Summer is officially in full swing . . . we have the hot temperatures going on, swimming lessons, fireworks, and many family BBQ’s. And I am loving every minute of it! I would much rather have a hot summer than a freezing cold winter!
My parents have lived in the same house for almost 25 years. They have a pretty good sized backyard and shortly after they moved in, they planted a cottonwood tree that would give the yard lots of shade. Well, after about 20 years, it pretty much shaded the entire yard, which was so nice for hot summer days. We would have BBQ’s and parties in the backyard, along with killer barefoot soccer games (that usually ended up with one or more people injured- we are a pretty competitive family!). Well, in December 2011, we had a huge windstorm move through our area with tornado-like winds and it snapped my parents’ huge tree right in half- and landed smack dab on the neighbors house! Thankfully, a couple of others trees softened the blow, so it didn’t crush through the neighbors’ roof (but it definitely dented a lot of things! Thank goodness for insurance!).
Since the storm, my parents backyard has been like a hot desert . . . without that shade, we all just sweat to death when we are back there! Last summer, we hardly had any family gatherings because we didn’t have a place large enough (or cool enough!) to gather. My parents thought about putting in another tree, but didn’t want to wait 20 years for it to grow, so for now they settled for a nice awning. And just like that, our family parties were back in action!
We had a fun get-together for the 4th of July and I was planning on making my mom’s Raspberry Pretzel Salad, but I completely forgot to buy raspberries at the store. I started looking for something that I could use in place of it and I saw some cans of mandarin oranges in my pantry . . . the rest is history! It turned out awesome!