Off My Game
Happy New Year!
How were your Christmas and New Year holidays?
Welcome to Lows & Highs, a Stories from the Stairs weekly-ish feature! Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs from the week in the comments or by posting a link to your own lows and highs blog post.
Our Halloween evening was fun! We hurried home after work and got dressed because one of us was sure trick-or-treaters would start coming at four-thirty or five. (The waves of costumed kids actually began later.) We tried to make our house look welcoming with the living room curtains open and the porch light on. As families came to the door, we greeted them in our costumes (Luigi and Princess Peach). Sometimes the little girls would shyly tell me they liked my costume when I complimented theirs. The boys were funnier, gaping at Brian and telling him things like, “I like your game, Luigi!” and “Luigi, you’re my favorite.” Occasionally, we heard voices of kids who could see in the window before they reached the door, “Hey, look! Luigi’s in there!” He was extremely popular with the over forty kids who stopped by.
How was your week? Did you dress up for Halloween?
2. I made French Toast Roll-ups with blueberries and cream cheese. They were delicious and we want to have them again.
How has your week been?
I like my coffee strong, dark, and sweet, so I like coffee-flavoring syrups. Did you know it is easy to make your own, customized syrups that taste better than store-bought? I start with the most basic simple syrup recipe and add whatever suits my taste. Both microwave and stove top work well for me, so I have included directions for both.
What is your favorite coffee flavor?
Basic Simple Syrup
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
Cinnamon Stick Syrup
Add 1 cinnamon stick (3-4 inches long), broken into pieces
Vanilla Rum Syrup
Add 1 teaspoon vanilla (Mexican or some other really good kind), and
1 teaspoon rum or rum flavoring
Stir all ingredients together in a clear, microwave-safe container that holds at least four cups. (I use my four-cup Pyrex measuring cup.) Cook on high for two minutes, stir, and then heat until bubbling but not to a rolling boil. Stir about every minute and keep a close watch so it does not boil over. Cook at a “bubble, not boil” for about five minutes in total.
Stir all ingredients together in a small saucepan that holds at least four cups. Heat to a low simmer, but not a rolling boil. Stir occasionally. Simmer for about five minutes in total.
Taste Test & Finishing
When the sugar is completely dissolved and the solution is thicker than plain water, you can check the flavor: Scoop up about a half-teaspoon of HOT syrup and let it cool before you taste it. If you prefer a more intense flavor, you can simmer for a little longer and consider adding a little more of the flavor add-ins. When you like the flavor, let the syrup cool.
If your add-ins are not dissolved (like the cinnamon stick), strain out the pieces with a strainer and cheesecloth. Pour the syrup into your preferred containers. I prefer easy-to-pour bottles. Use right away or store in refrigerator.*
*I always store mine in the refrigerator and have no idea how long it lasts because I use the syrup quickly!
Low: This week, my low was the exercising-so-hard-I feel-like-I’ll-die feeling when Brian decided to rev up the pace on our Saturday morning walk. There are no pictures, but I was definitely hot pink, sweaty, and out of breath when we finished shaving a whole minute off our usual minutes-per-mile pace!
High: We celebrated Fathers’ Day with my family and I taught Eli how to use his new sand toys. He may have also learned a “fun game” from Aunt Abby that involves using the scoop to catapult dirt and sticks across the grass… he was going to put them in his mouth, though!
Low: There were numerous, random delays on our road trip from Memphis to Kansas but we made the best of it. With the help of Waze on my phone, we avoided one stretch of road construction but there was not a good detour around a second one. While we crept along in the two-lane construction zone, Brian noticed there was no traffic in the oncoming lane on the other side of the concrete dividers and guessed there was a wreck. He was right and we eventually came upon the scene of a semi versus car accident on a bridge with no room to get around in the narrow lane. We drove past about ten miles of cars stopped in the other lane, grateful that we were not headed that direction.
High: My high this week was seeing what God did at Bible club on Whittier! It is so very easy to get attached to the kids in the few days we get to enjoy them. Also, I love seeing our college student team grow spiritually and emotionally during the week.
Low: I tried to fix a car and my attempted repair did not work… On the bright side, I am confident I did not make it worse! One of our college student friends could not get her car to start on Thursday, so I tried to help by asking the same diagnostic questions my dad has asked me when my car wouldn’t start. I checked her answers with my dad and then met her at the college with my tools. The battery cables and terminals were corroded and I was able to clean off one but the other would not loosen. The car still would not start when we tried to jump-start it, so it had to wait for someone more experienced than me.
High: Brian had a math educators’ conference on Saturday so I had a girls’ day with the same friend. We highlighted each other’s hair, watched a movies, and had a fun time chatting.