My Five Favorite Things… July Edition!

July Five FavesAs we all know, there’s nothing closer to perfection then summer in the lovely state of Maine.  The oceans and beaches are full of folks, as are our roads, lakes, and hiking trails.  I know a lot of folks who live here who HATE this part of it, but I love sharing the things I’m into, and Maine is definitely one of those things.  Each month, I try to bring you a list of the five things I’m most into that month, so here we go with July!

1.  Maine State Parks!

My Mimi, Barbara, was the kind of woman who did a lot of different jobs.  She did everything from work as Oppenheimer’s secretary during WWII to work as a librarian.  My fondest memory of her work life, though, was when I was little, and she worked for the Maine State Park system, at Camden Hills State Park.  My family would spend two weeks camping there every summer so that we could spend time with our Mimi.  For a girl from the mountains and Moosehead Lake, I was enamored with the smell of the salt from the ocean and just how big that ocean was from the top of Mount Meginticook.

These days, I make it a priority to spend my free time in Maine State Parks.  I get a car pass every year, which allows me and a car full of folks to access the parks for just one low price.  I just returned from a camping trip to Rangeley Lake State Park, and leave for another to Camden Hills State Park in just a couple of weeks.  Friends visited from Pennsylvania a few weeks ago, and I made sure that we hit up Wolfe’s Neck State Park.  And, for my money, there’s no better place to beat the summer heat then at Crescent Beach State Park, looking for shells, building sand castles, and splashing in the cool ocean.

The coolest thing about Maine State Parks?  Almost every one of them has an affordable group gathering spot that would be perfect for a Pop Up Wedding!

2.  Salsa

Honestly, it’s too hot to cook.  My concession is throwing some chicken on the grill, and making sure that we always have the makings of a salad, a taco, and a pizza in the fridge.  After that, if you live in my house, you’re responsible for feeding yourself.

For me, I’ve been eating a ton of taco salads and quesadillas, simply because they are a vehicle for this salsa.  Made from both canned and fresh ingredients, it’s quick, easy, and just gets better after a few days in the fridge!

3.  Neutrogena Dry-Touch Sunscreen, SPF 100

I’m a ginger, complete with fair, freckled skin, non-existant eyelashes and brows in the summer, and red hair.  I always have been.  Which means I’ve always been prone to sunburns and an elusive search to find the one sunscreen on the market that helps keep me safe from them.

I think I finally found the one.  The sunscreen that doesn’t leave me all slimy feeling and stuck to every surface I touch.  The sunscreen that actually does help me not get burned, provided I’m still careful to stay inside during the worst hours of the day.

Even if you’re not a ginger, check this stuff out.  If it works for me, it’ll work for nearly everyone.  I spend a ton of time outside, in case you hadn’t gathered, and this stuff is awesome!

4. The Saco Drive-In

As I noted in my 6 Month Update post, my kiddo, P, has a rare neurological sleep condition called KLS.  Often, when he’s awake, he doesn’t have the energy to do much, but we still enjoy spending time together.  This is where the Saco Drive-In comes in for us.

Just $20 for a car-load of people (or $15 for the first three!), you have the option of staying for two first-run films (although we almost NEVER make the second film because I like to go to bed early). They’re open 7 days a week through labor day, and their movie schedule runs from Friday-Thursday and then resets.  This is awesome for my family, who are always looking for time together but needs a lot of flexibility, due to KLS.  The other awesome part?  For kids (or grownups like me) who are a bit squirmy or talkative, this is a great environment – the only folks you’re bugging are your family, you can get up and take a walk without disturbing others, and all the kiddos tend to play together while waiting for the movie to start.

The best part of the Drive-In, in my opinion?  You get to bring your own snacks!  We’ve had nights where we’ve done very traditional popcorn and candy, but on those non-cooking nights, we’ve brought subs and even pizza a few times.

I know I have a lot of thoughts about Pop Up Weddings, but I also think this could be a great way to get married, especially for a couple that has a special movie series they love!

5.  The local library

When I talked about Maine State Parks, I mentioned that my Mimi had also been a librarian at one point, and my aunt still works for the Maine State Library.  A love of books in deeply a part of who I am, and there’s nothing I love more than exploring my local library.

This summer, P and I have made countless trips, both for books we’ve requested and just for a browse.  We both tend to come home with piles and tear through them voraciously.

My favorite read of the summer so far?  Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor!  The first book in a YA series about a Nigerian girl with magical powers, I’m finding this series to be as compelling as Harry Potter, but with a deeper, richer cultural heritage that both P and I are enjoying!



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