Day 4: Experience a Thunderstorm While Sipping Tea

During this 7 day challenge, I’ve been drawing my folded slips of paper the night before each new day, due to the fact that some hygge activities require more thought and planning than others. For example, if I drew “Watch a sunrise and a sunset” the day of, I guarantee that I would have already missed the sun coming up.

So when I drew Experience a Thunderstorm While Sipping Tea, I immediately checked the weather forecast. Although rain was indeed in the forecast, I had concerns. Lately our chances of rain have evaporated without the hoped for precipitation. I went to bed with a back up plan. If the thunderstorms didn’t materialize, I was positive I could locate a video of a thunderstorm in progress somewhere on the web.

Day 4: Experience a Thunderstorm While Sipping Tea

I need not have been concerned. I awoke to a gentle rain that soon became a downpour. Time to brew a cup of tea!

Day 4: Experience a Thunderstorm While Sipping Tea

I carried my hot tea…lemon balm, thyme and fennel seeds…out onto the front deck, to sit in the porch swing and enjoy nature’s show. The air was cool and fresh smelling. Rain pelted the sidewalks and ground and beaded up on the leaves of my beloved redbud tree.

Day 4: Experience a Thunderstorm While Sipping Tea

Although my weather app radar showed thunderstorms in the area, I only experienced the steady cleansing rain. However, my fraidy cat, Shy Boy, must have heard the distant rumble of thunder with his sensitive hearing. He bolted for the front door, ears laid back, body low to the porch floor. He hid in the house, which is his usual response to thunder, fireworks, the weekly trash truck! More thunderstorms were in the forecast for the afternoon, but I chose to seize the opportunity that the morning showers brought.

I sipped my hot tea, savored the coziness of the moment, and watched the neighbor kids frolic in the rain. They had the right idea, and kudos to their mom for allowing them the freedom to play in the rain. Their evident joy and enthusiasm made me smile.

Day 4: Experience a Thunderstorm While Sipping Tea

I enjoyed that sacred time, watching the rain, listening to the rain, as I sipped my herbal tea. Even falling from the sky as rain, water soothes. It nourishes the thirsty earth and the parched soul, bestows peace and calm, and slows the breathing and heart rate. Water…whether it is rain, a river or the sea…reminds me to stay fluid and to flow.

This morning it was good that I prepared my tea and experienced the rain shower that was offered to me. Those afternoon thunderstorms never arrived. They are now predicted to roll in at midnight.

Listen to 30 seconds of bliss.

 

Day 3: Slow Down

After a full week, it was such a joy to select today’s summer hygge activity. I drew this one out of the jar:

Slow Down for a Day

I felt ready for such an activity!

Day 3: Slow Down for a Day

The idea behind a slow down day is to observe life, listen, rest, take naps, eat lightly, savor fruits and vegetables and take time to enjoy life. With the exception of taking a nap, that’s precisely how I spent my day.

I visited the Webb City Farmer’s Market, one of my happy places, to pick up fresh tomatoes, zucchini and onions. The energy was high beneath the pavilion as people shopped for produce or visited with friends. I love the farmer’s market. It’s the ideal space in which to slow down, browse and pick up locally raised foods for healthy summer meals. I especially love the way that the market smells! Stacks of freshly cut herbs make me giddy as I pause to inhale the fragrant scents.

Day 3: Slow Down for a Day

I puttered in my gardens today, barefoot, inspecting plants, pulling a few weeds, and plucking the first cherry tomatoes from the veggie garden. Meals were simple with a focus on fresh fruits and vegetables. I enjoyed a fruit smoothie, hummus, watermelon and for dinner one of my favorite summer meals…garden green beans and new potatoes, slow cooked with onion and garlic, accompanied by a sliced tomato from the farmer’s market.

Day 3: Slow Down for a Day

Although I didn’t nap today, I enjoyed resting on my bed, writing, studying, looking through Thrive magazines and daydreaming. I sipped hot tea, made from lemon balm from my garden. And I watched a couple of episodes of Colony on Netflix. That show amazes me every time I watch it, with its excellent story and cast.

I knew I was excelling in slowing down today, when I headed outdoors to settle into the swing beneath the leafy canopy of the redbud tree. I considered taking a book outside with me, to read, so my time would be more productive. Productivity wasn’t on my schedule today. In fact, I didn’t have a schedule and didn’t want one.

It was wonderfully relaxing to gently swing, and watch the happenings in my neighborhood, while I remained at rest and at peace in the dappled shade. What a beautiful slow down day.

Day 3: Slow Down for a DayIn the spirit of slowing down, I totally forgot to take a photo late this afternoon as I relaxed in the swing. However, look at that gorgeous moon! I’m glad I went back out in the dark to take a pic.

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

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‚ÄĘgah, 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