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Everyone is in the backyard playing baseball including my husband.  And here we are the day before a new school year starts.  I always have that mix of excitement for my kids and a little sadness that they’re headed back to school.  I also worry for my youngest who begins kindergarten tomorrow.  Will he listen to the teacher?  Will he make friends?  Will he shed any tears in class?  He leans a bit more toward being a little spitfire, so let’s just hope pre-school and his parents have prepared him for a long day in real school.

He sure did enjoy shopping for his school supplies for kindergarten.

The new backpacks arrived Monday from LL Bean and are stuffed jam-packed with all of their supplies.

Don’t you just love sharpening #2 pencils and wondering what they’ll write in their composition books?

I’m having trouble transitioning from composition books to blogging, but I’ve snuck away from the backpacks up to my desk (aka my blogging hide-out)  and I’m reminiscing about our trip to the beach earlier this month.  Time flies.

I thought this was the perfect photo to help me remember what a fun, relaxing, and memorable trip it was.  No sunburns.  No meltdowns. No 2:00am surprise tummy illnesses.  Just a lot of fun together at the beach.

{just perfection}

One thing we remembered to do while at the beach was to grill at least one night for dinner. My husband’s favorite is a rib eye steak while I love grilled chicken with homemade barbecue sauce.  What could be better?

You can see from the photos above that my husband was trying to pass along his skills to my older son who would hardly step near the grill.  When this kid even senses any small danger he avoids it.  I don’t see him parachuting out of any planes when he gets older.

No real recipe to share for the steak, but my hubby uses: Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick, a little sprinkle of Season All by Morton and a little sprinkle of garlic powder.  His friends all love it and so does our extended family.

As for me, I’ve been preparing Backyard Barbecue Sauce from Sheila Lukins’ USA Cookbook for years.  I adore this book and have made so many recipes from it.  She is one of my all-time favorite cookbook authors as you can tell from this post.

Backyard Barbecue Sauce


2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 onion, slivered

4 whole cloves garlic, halved

1 (28-ounce) can Italian plum tomatoes, crushed with their juices

1 1/2 cups ketchup

1 cup fresh orange juice

6 tbsp fresh lemon juice

6 tbsp red wine vinegar

1/2 cup water

2 tbsp all-natural liquid smoke (optional)

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar

3 tbsp finely chopped crystallized ginger

2 tbsp dark molasses

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1/4 tsp Tabasco sauce

2 tbsp chili powder

1 tbsp ground coriander

1 tbsp dry mustard

1 tsp salt


Heat the oil in a heavy medium-sized saucepan over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more.

Add the remaining ingredients and stir well to mix.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to very low and cook, uncovered, stirring often, until the sauce thickens and has smooth texture, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Remove the onion and garlic with a slotted spoon and discard.  Adjust seasonings to taste, and then, if the sauce is too thick, add a small amount of water.  Cook to blend the seasonings for 2 minutes.  Cool to room temperature and refrigerate in covered containers for up to 1 week.

Makes about 5 cups.

Taken from USA Cookbook by Sheila Lukins