I’m Crabby…

In the midst of attempting do a 31 day series, the Bubba and I snuck off for a little getaway. This little getaway must have been the demise of my series  since upon my return I found it impossible to get back into the daily blogging habit.  Honestly, though it was a sacrifice I would be willing to make again, this trip was long awaited for and much needed.

Where did we go you ask? Here’s a few hints…

If you haven’t guessed, we went to the coast, the South Carolina coast, Charleston to be exact. It’s a beautiful place, full of smiling faces… 🙂

Our first day in Charleston we visited Fort Moultrie, where according to Wikipedia, the entire 171 year old US coastal defense can be traced…

I won’t bore you with all the details, but let’s just say it’s really old and has tons and tons of stories to tell. So, if you are interested, visit this Wikipedia link.

I have a feeling when this fort was being used to defend Charleston, it wasn’t this well manicured.

I loved all the archways, even though this structure was built to be utilitarian the architecture is still beautiful.

But man, were those passageways small. We must be really big, or people back then must have been really small. Here’s Bubba inadvertently modeling how small this passageways really are…

This came out very blurry, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to document the amount of gun powder that was stored in this room. Wouldn’t want to let off Roman Candle near that stash!

Aside from things that go BOOM, there were lots of cool little details to capture too…

After visiting the Fort, we got some lunch at a not so great BBQ joint. Guess I’m a Texas BBQ girl, since I wasn’t a great fan of the thin sauce. Give me a nice thick tomato based BBQ sauce and brisket that’s been smoked for hours, and I’m a happy camper. Although, given time I may have grown accutomed to it. But I had the same reaction to something new as Annie dog would have…WOOF.

Aside from the BBQ I wasn’t too fond of, we finally got to see the beach…

And Bubba being the sweet man he is waited patiently as I snapped photos…

After the beach, we wandered over to a large park run by the county. At first we were slightly perturbed by the $1 per person entrance fee, but once we got in the fee made perfect sense. And by the way, it’s totally worth a $1!

See those holes in the sand there, well these guys were crawling out of them…

Don’t they look like roaches? Thankfully, the blue crabs that people were catching to eat were so much prettier. If I had thought to take a photo of someone’s catch you would see that here. Just in case you don’t know what a blue crab looks like, here’s one I found on the interwebs.

via Culinate

That pretty much sums up day 1 of our trip to Charleston. Aren’t you glad that’s over with? Well, if you didn’t enjoy today’s post then you probably won’t enjoy the recap of days 2-4! Stay tuned!

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Tastes like burning…

A thousand points to anyone who can name that T.V. show!

In my post about our backyard party, I talked  about the joy of sharing our home with our friends and family for the first time, the work that went into preparing the house for such a gathering, and I touched on some of the stress that went along with such an undertaking. Like working for 3 solid months to get the yard slightly presentable, by planting grass seed then when the seed didn’t take,  having to sod over the seed just to get the dirt covered up. Then on the day of,  running to the grocery store to pick up my pre-ordered cupcakes, only to realize I really needed to go to another one a few miles further down the road. But thankfully the sweet ladies at the first grocery store kindly called around until we located the elusive cupcakes. Thank you thank you for such kind and professional people!

Unfortunately, losing the cupcakes was not the only sweat inducing obstacle of the day.  Remember in my party post I’d mentioned another stressor that involved law enforcement, the fire department, and a very sleepy April?

Well, it all started at 6 am that warm and sunny morning. You see, Bubba and I decided it would be  nice to have some home smoked brisket and pork loin so that there would  be some balance between store bought dishes and homemade dishes. So, a week before the party Bubba and I ran to the store to buy nearly 30 pounds of brisket. (No worries, we kept both of them nice and chilled in the fridge that week, so no spoiling.)

The morning of, Bubba woke bright and early at 5am to start the smoking process. Having smoked meat before, and not having any problems in the past, Bubba decided it would be fine to take the doggies on an early morning drive/stroll. While leaving me in bed asleep. By this point, I had only been in bed a couple of hours, staying up late to do some very last minute cleaning. So off Bubba, Annie and Goldie went on their adventure, while I lay peacefully asleep dreaming of a perfectly clean house with a meticulously manicured yard to host my garden party. Until I was rudely awakened.

At 6am, an hour after the meat had been put on the grill to smoke, I heard a ring at my doorbell. Thinking it was just another salesperson or possibly a Jehovah’s Witness, I ignored it and went back to sleep. 5 minutes later the door bell started ringing again, this time the door bell was accompanied by a bang on the door. I got up in a sleepy daze with my eyes barely opened, grabbed a cardigan and shuffled towards the front door. Not wanting to catch the attention of the rude soul who woke me from my slumber, but still wanting to see who it was, I peeked around the corner. Not seeing the rude soul at my door, I stumbled into the kitchen hoping to find my husband (I didn’t know he had run off with the dogs for an outing). Peeking into the backyard, I saw the grill with a few flames coming out the sides. Before I could grab my cell phone to call Bubba, or run out there with the garden hose,  I heard a bang on the living room window.  I turned around to find a police officer, who was quite perturbed it had taken so long for someone to answer the door.

Again, not really knowing where Bubba and the dogs were, I answered the door fearing the worst.  Upon opening the door , I found a police officer on my front porch, with 4 others blocking my street. Quite shaken I honestly can’t remember what the police officer’s exact words were, but it went something like this:

Officer: “Did you know there is smoke coming out of your grill?.”

Me: “Meh?”

Officer: “There’s smoke, coming out of your grill in the back.” *In a rather condescending and perturbed tone*

Me: *Rubbing my eyes to focus and actually see who had woken me up.* “There might be, my husband was going to be smoking some brisket. There’s supposed to be smoke when one is smoking meat.”

Officer: “Not that much smoke! I could see it from the highway!”

(Which highway I am unsure of, surely it couldn’t be the highway that is more than a mile from my house.)

Me: “Well, let me put it out with my garden hose. It’s not that bad.”

Officer: “Ma’am you need to get out of the house, I have dispatched the fire department.”

From there it gets blurry again, but being half asleep I still understood that he was being over cautious, which I am grateful for,  and slightly over zealous.  I told him I would be out in a minute, I just needed to grab my cell phone.

Even half asleep and in immediate “danger” of getting my eyebrows singed off I still considered my cell phone another appendage. However, there was no time to grab the cell phone, the officer grabbed my arm and not so gently guided me out of the house and across the street. Apparently, the two very large very heavy, and slightly expensive briskets had caught on fire. Which would explain the fairly small flames I saw shooting out from our beloved grill.

So off I went, to stand in front of my neighbors house, in my purple polka dot pajamas, no shoes, old NMSU t-shirt, a purple cardi (at least the cardi matched my pjs!), and a grouchy I-only-got-three-hours-sleep look on my face. The officer charged with making sure I didn’t go berzerk and say use a simple garden hose to put the fire out, kept asking me where my husband was, where the dogs were, and why we were cooking so much cow. I remember grumbling something about the party, assuming my husband took the dogs on a walk, and not quite comprehending why I had to stand across the street from my home in my pj’s when not even 10 minutes before I had been blissfully asleep in a nice warm bed.

In between his questions and my rather grumpy answers, I had requested that Bubba be phoned so that he would know our feast had been ruined and his wife was quite irate. However, (yes, there are a lot of “howevers” in this story), the number of the dispatcher appeared to be several zeros instead of an actual number on the Bub’s cell phone. So, Bubba did not pick-up nor did the dispatcher leave a voicemail.

All the while, off in the distance I heard the sirens of the fire truck  getting closer and closer. With each wail of the siren and howl of nearby dogs, I  prayed that the neighbors didn’t come out to see what all the hub bub was about. (Oh, and also that the house didn’t burn down!) Thankfully, it was so early everyone was still asleep. Besides that, hearing a siren through our neighborhood is not an uncommon occurrence.  One point for urban living!

Once the wailing had died down and the fire truck arrived with its  FIVE firemen they pulled the huge hose out (that sounded dirty) and put our little fire out. It took all but 5 minutes, and the firemen and their red firetruck were on their merry little way back to the station. I heard one of them mumble something about just using a bucket of water as he climbed back into his seat on the truck.  Apparently, my pleas for leaving me alone with a garden hose were not unfounded.

After the firemen left, the original police officer checked the grill,  and declared the backyard and my home safe for occupation once again. Thankfully, there were no citations issued only a warning to be more careful next time.

Even though I felt the police officer had over reacted, I am thankful that he did. We could have lost so much more than a couple pieces of burnt bovine and grill brush if this police officer hadn’t been so attentive. I certainly commend those who serve and protect our city, it’s certainly a difficult and under appreciated job. Oh, and our grill was saved to live on and smoke the pork loin we served at the party instead of the brisket.

Here’s a shot of the grill a couple weeks later, I was too shaken to take a picture of the charred brisket and ash after the “rescue” workers left.

(Don’t pay any attention to the crack in the patio, or the innocent Annie-dog in the background.)

Party Pooped

Finally, the much awaited party post!!! Unfortunately, there aren’t too many pictures of the party itself. As mentioned here Bubba and I were much too busy hosting to snap all those artistic photos I had hoped to capture. You wouldn’t believe the last-minute running around involved in setting up for a little party. Or maybe I’m just an inexperienced hostess with poor time management skills…. Naw, that couldn’t be it!

Anywho,  the photos I plan to share with you will be a mix of  the few photos I was able to snap. But most  have come from my sweet uncle and my Bubba’s brother, who is also very sweet. They did an excellent job of capturing the “essence” of the much planned for party.

It all happened in our little casa’s back yard…

(Wish I had remembered to put my luminarias along the walk way. That would have really dressed things up out there!)

This was the scene before we laid the food out or any of the guests arrived.

All those milk glass vases came from my Goodwill and thrift store collection. I didn’t realize how many I had hoarded collected over the past few months.

I decided to go with a lemon lime theme, so everything was shades of yellow and green citrus-y goodness.

All of the tables had a grouping of my milk glass vases filled with my favorite yellow flowers.  In the background of this picture you can see that we used plastic dinnerware. For the next party, I think I will use real dinnerware if possible. It really classes things up, plus a metal fork won’t fly away in the wind like a plastic one will.  But, it was nice not having to wash a kazillion pieces of cutlery. In hindsight, those table runners really didn’t work in my breezy backyard either. Things to note for next time…if there is a next time, I had no idea how stressful this little event would be!

In the tree we hung tissue paper pom-poms in shades of yellow, green and white. Along with yellow and white lanterns that looked oh so romantic when lit up.

As the guests walked into my urban oasis, they were greeted by the Wedding Tree, one of my first Etsy finds!

Instead of going with my original plan of the thumb print tree, I decided having the guests sign their names on a leaf would be much less messy than sticking their thumbs onto an ink pad. Plus it saved everyone from worrying about getting finger prints on their pretty clothes. And I still have a sweet memento to hang on my wall and enjoy everyday.

Going with my lemon and lime theme, I found a sweet seller on Etsy to design a tree in yellow and green. Can you believe I ordered the Wedding Tree the morning before the party, and that evening the PDF file was waiting for me in my inbox?! After I was over my shock of such quick service, I planned on popping into Staples the next morning to have our tree printed. And print they did. If I ever need any type of graphics work done, I’ll be sure to contact that Etsy seller again and have it printed at Staples!

The green bowl you see  is one of Bubba’s Goodwill finds, the pen holder is a crystal vase my mother gave me for Christmas. And the verse in the frame…

Is my father’s favorite verse:

“But they that wait upon the Lord, shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.”  Isaiah 43:31

And above that, I hung an airplane from Dad’s collection. Since my father passed away several years ago, it was so very important to me to have an element of Dad incorporated into the celebration.

After everyone had signed the tree and oohed and ahhed over my flower arrangements and pom-poms (not really)  it was time to eat!

On the menu was smoked pork loin, potato salad, pasta salad, and bbq’ed beans. And for dessert, cupcakes in three flavors: chocolate, carrot, and vanilla. Along with oatmeal raisin, chocolate chip and lemon cookies. I also threw in some brownies for good measure. You can’t have a party without some cavity inducing sweets!

(If I had thought to take some shots of the food, you would find those photos here. Instead I’ll share shots of everyone enjoying the festive feast.)

All of the sides and desserts I picked up at the grocery store, but  not after visiting two different grocery stores the morning of the party. Being the scatter brained little party planner I am, I had forgotten which store I’d ordered the cupcakes from! Thankfully, the sweet ladies at the first grocery store were ever so helpful and called each Albertson’s in the area until we located the right store. That saved me so much time and frustration!

Unfortunately, that was not the only sweat inducing obstacle of the day. But I plan on dedicating an entire post to that story. Let’s just say it involved law enforcement, the fire department, and a very sleepy April.

All in all, the party was a success. Both Bubba and I enjoyed sharing our home with friends and family. Our guests enjoyed the food and the atmosphere. My fears of cops coming in and breaking up the party, or angry neighbors calling said cops to break up the party were all unfounded. Everyone enjoyed themselves, there was lots of good food, and lots of good company. That’s really what a party is all about anyways right?

Both Bubba and I are so very thankful for the guests and all those sweet people that helped out. Those that helped in the set up and those that helped us take it all down, and for those who simply graced us with their presence. I know a lot of our guests traveled from far and near and sacrificed money and time to be in attendance. Not only am I thankful for our sweet guests, I’m also thankful for local law enforcement who saved our house from being burnt down (again, that’s for another post), and for the sweet ladies at Albertson’s that saved me time that I didn’t have.

Before I sound like an actress tearfully accepting an award and thanking all those that ever “spared a square”  (thousand points to anyone who can guess which television show that’s from!), let’s share some advice.  To all of you who are planning a backyard party or any type of event at your home, if someone offers to help, take them up on it. Yes, you can do it yourself, but do you really have time? The answer is a loud and resounding NO.

Between landscaping the yard, scrubbing the kitchen, and pulling Bubba’s dirty socks out from underneath the couch I had no time. There was hardly enough time to buy the food and other party supplies, design and mail the invitations (which by the way were not mailed until 3 weeks before the party!), plan on the decor (I forgot to put lighting up, instead of the cozy romantic evening I had planned on, we ended up with a dark and spooky evening), or have an impeccably clean or at least moderately clean  home (There were parts of my home that were used to stash clutter and other I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with items while in my mad frantic rush to clean two hours before the party. I just know some of my guests saw what horrid conditions my washer and dryer live in!). Aside from those things, relax , enjoy your guests and all of your hard work! And remember, cupcakes can be tracked down, fires can be put out, but memories cannot be remade.