Summer Nights by the Fire

Sitting by the campfire is, hands down, one of my favorite things to do.  So it shouldn’t be a surprise that when I moved to a home with a backyard, one of the first orders of business was a gardener and a fire pit.

Summer Nights by FireI’m sitting by it as I type this post.  Lol.  That’s right.  Regardless of what you’ve heard, crackling wood is just as perfect on a summer night (or rainy day as is the current situation) as it is on a cool fall night.

And it’s even better when shared with loved ones.  When you need an easy way to keep the party going past twilight, take your circle of friends into the yard for cocktails, conversation, and a cracking fire!

A portable fire bowl brings instant ambiance to outdoor parties – I love my Hampton Bay fire pit which was a permanent loan from my parents house but I recently spotted it at Home Depot for $89.00.  As host or hostess, here’s how to play it safe:

  1. FirePit Sign2Check local laws. Contact your community fire department to find out what types of fires, if any, are allowed. Some cities require permits for fire features. Others burn all open burning.
  2. Select a safe site.  Codes vary, but the general recommendation is to locate a fire feature at least 10 feet from structures and trees. Set fire bowls on a nonflammable surface, such as concrete, stone, or gravel.
  3. Ignite it right.  Burn only dry wood and kindling that’s no more than three-fourths the bowl’s diameter.  Fatwood is a good fire starter.  Don’t use lighter fluid or gas and cover with a domed screen to keep the sparks in (fyi, the Hampton Bay fire pit I mentioned earlier comes with a dome).
  4. Snuff it out.  Campfire Rules 101 state you NEVER leave a fire unattended.  Let the fire ebb slowly, then drizzle water on embers until they’re no longer smoldering.  Keep a fire extinguisher on hand for emergencies.

For other camping/campfire recipes, games, and entertainment ideas, check out our Pinterest board A-Camping We Will Go!

Here’s to warm summer nights with family and friends!

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Lavender Infused Lemonade with Honey – the ONLY Summer Lemonade Recipe You Need!

Though I’m born and raised as a city girl, my roots trace back to the deep south and (in my Phaedra Parks’ voice) everybody knows it’s impolite to not have a cold glass of homemade lemonade or sweet tea at-the-ready for guests in the hot summer months.

Though southern belle at heart, there’s no better joy than discovering a remix on an “oldie but goodie” and this home-brewed Lavender Infused Lemonade with Honey hits the spot with a distinctive, refreshing taste and plenty of Vitamin C. Not to mention, it’s vegetarian, paleo safe, and gluten free – if you’re into those kind of things!

Your INGREDIENTS include:

Lavender Lemonade with Honey

  • 1 cup raw honey (local if you can get it)
  • 5 cups purified water
  • 1 Tbsp. dried, organic culinary lavender (or 1/4 cup fresh lavender blossoms, crushed)
  • 1 cup fresh-squeezed, organic lemon juice, strained
  • Ice cubes
  • Lavender sprigs, for garnish

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients:

  • Bring 2 1/2 cups purified water to boil in a medium pan
  • Remove from heat and add in honey, stirring to dissolve
  • Add the lavender to the honey water, cover the pan, and let steep (at least 20 minutes or up to several hours) to taste.

You can put the lavender into a tea infuser or reusable tea bag for easier clean up. Otherwise,

  • Strain mixture and either compost or discard the remaining lavender
  • Pour infusion into a glass pitcher
  • Add lemon juice and approximately another 2 1/2 cups of cold water, to taste.
  • Stir well.
  • Refrigerate until ready to use, or pour into tall glasses half-filled with ice, then garnish with lavender sprigs.

Lavender Herb

Okay, so listen closely! Use of lavender essential oil in this recipe is NOT recommended.

Seriously!

Consuming lavender oil can be toxic, cause allergic reactions, as well as contribute to hormone imbalances in men and boys. Signs of lavender oil toxicity include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, blurred vision, burning pain in the throat, difficulty breathing and skin rash.

If you suspect you have an allergy to lavender or decide to use essential oil – although we suggested against it – and start to exhibit any of these signs, please call Poison Control immediately!

Otherwise, step 8 is to simply, ENJOY!

Cheers to the summer!  Happy planning!