Birthday, Othello, Chowder Plans

DAY 53 -- Yes. Today's my birthday.

For the first time in longer than I can remember, I actually let myself sleep in. This was only possible thanks to Amy and the kids who let me let myself sleep in. Somewhere around 8:30, I think the kids' patience was wearing thin and they wanted the hard work they'd put into my birthday present to be seen.

As I made my way downstairs, I was promptly greeted with some hot coffee and breakfast made for me by Anna.

You may not notice right away that among the banana slices and toast is one bar off of a Kit-Kat -- a piece of Anna's candy bar which she'd decided to share with me for my birthday.

The kids had put together and pretty detailed treasure hunt for me with a dozen clues sending me to various spots throughout the house. Each clue, had a colored picture of something that they know I like -- Mister Rogers, Jeeps, the Cubs...

The end result was my birthday present under Charlotte's pillow -- a one-of-a-kind Lybarger kid homemade parachute to be used with Fisher Price Adventure People. My kids rule.

Amy hooked me up with some cast iron cooking gear for the next time we go camping or decide to cook over our fire pit. My wife rules.

What I'd really like to do is make a massive pot of chowder over a fire this fall. I remember going to community "chowders" with my grandmother when I was a kid and eating some of the most amazing mush you'll ever taste. Imagine a thick vegetable soup that cooks down for hours. For several years I looked for a recipe that was at least close to the chowder I remember salting and packing with crackers -- but nothing ever compared.

Then a few years ago I stumbled upon a recipe for "Southern Illinois Chowder" that looked promising and it was absolutely perfect.
1 gallon water
1 1⁄2 pounds stewing beef, cut in chunks
1 1⁄4 pounds boneless chicken, cut up
1 small head cabbage, chopped
3 large stalks celery, chopped
3 cups carrots, diced
1 large onion, chopped
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 quarts peeled and diced potatoes
2 1⁄2 cups fresh or frozen green beans, thawed
1 (15-ounce) can lima beans, drained
24 ounces tomato sauce
1 1⁄2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1⁄2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
Salt and pepper to taste 
Add beef to boiling water, cover and simmer for an hour. Add chicken and continue cooking another 1 1⁄2 hours, stirring frequently. Add cabbage, mushrooms, celery and carrots. Cook for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add onion, then the potatoes. Cook for 45 minutes. Add green beans. Cook another hour. Add lima beans, and cook a final 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Near the end of the time, add the tomato sauce, corn and pepper sauce and seasonings.
Makes 20 servings.
Anyway. Back to my birthday.

. . .

After a bike ride to the park with Amy and the kids, I showered and hit the road for a few hours of birthday solitude. It should come as no surprise what I did.

Smoothie King? Yes.

Junk stores? Of course.

Here's today's haul -- all for less than I paid for my Mango Kale smoothie.

. . .

Charlotte has been expressing an interest in a few time-travel stories she's read lately. Considering she's about the age I was when I first saw Back to the Future, introducing her to Marty McFly and Doc Brown seemed like a no-brainer.

The afternoon passed quickly as Charlotte, Mason, and I shut off the basement lights and watched the first two parts of the Back to the Future trilogy.

I got a solid eye roll from Charlotte when I pointed out that Jennifer in Part 2 is the same person who plays Ali Mills in The Karate Kid.

. . .

I suppose I should mention that my no-alcohol streak has come to an end at just over five months.

So, cheers.

"Sometimes I like the wagon. Sometimes I like to walk."

Too bad I gave away all of my Cobra Kai beer.

. . .

After a night swim with the kids, Amy and I wrapped up the evening with a battle at the Othello board before heading to bed where I tried to watch The Karate Kid on my phone (Amy was watching Gilmore Girls). I barely made it to the beach scene before I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.


1 comment:

the sandwich life said...

As always, I love you guys. Happy birthday from all of us!