Oh September!

Oh September!

After a busy summer and record breaking heat where I live in Utah, I’m more than ready for the cooler temperatures and the fall lull of September.

Oh September!

“Life starts all over again…when it gets cool and crisp in the fall!”      F. Scott Fitzgerald

I’ve often heard the statement that autumn is mother nature’s second spring…if that’s the case, then it’s all the more reason to make the most of September!

Making It A September To Remember!

I love that I live where I get to experience all four seasons!  For me, September is that ideal mix of lingering summer activities that converge with the rich colors and mild weather of fall.mSeptemberQuoteHere are a few of the things I look forward to this month–as I try to make it a September to remember…

• Fall Harvest!

Come early fall, my husband and I are always excited to pick some of the fresh vegetables from our small garden, but we also love visiting some of the fun fruit stands that pop up along some of the back roads around our hometown.

Fall fruit stands.

“Autumn is the mellow season–where what we lose in flowers, we more than gain in fruits.”  Samuel Butler

I don’t think there is anything quite like the taste of fresh fruits and vegetables, eaten fresh or grilled to perfection, as you enjoy those last family BBQ’s of the season.  (We buy corn at a local family farm stand where the kids raise and sell the corn to earn money for college tuition and extracurricular school activities; how great is that!) 

Grilled corn.

“You don’t have to cook complicated masterpieces, just good food from fresh ingredients!”  Julia Child

• Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice!

Speaking of yummy fall foods…how about all the warm, pumpkin spiced, comfort foods we love to eat this time of year!  This simple recipe for Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cake that my daughter came across, is a fall staple in our family.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Spice Cake recipe!

This recipe is great for cookies or muffins too.  I’ve seen people drizzle it with a powdered sugar glaze or frost with cream cheese frosting.  I sprinkle on a few extra chocolate chips before putting it in the oven. 

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This recipe is easy to make and so moist and delicious!    

• Back To School!

While I thoroughly love summer…my father instilled in me a great love for going to school and getting a good education!

Back to school.

Come the first day of school…my dad would often crank up the old Gene Autry cowboy song, “Back In The Saddle Again” –whenever I started a new school year; while I didn’t think it was very funny at the time…traditions die hard, and I ended up doing the same to my kids!  (They are following suit and play it for their kids going to school too!) 

• Beautiful Earth Tones!

I’m a 70’s hippie throw-back of sorts–so the deep earth tone colors of fall definitely speak to my heart!

Fall mums.

(J & J Garden Center)

Mueller Park leaves

(Mueller Canyon Park)

Whether you are just making a stop at a local nursery, or going on a hike at a nearby park, you can’t help but feel that all is right with the world, even for a brief time, as you view all the gorgeous fall foliage.

• Sweater Weather!

Believe me, I love the casual days of capri’s and flip-flops, but come summer’s end, I have to admit, I kind of get excited to pull on a comfy knit sweater, maybe a plaid scarf and some fun leather boots.

Fall is sweater weather!

I know, it’s still 90+ degrees outside…but it’s never too early to start planning ahead for cooler weather; my fall “go to” is usually a great cable-knit sweater in a fun fall color and some leggings.

(I bought this sweater on sale last year at Miss Iny, but I’ve seen some darling sweaters recently at local stores like H & M and Gap.) 

Fall plaid scarf.

…and yes, please give me all the pretty plaid scarves for fall!

(You won’t be surprised to hear that Target has a great selection of scarves.)

• Anticipating the Holidays!

I always look forward to my annual Halloween Festival with my grandkids…and since Halloween décor and trinkets make their debut in stores with the back to school supplies, it’s easy to get a head start on the items needed for my party in September.  My grandchildren love to start planning their cute costumes now too!!

Halloween costumes.

I love the spirit of Halloween and the energy that comes with it!  Katharine Hepburn

• Helping Texas!

I also want to express my deep heartache at all the devastation Texas has had to withstand this past week…may September be a month of recovery and new beginnings for them!  I hope we can all try and find at least one way, however small, to help out.  If you scroll to the end of this article, it lists a variety of resources available to offer assistance.  You’re in our thoughts and prayers, Texas!

Help Texas!

“We rise by lifting others!”  Robert Ingersoll

I hope it’s a fall of sweet surprises for all of you!

What are some of the things that make fall a magical time for you?

–Mary

Summer Anthems!

Summer Anthems

My husband recently downloaded a neat, new play list on my iPod that I listen to on my early morning walks or while I work in my yard.  Each song seems to remind me of some of the fun adventures we’ve enjoyed with friends and family this summer.  It got me thinking–if your summer had a theme song…..what would it be?

Summer Anthems!

“Summertime is always the best of what might be!”  Charles Bowden

The Songs Of Summer!

Summer seems to embody all the simple pleasures of life that we love so much, and like a great song…..we find as it nears its end, we want to play it all over again on a shuffle repeat!  Summer anthems don’t necessarily need to be about summer; I just like ones that inspire our carefree, adventurous spirits!

Musical note ear buds.

“Like a lyric to a favorite song, you stay with me all day long.  And when I get to the end, I wanna hear it again!”  Toby Mac

Here are a few of the songs that describe my summer…..

◊ Vegetable CarJoshua Radin (Listen here.)

Summer Anthems!

This song summons up my love of visiting all the quaint farmer’s markets around my hometown; one of my very favorite summer past times!

Utah Farmer's Markets.

“She drives a vegetable car.  Diesel Mercedes, green two door, Lisa Loeb glasses…..I do wish that you’d ask me to ride along.”

Lyrics “Vegetable Car” by Joshua Radin

◊ Ramblin’ Man:  The Allman Brothers Band (Listen here.)

Adventures await... www.mytributejournal.com

I think we all love to travel and see new places during the summer.  The classic song “Ramblin’ Man” by the Allman Brothers Band, speaks to the carefree spirit in all of us.  My son seems to have been born with an extra dose of wanderlust, and we have enjoyed some amazing journeys with him!  Luckily, his wife and little boy are always up for some fun adventures with him too!

Summer adventrues.

“Lord I was born a ramblin’ man, trying to make a living and doing the best I can.  And when it’s time for leavin’, I hope you’ll understand…..that I was born a ramblin’ man.”

 Lyrics “Ramblin’ Man” by The Allman Brothers Band

◊  A Summer Song:  Chad and Jeremy (Listen here.)

Summer ahead sign.

I’m dating myself a bit with this iconic summer song–but if there ever was a summer anthem for the magical summers of my youth…this song is it!  Now I get the pleasure of enjoying wonderful summer days with a little bit different perspective as I experience so many of them through the curious and fanciful eyes of my grandchildren!

Summer adventures.

“Trees swaying in the summer breeze, showing off their sliver leaves as we walked by.  Soft kisses on a summer’s day, laughing all our cares away…..just you and I.”

Lyrics “A Summer Song” by Chad and Jeremy

◊  Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days Of Summer:   Nat King Cole (Listen here.)

Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer.

It’s a bit ironic that I remember my mom often singing this song under her breath as she had me help her do yard work and other chores during the summer months when I was growing up.  She’d just wink when I’d asked why we weren’t actually being lazy!  It took becoming a parent with a home and family of my own to fully realize that just like any other time of year, it’s important to find a good balance between work and play.  Truth be told, I don’t think there’s ever a shortage of some lazy, hazy and indeed crazy days during the summer!

Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer…..you’ll wish that summer could always be here!”

Lyrics Those Crazy Hazy Lazy Days of Summer” by Nat King Cole

◊ Saturday In The Park:  Chicago (Listen here.)

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This song is the ultimate summer party song by one of my all-time favorite groups.  Being able to watch my two older granddaughters play their violins at fun musical concerts in so many beautiful parks, just adds to my love of this summer anthem!

Summer concert in the park.

“Saturday in the park, where every day’s the fourth of July.  People talking, really smiling; a man playing guitar and singing for us all…..and I’ve been waiting such a long time for today.”

Lyrics “Saturday In The Park” by Chicago 

◊  A Little More Summertime:  Jason Aldean (Listen here.)

Endless Summer sign.

Every season seems to create its own nostalgia as it starts to wind down, but I always seem to lament every year about the end of summer coming too fast.  My sensible hubby is quick to remind me that too much of a good thing makes it so it’s not as special.  Still, at summer’s end, I can’t help but wish that there were just a few more weeks left…then I remember everything I love about the other neat times of the year and the great songs I associate with them!

A little more summertime!

“If the sun would have just hung up in that sky just a little bit longer; if the blue waves could’ve stayed at our feet on the beach instead of going out with the tide…..if only I had a little more summertime.”

Lyrics “A Little More Summertime” by Jason Aldean

It’s hard to believe that there’s only about a month of summer left–I hope it’s spectacular for everyone and full of all the wonderful things that make the best memories…and that they linger through the winter months to come!

Summertime!

“One must maintain a little bit of summer…..even in the middle of winter!”  Henry David Thoreau

I’d love to know if there’s a particular song that reminds you of happy summer days whenever you hear it?

 –Mary

Happy People!

Happy People!

With the anticipation of all the summer adventures ahead of us, what better time to remind ourselves of all the things that make us happy……and do some of them!!!

Emoji balloons!

“Happiness is not ready made.  It comes of your own actions.” 

Dalai Lama 

If you need a fresh perspective on truly being happy, listen to the lyrics of “Happy People” by the country group, Little Big Town.  The following is one of my favorite lines from the song:

Happy People by Little Big Town.

“Well, life is short and love is rare, and we all deserve to be happy while we’re here…so here’s to whatever puts a smile on your face!”

Here’s To Whatever Puts A Smile On Your Face!

I certainly don’t need to remind you that life isn’t all roses, in fact, it can bring us to our knees (literally) sometimes.  But perhaps we can all do a little better at making a conscious effort at seeing the fun and funny side of life!  So let’s consider a few of the little, everyday things that might make us smile!

1. Setting your alarm to a song that makes you happy to wake up!  I know, that’s a stretch…but I’ve tried it and it works!  I’ll find myself humming or singing some of the words to whatever song I woke up to throughout the day!  The song mentioned above is a good one—and will surely put a smile on your face.

2. A hot breakfast!  Especially if you don’t have to fix it!  On the weekends, my hubby will often make hot oatmeal with blueberries (so good) and wheat toast with fresh jam–eating it out on our patio during the summer months definitely puts a smile on my face!  A weekend brunch after doing some early morning cleaning is a win/win–and sure to have you smiling all day long!

The Park Cafe in Salt Lake City, Utah

A favorite brunch spot of mine is the Park Café!  (If you live close or find yourself visiting Salt Lake City, I highly recommend eating here!) 

3. Being outside when the weather is just right!  After a long winter season and a wet, rainy spring here in Utah, it seems that finally being able to get outside has everyone I meet sporting a happy smile!

Adventuring outside up City Creek Canyon!

A recent hike up gorgeous City Creek Canyon on a perfect summer day with two of my granddaughters had us all smiling! 

4. Laughing!  There’s no better way to put an exclamation on your day than laughter!   There are few things in life that lift my spirits more or put a smile on my face quicker than hearing my son’s deep, full-hearted laugh as he shares funny anecdotes from his experiences of living abroad in Germany, or as a dentist for the US Army.  Life can get hectic–we’d all do well to just smile and laugh at the craziness a little more!

5. Growing something!  I learned to love gardening from my grandmother, and my husband and I have planted a little vegetable garden almost every year.  The accomplishment of tending to something, watching it grow and then harvesting the fruits of our labors is rewarding and indeed smile worthy!

Growing strawberries!

I tried my hand at growing strawberries this year and I have to admit, I had a giddy smile on my face when I saw the first few blossoms turn to strawberries and start to ripen!

6. Encouraging others!  Being genuinely happy for others and offering them support and encouragement as they try hard to live their lives to the best of their ability can’t help but put the most satisfying smiles on our faces!

Being happy for others quote.

My parents were always quick to impress upon me the importance of showing love and appreciation for those who were happy to see me make accomplishments and achieve my dreams, as well. 

7. Being curious!  I’m a firm believer that inquisitive thinking and a passion for exploring will nourish our minds…and that my friends, is something to smile about!

8. Remaining young at heart!  No matter our age, don’t we love to be around those who have chosen to live, laugh and love with the infectious playfulness of a person untainted by the harsh realities of today’s world!  Let’s face it, when we choose happiness, we’re more fun, more childlike, we smile more…and hopefully, those around us will too!!

I love the saying, “Happiness appears where dreams meet preparation.”  It implies, that like most things in life, happiness takes a little work–but living a more fulfilled life is the ultimate reward–that, and a lot of smiles!

Happy looks good on you quote.

Add to the list…I’d love to know some of the little, everyday things you do that help you smile more?

–With love and a big smile, Mary