Saturday, January 31, 2009

4/52 Photo Challenge

This week's photo challenge was water. Since it's so cold in Minnesota, most of the "water" is in solid form--ice. I decided to try to get all three forms of water in one picture--solid, liquid, gas. I think it worked pretty well. (My sister Becky gets an assist for pouring the water for me.)

Join the fun! Accept the photo challenge and see what you can do.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Manicotti Mystery

As a response to a question on facebook, I'm sharing the "Manicotti Mystery."

For years I have LOVED manicotti. I ordered it once at Olive Garden, and have ordered it every time since then. I can't make myself try anything new. So when I was at my sister Erin's house and she made manicotti, I was extremely happy (even though it was different than Olive Garden manicotti). I copied her recipe and thought I would be on my way to many delightful meals of the wonderful Italian cuisine. Here's the saga so far...

The first time I made manicotti, I was planning to have several people over before our singles' Bible study. I was really excited to try making it--sounded easy enough. Everything was set to go...just had to pop it in the oven after work. Couldn't get any easier. I found out that Jason, the leader of the Bible study, had been taken by ambulance to the hospital that afternoon. We decided to postpone Bible study that night. So I feasted on that pan of manicotti for several days and didn't think anything of it. Turns out Jason was okay, so life was good, right??? I'll let you decide.

Since our dinner plans didn't come to fruition on the first attempt, I decided to try again. A couple weeks later, we planned to have our meal before Bible study. Once again, manicotti was in the frige waiting to be cooked after school. I called my sister Becky on the way home and she told me she'd just gotten home from the emergency room with my mom...who was on her way to Duluth for emergency surgery. Well, to make this longer story shorter, Mom was okay and didn't need surgery. But the thought still crossed my mind Is it because I'm making manicotti tonight? Everyone came and enjoyed the manicotti (which turned out great) and after I told them the story we all laughed and I didn't think anything more of it....

...Until the next time I made it. Some friends (Brooke and Travis) were heading to Alaska for a few months, so I planned a dinner for some close friends (yes, from the singles' Bible study). It seems I was in the kitchen all day, but it was a lot of fun. I made manicotti, soup, breadsticks, cheesecake...YUM! After we ate, I kept my fingers crossed that nothing would happen to anyone (I didn't answer my phone all night, just in case). As I was cleaning up the kitchen, Travis told me that Brooke had gotten sick and was going to bed. I was seriously starting to panic at this point. He told me she was already sick before she ate, but my I had my doubts. I left that night saying Three strikes and you're out. First Jason, then Mom, then Brooke. I'm never making manicotti again!

After several months, maybe even a year, I was having a "girl party," and when considering what I could make, the thought crossed my mind that I could try manicotti again, just to see what happened. I went against my better judgment, and I made the dreaded dish, all the while hoping the chain of mishaps was behind me. I was wrong. Talking to Anne the next day, she felt sick. Her words, "I had too much rich food at once." Yeah right. Just admit was the manicotti. Did I mention I'm NEVER making manicotti again?

I guess I'm not one to remember my resolutions...and I'm thankful my friends don't remember either. Here's the scene...girl party a year later. Anne convinces me to make manicotti again. I cave to the pressure. Find out last minute Jenny might not come. She's feeling sick. WHAT??? Are you kidding me? She said her kids had been sick too, so that's where she got it. Yeah, right. I'll say it again I'M NEVER MAKING MANICOTTI AGAIN!

I honestly had not made manicotti for a long time. This summer while in Alaska, I was going to make dinner for my aunt Joan, uncle Eric, and Grandma. Since I was closer to Russia than the lower 48 states, I thought It HAS to be okay for me to try manicotti, right? After discussing the story and giving everyone a few laughs, the meal was very yummy. Once again, my fingers were crossed. Good, no one got sick. No phone calls from home saying something bad had happened. I thought I was out of the woods...until Eric mentioned the next day that Joan had had an upset stomach the night before. He said, "I don't think it's from the food. The rest of us are okay."

It's been six months since I was in Alaska, and although I'm getting hungry for it, i don't think I can bring myself to succumb to the temptation to make manicotti. By now, there are many people who have survived my culinary many, in fact, that I could probably get a quantity discount and have t-shirts made. I'M A MANICOTTI SURVIVOR! I'm thinking spaghetti sauce red for the shirt with mozzarella-colored lettering. What do you think?

So there you have it...the reason I'm never, not once in this lifetime, forever into all eternity, not EVER going to make manicotti (at least not that I'm going to tell anyone). I'm doing it to spare your life!

25 Random Things

This is a copy of the note I wrote on facebook. It's much easier to link to this page than the facebook page, so I thought I'd post it. The instructions were to list 25 random things about yourself. It's kinda fun.

1. I will see "Phantom of the Opera" at the Kansas City Music Hall in 70 days, 19 hours, 17 minutes, and 18 seconds.
2. I wish I had more time to play the piano.
3. I spent nearly two months of this past summer in Alaska.
4. I have been known to take over 800 pictures in a very short time--say, 2 hours.
5. My favorite movie(s) of all time is Anne of Green Gables.
6. I love to read, and wish I had more time for it.
7. I will never go white water rafting---scares me to death.
8. My favorite restaurant is Olive Garden--bring on the manicotti.
9. I have been asked by my friends never to make manicotti ever again...long story.
10. I don't like speaking in front of large groups.
11. I almost didn't major in education in college because I was scared to death of student teaching.
12. I absolutely LOVED student teaching and would do it all over again in a heartbeat!
13. I have been on 3 missions trips to Costa Rica and Guatemala.
14. My dream vacation is Tuscany, Italy.
15. I still get a queasy stomach when I drive past a horrible place I used to work, until I remember I don't work there anymore.
16. I love the smell of coffee beans, but can't stand the taste.
17. My nieces and nephews call me "Auntie Rah."
18. I once had to go to Minneapolis for jury selection for federal grand jury...and was completely relieved when I wasn't selected, but still enjoyed the $300 I got for mileage, hotel, meals, etc.
19. I have a license to teach birth-3rd grade children and have spent the last 7 years teaching junior & senior high school students!
20. My favorite color is blue.
21. I would love to live in a log cabin surrounded by mountains.
22. My email account was hijacked and all my contacts were told I was in Africa and needed money to pay for hotels.
23. I hate snakes and spiders.
24. My favorite sport to watch is baseball--go MN Twins!
25. I LOVE spending time with family and friends.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Not Me! Monday

Since it's Monday, and time once again for Not Me!, I did not realize that there was nothing exciting that happened this past week, so I am not going to skip it this week. If you want some good reading, click on the above picture and see what others did not do this week.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

3/52 Photo Challenge

This week's photo challenge certainly didn't take long for me to do, since Grand Rapids is a rather small town. But here are some of the highlights.

As you enter town from the east, you'll see this sign... I wonder how many of our tax dollars were spent on that??

This building is the Old Central School. You guessed it. It was once a school. Now it's full of shops, a restaurant, and a museum. A landmark in the heart of Grand Rapids.

A look at the old part of downtown.

The Post Office where my Dad worked many years.

This is something about Grand Rapids I don't understand. This water tower was repainted last year. While the color is fine, along with everybody I've talked to, I don't understand the slogan. I personally think it doesn't make sense, but if anyone out there has any ideas, please enlighten me!

This is my church and school where I work.

And who can forget Wal-Mart!!! I only wish they had frequent shopper discounts! :)

Well, there you have it. A quick look at the town of Grand Rapids. Try the photo challenge yourself. It's great fun!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Not Me Monday

I can't believe it's time again for Not Me! Monday, when you can be completely honest, with no sarcasm, about what you did not do this past week. For example:

I for sure did not let out a "hurray" when I heard that AWANAs was cancelled this past Wednesday. Knowing that the temps were supposed to dip to -35 with the windchill even colder, it would have been great fun to come home at 9:00 p.m. while my body turned into a human ice cube!

Later Wednesday night, I did not become overjoyed when I heard that school would be cancelled the next day. (Is this truly turning out to be a MN winter?? Extremely cold and TONS of snow.) And since I knew there would be no school on Thursday, I absolutely, for sure, without a doubt did not stay up late and watch the temperature drop to -25, all the while trying to predict how long it would take to drop another degree. That would have been a waste of time, so of course I didn't do that!

Since there was no school on Thursday, because of a wind chill advisory (no travel advised), I definitely, most certainly would not have been out in that weather, travelling for 1 1/2 hours to Blackduck where I could go FABRIC SHOPPING! Nope, when school's cancelled, I stay in the house because no one should be out having fun when there could have been school! And I for sure did not come home with 10 huge grab bags of fabric to go through!

There is no school today and I have not wasted the morning with reading a book, listening to CDs, giving recorded testimony to insurance for car accident claim, filing vehicle crash reports online (from last week's car accident), and catching up on everyone's Not Me! Monday posts that I'm still in my pajamas at 12:47 PM!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

2/52 Photo Challenge

This week's photo challenge...what defines you.

There are many ways I could be defined...daughter, granddaughter, sister, sister-in-law, aunt, friend, teacher...probably others. Then I was reminded of something I heard in church last week. Our pastor touched on the subject of who we are in Christ. Even though it's great to be all those things I mentioned above, how much more exciting to be part of God's family. Here is the list of things I am or have because of what Jesus did for me on the cross.

Join the fun! Click here to start YOUR photo challenge!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Based on my Wordless Wednesday post yesterday, here are a few things I'm thankful for.

1. long underwear
2. hot cocoa
3. heated house
4. no AWANAs Wednesday night...home early!
5. great books to read when it's freezing outside
6. cancelled school today so I can go fabric shopping :)

It reached -29 degrees below zero last night. Add that temperature with winds and you have -50 degree windchills, the reason school was cancelled today. So I did the only wise thing there was to do...I went on a road trip to go fabric shopping! Great fun!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Not Me Monday

Here I am, 2 for 2 this year on Not Me Mondays!

I'm so glad this was started on Mondays, and not Fridays. Mondays are bad enough, but there's something to look forward to...reading everyone's posts for Not Me Mondays! So sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride (that's kind of a funny phrase when I think what I'm going to write about).

While trying to find Dyson III (click here to read his story) in the fish tank on Tuesday, I did not flip over the molded plastic decoration to try to find him. And I definitely did not poke him with the fish net to make sure he was alive. (He was.) Then on Wedensday in class, when I could not find him again, I did not repeat my actions from Tuesday (in front of my preschool class) to see if he was alive. A lesson I did learn this week... just leave Dyson alone. He's fine. When he's dead, you'll see his skeleton floating in the fish tank. I wonder Will there be a Dyson IV?

On Friday, I did not attempt to take 6 very excited preschoolers outside to play in the snow. The temperature was near zero, but I did not think to myself They're Minnesotans. They can handle it! After looking at the fun time the kids were having, I did not decide to join them in sliding down the hill, even after seeing all the bumps and jumps on the trail. That would not have been smart for me, since I have a history of back problems, so I definitely did not slide down the hill twice. (It was really fun!)

On Saturday, I did not have to set an alarm for 9:45 to make sure I was up by then. I did not wake from a sound sleep at that time and wonder where I was and what that terrible noise was! While watching Marley and Me, I did not spend the last 1/2 hour of the movie bawling, and I definitely did not have a huge headache for 2 hours because I was trying to hold back the sobs. (It's about a dog, for goodness sake!) After watching that movie, we did not exit the theater only to enter again to see Bride Wars.

When putting stuff away from Christmas, I did not find the box of Alaska souvenirs (from last summer!) and spend an hour looking at them when I should have been finding a home for them. Why is it that when trying to clean, you have to make an even bigger mess by putting stuff in piles, or is that just me??

Today on my way to school, I did not start off my Monday by getting hit by another car. Seriously, I know I drive the Earth's first microscopic car, but really, am I invisible, people? This was the second time this week--in the same 1/10 mile of road--that I was almost hit. Well, okay, today I wasn't almost hit. I was hit! After the crash, my first thought wasn't to call my dad. (Thanks for coming, Dad!)

So there you have it...a brief look at a few things I did not do this past week.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

1/52 Photo Challenge

My sister found this great website with a weekly photo challenge. Click here to check out the list. Don't worry about what kind of camera you have. Just take pictures and have fun!!

Here's my "free for all" photo this week. The frosted trees in the yard are absolutely beautiful!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Good times

I was just looking at pictures from Christmas and realizing that I have so much to be thankful for--most of all, FAMILY. We had a GREAT Christmas together. So much time was spent playing games and just being together. It's amazing that we can have 14 people in the same house and that we're all friends when our time together is over. Seriously, we have so much fun together that it's really hard for me to completely comprehend hearing about people hating being with their family. For our family, laughing to the pioint of tears is not uncommon. I'm so thankful that we're all so close...we cherish time together. I think the picture speaks more than I can.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Not Me Monday

New Year's Resolution #248: Post a "Not Me" blog on the first Monday of 2009.

Well, I really didn't make that many resolutions, but I will tell you some things I did not do this past week.

After putting away some Christmas stuff, I did not find a pile of Christmas cards that accidentally didn't get mailed. Nope, my Christmas cards were out November 1st, so I definitely wouldn't have some still sitting around. And if I did find a pile of unmailed Christmas cards, I would not stop to consider the pros and cons of peeling off the stamps to reuse them. How much time would that take? Waste of money if I don't. I could reuse them. Who writes "real" letters anymore? Could I save the cards for next year? Won't postage go up by then anyway? After weighing my options, I did not put them back in a pile to decide later what to do with them.

As my sister was packing to return to Kansas City, I most certainly did not hide a stinky candle in one of her boxes. This is a fun thing we do when we visit each other's houses. We try to hide the candle someplace where the other won't find it until after we're apart, yet somewhere that we know they'll find it eventually. So I would never think to put this awful, make-you-want-to-gag candle in a Christmas present, would I? No, I'm not that mean! (Did you find it yet, Erin?)

After all the family was gone on Friday, I did not go to Wal-Mart and Target to check out their Christmas clearance, and I most definitely did not buy more gift labels. (Hey, at 25 cents a pack, who can resist?) And why would anyone spend money on clearance lights? I wouldn't be so dumb as to do that, especially if I have no need for them now. No, it would be foolish to buy 10 boxes of 60 cent lights for no reason, so you can be assured that is something I definitely did not do this past week.

Since I was still on "vacation," I certainly did not spend a good chunk of Saturday at school, planning for the coming week's activities. And part of that "non-planning" did not include a trip to the pet store to replace a most-beloved classroom fish Dyson before class on Monday, so the students wouldn't know that Dyson II died. (It's pretty obvious when you see a skeleton floating in the fish tank that something HAS to be done about it.)

After not spending most of Saturday at school, I did not secretly pray that the huge amount of snow falling would perhaps cancel school for Monday. I've just had two weeks of vacation. I'm refreshed, rested, and ready to get back in the classroom. Why on earth would I hope for a snow day? No, that's definitely not something that crossed my mind.

Since the snow day didn't happen, I arrived back at school today actually ready to see the little darlings again--my preschoolers, not the junior-senior high class. They don't like to be called "darlings." Since we're on letter "L" this week, I would never think of making my preschoolers taste lemons and limes, would I? That would probably be considered cruel and unusual punishment. No, that is something I would never do. And if I did make them try lemons and limes, I for sure wouldn't laugh at the contorted faces they made as they tasted the sour fruit. Absolutely not. I'm a NICE teacher! (Just so you know, I tried them along with the kids and they were laughing at the faces I made also!)

So there you have it. A few things I did not do this past week. But here's what I did do. I kept New Year's Resoltion #248!