a bookworm just like her Gramma, this is what it looks like most of the time when she’s here. “Let’s read, Gramma,” she’ll say, and we’ll curl up on the couch and read. Or she’ll bring a book to her Grampa and they’ll sit in his favorite chair and read. She even convinced her Great Grandmother to sit on the porch and read. Or she’ll read to us. She knows what happens in the books because we’ve read them so many times, and she sits next to someone, telling the story in her own words. It’s my favorite thing to do, to listen to her re-tell the stories.
We read a book about animals, animal babies and parenting in particular.
“This is a banggai cardinal,” I said.
Little W scrunched her eyebrows together, looked at me and said, “Fish, Gramma.”
Gramma – Little W 0-1 😁
But PTO only means time off work, the work at home never ends. So we also cleaned out the garage to make room for a huge pile of firewood we’d ordered and that was delivered one sunny afternoon. The hubby and I spent hours and hours stacking 6 cubic meters of firewood in the garage. I would probably have had a less busy day at the Day Job…but I’ll be very happy about this stack of firewood come fall and winter.
I baked super yummy walnut bread in my Dutch oven. I’m not a baker, but I want to be, so I went looking for an easy, no-fuss recipe and found one. You stir together four ingredients (five if you want walnuts) in a bowl, no kneading required, then you let the dough rise in the fridge overnight. In the morning, you shape the bread so it fits into your Dutch oven, then bake it for close to an hour. It’s heavenly, and so, so easy to make, and it’s now a staple in my kitchen.
I also harvested my first ever cucumbers. It’s a modest harvest, I know, but it was an experiment. I found a variety that can grow in pots with small-ish cucumbers (not even 4 inches), and I wanted to grow something Little W could pick and eat. And here’s the first three cucumbers I picked; the were very tasty and extremely crunchy. And Little W loved them too, and finished off the last ones on the plants and then went looking for more. Luckliy, new cucumbers are coming so she can have some more the next time she’s visiting.
We grilled lots of food, because any self-respecting Swedish house owner always grills in the summer. It’s more or less the law.😁 These are herb-marinated vegetable skewers that were served with grilled corn, and pork fillet. Delicious!
We’ve also had our master bedroom renovated, and we could finally move into it in July. We’ve been sleeping in the second guest room since we moved into the house, but no more! The master bedroom is a lovely space, and we’ve spent half the month decorating it to our tastes. It’s almost done, but this is the finished result before furniture.
And on the hottest day of the summer (35c/95f) our BFFs from Malaysia came for a visit. We had no other visitors, and our friends left their one-year-old with his grandmother, so we decided a pool party was in order. We hung out in the pool, litened to music, and drank lots of bubbly, just like the good old days in Malaysia. We also ate excellent food that our friends brought, and stayed up late talking, laughing, enjoying each others’ company. It was a perfect summer day.
This big cloud heart that sailed past our house high in the sky one lovely July day will be the last picture. It’s been a busy month, with lots of visitors (my parents, my in-laws, my brother-in-law, my son-in-law’s mother and stepdad, and assorted friends have also stopped by), lots of chores (the firewood being only one of them), tortured writing (but I’ll talk more about that in a separate post), and lots and lots of cooking. But most of all, it’s been full of laughter and love and family, so this picture represents my July and is the perfect ending to this post.
Tell me something you did in July.