Six Summery Things to do Before September

It's almost August.

Summer is fleeting and soon we will be watching football games, making beef stew and pulling on sweaters.

It's time to cram some summer pleasures into the final stretch of these dog days of sweltering heat and mosquitoes.

So here is a list of six summery things to do before fall sweeps into the back screen door with a loud bang.

sc-trav-0203-food-amalfi-limoncello-201501291#1.  Make lemonade. Not the powdered, canned or bottled stuff. Go for the real thing. Pulp, tang and sweetness poured over ice. Sublime. All you need are lemons, sugar and water.  And thirst. The reward for your effort will be worth it and you will never drink the fake stuff again. Trust me.

Hint: Leave the lemons out at room temperature, it makes the squeezing so much easier.

#2. Read a book outdoors.

Put your chair or towel on a beach along Lake Michigan. Find a bench in a public park. Sit on your balcony or deck. Or my favorite, sway in the shade in a hammock and read that book that's been sitting on your nightstand for months. Don't have the attention span to read a book? Then read a magazine or newspaper. But read something. It's a guilty pleasure that makes the joy of reading even better. You may even fall asleep listening to squawking birds and croaking toads.  Come January, you will thank me.

Photo credit: Chicago Tribune

Photo credit: Chicago Tribune







#3. Walk barefoot in the grass.

Kick off your sandals or gym shoes and take a walk on soft, lush grass. Your toes and heels will relish this green carpet of cool ground below. It will make you feel like you're eight all over again without a care in the world. We recently did this while playing bocce ball in the Phelps' backyard and it was truly one of the highlights of my summer. My feet are still smiling.


Photo credit: Chicago Tribune

Photo credit: Chicago Tribune







#4.  Eat a hot dog.

I know, you eat healthy and wonder what animal by-products are actually inside that hot dog casing? But they scream summer and the Chicago Dog is a national treasure. Books have been written about them and their food lore is right up there with Italian beef and deep dish pizza. It's not considered a baseball game without a hot dog and cold beer. So flip on the Cubs game, fire up the grill and load your plate with hot dogs with all the condiments you can muster. An occasional hot dog isn't going to harm you, no matter what body parts it's made out of. And please, only poppy seed buns.


Photo credit: Chicago Tribune

#5. Air your bed pillows out in the sunshine.

Most of us no longer own clotheslines or clothespins like our grandmothers or mothers did. Sheets hung outside to dry smelled like a meadow of fresh air and warm sunshine. But you can cheat a bit and get the next best thing. The next time you are washing your sheets, take your bed pillows outside and put them in the sunshine for as long as you can. I put mine on chairs on the deck where they sunbathe all day. Later, when I make up the bed, they smell so clean and fresh that the sheets get jealous.  Full disclosure: I do this all year long when the days are sunny and the snow isn't too deep on the deck in February.

#6.  Shop at a Farmer's Market.

There is no excuse anymore. Farmer's Markets are everywhere and we need to support our local farmers so they can continue to thrive. It's the Midwest for God's sake. We are known for our rich farmland and summer crops.

Prepare an entire meal from the market. Fresh corn, tomatoes, peaches, green beans and zucchini. Often you can find bread, artisanal cheeses, local honey and free-range eggs. Our local market even has a guy that sharpens knives while you shop. It may cost a bit more than your local grocery store, but I guarantee, with a speck of dirt here and there, this stuff is the real deal and worth every extra penny.


Six summery things to do from now until school starts. Soon the chill in the air will let us know it's time for raking leaves, carving pumpkins and eating tomatoes grown in a greenhouse that taste like nothing you had in the summer.

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Filed under: Lifestyle, Observations

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