Friday, June 22, 2018

Kids and Candy

We took the kids to an art museum and one of the exhibits was a knock out with them.  This artist used old candles and crayons melted down and poured into molds to make gummi bears and circus peanuts.   Needless to say, the exhibit was a hit.

 Remember these candies?  They were orange and squwoodgy and tasted strange, but we ate them anyway because we were kids and they were sweet.  The entire floor was covered in these inches deep.   When we walked into the room Adelaide immediately said, "I smell crayons."  This girl has the nose of a bloodhound. She can detect anything.
 We came home, found some molds, old metal cups and pans, the bag of old crayons, tore off the labels, sorted for color and set to work.
 Elizabeth wanted a marbled look
 Adelaide went with solid colors with a drop or two of surprise mixed in

After they cooled we popped them out of the molds and they were excited with the results.  "This was fun!"

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Better than birthday cake

I wait all year for this day.  I mark the calendar, set the alarm and head out for the first day of strawberry season.  Today was the first day of Upick and I was late, I got there 30 minutes after they opened! 
 I picked seven pounds which was just enough for the first time out.  I'm going again on Friday and again on Saturday and again on Tuesday and again on.....
 This is the first strawberry pie of the season.  It's the best thing you'll ever put into your mouth. Better than your birthday cake.
 I cut it in half and PH delivered the second half to our daughter down the street. 
 My new oven has a dehydrating feature on it and I've been pacing waiting to try it on the berries.
 Strawberries are a lot of water so it took a few hours to get them to this point.  I learned that the thicker ends don't dry crispy like the middle slices do, but a little bendy.  Next time I'll cut the ends much thinner.  They look like someone stepped on them and left them to die in the street, but let me tell you, the house smells heavenly.
 From two large cookie sheets I got this pint jar of dehydrated berries and they taste wonderful. Crispy strawberry chips!
I was just going to toss the parchment paper into the bin when I looked at this again and thought Elizabeth will see the artistic possibilities in them so I'll save them for her.   I can't believe I'm saving something like this but it's really quite pretty.  Maybe slicing a berry and painting with it? 

Thursday, June 7, 2018


We are in the presence of big talent in this family!  Our SIL had two of his paintings accepted in an art exhibit here and tonight was opening night.  The show's theme is Location, location, location and each painting or photo expresses some aspect of a place.  We're pretty proud of seeing his paintings among the many talented artists.

Then there's our dancer.  Last night was Ceci's dance recital and truly she's a talent!  She was in three dances, ballet, tap and jazz.

Congratulations to both of you!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Us Against You

Us Against You by Fredrik Backman

     Sometimes the easy becomes hard and then harder still until you forget anything was ever easy.  Something so simple as a sport, a game.  Everyone gets a stick, two nets, two teams, us against you.
     For Beartown and neighboring just on the other side of the forest Hed, hockey is more than a game or a sport.  It’s the heartbeat you can hear pulsing through each person. Summers are short, winters start in September and so does hockey.  From the looks of it, there are no toys in Beartown or Hed that aren’t hockey sticks or pucks or skates. 
     So, when the heart of the community is threatened to be cut out, when there is a rumor that Beartown will lose its hockey club, this is a big deal. Especially after the year they just had (read Beartown, the book previous to this one) when sides were taken, lives were ruined, teams dissolved, loyalties tested beyond their limits and a person found out what kind of person they really were.  To find now things could get even worse was almost more than could be tolerated.
     It all comes down to the game between Beartown and Hed. Between the ones who left and the ones who stayed.  It would be the game that determined the fate of the hockey club in Beartown. The pressure is on Amat, the fastest skater anyone has ever seen, Benji, whose secret could tear the team apart and almost does tear the town apart, Bobo, who has responsibilities off the ice but not the skills on the ice and Vidar, who brings with him a whole cadre of trouble.  Ana and Maya are best friends who must hold each other up because they both carry loads that would make anyone fall.   And before everything implodes, before Beartown and Hed destroy each other, there is a death. 
     This sounds so ominous and serious and heavy and totally hockey, but really, Us Against You is, and as I said of  Beartown before it,  about loyalty, deep, multi-layered, intense, timely. In author Backman’s hands, Beartown is us. Us Against You is us.  Though you don’t have to, if you haven’t read Beartown, read it before you read Us Against You.  It will be good to know who everyone is and why. 
     I used to say about author Backman that he gets old people, he was inside their heads perfectly.  But with Beartown and Us Against You, I’ve come to understand Backman gets inside the heads of all of us. He is inside and is showing us to ourselves.  Now I can say Backman gets the tightness of the small town mentality where loyalties become frenzy. This is a study of small town politics, friendships, colorful characters, pain and joys. And no one does it better than Fredrik Backman.  No one.