Humid days and nights. Thunderstorms rolling in. Sun-burnt skin and the smell of sunscreen. Night-time swims. Wine in plastic cups. Late-night conversations resulting in groggy mornings. Road trips and entertaining littles in the backseat. Wet swimsuits and Mexican. Keeping the phone close just in case that call comes in. Dark french chocolate. Multiple cups of coffee in a day. Re-watching child-hood films. Dinner around an ikea coffee table. Leaning into the quiet and creating room for silence. Watching the planes fly low overhead. Beauty in the ordinary.


Minneapolis: Minnehaha Falls

Summer seems to be the season for couch-surfing. Each year someone in the family is borrowing a mattress or a couch, and this summer it is the the nursing student turned South Dakotan's turn. And having a sister sleeping on your couch naturally means late night conversations, Netflix marathons, a fair number of Angry Orchards, and having someone to rope into weekend jaunts around the Twin Cities.

 One particular Saturday, our goal was to do a bit of exploring, even though we had stayed up till 4:30 a.m. the night before discussing the usual: work, life, love, and relationships. The humid weather, glorious air-conditioning and lack of sleep made it hard to work up the motivation to go anywhere. After a few rounds of hitting the snooze button, however, we eventually filled up our travel mugs with hot coffee and made it out the door.

Our first stop was a street fair that actually wasn't being held till the next day. Note to self: don't believe everything you read on the internet. We switched gears and decided to go to Plan B which involved picking up the third sister for more coffee. The slight problem there was the fact that she has an adorable tiny son, which translates into you having a 19% chance of her answering her phone. The tiny tot won out, so Plan B went quickly to Plan C which involved, "Well, now what do we do?" Thankfully Minnehaha Falls happened to be on the way home so we stopped to people-watch and hike along the Mississippi River. And because Mom instilled in us a love for Winnie-the-Pooh, we couldn't help but partake in a few rounds of Poohsticks...


Summer Cobbler

Every time I pull this recipe out, I smile ... there are just so many memories attached to it. My sister found it in one of Mom's various parish cookbooks.We jotted it down and brought it up with us to the very first apartment we moved into in St. Paul. In between classes and busy schedules, there were many evenings that we threw this together and ate large bowlfuls as we were surrounded by textbooks and notebooks. There was the time I made it for friends that I was visiting, and the sugar and juices flowed over the sides of the pan, causing enough smoke to set off all the fire alarms. After that, it was the accompaniment for a summer dinner of fried fish (that had been pulled out of the lake shortly prior) and eaten in a tiny apartment.

So needless to say, it is one of my favorite go-to's when I need something simple, easy and delicious. In the summer I whip up this cobbler with fresh, ripe peaches and pears and during the fall and winter, it is scrumptious with crisp, tangy apples. You can literally make this with any fruit combinations ... I don't think you can go too far wrong!


4 cups of fresh fruit
2 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon

place the fruit on the bottom of a pie or pastry plate
sprinkle the brown sugar and cinnamon over the top of the fruit

combine the following until it reaches a crumbly consistency

1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1/4 tsp. salt

crumble the pastry mixture over the fruit and sprinkle the top with a bit of sugar
bake at 350 degrees for 45-minutes to an hour

serve alongside a hot cup of coffee and a big bowl of vanilla bean ice cream!

On a side note ... that pastry plate I used? My mom brought that home to Minnesota after a visit to Chicago to see her family. She brought it home on a train, while juggling two little ones ... and twenty-some odd years later, it is still going strong!


The Fourth of July

I'm not sure how it happened, exactly, but slowly over the years the 4th of July has become the holiday that everyone makes it home for...it's a little bit like Christmas in July! This year was no exception. My parents' yard quickly filled up with vehicles as siblings arrived throughout the morning and the kitchen grew smaller and smaller as more bodies congregated. Why is it that some of the best conversations happen in the kitchen? 

Mom outdid herself per usual and provided enough food to feed an army, the aunts and uncles passed the three nephews about all day, firecrackers started going off before noon, the wiffle ball tournament was both fiercely competitive (a home-run fence and spray painted field lines were included), and child-friendly, as there were at least two littles either running the bases or being carried on the shoulders of a player, and there were enough fireworks to keep everyone oohing and aahing late into the night...

...it was a good day to take time to be grateful for a country in which freedom is cherished and celebrated and to be mindful of the men and women who fight for and protect it in so many different ways and places. May God bless and protect our Country and her people always...

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