In My Kitchen – September 2014

In my kitchen is my now retired husband…

IMG_1578Okay, that’s not my husband but a gift to him from someone who’s obviously not worried about John doing his performance review next year.  My husband’s hair is a little sparse and I admire the extent that this fella went to to find the perfect gift.  There’s Chia Pets all over the stores but it’s hard to find a Chia guy and you might not be able to read the fine print, but it is HANDCRAFTED!  Can’t beat that now can you?  Actually, after 20 years as a controller with EMC my husband had quite a round of parties and send offs from people from all over the company (and yes, he did get some extremely generous gifts other than Chia Guy).

John’s been incredibly worried about what he’s going to do in his retirement years but I took care of those worries the first morning of his retirement!  Despite an incredible heat wave here, we needed to get the yard spruced up because this Saturday is the engagement party for my daughter Niki and her fiancé Tim.  So we’ve been scraping and painting the deck, taking out shrubs, digging out stumps, and slinging mulch.  We ended up with a huge brush pile and I was lucky to coerce our backlogged landscaper to at least come with the chipper and get the mountain of debris out of the yard.

Then, the food planning and decorating ideas…

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Rather than take individual photos of what I have (still more to buy), I just took one shot of what I have so far (still plenty more to buy).  I found terrific disposable steam tables (back left) for the hot foods.  They have a metal stand, then you put the foil tray for hot water on the stand with the food trays above (cans of sterno under).  The craft store had some little chalkboard stands to label the food and note everything that’s gluten free for those with sensitivity.   Since the wedding colors will be gray and pink, I found silver plates and utensils.  In the middle are adorable flower shaped cupcake papers for pink M&Ms and I will put the little silver balls in the center since they only had one box of those.  Boy, are M&Ms expensive!  The candy store has these dispensers where you put the plastic bag under, pull the lever…and spill about $40 worth of M&Ms all over the floor!  I went into shock when I weighed and got the price on my bag of M&Ms but decided not to complain since I’d trashed the woman’s store…oh well.

We’ll be using plastic wine glasses and my “pink” champagne glasses arrived yesterday.

IMG_1588What?  They don’t look pink to you?  They don’t look pink to me either and I was about to call the company to complain when I looked at my online order…yes, they certainly were pink in the picture but then after reading the description that says CLEAR champagne glasses, I realized they’d just poured pink bubbly in the glasses for their photo.  Guess I’ll be looking for some pink champagne.

But my absolute favorite item in my kitchen this month came all the way from South Africa!  My dear friend Mandy (do check out what she has in her kitchen this month too) sent me these perfect cake decorations.  I get excited any time I get mail that isn’t a bill or piles of advertisements but I was truly touched that Mandy would go to the trouble to send me this little gift which I will use to top the mini cakes – I’m thinking of a making heart shapes on the cakes.  Thank you again Mandy, you are one of the sweetest most thoughtful bloggers I’ve been lucky to meet via our blogs.

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So wish us well and send us some sunshine.  In the meantime, check out what Celia has in her kitchen this month, as well as the other IMK friends who’ve posted what they have going on.  Thanks as always to Celia for hosting this monthly feature – Celia, you’re the best!

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29 thoughts on “In My Kitchen – September 2014

  1. Wow, no lack of things to do in retirement with all that going on. It does sound like you’ve got everything under control. I would have been the same about the champagne glasses. 🙂

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    • No it seems that once you retire, you just fill your time with other things & believe me, around here there’s always something that needs doing. I wasn’t the only one who thought the glasses were going to be pink because when I went back to the site & read the comments from other customers, someone else had said the same about thinking they were pink. In fairness, they must have updated the description to read “clear” but I guess I saw what I wanted to see.

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    • Well, we only have the one daughter so what the heck! We did have a great day & the rain held off until we ate and had the champagne toast. Then plenty of people helped haul everything back in – the oldsters continued inside while the younger crowd decided to stay under the canopy (it was COLD!).
      I think my husband might actually like the idea of bread baking once he gets a chance to really retire. We’re still kind of cleaning up & putting things back together.

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  2. Looks like you’re having great fun getting ready for the engagement party. My person says congratulations to Niki and Tim. I hope you’re planning to have some special party treats for Lola.

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    • Thank you Bongo. I got Lola a HUGE smoked pig leg to keep her occupied while the guests were arriving but once people got here, she went around like the perfect hostess greeting everyone (maybe looking for some handouts). As it turned out, a hamburger must have ‘fallen’ off the grill & the friend who was manning the grill for John mentioned that Lola kind of licked a few…but they weren’t cooked up yet, so he threw them on. (Sssshhh).

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  3. Good luck with all that! I cant even organise cooking for family Christmas time. And I can well believe the price of M&Ms – it’s like at the cinema where you pay £10 for a ticket and then the kids want sweets so they hit the pic n mix and get a cup of sweets that cost £8 which would be £1 in the shop (which you wished by then that you hadn’t been too bone-idle to stop off at beforehand).

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    • Sometimes I’m good at organizing on paper but then when it comes down to the crunch, I go into panic mode.
      As for those M&M’s! Yikes is all I can say – your movies must be like ours where you need to take out a loan to see the movie & get a little something to eat & drink. We get in for senior prices now but I sneak the candy in my handbag.

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  4. Diane, happy retirement to John. I am sure you will keep him out of mischief. 🙂
    What a happy time this week is with all the organising for Niki’ and Tim’s engagement party – everything you have is gorgeous – it is going to look fabulous!
    Thank you for your beautiful, kind and love filled words. I am so pleased the little balls made their journey without being crushed and what an honour that you will be using them for the engagement party! I should have sent you more and when you find the pink bubble, those glasses will look even more stunning.
    Have a beautiful day and have fun planning and sorting everything for Saturday. Wish I could be there to help you.
    🙂 Mandy xoxoxo

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    • Mandy, thank you so much. John still hasn’t had much of a chance to figure retirement out yet since we’re still kind of picking up, cleaning & putting things back together. He had to make 3 trips to the dump today with bags of trash.
      Those balls were absolutely perfect & I had to slap Niki’s hand because she kept picking them off the cake – they were really tasty and we had plenty!
      Oh it would have been so much fun to have you here to help & to celebrate with.

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  5. Chia pets! I wondered if they were still around, especially as I see the seeds popping up in so many foods. I hope your husband enjoys his retirement, and I am sure there will always be things to keep him busy. 🙂 Love those glasses with those swirls on the outside. Those decorating balls are fun too, and I will have to keep my eyes out for them in the markets.

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    • I understand that the fellow who bought the Chia had to search for it on line. The pets seem to still be around the stores but not the guy. I think my husband was afraid that he wouldn’t know what to do once he retired but now he’s finding that he can’t get enough done in a day.
      As for those decorating balls, I haven’t seen them around here – they came to Massachusetts all the way from S. Africa from my dear blogging friend Mandy.

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  6. How kind of Mandy to send you those gorgeous balls! And your chia man is the cutest thing – I love how the photo shows a woman giving him a head massage to get his “hair” to grow. 🙂 Poor John though – bet he wishes he was back at work with the jobs list you’ve given him! Sounds like you’re on top of the party arrangements, but I did smile at your mention that the M&Ms were expensive. Over here, you’d have to buy packets and packets and pick the pink ones out! (Now that I think about it, I don’t think we HAVE pink M&Ms!) Have a great month, dearheart.. xxx

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    • Isn’t Mandy the best? Those little balls were getting eaten though before I could put them on the cakes!
      I told some of John’s friends that he’d be begging to come back after I had him for a few weeks. It’s interesting though, now that he’s home all the time how he’s finally noticing all those little things around the house that need doing & that have been bugging me for years. When you’re at home staring at them all day, these things just seem to pop out.
      You can’t buy individual colored M&M’s? How about jelly beans? That was going to be my alternative except I couldn’t find any gray jelly beans. If you ever need to go with a color scheme you tell me in time & I’ll get them over to you.

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    • Joanne, if you could have seen my face when I opened the box & then of course I started to get all huffy about it “these aren’t Pink! I ordered Pink! I’m going to call them”….good thing I checked the website before making a complete fool of myself.

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  7. So many exciting things for one post….this is about 20 posts worth of news, if you ask me! WOW! Love the chia guy….so healthy, since I’m guessing you’ll cook something with it,,,,just a thought…Happy happy news and many fabulous years to Niki and her new Hubby! Can’t wait to hear how Lola performs in the wedding..

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    • Susan, I’ve been so behind with my blog with all the party planning & getting house fixed up but it probably would have been easier to do shorter, quick posts as things progressed. Still picking up after the party but at least we’re getting things back in place.
      Lola was absolutely incredible with all the guests. I was afraid that there would be tables of food flying and people getting knocked on their arses but she was a model citizen. Ok, she did sort of snag a burger off the grill and lick some others but other than that – there at least were no injuries.

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  8. The engagement party looks like so much fun! I love your choice of decor (cake embellishments included!!), and I think it’s so funny that “pink champagne glasses” translates to “glasses for pink champagne”. It’s going to be a fabulous party; that’s one lucky couple!

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    • We did have a great time. I took a little longer in the kitchen (but I had plenty of help from Tim’s mother) cooking up the chicken picatta but managed to get all the food out there & set up before people started chewing on the shrubs. Plenty of people also brought dishes which was a huge help & I’ll have to post about some of the incredible apps people brought.

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  9. It sounds like you had a very successful party. I’m sure Niki and Time appreciated all the hard work that went into the fun celebration. I hope John and you enjoy his retirement together…don’t make him work too hard. 🙂

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    • It was a good party and I’m pretty sure everyone had a good time although I do wish we had better weather. Good thing we got the canopy!
      Now that the party’s over he can finally begin to feel what retirement’s like. It is an adjustment though having him home all day and an extra computer is definitely going to be needed. It’s funny too after talking to a friend of mine who retired a few years ago – when he was working he never noticed all the little things that start to fall apart around the house yet once he was home all day, it drove him nuts. I’m seeing John pick up on a few things that I’ve got on his ‘to do’ list but I’ll wait to see if he does it without prompting 🙂

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    • Chia Pets were very popular gifts at Christmas time around here years back but I’d never seen a Chia Guy before. I think my husband’s still adjusting to the idea that he doesn’t have to go to work every day any more – really need to get him to not set that alarm for 6:00 am!
      I love the different colored jelly beans the candy stores have because they’re in all different, fun flavors. The M&Ms are just for show and the colors don’t matter but the variety of jelly beans is a lot of fun.

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  10. Well I guess the relaxing thing after you retire will have to be put on hold for just a bit. However, you know your hubby would just drive you crazy if he nothing to do so this will help with the adjustment process. LOL It looks like you are well on your way to a fun celebration. Take Care

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    • Now how did you guess that my husband was going to drive me crazy? Just because he’s hogging the computer in the morning? Maybe it’s because he keeps asking me if I’ve ever cleaned certain things (certainly after 25 years I should get on that). Or maybe it’s that he’s starting to re- arrange things and try to throw out MY things because of clutter (not his stuff mind you). But then there’s that gorgeous fall day when we can both say…hey let’s go out to the Big E (Springfield Exposition) and I think to myself, now this is nice,
      The really nice thing though is that there’s so many projects to do around the house that are more than weekend projects and they’re finally getting done.

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