Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Advertising our first performance!

Teenprov! is having it's first performance on September 1st!

Check out Auntie M's website - Teenprov!

The Grapes of Busy

On Monday I had an opportunity to go pick grapes from a nearby farm.  I picked 51 pounds of concord grapes.  I probably would have picked more, but the bees were awful and I'm terrified of bees.  My three youngest kids came with me.

I took my camera, but forgot to get pictures.

Now I've got 51 pounds of grapes to deal with.  Yesterday I made 18 half-pint jars of grape jelly.  That was only using less than 1/4 of the grapes. 

I also picked 16 pounds of apples.  Yesterday I made the most wonderful apple butter!  I made it in the crock pot, so other than peeling apples, the crock pot did the rest of the work for me.  I don't have one of those fancy apple peeler machines, so I peel the apples by hand.  That takes quite a bit of time.  I also made an apple pie.  Mmmm good!

I've got to finish the grapes before I can do more with the apples.  The grapes will go bad faster.

I'll post some pictures of the grapes and my finished products later.

Off to make jelly now!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Teenprov!'s first performance

My teen improv group, which I have named "Teenprov!" will be having their first performance on September 1st.  I'm excited and a little nervous.  We've never done a performance and I'm not quite sure how it is going to go.  It might turn out wonderfully, it might be a bit of a disaster.  I don't know.  However it turns out, I know it is going to be a lot of fun.

My biggest concerns are the fact that the kids can't keep quiet when it is not their turn and that they might not speak up loud enough for anyone to hear them when they are performing.  We've been practicing in my family room and it isn't the same as a stage area.  Oh well, they will figure it out.

It has been so difficult finding a location for us to hold our little performance in.

There is no packing an audience into my living room, so I started searching for a hall of some sort.  Everyone wants money, and lots of it.  I'm doing this for free and the performance will be free.  I don't have the money to pay someone $100 an hour, which is what most places want.

I called local community halls, the parks and rec department and several hotels about their conference rooms.  The local fire station even said they rent out their building for events.  Everyone wants $100 - $200 for the two hours I want the space for.  Yeah, sorry, that's not happening.

I finally called my church and asked.  They had to get permission for us to hold our little show there.  Once it was approved, they told me I could have the gym, but only if some other group doesn't schedule the use of the gym.  I'm thinking, wait a moment!  That is why I called and scheduled the gym for that time, so no one else could.  I don't know... we'll see what happens.

Tomorrow is our final rehearsal before the big show.  It is very exciting!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Comedy with Spock

Have you every imagined what it would be like if Spock (from Star Trek) tried to do stand-up comedy?  What about a comedy sketch?

You just can't, can you?  It would be highly illogical.

I have a Spock that comes to my teenage comdey improv group.  I'll give the group a scenario for their skit that go along the lines of "two pirates trying to order fast food" and my Spock will say, "that is stupid, it would never happen."


I've tried to explain to Spock that it doesn't matter if it can really happen or not, this is theater and we can do anything we want.  It's all make believe.

Spock doesn't get it.

Now when Spock tells me that the comdey scene is highly illogical, I just say, "Don't argue with the Host!"

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Green is Changing

Back in April, I was delighted to see the winter trees turn green with spring blossoms.  Leaves that are the amazing lime green color that only spring can produce.

In June and July the leaves have turned into their deep summer green.

Now, it is mid August and the summer green is fading and being replaced with yellows and reds.  I didn't expect it to change so early.  I figured there was another month of summer green.  Now as I drive through the neighborhood, I look into the trees and see hints of yellow coloring.  The forest is taking on a new color and I'm delighted to watch the changed.

Ever since we arrived here in January, I've been excited for fall.  I love autumn.  I can't wait to see the transformation of the forest as a new season approaches.  I know I will miss the green of summer, but the bare forest in the winter makes the spring lime green and summer deep green all the more wonderful.

Fall, I am ready for you!  I can't wait to bake with pumpkin and light apple scented candles.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

goings on...

This weekend I made 8 more quarts of pickles and 3 pints of salsa from our homegrown tomatoes.

Kind of cool, all this canning.  I don't like salsa, but my husband does, so it's good!

I haven't had any deep thoughts lately, but I did something this weekend I haven't done in a very long time - I applied for a job.  Part of me really wants the job, but part of me does not.  I guess that could be a normal reaction.  I was thinking today how it would be nice to go see my grandmother in the fall, but then I realized that if I get a job, I won't be doing that.

The job is a park guide.  From what I can tell, it would be working in a local historical building giving tours and such.  Pretty awesome!  I would enjoy a job like that. 

Who knows what will happen.  I'll just wait and see.

I finished a book last week: "Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates" by Mary Mapes Dodge.  I had heard so many great things about this classic story.  Honestly I have to say, I didn't enjoy it.  Some of the story was fun and much of it was tedious.  The language is old.  It's not at all difficult to understand, but certainly an old way of speaking.  The children in the story are just all a little too perfectly well-mannered.  Well, whether I liked it or not, I can cross off another classic children's literature off my list of books to read.

Now I'm reading the 5th book from the "How to Train Your Dragon" series.  It is nothing profound and certainly not what great classic literature is made from, but it's fun and funny.  It's light hearted and silly.  Maybe I'll go back and read the first four books from the series. LOL

I've been working on a cross stitch this last week, and while I do I've been watching "All Creatures Great and Small."  My mom use to watch that on PBS back in the 80's and I would sometimes watch it with her.  It is really a nice show and I've been enjoying it a lot.  I listened to one of the books on tape when I was going to junior college (many years ago.)

Friday, August 10, 2012

The magic word is no longer "please"

Today, the Hubby was pouring some cereal for Peanut.  She asked him, "Daddy, what's the password?"

Hubby answered, "Please."

"No Dad.  What's the password to the computer?"

Oh my.  What this little 4 year old thinks.  The scary thing is, if we were to tell her the password, she would remember it and start to sound it out trying to spell it.  Sometimes she's a little too smart for her britches.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

more cucumbers!!!

I went out to work in the garden with my husband last night and we found many more large cucumbers!!!  Looks like it's time to pickle more.  The biggest problem is, I don't want to buy more Mason jars.  I've already bought at least a hundred this year!

Still, I love being able to grow food, can it, store it and feel a conection with my generations of grandmothers in earlier American times.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Mmm, Jammy Dodgers

Jammy Dodgers are yummy little cookies from England.  I guess they call them biscuits.  At my oldest son's request for the English biscuit, I found a recipe and gave it a go.  They should have a plum jam or seedless raspberry jam, but I don't have either, so I used homemade (by me) blueberry jam.


Friday, August 03, 2012

Pickling Pickles

Here is a photo journal of my pickling my latest batch of home grown cucumbers.

I've got everything ready: Cucumbers, garlic, freshly sanitized jars, and a cutting board. 

Oh yes, I just remembered I need dill too.  Good thing I've got my awesome herb garden in the front yard, complete with dill.
In preparation I also get my salt/vinegar solution ready.  It's 2 quarts water, 2 quarts vinegar and 1/2 cup of canning salt.  It needs to be brought to a boil and the salt needs to dissolve.  This will happen while I'm chopping cucumbers and stuffing the jars.
Also to prepare, I've got the lids to the jars in hot water.  They will seal better now.
Once the jars are ready, they will need to go into a boiling water bath.  I have found the best way for me to do this is outdoors.  The grill can get much hotter than my stove top.  This is the only way I can get this huge pot of water to boil in a reasonable amount of time.  Time to light up the grill!
Next I chop away.  Today my kids are watching Scooby Doo.  I can see the TV from where I sit, so while chopping at the cucumbers, I watch Scooby Doo, too.  Each jar gets a sprig of dill, a clove of peeled garlic and as many cucumber slices as I can stuff into it.
After each jar is stuffed to the max with cucumbers, I fill the jars with the hot salt/vinegar solution.  I put the lids on and screw them tightly on.  Next the jars go into the hot water bath out on the grill.  I can only do 4-5 jars at a time.
When they are done, I take them out and get the next batch in.  It takes me about 2 1/2 hours, but when it is all done, I've got lots of future pickles.  They'll need several weeks sitting in their solution, dilling and pickling, but when they are done..... mmmmm!
Today's batch yielded 10 quarts of pickles.  Honestly, I don't know how many quarts of pickles I've put up this year, although I'd guess about 80 quarts. Yes, 80 jars of pickles!  We've eaten 2 or 3 and I've given away 2 jars.  This is a freezer, that is not currently being used as a freezer, so it sat empty in our house.  Then, as we started to pickle and all those pickles needed a home, I stuck them into our unused freezer.

The small jars have green beans in them.  My hubby likes dilled green beans.  The jars that have a red tint to them are dilled green beans with hot pepper.  He likes them spicy!  I think we are pretty set on pickles for a while.  Good thing they are so very, very yummy.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

The 4 year old photographer

The other day, while we were at the park, I let my six year old use the camera and take some pictures.  See two posts previous for some of his pictures.

When he was done taking pictures, the 4 year old got hold of the camera and added her own photographic art:

One of my sons and myself playing a game of chess in the shade of the slides.

Tired hiking

I took the kids on a little hike today.  It was in a forested area, so even though it was hot and humid, it wasn't too bad because we were always in the shade.  I brought a portable water cooler with ice water in it, so we always had something cold to drink.  It was an easy trail to walk, well cared for and not too long.

Despite all the positives, my youngest complained most of the time.  She was tired, she wanted to go home, her shoes were going to fall off (they weren't), she needed a rest, she needed a drink....

However, there was a part of the walk that had rocks that the kids could climb on.  BAM!  Suddenly she had energy to spare as she climbed up a cliff side and posed for pictures from the top.  She found another way back down and climbed up and down the rocks a number of times.

However, when we were done on the rocks and walking back to the van, she was quite tired and told me so over and over and over.  Despite this whining, she did great.  They all do.  I love that I can take them on little adventures like this and I don't have to push a stroller or carry a toddler.  Life is very good.