October 9, 2011

Flat Stanely New Braunfels

By: Lisa Johnson

As there are many ongoings in the month of October, I thought it might be fun to have a Flat Stanley NB contest. If you are not familiar with what Flat Stanley is, he is a character from a book that was flattened by a bulletin board when he slept. As a result of this event, he is able to travel in envelopes and have many adventures. The books have given way to the Flat Stanley Project which sends Flat Stanley through the mail or email to visit different people and places.

I thought I would modify this project a bit to highlight local events (e.g. Pumpkin Patches, Restaurants, Halloween Parties & Spooktaculars, Fall Fests, Mini Monets, Storytime at the Stone, etc...) or places (e.g. Gruene, Downtown NB, The Jumpy Place, Children's Museum, Red Rooster, etc...) and support literacy in our young students.
Here is the idea: create your own Flat Stanley (there are templates you can print in full color or in black and white or you can check out the original Flat Stanley template from the book) and take pics with him or her and/or your family and children at various events or places around town. Submit the pics with a brief excerpt written or dictated by your child to explain what Flat Stanley did, where he was, how he felt, etc... (If children are too young, feel free to creatively narrate this yourself.)

If you have an iPhone... check out the free Flat Stanley app to complete this project (see The Stone pic below for example).

So to reiterate:
  1. Create your own Flat Stanley with your kiddos
  2. Take Flat Stanley around town and take pics with him/her (or have him/her ride solo in the pics)
  3. Have your child write or dictate a brief description or dialogue for Flat Stanley about the place/event you visited, what he/she did there, who he/she met etc...
  4. Email me the pic and brief typed description to lisajohnson@techchef4u.com
  5. Be entered to win a $15 gift card to my favorite local coffee shop... The Stone. (The Samoan Chill is my fave!)
  6. All entries must be received by November 2nd to be eligible. 

If you want to take this project one step further, mail the description in a letter with the pic to a relative or family member that doesn't live in NB to pass on the festivities and stories or share with friends and family on Facebook!

A BIG "thank you" to The Stone for sponsoring our 
Flat Stanley NB Contest! 

More Pumpkin Patch Fun

There's another great Pumpkin Patch in town!
 Gruene United Methodist Church has a terrific spot for finding your perfect pumpkin, gourd or                Fall Family Photo!
Check out their selection of unique pumpkins and gourds in all sizes, shapes and colors!
Snap a shot of the family or transform yourself into a life size pumpkin with these adorable pumpkin props!
The GUMC Pumpkin Patch also offers a fall-themed story and craft time every Wednesday and Saturday at 10:00am! Also on Saturday's, the patch will have face painting and hayrides available!
Pumpkins are priced by size and sticker sheets are available at the GUMC Pumpkin Patch as well!
Stop by any time to get the makings for your Jack O Lantern!
For more information call 830-625-7200
Or check out the GUMC website!

Gruene United Methodist Church
2629 E. Common Street
New Braunfels, TX78130
located on the corner of Common Street and 306!

October 8, 2011

FUMC Pumpkin Patch

Dare I say it's beginning to feel like Fall in New Braunfels?  Are you thinking of warm cider, smells of cinnamon, sweaters and PUMPKINS?  Good news! The Pumpkin Patches have arrived!
First United Methodist Church has a terrific Pumpkin Patch every year!
Located near the square at 572 West San Antonio Street, FUMC Pumpkin Patch is staffed 
Monday - Friday from 12 - 9, 
Saturday 12:30 - 9 and 
Sunday 12:30 - 8.  
You can find gourds and pumpkins of all shapes, sizes and colors!
Pumpkins are priced per size and sticker decoration sheets may be purchased for  just $.50!
Their adorable photo spot creates the perfect place to capture Fall memories with your family.
The set even comes complete with gourd chickens!
If you need assistance carrying your purchase, there are volunteers to help you.
Stop by the FUMC Pumpkin Patch to get your Fall started!

Looking for more Fall fun?
Check out the FUMC Fall Festival on October, 22nd from 4:00- 7:00pm.  
There will be lots of games for the kids and for the adults, face-painting, the wiggle-waggle train and more!  
All games and rides are FREE!
For more information call 830-625-4513

Another Pumpkin Patch detailed report to come....stay tuned!

Funky Fair Winner

By: Lisa Johnson

I hope everyone had a fabulous time with the Funky Fair Pics contest. I am always pleased when I can find a free tool to create cool picture effects (filters, frames, etc...). Many moms used Picnik and were not as familiar with the other tools so this was a fun time to play with new photo-editing tools.

It was very hard to choose a winner so I decided my best course of action (and the "fairest") was to write everyone's name on a sheet of paper, put it in a hat, and draw a winner. So without further ado... with drumroll please... our winner is...

... "Evie Parade" created with BeFunky.com and submitted by Amy Merritt.

I have created a slideshow using iPhoto to showcase all of the fabulous and funky entries. If you have a Mac and are not using iPhoto, totally check it out! It took me less than 5 minutes to assemble this slide show, export it to iTunes, and upload it to the blog. (If you don't have a Mac, stay tuned for upcoming posts which will feature free tools to create animated photo slideshows similar to this one.)

I would also like to share my three favorites:

Being Cowboys: Perhaps I am biased as I have two little boys but something about this picture just stood out to me. The boys are absolutely adorable as is the backdrop. Love the frame and color too! (submitted by Kristina Hanney)

Surfin' at the Fair: This pic is just totally vibrant and the perspective is right on. Cowabunga! (submitted by Kristin Rush)


Here Piggy Piggy: The filter and the cropped edges took me back to some of my mom's 4H pics and I just think there is something so beautiful and timeless about those images. (also submitted by Kristin Rush)

Stay tuned for an upcoming post involving Flat Stanley NB!

October 2, 2011

The Neigborhood Gourmet

I am by no means a food critic, just a mom who wants good food at a good value. Have you heard of the Neighborhood Gourmet? When I first heard of Chef Marcien it was like being privvy to a well-guarded secret. That was several years ago now so with the blessing of Chef Marcien I'm so excited to share this treasure with moms here in New Braunfels. Marcien, together with the help of his family, puts together mouth-watering meals like the one below each Monday-Friday and even sometimes on holidays. The story of how this family came to live in New Braunfels is by itself, inspirational.

Dear New Customers:
Chef Marcien When I first started The Neighborhood Gourmet, all of my customers were friends and neighbors. Now, as my business is expanding, I do not know everyone as well and realize many of you do not know me or my background.
I was born and raised in Burundi, in Central Africa. For cooking, I mostly have been self-taught. I served as the head chef at the American Embassy in Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi. I served under seven different U.S. Ambassadors, including Bob Krueger, who as you may know, is from New Braunfels.
While in Burundi, I had the privilege to cook for both Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter during their African visits. Because of violent turmoil in Burundi, sadly I had to leave in 1996.
My wife Pascasie and I, with six of our ten children, spent about 3 years in Botswana, and then in December of 1999 moved to New Braunfels as political refugees. Happily, we love our new home and our new community.
In 2005 I proudly became a U.S. Citizen, as have many of my children. I am excited about The Neighborhood Gourmet and the opportunity to provide a variety of healthy, home-cooked meals for my new friends in New Braunfels.
Thank you for your support and friendship.
Chef Marcien Rusuriye

I think pictures speak a thousand words and this one really speaks for itself! Trust me, I'm not one who usually takes photos of food (this one was taken back in 2010) but I was in awe of the goodness and large portions that came with this meal. And by the way, this is only a serving for 2!
The menu usually has either 4 or 5 choices per day. You choose 1 main item and then 2 side dishes. Here is an example of the meals you can find on a particular day.

1. Chicken Cordon Blue
2. Beef Stroganoff
3. Crusted Salmon with Herbed and Red Belle Pepper Mayo
4. Grilled Beef Loin Strip /Mushrooms Sauce
5. Chicken and Grapes Nuts Salad
6. Roasted Herbs Pork Loin with Mustard Cream Sauce 
Side dishes :noodles ,rice pilaf ,mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, steamed broccoli,carrots  

If you're a mom who is looking for a new meal option that doesn't include driving through your local fast food franchise, someone who wants a quality, home-cooked meal at a reasonable price, I highly recommend Chef Marcien!
For all the detailed information on how to order, pricing and to see the most recent menu for the week, visit his website at