Thursday, July 31, 2014


I'm huddled around my coffee mug because I'm freezing and it's the last day of July. My phone's weather app is not uplifting, as it displays 9 of the next 10 days in the forecast with some variation of a cloud and rain and lightning bolts. Phooey.

Anyhoo, I'm also surrounded by party detritus. Still. Last Saturday we had a Christmas in July party, the first one we've had since 2010. Then, we had an 8 week old baby. This time, we had a hubby out of town for the two weeks preceding the party. Good times.

The indoor icicle lights are still up, and might just stay up until Christmas Valentine's Day (hey, I'm trying to be realistic here) though the tree is down. Yes, we put up the Christmas tree. I had the kids decorate it. They did pretty well. They were less than enthusiastic about taking it back down, but I got to sneak off to the Y and let the returned hubby take charge of that part. So Triskal has her bed back, there are two opened bottles of wine, three tubs of outdoor icicle lights, a stack of waiting-to-be-put-away serving bowls, and a palm tree shaped veggie tray on the mostly clean kitchen counter.

There are two bags of lemons on the kitchen counter as well. I found a recipe for homemade lemonade to which one then adds ice cubes made from watermelon puree. Sounds fine, right? It's excellent. We got a little overzealous with the lemons we thought we'd need, though, so either I need to make some more (but there's no room in the fridge) or freeze the lemon juice. DOES lemon juice freeze? Anyone?

Okay, step awaaaaay from the lemonade. The crock pots are all cleaned and dried and actually were clean and dried before midnight on the same day of the party.

ON THE SAME DAY AS THE PARTY! Do you know how amazing that is? The CROCK POTS!

Drat, just noticed the stockings are still up. I suppose that's okay. The actual for-real-people-mailed-them Christmas cards are still up, too. They are taped to the inside of the TV cabinet, so I forget about them until we open it up. Goodness, everyone's grown in the 7 months since Christmas happened!

Counting ourselves, we had just shy of 30 people here for the party. It was a nice number, and I think those who came had a good time. There was far too much food, and we'll be eating meatballs for the rest of 2014, but the cookies were a big hit and so was the lemonade. A friend made and brought his famous dumplings to share, which has been WONDERFUL to have as leftovers. Almost all the buffalo chicken dip from two crock pots was consumed. Most of the cheese cubes disappeared, but apparently people aren't huge Triscuit fans. The punch was yummy, but Liam was irate that we had the nerve to put the rainbow sherbet in. Never mind that's what we bought said rainbow sherbet FOR. He wanted to eat it alone. Tough beans, kid.

The weather had been sketchy and even dared to thunder at us, but other than a few very gentle sprinkles that people didn't even leave their outside chairs for, it was comfortable and dry-ish. There were kids in trees and Triskal got lots of love and there were kids in the basement and Triskal got more love and there were kids upstairs and... you get the idea.

Would I do it again? Certainly. With sweet hubby out of town beforehand? Absolutely not. There's a funny going around on Facebook of a triangle with phrases at the corners. One says, "happy kids" while another says, "your sanity" and the last one says, "clean house." The directions say, "pick two." It pretty much sums up the two weeks leading to our party. The boys fought like... like... cats and dogs, maybe. One minute they'd be thick as thieves and the next they'd be screaming at each other and someone would come crying, and it wouldn't always be the same someone. I was told once by a friend that company "is coming for dinner, not inspection" and I hold those words firmly in my psyche. People are not going to care about the state of your kitchen counter. They are going to care if you run out of cookies.

We had Samoas, thanks to the Girl Scouts, and I made chocolate chip cookies, Gingersnaps, sugar cookies (the kids decorated them, as usual) and pepperminty sugar cookies that we call St. Pat's Swirlies. It's sugar cookie dough that you divide in half. Half you add peppermint extract and green food coloring to, and for Christmas I add red food coloring to the other half. Roll 'em out, make 'em flat, place on top of the other, roll up jelly roll style and bake. Ta da!

And two batches of homemade chocolate ice cream. That's always a hit.

Basically, we should just invite every diabetic in need of sugar over to our house when we throw these parties.

Did I mention the lemonade?

We even were blessed with Christmas presents this year! Our sweet friend gave us a red peppermint candle and a green cucumber melon candle. How sweet and how perfect!

Time to get Thing One up. She got her braces on her cute little smile on Tuesday. I have to get some breakfast in her before karate, so I must go. Must, must! Have a wonderful rest of the week! Merry Christmas!  

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Characters on a Clothesline

In some ways, I am very much like my mother. I've learned a lot about being a good steward from her. In preschool I won second place in a recycling contest, and that was way before communities were passing out recycling bins to every household.  She helped teach me to turn off lights that weren't being used, to put on a sweater when I was cold instead of messing with the thermostat, and to draw all over the backs of papers as well instead of throwing it out and getting a new one. 

I also inherited her love of line-dried clothes.

It drives my husband bananas.

But they smell SO good, and sunshine and wind are free, so why not!?

Fortunately, our Home Owners Association hasn't noticed or found anything in our bylaws saying that I can't. They have plenty to say on other issues, but that's another rant entirely.

Unfortunately, our young trees are too far apart to support practical, high clotheslines. I have lines strung from the top rails of our chest-high fence in the corner of our yard, and I confess, one is tied to the outside hardware of our fireplace. It looks pretty hillbilly, but I get to have wonderful smelling clothes and the neighbors get to snicker at our skivvies.

Which is exactly why my husband is mortified.

I do actually try to be discreet and hide them between rows of much longer and better covering clothes. But I had to laugh today as I hung Angry Birds underwear belonging to the boys. They were right next to skivvies displaying the LEGO movie characters, and Thomas the Train, and Cars, and Buzz Lightyear.

I thought about birds sitting on wires and how appropriate it is to have Angry Birds on my clotheslines. My clothesline is too low to the ground. I'd be angry, too. Especially when the Resident Newfie strolls through and gets hairs on everything. I hike them up as high as I can, but you can only do so much without a 6 foot fence.

So guess what my sweet husband found at an auction? One of those holder-upper-forked-clothesline-raising-things. I'm sure they have an official name, like "prop", but that's not nearly as fun to type. I was ecstatic as I'd told him excitedly about how my Grammy used several of those on HER wonderfully high clothesline.

It's a standard size, so he said it's going to need to be shortened a bit for my short clothesline, but I'm delighted nevertheless. And that's another fun word that we don't use enough. Nevertheless. I'm going to try to work that into more conversations...

Anyway, I'd told my hubby that the neighbors may laugh at our unmentionables if they must, and that's okay because everyone has unmentionables. I tried to reassure him that they'd be worried if I hung out everything BUT unmentionables. "Heavens, don't they wear them over there? Steer clear of THAT house. We're not going to associate with their kind."

He wasn't buying it. But he loves me enough to buy a clothesline-raiser-upper-thingie for my Angry Birds and all.

So. What goes on YOUR clothesline?

             *              *              *           *          *         *

By the way, there's a new post up on the Telling It Like It Is blog. It's watermelony.