Thing #83 – Home for the Holiday July 8, 2009Posted by Toy Lady in 101 Things, Cooking Challenge, Family.
And I’ll bet you thought I’d forgotten all about my 101 Things list, didn’t you? Oh, ye of little faith . . . you just don’t know me very well, I guess.
So anyway, we decided to host the 4th of July at our house this year. I will admit, it wasn’t exactly what I had in mind when I made my List, but, well, it’s a holiday, and I hosted it, right? So I guess it counts.
First, a little background, by way of explanation.
I am the oldest of four children – my sister has three kids of her own, the older of my two brothers has no children, but he does have a dog, and the younger of my brothers has four children and a wife. (The four kids cry a lot. All of them.)
I’m not going to go into detail about my sister-in-law. That’s really all I need to say, isn’t it?
Most of our family holidays are spent at my parents’ house, which is about an hour and a half drive. Except that one Christmas, where we got sandbagged and ended up traveling an extra half hour to satisfy my sister-in-law. But since I’m not going into detail about her, I’m keeping my opinion to myself.
Anyway. As you’ll recall, Peeps started his new job back in May. So then Memorial Day rolled around, 4AM was our new regular getting-up time, and, honestly, we were tired. Not just any old tired – TIRED. Tired as in the last thing we want to do is spend 3 hours in the car (an hour and a half each way) either with a restless puppy (who doesn’t quite fit on the back seat), or, even worse, rushing to get home by puppy-walking-time. So we took a pass.
Even though my mother
would love to get all four kids together for the holiday.
Oh, yes. The guilt, it was thick.
And we skipped out on the whole Father’s Day-my birthday-my sister’s birthday celebration, as well. (My sister’s birthday is THE DAY BEFORE mine. How unfair is that?)
So along comes the 4th of July. Peeps is on vacation and would like nothing more than to spend the entire week smoking stuff. (An aside – I told him that he’s FAR TOO OLD to be uttering the phrase “I’ll smoke anything.” I’m just saying.)
I’m tired and don’t want to drive an Hour And A Half Each Way for anything. So we decided to get smart. We’ll invite the parents and the sister HERE for the 4th.
The thought being that THEY’RE not going to want to drive an hour and a half each way either, and WE can escape the guilt trip. Pretty clever, huh? The youngest brother (with his 4 kids and wife), I assumed, will have other plans anyway.
Until the plan backfires, and the parents and sister said “sure.” Really?
So now we’re on the hook for a Fourth of July Barbecue. I asked my mother to bring a couple of salads – her choice, as long as she brings potato salad, and we’ll take care of the rest.
Great. Then she mentions that, gee, she’d love to come up early enough to go to the Public Market, which, we’ve already learned the hard way, is much better earlier.
They’ll be here around 6:30.
In the morning.
Am I bad daughter in that I instituted a Parent Pool? I got my husband, son and brother involved in a wager as to what time the parents would ACTUALLY show up. I mean, getting here by 6:30, with an hour and a half drive? When you’re old? REALLY?
I had 7:00 and I lost – they pulled in at 6:31.
So in addition to the turkey breasts and pork butts that Peeps was handling, and the coleslaw, mac salad and baked beans, we were also going to want to provide a bit of a nibble for between the Market and the BBQ dinner.
I was going to make a bunch of mini muffins, decided after the first batch that I’d be there ALL FRICKIN’ DAY, so I made several different mini-loaves of “quick breads” – I did two each of a cherry-lime loaf, a double chocolate loaf, gingerbread, and strawberry-banana.
That’s a nice selection, don’t you think? Along with some coffee, it should be just perfect for a quick nibble before the Main Event.
Except that, apparently, the chocolate was too chocolate-y, the cherry-lime could have used a shot of almond (really?), the strawberry-banana was too banana-ry and the coffee was too strong. I guess the gingerbread was OK.
I thought they were good.
So my sister drove up separately – she had some shopping she wanted to do while she was here in the Big City. And my brother (the winner of the Parent Pool) brought a friend who happened to be a female.
And our neighbors and friends, the Harley Parents also came by. It eventually shaped up to be a nice day, for which I am grateful, so we were able to overflow onto the deck. My dining room just can’t handle a dozen people at this point.
We did serve “buffet-style” – the food was in the kitchen, and everyone just helped themselves:
Pulled pork and turkey
The sides – our beans, mac salad and coleslaw, and my mother’s potato salad, broccoli salad (I don’t have a recipe for that, but I’m trying to get it!) and some new experiment – it was kind of a 3-bean salad, only with just 2 beans and artichoke hearts.
Yeah, I don’t know either, but it was not half bad!
And, of course, the beverage station. In addition to a cooler full of soda on the deck, we also offered iced tea (unsweetened, thank you very much) and some lovely white sangria. The sangria was quite a hit among those who weren’t driving.
My brother also brought his dog over – she’s been here before, and she and Jarly had a great, exhausting time playing. Though I just don’t know. I mean, between her freaky one-blue-one-brown-eye thing, and the perky ears and the clown eyebrows, I think she looks kind of like some sort of psycho-dog.
Peeps happened to mention that she reminded him of Harley Quinn . . . I can see it.
Even though I’m not a comic book sort of gal, and if I was, it wouldn’t be DC Comics. . .
I’m just saying, that’s all.
What do you suppose Harley-Pup is whispering to my dog, anyway?
So, at the end of the day, it wasn’t a bad holiday at all – AND we didn’t have a long drive to look forward to afterward! Since the parents got here so early, they were ready to take their leave fairly early, which means, once we woke the dog up, we still had plenty of time for a good walk.
Heh. A tired puppy is a happy puppy.