Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Field Trip Back in Time

The Girl's 4th grade class took a walking field trip to the Plains Conservation Center to learn how people lived around 1887 when Colorado was still pretty empty and untamed.  I'd never heard of a walking field trip but I loved the Plains Conservation Center and decided to volunteer to be a chaperone.


As it turns out, instead of taking a bus, we would be walking 3 miles to the conservation center and 3 miles back. We were told to bring good shoes/boots, a backpack, lunch, a couple snacks, water, a hat and sunscreen, and to "dress for Colorado weather". That means "dress for anything". It actually snowed during the Monday group's field trip. Thank goodness the forecast the morning of our walk looked a lot better.

There were enough parent volunteers for this trip that I only needed to be in charge of 5 children this time. There was still snow on the ground when we left the school but the temps were in the 40's and climbing. It would take about 45 minutes to get to our destination.

Since this area is so pedestrian friendly, there were wide sidewalks and paths for most of the walk.


There were 2 classes going and each class was split into 4 smaller groups. Even within the groups, students were assigned their "buddies".

Everything went smoothly until we got to the final 50 yards or so where it was slippery mud and snow, but even the drama during that last 50 yards was just the kids over-reacting to the snow, the mud, the uphill climb, you name it. And then to make things more interesting, they found a prairie dog skeleton in a ditch. If you ask any one of those kids what they remember about the field trip, they're likely to mention that skeleton.


Once we got to the Plains Conservation Center, we formed 4 groups and partnered with a Center Volunteer who would give us the tour and teach us about the Cheyenne on the plains and how the pioneers of 1887 were able to scratch out a living.

First, we learned about the weather and rainfall here on the plains. An average of 12 inches annually. Last year, it was approximately 9.95 inches.

We learned about all the different uses for a Yucca plant - one of the few native plants pioneers and Native Americans would find growing on the prairie.


We hopped on a wagon and took a ride past the Cheyenne Camp (seen above) to the sod village. There were all kinds of animals on the prairie! Rabbits and prairie dogs, even an owl!


The Girl got to take a turn pumping water using a hand pump.


Then she tried hauling the buckets of water using a yoke.


She fed the cattle...


And toured a home built of sod...


There is more about the sod village from our trip to the Plains Conservation Center at Christmas time for Christmas In The Soddies.

Thank goodness The Girl decided to wear her snow boots. After all the recent snows, the ground was really muddy!


Her class learned how to erect a tepee and tie it...


...then learned how to cover it and secure it...


The day ended all to quickly and we soon found it was time to leave. Remember the first picture above with the tepees? This one was taken as we were leaving. All the snow has disappeared...


Gathering to wait for the last group to catch up...


Then we headed back to the school...


That was a great field trip! I'm ready for the next one!

Isn't this a fantastic view?


Yes, it's pretty grainy because I zoomed in so much...but that's downtown Denver in the bottom right corner...



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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

National (Junior) Honor Society

A few weeks ago, The Boy brought home an application from school along with a letter saying he qualified for the National Junior Honor Society. The what?  I was very familiar with the National Honor Society (NHS). I was a member in high school. But I hadn't realized they had a junior version.


After talking about the requirements for NJHS (volunteering, community service projects, etc), The Boy decided to go ahead and apply. Two weeks later, he received notice he was accepted. The induction ceremony was to be held on Aprill 22nd. Wouldn't you know it, the night of the ceremony we started getting another of our weekly Spring snow storms. It wasn't yet bad enough to keep everyone away, though.


A little history here...I had done so poorly in my 9th grade history class that it took me until my senior year to pull my GPA high enough to qualify for NHS. Because of that, the induction ceremony for NHS was a big deal to me. It was confirmation for all my hard work.  I'm not sure The Boy felt that level of importance about the ceremony but he thought NJHS might look good when he was applying for colleges in 4 or 5 years. (sniff...only 4 or 5 years???)


He also liked the idea of getting dressed up. He does look pretty spiffy, doesn't he?



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Friday, April 19, 2013

Thrift Store Finds: Dansk Kobenstyle

The shelves in my favorite thrift store are constantly being restocked throughout the day so the kitchen section is always the first and last place I go every time I visit. That's one reason I like to visit thrift stores alone. It irritates the "Pickles" when they are ready to leave and I have to make "just one more pass" through the kitchen stuff. I can't tell you how often it's paid off. Like today. I made my final pass through and something bright and yellow caught my eye.


Hmmm...pretty. And heavy, though not as heavy as cast iron. It had a couple of dings on it but was otherwise in great shape. And I loved the handles on the side.



I flipped it over to see the price...only $5.99. At this point I honestly had no clue what I was looking at other than an enameled loaf pan but I like it and that was enough to sell me on it. In the cart it goes.

Of course, when I got home I looked it up. Dansk Designs France IHQ


Turns out, my $5.99 loaf pan is a mid-century Dansk Kobenstyle piece selling on eBay and Etsy for between $35 and $75. The thought of reselling it might have popped into my head for a bit, but I like it so much I'm keeping it for myself. And now that I know what to look for, I'll also be on the lookout for more pieces like it at thrift store prices.

FYI - I found the following instructions for cleaning your Dansk Enamel Kobenstyle Cookware so it looks like new. I haven't tried it since my loaf pan looks pretty good already but just in case someone needs the info:
  • Boil a large stock pot, large enough to submerge the piece of cookware to clean in boiling water.
  • Add 3-5 Tablespoons of Baking Soda to the water and allow the cookware to sit submerged in the boiling solution for 10 + minuets.
  • Next, remove carefully from boiling pot and wash in hot soapy water and scour with a nylon (not metal) scouring sponge.
  • Rub with white vinegar to restore finish to the enamel after the item has cooled.



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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Leftover Easter Eggs

There was a reason my mom let my brother and I dye only one dozen eggs each Easter. It's the same reason my children only dye one dozen eggs. I can't stand hard boiled eggs. I really can't. They make me want to gag. They have to be well concealed in something or heavily seasoned for me to eat them...and even then, I never really touch the yolk. Egg salad was definitely out of the question and my kids wouldn't eat curried eggs and peas (a surprisingly yummy cheap-o meal from my childhood). So what was I going to do with the dozen hard boiled eggs we had from Easter?


One was named "Bad Egg" because it floated in the water. Since he was past his prime, The Girl labeled him with a "B" and dyed him anyway. We didn't have to eat that one.


One egg had hit the table and burst while we were putting them away the Saturday before Easter. We wouldn't eat that one, either.

The "Pickles" took care of a couple eggs for breakfast. I used the remaining 8 eggs along with a pound of sausage and made Scotch Eggs.

The first time we had Scotch Eggs was at the Celtic Festival in Bethabara, North Carolina. In fact, that was the one place we could get Scotch Eggs.

Celtic Festival - Bethabara, NC - May 8th 2010
Scotch Eggs would be better if made with soft boiled eggs but I didn't have those. I only had the hard boiled eggs. I had to make do with what I had on hand.

Rather than a recipe, these are more like very basic instructions for making Scotch eggs. I used medium pork sausage. You can use hot if you want - or mild, or turkey sausage or venison sausage. You can add more seasoning or less. Use panko crumbs instead of the flour. Leave the mustard out if you want. Deep fry or pan fry. Experiment. Have fun. Enjoy.

  1. Shell the eggs. 
  2. Divide the sausage into 8 equal pieces.
  3. Flatten a piece of sausage and wrap it around the egg completely covering and sealing it.
  4. Repeat with remaining eggs and sausage pieces.
  5. Crack an uncooked egg into a bowl. Add about a tablespoon of mustard (yellow or brown) and a pinch of pepper. Mix together.
  6. Put about 1/2 cup flour in a bowl (you can add more later if you need it).
  7. Roll sausage covered eggs in flour then egg mixture then flour again.
  8. Drop the coated sausage in hot oil.
  9. Cook thoroughly. This may take awhile because the sausage needs to be cooked through and the eggs need to warm back up. This is why I think starting with soft boiled eggs would be better. Hard boiled eggs tend to get way overcooked.
Drain on paper towels and serve immediately.


Mission accomplished. Eggs gone. Bellies full. Now they want me to make Scotch Eggs more often. I'll do it with soft boiled eggs next time. I like soft boiled eggs.



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