Friday, September 18, 2020

7 Quick Takes about Magical Mint Snowflake, A Different Kind of School Year, and Household Explosions

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?


Phillip's team at work has been working really hard lately, so he planned a fun activity to say "thanks." He told them all to go buy a flavor of ice cream that they wouldn't ordinarily buy, and set up an online team game of some sort to play while they ate it.

And remember, the instructions were to buy a flavor you wouldn't ordinarily buy, so this is what Phillip got for himself:

The funny part was that Phillip bought this and only this at the store, and he was all by himself, so it looked pretty clear what was going on: a 39-year-old man had such an intense craving for Frozen II Magical Mint Snowflake ice cream, he'd gotten up and gone to the grocery store for the express purpose of buying an entire gallon of it.

Actually, it was pretty tasty. Now that I've had it, that would be understandable.


I visited my friend Casey's garden for some help with mine. She's got a beautiful garden that she's built little by little, learning by doing, and the best thing (in my opinion) is how she tries to do everything at low or no cost.

She built her vegetable garden fence with fallen branches from the yard, grows strawberries in some crates her husband found on the side of the road, and relocates plants from elsewhere on her property to live in her garden if she thinks they'll look good there.

"See those flowers?" she said, pointing to some blossoms I'd admired earlier. "I grow those from seeds I save from the previous year. I originally cut the dead flowers off some plants in a McDonald's parking lot."

When I grow up, I think I want to be Casey.


On my birthday, I got new laundry hampers for our master bathroom and just loved how they made the place look.

I loved it so much I took this picture and sent it to my mom. 

Fast-forward a few months, and this is how it looks now:

Not pictured: the gaping hole in the wall left over from a DIY emergency plumbing repair a few weeks ago.

To be perfectly honest, though, it probably looked like this almost immediately. I was just too frazzled to notice.


School started this week, and our first day of school pictures did not look at all like I'd imagined 6 months ago:

I have no idea why his iPad is propped up on a 20-lb bag of rice. I just live here.

Phillip works from home, my teenager is doing some online university courses while homeschooling, and 4 of my kids are doing remote learning three days a week with our public school, meaning that I'm in the background of someone's Zoom call literally all day.

As my 16-year-old put it, I'm like a Yeti but not rare.


Other than furtively getting dressed in the bathroom hoping one of my kids doesn't wander in with a tech issue and show me to their class half-naked, I'm actually really liking our current school setup.

I was really dreading how this was going to go, but the 4 younger kids doing the public school's hybrid learning plan seem to be learning and having fun, and I like that they're constantly popping in for lunch and on breaks (even though it means I get nothing else done.)

And my 16-year-old, who's homeschooling this year, is reveling in the freedom of determining her own schedule. When she got hungry at 11 yesterday and asked, "Can I eat lunch this early?" I just shrugged and said "You're homeschooled, you can do whatever you want." I think I heard the Hallelujah Chorus playing inside her brain.


Phillip has gotten into making fermented sodas. I try not to know too much about the process, but he makes a starter microbe mix out of ginger, adds juice to the bottle after a couple of days, and then in a few more days the "bug" has eaten the sugar and turned it into a sparkling carbonated kind of drink. 

Anyway, doing this is a learning curve, and there was a mishap where one of the glass bottles exploded while sitting on the counter.

Luckily, my 16-year-old and I who were in the room didn't get hit by any flying shards of glass, but we were picking them up in the mudroom 10 feet away and the room was basically covered in sticky juice residue.

When we called Phillip in to help with the cleanup effort, he took one look around and told me, "You're welcome for the Take."


My 14-year-old recently picked up The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook at the library.

Which is ironic, because the whole premise of the book is that they were, you know, hungry.

I've seen things like unofficial Harry Potter cookbooks before, which makes sense because they actually do mention lots of different kinds of foods, drinks, and desserts in the Harry Potter series. But what could be in here?

So I flipped open to a random recipe and saw this:

I've read the books and yes, this is something they probably would've made from the squirrels Katniss hunted in the woods. But surely the 'squirrel' part of the title was just for show, and the actual ingredients were normal things you can buy at the grocery store, right?

First ingredient: 2-3 pounds squirrel.

I have so many questions. Is this recipe assuming that you hunt your own squirrels, or that you somehow have a squirrel meat supplier somewhere? Is that a thing people have? How many squirrels is 2-3 pounds? Does that include the bones? How do you clean a squirrel, anyway? Why am I still reading this recipe??

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Ann-Marie Ulczynski said...

I think I want to be like
Casey when I grow up, too.

Yes, child, eat lunch whenever you want. Or have breakfast for lunch. So many options!

I’m glad you aren’t going crazy with the distance learning. I’m teaching an elections class for just a few kiddos who are friends and man, teaching on zoom is twice as exhausting as in person!

jen said...

Ann-Marie, teacher friends of mine have reported teaching on Zoom to be that way, and I find tutoring can be incredibly exhausting as well!