A trip to the beach, a slip and slide, a peach cake realization, and what we’re reading this summer (7 Quick Takes)

~1~

We are just back from an amazing trip to the beach, where we saw some beautiful sunsets. You might think I would have more time to write while on vacation, but every night we sort of forgot about putting our children to bed until it was so late that all I wanted to do was fall into bed myself.

So these quick takes are late, and in the days ahead I hope to share some of our beach highlights with you. As a quick summary: The 14 grandchildren—ages 1 to 14—had a fantastic week. I think we left a little sand on the beach and a few prizes in the arcades.

~2~

After our drive home from the beach, I started cooking dinner. I opened the microwave and saw that the potatoes I had reheated were done—but they were also smelly and moldy since I had put them in more than a week ago. Yuck.

I wish I could say this is the first time this has happened to me. I’m not sure why it’s so hard to remember to check the microwave before we leave. I always check the stove 10 times.

~3~

One of our neighbors stopped by to see how our trip was—and to invite our children to enjoy her slip and slide. Naturally we had to stop everything and try it right that very moment. Our swimsuits were in the wash, along with almost every other article of clothing we own, so the boys ran over in their shorts and shirts to try it.

And wow, they had fun.

I might need to look for one of those on sale at the end of the season. Just don’t tell me it’s already the end of the season. I want to squeeze every last bit of summertime out of this summer vacation.

~4~

We usually go to the beach in July, so I wasn’t sure how it would be to go in August. But it was lovely. We had some rain, but we also had low humidity on the sunny days, which meant the weather was perfect for evening baseball games between the Waffles and the Pickles. It worked out well that our boys were on the Pickles since we seem to have lots of green shirts.

Of course, now that I think about it, they wore the same shirts most of the week. One day I will learn that we only need to pack two or three outfits for a whole week at the beach. You do laundry every day to clean the swimsuits anyway, right?

~5~

I made two peach cakes in two days—yay for beach vacations with 25 other hungry people—and one I made with both peaches and super juicy nectarines. Yum.

Oh, and I tried making the cake without peeling the peaches, and there was no discernible difference except that it was prettier with the skins left on and it required less work.

So if you are making a peach cake today using this recipe and you don’t love, love, love peeling peaches, stop.

I should probably make another one this weekend to make sure this theory is true.

~6~

Every now and then a phrase creeps into our sons’ vocabulary, and I’m not sure where it came from. These days the phrase seems to be, “So long, suckers!”

I don’t know how this worked its way into our household, but I also don’t think I’m helping when I laugh hysterically whenever our boys yell it as a farewell.

~7~

We had thought we might make a trip to Assateague during our beach week, but because we lost some time to rain, we ended up staying in Rehoboth the whole time—except one evening in Fenwick Island. One day I really want to go to Pony Penning in Chincoteague, especially since it’s almost always on or near my birthday.

I just finished reading Misty of Chincoteague to our boys, and we have been working on Stormy, Misty’s Foal. I love Marguerite Henry’s books, and I own several of them, so I am excited that Daniel especially is enjoying them with me. But I also realize that much of these stories sailed right past me.

Stormy is a much scarier read at 41 than it was at 8. I do not remember that the family had to be evacuated—and that there were dead horses. I am also fielding questions about the descriptions of horses being born that require a knowledge of biology I simply do not have.

It’s funny to me that all I remember of this book is that Misty had a baby horse. Did I read too quickly? Are my children more curious than I was? Or do you ask different or more thorough questions when your mother is reading a book aloud than you do if you’re reading it under your covers with a flashlight after lights out?

Meanwhile, we did have ponies around the house this week, thanks to my little nieces. And my trip to Chincoteague will have to wait for now.

Read more quick takes at Kelly’s blog, This Ain’t the Lyceum!

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Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner is a wife, working mother and author of the Catholic Review's Open Window blog. She and her husband adopted their two sons from China, and Rita often writes about topics concerning adoption, family and faith.

Rita also writes The Domestic Church, a featured column in the Catholic Review. Her writing has been honored by the Catholic Press Association, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and the Associated Church Press.