Summer Songs

Hi Friends!

Ahhhh, the lovely soundtracks of Summer days…

Summer songs are all around us.

Can you hear them, too?

Each morning, as I step outside and stroll through the arbor into the backyard, I feel so grateful for all of the rainy days we have had this summer. The pitter patter of raindrops has been one of our most popular Summer songs! Over the past few weeks, we have had another 7 inches (17 cm) of rain.

In fact, our garden hose is still tucked away in the garage. Mother Nature has been watering for me all Summer long! 🙂 She even refills our bee baths and birdbath. I’ve been helping a tiny bit, using a vintage watering can to water the containers on the front porch.

Our perennial, cottage garden is quite lush and the weeds are most definitely thriving, too! The clematis blossoms that adorned the top of the arbor have been artfully rearranged by a frisky squirrel. I’ve been watching him climb up and down the arbor as if he were climbing a ladder. Although concerned at first, now I’m just tickled by the way the squirrel has arranged the pale purple clematis vines!

The garden has also been filled with a symphony of delightful birdsong this Summer!  Our feathered friends made themselves right ‘at home’ in the birdhouses throughout the garden and built a nest under the eaves. Their sweet songs always entertain me while I am busy gardenkeeping. My favorite garden task this month has been cutting bouquets of blossoms to fill stoneware crocks and Mason jars on the front porch. 🙂 What a peaceful way to begin each day!

Pops of color from the Asiatic lilies and wide drifts of orange and yellow daylilies in full bloom have been just lovely. This week, as I cut down millions hundreds of spent daylily stems, my heart smiled with gratitude for their glorious show during the past few weeks! An abundance of Annabelle hydrangeas allows me to cut armfuls of the huge, white blossoms to add cozy, old-fashioned charm to our front porch and dining room. It’s fun to send visitors home with a bouquet, too!

Now in the mid-afternoon, we can hear the cicadas tuning up. Their loud, boisterous chorus continues until  evening, when the daylight fades and the fireflies entertain us while we relax on the front porch.

The buzzing of the bees as they work to pollinate the garden is one of my very favorite Summer songs. When the bees are happy, the gardener is happy!

This month, the bees are also creating quite a buzz in my Self-Care bullet journal…

I played with a hexagon stencil and Distress Ink as I set up my July pages.

Each morning, I graph the number of hours I slept.

Every evening, I jot down things that I was grateful for that day.

My Gratitude page fills up very quickly each month.

It is always the most important page in my Self-Care journal.

Each day, I track my workouts,

the glasses of water I drink,

and my number of steps.

 

There is no mention of food

in my Self-Care journal.

(It’s so easy to track my healthy meals each day in the Weight Watchers app.)  🙂

This special journal highlights all of the other things

that make my life a healthy, happy one!

 

My sweet husband and I each wrote

‘Six-Word Love Stories’ about our marriage

and I added those heartfelt words recently.

The final July page in my journal holds a few heartwarming quotations.

Although it takes many hours to create my journal pages,

it only takes 10 minutes each evening to fill them in.

This reflective time always feels like

a special, little gift to me!

 I’m already thinking about an August theme

for my bullet journal.

Hmmm, perhaps… sunflowers!

 

There is still one more favorite Summer song…

Every year, one song becomes a celebration of my Summer days.

It’s been that way ever since my high school days. 🙂

My ‘Summer song’ seems to choose me,

very much like my ‘word’ for the year does.

This song has been following me

everywhere I go ~

whether I’m driving

or creating in my little

Paper Garden studio downstairs.

I’m always singing along!

♥ ♥ ♥

♫ ♬ This is my wish for all of you!

(With huge thanks to Jason Mraz for his wonderful lyrics!) 🙂

I’m so grateful that you stopped to visit today!

What kinds of Summer songs are making you smile this year?

Hope you’ll share with all of us…

 

Just keep singing!

♡ Dawn

 

 

 

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Chatting by the Garden Gate…

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Are mosquitoes taking a bite out of your summertime fun?

Hi Friends!

Just taking a few moments to stop and chat over the garden gate on a warm, sunny afternoon…

We have had another cool, rainy week here in our Midwest cottage garden. In the afternoon sun, several Red Admiral butterflies have been darting around. It’s such fun to watch their quick, erratic flight patterns while working in the garden!

Red Admiral butterfly  {Photo Credit}

Our perennials have grown taller than ever before during the past rainy weeks. The weeds are thriving, too! Last week, the mosquitoes hatched in great numbers, making my time in the garden oh-so uncomfortable. On our recent walk through the garden, hungry mosquitoes forced me inside, covered with itchy bites. When I appealed to our blog friends, they offered several suggestions to keep the mosquitoes at bay. I am ever-so grateful for all of the wonderful ideas!

Girl Scout badges bring back such happy memories for me!

Today, I bravely tried this suggestion, from my friend, Jo…

Jo in Western Springs, IL said:

“Dawn, your gardens are so very lovely! As regards the mosquitoes, when I had a Girl Scout troop and we would go on hikes, the girls would tie a clothes dryer sheet in a buttonhole and this would deter the pesky little biters (mosquitoes, not girls). Give it a whirl! Happy summer days to you!”

My sweet memories of Girl Scout days encouraged me to try Jo’s idea first! Since we always have clothes dryer sheets in the laundry area, this morning I took out a Bounce dryer sheet, with high hopes. While wearing long sleeves and long pants for added mosquito protection, I quickly rubbed the Bounce dryer sheet over my clothing and then tucked it into my shirt pocket. Off I went to cut the grass and pull weeds. I’m thrilled to report that after four hours in the garden, I had no mosquito bites at all! I could see the mosquitoes flying nearby, but they left me alone today! What a difference from last week!! (Jo, you are such a blessing!! It feels like your idea has given me back the joy of gardening during our terrible mosquito invasion!! ) ♡

I couldn’t wait to share the happy news! I spotted my neighbor, a mother of newborn twin daughters, in her garden and went over to tell her the surprising news. She was so thrilled to have a solution that didn’t involve repellent sprays!! We rubbed her clothing with my Bounce dryer sheet, and then she ran inside to get a dryer sheet for her pocket, too. Tucking the dryer sheet through a button hole would also work great! My neighbor is planning to attach a dryer sheet to each hood of her double stroller every time she takes the twins for a walk. We are both feeling very hopeful that we will be able to enjoy our summer days again!

I wanted to share Jo’s wonderful  suggestion, just in time for your weekend activities!

If you do try the dyer sheet method to repel mosquitoes, be sure to check back and let us know if it works for you.

The Chicago area will have the second highest mosquito population in the U.S. this summer. {WGN news}

Our blog friends offered so many helpful suggestions to repel mosquitoes on last week’s post.

I’m so grateful for all of their ideas…

Jayne told us about purchasing a hat infused with mosquito repellent, trying the natural repellent Swamp Gator,

and using products containing Deet, then showering immediately after gardening work.

Penny has tried B-1/Thiamine, but only found success with a strong repellent.

Martha Ellen shared her husband’s success applying SKIN SO SOFT by Avon to all exposed skin.

In last week’s post, I suggested planting Citronella, Marigolds, Lavender, Catnip,

Basil, and Lemon Balm as natural mosquito repellents.

As always, our kind readers continue to share great ideas!

June shared her wonderful idea in the comments below. Scroll through the comments to see how

she uses white vinegar to prevent mosquitoes from biting! What a great tip!

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Do let us know if you try any of our suggestions with success!

We all want to enjoy our time in the garden

throughout mosquito season!!

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Thanks so much for stopping by! I always enjoy our visits here.

Wishing you a pleasant weekend filled with your favorite summertime activities!

Enjoy today!

♡Dawn

Happy Birthday, America!

The Pledge, by Robert Duncan {via Pinterest}

Happy Independence Day!

A celebration of

America’s 239th birthday…

Hi Friends!

Parades, flags flying, picnics, cookouts, concerts, festivals,

watermelon, apple pie, baseball games, sparklers, fireworks displays,…

There are so many ways to celebrate America’s birthday this 4th of July! Whether you plan to celebrate quietly at home or at a large gathering, it’s meaningful to pause for a moment  and think about the freedoms that we are celebrating today.

Vintage magazine cover, illustrated by American painter, Frances Tipton Hunter (1896-1957), published July 1944 {via Pinterest}

It’s so important to share our thoughts about

the meaning of Independence Day

with our children and grandchildren.

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Today, I shared with my sweet 6 year-old neighbor.

Karla and I talked about the American flag

hanging on our front porch,

and why I hang our flag up every day.

I’m sure she will ask about our flag again,

from time to time.

⚛⚛⚛

Karla comes over to ‘help’ me in the garden

whenever she sees me working.

Sometimes we take a little break to share books.

She is quickly learning the names of my flowers

(especially the purple ones).

We even planted flower seeds together

and watched them grow.

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Together, we are also planting

the tiniest seeds

of gratitude

and pride in our country,

that will grow as Karla grows.

Vintage graphic, from Jenn’s “Rook No 17” blog  {via Pinterest}

When I was growing up.

our family often drove across the country,

visiting places that are important in America’s story.

A dear aunt took my brothers and I to visit

our nation’s capital and our state capital.

I just love this image, from the blog Zetta’s Aprons. {via Pinterest}

Listening to family stories while growing up

made such an impression on me.

I am so proud

that my dad  served our country in Korea.

Even when I was very small, I knew that my dad was very brave.

In recent years, my dad has been scrapbooking his stories,

and sharing his memories of growing up in America

during difficult times.

I grew up watching the reports from Vietnam

on the nightly news.

I can still remember

checking the map of Vietnam,

cut out from the newspaper and

hanging on the back of our kitchen door.

My uncle was serving there,

and we thought about him each day,

with the hope that he was safe.

Every chance I get, I stop and thank

our veterans and military families

for their great sacrifices for our country.

{via Pinterest}

Of course, I learned about

what it means to be an American

in school.

But what I remember most are the stories,

shared by my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles.

..

..

When I bought a little home of my own,

with a big front porch,

on this quiet street,

my older neighbors shared

so many of their stories with me, too.

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Now, it’s my turn to spend time

sharing my stories

with my sweet, young neighbor.

Stories from the heart,

filled with love and pride,

and

the blessings of freedom.

Free printable   {via Pinterest}

{via Pinterest}

As you celebrate our nation’s birthday,

in big ways or small ways

this weekend,

I hope you can find a moment to share your stories

especially with our children,

making memories together

and

sharing the blessings of freedom!

Happy Independence Day, everyone!

Have a great weekend!

♡ Dawn

Blossoms Everywhere…

Hi Friends,

 Today my heart is so full of blessings!

The words of the Persian poet, Rumi, fluttered into my heart

as I walked through the garden on this sunny July morning.

Blessings

{via Pinterest}

 

While walking through the garden, it’s very easy to count your blessings…

if you just listen closely to your heart.

Blessings drop their blossoms all around you.    ~Rumi

So, my friend, I will be very quiet, so that you can listen to your heart…

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Each blossom reminds me of each blessing in my life

… especially today!

 

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 May your day be filled with blossoms!

♡Dawn

P.S.  When I count my blessings, I always count you. Heartfelt thanks for stopping to visit today! ♡