Saturday, September 26, 2015

Well That's Plum Crazy!

We have some pretty awesome neighbors.  This past weekend they brought over an overflowing bucket full of plums and a bag full of apples from their fruit trees.  We really like plums.  This was not just an ice cream bucket or small pail, but a 5 gallon bucket.  The girls were super excited.  We all took one, okay two, off the top and ate them.  Then looked back at the bucket and realized that it didn't look like we had even touched it. Some quick math lead to the conclusion that this bucket of plums would take us about 134 days to finish if we each ate 2 per day.
My mother is excellent at canning foods, dehydrating them, and finding all sorts of ways to use every ounce of nutrition with little to no waste.  Unfortunately, I failed to pay much attention when these activities we happening, we moved 800 miles away this summer, and I had no canning supplies.  Thank goodness for pinterest!  We spent Saturday afternoon researching plum recipes and found all sorts of plum butters, plum jams, plum preserves, then it's like the recipe jumped out at us - PLUM BBQ Sauce!  WHAT?  Is that really a thing?  It sounded weird enough that it had to be good.  We purchased our supplies and prepared for the adventure.
Sunday right after church we punished the two oldest girls by making them pit the entire bucket, minus about 10 more plums that we decided to eat.  The youngest child helped me make apple lemon jelly, apple pie, and a jar of apple sauce.  When the plums were all pitted we realized that we had WAY more than what we needed for the recipe so we decided to triple the recipe, we were clearly feeling pretty confident.  Even with the triple batch we still had enough plums to make a plum breakfast bar recipe and freeze ten bags full of plums for baking projects later this fall.
We started cooking the plums for the BBQ sauce and so far all that was added was a tad bit of sugar and touch of cinnamon.  It smelled amazing.  Then it was time to start adding garlic, cumin, chili powder, red pepper, onion salt, black pepper, and other spices and we all looked at each other for confirmation.  We knew there was no turning back once we dumped that mixture in.  Within a matter of minutes the aroma changed from sweet to savory.
This was one crazy week full of greatness.  We ended up with 8 jars of the most amazing BBQ sauce ever, 3 jars of jelly, 1 jar of apple sauce, and the best part of the whole thing....   WE FINALLY FOUND THE GARAGE DOOR OPENER.  It was in the fridge inside of the butter holder.  That seems completely logical, I am sure one of us put it there on purpose.  It was probably even me since I am the only one that can't actually reach the place it is normally kept, but they can't prove it so....  :)

Friday, September 18, 2015

Ready, Set, Apocalypse!

Confession time....  the McCollum family has been so busy with life that we failed to properly pay attention to the updates on the impending apocalypse and we are now finding ourselves horribly unprepared.  So unprepared that we are not sure where to start.  It's like finding out that you are about to host a huge multi-family meal just minutes before they show up.  At least we have a little over week notice, Sept 28th is coming quickly.

While this is not an official Mormon declared day of mass devastation, there are apparently several who believe that it will happen and on that very date.  It must take an incredible amount of faith to believe that God will RSVP for a day of reckoning and to completely alter life around preparing for the single moment. I suppose it isn't too much different from preparing for marriage, or having a baby, or buying a house, or starting a new job, or [insert your own stressful yet exciting life experience here].  Perhaps it is one of those, you can't pray to win the lottery and then actually expect to win if you don't buy the ticket scenarios.  The people ask for a date, they prepare for a date, they expect that it will happen. What about the other 5,327,348,234 people that are also praying to win the lottery, or the 12,342,654,545,897 people that are praying for peace, comfort, and safety rather than a mass destruction.  Which prayer gets answered and how does He decide???

There is no more time for logic, it is time to truly prepare.  Since this is not an official church sponsored apocalypse we are thinking that we will use this as a practice run and merge it with one of our family favorite annual holidays, national Talk Like a Pirate Day.  That happens to be tomorrow, Sept 19th but the 28th will have to do.  This really feels like a good fit for several reasons:

  1. Pirates live on boats - Noah was saved from the flood on a boat and there were animals.  We like animals.
  2. Pirates like birds, again Noah received a twig from a dove as a sign that dry land was near, and our first family pet was a bird named Sunshine.  FULL DISCLOSURE: The middle child "accidentally" swung it around by the tail feathers and pulled them all out so it was a goofy looking bird that couldn't fly.  (two years olds.....)
  3. Pirates are innovative and smart like MacGyver and if the apocalypse does come via mass destruction we will need to channel some MacGyver skills since we did not actually prepare for the tent and camping supplies that are supposedly needed for this event. 
  4. We need to stock up on snacks and some food storage and one of our favorite family snacks is called Pirate's Booty. (relax, its like popcorn people....)
  5. Pirates are strong-willed and do not let the peg legs and hook hands stop them from accomplishing what they want to do.  Charley has had enough injuries and surgeries that he needs this kind of inspiration.
  6. 6 Months In A Leaky Boat, by the Wiggles, was one of the girls favorite songs growing up.  They may or may not still play it and sing along.  We were told we aren't allowed to tell people so we can't tell you if this really happens or not....  There has to be a play list for all big life events, this will be on our family's apocalypse play list for sure.

This is going to be the best themed family parties.  So thankful we get to count it as FHE (family home evening - Mormon family night term) since the 28th is also a Monday!  We know there is this big competition for pinterest quality birthday parties, baby showers, bridal showers, and all that fun.  By sharing our ideas so far in advance we run the risk of people stealing our ideas and crafting them into something cute, clever, and pinterest worthy putting ours to shame.  Have at it, make the new board and pins for themed apocalypse parties, just let us know so we can create the pinterest fail version.

If we still have technology, internet, and anything to share after the 28th.....

Monday, September 14, 2015

Happy 20th to my EC

So my wife comes home from work and as usual we have the discussion of what to have for dinner. It is now 6:00pm and my oldest daughter has just, 20 minutes ago, put potatoes in the oven. We can have baked potatoes in an hour or we can resort to a plan B. My oldest daughter says, how about dad takes mom on a date for their anniversary and we can do something else for dinner.  And that is how we got kicked out of the house to celebrate our 20th anniversary alone.
We couldn't just waste this alone time eating so we hurried over to the local Home Depot to buy a new light switch we have been meaning to replace for the last month. My lovely EC didn't want to put her shoes back on yet so she stayed in the car to research food options since we have only lived in Ohio for 3 months while I shopped.  When I got back to the car she had limited it down to two local restaurants and Red Lobster.  It has been fun to try new places and explore Northeast Ohio so we decided to be truly adventurous and try the endless shrimp at Red Lobster.
As any normal couple in 2015 does we immediately sat down and pulled out our cell phones to share the latest and greatest Internet finds of the past week.  That is when we realized that we have just as much ridiculous material to share and what better way to spend our 20th anniversary than to start a blog at a restaurant during shrimp round #3.
We were briefly interrupted when the oldest child called to say she aced her math midterm in her first college math class and asked permission to go out for ice cream to celebrate.  We haven't reminded her yet that she is technically an adult and doesn't need to ask permission because it's still kind of adorable and funny.
Back to the blog...  It may have been the shrimp talking but we were on a roll brainstorming names like "20 years to Eternal Life" and "the next 20" and it got much worse until we decided on DysFUNction Mormon Style since that describes our framily (friends and family) so well.
We wanted to write a brilliant first post together but this is all you get.  Mostly because we have three teenage girls at home who think that us staying out past 9 on a school night is irresponsible.  They prefer to have family prayers by 8:30pm and head to bed because they are weird and were obviously switched at birth with some other people's children.  The other reason is that the shrimp really did start talking and it said STOP for the love of all that is holy, you have had way too much!