Saturday, January 31, 2015

Just missed in Massachusetts!

 We made it!  We did it!  Was there any ever doubt?  Pshaw, we've had this ;-)  I just got word from Grant about 10 minutes ago that his plane had touched down.  So sometime in the next couple of hours the foursome will be reunited and order will be restored to Casa de Gatchel.  (not that it ever really left - I am THE MOM after all ;-) )  But before all that...

We heard bright and early from MOMG this morning about tracking Nita

This very determined little boy read us the following:

Dear Detectives,
Friday afternoon I received your email stating that you felt that Nita was currently hiding out in Massachusetts.  Word at MOMG is that she’s left you clues on everything from Patriots, to Pilgrims to Beans (of a Boston variety!).  I was very impressed with you figuring out from our list of 20 original states which were in New England and then which the Pilgrims could NOT have gone to since they were not on the Ocean.  Good word!

At your suggestions, I dispatched the Swat Team to Massachusetts.  It appears they are still under quite a bit of snow there!  Some parts of the state recived almost three feet of snow earlier in the week!  How tricky of Nita to hide out among the chaos off the storm.  It’s a good thing you were on it – she definitely could have done some damage!  The state is also being overrun with Patriots fans cheering on their home team right now for Sunday’s Big game.  The team quickly knew they had the right location, but Nita was nowhere to be found!  We did though find a puzzle piece which I am enclosing.  Funny story – we found the puzzle piece wedged in a chocolate chip cookie!  She was there but she’s gotten away from us again, it seems.  We were able to alert Massachusetts authorities and the borders are safe!

Also, I am passing along some further information from MOMG Intelligence.  They first ask that you remove Massachusetts from our “States at Risk” wall.  You should move it to our “Suspect” wall next to the “Last Seen” header.   Secondly, they have asked me to enclose the next 20 states they feel are most at risk based on the information they have been gathering.  Thirdly, I am enclosing a ball of yarn.  We would like to use the giant map on the “Tracking Nita” wall to show Nita’s track from state to state, just as we have been doing.  We have a feeling that Nita will be laying low for a day or two and will need some time to regroup, but you should expect her or my Intelligence team to contact you again soon.
I’m very impressed with your work this week, Detectives.  I know it’s been a challenging week since your Dad’s been gone and I am proud of your determination to nab Nita!  Keep it up!

The Chief

One step ahead of us still!  But we followed the instructions and got the next set of states up (who's got a guess??) 

And plotted the next line

Then we spent a fabulous morning and early afternoon with the Janoch crew.  It was a great way to spend this last day 
I mean - how could dinosaurs this cute not be fun?

I noticed that Grant's flight kept getting pushed back, so we decided to do showers and then tackle a couple of projects and do dinner so we'd be ready whenever he did make it home, which currently looks like it'll be closer to bed time.

We were tracking his flight all afternoon

Then Noah got to work on addressing all his class Valentines

And we got started on the box for Mikayla's

Cute, huh?

So we're tentatively supposed to host a little shindig for the Puppy Bowl tomorrow, but that's on hold until we see how jet lagged Grant is by the time he makes it home.  We're going to go to a later mass than usual and kind of just take it easy. Super Bowl is o course on the agenda!  And who else knows what else/  So until then...

Friday, January 30, 2015

A Marathon, A Tea Party, and Ducklings - where could we be???

Super quick post, mostly just to let you know our diligent detectives submitted a guess!  Noah got home from school and they noticed the flag was up:

He read us the following:

Dear Gatchel Detectives,
MOMG Intelligence is pretty sure Nita has been spending a lot of time in one city in the state she is currently located in.  From what we’ve been able to determine all of the following are true about the city:
1)       It’s the capital
2)     It’s the largest city in the state
3)     It’s known for a Marathon (this year will see the 119th running of it in April)
4)     They once had a REALLY BIG Tea Party in the Harbor but no one drank any tea
5)     They have a baseball team that plays at the legendary Fenway Park and is named after a certain color of footwear
Miss Direction was actually spotted in the city’s Public Garden checking out the statue dedicated to the famous story “Make Way For Ducklings” which is set in the city.  She got spooked and dropped a bunch of letters.  We believe (if you haven’t already guessed the name of the city) that if you assemble the letters in the correct order they will reveal the name of the city Miss Direction is currently hiding in.  Good luck!
MOMG Intelligence

They thought they had a good idea but worked on assembling the letters

And came up with... 

They raced to the map to see if Boston was the capital of either of the states they had narrowed it down to yesterday

They found Massachusetts and decided to submit a guess!

Noah typed

Mikayla sent

Busy night here, but everyone's glad we made it through the week.  Grant's home (at some point we hope!) tomorrow!  We'll see if we nab Nita and what else we're up to.  So until then...

Thursday, January 29, 2015

One Full Bucket!

 My bucket is overflowing with joy and happiness today.  It's just been a GOOD day.  I mean it started with,,,

Donuts!  Nita left us a package saying that Dunkin Donuts originated in the state she's currently in

and breakfast besides!

Then we got Noah off to school and the Bean and I headed up to the Church with a playdate with some of our faves.  I don't have any pictures from my camera - but it was a fabulous morning!  Lots of talking, laughter, kiddos, some crocheting, cuddling - just pure joy and happiness.  What a lovely Thursday morning.  And...

Julie gifted one excited Bean with a whole bunch of jewelry!  All of which she insisted on wearing - at the same time.  Julie also made me an adorable cowl scarf which I have been sporting all day.  Have I mentioned yet that today was just about perfect??  So perfect that Mikayla and I decided to get in some play time in the kitchen.  My favorite cheflet and I made Whole Wheat English Muffins
Cake Mix Cinnamon Rolls, (which we're eating for dinner tonight, hehehe) and Funfetti Cake Batter Cookies which NJ has declared his new favorite.  So glad to have my helper in the kitchen!

We just pulled these yummy cookies out of the oven when Alyson came over for a visit.  It's been been awhile since she and I had the chance to catch up, and my bucket filled up all over again!

We went and got Noah from the (snowy) bus stop and discovered the flag was up again!

Noah read us the following from Nita:

Detectives NJ and Bean,
How did you get those crazy nicknames?  Really, how I am supposed to take you seriously with a name like “Bean”?  Baked Bean?  The state I’m currently in is known for a famous baked bean named after its capital.  But anyway, I’m off track…

I decided to take a little trip today, I was thinking of stealing something for you again (ha ha ha) but I think what I had in mind may be a little too big to ship to you.  But I can’t just TELL you what it was (what would be the fun in that?), so I thought I’d share a little poem I am across written by Linda A. Copp.  It just happens to be about a very famous location in the state I’m in, and one that played a very important role in the birth of the United States.  Good luck you two crazy kids – you’ll need it!

"The Mayflower," a sturdy, little, merchant ship
 set sail in 1620 on a great, big trip.
Leaving Plymouth England, on the sixteenth day,
in the middle of September, it just sailed away!

Swish, swash across the Atlantic Ocean,
bobbing, rocking, rolling to its frantic motions
skimming, splashing, sailing on through the waves,
On and on she floated, a journey over many days!
Filled to the brim with Pilgrims, now on their way,
to start a new life in Virginia, a half a world away,
and escape King James the First's tyranny
for believing as they did
by worshiping freely in there new colony!

And so ...
Splish, splash, across the Atlantic Ocean,
tossing, heaving, swirling and in constant  motion
battered upon but pushing on its cresting waves,
the Mayflower's voyage lasted 66 days!
On November 21, they spotted land 
but, were nowhere near Virginia, as they had planned!

Instead ...
Sailing into the harbor of what would become Province Town,
they came to
 'Cap-Codd', and laid their anchor down!
Yet, they were still not idle, after their lengthy trip,
writing the
 "The Mayflower Compact", while still aboard their ship.
On November 21, 1620, this document of laws to govern their new colony became
the first governing agreement ever to be written in America, though still at sea!

Then one month later, to the very day,
having sailed across , the waters of Cape Cod Bay,
They finally stopped at the place they'd stay!
On December 21, 1620 The Mayflower docked.
And 'The Pilgrims' stepped onto Plymouth Rock!
Founding the "Plymouth Colony"
where one year later, it came to be.
They and their Native American friends, in peace and harmony,
shared corn, gave thanks and ate turkey!
Making their "Thanksgiving Feast" a part of history!

They instantly raced to the map to look for Plymouth.  Noah (all on his own, I swear!) told us we could take Vermont off our possibility list as it was not on the ocean, so the Mayflower could not have landed there.  They also got rid of Maine because they remembered the clue about it having a hook like feature.  So we're down to Maryland and Massachusetts!

I'm posting early tonight because as soon as we're done with dinner we're off to the PTA meeting tonight.  Tomorrow is PJ day at school for the Bean so she's super excited.  And I'm hosting the steering retreat for MOPS.  Should be yet another joy filled day!  So until then....

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Chip Off The Old Block

 Happy Hump Day, all!  I feel like it's a monumental feat for us to reach Wednesday relatively unscathed this week.  Not only are we half way through the week - we're halfway through Grant being gone.  And everyone's still breathing!  And no one's bleeding!  Or crying!  Or pulling their hair out!  Actually, we're doing really well it just being the three of us.  Must be all those people we know have our back if we need it :)

Both kiddos had school today and then the Bean and I went to hang out with Colleen and R, D and E for awhile this afternoon  We even made play-doh for the Bean to take to school on Friday.  (Pink play-doh, gotta love it.  Speaking of that, Mamas out there, I used this recipe for the first time to make the dough and loved it!

Anyway, NJ got home and the flag was up!  A clue:

Noah read us the following:
Dear Detectives
Enclosed is a puzzle with a clue about one very famous dish that was invented in the state we believe Nita is currently hiding out in.  Complete the puzzle and give it to the Chief – we have left with her a reward for a puzzle completed correctly!  Good luck.

MOMG Intelligence

And they got this acrostic puzzle to solve.  I gave them a few helpful hints, and they got to work

Was so proud of them working together.  They counted how many letters in each word, figured out which boxes they would fit in and worked from there

They correctly solved the puzzle to learn that Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies were invented by Ann Wakefield in the state Nita is currently in.  And were rewarded with chocolate chips for us to make cookies!

And my two hard working chefs got to it

Reading the recipe

We took a quick break for dinner and then the kiddos decided they wanted to turn a bit of the dough into one of our favorites - skillet cookies!

And in the meantime, they helped me roll the rest of the dough into balls for us to freeze.  Have a recipe in mine for them for the Super Bowl, hehehe

Skillets out of the oven

And they got to work creating their sundaes.  (thank goodness I made some vanilla ice cream the other day for Friday night.  Thanks for sharing MOPS girls :-p)

Their masterpieces

Ready to feast

They both agreed they didn't remember where the cookies were from, but they loved the reward.  It's the little things I tell ya.  Back at it again tomorrow!  PTA meeting tomorrow night.  And I have a feeling we're going to be hearing from Nita VERY early...  So until then..