Category Archives: Hoegarden Weekends

It’s our annual “Girls Only” family weekend filled with food, crafts, spa treatments, one-handed croquet, shopping, cocktails and board games. And yes, it’s named after a beer.

Hoegarden 2011: The Shopping

Well, it’s over. I can’t believe it went by so quickly! This past weekend, four generations of family females gathered for our sixth annual Hoegarden weekend. As usual, it was three fabulous days of food, fun, mani/pedis, board games, shopping and fruity umbrella cocktails. Last year, we had snow and freezing temps as a freak storm crashed the party. This year, it was gorgeous with temps in the low 80’s, a good stiff breeze and beautiful, sunny skies. What a difference a year makes. As is our custom, we spent Saturday shopping. This year, we descended on downtown McKinney, Texas with 12 family members in a 3-car caravan. Our group included our mother, myself and my four sisters, three granddaughters and one young grandson (he was a good sport) and two toddler great-grandaughters. Our mom spawned a large brood, and we took McKinney by storm. It was a blast. Here’s a peek. Click on any photo to enlarge.

Plum Creek Primatives is loaded with antiques, gifts and unique treasures.

Friendliest shop was the Loco Cowpoke; favorite browsing goes to the antique shops.

Happiness is Quilting - it's a great fabric store, and I love this cute owl purse!

Favorite purchase: the antique typesetting drawer I hung in my sewing room

McKinney's downtown square & the family (or most of us, anyway)

To learn more about McKinney’s Main Street, visit their website at: http://www3.mckinneytexas.org/www/mainstreetdefault.aspx

Special thanks to our waiter, Ryan, at Rick’s Chophouse. Lunch was fabulous!http://www.rickschophouse.com/

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Hoegarden is here! Hoegarden is here!

That’s right. It’s time to pack up the board games, nail polish and booze and head to north Texas for our annual “girls only” estrogen festival known as Hoegarden. Four generations of females will descend on Sister #1’s house for three days of mani/pedis, chick flicks, board games, antiquing, shameless snacking, fruity umbrella cocktails and one-handed croquet. If you’re in the area and are overrun by a large herd of boisterous females, I apologize in advance. We may be loud, but we’re a lot of fun and completely harmless. Our snark is worse than our bite, I promise. I’m out until Monday doing my girlie thang. Have a great weekend, everyone. Photos and stories to come next week, so stay tuned!

Sisters + Wax Lips + Aprons = Flo & Nadine with their daily blue plate special.

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Apron Strings & Crafty Things

I love aprons. Old, new, retro, campy or classic…it doesn’t matter. I love them all and I actually use them; especially when I’m cooking splattery things like bacon. Aprons stir up memories of my grandmothers, my husband’s sweet granny, my mom when I was little, and Betty Crocker. They’re like a portal to my past. I have very fond kitchen memories from my youth. In 2008, my mother and I decided to make aprons as gifts for our annual Hoegarden weekend. For those new to the blog, that’s our annual “ladies only” family event held each spring. Yes, it’s named after a beer (you can read more about it in my Hoegarden blog tab). Mom and I like to collaborate on homemade gifts each year, and we wanted to make something fun but practical to share. We started this project by selecting a variety of unique fabric prints and patterns.

Hoegarden Aprons - A Fabric Sampler

Once everyone picked a fabric and a style, we went to work. For the record, my mother can sew anything. She made our clothes when we were little. She once made cheerleader uniforms for our high school (at least 10 girls, 2-3 uniforms each). She even made adult-size chicken costumes for a school play (one of which I was wearing when I had my car towed during a hail storm/tornado while I was in high school, but that’s a story for another day). She’s made curtains, shopping bags, baby gifts, pillows, etc. She can make anything, and probably has at one time or another. She has also created some amazing quilts. She’s very talented, but I’ve mentioned that before. Anyway, Mom really enjoyed this project. As she finished each apron, she would pose for a photo. She’s too cute.

Mom hams it up by modeling a few aprons

I should also clarify that I don’t usually ask my mom do all the work on these projects. It’s just that my old sewing machine died a violent death while making my first apron, so mom stepped up to help with the rest. She’s helpful like that. In the end, we (and I mean she) made ten aprons including a little pirate version for Jonah Bear, who had a “man pass” for the weekend (he was 15 months old). I made most of mine before my machine died and my daughter made her own apron (you go, girl!). Hey, I contributed the fabric and trim, along with lots of moral support, so I helped…a little bit. And now we each have a keepsake from our weekend together. One we can use and enjoy for years to come. Thanks, Mom. You saved the day again. Here’s a tribute to her lovely handiwork:

Aprons on a Fence - A Tribute to Petticoat Junction

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Lemon Drop Shots

This was voted “favorite cocktail” at our annual 2009 Hoegarden gathering. If you love lemon like I love lemon, these will be your new favorite. It’s a citrus explosion in a shot glass. Just be careful – these can pack a powerful punch!

Here’s how to mix up a batch:
3-4 small lemons (some for squeezin’, some for garnish)
One 12-oz. can frozen lemonade concentrate
2 ounces Bacardi Limon (or other lemon rum)
1 ounce Absolut Citron (or other lemon vodka)
1 1/2 ounces fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon sugar, for the drink mix

2 tablespoons sugar, to rim shot glasses
Lemon slices for garnish
Martini shaker and ice cubes

In a small pitcher, mix the undiluted frozen lemonade concentrate, rum, vodka, the juice from 2 of your lemons (approx. 1.5 ounces) and 1 Tbsp. sugar. Stir until all sugar is disolved. Prep your remaining two lemons by slicing one into thin slices and the other in half. To prepare your shot glasses, grind the rims into one of the lemon halves. Then dip each shot glass into sugar. Put a thin slice of lemon on the edge of the glass for garnish. In your martini shaker (or a quart jar with a lid), add one cup of crushed ice and enough drink mixture to fill the shaker to 2/3 full. Seal the shaker and shake vigorously for 2-3 minutes, or until freezing cold. Pour into shot glasses, being careful to strain out the ice and not ruin your sugar rims. They’re best served immediately while they’re freezing cold. Bottoms up!

This recipe makes approximately one quart of lemon drop mix. Leftover mix can be stored in the freezer in a sealed container, or kept in the fridge until you’re ready for another round. You can also mix up your lemon drops in advance and store it in the freezer. Just allow the mix to thaw until it’s no longer slushy, but still very cold. You can also serve these in martini glasses as Lemon Drop Martinis. Don’t forget to rim your martini glasses with sugar, as well. Remember to drink responsibly and make sure your guests have a designated driver or a bed to sleep in. Cheers, ladies!

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Extremely Bad Make-Overs

Warning: The photos you are about to view are not pretty. In fact, they’re horrible. Hysterically bad. It was not our intent to do extremely bad make-overs, but it happened, and alcohol may have been a factor.

Our annual Hoegarden weekends are unpredictable. That’s true of most events when my side of the family gets together, but especially when it’s just us girls and the estrogen level spikes. As a reminder, Hoegarden Weekend is our annual “girls only” gathering (see my post entitled “Hoegarden – It’s a Weekend Named for a Beer”). Sometimes we cut up. No, we always cut up. But sometimes we get completely out of control. Such was the case one night in 2007 when we decided to hold a make-over session after a “vote for your favorite cocktail” contest late at night. Sometimes tragedy is all about timing.

First there was Sister #4, who channeled Averil Levigne for her make-over. Not bad. Scary, but not bad. If she’d had a guitar, a plaid mini-skirt and a black t-shirt, she would have nailed it

Sister #4's Averil Levigne Head Shot

Then there was Sister #1, Big Sis, who went for the Cruela DaVille look from the movie 101 Dalmations. She definitely nailed it. If your kids are looking over your shoulder while you read this, I apologize. Please reassure them that no puppies were harmed in the making of this bad make-over.

Sister #1 Channels Cruella DeVille

But it was Sister #5, The Baby, who really cracked me up. She went for the “No Soup for You!” cranky waitress persona that almost made me wet myself.

The Baby Refuses a Customer's Order

She’s famous for that, and she’s usually the first to spontaneously dress up during our Hoegarden weekends. But then we broke out a box of waxed lips from our “childhood favorites” candy stash and a couple of aprons from our “homemade crafts” challenge, and that’s when Flo and Nadine showed up.

Flo & Nadine Are Waiting to Serve You

Sometimes it pays to be the one holding the camera. As the saying goes, there’s a thin line between comedy and tragedy. Flo and Nadine were hideous, but hilarious. Yes, we may be a little nuts around the edges, but no one can dispute that when we all get together, we sure know how to make each other laugh.

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Hoegarden – It’s A “Girls Only” Weekend Named For a Beer

The Hoegarden Crew

I know it sounds weird, but that’s exactly what it is – a weekend retreat named for a beer. Here’s how it all got started. Every year, my large extended family gathers at Thanksgiving. We actually call it Thanxmas, because we celebrate both Thanksgiving and Christmas at the same time. We multi-task so we are free to spend Christmas week with our individual families or in-laws. Anyway, back in 2004, we were all being thankful in Sister #4’s back yard in Garland, Texas with our usual family tradition – one-handed croquet. Leave it to us to make croquet a drinking game, right? Rules require that you must have a drink in one hand at all times, and said drink glass must contain a beverage at all times or penalty shots will be incurred. To make a long story less painful, Big Sister #1 was penalized heavily that night, and her beverage at the time was Hoegaarden Beer. She was new to Hoegaarden, and let’s just say it hit her a little hard. Every time someone sent a croquet ball into vegetation, she would say in a slushy sing-song voice, “Welcome to the Hoegarden!” and giggle profusely.

Shortly after that we decided to hold an annual “girls only” estrogen festival, and Hoegarden emerged as front runner in the naming contest. We dreamed of weekend escapes that would include lots of giggly girly fun and one-handed croquet in a testosterone-free environment. We launched our first Hoegarden Weekend in March 2005, and have kept it going and growing since. Even though we limit it to female family members, that now includes eleven of us from four generations. Because of that, Big Sister #1 hosts each year. For one thing, her house is big enough to hold us all, and she lives near Dallas, which is geographically central for all of us (we’re spread out from Tulsa to Fort Smith to Houston to Austin). Her husband, Saint David, is kind enough to vacate (or escape) with their two sons while we party. We have encouraged the men to retaliate with a “Brogarden” weekend but so far, it’s a no-go.

Hoegarden is filled with food, crafts, spa treatments, food, chocolate, family favorites, more food, some alcohol, funny family photos, board games and food. We choose a different theme each year and plan meals, deocrations and craft ideas around that theme. Our first year was simply “Welcome to the Hoegarden” and we took the garden theme to the max. We each created custom flowered hats and flipflops to wear antique shopping on Saturday.

Hoegarden Hats

Hoegarden Flipflops

We have a lot of fun when we all go out shopping on Saturdays. We’re that large fun group that walks in a pack and can be heard laughing down the block. Larger shops love us. I think smaller antique shops full of old glass get a little nervous. We spend Saturday shopping and eating lunch out, then come home to make family favorites for dinner, share spa treatments and make-overs and play boardgames to disco music until late in the night. I’ll share more photos later from “Extreme Make-Over Night” if I can get signed waivers from the sisters involved (just kidding – about the waivers).

One year’s theme was “HoDown”, which was a hoot. Then there was “Ho Lotta Lovin” around a Valentine’s theme. This year’s theme was “HoDepot” complete with tool belt aprons. We always find a way to tie the theme into our Hoegarden roots. Next year’s theme is island/tropical. We’re calling it “Hawaii Five-Hos” in honor of the five sisters (see my ‘A Tale of Five Sisters’ tab for more). Can’t wait to see what that encompasses. I’m thinking I’ll make my Hanalei Sunrise muffins and work up a good Mai Tai recipe. I’ll also be shopping for luau decorations and some Don Ho music, or maybe soundtracks from “Blue Hawaii” with Elvis (or not). One thing we love in this family is a good creative challenge. I can’t wait to see what the sisters, nieces and grandbabies come up with next! Whatever it is, you can bet it will be tutu fun.

Hoegarden Tutus

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