Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Making Soap in Illinois, June 11-13, 2010

This post has a subtitle:

Turkey Fryer Soapmaking


So, the plan when I made the second trip up to Illinois was to bring my soapmaking equipment with me and use my nephew Roger's kitchen to keep stocked up so I would not have to make trips back to Orlando--saving time and gas money, but sacrificing seeing my husband.  

The bad news is that Roger has a glass cooktop, like Mom and Jodie.  So, since the weight of four 20 quart stockpots is not recommended on those stoves, I had to figure out a Plan B.  I needed to make soap for 2.5 days--that is about 600 bars of soap.  I was out of some of my bestsellers--Lavender Oatmeal, Lilac, etc--so I had to figure something out quick!

I decided to put  out a call for turkey fryers--my sister had one, my best friend from high school had one--but I needed two more.  Since I didn't have time to spare, I just decided to do a half day of soapmaking.  By this time, Sue Brown Carlson, a childhood friend had volunteered her kitchen for Saturday and one of my Mom's friends, Carolyn Wheeler, had volunteered hers on Sunday!  Whew!  That would work. 

The fryers actually worked great, but, I think Mom was  afraid I would die of heat stroke.  Actually it wasn't bad--we had a nice breeze and it is hot making soap by double boiler  whether you are in an air  conditioned kitchen or outside!  

On both of the next two days I really enjoyed using the big kitchen's of my friends and hope I didn't wear  out my welcome!  Both gals called later to request soap for them or someone else, so it worked out ok, I guess!!!

Occoquan, Virginia Craft Show, June 4-7th, 2010

Skyler and I left early Friday morning for the 12.5 hour drive to Virginia for the Occoquan Craft Show.  This was the second year I have done the show and it must be one of my favorite locations--it looks like a cute, quaint fishing village--because it has so much personality. 

The drive was ok through most of Pennsylvania--until it got dark and boring.  And by the time we got to Washington D.C. we were both way past ready to be to the hotel.  The drive actually took 15 hours and we were both exhausted and ready for a good nights sleep. 

Saturday we slept in until about 6 a.m. with me taking the first shift in the shower.  We got to town and to our spot easily.  We even snagged a free parking spot--I had been prepared to spend $50 for the parking for the weekend.  Skyler was great helping unload the light things from the van and then I told her to find something in the cooler for breakfast while I got to work setting up the tent.  Once she was done eating I found some things for her to do to get the booth ready for our 9 a.m. opening time. 

The show was kind of slow for us on Saturday, but, the weather held up nicely.  By the time 6 p.m. rolled around we were tired and ready to do three things--find something to eat, go swimming and find something to watch on TV.  The first part was easy as we were  set up right outside Madigans Restaurant.  I was  leery about taking Skyler here as it is mainly a fish place, but, looking at the menu we found something she would like--Chicken Alfredo.  I had the Crab Cakes which were exceptional!

Next up was the swimming.  Unfortunately, we didn't have a swimsuit packed--both her suits were somewhere back at Grandma's house.  But I convinced her to just put on a pair of short and a tank and at least go check out the pool.  Luckily for Skyler, there were three girls swimming and one kid.  Only one of them had a suit on--the rest were in various levels of street attire like Sky.  I enjoyed a quick swim and then headed over to the hottub for a 15 minute soak.  After the pool, we headed back up to the room to change.  

The final part we decided to wait on while we got online to check our Facebook pages.  I also found a nice glass of Merlot at the bar--which Skyler did not approve of.  But, I told her Auntie Jackie really deserved it so she let it pass!  We  finally got back to the room in time to find some Disney channel shows for her to watch.  I let her have at it, put in my earplugs and was asleep in no time!

Sunday's show was great for us, so, the day went by really quickly until about 2:30 when the reports of severe thunderstorms and tornado watches got our attention.  By 3:30 it had rained a bit, and the first crack of lightning had Skyler's attention.  I handed her some money and told her to go order some chicken tenders and wait for me while I finished packing up the booth and got the van loaded.  By the time the rain had calmed down a bit, she was back out "helping". 

The best part of the drive over from the  Chicago are were the mountains and rolling hills of Pennsylvania!  We stopped at the scenic overlook above and shot off a few pictures and then just had fun trying to take some from the moving car.  By 9 p.m. we had decided to stop for the night and find a hotel.  We watched the TV some before bed, but, both of us were out about the same time this  night.  It had gotten down towards 60 degrees, so, no swimming tonight.

We got up and got a good start on Monday morning.  We had in mind finding a service plaza on one of the turnpikes that had a Panda Express--Skyler was dreaming about Orange Chicken.  Of course we never found one, but, when we got off the pike to get gas, I asked a lady about it.  She said they didn't have them in town (Sturgis MI), but, she recommended their favorite of three local places.  Sky was desparate for chinese, so, she agreed and we had a nice lunch in town before getting back on the road.  By 3 p.m. we were back in Illinois...and home shortly after!

Skyler's rating of the trip--boring!  LOL   I guess I should brush up on my entertaining skills.  I had a great time though and was very glad she came along!

Illinois Trip #2, June 1-2, 2010

Bonnie and I made it back up to Illinois after a great Memorial Day celebration with Rod in Orlando.  The trip up was pretty uneventful, we even stayed in the same hotel as we did coming down.  When we got to Rockford, the folks were looking for company to go out for fish--so I got to have the fish fry at the Butterfly.  Yummy!!!

When I got here, I was still in search of someone to go to Virginia with me.  of course, everyone is working.  My nephew Travis would have been perfect being an official card carrying driver now, but, he had weekend commitments, as did Jodie.  Mom  had several things she could not get out of...so that left one of the nieces.   Both had finished school on May 26th, but, only Skyler didn't have anything booked yet--Ali had volleyball games.  SO, at least the next road trip was lined up!!

Gas prices at least are holding pretty level.  I even found $2.39 gas at Perry, GA.  It was a BP station, but, I figured they need the  business if they will ever be able to afford the oil spill cleanup.  So, I am buying from them the rest of the summer trips, if the prices are comparable with other stations.  And speaking of the cleanup, have you seen this yet?  http://www.wimp.com/solutionoil/

Do you guys have Captain D's seafood places around you?  I ate at one this time, and, I must say the food was pretty good and at a decent price.  I wish I could tell you I opted for no french fries, but, I was bad!    I  guess I was celebrating Tuesday night's Deadliest Catch on Discovery Channel.  I just LOVE that show!!!