Like the fun I had today after I picked up the Bean from school and we got to head over to Colleen's for lunch and some play time. What a great couple off hours! I am really enjoying getting to know Colleen and Mikayla had an awesome time playing with her son, R, who is the same age. There's even a good chance they may be in the same class at Beechview next year! How awesome would that be? The kiddos played, Colleen and I got to hang out - it was so enjoyable. I'm hoping this is the beginning of an awesome friendship on a lot of levels :) Thanks again to Colleen for inviting us over!
I got home to get some work in, then we grabbed Noah from the bus in the cold (apparently winter is officially here. Brrr....) and then the kiddos worked on the "We've Been There" state. Vermont's tiny so I let them go with VT (aren't I a nice Mom?) No stickers for any Gatchel's, though Kayla is REALLY lobbying for a trip to Ben and Jerry's. She keeps telling me how much she could learn if she went to a place that showed you how to make ice cream. I think she's working the system... We also pulled out their Flat Noah and Flat Mikayla book (thanks Amber!) and I showed them that that'd taken a trip to Middlebury where they went to the Pulp Mill Covered bridge. At least their flat selves are well traveled :-p And I also got NJ working on a completely different maple leaf project. It was inspired by this and he had a blast.
For dinner tonight I put my own spin on this recipe for Sweet Autumn Cornbread & Vermont Cheddar Casserole with Fresh Chives. First of all, I have NO IDEA how much 2 lbs of cornbread is equivalent to without actually weighing it so I was kind of winging it from the get go. I used a box of jiffy and then pretty much halved the rest of the ingredients. I also added a package of diced up maple flavored sausage to make it more of a complete meal, upped the liquids a little bit, added more cheese ('cause we're doing it Vermont style!) and topped it with some more shredded cheese. The gang LOVED it. Kind of figured they would and it was perfect for a chilly blustery evening. I knew we couldn't have a complete Vermont meal without maple syrup (hehe) so I found this recipe for Fall Harvest Baked Apples to go with it. Warm and comforting, that's how I'd describe tonight's dinner. I had picked this recipe for Vermont Maple Floats for dessert and the boys LOVED it. I made it as written for the most part (didn't put it in the blender as some of the comments suggested) and Noah sat there saying how much it reminded him of maple syrup candy.
Alright, I'm off for the night. Plenty left yet to tackle. Friends over in the morning, a dinner that my two have been looking forward to since I put up the menu board, and they're going to color their Vermont pictures Should be quite the day! So until then...
Vermont Fun Fact of the Day: Forty years are required to grow a sugar maple tree large enough to tap. A tree ten inches in diameter is considered minimum tappable size for one tap. It takes 4-5 taps to produce enough maple sap (40 gallons) to produce one gallon of syrup.
Vermont ready for the wall
Put together by two cute kids
New England is complete!
Checking out where their flat counterparts have been
Noah was in charge of reading
Working on his maple leaf craft
The cornbread casserole
Yum! We really really liked this one (well, my version of it :-p)
Apple Harvest bake
Dinner is served - complete with the Bean's cornucopia in the background
He was really excited how neat it turned out
Look what I got today, Miss Direction be warned!