Friday, February 24, 2012

Evaluative Month of February: Blog 4- Letters from Mom & Mimi

(You were the best company when your Dad went away on a work trip for two weeks... we had so much fun including, especially when we went to the aquarium!  I love spending time with you Ellie!)

Dear Ellie,

Well My Dear Girl, this is our last “regular” blog for the year.  After this, we embark on our new adventure of writing you a yearlong bedtime story!  And to stick to tradition, we are including a piece of literature and a recipe that goes along with our evaluation theme.

As you are quite the avid reader this book.  Your Mimi’s book “Where Can They Be?” is one of your favorites these days.  

In fact, you even pause on the dedication page… I wonder if you realize the special words she wrote to your brother.  Sometimes with your passion for books, you ask for up to five bedtime stories (and I often catch you reading alone and saying many of the words out lout from your memory).  

I felt that it would only be appropriate this month to add one of your newer favorite authors, although he is not new to anyone else…  And this particular story is relevant because in order to know where you are heading, you have to evaluate where you are now.

Oh, the Places You'll Go! By Dr. Seuss

Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.

You'll look up and down streets. Look 'em over with care.
About some you will say, "I don't choose to go there."
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you're too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any
you'll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you'll head straight out of town.

It's opener there
in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen,
don't worry. Don't stew.
Just go right along.
You'll start happening too.


You'll be on your way up!
You'll be seeing great sights!
You'll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.

You won't lag behind, because you'll have the speed.
You'll pass the whole gang and you'll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you'll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.

Except when you don' t
Because, sometimes, you won't.

I'm sorry to say so
but, sadly, it's true
and Hang-ups
can happen to you.

You can get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You'll be left in a Lurch.

You'll come down from the Lurch
with an unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then,
that you'll be in a Slump.

And when you're in a Slump,
you're not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself
is not easily done.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they're darked.
A place you could sprain both you elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?

And IF you go in, should you turn left or right...
or right-and-three-quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple it's not, I'm afraid you will find,
for a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.

You can get so confused
that you'll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place...

...for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a sting of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

That's not for you!

Somehow you'll escape
all that waiting and staying.
You'll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.

With banner flip-flapping,
once more you'll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you're that kind of a guy!

Oh, the places you'll go! There is fun to be done!
There are points to be scored. there are games to be won.
And the magical things you can do with that ball
will make you the winning-est winner of all.
Fame! You'll be famous as famous can be,
with the whole wide world watching you win on TV.

Except when they don't.
Because, sometimes, they won't.

I'm afraid that some times
you'll play lonely games too.
Games you can't win
'cause you'll play against you.

All Alone!
Whether you like it or not,
Alone will be something
you'll be quite a lot.

And when you're alone, there's a very good chance
you'll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.
There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won't want to go on.

But on you will go
though the weather be foul
On you will go
though your enemies prowl
On you will go
though the Hakken-Kraks howl
Onward up many
a frightening creek,
though your arms may get sore
and your sneakers may leak.

On and on you will hike
and I know you'll hike far
and face up to your problems
whatever they are.

You'll get mixed up, of course,
as you already know.
You'll get mixed up
with many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great tact
and remember that Life's
a Great Balancing Act.
Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.
And never mix up your right foot with your left.

And will you succeed?
Yes! You will, indeed!
(98 and 3 / 4 percent guaranteed.)


be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
you're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!

And now for my recipe.  You know Ellie, especially this month that gives way to so many emotions because of your brother; comfort foot seems to always taste best.  And not just any comfort food, this recipe is from you Great-Gigi.  And you love your Great-Gigi and Great-Pop and skype with them often!

So when you reflect and evaluate your where you are, your position, or a decision you have ahead of you, make a pot of this delicious chicken noodle soup.  It may not fix your problems but I guarantee that it will make you feel satisfied and loved.  

Gigi’s Chicken Noodle Soup
2 Chicken Breasts (Cook for 20 minutes then dice)
Fill Crockpot half full with chicken broth, diced chicken, celery, carrots, onion
Cook on high for 6 hours
Cook noodles on the stove, then add to Crockpot 45 minutes before you eat, add pepper and parsley flakes

My favorite part of the recipe that Gigi gave me says Good luck and if you have a problem, CALL ME (and it says it just like that in all caps).  Yes Ellie, call family if you ever have any problems.

And don’t forget Ellie, a cup of tea is always the best medicine (but only when you drink it with someone you love). 
Love you Ellie Spaghetti,

And now from your Mimi…

Skyping with Mimi and Poppy is still daily for us Ellie- you love them so much!

Hi Ellie!

Well, it is time to finish our February blog.  And the perfect way to do this is with a poem and a recipe that fits with our theme.  I love how your Mom picked Dr. Seuss’ Oh The Places You’ll Go.   A great choice as it is a wonderful story that reminds us that we can travel all over the world and never actually leave our homes.  Books, games and imagination can also take us on trips that will leave us feeling worldly, complete, renewed and at peace. 

With that being said, I chose for my poem selection one of my own writings.
It is called A Butterfly’s Journey.  El, I feel butterflies are one of God’s gentlest creatures with a quiet spirit about them, and I love the symbolic description of what they represent; past souls of those we love.   You see, after your brother Kyle passed away, butterflies seemed to be present where ever I looked.   So now of course when I see one, I think of Kyle, and I also think of my father, as well as my grandmother too, all who I feel very close too.  When I decided to write this poem, as much as it was originally for Kyle, I wanted others to be able to relate and find comfort in its words for those souls that they lost.  So I prayed for guidance in helping me pen the right words that would touch many a heart.  I hope I chose appropriately.  Here it is:

A Butterfly’s Journey
By: Mickey Russell

Good Morning my sweet tiny butterfly
I see your journey’s begun
Your delicate wings shall carry a soul
In travels beyond the sun.

God gave you strength and courage
A gently breeze to fly
Please take our precious treasured soul
Over fields and mountains high.

Rest when weary sweet butterfly
Let children and adults alike
Cast their gaze on your colorful spirit
And pray their loved one’s in flight.

Your purpose will soon be fulfilled
In the Kingdom of God, He awaits
With arms outstretched and a welcoming nod
For a soul seeking comfort from fate.

Good Night my sweet tiny butterfly
I see your journey ends soon
Your delicate wings shall lie down in heaven
Your home beyond the moon.

And now for my recipe!  Ellie, like your Mom, I chose to go with a comfort food too.  Only mine is more for the sweet tooth!  Hopefully you will smile when you see my choice.  I thought this dessert would be something your Mom, you, Great-gram Jones and myself could make together during our visit.  And of course we could then each have a piece of this delicious cake with our tea and share stories of family members past and present!  Oh there are so many stories for you to hear Ellie!  But for now, here is my recipe:

The Butterfly Cake
Serves 8 to 10
               1 (9-inch) round cake
               1 can (16 oz) vanilla frosting
               Blue food coloring*
               Granulated white sugar
               16 colorful gumdrops
               Yellow and purple Spree candies
               Yellow and green M&M's Minis
               6 yellow M&M's
               5 green gumdrops
               1 green Twizzler

What you'll need:
               A bread knife
               A serving platter
               1 resealable sandwich-size plastic bag (Ziploc)
               A cutting board or a clean work surface

Trimming the cakes:
1.             Using a bread knife, cut the cake in half along the diameter to make 2 half circles. Cut a 1 ½-inch triangular notch from both cut sides, 2 ½ inches from the bottom (see template). Discard scraps.
2.             Transfer cake to a serving platter, putting the curved edges of the cake up against each other to form the butterfly wings.
For the blue frosting:
1.             Spoon ½ cup of the vanilla frosting into a bowl. Add enough food coloring to tint the frosting a dark blue. Spoon the colored frosting into a resealable plastic bag.
2.             Add a smaller amount of blue food coloring to the remaining vanilla frosting to tint it a lighter shade. Spread the light-blue frosting over the butterfly cake and make smooth.
3.             Snip a very small corner from the bag of dark-blue frosting. Pipe an outline of dark-blue frosting along the edges of the butterfly wings, as pictured.
For the butterfly-wing design:
1.             Spread the granulated sugar onto a cutting board or a clean work surface. Press 4 of the colorful gumdrops together and roll out.
2.             Cut the rolled-out gumdrops into a large teardrop shape, as pictured. Repeat with the remaining gumdrops so you have two matching teardrop shapes.
3.             Press the other gumdrops together in pairs. Roll out each pair of gumdrops until flat. Then cut out two 2-inch circles, two 1 ½-inch circles, and two 1-inch circles.
4.             Arrange the gumdrop cutouts, M&M's, and Spree candies all around the butterfly cake to create your own masterpiece!

Can I just tell you Ellie-bean that your Mommy and I are quite proud of ourselves at this very moment!  You see, she and I love new endeavors especially if we can experience them together.  But after a few attempts and more times than not, we usually quit whatever it is that we just started only to move on to something fresher, newer, and more exciting!  However, with our Blog endeavor, we actually completed 52 solid weeks of blog writing to you and that is such a great accomplishment for us!  So I think when your Mom and I get together at the beginning of March we shall slide our tea aside and toast our first year’s Blog success to you with a glass of champagne!  Then we shall return to our teacups and invite you to join us precious child!  For we will need to brainstorm our characters for our up and coming 2nd adventure of Ellie and the Magic Teapot that will kick off the start of our second year of weekly writing to you!  Partner writing another bedtime story with your Mom is one of my greatest pleasures Ellie.  I so hope you enjoy them each and every year you grow! 

I think the lesson to be learned here El is to keep the spirit within your soul. And remember, guidance always comes to those who ask.

Till next week Adventurous One!
Love Mimi

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