Tuesday, March 11, 2014

I'd rather be in New Mexico

I'm posting from a place tonight that I've become intimately familiar with after this fine winter - The Land of Denial.  You see, driving home after helping in Mikayla's class this morning (had so much fun with Green Eggs and Ham Day!  The kiddos loved (which shocked the heck out of me) the eggs someone had hard boiled and then turned a very unique shade of green!) the outside thermostat on my car proclaimed it to be 50 degrees.  50 people - two days in a row!  And while it wasn't quite as sunny and breezy as yesterday it beat the heck out of the negative whatever we were dealing with for most of January and parts of February.  Given all this I absolutely REFUSE to believe that by this time tomorrow another 5 to 8 inches of snow will have fallen hear.  Nope, DENIAL.  Not gonna happen!


In all honesty I have mostly resolved myself to the fact that tomorrow most likely for me includes a shovel and both my kids home for the day.  But hey Mother Nature, I don't have to like it!  The saying goes "In like a lion and out like a lamb" and so as far as I'm concerned you've got about 4 more days of lion like weather before you better start easing us into that lamb stuff.  Ya hear me??

Anyway, more pleasant things if you please.  Like my awesome morning in Mikayla's class!  And the fact that Noah earned a bee in the bucket yesterday, another one today and is only one away from earning his prize!  Or that Grant is going out as I type to pick up the last piece we need to officially 'finish' the bathroom.  The good stuff, right?  And of course that includes our fabulous state project and not only mail from New Mexico, but a little cuisine and the "We've Been There" state!

I mentioned yesterday that us Gatchel's would be answering the state question "Red or Green?" tonight at dinner. I made Cheese Enchiladas with Red Chile Sauce.  This was so much fun - I don't think I've ever made a chile sauce from scratch before and I liked giving it a go.  And the results - oh my goodness!  Noah described it as "nachos with beans, but the beans I like" (The corn as opposed to flour tortillas is what made him think of nachos, I think) and both he and Mikayla ate without any fuss tonight.  I was a bit concerned about the level of spice, but no one complained at all.  Could be because I cut down on the heat a little bit by serving it with a fun drink popular in the southwest, Horchata.  This required me actually soaking ground up rice and a whole ton of almonds (along with some cinnamon and lime zest) pretty much all day long.  Grant was instantly transported by it back to our time together at Bradley and our first meeting.  We tell the story about falling for each other over "Super Nachos" at the nearby dive of a mexican restaurant, La Bamba, by campus that no one touched the food from unless it was post-partying since it was one of the only places open at 2am :-p  They served horchata (though there is was just called rice water) and Grant remembers going and ordering a huge one on more than one occassion.

Given how sparsely populated New Mexico I did have a bit of trouble tracking down someone to help us with our mail call, but I was yet again blown away by the thoughtfulness of complete strangers who have helped us out.  Especially given that this one wasn't as long in the planning.  If you've been following along so far you know we've been taking the states in alphabetical order.  Obviously, New Mexico doesn't come this early in the alphabet.  This is supposed to be Georgia week but since the Gatchel crew (along with the Kosakowski's and Singer's) are making a full week trip to Georgia this summer, I decided to swap those weeks.  (Side note - next week is kind of similar, we'll be doing Kansas instead of Hawaii.  No, we're not going to get to go to Hawaii, but my aunt and uncle are and they are cruising from island to island and are going to send us postcards from every island when they are actually there.  Totally worth the switch!)

Anyway, I had someone lined up a while ago for New Mexico and that fell through a couple months back, which presented a scramble.  Fortunately, the best man at our wedding saw my plea for help o facebook and asked his cousin, Julie, who lives in Los Lunas to help us out.  She graciously did and we had a great time opening the mail she sent tonight which was full of postcards, fun fact sheets about areas in New Mexico and some activity sheets for the kiddos.  There was even a mention of a video on youtube that she suggested we watch from them launching the hot air balloons at the International Festival.  It is beautiful - see for yourself!  I think the Gatchel's may be in discussions to check this event out one October now.  We do have more mail coming, I believe, again from a completely unknown source so I'll keep you posted on that one.

We also did our "We've Been There" state, and sadly, no Gatchel's have checked out New Mexico.  But we're loving learning about it!  The kids are really excited about starting to see the "We've Been There" map come together, though.  We've now done a good chunk of the southwest, including all the 4 corner states except Utah.

Alright, I should be off.  We're making hot air balloons tomorrow and I need to get the stuff around for that, plus in Kid Kitchen (with the help of at least one, if not both) we are going to make the official state cookie of New Mexico tomorrow, the biscochito.  And I've decided if we're stuck at home tomorrow we are totally making UFO's :-p  Noah is CONVINCED there is a massive alien cover-up going on.  Mikayla is still trying to wrap her head around the fact that Billy the Kid was in jail but escaped because someone hid a gun under the bathroom he was to use.  She keeps telling me "Mama, when you go to jail you are supposed to STAY in jail.  That was a really bad thing he did."  Oh they both so make me smile.  Hopefully me and my denial, our day, the pictures and everything here has made you smile. too.  Check back tomorrow for even more wild and craziness from Casa de Gatchel.  Until then...

New Mexico Fun Fact of the Day:  1/4 of New Mexico is forested, and the state has 7 National Forests including the Nation's largest, the 3.3 million acre Gila National Forest which includes the Gila Wilderness.   (This REALLY surprised me when I was doing my research as I don't know about you but my brain only thinks "dessert" when it hears New Mexico)

The horchata ready for the blender


Red Chile yumminess


Working on the "We've Been There" state

New Mexico ready for the wall

It's all starting to come together...

Mail call!

Showing off the post cards with popular locations in New Mexico and some information on Kokopelli (Kristi's Note:  I didn't realize these were prevelant in New Mexico as well. I more associate them with Arizona, but Julie sent us a whole packet of information on them and the kids can't wait to color the kokopelli page they got tomorrow)

Watching (and being enthralled with) the Hot Air Balloon video

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