March 30, 2013

New initiatives: Babysitting and nagging projects

New ideas are brewing and at the March member social, we tested the waters for a couple of initiatives.

Childcare swap/co-op/barter 

Hey! We could be pooling our babysitting abilities, get some good playdates and in turn enable moms to go to doctor's appointments, work out, volunteer, go on date night or just get some private time sans kids. Several members got the idea at the same time (in evolution biology it would be called convergence), but of course the idea is not new.  At least a couple of members have good experience with it from other networks.  A childcare swap could be done as a barter network or a childcare co-op or just bilateral babysitting swaps within the boundaries of our MOMS Club.  One of the best overviews I've seen in blogland is this one on Frugal Mama.

At the member social, most people expressed a need for some scheduled time off during the day.  At least two members have experience with a morning-time babysitting swap with equal duties and no point system.  Some of us are willing to babysit evenings for date nights (thanks for clarifying that, Laura).  Mette and Mandy will make sure this initiative gets started before the new board takes over.  That means we're looking for a coordinator - could that be you?

Accountability club - and other enticements for exercise

Various concepts to consider are empty nester walking club and accountability club.  This got a lot of discussion.  Jen has volunteered to spearhead the initiative and explore it.

Project Club

Do you have a nagging task that a team of friends could get done in a few hours? Call in Project Club - or pay it forward by helping out another member.

Mette expressed the need to clean out the basement to make room for babysitting swap.  It would be like a chat'n'play with some adults - and all the kids - playing and chatting upstairs while some adults work and try not to chat too much downstairs.  This initiative is taking off already on Tuesday April 2. 

March 25, 2013

Financial report for March 2013

476.77 start

-50.00 new members
-75.00 renewals
601.77 end

March 11, 2013

Potluck in March: Heirloom recipes

Mom's meatballs (Laura N.)

1 lb. lean ground beef ¼ t. garlic powder
1 c. bread crumbs ¼ t. salt
 1.4 c. milk 1 egg
*Mix together well and form into balls. Set aside.

1 c. ketchup
⅛ c. worst. sauce
½ c. water ½ c. brown sugar
3 t. vinegar
*Mix ingredients in a large saucepan until boiling. Add prepared meatballs and return to a boil. Turn down to a simmer and allow to simmer for 1 hour.

Sweet Peas Soup (Vaida)

2 carrots
2 potatoes
2 16oz bags of frozen peas (leave overnight in the fridge)
1 onion
1-2 chicken breasts
2 tbsp butter
1 tsp white pepper
2-3 tbsp dried chicken broth

Sautée cut onion in butter, add cut chicken breast and heat until it seems cooked. Add other cut veggies (except the peas) and pour water until it covers the veggies. Bring to a boil and add the broth. Cook till it is done then add peas and bring to a boil again and let it simmer for 1-2 minutes. Cool off and blend it with a blender.

Chicken Rice Casserole (Lori)

8 chicken breasts
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 pt fresh mushrooms sauteed (I actually used a bottle/can of mushrooms)
2 cans Water Chestnuts sliced
1 soup can water
1 soup can chablis
1 package Lipton Onion Dip
1 cup Wild Rice
1 cup Brown Rice
1 cup sour cream

Wash wild rice and soak for 2 hours in warm water, changing several times. Combine all ingredients and stir in large bowl. Pour into TWO 9x13 baking pans. Place chicken on top of rice mixture and coat with melted butter. Bake for 2 hours mostly uncovered, but watch and cover if it is drying out. Oven set at 350. I made a half recipe for lunch yesterday.

Pets de soeurs ("nun's farts") (Ally)

The recipe I followed was written in French, but here is a link to a similar one in English:

Dumplings - my dad's favorite made by his Grandma Blank (Jen)

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
4 eggs

Combine water and butter in 2 qt. sauce pan; bring to a boil. Stir in flour and salt. Continue stirring over medium heat until mixture leaves sides of pan and forms a ball. Remove from heat. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well with spoon after each addition. Drop by rounded teaspoonful into boiling mixture (soup). Cook 2 minutes or until dumplings rise to top. Serve immediately.

Barry's Favorite Chocolate Cookies - also my dad's favorite (Jen)

6 Tbsp butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 square unsweetened chocolate, melted/cooled
1 egg, well beaten
1 1/4 cup flour
1/3 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbps milk
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup chopped nuts

Cream butter and sugar. Add melted chocolate and egg. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add milk, vanilla and nuts. Drop by tsp onto parchment baking sheet. Bake 400 degrees, 10-12 minutes (cookies do spread some). If desired, cookies may be frosted.

Frosting recipe was from the coca tin, but that was thrown out because I used it all up!

Cinnamon Chicken (Mandy)

1-2 T cooking oil
3.5 lbs. chicken thighs
4 c water
2-4 T flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add chicken in single layer without crowding. (You made need two pots or have to repeat the process.) Cook 8-10 minutes on each side until chicken is browned; remove with tongs. Add water to pot and bring to a boil. Return chicken to pot and reduce to simmer. Cover and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 40 minutes. Remove chicken again. Scoop about 1/4 cup of the drippings into a small bowl, and whisk in flour until smooth. Whisk mixture back into drippings in pot, bring to boil, and stir until gravy forms. Add salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Pour gravy over chicken and serve. (I also plan to try this recipe making the chicken in the crockpot, as I wasn't sure browning/braising was worth all the effort in this case.)

Frøken Jensen's Æbleskiver (Mette)

(From the principal traditional cookbook by Frk. Jensen who, supposedly, is a great-great-etc. aunt of mine).  Remember, æbleskiver is plural;)

5 deciliter flour
½ tsp salt,
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp baking soda
3 eggs
4 deciliter buttermilk
the zest of 1 lemon
appr. 4 tbsp oil for baking

Mix the ingredients like you would a pancake batter; that is to say, mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then mix the wet ingredients in a medium bowl, then mix the two in the large bowl. Leave the batter to rest for half an hour.

Heat an æbleskive pan over medium heat and add a drop of oil in each hole. Fill the holes 3/4 full. Turn the æbleskiver with a knitting needle when they are starting to rise at the edges. Before turning, you can add a small slice of apple (this is why they were called æbleskiver in the first place!), but I have never had them with any filling. Baked æbleskiver can be kept warm in the oven covered with aluminum foil and are served with jam and powdered sugar and - when serving adults - a lot of glögg (feel free to go native and add brandy and schnapps to this recipe).

March 7, 2013

Free family events in March

This list of free, local events for families will be updated as new events tick in.

DON'T MISS: Borromeo String Quartet Family Concert
Time: March 2, 2013 at 2pm
Place: St. Cloud Public Library Mississippi Room, 1300 West St. Germain Street

The Borromeo String Quartet will give a performance designed for all ages, including young children. The Borromeo has produced its own classical music videos. This performance will include a video created by students at Pine Meadow Elementary School during a 3-day residency by the Borromeo.

The Borromeo have been redefining the classical music landscape through innovative uses of Macbook Pro laptops, video projection, and iPads in performance. They use on-stage projections of hand drawn original manuscripts by composers like Beethoven, Bach, Brahms, Mozart, and Schubert to vividly illustrate the creative process hard at work, a practice which has excited audiences of all ages. In schools, their use of technology is proving to make classical music now very relevant to students who have grown up in the digital age.

First Thursday: SCRAPS Pinterest Party Image gallery
Place: St. Cloud Public Library Mississippi Room
Time: March 7, 2013 at 7-8pm

In March, First Thursdays is hosting a SCRAPS Pinterest Party. Supplies will be provided to "upcycle" a variety of projects that celebrate the art of craft.

SCRAPS is the St. Cloud Recycled Art Project Shop - where the creative use of refuse is encouraged. All projects are currently featured on the SCRAPS Pinterest Page. If you haven't tried SCRAPS, or Pinterest, let this event be your introduction! First Thursdays presents literary, performing and visual arts at the St. Cloud Library the First Thursday of each month.

Charlotte's Web Night -One District-One Book Celebration
Time: Fri, March 8, 5:00pm – 8:30pm  
Place: Sauk Rapids-Rice  High School, 1835 Osauka Road Northeast, Sauk Rapids, MN 56379, USA

Join us for the final celebration of this year’s One District-One Book event! The evening will include activities and a showing of the movie version of Charlotte’s Web. Pizza and pop will be available for purchase.
For more information, visit the One District-One Book page

Sauk Rapids-Rice Family Fun Day
Saturday, March 9, 1-3 pm
Sauk Rapids-Rice High School Pool. Enter West Door #7

Bring your swim suit and have some fun together in the pool and gym! This event is for families with
elementary age and younger children.  There is no charge for this event sponsored by
the Community Youth Connection.
Questions - call Community Education at 258-1577.

Free for the 3-yr-olds and under: Maple Syrup Festivals
Time: Saturdays, March 16 and April 6 - Open House, 1:00-4:00 p.m.
Place: Saint John's Arboretum

Join us for what has become the Arboretum's most popular event of the year! Sap collecting, syrup cooking, horse-drawn rides, demonstrations, and hot maple syrup sundaes await the whole family during this fun-filled event! Pre-registration for families is preferred, but not required. Pre-register and pay OR pre-register and bring your payment to the festival.
Arboretum Members: $5/adults, FREE/children (ages 4-17)
Non-Members: $10/adults, $5/children (4-17), FREE/children (3 & under)
Scout Troops: $10/adults, $5/scouts, FREE/children (3 & under)
Receive $1 per person discount (up to $10) if you pre-register by the Friday before the festival you attend (does not apply to scouts).

March 1, 2013

$125 to New Beginnings from MOMS Club

As a fundraiser update, we are sending $125 to New Beginnings (rounded up from our fundraiser).