Tag Zwei

We landed in Amsterdam at 1pm (er, 13:00) local time. We all immediately needed to use the bathrooms, which was a fun intro to subtle differences between European and American design (and language). Getting through customs was cake, and after we walked through the doors, we were greeted by Aunt Hilary. The girls were thrilled and we got our hugs in before buying commuter train tickets to our hostel. Hilary had picked up a SIM card for me to use and I tried to get it to work on the train but it wouldn’t work. Oh well. Better pay attention to what is going on outside anyway.
Amsterdam 2017 (58)

Amsterdam 2017 (56)
We walked about half a mile to the Stay OK hostel and checked in to our “family” room. 6 bunks and a private bathroom and some funky decoration. The place was very nice and the staff were super friendly. We were famished, so we walked to a nearby Vietnamese place, but it apparently only serves Vietnamese food after 5pm. So we had more continental food (and beer!) and caught up with Hilary. Michelle ordered a Hilary ordered the Croque Madame, Michelle and sandwich that included brie, apples, and walnuts, and I had a spicy sausage baguette sandwich, and the girls had waffles and cakes.
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Amsterdam 2017 (21)
Next we wandered over to the De Gooyer Windmill (and Brouwerij t IJ) to check out this vestige of history along the canals. We wandered along the canals, marveling over the mixture of nice and partially sunken and rotting boats to Oosterpark to enjoy the fountains and ponds. The kids fed the ravenous ducks and pigeons. The birds were pretty gross, but the girls made a game out of petting the flying rodents. We headed back to the hostel to plan out the following day and figure out dinner. We enjoyed beers in the sun while the kids played on the playground across the street.
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Amsterdam 2017 (3)
For dinner, we wandered over to Boi Boi, a wonderful Thai place that everyone enjoyed. On the walk back, we encountered a German Shorthair Pointer with a full-length tail. It could also bark loudly. We wandered back towards the hostel and picked up some ice cream for desert. It was a fun stroll as the sun set, and we arrived home around 10pm. We successfully made it a full day after the long flight.
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More photos are available in the Amsterdam 2017 Flickr album.

Freezer Jam

Back in July, Michelle, the girls and I went out to Sauvie Island to pick berries. The trip was a blast, and the girls came home a mess. We picked way more berries than we could possibly eat fresh, but we did this with the intention of making freezer jam. It’s a method of preserving that seems to rely on there being way too much sugar in the jam to allow bad microbes from developing (I’m sure we all heard the osmotic pressure stories in biology). Also, being stored frozen helps. As a brewer, the lack of sanitary steps was somewhat alarming, but I suppose this isn’t anything new.

Anyway, we made Strawberry, Strawberry-Blueberry, and Raspberry. All three turned out quite well, though the Strawberry may have suffered slightly due to a lack of truly firm berries (they were definitely ripe). The Raspberry on the otherhand turned out most delicious, possibly owing to the opposite; the berries had literally just come on and were ripe enough but also still solid fruit.

All three jams are delicious though, and we’ve already managed to finish off two or three jars. It has been enjoyable to have our own stash of jam without the seeming complexity (read: a whole bunch of stuff) of canning.