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On Sharing, or Things I am Incapable Of.

When people hear that Baby Beez is and will forever be a (not so) lonely only, I’m encountered by concerns that she will not learn to be good at sharing. She is three, and she has the usual three year-old misgivings about sharing. But on the whole, there is nothing significant about her only-ness in terms of her sharing capabilities.

I, however, have a lot to learn about sharing. I blame this on my three younger brothers. Primarily the oldest of the three. You see, he is about 2 years younger than me, and was often afforded the get-out-of-jail-for-eating-everything-in-the-damn-kitchen-free pass of being a “growing boy.” So whenever shopping day came around, which as everyone knows means 24 hours of blissful feasting on all the glorious fresh things straight from the grocery, he destroyed it. I mean he killed every last Oreo, every last Chips Ahoy, every last anything that was actually GOOD and I wanted to eat.

He even, on multiple occasions, committed the unspeakable crime of stealing my leftover doggy bag from a restaurant meal. YOU DO NOT TOUCH OTHER PEOPLE’S TAKE OUT. And yet he did. (I have petitioned the legislature to make “stealing someone’s doggy bag” a defense to criminal mens rea, with little result as of yet.)

This childhood trauma stayed with me. It has caused me to be an utter psychopath in our own house when it comes to any kind of desirable food that I’m afraid someone else might snap up before I get to it. I am not above leaving long notes detailing the bodily harm that will befall anyone who touches my food.

You know who does not have a similar psychosis? My husband. Who is an only child. He never knew lack. When he wanted Oreos, he went to the kitchen and got the Oreos, because there was no one else around to steal them first. Or if he ran out of something, he could tell his mom, and she’d go to the store and get more. So he never had the trauma of a junk food craving gone unfulfilled because a bratty sibling swooped in first. Which also means that he is utterly unsympathetic when I go off the deep end over food.

I brought home ice cream last week. I waved the cartons in Mr. Beez’ face and announced “IF YOU TOUCH EITHER OF THESE, I WILL STAB YOU IN THE NECK WITH A PEN.”

NOT YOURS.

Mr. Beez hates coffee, and does not much care for blackberry either, so neither of these tempted him. He said that it was not necessary to threaten him with violence. If I tell him something is mine, he will just not touch it. But I am incapable of such trust. I have a deep-seated doubt of household males’ abilities to not destroy all the things in the refrigerator that I want.

Also last week, I indulged in a major splurge… a whole CASE of PumKing beer!

STAY AWAY, FOOL.

Again, I declared that the entire case was “MINE!” And he better not touch it. He had no objections. He doesn’t like PumKing either. And he also pointed out that it is not necessary for me to be so dramatic.

After all this, I seriously doubt the characterization of only children as incapable of sharing. Even Baby Beez, when she had a sleepover with her friend Elena this weekend, shared her toys much better than I am capable of sharing my food. But for now, I’m chalking it up to a survival instinct. Clearly there is no survival without ice cream or beer.

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Out on the Farm with @BrooklynBrewery @JustinSeverino @BklynHouseChef

Summer has come, the air is warm, the wind blowing sweetly through the grass. It’s time for farm dinners. We kicked off farm dinner season at the Brooklyn Brewery Mash event at Blackberry Meadows Farm in Natrona Heights. The Brooklyn Brewery Mash is a traveling celebration of food, drink, arts and the cities they visit. The air was light with a celebratory spirit.

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Brooklyn Brewery provided the libations, Cure/Justin Severino and Wild Purveyors and Andrew Gerson supplied the eats. Union Rye charmed us with tunes, including a particularly sweet cover of Wagon Wheel that I’ve been humming all week.

Brooklyn Brewery Mash


Brooklyn Brewery Mash

Brooklyn Brewery Mash

We toured the greenhouse, pet the pigs, and clucked at the chickens. Baby Beez had a moment of trauma and betrayal when her beloved cow (whom she named “Buttercup” even though that wasn’t her real name) twitched and headbutted Baby Beez. She quickly forgave her bovine friend, and foreheads and hearts were mended.

Blackberry Meadows Farm

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Blackberry Meadows Farm


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The June Weekends, They Fly with @PghKids @BeerSince1933 @CLP_Tweets and @PghPassionFB

With a house all packed up and a 3 year old ready to GO GO GO, we’ve been out of the house a lot. She’d probably watch TV all day long if we’d let her, but no. Last Saturday and Sunday we filled the mornings and evenings with activity, with a nice big fat nap in the middle. Those naps. So glorious. This weekend looks to be shaping up similarly. Mr. Beez is out of town this weekend, so it will be adventures for us girls. We’ll be spending Sunday at my in-laws, as is appropriate for this Fathers Day weekend. We may also see them on Saturday, and of course a cake may be involved, since it is both of their birthdays.

Last Saturday kicked off with lots of playtime at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. Due to the many events going on over the weekend, the museum was unusually quiet. This was absolutely perfect for us, as Mr. Beez and I are not tolerant of crowds. There were enough other people there that Baby Beez was able to chatter and play with other kids, but it was far from the chaos of a usual busy day at the museum.

Pgh Kids Water Room

This was our first visit since the new Water Play room opened, and we were really impressed. There are lots of different activities for the kids to do, such as water-painting on a special wall, playing with water whirlpools, putting boats and toys in a downhill stream, and my favorite: play in a crushed ice station.

Pgh Kids Water Room


Pgh Kids Water Room

This was the first visit in which we made any significant visit outside of the “Nursery” floor. I love the kids museum because it has activities for all ages of kids. We started taking Baby Beez there when she was a tiny infant, and she was able to lay and roll on the padded nursery area floor and reach for toys. As she’s gotten bigger, we’ve expanded to new rooms and new activities. This time she actually got to practice cutting and taping in the Maker Studio. We also spent some time in the fresh air, when she went in the museum’s backyard and played in the giant sandbox and even spitting mud pits!

Pgh Kids Maker Room

It’s hardly surprising that after all that fun, Baby Beez crashed hard in the car on the way home. Mr. Beez and I decided to swing over to Vecenie Distributing in Millvale to pick up a case of (be still my heart) VooDoo Love Child beer, which is, no exaggeration, the nectar of the gods.

VooDoo Brewery

Oh how I love thee

This adventure of course was followed up by a NICE BIG NAP. We needed to rest up, because Baby Beez and I had a busy evening planned with Sandy and Elena. I’ve been eager to provide Baby Beez with positive role models, especially of women in sports. A Pittsburgh Passion football game fit right into this priority, and promised to be a ton of fun, too.

Pgh Passion

Pgh Passion

Pgh Passion

Sandy and I love it, but the girls admittedly do not have the patience or self-control to sit through a full football game, even one so fast-moving and exciting as the Passion. Seriously, those women are skilled and tough. We were playing Philly that night, and we destroyed them. Just like they deserve. The small people were restless so we ended up leaving at halftime, but even then the score was 31-0. Sandy and I will be returning next season for sure, but probably leaving the small squirmy people at home (or possibly bringing along their male minders, a/k/a the husbands).

Sunday brought the much-awaited Carnegie Library Summer Reading Extravaganza! We went last year, and even though Baby Beez was too young to do a whole lot then, we still had fun. This year, she was able to enjoy almost everything, and we had an even better time. The CLPGH does such an amazing job with this event.

CLP Summer Reading

We started things off by watching a puppet show and eating healthy snacks. We also saw the performance by the kids of the Pittsburgh Musical Theater, and Baby Beez got crazy into it. She was singing along, bustin moves up and down the aisles. It’s hardly a surprise that we’ve got a performer on our hands here.

Trolley

Neighborhood Trolley, ding ding!


According to the report she gave her teachers at school the next day, Baby Beez’ favorite part of the day was getting to go for a ride on the trolley. She was so excited when the trolley driver said “Hi!” to her, and for the whole ride, she kept exclaiming “We’re riding the trolley! We’re riding the trolley!”

CLP Summer Reading

She also got to try her hand at icing her own Eat & Park Cookie!

Although we don’t have much firmly planned for this weekend, we’ll probably fill it up with all the many things going on around town. I’d list them all for you, but Play Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Mommy Blog are already killin it on that front!

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Carrie Furnace Adventure with @FurnaceBash @CarrieFurnaces

Carrie Furnace Adventure with @FurnaceBash @CarrieFurnaces

This recap will be a quick one, because the photos speak for themselves. On Saturday, Mr. Beez and I attended Furnace Bash Vol. 1, a Pittsburgh Craft Beer Week celebration with local/craft breweries, that raised funds for Side Project, Inc. and the Mario Lemieux Foundation. I reasoned that I was not going to go to an event at the Carrie Furnace without getting a full view of the furnace (the party itself was in the ore yard), so a furnace tour we did!

Speaking with some experience planning events, the Furnace Bash crew did a great job with this first year of the event. The hiccups were few and minor and the event was a blast. Mr. Beez and I cannot stand crowded events, and the Furnace Bash crew made the wise decision of capping tickets at 500. There were plenty of refreshments and virtually no line whatsoever.

It was a thrill to see the furnace, and I hope to bring my mom on a tour when she visits this summer. It’s not a small kid appropriate activity, as there are plenty of things to trip over and areas where you could fall down. Baby Beez will have to wait a few more years until we take her on a tour. Rivers of Steel offers various Mon Valley and Carrie Furnace tours, and is absolutely worth considering if you have out-of-town guests coming soon. The Furnace is a great site to see, especially if your guest has already done the usual Strip District/Incline/Grandview Ave circuit.


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Beer me! Raising a glass with @PaBrewTours North Country Brewing @VoodooBrewery @PipersPub Rivertowne & @FullPintBrewing

I hardly consider myself a beer connoisseur, but I do enjoy a good brew from time to time. I wish I could be all hops crazy like the cool kids, but hops are too bitter for me. I lean towards wheat and fruity beers. And, again, to prove how uncool I am, I don’t like dark beers either. I probably sound picky, but I do like a wide enough range of beers that I can reliably find something pretty much anywhere I go that I really enjoy.

Due to some uninentional timing, I ended up having a lot of beers in the first two months of this year. Mr. Beez and I went on the Yinz Going Up North? Tour with PA Brew Tours in January, and then I again toured with PA Brew Tours on their East Pittsburgh Brew Tour N’At with my friends in the Allegheny County Bar Association Young Lawyers Division.  I threw a visit to Pipers Pub in this post because we had good beer there too, so why not?

Item of Interest Number 1: The Yinz Going Up North? Tour

All of PA Brew Tours’ outings begin at a restaurant/six pack shop, so you can pick up provisions for the road. Yes, you can drink beer on the bus. It’s even encouraged. The tour involves visiting multiple breweries, with samples and behind the scenes tours at each, and a dynamic tour guide who leads trivia and generally coordinates fun.

I’ve been on brewery tours before that just involve a little sample at the end. This is not that kind of tour. PA Brew Tours is a day drinking party. Having alternate transportation home afterward is a wise idea. Maybe this is just because I’m old, but once we got back to the ‘burgh from our tour, I was exhausted. A post-beer-tour-bar-crawl was not going to happen. But on to the tour!

The tour kicked off at Carson Street Deli, which I only had some vague idea existed. I was really impressed by the nice selection of sandwiches and extremely impressive beer selection, both on tap and for mix-and-match six packs. They also deliver! Mr. Beez and I bought some brews and made a mental note to visit again later.

Beers at Carson St DeliOur first stop was at North Country Brewing in Slippery Rock. Mr. Beez and I have visited there before, and really like the place. During our first visit, we were camping near Moraine State Park. Our friendly server was chatting with us about our visit, and as we dined the weather got terrible. A TORNADO even touched down in the park as we ate. We finished our meal and were getting ready to pay, and the server told us to please stay as long as we could possibly want, because it just wasn’t safe to go back out right yet. It wasn’t a ply to get us to buy more beer, the North Country staff was genuinely concerned about our safety. It was so genuinely sweet. Also, the food was genuinely goo, and the beer was great.

North Country Brewing

North Country Brewing Taps

They put out sampler platters for the tour and we all had the opportunity to try whatever beers we wanted. All of the beers are brewed right there. The Firehouse Red was our favorite, and the beer is unbelievably cheap, like $3 a pint.

North Country is about an hour’s drive north of Pittsburgh. It’s a destination definitely worth the time in the car, maybe not all the time, but at least once or twice to check the place out.

North Country Brewing beers

Our next stop was Voodoo Brewery in Meadville, PA. I didn’t know much about this brewery before our visit there, but it is for sure a gem.

Voodoo Brewery

Voodoo’s selection is broad. Mr. Beez and I agreed that our favorite was the Gran Met. They offer it as a cocktail mixed with juice. I had it mixed with grapefruit juice, and it was fantastic. The Voodoo Love Child and White Magick also sound awesome, but we got distracted by how much we loved Gran Met and never made it around to trying them.

Voodoo Beer List

Voodoo Brewing Samples

Most breweries on PA Brew Tours’ itineraries offer food, and in particular spent grain pizza (gotta do something with all that grain!) We had a pizza and salad, and they were just great. The salad was so fresh, and the pizza was rustic and tasty.

Voodoo Brewing FoodWe (obviously) toured the brewery. The coolest thing about Voodoo is that these folks are true believers in their craft. They have a philosophy that the beer needs love and encouragement to properly develop, so they play music for their beer 24 hours a day!

Voodoo Brewing TourTheir menu also includes something a little different– beer milkshakes. I tried the pistachio beer milkshake. It tasted exactly how it sounds…which basically means that no thank you, I won’t order that again, but it was a good learning experience.

Voodoo Brewing Beer Milkshake

Item of Interest No. 2: Piper’s Pub

The Beez family has gotten into the habit of going out to dinner every Friday night, mostly because by the time it’s Friday, I don’t have the energy to think about dinner, much less cook it. One of our absolute favorites is Piper’s Pub. Why? Check out those pics. Love it.  My brew picks for the night: An Arsenal Cider House Fighting Elleck and a Full Pint White Lightning.

Onion Soup and Arsenal Cider at Piper's Pub

Burger and a Full Pint White Lighening at Piper's Pub

Item of Interest No. 3: East Pittsburgh Breweries

This tour kicked off at D’s Dogs and Six Packs, which is great. If you haven’t been there yet– GO THERE. Our first stop on the tour was Rivertowne Brewing. I had been to their restaurant over by the stadiums, but actually did not realize that they are a real brewery. Rivertowne is actually a large brewery, and they are unique beause they have a canning line.

Rivertowne Pour House TapRivertowne has a pineapple beer that is just great.

The Rivertowne Brewing Tanks

We were only at Rivertowne for a short bit, and then we move on to Full Pint. I didn’t realize it when I first got there, but I can now confidently say that Full Pint’s White Lightning is my favorite local beer of the moment.

The Full Pint Tap

Beers

For whatever ridiculous reason, I did not manage to take a snap of my food there. We ordered a spent grain mashed potato pizza that was fantastic, and I also got a growler to take home. It was only $5 for the growler bottle and $10 to fill it, which was a deal I could NOT pass up.

I like beer, but I would never otherwise go out of my way to seek out local breweries to visit. PA Brew Tours fills that gap and makes it incredibly easy for the casual beer fan to check out our local beer hotspots. As I sat here writing this post, Mr. Beez kept looking over my shoulder, remarking “I want to do another beer tour!”

So that is the recap of my beer exploits in Western PA, and I can now cross this item off my 32 before 32 list!