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Games and Toys and Wolves

A couple of busy weekends have passed, and I haven’t been able to tell you about them, because stuff.

Three weekends ago, Honey and I threw a great, big launch party for Spy Guys. At first we were aiming for some sort of industry mixer thing, you know for reviewers and publishers and the like. Then we realized we really don’t know any reviewers or publishers or anything remotely of the like. So we invited people we thought would like to play the game– you know, our friends. 🙂 But it was in an open space at our favorite local pub, so if people off the street wandered in, they were welcome to join us, too! It definitely changed the tenor of the event– for one thing, now kids were invited, but I think that since the game is kid friendly, that worked to our advantage.

When we got to the location, we started setting up with posters on the wall of all the different Spies– plus a couple of coming attractions. Then we got the music rolling with our Music to Spy By playlist, which had everything from James Bond songs (duuuh) to the Danger Mouse theme. LOL! Our piece de resistance, though, was the Laser Training Grid we set up for the kids. We took over two darts stalls and strung red yarn with bells all across. Any junior spies who could get through the maze without jingling the bells got a prize. We also had a couple of senior spies volunteer to go through the grid– especially impressive when one of them was well over 6′ tall!

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Everyone who showed up got an event-exclusive card to go with their game: The Cardinal– our first female spy card, who could be played in place of The Red Road Runner. We also had some Spy Guys themed bingo cards going, and every so often Honey would announce a recently intercepted secret message (the name of one of the cards from the game). Anyone who was able to get five intercepted messages in a row on their card could either get a kiddie prize or an extra chance at a raffle for a copy of the game. We even met some new people who just happened into the room at the right time, and happen to like games, and just from watching us play decided they wanted to play, too, so that was pretty cool.

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And around all this, of course, everyone played a round or two of Spy Guys. All our friends— new and old— left with big smiles, and lots of people left with their own, brand new copies of Spy Guys, which I heartily endorse. (You can get your copy here or here, if you haven’t already.)

After the party, we took down the posters and the lasers, and then collapsed until it was time to go the JuJu Leveling Up (video-game-themed birthday) Party. All in all, it was an awesome weekend of parties and games, but very, very full, which is why it has taken me this long to do a write up. 🙂

And then! The following weekend was really busy, too. Outside of commitments and chores, I basically spent all of my free time in the kitchen– most of it baking (related), even!

I am excited on a couple of different levels. For one thing, I finally figured out the design I wanted for kitchen cannisters (flour/sugar/coffee). (I know: I’ve had my own kitchen for years and years, and only NOW I’m figuring this out? Well, yes.) It’s not so much that this is the look that I wanted— more that this is what works best for me, and by happenstance, it all looks more uniform than it ever has before. I’m taking it as a sign.

You see, unlike in a mainstream kitchen there’s no point (or so I thought) to having a large jar for “flour,” since a gluten free kitchen has so many different kinds– unless you want to buy a premade mix, but even then, you need different mixes for different things. Anyway! I put the flours that come in smaller bags in Quart-sized Ball jars, with plastic lids, and I got some cute “chalkboard” stickers and a chalk marker to label the jars. Early prototypes can be seen in my post about pepperoni rolls. But this didn’t solve where to keep my AP flour mix and my Bread flour mix.

Well! I bought some Kombucha jars, each of which holds a gallon of liquid. And they happen to have white screw top lids. They don’t say Ball on the side (I’m actually okay with this), but the whole set up looks like I intended them to go together. So I now have a big jar for sugar, too, and I’m thinking about getting another one for cake mix. Because, you know, cake.

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So putting my kitchen together was a lot of fun, because I got to draw on things AND they go together. (Who’d have guessed?) Now that my kitchen was all pretty, I just HAD to go mess it up. I am still working on my pepperoni rolls recipe, and it is coming along nicely! I figure I need to tweak them just a little bit more, and I’ll have something that reminds me of down home. 🙂

The cool thing is that I have found a use for Evernote. I always knew it was a nifty app, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on how it would be useful for me, but now I know. As I make tweaks, for the first time ever, I’m tracking both the original recipe and the changes I’ve made, AND my thoughts on the results. I feel, like, professional somehow. Or maybe just a bit more responsible with my trials and errors. LOL! But either way, I definitely feel like I’m making progress on a project I’m passionate about, and that’s pretty cool.

So yeah, I made some bread testing out my dough recipe, and then decided if I was going to make my own cake mix in bulk and store it in a jar, I should make sure it’s a recipe I like, before making a big batch, so I tested my first cake mix recipe. I made a simple yellow cake, and gave it an easy caramel frosting. It turns out, I need to follow the instructions more closely to get the frosting results they talked about in the book– there is such a thing as too much tweaking. (Frosting became a hard candy shell.) After sampling a slice or two with Honey, I sent the remainder to his office, which is mostly staffed by boys. It went fast, and the only comment he sent back to me was that one guy said it was so good he didn’t even miss the gluten. LOL! Have I mentioned I love baking for boys?

And I tracked everything. That weekend ended with me covered in rice and sorghum flour, and very, very happy. And very, very tired. But happy. This coming I weekend, which is this past weekend for you, my readers, because, you know, I write before I post… Where was I? The Wolves are coming to visit this weekend, but I won’t be able to write that up, because, you know, busy weekend. But I am planning on making cinnamon rolls and making another attempt at the perfect gf pepperoni rolls. Anything I make, I’ll track, and when I have a moment, I’ll let you know how it goes/went.

And thus begins the Week of Hosting. Wish me luck!