Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Will the real maple syrup please stand up?

March 20th will be our 39th wedding anniversary.  Time has been in fast forward mode for the last four decades.  I woke up one morning to find not only am I going grey along the temples, but I'm now the mother of five grown children and grandmother to 14 grandchildren.  "I don't remember growing older", even though my grandchildren remind me that I am.

Since I was a stay-at-home mom, I learned to be shrewd with limited finances.  So.....(here comes a true confession)...I have never bought maple syrup, EVER.  With all the endless meals I've prepared through the decades breakfast amounted to at least 1/3 of them....ya think? That's alot of buttermilk pancakes (made with real buttermilk) and alot of oatmeal waffles (made from scratch).  To top off those breakfast standbys, I always had homemade maple syrup on hand. Between my mother and Aunt Marion, I have a wonderful, basic recipe which only cost pennies to make.  Here it is:

1 cup water
2 cups sugar (yes 2 cups sugar)
1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring

Add the water and sugar together in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil for about 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add maple flavoring.  Done! Makes one cup.  So simple!  So quick! So easy! 

There are other recipes out there that use corn syrup, they are good too. but added ingredients add to the cost.  Through the years this recipe has saved us hundreds of dollars as I constantly skip the maple syrup section in the grocery store where you will pay allot for convenience.  You're welcome.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Christmas of the Monkey Butt Powder

Christmas has become very complicated.  It used to be easy when I only had five children to buy for.  Now I have 28 people in my immediate family that require Christmas cheer.  Here's the break down:
1. 1 husband
2. 5 grown children + their 5 spouses/significant others + 1 ex-wife
3.  13 assorted grandchildren
4.  3 aging parents

Christmas occurs just after the end of fall semester, when I've been busy putting together portfolios for finals, etc. This leaves no time to celebrate the season in timely fashion.  My Christmas tree never gets decorated until one of my children takes pity on Christmas Eve.  This year the task fell to Austin who did his best.  I did find the Christmas door jingle bells on the tree.  I didn't say a word.  Last year Ashley came to my aid.  She wasn't available this year because she spent Christmas with Cody's parents... since she never gets to see them.

Anyway... feeling overwhelmed, I told Scott it's time he helped out.  I gave him the task of buying Christmas gifts for our sons (2) and our son-in-laws (3).  You do the math.  He surprised me and agreed.  What surprised me even more was he seemed happy about it.  Since he's a guy he doesn't waste time shopping in malls, he goes online.  Next thing I know suspicious packages start arriving.  Scott even wrapped them himself.  Fast forward to Christmas morning.  I get:
1.  a requested Great Course about the golden age of Dutch Masters (nice)
2. an Audubon bird caller (nice) now I can "tweet" ha ha
3. a log carrier (?)
4. a "Big Ass" bar of soap (?)

The sons/sons-in-law got more useful things, things to help them smell nice and not itch tender places in public.  They will someday thank him.  Merry Christmas.