Archive for January, 2009

Who’s the boss?

No, not Tony Danza.

One of the studies I am doing this semester is Esther by Beth Moore. In my homework today, this jumped out at me:

…the most freeing thing we can ever do is to abdicate the throne of our own miniature kingdoms. Our status is infinitely higher as a servant in God’s kingdom than a ruler in ours.

It reminds me that I am not in charge here, whatever I may think or want.  Believe me, my bossy, want to be in control nature is constantly being called to task by God.


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Home Brew

Michelle has been on me to write this post.  In my defense, the process is not complete yet so I still have time.

For Christmas, Michelle’s parents got us a homebrewing starter kit and an ingredient kit for an Autumn Amber Ale from Midwest Homebrewing Supplies.  It’s a great gift because I have been threatening for some time now to start brewing my own beer.  I hope to save a little bit of money on my beer buying habit in these hard economic times.  But more importantly, I must admit that I (and now my wife) have become a bit of a beer snob.  I no longer hang on to that college kid mentality of trying to get the highest quantity of beer for the price, within limits.  Now I can try making beers that I like and eventually I’ll try to make that rauchbier (smoky beer) that Michelle and I tried in Bamburg, Germany (tastes like bacon!).  Occasionally, I will probably post here with a recipe or kit that I have made recently and whether or not it was a failure or success.  So, without further ado I will run down our first home brew.

Primary Fermenter to Secondary Fermenter

Primary Fermenter to Secondary Fermenter

Autumn Amber Ale


  • 6 lbs. Gold liquid malt extract
  • Bag of Grains (2 oz. Special B, 8 oz. Crystal 80°L, 2 oz. Roasted Barley)
  • 2 0z. of Hops (1 oz. Hallertau for bittering, 1 oz. Fuggle for aroma)
  • Pitchable tube of White Labs California Ale 001 liquid yeast.
  • 5 oz. of priming corn sugar

Summary of steps:

  1. Sanitize everything – I made sure everything that was going to be exposed to the beer (especially after the boil) was sanitized.
  2. Place the grains in a musling boiling bag and steeped them in 3 gallons of water at 155°F for 30 minutes, then for another 10 minutes off the burner
  3. Added the malt extract – this was probably the easiest part but when we stop using kits we will have to make this ourselves.
  4. After bringing water to a boiling bubble I dropped a nylon bag with the bittering hops and boiled for 60 minutes.
  5. Added the aroma hops to nylon bag and boiled for 2 more minutes.
  6. I then placed the whole kettle into a bucket of ice outside.  I was pleasantly suprised that I was able to cool it to 80° F in 20 minutes.  (important)
  7. Then I siphoned the wort (that’s what it’s called at this point) from the kettle to the primary fermenter, that’s what the white bucket is in the picture.
  8. Next, I aerated the wort using a hand beater to inject some oxygen into the liquid.  This was a mistake, because then I couldn’t get a proper initial hydrometer reading through the foam I produced.  As a result I won’t be able to know the alcohol content of our concoction.
  9. Before closing up the bucket, we added the [hopefully] activated yeast.  Once the bucket was closed we stuck the airlock in the top to allow a slow release of pressure over time.
  10. After a week fermenting, we transfered from the primary fermenter to the secondary fermenter, shown in the picture above.
  11. After another week, we boiled a cup of water with the priming sugar and stuck it into the bottling bucket with the beer.
  12. We bought a bunch of 0.5 Liter and 16 oz. bottles with the Grolsch type flip caps.  We filled 12 of the 0.5 Liter bottles and 9 of the 16 oz. bottles.

Our target date for taste-testing the beer will be Feb. 7th.  Hopefully, it turns out okay.  My biggest worry has been keeping the environmental temperature to a level conducive for the yeast to work it’s magic.  That is difficult in Houston, even in the winter, without some sort of fridge.  If you want to see more pictures of the chaos, just click here.

–Ries, anxiously waiting

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Milk, in abundance

Abbondanza (abundance)

Originally uploaded by gio.o

This picture, posted on Flickr, was mentioned in my granola moms’ group. I thought some of you might enjoy it.

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There are many rites of passage for parents and I have crossed many milestones in the past 8 months. I think, in the beginning, they come at a quicker pace and then slow down as your child ages. Of course, those older milestones, driving, going on a first date, and having the birds and the bees talk, seem much more traumatic than getting your first kiss from your little one or getting poop on your hands (or getting pooped on).

Last night, we passed another body fluid milestone: both Ries and I were projectile vomited upon. It was lovely, complete with green beans, recently consumed.

It was frightening for Gideon, who did not know what was going on, and worrying for me. Ries never worries. After three bouts of vomit, he went to sleep. I fed him just a little at a time during the night, which he did not appreciate, as by this time he was hungry. He fussed and I sang him songs until he went back to sleep each time.

He breastfed like normal this morning and is up to his usual chatter as he looks for trouble. We have to stay home from our church stuff this morning since they will not take him in the nursery after having been sick so recently. I think we both need a sick day at home anyway.

I am glad that this first bought of stomach sickness only lasted a short time. I know it is only the first of many to come.

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Ries and I were just talking about the product frequently advertised on tv called the Snuggie. Warning: The website automatically plays the commercial which is pretty loud. It is a fairly silly thing, as are many things available for only x payments of $19.95 a month. Call Now!

This morning, I saw a great YouTube video that makes (NSFW) fun of the Sunggie. It is hilarious. Because I know there are at least a couple people who do not know, NSFW means Not Safe For Work. It has some bad language.

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Parenthood is sometimes a waiting game. When will they be hungry? When will he want to nap?  You start to count time differently. As your child gets older, you begin to count something very important.

Time between poops.

You see, the longer it stews, the worse it becomes and the more horrifying when it finally makes its appearance.

If you are lucky, every day is a poop day and you give a sigh of relief if it happens before the big outing of the day. Gideon’s butt has a homing beacon for when we are away from home and on our way somewhere. We drive to our destination and upon taking him out of his car seat I am assailed by stench. I have often been late or delayed by the servicing of a messy bottom.

If it is days you are counting, you pray for mercy. At our house, we announce it frequently. “Day two with no poop!” or “Two and half days and no poop!” as if the announcing of the impending doom would bring it forth.

The longest we have gone was almost three days. With the addition of solid food to his diet, Gideon now offers us very voluminous and odiferous poop.

No one ever said this parent thing was glamorous.

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My thoughts in bulleted form:

  • Why bullets? Because time is of the essence.
  • I just glanced over at Gideon to find him with the plug end of a cord in his mouth. Bad Momma.
  • Earlier this morning, he found a wad of fuzz, from I have no idea where, and was trying to gum it before swallowing. I fished it out of his mouth, much to his dismay. Mean Momma.
  • I heard him making grunting noises from the next room. Guess what I get to do in about 3 minutes?
  • I want to go back to those nice smelling breastmilk poos. This solid food business is gross.
  • Checked the diaper, apparently, a false alarm. Lucky Momma.
  • We just made plans to spend a long weekend in Boston at the end of April. It will be our first plane trip with Gideon and should prove to be exciting.
  • It is not lunch time yet and I am starving!
  • I am thankful Gideon took a morning nap. I was able to check my email, though not write replies.
  • Baby gates may turn the hallway and bedrooms into tiny prisons, but they are great when I have to leave Gideon for a minute and not worry about him escaping into the living room or kitchen.
  • Gideon just crawled over to the doorway of the room I am in and firmly told me to stop what I am doing and pay attention to him. Of course, it sounded like, “Da da gagaaa.”
  • My brain feels like much today.
  • I have to go clean my kitchen and amuse the wee beastie.

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