Summer Breeze

Is summer blowing like a breeze through your house too? It feels to me like summer has just arrived, and yet, all the back to school stuff is out with a blaring reminder that I better soak it up.

We have had a summer that has been marked by a lot of down time. It has been absolutely heavenly. The slow pace is so my style.

The kids and I made a "summertime list" - the ever so popular wish list for summer activities and accomplishments that seem to be canvasing blog land. There are still quite a few things we want to accomplish ...

... an end of summer book party, inspired by Ashley Anne over at Under the Sycamore.

... our annual trip to Deep Creek Lake (my haven!)

... re-organizing all the cupboards (okay, maybe that is just on my personal summer list)

... teaching Logan to sew and making new pillows for her bed

... watching a movie in our backyard (the book party will accomplish this!)

More than any summer before, this has been a summer of reading. We signed up for the summer reading program and it has inspired the kids to be book worms in hyper reading mode. We also made a conscious decision to turn the tv off this summer, and that has had a profound impact on our family. I thought it might kill me and that I would never have time to shower, but it was actually very painless.

Here are some of our top summer book picks:

- Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

(I started out pre-reading it to be reminded of what age it is most appropriate for, and was sucked into the sweet story that unveils around Anne.) In my opinion, this book should be read to every little girl because it gives such a lovely example of a girl who has a heart overflowing with gratitude, and a love for her friends. I feel like the generation of little girls that is growing up right now really struggles with competition and drama between friends. Anne of Green Gables is so refreshing in this sense.

The writing is also so pure and amazing. This is one of my favorite quotes:
"Anne was curled up Turk-fashion on the hearth-rug, gazing into that joyous glow where the sunshine of a hundred summers was being distilled from the maple cordwood."

- Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
This picture book has the loveliest illustrations and follows a little girl's journey through life. I love the encouragement this book gives to make the world a better place. It is so peaceful.

- Abraham Lincoln by Ingri & Edgar Parin d'Aulaire
The d'Aulaire's have written some of the most incredible biographies of key historical figures. Abraham Lincoln is my favorite president and this story is so captivating. My four year old began to tear up as we read about Abraham's first exposure to slavery. His desire to unite the nation and how the story is told is beautiful. At the end of it, my son said, "Abraham Lincoln is the best super hero. Way better than batman!"

- Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
We started our summer by listening to this book on CD. Get it from your library if it is available! It is so peaceful and dreamy. Makes you want to go out into open space and watch frogs jump or something. The simplicity of it is refreshing, and my 6 year old was completely captivated. Try reading it or listening to it with your kids and you will see that they get cuddlier and cuddlier as they listen. It just makes you want to draw near to loved ones. We are now reading Little House in the Big Woods.

-The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco
This book tells the story of a family that arrives from Russia. A quilt is sewn from fabric from their home and becomes a precious heirloom that marks the passage of time and celebrates the generations of family growing alongside each other. It is beautiful. I love the peak into Russian and Jewish culture it gives.

Owl Babies by Patrick Benson
This was such a random find. My son pulled it off the library shelf and tucked it into our bag. They fell in love with the sweet story about owl babies who wake to find their mommy is gone. They cuddle together and wait for her. The dialogue is precious and the kids LOVE the littlest owl Bill. His refrain is , "I want my mommy." He stole our heart.

Song of the Swallows by Leo Politi
This book gives a wonderful glimpse into California history and the San Juan Capistrano mission and also tells the story of the swallows who return to San Juan every year. We used to live in San Juan Capistrano and I can say that it is true that they do return every year. It was not so sweet when they would show up and build their mud nests right above my front door in the eave of our roof, leaving a pile of poop on the ground right before you stepped into our home. But, the swallows are beautiful birds and we grew to love their presence in San Juan. The predictability, the singing, the folklore, the "Swallows Day Parade", and how they would fly through our neighborhood in their pretty formation. All of Leo Politi's books have a precious quality to them and this is one of our favorites.

What books or summer time activities have really grabbed your family this summer?

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