Schultüte 2019

It’s time to take a look at one of my favorite traditions of the whole year…the first-day-of-school schultüte! Not everybody got all of the things pictured here (for example, only Ladybug received a calculator because Turkey, Bunny, and Moose already have their own, and Chickadee doesn’t need one yet), but most things, including the pencils, pens, highlighters, tape, crayons, micro Squeezamals, and Hershey’s bars, were found in all of the cones:

The children are always so excited to see what’s inside:

It can be a little challenging to come up with new things every year, but somehow, I keep finding fun items to include!

My Students

The Fab Five are all ready for a new school year…Turkey and Bunny are in 11th grade, Moose starts eighth grade tomorrow, Ladybug is in seventh, and Chickadee is a second grader!

Hollywood Motel

This sign at the old Hollywood Motel in Southgate, MI, reminds me a lot of the sign I photographed at the Greenway Motel in the Highland, IL, area last fall. It doesn’t have neon (although maybe it once did), but it does have a great retro shape and colors.

Introducing Victoria (and Alfie)

Back in June, I shared the story of Albert, the Pound Puppy Ryan gave me while we were dating, and has subsequently become our family’s “pet.” Well today, while wandering around Target, look what we found…Albert’s wife, Victoria!

Oh, and a son, Alfie, for good measure!

I’m not usually an impulse shopper, but when we saw these guys in the retro toy section, I couldn’t resist. After all these years, Albert finally has a family, plus, I got to indulge in a childhood memory…the boxes and adoption certificates were just like I remembered them!

Look how adorable!

And a few family portraits:

I know it’s silly, and some would think it childish, but honestly, the $25-ish dollars was worth the entertainment we’ve gotten out of this story today alone!

A Story of Flan

Our summer school adventures usually involve cooking of some kind. Actually, that’s one of my favorite parts of summer school. Trying out ethnic recipes, or recipes from different periods of time, or that have to do with specific events…I love an excuse to try something new that we probably wouldn’t eat otherwise, learn some new cooking techniques, and make some family memories.

Since we’re learning about various European cultures this summer, we’ve been trying foods from various countries on The Continent. Tonight our focus was on Spain, with paella for dinner, and flan for dessert. I set out to make the flan yesterday, and while it boiled over in the oven, making the house smelled like burnt marshmallows, it looked just right in the pan. When I went to invert it onto a platter, however, only half of it came out. It didn’t look pretty at all, and you know how they say you eat with your eyes first…plus, I like these special meals to not only be delicious, but to look pretty, too!

So, the children ate messy flan scraps (it did taste good, at least), for dessert last night, and I made a second flan this morning. More burnt marshmallow scent, and this time, even after loosening it with a knife, jiggling it, and putting it in a warm water bath, the flan wouldn’t come out of the pan at all. Not even a tiny little bit.

So, I reached my frustration point. I wasn’t making a third flan, but I also knew that I wasn’t going to have something even remotely nice-looking to present to my family unless I started thinking outside of the box. And that’s when it hit me…I could try to use a biscuit cutter to free individual portions of the flan that might actually look not just presentable, but adorably delicious!

It worked. For reasons I don’t understand, the individual portions lifted out with no trouble…the caramel sauce even came out with them! Actually, they looked far nicer than if I had managed to get the whole flan on the platter in one piece.

So, we tried a new recipe from a country whose cuisine we don’t normally get to enjoy. But we also had a great life lesson about making lemons from lemonade (or mini flans from flan?) and thinking outside of the box when working in the kitchen! What a summer school win!