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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Mushroom Soup

Other info...
      It is very difficult to write a blog documenting a mail project when you don't get mail, which is why it has been boring here lately. I'll work on it this weekend to show you more outgoing mail. Now that school has started I have been spending lots of times correcting and preparing for class. (Yes, contrary to the "it must be nice to only work 8-2," "Wow! It must be great to have summers off," and "A music teacher? How fun!" comments I do tons of preparation, assessments and lesson planning- mostly on nights, weekends and *gasp* during the summer) I have still been writing but I have to make sure I keep ahead in work too.
     So, since I haven't gotten any mail this week, I decided to share a soup review. It is a chilly, rainy, autumn day here in Massachusetts so it was perfect for a nice bowl of soup. Timmy, David and I ate it. This soup was sent to me from Annalynne on Postcrossing.  She is from Russia. Here is the soup:
     We have the Knorr brand here in the US too and I have usually liked the brand so I wasn't too nervous about trying the soup. The mushroom on the spoon looks pretty different than the white, button mushrooms I usually eat here. From looking at different varieties of mushrooms, it looks like these are chanterelle mushrooms.  These apparently do grow in the "western North America."  They smell fruity, taste a bit peppery, have a lot of Vitamin C, D and potassium and are thought to have "potential insecticidal properties" which are harmless to humans but not good at all for insects. Yummy sounding so far, huh?  Here's what the soup looked like after I cooked it.
     I apparently need a pretty soup dish since my favorite soup dish has got  chunk out of the rim. Here's what everybody thought:

David: "It was good. I only ate it with my crackers."

Timmy: "A little creamy, but very yummy- especially with Ritz crackers. "

Me: It was pretty good. I liked the taste. It was pretty mild and very creamy. The mushrooms tasted kind of similar to shitake mushrooms, but not quite as tangy. The soup was fairly thick for a powdered soup. When the boys were dipping their crackers in, the soup was piling on top of the cracker rather than dripping through the holes and making the cracker all soggy. There is a slightly strange taste in my mouth now, but I'm assuming that it's just because it's a new flavor that I've never had. I am curious about what Russians (or anybody who was more used to this type of mushroom) would think of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup.

     I'll try to write again at least once this weekend. October will be a fun month. Hopefully I'll blog much more than September. We have Timmy's birthday, my birthday, a local fair, trick or treating, etc. I'm bringing Timmy to see Blue Man group for his gift. I can't wait to see how he likes it. Beginning of another family percussionist? :)  

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sad mailbox

If it weren't for bills, my mailbox would be housing cobwebs. I look forward to hearing from all of my friends soon.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Finnish Pasta Mix

     This is just a quick post tonight. Tonight we had the Finnish pasta mix that I received in my food swap.  Here is the package:
Here's what it looked like while cooking.
     This looks less appetizing in the pan :) Here is is on the plate:
   As you can see, it has meat (added to the mix), vegetables, pasta and sauce.It was pretty tasty. It tasted pretty similar to a Sloppy Joe mix in the US, but there was something slightly different. Matt and I liked it. Timmy thought it was alright and Mr. Picky had his 3 "no thank you" bites and politely asked to be excused.

     We ate it with cauliflower (yuck.. don't always love veggies!) and garlic bread. I dipped the garlic bread in the pasta mix and thought that was delicious.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Back to busy season


     I have been excited to get some nice mail this week. Here is some of it:

    This is a letter from my sponsored child in Ethiopia. Her name is Tseganesh. The bottom picture is a flower. I thought it was interesting that this letter was translated and written by the head of the school that she attends. I really enjoy hearing from this little girl. Her pictures are my favorite thing to get from her.
I got a letter from my penpal, Penny, from Singapore. Cool stamps!  Also, this is my first birthday card of the year. My birthday is October 13th. Thanks Penny!

     I also received a letter and postcard from Arthur in Sweden. I like the Swedish stamp too. I haven't gotten much mail from Sweden.

    Then I got this great, fat envelope from Belinda in South Africa. She wanted to know if I wanted to be pals. She sent a nice letter, some x-slips, a friendship book, and a few other small things. I love surprises like this. 
     Lastly, I got a letter from my pal Jeffrey. He always writes very quickly so the turnover between our letters is not long at all. I'll write soon!

    (I got a letter from my pal Susan in Alabama too but she sent a nice card I want to photograph)


     I have not had a ton of time so I have been bad with my writing. I have a letter headed to Finland and to OH at the moment. I have been excited that a few people have contacted me to be new pals so I'm writing intro letters and sending them out. I have also sent out another food swap. This package is going to Belgium. I tried to find out what American foods that Belgians might want or foods that aren't available in Belgium and the answer I seemed to see most was: "Why would we want American food?" Apparently our foods are "gross," "weird," and just not wonderful.  So, I hope this person doesn't hate what I send.  Here's the package:
Montreal Steak Seasoning- Yum. I love it on steak. My parents make roast beef by rubbing the top of the meat with mayonnaise and putting the steak seasoning on. It's much less gross than it sounds.

Hidden Valley Ranch Dip- I love this for a vegetable dip.

Land O Lakes- french vanilla hot chocolate. I like their mint hot chocolate most but the person I'm sending it to does not like mint.

Snapple peach tea- instant drink mix. This person is not a huge herbal tea person but I figured that Snapple might be alright.

Russell Stover chocolate and coconut cream pumpkin. I wish I could find something similar to the coconut nests they make at Easter

Betty Crocker cornbread mix.

Betty Crocker instant cheddar and sour cream mashed potatoes

Hamburger Helper (thanks to all my German friends who commented that they wish they had it there!)

Marshmallow Creme- I know Massachusetts people- it's not Fluff. I thought the GIANT container of Fluff might not be the best thing to put in the mail. It would also be overwhelming to someone who doesn't know what to eat it with. lol.

The 366 Project

Received: 38
Sent: 83

     I'm getting there! I only need to write... 100 letters a month. Agh. 

Other news-

     School is back in session. I'm enjoying working with all of the students. I teach at a middle school. My students are about 10-14 years old.  We have a new principal this year and I'm excited for a new start with everyone.  This means that my life is a lot busier!
     My own kids are really enjoying school so far too. Timmy has picture day tomorrow.  David has a visitor coming to his class to talk about science. He's super excited too!
     I think I'm FINALLY feeling better. I got strep at the end of August and the medicine they gave me did not help. So, I'm about halfway through the next prescription and feeling a little bit more like myself. I also had a tooth that got infected and needed to be pulled this weekend. AND Matt's car broke. Less drama would be fantastic but I am still appreciative of what I have. 

    Oh- I also tried the creamy pepper dip from Finland.  I don't know what I expected- green or red pepper maybe? It was made with black pepper and I loved it! I took a picture of it prepared but it didn't look very appealing in my yellow bowl.  I served it at a cookout. If any of my friends who were at the cookout are reading this, feel free to comment and give your opinion. I also decided to give the salmon soup to John, who is one of my favorite postal workers. I am not a huge salmon fan and I kept avoiding trying it. John loves salmon. He's always so helpful with my mail that I don't mind sharing!
     I can't wait to try my next food swap package. It looks like it will come from Malaysia, The Netherlands, Germany, Japan, Russia, France, Italy, the Czech Republic, Jamaica, or Lithuania. Awesome.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11th

     I wanted to take a moment to just acknowledge 9/11.  I was lucky and I didn't know anybody killed or hurt on that day but I have met so many people whose life was directly affected.
     On 9/11/01 I was teaching at the same middle school I'm at now. I had just finished a class and was walking down to the teacher's room when I heard one of the staff freaking out about the 1st plane hitting the tower.  Some staff members were in the library with the news on. We are located about 30 minutes North of Logan Airport, so we were really nervous about what might happen locally.  We were asked to keep quiet and not let the students know what was going on outside of school. Parents were coming and dismissing their kids.
     We were given notice about students we worked with who might have parents and family members in danger. Other than the events in general- there are 2 distinct memories I have of that day. The first is hearing that a 6th grade girl in my class was the daughter of a Logan Airport pilot who was working during the day shift. I watched as this bubbly, kind, responsible, little girl came into class and all I could think is that she might go home and not have a dad. I couldn't even look at her during the class because I was heartbroken. (Her dad was fine) The 2nd thing I remember was realizing exactly how much responsibility we have as teachers. People drop their children off day after day and know that their children will be taken care of.  I have never taken that as seriously as I did that day.  It has greatly impacted me as a teacher. 
     Today I thought about the 3 soldiers I have adopted through Adopt A US Soldier. I am so grateful to our service men and women for serving and helping to ensure safety and freedom for my family.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Postcard to Sweden


     Last week I spoke to a man on Interpals who was looking to collect some postcards. Being involved with Postcrossing, I always have a ton of postcards. (If I don't always have a ton I'm always looking to buy more. So, if you're one of my friends and you go on vacation- feel free to pick me up some! I'll pay you back)  Arthur likes city views so I sent him this nice card of Boston.
     I have a letter headed to Katherine in Australia too.


I finally got some mail yesterday! I got letters from Michelle and Linn Marit- 2 of my pals. Michelle is from the US and Linn Marit is from Scotland.  Here are some cute things from Linn Marit's letter.
This little guy reminds me a little of David. He's a little shy and reserved.

Another cute sticker on the front.
The little gold butterflies are raised off the page. (No need for the thank you note but I liked it!)

The 366 Project:
Received: 32
Sent: 81


     I see that the PPFL newsletter came out. Welcome to those who are stopping by to check out my page. If you don't know the history of the page- I decided this year to attempt to write and receive 366 letters, 1 for each day. I am behind on my goals but I've always cared more about quality than quantity. I have started the blog to document some of the mail I've gotten. I have really enjoyed blogging. I've gotten a few more pals through this page and then I've also just had some people who don't have time for another pal, but wouldn't mind writing me a letter about themselves, their area of the world, their culture, etc. to help me out with my project. I love randomly connecting with people.  So, if you'd like to send me a letter, please PM me for my address. I'd love to hear from you.  

     Alright, I'm headed out to church in a little bit so I'm going to go get ready.  After church we're inviting a few people over for a cookout. It should be a really fun day. I hope you have a great day too. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

NO MAIL for a week...

I got NO new personal mail for a week but I sent out a letter to Australia and a letter to another new soldier. On a good note, I got a few new followers to the blog and 2 requests to write. So, flood my mailbox! We'll see what the mail brings this afternoon.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Headed back to school...

     All in all, it has been a bad mail week- except for a nice letter from my friend Katherine in Australia, which I have not photographed yet. I had strep throat too so I just felt kind of... gross. I don't think the penicillin is going to do the trick.
     Many of you know that I am a teacher. "Back to school" is always exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. I always look forward to seeing all of the students and noticing the changes in them as they have been away for a few months. Tomorrow I go back to school. Students start on Thursday. (My own children start on Wednesday and Friday) So... I'll be exhausted this week. Bear with me :)