20 July 2011

I'll admit it, I'm a bit of a beer nerd.  I've outgrown Coors Light (mostly) and am at a point where if I want to have a beer, I want to enjoy a tasty craft beer.  My uncle has dabbled in some home brewing and out of the 5 or 6 beers he's done that I've been able to taste, there hasn't been one that I wouldn't order again in a bar.  Uncle Tim, if you're reading this, I smell a second career here somewhere.  After chatting up said Uncle/resident brewmaster at our family reunion, I ended up with a couple brewing magazines, and this from my mom:

(Happy Birthday to me!).

The brewing process takes four weeks from start to finish, so I really wanted to get it started last weekend.  I ran out of weekend, so I ended up doing this after work on Monday.  First lesson learned, this is something best done on the weekend when you have plenty of time, as you've got a couple of hours of pure cooking time, not to mention my first time jitters and re-reading instructions in an attempt to do it right.  I've always heard that sanitation is crucial in brewing and that any contamination will kill your yeast and leave you with warm, cloudy water instead of fizzy, delicious beer.  I following the instructions and sanitized everything that I'd use (I hope).

The first step was the mash.  The kit includes a bag of pre-mixed grains, barley and hops, so it's just a matter of heating the water, adding the grains and mixing it up.  You have to monitor the temperature to keep it in range and let this stuff cook for an hour.


While the mash cooks, I got another pot and some more hot water for the sparge.  That's beer nerd speak for straining the cooked grain and pouring water through it to extract the sugars and stuff.  I did this a couple times while playing musical pots and a crafty game of "don't spill this and make a giant mess".



Careful, now

Once you get your grainy water, aka wort, you start to boil it, and throughout the boil you add hops.  I'm guessing for other varieties, you can add more things here, but for this IPA, it was hops city.  I diligently watched the clock to monitor my boil and add the goodness over the next hour or so.  The instructions mention that your boil will cook things down some, but mine cooked down quite a bit, which was the only part of the process that worried me.  After the cook time was done, I cooled down my pre-beer to get it ready to ferment.


Once everything chilled out, I put it into the fermenter, topped it off with water, added the yeast and shook, and said a little prayer.  Something along the lines of please don't let me have done all of this for nothing, then it was down to the basement for some quiet time.

Shhhh, I'm fermenting

Hats off to Brooklyn Brew Shop who created the everything-you-need one gallon brewing kit that I used.  A couple initial thoughts on this kit.  One, this is a great way to pretty simply try out a home brew, as you don't need a bunch of extra stuff, large pots, etc.  Two, this is kind of a lot of work for roughly 10 beers.  All said though, based on my experience, this was kind of fun.  I like to cook anyway, and there's something cool about cooking friggin' beer.  That is, unless this batch is ruined in which case, I may rely the local beer shop and just buy the finished product.  I'll do another post once everything is bottled and tasted, so stay tuned in about a month for that.

Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2011 by Bryan Timmons


17 July 2011

While we didn't make the trip in a woody, we did make a pretty fantastic voyage to visit family in Kentucky and Indiana, and had our first baby shower along the way.  My mom's extended family all lives in Louisville, KY so it's a trip we've made many times.  My dad's brother and mom, and my cousin live in Evansville, IN, which is about 2 hours away from mom's fam, and of course when we're already that close, we get a chance to see that crew too.  Best case, it's a 9 hour car trip to KY, then a couple hours more to IN.  On this particular trip, we got stuck in the perfect storm of a traffic jam 7 hours into the trip and spent 2 hours going 3 miles.  Not fun for anyone, and least of all the pregnant lady who was driving at the time.  Long story short, we made it (and really were lucky not to be one of the forty-some cars involved in the wrecks), and the extra car time really helped us narrow down the list of potential baby names..

First stop was Mom's side of the family in Kentucky and on day one, we had a family reunion.
(not actual family)

While I'm not directly related to this guy, he was there (my uncle raises buffalo as a hobby).  Yes, that is pretty cool and yes, he staged a feeding stampede for everyone that was also pretty cool.  We don't get to see these folks very often, so it was great to see everybody and catch up!

(actual family shot)

Day two of the trip brought a bunch of the crew together again for our first baby shower.  Again, fun times had by all, and I even knew what most of the things we got were.  A huge thanks to everybody for the great baby loot, and and extra special thanks to Brandy, Aimee and Lynda for hosting the shindig.  And extra-extra special thanks to Brandy and Damion for putting us up AND for being super-generous and letting us take home their PB changing table.

A perfect example of how RA looks great and my what-have-YOU-been-doing eyes tend to ruin pictures

Action shot!

My Aunt MADE this.

After the excitement of the shower (and some crafty packing of the non-woody travel vehicle), we were on our way to Evansville and Dad's side of the family for day three.  We went out and grabbed dinner with my grandma, aunt & uncle, and cousins (and scored more baby goods, thanks again, guys!).

Until a few years ago, Grandma lived waaaay out in Arizona.  It's a special treat to have her much closer now and it gives us the chance to see her more often.  She is probably the hippest 90 year-old you will meet.  She's sharp as a tack, loves football, has a Wii, and she owns the cornhole tournaments that they've started bringing to her apartment.

Our dogs don't do the kennel thing very well, so we had to cut the trip shorter than we would have liked to get home and rescue them.  Here's to hoping that everyone wants to come meet this baby in NC in a few months...

Posted on Sunday, July 17, 2011 by Bryan Timmons


04 July 2011

As expected, Baby Timmons is making more room for himself.  Aside from the occasional karate kick to the intestines, Ruth Ann is doing great (and looking fantastic, if I do say so myself)!  This month, we start going to the doc every 2 weeks - we're getting closer...

24 Weeks 

26 Weeks (self portrait)

28 Weeks

Posted on Monday, July 04, 2011 by Bryan Timmons


03 July 2011

At Team Timmons, we've done quite a bit of painting over the last few years, but are notoriously negligent when it comes to getting before and after pictures.  With our current projects, we're being a bit more diligent with progress pics.  September 25th will be here before we know it, so we're starting to feel the pinch to get some of our "around the house" projects knocked out and at the top of that list is the nursery.

Long story short, we decided that what was our guest bedroom would be the nursery, so a few weeks back, I moved all non-baby stuff to the other bedroom/new guest room to get it ready to paint.  Here's the before shot:

Yes, that is a VERY pink chair...for now.  A trip to the Pottery Barn outlet scored this super-comfy sitting device at a great price.  It's slip covered, so you can look for the pink cover to be up on eBay shortly (let me know if you want/need a pink comfort grand glider slip cover in lovely pink).

A Sherwin-Williams coupon in the paper jump-started our color selection (low VOC paint, of course), and last Saturday was deemed nursery painting day.  As always, Cooper was anxious to help.  Or at least supervise.

This blog is TEAM Timmons, and Ruth Ann didn't let me have all of the fun by myself.  Her steady hand with a trim brush is remarkable, and her skill has not been diminished by the hitchhiker in her belly (Wrigley likes to help too).

And while painting isn't as bad as say, raking leaves, it's still pretty tiring.

Fast forward a week, another shot of energy and brainpower to assemble some shelves and the crib, and voila!

 (Cooper supervising again)

 (not as complicated as I expected)

And if you don't believe me about feeling the pinch to check things off the project list, I went ahead and knocked out the dining room too while all the paint supplies were out and about.  Yes, we've had the paint in the basement for over a year, but I must say it was worth the wait.




More nursery pics to follow once we get the finishing touches done (and get rid of the pink chair), but I've gotta say, it looks pretty good!

Posted on Sunday, July 03, 2011 by Bryan Timmons


02 July 2011

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, but it's been a busy month or so.  With the long holiday weekend ahead, I'm going to try to catch the blog up, so keep your eyes peeled...

We are lucky enough to have access to a great house on Oak Island, a great group of friends and a great tradition (8 years, 9 years running?) of making a trip down to rest, recharge, and act a little bit dumb.  As everybody gets older and lives get more complicated, it's getting a little more tricky to coordinate schedules.  This year we extended the trip out to 5 days, but had some folks that had to come and go while a few of us lucky ones got 5 days of R&R.

Our group (especially Mike) is a firm believer in traditions, and we have a few key things that aren't to be missed on these trips.

Tradition 1: Chicken Chalupas

We try not to eat out a lot at the beach, and really, who wants to waste time cooking at the beach?  Chicken chalupas are tasty, able to be made at home and popped in the oven, and are required for me to be allowed on this trip.  Yum.

Tradition 2: Daiquiri Tiiiiiiiiiiime
(to be clear, that is a cyclist tan, not a farmer's tan)

What's a vacation without frozen, fruity drinks on the beach?  We've taken this tradition to the next level by creating an a cappella theme for daiquiri time.  While this song is sung well and often at the beach, it is rarely heard if feet are not in the sand.

Tradition 3: Wii
There is not multimedia component for this on the blog....yet.  Time playing with the Wii (haha) is sworn as a safe zone, seeing as how there's really no way to play The Michael Jackson Experience without looking completely ridiculous (even if you do nail Thriller, right Nathan?).  I'm not saying there are, or there aren't videos documenting this tradition.  And I'm also not saying that Sara and Thea should be sure to stay on my good side...

Tradition 4: Provisions/The Fish House
Perhaps the most consistent traditions of this trip are lunch in Southport at Provisions and dinner at the Marina/Fish House Restaurant at the end of the island.  Provisions is the picture of a beach joint.  Outdoor seating, laid back atmosphere and great seafood.  It's really not to be missed if you're in the area.

The Fish House is another popular spot and there is always a lengthy wait for a table.  For a larger party like ours, the wait tends to be long, which leaves plenty of time to hang out outside, take pictures, and, uh, quench your thirst before dinner.  In years past, we've been known to shut down the joint by leading its patrons in singalongs of the Eagles' greatest hits.  Here are some pics from this year's trip to the end of the island.

 The random guy that took the group shot couldn't figure out the auto-focus

 The Fellas

 Team Timmons

 Stars of Nixon-Notes

Free dolphin rides!

Is it bad that I've already started the countdown to next year's trip?

Posted on Saturday, July 02, 2011 by Bryan Timmons

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