Happy Toasted Marshmallow Day!

Dear Kid,

Happy Toasted Marshmallow Day! DearKidLoveMom.comYou are not going to believe what today is.

Today is National Marshmallow Toasting Day. Who knew?

You are already a World Class Marshmallow Toaster when it comes to campfires and backyard fire.

When you’re at college, however, campfires are few and far between.

If you’ve forgotten the history of marshmallow (and Oompa Loompas) you can read it here.

One year, we were hosting an evening of making s’mores. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t cooperating and there was no way to build a fire in a torrential downpour. Fortunately, we are not without imagination and we lit a bunch of candles for participants to toast over. Not perfect, but inventive!

Toasted marshmallows taste like s’mores which taste like summer. And who doesn’t like the taste of summer?

BTW, there is such a thing as beer marshmallow, but it involves ingredients and processes to make marshmallow from the beer and who needs to make their own marshmallows? Especially since the idea of combining beer and marshmallows seems like a waste of beer and marshmallows.

If you don’t have a handy campfire, here are a couple of apartment-friendly marshmallow recipes.

The Standard Microwave S’More

If you don’t feel like toasting a marshmallow over a candle, you can enjoy a modern microwave s’more.

Layer up the ingredients (graham cracker, chocolate, marshmallow, more chocolate because why not) and pop in the microwave for 15 seconds. Scrunch it all together with one more graham cracker. Yum.

The Standard Microwave S’More Peanut Butter Variety

Many people (like your sister) believe that the only thing better than a s’more is a peanut butter infused s’more.

Layer up the ingredients (graham cracker, Reece’s Cup, marshmallow) and zap in the microzapper for 15 seconds. Top with another piece of graham cracker. Yum, yum.

If waiting 15 seconds is too long enjoy a Reece’s Cup while you wait.

If (in the awful situation that) you don’t have a Reece’s Cup, slather pb straight from the jar onto the graham cracker. Also good as breakfast on the go.

Marshmallow Finger Taffy (no microwave required)

When I was a wee thing, we sometimes took a marshmallows and pulled them into taffy. Why? Because it was fun, and the result tasted somehow different from regular marshmallows. Also it was messy, and isn’t that half the point of toasting marshmallows?

Take a marshmallow and squish it a couple of times between your fingers. The proper technique is to use the thumb and forefinger of both hands to then pull the marshmallow until it is taffy. You’ll just know. Enjoy. Spend the next hour getting the rest of the taffy off your fingers. Enjoy that too.

Happy Toasted Marshmallow Day, kiddo.

Love, Mom

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Puppy Conversations | The Rain in Spain (and Thunder)

Dear Kid,

Puppy: MOM!
Me: What honey?
Puppy: The World is Ending!
Me: What?
Puppy: This "thunder" thing is very scary! DearKidLoveMom.comPuppy: The World is Ending! It’s terrifying! Don’t you hear it?
Me: The thunder?
Puppy: If “thunder” means the world is ending! Danger! Catastrophe!
Me: Come here sweetie
Puppy: This is very scary!!!
Me: Maybe it would be better if you stop running around?
Puppy: My tummy is shaking! This is very bad! The World is Ending!
Me: Stop trying to dig under the carpet, please.
Puppy: We have to save the World!
Me: The thunder will be over very soon.
Puppy: I don’t like this thunder thing.

Love, Mom

 

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Venus and Jupiter Converge | Saturn Makes a Guest Appearance | Our Trip to the Cincinnati Observatory

Dear Kid,

The planets are still in the sky where they belong.

I know this because last night Dad and I went to the Cincinnati Observatory to see Venus and Jupiter converge.

Venus and Jupiter Converge | Saturn Makes a Guest Appearance | Our Trip to the Cincinnati Observatory DearKidLoveMom.com

“Converge” means come together. In this case, “convergence” means be less far apart than usual because planets are inherently far apart. Far. You just can’t really plan a weekend visit.

So we went to the Observatory (after a short “discussion” about where the Observatory is actually located). There were telescopes set up outside the lawn outside the Observatory building and the buildings themselves were open for visitors.

The first thing we did was nothing because it wasn’t time to see anything. So Dad went into the main building to ogle the big, big telescope and I went outside to wander around, look at the deer that were helping themselves to dinner on the far side of the lawn, and admire the humidity.

Venus and Jupiter Converge | Saturn Makes a Guest Appearance | Our Trip to the Cincinnati Observatory DearKidLoveMom.comThen we went together into the little building to see the original telescope and learn a little about it. The observatory people were very excited for it to get a little later because they were hoping to use the scope to see Saturn.

Eventually, time decided to move on and we went over to the outside scopes to peer at the planets. Sad face—clouds were in the way. Nothing to see. Wait, wait, happy face! Clouds moved and if you look right here you can see Jupiter and Venus. We looked. Yep. Two round spots in the sky. Fuzzy round spots, if truth be told. Very cool, fuzzy round spots, but round spots nonetheless.

We went back to the little building to see if anyone had found Saturn. Yep, it was right where it was supposed to be (gotta love when planets are cooperative) and the clouds weren’t a problem.

We climbed up the little ladder thing to look out into the universe. And there, right where we were looking, was the most fake-looking planet I’ve ever seen.

You know what Saturn is supposed to look like? That’s EXACTLY what it does look like, rings and all. Crystal clear, plain as day, choose your cliché, there it was and there was nothing that looked real about it.

Except that it was verifiably 100% real.

Which is completely bewildering and completely cool.

Love, Mom

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It’s the Weekend | Take a Few Minutes to Unplug

Dear Kid,

A few days ago I was sent a text. I replied about 15 minutes after I got it. Later, the sender said to me, “What’s the point of having a cell phone if you don’t have it with you all the time?”

I showed great restraint and said absolutely nothing.

It wasn’t easy.

What I wanted to say was, “What’s the point of being human if you’re plugged into your phone 24 hours a day?”

Communication in our day and age is wonderful. We get to talk and text with people near and far. We get to see pictures of newborns (Congrats, L). We get to find out good and bad news practically as soon as it happens.

The Puppy is unimpressed with cell phones. The flowers couldn’t care less about the latest box scores. The rabbit it far more concerned about finding clover than about what’s hot on Twitter. The squirrels are too busy plotting their next attack to contemplate anything. DearKidLoveMom.comBut taking time to unplug is important too. The Puppy is unimpressed with cell phones. The flowers couldn’t care less about the latest box scores. The rabbit is far more concerned about finding clover than about what’s hot on Twitter. The squirrels are too busy plotting their next attack to contemplate anything.

Don’t get me wrong. I love being connected and I love hearing from you (you should feel free to call your mother any time). But I don’t think it’s unreasonable to reply to a text 15 minutes after it’s sent (at least most of the time). And I think Mother Nature has a good idea about putting the tech away every now and then.

Love, Mom

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The Truth About Olives (& Martinis)

Dear Kid,

Once upon a time, there was no such thing as a martini. This made all the olives very sad. So the olives unionized and invented cocktail hour and James Bond. DearKidLoveMom.comOnce upon a time, there was no such thing as a martini. This made all the olives very sad.

So the olives unionized and invented cocktail hour and James Bond.

A traditional martini is made with gin and a splash of dry vermouth, and is garnished with the aforementioned olive or a lemon twist.

According to My Friend the Internet, the martini was invented during the 1870s by a bartender named Jerry Thomas (not related to the English Muffins). Except the drink wasn’t anything like today’s martini and it was named Martinez, so in my book it’s a bit questionable. And it included two dashes of maraschino, so ick and highly questionable.

Fast forward to before WWI and an Italian immigrant bartender named Martini di Arma di Taggia at the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York City who invented a drink that is pretty much the modern martini but in different proportions. Or maybe it was named after Martini & Rossi vermouth. Either way, over the years, the drink morphed and voila! we have the modern martini.

A dry martini contains even less vermouth. A “dirty” martini is a martini that’s been slightly diluted with olive juice. If you switch out the olive for a cocktail onion, it’s called a Gibson. And when you make the drink with vodka you can call it a kangaroo (or a vodka martini, but that seems boring).

Do not keep vermouth more than a month after it’s been open. Unlike your parents, it won’t age well.

Love, Mom

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Here’s What You Don’t Know About August 25

Dear Kid,

Once upon a time, August 25th wasn’t a very interesting day. So after taking an online test, August 25th decided to get involved with a new hobby in order to be more interesting. DearKidLoveMom.comOnce upon a time, August 25th wasn’t a very interesting day. So after taking an online test, August 25th decided to get involved with a new hobby in order to be more interesting. It studies real estate, and practically overnight became a Known Entity.

On 1718, the French founded New Orleans and named it after the Duke of Orleans (who had often flooded).

In 1825, the Day gave Uruguay a little poke and it declared its independence from Brazil (thereby missing out on the Olympics and Zika).

In 1916, the 25th helped the Department of the Interior created the National Park Service so that Smokey the Bear would have a career and the White House would have a caretaker. Which worked fine until the White House was blown up in Olympus Has Fallen (which I watched this weekend for the first time).

In 1944, the French liberated Paris and August 25th did a happy dance.

Hopefully, today will be a good enough day for August 25th to do another jig.

Love, Mom

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Have You Looked Around Recently? This is Not Acceptable

Dear Kid,

I’m sorry. But I need to hijack this space for a moment.

Dear World,

IT’S AUGUST. Summer. End of Summer. Back to school. Perhaps even pre-fall.

It is NOT (emphasis on NOT) Halloween.

It’s not even pre-Halloween.

Halloween is supposed to be the trusty little holiday with little kids dressed up like their favorite superhero of the moment, trekking through miles of neighborhood begging for candy like the little calorie-deprived darlings they are. DearKidLoveMom.comSo what is with all the ghosts, goblins, and pumpkins?

No one (trust me—I took a completely unscientific poll of absolutely everyone [and by “absolutely everyone” I mean the three people I was talking to over coffee]) has ever been happy when Christmas shows up before Halloween, and even fewer (I threw that in to confuse the math and English lit majors) are pleased with Halloween showing up so early.

Halloween is supposed to be the trusty little holiday with little kids dressed up like their favorite superhero of the moment, trekking through miles of neighborhood begging for candy like the little calorie-deprived darlings they are.

The only fussing we’re supposed to do is whine about how we’ve eaten all the candy we bought and now we have to go out and buy more before the kids come knocking and then we’ll eat half of the candy our own kids collect. Halloween is the reason gym membership goes up in January.

So, World. Please put away the Halloween decorations. Pack up the ghosts and goblins and superheroes for a few weeks. Let us enjoy the last few weeks of Summer.

Or pre-fall.

Love, Mom

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