Summer Afternoons

coreopsisRemember the Country Time Lemonade commercials from the 90s?  The ones with scenes of kids running through fields, swinging on tires and rolling inner tubes down the dock to a lake?  I haven’t had the pleasure of mixing a pitcher with that magical powder for some years now, but I always associate those commercials with my ideal summer.  Lazy days.  Best enjoyed in the late afternoon when the sun makes everything look a little golden.

We’ve been enjoying some rare hot but non-humid days lately.  The kind of days that I don’t want to turn on the air conditioning and, instead, dress the girls in airy little sundresses and keep all the windows open to capture the warm breeze.  We went out for a backyard picnic yesterday and it was as close to one of those commercials as I can remember.  Yes, the baby’s nose was running into her graham crackers and I left the beets in the oven to shrivel up for dinner, but so what.  The three of us swung on the swing set letting our bare feet feel the breeze, gobbled up our graham crackers, and watched planes draw lines in the sky.  And out of the corner of my eye, I happen to notice a small patch of sun peeking through the trees to give my coreopsis just the right light.  Darn good afternoon.

Strawberry Popsicles

strawberryIt’s one of the first beautiful weeks of summer and it started off great.  On a warm, dry sunny Monday, the kids and I set out to go strawberry picking.  From my teen years, I remember my best friend Heather’s mom going strawberry picking and making jars and jars of beautiful, sweet, sticky strawberry jam.  I would beg, barter and plead my way to as many jars of it as I could manage.  The jar rarely lasted more than a few days for me.  Ever since, I’ve wanted to make my own strawberry picking pilgrimage.  Not necessarily to make the jam, because I’m just not sure I have the time or patience for that task right now.  But just to get out there.  And then have gobs of strawberries to eat or make into strawberry shortcake or whatever.  Surely, it would live up to my childhood daydreams about it anyway.  Well, the strawberry picking itself was pretty good.  Let’s just say all my plans for doing magical things with the strawberries, not so much.  Kiddos got sick the next day and by the time I got back to those beautiful strawberries, well, they weren’t quite as pretty.  As it turns out though, they were still just perfect for a few things.  And this was one of them.

My strawberries were so sweet that sugar would have been overkill.  You can add sugar or honey depending on the sweetness of your strawberries and lemonade.  I always have lemonade in my fridge, but if you don’t, use water with a squeeze of lemon or lime.  For denser popsicles, use closer to 4 cups of strawberries and less lemonade.  This recipe made just enough for my set of six large Tovolo popsicle molds, but I certainly would not frown upon using any leftovers as a rum mixer.  Adapted from Martha Stewart.

Strawberry Popsicles
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 6
  • 2-4 cups fresh strawberries
  • 1-2 cups lemonade
  1. Remove stems from strawberries
  2. Add strawberries and lemonade to a blender or food processor.
  3. Blend or pulse until the desired consistency is reached (blend more for smooth popsicles, less for chunk popsicles)
  4. Immediately poor mixture into popsicle molds and place in freezer
  5. Freeze overnight
  6. To remove from mold, run popsicle briefly under warm water and then gently pull/wiggle to remove the mold from popsicle