Archives for posts with tag: summer

cherry cheesecake frozen yogurt

we all scream for ice cream! sunday was a busy day filled with visiting, treasure hunting, parade watching & dining. tom made a lovely lupper (lunch + supper) and mom brought dessert. i had gotten a text earlier in the week asking if i wanted cake. i declined. every time we have cake half of it goes uneaten & i feel bad throwing it away. then lovey (that’s what we call my mom) asked if i would prefer homemade ice cream. who can resist ice cream? especially homemade? plus it’s been over a year & a half since we bought lovey the ice cream maker attachment to her kitchen aid but have yet to reap the benefits.

deliciousness in a bowl

tom insisted we buy my mom a kitchen aid for christmas several years ago. he loves her cookies & thought maybe he would get more of them if he bought her the proper tools. i think it’s worked well. for the first year, i’d say she brought tom oatmeal chocolate chip cookies almost every time we saw her. i think it’s tinkered out over the last two years but it was a good run. and the holidays aren’t that far behind, so we’ll be back in the cookie receiving end soon.

however, now we have the option of homemade ice cream! and that’s exciting. this weekend lovely made a cherry cheesecake frozen yogurt. it was creamy, flavorful & just plain delicious! plus, it looked pretty. thanks lovey!



prickly thingys

wasp thingys

so i might have mentioned once or twice about our urban garden & our flower boxes. well, here in chicago we have some amazing garden centers. really amazing. one of the best & also most costly is gethsemane garden center. i love to visit this place. and i was very lucky to have a rather large gift certificate to this magical garden center, so i’ve been having a delightful time all summer visiting, shopping & browsing. this weekend i was wanting to purchase a rose of sharon shrub or perhaps another hibiscus of some sort. while visiting the garden center i became extremely distracted by these wasp things. that’s what i’m calling them anyway. they are large, very large & black with blue highlights with giant-sized bodies. so creepy & yet intriguing. they were really attracted to this prickly, gorgeous periwinkle blue like plant. it was really striking but painful looking too. needless to say, i didn’t get my rose of sharon. nor did i pick up a hibiscus. but i got a few shots of the prickly pretty plant & the creepy intriguing wasp thingys. i guess i’ll just have to go back…


street vendor

mom & her coconut bar

this past sunday, tom & i were fortunate enough to have visitors. my mom came up late morning & spent most of the day with me. we always have a great time & tom was pretty excited to empty the christmas bounty i’ve been purchasing for her & storing in our garage for a couple of months now. we started the day by checking out the yard & all the new growth. she was very impressed with my succulent pots & amazed by how much they have flourished.

tom mentioned there was an equador parade in the hood at noon. ma just happens to love parades & has

little man

unknowingly found herself in a few, that’s another story for another time… we headed out to see our neighborhood sunday parade. no parade is complete without ice cream & it just so happened our favorite street vendors were all around with a plethora of frozen treats to choose from. i picked coconut bars for us, including our neighbor who joined us with her two dogs. and shortly after two other neighbors joined us on the curb.

dancing girls

the parade was very festive! it started with a bang & a drum & bugle corp. i always love watching them, i’m sure it has something to do with watching my childhood friend compete in one for several summers throughout college. the parade was filled with lots of floats with bands & djs, all playing loud, upbeat mariachi style music. there were dancers, both young & seasoned, lots of pretty ladies

drum & bugle corp.

in the highest stilettos, low rider cars, motorcycles, little boys & girls waving their equadorian flags proudly. it was a great way to spend an hour or so. the floats were handing out unfrozen fla-vor-ice & some literature in spanish. some were even sharing cds of the band playing on the float. i think even more so than the parade, i loved the people.

dancing ladies

everyone was wearing their equador shirts & waving their flags, their patriotism was contagious. lots of families with generations, not like our american families with just mom, dad & kids. a perfect start to a perfect chicago sunday.

large succulent garden

so i might have mentioned this once but i have a succulent obsession. it first began in september. i received a housewarming gift from a very close friend. the gift was 3 succulents in pretty little pots. immediately, i was hooked. i wanted more but wasn’t sure i liked the idea of pots all over my home. then the cb2 spring catalog arrived. in it was brilliance! one very large shallow pot with many different varieties of succulents. love at first sight. shortly after the arrival of mentioned catalog i found myself at ikea. i never realized they have a weekly plant offering. it just so happened that week was succulents. and an amazing variety of them.

small succulent garden

i purchased nine (yes. 9.) succulents, six different varieties. and one large pot along with a few smaller ones. i’m very happy with my results. the large part resides on our deck for the summer & is filled with the ikea plants. the smaller of the two also is on the deck for now but filled with variety of succulents from home depot & the peoria botanic gardens & one ikea succulent. all except the ikea plant were 1″ potsĀ  to begin with. they have since grown with fervor & i couldn’t be more pleased.

banana peppers

i live in the glorious, thriving city of chicago. for most of my existence here, i’ve lived in an apartment. one of my most favorite rituals tom & i had, was celebrating the beginning of spring. every year in may, usually the week of sears garden center opening, we would spend a sunday browsing the garden center, purchasing a flat of flowers & plant our flower boxes while grilling & having a celebratory beer. it was a perfect kickoff to a perfect season.

brussels sprouts

this year was a little different. we no longer have an apartment & most of our may was spent inside watching the ongoing construction of our deck & yard. yes, we’ve ditched the courtyard apartment & upgraded to a home with a backyard. it’s magical! and the very first moment we could spend some time in our yard, we did. tom built me a lovely kitchen garden even before the backyard redo. i believe it was the last week in april or first week in may. it was beautiful out & we traded sears for home depot’s garden center.


in our urban garden, we’re growing broccoli, brussels sprouts, strawberries, banana peppers, green peppers & snap peas, that unfortunately, didn’t make it. we also purchased a couple of tomato plants to put grow in containers, a small raspberry bush & blueberry bush for the plant beds. they look more like sticks than bushes but i guess the roots were there. the raspberry didn’t survive. and not knowing exactly what we were doing with our kitchen garden, we crowded everything in & last month tom had to transplant the majority of the brussels sprouts. who knew eight brussels sprout plants would be too many? and who knew each plant could yield up to 100 sprouts? or that you don’t harvest until september or october? so far, our garden has produced several cherry tomatoes, a couple of banana peppers & broccoli. we also have a window box of herbs that’s thriving.

kitchen garden

no garden is complete without intruders. we’ve had an ongoing battle with bandits. i think the culprit is an evil squirrel. i see him in the yard, digging in the mornings. he mocks me. and every time we have a strawberry oh so very close to ready for the picking, he eats it. i guess it’s all part of the urban gardening experience.

tom working on his lights

light components

insulator lights


my dad has always had this cool, old display of electrical insulators in the front of his house. the last couple times i visited i noticed it was gone. tom pointed out the pile of vintage insulators sitting in the corner how cool they were. tom kept mentioning how he’d really like to get some insulators & try to

repurpose them into lights for the yard or deck. on our next visit out to dad’s i asked what he was going to do with the insulators & he said if you want ’em, take ’em. so we did. tom found some small solar lights on clearance at a big box store & decided to experiment. he had one prototype & just this week finished the others. they turned out great! i especially love the patterns they create. thanks dad!

july farmer's market

my bounty from this weeks farmer's market

one of my most favorite summer traditions is visiting the lincoln square farmer’s market every tuesday. i’ve been a patron of this market for at least 5 years, when it was just a handful of vendors. i’m amazed & delighted it’s become so popular. it’s even grown out of it’s parking lot & expanded into the adjacent area surrounding the western brown line. very impressive. plus it’s no longer just fruits & veggies. now there are homemade pastas, pierogis, cheeses, plants & a knife sharpener. on occasion, there will be entertainment as well, usually an old town school musician. it’s absolutely wonderful! and i love it. this is this weeks bounty. dee-lish!