Friday, July 19, 2013

A New Challenge

     My family are all performing in a local theater's production of Fiddler on the Roof.  My hubby is the lead, Tevye, my oldest is Chava, my next oldest DAUGHTER is playing a boy, (she's thrilled with the part), and my son is the beggar.  I do not act.  I prefer to be anonymous in most things.  There is an old saying, "A lady should be in the papers only 3 times in her life, birth, marriage, death."  I tend to subscribe to that.  However, it does fall to me to host a cast party and also one more party, which brings me to my latest challenge.
     The last night of the play, my husband and I decided that it would be nice to have those friends of ours who purchased tickets for that showing to join us back at the house for food and cocktails.  Now, I love that idea, but originally it appeared to only be two other families.  Now, it appears to be most of the people we know in town!  I am very used to hosting big gatherings, don't get me wrong, but as you know, I tend to have a bit more time to organize it.

     Here's my first challenge: Since I will be at the last showing, I will have to have all my dishes prepared and ready to serve at once.  My husband thinks it best if we just order pizza to save time. That is a good idea and brings me to...
     Challenge two:  I have NO clue how many are coming.  I sent out invites, but so many people decide to go to the theater at a moment's notice, so I don't really have a good head count.  I always worry about not having enough food.  Usually, there is more than enough, but this time, I just can't figure it.
     Challenge three: Since we are hosting a cast party only two weeks from now, much of my party budget is already taken.  Creativity will be the name of the game.  I'm thinking fill 'em up on cheap appetizers before pizza, and cookies for dessert.  Hope no one will be disappointed that it is not my usual feast!
     All will turn out, I am sure.  I just have to work it!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

An Etiquette Review

     May I take this opportunity to remind my lovely readers of something quite important?  It is simply this: when receiving an invitation out for lunch or dinner, it is not appropriate to ask to bring an extra guest along.  This happened to my daughter recently and it put her in quite a difficult position.
     You must understand that YOU are asked to be the guest and the person inviting you will be paying for you.  It is a bit rude to expect your host to pay for your guest also.  Now, of course, if you mention that you will be paying for the additional guest, I give you a very reluctant nod, however, it still puts your host in a very awkward position and, most likely, that said host will wind up paying for both parties.

     Please understand that meals out can be expensive and should be thought of as a special treat for you. Perhaps, the event is meant as a "thank you" for past favors, If not, however, one should try to reciprocate at a later date, either with a home cooked meal or a return engagement out.
    I do so hate to lecture you with such trivial matters, but it had been brought to my attention that young ladies of college age may not be aware of such things and so, I take you all to task now.  To have a gracious lifestyle, please try to behave graciously.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Princess Party...for teens?

     A princess party for 17 year olds, you ask?  Well, my daughter and her friends decided to get a singing group together for the high school's talent show and they all sang songs from Disney movies and arranged the choreography for them.  SO, now that school is nearing the end of year, she asked if she could have the group over for a luncheon, as it is a half day today.  Of course, I said...SURE!!!!

     I am serving mini lunch meat sandwiches on my best porcelain serving trays, mini quiches in a parmesan cheese crust, Virgin Margaritas with glass rims coated in colored salt, Lychee fruit punch, and a lovely strawberry trifle. (see picture).  I also have the old stand-bys: Chips and Dip and Dove Chocolates.  (I even have back up snacks in the freezer, if needed!)

    The girls will watch as many Disney movies as they can before the food runs out.  Each girl will get her own tiara and take home her margarita glass.

So, Cheers to another party!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Party Prep

     Dear Hearts, I can't stress this enough.  You MUST have basic party prep finished before guests arrive.  My best suggestion is have your best friend over to 1/2 hour earlier to help set up.  I have been to parties where I am the one setting up, while the host is busy greeting guests.  See, greeting your guests must be a priority, however, if you are not yet ready....?  Well, you see the dilemma.

     7 days before: Intensive house cleaning - scrub baseboards, ceiling fans, hand wash floors.
     3 days before: Prepare food list, grocery list and to-do list.
     2 days before: Get out all the serving dishes you will use and wash them and place them on dining room table for easy access.
     1 day before: All shopping must be finished by this day!  The rest of the day should be spent making the dishes that can be made in advance and beginning set up.
     Day of:  Spot cleaning and finish all prep, including assigning jobs to helpful friends and kids.

By the time your guests arrive, your main job should be filling drinks, seeing that no empty dish is ever left on a table,  (My personal pet peeve, I'm a nazi about that.)  and chatting.  Also, and this is absolute must.  Please see that everyone is introduced to one another.  Don't invite a houseful of guests that don't know each other and leave them to shuffle around awkwardly until the liquor kicks in.

   Don't freak out if you are not perfect.  I've made each of these mistakes and that is how I learned for the next time!  But do learn from them.

Last tip: Keep Celebrating!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Etiquette Lesson

     Today, as your 19th Century Lady was driving to the library, (I'm so old-fashioned, I read actual books), I happened to be passed by a funeral procession.  I pulled over my vehicle and reflected calmly on the ephemeral nature of human life.  As I watched and waited, I noticed that a car across from me was also waiting.  Waiting impatiently to get out of a parking lot. So impatiently that the minute there was the slightest opening, this car darted through it and went on it's way.
     I was a bit surprised at that lack of decorum, however, then I realized that perhaps many people just do not know the basic etiquette that is part of such an event.  I don't think funeral processions are as common as they were back in my day.  My husband chose not to have them for his parents, because many years ago a family member taking part in one, had a fatal accident and upon checking the news, I find that such tragedies are happening more often.  Due in part, I believe, to ignorance of the rules regarding such processions.  So for your edification, I present:

       Etiquette for Funeral Processions

1.) Avoid breaking in to a funeral procession.  
     This is because very often family comes from out of town and you do not want to get in between someone who may be unfamiliar with the area and may get lost.  

2.) Don't honk or try to break up a procession when a funeral procession is running a red light.
     It is legal for processions to go through the traffic lights.  You won't be that inconvenienced if you need to sit through one light.  Be polite and respectful.  It's the very least you can do for a grieving family.

3.) Pull over if possible.
     It has long been considered respectful to pull over.  I do this when driving on a smaller street.  As we live in a rather big city, it is almost rude to other drivers to do this in all cases, but when possible, please try to do this.

Please understand that I do not live in Miss Manners rarefied world of the upper class, but merely am a day to day old fashioned lady trying to bring gracious living to a reality show millennium.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Enough with the Pity Party, Sweepers!

     I love to enter sweepstakes.  I simply adore it.  I enjoy the rush when you get an email, stating you won, I  love the surprise packages in the mail and I love just imagining if I won the big prize!  What I don't like is this:   Stop with the pitiful comments, people!
     See, occasionally a blog contest will ask you to leave a comment about what you'd do if you won a cash prize of a varying amount.  I usually say, vacation or new gadget or even luxury coffees.  However, invariably some sad sack will state,

"Buy food for my three children"   "Buy clothing for my adopted children"  "My husband is out of work, we have 8 children, a blind parrot and I have a terrible rash and I need to buy ointment." (okay, I made that last one up, but'll see it eventually.)

    I think people do this because they think they will play the pity card, but a random computer generated pick does not care that your mother-in-law feeds orphan squirrels and needs nut money.

     On a side note, end your comments with "Thank you".  I do that because my daughter has done giveaways on her blog and they are work.  Be polite.  It's not going to help you win, but it helps you look like a decent human being, something in short supply from this 19th Century Lady's point of view.

     When you win, put a nice comment back up on the blog and then

Keep Celebrating!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Clean Your House.

     I recently had an acquaintance tell me that I was a bit of the joke of our circle because I vacuumed every day.  Now, please, I'll explain that I do not particularly like this person. (hate the, sorry, that's not ladylike.)  She tends to come at me with all manner of passive-aggressive statements, whereas I tend to be a pretty laid back person.  That is until you rile me, then I'm In-Your-Face aggressive.  Annnnywaaaysss...I laughed and told her I was rather pleased by that remark, at which she rolled her eyes at me and went talking to the other hippie mom in our group. (Birkenstocks and all, I do not kid.)
     Okay, I don't vacuum EVERY day, but I do take pride in my housekeeping skills.  I wish I could tell you that she is a working mom, and just has no time to clean, but nope.  Not only is she a full time mom, like the rest of the home schools, she isn't really a home schooler.  She unschools.  I know some that really make that work, but it's not working in this case.
     Look, in order to have a stress free live, you must have clean, comfortable surroundings.  I think I mentioned in an earlier post that I was an Organizer.  I believe it is innate in me to keep things neat.  It may not be natural for all of you, but it certainly doesn't help, when peers ridicule you for trying to bring order to your home.
     Cleaning is not stupid women's work.  It is a noble thing to want to keep your family stress-free and happy.  So pick up that dust cloth, put on your favorite music and be proud of yourself!  Afterwards, the house will look so lovely, you'll want to invite a few friends over so you can....

Keep Celebrating!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Chicken Stew with Parsley Dumplings

     Oh, the nights are long and cold.  We need comfort food and this recipe from William-Sonoma will satisfy the family on the coldest of nights.  I have to make a triple batch of dumpling for my dear ones.


 4 lbs whole chicken leg
6cups chicken stock
3celery stocks
4carrots, peeled
2russet potatoes, peeled
1tomato, cored and chopped
Salt and Pepper

For the Dumplings:
2T water
Dash of Paprika
Dash of Cayenne
1tsp butter, melted
¾cup A/P flour
1tsp baking powder
2T flat-leaf parsley + a little for garnish
Place the chicken pieces in a deep, heavy pot and add the stock. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Skin any froth and scum that forms on the surface. Coarsely chop the vegetables and add them to the pot. Simmer gently for 15 minutes, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Lift out the vegetables with a slotted spoon and place in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Process to form a thick puree. Stir the puree back into the pot with the chicken and simmer for about 10 minutes longer while making the dumplings.
In a mixing bowl stir together the egg, water, paprika, cayenne, and melted butter. Season with salt. In another bowl, mix together the flour and baking powder, then stir into the egg mixture to form a thick, smooth batter. Stir in the parsley.
Using a large tablespoon drop the dumplings into the simmering stew. Cover the pot and simmer without raising the lid for 15 minutes. Lift out a dumpling to test to see if it is cooked. If it is still floury, re-cover and let cook 3-4 minutes longer.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

10th Century Lady?

     Oh, my old-fashioned friends, is there any greater pleasure than reading?  I was ever so fortunate to receive many books for Christmas along with a few gift cards for book stores.  I hope you were just as lucky!
     I enjoy the tactile feel of a new book and the nice smell when you open it.  I love the atmosphere of a good used book store....all musty and full of information I have yet to discover.  Now, your 19th century lady has a confession to make...I own a Kindle Fire.  Yes, I do enjoy it.  It is very useful when I am waiting for the children at one of their events.  I used to have to consider what book to take with me and now...I just take them all in one small electronic device that fits in my pocketbook.
     What do you like to read?  Right now, I am enjoying a history of England by Peter Ackroyd and to accompany that, I am reading a non-fiction book by Edward Rutherford by the name of Sarum.  I am seriously fascinated by the Anglo-Saxon time period, so much that I am teaching myself Old English!  Perhaps I shall have to retitle my blog "10th Century Lady" someday!
   I do hope that all of you have enjoyed your holidays and I hope that you, above all,

Keep Celebrating!