steal this idea: s’more station deluxe

smorestation

Ever since we got our makeshift old wheelbarrow firepit going, we’ve been completely obsessed with one thing: s’mores!* We’ve branched out from the classic (milk chocolate & graham cracker) in so many ways — using Nutella (thanks, Greta), belgian 72% dark chocolate, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and, my favorite, Petit Ecolier cookies (chocolate and cookie in one!). It’s gotten to the point where I just put everything out on a tray, so we can choose on a whim what we want. What would be on your s’more station? Sound off in the comments! — Megan B.

*Full disclosure: on nights where we don’t go outside, we’ve taken to making them on the couch, with our own tea lights; an arduous yet rewarding task.

eco-friendly party idea II – frost your party glasses!

frosy_glasss

Last year I had quite a few outdoor parties, and went through a lot of cups, utensils, and napkins. You name it, it probably got thrown away after one use. Ugh. I decided to cut down (some more!) on disposable glasses, but after losing two somewhat-expensive wine glasses at a lively party, I knew I needed to find another solution. So, I picked up a dozen glass goblets from a local second-hand store and designated them “outdoor only” use. But their “mis-matchiness” bothered me and I wanted a way to tie them together. Then it came to me – frost them! I ordered some etching liquid online and dipped the glasses in the solution, and presto – matching outdoor drinkware! While the etching liquid is a little tricky, and not very forgiving, I got the hang of it after a few glasses. Now, if one happens gets broken, it will be inexpensive to replace and I don’t have to worry if it’s exactly the same style as the others. Just frost and it will instantly become part of the set! — Rebecca F.

Photo credit: Rebecca Firlik

do you play summer yard games?

RLHyde Croquet Flickr

There’s nothing like a trip home to spark a fierce bout of nostalgia. This past weekend, a short visit to my parents’ out in the suburbs served not only as a brief respite from the congestion of the city, but also as an invitation for the most bittersweet of childhood nostalgias for this city girl: yard nostalgia. The wistful longing for summer nights spent running around barefoot on freshly cut grass. As kids my sister, brother and I would hang around outside with the neighborhood kids playing all sorts of yard games. A favorite was croquet. Even though we didn’t know the rules, we’d often get the set out and knock the bright balls around with the colorful mallets. Bocce was another we played, albeit with our own rules, that has become popular in the city, even with its lack of yard space. Some bars and apartment complexes have designated areas for the sport, but nothing compares to the beauty of an expansive yard in the summertime. If I had one, I’d be right back at it, and would love to introduce some giant, yard-approved versions of table games, like Jenga, which can be made according to this how-to at Instructables, or even this larger-than-life game of Scrabble, found at Sunset.com. Click here to read about an Ohio couple who made an even larger paver Scrabble board in their backyard. How cool is that? Readers, do you play summer yard games? — Sarah C.

photo by Flickr member RLHyde

post off: how do you eat your hot dogs?

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Memorial weekend marks the official start of grilling season, and for me, that means one thing: HOT DOGS. There’s just something about them — I couldn’t rightly enjoy summer without one. Veggie, turkey, polish, or kosher beef, one thing’s certain — everyone likes them a particular way. Often, that varies by region, like my current crush the Seattle dog (with cream cheese, grilled onions & cabbage, and a dash of Sriracha), or the famous Chicago-style dog (pictured above). Hot dog lovers represent! Do you dare to put ketchup on a dog, or are you strictly mustard? Will you be grilling up a batch for your holiday BBQ? — Megan B.

Chicago dog photo courtesy of Flickr user midiman.