Sugar House and Sushi

3.30.2010
One of the best things unique to this part of the country is pure maple syrup!  Bron and I went to a Sugar House a couple of miles from our home on Saturday afternoon to see how they make it first-hand.  It was a lot of fun!  And oh, so yummy too!


First, the maple farmers tap the maple trees.  The trees must be at least 40 years old, or about 10 inches in diameter.  That's a long time to wait!  Then they connect tubing from one tree to another and run the lines througout the entire forest.  It looks like a maze.  Finally, all the maple sap converges and collects at the same spot for pick-up.   

Pure, frozen, maple sap, old school style. 
It's about 1.2% sugar.


We got to observe where they remove the water from the sap via boiling it or through reverse osmosis.  Very pretty stainless steel, don't you think?  The sugar content is now between 20 and 28% and ready to eat.


The farmers pour the fresh syrup into jars or bottles.  Some of them were still warm!  We bought some dark amber stuff to share with family this summer.  We also bought some maple candies too.

Bron and I had a great afternoon out!  Not only did we get to see the maple farm in action, we got to sample maple syrup over some fry bread and try some maple icecream.  Delicious!  We also got to go on a horse-drawn wagon ride.  They actually galloped!  It was fun!  We'll have to do it again next year. 

***** 

For those of you who may not know, my burly steak and potato loving husband is also a big fan of sushi!  When I saw a sushi recipe book on sale for $7.00 last week, I just had to surprise him with it.  Later on Saturday afternoon we tried our hand at actually making it.  Cooking the sushi rice was the hardest and most time consuming part, but it's worth it.  I think rolling the sushi is a learned art-form as well; some of them fell apart.  Oh well.  They still tasted great.  We'll be making these again for sure! 

 
Our Sushi
made with imitation crab, cucumber, red peppers, and avocado. 
We can't wait to try more varieties!

Hooray for a delicious Saturday!

West Side Story

3.22.2010
It's the Sharks vs. the Jets.  "Womb to Tomb!"  "Sperm to Worm!"


I had a busy week!  Our community theatre performed the musical, West Side Story.  It's a racy tale of teenage angst, sex, and death accompanied by jazzy music, dancing, and singing. So much fun!  The performances were actually very well done.  There's surprisingly a lot of talent in our little area.  I was impressed!   

I was invited to play my violin in the pit orchestra.  Because rehearsals were every Sunday during church the entire month leading up to performance week, I was unable to attend practice until dress-rehearsals began last Monday night.  My reputation preceded me and I was placed right smack in the front as the concert master.  Oh.  Pressure!  That meant I had three days to learn over a hundred pages of music.  And West Side Story isn't exactly easy stuff to play either.  But I thrive under pressure.  I absolutely loved the challenge!  We had five performances between Thursday night and Sunday.  Fortunately, each performance was better than the last, both on stage and in the pit.  I went from playing about 90% of the material to missing only a few measures here and there.  I wish performances could've gone on for another week.  I really can't describe how much I truly enjoy playing my violin.  If I could get paid to sit in an orchestra pit, I'd become a workaholic!  Plus, there's just a spirit of comradery that makes a person happy when an entire community comes together, works hard, and pulls off something so well.  On top of that, I got to meet a bunch of really cool people.  I can't wait until next year!

35 Weeks


They say black is a slimming color.  However, no amount of black can hide this baby belly of mine!  My bulging tummy attracted a lot of attention. People tell me my pregnancy looks almost fake; like I just stuck a basketball under my shirt.  All I know is that this baby is definitely real and he will probably come out singing, "Mariaaa!"  He kicked up a storm during the loud pieces.  That was fun too.

Baby Shower Miner Farm Style

3.16.2010

Saturday the folks here at Miner Institute threw me a surprise baby shower!  Bron was invited too, of course.  No wonder he kept distracting me from whipping us up some lunch. 

The shower was really cute and so well put together!  My friends Anna and Roxanne planned the entire thing in all its details.  I'm so lucky to have friends like them!  It really meant a lot.  I just hope I can return the favor someday.  The lounge was decorated with blue ribbons, candles, and balloons.  Everyone contributed some great food, including chips, salsa, guacamole, meatballs, and an array of fruit with dip to snack on.  Yum!  Roxanne made an adorable farm cake complete with a red barn made from graham crackers.  She made sure to point out the "barn star" on the side.  It made me laugh out loud.  (There's a story behind that.)  Anna was in charge of the games.  We all guessed the five most popular baby names from the last decade and measured my bulging belly.  Amazingly, Bron is about as big around as I am!  Whoa.  I have a feeling I'm going to outgrow even his shirts soon though.  My favorite game was guessing the flavor in each jar of baby food.  Some are so gross smelling!

Then, of course, it was time to open gifts.  Heather made a special present just for Bron.  She stuffed a real leather toolbelt full of diaper changing supplies like diapers, wipes, baby powder, and "butt cream"!  It was an awesome idea!  Bron wore it proudly.  Everyone at Miner contributed money to buy us one big ticket item.  I had to close my eyes while they brought it out: a jogging stroller and car seat combo!  I can't tell you how delighted I was!  It's perfect; exactly what I wanted and definitely need.

Spatulas will be nice for lifting the baby's bottom without actually having to get Bron's fingers dirty. 
(Just kidding.)

The jogging stroller and car seat!  I didn't think my look of surprise was too embarrassing to post!

Our baby is now officially set to go.  You can come any time now, Jed!  Though it might be best if you hang in there for a few more weeks.  I'd like to get some extra things done while my womb still serves as a free babysitter.

Thanks to everyone who made Saturday such a memorable day!  You made us feel so good and cared about.  It means the world.

What I Accomplished This Week

3.12.2010
Finished filing our taxes.  Taxes should not take that long to plug and crank.  It took hours because we had to file as part-residents in two states and I'm really not fluent in the ambiguous accountant language.  But I did our taxes without throwing a fit.  Now that's an accomplishment!  So glad it's done... until next year.

Tackled a few things to hopefully improve our little Young Women program.

Washed the baby's clothing and ever so gently folded and put them in the dresser to await his imminent arrival.  It made me giddy!  Have you ever seen a t-shirt so small?  Have you?  I can't wait to cuddle the tiny warm body that will wear them.   

Painted my toenails red.  It's almost spring, which means sandals, which means a girl's toes must look cute!  I know I can't actually see my toes, but that's beside the point.  I think it's my biggest accomplishment this week because bending over is a feat in itself, let alone touching my toes and staying there for an extended period of time.  I had to use some engenuity and painted them on the stairs.

A Day in Montreal

3.08.2010

Bron decided I needed a little spoiling this weekend and took me to spend the day in French speaking Montreal, QC.  I love Montreal!  There is so much to see and do!  I don't think we'll ever find time to cover it all.  

When Bron heard that there were some Russian restaurants and stores in Montreal, we knew we had to check them out.  Bron spent two years on a mission in Western Siberia.  Our first stop was at a little Russian grocery store.  Bron was like a kid in a candy store; he was so excited!  They had many of his favorite Russian delicacies, so we picked up a little of each.  He even got the chance to brush up on his Russian language skills too.  So cool.

Next, we explored the Underground Mall.  I had a lot of fun with Bron trying on new suit coats.  He looks so handsome all dressed up!  

Check out what I ate for lunch:


Yes, folks, that's a giant crepe smothered in Nutella then topped with a banana, icecream, pineapple, strawberries, and more chocolate!  I was in heaven.  Bron was too.  He ate sushi.  I still think my meal was better. 

That evening, we perused St. Catherine's street and walked to Old Town.  The city's most unique feature is that there are ornate cathedrals standing next to modern high rise buildings on almost every block. It's beautiful!  I got the chance to practice my camera skills.  If you think the cathedrals are cool looking on the outside, the insides are breathtaking.  



Thanks, Montreal, for a beautiful day out!

My Shadow

3.05.2010
Is it possible to love someone you've never met yet?  Yeah...

New Self Portrait
33 Weeks

Thoughts on Motherhood

3.02.2010
"No other success can compensate for failure in the home."  ~David O. McKay

We're young, we're married, we're expecting a baby, and we plan to do it all on a masters student's stipen.  Yes, we're crazy!

Since we've moved to New York, I've met a number of people here at Miner, at work, and at church who prioritize family much like my husband and I have been raised to do.  However, there are many other people who plainly don't have that same mind-set.  It's what they're not saying that I hear loud and clear.  Their body language says it all.  I'd like to take a moment to defend myself and my decision to become a mother.

Yes, there are many sacrifices that come with having a child: I will sacrifice my sleep, my personal time, and money.  Travel will be more difficult.  I recognize that sometimes the highlights of my day will be playing with play dough and then finally getting around to sweeping the floor.  I will be at the beck and call of another, smaller, human being and I will be responsible to fulfill that child's needs.  My patience will be tried and I will become frustrated.  However, I don't see motherhood as the ultimate "losing" battle.  Instead, I see it as a great gain. I personally feel that raising another human being is one of the most meaningful things I can do with my time and my life.  I hope I will ultimately become a better person by being a mother to someone.  I will have an influence on someone else's life and a little on society.  I will be someone's hero (for a little while, at least).  I will be needed to wipe away the tears and fix a bleeding elbow.  I will receive hugs and kisses.  I will laugh.  I will learn.  I will get to spend time playing at the park.  I will gain a greater appreciation for my own mother.  I will have more people to love and more to feel proud of. 

I know motherhood will be a lot of work and I really have no clue, but I know it will be worth it.  The positives clearly outweight the negatives in my mind.  I think I will be a happier, more fulfilled, person in the end.  And that's what I want.  I want to be happy and whole. 

Now doesn't being a mother just sound way better than settling for a canine companion or a regular job that ultimately just pays the bills? 

I think so.  And I'm excited!  Bring it on!