Lunch Conversation – traveling geckos

Image: Geico Insurance

I’d like to see the Gecko get down off the luggage carousel.

Bytes said, he jumps. No, he doesn’t, said Wheels.

 I said, they just show him walking off pulling his suitcase behind him. Imagine Bytes jumping off a loading dock shoulder high with a suitcase half his height.   We laughed at that 6’4” image.  And wondered about these:

Does Gecko have to pay full price for his seat? Except for Priceline discounts, of course.

How does he fasten his seat belt? They have seat belt extenders – do they have subtractors? With teeny tiny buckles? Or does he need a car seat with a special gecko insert?   Or does he get to ride on the tray table with only his own suction cup toes to hold him securely?  

What does he do with his luggage while he is on the plane? Does some overworked flight attendant have to hoist it up in the overhead bin? Maybe he travels in the overhead bin with it??   Naww –  he’d be squashed by somebody’s oversized purse flung in without looking, followed by a hearty shove and then another shove to get the big coat stuffed in.

He’s been traveling cross country for a long time. In his birthday suit. What’s in that luggage anyway?

Not selling insurance and have no connection to the company, but if you missed the commercial:

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Fun Food for Kids Halloween Party

Brats baked in crescent dough
Grade schoolers like things on the spooky side — but not too spooky.  They still have fun with plays on words and things that are not quite what they seem!   Imagination sells so you can slide in some healthy food with fun names!  Here’s a few winners from the snack table:

Brats baked in crescent dough

Precooked brats (or hot dogs) baked in a dough mummy wrap!  Recipe below

Ghost brains, Goblin Gizzards, Troll Toes and Witch Fingers!   Label each item for maximum impact.  I had a hard time with the “easy” witches’ fingers!  The knuckles creases wouldn’t show up and the fingernails kept falling off.  A little black frosting gel solved both problems.  A bit under the sliced almond  helped it stay in place on the string cheese.  I made the knuckle creases with the back of a table knife and used a very tiny bit of gel wiped down the finger to make the creases visible.  It also helps to shave off a bit of the fingernail end of the cheese to make a flat indent for the “fingernail.”    Ghost brains are raw cauliflower florets.  Goblin Gizzards are frozen green grapes and the Troll Toes are raw baby carrots.

Skeleton made of vegetables

Veggie Boy is a skeleton made with a variety of vegetables. Sliced cucumbers with some peel left on make the spine and pepper slices make the ribs.  I used green but you can also use red or yellow pepper slices.  His face is a bowl of ranch dressing with cherry tomato eyes and a carrot for lips.  Hair is raw broccoli florets.  Use any vegetables you like that will fit into the skeleton shape.

Bats made from fruit leather

Cut bats from fruit leather.   Unroll the fruit leather but don’t remove the waxed paper.  Cut through both paper and fruit leather at the same time.  The top of the leather will dry somewhat so it won’t stick so readily to other snacks and the waxed paper keeps it from sticking to the plate.  Roll up (or wad up) the leftover pieces and let them dry for  “insects”.

Cut ghosts from 6 inch tortillas.  Spread with melted butter or a margarine spread and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes until slightly puffed and crisp.  You can use cookie cutters for the bats and the ghosts.  If you prefer, click here for patterns that will fit a piece of fruit leather for the bats and a 6 inch tortilla for the ghost.  I used kitchen shears to cut the bats and a sharp knife to cut two ghosts at a time.

happy halloween!

Mummy Brats
  • 6 precooked brats or hot dogs
  • 1 can crescent rolls or crescent dough sheet
  • Mustard for eyes
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Unroll crescent dough. If using crescent rolls, press dough together to remove perforations.
  3. Cut dough lengthwise into sixths.
  4. Wipe excess moisture off brats or hot dogs. Place one end of dough strip on one end of brat and fold slightly to make a pocket that covers the end of the meat.
  5. Wrap dough around the brat, overlapping slightly. Let dough stretch as you work with it. Skip about half an inch of the brat at the "head" and tuck the end of the dough under the brat.
  6. Place each finshed mummy on ungreased cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 15- 20 minutes until mummies are golden brown and the bottom is just beginning to become a darker brown.
  8. Add mustard dots for eyes. Serve hot.

Need more Halloween ideas?  Check these links:  Preschool Party Snacks and Games      How to Make Pom Pom Spider   How to Make a Halloween Wreath  Elegant Halloween    Fun Foods for Kids Halloween Party    Grasshopper Guts     Smashed Frogs    Zombie Brains   Candy Corn Fudge   Dirty Bones  
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Take time for you . . . .

Breakfast with scrambled eggs, sauted mushrooms
Wheels’ work schedule includes 12 hours each on Saturday and Sunday, the days people normally get together with friends and family, go to movies and church, and relax.  If we aren’t careful our lives become nothing but work – work at work, work at home, all day every day and half the night.  We have to be intentional about building in time for rest and renewal, reflection and rejuvenation. Usually we get a few hours here and half a day there, our daily half hour walk.   When I saw a story in the local newspaper about an unusual garden tour, we decided to set aside that entire day for us – no phone, no computer, just leisurely taking in whatever the day would bring.

Breakfast with scrambled eggs, sauted mushrooms

A big breakfast started the day.  Yes, that is dessert!  Who said you can’t have dessert for breakfast on a special day?

We drove an hour and a half to our destination, through quiet country side dotted by small towns.  A beautiful day of sunshine and rare blue sky!  The GPS didn’t lead us through the town near our destination but surprisingly wound us through beautiful hills the “back way’. And then, we were there.  Seventy-five  acres of rare conifers, glorious art and beautiful landscaping tucked in amongst the rolling hills.  Mr and Mrs. Schnormeier, owners of the Jeld Wenn Company, open their private gardens near Gambier, Ohio to the public once a year, free.  The gardens   are  beautifully planned, meticulously executed and well worth the trip – even if you live further than an hour and a half!

It was truly a day of renewal . . . a sabbath.  Sabbath is often thought of as a religious tradition, but it actually is much more.  It is a time set aside for rest and relaxation, yes.  Everyone needs down time of some sort.  There are sound psychological reasons to stop our busyness, to slow down and change our activity.   We stop what we are doing to read a magazine, talk with a friend, check out our favorite blog, pin a few on pinterest (anybody ever actually do a few?).  If we work in solitude, we seek out other people; if we are talking to people all day, we seek solitude.  Weekends are often just a longer time frame allowing us to pursue different activities than we do otherwise, but we are never far from from being scheduled and “busy” and productive.    Still those kind of breaks are great.  They help us avoid burnout from daily life.

Less spoken of, is the fact that we  also need a time in which we stop producing and just enjoy that which has been created.  We all have a long to-do list on paper or scrolling in our heads.  Lay down the list, stop the scroll!  Savor what has been accomplished. Admire your handiwork – the pile of laundry folded, the bills paid, the sleeping children, the weeded garden.  Give yourself credit for what you have done.   Give credit to others in the family for what they have done.  Does wonders for everyone’s morale!

If we can check out of our own world completely for a while and celebrate life, the benefits are deeper.  Some do this with daily meditation, others with weekly worship.   We can also do this with a relaxation break – a cup of coffee and just staring into the garden, beautiful music that brings us pause.  Sometimes people plan entire vacations, to “just be alive” somewhere different. We may not have that luxury, but a bit here and there is entirely doable!   I hope you can find something near you this summer, that gives you the gift of renewal!  In the meantime, here is a mini break – four minutes of music and beautiful gardens to explore!  Take time for yourself, to renew your spirit and rejoice in beauty.  May it remind you to search for these moments, no matter how small,  in  your life!

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