Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summer Movie Series

Alternately titled:
Where I listen to toddlers shriek, get kicked in the back and smell poopy diapers to save a few bucks.

It always starts the same each summer.  I get excited about the FREE movie series shown each week during the summer and convince the kids that it will be fun.  They turn up their noses at most of the movies because they've already seen them or those are "too baby" but I can get them to commit to a few we skipped during the regular showings.

We pack a backpack with juice boxes and snacks because a free movie means free; none of this $5 kids pack from the concession stands for us.  We are simply here to watch your DVD on the big screen, thankyouverymuch.

First, you must arrive at least 30 minutes before the movie if you want your party of 5 to sit together.  Don't try to save seats because every mother coming in for the next 30 minutes is going to give you the look of death for robbing her and her children the opportunity to sit together for the free DVD showing.  If you do arrive after most of the seats are taken, be warned that now every mother sitting in the seats with an empty one near them will give you the look of "don't you even think about parading yourself and your 4 kids down this row, this seat is saved."

Very important- Look who you'll be sitting in front of.  This is the free movie full of 2-legged chair kickers and boy do they put on their practice shoes each week.  Try to sit in front of the parent accompanying the 2-legged chair kickers.  If the accompanying parent needs to make a bathroom run, be sure to use that opportunity to tell the 2-legged chair kicker to cut it out.  Nicely, of course.

Hopefully the movie will start on time because entertaining children for 30 minutes gets a bit difficult, even for the best mothers and daycare providers.  Finally, the lights go down and the movie starts...after the operator figures out how to switch over to the computer playing the DVD.  It can become quite comical to watch someone else navigate a computer while 200 people watch in anticipation.

Thirty minutes into the movie the toddler behind you starts asking about his shoe that fell off his foot.
"mommy, my shoe"
"my shoe, mommy"
"my shoe"
"my shoe?  mommy?"
"where's my shoe?"
"mommy, my shoe"
"my shoe, mommy"
Repeat this for the remainder of the movie.  I was about to offer up my own shoe for the kid.

Just as your thinking that the end of the movie needs to come soon or your chiropractor will be getting rich tomorrow, you smell it.  The smell of 100 toddlers and babies that all ate breakfast about two hours ago in one windowless room.
First kid: "mom, what is that smell?"
Second kid: "dude, who stinks?"  (This is a boy, of course)
Third kid: "mom, I think it's that kid right..."
Mom: "stop it, they are babies.  you pooped too, ya know."
Mom:  "dude, that stinks.  that's awful, what'd you feed that kid?"

And then you make a bee line out of the theatre as soon as the credits roll.

I'm going to suck as an old person; or senior citizen as I make my children say.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Make your own: Powdered Sugar

I thought powdered sugar was this special stuff made from something that was sugar like at one time but transformed into poofy powder by some highly complicated process.

That is until I was lazy one day and needed to make some frosting and realized I didn't have any powdered sugar.
Punch up Mr. Google.  

I'm telling you, Google automatically fills in the first three words of each of my searches now with "make your own fill in the blank."  Just today it was "make your own rice krispies" and guess what?!  You CAN make your own rice krispies!  Matthew was actually the one who wondered if it was possible so I'm thinking about making a video with him explaining that.

So anyway, back to the powdered sugar.  It's very simple, involving only 2 things.

Sugar and a blender. 

Oh, and maybe some dish cloths because your countertop might look like you poofed a bag of powdered sugar all over the place.

I made the powdered sugar today with two different sugars, one is the traditional, refined white sugar and the other is unrefined sugar, or evaporated cane juice.  This is sometimes called raw sugar, turbinado sugar, sucanat or rapadura.  They are essentially all the same but rapadura is refined the least amount.  Cane juice actually has minerals in it and the process of refining it takes those nutrients out, so we try to use raw sugar for most everything in our house.  I buy our evaporated cane juice either at a nutrition store, Whole Foods or through Azure Standard, a co-op that delivers once a month. If I run out before placing an order with the co-op I will pick up a box or two of Sugar in the Raw at the grocery store.

The process:

Dump your sugar into the blender and turn it on.  You may need to stop occasionally and knock the sugar back into the center of the blender.

To really freak your kids out you can remove the center piece of the lid and yell that the blender is on fire; they will usually come running for that.  But be warned, they will then start licking the air because it tastes like powdered sugar.

After blending for just a minute or so you will start to see powdered sugar forming.  Blend until you like the consistency.  The raw sugar ended up being only slightly darker than the white sugar once powdered.
Matthew did a taste test of the two different powdered sugars and concluded that the raw sugar had more flavor and after testing myself, I conclude he is correct; the raw sugar definitely made a more flavorful powdered sugar.  I combined the two and it is now safely stored in a Ziploc with the baking products in my pantry.

So, now when you think "I really need powdered sugar" for your fancy french toast but you're still cozy in pajamas, you can make your own and save a trip to the grocery store.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Make Your Own Series

I make many of things we use in our home myself.  This is partly due to frugality, partly to cut down on the amount of chemicals and unhealthy ingredients found in processed foods and largely out of laziness.  Yep, as backwards as that sounds, it's days that I don't want to get ready and run to the grocery store for that one missing ingredient in my recipe that leads me to figure out how to make something on my own.  Once I find that I can make something easily I have a hard time buying it at the store the next time I run out.  I flip to the ingredient list and see a lot of mumbo jumbo that I can't pronounce, or even worse is once I've learned what the mumbo jumbo actually is, and I put it back.  I now have many ziploc bags labeled with things like powdered sugar, white cake mix, pancake mix, brownie mix, etc. lining my pantry shelves instead of boxes.

So I thought I would share these things with all of you so if you find yourself one ingredient short and too lazy to go to the store, you too can make it yourself.

I'll start with a reminder of my post about making your own laundry soap, found here.
I now make my own laundry bar soap that I grind up instead of buying the Fels Naptha and Kirks Hardwater Castile soap.  I'm giddy about my next batch of laundry soap because I scented the bar soap this time with the same mountain fresh smell that I miss from Tide.  Giddy about laundry soap, oh my.