What I Did This Summer (Instead of Blogging)

What I Did This Summer by BakingdomHi friends! I bet you thought I was never coming back, huh? I’m sorry. I know I just up and disappeared without a word. It was pretty rude of me. I really am sorry. Also, though, I’m kind of not. It’s hard to be too sorry when you sent the summer the way I did the last few months. I have no excuse for not announcing that I’d be taking a hiatus…except that I hadn’t planned to take it. I had every intention of spending the summer baking, picture-taking, and blogging. But then, my family came to visit, so instead, I took some unexpected time off.

Bakingdom FamilyThe best and most wonderful thing I did this summer was spend time with my family. Back at the end of May, my mom and middle sister arrived for a two week vacation here, and one week after their arrival, my oldest sister joined us, as well. I haven’t seen them for a long, long time – two years since seeing Mom, three years since seeing my oldest sister, and four years since I spent time with my middle sister. We were all due for some quality time together! I got three whole weeks to spend with my family, and the joy of taking them to see different countries…

…so in addition to spending time with my family this summer, I (we) traveled.

The main place that they really wanted to visit was Scotland. When my dad was in the Navy, he spent time in Scotland, and we all grew up hearing about what a beautiful place it was. The Hubster and I were fortunate to get to visit Scotland last year. It was incredible, and I knew that my family would love it, so it was our first stop.

Bakingdom Family Scott MonumentWe spent a couple of days exploring Edinburgh first. My mom brought along a photo of my dad (who passed away when I was 17 years old), and we took several photos of her around the city with the photo. It was a really sweet way that my mom found to share this trip with my dad.

Toasting Dad in ScotlandOn another day, we took a tiny bought across choppy Loch Leven to visit Loch Leven Castle. The castle is built on an island in the middle of the lake, and is where Mary, Queen of Scots spent a year of imprisonment before escaping. It was a cold, rainy day, but it was such an amazing and memorable day. While there, we toasted the memory of Dad with some Scotch Whisky. As you can see above, whisky isn’t my drink. :D

The following day, we drove down to Stonehenge. This was such a fascinating day, and I would definitely recommend a trip to see it if you can!

Bakingdom Family Tower BridgeOn our last day in the U.K., we explored London. We only had the one day, but we made the most of it for sure! We rode the London Eye and took a walking tour to see so many sights – from Parliament and Big Ben (The Elizabeth Tower) to Downing Street and on to Trafalgar Square. We shopped in Piccadilly, and visited Westminster Abbey before heading back across the river to see Shakespeare’s globe and the Millennium Bridge. We also crossed Tower Bridge and saw the Tower of London.

Mr. and Mrs. Bakingdom at Nine and Three QuartersWe even found time for a visit to Kings Cross Station and Platform 9 3/4!

After this trip, my mom and middle sister had to head home. We so sad to see them go, but so very grateful they were able to come see us.

While my oldest sister was still here, we headed to France to visit Versailles and Paris.

Mr. and Mrs. Bakingdom at the Temple of Love VersaillesVersailles is mind boggling! Its massive and stunning and if I hadn’t seen it with my own two eyes, I’d never be able to comprehend just how extravagant it truly is.

If you visit, be sure to stop by the Temple of Love (above) for a smooch with your True Love. :)

Eiffel Tower and Carousel by BakingdomAhhhhhh, Paris.

To be perfectly honest, we hadn’t heard good feedback from friends who’d been to Paris. But you know what? We absolutely loved it! We had such an amazing time exploring the city, and I hope to return someday.

Bakingdom Sisters Eiffel TowerOf course, we visited the Eiffel Tower. We rode to the first level (after the restaurant level), explored, oohed and aahed, took lots of photos (like the one above), and then boarded the elevator to reach the summit.

For me, this was an adventure and an achievement, as I’m very, very afraid of heights. I’m so very happy I did this, though. It was once-in-a-lifetime, and worth every jittery second. :)

Notre Dame Cathedral by BakingdomWe also visited the Cathedral of Notre Dame. This was stunning. We were all in awe. The entire building was gorgeous, and we were fortunate to stop in when they began a service. It was beautiful.

We saw so many other sites in Paris, but there’s still so much left to see…I’m ready to go back anytime. ;)

Mr. and Mrs. Bakingdom Eiffel Tower NightWe couldn’t leave the city without saying goodnight to the Eiffel Tower, and when we saw they were selling massive clouds of fluffy cotton candy, we didn’t hesitate. What a fantastic memory!

After my other sister headed home to the States, I meant to get back into the swing of blogging again. Everyone had been so patient waiting for me while I toured around with my family, but I just wasn’t in a blogging place. I needed some time. I already missed everyone tremendously, and for the first time, I felt extremely homesick. We’ve been so happy here, and I love it and all the people we’ve met, but I was very sad to see my people head home again. So I took some more time. And Hubs and I took another trip. This time to Luxembourg for some hiking.

Mr. Bakingdom in LuxembourgWe spent Independence Day weekend on the trails. On the Fourth of July, we even stumbled on to this beautiful memorial for American WWII soldiers. It was so fitting and very moving.

Mr. Bakingdom with Fred and GeorgeWe also made new friends during our hike. These two sweet donkeys (mules?) were absolutely adorable and so very lovable!

Fred and George DonkeysWe named them Fred and George. Because obviously.

Vianden from Above by BakingdomAfter hiking, we headed into a sweet little town named Vianden.

Vianden Luxembourg by BakingdomIt was quaint and cute and fun just to meander through.

Vianden Castle by BakingdomThey even had their own Hogwarts Castle!

When we got home, I just wanted to keep relaxing. I wanted to spend time with Loki, snuggling. I wanted to let myself be a little sad that my family and most of my friends are far, far away and living in the past. So I did. I let myself have some time.

I crafted.

Harry Potter Needlecrafts by BakingdomI spent time making art for my office, framing art and photos I’ve been neglecting, and creating happy new pages in my Project Life scrapbooks.

Donald Duck Felt Craft by BakingdomI worked on my gallery wall, adding touches of geekery wherever I could.

Doctor Who Needlecraft by BakingdomIt was so much fun making sweet and happy art pieces to enjoy while I work in there.

Before and After Shelves by BakingdomThis was probably my favorite project. I ordered the shelves from Target, and after painting them, I created bright, happy backgrounds for each square. I’ve been having the best time filling the shelves with little pieces of joy.

I also learned to crochet. I suppose that falls under crafting, but seeing as how it’s a little more involved, I consider it a task all its own. I’m still learning, and I’m moving right along, but I wouldn’t expect to see much more than a scarf for while yet. ;)

Eat. Sleep. Read. Repeat. by BakingdomDuring my hiatus, I read. I read a lot. I read 25+ books between my last post on May 9 and today’s. And it. was. awesome. I’m participating in the PopSugar Reading Challenge this year, and it was a lot of fun checking a whole lot of books off my list. I’m also re-reading the Harry Potter series with my bestie, Tina (Sugar Bean Bakers), for our new book club Weasleys’ Wizard Weaders. We’ve been having weekly FaceTime book discussions, which has basically been the best thing ever. All the books I read between May 9 and today:

Summer 2015 Reading List by Bakingdom

 

This summer, I also embraced the return of the high waist. This is still a work-in-progress. Every fiber of my being is telling me they’re mom jeans, they’re dated, they’re uncool. Nevertheless, I invested in some charming wool plaid shorts, and some comfy, silky shorts – all high-waisted. I’m trying. ;)

Mostly, I relaxed. I had a real summer vacation. And it was wonderful.

I’m so grateful to each and every person who takes the time to stop by here and visit for awhile, and I can’t express enough how much I appreciate your patience while I took some time to be with my family. Thank you for reading, and thank you for waiting. I hope you’re excited to see some new recipes and ideas, and maybe even read a little bit about some of my recent travels. Have a wonderful weekend, my friends!

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