Friday, November 25, 2016

The Graduate (Not Dustin Hoffman)

Spud is now a college graduate. We are proud of him and pleased that he has completed his degree. He graduated on Friday, August 5th from the University of North Florida (UNF) with a Bachelor of Business Administration Business Management (Coggin College of Business).

The Colonel and I drove the six hours up to Jacksonville on graduation day. Spud's commencement ceremony would not begin until 2 p.m. The truck was loaded with some things Spud wanted from his old room at home. The plan was to stop at Spud's apartment, drop the things off, change our clothes and then follow him to the UNF Arena. We planned to be there in plenty of time but because of terrible traffic the entire drive up, we made it with minutes to spare before we had to go to the arena. We made the drop off, toured the apartment, changed clothes and followed Spud to the arena's parking lot, and walked to the arena without being late.

We parted ways with Spud as he had to get ready inside. We waited outside for The Colonel's parents and sister to arrive. They drove up together. The only family member that would not be present was Yam. She wanted to but had recently started her new job as graphic specialist with the county and could not get the time off. She was able to watch a live feed on line.

We did not have to wait long for the in-laws. Once the doors opened we filed in and found decent seats. The arena was filling up fast. It would be a full house.

The graduates began the filing in. Spud walked in on the same side of the room as we were sitting. We got his attention and waved...he now knew where we were seated. Every once in a while he would turn to look at us and smile or wave from his seat.

I was happy that all who had a speaking part kept it short and sweet. When it came time for the graduates to line up to walk across the stage, that too went quickly.

The above picture was a screen capture that Yam was able to get as she was watching at work. Thank God she was able to get it because the picture I took was terrible. Of course they pronounced Spud's last name wrong even after he submitted a phonetically spelled out version of it to the announcer. Have people forgotten or do they no longer teach that the silent E makes the vowel long? Whenever we get a phone call and the person mispronounces our last name, we immediately know they do not know us (and usually worth hanging up on).

After the ceremonies we all met up with Spud, officially met his nice girlfriend and had her take the family photos (Sure wished Yam could have been there too).

The UNF mascot is the Osprey and there is a pretty fountain that has an Osprey statue in the middle of it. I wanted to get a photo of Spud with that fountain in the background. We had to wait for our turn...every graduate seemed to be getting their photo taken there. Again Spud's girlfriend was the photographer. I also wanted to have my photo taken with Spud. My baby was now a college graduate and I was a proud mommy.

Everyone was getting hungry and we all enjoy a good BBQ meal so Spud recommended a restaurant called 4 Rivers Smokehouse...great choice!

We all gave Spud his graduation cards and gifts once dinner was over. It was so good to see his smiling face as he opened each card.

Shortly after The Colonel and I returned home I posted a graduation picture of Spud on my Facebook page. I said how proud we were of him and congratulated him. One of our friends from our Air Force days left a comment beneath Spud's picture. It said, "Congratulations, Bird and The Colonel!" When I read that I was taken aback for a split second. I had not expected a congratulations sent our way. But I guess we were to be congratulated...we had just had our second child graduate college...we as parents made it possible for our children to obtain college degrees (without any debt to them or us) and gave them an excellent start upon their road to independent adulthood. Congratulations accepted.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Dessert Disaster

The Colonel and I recently made sea grape jelly again (Yam helped us with this batch). In our freezer we had four gallon bags, stuffed to nearly bursting, with last season's bumper harvest of huge, plump sea grapes. The bags of sea grapes were taking up much of the freezer space and we were expecting some venison from our friends so we had to make room in the freezer. We had been meaning to make the jelly sooner but kept putting it off. If it weren't for the venison's impending arrival the jelly would probably still be unmade.

The jelly recipe we use calls for five cups of juice and all of those grapes gave up just over seven cups. My friend who taught me how to make this jelly said to never freeze the juice as it will have ice crystals in it, diluting it, and will not make a good jelly. What to do with the extra juice?

I decided to try making sea grape sherbet in my ice cream maker. I looked through the recipe book that came with the ice cream maker. I figured that the orange sherbet recipe would be a good fit and just substitute the orange juice with sea grape juice.

I combined 3 cups of whole milk with 1-1/4 cups of sea grape juice (the remaining juice was discarded) and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a blender until smooth.

I then poured the blended liquid into the ice cream maker and let it do its thing for 30 minutes.

Once the maker was finished with its churning I had to put the semi-frozen sea grape sherbet in a container and put it in the freezer to ripen for two hours.

When the two hours were up I scooped some of the sherbet into a dessert dish. It wasn't creamy, it had more of an ice-milk consistency.

I tasted it...The Colonel tasted it...Yam tasted it...

Three thumbs down! The sea grape sherbet was a disaster! It was not sweet enough. To be honest, I do not think adding more sugar, in any amount, to this recipe could ever make the sherbet better.

We better just stick to sea grape jelly. We know that tastes good. It has been called "Jewels on Toast" by one of my favorite foodies.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016