Sunday, August 12, 2018

It's a Jungle Out There

Queen B and I got back from Mayberry yesterday and I immediately set about storing all of the crates, galvanized steel serving pieces, tablecloths, and other party paraphernalia, which, led to several closet over-hauls and a general organizing spree that hadn't happened in the house in recent memory.

Now, more than ever before, I see the need for that yard sale that I keep telling myself I am going to have. You know, someday.

Anyhoodle, I didn't really get a chance to check out my garden yesterday, except for turning the water on and off. Which explains why, when I went out this morning to see what weeding needed to be done, I was slightly taken aback by the sheer amount of growth that happened while I was in Mayberry (two days, people! I was only away for two days!)...

My yellow zucchini and butternut squashes threaten to overtake not only the garden, but, the potting station, composting barrel, and dog kennels as well.  However, I won't complain about what they are producing.

I counted twelve butternut squash in various stages of growth, with numerous blossoms on the vines; I see a lot of butternut squash soup in my future (and, butternut risotto, butternut squash raviolis in sage butter, roasted butternut, etc., etc.).

My sunflowers are also doing well, which means that I will be able to try brining and roasting seeds this year. I have no idea how one goes about brining and roasting sunflower seeds, but, no doubt Pinterest will have my back.

One thing is certain, I will need to invest in a safari helmet and khaki vest, because, if the garden continues to grow like a jungle, I want to look the part.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Check This One Off the Bucket List

Item number 2 on this summer's bucket list was to throw a kick-ass bridal shower for the Rodeo Princess and I can definitely say that I nailed it!

Well, we nailed it, Queen B and I, along with a generous assist from my mom.

We held the shower in the breakfast room of a local historical hotel, and, while the lighting was far from desirable, it was manageable. All of the items that I have been collecting for the shower since, oh, I don't know, May? Yes, probably May; came together beautifully, including a set of eight mason jars that I had commissioned with the couple's initials on to use as vases.

Man, those jars! What a pain! I ordered them months ago, yet, they shipped mere days before the shower. In fact, Queen B and I had to lay in wait for the mailman to deliver them to the store mere minutes before we were set to leave for Mayberry (I wasn't stressed. Ok, I was totally stressed). But, they made it, and, the Rodeo Princess can use them as drinking glasses after the wedding.

The food was also a huge hit; the bride had specifically requested lemon flavors (her favorite), so we did a lemon cupcake as well as lemon tartlets, along with mini Black Forest trifles, a fruit salad with poppy seed dressing that was served in waffle bowls, French macrons, and, a veggie platter to cut the sweetness (and, for the non-sugar eaters such as myself). We also did an old-school sherbet punch as well as fruit-infused water (which the bride raved over).

The last sweet item on the menu was a custom-labeled candy bar that we sent home with each guest as a party favor.

The games that I had planned for the shower were also a hit, and they kept the party rolling along in between food and watching the Rodeo Princess open her gifts.

Queen B and I gifted her with a sign to use at the wedding as well as in her home after the wedding...

When the last gift was opened, we took a few group photos and then said goodbye to our guests.

This morning, I am recovering from being on my feet all day yesterday. Queen B and I need to get on the road back to Petticoat Junction (she has to work later this afternoon), so I better wrap this up, and, like I said, check it off the bucket list!

I am going to OWN this list!

Friday, August 10, 2018

This Friday Favorites Brought To You by Foods That Start With the Letter P

Our trip to Mayberry was uneventful; an uneventful trip is a favorite, for sure.

As soon as we arrived, we jumped right into full-on shower preparation mode, which means that we slaved over three batches of buttercream frosting, searching in vain for the perfect shades of burgundy and rose gold with which to make the frosting roses for the lemon and vanilla bean cupcakes.

We failed in that endeavor, but, the end results were deemed Good Enough, and, while not being the color we were going for, the frosting certainly was delicious, according to our panel of expert taste-testers: Queen B, the Man-Cub, The Rodeo Princess and Her Intended.

In keeping with the theme of the day, I will point out that all four of those kids are among my favorite humans on the planet.

Other favorites worth mentioning this week include the ah-may-zing grilled pizzas that Hugh and I made a couple of nights ago.

"My" pizza was a Margherita pizza made with olive oil, freshly pressed garlic, sliced fresh mozzarella, Roma tomatoes and basil from my garden, and a little dash of salt and pepper. "Hugh's" pizza was made with spicy pizza sauce, pepperoni, shredded mozzarella, and fresh oregano from my garden.

As I said before, they were both amazing. The only way to follow up something that delicious is with grilled peaches grown by one of my co-workers, topped with frozen Cool Whip (Sugar free, since I am still off the sugar).

Sooo dang yummy.

The grill has been our go-to appliance for cooking extraordinary meals this summer, the bonus of which is that I don't have to do the actual cooking, just the prep work. Also, there is generally less clean-up (and all the mamas said Amen).

That's it for today; I have a fruit salad to make, lemon tartletes to fill, mini Black Forest trifles to construct, and a banquet room to decorate before greeting an unknown number of guests with old fashioned sherbet punch and a smile on my face.

As an aside, people who don't RSVP to invitations when RSVPs are clearly requested? NOT A FAVORITE.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Let's Try This Again

Queen B and I are headed to Mayberry tomorrow; here's hoping that this trip is less eventful than the last.

That said, my mind is now conjuring up random scenarios of what could possibly go wrong, including: another flat tire, catastrophic engine failure, alien abduction, etc., etc.

Anyhoodle, fingers crossed.

Wish us luck.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

To Whom It May Concern

Dear Lady Hogging My Favorite Treadmill At the Gym Tonight,

I don't mind the fact that I had to use my second-favorite treadmill for my run this evening. I didn't mind running next to you, even though you kept shooting me weird glances while throwing off my pace with that odd skip-step thing that you were doing. I didn't even mind when you had that spasmodic coughing fit that left me concerned for your general health and well being.

What I do mind is the fact that, after you finished with your wog (not quite a walk, but not a qualified jog), and, after that spasmodic coughing fit; you completely neglected to wipe down the machine as is requested by numerous signs displayed throughout the gym as well as being general knowledge to anyone, who has ever used a gym in their life.

I did mention that you were on my favorite treadmill, right? I certainly wouldn't want to jump on that machine following the mucus shower that you spewed all over the place, nor would I wish that on some other unsuspecting person. Senior citizens with vulnerable immune systems use our gym, friend.

So, when I finished my run, I wiped down your machine as well as my own. I don't suppose I have to tell you that, in the future, I will do a peremptory wipe down of any treadmill that I get on at the gym; I may have been an unsuspecting fool once, but, now I am enlightened. I guess I have you to thank for that.

So, thanks?

The Woman Who Offered to Perform the Heimlich on You in Case You Were Actually Choking To Death on the Treadmill Next to Her

Saturday, August 04, 2018

Gettin' Corny With the Locals

I don't know if you've gathered this, but, I am a small town girl, born and raised. As such, I have an innate appreciation for community festivals; it's in my blood, born through generations of people who volunteered for, attended, showed at, and/or, organized county fairs, festivals celebrating one form of produce or another, and, various other forms of get-togethers attended by local folk.

So, it may surprise you to hear that I generally try to avoid the annual sweet corn festival for which Petticoat Junction is famous. But, I do. In fact, I last visited the festival back in 2010, when I was shanghaied into counting the day's ticket sales by the former mayor's wife. That totally sucked, by the way.

Now that you know that about me, it may also surprise you to hear that I did attend the festival today. I did it at the request of Jana and Granny, who were working their new concession trailer business and who needed an extra set of hands. You can imagine my surprise at actually having enjoyed the experience. Like, really enjoyed it.

I mean, it was sort of crowded (nothing like it has been in past years, when the headliner for the evening's concert included upper-echelon country artists like LeAnn Rimes, Travis Tritt, Wynona Judd, and Clint Black), and it was hella hot, but, I got to see people that I haven't seen in a while (Ex co-worker Kortni!) and I experienced the most amazing festival food, including a smoked turkey Caprese crepe that was to die for. Like seriously.

I also had my fill of local sweet corn, since that is the theme of the festival, and, not eating at least a few cobs would be sacrilege.

When I wasn't helping Jana and Granny in The Ice Box (is that not the cutest name for a snow cone vendor?)...

...I was watching small children nearly choke to death at the corn eating contest (true story, but, with a happy ending, thank goodness)...

...and catching up with BCPE in the shucking tent.

The corn shuckers were all volunteers from different community groups, including the High School volleyball and football teams, FFA, 4H, and the volunteer fire department. It requires a lot of people to pull off an event of this size and I am in awe of the folks that came out to help.

Before I left the park to head to the hardware store (work beckoned), I wandered around the park with Hugh (he was on duty for the police department, because; it's all hands on deck during Sweet Corn Weekend), visiting with the various crafts vendors and surreptitiously checking out the food competition, the variety of which was impressive; roasted turkey legs, gyros, cheese steaks, corn dogs, pizza by the slice, crepes, kettlecorn, tamales, pulled pork, and tons of other options, some with more impressively redneck advertising gimmicks than others...

Hugh and I picked up a couple of bottles of homemade root beer and cream sodas for the Man-Cub..

...and we listened to the band that was on stage at the moment (the headliner for tonight's concert is Eric Paslay, but, I'm not sure I'll go back out to the park; I've had enough festivaling for the day, and, I can pretty much hear the concert from my back porch if I choose to sit outside and listen to it).

I'm glad I went, if for no other reason than that I got to spend some quality time with Jana.  Plus, I discovered that crepe, which I am now determined to recreate.

Best part, though? I didn't have to count money!