Thursday, April 29, 2010

Festival of the Nations & Crispana Recipe

Hola!  In sixth grade, each student is to write a research paper on a country.  Kidlet Three chose Mexico.  The class went to the public library where each child could check out books pertaining to their country.  Writing a research paper is done in each grade at the school Kidlet Three attends.  So the concept of doing a research paper wasn't new.  But I so appreciate that the teacher methodically reviewed how to use notecards when looking for information.  From the notecards they create an outline.  From the outline they write descriptive paragraphs, and then make the bibliography.  Extra points are granted for pictures or photocopies that are included.  After the report is done, then the preparations begin for the FESTIVAL OF THE NATIONS!

At the Festival of Nations, each student is given a table to decorate and fill with items from the country they studied.  Each student is to make a display board also.  Kidlet Three worked really hard on his display.  He printed pictures, cut and glued everything very neatly on the board.

He did a great job on this.

The Festival of Nations is open to all students, parents and grandparents.  From 8 a.m. until 10 a.m. the sixth graders stood by their table and had every single student from the remaining grades in the school stopped by for a visit.  Kidlet Three really wanted to have a food item at this table that students could sample.  When he decided on tacos I had to veto that.  Tacos for 300 just wasn't feasible.  Then he wanted cut up quesadillas but again, Mean Mom had to veto that idea.  Too messy and there wasn't anyway to keep them warm.  Boy we spent a lot of time thinking through this food item.

One of my co-workers heard my discussion about this and mentioned the word "crispanas".  When she explained what they were, I knew that a crispana was exactly the right nibble for the Mexico table.

Here is the recipe for a fun, bet-you-can't-eat-just-one snack!


1 package flour tortillas
Pam olive oil spray

Kidlet Three took each tortilla and sprayed it with Pam olive oil spray.  Then he sprinkled it generously with sugar and cinnamon.

Using a pizza cutter, he cut each tortilla into strips and then cut the whole tortilla in half.  Look real hard at his cheeks and by his nose.  He had practiced putting on mustache paint to be a "senor".

The strips were placed on a baking sheet and placed in a 425 degree oven until lightly browned.

Finger-licking good and oh so addicting...crisp to bite into
full of nummy sugar and cinnamon...oh...
I am reliving the moment and almost forgot to keep typing...
we made multiple packages of tortillas and filled a huge bowl of crispanas

Kidlet Three's table looked pretty Mexicany. 
Crispanas are in the bowl at the left. 
A laptop with a set of photos I'd taken from my trips to Mexico played.
The picture board...
and what a handsome mairachi man!

Did you see the mustache?

He did a really great job talking to the teachers and students
about Mexico.  The crispanas were definitely a hit.
He got an A+ on the project.

I've got to be going...all this talk about crispanas and I just need to make me a batch!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tree Planting

Recently 200+ ash trees were cut down in our neighborhood.
Including one in our boulevard that was close to
20 years old.
There is an ash tree disease coming our way so as
a preventative measure, the trees were cut down
and new trees were to be planted in their place.

We live less than a block from a city park.  This banner hung at the
park for a couple of weeks, alerting the neighborhood that it would
be "good" for us to come out and help plant the new trees!

Over the past week, in my neighborhood I would see this
This digger would drive up and down the streets, digging holes
in boulevards for the new trees.
Load after load of trees were brought in. 
The piles in the background are wood chips. 
Wood chips from the 200+ trees that were cut down and
then "ground" into wood chips!  Part of my tree is in that pile.

On tree planting day, not only would we be planting trees,
but we were told lunch would be provided
so picnic tables were brought in also.
Saturday, April 24 we woke up to pouring rain.
The planting event was to go on "Rain or Shine"
The Husband and I doned our rain ponchos and up to the park we went.
We stood in line to register with many people that we'd never seen before.  If they lived in our neighborhood then we were not doing a good job about knowing our neighbors!  We later found out that many people just come to these events from different cities and from different parts of our city. These people want more trees planted in the world and will venture out on rainy, muddy days to plant trees with a stranger.

Old people and young people.  People in rain ponchos and this young boy in a clear garbage bag came out in unity to beautify our neighborhood!
We were greeted by Jacob Ryg, the forestor hired to help the city with this project.  All of the money for this whole project came from grant money.  Our city paid nothing toward the project.  We were given a lesson in how to plant the trees.  Most of us, I could tell from the audience questions, had never planted a tree before! 
Then off we went.  The Husband is in the blue poncho.  Our neighbor and friend, Randy, planted with us.  The soil in our area is pretty much clay.  And it is a heavy soil.  And it sticks like glue to shovels and shoes!
Shandra and Kristen ride the same city bus to work that I take.  I have chatted with them and they showed up on our team to plant, as well! 
We were supervised.  Which was a good thing.  The Tree Man rode his four-wheeler through the neighborhood checking on our progress.  Sometimes he pointed out where we had planted too low or too high so we needed to pull the tree out and start again.
Here is the group working on the hole for the replacement tree in our boulevard.
The Husband and I standing next to the tree we planted in our boulevard.  We are the proud owners of an Acolade Elm Tree!
Each tree needed wood chips around the base.  There were bucket loaders filling trailers from the Big Wood Chip Pile.  These trailers would be pulled by trucks through the neighborhoods.  Volunteers would sit on the trailer, jump off and shovel chips around each Baby Tree.

We worked from 9 a.m. until noon.
In rain and mist.
But I didn't hear one person complain.
I heard chatter
And neighbors meeting neighbors
It was one of the best mornings I've spent in a long time.

Can you see green stars on this map?
Each star represents a tree.
There were over 500 trees planted in those three hours.
Planted, mulched with wood chips and staked up.
An incredible, very-well-organized event.
I didn't snap a picture of our great catered lunch.
I was too tired to think about grabbing the camera!
Here are my shoes after most of the mud was scrapped off. 
My jeans were pretty mud covered.
The sun did come out at lunch.  Causing the mud to dry and cake
This little guy had boots from the movie "Cars".  Quite cute.

It was an amazing day.
I think God was happy to see His kids working side by side
with a common goal and differences put aside

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Don't be jealous now...

I really don't want you to be jealous.

You'll never guess what I found in my house recently.

Secretly, I bet you are going to want one.

This was in the livingroom
Did you catch the fact I said it was in my livingroom?

Doesn't every house have something that says QUICKSWING in their livingroom?

The bigger picture is that this is what I have, currently, in my livingroom

The Husband, bless his heart, was so excited to purchase this
for Kidlet Three.  In fact, when I raised a little stink about having
this new piece of furniture in the livingroom, I was told "it is
for your is the best thing for your child." When
The Husband speaks, he puts the emphasis on the word child.

Today I came home from work and found this on the couch
You don't suppose they are using real baseballs in the
Joe Mauer QuickSwing in the livingroom?

The Husband and Kidlet Three told me that the best part
of the whole QuickSwing kit was the net.  Yes, there is
another part to this whole operation.  And, for awhile, it was
in, you guessed it, the room of the house that most people
don't have sports equipment in.

Somehow, the little stink I made sunk in and the net was
moved to the basement.  Now our basement has been a
hoarders delight for many years.  No one, repeat, no one
has been able to move around in the family room for years.
Until a couple of months ago when I was afraid someone
would submit our name to that new TV show about hoarders.
I started pitching and cleaning and moving and hiding stuff so
this room could become usable.  WELL, because there was
now room to move, the net was moved downstairs.
And it wasn't moved there by me!!  The net is so tall it
is hitting the ceiling!  The thing has to be close to 8 1/2 feet
tall and is almost the width of the family room!!!

I can't wait to see how it looks in the backyard.

Now, I really, really, really don't want to sound like I'm
complaining or bashing The Husband.  Because, that
isn't who I want to be.   And you know, when The Husband
reads this blog, he will shake his head at me and say

"You just really don't understand men"

Was that a giggle I just heard from you?

So, I get to be probably the only woman on the face
of this earth that has a batting machine in her livingroom.

Admit it now, you are just a tad bit jealous of me aren't you????

Batter's up!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Knick Knack Razor Whack

Believe me, you do not want a photo with this entry.

Last night was a women’s meeting that I was to be a greeter at the door.  I decided I was sick of wearing jeans. Pulling on my black capris pants, I realized it had been awhile since I’d shaved my legs (no need since vacation, right?)

I grabbed one of The Husband’s new Bic razors for the shave. Sitting on the side of the bathtub I was able to accomplish the shave in a quick, time-saving fashion. Rinsed off the shaving cream, towel dried and started applying lotion. All of this was done really fast because I was kind of pushing it on the time. Pulled on my capris again with the lotion still on my legs but I was in a hurry. As I was combing my hair I felt that burn beginning on my legs; the burn of a “really close shave.” Looking down at my legs I became horrified. Knick knack razor whack is what my legs looked like! I started applying toilet paper blots to each bleeding spot and pretty soon I ran out of leg! Oh what a sight my legs were.
But I was late so I started walking out of the house with polka-dot-toilet-paper-blot spots. Most of the pieces of toilet paper fell off (thankfully) but the really badly bleeding spots held onto their blotting paper.

Half of me thought of walking into the ladies meeting with my legs covered with white dots since if everyone was truthful, every one of those women had probably whacked up their legs in a shave before, too.

But the other half of me, the rational part of my brain, flashed an alarm that said ‘don’t do it.” So in the parking lot, I pulled off my toilet paper spots.

The two ladies I told my story too thought it would’ve been funny had I worn the dots into the meeting. But, that is because they are my friends and they would not have been too surprised because it was me. Many of the women at the meeting I didn’t know so I probably made a better impression in our first meeting without my dots.

Knick knack razor whack. I hope I learned my lesson!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

New Passwords

I am ALL for having a secure computer and I don't want anyone hacking in to find we have exactly a buck-two-eighty in our checkbook.

What really stretched me this week was coming up with a new password at work.  Every 180 days we change our passwords and I've heard it mentioned we may be forced to change every 30 days. 

And you can't reuse a password you've had in the past.

I so used to use "doggy1" as my password.  Then it went to "doggy2" and then it went to...can you guess!

Well, when I had to start using double digits and reaching higher on the keyboard for those numbers I started with a new sequence.  It wouldn't be really smart for me to share that sequence with you here would it.

This week I discovered my new sequence isn't the coolest thing since computers!  The new password I just set doesn't flow.  My fingers are awkardly trying to find the combination of numbers and letters.  In fact, I have to stop, think and then type.  Who has time to do that?

Plus, if you use a computer for work, personal email, blog sites, fantasty football and fantasy baseball, reading caringbridge sites, shopping online, etc (all the things I do), each one of those needs a password, too! 

Maybe, just maybe, this new password that I'm awkwardly using will cause me to shut off the computer and do something else...

Which could be a good thing...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Herbergers, Good Will and Lucille Ball

What do Herbergers, Good Will and Lucille Ball have to do with each other?  You wouldn't believe it!

First off, I hate shopping.  Most of the clothes I wear were purchased from JCPenney ONLINE!  Very rarely do I step foot into a store unless I am looking for a specific item.  And I really have to be desperate to step into the store.  Shopping just doesn't ring my bell.

Two days before leaving on vacation, however, I realized I needed sandals and maybe some new summer tops.  I'd waited too long so couldn't fall back on  So off to Herbergers I went but, first, I'd read an ad that a customer could bring in clothing items to donate to Good Will.

"At last!  That purple and gold winter coat that has been floating around the laundry room floor for two months can go bye bye."  With glee I grabbed that jacket and headed off to Herbergers.

And what deals I found that night!  It almost made me say that I actually enjoyed shopping.  Almost.

At the cash register I gladly handed over that winter coat and got my 20 percent discount.  Only to be told that I could bring in another item the next day to give me even more of a discount on my "bill".   Yes, I spent a lot!

The next evening, I had just 15 minutes to search out another clothing item to donate as I needed to drop Kidlet Three and The Husband off at baseball tryouts while I scurried to Herbergers to get money off from my "bill".  In my frantic quick-we-have-to-go search, I mentioned what I was doing to The Husband and that I had gotten rid of that obnoxious coat in the laundry room.  There was a slight gasp from The Husband as he states "that coat belonged to JZ."  JZ being a friend of Kidlet Three's.  Mouth gaping open I am stunned.  "You mean that wasn't the Minnesota Vikings jacket that Kidlet Three doesn't want to wear anymore?" 

"No.  You just gave away a coat that belong's to your son's friend."

Another reason to never go shopping.  You could accidentally give away clothing that never belonged to you!

I called Herbergers and explained my dilemna.  I was the third person that day that needed to track down a clothing item.  One person left their cell phone in a coat they'd donated.  Another person had keys to their house they'd left in a clothing item.   All of us were told the same thing:  you are more than welcome to dig through the SEMI that is parked in back of the store.

Driving very nearly the speed limit, I got Kidlet and The Husband to baseball tryouts and I drove nearly the speed limit to Herbergers.  And I was escorted to the SEMI parked in the back of the store.  A rickety ladder was set up for me and the door to the SEMI swung open.

Did you catch the fact this was a SEMI!

All clothing items that had been donated had been thrown into the back of the semi.  JZ's coat was somewhere in that SEMI.

Wouldn't Lucille Ball have done the same thing?  Climbed as quickly as she could into that semi and start throwing clothing around, trying to stand up straight because she was actually standing on clothing!  Trying to make a dent in one small area of that packed semi only to have to move the clothing she'd just tossed out of the way to dig through another area of the SEMI.

Oh yes...I did it.  I spent nearly an hour in that SEMI.  Looking for that purple and gold coat that I never should have given away.  Did I mention that I carried the "true" Minnesota Viking's coat that we really did have hanging in our front closet back to the store so I could donate it? 

After an hour I gave up.  The SEMI was just too full and I was slipping and sliding on shirts, dresses, shoes, candles (!), placemats, coats and lingerie. 

If Ethel had been with me I know she would've tried to cheer me up.  Ethel always tried to cheer up Lucy. 

Not wanting to start the vacation with JZ's parents upset with me, I didn't call them.  But I knew that I would.  And I was trying to figure out how I'd replace this coat with another just like it.  It was a "special" coat that JZ had been given.  Great...just my luck.

Would you believe JZ ended up hanging out with Kidlet Three yesterday.  When I caught up with them at the park, I knew it was confession time and I needed to be honest and tell JZ that his special coat was in some Good Will store in the United States.  I'd tried to get it back...I really did try.  Gulp.  I felt sick but our conversation started like this:

Me:  "JZ, are you still missing your purple and gold winter coat?"

JZ:  "Oh, the one I left at your house?"

Me:  "Yes, that one.  The one I'm told you were given as a special gift."

JZ:  "I was wondering where that was."

You'd better sit down as you read the rest of this.  Seriously. 

Me:  "JZ, I didn't know that was your coat and I gave it away.  I feel really, really bad about it and I will replace the coat because what I did was wrong but it was an accident.  I'm really sorry and would like to ask you to forgive me."

JZ:  "Oh no, you don't have to replace that coat.  It didn't fit me that good anymore and my mom already had told me she was going to donate it to....Good Will."

Barump bump (that would be the drum thing a comic has at the end of a joke).

Lucille Ball ALWAYS got out of her dilemmas.  I never dreamed I'd get out of this one without having to go.....SHOPPING!

Herbergers, I love your store.
Good Will, I hope a really neat boy gets that purple and gold jacket next winter.
Lucille Ball:  Thanks for the memories

Monday, April 12, 2010

We Are Expecting!

We are excited to announce we are expecting! 

Well, not actually "me"..but our new neighbors are expecting. 
And they are living so close to us that I feel like it is actually "us".

You may remember my greenlifegrass post. 
Take a look at this mocked up picture from that post
Did you find the circled birdhouse on our snowy deck?
Well, meet our new neighbors!
Husband and wife!
They have packed that house full
Dad stands guard
Mom gets ready to get inside
Dad plays peek-a-boo

I wonder how long before the little ones can be heard "peeping?"

For as much time as The Husband, Kidlet Three and I
have spent gazing out the window or deck door...
You would've thought it was us that was expecting!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Revive Us Again

"Lord, You poured out blessings on Your land!
You restored the fortunes of Israel.
You forgave the guilt of Your people
Yes, You covered all their sins.
You held back Your fury
You kept back Your blazing anger.
Now restore us again, O God of our salvation.
Put aside Your anger against us once more.
Will You be angry with us always?
Will You prolong Your wrath to all generations?
Won't you revive us again,
so Your people can rejoice in You?
Show us Your unfailing love, O Lord,
and grant us Your salvation.
I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying,
for He speaks peace to His faithful people.
But let them not return to their foolish ways.
Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him,
so our land will be filled with His glory.
Unfailing love and truth have met together.
Righteousness and peace have kissed!
Truth springs up from the earth,
and righteousness smiles down from heaven.
Yes, the Lord pours down His blessings.
Our land will yield its bountiful harvest.
Righteousness goes as a herald before Him,
preparing the way for His steps." Psalm 85

We invite You, O Lord
to revive us...