Monday, July 23, 2012

More Cowbell ... Lt.Dan is 50!

We hit a pretty big milestone here at the JustB ... Lt.Dan turned 50.

I remember when 50 years old sounded 
... well ... 

But now, not so much.  It's young.  Quite young. 
Don't let those people in their twenties tell you anything different.  

So we marked this auspicious occasion with a party.  Not the mad-hatter's tea party that was creating chaos in my head ... it was an awesome party ... the best party ever yet!

I wanted the evening to have a feel something like this lovely party I found at Tuesdays With Dorie ... 

this was the most beautiful 16th birthday party, given for her niece.  Dorie's inspiration was The Secret Garden.  My inspiration was Dorie :o)

We decided our best spot to work with ...

was right outside the garage on the driveway.

We wanted a country feel and used haybales to help create that ambiance ...

which gave Lt.Dan an opportunity to use the tractor, and that always makes him happy.

We used small square bales ... 

to cover obstacles in the grass that people might trip over.  

Some kind of backdrop was needed inside the garage, so I spray painted "JustB 50" on two large paint drop cloths and we hung them with curtain clips from a clothesline strung across the inside of the garage.   

I got the drop cloths at Home Depot for about $13 each - they're plastic backed and nicely durable. 
 I used curtain clips to attach it to the line, and it worked best to fold down the top about an inch 
so the cloth wouldn't tear when we hung it.

Lt.Dan and Billy set up the lights ...

they used uprights from an old gazebo, with poles, guide wires and physics to stabilize.

This elegant glassware ...

was provided by my girlfriend Angela.  She's got the Blah da Bling!  (see her Facebook page here).

She and my sis-in-law made these awesome shirts in honor of the occasion ...

and check out the back ...

we all have our "enlistment" dates - when we came to know Lt.Dan.  
And notice who's CAPTAIN, please ... ha!

This little man ...

 has been in the posse his WHOLE LIFE!  

We rented tables, table cloths, chairs and chafing dishes from BigD Party Rentals ...

they delivered!

As party favors and to promote general rambunctiousness ... 

 (thank you Jessica for this picture!) everyone got a cowbell.

Because any reference to this Saturday Night Live skit makes us laugh

A LOT.  

It was our dear friend Kathy's birthday, too ... 

and her daughter Jenny sent her a wonderful birthday gift - a girl's trip to Ft. Lauderdale?  YES PLEASE!
But Jenny's tribute poem was the real kicker.  Still puts a lump in my throat.    

We love live music and have been fans of Mr. Buzz Andrews for a long time ... 

he's an entertainer extraordinaire and definitely knows how to work a crowd ...

 the Birthday Girl got her own special serenade (thank you Paula for this picture!).

It didn't take long for the dancing to start ...

and for the cowbells to ring!

The birthday cakes ...


came from the Brookshire's bakery.

And they were definitely worthy ...

of a little cowbell!

Dinner was courtesy of On The Border ...

I ordered six of their fajita dinners that feed 4-6 people each.  That included chicken and beef, tortillas, lettuce, guacamole, pico de gao, cheese, sour cream, refried beans, black beans, hot sauce and chips. 
Ordering it from On the Border's "to-go" menu (thank you Ben for picking it up!) 
was much cheaper than ordering from their catering service. 
It was plenty of food and we had just enough left over for a day after lunch ... and it was DELISH!!!

This is Lt.Dan's buddy Darrell ...

I can't remember why he's taking a bow ... probably for bringing his wife Angela to the party.  
Darrell was the first to call Dan "Lt.Dan", and he does so with a proper Georgia boy twang.  
Those two can quote Forrest Gump and O' Brother Where Art Thou lines all. day. long.  

The hammock ...

may have been the best seat in the house.   

The weather forecast was for 100+ degrees,
but pop-up thunderstorms and clouds in the area dropped the temps at least 10 degrees ...

 and we were blessed with a breath-taking sunset!

For us, one of the BIG highlights of the evening was that Buzz and the band 
let our son Nathan play with them a while ...

 (thank you Jessica for this picture!) 
just beyond  cool in every way!

The whole evening could not have gone any better ... we have the most awesome friends, they made it a grand party.  We have lots of funny stories that will be told and laughed over for a long, long time.

My one regret is that I didn't take more pictures ... 

but there sure is a lot of joy in just living the moment and ringing that cowbell!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mad Hatter's Tea Party

Summer isn't *usually* crazy busy for us.  

We homeschool year-round (with many traditional and also random breaks - don't feel sorry for us), so there's schoolwork, but no homeschool co-op.  Which, as much as I love it, takes up a whole day of the week during fall and spring.  So summer is generally the time when I feel like we get our legs underneath us 
and the daily schedule becomes just that: daily :o)  

But somehow this summer feels more crazy busy than usual.  
Graduation, a weekend trip to Arkansas, a  fab July 4th party
 And ... ummm ... well, perhaps it's just been crazy and not really so busy!  

I made some progress on the {{12 in 12}} plan for Lt.Dan's office ... 
there's a chair in there now ... whoo hoo!

I went to Ikea with a plan for the chair and the bookshelves, had a complete change of mind while I was there and the only reason I didn't come home with two of these

 is that they were too heavy for me to load and it's a good thing because the chair alone barely fit in the van anyway.  Seriously.  I was a commercial for how not to shop at Ikea.  
Removing the backseats in the parking lot.  Almost let the cart with the box in it roll into the street ... ha!  

Do you shop Ikea?  It's pretty wonderful.
This commercial never fails to make me laugh:

I went to Office Max last week determined to get the two drawer filing cabinet for the office that I picked out weeks ago ... and did not buy ... and now they don't have it.

And now the bookshelves decision is up in the air because I saw a credenza at GoodWill last week that we might use as a serving bar at a party first.  But I'm not sure, because the inspiration to use the credenza as a bar and then in the office came along five days after I saw it.
And who knows if it will still be there on Monday???

But there's a chair in Lt.Dan's office, did I mention that?

Another party is looming on the horizon ... a birthday one ... a big one.  
It ends in 0 and belongs to Lt.Dan.  

He loves blues and good old rock and roll classics, so we booked a band

So excited!

This week we'll be working on changing this space ...

into something that loosely resembles this space ...

(image source)

minus the trees and the curtains but with a whole bunch of party lights.

That means our entry way looks like this ...

and what's going on in my head feels like this ...

Would you care for a nice cup of tea?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day!

There are all kinds of wonderful things in this world, but to me, the American Summer is just one of the best. It's fitting that celebrating America is right there in the middle of it.  Whatever your political views may be, come July 4th, we're all celebrating the same thing:  we are blessed to live in the United States of America.  

Here, we roll in a birthday celebration with our patriotic festivities ...

because Aaron's birthday is July 3rd.  
My "little guy", also affectionately known as The Boppy, turned 12.  Twelve!  This cannot be possible!  

This boy loves his watermelon.  Thus ... a watermelon cake :o)  Last year, there may or may not have been a birthday cake oversight because of all the July 4th festivities which may or may not have been saved 
by half a watermelon with candles in it.  

But that was last year.  
This year it was a three layer extravaganza with mango stars and blueberry embellishments.  So easy ... just cut three circles of graduating sizes from your watermelon and stack them (I used two watermelons to make this one).  Use cookie cutters to make the embellishing shapes and stick them on with toothpics.  Cut and serve just like a cake.

 Your teenagers will look at you with great admiration and tell you that you're brilliant and your friends will ask if you've been on Pinterest.


We had a lovely evening celebrating family, friends, and our great country ... in the country :o)  

the happiest porch has coolers, fireworks, lots of extra chairs and music cranked up loud.

But when the sun goes down,

the chairs are assembled on the sidewalk for a good view.

There were crazy basketball games,

and even the most unlikely shots scored.

The littlest guy ...

 went exploring.

There was young love ...

and later, a little dancing.

We love country life ... 

friends laughing on the front porch, fans going, breezes blowing, horse grazing on the front lawn 
(I use the term lawn quite loosely).  

Do you also have a horse grazing on your front lawn?  No?  
You probably don't have horsefeed in your pantry either, I guess.  

 The livestock may wander a little close to the house, but there is one very big bonus of life in the country ...

fireworks in your front yard :o)

God bless America ... and all our American service men and women and their families!