Where Whine Meets Wine

My Sticky Sweet Family

How does your family measure your growth? A yard stick? Marks on the wall? When you’re big enough to go to the  bathroom by yourself? In my family, the sign of growth that we all longed for, and prided ourselves on once attained, was when we were old enough strong enough to carry a bucket full of sap. All on our own. There was a major sense of pride in being able to haul the heavy, five-gallon bucket all the way from the tree to the truck.

Why would one care about carrying around a bucket full of sap, you ask? Fair enough question. With a very simple answer- maple syrup. If you have only had the kind that comes in a plastic bottle from your local grocery chain… chances are you have no idea how much better the real deal is. Amazing enough to rock your socks off. Amazing. I am lucky enough to come from a family of syrupers. It has long been my favorite time of year. And my favorite smell is definitely the smell of the sap boiling, evaporating, and turning into syrup. Friends and family flock to my Grandfather’s “Sugar Shack.” From out of town and out of state.

It’s a family adventure.

Don't judge me- I was 12

It involves many, many hours of boiling, reboiling, filtering, bottling, and not much sleep. And it’s wonderful. The “Sugar Shack” (the building the evaporator, boilers, and bottling machines all reside in) is one of my favorite locations. Sadly, I did not get many photos of the shack itself, but lots of the syruping process. Hope you enjoy this glimpse inside my world. (Syrup Fun Fact: It takes 40 gallons  of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup.)  

Don'tcha just love my boots?

And because there just isn’t enough space to show you every picture of the process, enjoy this slideshow featuring photos of the evaporator, boiling off of the sap, hubbyman fixing some taps that the wind had pulled the buckets off, and more!

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The day after I took these photos, my grandparents received a phone call. It was a Twin Cities news crew asking to do a piece on how the warmth of this winter and spring have effected the syupring season. You should definitely watch the video and hear my grandfather’s response. This year’s season lasted all but 7 days. Most years it’s a full month. At least we’ll always have next year.


Days Like These

our stairs are in there

the only face he's willing to have photographed, his winkin' face

the only way to get a non-wiggling picture

We went to the outdoor zoo a week ago, how come now we have to stay inside THIS zoo?

Welcome to winter... even though spring is 3 weeks away, winter decided to come last night. In the form of snow, rain, ice, sleet, and hail.

I’m tired, it’s cold, and everything is covered in white icy-ness. So a photo blog day it is!  I’ll be staying warm by folding mountains of fresh-outta-the-dryer laundry, staying inside because the idea of spending an hour getting them all dressed and ready to go outside only to come in five minutes later raises my blood pressure,  and I will be cuddling up with littlest trying to convince him to take a nap so he’ll stop unfolding all the laundry.  Hope your day brings you warmth like a cup of hot chocolate, the joy of staying inside, and someone to cuddle up with!



So when I see contests, I usually just skip over them. But lately, I have found myself inundated with requests to “vote for me for this,” “vote for my kid for that,” “like my facebook page so I can hit 555,” etc. And I do it! If it’s for someone I know (whether in real life or in the internet world), I always do it! I am a big fan and supporter of community. Of being a pillar of support for those we are in contact with, no matter how trivial it may seem. Which is why, I’m a little ashamed of how shamless this plea is…or maybe to say I’m a little ashamed of how unashamed I am, would be more accurate. Either way.

We recently went to get out family pictures taken (I have a blog post planned out to tell you all about this event!) and when we went back to view the pictures, we were asked to sign a waiver so they could use our children’s photos in their in-studio (along with their world-wide combined studios) photo contest. I’d looked at their site a few days ago and didn’t see any pictures of my kids, but didn’t think anything of it. Well, last night I looked and saw their beautiful faces!! Unfortunately, before I had a chance to really look into the contest, littlest E woke up and made it apparent that he was only going to sleep if I was also going to sleep.

The unfortunate part of this contest is that you can only vote once, period. So now I’m stuck feeling like I’ve chosen one kid over the other, even unknowingly. Boo! Although, it turns out that if you have more than one browser then you can vote more times (three cheers for loopholes!!) So here it is, my shameless (of shameful, depending on your point of view) …please go and vote!!

You can vote by clicking on the photo of choice or by going here. (Please vote for one of my kids) Thank you!!