One of my favorite exotic plants is the Mandevilla. I am sure they come in many colors, but I always choose hot pink. The look like they shouldn't be able to bloom in N.E. Ohio, but I always have a profusion of blossoms all Sumer long. Their buds just twirl out like performance art, and the blossoms are the kind you can just peer into for some great flower fun!
366 - Enjoy watering your garden. During this Summer of drought conditions, we have needed to water our flowers quite often. I appreciate checking in with them to see how they're doing and if they need anything other than water.
367 - Create your own hot fudge sundae! The other day my husband, Tom, brought home the fixings for hot fudge sundaes. I was surprised to realize that I had never before ever made my own hot fudge sundae. When you get a hot fudge sundae at an ice cream parlor, there is always the risk of running out of hot fudge before you get to the end of the ice cream. Oh no! But at home, you are in charge of the amount of hot fudge that is distributed. In these days of 90+ degree weather, a generous hot fudge sundae is a happy thing!
368 - Get out some chalk and create a game of Hopscotch. This fun game has been passed on from generation to generation. You might even be able to teach someone how to do it!
369 - Collect flyers and brochures of fun and creative things to do. This Summer may be the most fun ever because I have really paid attention to free and/or inexpensive concerts, art exhibits, and fun events all around our area. Last Sunday, my friend Jean, my Dad, and I attended a free Akron Symphony Orchestra concert at Hardesty Park. It was a delightful evening with a quirky selection of beautiful music. There was even a place where people could learn the basics of conducting an orchestra with their own baton action. Many people brought picnics and all ages were in attendance. I wonder if my Dad, who is 95, was the oldest person there?
370 - Declare a day of peace, calm, and quiet. Every once in a while, it is refreshing to not watch TV, listen to the radio, or get on your computer. You can catch up on some reading, take a walk, visit with someone, or whatever you like. It is amazing to find some extra time to spend however you wish.
371 - Try a recipe that scares you! One time I asked a friend what his favorite meal is, and he told me Beef Wellington. I wanted to make a special birthday dinner for him, but the recipe was at least two pages long in The Joy of Cooking, which was a little too intimidating for me! So I asked him for his second favorite meal, which was barbecued ribs -- a little more doable! Now I am on the alert for a recipe to challenge me that is a little tricky, but not too too frightening.
378 - Recreate one of your restaurant favorites. I have recently gone on a streak of eating spinach salad with chicken, pickle slices, shredded cheese and vinaigrette dressing. One day it occurred to me that I could put that together at home for a lot less money, and with more control over the ingredients.
379 - Take a photograph of a street sign that corresponds with someone's last name, and then pretend you had the street named after them! This is a birthday gift which I framed and gave to my Dad, Sherman Bailey, for his 95th birthday. He found it very amusing, but I am not quite sure if he believed that it was really and truly a new street dedication. Maybe you'll have better luck!
380 - Have a "Zero Dollar Day". This is a day when you don't spend any money at all. It's a great way to feel like you're saving money. Sometimes I even get in and out of a store without spending anything at all if I am well on my way to having a day where all my money stays in my wallet!
381 - Pre-read a few pages in the books you are going to take on vacation. This way you won't be lugging books around that are going to disappoint you during your time away. Thank you to my friend, Nancy, for giving me this great idea.
382 - If you're thinking about buying a book at a bookstore, but you're not sure if it will be good or not, read a paragraph 1/3 of the way in, and 2/3 in, also. This is not recommended for mysteries though -- you might ruin the suspense! Authors spend a lot of time devising their first paragraphs, so this has helped me over the years get a better feel for a prospective book purchase.
383 - Take a photograph of your vegetable garden bounty to send to someone out of state. Featured here are yellow squashes, zucchinis, green peppers, and an eggplant from my Dad's big vegetable garden. Tomatoes are now in, but have yet not been photographed. We call his tomatoes "Bailey tomatoes" -- they are always better than anybody else's tomatoes in the Universe! My Dad is 95 and has had vegetable gardens almost every year of his life with rare exceptions. He works his magic in a community garden, and is very generous with his advice and assistance to other gardeners. When I was a child, one of my fondest memories was of gardening with my Dad. I have inherited his love of gardening, but with more of an emphasis on flowers. Hooray!
384 - If you really love a movie, see it twice in rapid succession. You will notice things in the second viewing that escaped you in the first. I recently saw "Moonrise Kingdom" and was so enthusiastic about it that I saw it again two days later. The second time around convinced me that it is definitely one of the best movies I have ever seen!
385 - Observe gardens in your neighborhood and on your driving routes. I have favorite seasonal flower delights all around town. We have neighbors that tend to a wonderful sloping garden which I pass by almost every time I drive up the street. This year, their purple clematis grew up and over a trellis to join beautiful red roses for a glorious display. Now they have gorgeous red hibiscus blooming. Every once in a while, I stop and offer my appreciation for their flowers and the hard work they put into taking care of their yard. On another street, I look forward to their huge pink hibiscus blossoms surrounded by amazing lavender blossoms. I am also an admirer of big blue hydrangea in bloom, especially since they seem impossible for me to grow!
386 - If you love to write, invite a friend to join you at a cafe to do writing prompts. You can find writing prompts on the internet and in books, or make up your own. Then you write for a certain amount of time and read the results to each other. My friend April writes the most quirky and fun responses to writing prompts, and we always have fun trying new approaches to short writing pieces.
387 - Try a writing prompt cafe hop. Get together several friends who enjoy writing, and have little writing episodes at different cafes all on the same day.
388 - Encourage someone you love, who is technologically resistant, to make a fun computer purchase. This is my Dad at the Apple Store in the midst of buying an iPad. The employees were great with him and enjoyed his sense of humor.
If you have any ideas of fun things to do, please add them in the "comments". We are over 1/3 of the way to achieving a list of 1,000 fun things to do!