When I was little, I thought summer was magical! School was closed. No homework, no waking up at 7:00 am. But that was not all. My mother came up with some wonderful summer treats. I did these things only in summer. So they and summer have a special place in my heart. Now as an adult, I usually notice only the uncomfortable heat. But sometimes summer still brings back those beautiful memories and with them the feeling of a childish excitement. Now that I have kids, I look forward to making summers special for them too.
Summers are for soap bubbles:Until I became a cynical teenager, every summer my mother made me a soap bubble solution with water and liquid soap used for washing utensils. She gave me a straw and I spent a happy afternoon blowing bubbles out of our apartment window. Sometimes I would get together with a few friends and do this and we would try to catch each others bubbles.
Cooling off with Jelly custard: This was our special summer dessert and we made it at least once a week during the summer holidays. I helped my mom cool the custard while stirring continuously so it did not form lumps. Then I waited rather impatiently for hours while the jelly set in the refrigerator. I would take a peek every half an hour hoping it had set magically faster than usual. I know this is not particularly healthy, so you can add some fruits. But sometimes it is okay to be all about the fun as long as we don't over do it. The trick is to make these treats occasional, which makes them even more coveted.
Bright red ice cubes: Which little kid can resist bright red ice cubes? My mom would mix Rooh Afza with some water and put the mixture in our ice tray to freeze. The she would put a couple of the bright red ice-cubes in my glass of milk. I thought it was brilliant!
Nimbu pani ice lollies for the healthier choice: Not bright red, but still refreshing and tasty. The cold crunchy ice with the sour tang of lemon is a winning combination. Put very little sugar. You wont need much.
This little tray with sticks that fit in is very useful for making the ice lollies. The ice freezes through the holes in the sticks, so the ice lolly is firmly attached to the stick.
No Indian summer can be complete without mangoes: I cant be sure if mangoes made summer special or it was the other way around, but I do remember waiting all year for this amazing fruit. If I could have it my way it would be mangoes for breakfast lunch and dinner. But I did get one or two after each meal. And then there were mango milkshakes. My husband's mother gave him mango pieces mixed with dahi, a delight I did not taste till I was an adult.
Old enough for cold coffee? It is fun to make this in a Nescafe frappe shaker with the ice chips rattling around. Making this may be almost as much fun as drinking it.
Family time with board games: Scrabble, Pictionary, Clue, Jenga and Risk are great games. They get you thinking, learning strategy, expanding your vocabulary, while you spend time having fun as a family.
Summer vacations: Remember the Cliff Richard song:
Everybody has a summer holiday
Doin' things they always wanted to
So we're goin' on a summer holiday
To make our dreams come true.
Well this is a big part of what makes summer special. So whatever it is you are planning to do this summer I hope you have a great one.