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Archive for July, 2009

Whacha doin?

Mikey making rootbeerLately, I’ve been Mary-Make-It-From-Scratch.  I’ve started making my own bread.  I can’t even remember the last time I bought a meal that comes in a box or from the freezer section.  I make my own yogurt.  I’m sure there’s more, but just that short list exhausts me.

Dave always takes it one step farther.  He’s decided that we are now brewers.  Last fall I bought 60 pounds of apples.  We juiced some of them and froze some of the juice.  We decided to make hard apple cider.  After some internet research we realized that we weren’t confident enough to put it in a bucket with a balloon tied to the top and hope for the best. We went to the local brewery store which is a few hours away, doesn’t have air conditioning, and I can see all of our disposable income floating into their cash register.   We were filled with knowledge, our arms full of brewing paraphernalia and yeast, and sent on our merry way home.  This concoction is sitting on top of the fridge.  It looks like puke in a bucket.  I know, appetizing.

While at the brewing store Dave bought the stuff to make Root beer.  All you need for root beer is sugar, honey, more sugar, some more honey, yeast, more sugar, root beer extract, some more honey and water.  We mixed and poured and boiled and poured and bottled.  We set our bottles up next to the pukish looking bucket, wished the little yeasts happy eating, and hoped for the best.

IMG_4816One day later we had carbonation.  There’s nothing like realizing carbonation comes from yeast waste to make soda even more appetizing.  Day 2 we popped a bottle open and it smelled like root beer but tasted like yeast.  Day 4 we opened another bottle.  It wasn’t the greatest tasting root beer but it definitely tasted like something from the root beer family.  Like the bastard step child, but definitely related.

The actual work in making the rootbeer probably took us less than a half an hour.  So for a half hour of work, a few days of carbonating and for probably the same price as non-sale rootbeer, we’ve made rootbeer!  The kids are already talking about making labels and selling bottles at the grocery store.  Any one up for overpriced and less than tasty rootbeer?

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Independence

Taking him downWe get into prickly situations because we’re scared.  We don’t have the confidence to do it on our own.  We don’t know any better or anything different.  Things become routine.  They become monotonous.  They are comfortable.

Until they’re not.

When you’re little and don’t know how to swim, your either always held when you’re in the water, or put in a life jacket.  Either way you’re safe.  As you get bigger, you get a bigger jacket.  Sometimes you trade in the big and safe jacket for floaties.  It’s really the lesser of two evils.  It’s a crutch, a safety net.

Then out of no where, you just decide you’ve had enough.  Maybe you’re life jacket is too small and gives you a rash.  Maybe you’re Mom won’t let you go in the deep end with floaties.  Or maybe there are incentives.  Things like wanting to play with the big kids, or diving. Everyone loves diving.

Whatever the case may be, one day you just announce you are ready to learn how to swim.  You take off your life jacket.  You’re lucky that you have an aunt who loves you.  She’ll jump in the freezing cold water and demonstrate and hold you up.  She’ll encourage you and direct you.

let me teach you You’re scared.  You don’t have a life jacket or floaties.  You could drown.  But you don’t.  Everytime you think you’re going to there are reassuring hands to lift you up.  You get tired but you don’t give up.  You’re determined.   Little by little you become more confident, more self assure, more proud, and finally more independent.

proud

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If preteen girls ever have fun. I mean pure unadulterated, unfiltered fun.  Fun not revolving around pretenses, fun not involved with boys and their social status.  Just pure innocent fun.  It seems like there are more days filled with angst and snottyness.  Twelve is a tough age, caught between being a teenager and being a little kid.  Twelve means you yearn for independence and you’ll fight tooth and nail for it. Twelve means you want to desperately fit in and be liked.  Twelve means that you are constantly looking over your shoulder and gauging your reactions to the crowd.

My girl scout troop is very fortunate.  I don’t think they realize how lucky they are.  The girls all come from different schools.  For the most part, out of girl scouts, they don’t see each other during the week.  There is an occasional sleep over or invitation to hang out, but for the most part they don’t see each other.  They know that they can trust each other.  Maybe this is just because they all could reveal equally embarrassing moments about each other.  This allows these girls to feel really comfortable being themselves.  They can be silly, obnoxious, honest, and forth coming without having to worry about what someone might think.

On their own they can decide to see how many kids can fit inside a hula hoop.

fun for every girland then they’ll do it all over again, and again, and again.

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Pickers

PickersMy kids are pickers.  Maybe it goes back to my heritage.  Maybe their trying to go way back to their farm picking roots.  Who knows. They pick their scabs and their noses, sometimes even their butts, and who knows what else.

I figured with all of this picking experience, I should put it to good use.  I heard of a local blueberry farm that lets you pick your own fruit and off we went.  I gave the kids a short little talk about safety and what a ripe blueberry looked like.  We found a good row and away we went.   Everyone had a great time.  The older kids picked like it was a race.  The whole time talking about all of the good things we were going to make with their bounty.  I felt like I was in the Forest Gump movie.  Blueberry pancakes, blueberry waffles, blueberry muffins, blueberry smoothies, blueberry ice cream, blueberry yogurt.  It went on and on and on.

Nathaniel was a champion blueberry picker.  He didn’t want anything to do with the berries themselves though.  He’d pick berries and dump them in Jacob’s buckets.  He absolutely refused to even taste them.  He still won’t consider putting them in his mouth.  isn't he cute?Jacob on the other hand, picked only to eat them.  He’d find one and yell, “Mommy!  Yummy!  Yummy!” and pop it into his mouth.  It was rather cute the first fifty times.

our bounty!After only a couple of hours  we left with $50 worth of blueberries in three large boxes.  All the way to the car I heard: blueberry pie, blueberry cobbler, blueberry juice, blueberry syrup…

I’m thinking about calling all of the local farms and offering my kids for the day.  Will work for watermelon.

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