Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"millions of peaches, peaches for me..."

I think I'm dating myself with that title! Anywhoooo, I finished bottling my first set of peaches yesterday. I did the whole messy process:

1. Buy peaches & let them ripen because I live in Kingman where fresh, ripe, tasty produce is a foreign concept!
2. Blanch the little buggers, peel the skins off, slice and pit them--not so easily done when the peaches are a little on UNRIPE inside. Several turned to mush as I twisted and squeezed to get them open since they didn't want to let go of that stupid pit!
3. Pack them in warm sterile mason jars, fill with syrup water, wipe clean, put lids on & start up the ole steam caner (actually it is brand new, works like a charm and is tons faster to heat up than a water bath--LOVE it, thanks mom!)
4. 36 min later VOILA I have bottled peaches, a sticky kitchen floor, huge mess of skins and pits ALL OVER THE COUNTER--and thanks to Ryan all over my floor--and a vow to NEVER EVER EVER do this again!
5. Wake up this morning, realize all the lids sealed correctly and feel a little proud. Decide it wasn't THAT bad (like having a baby right?) and that I need to follow the prophets council on provident living, stop being a baby and find myself at the store buying more peaches so that I can repeat steps 1-5 tomorrow.

How ridiculous is that!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Go by Boat, by Plane, by Car...

The last few weeks have been busy ones. First we headed to Utah making a quick stop to visit Scott's sister Wendy and her fam. They just bought an amazing house up in the hills east of Provo--amazing views of the valley! Then we drove north and hit up the Salt Lake County Fair. The boys loved the rides, I loved the food (you know me!) and Ryan did some serious bonding with the 4H sheep (lots of slobbery kisses :) After the fair, on to the Ahlstrom family reunion. Some of you may know that I have a rather LARGE family on my mother's side--large meaning mom had 10 kids in her family. Those 10 kids had 60 grand kids and about 2/3 of them are now married with over 80 great grand kids. Sooo needless to say we always have 100+ people at these things and it is always fantastic. You would think it would be hard to keep in touch and truly get to know everyone in a family that large but each time we get together it feels like time hasn't passed at all. Sure there are a few more kids or new people who have gotten married but we are a tight-knit family who LOVES spending time together. This year we all stayed at the same hotel, had swim parties, went to a water park, mini-golfed, did mass dinners together, had a major dance party--all around a ton of fun.

After that, my brother Bryan--who just got back from his mission in Houston, came back to hang out in good ole' Kingman for a few days. We took him to the beach in Havasu, ate some great food, had some serious movie marathons, and even dragged him to play group Wednesday morning. He was a good sport--he brought along his golf clubs and a few balls and taught the kids "proper" technique. The moms all thought he should come more often--we loved the free entertainment! You can visit anytime brother.

It is great spending time with family--sometimes it is a pretty big sacrifice of time and money but each time we get together it is completely worth it. Love you all, you can visit us anytime!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Life changing event!

It is drawing closer, I can sense it--I can sense it the way you can sense someone watching you from behind. Each day I grow more anxious. I can feel the knots in my stomach moving closer to the base of my throat and I swallow loudly, even now, hoping to suppress the growing tightness in my chest. This time of year, late summer, always brings on this antsy, itch-I-can't-scratch, time is dragging on, sort of feeling. What might be the cause of this unusual behavior?

It is almost COLLEGE FOOTBALL TIME! It is that time of year when it is ok for grown men to cry and sweet old ladies to punch the lady next to them for wearing the wrong color or cheering for the wrong team. You may think I'm crazy--one too many sleepless nights, a few too many chocolate brownies for breakfast. But let's be honest, who can ignore the feeling you get watching throngs of excited fans walk into a college stadium during a fall afternoon. The best is when the sun is just beginning to lower in the sky and the autumn leaves are shinning in the dull light. The air is crisp and so electric that the hair on your arms stand up, you almost can't help but run to your seat--even though you are an hour early--because you just can't wait to see the green of the field. The smell of grilling burgers hangs sweet and heavy in the late afternoon air and you feel the swell of pride as the band beats out your fight song. Complete strangers stand in unison, chanting as your team screams confidently out of the tunnel. It is a religious experience.

I've teared up a few times when the fight song is sung or an incredible, unbelievable, almost impossible catch is made. The best is watching the shear, uninhabited joy that grown men get from seeing messes of pads and helmets crunch together with jarring force. There is something to be said of the effort athletes give to their craft, the sacrifice, energy and soul with which they work and the simple pleasure derived from doing it well. Kids rightfully worship 19-25 year olds like they were war heroes and to those kids, watching those men exert every once of strength left on that field of battle, they are! College football is every metaphor, every cliche, every emotion, every everything. If you have never been to a game, a college football game played not for money or endorsements but for the sheer glory of the fight--REPENT NOW--go, cheer, let loose, eat great food, be inspired, learn to truly feel. It is an experience all it's own!

You can sense it can't you...it is coming and you will never be the same again!