Tag Archives: Open House

Using Up the Leftovers

20 Dec

We had our annual Christmas Open House on Sunday. We planned on about fifty people, but the weather was beastly, so only half that many came. It rained buckets both Saturday and Sunday. Monday was lovely, natch. 

So now we have leftovers. Boy, do we have leftovers!

I took most of the leftover cheese and all of the cauliflower from the veggie tray and made mac and cheese on Monday. Yesterday, I took the leftover carrot and celery sticks, added an onion, and made Greek Orzo and Lemon soup. Today, we have a lovely supper of jalapeno poppers, mini chicken rolls, quiches – and a fresh salad. There’s no telling what the rest of the week may bring.

We also have cookies. You may have your choice of Fig Thumbprints, Pistachio and Cranberry, Red Velvet Whoopie Pies, Raspberry Streusel (also known as Those Cookies), Lime-Ginger, Chocolate Crinkle, or sugar cookies decorated to resemble Polar Bears. Or white chocolate fudge, if you prefer.

If you are very, very nice, I might ~ might! ~ share my fruit cake.  (But don’t count on it.)

Spare Tires and Old Friends

30 Dec

I took the Kia to work on Friday, and The Squire took my Nissan up to the garage to see about new tires. As it turned out, I had a huge screw in the tread, which involved a patch, a plug, and a $10 charge – a far cry from the $200 we expected to shell out for two new tires! The spare is back in the trunk where it belongs, and has also been checked for leaks and such. That’s one of the many nice things about having an old friend for a mechanic. He takes good care of his customers and doesn’t try to rob you blind.

We are trying to get things squared away around here for the Open House next Saturday. I have not baked a single cookie, and we finally decided to get somebody in to clean the downstairs, rather than try to tackle that ourselves. We still have to get things straightened up, heaven knows, but the actually dusting, vacuuming and wiping down will be done by a pro. And well worth every penny.

Of course, when you need things to go well, that’s when they all go backwards. We have carpet in the bathroom, and it was beginning to look grungy around the base of the toilet, so The Squire pulled it all up, so he could put down fresh. The floor has rotted, so we have to make some sort of emergency repair to tide us over until after the party.

We keep all of our first-aid stuff – tape, pads, hydrogen peroxide, and the like – in a large plastic bin which we store on the top shelf of the linen closet. This morning, while I was taking a shower, I heard a mighty WHUMP but I couldn’t see anything out of place. Very mysterious. To cut to the chase, the bin had fallen off the shelf and landed in the  clothes hamper!

Our bathroom is a fair size, but oddly arranged (like everything else in the house) and there was really no suitable place for a hamper. The Squire put a large box with a trap door on the inside of the linen closet. You toss the clothes in the top, and then dump them out onto the floor to sort them for washing. He is a most clever fellow, that one. To quote my sister, I’m going to let him keep me.

Bang, Bang!

12 Dec

The Open House yesterday afternoon went very well.  We had a good crowd passing through – all of them old friends, but quite a few of them had never been here before. My nephew and his family came up from Severn, which was really nice, as we haven’t seen them for a while. I completely dropped the ball on providing something for their two little boys to do, though. We haven’t had children under the age of seven for eons!  I did move things around so they could play with one of my dollhouses, and they were really, really careful with it. Their daughter is eighteen months old, and she and Blazer had a “hmm, what is this” going for a while. Both of them interested, but wary. The dog is very gentle, but his tail can do a lot of unintended damage!

Needless to say, by the end of the evening, The Squire and I were both completely wiped out and collapsed into bed fairly early. Around three in the morning we were jolted out of a sound sleep by two VERY loud bangs. I had opened the bedroom window, but had forgotten to brace the sash with a stick we keep in the sill for exactly that purpose. First the inner window fell down and then the outer frame joined it. Boy! Talk about being lifted right out of bed!

This morning I was playing pick up in the living room when something very large crashed into the sliding door on the front porch. I looked out the window and saw a red-tailed hawk perched in the tree beside the house, so I opened the door to survey the damages. The hawk immediately flew away, and didn’t have anything in his talons. When I stepped outside I could hear some squirrel-sized curses wafting up from the drain beside the flower bed. A few moments later, said squirrel popped out the other end, still muttering under his breath.

Obviously, the hawk had swooped down for lunch but the squirrel had ducked out of the way too quickly for the bird to change course. Gives an entirely new meaning to the expression  “hit with a fowl ball”.

Oh! Does anybody want some cookies? We have loads left over!

Cookies and Confusion

3 Dec

Between yesterday and today I baked four batches of cookies, with two more made up and in the fridge.

Three of them were fairly simple, but one batch called for pistachio nuts. The only ready-to-eat nuts I could find were finished with sea salt – not exactly suitable for cookies – so I bought a bag of nuts in the shell. The Squire and I worked for about a half an hour to shell those blessed things, but a couple just weren’t budging, so the squirrels got them. They seemed to really enjoy them, too. I just hope they don’t think we’re going to do this often; that was a pretty pricey treat!

I was bragging here a few days ago that I had gotten all of our Christmas cards/invitations addressed, but then they got left in the Squire’s car and not mailed.  However, this was a blessing in disguise! When The Squire set up to send out a blanket email to the folks at church, he asked me if I had decided to only have the Open House for two hours instead of the usual four.

“Say what?”

“Well, you have it listed as 2 until 4. We normally do it from 2 until 6.”

So – we had to pry open every single card and make the correction by hand, then try to reseal the envelopes.

I hate when that happens.

How to Waste Time…

25 Nov

…without really trying.

After we ate dinner yesterday afternoon, The Squire and I started on our Christmas cards. We always try to get this job out of the way as soon after Thanksgiving as possible, because we always have an Open House on Advent III. This year, Advent IV is a full week before Christmas, so it really cuts us short.

The Squire found an appropriate Bible verse, and we printed off the cards, and then I started addressing them. My handwriting is marginally better than his, but that is faint praise, indeed.

First, I had to fix us each a cup of hot chocolate. About twenty minutes later the phone rang; Harford County 911 said there was a fire alarm at church, and they couldn’t get anybody else. The Squire was ready for bed, so I had to call around and see if I could rouse somebody. Address one card, then I needed an address for  “new person”. Get The Squire back down stairs to rummage around on his computer.

The dog wants out.  The cat wants in. The dog has been out too long, so I called him. Nada. His empty collar is on the end if the rope. Get a Milk-Bone and his leash, pull off my slippers and put on my boots, and fall over him sitting on the door step.

Back to the business at hand. Address two more cards.

It took me four hours to address two dozen cards.

This morning we got the winter clothing out of the attic. Sorted, tried on, and tossed. I went up to the Goodwill store and dropped off a huge bag of stuff, including two short, stubby glasses (highballs?) engraved with a “P, courtesy of my parents, and an old tackle box. Both had been on Freecycle twice with no takers, so out they go.



Where Was I?

15 Dec

The Squire and I held our annual Open House on Sunday, the 13th. We’ve done this every year but one since we got married, and that was after Hurricane Floyd dropped a tree on the house.

The Godson came over on Thursday and Saturday to help swing a dust cloth and then acted as our head chef on Sunday.  I baked like a mad woman, gluten-free stuff first and then my more traditional things. The Godson has been helping us for the last four years, so he knows his way around our kitchen, and doesn’t have to be reminded to keep an eye on the trays and so forth. He’s considering a career in culinary arts, so he really enjoys doing this for us.

In between all this, we had a cookie exchange at church and a Christmas dinner with the Daughters of the British Empire, both on Saturday.

Last night I went up to bed at 9:45 and staggered downstairs at 9:30 this morning.  I not only never got out of my robe, but I also took a nap in the afternoon.  Tired? Not a bit.

The Open House was not quite as well attended as it has been in other years, but it was nice. We had a chance to move around and visit with guests, and the weather was warm enough (70!) that we didn’t light the fire.  Eldest daughter came down, bearing oatmeal cookies and crackers; she uses my recipe, but hers are always so much better, and The Squire seemed to think one box of Wheat Thins was enough for the crowd. Sometimes I wonder about that man.  Both of the local grandchildren and their spouses came down, and brought the Little One, who charmed all the guests with her smiles and curly hair.  Blazer wandered from place to place, looking for a handout or a belly rub. We, of course, never feed him, or pay any attention to him.

Somehow, the conversation turned to unwanted phone calls. I don’t answer calls where the name or number is “not available”. If you’re not available, then neither am I. I also don’t speak to entire cities. If I do answer a call with a number I don’t know, I speak Cherokee. One of the guests is from Tanzania and she laughed. “I use Swahili, and just keep saying “no English, no English”.  We have another lady at church who is from Denmark, and she does same thing. Never use French or German, and Heaven forbid you should try Spanish!

The weather here has been incredibly warm. It was 70 on Sunday, and 72 on Thanksgiving day. The cherry blossoms are starting to bloom in Washington D.C., and our forsythia has little buds along the branches. The Squire was joking about  possibly mowing the lawn on more time.  Well, the weatherman is saying we may have snow flurries on Friday.

They were claiming we’d have a hard winter. When it comes, it should be a doozy.

That Reminds Me of a Story

3 Dec

We are having our annual Open House on December 13th, and are busily engaged in getting this place cleaned up. (Actually, the only reason we put ourselves through all this is to give the house a good going-over. Sort of our version of Passover cleaning.) I was using the steamer on the living room carpet when it suddenly began spewing hot water everywhere and would not suck it back up.

The Squire took it outside and got it to the point where it will suck up the water, but it won’t spray, so I had to dump the hot soapy water into a pan and go over half of the living room floor with a scrub brush.

Except that a thorough search did not locate a proper scrub brush, so I was reduced to using the toilet brush. Look, a brush is a brush, right?

And thereby hangs a tale…

Not too long after we were married our youngest daughter, who was maybe nine or ten at the most, offered to polish her dad’s shoes for him. It was a Friday night, and we let the kids stay up late to watch TV, so instead of staying in the bathroom to polish the shoes, she carried the bottle of black polish and his shoes through the dining room, into the living room, past the sofa, and finally sat the bottle on the end table.

She came upstairs to tell us she had “spilled some shoe polish”.  She had left a trail of black spots all through the house, including over the back and seat of the sofa. We told her to go to bed and we’d clean it up. Actually, this was for her own safety, as one or the other of us would have killed her if she’d stuck around – and she knew it! I filled a scrub bucket with hot soapy water, and since we only had one scrub brush, I got on my hands and knees with that and The Squire began working on the sofa with the only other tool at hand – the toilet brush.

We have always slept in the nude, even before we even knew each other. My winter pyjamas is a pair of wool socks. (It’s a good use for odd socks, and Heaven knows we all have those!) When we came down to see what sort of “spill” we had to deal with, we’d both wrapped a towel around ourselves, but they soon came unfastened, and we’d ended up with them tossed around our necks.

So you had two nekkid people, wearing socks, with towels around their necks, mumbling curses, and wielding toilet brushes. It is, as I have often said, fortunate we have no close neighbours.

And we never did get the polish off the end table.