Friday 28 June 2013

Summer Road Trips

It's here, summertime!  Yesterday was the last day of school and I'm just thrilled to have the next two months free of packing lunches.  I know that by the time September rolls around we'll all be ready for schedules, routines and structured days, but for now it's all about being outside and enjoying lazy, sunshine-y summer days.

And road trips.

I love driving, especially when the destination provides an opportunity to make family memories.

Listening to music.  Conversations with the kids, the ones that haven't fallen asleep that is.

Wondering where everyone else on the road is headed.

Watching the scenery slip by.

Here's to road trips and making summer memories.

Saturday 22 June 2013

Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars

These Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars are amazing.  They are incredibly lemony, with  lemon in the shortbread crust, lemon in the cheesecake layer, and lemon in the blueberry mixture.  Perfectly tart, sweet and creamy, with a wonderful burst of blueberries.

A dear friend arrived bright and early on a Saturday morning with fresh lemons, blueberries, and coffee... and we got to work.

Lemons were zested.

Blueberry's were cooked.

The kids got in on the action.

And discovered that drinking lemon juice is not at all like drinking lemonade.

 We drank coffee, dirtied dishes, washed them and dirtied them again.  We talked about hockey, school, soccer, the weather... and how much we'd miss a mutual friend who would soon be leaving us with her upcoming move to the US.  We sampled the cooling blueberry sauce and decided it would be great on ice-cream or pancakes or waffles... and sampled it again just to be sure.  We plopped it onto the creamy cheesecake layer and let loose our inner artists to create decorative swirls.

 Kids wandered in and out of the kitchen while we waited on the oven.  It was a long 40 minutes.

But oh so worth it.  Lemon heaven.

We didn't wait for them to cool.

Seriously, you need to make these.

Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake Bars

1 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 heaping tbsp lemon zest
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt

2 cups fresh blueberries
2 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice

2 - 250g blocks cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp lemon zest
1 tbsp vanilla 
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment.

Combine 1 tbsp lemon zest with 1/2 cup granulated sugar and rub the zest into the sugar with your fingers to infuse the sugar with lemon.  Beat butter with the granulated sugar and lemon zest in a large bowl on medium speed until creamy.  Beat in flour and salt until combined.  Press dough into bottom of prepared pan and bake until edges are golden, 25 - 30 minutes.

Combine blueberries with brown sugar, 2 tbsp lemon zest, and lemon juice in a small saucepan.  Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until berries are just soft, 5 - 10 minutes.  Set aside to cool.

Combine 1 tbsp lemon zest with 1/2 cup granulated sugar and rub the zest into the sugar with your fingers to infuse the sugar with lemon.  Strain the sugar to remove the zest.  Beat cream cheese with the lemon infused sugar and vanilla in a large bowl on medium speed until smooth.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined. 

Scrape cream cheese mixture onto warm crust and smooth top.  Dollop blueberry mixture randomly over top of cream cheese layer.  Gently pull a knife tip through the top to create swirls.

Bake in centre of oven until filling is set, about 40 min.  Cool.  Enjoy.


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Monday 17 June 2013

Pond Life and a Family of Canada Geese

Some wildflower shots from our neighbourhood pond.

A bunny.

A family of Canada Geese.

 We have a bit of nature within walking distance, despite living in a subdivision, and we've been checking on this family of Canada Geese for the past few weeks. Initially the parents wouldn't let us anywhere near the goslings, but now they allow them to wander fairly close provided we don't move.   Almost better than a trip to the zoo!

Friday 14 June 2013

Father's Day Craft

Sharing something quick before the weekend gets here.  I found this amazing site a while back and I'm finally putting it to use for Father's Day.

I'm not the craftiest person you'll ever meet, so this is well within my abilities.  The plan is to print the graphic onto an 8 x 10 sheet, have each of the kids sign it, and pop it into a frame.  Ridiculously easy, and the possibilities are endless... you can type in any word you like!

Go check it out:

And happy to Father's Day to all the special Dad's in our lives!

Thank you for featuring me!

Family Home and Life 

Tuesday 11 June 2013

Photo a Day

Since having shared this pathetic fruit basket the other day, I decided I needed to take another picture on a 'good fruit' day and save face.  

I've also decided we have the laziest dogs on the planet.  Every photo I have looks like this:

On a more active note, soccer has started.  Our youngest is very talented, apparently he can play with his eyes closed:

I regret not having brought my camera out to last night's game.  His older brother was awarded a yellow card for a spectacular slide tackle.  Totally not allowed, but it was awesome.  In his defense, it was raining and the field was very slippery.  So there he was, standing in front of the ref, hands on hips, getting told off with the offending yellow card held high for all to see, and I didn't have a camera.  *Sigh* 

And finally, when faced with a nearly empty bag of chocolate chips in the middle of baking something chocolate-y, I had to resort to dismembering the poor chocolate Easter bunny that was lurking in the back of the cupboard:

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