Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sunflower State of Mind

Greetings from a rain soaked Farmington.  While I could complain about the fact the day has been dreary, overcast and soggy, I'm choosing instead to be happy as I am convinced this is a sure sign that Spring isn't TOO far away. (And yes, I saw the forecast for it to be back in the 20's by the weekend, but I'm continuing to declare residency in the Land of Denial until this Winter is officially over)  So to chase away some of those rainy day blues, today at the Gatchel's has been all about the official state flower of Kansas, the Sunflower!

How could you possibly be sad when looking at this beautiful ray of sunshine?  After trying our hands last night at planting our own beautiful pieces of Kansas, I decided to let the kids try creating their own sunflowers tonight to spread even a little more joy.  I've been trying hard to come up with a craft project each week that represents the state that is simple enough for both kiddos to do and works on some fine motor skills and creativity at the same time.  Mikayla has been working really hard to figure out how to best work with scissors and I thought this was a great project for her.  My original idea was for each of the kids to create their own, using their own hands for the petals of the flowers.  But as I was talking with Grant about the project last night I started thinking it would be fun to create "Gatchel" sunflowers.  So we did!  Each of our hands are a different color all made into one sunflower for each kiddo.  I was delighted with their projects and thought they did an awesome job! More fun state artwork to add to my kitchen!  You'll have to check out our sunflowers below.

It even smells like sunflowers around here today!  I found a "Country Sunflower" wax for my scentsy and it has been burning on and off today to make us feel like we're camped out in a field of sunflowers.

Of course, I had to try my hand at cooking with some sunflower seeds as well.  Mikayla and I today created some Sunflower Seed Cookies in an impromptu version of Kid Kitchen today.  I wasn't completely sure about the recipe, so we ended up cutting it in half to just try them out (I mean, there was still Kansas Dirt Cake from yesterday!) but they were worth giving a go.  No one was jumping up and down over them here, but agreed they were a pretty good cookie to snack on while we made our sunflower project.

The only thing that would have made today a little more sunny is if my Dad could have been here to join us for dinner tonight because I'm not sure of anyone (well, maybe my brother Scott) who would have appreciated it more.  My research turned up the fact that the fast food chain, White Castle actually originated in Wichita, Kansas. I won't go into too much detail (if you're interest, though, the link there tells about the history of White Castle and its impact on the fast food market and it was a neat read) but founded in 1921, many feel that White Castle gave rise to modern fast food restaurants.  To quote the article "Due to White Castle's innovation of having chain-wide standardized methods, customers could be sure that they would receive the same product and service in every White Castle restaurant. As Henry Ford did for car manufacturing, Anderson and Ingram did for the making of burgers"  In fact, earlier this year Time Magazine named the White Castle Slider the Most Influential Burger of All Time.  Anyway, those little slider burgers they came up with are one of my Dad's favorites and I knew I had to try my hand at making them for dinner tonight.

I found a Copycat White Castle Burger recipe and decided to give it a go.  I was a little taken aback to see that one of the ingredients was peanut butter!  But we gave it a go and I'm glad we did!  These disappeared like hot cakes around here tonight.  And honestly, they really weren't that much more difficult to make than doing any other kind of burger.  As my kids like to say "Definitely save this recipe, Mom"  Daddy, we'll have to give these a go next time I'm there or you're here :)

MOPS tomorrow, the kiddos map out their state, some Steak soup straight from Kansas City, maybe a free ice cream cone, and the We've Been There state to complete - sounds like another crazy one at the Gatchel's!  So until then...

Kansas Fun Fact of the Day:  The Arkansas River may be the only river whose pronunciation changes as it crosses state lines. In Kansas, it is called the Arkansas (ahr-KAN-zuhs). On both sides of Kansas (Colorado and Oklahoma), it is called the Arkansaw.

Ready to make some cookies

She is a wiz with the mixer now

And not a bad stirrer, either

The recipe said to "scooch" the cookies - this was our interpreation

Ready for the oven

Hot, fresh and full of sunflower seeds

The baker's rating

Do they look authentic, LJ?

I caption this photo: "LJ, wish you were here"

Tracing hands to make the sunflowers

Scissor skills at work!

It's all coming together

Noah adding some seeds to his flower

Kayla and Daddy worked together

Noah shows off his flower

Pretty cute, huh??
Fabulous work

Mikayla's finished project (I'll take a picture of them hanging up when they're dry and post it tomorrow)

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