11.30.2016

Eleanor Roosevelt - first lady - carried a gun for protection

Source:  http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/news/2015/07/12/eleanor-roosevelt-gun-owner/29953377/
 July 12, 2015

(Photo: FDR Presidential Library)





First lady. Icon of liberalism. Gun owner?

Yes, Eleanor Roosevelt, known for traveling the country to highlight the plight of the poor and marginalized, also was packing heat.

The mother of five had a .22 caliber Smith & Wesson pistol with a 6-inch barrel, front sight and a round top frame with an adjustable rear sight.

With debate raging in New York and around the nation about gun control and Second Amendment rights, the fact is, one of the greats of the Democratic Party not only owned a gun, but carried it for protection!

"Eleanor Roosevelt is considered a 20th century icon of the Democratic Party and someone whose liberal politics established an enduring benchmark that continues to shape politics today. The fact that she owned a gun offers yet another dimension to the historic legacy of a president and first lady...."

 Read more here.








11.29.2016

Rambling over coffee: A random and dumb memory of when I was a little kid and found 'secret' tunnels in the gym of our school



The night before last I was in the kitchen doing dishes and thinking of a few childhood memories that took place in my school.  As I sit here now, sipping my peppermint coffee and trying to remember just why I was reliving memories from a few decades ago... I can't. Something must have triggered them but I'm not sure what.

When I was 7 years old we moved from a large city to a very small town in the heart of America. I attended the parochial elementary/jr. high school just down the block from my home.  I think at the time, in 2nd grade, we had about 24 kids in our class.  As the years went by many schoolmates moved away from our little town on the prairie and when I graduated from that school in 8th grade we had 13 kids in our class.

One of the memories that jumped into my brain was how excited we would get when it was time for parent teacher conferences to roll around.  I don't recall the cut off age, but I know once you were one of the 'older' kids you got to sign up for certain jobs or tasks during conferences.

Excitement was in the air when we found out the sign-up form was going to be posted or passed around the classes.  The coveted slot of gold was the 'bell ringer'.   This student would set up shop in the schools administration office and their sole job was to watch the clock and push the button that would ring the buzzer/bell every 15 minutes to let teachers and parents know their time was up; as well as the 3 minute short 'warning' bell prior to the longer buzzer signaling the end of the conference.

The bell ringer not only got to hang out in the school office but it's where the real treasure was... the food.  Sitting there  for an hour time slot (or two if you could sneak your name into both slots without a teacher calling you out for it and making you give up one of the coveted positions) chatting with friends that stop in the office, watching the little TV that was kept in the office and eating scads of delicious foods of all types that had brought in for the teachers during conference evenings.

That was also a sign up slot.  Food donations.

Conferences started right after school at 3:30 on the first day, and there was no school the 2nd day of conferences so teachers were spending all day at the school and didn't go home for meals.  Families would sign up to bring in hot dishes, main meals, side dishes, desserts, snacks and drinks for the teachers to eat.  The foods provided were always amazing as a lot of church and school pot luck style meals are.  That, my friends, was the real gold.  It's also why most of the guys tried to sign up as bell ringers!

I did bell ringing some of the time but what I truly loved was the babysitting slots.  I loved children, loved babies and loved babysitting.  For me and my friends we would sign up and then hope and pray some of our 'favorite' families would be slated for conference times during our shifts.  It was a big disappointment to find out your favorite babies or toddlers went to their conference during someone elses shift or even worse, the family had other childcare set up and didn't bring them!

With wrestling mats set up in the corner of the gym, random toys we all would bring from home 'for the cause' and children's records and cassette tapes playing in the background; we would spend our 2 hour slots feeding babies, running after toddlers and playing games with the little kids.

Sometimes there were no kids at all during our time slots.  And that is another random memory that popped into my head as I did dishes that evening.

Two friends and I signed up for childcare on a very slow conference day.  No kids. No parents. No teachers. No visitors.  As we sat on the wrestling mats and chatted about nothing in particular, one of my friends that had numerous older brothers and sisters who had gone to the school before us pointed out there were tunnels under the gym floor.  Tunnels!?  Really?  Noooo.  Yes?

Yes!

And so we set out to find them.  And we did.

The entrance was actually under the wrestling mat we were on.  A large square cut out of the floor of the gym but not marked or noticeable in any way.  We carefully pried it up and sure enough, about a 4 foot drop below us was a tunnel.  A dark tunnel.  Without lights of course.  We ventured down into the tunnel a few feet, feeling ever so rebellious and naughty.  (Hey, we were 12.  And it was a Catholic school.  Believe me, this was rebellious for us!)  Being too dark to see farther than a few feet, a plan was made.  The next babysitting shift we could get on together, we'd come armed with flashlights.

And we did.  Although it was busier at the time and we really did have to time it just right and hope no one came into the gym while we were exploring!  We went down, put the floor back in place behind us and, hunched over to fit in the shallow tunnels, we proceeded to explore.

After going straight for quite a while we came to a corner and took it.  As we were now in the heart of the tunnel, in pitch black, we whispered about where we might be under the gym and how far the tunnels go, and whether or not there were spiders or if someone had come into the gym while we were down there!

Our nerves got the best of us and we found our way back to the opening where we had left the flooring just 'off' enough to allow some light to filter down so we could find the opening again.  As we came out of the tunnel we saw the janitor entering the gym from the far door! My two friends had scrambled out, but I had only made it out as far as my eyes.  My head was quickly shoved back down and the floor put in place above my head as my friends pretended they weren't doing something they shouldn't be.

Over the next two years we went to school there we managed to slip down into the tunnels a couple times more.  Word spread to a few of the guys in our class and they too found ways to sneak down.  We did our part of continuing the rumor of 'hidden tunnels' for the kids who came after us to whisper of the tales and try to find them themselves.  I had younger brothers and while the first two also took part in the secretive whispers of tunnels, by the time our youngest brother went through the school it was 'old news'.  As a matter of fact, by then everyone knew about the tunnels and most had gone down into them at one time or another and the whole topic was no longer strange and mysterious.

They took the fun out of it.

The school is no longer functioning as a place of learning as the population of our little town dwindled and the class sizes fell so low it was not feasible to keep it open.  It was shuttered and the bells no longer ring.  The gym is silent and the halls will probably never be filled children again.  Sad really... but I guess time marches on.

The end of my 'tunnel' memory (which by-the-way went though my brain in like, 10 seconds even though it's taken me about 10 minutes to type it all out!) is that for 3 girls who didn't want to be caught in the tunnels we were pretty stupid.  We were so proud of ourselves that we pilfered a piece of paper from the crayon pile in our little childcare area and we wrote on the paper:

September 8, 1982*
Mary, Kristin and Meritt were here and we didn't get caught!

And we left it on the floor of the tunnel just below the opening.

What?!
Ok. Because you know, when you don't want to get caught, you try to leave exact, precise evidence of what you did for the janitor and other adults to find.  Ha.  Ah... the innocence and stupidity of youth.



*randomly made up date; I don't recall the precise date we went down

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11.28.2016

14 mint coffee's this holiday season! My FAVORITE - Donut Shop Peppermint Bark - My "MUST HAVE" Coffee



I can tell it's the 'holiday' season.
The only time in the entire year my body wants 'flavored' coffee.



For the past two weeks, if you were to peek into my coffee cup, there is about an 80% chance you'll find this minty, black gold staring back at you;  Peppermint Bark coffee.  Even though I love my coffee strong, hot and black most of the year; there is something about the chill in the air and the holidays that makes me crave this peppermint coffee... and I love love love love it.  





that link is often sold out but here is another link Amazon for a single box that is currently in stock as of todays post:


I have also been buying this coffee at Walmart - although my Walmart doesn't have it in the grocery aisle; they have it in the large k-cup display in housewares; where the Keurig and iCoffee single cup brewers are sold.  It's $12 a box at Walmart.

_________________________________

SOOO many mint coffee versions and so little time!  You might be interested in some of these mint coffee varieties available through Amazon (and yes I painstakingly searched for each image and link to post here!):

Coffee Beanery Chocolate Mint Kiss -1.75oz Try-Me-Sampler

Friendly's Single-Cup Coffee for Keurig K-Cup Brewers, Mint Chocolate Chip, 40 Count

Junior Mint Hot Cocoa for Keurig K-Cup Brewers, 40 Count

Teeccino Chocolate Mint Herbal Coffee Alternative, Caffeine Free, Acid Free, 11oz (Pack of 3)

Eight O'Clock Flavored Ground Coffee 11oz Bag (Pack of 3) Select Flavor Below (Chocolate Mint)

Hills Bros Cappuccino Mocha Mint, 15 Ounce (Pack of 6)

Mint Ground Coffee By LifeBoost - Single Origin Organic Fair Trade 12 oz Ground Java Mint Roast Coffee

David's Cookies, Chocolate Mint Brownie Coffee, 24 Count  (Compatible with 2.0 Brewers)

Guy Fieri Flavortown Roasts Coffee, Chocolate Mint, 24 Count

Door County Coffee Single Serve Cups for Keurig Brewers (Mocha Mint, 12 Count)

Martinson Joe's Coffee, Mint N Mocha, 24 Single Serve RealCups

Andes Chocolate Mint Single Keurig K-Cup Coffee, 40 Count

San Marco Coffee Flavored Ground Coffee, Merry Mocha Mint, 1 Pound




11.25.2016

The kit I purchased: The Mr. Beer Premium Gold Edition Beer Kit - (originally posted 2013)

Update: I posted this in 2013. It's now November 2016 and although my husband went on to brew with a little more advanced version kit, he still uses this one as well. He loves it and yes, it's still in use! Thumbs up for a kit that has more than paid for itself. The only thing I don't like about it is the refills are rather expensive. If you get a good deal on refills; buy up!


Mr. Beer Premium Gold Edition Beer Kit
Today's post over morning coffee is coming from my very overwhelmed, scrambled brain.  It comes from spending numerous nights and more hours than I probably should have, studying all the options for a beginner beer making kit.

Originally I was thinking of getting my husband this for Christmas, but at that time my brain was still scrambled from all I was learning, and I had spent enough on gifts anyway.  I decided to continue 'thinking about it' until his birthday in February.

Everyone will have a different opinion on a good starter kit and why they feel the way they do.  And everyone is entitled to it.  However, after spending all this time debating, I finally made my decision and purchased a starter kit for my husband.  Because it was such an overwhelming process and made my head hurt, I wanted to share my experience of decision making, and why I ultimately chose the one I did.  Perhaps it will help another reader out there who is also looking for a basic, affordable kit.

My husband loves beers.  I use the plural form because loving beers and not beer means he enjoys taste-testing, reading about new beers, trying beers from around the world and enjoying them.   Not just throwing back a few beers on the weekend to get buzzed.  He loves stout ales and Belgian beers the best I think, but by the beach or poolside, he'd opt for Kalik and for a night sitting and talking with the guys he'd grab a Guinness.  Me?  I don't like beer.  I don't drink beer.  I have no interest in beer.  So, you can see why my head was spinning when I was trying to choose a beginner's beer making kit!

After reading through hours of posts on beer connoisseurs' message boards and reviews, I learned of some of the best equipment and ingredient companies.  I read hotly debated discussions about quality, size, brand, ingredients and more.  Every ingredient, brand, kit, supplier or equipment item that someone loved, someone else hated.

In the end I did find 3 'kits' I was seriously considering.  They were for beginners and intermediate brewers and usually included 'everything but the pot, bottles and caps'.   (Like this; Brewers Best Beer Home Brewing Equipment Kit)

Here is actually one of the kits I was almost ready to order;  knowing I also needed to invest in a good stock pot, decent thermometer, bottles, caps, and a couple other items.  A good starter kit I (he) could build on as he got better at brewing.
 

 Brewing Starter Kit





Then I had a moment of clarity.
  • I don't have much money to spend
  • I don't know if he will LIKE brewing his own beer
  • I don't know if he will have the time to take up another hobby
  • I don't want to waste money purchasing a good kit he may never actually use
  • These beginner/intermediate kits have items he doesn't really NEED and still are missing a few he does

In the end, I went with the Mr. Beer Premium Gold Edition Beer Kit.
  • Includes 2-gallon fermenting keg with lid and tap assembly, two standard refill brew packs, eight reusable plastic 1-liter bottles
  • Includes eight reusable plastic caps, eight labels, Brewing with Mr. Beer brewer's guide, and 4-step brewing instructions
  • Lightweight, shatter resistant keg is made from FDA compliant plastic and imparts no taste or flavor migration
  • Brew pack offers two distinct and popular beers for 2 batches (4 gallons) of home brewed beer
  • Keg's wide mouth allows for easy cleaning; hand wash only; avoid using scouring pads or abrasives during cleaning; keg measures 9.5 x 13 x 9 inches
Why people didn't like it
I researched the reasons people didn't like it and there were only a few reasons;  mainly, sometimes people had leak issues, others complained it didn't make a full 5 gallons like other standard kits made (I think this is a good things for beginners!  Who wants 5 gallons of bad beer?), and lastly; some didn't like the flavor of the beers.  Interestingly enough, those that didn't like the flavor usually were drinkers of uh, less than highly thought of beers to begin with or had been 'crafting their own beers for years' and were snubbing their noses at such a basic kit.  One complaint I thought held merit; the beer was sweet.  Others suggested this was because regular baking sugar was used. 

Why I liked it
Affordability!  Not knowing if this was something my husband wanted to continue or would have a strong interest in, this little hobby kit is the perfect introduction!
The size is great because if he was to brew a standard 5 gallons of beer and it was really, really bad?  What a waste! The smaller size of this kit was a plus.
The kit sells for $35 - $64 depending on where you purchase it.  For roughly $40 I don't have to feel bad if he used it once, didn't care for it or didn't have time for it and it was sent to the back of a closet.
On the other hand, if he found he was interested in this process and wanted to go from the 'Easy Bake Oven' style brewing to 'a real kitchen' style brewing, we could THEN purchase the better kit for beginners and intermediate brewers, knowing it was a smart investment.
Again, 40 bucks wasn't much to be 'out' to see if this was something he might be interested in.

My total for the kit (which comes with 2 beer ingredient packs) and an extra Irish Stout Refill pack came to a grand total of $61.  Basically I chose a quick and easy beginner brew kit to 'test the waters' and hopefully spark an interest in what could become a life-long, enjoyable hobby for him. 


Refills:
Mr. Beer Classic American Light Refill Brew Pack
Mr. Beer American Porter Refill Brew Pack
Mr. Beer Patriot Lager Refill Brew Pack
Mr. Beer Octoberfest Lager Refill Brew Pack
Mr. Beer American Ale Refill Brew Pack
Mr. Beer Bavarian Weissbier Refill Brew Pack
Mr. Beer Canadian Blonde Refill Brew Pack
Mr. Beer Aztec Mexican Cerveza Refill Brew Pack
Mr. Beer Czech Pilsner Refill Brew Pack
Mr. Beer St. Patricks Irish Stout Refill Brew Pack


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