Day 2: Drink a Flavored Ice Tea

On this very full day, I could not have drawn a better activity for Day 2 of the Summer Hygge Challenge. I selected this slip of paper:

Drink a Flavored Iced Tea

As a gardener with many fresh herbs available, I knew I’d be crafting my own flavored iced tea. I happen to be writing a health blog post this evening on the versatile bee balm plant. I chose to bring a little ease into my busy day and let this herb pull double duty. I’m grateful I made that decision.

Day 2 Drink a Flavored Iced Tea

You can read about bee balm and its culinary and health benefits HERE.

For this blog post, I simply had to create a cold tea to enjoy while I prepped a quick, healthy dinner.

I gathered two sprigs of bee balm from my garden, where the plant is in full glorious bloom. I patiently waited for a bumblebee to dart to another flower before clipping the one I wanted for my tea. I have an abundance of bee balm growing, so the happy bee had plenty of bright pink blooms to visit.

Day 2 Drink a Flavored Iced Tea

Day 2 Drink a Flavored Iced Tea

I added boiling water to the leaves and flowers, covered the mug, and let the tea steep while I considered what to combine with this fragrant herb. Bee balm is a member of the mint family although it’s scent and flavor are distinctly oregano-like. Citrus fruits pair well with bee balm. After steeping for 20 minutes, I poured the tea into a 16 oz mason jar and added the juice of half a lime.

I let the tea chill in the fridge while I cooked a veggie dinner.

Later, for a splash of color, and a hint of sweetness, I added several freshly sliced strawberries. Ice cubes followed, and my flavored iced tea, made up as I went along, was ready.

I enjoyed my creation with dinner. The earthy bee balm tea, combined with tangy lime juice and sweet juicy strawberries, was very flavorful and incredibly refreshing. I sipped on the iced tea and when it was gone, I ate the leftover chunks of strawberries.

This tea could become a summertime favorite!

Day 2 Drink a Flavored Iced Tea

Day 1: Walk Barefoot in the Grass

The first day of summer arrived this morning, right on schedule. And what a glorious day it was. After thunderstorms yesterday, this morning dawned bright and cool and breezy, which made today’s first summer hygge challenge activity a delight. As it turned out, it was a shared delight.

Day 1 Walk Barefoot in the Grass

The first activity that I drew, out of 15 possibilities, was this one:

Walk barefoot in the grass.

I loved going barefoot as a child…indoors, outdoors…it didn’t matter. I hated to wear shoes. I still kick my shoes off as soon as I get home for the day, and I often step outside for a moment or two with bare feet.

I discovered several years ago that walking barefoot outside, especially on a sandy beach or a grassy stretch of lawn, has important health benefits. The soles of the feet have meridians that draw the earth’s energy into the body. That powerful energy is dispersed throughout the body, easing inflammation by neutralizing free radicals. Earthing, or grounding, has been shown to thin the blood, lower blood pressure and make cells less likely to stick together and form clots. Because free radicals are a major cause of aging as well, keeping the body balanced with electrons from the earth reduces the destructive signs of aging such as wrinkling of the skin and the breakdown of DNA.

Day 1 Walk Barefoot in the Grass

Day 1 Walk Barefoot in the Grass

My granddaughter Aubrey spent the night with me last night. When I explained to her the game I was playing, she was eager to join in. We brought our bare feet and our phones outside, to welcome summer with a leisurely stroll around the yard.

Aubrey has good, creative ideas. As we slowly walked in the dewy grass, and inspected the backyard garden for storm damage, we paused often to try different photo shoots and slo-mo videos. I love allowing my granddaughter and each of my grandsons to explore their artistic or imaginative sides, and try out new things.

We completed our barefoot walk around the yard, and returned to the swing in the shade of the beautiful redbud tree. It was the perfect spot to chat as we enjoyed the freshness of the morning and the frisky breeze. And because today marks another celebration as well, we snapped a selfie together.

Happy Summer Solstice, Selfie Day and Day 1 of the 7 Day Summer Hygge Challenge!

Day 1 Walk Barefoot in the Grass

7 Day Summer Hygge Challenge

Back in March I enjoyed creating a 7 Day Hygge Challenge, to welcome spring without sacrificing the cozy connectedness of the Scandinavian custom. Pronounced hue•gah, this lifestyle that celebrates nature and simple pleasures is one that I’ve practiced my entire life, without realizing it had a name.

I made a decision after the first 7 day hygge challenge to kick off the start of each season this year in a similar fashion. With summer’s official start date on Thursday, June 21, I prepped for the next challenge tonight.

7 Day Summer Hygge Challenge

I used the 15 ideas for hygging in summer (you can read that post HERE) as inspiration for the challenge. I combined this challenge with another fun form of play that I enjoy…randomly drawing activities for each day out of a container.

My task tonight was to write down the 15 ideas on 15 slips of paper, fold them and drop them into a cute ceramic container that my daughter Adriel made for me many years ago. Each day I’ll reach in and select an activity.

7 Day Summer Hygge Challenge

7 Day Summer Hygge Challenge

The activities, which include watching a sunrise and a sunset, play in water, go on a day trip and plant something new in the garden, are all doable in a single day. Some activities are just more challenging than others. Since I have 15 activities and only 7 days in the challenge, not every slip of paper will be drawn.

I benefit from this type of creative play in several ways. I enjoy a challenge. It helps me to grow. The seemingly random order of the activities teaches me trust, for this game is, in reality, played with the Divine. As I select a slip of paper, I am choosing to remain in the flow of life, and I hold to the belief that I will draw out the perfect activity for the day.

I look forward to the summer hygge challenge and seeing how it all unfolds. Play along if you’d like. This will be fun!

7 Day Summer Hygge Challenge

15 Ways to Enjoy a Hygge Summer

It’s time to keep the hygge going during the warm and free summer months. Hygge, pronounced hue•gah, is a Scandinavian custom that promotes a lifestyle focused on coziness, comfort and simple pleasures. Often associated with winter time, hygge can actually be practiced throughout the year.

15 Ways to Enjoy a Hygge Summer

Here are 15 ideas to create that hygge coziness in summer.

1. Stargaze – find a quiet place free from city lights and look up. Lie on a quilt on the ground, stretch out in a lounge chair or sit in a pickup truck bed. Watch for shooting stars and make a wish.

2. Go camping – summer time is all about enjoying the outdoors. Make your camp comfy. Bring lightweight throws and quilts from home. Throw a rug down outside the tent, or inside if the tent is roomy enough. Have fun being outside while enjoying some comforts of home.

3. Grow a garden – a flower garden, an herb garden or a veggie garden all provide beauty and/or food and allow a connection with the earth and growing plants. Get your hands dirty.

15 Ways to Enjoy a Hygge Summer

4. Watch a sunrise and a sunset – bookend the day with the promise of a new day and the satisfaction of a day well spent.

5. Play in the water – cool off at the beach, in a pool, or with a garden hose and sprinkler. Have on hand piles of thick fluffy towels, wide brimmed hats and lightweight cotton cover ups.

6. Drink flavored ice teas – swap out hot teas for cold iced tea. Try new flavors of herbal teas. My current favorite is a blend of rose hips tea and orange juice, chilled before drinking.

15 Ways to Enjoy a Hygge Summer

7. Watch fireworks – celebrate the 4th of July with your own mini fireworks display or attend a big sponsored event.

8. Travel – take a day trip, a road trip or a two week vacation. Go somewhere new. Explore different cultures and cities and meet new people. Create a scrapbook capturing your trip.

9. Build a fire in a backyard fire pit and light candles throughout the yard and garden – candlelight and firelight are important aspects of hygging. Create a cozy evening in your own backyard with a fire and candles. Use safe containers for candles and monitor the fire!

15 Ways to Enjoy a Hygge Summer

10. Watch a movie or attend a concert outdoors – check your local news sources for movies in the park or outdoor concerts. If you are fortunate enough to have a drive in theater nearby, take family and friends to watch a movie on the big screen.

11. Experience a thunderstorm while sipping tea – appreciate nature’s cleansing through thunderstorms. From a safe place, watch the lightning, listen to the rumble of thunder, catch the scent of rain. Chamomile tea is a good choice for a calming tea if thunderstorms make you nervous.

12. Walk barefoot in the grass – and benefit from receiving the earth’s energy as it enters through the soles of the feet.

15 Ways to Enjoy a Hygge Summer

13. Create an outdoor room – turn your porch, your patio or deck into an outdoor room. Add comfy seating, waterproof rugs, cushions and pillows, tables to hold drinks and stacks of books and include twinkling lights or candles. Eat outside, read, daydream, entertain.

14. Make your own ice cream – use an ice cream maker and create your own flavors. For a healthy easy ice cream treat, blend 3 frozen bananas, cut into chunks, in a blender or food processor until smooth. Top with fresh fruit.

15. Slow down – observe life. Listen. Rest. Breathe. Take naps, in a hammock or on a pile of pillows. Eat lightly. Savor fresh fruits and veggies. Take your time.

Hygge is such a beautiful way to engage in life and care for the self and the soul. Connect with others. But most importantly, connect deeply with yourself.

Happy hygging!

15 Ways to Enjoy a Hygge Summer