Monday, June 30, 2014

Making Jam/Preserves/Marmalade.

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Kip asked over the weekend how we were doing on the summer manifesto. I read the list aloud, and we checked off many of the items. Here's how it is shaping up...
  • Eat cheese slippers at Fervere. Status: NOT YET. Maybe next weekend?
  • Walk to Baskin Robbins. Status: NOT YET. I keep baking.
  • Eat at Foo's. Kip's never been, and it's so close to his house! Status: YES! And with Rachel and baby Keaton too!
  • Eat lunch downtown. Status: YES! Lulu's and it was delicious. Lunch specials!
  • Trip to Indianapolis to see Gabby graduate! Status: YES! And man was I sick while we were there.
  • Take treats to Kip while he is working. Status: YES! Leftover cake from my mom and s'mores. I've got some patriotic rice krispie treats lined up for this week. #mercia
  • Read for fun. Status: YES! I loved the June Book Club book so very much!
  • Celebrate my uncle's birthday with Mexican food at the Buffalo Roam. Status: Almost time!
  • Have lunch with my sister on her lunch break. Status: YES! And some of us had beer...we were at Beer Kitchen!
  • Take one online grad school class about the best new books in young adult literature. Status: YES! It's pretty enjoyable.
  • Strawberries/blackberries/blueberries/tomatoes/peaches. Status: 2 out of 5 so far. Need more blueberries though...
  • Beat Kip at Putt Putt. Or at least PLAY mini golf with Kip. Status: NOT YET. It's going to be a sticky humid game of putt putt at this rate.
  • Make a cocktail at home. Thinking that this one might be calling my name this weekend. Back-up plan: Paloma's. Status: YES! I made both. They were both amazing.
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I also learned how to make small batches of jam/jelly/marmalade. My first three attempts were all recipes from the book "Canning for a New Generation." (Strawberry jam, strawberry lemon preserves and blueberry Meyer lemon marmalade). These are different than the jams previous generations would have made because they are very small batch with a yield of only 3 to 5 half pints each time. I am going to branch out and try some other recipes soon, but so far this has book has been my guide. Rachel just sent me this recipe I'd like to try if I get more blueberries picked soon. 

Mom kindly lent me her canning supplies, and the Le Creuset Kip gave me for Christmas works perfectly for making the fruit mixtures. I've successfully water bath canned three times. I'm still figuring out the consistencies of the fruit which I'm pretty sure is what has affected my yield. For example, the blueberry Meyer lemon marmalade, with the one pound of lemons I carefully segmented for about an hour, should have made 5 half pints jars. I got about 3.5 jars. It might be really really thick and marmalade-y. Yes, I made up that word.
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We opened a jar of the strawberry lemon preserves last week when Rachel was here, and I can pretty much eat it on anything. Pancakes, bread, yogurt...it's tart and sweet in good proportions. There's a strong argument to be made for just over indulging in summer fruit right now, but I'm also loving putting some away for winter. Kip's deep freeze has some strawberries in a light syrup and blueberries tucked away for us this winter, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to be delighted to pull them out in January when it's snowy, cold and I have a new last name. #teamLynch

I've got time to can jam/preserves/marmalade because, for the most part, wedding planning is a breeze. Kip's easy to make decisions with about the event, registries, etc. and Mom is great at helping to get stuff done around town. My friends are overly generous with their time and good idea sharing, and it's been fun the last two weeks to mark stuff off the list. Not having that BIG grad school class this summer was a very good development that resulted in more pool time and more friend time. That's what I need in summer.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Rachel's Three Boys.

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Rachel left yesterday afternoon after a great four days of wedding related events and planning. Dress, paper shopping, flowers, and her first visit to an Oklahoma Joe's. I think the clouds parted and the angels sang when I found "the dress," and when she took a bit of her first Z-Man. I've got the best friends I tell ya, and it's fun to plan the various parts of the wedding where it's their specialty. Tara loves to talk paper. Erica is eager to help with the registry. Rachel calls herself "wedding experience coordinator." Operation plan this wedding by July 15th is going really well!

Before she left, Rachel snapped this photo of me and baby boy Keaton in a really sweet tank onesie. He'll be one next month, and that made me think I probably had pictures with each of her boys at about this age! Sure enough, I did. I lived with the Scotts in 2010 when Finley was a babe. Finn is in the top left hand corner, and this is is actually just after his first birthday on our trip to Pittsburgh for the marathon. Below that, Braden and I are pictured eating at Ted's Diner in Washington, D.C. on St. Patrick's Day. Braden and Keaton are almost exactly the same age in these photos. Babies are a delight, and it was so fun having the third little Scott as my house guest. We got along fine unless his mama left him and then he regretted my existence. #threescottboys

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Two Books of May.

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When I finished Small Wonder, I was struck by the power of careful, thoughtful words. I read it slowly over the past year, picking it up to read an essay or two in between other books. My friend from Virginia, Adrienne, thoughtfully surprised me with the book after I wrote about Kingsolver's gift with words in Flight Behavior. I read slowly for a year, but then in late April something moved me to read the rest of the book all at once. I found a few passages I thought our students could digest and discuss as parts of Socratic seminar. Other parts I read three times to make sure I understood them and other parts I read three times because they were incredibly beautiful. I cried through her letter to her teenage daughter and to her mother, and her essays about America in a post 9-11 world gave me plenty to chew on. If you pick it up, read it a little at a time to properly digest. If one essay has too much biology for you (Kingsolver studied the sciences in college), try another. The second half of the book is beautiful, and I will return to it. Especially those letters to mother and daughter.

The Lost Wife came to our book club from Ginny in Wichita. It was a good love story and included fascinating parts about survival in the Holocaust and the camps that I hadn't heard before. There were interesting details about artists that formed secret resistance movements, and I know those appealed to members of our book club as well. It has a weird set-up in that we know a bit about the end after the first chapter. I read to find out HOW all the stories wove together, and it was a love story against all odds.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Around Here.

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And we're back! The last couple weeks have been a blitz. Sports, super sick for a few days, a trip to Indianapolis for Gabby's graduation, the end of the school year, and an engagement. A ring! Let's review some of the highlights from the last couple weeks of life not on the blog...
  • Memorial Day weekend was quiet. Kip and I sat in the Victory Suite at the Sporting KC game, and I'm pretty sure he's ruined. For his first game, he sat in the owner's suite with great food, drink and an awesome view. We spent the rest of the weekend just relaxing, picked 13 pounds of strawberries, and I canned my first ever jam. I'm so proud.
  • My Royals record is better than my Sporting record this year. After yesterday's game, I'm now 3-0 at the K including wins over the Cardinals and the Yankees. My presence at Sporting brought one loss and one tie. 
  • Junior League doesn't really take a summer break for me this year. Working on getting the blog up and going and a bunch of posts ready to go. It felt overwhelming to think about getting that going when I wasn't writing on this space. But I'm back and feel like I'll be able to balance both going forward with a little bit of pre-planning. And I might even blog over on RV Parties again sometime soon.
  • We ate at the Greek Festival over the weekend. When I told Kip we were going, I think he thought we were hanging out at a festival all evening. I get that. Nope, we just went to eat. And it was delicious in every way possible. He was super impressed and has joined the Greek festival fan club. Then we watched the Blues Brothers - it was my first time!
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And yes, Kip proposed. Oh man, this guy. I feel like the luckiest lady and am super excited to marry him later this year. As Kip says, I'm so glad we're on the same team. I've got five weeks off this summer, and we're going to try to plan a wedding before I go back to to work on July 15th. I think we can do it and still enjoy summer in Kansas City, one of my very favorite times. I've only had the opportunity to introduce him twice as my "fiance" but it's super exciting.