Friday, December 22, 2006

Day five: Winter vacation

Today was a run around and get last minute things done: trip to the auto club to renew our membership, off to the pet store to get a new collar for Tabby, and then a swing by the book store to get a gift certificate for my sister in law. After all the errands were finished, we made popcorn balls for the birds and critters outside. These didn't go as well as I would have hoped. The gelatin is supposed to dissolve into hot corn syrup and sugar, but it never did - the gelatin actually started turning golden and contracting in on itself in the pan. Not good. So I scooped it out and tried blooming more gelatin in some hot water, then adding that to the sugar mixture and boiling for a few minutes to get the water out. In went the birdseed and some pine nuts for extra winter fat reserves, and then a quick mix with the popcorn. Ryan tried making balls for a little bit, but didn't like how everything stuck to his hands and stopped pretty quickly. Arden didn't want to touch the stuff at all, but watched me crank out popcorn balls. Then I grabbed a long, thick needle and thread and started stringing. Not easy - the needle kept getting stuck. Finally got one put together and hung it up on a tree outside, only to have the popcorn balls start slowly sliding off the thread. Ah, well. The seeds will be just as good to eat on the ground as they are on the tree, I suppose.

Dan came home a bit early today, so we were all able to take a long bike ride around the neighborhood. I loved seeing holiday decorations and waving to everyone as we peddled on past. The boys are still figuring out how to stay a reasonable distance while hugging the side of the road (no sidewalks here), but thankfully there is little traffic anywhere nearby. When we all got home there were pink cheeks and slightly less energetic small folk, so our work was done.

Dinner was simple, but good. I used the rest of the ground beef from earlier this week and made hamburgers, adding a good measure of salt, pepper, and Worcherstershire sauce before I formed the patties. Then a good brown on each side to get a nice crust before being plopped onto a bun. We all piled slices of uglyripe tomatoes (which are absolutely delicious, if a bit odd looking), red onion, lettuce and toppings, then dove in. Oh, and paused long enough to grab some slaw to put on the side as well.

By the way, Dan loved his Wii! When I told him how I snuck out and waited in line, he was amazed at my sneakiness. Fortunately, I use my powers for good ;-) He's still configuring the game and reading the manual (swoon! I married a man who actually read the manual!), but it looks like we'll be playing tonight. The controller is seriously fun to use - it follows every movement your arm makes, and the controls are really, really easy to figure out. Even Arden was able to figure out how to work things. Much fun all around.