Bittersweet Sixteen

16 years ago today I got my first glimpse of the face that was going to change my life for the better forever…

I’m quite sure at that moment I had absolutely no preconceived notions about what that little tyke would be like at the ripe old age of sixteen, but even if I had…he has far exceeded them all.

So today was the day to celebrate Uber, and celebrate we did – – mostly by eating our way through the better part of two counties!!  Andy’s “formal” celebration was on Saturday, when we got together with 15 of our good friends and family for an outing to the local minor league baseball diamond.  Our home team lost in a big way, but we made up for it in loud enthusiastic support!

But today was all about the food!!

Homemade waffles in bed for starters…

A stop by our favorite coffee cafe, where Uber is so much of a regular that they had a candle-topped muffin already waiting for him!

Then it was time for Andy to cash in on his birthday present from one of our dearest friends – – lunch out at a local vegan eatery.  Right up Uber’s meat-free alley!! What we didn’t know was that our friend’s restaurant suggestion even provided free birthday favors in the unisex bathroom!!!  Those vegans know how to party!!!

After a little more rambling around in Uber’s favorite sections of counter-cultural society, it was time to eat AGAIN…this time at Timeworn-Techie’s house for burritos, and of course some ice cream and cake. 

I swear the poor kid just told me, “Don’t worry about fixing me anything for breakfast tomorrow mom.  I won’t be hungry.”

Thank goodness we couldn’t afford a car for the kid on his big day.  He’s going to need to walk till he’s 17 just to burn off today’s calories!!

Happy 16th Birthday Uber!!!

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Giving Baaaaaack

Uber had some difficult decisions to make before this summer began.  First off, he decided he wasn’t ready for Driver’s Ed, despite what his birth certificate says.  This was the summer he was supposed to take driving lessons and get behind the wheel, but amazingly, he came to the conclusion that he simply wasn’t ready for that much responsibility yet.  (No tears here)

Following that decision was the joint decision that he wouldn’t get a summer job, either.  That, too, had been the plan.  But since he wasn’t going to be motoring anytime soon, the desperate need for money subsided.

So the last decision was then…what to do with his summer??  We hadn’t signed him up for camps of any sort, and he hasn’t got any real projects going, so this was a quandry.  Until I suggested the idea of a summer of volunteering. 

Say what?

That’s right.  Spending a summer giving back to your community.  Hmmm.  Uber actually jumped on the idea, and we inquired around to different agencies and non-profits.  Finally, an interdenominational assistance ministry took him up on his offer.  They need help revamping their website (one of his specialties), volunteering and he will also be helping them in food distribution and office work.  He went in for a “job interview” and he was as nervous as if a triple figure salary was at stake.  It was too funny!

But he started this past week, and I think it is going swimmingly, so far. 

Not to be outdone, H-T is getting in on the bandwagon as well.  He is going to be offering his services at a local historic site, helping out at the goat farm one day a week.  He’s all about the giving baaaaack. 

And I’m not too proud to put my hat in the ring.  I’m busy supporting my main passion – – local farmers.  Helping out with an upcoming family farm tour that lets local residents see up close and personal what our farmers do on a daily basis.

Sounds like a recipe for summer success, don’t you think??

 

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Thousands of Miles Fresher

I took my youth group this past Sunday to an Earth Day celebration in a nearby city.  There was world music, organic food, a dove release, and a lot of great booths chocked full of information about leaving a smaller footprint here on this lovely planet.

One of the booths was offering a bumper sticker that many of you have probably seen before…you know, this one:

LOCAL FOOD…THOUSANDS OF MILES FRESHER

I’ve seen this bumper sticker hundreds of times in my local area, and it always makes me want to honk in support.  Unfortunately, being a locavore doesn’t necessarily make you immune to misunderstanding, so it is likely that I might get some ugly looks or even a not-so-friendly hand signal or two if I were to try that, so instead I just give them a silent cheer or thumbs up.

Supporting local agriculture is something I am personally passionate about.  Our local area used to be dotted with gorgeous farmland.  These days, much of that land is being sold to developers because it is so difficult for local farmers to compete with the low-priced (and low taste) produce that can be shipped into the country at cents on the dollar. 

Seeing monstrous fabricated mansions go up where cows used to graze always makes my eyes mist over.  And watching the daily progression of meaningless tree clearing sets me into a tizzy. 

So I pulled my old soapbox out of storage, dusted it off, and am perched right on top today.  First, I want to share one of my all-time fave websites: Local Harvest.  This is a gem of a site where you can go and find out about where to buy local meat, produce, and other homemade goodies.  They have information on CSA’s (if you don’t know about CSA’s PLEASE do some research!), tailgate markets, and pick-your-own farms.  produce

Our region has its own version of a local sustainability site, and I’m  going to share a link to a section of it, too, because it includes some terrific lesson plans that homeschoolers can definitely find useful:  Growing Minds: Farm to School

If you randomly head to your grocer’s produce department without ever noticing where that food comes from, this consider this your friendly Topsy-Techie conscience reminding you to take the little bit of extra time it takes and research where to find local (and keep in mind that means fresher and tastier) options for what you are about to purchase. 

No one needs that extra summer vacation home…but we DESPERATELY need our wonderful farmers.