When the kids are busy, the adults get to play!

Seesh. Glad the long weekend is nearing its end. Not to say it hasn’t been fun, but it is nice to curl up in the AC and catch up with Game of Thrones.

Two family parties on Saturday and Sunday, and a softball BBQ for Monday. Friday was prep day. Which basically meant I biked over to Reading Terminal for some shopping. Veggies from Iovine Brothers, a box of lady fingers from Kamal’s,  2 pounds of small tiger shrimp, 2 bone-in-chicken breasts, and the most ridiculous amount of sausage I have ever purchased. Sweet Italian, Spicy Italian, Andouille, Feta and Spinach, all chicken or turkey from Martin’s. Combined with the chicken breast, it was a total of 19 pounds of meat. Quite a bike ride home! we brought some of the sausage to Chris’ folks place. The day was full of grilling and chasing kids.

Next day- not a BBQ like I thought. Oops. Guess I bought too much sausage! Family event number two- a birthday party potluck. Sausage into the freezer at home. Guess we’ll just have to have some people over to grill!

Softball and BBQ

Finally to Monday. Some nice sleeping in, and trying to avoid the heat. On to a double batch of jambalaya and a loaf of cornbread for a cornbread competition. We’ve never actually doubled the recipe in one pot before. It looked like a WAY huge amount of food. Not a bite left though! Quite a hit. I don’t think I’ve heard that many compliments about a dish in ages. And while Kevin might say his cornbread won the ‘contest’, by the time we left I didn’t see any of mine left. So pretty sure I rocked that, too.

I’m constantly surprised at how much people love the jambalaya that we make. Not that it isn’t good. I absolutely love it, too. But I know it isn’t really all that complicated. True, we’ve slightly modified the source recipe (from this book) over time to make the adjustments necessary (like no clam juice. Yelch.) but I think the real important part is that we use good, fresh, local ingredients. Someone asked today if we used a pre-packaged spice mix. The funny thing about that is that the only “spices” that get added are salt, thyme and cayenne. Everything else is just from the natural flavors… well, chicken stock could count as a spice, too, I guess. I’m glad everyone loves it. I’m also glad I put a serving away before we brought the tray over to the field. Hello, delicious lunch. :-)

Summer in the city…..


Me & Jen, the beautiful bride

Oh, what a wonderfully full weekend. Where to start? Jen, one of my best friends in the whole world, (and best hiking buddy, ever) got married this weekend. (The photographer Brad Ross has some great photos up on his site, over here.) I was the maid of honor, and had a great time. I can’t wait to see more of the photos. I didn’t really get very many, too busy dancing and making sure Jen didn’t need help with anything. (She barely did, a really low-maintenance but absolutely beautiful bride!) Jen treated her bridal party to manicure/pedicures at the Spirit Spa, I think its the first time in years I’ve had my nails done. Then hair done all up, and dress-up time at the Bridewater Manor… and wedding time! It was a beautiful ceremony, and fun reception…. congrats to Jen and Andrew! (Remember the vague-ish veil photos from earlier? That’s it in the photo to the left!)

Of course, what would Memorial Day weekend be like without a few BBQ’s? Jen’s Dad is really one of my favorite friends’ Dads… this is why:

Jen’s Dad sets off a cannon

Sweet Pea Trellis

The rest of the weekend had some gardening, trellis building, BBQ’ing and fresh-caught-trout eating.
The trellis Eric and I build years ago fell down a season or two ago. But the sweet peas still grew, and so I set about to re-build it, to give them some support. Last time I was stuck on the idea of building it out of only natural materials- it was mostly vines, tied with bark and grasses. This go-around I had less time and less help (though mom came back and helped with the second half) so I used mostly forsythia and some cotton cord. Much easier, and probably more stable, too. It could use some more support, but we ran out of time.
Oh, and I also got to go on motorcycle ride with my Dad, which was a lot of fun. The ride ended at the clubhouse, full of awesome mustaches and tattoos… we didn’t hang around very long, but did get to see a woman win the ‘slowest rider’ competition.
The weekend ended with an impromptu BBQ back in Philly, lovely and low-key. Oh, if every weekend could be a three-day weekend….

playing with a new ap on my phone

Well, quite a full weekend.

DMV, impromptu BBQ, wedding, shopping, knitting, work on my tribal costume, a life-sized felt whale…. I love having a nice Monday off.

One of the highlights from the weekend that I don’t have photos of  was swinging by the Fabric Workshop and Museum to check out the giant felt whale. Its amazing. A huge life-sized whale made out of industrial felt…. apparently they’re working on a felt cave. I can’t wait. I highly recommend checking it out.

Creepy! But oh so tasty. Apparently called “the poor man’s lobster”, we picked some up at Ippolito’s today. Cooked on the grill with some peppers and grilled zucchini, some boiled corn…… mmmmmm…..

Lit up bug

Lit up bug

The fourth of July has been a bit of a jinxed holiday for me for the past four years or so… but I am happy to say this year proceeded without event, in a lovely way. Chris and I biked up to Manyunk to Chelsea and Balog’s house for a totally low-key BBQ. Chased some fireflies, played with the dogs and lazed in the grass. Balog made amazing food, a fascinating mashed cauliflower and cheese dish among the other deliciousness…. Usually I despise cauliflower (it seems a blander and tougher version of broccoli to me), but it was amazing.



After dinner we climbed up to the roof and watched the fireworks happening all around. I really like getting up close to fireworks, but it was nice to see them at all the various locations all over the city and beyond. At one point there must have been at least four sets going off at once, in competing bright splashes. The night sky was a constant rumble and flash. After the art museum ones finally went off, we climbed back down (eep!) and set off the mixed pack of little fireworks I got a few weeks ago. Not a bad selection for about $20! Some really cool fountains and sparking things- and an added bonus of being all legal in PA fireworks, so no worries about police. Though I don’t think the police care very much by Chelsea, there were some pretty nice local displays throughout the night.



I got to play around with long exposures on my camera, and got some pretty cool photos of tracing sparklers and some cracking-sparking things that Balog had. The puppy (Maddie… so cute) kept trying to chase the sparklers, which was amusing, luckily she didn’t end up with any burnt fur. We headed back into the city around midnight. Kelly Drive was closed down for a bit, so it was nice biking, without having to dodge pedestrians and idiot bikers. Overall, a really perfect fourth of july.

Today, some household tasks beckon- cleaning, laundry, etc. But I’m sure I’ll head over to Ultimo with a book at some point too…. what a wonderful weekend its been.

Crowd of Sparklers
Originally uploaded by ducksRfriends

Had a nice crowd over last night for a BBQ, celebrating the recent graduation of Chris’s students and workers. It was another super-last-minute party, originally planned for Saturday but abruptly shifted with all the rain forecast. I like not having the time to over-think the planning, just one trip to the grocery store for some food, a few phone calls and the crowd gathers. Grilled some veggies, burgers and turkey dogs, played with sparklers (legal in Philly- Yay!) and had some fun with the wii. A good way to start out the summer. Have been super lazy all day, picnicking in the living room, and its been great. Heading to NJ tomorrow to get a sari for Chris’s friend’s wedding… I can’t wait!

So Chris and I decided that we were bored and should have a memorial day BBQ. We decided this at about 3:00 this afternoon. Luckily the grocery store was open (although the chips and salsa aisle was ravaged) so we picked up some supplies, sent out a few texts and a small crowd gathered. For a totally last-minute gathering, not too bad. We made turkey dogs, veggie burgers and some regular burgers that apparently were rather tasty. Of course, the jambalaya we make is always a hit, although Reading Terminal was closed, so we were stuck with supermarket shrimp and sausage (we use chicken or turkey andouille instead of the real kind, so it really helps to get it from a meat place instead of pre-packaged). I’m really looking forward to eating it for lunch….
I love having a holiday, although I think I prefer taking a random day instead of one where everyone else has off and half the stores I would like to go to are closed. Working full time is terrible for getting errands done. I like the idea of an alternate work week. My step-mom works an extra half hour or something like that every day and gets every other Monday off. I could be so productive at home with that!