Okay, so I know that we typically do not discuss that you happen to be a grandfather. It leads people to question if you’re truly as young as you claim. (No comment, I am neither able to confirm nor deny the actual age of this man. All family records have been accidentally destroyed on purpose.) Anyway, since you totally adore bragging about your lovely little grandmunchkins, you of course acknowledge their existence. Having the luxury of casually adding that the beautiful baby boys are actually your stepdaughter’s children helps. Despite treating your own age like a carefully guarded state secret, you have no problem throwing your partner right under the bus. Being involved with a muuuuuuch, much older man, it would be impossible for his children to be yours biologically. After all, you were a mere lad of let’s say “seven” when they were born. Since I feel it is not in my best interest to dispute this
fact statement, I am going to just go with that story. Seven? Seventeen? What’s a decade or two amongst family?
After all, you’re only as old as you feel. I myself feel much younger than I actually am. In fact, the other day the Man Of The House (who as a sign of respect will be referred to as Mr. MOTH from here on out) and I were discussing the age of a certain haggard-looking actor. I was in the process of making snarky comments about how old the dude looked, when the mighty oracle Goolge revealed the cold hard truth. Not only could this aged thespian and I have gone to high school together, we would have been in the exact same grade. That one stung a bit.
Speaking of youth, it is no secret that growing up, you were the most entertaining guy in the neighborhood. Extra impressive since where we hail from, a “block” included a few square miles. Also, disregard the fact that half of your comedic competition happened to be livestock. Even when you relocated to more densely populated parts, your reputation for fun remained unmatched. If you were a super hero, pied piper powers would have been yours. Once you fire up the magic, children are drawn out of their houses and into the street just to catch a glimpse of you. Mesmerized like cute little flying insects headed straight into the irresistible pull of the beautiful glowing bug zapper. You’re like a walking talking Disney experience. After all, no one earns the nickname “Happy Fun Scott” without consistently delivering quality material.
Living in the same house with you was like growing up with a combination of Peter Pan and Martha Stewart with a few splashes of the Captain thrown in for good measure. (That’s usually Hook with the frilly shirt not Morgan with the boozy breath, although the latter did make occasional guest appearances.) The only stunt that you weren’t able to pull off was actually flying. However, with a few homemade ropes and pullies, you could come pretty close. This nonstop fountain of fun seemed to flow from you effortlessly. That being said, you don’t really need any tips or tricks to add to your already amazing repertoire. However, should you ever find yourself having an off day when your seemingly endless happy fun reserves are depleted, here’s an easy path to awesomeness. It’s a guaranteed, kid tested home run. Your nephew was an extremely willing guinea pig during the research and development phase of this post. He wholeheartedly approves this activity and highly recommends that you share it with your little buddies the next time they pop over to Grampa’s house for a visit.
First, a bit of background…Mr. MOTH grew up drinking a mystery substance which he and his family referred too as “Bunny Milk.” As a nursing mother, I’ll spare you the disturbing image that this conjures up in my breastfeeding brain. I am obviously warped from sleep deprivation and providing round the clock nourishment to my own baby bunny. Anyway, “Bunny Milk” refers to the rabbit that appears on those bright yellow packages of powder meant for flavoring milk, the strawberry variety in particular. It is logical to wonder what they called the chocolate flavor in his house given the similarity of the packaging. Derr…chocolate milk, of course. I’m not certain why only the pink kind earned the “Bunny Milk” moniker as both packages are plastered with the exact same image of a giant rabbit, but that is a discussion for another time.
As you know, in our house, we make a considerable effort to “eat clean” as much as possible. (Disclaimer: I never use that annoying phrasing in my real life. It sounds like insinuating that other people out there are eating unwashed produce and old, moldy bread…or possibly enjoying snacks that were accidentally dropped on the kitchen floor after a glancing blow off the dog’s bum.) Anyway, we try not to regularly ingest artificial stuff that was developed in laboratories. That doesn’t mean we NEVER indulge in fake food products. An occasional box of Girl Scout cookies or Little Debbie snack cakes has been known to saunter across our threshold, but we do try to limit the number of invitations we send out. Therefore, you can imagine my horror when Mr. MOTH brought home an entire carton of pre-packaged strawberry milk that just happened to catch his eye in the dairy aisle. Since this particular shopping trip was a joint venture between father and son, the seed to sugartown had already taken root. My son couldn’t wait to get his little lips wrapped around a big ole glass of the pink devil. I mean really…I might as well have let the kid drink a bottle of corn syrup with a splash of milk added, followed by a chaser of red dye #7. And by chaser, I do mean an entire pint glass of fire engine red food coloring. Saying the beverage was brightly colored was an understatement of gross proportions, it was fluorescent freaking fuchsia.
Mr. MOTH and son happily sucked down this neon nectar of the Gods and even bellied up to the bunny bar for seconds. After their initial bunny milk binge, it took a good week and a half to make it to the bottom of the carton. This was largely due to the fact that consumption of the heavily processed pink poison was strictly rationed by mean old mama bear. Once the daily limit of two shot glasses of bunny milk had been reached, there was no more to be had that day. Needless to say, it was the last thing the little guy asked for before bed and the first thing requested upon waking. He was 100% hooked. A bunny milk monster had been made.
What’s a loving mother to do when her toddler has developed an insatiable hankering for an artificially flavored, highlighter pink drink? Of course, with a bit of help from the old Interwebs, I set out to recreate a healthier homemade version of bunny milk minus the mystery ingredients and the magenta hue. I say “healthier” but in reality, bunny milk maison contains a
boatload mid-sized barge full of sugar so it’s obviously a treat and not an every day beverage. Wait, what am I even saying? As the grandparent in this scenario, you need not concern yourself with healthy nutrition and the rationing of sugar. You are the Grampa after all…sugar is what you do. To help you along in your efforts, here is my adaptation of this recipe for homemade strawberry bunny milk! It is pretty easy to whip up, can be prepared in advance and get this… I was actually able to create three different tasty items out of this one quick recipe. It is the strawberry syrup trifecta! With this bit of yumminess added to your already awesome arsenal of all things fun, you are guaranteed to instantly achieve greatest-grampa-ever status.
Strawberry Bunny Milk
1 cup fresh strawberries, quartered
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 1/2 cups milk
Place berries, sugar, and water in a medium saucepan.
Bring to a boil. Continue to boil for ten minutes, stirring a few times.
Using a sieve, strain the liquid from the berries. (Save berries for another use.)
Allow the syrup to cool.
Fill a glass with 3/4 cup of ice cold milk.
Stir in 4 Tablespoons of Strawberry Syrup. (Adjust more or less to taste.)
Ta-da! May I present Grampa’s House Bunny Milk! If that doesn’t make you the happiest, most fun Grampa, I don’t know what will. Just in case it’s a bust, here are a few extra credit ideas to help things along if the bunny milk doesn’t blow them away.
- The strawberries that you set aside earlier can be mixed into yogurt, smeared on hot, freshly buttered toast, or served up on top of a pile of crispy waffles. (I would have said pancakes but I am well aware of how you feel about pancakes. Ditto in the french toast department. I have ceased trying to understand how waffles get a pass here.) By the way, your favorite nephew and I did not bother with any of this fanciness. We just plopped down with a spoon and took turns slurping up sugary mouthfuls of smooshed strawberries. It pleasantly passed the time as we waited for the molten syrup to reach a drinkable temperature.
- After making two glasses of bunny milk, we still had some syrup left. Obviously, we could have just made more bunny milk, but instead, we popped the leftovers into the fridge until after dinner. For dessert, I crushed up some snowy ice in my super powerful blender. I put a scoop of ice into a small bowl, doused it with a generous amount of fruity syrup, and voila…mini strawberry sno-cones for all!
- Finally, I will share with you my ultimate trade secret. If you truly wish to be the coolest grandad on the block, you must invest in a milk frother (sometimes called a foamer). It is a relatively inexpensive stainless steel contraption that allows you to turn ordinary milk into that glorious pillowy foam that you find floating on drinks at coffee houses. The device is extremely easy to use, easy to clean, and as a bonus the little guys can wear themselves out by helping to create the fantabulous foamy froth. It is essentially a small metal pitcher with a special lid that has a built in handle attached to a round screen inside. You vigorously plunge the handle up and down pushing and pulling the screen through the liquid about 100 times until you get a glorious mug of milky foam. Owning this gadget has forever changed my life and my waistline. Not only are you able to serve basic bunny milk, you can create beautiful glasses of fluffy bunny milk. Tell me that is not a one way ride to Best-Grampa-Ever-Ville.
- One last thing, I did not forget that you are in fact lactose intolerant. Therefore, for your own comfort (and the comfort of everyone around you) please feel free to rely on the milk substitute of your choice. I have not attempted to froth any non-milk milks, so when and if you do, please let me know if they are indeed frothable. (The Internet says they are, so it must be true.)
- Last, last thing. The original author of the recipe used frozen berries in place of fresh ones with equal success. I have not yet tried it but I have some frozen blackberries hanging out in my freezer which I might try. Review of Bunny Milk straight from the Blackberry Patch coming soon. Supposedly, you can also use peaches, mangos, or any other fruit of your choice. I imagine that the sugar content may have to be adjusted depending on the variety you select.
There you have it grandpappy! Bunny milk is a solid winner, but the frothing part steals the show for sure. Throw in the added bonus of apres-dinner sno-cones and the grandkids may never want to leave. With all that sugar coursing through their veins, I can guarantee that their mom will be more than happy to let them stay at least until they come down off the sugar buzz. Your step-daughter may not agree with your aggressive, over the top, sugar pushing ways, but she won’t be able to deny that there is one perk. When the cuties finally crash into their little car seats, after the best day ever chez Grampa, they will immediately fall into a sugar induced stupor. The upside to sugar overload? A totally silent car interior before they even make it out of your driveway. Now that’s a win-win!