Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fruit Flies and the Fourth of July

FRUIT FLIES

The best thing about the early summer (other than long afternoons at the swimming pool and early bedtimes) is the challenge of eating mounds of inexpensive farmer's market fruit before it becomes overripe in the fruit bowl. Then baking with it.

The worst thing is the fruit flies. How do you control them?

Vengeance comes when my kids get old enough for home science experiments. What ninth grade biology student doesn't enjoy anesthetizing and gene-crossing colonies of fruit flies? Their first meal in my fruit bowl will be the last meal of their lives as they know them.

FOURTH OF JULY

We're celebrating July 4th at the home of our good friend's very classy parents. It's always a lovely occasion, and we want to come prepared. (Plus I'm hoping this discussion will coax Red to drag her pregnant self and her family across the river to the same party.)

What kinds of fireworks are appropriate for 3 and 4 year olds, with adult supervision? We dropped into the shop today and saw some of those small firework army tanks; my 3 year old son is ready to rock and roll. In addition to those, I'm looking for something a little more jazzy than glow sticks and a little less dangerous than Roman candles. In the deep South where I grew up, we were fireworks experts by age 3.

Any amazing fourth of July dessert inspirations you can pass along? The white cake with cool whip, strawberries, and blueberries is patriotic and summery but loses its charm after several years (decades), plus its fatal flaw is its lack of chocolate.

13 comments:

Melanie B said...

A home remedy for fruit flies that has worked pretty well for me is this simple trap: put an inch or so of apple cider vinegar into a small juice glass, add a few drops of liquid dish soap, and stir it up. Place on your kitchen windowsill. Watch the flies swarm to the vinegar and drown. The kids can have fun counting the bodies. My husband can't stand the smell of the vinegar, but I think it's rather pleasant. And it's non-toxic and cheap!

Melanie B said...

I should add that it does have to be cider vinegar, though. White doesn't seem to work.

Molly said...

On the fireworks front:

Maybe sparklers, those sticks that kids can hold, that have ends that let off sparks? Those might be ok as long as you're confident the kids won't hold them too close to themselves or to each other...

Another safe one that I recall were snakes (I'm not sure if that's what they're actually called), but one lights the firework on the ground and it turns into a snake-like piece of charcoal that spreads out on the ground. No real explosion, so pretty safe, and kids love them.

Happy 4th!

MomVee said...

It also lacks chocolate, but to me the quintessential 4th of July dessert is a blueberry pie. You can use a star-shaped cookie cutter to cut a couple of stars out of the top crust before you put it on, and then sprinkle the whole pie with superfine sugar so it glistens.

Right Said Red said...

First, I get rid of fruit flies by putting a cup on the counter with a piece of fruit inside, covering it with ceran wrap, and then poking a few very small holes in the top. The fruit flies go in, but do not come back out. I then take the cup outside and release them.

On the dessert--
I love the classic flag cake, and if you really want chocolate, make it a chocolate cake with vanilla frosting. I'm not that into chocolate, so maybe that's why I love this dessert?

MomVee, please post your blueberry pie recipe! I have a lot of extra blueberries and that sounds delicious.

And yes, your post did make me feel obligated to attend the fourth of July party, but not if there will be dangerous fireworks involved ;-)

texas mommy said...

I can think of exactly NO fireworks that I would trust my 2 and 3 year old boys with.

We have a few more years (decades) of streamers coming out of old toilet paper tubes before we attempt anything with fire. But I do believe that my godson wants to light it up!

sophie said...

I've been making a blueberry lemon tart with a poppy crust that is to die for.
Not chocolate but very yummy...

Mary Alice said...

I would go with sparklers, but I would strictly not allow my children to even be at a party where amateurs were lighting fireworks. We know someone who blew of their entire hand, and I was at a party as a child where a barn was burnt down. It is really not worth it, especially when Princeton does it safely for us at Reunions every year.

BTW< long walks on the peach? I can't decide if I am more nauseated by your graphic or red's fat cartoon lady in a bikini...

B-Mama said...

I thought the "long walks on the peach" was hysterical. lol. :)

You could include poppers in your firework mix--they are the tiny white pockets of gunpowder that pop when you throw them on the ground. Always fun. I'll also put in a second vote for snakes! We used to love those! You could do some smokers too. They don't explode and just light up and emit smoke. Have fun!

Right Said Red said...

I would like to add that I found the graphic, and "long walks on the peach" line very funny.

Marian said...

With all the professional fireworks displays in every city, there is literally no reason for any personal firework use at all -- especially for children! Even sparklers can burn if accidentally misdirected. Plus, nothing that can be done at home is remotely as beautiful as large displays created by professionals.

Juris Mater said...

MomVee, I'm making your blueberry pie, exactly as you describe here. That sounds lovely, and it will be enough of a change without ditching the summer blueberries altogether. Thank you, all of you, for the GREAT suggestions. Red, do you enjoy the way the strawberries and blueberries on the flag cake soften in the heat and get the cool whip topping soggy so that the whole dessert turns to mush when you cut into it?

Melanie, we have some apple cider vinegar and the fruit flies are going down. HILARIOUS twist, suggesting that the kids will have fun counting the bodies. I knew we could make this educational. A summer math lesson. Wonderful.

As for the fireworks, I still have to consider whether I agree with you fuddy-duddy moms about banning them altogether. I can't separate my enjoyment of the 4th of July from personal fireworks displays--as I said, down south, I was probably wearing nothing but diapers as I fired bottle rockets into the bay. But I think you're probably right. Is it really worth it? My kids would probably be just as happy destroying our host and hostess's garden and trashing their house : )

MomVee said...

I use the blueberry pie recipe from Joy Of Cooking, and make the JoC cream cheese crust.