Tuesday, September 28, 2010

41 Countries in 41 Weeks

  No we didn't go on a 41 week vacation.  We stayed home.  But for 41 weeks, our family of 5 took a culinary trip around the world.  One Friday night the kids decided they wanted to have Chinese food on our regular Pizza Party night.  So being the mom who always goes a little overboard, I thought it would be fun to supplement our frozen potstickers with some traditional home made Chinese food.  The problem was that even though I am a decent cook I had never made anything Chinese from scratch.  So I spent a few hours searching for recipes on the internet.  I finally decided on potstickers, chicken fried rice and hand made steamed beef curry dumplings.  It took longer to make than our usual dinner, but I learned some new techniques.

The kids set the table for the feast and we all sat down to eat.  Though the dumplings didn't quite look picture perfect, they tasted great.  Even our 6 year old who pecks at food like a sparrow, gobbled up everything on his plate.  We spent the rest of the night watching the kids' favorite movies and playing Guitar Hero together.  "Can we do this every week Mom?" asked Ryan.
"Yeah can we pick a different place each week?"  Jessica and Alyssa added.
I wasn't really sure what I was getting myself into, but I replied, "Yeah I think we could do that."
"Let's study all about each country for the week, and make signs with words from the language, and get pictures, and    ........"  Alyssa was fired up.
"Ok.  I think that's a great idea.  You guys can even help me cook the food", I said, starting to think it was a great way to teach the kids more about geography and culture.
The three of them looked at each other, "Maybe you can cook and we'll set up all the other things like posters and stuff",  Jessica said.
"Oh ok.  What country should be next?"  I asked.
"China!"  Ryan said immediately.  "I love Chinese food!"
"We just did China.  Let's do Tuvalu", Jessica replied.
"Tu...what?  Is that even a country?"  I asked.
"Oh yeah, Mom.  It's a tiny island nation in the South Pacific."  Jessica said with a smile.
Ok, maybe I'll be the only one learning here.  I thought.

 So far, we have had the cuisine from 41 different nations, from varying continents. And yes we did have a Tuvalu night. We have taken breaks occasionally and gone back to Pizza Party Friday, but we have decided that our culinary trip around the world won't stop until we have tried all 192 countries.  Not everything is gobbled up as quickly as on the first night, and the kids don't spend as much time learning about each country as I would like, but they have tasted everything and opened their minds to new foods.   Most importantly, we have all enjoyed this family journey staying right at home.  

Spice up your life this week!


Monday, September 27, 2010

What? No video Games?

My first grader brought home a project this weekend.  His mission was to interview an older person to find out what life was like in their time.  Coincidentally, Grandma, Grandpa, and Gramps (Great Grandpa), were visiting from Michigan.  So after lunch on Sunday, my son asked Gramps questions from his worksheet like, "What inventions do we have now that you didn't have back then?"   Ryan listened intently as Gramps told him that back in the early 1920's, when he was born, there were no jet planes, only planes with propellers, no calculators, no computers, no cell phones , no refrigerators, and no video games.
"What?  No video games?  Well what did you play with then? There's nothing fun to do without video games!"  Ryan was astonished. 
"Oh we did lots of fun things like play Kick the Can… where we uhh… kicked a can.  Innie I Over…..where one kid threw a ball over a house and the kid on the other side caught it ran around and tried to hit the other kids with it", Gramps explained.
I looked at Ryan.  He wasn't too impressed with those games.  Then Gramps added, "We also used to make our own scooters, kites, and model airplanes." 
"Wow, you made your own kites and airplanes?  Ryan asked excitedly.  
"Sure, we made planes out of wood and rubber bands and they even flew."
"Can you make an airplane with me Gramps?"  Ryan asked.
"Maybe when I come back for Thanksgiving", Gramps replied.   
What a great way to bring a little piece of Gramps' childhood to the present generation, I thought. While I cook, Gramps can keep all the cousins busy making airplanes, instead of having them watch movies.  It will be a Thanksgiving they will all remember…..though I think we'll keep Kick the Can in the past.

Have a great day! 

Saturday, September 25, 2010


I was so excited to get this blog up and running. I'm not known for my computer skills so it was a big deal for me to see my web page at the click of a button! I couldn't wait to show my husband what I had done. I was hearing in my head all the great things he was going to tell me when he first saw it.  So when he got home from work last night and he saw me working, he asked me about it.
"Can you email me the link?"  He asked. 
"Sure", I said readying myself for glowing praise.  He was standing right next to me as I opened up my email, so I told him to turn around.   I envisioned him clicking on the link, my web page magically appearing, and him being awed by my work. 
"Why do I have to turn around? Don't you have it up right there?" 
"It's a surprise.  Ok, here click on it."  I said.
He clicked and voila it appeared.  I could hardly wait.  He studied the screen. Then there was silence, a long silence.             
"What's the surprise?"  He asked. 
UGGGHHHHH!  What?  Look right in front of you!  My content appears out of nowhere.  It's amazing, isn't it?  I thought.
"Is it a Happy Birthday message?  I don't see it." He asked still looking.
Birthday message?  Oh I wasn't even thinking about that.  "Uh no, it's just ideas."  I felt like a balloon that had just been popped.
"Oh….. yeah, that's cool.  But I saw you workin' on it yesterday.  I had to turn around for that?"  He asked.
"I thought you would be amazed that you could click on my link and see my web page."  I said.
"Wait, you thought it would be cool for me to click on something and see it appear on the internet.  Don't we do that all day long?" He said with a slight chuckle and a hug.
 Well the hug helped and I laughed too, but mostly I felt stupid.  I guess I need to keep reading all those internet guides.     

Have a great weekend!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Never Enough Time

Do you ever get to the end of the day and wonder, "Where did this day go?" I do, almost every day! Between working, getting my kids to sports and music lessons, and attempting to make something resembling dinner, the day seems to evaporate like fog in the desert sun. I have tried to be more organized, yet the piles on my kitchen counters reveal how successful that has been. My kids consider it a lucky day if they can find clean underwear before school.  Maybe if days were officially changed to 48 hours.......
Until this happens, I have decided to take matters into my own hands. Even though I'm a person who needs a solid 8 hours of sleep, I pledge to drag myself out of bed before 5:59 a.m. every week day morning. In these precious morning hours when the rest of the family lies in angelic sleep, I will begin my day and attempt to make my newly found hours mean more. I know I will want to hit that snooze 4 or 5 times.  But I have to do something differently.  If you have other ideas on how to get more out of a day, let me know, or if you decide to join me in my pledge I'd love to hear what you do in the precious hours before dawn. Otherwise, if you see someone asleep in the line at the grocery store, it's probably me.

Have a great day and try to enjoy at least some of your hours today!