The Last of the Catchup (Ketchup?)

IMG_7284Happy Leap Day! This is officially my last post about my 30 Before 30.It’s the last of the catchup due to life, my epic creative writing project, hubby’s nightshift rotation, and my own typical procrastination. Henceforth (don’t you love old fashioned words?), we’ll be working on the 30 During 30 and then shifting to a general bucket list for life.

I closely associate canning with growing up in the South on a farm.I know it’s a staple of life everywhere. Yet there’s something about food in jars, that raised word M-A-S-O-N, that takes me back to humid summer evenings and we’re-going-to-have-snow-it-never-snows type days one can only experience in this area. Sweet pickles. Canned tomatoes. Vegetable soup. Kraut. Jars of peaches.

To say I never canned anything before would be a half-truth. I never canned anything on my own. Yet, I grew up helping my grandparents can items from their farm without ever really thinking about it. Since there was a grocery store down the road, I never actively thought, I’ll have to do this on my own someday. This was before natural, organic, non-GMOs, locally sourced, farm-to-table.

IMG_7939However, after moving into an apartment, I discovered I really missed gardening. College BIO class peeked my interested in the science behind farm-to-table. A presentation at the Decatur Book Festival made me realize farming could be quite hipster. This combo, along with a growing interest in cooking, led me to add “5.) Can something” to the 30 Before 30.

I thought this would be an easy one. Knowing I could phone it in with my grandmother’s help. I thought we had more time. Not making this one a priority and taking more photos with her, are two of my biggest regrets. The item transformed from “something-I’ll-do-with-her-this-fall” to an heirloom mantle I found myself ill prepared to experiment with on my own.

I suddenly felt like Henny Penny. No one wanted to help me, but everyone was ready with some terrible story about hot cans blowing up in someone-they-used-to-know’s face. It started to feel like “Canning something” and “Hot Air Balloon Ride” were two items out of my reach. I’m sensitive anyways and started to despair that I was a failure as a granddaughter and blogger/writer.

But, a trip to a farm supply store really helped me. I bought:

  • A Granite-Ware 21 1/2 Qt Canner with jar rack
  • Ball’s “Complete Book of Home Preserving” edited by Judi Kingry and Lauren Devine

The book was a lifesaver. I tried to make pickles using an Internet recipe but they didn’t turn out great. So, using the book as a guide and Pioneer Woman (she’s great), I decided apple preserves would be a recipe I had confidence in:

  • 6 cups sliced cored peeled apples
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 package regular powdered fruit pectin
  • 1 medium lemon (unpeeled), seeded and thinly sliced
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp ground nutmeg

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I know now that I should have peeled my apples. I was thinking about fiber, so I ignored that part of the instructions. There not bad with the peel on…just a little sharp on the tongue.

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So there you have it friends. You can do what you set your mind to do. Take nothing for granted. Rise to the occasion. May you have the best adventures. I’ll be making more preserves this year for 30 During 30!

My Little Build-A-Bear

IMG_6986During my Marketing class at Shorter University I was given the task of writing a long, detailed paper about the tactics used at Build-A-Bear Workshop INC. While writing this paper, I realized I wanted to actually visit the store and experience the product creation myself. In my dreams, I am able to sew and create an awesome trend like Cabbage Patch dolls or Beanie babies.

I love plushies (in my day we called them stuffed animals…or maybe that was just a Southern taxidermy reference). I still own and display some of them from my childhood. They bring me joy, are eternally sweet and friendly, and I can’t wait to pass them down someday.

However, I had a slight feeling of foreboding going to the store. Being on the edge of 30 and childless, this felt like the geekiest reason to buy a stuffed animal ever. And the question came, as it always does: “So who is this for?” Strangely, people always assume I have kids. Maybe I look like a mom (and I take that as a compliment for possessing characteristics of nurture and femininity). Several times, in stores like Wal-Mart or Ross, children will be left to wander away and the sales associates or other shoppers will ask if they are mine. (Then again maybe this isn’t a compliment if they think I’d be the type that’s ok with free-range tantrums).

Anyhow, while it’s tempting to invent a large, detailed story about having ten kids, all with “Z” names, I just meekly reply, “For me.” Then it gets awkward when they ask if this is your favorite character…and you want to reply, “Well since you don’t sell plush Mr. Darcy’s” but then you’re too introverted, so you say, “Yeah.” But thankfully, I did manage to explain about the 8 weeks I spent writing about Build-A-Bear without having ever been to Build-A-Bear. So maybe the judgement zone equalled out a little.

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Ta-dah! My little pony. So cute. Yes, I am one of those annoying people who love unicorns in the non-comical sense. I want to live in a castle surrounded by “The Hunt of The Unicorn” tapestries. “Legend,” before Tom Cruise went crazy, is one of the best fantasy movies. Good costumes and effects.

It was fun! We actually went back and built the hubby a Snoopy.

Housekeeping, Plot Bunnies

movienightWow, so where did January 2016 go? It ran in a flash, as I was chasing plot bunnies. A fictional short story consumed my month as I’ve resolved to do more creative writing. I couldn’t eat, couldn’t sleep, and even though it’s done, I’m still not content with it.

Anyhow, looking up from Microsoft Word, I find that I have been a neglectful blogger, reviewer, housekeeper, and friend. Super apologies.

So, let’s continue to tie up some loose ends here on Adventure Kettle.

During the 30 before 30, I barely finished the AFI 100 movies, but I did finish it.

I have to say that the list, in my opinion, contains some of the best and worst movies I have ever viewed in my life. I have found some new favorites, as well as, a few I hope fall off the list one day.

My opinion, the best of the “previously” unwatched by me:

  • The Godfather – I really dreaded this one, but it’s great. I don’t like movies involving crime, but the story of a family draws you in. Beautifully shot (no pun).
  • Singing in the Rain – Actually very funny and not just about sining in the rain…
  • City Lights – I always liked Charlie Chapin, but now I think he’s completely adorable. The man was a genius.
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey – Another dread, although I love scifi! Once I finally, finally got past the slow first hour, it’s very thought provoking.
  • Sunset Blvd. – Amazingly dramatic and eerie. Everything I always wanted in an old movie.
  • The General – Buster Keaton was a name I knew in passing. However, now, he’s also on the adorable list. The movie is packed with old fashioned action.
  • High Noon – Made me love Westerns again. Great rising action. Hubby hates Westerns, but loved the plot of this movie.
  • All About Eve – The ultimate frenemy, revenge movie for chicks. Holds the test of time very well.
  • Shane – A hero for the ages, made me love cowboys again (ha). Wonderful, symbolism that keeps you guessing in the end.
  • Duck Soup – The Bros are forever the kings of comedy. Every funny movie I’ve ever seen borrows from them.
  • Toostie – Crazy, but very funny plot. Dustin makes you forget he’s not Toostie.
  • The Silence of the Lambs – I expected to be severely grossed out, but the suspense is good. I get the appeal.
  • It Happened One Night – Grandmother of all romcoms. I’ll be laughing at this one for years to come.

My opinion, the worst of the “previously” unwatched by me:

  • The French Connection – I get that maybe it inspired some people, but for me it was too slow. I didn’t care about the characters.
  • The Wild Bunch – Help, too much shooting, too much blood.
  • Pulp Fiction – Ditto.
  • Nashville – Prior to MTV, I see that this was like a cool, country music video concert. For me, it didn’t stand the test of time.
  • M*A*S*H – I’ve enjoyed the tv show, but the movie was dull and women are just objects.
  • The Last Picture Show – Could’ve been set in my hometown, sad, hit too close to home.
  • Bonnie and Clyde – Ditto, shoot em up, sad.
  • Network – Slow, I remember none of the characters.

So, there you have it! Now I’m working on the original AFI list and the 100 passions. I gotta say that I wish that:

  • The Jazz Singer
  • Mutiny on the Bounty
  • All Quiet On The Western Front

were still included on the 10th anniversary list. In my biased opinion they are much better movies and The Jazz Singer and All Quiet On The Western Front still deal with issues that hit base today.