July 10, 2017

Baseball, Old Style, and creepy crawlies

I feel like my entire life revolves around baseball right now! Last week was packed with it once we got home from vacation. Eli is on his regular summer league as well as an All-Star team. His All-Star team had a tournament Saturday and Sunday, which ended up being an all day event. I love watching the games, but it's hard to plan anything else because you don't know the schedule ahead of time. It all depends on if they win or lose each game.

Eli was SO excited to be on this team. He had to try out for it, so I'm really happy for him that he made it. I think the most exciting part for him was the uniform ;) He couldn't wait to wear it, so he finally got to wear it on Saturday. As the team was warming up for their first game, Eli hit the ball and actually broke his wooden bat!


I told him that was pretty cool, and it was too bad it didn't happen during the game ;)

I was a little worried about his thumb, because he hurt it pretty badly when we were up north. Noah was using a slingshot, and Eli ended up getting hit with a small rock. His thumb swelled up and bruised, and I just hoped it wasn't broken. We put a splint on it, and when it was wrapped up, I remembered a certain Fourth of July where I got a fish hook in my finger, and then was a little dramatic with dressing it. I knew I had a picture of me somewhere from that day, so I dug it out (virtually) when I got home. I thought it was pretty funny!


Anyway, Eli ended up doing great at his tournament. We only won one of three games, but he had fun, so that's all I care about anyway. Watching the games is so nerve-wracking for me! 

After the games on Saturday, Jerry, the kids, and I went to Dave and Renee's for some yard games and a bonfire. Dave surprised us with some Old Style beer! 

Dave is actually much happier than he looks in photos, hahaha


Anyway, if you don't recognize the beer, it's seen on just about every episode of Shameless (my very favorite TV show). Jerry and I got Renee and Dave hooked on Shameless, so it was pretty fun to get a hold of the Old Style beer (which you can't get around here--it's from Illinois). 

I hadn't had a single drink since I was in Portland over a month ago, but I couldn't pass up the Old Style! And it was actually really good, even for a non-beer drinker like me. I'm sure it's just your average cheap beer in Chicago, but it was a fun novelty for us to try.

Yesterday, Noah had to leave for church camp, where he'll spend this week. He was very excited to go, but I'm a little bummed he won't be here for his birthday on Thursday. We're going to celebrate it next weekend. 


I took this picture just before he left. It's hard to believe that the next time I see him, he'll be a teenager!

A couple of months ago, I was looking through a brochure of different summer camp events for kids, and there was a cooking class for kids ages 9-11. Eli was interested in signing up, but when I thought about it, I figured he probably wouldn't learn much with kids two years younger than him and several kids in a class. I knew I could teach him everything (and more) than he would learn in a $100 class, so I asked him if he would want to do something similar on our own when Noah was at camp. He loved the idea.

He told me several times how excited he was to choose, shop for, prepare, and cook dinners every day this week. We wrote down a list of ideas, and I wanted to choose different cooking techniques each day. The meal he was most excited about was steak. We never eat steak, mainly because it's so expensive and Jerry and I don't really like beef very much. But, Eli had watched a show where Gordon Ramsey cooked steak for steak sandwiches, and Eli told me all about how he cooked it. That's what he wanted to make. So, we chose steak with sautéed zucchini and summer squash. 

Eli picked out the ingredients at the store, and then I showed him how to prep everything (even how to preheat the oven, the difference between a skillet and sauce pan, soup pot, etc.). He did all the work himself--searing the steak, adding garlic, thyme, and butter, then putting it the oven to finish cooking. Meanwhile, he sliced the zucchini and summer squash, and sautéed them in olive oil. 


When he was done, everything was actually really DELICIOUS. Like I said, I don't really like beef, but even I ate a few slices of this. He was very proud of himself.




Tonight, we are going to make a chicken stir-fry so he can learn how to chop and slice all sorts of different vegetables, and to make a sauce for it, as well as cook perfect rice (I am the master of cooking rice!). 

This is random, but I found a beast of a spider in my laundry room. It was midnight, and I went in there to move clothes from the washer to the dryer. I could've done it in the dark, and I started to, but then I decided to flip on the light. When I did, I noticed it... literally the largest spider I'd ever seen. After I stopped gawking and gasping out some very foul language, I grabbed my phone to take a picture--I had to get a picture of this thing--then I called Jerry and Noah in to see it. None of us could believe it.

Here it is next to a 40-pound box of cat litter, so you can see the relative size of the thing. 


It wasn't moving, but I was terrified to do anything about it, considering the last spider fiasco we had. This spider actually dwarfed that last spider in size. I thought trapping it under a plastic cup or something would be better than spraying it with Raid only to have it run and crawl somewhere that I couldn't get to it. We eventually got it into a mason jar, and I was still marveling at the size of it. 


Jerry said it was probably a fishing spider, and after reading about them, I am pretty sure that's what it was. They like to be in wooded areas and near bodies of water (we live right across from woods/marsh). They are actually big enough that they float on the water and catch small fish and large insects! I have no idea how it got into the house, but the very next day, Jerry used some sort of foam sealant to seal around the drain holes under the sinks and any spot that leads under the house. I don't ever want to find one of those things again!

Anyway, things have been crazy busy around here all week, so I am hoping to get a chance to write more frequently soon (probably after next weekend's baseball tournament). Hopefully everyone had a great weekend!

25 comments:

  1. So cool that Eli has an interest in cooking! Looks like you are a great teacher!

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  2. Katie, your boys are looking so mature all of a sudden. They are growing up! It will be a gift to them to look back at their childhood through the lens of your blog.

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    1. I was thinking the exact same thing! I don't know what it is about kids growing up that when they get into the double digits the speed of their growing up seems to accelerate!

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    2. I thought the same! Eli looks so grown up in those pictures!! How did that happen?

      Also, I had a giant jumping spider in my house last week that looked similar to your spider visitor. It snuck in the door and I couldn't get it out. So now there is a giant jumping spider in my house somewhere, probably laying giant jumping spider eggs!!! Eek!!!

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    3. They've grown a TON in the last year or so. Eli, especially! That is one reason I have continued to blog--I really like being able to look back to five years ago (or any time frame) and see what we did that day. It comes in handy when I'm trying to figure out when we did certain activities, too! ;) I have a separate private blog (just for me) where I've written things they've said over the years that made me laugh really hard or just cute things they've done. I wish I'd kept it up, but the last time I wrote in it was a few years ago. Thanks for the reminder!

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  3. Just be glad you don't get scorpions! We moved to Arizona a couple years ago and the scorpions they have here (bark scorpions) can be deadly... and they are a common pest! I hate spiders but I'd rather find a huge semi-harmless spider than a tiny dangerous scorpion. I would have been cussing if I saw that thing too, though... haha!

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  4. That spider is awesome! I love how they can walk on water. Usually big spiders creep me out, but for some reason these ones don't.

    I love the photo of Eli & the broken bat :D

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  5. Cool home cooking class, and aaaaaahhhhhhhh on the spider!!

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  6. Ok, so I'm going to be that person to correct you (ugh don't hate me lol) but as a loyal Wisconsin-ite and Wisconsin beer drinker, just wanted to let you know that Old Style beer is brewed by Pabst and originated in Wisconsin! They did however later cross state lines to Illinois and therefore probably became more famous there. Also, Illinois is not my favorite place since I'm a loyal Packer fan so just hearing that Chicago might be taking credit for Pabst made me cringe ;) Sounds like you're having a great summer so far!!

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    1. I almost always fact check something like that, but the beer must have gone to my head, because I didn't! hahaha. I had no idea that it's brewed by Pabst. I normally don't like beer, but I actually really liked the Old Style!

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  7. My son is 16 and also loves to cook and he's been doing some of our dinners this summer. Your son's beef looks really good! My husband and I both love to cook and he watches Gordon ramsey's videos a lot.

    But that spider.... YUCK.

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  8. Your boys are really growing up.. Just too quick.. They are so handsome.. By the way steak looks great; a little too rare for me. But I would try it...

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  9. So did you let the spider go back in the marsh??

    Eli looks so happy with his meal...and so cute!! ;-)

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    1. No, that poor spider chose the wrong house to enter!

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  10. That's awesome that Eli wants to learn about cooking! Maybe you'll get lucky, and he'll like it so much that he'll take over all the cooking chores! Just be sure he also learns about cleaning the dishes. :)

    That spider is freaky big - we saw a big one like that in my mom's garage when I visited over the 4th of July, but no water near there, so I don't know if it's the same type. It gave me the willies just looking at it - I don't know how you got it into that jar!

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  11. Eli's steak looks fabulous, and he is just so handsome! I can't get over how big he's gotten. I love his hairstyle!

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  12. What is the difference between a sauce pan and a skillet?

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  13. What's the difference between a sauce pan and a skillet?

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    1. It's kind of hard to describe, but a skillet is wider with low sides, while a sauce pan is more like a small pot. Teaching Eli that was much easier than pointing, and saying, "No, the one to the right--no, behind that one--yes, that one!" ;)

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  14. I had an encounter with that same spider just 2 days after I came home from the hospital with my baby (not a baby anymore). I was home alone and it was right in the middle of the kitchen floor. I was mortified. It was way too big to stomp on or squash, it needed to be shot, lol! I went through the front door and into the garage to get a jug of big killer. As I splashed the liquid on it from about 6 feet away it ran towards me. I literally poured the whole gallon jug on it and it took way too long to die. Horrifying. You handled it way better than I did. But you had support troops.

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  15. That spider??!! No thank you!! I would have screamed!
    I love that your son enjoys cooking, good for him. I hope your 13 year old enjoyed camp!

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  16. I am absolutely addicted to Shameless. Growing up in the south suburbs of Chicago...I had NO idea Old Style wasn't widely available outside of Illinois. It is definitely the cheap beer choice of the older crowd. haha

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  17. Love the idea to teach the cooking at home - instead of the class! We saw a fishing spider while camping last summer - it freaked us out!! They are crazy big!

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  18. How do you cook perfect rice? I get it perfect most of the time, but it's been through lots of trial and error.

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    1. The big key for me is that I don't stir it at all. Ever. Once it comes to a boil, I cover it, turn the heat all the way to low, and set my timer for 20 minutes. Then I use a skewer stick to "stir" it. It never gets mushy that way!

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