Charlie Brown Lettuce and My Friend the Internet

Dear Kid,

Once again, the “grow your own lettuce indoors” thing is parading around the internet.

This time, I decided to participate.

I’m not sure what makes me think (time and time again) that I can replicate what I see on My Friend the Internet. I’ve been fooled, bamboozled, and let down more than once.

Sadly, this time was no exception.

I followed the instructions:

Take the heart of lettuce you buy at the grocery store. Check. Lettuce. Got it.

Cut the lettuce about 2 inches above the bottom of the stem. Cut. No problem.

Put the stem in a few inches of water and place in sunlight. Okey dokey. Lettuce-toes submerged in water. Lovely little bowls placed in a nice warm, sunny spot.

Wait. I can wait. I’ll even eat the lettuce I cut. Waiting. More waiting.

Lush is definitely not the word I’d use here. Charlie Brown lettuce is more like it. DearKidLoveMom.comChange the water every few days. Can do. Did do. Have done. Still waiting.

Harvest the lovely, lush bunch of lettuce. Um, not really. Lush is definitely not the word I’d use here. Charlie Brown lettuce is more like it.

Dad is refraining from laughing (which is even better for his health than eating lettuce). He is gently suggesting that it might be time to compost the lettuce remnants and clean the lovely little dishes…

Love, Mom

P.S. We tasted the dish-grown lettuce before composting. It was probably the most bitter green thing we’ve ever eaten. Experiment Fail.

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The London Beer Flood (Really)

Dear Kid,

IF you had been alive and aware on Oct 17, 1814, and IF you happened to have found yourself in England, and IF by chance you were wandering around London (more specifically the parish of St. Giles), you might have witnessed the London Beer Flood. I kid you not.

You can never buy beer, you just rent it. -- Archie Bunker, DearKidLoveMom.comOn October 17, 1814, an enormous (and by enormous I mean 610,000 liters) vat full of beer broke. This in and of itself would have been sad and tragic. However, in the tradition of beer-related chain reaction events, other vats collapsed under the onslaught of beer and breakage, and almost a million and a half liters (1,470,000 liters to be more specific) burst their containers and erupted into the surrounding area.

The alcoholic tsunami wiped away two homes, washed out the wall of the Tavistock Arms Pub, swamped several streets, filled several basements and first floor rooms, interrupted a wake, and then set up a fuss because the international media didn’t interrupt coverage of the events of the day to set up 24 hour reports.

Rock and Roll artists didn’t even hold a fundraiser for the beer-diseased and displaced. All in all, the tsunami thought it was severely underrepresented.

Eight people died in the flood (none of them were college students who would have known how to drink their way out of beer-flooded environments).

A fine beer may be judged with only one sip, but it's better to be thoroughly sure.-- Czech Proverb, DearKidLoveMom.comThe brewery was sued over the accident, but the judge and jury (who were plied heavily with the product in question) remained sober just long enough to rule the disaster an Act of God. God never weighed in on the decision, but hinted strongly in tabloids that there was human corruption and neglect involved. Since it was 1814, and since this was a really poor part of town, no one looked into the incident to carefully until recently when the beer tsunami memoires surfaced and we learned just how upset a tsunami can be.

Love, Mom

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Happy National Cookie Month (And…)

Dear Kid,

Some things are easy to remember about October. The leaves start to turn; ghosts, goblins, and ridiculous amounts of chocolate show up at the end of the month; and it’s Adopt a Shelter Dog Month. You remember Adopt a Shelter Dog month, right?

But did you know that it’s also National Cookie Month?

It is.

C is for cookie. Happy National Cookie Month.

       C is for Cookie!

I called Cookie Monster to get his perspective on National Cookie Month. Unfortunately, his fur was flat and he was feeling blue (see what I did there?) so he wouldn’t talk to me. I think it was because I hadn’t sent him cookies.

Poor Cookie.

There are lots and lots of different kinds of cookies. There are rolled cookies and bar cookies and baked cookies and fried cookies and pressed cookies and molded cookies and sandwich cookies and twice baked cookies and dog cookies (just wanted to see if you were still reading).

Puppy: Do NOT joke about dog cookies!

I tried to think about all the different ingredients that can go into cookies. Then I got a headache and decided to think about whether there were any ingredients that can’t go into cookies.

Life is a cookie. Happy National Cookie Month. Well, duh.

Kale. Kale should never, ever, EVER be put into a cookie.

Bats. Bats do not go in cookies. Not even Halloween cookies.

So yes, there are ingredients that should never go into cookies.

But most ingredients can happily find their way into one form of cookie or another.

Life is a cookie. Happy National Cookie Month. My favorite kind of cookie?

That’s easy.

The one that someone brings me so I don’t even have to get up. Preferably with a hot cup of coffee. Or tea. I’m flexible like that when cookies are involved.

Love, Mom

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Knotweed or Not

Dear Kid,

Once upon a time (and by “once upon a time” I mean a week or two ago), we bought Knotweed Honey when we were in Utica, NY.

“A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey left inside.“ ― Winnie the Pooh A A Milne. DearKidLoveMom.comWe knew knot about knotweed, but it sounded interesting, was made locally and sold at the local farmers market, and so why not?

Turns out knotweed honey (at least this version) is delicious. It’s a dark rich variety with a dark, rich, complex taste. (We now know why I’m not a food critic.) Anyway, Yum.

I decided I would look up knotweed. I’m that kind of girl.

And it turns out that Japanese Knotweed is one of the most invasive plants around. (Considering the amount of invasive plant talk I hear on a regular basis, that’s saying something.)

According to the one site I found that’s pro-Knotweed (remember, this is the one in favor of the stuff):

Knotweed, in the Buckwheat family, is not liked in western nations because it grows around three feet a month, sends roots down some 10 feet, grows through concrete, damaging roads, dams, buildings, and just about anything made by man.

Apparently, all sorts of its various parts are edible, some of them are even very, very healthy for humans.

Should you feel the urge, you can look up all sorts of ways to identify knotweed, harvest it, and prepare it for consumption. I’ll leave (or leaf) that to you.

I prefer my knotweed processed by bees and delivered in jars of honey.

Love, Mom

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Butler County’s Donut Trail (No Hiking Boots Necessary)

Dear Kid,

Sometimes the way things are named or marketed leads to instant disappointment. “World’s Best” fill-in-the-blank often isn’t even on the World’s Top Ten List. Nitro Coffee (which the sales person spends 10 minutes explaining and you can’t wait to try) tastes like ick.

The Donut Trail could have been one of those things. The Donut Trail #DonutTrail could have been a somewhat circular hiking trail. Or a trail with a picture of a donut. Or some other highly disappointing (if calorie-free) marking creation.

Happily, it’s none of the above.

Butler County's Donut Trail (No Hiking Boots Necessary) DearKidLoveMom.comLocated in Butler County, the Donut Trail is a “trail” of 9 specialty Donut Shops. They are far enough apart that driving is essential (I told you this didn’t disappoint). According to the website (see here):

Grab a traveling donut companion and head out on a sweet new trail in Butler County, Ohio. Follow the trail markers to find delicious donut shops. Prep for your trail travels by downloading a map and passport. Once you’ve conquered all the donut shop stops with your passport you’ll be rewarded!

These lovely independent donut bakeries carry all sorts of interesting sounding donuts like s’mores donuts, pineapple fritters, and tiger tails (I’m not sure what that is, but I’m willing to find out).

I’m guessing there is even coffee to be had to go with the donuts.

I think this may have to go on the calendar for when you and Pi are home. What do you think?

Love, Mom

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10 Ways to Have Frugal Fun on Campus | & National Homemade Cookie Day

Dear Kid,

Happy October!

It’s the first day of the 10th month, and it is a Day just made for college students.

First of all, it’s a Saturday which means sleeping in, tailgating, and an occasional football game.

Secondly, it’s October which means we can now begin the official countdown to Halloween. (NOW it’s appropriate to display Halloween merchandise. The stores jumped the gun big-time this year and had ghosts, goblins, and pumpkins parading around in the middle of August. Ridiculous.

It’s National Homemade Cookie Day. As far as I’m concerned, this includes cookies made in anyone’s home, cookies that have traveled to anyone’s home, and cookies eaten by anyone who has a home. DearKidLoveMom.comNext, it’s National Homemade Cookie Day. As far as I’m concerned, this includes cookies made in anyone’s home, cookies that have traveled to anyone’s home, and cookies eaten by anyone who has a home. I’m quite liberal when it comes to the Eating of the Confections.

Twelfth (one, two, skip a few…), it’s International Frugal Fun Day. And in honor of International Frugal Fun Day, here are 10 ideas for having some Frugal Fun at college.

  1. Make cookies. It’s kind of a two-fer-one celebration!
  2. Go for a long walk. If you’re in a part of the world where the leaves are changing, enjoy the fall colors.
  3. Cook for someone. “I’ll cook if you buy the food,” is a fantastic offer that those not possessed of kitchen skills are often eager accept. Don’t forget the cookies.
  4. Read a book. For fun.
  5. Study. (It’s frugal even if it’s not fun. And it will free you up to have guilt-free fun later.)
  6. Get together with friends and play a board game. (Before or after the football game; it’s up to you. I would never suggest you pass up the game to play one of your own.)
  7. Plan your Halloween costume. Frugally.
  8. Go to Costco and eat your fill of the try-its. With any luck, they’ll have cookies out.
  9. Invite friends over to hang out. They don’t have any money either.
  10. Attend stuff on campus. There are always tons of things to do (and lots of them offer free food—and cookies).

Happy October, kid.

Love, Mom

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