Being Yippies Pays Off: Egg Recall

When we went to pick up the first delivery of meat from our CSA Janaan said that everyone in the parking lot was a Yuppie (Porsche, Range Rover) or a Hippie (Subaru, 4Runner). We decided that we were a hybrid because while I drive a Subaru and Janaan drives a 4Runner, we really both want to be driving Range Rovers. So we started calling ourselves Hyuppies. Then my friend Lisa said that Yippie had a better ring to it, and we agreed. So, we are now proud Yippies. Sidebar: we were at a family reunion this summer and I was so intent on recycling as much as possible that my aunt told me she was going to buy me a green swastika. That was possibly my proudest moment as a yippie, and for the record we took home THREE 55 gallon bags of recyclables from the reunion.

This summer we joined a meat CSA (more on that in another post), we have been going to the farmer's market almost weekly, Janaan has a garden, Mom and Dad are growing herbs and tomatoes and Mom and Janaan are currently canning like mad women (more on that too in another post). But perhaps our biggest commitment to yippiehood to date has been our chickens. (The whole process has been so epic and we've been blathering on so much about it that our sister Christina has told us that she does not want to hear another word about chickens at Sunday dinner. So, yeah, OK, we've been pretty obsessed.)

Janaan started doing research on urban chickens after we watched Food Inc. earlier this year. Then our Uncle Perry came to town and got us all jazzed up. He lives in Los Angeles and he has had backyard chickens for almost 20 years. So we formed a coop co-op (get it: coop co-op, heh heh heh) consisting of Janaan and Ed, me and Alek and our friends Barrett and Danielle. More or less, the deal was Barrett and Danielle would keep the chickens in their HUGE yard, Alek and I would build the coop and Ed and Janaan would raise the chicks. Then all of us would split the costs for feed and take turns cleaning the coop and we would feast on farm fresh eggs for 20 years! MWAHAHAHAHA!!!

So, Janaan did a bunch of research and found out which chickens laid the best eggs, were winter hearty and were easy on the eyes. We ordered them from Murray McMurray and they arrived on a Sunday in June. You have to order them in batches of 24 and you get a "surprise" 25th chicken for free. Somehow we ended up with 27 healthy happy baby chicks which Janaan and Ed raised with lots of love until they were ready for transport to the coop. (We've since had two casualties due to a backyard predator of some sort and one is M.I.A. and presumed dead.)

Now I'm not going to lie, this chicken thing has been a total pain in the ass. Yes, that's right, I just wrote ass. Coordinating the six of us to decide to go ahead with this (love you sister!), figuring out which breeds to buy (thanks Uncle Perry!), building the coop on the coldest, rainiest day of summer - the ONLY day that we had time to build it (thanks Dad for all of your help and your tools!), the drama of getting the chicks on Sunday (a special thank you to the USPS agent at the downtown SLC office for making a special delivery that day!), keeping the chicks alive (thanks farmer Ed!), transporting the chicks to the coop, making sure they are fed and have fresh water every day (thanks Barrett and Danielle!), and rebuilding the coop so that varmints (yes, that's right, I just wrote varmints) can't get in and kill them has been quite an endeavor.

And after all this the chickens won't produce eggs for a while, maybe not until next spring if they really don't lay in the winter. But after today's recall of 500 million eggs (yes, 500 MILLION!!) all of the effort is TOTALLY WORTH IT.

If you're as excited about backyard chicken keeping as we are, be sure to check out the Martha Stewart Chicken Show, we know it really put us over the top with our chicken mania.

Shade Clothing Going Out of Business

Get 'em while they're hot.
Although, we're holding off until the prices drop just a little bit more.
Hopefully they will still have some decent sizes left.

Eat.Pray.Love. I'm.So.Excited.

I absolutely adored this book. ADORED IT. I think I may have cried when we talked about it book club. Alright, I know I cried. And yes, it was the ugly cry.

When I heard it was being made into a movie starring Julia Roberts, I was like "eh."

I didn't see how all of that brilliant writing, that writing that spoke to me, that WAS me, that stirred my soul and put onto paper so much of what I have gone through and was going through and still going through, that expressed what I was actually living, could be a movie starring Julia Roberts.

And then I saw the preview.

And I got the chills.

And I must admit, I cannot wait to see this movie.

Happy Birthday Papa!

Today is Dad's birthday. AND, (I'm not making this up) he is at the outlet mall with Mom as I write this, which I suppose shows the ultimate commitment to the Cheaping Girls.

Dad, you are really the backbone of our operation, whether it's carrying our bags, making sure that our cars stay on the road, building our chicken coops, making a comfy bed out of your truck so we don't ever have to officially "camp", or (as much as it infuriates me sometimes) never letting us pay for dinner or a movie.

We love your enthusiasm for politics, your commitment to your hobbies, your love of the wild wild west, and how you always want the best things that life has to offer. We love that you give us good advice without telling us what to do and no matter what, that you are ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS there when we need you.

Happy Birthday.

All Our Love,

The Cheaping Girls
Pam, Natalie, Janaan, Christina, Eliza, Alexis and G.

"That was pretty much the coolest thing I've ever seen you do."

So Mom and Dad (a.k.a. Papa and Gigi) have created a fun new adult toy: The Candy Cannon. (Now don't get it twisted, this is a family friendly blog, you'll understand why it's an adult toy in a minute.)

Mom and Dad actually got the idea for the candy cannon from their friends, the Schiffgen's, who take grandparenting to a whole new level.

Mom and Dad borrowed the Schiffgen's candy cannon for our family reunion at Bear Lake last weekend and it was a smashing success. So, of course, they had to have one. Here's how it works:

Step 1: Find yourself a hollow steel tube that is sealed at the bottom with a metal plate. Or, in our case, Papa Schiffgen found one at The NPS Store and gave it to my Dad as a gift so my Dad could live out his candy cannon dreams. (Sidebar: Not only are the Schiffgen's the ultimate grandparents but they're probably the nicest, most giving people I've ever met. Another Sidebar: The NPS Store is the weirdest, dirtiest, grossest, most spectacular store ever. You can literally find everything there. It deserves a post all on its own.)

Step 2: Cut a hole in the top of the tube using your plasma cutter. (What? You don't have a plasma cutter? Well, Papa Jake does, because you never know when you'll need it to make a candy cannon.)

Step 3: This step is only necessary if you are a Jenkins, because, well, this is how we operate. Take said steel tube and clean off completely. Goo Gone all of the weird stickers that were on it, etc. Then take your Cricut machine and cut "DANGER: CANDY CANNON" out of vinyl. Apply to steel tube. Cut red flames out of vinyl. Apply flames to candy cannon. There, THAT'S more like it.

Now you're ready to use your candy cannon.

Step 4: You'll need paper cups that fit into the hole at the top of your candy cannon. Fill paper cups up about 1/2 way with candy. Choose "soft candy" (i.e. Tootsie Rolls, Saltwater Taffy). Why soft candy? Well, let's just say that as they're falling on your head like rocks delivered by the wrathful hand of God from the sky, those Blow Pops won't seem like such a good idea. Papa and Gigi also came up with the idea to roll up dollar bills and put them in the cups to make things more interesting.

Step 5: Make a dry ice bomb. This is the part where the candy cannon becomes an adult toy. I didn't know how to make a dry ice bomb, but apparently this is something that men just know how to do. Or, just Google it. We found that a standard 16 oz water bottle works best. (P.S. Use common sense and good judgment, blah blah blah, etc. etc. if you decide to do this, OK? Thanks. Love you guys.)

Step 6: Drop dry ice bomb into candy cannon. Place cup on top of the candy cannon. Run a safe distance away from the candy cannon. Wait for it....WAIT FOR IT!!!!

Step 7: BOOM!!! Dry ice bomb explodes. Candy and dollar bills shoot up in the air. HIGH up in the air. Like, you may or may not find candy on your roof later. Children are laughing, shoving candy in their mouths and dollar bills in their pockets. Your man just got to legitimately re-live the days of his wayward youth. Everybody is happy.

We took the candy cannon to Alek's family BBQ last Saturday and it was a huge hit. I, personally, didn't love the whole experience (see photo above where I'm nervously clutching the next batch of candy, head on Alek's shoulder like a security blanket, waiting in nervous anticipation for the bomb to explode). You know how when you open up a can of Pillsbury crescent rolls and at some point the can explodes open? And you don't know when it's coming, you just know it's coming at some point, and the anticipation is building, and your heart is pounding and that damn can of crescent rolls popping open scares you way more than it should? Well, the candy cannon is kind of like that.

All that said, it was TOTALLY worth it. After the last batch of candy and dollar bills were shot into the sky, Alek's nephew turned around and said "That was pretty much the coolest thing I've ever seen you do."

Thanks Papa and Gigi.

P.S. Check out Gizmodo's hilarous take on the candy cannon. ;-)