Trick. or Treat.

Tonight we were SO parched on our way home from going to see So You Think You Can Dance live at the Target Center, that we went into Target and bought water before going home.  (Tiffany definitely bought an entire gallon of water.  Kind of amazing.)  While we were there, we thought we would buy toilet paper (because we are out, and that is very sad) and paper towels (because we haven’t had any in years.  Or at least weeks).  I didn’t really think about how it would look to the store employees: Saturday night, the night before Halloween, 10:30pm, buying a giant pack of toilet paper.  People told us to have fun, and smiled and laughed.  We didn’t want to disappoint them, so we just smiled back.  We didn’t mention to them that we really actually just needed toilet paper, and were mostly looking forward to collapsing into bed after an exhausting weekend.  There is no TPing in our future.

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just a spoonful of sugar…

Over the past month I have had more domestic moments than usual, so I thought I’d share them with you, as well as links to the delicious recipes!

For one of my many Rachels, I made oreo cupcakes for her birthday!  I wrote about my nervousness in making these a few weeks ago – mostly that that recipe looked great, but I wasn’t too sure about serving them for a birthday when I had never tried them before.

I need not have worried.  They were delicious!  I tested them out on my coworkers before Rachel’s party.  I even gave one to the custodian on my way out.  He still stops me in the hallway and tells me that I am the best cupcake baker he has ever met.

Rachel loves fall colors, and so naturally I sprinkled them with fall colors!  You should probably make these for your friends.  They will love you for it. http://www.beantownbaker.com/2007/09/cookies-n-cream-cupcakes-take-2.html

My Aunt Laurie, the family baker of all that is good, sent me a recipe for these:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I had been meaning to make them for weeks, but didn’t ever have time.  I finally managed to quick squeeze in a little baking adventure between conferences.  I had just enough time to get them finished before heading back to finish up.  They were delicious.  If I had to describe them, I’d say they taste like fall, in a chocolatey sort of way.

Here is the recipe:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies 

1 c. butter
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
15 oz. can pumpkin
4 c. flour
2 t. baking soda
2 t. baking powder
4 t. cinnamon
1 t. nutmeg
24 oz. chocolate chips

Bake at 350 for 15 min.

This week I decided that I would make Chicken Wild Rice Soup.  On a whim, I invited all of my friends over.  They happened to all be free on a random week night, and apparently the allure of free homemade dinner was enough to convince them all to drive up to my place, even though I tragically don’t live inside the freeway loop.  It was a great night of fun with friends, other than the part when we were forced to watch you tube videos of cats walking on treadmills.  Well, I guess I can admit that was kind of entertaining.  

I was a little bit nervous that it wouldn’t be ready in time, but it worked really well start ingredients on the stove, bringing it to a boil, and then switching it to the crock pot.  In fact, this made better soup than when I tried it again the following week.  Here is the recipe: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/slow-cooker-wild-chicken–wild-rice-soup/Detail.aspx I changed a few things.  I used half and half instead of cream, I added extra carrots and celery, and for the rice I used Uncle Ben’s long grain and wild rice and I even included the seasoning from the package.

And finally, for my grand finale of baking, I made cupcakes for Tiffany’s birthday.  The only mishap I had was that I reheated my caribou in the microwave, put the lid back on (trapping all that steam in there) and then a few minutes later took a huge sip and tragically burnt my tongue.  It is still in pain two days later.  The lesson my sunday school children learned from this is that they should not eat dinner because I “told them” they should not eat hot food or they will also burn their tongues.  Sorry parents!  But I do think you kids are hilarious.  And I hope they will one day eat more food than what comes directly out of the freezer.

These cupcakes were QUITE the undertaking.  I slaved away in the kitchen pretty much all day.  I was glad that Tiff went upstairs to nap while I made them, since I made a huge mess.  You should make them.  But you should be warned:  You should not have any other plans for the rest of the day.  or of your life.  Because they are so complicated.  Or maybe they are only complicated if you are completely clueless in the kitchen, like I am.  “Just making it up” works out much of the time, but it is a very time consuming other times.

They even have a homemade raspberry-ness in the middle!  This is me, cutting it open to see if I got any in, or how much.

I have no more recipes to share, and probably won’t, since I have done about 6 months worth of time in the kitchen in the past month, but here is the link to these double chocolate raspberry cupcakes.  http://annies-eats.com/?s=double+chocolate+raspberry+cupcake.  You will love them.  My friend David, who doesn’t like cupcakes, ate two and took a third one home.  This may be because I made him eat the whole cupcake if he was going to just eat the raspberry off the top.  But I like to think that even a non-cake-eater likes them!

THE PLAID BANDITS: a day of people watching.

Sunday after church, my sister and I set out on an adventure with Flat Stanley, who arrived in my mailbox on Friday.  My cousin Katie’s friend is a third grade teacher and needed some midwest locations.  If you are not familiar with Flat Stanley, I will briefly explain.  He is a book character that sadly got flattened when his bulletin board fell on him.  Now he is able to do super cool flat things, like travel through the mail and visit new and exciting places – like here!  So… to sum up, Sunday after church my sister and I set out to take Flat Stanley on a grand adventure through the excitingness that is our home state, and photograph him at various locations.

What we did not plan for – but were pleasantly surprised by – is the amazing people watching opportunities that came our way.  I guess that is what happens when you go to lots of popular places on a beautiful autumn afternoon.

I will try to remember the highlights to share them with you.  Rachel – help me out if I am forgetting anything truly awesome.

  1. The Elliptigo – I was not fast enough with my camera, so this photo is from the internets, not from my own photography skills.  But we saw a man on this interesting invention at Lake Calhoun

For an even better understanding of this newfangled thing, watch it on Good Morning America:

  • Notice I am switching to bullets here because numbering wasn’t working.  They couldn’t all be numbered 1.
  • We had lots of great dog sightings as well.  one preppy couple was walking around the lake with one tiny little sweatered dog and one giant sweater-less dog.  And yes, to keep stereotypes going strong, the preppy lady had the tiny dog on her leash and the preppy guy had the giant dog on his leash.
  • Flannel Friends: We were driving down Lake Street to get to 35W and we noticed this amazing couple in their matching plaid flannel shirts.  Are they Peeping (Plaid) Toms?  Are they the Plaid Bandits about to break in to this store?  There is really no way to know.

  • Rachel spotted in front of us a mini cooper that either had multiple large dogs in it, or it had people with funny hats inside.  We don’t know which it is, and let’s be honest – either option gives me delightful images in my head.
  • We were so excited I was so excited to see that the TROLLEY was running today!  Trolleys are one of my favorite things and Rachel is such a good sister that she agreed to ride it with me.  I almost made a run for the hills when I saw the extreme amount of small children and Halloween decorations at the trolley station, but I am glad that I didn’t, because I would have missed this:  Yep, poodles aboard a trolley!  It almost trumps, or maybe even does trump, the time I saw this poodle sitting in the back of a convertible while the own brings two coffees back to the car.
  • Did I mention that the trolley was going to a “pumpkin patch” for Halloween?  I use this term loosely because really it was at the end of the trolley line and there was a small fenced in area with a bunch of pumpkins sitting out and families could go pick out a pumpkin.
  • You know you are at a “fancy” pumpkin patch when the lady in front of you carries her kid’s pumpkin in a Coach bag.  Really??
  • These points do not even include the ridiculous conversations we caught snippets of – but it is fun to imagine what those people are actually talking about – although I can only imagine what people think of me when they overhear my ridiculous conversations with my friends.

Oh yes, don’t worry, we did get some great photos of Flat Stanley standing on the beach, climbing a fall colored tree, riding a trolley, visiting the cherry and spoon, and climbing up a roller coaster at Nickelodean Universe.  Oh, and wearing a MN sweatshirt.  Naturally.

The ‘Stache

The Mustache has come back into popularity.  I do not personally have anything against the mustache, as I do not know if I would recognize my dad without one.  I (sometimes) support (sometimes secretly – sorry Pancho for not vocally promoting you) others having them.  Or I just don’t care that much.  Or I think you look creepy.  It really depends on your face.  However, regardless of my thoughts about how a mustache looks on your face, I recently gained a new respect for those brave souls who have a long term (or longer than 6 baseball innings) commitment to the ‘stache upon their face.

After my own personal encounter, I have learned firsthand some of the pitfalls, downsides, annoying parts, and joys of having a mustache.  If you have never had one, let me share with you:

  1. Mustaches don’t always stick to your face.  Adhesive can wear off.
  2. Mustaches make it nearly impossible to smile or show any facial expression, as they could fall off at any moment.
  3. You become paranoid that your mustache is straight.
  4. You also grow increasingly in your concern over whether your mustache is all laying in the same direction or of the hair is becoming a bit unruly.
  5. Mustaches make it difficult to drink pop.
  6. Mustaches shed.  Sometimes into said pop.
  7. At times, one may inhale their mustache hair, causing you to wonder if now you have mustache hair stuck in your nose.  A most unpleasant feeling.
  8. Mustaches do not ensure a Twins win.  Sorry Pavano.  I like your facial hair, but your team still broke my heart.
  9. On the upside – you are pretty much always a crowd pleaser.  Even to your enemies (you are welcome Yankees fans, for bringing you such joy)

I’m guessing that you can relate to my experiences if you have ever grown a mustache for your own face.  While I will not be joining you in the facial hair world, I will may continue to support your attempts by baking you cupcakes.

Fall Joy

This fall has been so full of amazing-ness.  I love the colors of the leaves on the trees, I love the cool crisp air, and the way it smells like fall outside.  I like that the weather this week has been a flashback to summer weather.  I love putting on a sweatshirt before going outside into a brisk fall evening.

Two of my most exciting fall moments have been: a few weeks ago, heading out to a corn maze, and laying out under a tree and reading my book this past weekend.

It has been my dream to go to a corn maze for many years now.  I have mentioned this dream to others, but until this year, have never actually made it come true.  We invited 60 of our closest friends, but sadly no one wanted to hang out with us!  So us four girls headed out to Montgomery MN, where the corn maze was shaped like the Twins logo.  Some of my friends were really excited about the map option, so they led the way, answering Twins trivia as we went.  The weather was perfect.  The whole day screamed: autumn is amazing.

This past Sunday, after church we headed over to the rose garden and found a tree to put our blanket under.  It was phenomenal to look up and see leaves floating down towards us as we laid under it.  I can’t think of a better place to finish up my Bible study homework, than out in God’s beautiful creation.

Anyways, here are some pictures from fall!

weekly five year old ridiculous-ness.

As usual, my kids exhaust me, but they also amuse me to no end.  Here are some of the classic moments from this week:

Student approaches me during rest time and says:

“Yesterday I had a booger on the carpet.  I’m sorry.”

We are working on underlining words in a poem (to start to understand what words are and how we know where words are when we are reading.  It is the first time they get to use markers, so it was pretty exciting, naturally).

“I wish I could be a teacher!”

I ask “Why?” thinking it is because you get to use markers, or because kindergarten is so fun.  Nope – the answer is:

“Then I could drink at my desk.”

(I promise it is only coffee…)

This was followed up by

“And I could play games on my computer all day”

(really kids???  does it look like computer games?  I do important things on my computer… usually…)

This was followed up by,

“Don’t worry.  We know you are not lazy.”

(wow… thanks.)


It was picture day, and Molly and I were showing the kids how we smiled and posed for school pictures.  Our pretend smiles were awful looking and the poses outlandish.  Instead of thinking we are ridiculous, one girl exclaims,

“Mrs. T posed like an angel!!!” (please re-read with an African accent and awe in your voice.)

Little boy runs up to Molly and exclaims,

“Good news!  My heart is still beating!”

While working on Molly’s birthday book:

“You should call me Chicken Head.”

“Does someone at home call you that?”

“Yup, God.”

Today I talked with a child about a discipline slip they got the other day:

Me:  “What can you do instead of telling someone “I will kill you”?”

Boy:  “I could give them a suprise.  Like a tiny little baseball”

A most confusing conversation.  The setting: my back table where I am working with a group of students making a birthday book for my EA.  I am drawing my picture for her.

Student A: “How did you draw so good?”

Me: “I’ve got skills.” (or perhaps I should spell this skillz since I work in an urban school?)

Student B: “How do you get skills?”

Me: “Years of practice.”

Student B: “No, I mean how do you get skills?”  (this time pointing at his face repeatedly.”

After looking confused at him for some length of time, I respond: “OOOH, you mean how did I get FRECKLES?  the sun gives them to me.”

Another week is done.  Now to spend the weekend recovering and enjoying this amazing fall weather!!!!

“You have nice toes!”

oh, kindergarten.

We have only been in school for like 4 weeks.  3 weeks?  4 weeks.  I don’t remember.  Apparently it is all a blur.  The point being – for such a short time, we have already had our fair share of drama.  Except, the drama-ness really hasn’t been all that bad!  I mean, there have been some serious issues that needed to be dealt with in a serious manner, but I was trying to figure out what makes the difference – because last year similar dramas would have made me want to cry.  Or pull out my hair.  I decided that the difference is the parents.  They respectfully inform me of situations, looking for solutions, recognizing that kids will be kids and that I am doing my best, and are grateful for that.  They approach it as a team.  And I appreciate that so much!  I had no idea how great it was to be supported by the parents of my students.  What a difference it makes!  I have to say… I am happy to have passed along the parents that write notes, swearing at the teacher, on the child’s discipline slip…

In other news: here are the cute kindergarten moments that are coming to my sleepy brain:

  • Student approaches me after I finish handing out supplies to the class and asks what I am doing on Saturday.  “I am having a baby shower.  You should come!” he says.  I tell him that I am picking apples, but that does sound very fun.  He persists, asks for my phone number so his mom can call me to properly invite me, and then goes to do his work.
  • I may have accidentally (but amazingly) taught the children to say, “Thanks!  You’re my hero!”
  • A student was out for several days having dental surgery, and I overheard her telling her friends how much she missed me while she was gone from school
  • During rest time a child comes up to me and says that the song we are listening to is the song he was born to.  Yep – that being born is “when you come out of somebody’s butt” and he remembered hearing this song when we were born.  (if you are confused and saying WHAT!? that was my reaction too.  no words)
  • I got to spend my mornings on bus duty supervising my first graders… it was like a reunion.  Especially when my old EA stopped by.  The kids were in aw that we were all back together again.  One kiddo said she wanted to come back to kindergarten.  I thought it was because she missed me.  Nope – she just misses nap time.