It was almost a month ago now when the annual art and balloon festival took over L-Town. Should you ever need an excuse to come visit us in the summer, this weekend just may be it.

Besides the fact that you can watch the balloons take off, fly across fields, land, and glow in the dark once night rolls around, there are plenty of other activities to keep you busy too.

Like wandering the farmer's market, art festival, and flea market at the two parks downtown. And tasting some of the amazing barbecue at the Kansas City BBQ competition, which was held for the first time downtown on the square. (Conservative Dad was even one of the official judges--lucky guy!) Or, if it's more your style, you can taste a great selection of Illinois wines at the Art of Wine tent (also on the square).

At night, there are bands playing out at the airport where the balloons go off. You can get your fill of fried food and less-than-safe-looking carnival rides, too.

Really, what more could you ask for in small-town Illinois on a summer weekend?


Letting Butter Talk

Hi guys.

Just wanted to let you know I'm still around and happy as can be.

My family has been pretty darn busy lately, but I know even when I'm stuck at home or in the pet motel that they still love me.

All in all, life is good. ... Even though I still can't figure out what the heck is going on in the place formerly known as the office. ...

But I sure do like to sniff all those treasures that keep appearing in there. I'm sure they're all for me, even though I don't know why the heck I'd need so much stuff when all I really want in life is a belly rub, a walk, and a treat.


Electric Lemonade

This weekend, while Conservative Hubby and his best friend Twigs worked on mastering the fine art of making ribs (they did a fantastic job), I whipped up a little cocktail for Mrs. Twigs and I. It's an electric lemonade recipe from the June issue of Better Homes & Gardens, and it was the perfect concoction for a summer Saturday night.

The key ingredients: fresh-squeezed lemon juice, sugar, sparkling mineral water, a dash of ginger ale, fresh-picked mint, and ice. Once everything was blended, I poured the lemonade into two frosted glasses--one with vodka for Mrs. Twigs and one with more sparkling mineral water for me.

The verdict? Yummy.


An Ice Cream Treat

Happy Labor Day! In case you're looking for something rather delicious to labor over on your day off, I wanted to share a pic of the easy mocha chip ice cream cake I made while we were in North Carolina.

I was inspired by all of Kid Sister's Southern Living magazines I read while lounging by the pool (it was a very difficult vacation for me, people), so on our last night there decided I had to make the ice cream cake.

And boy am I ever glad I did, even though Conservative Hubby complained that dessert cost a million dollars by the time we bought all the ingredients. (It didn't.)

I highly recommend that you try it yourself. Just be sure to make it well in advance of when you want to eat it, since it needs some freezer time.

And you can go ahead and lick your plate when you're finished, like Kid Sister told me she did after we headed home and she was stuck with the incredibly difficult job of eating the leftovers. It's totally acceptable.


A Tennis Tournament

While in North Carolina visiting Kid Sister, T-Bear, and Frog Dog, Conservative Hubby and I took in some professional tennis action. It was the Winston-Salem Open, a U.S. Open qualifying tournament, held at Wake Forest University.

Kid Sister was busy working at the tournament, so Conservative Hubby and I stopped by to say hello and watch a bit of the action.

It was a Monday afternoon so it was pretty quiet. I asked Conservative Hubby about a million questions, because up until that sunny Monday I knew very little about how tennis scoring worked. He filled me in on the important stuff, and I found myself enjoying the action.

(And then we got scolded over the loud speaker and glared at by one of the tennis players because we got up to walk out right when one of the players was about to serve. Yes, we were those people. Oops. But seriously, are two people walking clear up in the stands really going to distract you that much? I don't think so.)

It actually made me want to play tennis (watching the tournament, not the scolding), but I suppose that will have to wait. I'm guessing your seventh month of pregnancy is not a good time to take up a new sport that involves swinging a racket and running all over a court.