GingerDEAD House

Last night our daughters worked together decorating a Gingerbread house. It was great to see them work together so well. It was entertaining as well because they wanted to make it a part of their “Creepy Santa” escapades.

Of course they made a “GingerDEAD House” full of blood icing. I enjoyed listening to them tell stories of how the Gingerbread people died. I like that they created their own style of house instead of making it look like a perfect match from the box.

Creepy Santa is proud as well. I’m sure he’ll bring them something nice this year. You can follow him on Instagram. Hohoho Horror.

Candy Cane Can’t

I was driving to get the kids from school like I usually do on a Friday afternoon. Being the cool Dad alone in the car- I was grooving to some Christmas tunes on the radio. I also decided that I was going to eat a Candy Cane. Because- Christmas of course!

So I’m driving and trying to open the wrapper with both hands- while still holding the steering wheel- safety first. Just bopping along to some tunes and smiling as I struggle with the heat shrinked wrapper. My smile is now fading as I try and use my teeth to rip into this unforgiving clear plastic of pure evil. I want to eat my sugar treat!!! Why is this so difficult???

I finally got a little tear opened on the bottom of the candy cane. So I went back to multitasking with my hands on the steering wheel and opening my treat. The nearly impossible plastic protective shield was outsmarted by this man! I was about to revel in my Christmas Sugar Rush when the unthinkable happened.

The wrapper split open from end to end to reveal a shattered candy cane.

Nay! Not reveal- but rather EXPLODE!

Candy Cane shards went everywhere. All over the floor mats, the dashboard, my cup holders, and even into my steering column. Instead of a loud cursing scream, my voice let out a cracked whimper of defeat. I was beaten by a cheap Christmas confectionary. The rest of my drive was met with a taunting Christmas jingle pumping through my stereo.

No treat.

No joy.

Just a flaccid piece of plastic wrap in my right hand with a few bits of red and white dust falling out. This is the perfect example of why I don’t like sweets.

Bake A Cake

My wife likes to remind me that for her birthday in the year 2000 that she baked her own cake. That was the first year we were together. I haven’t made that mistake since.

Last night I baked her a cake. Straight outta the box! I know I could bake a cake from scratch, but sometimes those packaged cakes are an easy (and cheap!) treat.

I left the cake to cool overnight. Later today I will be frosting it. I’m not planning anything elaborate- just extra icing! Because that’s what my wife requested. And since it’s her birthday, I figured I’d better do what she requested.

I don’t want to be reminded for the next 18 years that I didn’t do that. Once is enough.

I am baking the cake with love in mind. I do care about my wife’s happiness! Happy Birthday Honey! May you enjoy your day!

And your cake!

Freezer Food

I really don’t like having a freezer in our kitchen fridge. It becomes this frozen wasteland of food left to die a miserable death. The worst food that ends up in there?

Freezer Bananas.

Our plantation of uneaten brown bananas are being “saved” in order to make banana bread at a “later date”. When is that day you may ask? Later. Time to pack them back up, this time not just shoved into the freezer.

I pulled all of the food product items out and gave our freezer a wipe down. We had about a dozen unlabeled containers of soups, sauces, fruit(I think it’s fruit…), and freezer burnt meats. Time to figure out what to keep.

Ice Cubes- Zero

Ice crystals surrounding meat- at least a pound.

I found some chicken patties and an orange sliced in half squished at the back of the freezer. I don’t remember the last time we bought either of those items. Off to the food waste bin they go.

I re-organized the freezer with foods that we will use before Christmas. This should help over the next month or so. I still need to make ice cubes though. Or not. I don’t have any room for the trays at the moment.

But at least the bananas won’t fall and hit my toes like a brick any more.

Kitchen Aid Quality

Back in January, I mentioned that My Place Is In The Kitchen. I even spoke of my favorite appliance- The Kitchen Aid Mixer. Here’s the thing about my mixer:

It was a Christmas gift to my father back in 1985. It cost $299. After he passed away in the year 2000, I inherited the mixer.

It is the Kitchen Aid Ultra model. We still use it on a regular weekly basis and it has never failed us. It is by far the best appliance that I have ever seen. It is sturdy and durable. For a 33 year old appliance- it has earned its keep in our home many times over. It is still going strong.

Today my wife and I got sort of sucked into Black Friday deals. One in particular was for a new Kitchen Aid Mixer. I know we don’t need one. But this new model has a larger capacity for our baking needs. It was regular $725 on sale for $399 with a $100 Mail in rebate. Essentially it ends up being $299. The same price as my father’s Kitchen Aid mixer was back in 1985.

What I find awesome is that our old attachments can connect to this one as well. However, there is quite the size difference between the two mixers. Unfortunately the new one is just a bit too tall to slide nicely under our cabinets at the moment. So we will have it on display on our island for the Christmas season. Which won’t be an issue, since we will put it to good use this holiday season!

Come by and enjoy seeing our mixer this holiday season! I mean, come by and enjoy some of our baking! We’d love to have ya.

Flu Shot Slimer

I was bed ridden for a couple weeks with the H1N1 flu strain a few years ago. It was the worst experience of being ill that I can remember. Never again. Ever since then we have gotten the flu shot.

Yesterday we went out as a family and got the flu shot. What a great family outing Josef! I know. Best part was going for a Costco Hot Dog afterwards for dinner. Almost defeats the purpose of keeping healthy.

But in a way, it was kind of like a tribute to what I imagine goes on inside a person with the flu. Something about imagining what the virus is reminds me of Slimer from Ghostbusters. A green slimy thing replicating inside a person’s body eating away at the good blood cells.

That’s about the extent of my biological scientific knowledge.

Anyways, the flu shot 2018 is behind me now. Get yours or don’t get yours. I won’t judge. But I’ll be getting one every year.

Shift Work and Eating Habits

Whenever I have a day shift at work, it means waking up between 4:30 and 5am. Because of this I don’t tend to eat breakfast. I just don’t feel good starting my day on a full stomach.

I usually just have a cup of coffee and one for the road. It gets my system going. About three hours into my day at work and I’ll start to get hungry, so I’ll have a small snack. That tides me over until lunch. By the time I get home for dinner, I’m pretty hungry- and that makes dinners taste that much better.

On my days off however, I eat a really big breakfast after waking up. But that is usually because I sleep in. So my breakfasts are anywhere from 11am to 2pm. The kids love this on when my day off coincides with their days off as well. That means everyone gets a big breakfast.

It seems like a strange routine. But because of working long shifts and doing alternating shift work, I try and eat at relatively the same time each day. Nights are a bit tougher. I try to not eat much after midnight. Maybe just a light snack before the end of the shift. I’m not quite like a Gremlin.

How do you cope with long work days or shift work?

Where’d The Day Go?

I lost my day today.

It wasn’t like it didn’t happen. On the contrary, lots happened which is why I’ve lost my day. More like lost control of the day.

First was an early morning Speed Skating Meet. It was the first one at our club for the season. So at least it was close by. In between my children’s races I was trying to finish a book- Aramada. So I often got lost in the story while waiting.

On the way home, I had to stop and put in my vote for a Mayor, some township councilors, and some school trustees. This opened up a healthy discussion about politics with my 12 and 14 year olds. They asked who and why I was voting for certain people. As much as I don’t want to create a bias in their future plans- I couldn’t very well not talk about it with them.

At home we had a late lunch and the kids showered up. We had bought a large picnic pork roast, so I carved it into four different meals. A big hunk for tonight’s dinner in the slow cooker. Some got cubed and tossed in the freezer for future use. I sliced a bunch for breakfasts later this week. That left the bone- which will go towards a split pea soup later this autumn.

Now I am waiting to pick up our 16 year old at school. She participated in a 48 hour Zoom Fest. It started Thursday at 5pm and ended today. The students had that time to create a short film. I hope to see the results at some point, but for now- I’m impressed by her commitment to a deadline and her ability to work with others on such a project.

So my day just went quickly and was filled with a lot of life. Maybe I didn’t lose my day after all.

Rather- I lived it.

One Month Sober

I successfully went the entire month of September not being abducted by aliens not drinking. I’m not gonna lie, I feel goram good about it. (That’s my Firefly reference for the year btw). it was a personal goal that I successfully met. Like when I quit smoking cold turkey 13 years ago.

Being that the limitations I set out a month ago were personal ones, there was nothing stopping me from giving up and having just one drink last month. No one else would’ve cared. But it mattered to me. A couple times I really wanted a beer to just “feel normal” after a tough day. I contemplated whether drinking makes me normal or if my indulgences make me more like Rick Sanchez. Thus making drinking a part of who I am.

Will I have a drink on “Day One” after my month of sobriety?

Not likely.

Will I refrain from ever drinking again? Doubtful. I’m just not planning on partaking in alcohol any time soon.

Previously I would look forward to my days off or vacation time by planning my drinking schedule. WOW that sounds bad. But when I’ve been drinking for 25 years, that’s kinda how I plan my life- it just became normal. What’s strange about that observation is that many people live like this. Planning to the end of the work week or the next social drink. This is totally acceptable.

I never let alcohol interfere with work or the obligations to my family. But when you train your kids how to serve a drink or fetch a beer- is that the role model I really want to be? Haha, maybe… it’s cute in a bizarre way to have a two year old hand you a beer, right?

I’ve always become more socially fun after a few drinks. It doesn’t mean I don’t have fun when not drinking. It’s just a different “let loose” fun.

When I examine my lifestyle- Staying alcohol free may be the best plan for at least a little while longer. My bank account is feeling relief. My body is doing great- I’m napping less and my allergies are calmer. But I don’t think it’s ever going to happen that I never touch a drop again. I am in no rush to grab a beer over the next while that’s for sure.

But I am starting vacation soon… and there’s this margarita stand that I like…

Oktoberfest in September

Yesterday, our favorite Craft Brewery- Trading Post– was having a limited ticket engagement of Oktoberfest. My wife bought us some tickets back in August for the afternoon portion of the event. When we arrived, I saw some of my other friends there. Hugs and handshakes and well wishing for a fun day were passed out.

Upon arrival, we were each given a couple of drink tickets and a large 1 Liter glass to fill with beer. Since I was the Designated Driver I gave my drink tickets to my wife and picked up a sugar cane cola for myself.

There was a good selection of German Food and beers from a few craft breweries: the Trading Post, Field House and Steel & Oak. My wife sampled a variety of beers over the course of a few hours. We also picked up some food to help absorb the beers.

We shared a Bratwurst with Sauerkraut and deli mustard. As well as the Lagenbretzel, which was a large dough pretzel served with beer sausage cheese dip. The Trading Post also gave out snack Pretzel necklaces on a string which I thought was a genius idea and may just do that in the future for other events.

Since this was a busy event, we shared a table with some fantastic people. Next to us sat a wonderful couple that was a few years older than us who we related to quite well. We shared stories of other breweries and distilleries that we have visited, or now need to visit. Across from us sat a quartet of university students ready to get their Oktoberfest drink on!

By the end of the afternoon we had made some great friends and I had some fun memories. My wife enjoyed 72 ounces of beers- essentially she drank a six pack to herself in under four hours. This is not her usual Modus Operandi which made it that much more entertaining for me. I was glad to see her let loose!

In the end it was a great experience and made me yearn for a chance to visit Germany for a true Oktoberfest venue. I’m glad The Trading Post put on such a successful event. There was laughter and smiles all around.