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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

Cinderella Days! Fairy Gardens!

Cinderella Days!  Fairy Gardens!

Cinderella Days! www.mytributejournal.comI’ve enjoyed sharing some special “Cinderella Days” this summer with my older granddaughters, Makena and Marli.  I love seeing them grow into such delightful little ladies!  Recently, we did an activity that combined my love of all things gardening with their fanciful and creative imaginations …..as well as a little magic!  Making a fairy garden with any of the daughters or granddaughters in your life should prove to be some of the best fun you have had in a long time!

Making A Magical Fairy Garden!

First and foremost, no matter your age–my granddaughter’s have taught me that it’s important to always believe in magic…..and a little bit of fairy dust too!

Tinker Belle quote

In preparation for making our fairy garden, I shopped my local garden stores, (most have a whole area dedicated to fairy gardens) and found a few good online resources as well, that had some great deals on fun and unique fairy accessories.

Whatever you can dream up, there seems to be no limit to the number of darling trinkets you’ll find that will go along with any style of fairy garden you want to create!  Here are a few of the things I purchased for our fairy garden and the places I found that had the best prices.

Making a fairy garden.

This retro mini camper set the theme for my granddaughter’s mini fairy garden—I think it spoke to their carefree spirits!  (I bought our camper at amazon.com, but it’s available at other online mini garden stores.)

Fairy garden accessories.

Fairy garden accessories are adorable…..you can’t help but want to become a fairy yourself!  (I found that FactoryDirectCraft.com had a wide assortment of fun fairy garden supplies with good pricing and fast shipping.)

Containers for your fairy gardens are as diverse as the accessories and strictly personal preference–you might want to go with something that goes with your existing flowerpot yard décor.  I found that keeping it fairly shallow made the fairies and supplies easily accessible for my granddaughters to play with them.

Making a fairy garden.

I picked a pot with a little fairy shimmer–just make sure it has good drainage.  Adding hardy succulents are a great choice for easy care. 

Making a fairy garden.

 I can’t even begin to tell you how much fun it is to watch little hands create their very own magical mini fairy garden!   (Fill your pot about two thirds full with equal amounts of dirt and mulch for planting, mix it well.) 

Making a fairy garden.

I love that fairy gardens are always evolving…..the accessories are as flexible as the fun imaginations of the little girls playing with them!

Making a fairy garden.

Making a fairy garden.

When making a fairy garden, I think you’ll find the best magic takes place as the love is strengthened between the people making them!

Fairy Stardust quote.

As another school year gets underway, let’s all remember that…

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams!”  Eleanor Roosevelt

I’d love to hear about any magical things you’ve done this summer!  What are some of your dreams and goals for the new school year? 

–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