Saturday, September 29, 2007

To follow up my vendemia post, I wanted to share a few photos, courtesy of my daughter's teacher. This first shot shows the kids picking the grapes from the stems, and dropping them into the bucket.

And now the fun begins! Here's my daughter (that's her orange sleeve on the left) embracing two classmates as they stomp and squish and smush the grapes in their bucket.

Her teacher told me yesterday that the grape juice they mushed with their tootsies will be made into wine, and the kids will get to bring home a bottle at the end of the year. I love Italy.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Mommy, where does wine come from?

My 8-year-old daughter asked this question at dinner the other night. She wasn't satisfied with my answer (the grocery store), so my Italian husband filled her in on the wine-making process. He's not a wine expert, by any means. His wine I.Q. is average--for an Italian. Which is waaaaay above my wine I.Q.

The reason my daughter asked this question is because her 3rd grade teacher had planned a field trip to a local village where they'd be participating in a vendemia--a grape harvest. Our daughter informed us (with that What-kind-of-parents-are-you? look on her face) that every child in her class had attended a vendemia, except for her. I just hope no one calls Social Services.

So yesterday the class went and learned how wine is made. They cut the grapes from the vines, tossed them in big buckets, removed their shoes and socks, and started squishing. (My daughter reports that this was both icky and fun at the same time). After the last of the grape juice was washed off of their 8-year-old toes, they heaped the grape-y mess onto sieves, then tasted the grape juice that filtered through. My daughter isn't clear as to whether they actually drank the juice that their bare (and who knows how clean?) feet had touched. I kind of hope not.

The whole class filed off the field trip bus happy and tired, each child toting a bag of small, purple grapes that taste like sweet dessert wine. The teacher carried two bottles of wine (unopened) in her arms. After a day of wine-making with 25 third-graders, I suspect those bottles came in handy.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Laundry Beasts Unveiled

Thanks for all your guesses! The moment has arrived to reveal the winners, so without further ado, let me introduce you to the beast that plagues my laundry from May to September...(cue movie theme song to Friday the 13th)...

Yes, it's the dreaded grasshopper. Not the cute green grasshoppers that grow no longer than your pinky finger. Oh, no. My laundry beasts can get as long as the palm of my hand, and they squirt this brown stuff that doesn't wash out of our clothing (I'm not even going to try and guess what the brown stuff is. I've decided I'd rather not know). Not only that, but if one of these suckers gets trapped in an article of clothing that I've tossed into the ironing pile, it eats its way out. That's right--it munches holes in our clothes. I know they don't hurt people (no biting or stinging), but you have to admit it: they're gross. Really gross.

The photo above is a stock photo I got off the internet, as my husband left the chord we need for the digital camera in his office. However, when he brings it back home, I'll post the photo I took of a laundry beast on a pair of khaki shorts.

Okay, now that the shuddering has subsided and you're once again thankful for your laundry-beast-free clothes dryers, here's the first winner. The envelope please....our first winner is Julie C.! She's the only one who guessed grasshopper, so she'll be getting a shipment of chocolate in the mail! Woo Hoo!

However, there are two more winners! Unfortunately for me, another species of laundry beast emerges in the fall and winter. Just as the grasshoppers retreat to their underground winter abode, another beast emerges...(cue music from any horror movie of your choice)...

The stinkbug. These babies are only about as big as a dime, but they're still gross. And since we wear lots of brown, gray and black in the winter, these suckers blend right in. Oh, and have I mentioned they fly? So if one gets inadvertantly brought in with the laundry, we might hear it buzzing around the room at night. The buzzing always ceases when the lights go on...sly little devils.

And they love to hide at the bottom of socks. Once when we went to the mountains, I felt a pricking sensation on my toe after I'd gotten dressed that morning. When I removed my sock, there was the sinkbug--having survived being folded up into my socks, placed in my sock drawer, packed in my suitcase a few days later, and having my foot shoved into the very sock that the stickbug had called home. And yet, I felt no pity for the stinkbug. There wasn't time, really, as I screamed, hopping on one foot across the room and flinging my sock out of the window onto the surprised passersby below.

So...who wants to move to Italy now? Huh? As I don't see any raised hands, we'll move on to the second round of winners...

First, there's Joan--she said a stinkbug was one of those lime green bugs, but I'll give her the chocolate, anyway. And then we have Tina, who mentioned beetles...good enough for chocolate, in my opinion.

Woo hoo! Now if the winners will email their addresses to me, I'll get the chocolate (or pitcher, whichever they prefer) off in the mail.

A big thanks to cynjay, katia, africakid, danette haworth, katrina, and sruble for playing! I'll have another contest up next month, so I hope you'll stop by. And Katia, please pass the wine, as I'm trying to muster up the courage to bring in a load of laundry...

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I'm back...with another contest.

Thanks for everyone's comments, and I want to apologize (once again!) for letting so much time pass in between posts. All is well, we've just been really busy settling back in. I'm going back to teaching this year at the international school here in Trieste--I'll be teaching 4th grade--so I've also been busy getting the classroom ready for Monday when the kids come (ack!).

My husband got a new digital camera this summer, and I still don't know how to transfer photos to my computer. BUT...I do promise to make him teach me in the next few days so I can do another post--a laundry post (you didn't think the laundry posts were finished, did you??) So in the next few days, you can look forward to a post entitled: Laundry Beasts.

Come to think of it, this has contest potential, doesn't it? If you can guess what laundry beasts refers to, I'll send you a pitcher from Trieste. For a photo, click here to see the one I sent to Jeff and Sue, the winners of my first contest. Although, I must say that the pitcher I'll be sending this time will be about half the size of Jeff and Sue's pitcher...although I love Jeff and Sue, it costs about a million dollars to ship one of these babies.

Okay then, let's say your answers have to be in the comments section of this post by Wednesday, September 12 (I'll check them when I wake up on Thursday morning). You can take as many guesses as you wish. In the event of a tie, I'll choose a name from a hat.

Buona fortuna a tutti! :-)