Monday, April 7, 2014

Off to the races in Indiana!

We've been blown away by the Windy City and the Prairie State this last week and we're ready to move on now to the "Crossroads of America"  So buckle up race fans, and we'll go "Back Home Again in Indiana"!

Alright class, go and pull out your maps and take a close look at Indiana (I'll wait.).  Tell me what you notice about the state right off the bat.  If your answer was that there a whole bunch of highways that criss-cross the state, give yourself a gold star!  Indiana's motto is "The Crossroads of America" for not only its central location in the nation but more so for the fact that more major highways run through Indiana that any other state in the union.  They almost all appear to converge at Indianapolis, the state's capital.  It's many roadways provided plenty of test tracks for early car companies such as Duesenberg, Cord, Stutz, and Cole which opened manufacturing facilities in the state.  This also led to the creation of one of its most recognizable landmarks the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  The track, envisioned by businessman Carl G. Fisher was designed in Such a way to give manufacturers a chance to test cars at sustained speeds and give drivers a chance to learn their limits. Fisher predicted speeds could reach up to 120 mph.  The inaugural running of The Indianapolis 500 was held in 1911 and consists of 200 laps around the 2.5 mile course.  It draws worldwide attention every Memorial Day weekend.

But its not all about autos in the state whose people are known as Hooisers.  (There's quite the debate about where the term "hoosier" originates from which I'm not going to delve into here, but check out the link if you're interested!  I taught the kiddos all about it tonight!)  Indiana is a leading producer of corn, tomatoes and soybeans.  Hogs leave livestock production and only California produces more eggs than Indiana.  Coal is mined throughout the state the northern part of the state, especially, is known throughout the world for the steel it produces.  Indiana is the leading steel producer in the nation.

For us sporting Gatchel's, we were excited to learn the first pro baseball game was played in Indiana and that we could make a trip to South Bend to visit the College Football Hall of Fame.  I suppose, while we were there we could make a stop at the University of Notre Dame to see the famed gold dome and cheer on the Fighting Irish.  (As long as they're not playing my Wolverines!).  Purdue and Indiana State are part of the Big 10 and Indiana is also home to the Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers.  Basketball is HUGE in Indiana, especially at a high school level.  The state tournament is one of the largest in the country.  Indiana even produced one of the most iconic professional basketball players of all times; Larry Bird.

Indiana has also been home to such figures as David Letterman, Dan Qualye, Mark Spitz, Jim Davis, John Mellencamp, Orville Reddenbacher and Cole Porter.  And I can't forget to mention Gary, Indiana's most well-known family - the Jackson's!  The Jackson Five (including Michael) originated in Indiana - can you name them all?  (Janet, too!)

So strap yourself in your indy car (the race didn't officially run this style of car until 1996) and get ready to travel the highways of Indiana with us this week!  Who knows, along the way maybe we'll make a trip through to the Covered Bridge Capital of the World, see an underground mountain at the Wyandot Caves, bump into Raggedy Ann or visit one of the largest Amish communities in Berne.  It should be fun.

I started off our adventure at dinner tonight by making Indiana Corn Chowder.  As I said, corn is a leading crop for Indiana, so we'll be seeing a lot of it this week (and even MORE next week when we move on to Iowa.)  Chock full of veggies and bacon, there were few complaints here tonight.  So everyone got to try out the Official State Dessert of Indiana that I made, Sugar Cream Pie.  I can honestly say I'd heard of but never had sugar cream pie before today.  According to my research: "The Indiana version of a sugar pie, known as “sugar cream pie”, is believed to have originated with Quaker settlers who came from North Carolina in the early nineteenth century, and thereafter settled in east-central Indiana, particularly around the cities of New Castle, Portland, Richmond, and Winchester." (wikipedia)  If, like me, you haven't had the sugar cream pie experience before it is a combination of flour, butter, salt, vanilla, and cream, with brown sugar  that when baked comes to have a filling that somewhat resembles caramel.  My advice, if you love sweets, this ones for you.  If not, Indiana might not be top on your lists of states to move to.

So there we are, the grand kick-off to Indiana week. The kids and I have spent the day doing our grocery shopping for the week, getting a little outdoor time in, whipping up our culinary creations and enjoying being together during the week.  We're off to Ohio tomorrow and will be there overnight as a I have doctor's appointment Wednesday morning. It's my plan to get a post up tomorrow night, but no promises.  If not we'll definitely be back up and running on Wednesday because I happen to know there is one awesome Indiana package lovingly put together by Sarah Kosakowski just waiting for Thing 1 and Thing 2.  (And in case you're scratching your head, no Sarah didn't move.  She's still in Cinci, but she graciously offered to handle Indiana for us since she's so close by.)  So until then...

Indiana Fun Fact of the Day:  The first long-distance auto race in the U. S. was held May 30, 1911, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The winner averaged 75 miles an hour and won a 1st place prize of $14,000. Today the average speed is over 167 miles an hour and the prize is more than $1.2 million. Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the site of the greatest spectacle in sports, the Indianapolis 500. The Indianapolis 500 is held every Memorial Day weekend in the Hoosier capital city. The race is 200 laps or 500 miles long.

Both my babies to Kid Kitchen!

Lots of heavy cream

And some flour

Stir will

And get ready to put it in the oven

So it comes out like this!

My new bag arrived today!  My wonderful friend Jenny just became a 31 consultant and while goodness knows purses/bags/shoes/etc aren't my forte, I saw her with a bag a few weeks ago that I loved but was a little too big for me. She did some research and found the perfect size just for me. I found this adorable print that makes me think Tigers, had it monogrammed and have patiently been awaiting its arrival. Jenny brought it by this afternoon and I am TICKLED with how it came out!  If you like 31 and need a consultant let me know and I'll pass her info along :)

The kids have been SO good today about being together, playing with each other.  They have spent the majority of the day planning for May 10th, which I have been informed is CK's (Mikayla's cabbage patch) AND Lucky's (Noah's dalmatian) birthday.  They have been planning (all on their own) non-stop all day everything from food, activities, decorations, etc for the celebration.  Noah has been writing it all down in his notebook and they are going to present it to me when they finish consulting all the animals. This is the 'meeting' they were holding to discuss it this afternoon. They crack me up!

Indiana Corn Chowder 

A slice of Sugar Cream Pie

We wrapped up our wall discussion with a viewing of a bit of Garfield and Friends, a Jackson 5 music video and the (shortened) "Thriller" music video - all byproducts of Indiana!

The wall is up! (This is their zombie poses from "Thriller")

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