the circus is in town

Happy Day to my dear wonderful sister – the funniest person I know – who is expecting her first baby this November.

I was privileged to throw her an intimate baby shower this past weekend and had so much fun planning and setting up for her party.

 

I know I need a better camera (or learn how to use the one I have) but you’ll get the idea.  Erin’s nursery will be filled with fun vintage circus touches and I thought what better theme for a shower!  Admittedly I ripped off most of my ideas from other parties I found on-line, but I think most everything turned out just as I wanted it to.  My girlfriend is a professional clown and she was able to join us to do some awesome balloon twisting for the ladies.  With that and a spot set up to decorate some baby outfits we managed to avoid the baby shower games – is there anyone out there who actually enjoys those?

My mother had these great old posters from some local circuses and they worked really well with the table.

 

 

 

I also found these awesome moustaches on etsy – made from felt and stiffened with glue with a hole cut in the middle to fit through a straw.  Steve and I made our own version and I neglected to take a photo, but they look just like these:

Mustache and Pink Straw  Photo Prop. Candy Bar. Wedding Photo Prop - Set of Four

(from LittleRetreats shop)

I can’t wait to meet my niece or nephew in just a few short weeks and will be so pleased when they move just 5 hours away by car, instead of 2 hours away by plane.  I’m thinking our next Themed Thursday will be circus related, as I already have all this ‘stuff’!  Corndogs?  Fries?  Funnel Cakes?

themed thursdays

For my family, our new thing is ‘themed Thursdays’.  I’m a sucker for anything with a theme.

A few weeks ago we did Fried Green Tomatoes.  My CSA is having issues with their tomatoes so we got a bunch of green ‘maters before they pulled all their plants out.  I immediately wanted to make fried green tomatoes.  I’ve never made them before  and frankly I’ve never really fried anything before.  I don’t think I could have found a better recipe than that of Southern Living fame and moved ahead with gusto for my evening. 

The entire time I am looking up recipes, all I can see in my head is that scene from the movie of the same title – battered slices of tomato frying away in a cast iron skillet.  So I Netflix the movie.  And then comes the sweet tea and the banana pudding (exactly how my grandmother who was born in Alabama used to make it).  We have ourselves a themed evening.

   Fried Green Tomatoes Poster

Good gracious those were good tomatoes.  Tart from the green tomato, crunchy from the buttermilk batter and just a little greasy.  I think it helped that I was using my grandmother’s cast iron skillet, too.  Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 medium-size green tomatoes, cut into 1/3-inch slices
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Combine egg and buttermilk; set aside.
  • Combine 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, cornmeal, 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a shallow bowl or pan.
  • Dredge tomato slices in remaining 1/4 cup flour; dip in egg mixture, and dredge in cornmeal mixture.
  • Pour oil to a depth of 1/4 to 1/2 inch in a large cast-iron skillet; heat to 375°. Drop tomatoes, in batches, into hot oil, and cook 2 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain on paper towels or a rack. Sprinkle hot tomatoes with salt.

Southern Living
JULY 2003

This Thursday:  Ratatouille

home sweet home

Top 10 Things I Learned While On Vacation In DC This Past Weekend:

  1. While I felt like a crazy person trying to clean my house before we left, it was so worth it to walk through that front door after a long day of traveling to find it spotless.  If it helps you relax while on vacation knowing that your house will be clean upon your return, do it.  And don’t believe your husband when he tells you you’re nuts.
  2. 1 three-year-old + 1 package of pipe cleaners + 2 hours of flying = 🙂 momma
  3. When the weather people say it’s going to be a scorcher and the heat index will be 110 degrees, don’t think for a minute that just because you’re from Florida you can ‘handle that’.
  4. While the largest Civil War reenactment in Virginia history might sound like a good time (to whom, I’m not sure), it’s really a giant role-playing game for grown-ups and unless you’re seriously knowledgeable about the Battle of Bull Run it just looks like a bunch of guys kind of lining up to get shot. 
  5. If you go to the capitol building for a tour, go at the end of the day.  You will have to dump out all your snacks, drinks – even the empty sippy cup we had with us was forced into the recycling bin.  Of course, the neighboring security line attendant was shocked that we were forced to toss that out.  I suppose it pays to have cargo pockets.
  6. Do your research about the CARES system.  While we felt Abi wouldn’t make it in a car seat attached to the airline seat, I didn’t feel comfortable just putting her in the regular lap belt.  Enter:  CARES, the only FAA approved harness for kids up to 44 pounds.  This thing is expensive to purchase and I wasn’t about to spend that kind of money when we rarely fly.  Thank you Christine on eBay – I was able to rent one from her with fantastic communication and great advice.  She even sent a prepaid return envelope to make the whole thing as simple as possible.  What a great service!  Highly recommend.
  7. Mt. Vernon is a big place.  Go early and pace yourself.  Don’t go in 100 degree temperatures or you will lose you mind.  It felt appropriate that Abi was acting like Blanche DuBois for much of our visit there.
  8. Plan ahead and think of other people.  I wanted to see so many things while in the city, but, of course, I’m joined by a 3 year-old and a woman who is 6-months pregnant, so….yeah.  I’m out voted.
  9. I’m super happy I don’t have to commute to a big city.  While the novelty of taking an hour-long train into the city might be appealing, I fear the first time I’m having a bad-hair-day and am 15 minutes late it will wear off real quick like.  Although…that hour of solitude to just read might cancel those things out.  Just sayin’.
  10. Never underestimate the power of taking it slow.  The last time Steve and I went to DC was in 2007, right before Abi was born (and I was 6-months pregnant…but it was December) and we just zoomed all over the place – mostly in the rain.  But with the combo of the heat, Abi and the preggo sister that type of trip just wasn’t going to happen.  We had some great times in Erin’s living room just coloring and visiting, or out in the backyard eating popsicles and playing in the sprinkler.  Those are the things we would have missed if we had been super-sight-seers but they ended up being my very favorite part of our trip.

So happy to be home – I’ll put some pictures up soon.

 

 

 

Call to Artists

The Seminole Cultural Arts Council and Florida Hospital Altamonte Springs have teamed up to offer an innovative Art in Public Places program.  The hospital is providing space on its first floor for Central Florida artists to show and sell their works in the new Art of Healing Gallery.  Launched this year, the juried exhibition features three-month shows.   Submissions for the fall exhibit, which opens September 8th, will be accepted July 5 – August 12 and should follow the theme “Fall in Love.”  Works should be original, two-dimensional and ready to hang.  Submit up to six jpegs to info@seminoleculturalarts.org.  No nudes, please.  visit www.SeminoleCulturalArts.org for more information!

i’m getting out the plastic gloves now…

It doesn’t seem that long ago when I made baba ghannouj for the first time.  It was incredibly tasty.  What there was of it.  Unfortunately, the eggplant exploded while it was cooking.  Scrubbing baked-on eggplant from the far reaches of my oven was not how I pictured spending that evening.  Sweet husband comes home to find me with my head stuck in the oven – then relaxes when he realizes it’s electric.

But I’m thinking about making it again, this time a little differently.  Moutabel is a spicier version and looks fantastic.  Why would I attempt this again?  It’s all in the name of book club.  Next week we’ll be discussing Son of Hamas and I like to theme our snacks around the book.  The book is terribly interesting and I really need to concentrate on what’s going on – I’m not used to doing that when I read.  There are so many people in this one and their names are names I’m not used to hearing.  Our group is a good mix of people from all walks of life, so I’m interested to hear what they all have to say about the book.

I need to bring a suggestion for our next book – any ideas?  And I’ll keep you posted on the eggplant.

homespun chic marketplace

Have you been meaning to get out to the farmer’s market but just can’t pull yourself out of your a/c induced stupor?  Well here’s a great reason to brave the 105 degree heat index this weekend.

The Homespun Chic Marketplace is having its first annual sale this Sunday at the Winter Park Farmer’s Market from 2:30pm – 6pm.  Help support your local artists and artisans as well as the Make A Wish Foundation of Central and Northern Florida (a percentage of all proceeds will be donated there).

Get your holiday shopping started early this year!  I only wish I made something great so that I could be a part of the show.  There’s always next year?  I don’t know about you, but there are all these great things I want to do but I’m having trouble with finding the time and energy.  I grew up with a crazy crafting mom – she has genuine talent and unfortunately that didn’t pass on to me.  My sister does well in all her endeavors so she seems to have inherited a bit of the magic.  It seems if I can’t do it well the first time around I just don’t want to do it anymore.  

It’s been a busy/strange few weeks.  The mother of one our good friends passed away late last week after a seemingly short battle with breast cancer.  She was so bright and had this beaming smile that lit up not only her whole face but really the whole room.  She will be missed dearly.  My best friend got married in a spur-of-the-moment wedding recently and I’ll be traveling out-of-state (all by myself!) to celebrate with her and her new family.  My sister is getting married and is handling her wedding plans with such ease and poise I’m afraid the body snatchers came sometime in the night.  Abi has finished her first round of swimming lessons.  And although she cried through every single class, when you’d ask her if she’d like to try the new skill again she would say with teary voice – ‘yes’.  Now she is teaching all her bath toys how to swim and has started to float on her back in our little kiddie pool in the backyard.

le tour

What an exciting summer it’s been for sports.  I’m not big into watching sports – baseball, basketball or whathaveyou.  But the World Cup this summer has been huge in my house and with that being over we are now concentrating on the Tour de France. 

I know, watching a cycling race seems about as exciting as watching paint dry.  But it is truly riveting TV.  There are crashes, strategy, and sometimes stories that border on soap operas.  And this being (IMO) the single most difficult test of human endurance on the planet.  Can you imagine?  Riding this tiny bicycle for HOURS up and down the Alps and Pyrenees EVERY DAY for a MONTH.  And to think I get cranky if I have to walk up the 4 flights of stairs in my building to my desk.

There are just so many riders – do they all go into this race thinking they will win?  Hoping they will win?  Or do they know they are just there to help someone else win and are OK with that?  Do they just want to win a stage or are most of them just content to finish the thing?

I love Lance, of course, and am disappointed that he’s not doing well (the man is 38, after all) but have high hopes for my new man, Levi.  Abi now knows what a mountain is because of the tour.  ‘Those guys are riding bikes on the mountain’ is her new favorite thing to say while the tour is on in the background.  She now says ‘Alberto Contador’ like a pro.  We’re working on the rolling rrrrs. 

Image: Armstrong

So if you get a chance, check out the tour while you still can.  I promise you’ll be hooked.