We’ve all heard the old adage, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” It’s different when you need to make some of your own. Have you ever had one of those days when you seemed to be dealing with lemons from the moment you woke up? Today was one of those days for me. Sick kids, rides needed, disrespect, and a refusal to work and do homework, among other things. There was a key point when I lost my cool and my six year old daughter blew up into a full blown tantrum. Harsh words were said on both sides. After today, I am keenly aware of where the phrase “wailing and gnashing of teeth” comes from. After making sure my daughter was in a safe situation, even though she was still thrashing and screaming, I locked myself into my bedroom.
Lemons. As I sat on my bed, I pondered thoughts such as moving to a third world country, putting my youngest three into public school (we currently homeschool them through a charter school), or getting in the car and driving until I ran out of gas. I think we all have those days. It’s hard to find joy in such circumstances. So, how do we find peace? I went into my closet, read some scriptures and then prayed. I prayed for peace, prayed for understanding, and then prayed to know what to do. I was angry and frustrated and completely at a loss. Tenderly I had a few images pop into my mind. I saw myself sitting on the couch, giving my daughter a hug, and watching a movie together. I also saw homemade, fresh squeezed lemonade and olive oil popped popcorn.
I unlocked my door and sat on my bed to look up what movies were out. As I lay there searching, a little tear-streaked face came into my room. She climbed up onto my bed, said nothing, and just laid down next to me. No words needed to be said at that moment. A sweet peace filled the room, like sugar to a lemon, and we embraced with a few tears shed. Then she said something that astounded me. “Mommy, I forgive you.” How precious a small child is and how quick to forgive. I realized that while she was in the wrong, I was also in the wrong with how I reacted. We talked about what was done and I asked her if she was ready to try again. “Yes.” I then told her if we finished school quickly I would take her to the store to rent a movie and pick up some candy.
From there, school got done cheerfully and quickly. We went to the store and picked up the movie Hotel Transylvania 2 (if you haven’t seen it, it’s hysterical! Loved it!) and some “movie” style candy.
When we got home, we started on the olive oil popped popcorn and lemonade. For the popcorn, we had several ears of popcorn on the cob from the organic farm that we used.
Using a thumb, we broke the kernels loose into a bowl and then cooked them in olive oil. My favorite stove top popcorn maker is a “whirly pop.” We LOVE popcorn and use ours at least once a week. It cooks SO fast, and if you’ve never tasted olive oil popped popcorn before, you are in for a treat! You can do it in a pot as well, but it takes a little more time and requires a lot of shaking with the lid on:)
Popcorn done, it was time to start making lemonade. I have a baby Meyer lemon tree that is 2 years old. Meyer lemons are used in a lot of gourmet cooking and have a subtle sweetness to them (though still sour). A month ago I harvested all of my Meyer lemons (we had maybe 20 or so) and I squeezed the juice out using a citrus juicer. I then poured the juice into ice cube trays and froze it. This is a great way to have fresh lemon juice all year round as well as a great way to preserve your lemons if you have a tree or orchard.
To make my lemonade, I put 11 c of water into a pitcher with 1 1/3 c sugar. I then put 2 c worth of lemon juice ice cubes into the sugar water. This is a great way to chill your lemonade as well as add lemon juice at the same time without diluting the juice. They melted beautifully and only needed a few stirs.
I then squeezed the juice of two limes into the mixture for a more complex flavor. I used my grandma’s etched glass pitcher. It was the last thing she gave me before she passed away and is precious to me. I felt like she would be pleased that her pitcher was used to help make lemonade (both the kind we drink and the kind we use to mend relationships).
I am writing this after a sweet memory was made. Tiny hands enjoyed the treats and tiny and big hearts combined were healed. I am grateful for these lessons and for the lesson I learned today on the importance of making lemonade.
Here are the recipes I used today:
- 2 T olive oil
- ⅓ c popcorn kernels
- Himalayan Pink Salt or Sea Salt, to taste
- In a large stock pot, heat olive oil for about 15 seconds.
- Add kernels.
- Cover with a tight lid. Shake occasionally over a gas flame or heat source until kernels start to pop. Then shake vigorously until you no longer hear popping kernels.
- Pour into a serving bowl and salt, to taste. Enjoy!
- Optional method: I use a whirly pop. I put the oil and kernels directly into the whirly pop, turn the heat to medium high, and start stirring. The heat is almost instant and this method cooks popcorn super fast! Stir until you hear just a few kernels popping and then remove it from the heat. Pour into a serving bowl and salt, to taste. Stir and serve.
- 2 c freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used Meyer lemons from my tree)
- 1⅓ c sugar (more or less, as desired)
- 11 c water
- juice of 2 limes
- Combine sugar and water in a large pitcher.
- Add lemon juice and lime juice.
- Stir until mixed well.
- Chill before serving.