A Birthday Celebration

My daughter turned the big 2-0 this year and wished to have a party for her closest friends. Who am I to say no? How long will my ‘baby girl’ be asking me for a party?

Her thought was to have an all day fun-fest poolside, starting at 10am going through the evening. So, for brunch, we started off with festive mango beverages, fruit salad and homemade GF scones. 

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As you can see, the chairs emptied quickly when I brought out warm chocolate/cherry scones!

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Once they ate, I started on fixing hearty snacks. The temperatures were in the upper 90’s, so any desire for ‘food’ was minimal. Instead, with the help of my dear friend Dalia, we fixed up some hearty snacks that all go well with the heat. Such as Tuscan White Bean Dip with fresh cucumber ‘chips’:

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Homemade and hearty Guacamole, with hearty tortilla chips. (Thank you Miss Dalia for all your help churning out food!):

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Of course, a veggie platter is a must!

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Here is the table spread of goodies that were gobbled up. That salsa in the yellow bowl was AMAZING. Homemade, hearty and smokey with fresh grilled corn and black beans, topped with cotija cheese. 

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Again, clean up of lunch and then we began dinner preparation. Chicken Cesear Salad with grilled french bread. It is perfect for a gaggle of girls all hungry but watching their figures. (Some boys stopped by, so I threw out some grilled dogs for ‘filler’. Good thing, they were gone in a heartbeat!)

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I feel like a mouthwash commercial: rinse, repeat. Next up, a birthday dessert fit for a birthday celebration, but one that will go down well in the heat. Voila! GF strawberry shortcakes! 

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Happy Birthday was sung by all and based on the smiles and laughing, it was a successful party. Yes, it was a lot of work for me, especially following a graduation party. But really, how many opportunities will I have left to shower my love and attention on them this way? Yes, it was a whole day spent cooking and cleaning up, but it was completely worth every ounce of effort. The cost of food, beverages and my time for these things are not always easy on the budget, but watching my daughter and her friends enjoy themselves to the fullest – is priceless. 


Spring Showers Bring….

May flowers? 

Well it is May, and it is showering so I guess that is true, but about the only thing ‘flowering’ are those hardy tulips and daffodils. After an afternoon of garden cleanup on a record setting hot day for May, those were the only flashes of color I saw. Still, the ground has finally thawed and the perennials are struggling to catch up. 

I can’t say there is much I’m a fan of with respect to living here in the frozen hinterlands, however, an exception are the storms that roll in across the plains bringing thunder and lightening. 

Having grown up in the Pacific NW, We lack that broad open sky that the great plains affords. As such, lightening was not nearly as spectacular. Oh, as Oregonians we were ‘blessed’ with rain alright, lots and lots of rain. We natives jokingly teased newbies we were born with webbed feet. Lightening, however, was not nearly as associated with storms as it is here.

Here, the lightening can be seen for miles and what a spectacular show it is! There are three types of lightening that come to my mind. First are the traditional cloud to ground. The type I grew up with. Gigantic bolts followed by the ‘CRACK’, and sonic booms so loud the windows on my house shake and you can feel the concussion. I’ve had them so close to the house I feared we’d be struck. In fact, my neighbor was struck and it took out her power. We’ve had houses burn down with lightening strikes. With that type of lightening, we nearly always hear the sirens, warning people to get off the golf course and under cover. 

Second is the lightening that ‘crawls’ across the sky. It looks like a spider-web canopy of light filaments shooting across the sky. The clouds are high above with lightening underneath, a perfect backdrop to showcase its beauty. It’s breath-taking, and many times I stand at the window of my bedroom on the second floor so I can see the entire skyline and just take it all in. The thunder associated with this lightening is rolling, like the swells on the ocean. It’s more rhythmic and sounds almost like a tympani drum. This lightening is my favorite.

The last is what I’ll describe as flashlight tag by the angels. The clouds are like a blanket cover overhead and the flashes of lightening are high above them. All I see from my vantage point are pulses of light. It’s as if the angles themselves are playing flashlight tag high above our heads. Sometimes I can hear the distant rumbling of their feet, sometimes not. Sometimes I picture them tip toeing above the clouds, waiting to silently sneak up on their opponent. 

And so I sit here at my kitchen table sipping a steaming cup of coffee and watch the gentle rain, listening to the gentle rumble of thunder after a flash of light, I wonder what this spring season holds for us. Will we be the northern tip of tornado alley, bringing it’s thunder, lightening, wind and hail? Or will the good Lord give us a reprieve after a brutal winter. All I know is that winter has finally released it’s grip and summer is soon to follow. Halleluja. 

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