Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Hodgepodge Reunion

Is it a reunion if we were only gone for one week? I say so! We missed the Hodgepodge last week, so let's all make up for it by grabbing some sweet tea and a toothbrush and reconnecting again while everyone's favorite summer music plays in the background.
1. Summertime is a season of reunions, weddings, and other family celebrations and gatherings...are any of the above on your calendar in the next two months?

We just did a wedding last month.

And a very good time was had by all--especially the bride and groom!

2. June is National Iced Tea Month...are you an iced tea drinker? If so, how do you like yours (sweet, flavored, etc)? 
Why is there not a National Milkshake Month? That seems really unfair!
3. When were you last nervous?  Looking back, was the 'event' actually nerve-worthy?
I would like to know what the criteria is for "nerve-worthy". I like that term, but I want to make sure I'm using it correctly.
4. The bristle toothbrush was invented in China on June 26, 1498...not sure how that date was pinned down so precisely but, on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being sick to your stomach and 1 being not at all, how nervous do you feel when you're headed to the dentist?  Do you see your dentist twice a year?
You specify the bristle toothbrush. Was there another kind before then? The sponge toothbrush? The brillo pad toothbrush?
5. What's making news in your town this week?
The George Zimmerman Trial. Yep, right in my own hometown. And that's all I'm gonna say about that.

Okay, well I have one other thing to say. Don't believe everything you hear in the media.

Actually, I could say a lot more, but I think I'll stick with that. It's the most important.

6. Curtains, drapes, blinds...your window treatment of choice? Are there any bare windows in your house? Is that by choice or because you haven't gotten around to covering them? 
There's not much on the windows right now. We're in the processing of trying to downsize to a smaller house--not sure just what or where yet, but we're in the process all the same.

I'm not gonna lie to you--there wasn't a lot on the windows before we decided to downsize. We had nice looking blinds, and while I had plenty of ideas, I didn't have much in the way of extra money. Since our privacy was cared for, looking pretty on the windows took a lower rank in priority.

7. Summertime is officially here (in the Northern hemisphere anyway)...what one song is a must-have on your summer playlist?
I don't have a summer playlist. Or any playlist for that matter. I play whatever songs strike me whenever they strike me. And if that means I'm listening to Christmas music in July, then so be it.
Just for the record, I'm not listening to Christmas music right now. I simply reserve my right to do so if I choose.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.  
So the washing machine quit working about a week ago--a catastrophe at our house. Eight days, and seventy dollars spent at the Laundromat later, Indiana found the reason for the clog.

It was a penny. A penny cost us a week of stress and $70.

Talk about inflation!


Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Truth of the Matter

I was shocked recently to come across some information that changes the way I view all of my growing up years.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Dad's Hodgepodge Perspective

Dad's and cake. Couldn't get any better than this! Come on and join in!

1. What do you think makes a good dad?
This guy makes a fantastic dad. He's not too bad as a husband either. : )

2.  What's something you learned from your own father?
My boys have learned a lot from their father. Things like finding absolutely any reason to climb out on the roof, and the best way to throw toy soldiers with parachutes over the stair railing. 

I guess I ought to be grateful he hasn't combined those two, or I'd have boys parachuting off the roof.

3. It's your birthday-what kind of cake will we be having?
I love birthdays where I don't have to turn a year older yet! I will have some kind of chocolate cake with an extremely rich, creamy frosting. I'll also have some Cheesecake Factory cheesecake, and probably some cupcakes with sprinkles.

Sound like too much? Well, if it's not really my birthday, then the non-birthday birthday cakes won't have any calories, will they?
4. When you're faced with a big decision are you more of a go with your gut type of person, or are you someone who reasons it all out, weighing the pros and cons?
When my gut calls the shots, I tend to put on weight.

 5. June is National Dairy Month. What's your favorite dairy item? Most often purchased dairy item?
Ice cream. Or, ice cream cake. Oh! That's another answer for the non-birthday birthday question! : )

 6. Explorer Jacques Cousteau was born on June 11, 1910....what's something you've recently discovered or something you'd like to explore?
I'd like to explore the life of a lady of leisure. First hand, of course.
 7. Are you typical of your generation?
Yes ... if typical means that all women my age brainstorm about the best way to blow up a car or hide a body. I mean in the interest of writing fiction, people! You're so suspicious!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
It's 90 plus degrees this week. The air conditioning in my van doesn't work. Everywhere I go I look like wilted lettuce.

It's not a good look for me.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A Successfully Completed Hodgepodge

Oh come on! You've wanted to do the Hodgepodge for a long time. What else have you got to keep you busy in the middle of a summer week? Read my answers and leave a comment. Then copy the link and answer the questions on your own blog. 

You know you want to.

1. Have you learned more from success or failure? Explain.
I'm very successful at failure. That probably also means I'm a failure at success, but I like to think positively.

2.  What did you call your grandparents when you were growing up? If you have children, what do they call your parents? If you have grandchildren, what do they call you?
Okay, so I called my favorite grandmother "Grammy" when I was growing up. I thought that was a pretty cool name, and one I'd be glad to let my grandkids use on me--once I got used to the "g" status, that is. But when we tried it with Stella, everyone kept referring to me as "Granny" instead of "Grammy". I am not about to load up a truck and move to Beverly, so I had to change it to "Nana". Now everyone calls me "Grandma", but that's her other Grandma's name.

I really don't think getting another generation older should be this complicated.

3.  You're invited to a luau.  In keeping with that theme, what dish will you bring to share?
No matter what the occasion is, my specialty always fits in. I would bring the ice.

4. Besides Jesus, what one person's life story do you think everyone should know about?
Ivar "Pop" Coulson, a Walgreens employee in Chicago who invented the malted milkshake in 1922.

5. "Don't sweat the small stuff." Agree or Disagree? Why?
Sweat is unpleasant whether it's in small amounts or huge rings under the arms. And amazingly enough, it's the small stuff that can make you sweat the biggest rings. Go figure.

6.  June is National Rivers Month. When were you last on a river? What's the prettiest river you've ever seen? What's a river you'd like to see?
I'm floating down the river of life. It's got some beautiful views, some ugly dead spots and a few rapids and whirlpools, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

7.  Speaking of rivers-paddling, fishing, swimming, or bird watching safely from the shore? Which activity would you choose? Yes-you have to choose.
Paddling sounds like too much work for a lazy summer afternoon. I hate fishing, and if you can fish in it, I don't want to swim in it. If I choose to watch from shore, do I have to watch birds?

I'm being a little disagreeable for such a simple question, aren't I?

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
I'm in full on summer mode. I want to eat watermelon and grill out. I want to have an ice cream cone and drink fresh-squeezed lemonade on the back porch. I want to go bike riding and have picnics and play catch in the yard. But the thing I want most for summer?


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Most Important Parts

So in describing all the events leading up to Stephanie's (and Zack's) wedding, I thought I'd start with the most important stuff, which is anything that has to do with me.

Well as far as this blog is concerned, I'm the most important! Hello! Have you read the blog title? Whose place is it, after all!

At any rate, in spite of my inflated sense of my own importance, I wanted to be a help to my daughter in whatever way possible. Of course, many details associated with a wedding are outside my area of expertise. I was relieved to know I wasn't needed for flower arranging or hair styling or items of that nature. I was pretty sure I could help with decorating if all I was required to do was "hold this" and "hand me that", but it turned out I wasn't even needed in that area. So where did Stephanie need my help?

In the kitchen.

And, no, she didn't need me to make the ice.

What Stephanie wanted was help with the groom's cake. Except it wasn't a cake. And except I didn't just help. I was in charge of the whole thing. And it was a surprise for the groom. And I wasn't feeling pressure at all.

Stephanie wanted to do cupcakes instead of a groom's cake, and since Zack is a hunting enthusiast (did she pick a man like her daddy, or what?!), she wanted the cupcakes to be camouflage.

Yeah, that was my reaction too.

But being the dutiful mother of the bride, I didn't want to let my daughter down, so I scoured the internet for ideas. This link was a big help to me because it seemed fairly easy. And it had pictures. I studied this post for weeks, calculating my ingredients and visualizing my efforts. I collected the cake mixes and frostings needed, and made a list of the items I would need to bring with me to help make this masterpiece.

After studying as though for the test of my life, I was really confident that this would be a piece of cake. (Pun intended.)

Two days before the wedding I set up in the church kitchen, and, with Kylee's help, we made the cupcakes. We had a system. We had a flow. We had too much batter. We were supposed to make 100 cupcakes, but the batter made 150. No problem. We were expecting 300 or more guests for the wedding, so the more the better, right? Things progressed so easily that I was truly deceived into thinking I might be the next Rachel Ray. (I couldn't be Martha Stewart. After all, the cupcakes came from cake mixes and the frostings were canned. And I couldn't be Paula Deene. No butter.)

I moved along at top speed right up until it came time to frost them. I had no problem following the directions to mix the colors, but getting the frosting into disposable Ziploc bags and then getting those bags into a pastry bag and attaching the tip and ... well, that all requires coordination.

I don't have coordination.

I got more frosting on the outside of the ziplocs and on the outside of the pastry bag than I did on the cupcakes. Plus, I got frosting all over me. Instead of the three frostings coming out in a swirl, I could only get one out at a time. At one point I had frosting shooting out of both ends of the bag, narrowly missing the carefully carved fruit that was going to be served at the reception. I sent Matt and Kylee to the store to buy more frosting because clearly I hadn't considered the amount I would scatter all over the surface of the kitchen when I calculated how much I needed.

I continued to struggle, and could foresee being finished sometime in July. Perhaps we could serve them at an Independence Day celebration? Finally, someone came to my rescue. Someone who clearly knew what they were doing. Someone who had a vested interest in making sure these groom's cupcakes turned out spectacularly.

(Cue the Indiana Jones theme song.)
Yeah, I couldn't believe it either. The only thing I could figure was that working with camouflage came naturally to him.
Indiana perfectly frosted all 150 of those cupcakes.

I swear I could hear his theme music playing the whole time. And he did such a good job, I was only slightly embarrassed that my latest kitchen attempt had to be rescued by my husband.
I have promised myself that from now on when I'm on Pinterest, I will only pin sarcastic sayings. When I start pinning recipes and ideas, I fool myself into thinking I've got actual ability.
As for Indiana, he was proud of his accomplishment, but less than pleased when someone took his picture and put it on facebook with the caption, "Pastry Pastor".
That was as tasty as the cupcakes were!

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