Monday, August 12, 2013

Summer Round-up: Play

We have had some really lovely gatherings this summer.  There was our friend, Jeff's, unbirthday, Ben's birthday, our Nation's birthday, a few girls' nights, and then just some altogether uneventful but lovely evenings (and some mornings) with food, friends, and great conversation.

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have what they call "Family Home Evening" (or FHE) on Monday nights.  It consists of a lesson, activity, and snack.  Seeing as how Ben and I are a family of two, we find it hard to motivate ourselves to do it on our own, so we started doing it with friends.  One night, our activity was croquet!  Our friends, the Lyons, taught us to play.  Mara rocked it, but Jeff turned into poison and took everyone out.  My personal lesson that night was to stop being a poor loser and have fun.  Our snack was probably watermelon because it's summer and why not?

Being there to share in someone's first s'more is really something special to watch.  They try to find a good spot to roast the marshmallow then squeal in fright as it catches on fire.  Once it's assembled, they turn it around, possibly multiple times, as they determine they best place to bite.  A s'more is truly a mouth puzzle.  You're greeted by the stiff crunch of the graham cracker and don't want it to fall everywhere, and then, just as your mouth is growing accustomed to that texture/bite, the inside is gooey and sticky - it's a little confusing and you kind of want to it to be over as quickly as possible but you're also loving all of the sugary goodness. I've experience four first time s'more eaters this summer - what a hoot!

Eriko eats her first s'more:

 Jeff's Un-birthday

There is nothing like a bonfire, especially in Fall and cooler days of Summer.  I even built my very first bonfire with the help of my friend, Erica.  We were having a girl's night and I was excited to make my first fire.  After futile attempts Erica arrived and I greeted her with "Soo... we have a small problem with our fire.  I've never actually made one before."  She wracked her brain for the one or two times he helped build one and we did it!  We made a gorgeous, gigantic fire, just in time for Julia's arrival.  Honestly, putting it out was probably my favorite part.  Who knew the sizzle of water getting poured over a fire could be so satisfying?
It was rainy the day we'd planned to have Ben's birthday bonfire, but Ben was determined to build a fire and he succeeded, even managing to cook us some brats before the guests arrived!  Just as our they did, the rain stopped and we had an amazing time.

Watermelon, sweet corn, fresh herbs and mint!  Summer brings with it some incredible delights.  We (and anyone who partook in it) fell in love with this watermelon, mint, and feta salad.  It is maybe the best thing ever.  And super easy!  We made it anytime we were eating with people.

I don't think I've had friends as neighbors since college.  Do you remember how much fun it is to have a friend living so close you can text, "wanna come over for a bit?" and walk five feet?  I had forgotten as many of our friends live across town.  Our dearest lovely, Mara, moved next door this summer and it has been a dream come true!  We started the tradition of Monday morning (because Monday is the actor's weekend) banana pancakes and Doctor Who (Mara was watching for the first time).  One morning we invited Julia to join us and she brought her waffle iron.  I have to admit that I have never liked waffles until eating Belgian waffles from the Taste of Belgium in Cincinnati.  so I altered the pancake recipe a bit and made banana waffles!  I was nervous, but they turned out quite well, with the exception of loosing some of their crunch after being stacked... apparently you shouldn't stack waffles like pancakes...  The waffle below is topped with a blueberry drizzle I made!

We started growing mint, as you may or may not remember.  We let it go and it died in the winter.  To our surprise, however, it regrew on it's own this Spring!  We've been putting it into many a watermelon, feta, mint salad, but we still needed a way to consume it so we heard about chocolate covered mint leaves and decided to try it!  It is ridiculously easy: melt chocolate, dip the leaves in, and stick in the freezer until eating.

General summer enjoyment...


  1. What a fun/busy dummer! So glad it was a good one!

  2. I hate to be the spelling Nazi, but I think you meant "croquet" for your FHE activity. I read crochet, which would have been a fine activity as well, and got really confused by following sentences.
    It sounds like your summer, like ours, has gone way too fast.

  3. So true, Aaron, thanks for catching it. I'm much more accustomed to spelling crochet than croquet...

  4. What a beautiful yard - perfect for bonfires and games! Yay for good friends.

    1. The bonfire for Ben's birthday was held at the house we were watching. We asked the owners ahead of time if it would be alright if we had friends over for it and they were thrilled to have us use there amazing yard (basically a small part of the forest...). Their house and land were so fun to live at for three weeks - it was like a little retreat.


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