Weekend Things: Summer Kickoff BBQ

You know how it’s seemed like we’ve been working overtime to get our front yard in tip top shape?  Well that’s because in preparation for throwing a Summer Kickoff BBQ, we have been working overtime to get our front yard in tip top shape!  Nothing like hosting a party to motivate you to get a big project done.

The good news is we got the landscaping done, the grass looking green and lush, the fence painted and reassembled and all six tons of rock moved by Saturday at 5 PM, then it was straight summer BBQ-ing time!

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Curtis is our new door stop.  A few people had never seen our house before so Joey was impressing them with the opening line of “we have a black widow!” and I was saying stuff like “welcome to our 85° home!”  What is wrong with the both of us?  P.S. My house was/is so clean right now, that I’m afraid to do anything that will mess it up.  I want it to be this way forever!

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Also, we both managed to pick out sherbert-colored shirts.  Like Bobby so honestly put it, it was mostly embarrassing because we were in our own home and one of us easily could’ve changed but didn’t… I’m claiming we were just trying to make it easy for everyone to locate the party hosts.

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This way to beer!

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My tried and true sangria recipe.

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Thanks for showing me how to cut a watermelon, Geoffrey Zakarian.

We brewed a “knockoff Blue Moon,” hauled the kegerator outside, mixed up some sangria, cut a watermelon and cooked some baked beans for the occasion.  We also grilled burgers and brats and may or may not have run out of propane mid-BBQ.  We definitely knew better than to not refill the propane tank.  Joey claims I drank that entire pitcher of sangria by myself.  All I know is I had a wine flush like whoa.

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We did things pot-luck style and everyone brought such good stuff.  I’m still kicking myself for not grabbing a deviled egg right away because they were totally gone by the time I got a plate of food.  I should’ve known they’d be the first thing to go — they had bacon in them!  Mom brought coleslaw, potato salad and mini oatmeal cookies.  Then she left the leftovers with me.  I’m not complaining.  And Becca made sangria cupcakes!  They were so good that I was immediately compelled to hug her.

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Of course we broke out the fire pit later in the night.  Then we listened to Third Eye Blind, talked about Ashley Parker Angel’s butt and you know… drank some more sangria.  Or was that just me?  After everyone left, Joey and I cleaned up, hauled the kegerator back inside (which, for the record, is harder to do after you’ve had a few drinks) and chilled in the hammock while John Mayer played in the background.  Translation: PERFECT NIGHT.

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Joey left to go golfing at 7 AM the next morning and I was like “okay cool, I’ll just sleep in then.”  Then I rolled out of bed, took myself on a slow and steady 3-mile jaunt — I must’ve been in a good mood because twice someone’s dog ran after me and I wasn’t even mad — then ate breakfast and read on the front porch.  It doesn’t get better than that.

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I’ll be real honest, I basically read, napped and watched TV for the rest of the day.  Though I did get Joey to go on a post-nap evening stroll with me.  I was saying how nice it was to basically do nothing all day and Joey pointed out that this was our first taste of real (yard work-free) summer.  More, please!  Wrapped up the evening with a summer squash soup, Food Network Star, Big Brother and a slice of cherry pie because, SUMMER.

Happy Monday!

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Hannah’s Bridal Shower

Warning: Explosion of photos ahead!

But when you throw a fun bridal shower for your best friend of 23 years and the weather holds out and the sangria is plentiful and the finger foods are delicious and the bridal mad libs have everyone in stitches and you realize you’re maybe not so bad at throwing parties, an explosion of pictures is totally acceptable.  And so I’m just going to jump right in!

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I hosted alongside Hannah’s mom, Tracey, who graciously offered up her lovely home — and her backyard, complete with the most amazing garden! — and we were a great team.  I’m sure it comes as no shock to anyone who knows me, but I was overly organized and had list upon list to keep us on track.  Set up started a few hours before the party and went off without a hitch.

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Let’s break down the activity station, shall we?  Please ignore my reflection in this sign I made.  Only 28 days (well 26 now) until Hannah’s married.  This is craziness!

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So, I’m a graphic designer now.  Just kidding, but I was pretty impressed with myself for making these bridal mad lib cards from scratch.  I found a bunch of pre-made ones online but none that I liked as much as what I could come up with on my own.  These turned out to be such a hit and I was mega happy with them!

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I also set out a “Date Night Jar” so all the guests could contribute a fun date idea for the soon to be newlyweds.  And I stole those pens from my office… but I’m totally returning them.  Also, how adorable are those mini chalkboard easels.  I think I accidentally squealed in delight when I found them at Michael’s last week!

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We repurposed some of the decorations from Hannah’s first shower (so nice of Josh’s family to pass them on to us!) and set up all the food.  Mmmm, food.

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We split the food duties and ended up with a perfect spread.  I made these deviled eggs into buffalo deviled eggs by topping them with blue cheese crumbles and hot sauce.  Let’s not even talk about how catastrophic it was to pipe the filling into the eggs on Saturday morning 😛  Oh and Joey made that bowl of “Cowboy Salsa” and I’m pretty sure people were just eating it by the spoonful by the end of the party.

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And no shower is complete without a dessert station, of course!  Mini shortcakes!  Look at all those beautiful fruits Tracey chopped up.  I’m just now realizing I never even ate dessert.  Wah wah!

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And don’t think we forgot drinks.  Tracey bought these cute little carafes and all those fun drinks and I wrote labels and designated Hannah’s cousin Stephanie to keep those drinks full.  Designating is fun!

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So.Much.Sangria.  I made these on Friday night and they may or may not have had 6 bottles of wine, a whole bottle of Tequila and a whole bottle of Triple Sec in them…  But they were so delicious!  The Cherry-Peach is a tried and true favorite but it was my first time trying out the Margarita version and although it was STRONG, it was also amazingly good!

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After everyone had some time to eat, drink and mingle, we gathered outside to listen to Hannah read the mad lib cards out loud.  Seriously so much fun!  There was a line that read, “When you first told me you and Josh were engaged, I (verb), then said, “(movie quote).” and those quotes turned out to be so funny!  I think my favorite was a line from Die Hard.  I’ll let you figure out what it was.

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Hannah got some seriously thoughtful gifts — including this personalized wedding dress hanger from Josh’s mom, sister and aunt — and there were many tears.  She got some family heirlooms handed down to her and it was so sweet to see.

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Us bridesmaids put a little gift together behind her back and it was really exciting — and tearful — to watch her finally open it.  One of her bridesmaids suggested we put together a “Letters to the Bride” book with a letter from each of us + Tracey + Karla (Josh’s mom) and lastly, one from Josh.  I assembled the book before the shower and I could not even look at Josh’s page or we were going to have a Niagra Falls situation.

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Bridal party candids, natch!

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Hannah and her sister, Jen, who used to babysit us when we were younger.  The best part was when we all reminisced about a “wedding” we had during one such babysitting adventure.  Beanie married ketchup (“like a true American”), I married a polenta roll (don’t ask…) and Hannah married a honey bear.  Jen officiated all three weddings as any good babysitter would.  So yeah, that’s the kind of stuff I did as a child…

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At the end of the day, when it was just Hannah, Jen, Tracey and I left, we decided to get another plate of food (or was that just me?) and “sit outside and reflect on the day.”  My reflections were that the day could not have been more perfect, that I could not be more happy for my best friend and Josh and that these next 26 days are going to be the best!

Bridal Shower: Check!