Thursday, March 26, 2015

Friday Fragments: Episode #346

Half-Past Kissin' Time

With only one exception (I'll let you figure out which one.), my fragments this week are all sweet. I feel lucky that my random thoughts are positive :) Thanks for joining me.

Our maple sap is running like crazy. It takes me about 30 minutes to empty the 30 bags each night after work, since I had to stop carrying full (heavy) buckets and switch to half-full buckets. I collected approximately 32 gallons last night. Mr.4444 started cooking last weekend and plans to cook more this weekend. To see a quick Vine video of our cooking last weekend, click here.

I'm thrilled to report that BOTH of our kids are coming home this weekend! It's rare to be all under one roof, now that our kids have left the nest, so Mr.4444 and I are really happy. Here's how Milo feels about Kendall being home:


Ever since he was a puppy, he's done that spinning thing when he's really excited;
what a little sweetheart.

Did I tell you that Kyle, Kendall, and I are taking a trip this summer to Seattle? I've been there at last five times, hiking with a friend, and I've always wanted to share the experience with the kids. I can hardly wait! Mr.4444 says he'll pass, but we're working on swaying him.

It snowed here on Tuesday, enough to shovel. Whatever...spring will get here sooner or later.

Got bits and pieces of random thoughts from your week?
Use them to create your own Friday Fragments post and link up below!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

What We've Been Up To



Update (3/24/15) Inspired by Joanne's comment, I'll explain: We collect maple sap from 30 trees, and because it's cold outside, the sap is cold. Mr.4444 has a brand-new sap cooker this year, made by the handy friend of a friend. It's wood fired, which means it's more efficient than the propane we usually use. It will also be faster. The sap gets boiled (for days), until most of it (93%) evaporates and we are left with syrup. The maple syrup will be ready faster if the sap stays at a consistently boiling temperature. So...Mr.4444 rigged up a system that slowly feeds cool syrup into boiling syrup, thereby keeping things running smoothly! Brilliant, right?! Now all he needs is something to keep his back and knees from getting sore from all the wood stoking!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Friday Fragents: Episode #345

Half-Past Kissin' Time

It's finally spring here in Wisconsin, and my mind today seems a lot like a springtime roadside covered with random clutter, only less dirty. Thanks for stopping by to read our random thoughts.

***Snapped this on my way to work this morning. (Yes, I stopped first, right in the middle of my neighborhood road.)

***I suppose it's time to change my header again.

***Tonight I'm watching Dateline's Escape: Swept Away from last night. It's about stories of survival during the devastating tsunami in Thailand in 2004. It's extremely powerful and compelling. I can only imagine the nightmares survivors must still have today as a result of their horrific experiences.

***We're doing a 'Survivor Challenge" at work. This week's challenge involves limiting salt intake. Salt is my favorite, so I did a little research to learn how too much salt affects the body. I hadn't realized that too much sodium can cause osteoporosis!

***This week, I started a weight-lifting class....at my local senior center! I am the youngest participant, but I'm very comfortable there. My shoulder is coming along very well, but I still have a way to go to feel normal again; weightlifting is a great way to get there.

***We have so far collected more than 100 gallons of maple sap for making syrup!

Thank goodness for great neighbors, because I've apparently pulled a shoulder muscle (most likely by carrying too any five-gallon buckets of sap), and they came over to help me collect today. I suspect they had ulterior motives, but that's fine by me :)

***I'm getting a massage on Saturday; it's long overdue.

***A co-worker is having a "party" for a company that sells fiber mascara. Hav you ever tried fiber mascara? It's $30 per "tube," which is at much more than twice what I would typically pay for mascara; I'm not sure I'll try it, though it might be nice for special occasions...

Friday Fragment participation has dramatically dropped off recently. I'm not super concerned about it, because I'm not prepared to do anything about it; I blog for the fun of it, not to make a living, so it doesn't stress me out. I'm not sure when I'll stop fragging, but let's just live in the moment, shall we? If you feel like fragging, join in! [To learn the ins and outs of Friday Fragments, click on the FF tab above.]

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Friday Fragments: Episode #344

Half-Past Kissin' Time
Welcome to the post with the most. Fragments, that is;
bits and pieces that didn't make it into posts of their own but are worth sharing.

***The Difference Makers had a sort of volunteer appreciation meal tonight. They made White Chicken Chili, which got rave reviews! I am absolutely beat!

***Speaking of school, I was casually talking with a student who gives me headaches on a daily basis. I can't remember what spurred my comment, but I said, ""Everyone learns differently,"  and the boy replied cheerfully, "I learn better when I get yelled at. When you yell at me, I work harder."

Too funny...Whatever works, kid.

***As indicated in Mom's voicemail that I linked to in Sheep Thrills, my mom is very happy with her new sheepskin slippers, so much so that she also sent a follow-up voicemail the day after receiving them. She's so funny...

***We tapped trees last weekend, when the weather suddenly ushered spring in, or so we thought; it almost feels more like summer! We are getting very little sap, because the ideal conditions involve warm day temperatures and cold night temperatures, but we're suddenly lacking low night temps. As I recall, we suddenly skipped from summer to winter last fall, so maybe Mother Nature is apologizing and clipping spring off short? Want to share your own bits and pieces of random? Link up below!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Wednesday Hodgepodge


Wednesday Hodgepodge is hosted by the lovely Jo-Anne,
who offers questions for participants to answer each week.
Here are this week's offerings:

1. What's the first image that comes to mind when you hear the word 'spring'? Which phrase best describes the season of spring where you live right now (today)-sprung! almost there, or still waiting?

"Birthdays" comes to mind when I hear the word spring; mine, my sister's, Kendall's, Kyle's are all in the spring. Where I live, spring just slammed into us last weekend. It's going to be unseasonably warm (55 degrees, today) for the next week; I hope it gets cold again (sorry), because we tapped 30 maple trees last weekend!

2. Bed, couch, stapler, garage door, computer mouse, recliner, flashlight, door knob...which household item containing springs most needs replacing in your home? Speaking of springs...did you ever own a Slinky?

Mr.4444's recliner could use a new spring. Of course I owned a Slinky! I owned several, because the traditional slinky seemed to always get tangled!

3. March is Women's History Month. Share a favorite quote by a woman. 

One of my favorite quotes from a woman is this one:

4. What's a question that looms large in your mind right now?

Am I ever going to get our tax documents together?

5. Are you a sugar freak? By that I mean how much do you love sugar? With all the bad press sugar gets these days, have you made any efforts to reduce the amount of sugar you consume?

I have absolutely changed my relationship with sugar. The only sugar that I add to my diet is a teaspoon of raw sugar in an occasional cup of coffee. I use honey to sweeten my tea and toast and only rarely eat dessert.

6. Would you rather have less work to do or more work you enjoy doing?

I'd like to have less work to do. I do enjoy my career, but it's more than a plateful.

7. Ever been to Texas? Of the top ten Texas tourist attractions which would you most like to see-The Alamo, The San Antonio River Walk, The State Capital, Dallas World Aquarium, Padre Island National Seashore, Houston Space Center, Schlitterbahn Waterpark in New Braunfels, Six Flags Fiesta Texas,  Moody Gardens, or Galveston Island?

I visited Texas as a teenager visiting a friend. All I remember about it was a flasher who drove past us as we waited by a bus; that was obviously a remarkable experience!  Today, were I to visit Texas, I'd make a beeline to Nezzy's family's house; I believe she still visits Texas now and then.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Although there's a little bit of Irish in me, I couldn't care less about St. Patrick's Day.

Looking for a fun weekly meme? Visit This Side of the Pond and join in the Hodgepodge fun!