Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Labor Day Weekend

Just so you know my life is not filled with pure unadulterated pre-teeange angst, I will give you a glimpse into what turned out to be a very nice, very fun, relaxing Labor Day weekend.

On Saturday, I went to the Farmer's Market in my hometown. Our Farmer's Market is awesome, albeit pretty quiet. I am probably the only person under the age of 55 that frequents it (unless you count Alice, who always accompanies me). This nets us a lot of free, fun stuff from the farmers (who are, mostly, also over the age of 50). This week, my favorite two farmers were waiting for me with a big bag of apples, and an even bigger bag of concord grapes. As they were bagging this (and taking my $6--seriously, how awesome is that???), I asked if either had any tomatoes. One said that he did, but that they weren't pretty and were pretty ripe. I said I'd take them all. Something just siezed me at that moment, and I knew I wanted them. He was excited and gave me about 8-10 pounds of tomatoes for $5. He also threw in a bag of cute yellow cherry tomatoes for Alice.

So I came home and made homemade tomato sauce. It took me a long time to peel, seed, and process all the tomatoes, then to cook them down and thicken up my sauce. It turned out heavenly, and I was immensely proud of myself. I think the fam liked it too--we had it that night with fusili and homemade bread and topped with a good scattering of fresh basil. I tried to take pictures of the whole process, but our camera hadn't been charged in forever, and just refused to do it anymore. Oh well.

On Sunday, I took Gabby and Alice shopping. Gabby likes to shop at Justice, which is the Mecca for pre-teen girls. It is a touch expensive, but they run great sales, and we always get all the deals because I'm signed up on every possible coupon giving list they have. She had had her eye on an argyle cardigan and some jeggings. I was about to refuse, just because I consider the word "jeggings" to be a total afront to the English language, but I acquiesced, because well, I had a 40% off coupon. So we went. We stopped at Panera Bread to eat, which sadly enough, just may be one of my favorite places to eat. I mostly like it because it is fast enough to where I can go and enjoy my meal without one of my children exploding and because I can get healthy stuff there relatively cheap. Also because the Mediterranean veggie sandwich rocks my socks. I love peppadew peppers. Anyway, sated from lunch, we went shopping. Gabby found the sweater, along with another sweater, an argyle long-sleeve shirt (she's feeling the argyle this season, she says), and a dance jacket. Then she tried on the jeggings. Cue hilarity. She wasn't able to get in the first pair, even though they were her size. I got the next size up. She put them on, and walks out with the most hilarious look on her face. Then she goes, "I HATE THESE PANTS." I thought they were quite cute, but she wasn't having it. She considered it a personal affront that the jeggings didn't work. So now, it is Gabby vs. Jeggings, Round 1. My money is on Gab--she is wiley. We tried to forget the great jeggings debacle by indulging in mall cookies and then going to Old Navy and picking up some treats at Sonic before heading home. We stopped by my grandmother's house for a while, so I could dop off some tailoring work (one of my grandmother's friends was a professional seamstress and now does tailoring for me) and so we could have a little visit. Yea for finally getting to wear the Rock and Republic jeans I got off Ebay that were way, way too long! Gabby ended up spending the night at my grandmother's house.

On Monday, I had to go to a family reunion that I always go to on Labor Day weekend. I go because my grandmother wants me to, not because it is so darn fun. As Gabby will point out to anyone who indulges her by listening, it is mostly old people. Really, really old people. But, my grandmother asked me to go and to make scalloped potatoes, so I did both. I have made scalloped potatoes maybe 2 times previous in my life, but for some reason, my grandmother thought that I should make them. I bought some smoked gouda to jazz them up a bit, which turned out pretty nice, if I do say so myself. We had some lunch there, where my family members (the vast majority of whom I do not know) picked at the kids and discussed the various prescriptions that they take. Ick.

While we were there, my kids went out to the playground next to the meeting hall where the reunion was. While out there, they saw my cousin and her daughter. This is a cousin I grew up with, have had countless exploits with, and have just lost touch with over the years, except for the odd holiday/birthday. Gabby came in and told me, and I went out and chatted with her for a while. We had a lovely time. She snapped a couple of pictures with her phone as we talked:

The kids with their cousin, Kayleigh. Notice Gabby mugging for the camera, while Sam closes his eyes to make himself invisible until he gets a drink of Coke. Blackmail doesn't work, buddy.

Also know that I had been wearing a cardigan all day, so the look wasn't as nearly as "HELLO BOOBIES!" as it is in that picture.

Then I came home. Matt had been smoking a pork butt all day for bbq, so I made some baked beans, deviled eggs and rolls (I had already made the dough for the rolls and let it rise while I was gone--I just put it in the pans for a second rising). Then I made these beauties: banana pecan cupcakes with caramel buttercream. They were, in a word, amazing. I made homemade caramel to put in the frosting, so now, I might be a teensy bit obsessed with homemade caramel. I'm pretty sure that I'm going to make at least 17 batches this weekend. Or maybe just one. We'll see. I want to try my hand at some sea salt caramels like the kind that Matt and I had on our anniversary trip this year. Yum-mo. My father-in-law and brother-in-law stopped by to eat with us, and then stayed for a while to play with the kids. After they left, Matt and I shared a bottle of $2 Chuck on the couch and giggled at the LA Dodgers.

I am very excited for fall to get here, but part of me will miss weekends like this--the ease, the sun, the family. This summer has been truly fun and I am sad to see it go. I wore my white jeans on Monday (albeit with a Jackie) and felt kind of sad knowing that it would be the last time. The funny thing is, I was sitting outside, though, and I looked down and there are quite a few little faded pinpoint stains on them--most of them look like bbq sauce or something like that. You can't see them when I'm not in direct sunlight, so I wasn't that stressed. They just reminded me of the fun of summer--the food, the memories, the trips. The jeans are a good reflection of all of that.

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