Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mail from the Sunflower State!

I've been thinking lately about how I am blessed to have so many women in my life that I can look to for 'momspiration.'  Starting with the grand poo-bah as far as I am concerned (and Mikayla, because according to this person knows EVERYTHING) my own Mama, of course.  I also have too many to count/name friends that inspire me, lift me up when I'm feeling down, commiserate with me, offer advice, and all around show me examples of how to be a better mom, woman, wife, and friend.  Some of them are a regular presence and some of them I only get to touch base with every so often.  That being the case I am even MORE blessed to say that a lot of these moms, both near and far, have agreed to help us out with our State project.

Kansas' mail this week comes from one of my 'momspirations'  When we were in Melbourne, Grant had an office mate, Justin who he was good friends with.  In the course of our being down there, Justin met and married, Alesha and since then they have been blessed with two beautiful little girls, Lainey and Lydia.  Alesha and I didn't really get much of a chance to connect until closer to the end of our stint in Florida (after she had Lainey) but I was going through quite the rough patch around then and I am thankful for her friendship through all of that.  She is also one AWESOME mom to her two girls.  Not too long after we moved up to Michigan, Justin accepted a new job that moved the family to Lenexa, Kansas.  So you can imagine how thrilled I was when Alesha generously offered to help us out with Kansas this week.  (Side note, to prove how wonderful she is, the family isn't too far from the Missouri border and she's offered to help us then too :) )

The package actually arrived Saturday and I have been chomping at the bit to open it.  (I mean it WAS addressed to me)  The kids were so excited with its contents!  Kansas t-shirts for both, Wizard of Oz key chains, Kansas coloring books, postcards and their absolute favorite - a chance to grow their own sunflower!

Great minds must have been on the same wavelength with this because on Sunday when I was out with Noah I came a cross a small 'plant your own sunflower' kit and thought it would be the perfect activity to pair with open our mail from Kansas.  And lo and behold now each kiddo had their own!  (They were apart for 2 1/2 days and I think they'd rather it go back to being that way....)  So after talking about where Lenexa was, reminding them who Justin, Alesha and the girls were and going through all the cool things they sent, we put part of the package to use and planted our own sunflowers!  The one in the can actually came from Kansas and the other one I found the other day at Target.  The kids are anxious to see which one will grow faster.  Many thanks to one of my 'momspirations' to totally hooking us up this week!  Hugs to you all from MI!

If all the mail from Kansas and growing our own sunflowers wasn't enough today, I got to spend some of my morning in Noah's class and Grant actually got to go in at recess time and read to Noah's class as part of this month's literacy campaign.  You would think the boy was the big stinky cheese today he was so excited to have both of us at school.  Now if he could only manage to get that one last bee in the bucket...

Also, I got to try out the first of our Kansas recipes.  Sorry Kansas, but pretending to be Irish for the day (with I know, a completely non-traditional Irish meal, they don't really do corned beef and cabbage in Ireland) trumped having something from Kansas last night.  First, for my beans and weenies lovin' crew I came across a recipe for Kansas Baked Beans that I had no doubt would be a hit.  For my Noah Joe, I found a recipe for Brookville Hotel Sweet and Sour Cole Slaw.  The Brookville Hotel, located in Abilene, KS (hometown of Dwight Eisenhower)  is famously known for its "Family Style Chicken Dinners"  This coleslaw is the recipe from the hotel for one of the popular sides they pair with the meal.  I knew my coleslaw lovin' boy would want to try this one out and it was a huge hit here tonight.  When planning my menu, this meal seemed to be crying out for some good biscuits, so I came across this recipe for Flaky Buttery Biscuits from the website "Window on the Prairie" which is a blog about life in Kansas.  Oh my goodness, if you like biscuits you have to try this recipe out for yourself!  I cut it in half and I was afraid we were going to run out tonight.

No meal is complete around here with dessert, so in my search for desserts from Kansas one thing kept coming up over and over again; Kansas Dirt Cake.  I have no idea what this has to do with Kansas, but given the ingredient list and the fact that it kept reoccurring in my research, it was a no brainer that we'd be trying this out.  Grant says he'd marry me again all over if I continue to make desserts like this.  Think that means they liked it...

All kinds of more fun coming tomorrow including a meal that is SURE to have my Dad super jealous not to be joining us and some making of Sunflowers of a whole different kind.  So until then...

Kansas Fun Fact of the Day: The Geodetic Center of North America is about 40 miles south of Lebanon at Meade's Ranch. It is the beginning point of reference for land surveying in North America. When a surveyor checks a property line, he or she is checking the position of property in relation to Meade's Ranch in northwest Kansas

Mail call!

My studious kindergartner hard at work

Doesn't look like much, but this was some yummy coleslaw

How they do Baked Beans in Kansas (Grant especially was a HUGE fan of this entire meal, and everyone finished well before we expected them to)

These biscuits raised sky high!  (Grant compared them to the biscuits from KFC)

Kansas Dirt Cake

Everyone here decided if this is what dirt tastes like in Kansas, we're moving

They wasted no time ripping the box open


Coloring books!

Wizard of Oz key chains!

Thanks Stinson Family!!!!

They are officially Kansans this week

Ready to grow our own sunflowers

Dropping in the seeds

Hopefully our sunflowers will fare better than our cactus

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