Thursday, January 8, 2015

Sunset in Destin

No matter how cold it is - it's still amazing here in Destin

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving Gone Awry

We had such a good time having an outdoor Thanksgiving at TowerCamp last year that we wanted to do it again – sort of. The whole process sounded a lot easier if we did it in our backyard. Granted we can't target practice and I can't blow anything up with a rifleand some Shockwave but we wouldn't have to deal with scary neighbors, weather or an hours drive.

So we made a BB gun range, a knife throwing target and a paper turkey to blow up with an “improved” M90, gathered fire wood for the fire pot, invited my parents, his Mom and Uncle, as well as Ivy and her Dad.

The Island King wanted to replicate last year's turkey in a can

and he added two beer can chickens to be cooked on the grill.

Island Girl and Ivy went on a baking binge the day before so we ended up with five pies and 3 cakes – which made for a very impressive dessert table.

Well, it would have looked impressive if we'd actually set it up but that never really happened.

Last year's turkey was a little on the done side so this year the Island King used a bigger can and less charcoal. He put the chickens on the grill a while later but the main focus was on the big bird.

Everyone hung around the backyard and enjoyed being together while we waited for the bird to cook.

I had a buffet table set up but didn't want to put the food out until the birds were ready.
Because this whole event was to be spent outside, the dining room table and kitchen were more of a staging area – meaning there was stuff everywhere.

People started getting hungry, I put everything in the oven to warm and when the timer went off, he pulled the turkey out of the can and I started getting things ready to go outside.

Until my Dad came in and told me to hold off on that. There might be a problem.

The Island King brought the turkey in and shows me the thermometer sticking out of the turkey's thigh.

73 degrees.

Hmmm. I love sushi but have a real problem with raw poultry and this bird is a lot closer to raw than cooked.

The oven was full so he took the turkey out to the grill, moved the not quite ready chickens to the side and added more charcoal. This 21 pound turkey is going to take a lot longer to cook than expected.

Folks were hungry, the appetizers were gone and after a while I noticed that the Island King and I were the only ones in the back yard.

I walked inside to find everyone holding plates full of dessert. I was told that everyone was starving so they dove into the only food that was out.

I was really embarrassed but I can't tell you how happy people were. Who really has room for dessert on Thanksgiving? And isn't dessert the best part of any meal? People were happy.

I turned the oven off and we feasted on blackberry pie, apple pie, chocolate pie, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, pound cake, apple cake and carrot cake.

It was not a bad experience.

Meanwhile, the Island King is doing everything he can to get the turkey to cook.

The turkey wasn't cooking any faster but the chickens were done pretty quick so I turned the oven back on, reheated the food – again and cut the chickens up.

By this time everyone was pretty full from dessert but they did manage to eat a little of everything with the chicken. Which was delicious by the way.

The sides were all a little dry from heating and reheating so many times but at that point the meal was more ceremony than anything.

Except that our timing was seriously off which meant it was getting dark out, it was cold and the wind had picked up which would have made eating outside unpleasant.

Plan B – make a plate and find somewhere to sit.

The afternoon ended and everyone headed home, full and happy about the order the meal progressed.

Later that evening we were sitting around the fire when I asked the Island King where he put the turkey.

He jumped up and ran towards the grill to retrieve the turkey that he'd forgotten. At this point I was sure the turkey had gone from raw to a charcoal briquette but he opened the grill to find a golden brown, perfectly done turkey.

Thankfully, the charcoal must have gone out right about the time the turkey finished cooking.

It was just about then that we realized we hadn't blown up our little turkey.

It was dark and at that point I was warm and comfortable next to the fire so we'll have to blow that turkey another day.

I considered the whole event a chaotic mess but everyone there talked about how much fun they had and how they especially enjoyed having dessert first.

Maybe we'll start a new tradition.

The big draw back is that I now have a 22 pound turkey that we'll be eating for a long time.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Chicago - Day 1

The Youngest Island Boy is in Chicago with my parents for a family wedding and I am having so much fun listening to his travel reports.

His first day in Chicago started with a trip to the Willis Tower. He said they have serious security there and of course as they were walking into the building he set off the alarm.

He got pulled aside and had to empty his pockets before they learned it was the steel toe in his boots that set off the alarm.

After they got through what he described as “airport type security” he got to go to the top and stand on the glass ledge.

Obviously he didn't inherit his mother's fear of heights.

After visiting the Tower they were off to the Museum of Contemporary Art. He said he saw a lot of really cool things but that the most interesting thing was when the bag he was carrying got too close to a painting, setting off an alarm.

A loud alarm which brought people running to see what he was up too. He said they were very nice, explained the alarm system and then had to move on the another alarm that went off in a different room.

They hailed a cab at some point which he thought was really cool until he realized the driver was a maniac. He's decided that Chicago is filled with crazy driving, horn blowing, taxi cabs and that he doesn't need to ride in another one.

He tells me that the salt on the sidewalks is purple and wants to know what's up with that.

I told him to look it up because I have no idea either.

They watched some ice skaters and when I asked if he went skating he said “Mom, that just would have been embarrassing – this little Florida boy trying to ice skate.”

The day continued and they found themselves in a hot dog joint named Big Al's. While in Big Al's he says the chair he was sitting in “went flying out from underneath” him and across the room, where it broke into several pieces.

He's not sure how that happened but it did and according to my Mom it was quite embarrassing.

According to the Youngest it wasn't as embarrassing as when she fell in the middle of Michigan Ave and it took him and my Dad “10 minutes to get her back on her feet again.”

Luckily she wasn't hurt but they're now debating who's incident drew more attention.

The grand finale of the day was him watching the news. Our local news is pretty boring (thank God) so he's never seen anything like the local news he saw last night and he sent me a bunch of texts updating me to what was happening.

Listening to him recant his adventures is so much fun. He's really enjoying the experience and soaking up everything new.

I can't wait to hear what happens next.