Summer Groove

What in the world have you been doing lately, Sassy?  Why so quiet?

Let me tell you.  When you (ok, I) homeschool, it often takes a few weeks to figure out how to do summer.  Later bed times, later rising in the morning, new activities, garden to plant and weed (ok, plant), friends visiting, VBS, library reading program, parents coming back for the summer.  Whew.  Don't even get me started about July.

You'd think the open schedule would be great, and it mostly is, but it takes me a while to sort out our daily plan.  Plus, to be perfectly honest, I really enjoy some days of chillin' out in my bed in the morning, sipping coffee, watching the Today Show, and marveling at the idea that putting my kids to bed later actually makes them sleep later.

But now it's time.  My teen is working video and such at VBS this week, and two of my kids are attending.  Since I'm getting up and going in the morning, I thought it would be a good week to give myself a proverbial kick in the fanny.  First step has been kitchen catch-up.

Monday found me making bread, granola, chicken broth and ranch mix.  Yesterday I made a big batch of museli (post to come), strained and froze the broth, and baked brownies for us and rice krispie bars for VBS.  Today?  Yogurt is humming along in the crockpot (post to come).

I've been grilling up a storm, too!  We have a Weber charcoal grill that we got for a wedding gift 20 years ago.  Yep, charcoal.  Like, you have to light the coals, even.  There is no better flavor.  Oh, sure, I wish I could flip a switch and get grilling instantly, but the taste of charcoal-grilled food cannot be faked.  We buy the natural hardwood coals, not the chemical funky ones. 

Seems like lately there's always someone extra on our deck with us for dinner.  Our friends who live in Singapore for most of the year are home for their visit, and Melissa and her two boys are regular fixtures in our lives.  We cram it all into a few short weeks, and then weep like babies when they take the long flight back to the equator.  I love friends who love both me AND good food!

Speaking of food, I've eaten about a dozen BLT salads lately.  Cutting down on carbs is awfully tasty.  Greens, nitrate free bacon, tomato wedges, blue cheese (love my local St. Pete's blue), sometimes sugar snap peas, and a drizzle of blue cheese dressing.  Good stuff.

The garden is growing.  The weeds are doing nicely, too.  Next week we'll be eating radishes and lettuce.  Everything else is sitting there shivering in our stupid weather, waiting for sun and heat to really get going.  My herb garden, however, is going gangbusters!  Oregano, thyme, lemon balm, chives, garlic chives, tarragon, rosemary, sage, basil, parsley, and mint.  I use fresh herbs every single day.  Herbs are SO easy to grow.  I'm also thankful for my perennial garden, which (no thanks to me), produces lots and lots of colorful flowers all summer long.  Eric keeps expanding it for me, patiently splitting plants and helping me move things around, putting in more edging and wood chips.  It's the first thing I see every morning out my bedroom window.

Below is a picture of my dining room table.  I have a thing about vintage tablecloths.  A few stains add to the charm :)  I tend to chose patterns with red and yellow, often with some green and blue.  They don't always fit my table, which is matters little.  I've got quite a stack collected, from friends, family and garage sales or junk stores.  They go on my deck tables, too.  The flowers in the picture are from my garden - Lady's Mantle, Yarrow (paprika), and something pink I forget the name of, plus hosta leaves.  The shells are from this year's trip to FL, and the bowl belonged to my MIL's mother.  The flower pitcher?  A cream jug from Ireland!

Hope your summer is going well.  Tell me what summery foods you're making, books you're reading, things your finding that give you joy.