Tuesday, July 7, 2009

4th of July Wrap-Up

What a weekend! It's rare that those four-day breaks are actually refreshing, but this one definitely was.

After checking online Thursday night, I learned that the Ikea summer sale was only on through July 5. I rearranged my plans and hit the store as soon as it opened Friday morning. I spent two hours and $138 on:
  • Two toilet-paper roll holders
  • One outdoor basket to hold toys in the summer; miscellanea in the winter
  • A heavy-duty outdoor mat
  • A bright red indoor catch-all rug
  • A cedar shoe rack
  • A $1.99 stepstool
  • Mason jars to hold spaghetti, almonds
  • New tumblers
  • New drinking glasses
  • A plastic bag holder
  • A sturdy black scrapbooking box
  • Kitchen shears
  • A tray

Not too bad! On my way home (after fighting hours of traffic: Thanks, tourists!), I stopped by a great local grocery store, Shopper's Corner, and picked up my 4.5 pound chicken, along with some Brussels sprouts, shortcake and organic strawberries.

Arriving home, I made one frantic call to the butcher ("Is the chicken ready-to-go? I don't have to cut the neck off?") before taking out the innards, rinsing and patting the bird dry, kosher-salt-and-peppering the cavity and skin, chopping up potatoes and onions for the bottom of the roasting pan, and tossing it all in the fridge so I could run back across town to pick up Bryce.

When we got home, it was already 5 p.m., so I started preheating the barbecue (warned that the roasting process would be rather smoky, I elected to try the first bird outside). I set up a fan to blow smoke away from the house, and waited until the temp reached 500 degrees before popping the bird in.

And boy, was there smoke! Great billows of black smoke, and what sounded like a waterfall of grease popping inside! I panicked again, started making phone calls (how can no one be home at 5:30 on a Friday night?), and relaxed once the smoke cleared. After that, it was a waiting game as I adjusted the burners to keep the temperature at a stead 450 degrees.

80 minutes later, there was roast chicken! A little blackened, but the skin was crispy and delicious, and the meat was juicy and flavorful. I made a little rosemary butter (sounds fancy, but I just tossed a handful of rosemary into a cup of melted butter and let it sit for awhile) for "gravy," but it wasn't really needed.

Because the chicken was so good? Actually, because neither Matt nor Bryce cared much for it. They both picked at it, and at the Brussels sprouts. So roast chicken isn't a hit for my guys. But I do have the satisfaction of kn owning that I did it to perfection. :)

Matt and I aren't big 4th of July fans. I don't care to drive around where kids and adults are darting into the street with rockets, and he doesn't care for crowds. Bryce, however, was very anxious about the illegality of fireworks.

We solved that problem by taking him to Toys R Us and adding a little extra coin to his allowance so he could get a couple Star Wars Lego sets.

Meanwhile, Matt had soaked some Texas Toast overnight in an egg and cinnamon mixture for french toast. Delicious! After breakfast, he went to pick up food for the night (ribs, corn on the cob, herb-cheddar rolls, and the makings of spinach-artichoke dip) while Bryce and I scrubbed the house. By the time we were finished, Matt was back and it was time for the two of them to hit Toys R Us while I stopped in at Bev Mo for some margarita mix.

We met up at the house for a hot dog lunch. They spent time putting legos together, I set up shop outside with a frosty margarita and "The Count of Monte Cristo." Matt set up the dip, which turned out to be my late-afternoon dinner. They were still working hard after I'd finished "The Count," so I cracked open a library book and snoozed in the bedroom until it was time for everyone else's dinner. Then I rocked some organic strawberry shortcake and retired once again with Jodi Picoult.

Another calculatedly lazy day. Matt took care of laundry and cleanup from Saturday while I hit up Costco and Safeway to stock up for the week. Matt did some household chores, Bryce played with his legos after we put the kibosh on more TV, and I picked up some books given to me by my Grandmother.

Matt was at work, Bryce was off to camp, and I hit the Gilroy Premium Outlets. When I got home, I decided to match the sunburn I got on my front side while reading Saturday. All warm and cozy in my outdoor nest, I lost all track of time. Thankfully, my skin kept an eye on things. About an hour after I came inside, I took a look in the mirror and wasn't too shocked to see that I was completely sunburnt. Worth it. :)

As you can see, ambition died as the weekend wore on. But now that I'm back at work, gingerly sitting in the only position that doesn't irritate my flaming red skin, I feel rejuvenated instead of just glad to be back where I have a purpose.

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1 comment:

  1. Stephanie .... I've been waiting to read about your shopping expeditions, and you did not disappoint. Nice work at Ikea! Since we all know retailing is hard work, glad to read that you worked in some good relaxation time. Thanks for the most enjoyable post.