Wednesday, May 11, 2022

If you don't like the weather just wait 10 minutes

 We bought cozy patio furniture on Saturday. I curled up on a loveseat to read on Sunday. Later we built our first fire of the season, roasted the first marshmallows/made the first s'mores of the season. 


 

Then, overnight, this:



Saturday, May 7, 2022

Getting outdoor hours

 I am trying the 1000 hours outside challenge this year. Given the way the first part of the year has gone, I think I will be happy to reach 500 hours by new year.  However, my mother's day present to myself and my family means that more time out of the house just may be quite a bit more feasible.


 Yes, this is a new (to us) patio set. The chairs around the table are significantly more comfortable than the set we previously had so outdoor dining just became more likely. AND there are two loveseats perfect for lounging on while reading - one for me and one for Alex. PLUS two small coffee tables just right for holding nice cold drinks to stay hydrated in the summer heat.

Just need this to not be the next "most wildfires ever recorded" year so we can breathe the outdoor air.

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Catching up

 Since the last post, way back in January ... 

  • We've skied. Literally every weekend since January 8 at least one member of the family skied for at least one day. Terry ended up going for the 10 weeks of lessons, and when that ended I started the 4 week spring ski lesson course. Sadly, tomorrow is my last lesson and given how melt-y everything is getting, likely our last time on the slopes until next season. I know most slopes have been closed a month already, but it is a little sad to us. I guess we go back to hiking.
  • We have two new additions to the household: Nikita and Flicker (née Harlow, but nobody liked that name and Flicker suits her). We had been talking about getting cats since before we went to Germany and it was beyond time.
  • Alex is prepping for high school. In Canada high school starts in 10th grade. She applied to, and was accepted at, a charter school that we expect will give her the support and challenge that has been missing in middle school.
  • Terry's been prepping for gardening season. We have a bunch of little baby plants under lights waiting for the right time. Which, in Canada, is way past Mother's Day (normal planting time in PA).
  • I had a short work trip to Dushanbe, Tajikistan!  For three days! 

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Maple syrup taffy

 Friday's adventure: maple syrup taffy

All it takes is some boiled syrup (to 235-245F) and snow. Check and check.

In one set of instructions I found online the writer mentioned that candy thermometers are notoriously inaccurate so she uses three simultaneously. Given what happened with our attempt, I'd say she was probably right. By the time the syrup hit the right temp the consistency was definitely off. Several recipes mentioned letting the syrup cool for up to 5 minutes before pouring but this was already hardening.  We did get a few crunchy, hard candy clumps before Terry tried to salvage what was  there by adding water and boiling down again. That gave us somewhat creamy, sweet snow. Definitely not what we were after.

So, we will try again.

And try again we did. That was Saturday's adventure. I took the boiling maple syrup off the burner when it was only about 225 degrees. That created the kind of thick, sticky, taffy consistency that could pull out a filling.

So I guess we need a third try, for that perfect Goldilocks of chewiness.


Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Happy birthday to me!

 ... a few days late.  This year was a pretty good one. It started with chocolate chip waffles and Alex' card. The card included a secret code I had to crack to find the batches of cookies she made just for me.

 

  We tried to make maple syrup taffy, which failed miserably. We watched a movie together, Terry made my five hour duck (delicious as always, and the source of a year's worth of duck fat), and after dinner we had a brief jaunt to Confederation Park to check out the light displays and do a little sledding. 

The kids' s'mores cake was fantastic, although the marshmallow frosting melted into the cake a bit.  The kids gave me what I always ask for (but don't always get) - a whole day without fighting. I *may* have napped between 10-11pm but did get up in time to watch the fireworks on TV. We could see a tiny bit of the highest fireworks from the front steps but that wasn't reason enough to stand outside in the -20 chill.