Monday, February 17, 2014

Connecting with Connecticut

Welcome to Connecticut week!  We head across the country from the majestic Rockies to the third smallest state in the nation.  I honestly didn't know all that much about Connecticut before I started my research, but by the time I was prepared enough to put up the Connecticut wall and teach the kiddos tonight I not only learned a ton but really want to make a trip there!  My literary loving self was delighted to learn that the public library system, the oldest continuously published newspaper and Noah Webster (of dictionary fame!) all hail from The Constitution State!

I was also amazed to learn how many 'firsts' Connecticut can claim; from the helicopter to the frisbee to the instant camera.  Not to mention that the State Bird is the Robin, the State Tree is the White Oak and the State Flower is the Mountain Laurel.  Hopefully that's enough to peek your interest and convince you to stick around this week while we learn all about Connecticut.

With the Noah home on break, I enlisted the kiddos to help me make tonight's dessert, some Connecticut Spice Cookies.  I love Kid Kitchen and I am always looking for the opportunity to include Noah, too.  How many kiddos do you know that have such made skills with a mixer like mine do?  They so make me smile.  And the cookies we're half bad, either.  The dough was really easy to work with and they puffed up into some soft chewy cookies right out of the oven.  We're not huge spice cookie/muffin/cupcake people around here (bring on the chocolate chips!) but given that Connecticut is also known as The Nutmeg State we had to give these a go.

I also jumped on the Connecticut culinary wagon tonight, but to the delight of Mikayla as we'll be seeing a couple of different seafood recipes this week given how important the fishing industry is to the state.  Tonight I made Country Fish Chowder.  I used extra clams and fresh cod in the chowder - Mikayla was in seventh heaven!  Prepping for the next couple of states (we follow up Connecticut with Delaware and then Florida) it has occurred to me what an important industry fishing actually is to the United States as a whole as well.  I have a feeling it won't be hard to convince the youngest Gatchel to eat the next few weeks.

Phew, in the middle of everything else we also had an Olympic Event tonight - A Mitten Search.  Yep, pretty much as simple as it sounds.  I hid mittens and gloves all over the house, they had to find ten and bring them back to me.  Fastest time won.  Check out the pictures of the action and today's medalists below.

So is that enough for today?  Geesh, Monday's are nuts!  Noah is still off tomorrow but Kayla is off at school.  Well, at least that's the plan, but I am not counting on that actually happening.  It's snowing pretty good here right now and we're supposed to have between 4-6 inches by tomorrow morning.  (Isn't winter over yet???)  OLS is pretty much the only school in the area in session anyway (everyone else is on Winter Break, but they are trying to make up days) so I won't be surprised if she's home tomorrow too.  Regardless, I have a feeling we'll be spending a good chunk of the day outside shoveling and playing in the snow. Plus the Olympics continue!  So until then...

Connecticut Fun Fact of the Day:  People from Connecticut are called Nutmeggers.  Connecticut is also known as the Nutmeg State, and legend has it that is based on peddlers  who went door to door selling their wares, including spices such as nutmeg.  They were even rumored to sell small pieces of wood they claimed to be nutmeg.

My favorite pair in the whole wide world

Waiting for all the molasses to drain

Chef Noah

The Bean is getting proficient with a whisk

Rolling the cookies a bit

Ready for the oven

Aren't they pretty?  Grant described them as soft gingerbread

Noah hunting mittens and gloves

The Bean giving it a go

We let the kiddos hide mine and Grant's - they actually put them inside of things and legitimately beat Grant and I then ;-)

Mikayla's first medalists photo

We asked her to move in a little bit... (Noah with the gold, I took the silver and Grant earned the bronze)

Country Fish Chowder - the Bean has requested them for dinner again on Friday night when we have our "Girls Night In" while the boys go to the Piston's game

Finding Hartford

The Connecticut wall is up!

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