One of the best things I ever did in my garden was plant the strawberry patch. I expected small, pithy berries but instead have been completely surprised by the large, juicy ones we have picked all summer long. Bless Brooks for letting me tear out a strip of the front lawn where the berries now grow. It's the only piece of land we own that gets a full twelve hours of sun at the peak of summer. That's probably why they have done so well - that and all the TLC the boys and I have put into it. They have rewarded us with more fruit than we can handle - enough for pie, freezer jam, cereal toppers, salads, ice cream and fresh eating.
One thing I notice about myself is that I'm a very tactile person and enjoy a creative process that starts from scratch. This means that nothing makes me geek-out more than picking the strawberries right off the plant, washing and hulling them right into a pie shell that started out as a bowl of flour and butter. This recipe here calls for a cream cheese filling (a block of cream cheese, 1/4 cup of sugar and a couple tablespoons of sour cream or plain yogurt), a layer of sliced kiwi and a crown of berries covered in a corn starch-based glaze. No one here turned down a slice.
A month ago or so the boys and I were home camping out in the living room. This appeases my conscience some since I hate actual camping and they love it. We built a sheet tent, stuck marshmallows on sticks and "roasted" them over a fire we conjured from construction paper. All of the sudden we hear a storm pick up outside and were astonished moments later to see hail the size of gumballs coming down all over the neighborhood. Of course the boys run out and gather as many as they could while I'm giving Brooks a play-by-play over the phone (I love how he humors me by listening when I call him at work with stuff like this). Weeks later and I think there are still a few rolling around the bottom of the freezer.
And finally, Brooks gets his 9th consecutive "Dad of the Year" award by building these wooden artillery units with the boys. I came home from work one Saturday afternoon to find them all busy with a jigsaw and a sander only to proudly emerge a couple of hours later with what you see featured below. What's not featured is what Brooks later built - a wooden pistol with which to arm himself. Smart dad.