Tag Archives: events

five things

I’m currently feeling pretty overwhelmed about the next three weeks. I thought I might take five minutes to write about five things currently going on in my life, and then take a deep breath afterwards. (So I don’t go bananas.)

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1. Saturday is the Foodie Feast / Beer Dinner that we participate in every fall. We had a trial run with the group the weekend before last, and everything was so good. I’m on deck for some baking. I have to make 50+ brioche slider buns. I did a trial run and they were well received, so I’m feeling pretty good about that, but it’s still four batches to manage – all that proofing and kneading. I’m also in charge of the baked portion of dessert, so I need to make a dense banana bread – one strong enough to withstand being thrown on a grill, and then topped with an oatmeal stout whipped cream and grilled, caramelized banana. I figure that’s seven loaves minimum, and I’ve got a few dozen bananas ripening in paper bags on my counter as we speak.

2. Both sets of grandparents are also arriving on Saturday because Monday morning is Grandparents Breakfast! This will be the NINTH year that we’ve had grandparents attend. What a gift that is, honestly. I got teary eyed thinking about it the other day. I think it’s because I’ve been missing my grandparents a lot lately. All these projects we’ve been working on – I know they would have enjoyed hearing about them and studying them if they were still here.

3. Excitement about the grandparents aside… I have to host the event, so there’s all that kind of organization going on. And then, Open House at the school right on the heels of the breakfast! I feel like I have list upon list upon list right now, and I’m already not getting enough sleep. (Blaming the debates and late night comedy shows to help me process the current state of politics for that.)

4. Speaking of politics – tell me you are registered to vote! If not, do it today or tomorrow – registration is closing in most states this week. And then clear your calendar for November 8th.

5. Conditional Use Hearing – coming up on the 27th. The sign is up, the agenda is in hand. I’ve been collecting some additional backup support this week, just in case. Hoping to report that it’s smooth sailing, and that November will be a big month for our project. I’ve already got my holiday card idea in mind, and hopefully I can pull it off. (And it’s related to this project, big surprise.)

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Five minutes, I did it. What’s keeping you busy, or up late, this October? I miss our chats.

summer plans

Summer

Summer is finally here, and this three day weekend was not enough of a taste. It’s time to wrap up things and head to bed, and I just want another day at home.

I thought I’d try and distract myself from the impending work week by thinking of some of the fun things we have planned for the summer here in the Lou. We’re creatures of habit, for the most part, but our habits are pretty fun.

The Tower Grove Farmers Market is in full swing, and we try to make it there most Saturday mornings. The photo above is from our visit last Saturday – F found beets the size of Ellen Tebbits’ beet in the book we are currently reading. (We made beet sliders with them, and we’re STILL eating them.) The girls’ have new Keens, so we’re ready for the fountains and the Whisk popsicles and the live music and the great people watching.

We still try to visit the garden (officially MoBot, but we only call it “the garden”) every Wednesday and Saturday morning during their early morning walking hours from 7-9. We beat the heat and the crowds and the light is just so much better. And in the summer, E can join us on Wednesdays! Most Saturdays, it’s just me.

Shakespeare Festival St. Louis is on deck this week – I love to run by the set as they build it in the park. It starts on June 1st and runs through the 26th, except Tuesdays. This year they are doing A Midsummer Night’s Dreamand we usually meet up with the same friends each year for a picnic and the play. It’s such a terrific community event.

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Speaking of theater – this year we purchased season tickets for the MUNY performances. Those start in a few weeks, and our tickets are on Tuesday nights. I think it will be fun to meet up in the park, maybe have a picnic dinner, and stay up late watching the shows. Sometimes it’s hard to make summer feel like summer when we’re still working our normal schedules. I hope this adds some excitement to our summer weeks.

It wouldn’t be summer without Circus Flora! We go every year on Father’s Day weekend – but this year we’re also joining some of F’s Girl Scout Troop for a backstage visit and tour. The theme of the show is baseball this year – perfect for this Cardinals town. I love this circus. I can’t imagine summer without it.

On the subject of baseball, we’ve already made it to our first game of the season. We don’t typically attend too many games, but we tend to purchase tickets when various groups we’re involved with offer them. I do love to go to the park a few times each season, but I also love the sound of the game on the radio and the sound of the homerun fireworks we can hear from inside our house!

We purchased tickets from Left Bank Books for the release party for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts I and II. It’s a pretty late event, but I think that will be a blast – something the girls will really get into. It’s right between their two birthdays, so we’re keeping it a surprise for now. If you think you might go, let me know. We might plan a meet up an hour earlier at Jeni’s next door! Talking about birthdays reminds me that we’ll also have two summer birthdays to plan. No definitive decisions on those. Some talk of laser tag and animal themes. (Not related.)

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What else? We don’t belong to any outdoor pool, but M takes the girls swimming at various spots around town when we find the time. Last summer, he and E tried to go for a bike ride once a week on some of the park trails around here. I continue to sweat it out, running at the hottest point of the day – character building. The girls go to various summer camps around town, and E spends several weeks of the summer as a counselor at one of them.

Although we love amusement parks, we’ve never taken the girls to Six Flags here. Maybe one day. We’re kind of spoiled now to Cedar Point, and the girls are already plotting our next visit there. We’ve got a beach vacation coming up soon, but not soon enough! I’m ready for sand in my toes and the smell of salty air.

We’ve also got to really buckle down on our house projects, and we’re hoping the end of the school activities will help this some. We have three weekends at home – in a row! – it’s something we haven’t had in ages. We need some concentrated blocks of time to work, and maybe we’ll finally get some of those.

Last (I think), but not least – our Thursday night gatherings in the front yard. We haven’t officially kicked off the season yet, but everyone’s been asking. It’s always nice to open up the gate and welcome neighbors and friends over once a week to listen to the blues across the street, chat and catch up. It just feels like summer

treat yo’ self

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Every year, as part of the girls’ elementary school soiree (the biggest fundraiser of the year), I help put together the auction items – live auction, silent auction, and four to five incredible raffle baskets. The raffle items are collections of donations that can be worth as much as one thousand dollars – not a bad haul for the price of a few tickets!

Because the visual aspect of the items varies so much – many of them are big ticket gift certificates rather than big flashy items that would show up well in a physical basket – we opt to make posters to display behind the big fishbowls the tickets are dropped into. The event program has more detailed explanations of the prizes, but the posters are a fun way to organize this part of the event.

I’ve done many types and styles of posters throughout the years, but this year’s ice cream social theme seemed to lend itself to watercolors. I purchased four watercolor boards a week ago, so I wouldn’t have to worry about mounting them on sturdy backings, but it’s been so busy around here that I didn’t get a chance to start on them until the weekend.

On Friday night, after the kids were in bed, I finally had a chance. But I couldn’t do it. I was spent. Instead I sat down in the living room with a book and took a deep breath. The room was quiet, the flowers my mom brought the past weekend were fragrant and still hanging on, and I was admiring this watercolor that F made for her teachers recently. So even though I wasn’t technically working on the posters, my mind was churning through some ideas. And that painting gave me a good one.

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Saturday afternoon, armed with a second cup of coffee and some masking fluid, I got to work. I painted out “treat yo’ self” in masking fluid and let it dry. Then I set to work, layering in different colors, in an effort to get something that looked a little like melted summer treats.

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I took the lids from the large yogurt containers I was using for my water, and painted the rims with color and made a few “glass rings”. I built the colors up in several layers until I got the look I was going for. After everything was good and dry, I rubbed off the masking fluid, and voila!

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A second basket was titled “Goodie Two Shoes” – this basket had lots of shoes and handbags, as well as some great gift certificates for items to share with a friend. I took the idea of pairs into the ice cream realm and landed on these popsicle shapes – and just repeated them over and over again.

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I cut out a chipboard template, made a few measurements, and then traced the pattern around the board. I outlined each pop in masking fluid, and then tapped a full brush gently to get some perfectly round drops all over the board.

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I moved around the board again, layering colors in pools of water to create various popsicle flavors.

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Pulling masking fluid up when you’re finished is really fun – E helped me do this, her favorite part. I love the way the color seeps to the edges, and the white dots were just perfect scattered about. This turned out just like I imagined it in my head. It would be fun to do a set of summer-y cards with this technique – or maybe I’ll use the idea for the girls’ party invites this summer.

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I scored real popsicle sticks with an x-acto blade, snapped them in half, and laid them out on the board. E thought they were too long – and she was right – so I scored and cut about 3/8″ inch of each one. Thirty-two of them if you are keeping track. Because I’m crazy.

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That purple one looks EXACTLY like the blackberry yogurt breakfast pops I made last summer. Yum. These boards make me hungry.

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“You Can’t Top This” was supposed to look like a tower of ice cream scoops – but it sort of looks like marbles. Oh well. I used the circle theme to add details related to the prizes – this one included Disney World passes, so there are the ears!

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For the “I Scream, You Scream!” poster, I turned a waffle cone into a megaphone and “shot” out a mass of ice cream colors and sprinkles.

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E cut the sprinkles for me, and I glued them on by brushing on light coats of glue and then blowing the sprinkles across the board.

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Colorful, fun, and the four boards took about seven-eight hours total, with drying and cleaning up time. Not too bad for last minute ice cream fun.

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The party was so much fun – the weather cooperated, and the venue, decorations, food, ice cream, people – everything was just perfect. A good way to mark off another great year, and an even better way to support the year to come. Summer’s almost here! Grab your popsicles – I’m ready!