Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I'll Melt With You

When I woke up this morning the only thing listed in my planner was that Noah had a delayed start,  Ah, any easy laid back day at Casa de Gatchel.  Ha!  We managed to stuff it full and have had a great day because of it.  Yesterday's forgotten, the sun has been shining all day, and both kiddos have been in great moods - happy Tuesday!

Since we had an extra hour this morning before we had to get Noah off to the bus (and goodness only knows when else we'll manage to fit it in) I wanted to have our Pennsylvania mail call this morning.  A package arrived yesterday from Ligonier and I told the kiddos we would have to wait 'til we could give it the attention it deserved before opening it up.  Plus, if you'll remember from some of our other Northeastern states, the amazing Amber took Flat Noah and Flat Mikayla on quite the whirlwind which included Pennsylvania, so I wanted to get a chance to check on that as well.  We started with Flat Noah and Flat Mikayla who had taken a trip to Gettysburg and Hershey!  We talked about the battlefield a bit and the singing cows at Hershey (they are both of course begging to take their real life selves there now) and Noah especially loved the pencil sharpner cannon that they got.  Amber, you yet again wowed my kiddos- thank you thank you thank you!  The second bit of mail came to us from my friend Julie's mom, Ann, who I cannot thank enough for the package she put together.  Yet again, the kindness and generosity of people who don't even really know us blows me away.  She sent a book on Fort Ligonier, all kind of information the Pennsylvania black bear, the trees, the forests, places to check out, information on how the state was formed and its government, crayons, Hershey bars, coloring and activity books - I was overwhelmed!  The kids were over the moon!  Their absolutely favorite part was that she signed it "Henry, Linus and Oscar's Grandma".  That may not seem like much, but it made it so real for them!  They immediately wanted to color her one of the maps she sent and write her back, which we of course did.  If this project has taught me nothing else it is that there is such a kindness and generosity of spirit out there - so many people have reached out to us and have made this possible.  Ann, thank you from the bottom of my heart - you made my kids day!

After all that excitement we got Noah off to school and then Kayla and I headed off to a quick playdate at the park with the aforementioned lovely ladies, Amber and Julie and their adorable kiddos.  We weren't able to stay too long since we had to head over to the dealership to get Sasha (my van) an oil change.  Bean and I took advantage of a free half an hour to go grab a coffee together.  Yeah, may not have been in the 'plan' for the day, but it was perfect.

We made it home and she wanted to start work on one of our art projects for the week, Crayon Melt Pumpkins.  (I have been looking forward to all the art stuff that we can do with Crayloa for WEEKS)  We got her crayons peeled (Highlight of my day:  "Mom, this crayon just doesn't want to get naked!") and glued on and then decided to wait until later, after Noah got his assembled, to do the actual melting.  She also decided she wanted to work on her other project for a bit.  I had found this really cool idea for Crayon Pointillism and found a wooden butterfly for her to try it out on which we will eventually hang in her room.  She's going to be working on and off through out the week on it, but I did take some pictures of her progress so far.

We picked up Noah from school, he got his crayons glued on while I set out to make tonight's dinner of Philadelphia Cheesesteaks!  Alright, I know there will be TONS of debate over what are the correct ingredients to make it authentic, but the sandwich, which made its debut in 1930, is comprised mainly of sauteed ribeye (roast beef) and melted cheese.  Just like with Cincinnati Chili, there is even a correct way to place your order!  With our version, I made some Amish Potato Salad (for all those Pennsylvania Dutch).  I made the mistake last night of forgetting to check my recipes for the next day until 11pm, so I was up then prepping this then.  I can honestly say I've never made potato salad where the dressing starts off on the stove.  My crew LOVED it though.  Maybe the Amish have something :-p  I also made some Jello pudding parfaits as a nod to Pennsylvania native, and Jello spokesman, Billy Cosby.

After dinner we pulled out the hair dryer to get to melting and munched on some Soft Pretzels while we worked.  Soft Pretzels also have Philadelphia roots.  According to history, 'The first American pretzel was baked in 1861, about 75 miles west of Philadelphia in Lititz, Pennsylvania. As the story goes, sometime around 1850, bread baker Ambrose Roth obtained the recipe from a hobo as a thank-you for a hot meal and some hospitality. Roth then passed the recipe on to his apprentice, Julius Sturgis who subsequently established the country’s first commercial pretzel bakery.'  (From Philly History's blog).  Seemed like a good snack to go with our Crayola inspired art project tonight.  I'll let you see for yourself how absolutely amazing our pumpkins turned out!

School all around tomorrow, rumor has it Daddy and daughter have a lunch date, (wish I had someone to take me out to lunch!), I've got a couple more Pennsylvania Dutch recipes up my sleeve and Noah has his first den meeting tomorrow.  I'd also like to try to get in the "We've Been There" state, which may happen if I let them shorten Pennsylvania to fit on the state :)  So until then...

Pennsylvania Fun Fact of the Day:  The nation's first circulating library, the Library Company of Philadelphia, was founded in 1731 by Benjamin Franklin and others.

The Board got gifts at the PTA meeting last night - it's nice to be appreciated

Mail Call!

We pulled out their adventure book

And read about all the cool places they'd been and things they'd seen

And checked out the map on Gettysburg

Super cool cannon pencil sharpner

More mail!


Digging again

Mmmmm, chocolate

Which we of course had to taste test.  At 9am :-p

All the fun stuff they got today


Coloring away

Kayla's Pennsylvania

My artist always hard at work

Noah's PA

We get mail, we send mail back!

This is the cuteness I got to hang with today

Coffee break!

She couldn't stop hugging her pumpkin

Making the crayons 'naked'

Ready to melt

Starting work on her pointillism

NJ's turn


Mmmmm, soft pretzels!

For the Cos!

Amish Potato Salad

Mmm, cheesesteak...

Ready to eat Philly style?

Melting away

The Bean's pumpkin from the top

Noah's finished pumpkin

Noah's top view

Kayla finished

Cool effect

Definitely using these as table decorations for the season - happy first day of Fall!

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