Monday, June 17, 2013

summer joys...

I don't know how we got to the end of June so quickly. The end of May found me worn out and ready for a break, and the end of this month finds me feeling rested and like I've gotten one. I'm thankful.

We're full into the swing of summertime, and how sweet it is... Weekly swim lessons, summer day camp, mornings at the pool, last minute picnics and park playdates, lots of uninterrupted time to be lazy and read books and play with Legos, summer evening women's Bible study with friends (which is why I'm up typing this. I had coffee.)

This is Coach Marie, otherwise known as the "Swim Nazi." Evan has spent some time crying and hanging onto the side of the pool, and Mommy has been banished from the pool area because of it, but he's learning that she means business when she says he has to learn to float on his back. She's tough, but she's teaching me that my kids can do more than I think that they're capable of sometimes. Having another teacher's perspective on them is a good thing from time to time, and I'm glad we have a variety of opportunities to get that through extracurriculars...

Both big boys spent a week at tae kwon do camp! A local church has this as a ministry, and they LOVED it. We'll be going back next year. Each day they were eager to share their Bible memory verse AND show me the cool blocking moves that they'd learned. On the last day of camp, they both got to break a board. (I think the boards were made of balsa wood with grooves in them for easier breakage, but that didn't make it any less cool in their eyes.) I have video footage for posterity.

Ben and I spent their week of camp running errands together mostly. I'd come home, and he'd run around and bring me cars to look at, and I'd make their lunches before we went to pick them up. Just normal stuff. And I confess that I didn't wash their uniforms all week. It was air conditioned! They didn't smell. (Those pants were so white. I was afraid I'd somehow make them look dingier than the other kids' if I washed them.)

At the end of this week, I'm heading to my parent's house for a few days of R&R, visiting with friends, and taking the boys fishing and for a boat ride with Papa. (David has some work he needs to catch up on, and we're going to get out of his hair.)

So far I'm realizing how much I need this season of sun and rest and a different routine. It's a happy, happy thing...

Monday, June 03, 2013

rolls and spice rubs...

We're getting into the swing of things with summer vacation. Our mornings are lazy, and I think that Seth has completely forgotten that he ever used to do math worksheets, and that's the way it should be in early June. I've bought a pass for our city pool, and the boys are taking swim lessons once a week. We've even pulled out the fire pit for s'mores already!

I'm enjoying the summer menu options. It seems like all I ever want to make these days is stuff that involves flatbread, hot dog buns, hamburger buns, etc. It's the season, right? So I thought I'd pull out my trusty bread maker and start making rolls and buns for us on weeks when bread is on the menu.

This week, I have planned to have BBQ chicken sandwiches and philly cheesesteak sandwiches, so I made this recipe this morning. I made half of the recipe into these buns. (Really, watch her on the video. My buns look so much fancier now, and its easy.) And I made the other half into hoagie rolls. And I think it might've cost me about $.35 or less and a little time.

I think this recipe is a good all purpose one for bread. I could shape it into a loaf and bake it to go with dinner. And I'm wondering if I could make it into flatbread if I omitted the first rise in the bread maker. I substituted 1 cup of the bread flour with white whole wheat. It doesn't change the flavor at all in that small of an amount.

As usual, I've now got bags of the dry mix in my pantry. :) If I could convince all of you to try that once, you might not go back. It's worth the few minutes it takes... It's why I could load the bread maker this morning while refereeing boy play time.

Summer is a great time to try rubs and spice mixes, too. I rubbed the chicken breasts with this spicy chicken rub before I put them in the crockpot with some BBQ sauce. They smell fantastic right now. And I used this hamburger rub when I made burgers last week. It was great! (Oh, the picture for the spice rub is the buns made with the twisty method, though mine don't usually look that good because I don't remember to wash them with egg white.)

Happy Summer Menu Planning to you!