A Peaceful Mother’s Day

After having a houseful of friends and family yesterday at our Book Swap I’m anticipating a peaceful Mother’s Day.

The kitchen island was set up with the food buffet.
The kitchen island was set up with the food buffet.

Enough food left over so no one needs to cook.

Charlie cleaned up after our party.
Charlie cleaned up after our party.

Charlie has been hired to play music for an afternoon Mother’s Day party at a local assisted living.

Looking forward to a cappuccino.
Looking forward to a cappuccino.

So I’m just chilling.

My grandmother and mother back in the 1950s.
My grandmother and mother back in the 1950s.

Happy Mother’s Day to everyone who is remembering her own mother today.

Labeling the Book Swap

Instead of having people just heap their books all together on one table at the Book Swap I have divided the books up into categories.

Magic marker on card stock for labels
Magic marker on card stock for labels

I used 8.5″ by 11″ card stock folded in half for table labels. I hand-printed the various categories and spread them throughout the house.

I had to rewrite this label because I spelled "spirituality" wrong on the first try. (I missed an "i" and tied to sneak it in.)
I had to rewrite this label because I spelled “spirituality” wrong on the first try. (I missed an “i” and tied to sneak it in.)

Since the books will be spread all over the ground floor of the house, including the  porch, I’ve made a simple map to guide folks to the various piles of books both for contributing the books they brought and taking the ones they want.

Most people will enter by through the porch near the driveway where the "Gardening" books will be displayed.
Most people will enter by through the porch near the driveway where the “Gardening” books will be displayed.

The kitchen, while not housing any books, will be the service area for our food.  That’s on the map as well.

Charlie started his weeding because we were becoming rich in dandelions.
Charlie started his weeding because we were becoming rich in dandelions and weeds due to the plentiful rain.

We’ve had quite a bit of rain this week so our thoughts of people eating outside has sort of fallen by the wayside as the yard is fairly wet and in some places muddy.

Kitchen
Kitchen
Living room
Living room
Conservatory
Conservatory

Still there’s plenty of seating in the kitchen, in the living room and in the conservatory.

The pork shoulder is braised for 6 hours to become pulled pork.
The pork shoulder is braised for 6 hours to become pulled pork.

This morning we’re finishing up the food prep and  waiting for everyone to show up.

What’s your rainy day mantra?

Chairs for a Party

As I gathered my outdoor chairs together I realized they were just too dirty to sit in. We usually store them in the over the winter but this year the shed was full of exterior shutters awaiting rehab.

Nobody wants to sit in a dirty chair.
Nobody wants to sit in a dirty chair.

We’ve had a rainy week but Charlie went out in the damp weather with a bucket full of sudsy water (blue Dawn) and a scrub brush to clean the mesh seats and backs.

The undersides get especially dirty.
The undersides get especially dirty.

He told me the process was slow-going and involved some elbow grease.

Can you tell which chair has been washed?
Can you tell which chair has been washed?

I think the contrast is formidable.

The blue metal table is useful on the porch or in the yard.
The blue metal table is useful on the porch or in the yard.

The blue metal table is also clean.

What do you use in lieu of elbow grease?

Reviving the Ramp

Back in 2014 Charlie had built a ramp into the house so any friends with mobility problems could have a way into the house.

Here is son giving Charlie a hand with some heavy hauling.
Here is son giving Charlie a hand with some heavy hauling.

Then he and son removed it to give the front of the house a neater appearance.

The square platform under the ramp needs to go on the porch to level the threshold.
The square platform under the ramp needs to go on the porch to level the threshold.

Since we are having a Book Swap on Saturday and expecting many people we thought it was a good time to put the ramp back in place.  Our son came over to help carry the heavy, awkward ramp from its storage spot. Not finding Charlie, he dragged it to the right spot alone.  Strong fellow.

Charlie built the ramp from scraps.
Charlie built the ramp from scraps.

Then Charlie, using some old wood, added bracing to the center for added security.  Unfortunately this made it heavier yet.

The ramp itself was built in one piece.
The ramp itself was built in one piece.

Now it’s in place, ready for Saturday. I have walk-off mats to equalize the breaks between the ramp, the platform and the doorway.

Are you getting ready for something new?

Saturday Potpourri

Early in the morning I started a pot of potpourri on the back of the stove.

Oranges, rosemary, and vanilla bean.
Oranges, rosemary, and vanilla bean.

This time I substituted oranges for lemons.

We met a nice young sales representative at our local Lumber Liquidators.
We met a nice young sales representative at our local Lumber Liquidators.

Then Charlie and I rode out to Lumber Liquidators to look at the unfinished red oak flooring.

The middle sample matches our floors.
The middle sample matches our floors.

It was much like the flooring we had installed in the new sections of the house except the finish was a little rougher. We got a quote for the conservatory floor but intend to look at a few more places before we make a decision.

Party supplies in 3 shades of green.
Party supplies in 3 shades of green.

Just next door to Lumber Liquidators was a Party City where we stopped to buy plates, napkins, and cups for next week’s party.

My new denim blue chukkas.
My new denim blue chukkas.

Finally we went to the Timberland outlet to buy shoes for Charlie and me that we could hike and ride mules when we get to the Grand Canyon this fall.

Have you had experience with discount flooring stores?

Just in Time for Cinco de Mayo

One of my favorite chips, something I like better than crackers or corn chips, is flour tortilla chips.

Flour tortillas, olive oil, salt, pepper
Flour tortillas, olive oil, salt, pepper

I usually make them myself from flour tortillas, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Spread triangles of tortilla on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Spread triangles of tortilla on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.

Cut the tortillas in triangles and place on a baking tin. Drizzle with olive oil and shake on salt and pepper.

Keep an eye on the tray so they don't burn.
Keep an eye on the tray so they don’t burn.

Bake at 400 degrees until golden brown and crispy.

A plate of tortilla chips will be popular with family and guests.
A plate of tortilla chips will be popular with family and guests.

These are delicious served alone or with salsa, queso, nacho-style with melted cheese and salsa on top.

Chips on the buffet were served with salsa.
Chips on the buffet were served with salsa.

A sweet version of these chips can be made by substituting cinnamon sugar for the salt and pepper.

Do you have a simple recipe with less than 5 ingredients that you enjoy?

Book Swap Menu

The Book Swap is planned for a Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. I have invited quite a few people.

Tables and chairs set up in the back yard.
Tables and chairs set up in the back yard.

I know I’ve missed someone but I was hoping for at least 20 and maybe more like 40 people.

So many books.
So many books.

Each person is supposed to bring 10 books. Four hundred is better than 200 in terms of selection.  Also, the festival spirit rises with more people chatting and mingling.

We had an old Dutch oven in the Cottage attic that I'm planning to cook the pulled pork in.
We had an old Dutch oven in the Cottage attic that I’m planning to cook the pulled pork in.

Between 2 p.m. and 4 or 5 I don’t believe people will expect a meal.  I wanted an easy menu that would leave me free to mingle also.

Charlie will barbecue the chicken.
Charlie will barbecue the chicken.

Charlie, on the other hand, likes to have a task so I’ve incorporated that, too, into the menu.

Book Swap Menu

  • Grilled chicken thighs (Charlie’s chore)
  • Pulled pork sliders
  • Tortellini salad
  • Fruit
  • Bread and butter pickles
  • Ice Cream sandwiches
  • Iced tea

One departure from my usual presentation will be paper plates and napkins and plastic utensils and cups.  That is not my usual M.O. but with the main focus being “the books,” disposable products should simplify our serving and cleaning up process.

We have a fairly new trash can that can be used outside.
We have a fairly new trash can that can be used outside.

I don’t want to forget easily accessible trash bins.

What have I missed?