Lookin for Some Summer Magic

So - Friday afternoon.

Jon and Carson are doing a whitewater trip with Jon's brothers and some of the older cousins.

Evan's at a bday party.

Griffin's playing power ranger megablox in the basement.

I'm sitting here at my computer almost chilly with the ac and ceiling fan working so well, listening to the boys across the street - one is mowing the lawn, and the other is steam cleaning a rug on the driveway. Uh-oh must be doing something wrong - Mom just came running out...

As soon as Evan comes home we're going to head to Provo to swim with Grandma Norris. All right - I probably won't swim. I've got a couple magazines that I'm going to peruse poolside.

When Jon leaves town I typically find myself either making large purchases (china cabinets, kitchen faucets, hall book shelves) or undertake a project. This time I opted for the project. Got my supplies from Home Depot last night, everything gathered today, and am going to spray paint metal ceiling tiles this evening. Tomorrow morning I'll faux finish the tiles and stain the wood for the frame. Hopefully tomorrow evening I'll be putting everything together. I've had this particular project in mind for almost 2 years, so it's about time I got it finished. I'm hosting book club in two weeks - that's my motivator.

Anyway - what do you think the chances are that some sort of summer magic will whip through while I'm gone this afternoon, fold and put away laundry, and get everything painted and stained so that all I have to do is assemble? I'm thinking the chances are about as good as me rolling 6 ones in my next game of FARKLE...


Summer Vittles

Can I just say that I hate to cook during the summer? I love to eat grilled food, but I strongly dislike the prep. I think I'd be happy to set out a buffet of fruit, sun chips (or Stacy's pita chips), olives, pasta salad (one sweet, one savory), rice (jasmine rice [I think it's 4 cups], 1 can coconut milk, and 1 can chicken broth), and whatever meat came off the grill and just let everyone pick away. Notice that I said set out. I don't want to create any of these dishes - except the rice. I can handle open and dump methodology.

That doesn't happen very often, so I have a couple of standby's for hot evenings...

I don't have a name for this, so I suppose you can call it
Staci's Chicken Cucumber Pitas.

Chicken Breast
Parmesan Cheese
Ranch dressing

Grill teriyaki marinaded chicken. You can also marinade in soy sauce & minced garlic. Or - you can buy and heat the frozen, precooked Mesquite Chicken Breasts from Sam's club.

Cube cooked chicken. Place in large bowl.

Cube cucumbers. Add to large bowl.

Toss in parmesan cheese.

Add ranch dressing to taste.

Serve on pitas.

Jon and my boys (except Carson) love this. I love it because it's yummy, quick, and doesn't heat up my kitchen.

Here's one more. It's another chicken pita deal, so I don't know what to tell you to call this one.

Maybe Staci's Chicken Food Storage Pitas

Canned chicken, drained and rinsed
Fresh garden-grown tomatoes, cubed
Mayo (I sometimes use a Caesar Mayo recipe that I found in Taste of Home - see recipe below)

Mix all together

Place desired amount on a Pita and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese (the real stuff - not Kraft's processed stuff). My boys like to grate the parmesan directly onto the sandwich because we have one of those cool spinning graters...

Broil until cheese is melted.

Remove from oven and serve.

I've made this one while camping, and that worked out great - we just didn't broil the cheese...

4 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese (I use the processed stuff here)
4 tablespoons mayonnaise
4 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

How about you? Have any cool kid-friendly summer dinners you'd like to share?

How about recipes for pitas? That's the one thing I have to go to the store for every time. I think I could make a good pita - or focaccia for that matter.


Now that's summer!

It's been a great summer so far - Moon Lake, 4th of July, 16th wedding anniversary, cub scout day camp, 20 year high school reunion, visiting the Stauffers & McIlleces, and the Egan family reunion - and school's only been out since July 2!

I was going to say that the past week has been busy, but then I realized that school has only been out for that week. Dang - no wonder it's been such a good time.

Carson's week is indicitive of the type of summer I think every kid should enjoy remembering. Monday night he did a sleep over with a friend. Last night we all went to a Harry Potter midnight show (4 thumbs up from our house - I'm sure it'd be 5, but Griff fell asleep during the teasers, and there was no waking the boy). Tonight he gets to sleep over at Grandma & Grandpa Hill's so that he can leave EARLY in the morning for a hike to Blanche Lake with Grandpa, Evan & some cousins.
I can feel a grumpy kid coming on.

I'm gonna share my 2nd pedi of the season with you...

Can you stand it?! I think it's adorable - and so eye catching. I have to be careful when I'm walking because I catch myself paying more attention to my tootsies than to where I'm going. Dang I really am blonde sometimes.

One final thing that I completely enjoy each summer - reading Jennifer Cruisie's Bet Me. Doesn't necessarily take place during the summer, but I love Jen Cruisie's sense of humor, and Cal and Min are at the top of my all time fav couples list. I was reading it this afternoon and was reminded how much I love the little thing.

How simple is that? Cute toes and a great paperback. I love summer...



So - have you played Farkle on Facebook yet? No? Well you should at least give it a try so that I can have more Farkle friends and get more Farkle chips.

Is there a strategy to this game? I don't think so... It's just a matter of rolling some electronic dice, which has me a little suspicious because how random can the dice be if they're programmed? I know it's probably using some random number generator, but I still don't trust that it's as random as rolling dice by hand. Right?

Anyway - here's my Farkle methodology. Please note that this doesn't necessarily work for me. I can't get a max score over 8,350, and I repeatedly Farkle away rounds where I've got over 2,000. This morning I got greedy and rolled away a round that was over 5,000. Had to walk away from the computer after that one. Anyway...

I roll the dice and keep rolling until there's only 1 die left. I know there's still a 1/3 chance that I'll be able to use the number, but the odds in that just aren't good enough for me.

If there are 3 or less dice to roll and one of them is a 5, I will reroll the 5. I think that this increases my chances of not getting a Farkle. Probably doesn't, but it makes sense to me.

I bank my score if it's over 1000 and there are less than 3 dice to roll.

I also bank my score as soon as I get 300 if I've already had 2 Farkles.

Honestly? I think I'm spending too much time Farkling.

Oh - and by the way... My nephew Jeff started chemo yesterday. Keep him in your prayers, all right?

Also, my friend Lori was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma this week. She's got 4 kids - one of them a new born (less than a month old). Pray for her too. OK?

Have a safe and enjoyable 4th!


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