Wild Lime Iced Tea Cooler

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Aug 312013

Aaahhh, the end of summer is here. We’re enjoying this last official summer weekend, working in the yard, playing outside, riding bikes and grilling. The weather is beautiful – deep blue sky, no clouds, and yet not too hot to spend the day outside.There’s something so bittersweet about Labor Day Weekend though. The kids are back to school next week and fall’s around the corner but I’m not ready to say goodbye to summer yet.

Well, we can’t stop time but we can make the most of the time we have, so we’re outside as much as possible and eating all our summer favorites this weekend. We’re also enjoying a great refreshing beverage I came up with earlier this summer – Wild Lime Iced Tea Cooler. It’s perfect for a day in the garden and non-alcoholic so you can drink it all day long with no problem.

Start by making a batch of tea – I make sun tea using a bit less than a quart of water (you want to leave room for the lime soda) and about 5 teabags (whichever black tea you’d like to use – I use Lipton) in a pitcher set out in the sun on the patio for 20 minutes or so. Sun tea always reminds me of my mom and my childhood summers so I brew iced tea that way, you could of course brew it with hot water and then let it cool. Once the tea is brewed, add some ice, a cut-up lime, and a bottle of Dry Wild Lime Soda. I love this stuff – it’s not too sweet and doesn’t have anything artificial added. The soda sweetens the tea a bit and adds some carbonation too.  This cooler is just great as is and is sweet enough for us, but you could add more sugar to taste, and it would happily pair with any number of spirits as well. Serve it over ice with a slice of lime as a garnish, and be prepared to drink a pitcher before you know it!

Cheers! Salud! Prost!

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Homemade Blackberry Lime Jam

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Aug 242013

The other day I made blackberry jam from berries we picked at our secret spot. The flavor was delicious – the lime gave it just a hint of tartness – but I overcooked it so that when it set up it was way too stiff to spread well. We’re still going to eat it, and it works fine on toast since the heat loosens it up a bit, but I’m thinking I might need to make jam thumbprint cookies or something similar to use it up so that I can have another go-round and get the jam to the right consistency.

I’m gearing up to do some water bath canning – maybe more jam, and I’m thinking the way my tomatoes are growing (or not growing) I’ve got some green tomato relish in my future as well. Are you canning anything this year as harvest time comes around?

Notecards Made From Natural Found Objects

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Aug 222013
Ok, back in the saddle again. The summer’s winding down, most of our crazy busy days are over, and its time to start back up with this blog – I’ve been having terrible writer’s block, but I think the way over it is just to jump in and post something, so here goes!
We’ve done a few really fun crafts this summer, using new ideas courtesy of friends and school, and this one (the notecards above) was great fun and simple too. You start by going outside and collecting anything that looks interesting (the flatter it is the better – think leaves, flower petals, pine needles). The kids love this part – its like a treasure hunt for them. Give each kid a bag for collecting and see what they bring back. 
Next, prepare the notecards by folding a sheet of paper in half (heavier weight construction paper or card stock) and affixing rows of double sided tape to the front. You’ll get a different effect depending on whether your rows of tape are touching each other or have some separation.
Now comes the fun part – stick your found materials onto the tape in whatever pattern or arrangement you’d like. Once you’ve done that put a piece of parchment or waxed paper over the card and roll over it several times with a rolling pin to press the materials into the tape firmly.
Finally, to finish the cards take them to your nearby beach (or sandbox) and cover them with sand. The sand will stick to the exposed pieces of tape and not to the natural materials or the card, and you’ll be left with a lovely sandy background. If you’d like the cards to be more durable, spray them with an acrylic topcoat to seal everything down, and if you’d like them to be really durable, skip the tape and use a more powerful adhesive. However, if you do that make sure your sand is nearby so that it doesn’t dry before you get the sand stuck on. With our crew of 4 little ones, the tape worked easily and we were able to troop down to the beach to put the sand on with no problems.