summer fun: mini crossbow

My boys are 11 and 14, and it is sometimes a bit hard to get them off of their iPods and tablets. But there are limits in place, and they have dug into some fun projects already this summer. The first one was this mini crossbow that basically just required hairclips, popsicle sticks, embroidery floss, and a hot glue gun.IMG_2157IMG_2164IMG_2155IMG_2163IMG_2167IMG_2169It shoots toothpicks and I find that mildly concerning.


father’s day


Father’s Day was a nice, relaxing day over here. The day actually started out with soccer game for Boy #2, but that was bright and early and over with by 9am. There were cards and gifts and donuts. Then a picnic at the park with some frisbee and sadly two bee stings. We ended the day with some grilled steaks, asparagus, and baked potatoes. Chocolate chip cookie bars with vanilla ice cream topped it off. Who could ask for more?

ten things I’m looking forward to this summer

IMG_1813Ten things I’m looking forward to this summer:

1. no alarm clocks

2. eating outside, possibly every meal of the day

3. walks after dinner

4.  summer fruit

5. lots of salads

6. free evenings

7. going to the beach

8.  finding out what the kids’ summer obsession is (in the past: origami, juggling, rubik’s cubes, geocaching)

9.  just hanging out with my kids

10.  dinners that don’t involve turning the oven on

It was hard to keep it to just ten. So many reasons to love summer…




Chocolate chip cookies are the absolute favorite cookies in our house. I’ve tinkered with many recipes over the years and this one has emerged as the all-time favorite. I rarely have to make them myself anymore, as my daughter has taken over as the Head Cookie Baker. However, I did whip up these the other day for Boy #1 to take to school for a party.

26 cookies 126 cookies 226 cookies 31 cookies 21 cookiesHere’s the recipe, I think the difference is the bread flour, but it works with all purpose flour too. If I have time, I refrigerate the dough a bit. The cookies come out a little thicker that way. We often don’t make actual cookies, but put the dough in a pan and make cookie bars. That has become the favorite, because the are thick and gooey. On this day, I doubled the recipe and did both, cookies to give away, and cookie bars to keep. Enjoy! (My daughter named the recipe :))

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever


2 3/4 c. bread flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 bag  (12 oz.) semi-sweet chocolate chips


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2. In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt; set aside

3. In large bowl combine butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract; beat until creamy

4. Beat in eggs

5. Gradually add flour mixture

6. Stir in chocolate chips

7. Refrigerate dough for an hour (this is optional, but results in thicker cookies)

8. Drop by level measuring tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets

9. Bake at 375 degrees for 11 to 12 minutes

10. Take cookies out of the oven, let them cool slightly on the cookie sheet, and then remove to cooling rack to cool

Cookie Bar Variation:

Put dough in a 9 x 13 baking dish. Cook at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

neighborly gifts

I love it when I get a text from my neighbor Minki that says something like, “Send your son down if you want to try some bread I just made”. Because we all know delicious things will follow. And always adorably packaged. I’ve learned a lot about presentation from her.
22 gift


1 bread close up

The bread was so yummy and like nothing I’ve ever had before. It was topped with cheese and corn and was sweet and delicious.

Minki is also an uber-talented crafter, an artist really. She has two blogs, one in English and one in Korean. Don’t be afraid to check out the Korean one, the pictures really tell the story of her beautiful handmade crafts and sweet family.

{this moment}

30 jonah

8th grade promotion dance. He hates to have his picture taken. So glad I got this one.

{this moment} ~ A single photo – no (or few) words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Linking up with Soulemama.

this week in my kitchen

Linking up with Beauty That Moves. Just a peek at what was happening in my kitchen this week.

Breakfast on the patio.

28 breakfast

Chocolate Chip cookies.

26 cookies 126 cookies 2

Not a pretty shot of this Beef Chili. But it was tasty.

28 chili

And the first Strawberry Jam of the season. I had forgotten how good homemade jam is.

28 jam28 jam 2

And Kids Cook Night. Grilled chicken sandwiches with corn on the cob. I love seeing my kids in the kitchen.

28 kids cook

in the garden

Early in the morning, I like to drink my coffee outside, in the garden. Only the other day, when I sat down, I realized that the garden really needed a little love and attention.17 garden 117 garden 217 garden 3

Overgrown and overrun with weeds is not a good place to be going into summer. The spring is when we really get the gardens in shape, both flower and vegetable. Somehow spring has gotten away from me.

Conveniently, we had a sports-free day on Saturday and the hubby, boys, and I got out there and got to work. An hour or so of weeding and mulching makes such a difference. There is is still a lot to do, but at least the part that I see when I sit out in the morning and evening looks a lot better!
17 garden after 217 garden after 417 garden after 5

Still a little overgrown, but I like it. It reminds me of an English cottage garden.17 garden after 6

What is growing in your garden?

{this moment}

{this moment} ~ A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Linking up with Soulemama.


sick boy

This boy has been out of school for three days with a bad cold. He is actually missing a really fun field trip today. He has drunk gallons of tea (thank goodness for Throat Coat), gone through boxes of tissues, and has a very sore little nose. I’m hoping to play a few board games and maybe watch a movie together today to take the sting out of missing the field trip.

14 sickI’m going heavy on the fruits and veggies, trying get him well and keep the rest of us well. There has been a lot of green smoothies.

14 smoothie14 smoothie2

Very yummy breakfasts.

14 yogurt


And lots of fruits available for snacking.14 f&v2

Since we are having extreme heat right now, I’m trying to keep the cooking to a minimum. Last night we had do-it-yourself chopped salad for dinner. Fun and easy, everyone got a good helping of veggies and for once got the exact salad they they wanted,14 chopped salad


Even with the sick one home, I’ve been trying to fit in at least 15 minutes a day of some kind of crafting. I was able to put in a little time on a new quilt for my dad. Actually it is a re-do of an old, failed quilt, but that’s another story.

14 fabric

Have a great day!