Friday, August 15, 2014

Seven Quick Takes: Oregano Tea and other Summer Mistakes that Didn't Turn Out So Bad

Today is my last Friday of summer.  (sigh)  School resumes next week, and while my classroom is ready and I am excited to greet 22 happy faces each morning, that doesn't mean that I don't mourn the end of summer.  This was an exceptionally good summer, so that makes it even harder.

Why was it so good you ask?
I would list my trip to Colorado, time with family, beautiful weather, free time, books read, friends cherished...

But there were a few other things that were sort of good...but started out not good...but still added to the stories of my summer.  Here are seven funny memories from the past couple of months:

For a farmer's daughter I have a black thumb- houseplants beware.  However, I do pretty well at keeping a few pots of herbs alive in the summer and relish having fresh basil and cilantro at my fingertips.  Another herb I usually have is mint, mostly because I like to make mint sweet tea in the summer.

This year, I kept waiting for my mint plant to get bigger before I harvested any, but eventually decided that it must just be a different variety than what I had in the past.  I picked a handful of leaves, brewed some tea, poured over ice, and sipped.  It was... interesting.  A bit of a mint flavor but not what I was used to.  Hmmm.  I drank the glass, but then got curious.  And rechecked my herb labels.  And did a google search.

Come to find out, at some point my labels had gotten moved and instead of mint tea, I had just brewed oregano tea.  Oregano, the stuff you put in pizza sauce.  I was beginning to think that I was crazy and had forgotten what mint smelled and tasted like until I discovered that oregano is part OF THE MINT FAMILY.  No jokes.  Oregano tea.  I didn't make it again.
Oregano Tea.  The next big thing.
I do enjoy a good garage sale or thrift store, and this summer was no exception.  My most successful weekend was during my town wide garage sales with a friend.  My sister had given me a list of some baby items that I was a on a mission to find.

However, I had decided to be fashionably comfortable as we shopped by wearing a cute maxi skirt.  And it rained.  All day.  Do you know what happens to the hem of a long skirt when you walk around all day in the rain?  The hem gets wet, and then the skirt gets wet up to your ankles, and then shins, and then knees.  Pretty soon that skirt weighed about 50 pounds.  How did our ancestors do it with their floor length skirts and petticoats and layers over layers?  Anyways, despite my feminine fax-pas, I scored this awesome solid wood high chair (isn't it beautiful?) for $5.  FIVE DOLLARS.  Bring the rain.
My niece or nephew is gonna love this.

I had a few weddings this summer, one of which (almost) all of my immediate family was at.  It was beautiful and fun and a lovely day to celebrate.  Aren't we a good looking bunch?
The fam, sans Luke.
The night before some of us visited the new local coffee shop, which is my current favorite place to be.  We were hanging out, listening to live music, drinking some goodness, and my brother-in-law suggested a game.  We ended up playing competitive pairs battleship until the place closed.  Insert required hipster picture:
My team took one too many torpedoes.

This summer my parish worked together with two other area churches to offer a Vacation Bible School.  If you know anything about VBS, you are aware that there will be singing.  And dancing.  And the songs will be annoyingly catchy.  They will get stuck in your head.  By day two, I never wanted to hear the music again.  But by the end of the week, I had added the music to my itunes.  As had several of the volunteers.  Take this one for example:

I celebrated my actual birthday in Colorado, which was lovely.  A few weeks later, I was trying to catch up with some friends, and made plans to come over for breakfast after Sunday Mass.  While driving, Bonnie called to check on my ETA.  She then said that the kids wanted to talk to me.  After visiting with B for a bit, L got on the phone, and the conversation went something like this:
Me- "Are you hungry?  I am!"
L- "Yes!"
Me- "I have a big bowl of fruit in my backseat for us.  What else are we going to eat?"
L- "I can't tell you.  It is a surprise."
Me- "OK."
L- "Actually (drops to a whisper) I can't tell you because it is all a surprise.  It's a surprise birthday party for YOU!"


I was five minutes away, so after L hung up on me, I just walked in and pretended that it never happened.  I still got decorations, a yelled "SURPRISE!", and a candle in a sculpture of pastries.  It was the best ever not-such-a-surprise belated birthday breakfast.
The best.

This summer I had a goal of "touching" everything in my apartment.  Sounds weird, but I mean that I wanted to sort and throw away and donate lots after going through every box, closet, bin, shelf, etc.  I wanted it to happen, but I did not want to do it.  However, I buckled down a few weeks ago and got it done.  (Unfortunately, it was after those town wide garage sales, or I could have made quite the profit!).  Everything looks SO much better, and it is so peaceful to be in an organized home.
Might not look like much, but you should see the before.  On second hand, no you shouldn't.

While helping my sister and her husband look for more furniture in an antique shop, Steven and I got a little bored.  We wandered, and came upon these (ahem) lovely porcelain dolls.  Don't ask me how, but without even getting close, I identified them as being the characters from Little Women.

"Little Women?" Steven asked.

Big mistake.  I then tried to explain the plot of one of my favorite books/movies to him.  Using the porcelain dolls as reference.  He is a good man.  Because he didn't run away.
"You must tell me, because we are sisters, a relation closer than marriage."

 ~Bonus #8~
One of my last little road trips of the summer was to visit Marytown & the St. Maximilian Kolbe Shrine in Libertyville, IL and then stop at Mundelein Seminary.  There could be many reasons to visit Mundelein- the gorgeous lake and grounds, beautiful architecture, the sculptures, hoping to run into Fr. Robert Barron, visiting the lovely chapel of the Immaculate Conception...but really I just wanted to see this window.
First stained glass window to feature an Emmy, I reckon.
Fr. Barron posted pics earlier this summer of the new stained glass windows in the recently renovated JP2 chapel at Mundelein.  I had to see my friend Fulton up close, so making it to that chapel was at the top of the list.  We walked the grounds, took pictures, and visited several buildings.  After checking with a seminarian, we climbed the stairs to the new chapel to was temporarily closed for continued installations.


Not to be deterred, we, my Bible Study friends, young Catholics visiting a seminary by choice on a free weekend, went ahead and broke in.  (by broke in, we ignored the sign and moved some plastic and went in anyways, rebels that we are.)  It was so worth it.  This window was so beautiful, and while some others were covered, I was able to see St. Gianna, Bl. Pier Giorgio, St. John XXIII, Mother Teresa, and more.  I felt as though I were among friends.  Sneaking in was totally worth it.  Just don't tell Fr. Barron.
Better than a mug shot, we suppose.
What great summer memories :)

Now go visit Conversion Diary for what will likely be more coherent sets of Quick Takes!


  1. We just visited Marytown, too, and it was GORGEOUS! I still really, really want to go to Mundeliene. Or however it's spelled.

    And yay! We made the list!

    1. Yay! Did you go when you had your speaking engagement? I can't believe you didn't go over to the difficult-to-spell seminary to see the window. It was super cool, and made better because we snuck in :)

  2. "You must tell me, because we are sisters, a relation closer than marriage." I use this line in context a little too often, me thinks.

    Your oregano tea looked....interesting....

    1. "You must tell me, because we are sisters, a relation closer than marriage." I probably use this line out of context a little too often.

      The tea wasn't as bad as it might seem. I did drink the whole glass before I did my google search. I could send you the recipe if you are curious :)

  3. Oh my! Oregano tea? Sebastian and I this summer decided to make parsley tea... it is supposed to "cleanse" your system, it was very odd! I can only imagine the taste of yours!