Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Blackberry Surprise, My Pantry, and summer ballet!

We found a nice surprise in our backyard a couple weeks ago. Our fence has long been overgrown with a green leafy vine which we assumed to be some sort of man eating weed (which are quite prevalent in our yard.) However, the day before Sam's party, Chad was doing some yard work and noticed that this monster of a plant taking over our fence was a blackberry bush! Woo hoo! I've always wanted a garden, and this is right up my alley: a garden that grows on it's own with no TLC required. So we've been picking blackberries every day this week.

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I had no idea that blackberries turn from red to black. Am I crazy for not knowing that??
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They are also known to be a great cancer-preventing food; in fact, they are the most potent cancer-fighting berry out of all the berries, by 40 percent!
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And another fun fact: during the Civil War, blackberries were used to treat dysentery; when an outbreak would occur, a temporary truce would be declared so that both Union and Confederate soldiers could go blackberry picking in order to ward off the disease.

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There are actually 2 types of blackberry bushes: thorny and thornless. We have been cursed blessed with the thorny variety; however, I read that the thorny bushes produce sweeter berries, so I guess getting pricked a few times is worth it, for the sweeter flavor. ??  I don't know. Those things hurt!

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Gotta love a no-maintenance hairdo in this southern humidity. She has no idea how lucky she is.
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Now, moving on to something completely off subject, especially when using the term 'no-maintenance.' Because my pantry required some MAJOR maintenance yesterday. Can you say disaster zone?

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When we were growing up my Mom had, like, every tupperware container there ever was; and they were all labeled with cute little labels that said "cereal" or "pasta" or "Cheetos" (although it only said "Cheetos" because they didn't make a label that read "Cheese Flavored Puffies" which is the brand we bought at Jitney Jungle.) Anywho, have you been to a Tupperware party lately?? That stuff is expen$$ive! It's definitely right up my alley, being bright and fun, but woah, the prices are a little steep. I've resorted to some plastic Walmart bins and the ever-practical lazy susans, which are WONDERFUL for pantry organization.

Here's how it all goes down in my pantry...

I have bins for the following:

1. Miscellaneous small baking items (i.e. chocolate chips, icing, food coloring, candy melts, cookie cutters, candy sticks, cupcake liners, etc.)
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2. Beverage items (i.e. coffee, coffee filters, coffee creamer, Splenda, tea bags, powdered drink mixes, etc.)
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3. Breakfast items (i.e. Carnation Instant Breakfast, oatmeal/grits packets, granola bars, etc.)
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I also have a bin for miscellaneous packaged cooking items, like boxed pasta, Jiffy cornbread mix, marinade/taco seasoning mixes, rice, etc.

And I use 3 lazy susans for the following groups of items:

1. Canned stuff (plus peanut butter)
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2. Larger miscellaneous baking items (cocoa, flour, sugar, corn starch, Crisco, corn meal, etc.)
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3. Miscellaneous Cooking Items (oils, vinegars, bread crumbs, marinades, mixes, etc.)
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And to make things easier, I usually dump all our snack foods (especially the ones that do not come in easy-to-seal boxes or packages) into larger ziplock bags. They keep longer that way, and it takes up less space.
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Cereal and items that must be kept in boxes are on the top shelf.
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I have a 3-drawer rubbermaid bin below the shelves in my pantry in which I store the following:

Drawer # 1: Spices
Drawer #2: Paper/plastic goods (foil, cling wrap, parchment paper, wax paper, ziplock bags, etc.)
Drawer #3: Paper plates, napkins, plastic utensils, etc.

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And now that I've bored you with my pantry project, I'll leave you with a few pictures of Mary Ella's newest venture: her summer ballet/tap class.

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There's a dance studio only a couple miles from our house that offers a summer ballet/tap class for 3-5 year olds. It's once a week and just for fun, and it was also super cheap, so I signed Mary Ella up right away. Ever since she saw "Dora's Ballet Adventure" back in the spring she's talked about doing ballet. And as most of you know, she is always looking for ways to express herself, so this gives her a great outlet. :)

She talked a big talk the first week but when we arrived that afternoon she was not herself. It was a 3:45pm class, right after afternoon nap, and I soon learned that this time slot wasn't going to cut it. She sat in my lap the entire class and watched from the sidelines. So I decided to switch her to the 9:30am class and it made all the difference! She was in a great mood and went right out on the floor with the other girls.

This was at the beginning of the class when they were stretching and doing ballet positions. She mostly watched during this part but I did get a video of her attempting a plie.
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Then came the part where the teacher asked each girl which animal she wanted to imitate; they'd walk in a circle acting like whatever animal was chosen. They hopped like bunnies, tiptoed like mice, and galloped like horses (gracefully of course!) When it came time for Mary Ella's turn to pick her animal, Miss Joy said, "Ok Mary Ella, your turn! What do you want to be? A frog? A butterfly?"

Mary Ella replied, "Umm, I think I'll just be a peacock."

The teachers both died laughing and then tried to figure out how to teach the rest of the class to imitate a peacock. Ha... Here they are sporting their best peacock wing spans.
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She had a great time and now that I know she likes it, I'll take my real camera from now on!
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blessed signature

4 comments:

McKinney Madness said...

1. We have a blackberry bush too, only ours aren't thorny which makes them extra sour. I didn't know they helped to prevent cancer though. I don't really like them but I need to come up with a recipe that makes me like them. Got any?
2. I need the motivation to do the same thing to my pantry. But for now I'll sit on the couch in my pajamas.
3. Mary Ella looks too cute in her ballet outfit. I can't wait to take ST to a class some day!

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