Friday, February 27, 2009

If only they could stay 9 years old....

We were driving to town last night for yet another meeting,

and daughter #2 was telling us about her day at school.

This is how the conversation went:

"It was so gross in music class today,"

"What was so gross ?"

"We had to dance in music class."

"Why is dancing so gross?"

"It was slow dancing mom..... with boys!"

"Slow dancing with boys.... slow dancing?"

" Yeah square dancing"

"Oh, square dancing. I don't remember that being a slow dance."
"But I had to hold a fourth graders hand!
Yuck boy cooties!"
Well Dani you just keep that attitude,
and life will be good (for mom and dad).
Too darn funny and we had a good laugh.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Life is like a Cake Walk

We held our annual county 4-H Fun Day this past week end.
Once again all the kids had a great time.

In years past I helped in the food booth,
so I didn't make it around to the penny carnival booths.
But this year I helped run the booths.
You could shoot baskets, play plinko,
have a pillow fight, or have your face painted.
Just to name a few of the booths.
The 4-H club my family is involved with ran the
cake walk.
I never realized before that people really want to win
a cake. Some really want to win more than one cake.
It was a busy booth all night long.

As was the duck pond.....

and putt-putt golf.
Our club also ran the local jail....

but I think the deputies must have been
trained in Mayberry.

As the door is wide open,
and they are easily distracted.

Of course the kids didn't seem to care.
They were having a grand time.

This great cake was won by daughter #1.
I think the 4-Her who made this cake,
could guest star on
the Food Networks Ace of Cakes show.
It was really neat!

(and must have tasted good also as it was missing a few pieces last night).

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Arduous Process

Baking cabbage burger is an arduous process.

Okay, not really .... especially if you do them
the lazy man's way like I do.  

It would have been nice if someone in the family had 
written down a recipe.  But no, in our family, we don't write down recipes.

Years ago, Sister Two put together a cookbook with recipes
from Dad's side of the family.  One would think with 60 Germans
there would be at least one cabbage burger recipe.

But no.  
There's a recipe for pierogis.
  Another one for Chinese cashew chicken.
Or how about garbanzo bean salad?
Pink lemonade salad?
Does that even sound remotely German?

But believe it or not, I did figure out how to make cabbage burgers.
On my own.  By myself.
Will wonders never cease?

Here's what you'll need to make cabbage burgers:  hamburger,
cabbage, onions, garlic salt, onion salt, minced garlic, Rhodes dough balls, and butter.

I've already got the hamburger frying, but before you can begin the rest of the prep work you need to crank the tunes up as loud as they will go.

That way you'll block out the sound of the braying donkey.

The braying donkey who is letting you know 
he wants his daily ration of sweet mix and nose rubs.

Murphy is very insistent when it comes to sweet mix and nose rubs.
But I forgot to buy any.  Sweet mix, this is.  Bad, bad donkey owner.

I figure my music will drown out his attempts to make me feel guilty.

Of course I'm a frequent flier when it comes to guilt trips, 
so I took apples out to them.  They seemed to be okay with the
substitution and I was rewarded with a gorgeous sunset.

Back to business.

The hamburger needs to be liberally seasoned
with garlic salt, onion salt and minced garlic.

Of course, before you can do this you must check the expiration dates.


Especially if you're making them for Ms. Simpleton!

Not many people use garlic in their cabbage burgers.
But I do.  Lots of it.  About two tablespoons per pound of meat.
Plus all of the garlic salt on top of that!

While the hamburger is cooking, it is time to chop the onions.

Mardell suggested using the food processor for this step
but did you notice the knives in the lower right
hand corner of the first picture?

I'd had a really crummy day at school and 
my students had frustrated me to no end.

It's called knife therapy.
Trust me, it work wonders.

By the time I was finished with the onions,
most of my frustrations were gone and I was instead crying.

Not really.

But only because I know the secret trick to chopping up
onions without bawling like a girl (which is never a good thing).

Light a stick match and put the non-burnt end 
in your mouth after you blow it out.

Try it --- it works wonders.

I did 50 pounds of onions for our fund-raiser this way.

By the way, my picture is mis-leading.
  I only photographed half of my onions.

  But that's only because the other three looked like this:

Not really.
Those were from last summer.

Really, they were, Ms. Simpleton.

Next, I chopped up my two heads of cabbage.


Once again I used the knives.
Heads of cabbage are even more therapeutic than onions!

While I was slicing and dicing and chopping the cabbage,
I began adding the onions to the hamburger.

Then I slowly added the cabbage and let it cook down.

While it was slowly melding its flavors together,
we began rolling out the dough. Dough balls are the only way to go.

  Especially if you make 226 dozen.
Which I never recommend that you do.
Under any circumstances.

We like to use the pasta machine.

But that's only so that we can say that we've actually used it!
We dial it to number six, mash two dough balls together and let 'er rip.

Next I measure half a cup of filling and put it on the dough.

I carefully and lovingly fold it up and place it gingerly
on the awaiting cookie sheet which is lined with a silicon sheet.

If you don't have a silicon sheet for your cookie sheets,
I highly recommend that you invest in one.

We bought ours for $2.36 on clearance at Hobby Lobby.


After the burger has rested a bit and plumped
up, it's off to the oven.

We bake them at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.


Be sure to relax while they bake.

Let 'em cool for about thirty seconds after 
removing them from the oven and rub the tops with a stick of butter!

Library Sherrie --- I have some filling left that I froze.  I'll send a batch down to you
when Mardell has her next quilt class and then you can elect not to share!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Friday Flashback

Once upon a time there was a young, energetic woman
who coached track at a rural school.  Her team desperately
needed equipment and a shot put/discus ring. Unfortunately
there was no money in the budget for such luxuries.

Since her concerted efforts at winning the lottery have yet
to pay off, she had to get creative and come up with a fund-raiser
that would raise a sizable amount of money in a short amount of time. 

The most important part that she forgot to add was
"with a minimal amount of work".

She probably won't make that mistake again.

She had the bright idea to hold a cabbage burger sale.
It had been done at another rural school where she had worked.
It couldn't be that hard.

  Each trackster could sell cabbage burgers by the dozen. 
She figured if they each sold five dozen, they could buy
a practice ring and some shot puts and discuses.  

It was an ideal set-up.  The kids would do the selling and she would enlist the help of every person that she could even remotely call a friend.  With twenty some kids out for track, they'd sell maybe 50 or 60 dozen. 

No problem, she had five or six really good friends.
They could kick those out in an afternoon.

Probably with their eyes closed ....
and their hands tied behind their backs.

Did anyone mention how cocky this young woman was?

That changed when she realized that her team had pre-sold 226 dozen.
Yes, 226 DOZEN cabbage burgers.

For the mathematically challenged, that is 2,712 cabbage burgers.

She and six of her closest friends and relatives slaved for three week-ends making cabbage burger after cabbage burger.

After they were done, she had a beautiful shot put/discus ring.

She had six additional shots.

She had two wooden and metal discuses that
were the envy of all the other country schools.

She had new track shirts for every track kid.

But alas, she had no really good friends left.

She swore there was no way in
that she would ever make another cabbage burger as long as she lived!

One should never say never.

Remember Mary's friend?
Tara Simpleton?

Yeah, the one suffering from a severe case of CDO.

She went with us (Mardell, Mary and I) to a quilt show.

This would be at a time when Mary was in the closet with her quilting habit, but that's another story for another day.

At any rate, after walking around looking at hundreds of quilts Tara decided she was hungry so she went to the concession stand and bought a cabbage burger for $8 or $9.

It was a bit disappointing to say the least. 

It was about the size of a small hamburger bun.
A very small hamburger bun.

It had sesame seeds on top of it.
I've never seen sesame seeds on a cabbage burger. 

I offhandedly remarked that mine were better
and someday I'd make her some.

Yeah, right--- when pigs fly.
Well, it seems that Ms. Simpleton has had a tough week.

What says, "Hang in there, we're thinking about ya"
better than cabbage burgers?

So I caved in even though Hades hasn't frozen over.

I made cabbage burgers to send over to her.  
Mardell is going over tomorrow for a quilt class
and she is going to deliver them.

Of course I pictorially documented the whole process
and will post it this week-end.
Simply because I struggle to find topics to ramble on about.

In the meantime, everyone send Ms. Simpleton happy thoughts.

And let her know just how loved she is
because I don't make cabbage burgers for just anyone!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Spring has sprung.....

after Sister One's post yesterday

I was excited at the thought of Spring.

But look at what I spied as I

left work........


Monday, February 16, 2009

Today's Gift

Every year on President's Day, our local service
unit hosts a mid-winter conference.

Vicki, the Young Thing and I all wanted
to go to "Motivating the Unmotivated."
(So what if it was a little self-help I was looking for?!)

Instead, we got to attend 
"Instructional Strategies to Differentiate for Students".

I wasn't really excited about the topic
because I really wanted to be in the other session. 

In fact, I was kind of pissy.

After all, Vicki and I went to a three 
day conference on this very topic last summer
and I wanted something new and exciting. 

We differentiate on a daily basis.
We have to in order to survive in our classroom.
What can I say?

Lunch was good.

I got to visit with Linda who lived next door to us as we were growing up.
I got to visit with one of my college professors.
I got to see my 7th grade English teacher.

But the best part was getting out at 3:00.

That was like an unexpected gift ....
especially since the weather was so nice.
I drove home all excited about the prospect of being home in the afternoon with daylight left.  Sure, the week-ends have daylight, but it just isn't the same.

I never get home before o'dark thirty so this was truly a gift.

This is usually what it looks like as I drive around the lake.
While it is beautiful, it is too dark to go hiking by the time
I actually get home and change clothes.

So today I decided to take advantage and take
the Doodles and the big dogs for a run.

Let me clarify that .... they run, I trudge along.

Naturally, I had exhausted my batteries taking pictures of the New Arrival so I opted to forego taking my camera along.  It figures that the Doodles scared up two pheasants and a pair of deer.  Of course if I had had my camera with me, this is probably all I would've gotten anyway:

(photo courtesy of istock royalty free pics)

Of course, without the lush green background.

Instead my background would have looked more like this:

Actually, it would have been nice to add that image
to my collection of "animal butt" photos.

Why, you ask, do I collect animal butt photos?
It's simple really.  I have this theory that any kid's book that has the word
"butt", "poop", or "fart" in it becomes an instant best seller.
Just ask Dav Pilkey.

I have considered writing a children's book about animals butts
and have collected butt photos for about six years.

I figure if it has the picture as well as the word butt,
it's bound to be a hit.

But I digress.

About the time a Great Blue Heron swooped up in front of me
and landed on a branch not more than twenty feet away,
I was really cursing myself for not bringing my camera along.

I was cursing myself for not being bright enough
to charge my battery while I was suffering through the in-service.

I was cursing myself for not at least bringing my old camera.

Then I quit cursing myself and went back
and fetched my trusty old camera that takes regular alkaline batteries.

Of course I didn't have any of those type of batteries either,
so I did the only logical thing.

I stole them from Mardell's mouse on her computer.
Please don't tell her.

This is the time of year when I am desperate for a sign of spring
so I set off with the hopes of finding some small inkling of the change in seasons.


No bats in my bat houses yet, so it can't be spring.

All I saw there was trim that still needs to be painted.

No blooming sunflowers in my garden, so it can't be spring.

All I saw was a drooping head waiting patiently for the chickadees to discover it.

My destination was Little Lake Alice, so I set off on our well-worn path.

One might think I did lots of hiking because of this trail ...

but one would be wrong for thinking this. 
The trail is courtesy of my dogs.

Chip of course thinks he owns the entire pasture.

I hadn't gone far before I discovered that 
Benny wanted to be a big dog too.

Of course, he is very serious when he picks up a scent.

We don't have God complexes at our house.
Rather, we have Dog complexes.

"Hey, wait for ME!" Zeda, our one-eyed cat exclaims,
"I'm a big dog, too!"

Determined to find some sign of impending spring, we continued on.

No fresh cat-tails in our cat-tail marsh, so it can't be spring.

All I saw were old, exploded ones.

No buds on the tree branches yet, so it can't be spring.

All I saw were toppled over trees that need to be chopped up this summer,


and pesky tumbleweeds that need to be eradicated.

No sticky sweet milkweed pods, so it can't be spring.

All I saw were dried up pods, gently rustling in the breeze.

Wait, there's a definite sign of spring!

Flocks of Canadian Geese and Canadian Snow Geese on the lake.

For the past week or so, we have had hundreds of geese in the fields and on the lake.

That's a sure sign that spring is just around the corner!

Of course, my dogs (the little blobs marked with blue arrows)
see something entirely different ....

 ... a walking buffet.

Life is good when you have waterfowl to bark at and chase.

Ahh, mud.

Definitely a sign that the world is
thawing and spring is just around the corner.

Unfortunately, the sun began to set and I had to turn back.


But I was grateful for this hike and can hardly wait to document the actual arrival of my favorite season.