Summer in the City

With this being the first official week of summer, I thought I'd share some of what we've been up to and what we hope to accomplish in the next couple of months. Summers in the northwest are nothing short of magical. Everything is lush, the days are hot and mild, the evenings warm and peaceful. Everyone in the city is out, all hours of the day. I forget how populated Portland is until the sun comes out! We live on a major bike path in the city, and traffic is at an all-time high on our street this time of year. The evenings have been so perfect lately, and we've taken advantage of them by watching our 3 year old trike back and forth while having a beer on the porch and chatting with the neighbors. 

Since this season seems to fly by every year, we made a checklist of things to accomplish in the next couple of months to ensure a fun time to be had by all. Here's what we've got:

Lots of swimming and picnics on Sauvie Island

Make and can our annual supply of berry jam

Lots of evening walks

See a concert at Edgefield 

Hike the Oneonta Falls trail through the creek

Go cliff jumping at Dougan Falls

Dine al fresco as much as possible

See movies outdoors 

Take a family beach trip

Have a water fight

See the new elephant exhibit at the zoo

Go to the movies

Go camping

I'm sure there are to be a few more things added, but these are our most important to-dos. Last year, I was pregnant and wasn't up for a lot of sun or adventure during the hotter months, so I'll be making up for lost time this year, with a six-month-old now in tow!

I consider myself extremely lucky to get to stay at home full time now with my kids and soak up the summer with them! For the most part, we roam around the front and back yards, splash in our kiddie pool, take walks to Piccolo Park, venture out with friends, and whatever else floats our boat. I usually tote the kids around all day, and then when nap time rolls in, I take advantage of quiet and do something for myself. My favorite afternoon pick me up is a good book and a caffeinated beverage, and lately, shaken iced peppermint green tea is my jam! It used to be my drink of choice when I worked for Starbucks (because what Millennial hasn't worked for the Siren at some point in their life?) and it's the perfect refreshing picker-upper on hot afternoons. 

My love for peppermint oil inspired me to make a simple syrup, which couldn't have been easier. All I did was pour some sugar in a small container (about 1/3 cup), add some boiling water to it very slowly, and stir until it was a slightly thick (not too watery) syrupy consistency and all the sugar had dissolved. I then added 2 drops of peppermint and it was the perfect potency. 

For the tea, I used six packets of Tazo Zen green tea, threw them into a half-gallon pitcher, and filled it halfway with hot water (almost to boiling point.) I let the tea steep for about 5 minutes as opposed to 4 because I like it on the slightly more bitter, stronger side. Then I added ice to the other half of the pitcher and let it cool. For my "iced venti 2-pump peppermint no water shaken iced green tea" (I'm not sure if that is the correct way to order it. Thank goodness all that nonsense being drilled into my brain didn't quite stick), I poured about 16 ounces of tea into a cocktail shaker, added some ice, and topped it with about 2 Tb of peppermint syrup. I slapped a cold pint glass over it and let out my inner bartender. Shake, shake, shake. Grab the strainer, pooouuur that drank, and snap it. Shaking the tea isn't necessary, but it helps to get your tea chilled and well-mixed without watering it down too much. Plus, it's bubbly and fun. 

If you want, you could add a little lemonade to the shaker and make a green tea lemonade! I love that stuff. This drink is so simple and delicious, and it gives me that much-needed second wind on days when the sun has zapped me into a coma. 

I love summertime so much! It's my mission to enjoy every bit of it as possible so that we can ring in my most favorite season, fall, with a proper welcome. Is there anything we should add to our list? What are some of your summertime must-dos?