Proof that it doesn’t take much, people.
And proof that I had a busy “home-decorating and party-planning and –throwing” weekend: (1) a new Southern Living arrived on Saturday, and I promptly deposited it in the magazine basket next to my side of the bed; and (2) I didn’t remember said magazine until late Wednesday night.
Page 14: Omigod, omigod, OMIGOD. Under the heading “Best of the South, Fall in Love!” I see this little piece o’ manna from heaven: “Orange clove products, $3.99 each, mrsmeyers.com.” MUST. DRIVE. TO. STORE. NOW.
Pages 27 through 31: “3 Weekend Getaways for Under $500.” The first offering: Orlando, Florida. Ha! on both counts – the weekend part and the under $500 part. Thus far, we have avoided the lure of Orlando, mainly because every time we attempt to plan a trip we quickly come to the realization that we won’t be vacationing in Orlando so much as taking up temporary residence there. Reason: Our stereotypically male children. They could basically care less about Disney, except that they sort of want to go to the animal safari thing. Oh, and Connor wants to go to EPCOT. And Mom, being a purist, and having celebrated her third birthday at the restaurant inside the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disneyland (yeah, I was all Jack Sparrow before Jack Sparrow was cool), reminds them that there are fun things to do in the Magic Kingdom proper. So, general consensus is that we need to spend at least four days within the Disney compound. But then the boys start piling on their other demands:
Universal Studio: Harry Potter. Hogwarts. Enuf said. (Note: I have been pushing the boys off on Orlando for several years now by reminding them that we “really ought to wait until Hogwarts is finished.” And now it is. Crud.)
Nickelodeon: Slime. Attractions featuring slime. Enuf said.
LEGO flagship store: Yes, we have a LEGO store in Dallas now. But this is the flagship. The mother lode. Non-negotiable.
Playmobil flagship store: Pirates! Egyptians! Roman centurions! Also non-negotiable.
We are quickly at eight days. Then reality sets in: we need to factor in transit time. And rest and recuperation time. Pool time. Cushion days for revisiting the stuff that we didn’t get enough of the day before. We agree that the list of attractions must be cut. And then negotiations break down and the idea is shelved.
Moving on to the next destination . . . ah, yes, Washington DC and the National Building Museum. Which apparently is the site of a major LEGO architectural exhibit through September of next year. Which apparently means that a return visit to DC is on the agenda for the McGlincheys for the summer of ‘11. Now, DC I can handle – except for driving on Dupont Circle. And, you know, the rest of the downtown streets. When we took Connor when he was four, I remember us doing a lot of driving . . . around and around and AROUND, looking for the correct turn. It was like “Groundhog Day,” minus Ned Ryerson, an ice sculpture of Andie McDowell and a cute faux rodent. We discovered that we could only find our way by triangulating from a steaming grate outside of the Watergate Building. And, in the summer, I’m guessing not so much steam, which will make it hard to find Our Grate. So . . . .
Third destination: San Antonio. Yes! Friend Ruth is moving there (hopefully temporarily – ARE YOU READING THIS, RUTH? – while she works on her PhD in public health), and plans for multiple group visits to the Fiesta City are in the works. Therefore, this one is definitely doable.
Moving on . . . .
Page TX2: “November in the South” feature, and a shout-out to Fort Worth and the “Funky Finds Experience” to be held at Will Rogers on November 6th and 7th. Went to the last one; came home with an oversized purple horned frog constructed out of metal scraps, among (several) other things. He is in the front yard now, chained to a tree, because with Horned Frog Fever being at its peak around here I could totally see someone walking off with him “accidentally.”
Page 46: “How to Get Party-Perfect Nails.” Um, get in the car, drive to the nail place, plunk down some cash and sip cucumber water, watch HGTV and read Glamour while someone else does the work? This is the South, people. Home of big-haired girly girls with aestheticians on speed dial, who are known to actually host keno parties and other social events at their favorite mani-pedi places. Seriously. Moving on.
Page 53: “3 Ways to Set a Pretty Table.” Decide that I am a big fan of “Savannah designer and stylist Elizabeth Demos” who states the goal for her fall-themed table thusly: “I wanted it to be rustic and woodsy – sans gnomes.” Although, for my money, there aren't enough gnome-centric features in Southern Living. (I will admit to being rather gnome-obsessed as a small child - you know, after the "Gnomes" book came out. I am pleased to report that I recovered, although, thanks to my brother- and sister-in-law, I actually do own the University of Texas gnome pictured above. He provides a nice counterpart to the shackled horned frog.)
Moving on again. . . .
“Maria Cooke of Ritzy Bee Events in Washington D.C.” also gets a thumbs-up from me, for her simple table embellishment consisting of blessings printed out on strips of paper secured to an undulating piece of twine running from one end of the table to the other. Big fan of twine – in fact, my twine obsession ought to be (and, now that I have thought about it, will be) a post in and to itself. I also like her idea for covering the kids’ table with butcher paper and writing a checklist in Sharpie marker next to each kid’s place: “Ike ate his: [ ] Turkey tenders, [ ] Sweet potato fries, [ ] Cheesy cornbread, [ ] Cupcake!” Maria gets points for her use of (1) butcher paper (which I love almost as much as I love twine), (2) Sharpie markers and (3) realism. Turkey tenders, sweet potato fries and cheesy cornbread is a Thanksgiving menu that I ALMOST can see my ten year-old eating (I said ALMOST). And cupcake! gets an exclamation point at the kids’ table, for sure.
Page 102: “Fun Girls’ Lunch.” Hmm. Can I only serve this lunch to girls who I consider fun, or is the lunch intrinsically fun, irrespective of the personalities of those eating it, but must, for reasons passing understanding (is the food high in estrogen?), be served to women only? Menu is centered on a recipe for Latina Lasagna. Do we have to bring race into EVERYTHING these days? In all seriousness, it looks like a good recipe – and I’m digging on the rest of the menu as well (Leafy Green Salad with Pears – thanks to my mom’s pear tree on steroids, I have the pear hookup – and Mexican Chocolate Pound Cake with a sauce consisting of melted chocolate, whipping cream, brown sugar and butter. I can see my peeps (who, for the record, are “Fun Girls” and therefore qualify to eat this food regardless) fully embracing the chocolate-y, creamy, sugary, buttery goodness of the latter dish, for sure.
For all of you other fun girls out there, here’s the recipe for the main dish:
OH-SO-POLITICALLY-CORRECTLY-NAMED LATINA LASAGNA
(reprinted – with slightly altered title – from the November 2010 Southern Living)
1 ½ lbs. fresh chorizo sausage, casings removed
2 (24-oz.) jars tomato-and-basil pasta sauce
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 (4.5-oz.) can chopped green chiles
1 (15-oz.) container ricotta cheese
1 cup whipping cream
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
12 no-boil lasagna noodles
1 (16-oz.) package shredded Mexican four-cheese blend
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook sausage in a Dutch oven over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes or until meat is no longer pink, breaking sausages into pieces while cooking. Drain; return sausage to Dutch oven. Reduce heat to medium-low. Stir in pasta sauce, cilantro, and chiles; cook, stirring often, 5 minutes. Stir together ricotta cheese, whipping cream and eggs until smooth. Spoon 1 cup sauce mixture into a lightly greased 13-x-9-inch pan. Top with 4 lasagna noodles. Top with half of ricotta cheese mixture, one-third of shredded Mexican cheese blend, and one-third of remaining sauce mixture. Repeat layers once, beginning with noodles. Top with remaining 4 noodles, sauce mixture and shredded cheese blend. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Let stand 20 minutes before serving. Yield: 8 servings.