When Life Gives You Lemons

Make lemonade (or sangria).  Duh!  : ) 

Matthew reminded me of that yesterday.  With that spur-of-the-moment-mess-making-style of his.

I was in the process of getting everything ready to leave for the grocery store (me, Matt, list), I was also trying to sneak in taking the photos off of my camera, and putting them on the photo-server before I left (this sounds simple, but I take way too many photos, so the sorting and organizing part takes more time than I’d like to admit).  Then, during my multi-tasking I heard Matt moving a chair around in the kitchen and the plan changed.

Clicking as fast as I could, I began to mentally go through what was in the sink that had struck his interest so strongly – I had just started the Sangria marinating in the fridge (recipe at the bottom of this post!), so I was fearful that he was after the knife in the sink. That would be unusual for him, but hey, we’re talking about Matt here, so you just never know.

“Matt? What are you doing in there?” I yell from the office, still madly clicking away at my photos.

No answer.

The photos will have to wait.  I rush in there to find he has taken the lemon and orange ends out of the sink – not the knife. Thank god.

But that's not all he has -- What is he doing? I wonder.

He has invented himself a lemon juicer and is making his own lemonade. What ingenuity!

I have to admit, that although the juicer he made was primitive, he sure did have the right idea: 
  • Glass
  • Grater (luckily very dull) with holes to allow the juice to go through, but small enough that the seeds wouldn’t fit
  • Pastry blender – ya gotta have something to mash the fruit through the grater, obviously.
And he was actually making juice.
So I did the most logical thing: got my camera.
And then took photos.
And got him sugar.
And the real juicer.
Gave him some pointers on the finer ways to use a real juicer.
Got some ice.
And a straw.
And Matt had his first glass of self-made lemonade.

“Wow mom, a nice cold glass of lemonade on a hot summer day.” He grinned while slurping his sweet and tangy lemonade through a straw in the backyard.

And there in the warmth of the sun, half ready to leave for the grocery store, and half way through sorting my photos, I remembered something:

Life is about making lemonade.

As cliché as it is, we are all being given lemons most days with special needs kids – another problem at school, a social problem in the neighborhood, the never-ending problems at the pharmacy, scheduling conflicts for summer therapy and the worries about what camps will allow our kids – and what camps we can afford.

But it is what we do with those lemons that truly shapes our lives.

So yesterday, instead of being upset that I had lemons, I made Sangria with them, and Matthew made lemonade.  And we chose to enjoy the day.

What will you make with your lemons?
Hartley's Turning Lemons Into Sangria

¼ cup sugar
¼ cup brandy
¼ cup triple sec
¼ cup orange juice
1 bottle of red wine (I use Beringer’s $6 cab)
1 orange
2 lemons
1 can of sparkling soda (I use Hansen’s, but Sprite/7up works too)

Mix the first 7 ingredients in a glass pitcher, and let sit in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Right before serving, add the can of Hansen’s, and mix gently. Strain over tall glasses of ice and serve with fresh slices of orange or lemon. Best enjoyed with company!


Caitlin Wray said...

Mmmm Sangria is my all time favourite summer drink. I will definitely be trying your recipe :)

I was literally JUST thinking about the lemons into lemonade concept yesterday, as I had to make a bit of my own 'lemonade'. I have a blog post planned on it soon!


Em said...

thank you Hartley, i needed this today. :) my lemon basket was filling up.

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