Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Lattes Galore

Who would have thought that I would ever find myself in a position where I have too much to write about and not enough time to write it? I've been so busy lately that I've hardly had time to get onto the computer, let alone blog! This week is my marathon week. I've been busy lately, but that will be nothing compared to how I am this week. It started out with our camping trip over the long weekend, which was great, but freezing cold. I had a sleeping bag, two sweaters, two extra blankets, two pairs of socks and a cuddly baby and I was still frozen at night. The weather actually caused the campout to end earlier than it would have otherwise. That was a little sucky, but it was a bit of a blessing to have a day off before we had more stuff going on. So yesterday Matt and I slept in, went to Denny's for breakfast (do not be fooled: it may look like their Southwestern Steak Breakfast Burrito has lots of veggies on it, but it sure doesn't.) and then ran some errands which involved Matt buying a new IPod and me buying a box of cards from HomeSense. Then we grabbed some Starbucks and headed over to Matt's parents' place where I helped my mom-in-law make apple sauce and I was rewarded with a bucket of apples for ourselves. Then we did a quick grocery shopping trip where we ran into a friend of ours who had been gone all summer and Matt hadn't seen him since he got back home. We rushed home for a small dinner (turkey sandwiches on ciabatta), dropped off Gabe with Matt's mom and then Matt and I went to Earl's for a dessert date. I had their Chili Chicken for dessert :) It's just so good! Today I had a bit of scheduling to do in the morning and a few errands to run before I showed up at the church for my first day of making lattes for the staff during their staff meeting. A few of them in particular were quite excited to have someone waiting to take their drink order! It wasn't bad either. I think I made almost 20 drinks and the orders came in staggered enough that I never felt rushed. Oh, and two of the men asked for straight up espresso which I was a bit nervous about since the church's espresso hadn't been very good previously due to a combination of too coarse grinds, too dark blend and too small of a tamper and I hadn't tested the new shots straight up yet but the crema on them was perfect and I'm sure they tasted good. It was also good having a bit of a practice session before the big cafe reopening this Sunday, for which I will be making lattes again. I'm not really worried about keeping up, but this practice time couldn't have hurt. At least now I know where everything is. After I made all the drinks I cleaned the machine and got everything ready for Sunday and I scored a free lunch of leftovers from the staff meeting! Chicken enchiladas! Woot! I got home just in time to meet the guys who were coming to grind out some tree stumps in our yard today. They finished that while I made a couple of appointments and now I am looking up information online about metal coffee tampers. I want to see if I can't get a heavy one and the metal helps with the "polishing" step when you're tamping. Once I'm done that I have presents to figure out for people. I have a friend who just had a baby, some friends who are about to have a baby, friends who are moving into their much-anticipated and long-awaited house soon and friends who have had an anniversary. I foresee much card writing in my future!
It feels good getting things off my to-do list. I was struggling a bit yesterday with shutting off my brain. I kept wanting to start on stuff that I had to do today but I made myself take the day off, and I'm glad for it. Doing the applesauce at my in-law's helped since it made me feel like I was doing something productive but it wasn't stressful at all (save the 4 inch burn up my arm that I got from a pot on the stove). Actually, making the applesauce made me appreciate the cooler weather.
I used to hate Fall. My favorite seasons were either Winter or Summer; I hated those in between seasons where there was some snow but it was melting, or there wasn't quite snow yet but it was still chilly outside. However, recently I've been warming up to the "in-betweens". Fall is a time for chai lattes and Caramel Apple Spices; a time for taking pictures of beautiful hues and for knitting while sitting in front of the fire. As one of my cousins so eloquently posted of Facebook recently, "Wife: I love fall. Husband: What do you love most about it? Wife: Sweaters. Husband: Did you seriously just say that??" I love sweaters myself and that's as good a reason as any to like Fall! Incidentally, I also love sweaters for Christmas time and last year resolved to start a new tradition of buying myself a "Christmas Sweater" every year for Christmas morning. But I digress.
I'm glad I'm beginning to embrace Fall. I think I just got so excited for Christmas that I was impatient for it to snow and to be December. Actually I used to live for major events it seemed like. Everyday I'd look forward to the next holiday, or the next youth event, or the next time I'd get to see my favorite cousin. I gradually got better, kind of, and started living for the weekends when I could drive home and see my boyfriend and spend time with him. Finally I got to where I am today - I'm living for each day. I get excited for big events, sure, but why not get excited for today? What's more fun than making lattes for people, seeing lots of friends and getting my house and life more and more organized? And tomorrow, even though I have nothing planned, in a manner of speaking, I can be excited about playing with my little boy and cooking a nice warm meal for my husband and, well, not having anything planned!
Oh, I wanted to post my plan for the Ministry Fair at my church! On the first Sunday in October the church is having a Ministry Fair to showcase what each ministry does and how it works. I needed a gimmick and couldn't come up with anything satisfactory, but I nailed one yesterday. I'm going to start ordering in a Ugandan coffee from our supplier. It's not FairTrade but in my opinion it's better. I have an issue with FairTrade. In order to get certified for it, you need money. So the poorest of the poor are the ones who can't afford to get certified. And then, when companies like Starbucks say that they are only going to carry FairTrade coffee, it makes the poorest of the poor even poorer because no one wants their coffee anymore. So in a way, it hurts the people who need the most help. This new coffee is brought in through a Christian Reformed group out of Vancouver. They went over to places like Uganda and Rwanda and found those coffee farmers who were the poorest of the poor and offered to vouch for them. So the organization not only agreed to act as brokers for their coffee and to export it to Canada, but they are paying the people fairly and not requiring them to get certification. In the words of my coffee supplier: "It's not certified organic, but it is organic. These people are too poor to afford chemicals." So anyway, I'm going to start carrying this coffee at the church and offering it as a featured brew. The day of the Ministry Fair is the day that I will be premiering it at the church and I'm going to be giving away home-made biscotti with it! Catchy, eh? My booth is going to be crowded!
Well, Gabe is finally awake from his nap and I still haven't found a new metal tamper. Perhaps I had better sign off and get to work!

Mrs. Vander Leek ;)

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