Hi! Let’s catch up. How’s your summer so far?
Summer Bucket List Progress
It feels wrong to describe summer without saying how fast it’s racing by. Every single year, without fail, the months of June – August flash by in the blink of an eye. This year is no exception because it feels like my last coffee break post was just yesterday!
Last time we chatted, I shared a summer bucket list with you. Let’s check up on that progress:
- Weekend at the beach
- Throw a big BBQ party – done!
- Family day trip to Hersheypark amusement park – done!
- Family road trip to Cleveland (visiting friends!) – done!
- Roast s’mores
- Make homemade ice cream
- Play in sprinklers – done!
- Day trip to the zoo
- Catch lightning bugs
- Pick strawberries (or any fresh seasonal fruit!)
When you work full time and have a crazy busy household, 4 out of 10 isn’t so bad! I need to plan a trip to the zoo and a day for picking fresh fruit. I’ve been holding off on those because we’ve seen record breaking heat in Maryland the past several weeks. It’s miserably hot and humid outside and the summer thunderstorms have been pretty scary. We lost electricity and had 3 trees fall down in a tornado warning storm earlier this week. Good reminder to always be prepared and stay safe.
Back in June, though, we crossed 2 items off the list with a weekend road trip to Ohio and a day trip to Hersheypark. My good friend lives in Cleveland and her baby shower was a few weeks ago, so we made it into a family weekend. Noelle’s always been great in the car and she didn’t mind the 6 hour drive. We timed it so she would nap for part of it.
Snacks also get toddlers through road trips!!
Hersheypark was a blast! We met some good friends there. I thought Noelle would be too little for all the rides, but we actually found quite a few she could enjoy. She loved the merry-go-round and we went on 2 or 3 super teeny rides together. After getting off one kiddie ride, she ran back to the line. My little adventure seeker! But most of all, Noelle LOVED watching the roller coasters whiz by. There’s one section of the amusement park where a roller coaster flashes by right over your head as you’re walking. She was in total awe.
We celebrated my sister-in-law’s birthday a few weeks ago. I made my triple chocolate cake into a sheet cake, topped it with vanilla buttercream, and we served it with ice cream. (See recipe notes about baking in a 9×13 inch pan.) Of course I forgot to take a picture of the cake, but here’s a snap of Noelle enjoying a piece.
We threw a summer party last weekend. It started out as a casual cookout with 6-8 friends, but we ended up inviting more and more and it eventually grew to 50+ people! Of course it was the hottest day of the summer with the “real feel” close to 110°F and humidity through the roof. We had plenty of ways to cool off including a 6 foot tall unicorn sprinkler. Can it really be a summer party without an inflatable unicorn?
As I was busy getting the house ready, one of my dear assistants, Hilari, baked several batches of cookies for the party including cake batter chocolate chip cookies (pictured above) and bakery-style peanut butter cookies. For the cake batter chocolate chip cookies, Hilari added a couple extra Tablespoons of flour and rolled the cookie dough balls with 1 Tablespoon of dough each. The cookies were adorably bite-sized and puffy. She rolled the peanut butter cookies smaller too. Not a single cookie leftover the next day!
Vacation in St. Michaels, MD
I’ve lived in Maryland for almost half my life and have never visited a beautiful little pocket of this state called St. Michaels. A few bloggers and I rented a beautiful Airbnb home nestled on the shore of Broad Creek. It’s so nice to get together with fellow food bloggers, a group of women I’m lucky enough to call my friends. We chatted about life, business, dreams, children, and exchanged advice on managing this career. It’s nearly impossible to be successful without the support of others and that rings especially true in a food blogging career. We ate some of the best BBQ I’ve ever had cooked by sweet Susie. I left feeling refreshed and inspired, an awesome perk after spending a few days in a gorgeous home surrounded by well-respected people. If you need recipe inspiration or just want to be inspired by creative women who are total bosses at their jobs, follow these friends:
- Amanda – I am Baker
- Aubrey – Real Housemoms
- Trish – Mom on Timeout
- Rachel – The Stay at Home Chef
- Chelsea – Chelsea’s Messy Apron
- Holly – Spend with Pennies
- Alyssa – The Recipe Critic
- Jocelyn – Grand Baby Cakes
- Susie – Hey Grill Hey
Photos by Ashton Kelley Photography
I also created new blog posts for several staples:
- Lattice Pie Crust (with video tutorial)
- Chocolate Ganache (with video tutorial + pictured below)
- Vanilla Extract (with video tutorial)
- Strawberry Dessert Topping
- Rice Krispie Treats
July Baking Challenge
July Baking Challenge recipe: No-Bake Cheesecake Jars
July’s baking challenge recipe is super simple, but very celebratory. We’re baking the 30th Sally’s Baking Challenge!! There will be 3 winners, so make sure you participate this month. Layer the no-bake cheesecake with your favorite toppings, serve it parfait style, or even as a full no-bake cheesecake. I LOVE seeing your flavors and creations this month!!
Let’s see some of your no-bake cheesecake jars so far:
Ok, enough from me. Thanks for reading and have a delicious weekend!