Help Children Read For Life!

unitedwayUnited Way of McLeod County (UWMC) has launched Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. This program allows every child who lives in McLeod County and was born in 2009 to be eligible to receive an age-appropriate hard back book in the mail each month. The books are a gift from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and the United Way of McLeod County. The program is absolutely free to the newborns and parents. Studies done for the Dollywood Foundation regarding this program have shown that investing in early childhood education yields more productive older students, better citizens and employees. Better-educated children generally stay out of crime, and need fewer out-of-home placements and less counseling. However, not enough kids get that important education in their early years. A high percentage of kindergartners are coming to school at risk for failure. Children whose parents read to them become improved readers and do better in school. If you want to make sure children are ready to learn in school, one of the best guarantees is to read to them when they’re young.

Children enrolled in the program will get 12 books a year delivered to their homes for free. The first book in the Imagination Library is “The Little Engine That Could.” The program aims to select books that are age-appropriate and titles that will encourage parents to read to their kids. To sign up for this program, please go to United Way of McLeod County website at www.unitedwaymcleodcounty.org. For more information about Imagination Library, please visit: www.imaginationlibrary.com

Get Your Passport to Hutchinson MN

Passport (110/365)I am personally inviting all my lady friends to come meet me on the weekend of November 6-7th in Hutchinson, MN, but you’ll have to buy a passport first. Want to know what I’m talking about? Here’s the scoop.mn_map

If you’ve ever attended a GNO, women’s retreat, or getaway you know how fantastic it is to pamper yourself for a day or two. The city of Hutchinson is turning the entire town into a GNO for an entire weekend!

 This is so cool, as so many events, specials, and freebies are being offered to women who attend our Passport to Hutchinson event. From theatrical performances and ethnic cooking classes to tea parties, spa treatments, 3M craft sales, and pre-holiday spectaculars at the mall, there is something for every woman. 

Attend everything or only participate in the events that interest you. I’ve seen the docket of events, swag bags, and savings, and it’s going to be cool. -All tickets are very affordable, and many things are free.

You're the Top, A Celebration  2007-07-21 09-20-29155    IMG_3311.JPG  Massaggi nelle terme del Comelico Dolomiti キャベツとベーコンのスパゲティ アンチョビソース味  Cuvée Hadopi  7-19 

So grab a girlfriend or two, find Hutchinson on a map, save the date (Fri. Nov. 6th and Sat. Nov. 7th), and leave me a comment here that you’d like to receive more information. You can also contact our local chamber at 320-587-5252 and visit Minnesota’s Hometown on the web.110809805303_0_alb I’d really encourage people to check out all the cool things to do in “Hutch” while you are here. From the river and rock dam in the middle of town, to the trails, art galleries, antique shops,and trendy liquor store to our beautifully restored downtown movie theatre, plentiful salons and spas, fitness centers, and more…Hutchinson is excited to welcome you and stamp your passport!

Interested in meeting me, ConfessionsMom? I’ll be teaching an ethnic cooking class where you can learn all about interesting ingredients, watch cooking methods, and sample all kinds of yummy stuff.

Handmade Pork Dumplings - Dumplings Plus AUD8Many of you have seen my Chinese dumplings recipe here on this site. That is one item I plan to make. Since we are still finalizing details, you have time to leave comments here if there’s something specific you’d like to see made or questions you’d like answered when you get here. Stay tuned for more details!

There’s a Shoe in the Cheetos?

Flamin' Hot!“There’s a shoe in the Cheetos?” is my favorite line uttered from my husband while driving from Minnesota to St. Louis, Missouri this past week. We packed up our three kids, ages 10, 5, and 1 for a fourteen hour trip. Yes, the Google map shows it as a 91/2 hour trip in an Utopian society. In truth, it took us six hours to get out of Minnesota. We encountered a major traffic jam on 494 East bound, got pulled over by State Patrol escorting PGA celebrities, and slowed to a crawl through an amazing rain storm. By the time we accomplished all that, it was time for our first potty break and meal.

All the stops and time spent in the car was well worth it, and we had a great family vacation filled with laughs. Our daughter got to have her best friend, Clara, ride with us most of the way too. It was Clara’s shoe (attached to her foot) that was in the Cheetos bag when I reached behind my seat to retrieve it for my husband. We had just decided to drive “one more hour” into Mount Pleasant, Iowa, and spend the night. My darling husband wanted a few Cheetos to munch on while driving. I must have mumbled something about a shoe in the Cheetos, when I looked up to my husband’s incredulous reply of “There’s a shoe in the Cheetos?”.

On our last potty break before deciding to drive that “one more hour”, our friends called to ask if we could make it another hour. My husband’s reply was he “was good to go with a six pack of Red Bull and a catheter”. From the other vehicle came, “…for us it’s diet coke and a pull-up”. Again, too many laughs.

Oh Summer, Where Are You?

Olha lá, o avião!!!If you live in Minnesota or the Upper Midwest, you know how much we revere our summers. Each frigid day of winter is spent planning our warm summer days. This year is no exception, but the weather isn’t cooperating. We’ve had mostly cool weather. Some days have been darn right cold. The few warm days we’ve had have been wrecked by high winds or cloudy/rainy weather. I am protesting. It is now August, and I demand my warm, humid summer. I want to scope out shade because I’m frying in the sun. I want to have popsicles run down my arms or skip ice cream all together because it would melt too fast. I want to debate about spending the money to run the air conditioner. I want to complain about how hot it is. I want my summer rituals. My kids and I mostly want a few more days to hang out at the pool and picnic. Please? So, Summer, if you are listening, please arrive. If not, I expect you’ll keep that in mind when you whisper your recommendations to Mr. Winter. Have mercy on us. Thanks.

Confession: I can cook anything in half-the-time, using the “high” burner.

IMG_5588Ok, I know this isn’t the preferred method, but let’s face it. I don’t have time to wait for something to boil. If any burner is turned too low, chances are whatever I am trying to do is going to take a long time and I am going to get distracted. If I cook on high, I am hopefully going to stand right there. Yeah, it’s an odd theory, but I’m sticking to it. If I can fry something in 5 minutes or 15 minutes, I choose 5! I did forget about hot chili oil one day (burner on high) and the house filled with smoke so strong we had a hard time breathing. I’ll admit it. I fail from time to time, but the fact is – I can successfully use the “high” burner to cook anything.