Trying to Stay Cool

I was tempted to title this post “Beating the Heat” but that title just didn’t sound right. We didn’t really beat the heat during last week’s high temps in Chicago, we endured it with the help of air conditioning and iced water. We spent the 100-degree days inside. The evenings hardly cooled down at all, so we went to the pool to cool off.

To avoid heating up the kitchen and working our air conditioner harder than it was already working, I grilled everything I could think of. Chicken, pork chops, hot dogs and brats. And of course, burgers.

Friday night, I wanted to do something different. I decided to try making french bread pizzas on the grill. It worked beautifully! (See the recipe below!)

Do you remember in the late ’80’s, when three gray whales were trapped under the ice in Alaska? They didn’t make it out into the open sea in time to migrate south for the winter. The media caught this story and it went national, capturing the country’s attention. A lot of money and effort went into rescuing the whales from under the ice. Drew Barrymore stars in the movie Big Miracle that tells this true story. We rented it to go along with our pizza. Watching this movie which takes place in Barrow, Alaska, made us feel almost chilly! It was the perfect movie for a hot summer’s night!

Lily and Emmy really enjoyed Big Miracle, especially since we just got back from our Alaska vacation. When we were up in Anchorage in early June, there was still quite a bit of snow up in the mountains. Does this picture make you feel chilly?

Ed and I shivering at Portage Glacier in June

Grilled French Bread Pizza

1 pkg. French Rolls
8 oz. can of your favorite pizza sauce
mozzarella cheese, shredded
favorite toppings
crushed red pepper

Slice the rolls into half. Make sure the halves lie flat by slicing a little off the bottoms if necessary. Spread a small amount of sauce on each half. Cover with shredded mozzarella cheese. (I do not buy pre-shredded cheese–I think it melts and tastes much better when I shred a block of cheese myself! Pre-shredded cheese has a coating to keep it from sticking in the package which also can change the taste.) Place your favorite toppings on the layer of cheese. Place on preheated gas grill, set to the lowest flame. Grill for about 10 minutes, or until your toppings are hot. Sprinkle with crushed red pepper if desired.

What’s on your grill this summer?


Reclaiming My Patio {Spin Cycle}

My patio was lost under willow leaves and sticks, pots and potting soil, and a big green bushy bush. I have a vision of me, sitting outside on my patio with my cup of coffee and reading the paper, just like I’m on vacation only I’m not; I’m at home. With my patio under this mess, however, this vision would never actually become a reality.

(Picture extremely messy patio here…I always forget to take “before” photos!)

I started off by clearing the table of all the gardening implements I dragged out in the spring, and hosing the layer of soil off. I washed it with some natural soap, and hosed it again. Clean and sparkly! I opened the umbrella and swept out some old wasps’ nests that were only half-way built. Those dang wasps keep coming back when the umbrella is closed, so yesterday I sprayed the umbrella with a little wasp killer. I hope that keeps them away!

On another day (this was not a one day project) I put on my leather work gloves and got out the edger. I cut and tore off sod from around the edges of the concrete. Argh! (That’s supposed to be a manly Tool TimeĀ  grunt but it reads more like a pirate growl.)

A neat edge…I am woman, hear me roar!

The next day, I swept off all the old leaves and dirt from under the table. There actually was a patio under all that debris!


The chairs that belong with the table are grouped under the willow tree from our 4th of July party. We never actually sit at the table very much. My next project is to tackle that huge green bush on the right and trim it down. I’m waiting to borrow my brother-in-law’s electric trimmer–I do not want to tackle it with our hand trimmer. I’m lazy that way. On the left of the patio is our vegetable container garden. I’m hoping we get to the tomatoes before the chipmunks do!

My lost patio, found again!

I have yet to sit outside with my cup of coffee, however. Too hot. In fact, it has been so hot (over 100 degrees) that we used our patio table for another project. We melted crayons.

Melting crayons in a muffin tin

Yes, it is THAT hot. (Thanks to OneMommy for the idea!) I may have ruined my muffin tin for making muffins, however. But don’t our new crayons look pretty? (Those are the bottoms of the crayons…the tops look rather melty and dull. The heart shaped crayon in one Emmy made at preschool.)

Lily and Emmy’s new crayons!

Spin Cycle at Second Blooming

Written as part of Gretchen’s Spin Cycle prompt, “Lost and Found”.

What summer project have you been working on?