Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Fall Brews

We are really pushing to finish our basement.  We are so tired of having a bunch of little and big things left to do.  We were hoping to finish it this summer, but orders got delayed and life happened on weekends and things got pushed back.  BUT...we've set a new deadline and we've been working little by little nights and weekends to get things done!

One of the first, and major things that needed to happen was to make some beer.  What?  You question our priority list?  Keep in mind that beers generally take a few weeks to ferment.  (Brew?  Cure?  Clueless.)  We are having a party in early December and Mike wanted his taps in working order.

A couple weekends ago he spent an entire Sunday afternoon and night - until about midnight - working on two different beer batches.  Our house smelled so bad.  I finally ditched being a friendly coworker and headed upstairs where I could sit by an open window and breath again.

You'll notice the word above "Fuggle".  Here's the back-story.  Years ago when our children were MUCH smaller and had bigger ears and couldn't distinguish between repeatable words and not-repeatable words, Mike learned how to make beer.  I don't know if one day he burned himself or what, but he was about to utter some not-repeatable words but saw a set of little ears and caught himself.  Later he told me we needed a word that between us, we would know it's meaning to be not good, but that if the kids repeated, we wouldn't feel bad because it really meant nothing.  As he was working on his brew he came across "Fuggle". He decided right then that that would be our word.  And it has been ever since.  Try it sometime.  When you really want to throw out a very not-repeatable word...yell, "FUGGLE!"  If it's really serious you can say, "FFFFF-UUU-GGGLE!!!"  Or clench your teeth and, "fuggle."  It's a wonderful word - it's akin to being as awesome as supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

Whew...I am not spell-checking that.

Mike's bar was built with three taps.  The kids and I convinced him that one of his brews should be Root Beer.  How awesome would that be to always have root beer on tap!?!  He relented and gave up one of his beloved taps and after an exhaustive search for what may be the best home brew root beer he settled on this:

Apparently you can buy it at Cub, but he made it before I got a chance to get there and pick some up to taste test.

The recipe?  Root Beer syrup and water.  The dog was only too happy with some stray drops.

This is the canister that holds the Root Beer.  They are fairly tall and there are three of them sitting in his bar area.  We spent last Friday at the Home Brew store getting CO2 tanks filled and some other necessary stuff to make our Root Beer Float dreams a success.

I've learned a great deal about "Forced Carbonation" and 40PSI levels to start then getting things to an 8PSI level to is a hobby I will never understand, but one I'm glad he thoroughly enjoys.

We desperately hope the Root Beer tastes good and not like Root Beer Barrel candies.  Otherwise you may hear a quartet of "F-U-GGLE."

Monday, October 22, 2012

My Day

Today was my birthday and what fun day it was!

It started extra early as Maddie and her friend had to be on the road to school by 6:45 for choir.  She gave me a big hug this morning with the question, "How do you feel???"  She's expecting Mike and I to start walking stooped over soon.

After dropping off the kids Mike and I headed to Caribou to get my free drink!  Hooray Caribou!  Then we drove to Edina where I wanted to look through a couple stores that I hadn't been in and was curious about.  Store #1 - closed for 45 minutes more by the time we got there.  Store #2 - Container Store where I got some boxes to hold my future reincarnated stamp collection.  Store #3 - Trader Joe's.  When we realized this was just a grocery store we were out of there pretty fast.  Store #4 - Closed.  Or else the door wasn't working - the guy we saw walk in had to pry the doors open so we just assumed he worked there.  Boo.

But, then it was off to run some much needed errands for our basement and Mike took me out to lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant - El Toro.  We celebrated a little extra than most days we dine there...

The rest of the afternoon was spent lounging around and then I taught.  After dinner we headed downstairs where I got to open my presents at the bar while Mike worked on grouting and the kids looked on.  Jake was the official photographer.

I got a massive box of Jr. Mints which are my favorite candy.  It also happens to be loved by my children so I'm glad they got the big box.

When I finally got through to the inside of this box I found the present I have been waiting (and not-so-secretly) for...Photoshop Elements 11!!!

I believe it was right after I bought my new computer about six months ago that I started massively dropping hints that THIS was what I wanted for my birthday.

Then Mike asked for a list (which I normally give with pictures/prices/locations just to be clear).  There was only one picture on my list: Photoshop Elements 11.

Then last week when he asked again I straight out informed him that if I didn't get this most requested of all gifts I would be a very sad girl.  I even offered that it could double as my Christmas gift.  Wait...I don't think I did offer that.  But I would have if I felt it truly necessary.

What was an extra special surprise was that last Friday while we were unloading things from the car Mike asked me to check the front door for any deliveries.  We had been having bar/basement stuff delivered all week and it had been raining so I assumed he didn't want anything to get extra wet if it was there.

I rounded the corner and saw...a new monitor for me!  I had thrown this into a conversation a couple weeks ago as a "someday I would like..." gift.  It's so awesome!!! It's HUGE compared to my teeny laptop (which really isn't teeny at all).  But, it's a monitor geared more toward photo-enthusiasts so there are some differences which are too much to explain - even for my wordiness.  Suffice to say it's AWESOME.  I love it.

So, the blog has suffered lately because I frankly did not want to upload pictures and resize them on the tiny (really...12 inch!) monitor circa 1992 in Mike's office.  When he wasn't in there, it was late and I was tired and lazy.  I have TONS of pictures I want to play around with and tons of things to update and now I can do it anytime!!

So...I had an awesome day.  But, I have an awesome family to thank for it.  Even without the presents they made me feel really special and I love them for it.

But the presents aren't a bad thing to accompany that (wink, wink)!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Silent Auction

Yesterday Jake and I were making applesauce and Mike came home from a meeting.  Jake asked how his lunch went and there was no answer.  I thought I heard Jake say, "I guess we're getting the silent auction."

Mike came back a few minutes later and I asked how his afternoon had gone.  Again...Mike walked away without an answer.  I distinctly heard Jake say, "Dad is DEFINITELY giving us the silent auction."

That's when I realized what he was trying to say.  I told him the term was "Silent Treatment".  Dad was giving us the silent treatment.  Then I explained what a silent auction was and the light dawned in Jake's eyes.

And Mike wasn't giving us the silent treatment.  I think he was trying to get some things into the house quickly and get back downstairs in time for another meeting and just plain wasn't paying any attention to us.

At least we are giving him the benefit of the doubt on that one...

Friday, October 12, 2012

Keeping Preoccupied

Last week Maddie had some pretty awful stomach issues.  She missed most of the week of school and by Friday - other than her stomach - I think she was bored out of her mind and had slept enough to catch up on the next three years.

Enter: Craft Friday.

I found this website that morning and KNEW this would be something that could keep her immobile enough and busy enough to not go completely numb in the brain.

I went to Joanne's and bought four fat quarters of the different colors and styrofoam balls.  Can I just say I thought balls made of air would be far cheaper than they were.

For the next couple hours she and I worked together.  I ripped strips of fabric and she hot glued them onto the stryofoam.  Then she cut out little faces for these balls and we realized that left-handed scissors are pretty handy to have.  Too bad we didn't have any.

[Housekeeping note: please ignore the dust.  We ran out of swiffers that week and I was too lazy to pull out the Pledge.)

We ended up with:




and KATniss:

Maddie and Mike's favorite is the mummy.  Jake and I are partial to Frankie.

Maddie and I were super excited over them and still get giggly over how much we love them when we enter the room.  Despite feeling was a fun afternoon and some good girl time for us!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Early Morning Run

Saturday morning Mike and I picked Tracy up at 6am and headed down to St. Paul.  We were running our first 10K!

It was a brisk morning, but honestly once we started running it wasn't bad at all.  It was the Twin Cities' Marathon Weekend and it's billed as "the prettiest run in the United States".  This may be true - the fall colors were gorgeous, and we got to run down a very historic area of St. Paul lined with old Victorian mansions.  Tracy was way (way...way!) ahead of us, but afterward in comparing notes she and I said we weren't really able to enjoy the sights because we noticed we slowed way down when we did.

In our training (which I kind of dragged Mike into...but I think he was glad he did it) Mike and I had had a plan to switch "leading" in the run with every mile.  I told him I was going to lead the first mile because in practice he always took off the first mile and I thought I was going to die.  I like to warm up a bit.  Well, the first thing you encountered on this run was this big hill.  I should also mention that Mike doesn't slow down on hills - in fact, he runs faster.  Immediately our training plans were out the window.  He was ready to get to the top, and I was ready to take it nice and easy to ensure I made it to the top.  After awhile I told him he could totally run ahead of me and I wouldn't feel bad in the least.

He did run ahead a little bit, but to his credit I saw him looking back to check on me often.  I was totally fine with it.  I know I'm not a fast runner, but I also know I get faster as I go so I figured by the end I'd be much closer to him (but not to Tracy...that girl is like the Road Runner compared to me).  What brought us together in the end was Mike's shoelace came untied.  He stopped to tie it, I ran past him and he caught up with me and we ran the last couple miles together.

We ended in 1 hour, 16 seconds.  That put us at a 9 minute 45 second pace.  Like I said, we aren't fast, but this was the fastest we had run in all our training and it was the furthest I had ever run in my life!  I am pretty happy with the results.  Mike was happy with our run too...except he really hated that we were 16 seconds short of doing the whole thing in under an hour.  I guess we have a new goal for next time.

Tracy did awesome - I think she was around an 8 minutes 30 second pace; I think she beat her goal too!

I don't know if I'd do this race again right away.  There was an awful lot of hills.  Mostly I don't remember running down any - just up.  The last big hill a guy was cheering on the sidelines and said, "This is the last hill!  You can do it!"  Mike ran by him and said, "Promise?"  Then we came to a little incline right before the finish line and Mike said, "I think this qualifies as a hill too."  By then, I think a stair tread would have qualified as a hill to us.

Tracy has her sights set on a 10 miler in the spring.  I think I'm good sticking with the 10K (6.2 miles) for now.  But for the immediate future we'll be riding out the little high from this and take a break on "serious" training and concentrate on just getting out there and moving.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Little Help From the End

Tomorrow Jake is running the mile at school.  He wanted to "warm up" tonight by going for a little run.  I agreed and we ran to Target, got some socks for him, and ran back.

Near the end of a run, I always like to sprint a little and Jake knows this so at a certain point he started us on a little sprint.  A few steps into it I heard a little "Phht..." from his rear end.  Being ever so mature I ignored it.  A few steps later I heard it again and then I heard some giggles from my running partner.

When we got home I said, "Jake - you ran so hard you squeezed all the air right out of you!"

Without missing a beat he replied, "I know!  It was like my own little jet-propulsion pushing me along!"