Monday, August 31, 2015

Summer Fun... {A wrap up and a recipe!}

We started and ended our summer with some pretty significant parties. There's not much this Momma loves more than a big celebration of friends and family. And we've had LOTS of fun entertaining this summer, now that the deck and pool area are finished and the landscaping is grown in. The grass is lush and we still, even months later, are raving to ourselves about how restful and refreshing it is in our backyard. We have our own mini-retreat center after years of battling weeds, ugly rocks, ground-boring bees, and drab, colorless aesthetics. I'm so proud of the hard work that The Boss and my blue-eyed boy put in together to create this haven for our friends and family. 

Freshly washed and ready for the first big event back in May!

LadyBug had a Sweet 16 Bonfire and Night Swim party
on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend.

We "upped" the awesome factor by throwing
over 200 glow sticks into the pool once it was totally dark.
It was SO pretty!

BBE filled 11 hanging baskets with wave petunias in brilliant
red and purple for her party and for the second event,
my mom's 70th b'day celebration just two days later.
All these weeks later and the petunias are still hanging in there!!!!

So at the OTHER end of the summer fun was the Pool Party
we hosted for the local-to-us members of our adoption agency community. 

It was a great mix of old friends and new,
including some beloved staff members from the agency.

Everyone brought their own meat to grill for dinner plus a dessert or side dish to share. I'm telling you this because I made this amazing potato salad that MUST be shared before potato salad season officially winds down. I made it last week for a family event at my parents' house and it was such a hit that I had to try it again. Yes, I made it up. It's a tweak on The Boss's favorite Red Bliss Potato Salad but with a couple twists.

Blue Cheese & Bacon Potato Salad

 5 lbs red potatoes, washed and cut in bite-size pieces.
Boiled in salted water till fork-tender
and then set aside to cool to room temperature.

Equal parts of blue cheese dressing and light mayonnaise.
For 5 lbs of potatoes that is about 1 cup of each.
I particularly like this brand of dressing as it's yogurt based 
and so smooth without being too thick or rich for mixing.

**I am NOT being paid to endorse any of these brand name products.**
Oh, how I wish I were.

About 1 c. (give or take to preference) of crumbled bacon
1 medium Vidalia sweet onion, diced
1 (4-6 oz.) container of blue cheese crumbles
Parsley to mix in to taste AND parsley to garnish on the top.

Mix it all together very well, making sure that
 the salad is a little thicker than you wish for it to be when
serving time actually comes. It will loosen up when refrigerated.

This is one of those salads that DEFINITELY tastes better
when it sits in the refrigerator overnight for the flavors to blend. 
It pairs really well with any beef you might be grilling, 
but it's also super yummy with Balsamic Vinaigrette Marinated Chicken!

Next up will be The Gang's annual "First Day of School" post. I can hardly believe summer is over and my gang is all heading off to school already. ESPECIALLY, {gasp} our little Mei Mei. She's heading off to the sweet little pre-school that Li'l Empress attended when she was 3 and 4. I'm under no illusions that this will be an easy transition for her but we've been talking it up big for the last three weeks and her tour of the building and intake assessment will hopefully still be in her memory banks as a positive experience.


One can hope, right? Right?! Sigh... I'm not even sure I believe that. But I'm telling myself that over and over, particularly when she melts down over me leaving her side to run to the grocery store or meeting a friend for lunch. EVERY time. Pray for us, ya'll. Just pray.