Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Until summer calls

I love this time of year when the end of summer and the beginning of fall mesh together. It makes you relish the fading pleasures of summer's warmth and light.  

In my childhood, and even into my children's preteen years, we would ride our bikes to the river, with rolled-up rugs strapped to the back rack. The load was decided by the size of the helper. The river banks had a dock with sunken-in barrels for us to stand in. We would unroll the rugs into the water, then soap them up on the dock and scrub with our might. Then, with our fingers slipping on the slick weave, we would dump them back into the water to rinse them off. My mother taught me how to roll up the rug as you soap and scrub, to keep to your space on the deck, and how to control the heavy bundle in the water.

I remember letting go of the smaller rugs on purpose, to see how long they would float, and then snatching them (with a jump in my chest) just as it was almost too late. We lost a few brushes and bricks of soap in the current, but I'm pretty sure we always brought home all the rugs we took out.

The river water would soak my arms and belly and streak my shins (which now itch at the thought of it), as I huffed and puffed the clean rugs up the bank to let them drip dry on the wood beam. We often left the bigger rugs there until the next day, but pedaling home seemed exhausting nonetheless. 

To mimic my sweet summer memories, I gathered my supplies (rugs, wash pan, biodegradable soap, and a stiff brush) and set out to clean my rugs, enjoying the sun's warmth on my back while scrubbing.

I didn't go to the river. Our back deck was my scrubbing station, and I was glad I didn't have far to drag the sopping rugs to dry.

So, my friends, I'll hang on to my sweet memories until summer calls again...

What kinds of traditions do you remember of your youthful summer days? Did you blend work and play?

Fall Fashion (or "bouquets of sharpened pencils")

Summer felt sort of like a whirlwind to me, here and gone quickly, bringing and taking with it boundless joy and heart-wrenchers. I was just posting of summer and autumn meshing together, and now, here we are, smack in the throes of fall. 

Unless you're in an area that does year-round school (what are your thoughts?), this is the season delving in for a new year in a new grade, with new friends in the making.

I found this Finnish grade school lunch menu I had jotted down a few years ago. (It could serve as a list of ideas for meals at home, too!)


Tuesday: Macaroni-ground beef casserole, salad, ice cream
Wednesday: Hamburger patties, boiled potatoes & gravy, grated carrots
Thursday: Trout stew, "soft" bread, fresh vegetable
Friday: Chicken gravy, rice, black currant jam, cucumber

Monday: Shepherd's pie, salad

Tuesday: Stewed pork, boiled potatoes, cabbage-lingonberry relish
Wednesday: Baked fish, mashed potatoes, mixed peas, corn, and bell pepper
Thursday: Liver and onions, mashed potatoes
Friday: Sausage soup, cheese, "soft" bread

Monday: Fish sticks, white gravy, potatoes, shredded cabbage

Tuesday: Cabbage and ground beef casserole, lingonberry jam, tomato-onion salad
Wednesday: Hot dog gravy, potatoes, summer salad
Thursday: Pea soup, "soft" bread, carrots
Friday: Italian casserole, fresh grated root vegetables

Monday: Chicken meatball, potatoes, curry sauce, iceberg lettuce

Tuesday: Spaghetti with ground beef, shredded carrots
Wednesday: Herring patties, mashed potatoes, tomato
Thursday: Ground beef gravy, potatoes, parsley carrots
Friday: Cream of wheat, strawberry sauce, boule bread, cold cuts

I think "soft" bread means that fresh bread takes the place of the dry cracker bread commonly available in Finnish schools.

Ice cream must have been served to celebrate the first day (and maybe lessen the sting) since it appears to be the only dessert on the month's menu.

Bon Appetit!

To help myself embrace the season, I did some back-to-school shopping. I think a few new items on your desk or in your wardrobe can be a boost, whether you're going or sending children to school or not. Wouldn't you agree?

So I spent a day rummaging through every store in town and came home with bags of fabulous finds at deep discounts. :) Do you like my fall color scheme?
My sister-in-law gave me the tree necklace because she is awesome.
Mia took the great photos because she's awesome, too.


And there you have it -just like that I feel ready to take on cool weather and all that autumn brings! 

Happy Fall!