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Secrets of the Ancients [Summer Edition]

This past weekend we had family down visiting from up north. [I should disclaim that up north means nothing more than the northern part of this state – a drive that takes no more than ninety minutes door to door. Someone visiting from out of state once said they didn’t understand how a state as small as NJ could have three distinct regions: north, central, and south. We do. I am born and raised in central, my parents beach house is in south and I define north as the part of the state that doesn’t have beaches – north of Sandy Hook] Anyway, family was visiting, we grilled for lunch and ate outside. In the midst of the five-or-so minutes of hustle and confusion during which everyone finds their seat, passes the mustard, switches seats so Grandma can be out of the sun, gets the salt, switches seats yet again so left-handed Bobby isn’t hitting elbows with right-handed Susie, I went inside and filled two Ziploc bags with water, sealed them and placed them on the table.

Nbd, right? Wrong.

Apparently my immediate family and I have been harboring the secrets of the Ancients in regards to picnic/barbeque etiquette since all of my non-immediate family members looked at me like I was crazy while my immediate family members looked at them with confusion. That scene this weekend is what inspired this post – hopefully the first of a few installments. My apologies if you’ve heard any of these before. You, too, must have been in cahoots with the Ancients in a former life.

Ziploc Bags of Water Fill a few sandwich-sized Ziploc bags with tap water, seal, and place sporadically around food at an outdoor picnic or barbeque to keep flies away from the food. Something to do with the way a fly sees [kaleidoscope-like] and the sun’s reflection off the water – although this works when the food is in shade too, so who knows? Don’t bite the hand that feeds you, I always say. Try it, it works.

Dryer Sheets Citronella, Schmitronella. I’ve never once been in a setting where having a citronella candle within ten feet of my body has helped ward off mosquito’s. What does help is keeping a dryer sheet in your pocket. [Also, dabbing vanilla extract on your wrists and neck like perfume. Steph over at Recipe Renovations does this; I personally have never tried it.]

Mix Icing When baking a cake or cupcakes with store-bought icing, whip it in your mixer for a few minutes. It almost doubles in amount meaning you can get more bang for your buck, less fat/calories from your cupcake, and not feel guilty when you swoop in for piece number two. It’s Win-Win[-Win]

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