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A Falcon Feast


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A Falcon Feast
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Cookbook Recipes
Cookbook Recipe
Grandma's Biscuit Pizza
 
Cookbook Recipe
Taco Salad
 
Cookbook Recipe
Moravian Lovefeast Buns
 
Cookbook Recipe
Classic Waffles
 
Cookbook Recipe
Gram's Chocolate Cake
 
Cookbook Recipe
Homemade Pizza
 
Cookbook Recipe
Grandmother's Chicken Soup
 
Cookbook Recipe
Caramel Cake
 
Cookbook Recipe
Clam Chowder
 
Cookbook Recipe
Dad's Italian Burger
 
Cookbook Recipe
Amazing Apple Pie
 
Cookbook Recipe
Candy Cane Cookies
 
Cookbook Recipe
Mexican Omelets
 
Cookbook Recipe
Magnificent Hot Cocoa
 
Cookbook Recipe
Poppy's Eggs Benedict
 
Cookbook Recipe
Biscuits
 
Cookbook Recipe
The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever!
 
Cookbook Recipe
Super Easy, Moist Chocolate Cupcakes
 
Cookbook Recipe
Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies
 
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Pepperoni Pizza Rolls
 
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Grilled Cheese
 
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Birthday Party Bonanza Pancakes
 
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Trail Mix
 
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Trout
 
Cookbook Recipe
Snowflake-Top Chocolate Cookies
 
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Sweet and Spicy Whoopie Pies
 
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Maggie Mae's Pancakes
 
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Glazed Donut Burger
 
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Mim's Cranberry Sauce
 
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BLT Burger
 
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Good Old-fashioned Pancakes
 
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Apple Pie
 
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Potato Pie
 
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Gingerbread Cookies
 
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Green Bean Casserole
 
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Hobo Dinner
 
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Cape Cod Surf and Turf
 
Cookbook Recipe
Cenacle Cookies
 
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Nachos
 
Cookbook Recipe
California Rolls
 
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Firecracker Jello
 
Cookbook Recipe
New England's Famous Lobster Rolls
 
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Death by Chocolate
 
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Crisp Wontons
 
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Lena's Meat and Cheese Goulash
 
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Antipasto
 
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Hot Fudge Sauce
 
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Homemade Ravioli
 
Cookbook Recipe
Homemade Banana Bread
 
Cookbook Recipe
Cinnamon Crumb-topped Coffee Cake
 
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Peanut Butter Blossoms
 
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Yellow Allergy-Free Birthday Cake
 
Cookbook Recipe
My Great Grandma's Famous Danish Pancakes
 
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Grandma's Italian Cookies
 
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Crab Stuffing
 
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Apple Crunch Pie
 
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Delectable Pasta Sauce
 
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Delicious Amazing Fluffy Vanilla Cake
 
Cookbook Recipe
Shanty Spaghetti
 
Cookbook Recipe
Shrimp Scampi
 
Cookbook Recipe
Special Stuffing Recipe
 
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Mom's Fabulous Bacon Cheeseburger
 
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Choclate Chip Pancakes
 
Cookbook Recipe
Awesome Donuts
 
Cookbook Recipe
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
 
Cookbook Recipe
Venison Stew
 
Cookbook Recipe
Barbecue hamburgers
 
Cookbook Recipe
Barbecue hamburgers
 
Cookbook Recipe
Grandma's Crepes
 
Cookbook Recipe
Mini Doughnuts
 
Cookbook Recipe
Chicken Cutlets
 
Cookbook Recipe
Cheese and Broccoli Casserole
 
Cookbook Recipe
Potato Latkes
 
Cookbook Recipe
Buffalo Chicken Pizza
 
Cookbook Recipe
Strawberry-Lemonade Smoothie
 
Cookbook Recipe
The Best Homemade Pancakes
 
Cookbook Recipe
Mom's Ice Cream Cake
 
Cookbook Recipe
Three Cheese Raviolis
 
Cookbook Recipe
Mom's Lasagna
 
Cookbook Recipe
Old Fashioned Fudge Pie
 
Cookbook Recipe
Mac-N-Cheese
 
Cookbook Recipe
Marinated Steak
 

Cookbook Recipe
Grandma's Biscuit Pizza
This recipe came from my Grandma Karen. What it means to me is that my Grandma always cooks me what I love and takes care of us when we need her. I wanted to share this because it brought back great memories of family time. Enjoy. I remember Hurricane Sandy like it was yesterday. It was a cold and windy October, but I had no idea what I was in for. We were all in a jumble screaming and yelling, like when Chicken Little said that the sky was falling! This was one hectic time at my house and was one I will never forget. My grandma came to my house and said, “Have you seen the news? We are having a hurricane!” I thought that my grandma was just making a joke because last October we had storm Alfred. I was hoping that this storm was not going to be as bad as last year when we lost power for 6 days. After she left we sat around and talked about last year. That is when it started to get really windy and rainy. I knew then that she wasn’t kidding. The wind started to blow and the trees were bending left and right. Black is all I saw in a matter of minutes. “I can’t believe that we have another power outage!” my little sister said. “I just can’t believe that I have to pull out the generator again,” my dad said. My grandma called my dad’s phone and said, “Do you have power?” My dad said with a sigh, “No. “I don’t either” my Grandma said. This was a stinker because I was going to play my Xbox 360. Day by day, night by night, I was eating, sleeping, and playing my IPod in the pitch black room. I hear my dad’s phone ring and he picked it up and said, “Hello?” it was my grandma. “I have power!” she shouted with happiness. “Come down to my house” “I will make my homemade fried dough/pizza pockets.” Without any hesitation we all ran to the car, and went to my grandma’s house for the best thing that my grandma makes. We all ate with delight and savored the chewy and sweet fried dough/pizza pockets. While sitting at the table I said “I hope we never have a power outage like this again, but Grandma keep these coming please!” We brought the rest of them home and we saved the rest of them until the power came back on. I was relieved when our power came back on. We will always remember this because we all got together as a family and had a good time even without power. My story shows that you don’t need power for everything and that you can’t let technology rule the way you eat, sleep, work, play, and do other things.

Cookbook Recipe
Taco Salad
Fantasia On November 3, about two months ago, my parents and I went to the Big E fairgrounds in West Springfield, Massachusetts. The first things you see when walking in are the different jumps and obstacles. We were at the Fantasia horse show. Fantasia was the most memorable experience I have had with my parents. This horse show exhibits many different styles of riding. For example, you could see people shooting, acting, and unique movements of dressage. Out of all the different acts my favorite was the shooting. The goal was to shoot more balloons than your companions while riding a horse. This activity had the most competitors. The best female shooter just happened to be a retired school teacher; she shot every balloon she passed. She even ended up beating most of the male shooters. However, she was not good enough to beat one man who shot every balloon and ended with the best time. The person to come in last was a guy. He only ended up shooting 4 out of 10 balloons with the worst time. Though he was still had high spirits when he finished. My second favorite part of the horse show was a man and his horse acting out scenes. During this act they did a segment about drinking and driving. The actor did this to show how dangerous it is to drink and drive through comedy. An example of the humor was when the man pretended to drink and he got bit by his horse. In another part of the act he pretended to crash like a drunk driver would do. He and his horse also gave a lesson on texting while driving and, to make it seem like the horse was the car, he made the horse swerve. The last but not least were the different forms of dressage. Dressage is a form of riding that takes a lot of time and effort. Some people would say that the horse is dancing. And, those people are correct; dressage is basically moving the horse to the beat. There are lots of different moves to dressage. One of the hardest moves of dressage is called sustainable. This is when the horse jumps into the air kicks out there back legs. They also did many other moves such as half-pass. Half-pass is when the horse is moving forward and at the same time to the side. Out of all the different places I have been with my parents the most memorable was going to the Fantasia horse show. I thought it was amazing that the guy and his horse prepared that whole segment and that those people were able to do dressage without missing a single step. Though the part that fascinated me the most out of all the different sections was the gun shooting. I will never forget the time I went to the Fantasia horse show. Submitted by: "Julia H."

Cookbook Recipe
Moravian Lovefeast Buns
Laughter fills the air as I step into my grandparents’ house. It’s Christmas Day and everyone is already by the tree, impatient to open the beautifully wrapped gifts with their name on it. I rush over, equally excited, and am dazzled by the tree. It isn’t tall, but it’s fat, so there is plenty of room for decorations. The white lights are on, making the colorful, shiny, ornaments sparkle brightly. I swiftly help unpack the presents that we have brought and take my seat on the couch, only to get up for my temporary job as “elf”. Being the elf means that you stand next to Grandpa and bring the presents to people after he announces who they’re for and from. Every time I get a present, (most are clothes or books) I take a break. There is one long, thin present that I am interested in, and finally it is announced, “To: Calli. Merry Christmas! Love, Mom+Dad.” I tear off the red, Christmas-tree wrapping with my breath held. My fingers stumble on the ribbon, but soon that is torn, too. “Yes! Thank you, thank you, thank you!” I exclaim. Under my fidgety hands is a full sized keyboard. I absolutely can’t wait to get home and set it up! However, we aren’t leaving yet. There are presents left under the tree and dinner and dessert to be eaten. I pass out the rest of the presents in a giddy daze and moved on to dinner. The table is set with all the food you can imagine. Golden ham, green beans, delicate shrimp, many salads, devilled eggs, and delicious Moravian lovefeast buns are sitting on the ornate table cloth. We dig in happily and don’t leave any leftovers. Dessert is next, with cakes, pies, cookies, and more. I am still thinking about my new piano, though. I can finally take piano lessons, which I’ve wanted to do since I started fiddling on my friend Maggie’s worn down piano. Maybe since it is an electric piano, I’ll even have different instruments to play on. By the time we leave, it is so late that I fall asleep on the hour-long car ride home. I dream about opening my presents and my delight over the keyboard. In my dream, the whole evening after that is dim and foggy, and dinner alone seemed to take less time than unwrapping my favorite present. Dessert is even quicker, and there appears to be a piano instead of food. Then I awake with a start. We’re home! I walk inside, tripping up the stairs, and sluggishly get into my bed. My last thought before I drift off is, I guess I’ll have to play piano tomorrow instead. Submitted by: "Calli S."

Cookbook Recipe
Classic Waffles
Making Pancakes I bet you didn't know waffles were invented in Europe. My mom knows that because she loves waffles. But she has them all the time for breakfast, so On Mother’s Day My sisters Maya, Lily and brother Deepak and I deiced to make pancakes for our mom. But something odd happened. The four of us had been ecstatic the night before to make Mom’s surprise. My sisters and I all knew how to make pancakes so we were not going to use a cookbook. Then morning. Our dog started barking like crazy. We all ran out trying to make Tesa stop barking we gave her a treat and pet her, but she was still barking. I was about to take her outside when Maya said “there is a bear outside.” Tesa had been barking at a bear outside. Luckily he saw us looking at him through the window, and got scared so he ran off. Now that Tesa stopped barking we started making Pancakes. We were all so delighted to make pancakes for our mom, because she is always supporting us, helping, us, and being a great mom. Deepak and I got eggs, flour, and baking powder. My sisters got sugar milk and butter. Then Deepak cracked all the eggs and put them in the bowl. My sisters put the flour, milk, sugar, and flour into the bowl. After Deepak mixed it all up, then I cooked it on the stove, we made pancakes for us kids, and some for our mom. But then realized we hadn't cooked pancakes, we had cooked waffles. We didn't look at a cookbook to make the pancakes, because we knew how to make them. “Lets try them ”said Libby. We did they didn't taste that good so we got a cookbook and made new waffles for our mom. We decided to make waffles instead of pancakes because Maya suggested it. We ate the first batch of pancakes, and gave the waffles to our mom. As we approached the door we were all so eager and nervous to see if our mom would like the waffles. I thought she would because we made an extra waffle for the four us to split and it tasted delicious. When we went into our parents’ room our mom was still sleeping so we left them at her bedside. Luckily she woke up ten minutes later so the waffles were still warm. My mom said she loved them, and that made us happy. This was a memorable day for the four of us because of the bear outside. Also how we turned pancakes into waffles and the four of us were having fun together making our mom happy. Submitted by: "Aakash T"

Cookbook Recipe
Gram's Chocolate Cake
I love to spend time with my great grandmother. She’s so funny and always so energetic. Every summer on Mother’s Day, we go to her summer house in New York State and eat lunch and spend time together. But there’s one specific Mother’s Day that I remember, my great grandmother and I especially spent time together. We played cards together. We sat next to each other at the dinner table. All together, I always have a good time with my great grandmother. We walked in the door of my Aunt’s house in New York State. It was a beautiful day out, the birds were singing, breeze was blowing. We eat dinner there every Mother’s Day with my great grandmother for as long as I could remember. I walked in after my dad and mom and sister and shook my grandpa’s hand and my uncle’s hand. I then went over and gave my great grandma a big hug. “How are you gram?” I asked. “Great, how are you,” she asked. “Fine, just tired from the long ride up, it seemed to take forever,” I answered. “Well that’s good,” gram replied. Boy was I happy to see all of my family. ><><><><><><><><><><>< Later we all sat down at the table for dinner, I sat next to gram of course. We had prime rib; it was so juicy and rare, just how I like it. I sat and talked with my grandmother as I ate my green beans, mashed potatoes, and corn casserole. It was quiet for a few moments as we all really dug in. Then we all socialized while we waited for desert. Then it all came out, some pecan pie, chocolate pie, and of course my gram’s chocolate cake. “Oh…” I said, and I licked my lips as I said it. I cut some and ate it and boy was it good. Then my gram pulled out a deck of cards. She said, “You know how to play poker?” “No,” I replied. “Ha ha ha ha ha,” “I’m just playing with you, I didn't actually mean poker!” she said. “So what do you like?” she inquired. “Go fish,” I replied. “Okay,” she said. So we played go fish for the rest of the day until it got dark and I was tired. I hugged my grandma and went upstairs to make my bed for the night. As I walked up the stairs to bed, I thought about the time I spent with my great grandmother. Man, She’s getting older, at 95, and the times I’m spending with her are getting more valuable. Memories of my great grandmother are some of the times I will never forget. I will especially never forget how she made this cake for everyone at their birthday, this recipe means a lot to me. In Loving Memory Of Margaret Lawson 1917 to 2012 Submitted by: "Michael O."

Cookbook Recipe
Homemade Pizza
Swoosh!!Swoosh!! I watched intently as my dad threw the pizza dough up into the air and caught it again. My sister and I loved to watch my dad do this. My dad told us that he used to work at a pizza shop where he learned to do this. When my dad was done with the dough I took the oil from the shelf and oiled the big black pizza pan. My dad then set the dough on the pan. My dad’s favorite sauce to use on his pizza is rage because it is very yummy and it is cheap. My dad then put the grated American cheese over the bright red sauce. The only thing left to do now was to wait for the pizza to cook which was 20 minutes. So me, my sister, and my dad decided to watch the Atlanta Braves play, our favorite baseball team. As we watched the game we could smell the sweet cheese cooking. It made my mouth water. There was five minutes left till the pizza was done. So my sister and I got out all the silverware and poured us all a glass of milk. Just then the timer went off. I grabbed the cooking gloves and pulled out the steaming pizza. It filled the house with smells of cheese and dough. My sister and I watched as my dad cut the pizza into eight even slices. As I pulled off a piece to put on my paper the gooey cheese stuck to the pan and steam rolled off. I tried to take a bite but it burned my mouth so I drank some milk and waited for my piece to cool. It felt good to finally sit down and have dinner with the family again after a long day. Submitted by: "Wade A."

Cookbook Recipe
Grandmother's Chicken Soup
“Angela!” my grandma called, “I have surprise for you! It’s your own tomato plant!” My grandma handed me the pot filled with black/brown soil. I took a look at it, although it had no stem, I knew that with my tender, loving care it could turn out to be a beautiful tomato plant. From that moment on, my grandma has taught me how to take care of my plant, how to nurture it, to care for it, and to pick the fruit when I thought it was ready. Although I didn’t have any other plants of my own, my family still grew lettuce, zucchini, sugar snap peas and cucumber. My family also taught me to nurture the other plants too. I really have not met anyone that does not know how to take care of plants, so, that means it is really simple when you get used to it. Here are some steps… 1.) You have to make sure to water your plants every day, but you must check all of the plants to know if they are dry or not. 2.) You have to make sure, with any type of plant, that you keep it in the sunlight, but if you keep it there and you don’t water it, they will shrivel up and they will die. 3.) When you start to see green tomatoes then you are doing good, and after a while they turn red and when they do, go to the tomato plant and gently squeeze the tomato. If it is really hard then let it stay on, if it is really soft and squishy then pick it off and throw it out. But if it is firm but still a little soft, then gently pull it off the stem and it is ready to eat. My family has grown so many different foods over the years like tomatoes, lettuce, zucchini, snap peas and an orange tree. With all of our ingredients we made a chicken soup with the whole family. That is when I really started to love chicken soup. Since I was the youngest in my family, I will always have members of my family to teach me different things so that was a very good advantage. Plus, because my siblings have gone in the same grades and the same school as me they can help me understand more and they could help me know what is coming. One of those things that they taught me was gardening. I have had so many different people in my family tell me their way of gardening and they were always different. But, I got a very good understanding about different things to worry about, which was also very good. Although I do know how to plant and take care of other plants, I think the best plant that I work with is the tomato plant. I think this is the easiest because that was my first plant given to me and I think I got used to it the most. I was around 4 in 2005 when I received the plant from my grandma. So that was a very young age and I knew I was really little so when my grandma gave it to me, I was surprised that she trusted me with a living thing. So I think that was the big point when my grandma and I became really close. So I have a special connection to gardens because my grandma taught me how to take care of different veggies, which veggies we grew, and how to take care of my own tomato plant. But the real master piece is the chicken soup; my grandma has been cooking that same recipe and has never changed it since. Now, almost every Sunday, we see each other and for dinner we have, well a lot of things, but we always have chicken soup as the main dish. Submitted by: "Angela B."

Cookbook Recipe
Caramel Cake
Did you know that 15,885 dogs are rescued each year? In 2011 my family and I contributed to this number. A memory I will always cherish is when my family and I first brought our dog Lulu home. I had always wanted a dog since I knew what a dog was. My mom had been searching on Petfinder.com for the newest member of the Evon family. My sister and I had been spending the week at my aunt’s house when we were given the news that my mom had found our new best friend. “What breed is she?” “How old is she?” I had asked my mom. “She’s a beagle/coonhound mix and she is 1 ½ years old” my mom had responded. “Does she have a name?” I wondered aloud. “Yes,” my mom said.”Her name is Lulu.” I was very excited and anxious to get Lulu home. I searched online for more information on her background. I soon learned that she was traveling all of the way from Tennessee. Her former family had given her up because they could no longer care for her. Now that I had learned all about my puppy, it was officially time to bring her home. My grandparents drove my me and Rachel all of the way to Southington where we would meet our mom and finally be united with Lulu. “Are we there yet?” my sister chanted in the back seat. Once we arrived, we shopped in the plaza stores for any last minute items that we could get her. The truck carrying our little girl was an hour late from the scheduled time. When the vehicle finally decided to come to Connecticut, all of the expecting dog owners formed a line to get their bundles of joy off the large, white truck. My family and I were towards the back of the line so we were able to see some of the other passengers. When it was our turn to get our Lulu, I was very nervous. Would Lulu like her new forever home and family? More importantly, would she love me? As these thoughts ran through my head, a man came walking out with my baby in his arms.“I believe this is your new dog,” he stated in his deep voice. My mom extended her arms and the kind, strong man lowered the beautiful dog into her waiting arms.Lulu was considerably larger than the other dogs but still the cutest. She had a beautiful tri - color coat and her big friendly eyes were the color of caramel cake. Lulu was the most stunning dog I had ever seen. “Wow,” I breathed, “ she’s gorgeous.” My mom led our newest family member to the car. There, we gave her a proper greeting and a cold drink of water. She was a bit apprehensive at first, but once she realized that we were kind and caring she loved us right back. Lulu must have really loved us because she gave us several kisses each. The car ride home was not as pleasant an experience as I had anticipated. After being shut up in a cage for nearly a week, Lulu smelled absolutely terrible. The smell was so bad that we had to keep the car aired the entire car ride. “You smell repulsive,” I stated to Lulu. “We’ll have to give you a bath right when we get home.” When we arrived home, everyone immediately started preparing a bath. After her first day home, Lulu settled right into her new life in Connecticut. As you can see, a memory I will always cherish is bringing my spoiled, two year old beagle/coonhound home for the first time. I chose Caramel Cake as my recipe because Lulu's fur and eyes are the color of caramel. Submitted by: "Sarah E."

Cookbook Recipe
Clam Chowder
This recipie came from www.foodnetwork.com it was soppose to be my grandpas recipie but it was secret. He is a really great cook. Here is a backstorie i would like to share. Whale Watch I was in 6th grade and there was a really famous Field trip. It was to go to Cape Cod for a week and study sea animals and nature. It was at a camp called Natures Classroom. That Whale watch was mostly what I was looking forward to the whole time I was there. I couldn’t wait! We could only bring cameras, no phones, I pods, I pads, etc. I got mad at that because it was for the whole time we were there. We could only use it on the bus. Finally the day had come! A couple of days before we had to leave, we went. But our teacher, Mrs. Ellison, had to leave the second day so we had to leave with our field group leaders. My field group leader’s nickname was called Mighty Mouse. We filled up the bus with other kids at camp and went! On the way there we played this game that the other field group leader, Bravo (a nickname), chose (he even had the hair and everything like Johnny Bravo and a very deep voice) I forgot what the game was called but it was really fun and that’s all we did on the way there. About an hour had passed and we got there. I was so excited because I’ve always wanted to see a whale. When we got on the boat, we had to find a seat and stay there until we got far out. When we were far out it was surprisingly hotter than it was when we were at the dock. The boat had a snack shack but “We weren’t allowed to get anything from it!” according to my teachers orders. About 20 minutes had passed until we saw a spray of water come up from the ocean. I knew it was from the whales blow hole (obviously.) Then everyone saw a bunch of seagull’s and wondered what that meant. Then a whale shot up from the ocean. It was awesome! I took a picture of it on one of my like 10 film cameras. Then a bunch of them came up from every direction. It was very cool. Then I looked down at the water as we went really fast it looked like a bunch of bumpy glass or ice. I could have swarm that while I was standing in one spot I would get sunburn. Then about 1 hour had passed and all at once 4 whales came up. I had to get a picture of that on my last thing of film I had on one of the cameras! I told my principle, (who also came) “I got that!” She said, “Good for you Megan!” I was starving and found out that the leader of the camp brought a box of baby carrots. At that point I could eat anything. So me and my friends got a bag and pounded down carrots. That wasn’t filling so we kept on eating them. And of course us, Colebrook kids, finished the whole box before anyone else from other schools even got a carrot. Hey, at least it’s healthy. So that day was awesome. Best field trip ever. I used up every camera I had. Filled with a bunch of pictures of whales and tiny jellyfish we zoomed past! I won’t ever forget about it. This recipe was supposed to be my grandpa’s famous clam chowder but it is a secret and I'm not allowed to share it . So, here’s a random recipe I got from a website called www.foodnetwork.com Submitted by: "Megan J."

Cookbook Recipe
Dad's Italian Burger
Hiss! Sizzle! The grill heated up in a flame of tremendous size and the contest was on. This was the first time that anything like this had ever been done in my house, a cooking battle of cooking battles, but as one of the judges I knew it would taste amazing when it was all over! It was my brother pit against my dad and they were both fantastic when it came to making burgers. I was sure I would have a tough decision coming up soon, for my brother and dad had been fighting for weeks about who made the better burger. My mom and I--the two judges--were watching a little TV. We had been confined into the living room once the cook-off began, not able to get the slightest glimpse of the action while the master chefs were at work. But, it was all I could do to stop myself from sneaking a minuscule peak. I hoisted myself off the couch with a lazy grunt, and gradually crept down the hall leading up to the kitchen. My nostrils could barely catch the faintest aroma of.....what in the world was that? Was that bacon? Oh yes, indeed it was! It was the smell of bacon sizzling away in a pan on the scorching stove, until puddles of grease formed on the bottom, making the smoked meat almost stick to the pan it was cooked in. The heavy scent of it made your mouth flood with saliva and your taste buds tingle vigorously. But was this just bacon? That's what most would think, but this was different in a way I couldn't comprehend. On top of the bacon aroma was the delightful and gooey stench of maple syrup as well. I had never dreamed of a combination such as this until this very day. My mouth did salivate and my taste buds did tingle! I could almost feel my fingertips shaking with excitement. Like a snail, I dared an inch closer and inhaled the mixing smells until my lungs might've burst. I found it difficult to bottle up my excitement and bit my lip to keep me from uttering the tiniest squeal of bliss. This event would definitely go down in family history and it would be an excruciating struggle to decide the burger crafting king! A few hours later, the night is just falling over my house and neighborhood. My mom and I sit patiently at the dining room table, awaiting the delectable burgers yet to come in mere seconds. The cold wood of the table is icy on my hands and sends a chill up my spine. At that moment, my brother and my dad waltz into the room, each holding a plate with a heavenly appearing burger on it. They lay the plates in the center of the table, cut each burger in half, and sit down. Confident looks are spread across both of their faces. My mom and I are each presented one half of the each of the two burgers. I peer into both. My mom and I--the two judges-- sat on the cozy, leathery living room couch watching a little They're a delightful golden brown and grease leaks out from the meaty goodness. The wondrous smell hits my nose and I inhale deeply. It has the properties of grilled meat and if perfect had a smell, it would be these burgers. The meat on both appears perfectly rare and juicy. My brother clears his throat and confidently announces, "I have prepared the perfect all-American burger. It includes all of the classic American ingredients--beef, cheese, barbecue sauce and bacon cooked in maple syrup." My mouth filled with saliva with each word he spoke. My dad then bursted out of his chair and put his say into the competition. "And I have made a classic all Italian burger. The meat you see in front of you is made of sweet Italian sausage, topped with a layer of cheese. Unlike my competitor, I have toasted the bun and cooked it in garlic and butter. I'm sure you will find it superior," he informed us. I couldn't wait to dig into this and I did, beginning with my dad's burger. The mixing tastes hit me in a significant order. First, my taste buds dug into the Italian sausage, absorbing every bit of the fattening grease and sweet and spicy flavors. Then, the cheese. It was cool and soft on my tongue and smoothed its way in between the bites of sausage. Finally, the garlic and butter bun. It was crispy like fresh toast and the butter made it taste juicy and like silk. As soon as the garlic taste hit me, I was immediately reminded of garlic bread--one of my favorite Italian foods. Next, I tried my brother's burger. The beef was rare enough to be a slight pink color and full of succulent juiciness. The cheese and barbecue sauce added a refreshing tang to the mixture of tastes. (Normally, I would taste something like that in American restaurants.) Then I tasted the heavenly bacon. It was cooked to a perfect amount of crispiness and the syrup around it gave a gooey and sticky property. It was nothing like I'd ever tasted before. After I’d taken in the epicness of both fantastic burgers, my mom and I tallied our scores using the rubric we had developed a few days before, based on presentation, meat quality, condiments, and bun quality. “Can I use decimals in my scores?” I wondered. My mom nodded and we finished our scores, adding up the specific scores for each competitor. I cleared my throat and began to declare the champion burger-crafting king. “It was a very difficult decision, for both burgers were incredibly amazing and fabulous. I have never seen a battle so close. The winner won by .5 of a point. The official winner is Dad!” My dad and brother both got up and shook hands and we soon went back to relaxing, like we always do after dinner. My cooking theory was correct. My dad won because he had more experience, while my brother is a rookie chef. This will never fully leave my memory or anyone elses’. This is bigger than my mom and dad’s pizza battle. But that’s another story for another time. Submitted by: "Dominic R."

Cookbook Recipe
Amazing Apple Pie
About three years ago my mom had been making food for the Thanksgiving meal all day and it was about to pay off. The best apple pie creation was being made, and it was so good that even after all of the food for a Thanksgiving Day meal was finished, it was devoured too! It started off as any old normal Thanksgiving with my brother and me getting out of bed to watch the Macy's Day Parade and as usual, they outdid themselves. My brother and I would be watching the TV and as soon as a new float came we start saying, “I can’t believe it! That was the best one.” At the end though, neither of us knew what our favorite was because they all looked great. I can remember one special float. My brother and I were about to leave to help cook but then the Santa float came. We both said in astonishment, “I wish I were there to see Santa come down the street in that huge float. That is amazing.” After the Macy's Day Parade finished, we raced to help our mom cook in the kitchen. This was a very fun time that the three of us spent together because we were learning the family recipes. The recipes weren't too complex but, being the first time, we had to keep saying, “Mom, I forgot what step is next. Can you tell me one more time?” Even though we were really annoying about helping, I think that helping out made this meal even more special. We made homemade stuffing, mashed potatoes, and vegetables. We cut and baked rolls, and most important of all, made the turkey. The turkey took most of the morning preparing, but it was worth it. The turkey mixed with the mashed potatoes and stuffing was amazing. This day may seem memorable but the important parts are yet to come. My whole family showed up there and this doesn’t usually happen unless something big happens. We all gathered around the dining room table and held hands for grace. This year was my turn to say grace and that made a pretty memorable moment in my life. Everyone told me I did a good job because I had come up with it off the top of my head. As we sat down the whole family engaged themselves in the food and in no time at all the entire turkey was gone except for enough for about two turkey sandwiches. Then from the kitchen came a huge apple pie that my mom made from her own recipe. This was the best apple pie I had ever tasted. It was so filled to the very top of the crust that it looked like it would explode. The apple pie had to have used 10 apples, and it was over filling the pan it was put in with the warm apple gooeyness. The pie’s crust was crispy, brown, and tan while the apples tasted slightly like cinnamon. And the filling with the apples was delectable and completed the whole dish. This is what I was waiting for all Thanksgiving Day. That is my story on the time I got to say grace, I got to help cook the meal, I watched the Macys Day Parade, and tasted the amazing apple pie. As my brother said that day to everything that happened, “That was amazing!” Submitted by: "Will T."

Cookbook Recipe
Candy Cane Cookies
When I think of celebrating Christmas, I think of going to bed early on Christmas Eve and anxiously awaiting opening presents in the morning. I also think of spending time with my family in the afternoon as we eat turkey, ham, potatoes, vegetables and yummy desserts. But a couple of weeks before Christmas, I enjoy a fun Holiday tradition with my mom, making Christmas cookies. This tradition has been passed down from my Nana because she baked with my mom when she was younger. Some cookies we bake are sugary, powdery snowball cookies, crispy, chewy chocolate crinkles, gingery, flavorful ginger snaps, and my favorite kind, candy cane cookies. Candy cane cookies have a peppermint and vanilla flavoring that makes them delectable treats. Two weeks before Christmas, my mom and I searched anxiously in the brown wooden cabinets for our ingredients. We hope we have every ingredient we need, but if we don’t, we bundle up like snowmen, face the festive holiday crowd, and find the closest store we can get to. After we have all the ingredients on our list, we can begin our marathon-bake-a-thon! First, we rummage through the cabinets for dozens of supplies like bowls, wooden spoons, mixers, sifters, and measuring cups. When we finally have all our supplies, we can start to bake. I think the candy cane cookies are the hardest to make. They take the longest, and twisting the red and white dough together to make the candy cane is tiring and tedious. It can be very hectic in the kitchen sometimes. My mom helps me with the measurements I have trouble with. For example, measuring exact amounts of peppermint or vanilla. Or, cleaning up the flour all over the counter! Different distractions get in the way. For example, when we finally start the batter, the phone rings, or the dog has to go out, or we need some joyous, cheerful Christmas music to help us with our task. No matter what happens, we get the scrumptious cookies done. The candy cane cookies are my favorite to make, but they take patience and are a lot of hard work. I bake with my mom all day. Listening, dancing, and singing to Christmas music helps the time go by. My mom likes smooth Elvis Presley songs like Silent Night and Blue Christmas, and I like faster ones like Jingle Bell Rock and Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree. After all day long, I can’t keep my patience or do any more cooking! The thought that keeps me going is that, after we are done baking, I get to enjoy the delicious, heavenly cookies. After a long day of hard work, I think that making cookies with my mom is great because we get to spend time together. I enjoy eating the cookies we bake, but I also like giving them out too! And knowing my mom baked cookies with her mom when she was my age makes this tradition extra special. Submitted by: "Julia B."

Cookbook Recipe
Mexican Omelets
Do you take family vacations? I do! In my family we take vacations every other year. One vacation, we had an amazing time. It was in the Dominican republic. On a Monday, two days before we left the island we swam with dolphins. I remember waking up, taking a shower, then eating. I ate one amazing Mexican Omelet! It was very cheesy, spicy but sweet! “Hola, ¿qué tipo de tortillas te gustaría?” (Hello, what type of omelet would you like?) The man questioned me. I was confused, and I didn’t know Spanish too well, but I know the basics, I saw him cooking Omelets, so I said, “Me gustaría tortilleria Mexicana.” (I would like a Mexican style omelet) After we ate we got into a cab, and onto a dangerous road. We headed onto our long 45 minute destination to swim with dolphins. We arrived into the station. There were parrots, and we made them say bad Spanish words! That entertained us until our captains called us up to the boat. “Hola ellos! Disfrute de nadar con los delfines!” (Hello we hope you enjoy your trip!) “Gracias!” my mother chanted! (Thank you!) We took the small boat up to the dock where dolphins, sea lions, sharks, and even sting rays were! The water was warm and very vibrant. I jumped into the glistening aqua colored water, feeling the wet water float around my body. It filled my body with warmness. The water was literally warmer than the outside air! The five dolphins one by one kissed us and swam around us multiple times. Then we got our pictures taken with them! Then the sea lions came over, kissed us and did the same! We all cherished this amazing family moment. We especially enjoyed the dolphins, because my sister accidently touched the…uh, bad spot of a dolphin, I should say. We all had a very comical laugh about that. I will remember this moment forever. It had to be the most memorable moment I’ve ever encountered! I hope me and my family have a great vacation like this again, although, it isn’t a very high possibility. Submitted by: "Noah L."

Cookbook Recipe
Magnificent Hot Cocoa
Creating Hot Cocoa “Do you think that’s enough?” my friend, Paige, asked as I carefully poured another mountainous spoonful of Swiss Miss into a mug. “Um, I guess,” I told her. “There’s only one way to know for sure!” I grabbed the white mug and took a small sip. I choked down the cold, watery hot chocolate. I watched her do the same. “Why’s it cold?” she asked. I thought back to what we put in, and in what order. “Must have been the milk and the time we took. I don’t know why it’s thin and watery.” “Well,” she exclaimed, “let’s find something thick and creamy!” We exited the bright kitchen and sat on the stairs of the dining room. I thought about everything in the kitchen. As I stood up to pace, I looked at the dirty dishes by the sink. In one of the bowls, I saw melted ice cream. “Ooh! Ice cream!” I ran to the freezer and yanked it open. Ripping the top of the container off, I snatched up a spoon from the counter to scoop the ice cream and paused. “How much?” I pondered. “Just scoop some and throw it in there,” Paige said. I began working away at the hard, frozen ice cream as Paige shoveled all our other ingredients into the mug. Then, I put a spoonful of ice cream. We peered into the cup and watched it melt. After it was gone, we each took a sip. We’d found the right consistency, but it was still cold. Both of us frowned in disappointment. We once again sat to think up a way to solve our problems. Paige asked, “How did we do that, again?” “What do you mean? You were there, weren’t you?” She laughed, then replied, “Like, in what order?” “It was the hot water, then all the dry ingredients, then the ice cream.” “That’s it! The ice cream made the water that had been sitting there cold!” “So the ice cream goes in first!” We hopped up and repeated our process, this time pouring the boiling water over the frigid delight. Once again, we each took a sip, and danced with delight. Our experience showed us that our imaginations work great together and that with a little effort, we could create something amazing. Now, after we dash inside to escape the wind and snow, we know exactly how to get warm. We found it is worth the effort when you want to invent something wonderful. Submitted by: "Rosie S."

Cookbook Recipe
Poppy's Eggs Benedict
“Lad, can you please put the English muffins in the oven, we’ll need more for the upcoming Christmas day brunch,” Poppy asked. I was dropped off at Nana and Poppy’s house at 9:00. My sister and parents went to go get the much needed eggs for the egg benedict that Poppy was going to make. It was Christmas day and I doubted that there would be much stores open so I wished my sister the best of luck as I watched them get into their car. Since it was Christmas day I had already had a morning filled with happiness and many of the presents that I had asked for. While Nana was supervising the meal, I asked Poppy if he could show me some of the valuables that he had collected as memorabilia from World War II. I carefully walked down the stairs to the cellar and I found a coin on the floor which I gave to Poppy. “Good job, lad. This is a coin from Libya.” He showed me the date 1829, and I realized that some of these coins could be very expensive. I saw Poppy tuck the coin into his pocket and we strolled on. “Here are some of the coins I collected as an engineer on the B29,” He exclaimed. (I watched in admiration as all of the coins were carefully wrapped up in tissue and other means of protection from scratching the other coins.) “Is that a Peso?” I asked Poppy as I saw Mexican writing that I recognized from my Spanish lessons in school. “It is lad, how did you know? One of my friends gave that to me when we were on the B29. Lad do you want to play some tunes upstairs?” “Sure” I said. We cautiously made our way upstairs dodging the cobwebs as we went. We had played together before and we sounded pretty good. Once his harmonica was out and my trumpet unpacked we started playing. “Watch this Poppy,” I said. I played the different octaves of the note “C” by not pressing any keys on my trumpet. I could tell he was amazed. How did you do that lad,” he asked as I put my trumpet down secretly happy that I stumped Poppy, (that rarely happens). I told him that with each octave I go up, I must blow harder on the trumpet mouth piece to reach that note. As we continued to play Christmas music in the bedroom, my sister and parents walked in, just in time to admire our duet of “Sleigh Bells.” As we finished we earned a well-deserved round of applause from Mom, Dad, and Sister Alison for our performance. “That was great Poppy,” said Mom. She always calls him Poppy too, although he really is her Dad. “I got some special eggs from a gas station that was open. We tried most of the stores in the area but they were all closed. Luckily we went to a gas station to fill up our tank and Alison suggested we look inside for some eggs. Sure enough they had them. I can’t wait for the egg benedict that you are going to make.” Mom exclaimed. We cheerfully walked to the kitchen where we found Nana setting the table. “I heard the performance you two put on. It was really great” Nana said. “Thanks,” Poppy and I said simultaneously. Meanwhile, in the kitchen everyone was doing their part helping prepare the meal. Mom and Alison cooked the English muffins while Nana, Poppy, and I were cooking the eggs and the hollandaise sauce. After about thirty minutes of preparing the meal, we finally sat down and enjoyed the delicious egg benedict, it was the best breakfast I’ve ever had with my family. When we were finally done and wished everyone a Merry Christmas, Poppy said, “Wait, Adam, I would like to give you this,” and he held out his hand. My mouth dropped and I was very happy. It was three of his special coins that he collected when he was in World War II. I thanked him very much and I gave him a big hug goodbye. “Merry Christmas, Lad,” he said. I replied back with a Merry Christmas and turned down the steps and waved a big goodbye. I knew those were a couple of Poppy’s prized possessions and I would never forget them. Having a Christmas breakfast with my grandparents definitely was a first and something that I would look forward to again. I learned a new tune with Poppy, ate a delectable breakfast, and got some very special coins from Poppy. I know if we ever have another Christmas breakfast with my grandparents, I will be looking forward to it. This was a Christmas that I will never forget and till this day I still have the 1829 Libyan coin and the Pesos wrapped in tissues in my room. Submitted by: "Adam C"

Cookbook Recipe
Biscuits
Climbing the Big Tree “Oh, that tree is huge!” I exclaimed when my dad pointed to the 200ft. tree. We were on summer vacation in Australia in Perth which is on the western side of the country. We were in a forest with a bunch of really tall trees. On the way to my cousins house we stopped to climb one of the four tallest trees in Australia. None of us expected it to be that big. We moved away from the car and over to the museum portion of the tree. It was a small 20ft. covered platform with a wooden floor and walls. The glass covering the pictures and articles of the tree were blurred by mold. My dad pointed out and exclaimed, “This article says when the pegs were getting hammered in one day, part of another tree fell and demolished the pegs below the worker. He couldn't get down so he had to climb 100 feet on a thin piece of rope only a few centimeters thick. Nothing would catch him if he fell. He made it down alive eventually.” The story didn't make me feel any better about climbing the tree. My dad, brother, and I walked over and started our ascent up the pegs spiraling around the huge wooden mass. The tree was almost like a bigger redwood trees in California. It was a reddish brown and had rough bark. One hand and foot on the pegs at all times, I said in my mind as we climbed. The pegs were stainless steel and looked like nails hammered into the tree. The part of the pegs you put your hand or foot on had tread so it was easier to grip. There was nothing to below me to land on but other pegs and the chicken wire above them. Half way there, I said to myself reassuringly. It felt like seconds, minutes, hours until I gradually made my way up to the first platform marking half way. We peeked over the stainless steel railing to the ground a hundred and five feet down. Green leaves littered the ground as summer was turning to autumn. My dad pulled out six biscuits from his backpack. He gave me one and I took a huge bite. It was crisp and still warm. It melted on my tongue as I gobbled it down. I ate the other then stood up. “I'm going to drop my hat down,” I mentioned to my dad as I did so. It fluttered to the ground like the hundreds of other leaves falling. When my bright blue baseball hat hit the ground I took a picture with my camera. Then I asked my dad, “Can we go up the rest of the pegs to the top?” “No, it gets steeper and the pegs are farther apart,” he answered. I thought the real reason we couldn't go up more was because he was scared. “Let's go back down,” he remarked. My brother went first, then my dad, and finally me. The descent was much easier and a lot less time consuming than going up. After about five minutes I was only about fifty feet off the ground and everything was much more visible. Then I was at forty feet. Then thirty. Twenty. Ten. Five. One. I was the final one on the ground. We all took a few more pictures. Then I sprinted over to my hat and saw it was covered in some leaves, but other than that was fine. I ran back over to my brother and my dad. “Can we go to another tree like this?” I asked my dad as we got into our white rented Honda. “Um, maybe,” he replied back. We never got to go up another huge tree like that one in Australia. Whenever I see huge trees though it makes me think of the time in Australia. Also it makes me hungry for those delicious biscuits we had when we finally accomplished our goal. Submitted by: "Max B."

Cookbook Recipe
The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever!
“Hooray!” I shouted with glee. “This is the my favorite part of the entire year!” It was Christmas Eve six years ago and we just started making the yearly batch of chocolate chip cookies for Father Christmas. I sniffed in the chemical scent of cleaning soap as my mom swept the soft, squishy sponge across the hard, granite countertop. My eyes peered over the center island, assisted by little feet on tip-toes. I stared intently as the little bubbles left behind popped one at a time and the remainders were wiped up by a stark white paper towel. Sharp beeps pierced the air as our oven was set to preheat. “Fiona,” my mother started, “would you like to...” but I had already raced out of the kitchen to grab a step-stool so I could see over the counter. Racing into the room, I quickly deposited the booster and jumped up, almost knocking down the jar of flour in the process. “Woah there!” My mom laughed, “We don’t want you to end up in the cookie mix!” I started giggling uncontrollably. The disease spread like wildfire and soon my mom erupted into a fit of laughs too. Once our stomachs ached and our faces hurt, we decided to finally start measuring out the ingredients. THUNK! Ssssshhhhhh! Clang! Sounds of measuring spoons, pots, and ingredients in motion filled the large kitchen. Even fireworks couldn’t have been heard over our racket. After blending everything together, I looked at my mom and we both knew the next step was the best part! I stuck my tiny fingers in the dough, creating a satisfying squish as I groped around to find a cluster of yummy chocolate chips. Finally finding a treasure trove of sweets, I yanked hard and pulled a chunk off of the mound from the bowl. As I shaped it into a slightly ovalish ball, my mom asked why I wasn’t using a spoon or an ice cream scoop to make things easier. I paused for awhile, thinking. “Well,” I started, “I get more chocolate in my cookies when I do it this way. PLUS I get to eat the ones that are mine too!” “That is a very good idea, but you will get sick on cookies!” mom reasoned. “Aww,” said my younger brother, Colin, as he rushed in. “I want some too!” “So do I,” chimed in my dad from the next room over. “I think I at least deserve a couple!” “They have to bake first,” my mom said, “Then we can eat them.” As she pushed the tray into the oven, Colin and I sighed wearily. It would take a lot of patience to survive this long, tortuous wait. About fifteen minutes later, a delicious, mouth watering scent took over the air, almost like a fog settling in a valley. It was simply trapped there until it dispersed later. The smell of cookies wafted through the house and lingered at every door, bringing out hungry occupants. We all staggered into the kitchen, where my mom had just finished cleaning up the mess we had made earlier. My mom had just pulled a steaming tray from the oven and man, those thing looked delicious! Ignoring her warning on how hot they were, Colin took a huge bite. “AHHHH! My tongue!” he shouted. “Told you, silly,” Mom laughed. “Those things are hot! It nearly killed me to wait, but I finally got my prize I had been longing for since last Christmas. My little teeth bit hard into the cookie. The semi-sweet chocolate chips melted in my mouth. They softened on impact and it felt like there was a waterfall of candy that had just erupted in my mouth. The vanilla-rich cookie was soft and warm as I practically inhaled it. These were amazing. I knew no other dessert could top it. As I reached for the next one I wondered, can we have enough willpower not to eat all of Santa’s cookies? That definitely would be a huge problem. Hmm... Maybe after this I should just have one? Maybe two? Or three? Whoops, I just ate four! I really need to stop. I might have just one more... Sensing my hesitation, my mom said, “You know there is more in the bowl. Just don’t gobble them all down!” My brother’s face and mine lit up and we grabbed cookies left and right and stuffing them in our faces. That Christmas truly was one of the best ones I have ever had. My family joked around, ate my dad’s amazing food, and the kids played until bedtime. It was very special and memorable for us since we never made cookies together before. Now, my mom and brother and I always make cookies every year. It is a family tradition! We had so much fun together and there were enough cookies for Santa Claus at the end after all! Submitted by: "Fiona Q."

Cookbook Recipe
Super Easy, Moist Chocolate Cupcakes
Mixing the ingredients for the sweet dark chocolate cupcakes is like a dance as I swing around the spring air, jamming to my favorite country music. There is a distinctive smell wafting towards me from my delicious, chocolaty desserts as they come out of the steaming, hot oven. I hope these are good, not like last time. I thought as I pull the chocolate cupcakes out of the oven. Last time I made brownie cupcakes, it was up in Massachusetts, with my best friend Katie. Instead of chocolate chips, we included crushed-up candy canes in ours, and it came out absolutely AWFUL! Of course my grandfather and dad said it was fantastic, but I am convinced that they weren’t telling the truth. I was hoping that these delectable pieces of art would be a spectacular addition to my aunts’ bakery/cafe. After I mixed up all the ingredients and pulled the desserts out of the oven to cool, I decided to sell them to my Auntie Rachel for her Bakery/Cafe in Winsted Connecticut. After all, the frostings did match the wall colors quite nicely. “Hi Auntie!” I said entering the kitchen. “Hi baby!” Rachel screeched forcing me into an embrace. After showing her my masterpiece Rachel took them and gently placed them in one of her cookie jars. “Thank you baby girl,” she spoke in relief as I walked out of the doors, “now I don’t have to cook any more sweets for a little while.” The next day I woke up feeling energetic and ready for action. That feeling slowly creeped away, as I saw my mom hovering over me like a cat taunting a mouse. “Ahh!” I screamed as I darted myself up, just barely missing the ceiling of my bedroom. “Alex guess what.” my mother said mysteriously. “I don’t know! Was it worth scaring me half to death?” I said as I tried to focus on the objects surrounding me. “Definitely” my mom said just barely audible. “Then what is it?” I said starting to get annoyed. “It’s about your cupcakes...” she said dropping her voice also taking my confidence down as she went on, “Rachel’s customers loved it! They’re all out!” I was stunned. I mean how could they have sold out that fast? They were only given to her two...three days ago. I must have looked ridiculous just standing there trying to make sense of it all. I didn’t know what to say... How did... Are they...What? nothing made sense for a while. Then I started thinking, maybe i’m not as bad a cook as I thought I am. Several minutes passed until I chose to make a visit up to the Bakery myself. To see if my mom was telling me the truth. She definitely was! Even still, I give most of my goodies to my Aunt’s Bakery/Cafe. Submitted by: "Alex A."

Cookbook Recipe
Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies
The Cold Hunt Don't you hate getting up really early and your house is freezing while, your parents have a surprise for you? I don't like surprises or getting up early in a cold house, so this was pretty much the worst morning experience ever. I am startled when there is someone at the foot of my bed saying, "Colten, Colten wake up, wake up." I sit up in my bed and take glance at the clock. It's just past four-thirty in the morning! I ask my grandpa why he is waking me up so early. "You'll see” he says,”but dress warm." “What could we possibly be doing at this time, I thought. I got out of bed,still half asleep,and opened my closet to get ready for the cold. I dressed in a pair of blue worn out jeans, a red long sleeve Under Armor shirt and,to top that, a thick red leather coat with two button up pockets. On the way out I tossed two strawberry pop tarts in the toaster and looked at the thermometer. "Nineteen degrees" I screamed! Whatever this is, it better be inside. I carefully stepped my foot outside. It was freezing. I couldn't survive this. I thought to myself, ahh, suck it up. I would one day regret not doing this. I walked to where my grandpa was tossing pieces of wood into the wood stove. It was toasty in here. I had a big sigh of relief knowing that I was going to be inside. I took off my jacket. My grandpa stopped me in my tracks and said, "Hey what are you doing.” “We're going outside." I groaned and said, “Do we have to.” I picked my jacket off the dusty cement floor and I prepared for the worst. I spotted my grandpa in the back of the garage. He was reaching for a giant steel safe with a big lever on it. He twisted a knob for a few seconds until it finally made a click and opened. I couldn't see what was in it but my grandpa pulled out a sleek, jet black rifle. It hit my mind immediately, we were going hunting! I had always wanted to go hunting, sitting in the woods and waiting for a deer. I ran out the door very anxious and started my way into the woods. Cold gusts of wind passed me leaving my teeth to chatter. When I started onto the path in the woods all I could hear was the leaves crunching under my brown boots. My grandpa kept on telling me to take lighter steps and to try to avoid the leaves so the crunches wouldn't alert the deer that we were coming. We halted to a stop and took a sharp turn to the right where we were no longer on the trail. I had to be very careful because there were sticks everywhere and if I tripped or stepped on one it would make a large cracking sound that would travel about a mile to a deer's ear. When we finally got to our stop where we would stay for a while I wiped all of the white fluffy snow off a rock . I would sit there and try to make myself comfortable for a few hours in this cold, cold weather. I was very uncomfortable because of the cold weather and wind but I enjoyed being out in the quiet woods with my grandpa. A couple hours after the sunrise we headed back. I was a little discouraged we had not seen even one deer, but I felt good because I had spent quality time with my grandpa and it was relaxing being out in the woods watching the squirrels jump from tree to tree and listening to the birds chirps at sunrise. When we finally got back to my grandpa's garage he put another log into the fire and I lightly laid my jacket down on the solid, dusty cement floor with a relieved feeling that I was finally warm. That was the best time of my life. We had gotten off to a rough start, but it was worth waiting on that rock with my grandpa even if there wasn't a deer in sight. Submitted by: "Colten B."

Cookbook Recipe
Pepperoni Pizza Rolls
A chilling droplet of water from the swimming pool splashed on my thigh as I woke up from a light, relaxing nap on the large pool float. Walking inside wrapped in a towel, I was told by my Aunt, Lynne, that my stomach wouldn't go five minutes without “growling”. Almost every night my family & I went out to dinner at a restaurant. But, there was one night where no one wanted to go out to eat. So instead, we stayed home and did something of our own. My aunt and I were looking everywhere around the kitchen to find something to eat. We were desperate to find something. It took forever, we really felt like there was nothing to eat. Later, my uncle came home from Stop and Shop after 2 hours of grocery shopping. When we were unloading all the groceries into the refrigerator, we noticed six rolls of Pillsbury Crescent dough and a large container of tomato sauce. Stored all the way in the back of the fridge, was 3 huge bags of shredded mozzarella cheese and, a small bag of pepperoni. All of a sudden, my cousin screamed, “I have the perfect idea!” She then pulled me aside and whispered, “We should make mini pizza rolls. We have all the right ingredients for it, so why not try it?” I thought it was the greatest idea because we were all starving by that point. I exclaimed to her, “That sounds really good! How do you make them, though?” I guess she’s made pizza rolls before, because she knew the directions like she knew the back of her hand. Soon enough, my whole family was participating. Eleven of us in the kitchen were working as a team to make our dinner. In less than ten minutes, everyone and every thing was covered in sauce! We were all having so much fun rolling up the sauce, cheese, and pepperoni inside the dough. Eventually, when everyone made the amount of rolls they were going to eat, my cousins and I put all of them on the tray and preheated the oven. When it was finally hot enough, I put the trays in for about 10 minutes. It seemed like forever before the oven finally beeped, to let us know that dinner was done. Finally, after five minutes of cooling, everyone came to the counter and grabbed their servings. My whole families’ faces lit up as they took the first bite. I felt very proud of myself and my cousin for coming up with such a great idea. I won’t ever forget the night that my whole family worked together to made a very delightful but easy dinner. It was a really great experience for me. Submitted by: "Jenny J."

Cookbook Recipe
Grilled Cheese
The Grilled Cheese Mayhem “Brandi, are you getting hungry, or is it just me?” my best friend Kate asks with her stomach growling loudly. I rub my stomach a couple times thinking. I finally nod and smile at her, “Yeah, sure, what are you thinking to eat?” We walk to the kitchen and open the fridge. We think about having some chicken nuggets, but we would have to cook those in an oven. We put the chicken nuggets back and then Kate pulls out bread, cheese and butter. She then gets a butter knife and starts to butter the bread up lightly. “What are you doing?” I say looking over her shoulder. She looks at me and smiles, “I am making a grilled cheese, you want to try? They are quick and easy to make.” I shuffle my footing and look at the stove wearily. “I don’t know, i may ruin it.” “Oh come on, it’s going to be okay! These things are easy to make how can you possibly ruin it? You’ll do fine!” She assures me. I get a butter knife, plate, all the ingredients and sit down. I start to spread the butter and then she sees it, “Woah, that’s a lot of butter, are you sure you want that much on it?” I look over my shoulder to her, “There’s a such thing as too much butter on bread?” She looks at me, the bread, and then my big, cheesy grin I was giving her. She shakes her head and laughs. She makes hers and it comes out a little burnt but a nice color, “Darn it! Not perfect, I must make another one.” She goes to throw it away, but I eat it feeling bad for the poor grilled cheese. I then ask politely after her third attempt of making one, “Can I possibly make my grilled cheese?” She nods then I throw mine onto the stove. Sizzle sizzle sizzle, POP. BANG. BOOM. The sound of the butter on the bread crackling scares me. Soon afterwards, smoke fills the air. “BRANDI! I let you use the stove and you fill the room with smoke, great job!” She quickly turns the stove down to low. “Are you mad at me?” I quickly respond, but silently scared to hear what she has to say. She shakes her head and says, “No, I can’t be mad at you!” She starts to laugh and then I ask in confusion, “Why are you laughing? What’s so funny?” I look around and then she responds, “look at your grilled cheese! Haha, it’s completely burnt! You weren’t joking about ruining a perfectly good grilled cheese!” I look over and nervously laugh with her at my mess. Then I quickly whip around back at the stove and take my grilled cheese off it. I look at my wreck and then at Kate. She’s cracking up laughing. I pull the grilled cheese to my mouth and then take a bite. I chew it up, and it tastes like charcoal. The crusty, black, smokey bread covers the cheese, which is so hot it’s almost a liquid, and it burns my mouth. I run to the sink and gulp down a couple gallons of water to get the taste out and to soothe my burnt mouth. “So Brandi,” Kate asks with a giggle, “How did charcoal- I mean, your grilled cheese taste?” “Fantastic Kate, just fantastic.” I lie sarcastically. Submitted by: "Brandi S."

Cookbook Recipe
Birthday Party Bonanza Pancakes
I woke up the morning of the greatest day ever. I didn’t know it until later that day. It was my eighth birthday party and it is my first slumber party. Would you be excited? It was a warm July morning when the best day of my life happened. I sprang out of my bed ready for my first sleepover party. My mom was down stairs cooking a delicious breakfast of eggs, bacon, and my favorite sausage. I ran down stairs in under one minute to smell the delicious scent. The bacon was juicy and crispy. The eggs were sizzling and were perfectly baked. Then there was the sausage. It was scrumptiously perfect in every way. After we all ate I got dressed in my favorite outfit and waited for my friends. The first to arrive was Emily. She looked really excited. As soon as we get upstairs, Natalie comes. She looked happy to be here. Again the same thing happened; Ashley comes once we get upstairs. She also looked excited. We were all ready to go mini-golfing for the night then get pizza. So we headed out to the golf place. When we got there, we chose our balls that were glow in the dark and a club. We started for the course. The holes were sort of easy and some were hard. We tried our best and on one hole the balls didn’t like us so we gave up after five tries. We finished the course in twenty minutes which isn’t that long. So, my mom gave us quarters to play at the arcade there. We had an air hockey match and I won. We exchanged our tickets for prizes and I got a popper. That is the little things you would flip and it would pop into the air. After we got the prizes we went back to my house for pizza. While we waited for the pizza we played hide and seek. My house can hide anyone if you try hard. When the pizza arrived we ate a lot of it. We must’ve had like four or five pieces. When we finished we got into our pajamas and watched TV on the couch. At 8 o’clock or so, we walked upstairs and went to bed. We actually did makeup and played Would You Rather. I was the first to go to sleep and I slept well. When I woke up the next morning, I smelled the sweet scent of my mom’s pancakes. They smelled like perfection on a plate. I tiptoed across my room and then raced down the stairs. I was ready to chow down when… “Emma, wait for your friends to wake up first!” My mom yelled not to loud. “Fine, but my stomach will want otherwise,” I respond with an annoyed voice. So, I waited for my friends to wake up to dig in. They woke up a little after I did and we ate the delicious breakfast together. After we got dressed everyone’s parents came and they had to go. I couldn’t wait to see them in school in the fall. I loved my party because I spent it with my friends. I had a wonderful time and I think the girls did too. I say the best way to spend a day is with your friends and family. Submitted by: "Emma G."

Cookbook Recipe
Trail Mix
A Adventure to Remember Have you ever been on an adventure? Was it longer but just seemed horrible? Well I had that when I had that adventure it was fun and now that I look back it was a great time and a time will never forget. I climbed up the hill but I kept on losing traction. When I reached the top I was annoyed. I was at the end of the road. I was at a muddy downhill, I went to the opening of this road and there was a downed pine tree. There was a hole just wide enough that I could could ride right through it. The trail was covered with big rocks and more downed trees. I grabbed my bike by the top of the frame and jump right over the big pine. I got covered in a pine sap that was sticky and stayed for days. I was just about to pass the main road and I stop to hear a loud sound. It was a fleet of fighter jets. A neat triangle of about 5 fighter jets. We move forward and we pass the driveway to a camp that I thought we had been to. "Was that the place where we went to that party that one time?" I asked. "I don't think so," my father spit out. "It is I just know it is," I yelled. I moved up and around the sharp corner and there was a big hill we climbed. There at that time I knew that we were lost. I was annoyed and I just wanted the ride to be done. That didn't happen. Soon after that we were going down a hill that was all rocks from the size of 6-30 inches it was horrible. Once we made it past that long obstacle course my father said it would be easy way home. But of course I should have After I made it down that mess I went down a road with my dad. My dad said it had a extension but when we made it down it was a dead end. "Did you use hybrid mode?" I asked. (hybrid mode- a Google earth like show in the apple maps app.) "No it uses more data," Dad stated. Well it could have saved a lot of time. "So are you sure it is a dead end." "Of course it is a dead end. All that is around here is that ranch. Look there is the farm it is in the way." (As I stare at my dad’s iPhone now in hybrid mode.) So now we start climbing up the big dirt hill one I get to the top of a one hill I am relieved for only one second. As when we get to the top of one hill there was another hill upon another hill upon another hill, or it felt that way. Once I made it to the top my dad was already there. Then he says he has found another route. "Did you go into hybrid mode this time just to make sure?" I asked. “Yesss!” my Dad states. Once we made it out of the woods and onto the main road I was happy. That was of course before I found out that we actually got out on the main road farther back then we into the woods. The white line was like a boundary. No cars went by and I sprinted and sprinted as fast as I could and I did. I was relieved once I made it past the Massachusetts line and into Connecticut because the roads got smoother and the got to the sprint where there were almost no hills. I sprinted for a throbbing pain runs through my legs. As I reach the ending hill I want to give up but a piece inside deep in my heart says go on. Finally I reached the turn that makes my effort all worth while that was the second turn until I made it home. In, conclusion this was my favorite mountain bike ride ever. It was an adventure or another way to learn what mistakes not to make. I never just remember the mistakes, I remember the mistake and the big pro that I learned from it. Submitted by: "Connor Q."

Cookbook Recipe
Trout
The Trout Adventure Can you imagine worrying to catch a supper but then have so much that you can have so much you can feed your family for a week! That is what happen to me across my street. Last year me and my dad went across the river to go fishing for supper. We were expecting one big fish but we got much more than expected. So our true story starts when I asked my mom,” Is it okay if me and dad go across the road to the stream to catch a big fish while you get the spices and french fries ready?” She answered,” Yes but you better catch one big or else you will have ruined supper for everyone else.” So I said yes and me and Dad got our fishing supplies together. I got the worms from the ground while Dad got the fishing poles, hooks, and bucket to put the strong fish in. So we walked across the road and notice today was going to be a great fishing day but had no idea what was going to happen. When we reached the deep refreshing water hole that was about ,6 feet in some parts, we saw a ripple in the water and then we got the idea we were going to get a lot of fish. I was the first person to get the fishing pole ready and casted the juicy worm in the clear water. There was a bite in the first thirty seconds. I reeled in the line to find a fish the size and my head. Then my dad casted and caught even a bigger one. This fish was very strong. After about ten minutes we had about twenty fish, a lot more than expected. Then we went home. When we got home the first thing my mom asked was,” Did you catch a fish?” I jokingly said,”no”,and show her the bucket. Then she looked in and in then she picked me up and screamed, “yeah!” This is the story when I caught about twenty fish. Submitted by: "Kory P"

Cookbook Recipe
Snowflake-Top Chocolate Cookies
Christmas Afternoon at Grandma’s “Here, take some bags,” my mother says to me as she’s unloading the back of our green minivan. It’s Christmas of 2011 at my grandma’s house again. I can’t wait to play with all of my cousins! I groan and roll my eyes, eager to get inside to see my happy family members. I snatch up a big red present with a huge bow on it and race inside, where Joe and my dad have already entered. A wave of warmth and noise washes over me as I step into the threshold, and hugs and greetings are exchanged quickly. Placing the present on the kitchen table, I streak towards the playroom. The beautiful Christmas tree in the sunroom makes me skitter to a stop, and I take in all of the lights, ornaments, and presents that are placed under it. The green background of the tree compliments the gold star at the top perfectly. I can’t look for long, though, because my cousins all shriek contrasting variations of “Hello, Irene!” We’re mostly different ages, so it’s kind of funny to hear our atypical ways of pronouncing our names. My cousin Katherine pats a place on the chair next to her, and I go sit next to her. She’s exactly my age, so we always have loads of fun together. My youngest cousin waddles over to me, looking to play with the MyLittlePony that grandma keeps in her closet, special for her. Anna just turned one this year, so she’s at that age that wants have fun and be ready for a nap at the same time. Before I get the chance to help find the pony, my 12-year-old cousin, Andrew, strolls in. Sean and Emma, the other twins in the family, trail in behind him with their sister, who’s my age, marching along slowly. Another cousin of mine, Timothy, is six years old. He’s Anna’s big brother, and he comes sprinting in, pushing everybody aside, screaming, "It’s stocking time! Come on! Grandma says it’s time to open the stockings!” he shouts. “LET’S GO!” Everyone makes a mad dash for the living room. I scoop up Anna and race Katherine into the room, who wins (again!). All of the adults are smiling and laughing, and my grandmother claps her hands loudly and says, “Alright, is everybody here? Where’s John?” she asks. “Johhhhhnn!” All of us cousins start yelling for John until he finally appears in the doorway, shaking off snow. “I’m here!” my 15-year-old cousin announces. “Good, good, John,” my grandma says, “now go and sit down with your cousins.” He shuffles to the floor. “Okay, kids, I’m going to hand out your stockings only if you’re sitting quietly and nicely.” My grandmother pauses for a second, evaluating our postures, then says, “Timothy, come on up!” My little cousin races up to the railing like he’s just won the lottery. He eagerly tears open his stocking and gasps with delight at the new matchbox car he found inside. When my grandma calls up the rest of the cousins, similar reactions happen. All of the boys get tiny magnets that are different shapes. They also get other small knickknacks and huge candy tubes. All of the girls receive little “dabbing” bottles of Justice perfume. Also, we are given tiny compact hairbrushes that pop out when you push up the bottom. That was the Christmas that my grandma gave me the compact that had a cursive L on it. She thought that it was the letter I! I never mentioned it to her, though. After we finish oohing and aching over what the stockings held, all of us start begging our grandma to be able to open our presents under the Christmas tree. We finally wear her down after ten minutes of pleading, so we all cheer with delight and tumble to the tree in the sunroom. I take in the crisply wrapped bright presents, searching for one that says Irene. Katherine, Andrew, John, Thomas, Joseph, Emma, Sean, Rachel, Anna, Timothy… Irene! It takes me ages, but I finally spot my white-wrapped present. It’s thin and hollow-sounding, like an empty box. I trace my fingers around the swirly, sparkly snowflake pattern. My heart is thudding in my ears, and I take a deep breath. Then, I rip open the paper like icicles cutting through a blizzard, and I find just what I wanted: the JustDance3 video game. I screech with delight and sprint over to where my grandmother is standing in the doorway. “Thank you so much, Grandma!” I cry. “It’s exactly what I wanted!” My grandma hugs me tightly back and says, “You’re welcome, honeybunches,” I smile. After that, all of us cousins troop downstairs to the basement to raid the mini-fridge for soft drinks and get comfy on the two huge beds in the backroom. The basement is complete with a small living room, a little bedroom with a TV, a tiny bathroom, my grandpa’s office, and a sliding glass door that leads outside. After we grab our sodas, the nine of us scamper up the stairs, snatch up our coats, and jog outside to play capture the flag. The rest of the night flies by in a flurry of yummy dinner, snow-top cookies for dessert, games, trying out gifts, and family. This is one of the best Christmases I ever had, and I can’t wait for next year. Submitted by: "Irene R."

Cookbook Recipe
Sweet and Spicy Whoopie Pies
“We should have a sleepover soon!” shouted my over-exited and very loud cousin. “Yes! Let’s go to Grammy and Papa’s house and sleep there! We can help them decorate their Christmas tree!” I suggested to my cousin Alana. “Cool, we’ll ask them if we can go over there. I wonder if Julia and Abby will want to go, too.” “I’ll ask Julia!” “Okay! Got to go! Bye!” It was three weeks before Christmas and a week before we actually went to our grandparents’ house. I kept planning in my head what we were going to do at their house. We could decorate their tree exactly how we want. We would get to choose whatever we want to eat for dinner. We would pick out the movie we would watch together. The weekend would be perfect. Finally, it was the weekend. I packed up my clothes and bathing suit. I had to convince my sister, Julia, to come. Eventually, she decided she would. However, only Alana went with us, not her sister, Abby. I was a little bit disappointed at first, but the weekend would still be really fun. When we got there, we went straight to the tree. It was only a couple feet taller than me, but it always is because it’s fake. My grandpa had already put on all the lights and it was ready for us to place the ornaments in their perfect spots. We grabbed a couple in each one of our six hands and loaded up the shining tree with fake, colorful birds that made the tree look natural and even more beautiful, thick and thin Santa’s with rounded and pointy hats, shimmering snowflakes, and many other shiny, hanging ornaments. We finished all the other ornaments and started to hang my favorite kinds of ornaments, the icicles. They glimmered all along the tree. The colorful lights cast beams of light onto nearby walls through the icicles. Then, I placed the angel on the very top of the tree and plugged it in. It changed colors from red, to pink, to green, to blue and to purple. My grandparents, Julia, Alana and I stood in front of the completed Christmas tree admiring our hard work. After that, Alana, Julia and I went to relax in the hot tub. We sat out and talked for a while. As we drank cool Shirley Temples, the hot steam rose into the chilling air and onto our smiling faces. Finally, we decided to go inside to dry off. After dinner, which was delicious chicken, creamy mashed potatoes, and sweet corn from my favorite restaurant, we watched Elf to complete our night together. We had all seen it before; however, it is one of our favorite movies. It was also an awesome movie to get us in the Christmas mood. Julia, Alana and I slept on the couch and floor right next to the tree. It was lighting up the entire room because the lights were so bright. We slept all night with dreams of Christmas, family, and our day in our heads. I can’t think of a better way to spend a weekend with my grandparents. That experience was full of bonding time with my family that I will never forget. Submitted by: "Jenna K."

Cookbook Recipe
Maggie Mae's Pancakes
The soft drip of maple syrup sliding down my stack of golden, fluffy pancakes was the start to one of my best and most memorable days. Thinking back a couple years to this will also send a ton of different images through my head. One of which is my brother being chased by half the seagulls on the beach! This day was a day I would never forget. As we set up our chairs along side of the shore, my brother went straight to the food. “Remember last time we were at the beach, and a guy was buried with Doritos around his head?” my sister asked my mom and I. We nodded our heads and thought back to a guy shoulder deep in sand. Seagulls were diving in one by one, fighting for their food as the man’s friend kept throwing more towards him. Apparently, this gave my brother and the rest of us a different idea. First, it started with throwing out some food and chasing the seagulls. We were young though and it’s what a lot of kids tried to do. Just running around we were having a lot of fun! After a little bit, though, we wanted to try something new. We took out a stick, some string, and some Cheez Its. Carefully poking the string through a few Cheez Its and tying them up, my brother was off! He started sprinting back and forth down the empty beach, followed by at least 20 seagulls chasing the food at the end of the string. We watched him for quite a while, unable to stop laughing as the seagulls never gave up. It was a really funny thing to see. Every year during spring or summer break, we go back to visit that beach. My family and I take one step onto that beach and start laughing and talking about that once again. I don’t think any of us will ever forget this. But maybe this or a new idea will even come up again. I can remember everything from this day. Breakfast included! Submitted by: "Hannah R."

Cookbook Recipe
Glazed Donut Burger
Crash! The waves hurry up the beach towards the houses, then drawn back into the gorgeous blue sea! Every year my family travels up to Salisbury, Massachusetts where our 143 year old cottage, lays. Every year all the kids (9 kids) lay on a mattress riding the waves desperately hanging on. The day we started this amusing tradition we had the best dinner that my older sister, Jaclyn, spotted at the Big E. This meal is a burger with cheese and bacon on a grilled glazed donut Yum! The worst part of going up to our cottage is the long drive up! Along the way we have our usual stops with the family and it always Dunkin donuts or rest stops to play with the dogs. The appalling three hours up to Mass on the never ending highways, is what everyone in the family dreads! Cars honk as we pull up to the tolls. Finally, we start to recognize the scene around us. A ‘Welcome to Salisbury” sign greets us. We drive through the center where there are, arcades. After an ongoing minute we spot at our little square cottage next to all the huge hotels. We walk in greeted with a perfect view of the ocean! We all ran down to the beach on the hottest day yet, pulling down the raft, and heading for the water. The cold water swarmed around us. Not caring we ran deeper and deeper in to the water. For a while we wait around for a wave to come. Soon we are cold and head in without a wave. On the last gimps back at the water I saw it, the biggest wave. Everyone dove on to the raft, like a pig pile. Water splashed around us as the wave lifted us higher and higher picking up the speed as we went. Then it threw us down and we slowly inched our way to the shore. We walked up to where we were sitting, with smiles to our ears; we were all reliving the great time in our heads. We dried off then lay down on our towels getting baked by the sun soon being hot enough to go back into the water! The clock was ticking away, coming close to 12:00. My dad got up to make lunch telling us, “It is a surprise.” We waited for his “okay” for us to come in. When he finally called us in we could smell a sweet smell joining another smell of bacon. There on the table, we saw what we all have been dying to try. Burgers with bacon and cheese on a grilled glazed donut one of the best meals! What could make this day any better? First having a slow drive up to Mass., ridding the great blue waves into the sandy shore, and being greeted by family. All to build up to devouring a spectacular burger with a sweet and salty taste! This is sure to be one of the best vacations I have had yet! Submitted by: "Maggie D."

Cookbook Recipe
Mim's Cranberry Sauce
Have you ever picked cranberries before? I do every year in the summer. It is so much fun! The best year though was 2010 in Maine. “SPLASH!” my older brother threw me into the freezing cold lake after a hot day of cranberry picking. “Now it’s your turn Danny.” I say. He does a huge cannon ball it was so big it was like an elephant jumped into the water. We dove underwater taking in the coldness. “Lets go get some rafts.” Dan said. I followed him to the latter. After him, I dragged myself onto the latter. Something white and squirmy caught my eye. “EWWWWW DANNY!” He comes rushing over. “Look. What is that?” I say surprised what my eyes are seeing. “I don’t know but get a bucket and we will take a look at it.” Danny grabs the worm like thing quick and puts it into the bucket. We take a look together. “It looks like a white skinny earthworm.” I say. This thing was disgusting. It gave me chills when I would look at it. “Let’s take it back to our cabin to show Nana and Papa.” Dan says. We had the worm in the bucket. We got into the boat and took a small trip back to our cabin. When we arrived we showed Nana and Papa. “I have never seen anything like it.” Nana says. “Get a insect book and look it up.” As I sit there with the worm like thing, Danny looks it up in the book. “AH I FOUND IT!” He says proud. “It seems to be something called a Horse Tailed Worm.” We looked at the picture and knew it looked like the worm. Sense we never seen this before in this lake, Danny and I took a walk in the woods far away with our new friend. When my big brother and I let the worm go we walked back to our camp disgusted. Submitted by: "Nicole T."

Cookbook Recipe
BLT Burger
Skiing Slip-ups “Speed it up, dad! You’re slowing down!” I shouted over my shoulder. “Geez, I’m not as fast as I used to be,” he shouted back. Unfortunately, he had also told me that he was losing his balance, but the wind had carried his warning away. I heard a huge thump and saw my dad start rolling towards me. I wasn’t exactly prepared, and when he came by, he knocked me over. We both landed in a heap of snow, and our skis were scattered across the slope. Now, a year later, I still remember the icey snow going down my shirt. This was probably the most memorable skiing adventure that we’ve ever had. We had decided to make our way down to the ski lodge where they had a cafeteria. There was a fire in the fireplace in the back that made it cozy. We didn’t need our large winter parkas on, so we quickly hung those on a hanger. In the process, my dad had also undone the clips to his snow pants. Sadly, no one noticed. We just carried on, oblivious to the fact that his pants could fall at any moment. We both ordered. I got the BLT Burger and dad got the clam chowder. Both were really tasty, so we shared. Well, he shared his soup, and I just let him have my fries. After we ate, we talked about who knows what. My dad and I are surprisingly alike, so we can talk about mostly everything together. We talked about school, clothes, politics, and well, everything. Eventually, we had gotten ready to go head on home. We always took bathroom breaks before we left, so we both stood up. Little did dad know, that his pants had gotten stuck on the chair. So, as he stood up, his pants fell down. Good thing he was wearing long johns under his pants, because there were a bunch of young, impressionable, children around. It seemed as if the whole lodge had stopped talking, and looked in our direction. “What’s wrong?” dad asked, “Why’s everyone looking at you?” “They’re not. Your pants fell down.” His mouth formed an ‘O’ shape and he slowly pulled up his pants. He nodded his head towards the door, saying we should probably go. I agreed and we grabbed our stuff. I think that was by far the most mortifying memory that we have together, but it’s one that we can always laugh about. We’ll always remember that day when his pants fell down in front of fifty people. I don’t think that I’ll ever let that one go, and always tease him about it. But, he had learned a lesson that day; always buy snow pants with suspenders. Submitted by: "Joy H."

Cookbook Recipe
Good Old-fashioned Pancakes
New Year of 2012 Have you ever gone on an exciting trip but it was not the trip itself that made it awesome? Really, it was the little things that happened that made it so great. Well that was what happened on the skiing trip to Killington, Vermont. It was during the weekend of New Year’s 2012. The morning of the trip to Killington, Vermont was cold and snowy. It was the perfect conditions to ski in. But before we could embark on the trip we had to pick up Sam and Spencer. They were my brother and I friends that we were able to bring on this trip. We all skied except for Spencer. He snowboarded. Before the trip we were at my dad’s house and we asked if we could bring Mario Kart with us so we could play it. I did not know that that would play a big part in the trip. The trip up wasn’t that good. It was a 3 hour drive so it was pretty long. But Sam and I found a way to stay occupied. The trip went much faster having my friend along. My family has had this ski house for several years. They share it with a few other families. I know every inch of that house and most things about it. I especially like the downstairs where all the kids hang out. When we got there, Sam and I played Mario Kart. We swore that we would get to 200 points and when we did Sam said “let’s get to 205!” With a lot of commitment we did manage to get to 205. That was one of the little things that made this trip so awesome. The next day we were ready to go skiing on our four day trip to Killington. The first day was cold but all the days were cold because it was winter. So all considered it was not so bad the first day. The powder was moist and puffy which are the perfect conditions for skiing. My favorite trial that we took was Timberline. I did not go off any rails but I went on the small jumps and that was loads of fun. The four days we were there we mostly stayed on Ramshead Peak but at times we skied to the other mountains to explore. The four days we were there were really fun. In the evenings after skiing we always ask my mom, “Can we go swimming now?” We like to swim at a place called Sunrise Lodge. It is in a condo complex off the main mountain. We found this place a few years ago when my cousin, Garrett, came up to stay in the condos. He invited us to the pool and we have been going ever since. So off we went to go swimming. On New Year’s Eve, the grown-ups were setting up for a huge party. The kids went up in the attic to play water pong until the adults came to use it for beer pong. When the guests arrived we went down stairs and watched the movie Old School until they left for a restaurant called Sushi Yoshi. At 12 o’clock we took out a bottle of sparkling apple juice and made a cheer to the new year. The next day was time to go home but we still made some traditional stops. We stopped for breakfast at our favorite breakfast place called Sugar and Spice. We had some sugary syrupy pancakes that were piled so high. Next, we went to the Yankee Candle Factory and looked around at all the cool stuff there. So this trip to Killington Vermont was defined by not only the big things but also the little ones like the Mario Kart game, water pong, Yankee Candle Factory, and breakfast with family and friends at Sugar and Spice wehere we had some awsome pancakes. These made the big thing even better. Submitted by: "Tyler K."

Cookbook Recipe
Apple Pie
Have you ever had a present that you got on Christmas and your eyes just lit up? When I opened my present in 2011, I noticed that it was that best present I ever got. It was a cotton candy maker. This was the best present ever because cotton candy is my favorite food. That night I made cotton candy. This fluffy candy was delicious. My family and I were driving to my grandmas house on Christmas Eve. When we got there my grandma greeted us and welcomed us in. We all sat down at the dinner table. The food was set down on the table. We all took some of the mouth watering food. “This is delicious” everyone said. After everybody was done eating we went to go open our presents. The Christmas Tree lit up with tons of presents under it. “I can't wait to see what I got” I said. “Who will open their present first?” my mom questioned. “Can I?” my sister asked. “Yes” my mom said. As my sister opened her first present she screamed with joy. As I start to open my present I finally realize that it was the present that I had always wanted. “Thanks!” I shouted when I fully unwrapped the cotton candy maker. After that everyone kept unwrapping the things they wanted. As the last present got handed out all of us were hungry. So we all got up with smiles on our faces and went into the kitchen and got out the deserts. As we had every dessert we had spread out on the table we all started to eat. “Yumm, apple pie my favorite!” my sister said as she took a bite of it. Everyone dug into the apple pie and other desserts. After all the desserts were gone everybody started packing up to leave. “Bye” everyone said as they were walking out the door. “I will never forget this moment” I said to myself as we drove off. Everyday ever since I got the cotton candy maker I made cotton candy at least five times a week. everybody was happy that Christmas day of 2011. Everybody got what they wanted that day and was thankful of what they got. You should be thankful if somebody gives you a present even if you don't like it you should still be thankful. Submitted by: "Caleb P."

Cookbook Recipe
Potato Pie
-This recipe was one of my grandmas most popular recipes that she made. Now my family now makes it to carry on the tradition, now that she has paced away. Don’t you just love being with family for the holidays? Don’t you also just love baking on a beautiful Christmas Eve day? Well if you do like both of these things, then what could be better than doing both of these at the same time? My story is mostly about being with my grandma and how we would always make memories together. It was December 24, 2004 on a frigid winter day. “Ring, ring, ring,” goes the doorbell as I vigorously hit it. “Hi Thomas,” my grandma would always say as she answered the door to their house. “Hi Grandma Tess,” I replied with a big grin on my face because I was so excited to make the pie. She let us in the house and we got right to business on making the pie. But before we did anything, I would go into the dining room where my grandpa would always be sitting and I would always give him a firm handshake and sit down and talk to him. I did not see my grandparents very much, but when I did, it was a definite treat. They are so important to me and I love them so much and don’t see them that often so when I do see them it automatically puts a big smile on my face. The reason why my grandma always made potato pie every year was because she has been making it her whole life from when she was a kid all the way up until she passed away. She learned it from her parents from Slovakia. But, everybody used to make this recipe when she was a kid. And another reason why she made it every year was because as a kid, the stuff you needed to make potato pie was cheap and had a lot of calories which means it keeps you full for a while. But this meal was cheap and easy to make for the whole family, but the biggest thing was that it tasted amazing. Nothing beats a cheap meal that tastes delicious. Potato pie is just one of those foods that once you try it, you will for sure never forget it. It has such a distinct and good flavor that you can’t get enough. I am happy that my grandma made this because if I had never known about this recipe, then I would so fewer memories of my grandma because while we made this together, we would make so many memories. Finally I asked my grandma “Grandma Tess, can please start on the potato pie?” “Sure,” she said in reply. So, just like every year that we made this recipe, my sister and I would shred the specifically sharp cheddar cheese, while my grandma Tess got all the other ingredients. Once we had everything together and were ready to start cooking, we would wash our hands so the food would not have any germs on it. Once we do that, then we have to measure all the ingredients to the pies because it was not like we just made one pie, we had to make at least eight for all my dad’s brothers and sisters. The reason why we made that much was because my dad had four sisters and four brothers not including him. So once my sister and I were done shredding the cheese, we would start making the delicious delights I was so mesmerized by how she would mold the crust to the pie tray. And once we pulled the steaming delight out of the oven, we would wrap it up so it would not go bad before Christmas morning when we would deliver them to our family members. Then we went in the living room and sat down for a break and we watched some TV. Usually there is some kind of good show or movie on before the day of Christmas. And we would have a slice of pie and eat it in our own peace of the living room. This is just one of the few memories that I have with my grandma. I don’t really know why, but this time making the pie with her was member able. As much as I want to make more pies with her, she has passed. But that is why my dad, mom, sister, and I carry on the tradition of making this every year. And even though ours might not be exactly like my grandmas, whenever I have some or see some, I think of her and how many memories we had together as such a joyful family together we are. Submitted by: "Tom Y"

Cookbook Recipe
Gingerbread Cookies
That Christmas Feeling Have you ever had that Christmas feeling? When you count down the days till December 25? When you search for your Christmas presents? Well, these words describe my usual December weekends.. When I awoke in the morning I saw a delicious plate of warm homemade gingerbread cookies on my kitchen table. They were all ready for decorations. The thing was, I had to go to the barn. I put my hair up in a messy bun and threw on my riding pants. Next, I put my wet, cold, and mucky boots on and ran to my dad's car. I still can't believe that on this same day I didn't really realize what was heading my way! Ten minutes later I arrived at the ruby red modern-built barn. When I got out of the car, the owner of the barn, Holly, handed me a pink folder with horse stickers plotted on the top. When I opened it I couldn't believe my eyes. There was a paper that said Boarding Agreement. There was also another paper that was a horses registration!! And then, in a flash it all hit me, my dream horse Pixie was about to be mine! "Sabrina, fallow me!" said Holly. I fallowed Holly to Pixie's stall. Inside was Pixie with a giant red bow and neon lights around her neck! Everyone wanted to take pictures of me and her so I brought her into the riding arena. I really couldn't believe that my dream of four years had finally come true! I was so in shock I couldn't stop crying! After I rode for a hour I just kept wanting to stay with my horse all unfortunately I had to go home. At the end of the day I certainly still had that Christmas feeling! In fact after I took my shower I got into those fuzzy pajamas and started decorating my warm gingerbread men. I'm positive that from now on every December 1st I will remember the day I got my first horse and celebrated with warm, soft gingerbread men and a cold glass of milk! Submitted by: "Sabrina F."

Cookbook Recipe
Green Bean Casserole
It was two years ago at Christmas time. It was time for my uncles Christmas party. My cousin, aunts, uncles, and people who are just guests brought something for the dinner table. My mom brought her most exquisite, most fabulous green bean casserole. Since the green bean casserole was so good in the past years we knew it was going to be the best food of the night. As we entered the house almost everyone was asking what smelled so scrumptious. I told them it was my mom’s casserole. “Wow,” said the crowd of hungry people. As I went to set down the flavorsome casserole, I saw all the other food. There was a lot, but I knew our heavenly goodness would be the top discussion after dinner. “Dinner,” said a hungry adult calling everyone to eat. The first thing to plop on my plate was the green surprise. Then other tasty foods went on my plate. As I sat down, I could smell the salty french fried onions on top of the casserole. That made my mouth water even more than before. Now this smell made me starving. I took the biggest bite in the world from the casserole making sure I still had enough on my plate. Just this one bite made me craving for more, but I couldn't after eating the heavenly goodness twice. I was too full. After everyone was done eating I went over to my mom. I asked her “How was it.” She knew what I was talking about because that was all I was talking about the whole night. She replied, “great.” I knew she would have said that. Everyone else heard our conversation and they also said, “Delicious.” I was so thrilled because I helped make it that year. After all the compliments, on the casserole I decided to make it the year after and the year after. Now nobody can get enough. That night was the best! Everyone including me, went home with full stomachs. I will always remember how much fun it was to make the green bean casserole for the first time. Many people enjoyed the casserole that year especially my mom. Submitted by: "Maggi A."

Cookbook Recipe
Hobo Dinner
Dystopian The early light of dawn woke me at four in the morning. For a second, I was at home. Maple was sitting at my feet and the light was coming from the window that's at eye-level by my bed. But as I looked out the window, my expressionless face suddenly turned ugly. Really, there was nothing to be angry about. The view from my window was actually beautiful. The sun was rising and cast a warm, bright light across Camp Jewell. There were no people and I could see squirrels and birds in the pine trees. The sky was a beautiful orange and pink. I scowled again. This sucked. I didn't want to be here. I didn't like the girls in my cabin and my counselors didn't like me. Well I don't give them any reason to like me, but they started it. I jumped down from my bunk and padded silently into the bathroom, where I brushed my teeth, threw on my favorite clean camouflage shorts (the long soft ones) and my ugly Utopian shirt. I hated that stupid yellow shirt that said Camp Jewell on it. All Utopians had to wear these shirts. "Yellow is the color of flowers and dog piss," I muttered angrily to myself, then smirked at my reflection. Swearing is against the rules and it made me smile to break the rules. The yellow shirt looked like a pile of dog puke after your dog has eaten grass, so I threw that back on my bunk and took out my plain hunter green shirt. I threw my hair back in a ponytail and then topped it off with my favorite Log Lifters hat. You look like a redneck hillbilly. The voice rang out in my head. I didn't care about that, but the fact the some idiot girl from my cabin, Sidney, pointed that out made me angry. "I don't give a s**t," I had glared. Nobody from Colebrook had ever commented on the fact that I sometimes wore long camouflage or cargo shorts. My friends Cammie, Maddie and Charlotte who are not from Colebrook didn't care. Why did these dumb city girls care? I checked my watch. They don't have clocks at Camp Jewell and the counselors certainly wouldn't tell me the time. It was four-ten in the morning. The bell rang at seven. It annoyed me that I was so angry and full of negative energy that I was barely getting five hours of sleep. I had already made triangles out of dots on the ceiling mentally and reviewed the types of triangles. I was bored and I wanted to be alone, so I decided to break the rules again and take a little walk. Nobody would miss me. I stuffed pillows into my sleeping bag so it looked like I was still there and grabbed some sunscreen. Once I was outside, I sprayed myself down. All the other girls were tan. I still had my pale skin because I put so much sunscreen on. One of the downsides of the sunscreen was that a thin layer of dirt and grime was forming on my skin because I refused to shower, simply because I didn't care and that it drove the counselors crazy. As I walked, I stepped to the beat of a song running through my head. I hadn't heard the song since the end of school, a month ago. I remembered only the chorus and it ran through my head, that stupid Rascal Flatts song I sometimes caught myself singing. The song is called Here Comes Goodbye and was a little, okay, a lot depressing. I jogged up to my sister, Laura's, cabin. I looked into the window of 3B and peered in her cabin. I saw her sleeping peacefully. That made me feel a little better. My walk continued down to the waterfront, where I splashed water on my face. I checked my watch. It was four-thirty. I had to be back by five-thirty. I sat down on the dock and dipped my feet into the water. If anyone came, I would jump in, despite the stupid yellow band that made me shake with anger. I remembered how I got it. "Swim to the other end," the counselor instructed me. "You have to go under at least twice." Easy. I took a deep breath and swam the 30 feet entirely underwater. It felt good to be in this underwater world, away from snotty people. "You failed because you did not follow directions," the lady said. I clenched my teeth. I felt my insides bubbling with rage. "I'll give you a yellow band, because I feel sorry for you." "But I can swim, really well!" I yelled. I was about to say, "I don't need your flipping pity!" but then I would have said the worst four-letter word known to man instead of flipping. "I said you had to put your head underwater." "I did! You're just too -" I stopped. Screaming would get me nowhere. I was so angry I was shaking. "Are you okay?" I took a huge breath and although my body was shaking uncontrollably, my voice was steady and calm, not shaking with anger. "I'm fine," I said and tried to calm down, but negative energy bubbled up and I was still shaking, although not as hard as before. The memory made me angry. I had past that swimming test; it wasn't my fault I didn't get the lessons the snotty city girls did. When I got back to the cabin, I had ripped up that band to a million pieces outside and then kicked it away. That day we had our overnight. The overnight sounded pretty good. I scowled at the lake. It would be good because the city girls were terrified of raccoons and bears. That made me laugh. By five-thirty, I was back in the cabin, reading a book and after that, writing a letter: Dear Dad, I don't like Camp Jewell. They made me flunk the swimming test. The girls are idiots. Come pick me up. I'm running away on Saturday. I'll be safe on the road. - Emma PS They won't let Laura see me PPS They call me a Utopian, but I'm a Dystopian. I folded the letter up so nobody could see and then put it in an envelope. Just as I shoved it under my mattress, the bell rang. "Time to get up!" the annoyingly cheerful voice of the coordinator, Molly, rang out. She turned to me, "How are you doing, Emma?" "Just peachy," I said in a sickeningly sweet Southern accent. "She talks like a redneck hillbilly," I heard one girl remark. I jumped down from my bunk. "That's my mocking accent," I glared. "Then what's your Southern accent?" "This is my Southern accent. Have a problem with that?" The counselor, Sonya or something like that, glared at me. "Let's go to breakfast, girls." Idiot. The rest of the day dragged on. I went to soccer (tacked the boy who was picking on my sister), scored in basketball and my friend, Lauren, set me up and I spiked the ball in our volleyball game. It hit a girl from my cabin, Connie, in the head, accidently. She glared at me while Lauren and I were talking. "You have your overnight after this, don't you?" Lauren asked. "Yep," I smirked. "What are you going to do?" "Nothing, just laugh at them later," I dropped my voice down to whisper. "They're afraid of bears and raccoons." _______ Three things that pleased me happened that afternoon. First, the canoe I was in almost sank. I sat on top of someone else's gear and held mine in my lap so it wouldn't get wet. My stuff stayed dry. Then, we couldn't find our campsite. Everyone but me was scared and tired. We finally camped with a different bunch of Utopians. The girls from my cabin were just straight up rude about getting firewood and having to wait to eat out Hobo Dinners. The third thing that happened that pleased me was that I got my Hobo Dinner first, because my counselor grudgingly admitted I had collected the most firewood. I put ground meat in it, then some onions for flavor and bread and potatoes. For dessert, we had s'mores. Since I didn't want to be near the girls from my cabin, I ate the chocolate and the graham crackers, then threw the marshmallows into the woods, hoping that a real bear or raccoon would find them and scare the crap out of the girls in my cabin. My counselor was worried about our supply of water. I drank some of the water I had packed for myself, then filled my water bottles up with their supply. I slept on the edge of the tarp that night. Just as I had predicted, the girls flipped out over a shadow in the woods. Their screams woke the counselor up and she was extremely angry. I laughed so hard I almost fell out of my sleeping bag. Nobody else thought it was funny. The next morning, we hiked back through Ranch Camp. I practically ran through the woods so I could get to Laura in time and to keep ahead of the whiners. We surprisingly got to the Mess Hall in time for breakfast. I told my mom all about my overnight, and she laughed. That night was Sisters Night for Utopians, me (I considered myself a Dystopian) and the Nit Nois, like my sister. We watched a boring movie. Laura's counselor, Chelsea, was mean as dirt to her. She shrank back as Chelsea approached. "Laura, you have to stop going near your sister." Laura was silent. "I have permission from my and her coordinator, who are much more important than you could ever be," I spoke up. "Well, Laura, what are you going to do when you're eighteen and have to go away to college? You won't have your sister then." "That 's in ten years," I glared. "She has ten years to grow up, so go! Leave my sister alone!" Laura and all the other Nit Nois from her cabin looked at me. I was about to say, "What are you looking at?" Then Laura said admiringly, "Nobody's ever talked to Chelsea like that," "Well, she better leave your alone," I looked over and saw Chelsea sulking in the corner, like an eight-year-old. After the movie, we had Spirit Night. I was allowed to sit in the back because my ears were sensitive. A few minutes into it, I saw Laura walking back from the bathroom. I looked at Molly, who was there "supervising" me. "The noise bothers my sister, too." "You can ask her coordinator," Molly said, doubtfully. I begged and pleaded. I finally got what I wanted, and dragged Laura to the back with me. We talked and at the end, I told Laura about my agreement with our parents. "Tomorrow morning, I'm going home. You can have my toothbrush and toothpaste, since you lost yours." The next morning, I saw Laura leaving for Chapel. "Bye, La, I'll see you next week," I pressed a note and her toothbrush and toothpaste into her hand. She looked sad, but took everything I offered her. "Bye Emma," I watched her until I noticed I was the only one left. I turned back, then gave her one last wave. That was the last time I saw her for a whole week and two days. Submitted by: "Emma K."

Cookbook Recipe
Cape Cod Surf and Turf
I awoke from the immense mound of fluffy pillows and soft blankets that I called my bed on that July day. The birds were chirping their songs and a warm comforting ray of sunshine. I soon glanced over at my alarm clock it was mid-morning and the rest of my family was already out of bed. I went over to my closet and put on some pajama pants. We were at our house in Chatham, Cape Cod which was a two floor house with 4 bedrooms, a kitchen, and a dining room. I trudged out of bed and went upstairs to find out what we were doing today. My mom said, “We are going to the beach with your cousins again.” I went downstairs to the guest room of this rented house, threw on my bathing suit, and grabbed my pair of sandals. I soon rushed out the door to our car and got seated. Then, after the drive that seemed to go on forever, our car pulled up to the beach. We took a while to unpack all of our belongings, which consisted of a lunch bag, an umbrella, some beach chairs, and a couple of boogie boards. I hopped across the burning hot sand to where our cousins had already set up a spot. Then, as soon as we were unpacked, I made a beeline for the wavy water. When I tried to ride the waves theycrashed right on top of my head, sending what felt like gallons of water on top of me. I toppled and turned and got tangled with my brother. I soon recognized that I would have to wait for high tide, and when it came, it came. I was soon in the water bodysurfing and boogie boarding I was so caught up in the fun that I almost missed lunch. For the rest of the day I was just playing football in the water with my cousins. It was almost time to go home for a good dinner with the family. But before we even pulled out of the parking lot we were asking, “Can we go to sundae school for ice cream?” She replied, “Yes”. When we got home I asked my mom, after having changed out of my sand-filled swim trunks, what we were having for dinner. Her reply was, “We are going to have surf and turf for dinner with your cousins.” I waited on the grass by the driveway for our family to arrive. It may have taken them longer than we had expected but that gave us extra time to prepare. The whole time we laughed and played games like “left, right, center” and bekum, which is basically hide and seek. Then when it came time we all settled down with immense amount of meat and seafood. We soon all rushed over to the dinner table and dug into the feast. We had seconds, thirds, and my cousin Quinn even had fourths. After that my brother Connor’s birthday cake arrived at the table. We sang happy birthday and then devoured the delicious Death by Chocolate cake. We then spent the rest of the night playing around, opening presents, watching T.V., catching up, and recollecting memories. That night when I went to bed I couldn’t wait till tomorrow and wondered if we could top this next years summer. Submitted by: "Dylan M."

Cookbook Recipe
Cenacle Cookies
Trinita Here’s a fun fact; I am a nervous wreck at sleepovers. So, when my sister and I were asked to do a sleepover at Trinita, for the “club” that we are in, you can imagine how I was feeling. I didn’t want to let my sister or my friends down so I agreed. When Nicole said that we stayed up to almost 3 am, I was second guessing staying over. I realized that my mom had already left, it was too late. Trinita, in case you were wondering, is a retreat center in New Hartford. When you walk inside, there are long tables covered with plastic tablecloths. Behind that is a kitchen. If you walk down a hall there is a staircase that leads to dorms, a few offices and a chapel. It is a very welcoming place to stay. Lizzie and I walked into the girls’ cenacle sleepover and we saw our friends. Nicole, Morgan and Bethany were there. Bethany’s mom was also there to help. She was going to stay the night. Sister Deb, the leader of the girls’ cenacle and a nun who lives at Trinita, welcomed us to our first activity. The activity was to complete puzzles. When the puzzles were finished, we made cookie mix in mason jars for gifts. It was really hard because you had to get all these ingredients into a small little jar. My sister playfully scolded me,”Abby, you’re making a mess!” I looked around my area and laughed while saying,”I know!” Afterward, we all went down to the lodge with Bethany’s mom while Sister Deb stayed back and made cookies. The lodge was a different building and was warm and really cozy. This was made of wood. It made you feel like you were in a comfortable cabin in mid winter in Alaska.There is a ping-pong table and a counter with stools. Since it was Lizzie and my’s first time, we were told that there is a stage and costumes, so basically we dress up and perform on stage. We went digging around and finally decided that Morgan, Nicole, and I were going to be sheep and Bethany was going to be Little Bo Peep. Lizzie was going to announce all of our acts. It turned into a big mess where Lizzie was chasing us around with a fake sword. Then we decided to do a different show, so Morgan and Bethany got into a dress together and said they were Mexican Siamese twins. Well, Nicole and I wanted to do that, so we did too. It turned into a battle against the two twins and ended up a fail again. We decided plays aren't our thing, so Bethany and Morgan started teaching us cheerleading moves. Next, we crazy danced on stage. Bethany and Morgan were really dancing. After that Sister Deb told us to clean up. The back changing room looked like a major hurricane struck . There were old, fancy dresses lying everywhere and you couldn’t tell there were once tables in the room. We had to all use all of our power to clean up the mess. Finally we finished. We got back to the main building and we got into our PJ’s and we said a prayer. By then it was midnight. We were promised hide and seek, so we played. It was only supposed to a twenty minute game, but it lasted forty minutes. After we finished it was 1 am. We all decided it was time to watch a movie. During the movie, Bethany’s mom, Morgan and Nicole fell asleep, but not Liz, Bethany and I. Finally the movie ended at 2:30am. Bethany smacked Morgan and Nicole on the head and they woke up. We went up to bed, but that doesn’t mean we went to sleep. We played Truth or Dare, but no one wanted to dare so everyone truthed, except for Bethany. Wow, she was a night owl! I asked Bethany,” Aren’t you tired?” She answered,”No.” While answering she pulled out a bag of rock candy and started eating . I was really surprised because it was 3 am. Finally Morgan gave up and said,” Can we please go to bed?” (Like she had been saying all night). We all had been ignoring her. We agreed. The last thing I remembered was the clock ticking to 3 am. Originally, my eyes creaked open at a bright 6 o’clock, but they fell tired again and drifted back off. Then, my eyes opened at 7:30, but history repeats itself and they closed again. Finally we arose at 8:00 because Sister Deb woke us up. We went down for a pancake breakfast. By nine we were done. At 9:30 my mom came. I climbed into the car, a little reluctantly. I didn’t want to leave. But it felt good to be in my own car again. When Mom asked me how it was I answered, “ Great!” But inside I knew it was more than great. Now, I know I will never walk into Trinita and look at it the same way ever again, at least not without a flood of hilarious and tired memories. Submitted by: "Abby H."

Cookbook Recipe
Nachos
“We finally get to go!” I exclaimed to myself. I couldn’t believe the day was finally here. Maybe if I’d known how this day would end up, I would’ve just stayed in bed! Today was the day that my best friends (Addie, Morgan and Joy) and I were going to go tubing for Joy’s birthday. We’d been planning it for about two months, so we’d all been looking forward to it for a while. We were doing something special, since Joy was turning 13 on the 13th. After we went tubing in the Farmington River, we were going to go back to her house and sleep over. I was a little bit nervous, when Joy picked me up, since the news said there might be thunderstorms. I wasn’t that nervous since I didn’t see any storm clouds. How could it rain if there weren’t storm clouds? When I got into the car, Addie and Morgan and, of course, Joy since her dad was the one picking us up. We all chatted excitedly until we got to the tubing company. We had to go up to the workers first and give them the paper that we and our parents signed, saying that we wouldn’t sue them if we got hurt. It made me slightly nervous that we had to actually sign things like that, it meant there was a chance I could actually get seriously injured! I brushed it off though, if so many people did it, it couldn’t be too dangerous. After that, we went over to get the tubes we were going to use in the river. “Step forward if you’re 90 pounds or less,” the worker instructed. I was the only one out of the four of us to step forward. We all giggled and I blushed. They were always calling me small, since I was short and barely weighed anything. They got tubes the next weight class up. After that they told us to go into the river, and we’d know we were at the end when we saw a blue tube hanging in a tree. Then there would be a path, and we should go up, and walk until we saw the bus stop. Then we were supposed to wait there until the bus came to take us back up, to where Joy’s dad was parked. “Any questions?” the employee asked. We all shook our heads, it seemed pretty self explanatory. At the time, I was really shocked. I thought there’d be more supervision. I grinned, it would be private, so it would be more fun. Besides, it seemed simple enough. If only we’d known, how complicated it would turn out to be, we would’ve never even stepped foot in the river. We got into the river, slowly one by one, each time we held each other’s hands, so we wouldn’t drift apart. We’d decided to do this before, since we all wanted to stay together. “Don’t let go!” Joy called as we started to float off in the river. We were all a little scared at first but quickly calmed down, and enjoyed the ride. I was getting very nervous though, when I noticed some gray clouds in the sky. I didn’t even want to think about what would happen if it started thundering. I pushed the thought out of my mind as we started down the first set of rapids; we were told there would be three. “Hold on, guys!” Morgan called over the rushing water. We all nodded in agreement as we were pulled into the first set of rapids. They weren’t very intense, however they were lots of fun. We kept chatting happily as we glided gently down the river, getting excited every time rapids came along, or even just a little current. The trip was going really well until Addie said, “I think I felt a drop of water,” in an anxious voice. We all looked at her, since we heard the news. We waited a little while, and each of us felt a few more drops. “It’s just a few drops of rain. It’ll be alright guys,” I reassured, but even as I said it, I wasn’t sure if I quite believed it myself. We all kept going down the river uneasily. It was quickly starting to downpour. “As long as there isn’t any thunder, we should be fine,” I said reasonably, ironically almost immediately after I said that, it starting raining really hard, like it would in a thunderstorm. Again, I was trying to be reassuring, but I was a little uneasy. Everyone agreed, but I could tell we were all afraid. A few minutes later, lightning flew across the sky and thunder boomed and shook. We all shrieked, terrified. “Guys, we should get out of the water,” Morgan said. “But, we’re supposed to stay in the water. That’s what the instructor told us,” I protested uncertainly. “It’s thundering, and we’re in the water!” she shouted back. I wasn’t offended, we were all scared. “Okay, if we hear thunder again, we’ll get out of the water,” I shouted over the rain. It was getting really loud. I could feel the water rising around me, and the pull of river getting stronger. Both of these facts horrified me. I tried to convince myself it was all in my head, but I knew that it wasn’t. Everyone agreed to my suggestion. We all sat in silence for a few moments. The happy, carefree feeling that we all had earlier in the trip was completely gone. It was replaced by a rapidly growing fear, that was clearly visible in everybody’s eyes. After only a few moments thunder boomed again, like a bass drum, hit right in our ears. We all screamed again, and quickly swam to the side of the river where there was a little path. It seemed perfect. After we were all out, I shook a little. Partly from the cold, but I can’t deny that the other part was from fear. I tightly gripped my red rubber tube and we started to walk by the edge of the river. When the thunder roared again, we couldn’t contain our shrieks. We all knew it was coming, but that didn’t stop our reactions. Morgan, who was in the front starting running up, and away from the river. “Are you sure we should go away from the river?” Addie shouted over the noise. “We’re in the woods. Next to a river. Soaking wet. In a thunderstorm, let’s get away from the water!” I exclaimed, too terrified to remember to look for the blue tube. There was a little voice in the back of my head, telling me to be careful, that I was scared, and fear could change the way I think. We ran up a path, for a while, and whenever we took a turn I was careful to point out some “landmarks” like a shoe, or a piece of rubber, or even a certain indent in the road. I figured we needed something, in case we decided to turn back around. After a while we couldn’t hadn’t seen the river in a long time, and were just walking. We all stepped together in time, our feet pounding against the dirt. At this point, we were less concentrated on getting away from the water, and were a little bit calmer, so we could think a bit better. “Should we try and find the river?” I asked. They all looked a bit unsure. None of us wanted to go back there, but we had to go back and find the blue tube so we could get to the bus, and finally end this horrific nightmare. If only we’d known, the worst hadn’t even happened yet. We finally decided it was time to turn around. I didn’t remember a few of the turns, but thankfully, the ones Morgan and I didn’t, Addie and Joy did. I was both relieved and horrified when we saw the river again. “Which way do we go?” I questioned. “We can check the little maps on our tubes,” Addie suggested. This seemed like a good idea. We looked for a while, before I discovered something truly terrifying. We all seemed realize it at the same time. “Guys,” I said, in shock, “We’re on the wrong side. We have to cross the river,” Just the thought of going back in the river, was enough to make me tear up, and get a huge lump in my throat. I started shaking in fear. I was hoping that, just maybe, I was wrong, and we didn’t have to cross the river. Joy and Addie both noticed something that, sadly, proved me right. The traffic and cars were on the other side. If we wanted to get to the bus, we had to cross the river. We had to go back in. I took a deep breath and went back into the icy water. Immediately, we all noticed how much the water had rose. It was up to our chests the second we walked in! We swam for a little bit, the river wasn’t very wide at all, but the current was pulling at us and the water was pretty high. None of us could touch the ground. I wanted to stop swimming. I was so tired, I thought it would be better just to stop. I just wanted to rest. “Swim! We have to keep going! What are you thinking?” Morgan called back horrified, when I begged to rest for a just a little bit. I knew we couldn’t rest or the river would pull us farther down. Nevertheless, resting was what I wanted. I pushed through, I kept swimming, even though every muscle and bone in my body ached. I finally reached the other side, and felt like crying with relief. Morgan had already made it. Addie was almost there. Joy wasn’t though. I didn’t understand what was happening, she was stuck somehow, and the current had pulled her further down. She wasn’t able to swim. I was so terrified that everything was kind of a blur. It was like my mind was numb, and I couldn’t really process anything. Things were happening around me, but I wasn’t reacting. I was vaguely aware of Addie calling for me to help and Morgan going back in to help Joy. It wasn’t sinking in though. Then it hit me. Help. She needed help. I couldn’t go back in the water, I couldn’t! That was all I could think. I needed to help Addie though, she couldn’t reach the shore all the way. Once I could force myself to move, and react, and thrust my tube into the water, and told her to grab on. At least I didn’t need to go back in the water. She held on, and pulled her in a little with it. When she close enough to reach my hand, I pulled her in with that. Soon we were both sitting on the edge of the river. By this time, Morgan had been able to help Joy, Addie and I used our tubes and hands to get them on the shore. By this time I had already cried a little, and was shaking even more. This time it was a little less fear, and a little more cold. A small victory, which I was too tired to recognize at the moment. We started to walk up the hill, not really being careful around bushes with thorns or anything. At this point, we were just ready for it to be over. We all had scrapes, and scratches all over our knees and legs, but we didn’t stop until we reached the road. I was so happy, the worst was finally over. We were almost there. We were walking for a while, but Addie and Joy thought we were going to the wrong way. I couldn’t really see, but I was pretty sure we were walking in the right direction, according to which way the river was going. Morgan thought so too. After a bit, we saw a couple get out with their tubes, but they were walking the opposite direction we were. After briefly talking to them, we realised we were going the wrong way. Addie and Joy were right. No one felt like saying that though, we were just happy that we knew we were going the right way this time. We were so close. After walking for a little bit longer, we noticed the blue tube hanging in a tree, way down by the river. “We are so making some nachos when we get to your house, Joy,” Morgan said, lightening the mood. “Oh, of course,” Joy replied, “We’ve earned it,” Part of me was excited that we really were going the right way. The other part was upset that we’d gone past the tube in the first place. We’d gone too far, done more than we needed to. The couple was going to call someone for us, but right then we saw the bus stop. We all screamed excitedly, making the couple laugh. We quickly thanked them, and took off running towards the bus stop. We only had to wait for less than a minute, before blue bus showed up. We jumped up and down, waving our arms, just in case the bus missed us. The couple, again, laughed at our enthusiasm. It stopped in front of us, and we smiled from ear to ear as we stepped on. “We got the last ones,” the bus driver said into the radio. Hearing this, my smile widned even more, no one else was out there. Everyone was safe. We were safe. It was over. We were on the bus, safe, and it was all over. This whole nightmare, was all over. Joy said something about us almost dying and we all had a loud conversation about it. The other people on the bus were laughing at how dramatic we were being. None of us cared. We weren’t being that dramatic. Joy had almost drowned, as I later found out, when I could process things better. Their laughing, just made me laugh. I was in the mood, where every little thing made me happy. I was completely grateful and content. Just sitting on this bus, made me happier than I could ever think. Just a simple thing like this seemed like an amazing miracle. Soon the bus dropped us off back where Joy’s dad was. We ran off the bus, and met her dad who was waiting there. We all climbed in the car and relayed the whole story to him. By the time we finished and added every little detail, we were back at her house. Our crazy, adventure of tubing in that thunderstorm, was over. Totally, and completely. How had the day ended so differently than it began? I had been so excited, then terrified, then just plain happy. Now it’s all in the past, just a crazy story, that I’ll get to retell. I’ll definitely never go tubing again, if there is even a chance of a thunderstorm. Maybe I’ll never go tubing again, period. Only time will tell. “C’mon,” Joy said as her dad parked the car her driveway, “Let’s go make some nachos.” I grinned and followed my best friends inside. Submitted by: "Lily B."

Cookbook Recipe
California Rolls
Oba-chan’s Sushi The warm summer sun beat down on my face as I waited silently on my front deck. The wood screeched a protest as I shifted my weight, the boards wanting nothing to do with newly added pressure. Ignoring its pleas for mercy I stared out into my driveway, tapping my foot and gnawing on my lip. The whoosh of wind rattled the bright green leaves, tossing them about on their branches and trying to rip them away. Ponytail swishing I tried to look through the branches and tree trunks to the road not far off. Slowly time passed by and my nerves ate away at me until I was seconds from flinging myself back into the house and giving up on waiting. I’d never been patient and standing out there for nearly half an hour was testing how long I really could last. Finally, seconds from my departure, the soft rumble of a car pulled around the driveway’s bend and brought into sight the familiar red sheen of my mother’s car. I didn’t know what really to do with myself so I simply squealed with delight and raced off through the house. Inside I plummeted down the steps and towards the basement door. I didn’t bother to put on shoes so it was a painful race over the rocks and onto the sweltering pavement. Hopping from foot to foot I winced at the unforgiving heat and made a mental note to grab shoes next time I went out. From outside the car I could see my Auntie Peg sitting in the front seat, laughing at my odd dance from the burning of the pavement. She smiled out at me, the dimples in her cheeks and the crinkles by her eyes wonderfully familiar characteristics about my aunt. She pushed open the car door and stepped out, my Oba-Chan following suit behind her from the back seat. She smiled over at me, both walking over and pulling me into two separate hugs. Their brown eyes were alive and bright as they hurried me inside, knowing my feet stung painfully from the unforgiving sun and it’s impossible heat. They were supposed to stay for three days so we made the most of our time. They got their early the first day so we had the whole day to share together. At least that’s what I’d been hoping for. They obviously had different plans considering they’d excused themselves to take naps due to the three hour time difference and jet lag they were experiencing. For the most part of that first day I sat in my room with a smug look. Either that or I’d be out in the living room watching TV to try and make the time pass quicker. Finally in early evening my Aunt and Oba-chan woke up and decided to make dinner with us. It was only pasta but they still helped. the first day was mostly staying in and talking; the adults conversing about how they’ve been and what they’ve been doing since they’d last seen each other. Parent stuff. At the end of the night we watched a movie together and I was sent off to bed, being ten wasn’t easy you know. The next morning my aunt was somehow up bright an early, the fresh scent of pancakes looming in the air. Both my brother and I seemed to be out of our rooms at the exact same time, racing towards the overpowering scent of pancakes and half-burnt chocolate chips. There was orange juice set out on the counter and two plates of pancakes were already awaiting my arrival. Well mine and my brothers but who really counts him? Oba-chan came down around a half an hour later, my mom, aunt, and I all inviting her to the table while my brother scrambled away to do something in his room. Oba-chan told us she wanted to make sushi for us that night- California rolls in particular. We didn’t have much in the way of any ingredients so we had to go to the store. My brother and Aunt decided to stay home instead of going out and helping with buying the groceries. At the store we gathered the necessities for the sushi. Once back home Connor was on the computer and my aunt helped bring everything back inside from the grocery store. When everything was inside and in the refrigerator we sat in the living room, watching TV and talking. It wasn’t a regular occurrence for family to be here considering my family is the only one that lives on the East Coast. The majority of my mother’s side lives in California while my dad’s side lives in Oregon. They only come over every so often and I don’t remember the last time they’d been over before then. The last time they’d come over was probably when I was four or five, I don’t remember it but that’s what my mother had said. Bright blue skies puffed cigar smoke clouds, contaminating its perfect blue and turning it white with a thin wispy layer of clouds. We stayed inside like we had the previous day, talking and trying to catch up on what had happened over the past few years. Obviously my mother and aunt talked as well as with my Oba-chan but we hadn’t been to California it felt like forever. We spend most of our time together talking because our family doesn’t do much in the way of playing games with one another. Dinner time came fast and unexpected, the sun dropping and icing the clouds an array of pinks and oranges. The temperature sloped down, causing the AC’s to be shut off and the screen door to be shut. The warmer air trapped inside while the summer settled into what could be imagined as spring air stalking around the house, trying to find somewhere to penetrate its walls and invade the house once more. Hissing winds rattled windows and doors as we gathered in the kitchen and pulled out the groceries from earlier in the day. My mother helped my Oba-chan set out the supplies to make the sushi and started the rice, a proud smile covering her face as she cooed for me to come over to her. Eager to help, I scurried over with wide hopeful eyes and waited for information on why she had called me over. She opened the bag of crab meat with graceful fingers before opening the pack of avocados and quietly instructing me on what to do. Connor had seen me helping and had decided to butt in and try and help to. After a moment of bickering the trouble started. My Oba-chan knew the rice was done and so she moved around us silently, not even caring to give us a glance of acknowledgement, she’d already had her fair share of children’s banter. “I want to help!” “Well I was helping first!” “Oba-chan never said I couldn’t!” And for what felt like a lifetime the banter and mocking shouts continued. We were too caught up in our debacle to realize Oba-chan was humming quietly to herself as she rolled the sushi around the nori and sticking in the crab and avocado before sticking in the small pin sized cucumber rectangles and setting them onto a plate. A life time or two later I gave up on arguing and turned to my Oba-chan who looked very pleased with herself as she rolled up the last California roll and set it onto the shiny pink plate. “Don’t fight,” she said calmly, words thickly accented. She smiled over at us before gesturing a hand to the plate, a silent offering for us to take it and eat. Glaring momentarily at my brother, I turned back to my Oba-chan and chirped a ‘thank you’ before grabbing the plate and rushing into the living room. Connor followed in seconds after, muttering how I had to share and it wasn’t fair to hoard the delicious treat to myself. My mom let us be for the next day, deciding it was time for more grown up things. The day passed in a blur of voices and noises, shouts and laughter and colorful things passing before my eyes. Soon enough it was time to see my Aunt Peg and my Oba-chan out. Their bags were packed and their faces composed of sadness and prolonging. They dawdled their way to the car, their feet dragging and their bags seeming to have gained at least ten pounds. We said our sad goodbyes late that night, the freezing air nipping at my toes and exposed skin. Another few minutes of warding off their departure passed before my mom insisted they had to go with a sorry sigh. I nodded, pliant under my mother’s orders to go back inside. Jogging in, I made my way upstairs and to the familiar deck, padding onto the wooden surface. The sky was a cerulean blue, clouds nonexistent in the sky and moon starting to fight it’s way up over the skyline of trees.The milky white shining full and bright on my family. It was too early for the twinkling stars to be out, too late though for much animal noises except the consistent chirping of a cricket. My gaze drifted back to the small red Toyota slowly backing out the driveway. The familiar sight of my mother in the driver’s seat backing out of the driveway with her two passengers smiling sadly at me and waving. After a few shivering minutes of staring at the end of the driveway I scampered back into the house, teeth chattering and goosebumps raised over my skin. Submitted by: "Chloe G."

Cookbook Recipe
Firecracker Jello
Firecracker jello. The sun shone through the hazel color curtains almost looking like a spotlight in my room. My blanket was as light as a feather. My pillow surrounded my sleeping head and I was as warm as a bunny. My eyes slowly opened to the sight of my cat snuggled up against me. It was another cold Saturday morning, which, made me want to stay in bed, but I knew it was time to get up. Normally every day I wake up to the smell of my apple freshener. Instead of smelling this, I smelled something different, and it was sweet. My curiosity got me out of bed, down stairs, through the living room and to the kitchen to see that my grandma had come over and was making something “That smells really good, Grandma!! What are you making?” I questioned. “I am making cherry jello for the picnic this afternoon,” she replied as she started to stir the berry gelatin and water. “Go upstairs, get dressed, and you can help me!” “Oh okay!” I exclaimed. “Thanks!” I zoomed up stairs, ignoring the freezing cold wood floor. I opened my dresser and picked out an ordinary blue shirt and black pants. I brushed my teeth, and I brushed my hair. I put it into a lazy bun and put on my cozy monkey slippers. I skipped down our carpeted stairs and had to block my eyes from the sun gleaming in threw the window. By the time I reached down stairs, and in to the kitchen, my grandma was ready for me. “Why don’t you pour the boiling water in the bowl and start to stir it!” my grandma suggested. “All right!” As I carefully poured the 2/3 cups of water into the bowl, steam blocked the bottom, making it look like a tropical rain forest. I started to stir the water until the gelatin dissolved. As I did this, my grandma poured ¼ of milk into another small, green bowl. She sprinkled some more gelatin and waited for about 5 minutes. The smell from the bowls, filled my nose. It had a sweet sent, almost like honey. For the rest of the hour, we both made my soon to be favorite dessert. Finally, we left for the picnic. I was concerned about was my jello. Did it turn out all right? What if nobody likes it? As we arrived in front of the tall white house, kids played in a large pool and as soon as I put my bathing suit on, I joined them. I did summersaults in the water and we all played a large round of sharks and Minos. Unfortunately, lunch arrived and all fun stopped. I helped myself to baby chicken wings and pink lemon aid. After the chicken wings for lunch, I was finally able to try my jello. I took the smallest one out of the batch and slowly began eating. The spoon brushed past my mouth and on to my taste buds. Yummy! It was soft as a cloud and moist as one. The cherry on top topped it all off. It was the best dessert ever. You could call that day anything you want, but to me, it was a special day. It was the very first time I made a dessert that came out right, not demented and most of scrumptious!! Now, I want to learn more desserts to make all because of the jello I made that day. From there on out I realized how fun cooking and baking is, but off course the best part is being able to eat it. Submitted by: "Paige R."

Cookbook Recipe
New England's Famous Lobster Rolls
There was a Splash in the Distance A mist settled over the blue green cove in the dark of the early morning. It was the perfect combination of hot and cold air rising and falling, mixing together to form the moist, hazy fog that clogged the air and played with your senses. There was no wind, yet the beach grass on the cove’s shore still fluttered gently, as if some hidden spirit were at work. The thick air wafted slowly into my nose and mouth as the salty aroma shot straight toward my brain. The sun struggled up over the horizon, bathing the ocean in a pink light that reflected off the fog and into my eyes. Few lights were on in the city that we had left behind, as the apartments inhabitants still rested in their dense slumber. I stepped forward until the tip of my toe rested in the green blue of the icy, morning ocean… I woke up in a blur, my air mattress none too comfortable and the air much too cold. The morning wind whistled around the perimeter of my tent, as the sounds of awakening wildlife filled the air. I rolled over to check the battery powered radio/clock that we had brought with us to Rhode Island. It was five in the morning, much earlier than I would have wanted to be waking up on my summer vacation. Today was different though. With the promise of going clamming in the morning, I was up and ready in no time, waiting anxiously for the rest of my family and relatives to arise to the smoky smell of the ashes, still hot, from last night’s campfire. I didn't have to wait long though. The rest of our “clamming team”, as I considered it, woke up just as anxious as I was and ready for the trip. We drove for a short while, through cities and neighborhoods so dark that they were almost ghostly- ghost towns. Suddenly, we stopped abruptly near a stretch of long beach grass, but no water was in sight. My uncle explained that we would have to walk a short way to reach the best clamming locations. I was given a rake and told to carry it with us as it would be crucial later on. Confused and overwhelmed at the speed of this series of events (all of which had happened in a matter of seconds) I had no choice but to follow along and go with the flow. We trekked for a while through endless waves of grass that tickled at our ankles and hid who knows how many creatures and unknown bugs, hiding from the blundering humans crashing through their home. After coming to a break in the trail, I halted at the majestic sight before my eyes. A sea, reflecting the brilliant colors of the rising sun, stretched out and covered the entire horizon. The water glistened purple and gold in the suns burning light. “There, that’s where we’re headed,” my uncle proclaimed, aiming a finger at a small cove jutting out from the main body of water. Again we set off, and it was only minutes before we reached the water. Each one of us children held our rakes like weapons in our short, pudgy little fingers. It was amazing how darkness affected our eyes. A splash was a monster rising from the ocean, a crack was a tree falling on top of us, and the beach grass tickling our legs was crabs scuttling over our feet. Suddenly, my brother yelped with fear. He had stepped on a sleeping hermit crab, and awoken it. In fright, the terrifyingly ugly, but quite harmless crustacean scuttled off into hiding again. I treaded more carefully though, frightened by my brothers near demise (so it seemed to a seven year old). We entered the water, all ten of us, and as instructed, began to rake up the floor of the cove beneath us to unearth the clams hiding below. Following the adult’s example, I scratched at the ground, hunting for the clams whose air bubbles I could see, but shells I could not. I submerged under the water to try and get a closer look at for the clams that I was sure were just below me, but to no avail. In the clear water, I could see the mossy lobster traps that lay on the seafloor, forgotten long ago by fishermen. Running out of breath, I emerged from the water spitting salt from my mouth and resumed my resilient scratching and scraping. But, after just about about five minutes of futile pushing and pulling, I “struck gold” for the first time. I submerged myself in the shallow water and unearthed an exposed clam, its shell clamped firm from the invaders threatening its safety. I kept it under the water so it could breathe and watched air bubbles smaller than the head of a pin drift up to the surface. Its bluish purple shell glistened in the now sunlit water and I knew that even if I were to eat the other clams I was sure to find, I was going to set this one free. “Goodbye little buddy,” I whispered when no one was looking as my arm reared back and I launched a perfect throw into the watery beyond. There was a splash in the distance. Submitted by: "Zach A."

Cookbook Recipe
Death by Chocolate
My Thanksgiving In my family I have two Thanksgiving dinners. We have one in Rhode Island at my grandfather's house and one in Connecticut at home. In Rhode Island my Aunt Valerie does the cooking; in Connecticut my mom does the cooking and it's always like there is a competition to see who can prepare the best Thanksgiving dinner! This is always to everyone's benefit; they're always coming up with something new or just improving a traditional recipe. At my grandfather's house, there’s always a feast. Every time we go out there for Thanksgiving we have a great time watching football with Uncle Chuck, playing basketball on the patio or going to the park. When we're done playing sports it’s time to eat! Zia, as we call my Aunt Valerie, knows how to cook. There’s always a huge turkey with mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and at least three types of orange veggies (which doesn't mean I like them all). She also makes my favorite crescent rolls baked to perfection. Everyone always gathers around the table for dinner, except for Uncle Chuck who has to watch his Cowboys play on TV. This time, I actually got to sit with him and eat dinner and watch the football game. After we get back from Grandpa's house, my mom makes a second Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday. The whole Jerram family is invited and that's a lot of people. We have to transform our living room into a dining room. My mom usually makes a ham and this year we tried something new, a roast duck from New Hartford. The duck was tender and tasty. There were mashed potatoes and green beans. But the best part of the meal is always my mom’s desserts. This year she made Death by Chocolate. It’s so chocolaty you'll die. Everybody just has a good time and stuffs themselves. With everything that is left over there is enough for dinner for a week. I think I'll explode from all the weight the family's two greatest chefs put on my body. The meals can have that little extra microscopic detail that can make the difference and make them taste like the meals themselves were prepared were by an executive chef. By the way I was just wondering, what is your perfect Thanksgiving dinner? Submitted by: "Mike J."

Cookbook Recipe
Crisp Wontons
Christmas Morning The smell from the Christmas tree covered with beautiful ornaments and twinkling lights filled the air as I darted down the stairs to the kitchen. All the stations were set up and we were ready to make the delectable treats. I hopped into my seat and waited patiently as my brothers and sister walked into the room picking their own seats. I rolled up my sleeves and started folding, as Christmas music accompanied the occasion. This was the best part of the holidays and the wonders of Santa Claus were to come soon after. Every year, my brothers, my sister and I always make Wontons as a treat for the holidays. They are a fantastic food made up of meat folded up in dough sheets and fried until they have a crunch. We would sit at the table and have our stations all set up with the wrappings, the meat and just a cup of water to put it all together. I loved going through the process my grandma taught me. We’d take one of the Wonton wrappers, place the meat inside, and use water to seal it up into a delicious package. We would always race to see who could finish their stack the fastest, but were always told not to rush it and create a disaster. As the common saying goes, haste makes waste. Finally they’d all be done and ready to be put in the pot to fry into the great treat they are. I’ve gone through this fun process since I was young and I loved the festivities that would follow. All the time we would get presents for each other for Christmas but what I loved most about this holiday was seeing the presents that we got from Santa. I always got so excited on Christmas Eve that I could barely sleep! We would track Santa online and when he came closer to us it was a joy. But when Mom told us that you have to be asleep for Santa to come, I raced to my bed finally resting my eyes. When I was 5 years old I remember on Christmas Eve night my brothers and I all slept in the same room. We had our plan that if one of us got up we had to wake the others. We even practiced what we would do if we were the first one to wake up. I went to sleep that night knowing exactly what to do in the morning. In the morning I heard my brother, Ben’s voice. “Wake up, wake up,” he was saying to me while shaking my pillow. I opened my eyes to see his face. “It’s Christmas!” he exclaimed with excitement in his voice. We raced down the stairs and right over to the Christmas tree to see our presents waiting there for us. We had to wait for the others to wake up but soon they were there, too, smiling at our delighted faces. “Santa ate the cookies!” I heard Andy yell to us. When we went over to the plate we had left for him the night before we saw that the cookies and Wontons we left him were gone. Now we all gathered around the tree, ready to open our presents. We took turns and youngest went first. That was me and I couldn't wait. At my dad’s word I tore into the wrapping, ripping it to shreds. Inside I found a toy castle. It was the one I had wanted all year! I was elated at the sight of it and wanted to enjoy it immediately. My dad told me to bring it over as Ben started on his present. I played with that castle all the time and it was one of my favorite toys ever. I loved that time that I spent with my brothers and the excitement of knowing that presents were waiting for us. It was one of the happiest times of my life. Christmas morning, the joys of Santa Claus, and delectable treats are vivid memories of Christmas at the Schiffer household. My favorite is our delicious Won Tons that bring back my memories of the night before Christmas and being able to spend it with my siblings. Waking up on Christmas morning is one of my favorite experiences and the memory of opening that castle will always puts a smile on my face. Submitted by: "Sam S."

Cookbook Recipe
Lena's Meat and Cheese Goulash
The Christmas Party Ahh, Christmas! That wonderful time of year when people gather together to celebrate the birth of Christ. Everyone does their own thing to celebrate on this fantastic occasion. Some throw huge parties, some just gather together in their families and honor the occasion quietly. Either way, just about everyone agrees that Christmas time is the best time of the year. But my class in 2010, well, we celebrated in a rather different matter. We threw a wild party in which all of us were required to bring in a food item. “All right, everyone! Let’s eat!” our teacher, Mrs. Boucher, called over the clamor of our uproarious class. Everyone cheered as we dug in. Meanwhile, 1 or 2 weeks earlier, all of my class was highly excited about the Christmas party that was coming. All’s that anyone cared about was who was bringing what. I remember thinking of the wonderful, meaty, chewy goulash that my mother had made 4 or 5 weeks earlier and suddenly blurting out, “I’ll bring in goulash!” My teacher, in the middle of talking over the finer points of the plan with the rest of the class, looked up in surprise. “Joe, what’s goulash?” she asked. The rest of the class giggled. I guessed at the time that they were laughing at me for being so off topic, but later on I realized that they were simply amused by the ridiculousness of the name. I guess the word goulash does sound funny, if you compare it to other words. But back to the story at hand. Finally, on the day of the party, I walked into my classroom to see that the only things that were different were the arrangement of the desks and the fact that there were some extra tables out for the food that we were to bring in. I also noticed that there was a short silver fountain on one of the tables. I didn’t find out what that was for until after we ate our food. Now, I was by no means the first child into the classroom. There was already a small crowd of kids clustered around the food tables, pretending to be interested in the mysterious fountain, but sneaking bites of food when the teacher’s back was turned. I saw that Devon Sundquist had brought in Swedish meatballs like he said he would. Over to the right of his meatballs, I once again surveyed the fountain with deep interest. There was no water coming out of it, so what was it used for? I had a funny feeling that I would soon find out. Once everyone had arrived, Mrs. Boucher called us all to attention. “Class,” she called, “I have an announcement to make. You all saw the fountain when you arrived, right? Well, that’s not just any old fountain. It’s a chocolate fountain!!!” The room was filled with cheering for a couple of minutes; so loud that my teacher had trouble gaining the attention of the class. “All right, everyone! Let’s eat!” she finally managed to yell out over the noise. Once again, we all cheered as we dug in. Everyone agreed that the goulash was the best food there! Every time that I eat the fabulous goulash, I remember the Christas Party. Submitted by: "Joe R."

Cookbook Recipe
Antipasto
The Best Christmas recipe “Hey, mom, when is the family coming over.” I said on Christmas Eve. “They’re here now,” my mom said, and that’s how it all started. When all my family came in they dropped all of their food on our table and we started the night. To kick off the night we ate appetizers (my sister’s mini-pizza for one thing), then my grandma’s Italian wedding soup, then my uncles #1 Anti-Pasto. He always makes the biggest batch of Anti-Pasto. But there is still only a little left at the end. After eating our three courses, we would play some games like RIGHT LEFT CENTER, JENGA, and POCENO. We always get really loud during our games and yell out “Al Pacino” and “playing with the queen of hearts”. It never fails, we always yell out the same funny phrases every year and get loud and laughing. After playing all these games we get right to our grab bag or as other people call it, (secret Santa). Almost everyone gets really cheap gifts and then hides a gift card or cash in it, well almost everyone. My grandpa that year got a really big and fat candle and cut it open. He then put a $100 bill in it, and then he melted it back together. No one knew it was there, so no one wanted the candle and kept giving it away. My grandpa ended up with his own gift but laughed when he told us about the stash. Of course he cut the candle open with a saw when he got home and had to go to the bank for a new bill the next day because he cut it in half. That year I got a really nice blanket with a gift card on the inside from Dicks Sporting Goods. My brother got a crock-pot (he wasn't exactly happy), and my sister got a glass chess set. I think I made out the best. My mom gets part of what I get since she buys me my gift. After doing all the games and doing our secret Santa we got right to watching The Grinch. This was not our first time so we were reciting the lines. When we got to our favorite part which is when the Grinch yells, “we’re going to die, we’re going to die, I’m going to throw up and then we’re going to die…mommy tell it to stop,” (it stops) “I almost lost my cool there.” After watching the Grinch my brother, my sister, my cousin, and I went sledding. This was three years ago so we got at least a foot and a half of snow. In my back yard there isn't a very big hill, so we use it for terrain. I came down the hill and went off the ramp onto my 20 foot rail, and I went at least halfway and fell into the luscious white powdery snow. Then my brother did it and he went almost all the way then he did a 180 after it. Our last thing of the night is always our slideshow. This slideshow contains pictures of us and all the fun things we do during the past year. When we go to Rhode Island we always take pictures at Point Judith mini golf and go- kart place. It also contains funny pictures that we take at Easter or our birthdays. After everyone gives there hugs and kisses and leaves, my brother, sister, and I build our annual fort downstairs. Then we crash so we can get up early and wake up my mom and get our presents open. That’s how my Christmas goes. How about yours? Submitted by: "Zack P."

Cookbook Recipe
Hot Fudge Sauce
*This story reminds me of when i had hot fudge as an ice cream topping at Boulder Ridge. * ”You should just JUMP,” I yelled to Hannah as she looked down into the water. She was on a blow up iceberg in the middle of the pond at Boulder Ridge. Finally, Jenna just shoved her down, and then snickered. Hannah screamed, plugged her nose, and then plummeted into the water with a huge ‘SPLASH’. It was the summer of 2011 and the fun had just begun. It was time for my dad’s annual work party, so I invited the friends I thought would be the most fun to be with. We picked up Hannah, Jenna, and Julianne and headed for Barkhamsted. I had a faint memory from past years. I remembered there being a pool, pond, and rock climbing wall. When we pulled in, a yellow and blue sign read “BOULDER RIDGE.” When we got out of the car, I knew it would be a funny day because Julianne hit her head on an overhanging branch in the parking lot. We trudged across a small but open field to the main deck. Music was blaring and snacky food traveled around. My friends and I packed our belongings away and went off down to the pool area. After changing into our bathing suits, we went down to the pond. A view of open water and an activity field lay before us. First, we tried out the kayaks. A British lifeguard (who amused us with his unique accent) assisted us with our life jackets. We each grabbed a kayak and paddled off. Struggling to steer, we must have looked like delinquents! Soon after realizing it was a bad idea, we headed back and tried something new. Everyone gathered on the dock and viewed the blow up iceberg. There were handles and pegs making a path to the top. It looked like a tricky task. We finally jumped in after Hannah complained about the fish swimming beneath us. She groaned, “EW there’s fish in the water!” There was an easy, medium, and hard side of the iceberg. We tried the easy first, and it definitely fit its name. Once everyone was at the top, we either jumped or slid off. After that, we challenged ourselves to the harder sides. Everyone had fun falling off and getting back on, so there were tons of laughs. When we had been there for a while, we swam back and moved to the next activity. As everyone dried off, we went to the rock climbing wall. Fastening our harnesses and snapping our helmets, we started off. Looking up to the top at 40 feet, everyone put their first foot on the pegs. Jenna, like usual, finished the wall effortlessly and speedily. She got to watch Hannah, Julianne, and I merely fall numerous times. As soon as everyone was up, the next step came into play. Jenna staggered onto the next platform, sat down, and listened to the instructor. She fastened another safety carabineer onto her harness, took a deep breath, and jumped. She rocketed across the zip line like a Frisbee slicing through the air. As she reached the end, she climbed onto the ending platform and went down to watch us. Everyone else followed her, and regained feel of the ground. The zip line definitely dried our hair from being in the pond! Hannah, Jenna, Julianne and I decided it was time to grab something to eat. We hiked up the hill, up the staircase, around the pool, and to the deck. Food stands were set up like buffets. We all took plates and helped ourselves. Everyone came out with something similar, like corn, macaroni, and chicken. The chicken was tender, with steam blowing up like a delicate puff of smoke. We found a table that was not takien over yet, and dug in to our delicious plates. Macaroni stuffed everyone’s faces; warmed butter tingled on our taste buds. Like always, we chatted about stupid and pointless stories. Our food was scoffed but there was more to come… Food servers conveyed the tub of ice cream around the servery table. The lines piled within minutes, but luckily we shot to the front. The option of vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry roamed our open minds. Three scoops jumped into our cups. Next, whipped cream, sprinkles, and hot fudge was available. The server dripped the chocolate fudge onto my vanilla scoops. Colorful rainbow sprinkles dashed across the top. Last but not least, a swirl of whipped cream spurted on to top it off. The mixture of chocolate, vanilla, and sugar was gone in minutes. We hung out by the pool for the remaining time, resuming our pointless conversations. Jenna, Hannah, Julianne, and I look forward to repeat the Boulder Ridge trip in years to come. It was enjoyable to be with my friends on a day doing something unusual. It’s not that often that a group of friends can actually make their plans happen. As you can see, this is why I can easily reflect on this memory. Also, it was a time very unlike the present (during the school year) where we could just be ourselves and not have to worry about a thing. Everyone enjoyed it; we were already making plans for next year. Submitted by: "Gina W."

Cookbook Recipe
Homemade Ravioli
Raviolis With a Dog “We’re here,” say’s my mother as we open the car doors. When I walked out the first thing I saw was my Aunt Debby’s house. My Aunt Debby lives in Long Island which was hit badly by Hurricane Sandy. Considering I don’t see my Aunt that much it looked like the storm hadn't changed the house much. In her backyard I saw some plants that had survived Hurricane Sandy but it looked like there were not many left. Some tree branches were on the ground but it looked like there were not that many. Suddenly my mother dropped my bag into my hand and said for me to get all my stuff unpacked inside. I still didn't understand why I needed such a big bag. We were only gonna stay here for a short time. When I walked in I expected to see my Aunt Debby considering she’s normally always there to greet us. This time was different though. Instead I walk in to find my cousin Nick sleeping on the couch with the TV remote on his lap. That’s when CJ came into the picture. CJ is my cousin’s new puppy who’s a small chocolate lab. Little did we know he was full of surprising. Our first surprise came when Nick finally got up (after CJ licked his face) and brought CJ over to Sophie. Once CJ was on the ground Sophie started to pet him. CJ just stood completely still as Sophie rubbed his back. “He likes me,” Sophie said. Nick had a strange look on his face though. “That’s strange. Normally he’s not like that when he first meets someone,” Nick said. I really think we should have taken that as a warning. Suddenly, CJ stomach started making noises and out came his breakfast onto Sophie’s shoes. “Aw, gross!” Sophie screamed. I started to giggle under my breath. Fortunately for Sophie she didn't have to pick up the mess. After that incident my father told us it was time to go to work. I couldn't believe I didn't notice that dad had already set up his equipment outside. Again CJ decided to get into mischievous. Once we started working my father told me I had to scoop the leaves out of the pool with a net. I tried to get the pole but it was stuck. That’s when I noticed that the net was stuck under a bush. When I looked under the bush I expected to see the net stuck on a stick or something but instead I found CJ trying to tear up the net. Luckily his teeth were not strong enough. Still I’m puzzled about why I couldn't get the net out of his mouth in the first place. It’s probably because CJ had a very tight grip on it or I’m getting a little weak in my arms. Most likely I’m getting weak. After work was over with, my Aunt and Uncle finally showed up. It turns out they were at their house in Florida and hadn't heard of what happened to their plants and trees at the house. Though they had heard of the storm they didn't expect it to be that bad down here. Before I could give my Aunt a hug CJ ran in front of me and jumped on top of her. “I missed you, too CJ,” my Aunt replied. I have to say CJ is a very funny dog. After we said our hello’s it was time for lunch. I asked my Aunt if I could have a roast beef sandwich with cheese and mayonnaise. “Sure thing Duncan,” she answered. When she looked in the fridge there was a puzzled look on her face. “What is it Aunt Debby,” I asked. “I can’t seem to find the roast beef,” Aunt Debby answered. That’s when we heard a chewing noise. I looked around the corner to find CJ trying to open the bag of roast beef. Like I said before, CJ is full of surprises. Soon I got bored of just watching television and walking around the house. Sophie had asked me to play soccer earlier but I said no. My mom however was looking for something to do herself so she agreed to play. I thought that they might still be out there considering Sophie and my mom hadn't been seen inside for awhile. When I walked outside I found them but they weren't playing soccer. Instead they were chasing CJ and trying to get the soccer ball. I’m serious when I say that CJ is a natural at keeping the ball away from his opponents. Finally it was dinner time and I was ready to have homemade ravioli’s. My Aunt makes the best ravioli’s and my dad loves to help out. Soon a whole batch of ravioli’s was set down on the table. I thought they looked delicious. Unfortunately, CJ had the same idea. Once I put one on my plate I saw a small nose trying to nudge at it. Luckily Nick saw it as well. “CJ, no!” he told CJ, “Ravioli is not for you!” CJ wasn't going to give up so easily. He kept trying and trying to get ravioli but my cousin caught him just in time. Near the end of dinner I had one more ravioli on my plate. When no one was looking I passed it to CJ as a treat. But hey, you never heard that from me. Then, after all that ravioli I decided to go to bed. My trip to my aunt’s house was so much fun. I enjoyed it so much that my parents decided we’re going back next year and though CJ was a small bother I can’t wait to see him again as well! Submitted by: "Duncan D."

Cookbook Recipe
Homemade Banana Bread
The warm sun beat down on my hair with the puffy white clouds in the crystal blue sky. Boston had felt like my new home. It was full of wonder and amazing secrets I've never known. She took my hand and rushed me over to the snack plaza that was finally brought out doors because of the gorgeous weather. Her blonde hair brushed against my shoulder as we ran to the nearest stand with sweet smelling fluffy pastries and colorful assortments of gummies of all shapes and sizes. I reached into my backpack to pull out my wallet but instead was a little container of some sort of bread inside and a note attached to it. “What’s that Syd?” Mady asked me sincere. “I am not really sure… But there’s a note attached to it.” I looked at the note puzzled. I unfolded the crumpled note and read out loud with a sad tone in my voice. “Dear Syd, I decided to leave you with a healthier snack instead of all of that candy. When you get back and finish your banana bread I will give you your money back. Until then, enjoy sweetie. Love, Mom…” We simultaneously sighed and Mady took the container from my firm grasp and opened the lid. A unique aroma of bananas and brown sugar invaded my nose and blocking out all of the other sweet smells of the other foreign pastries. I picked off a little piece of bread and squished it in my fingers. It felt like a gooey sponge between my two fingers. I shrugged, popping it in my mouth. My taste buds swirled with delight as the banana bread rushed down my throat. “Hey, don’t leave me hanging! I want a piece, I forgot my money!” Mady shouted. She plucked off the same size piece as me and tossed it right into her mouth. Her eyes became wide and she chewed even slower. “Wow! Nothing here could top that!” She yelled. We strode to the park to enjoy the unique addicting treat. We sat at the bench in the park and nibbled away on the heavenly bread like no tomorrow. A pigeon swooped onto the table and pecked at the crumbs on the wood surface. I tilted my head in surprise to see the pigeon so close to me. It finished its crumbs and turned to look at me. It tilted its head to match mine and walked even closer. Mady cracked up laughing as I turned my head the other way and the pigeon followed my movement. Mady’s laughter grew louder and she fell off the bench, clutching her stomach and rolling around on the green grass. Another pigeon landed down on the table and started picking at the open container of banana bread. “Hey, shoo you bird! Get away from my banana bread!” I pounced at the table and snatched up the banana bread. Two more pigeons flew onto the table and stepped closer to me. “Mady help me! Get the pigeons away from the banana bread!” She tried to grab the pigeons which only made them step even closer. I held my breath, praying they wouldn’t attack me. “SHOO YOU STUPID UGLY BIRDS! SHOO SHOO SHOO!” She shouted. I knew Mady’s loud voice would startle them, and I was right. The pigeons were startled and flew right at me like bullets. I screamed at the top of my lungs as I dove off the bench and covered my head with my hands. I sealed the banana bread under my body as the pigeons started landing on me and pecking me. “GET THEM OFF ME! GET THEM OFF ME!” I screamed repeatedly in a shrill voice. She flailed her arms around and I felt her hand slide under my stomach and grab the container. Mady grabbed the banana bread out from under me and threw it across the park. The pigeons flew across the park like silver bullets and dove at the banana bread. I couldn't speak the rest of the day after that. I remember I got back to the hotel with red marks all over me and a part of my shirt torn. My mother asked me what had happened and I just looked over at Mady, praying she could be my voice for today. I still wasn't able to speak even after a long walk back to the hotel. I saw Mady’s cheeks puff up and she fell onto the ground laughing as hard as she could. She held her stomach tightly as I put my face in my hands. My mother still never knew what had happened that day, but I’m guessing now she will. Submitted by: "Sydney G"

Cookbook Recipe
Cinnamon Crumb-topped Coffee Cake
Last summer during break I was baking and I decided to make some coffee cake for the first time. I went on the computer to look up the recipe. After I printed the recipe off the computer I went into the kitchen to prepare all the ingredients I needed. Then I set the oven to the proper temperature and started to mix the ingredients in a bowl. When the oven beeped I put the mixture into the cake pan and baked it. When the cake was finally finished baking, I let it cool and put the cinnamon mixture on top. When I added the toppings I asked my mom is she wanted to try a piece. She said “Yes.” I gave her a slice and she said that she loved it and said it was really food and I should go offer my neighbors a piece as well. I went over to my neighbor’s house and offered her a piece of the cake. She also responded “Yes.” As I was handing her the cake I was feeling kind of nervous and hoping she wouldn’t say something mean because this was my first time I made this recipe. But I was totally wrong she loved it and said she wanted another piece. Then she had complimented me again! This made me feel very good because it was a new recipe and it was my first time making it. As you can probably tell I am very happy with myself for getting good complements about making the cake by myself with nobody helping me. I will never forget this day because it was the one time I got complimented on my food that was made from scratch and by myself with no help at all. Submitted by: "Kaitlyn W."

Cookbook Recipe
Peanut Butter Blossoms
Christmas Baking Day It’s the time of the season, Christmas Baking Day! The cookie dough, cake mixes and other sweet treats are in the fridge for tomorrows festivities. This is the beginning of baking day and so much more fun involved. From the fun colored decorating tool to the rolling of the dough, it’s the jolliest time of the year. This is how I felt last Saturday when I actually got to bake. My sister and I took the sweet mixes out of the fridge. We choose that we would like to make peanut butter blossoms first! Carefully, we rolled the tasty dough into balls. I’d have to say that there were at least 50 cookie balls. My mom took the job of presetting the oven and getting it ready. About 10min later, the first batch was done, again, my mom took them out of the oven and my sis and I took the job of pressing the Hershey kiss in to the cookies, which made them even more moist and gooey! Our next attempt was to make sugar cookies. I get flashbacks of the last time I made them, the crystal coating on top. Back to today, my sister poured out the box of cookie cutters to find out which shapes we would make. Christmas trees, Santa’s, and reindeers were the picks. I settled the dough from the fridge to the counter and went on with rolling dough with the rolling pin. Soon enough there were tons of uncooked cookies getting ready to be baked. About 7min later, I took the cookies out and popped a warm one into my mouth. It’s decorating time!!!!! I stirred up the glaze and pulled open the frosting cans, shacked the sprinkles, and filled the pastry bag. The first cookie I frosted was a Christmas tree; I frosted green frosting with a knife and then squirted out red ornaments with the pastry bag, making unique designs. Some other things that we made were chocolate covered pretzels, so I dipped the warm chocolate on the pretzel stick into Christmas colored sprinkles. I repeated this step many times and soon enough, we were done! Christmas baking day has come to a close, but I had so much fun, this is why I have decided to choose peanut butter blossoms as my recipe for the cookbook. To everyone who try’s my recipe, I hope you enjoy and perhaps bake it next holiday seasons! Submitted by: "Lizzie M"

Cookbook Recipe
Yellow Allergy-Free Birthday Cake
I have allergies, so my mom found a recipe for me to have a birthday cake. The Birthday of Firsts “Hey look at the time. Happy birthday Jacob!” said my Aunt Ruth. A huge ray of happiness flowed through me. “Happy Birthday!” cheered the others in the room. “I'm nine!” I yelled out, “Finally! I get to go to New York City!” “You're not 9 yet. You will be though.” said my mom. “When?” I asked. “11:57 my son,” said my father in a hilarious voice. I went back to the office, where I would be sleeping while my Aunt Ruth and Uncle Bryan were here.The next morning I woke up. I walked outside of the office. My sister then had to pinch me 9 times. Apparently each pinch would make me grow an inch. She regrets it now because I tower over her. When we got to the train station I was so excited. Not only was it my birthday and my first time in NYC, but it was also my first time on a train. We boarded the train. The train roared and came to life. The repetitive thud became the tune of the trip. Then my mom yelled “Look Jacob!” I saw it on a white billboard. In huge blue letters, NEW YORK FILM ACADEMY. “That's where I'm going for college,” I proclaimed. Then my sister said “You might change your mind.” “Well, I won't.” I never have since I saw the billboard. Then we departed from the train. That is when I saw it, Grand Central Station. A shock came over me. The walls were a beautiful light brown. So many people. I knew at that moment, this isn't Barkhamsted. The ceiling was painted like the night sky. We walked out the door. In my mind I yelled OH MY GOD! THIS PLACE IS SO HUGE! Every building I saw was much bigger than my house. Suddenly I was lifted off my feet. My Uncle Bryan had put me on his shoulders. He was so much bigger than anyone else in the group. Now I could see like a giant. There were bars, apartments, huge people, small people, in between people. Then eventually skyscrapers. Who cares if I didn't get any other presents or cake. This was all I need. Then came Toys R Us. I didn't go on the Ferris Wheel until my 2nd trip. Times Square was amazing, especially at night, but I'll get to that later. “Hey guys it's the Empire State Building!” I blurted out. They all started laughing. “Little dude, that's the Chrysler Building. You'll see the Empire State Building later,” my Uncle Bryan told me. That was embarrassing. About an hour later I asked my Uncle Bryan “Hey Uncle Bryan. What's that building?”“Little dude,” he replied “, that's the Empire State Building.” “Oh, it's fatter than I expected.” Then I got back on his shoulders and we went back to Times Square. It was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. Lights flashed everywhere. Very interesting people dressed up in costumes. My Uncle Bryan told me he paid to get these lights on just for me. I know that is not true now because Uncle Bryan is a cook. So we said goodbye to Aunt Ruth and Uncle Bryan. We went back to Grand Central Station. The nighttime sky painting lit up. I fell asleep on the train and woke up to the cart being empty except for my family. Then came our stop. We got out and got in the car. That is when I checked the time. 11:57, I was officially 9 years old. Back in New York a sign stood near the train tracks. It was a sign for New York Film Academy. And some were in New York the academy waits for me. Submitted by: "Jacob T."

Cookbook Recipe
My Great Grandma's Famous Danish Pancakes
Did you know that Danish people eat danish pancakes on Easter. Well I have a Danish grandma and i am going to tell the time i had danish pancakes on Easter. Then we went to go find eggs. Me and my sister find them in my grandma’s house. They are plastic with candy inside the eggs so we eat them. Did you know that Danish people eat danish pancakes on Easter. Well I have a Danish grandma and i am going to tell the had at least It was a couple years ago. I was at my grandma’s house in Winsted, Connecticut and I was about to cook bacon when my grandma said”We are making danish pancakes.” and i had to help her so i got all the ingredients and my grandma showed me how to make them. We started following our recipe book when my mom said i was too young to cook. My grandma had a big fight. Then i said,” Is is really a big deal to fight about me cooking”. My grandma wanted me to be ready. Then my mom said it was fine then we started making danish pancakes and we had so much fun. We had a lot of people over for pancakes My Uncle Chris, Aunt Sandy, Aunt Becky, Uncle Jay. There was at least ten people there. We serve them then eat the danish pancakes. Then we went to go find eggs. Me and my sister find them in my grandma’s house. They are plastic with candy inside the eggs so we eat them. Then if there were any danish pancakes left and no one wants them we eat them. And that was the time our family had danish pancakes for a holiday and I got to share it with someone i love. Submitted by: "Nick B."

Cookbook Recipe
Grandma's Italian Cookies
Grandmas Cookies My eleventh Christmas was one that i will remember for the rest of my life. It was the Christmas after my grandma died, she was like a second mom to me. When I became older i was the golden grandchild. That July when she died was devastating The morning when i got the call ~ I asked, “Hello?” “hi sweetie it mommy,” she replied. “Omma died last night between three and four o’clock am. I didn’t watch her, i was sleeping but i was just letting you know, okay?” “Ok,” i whimpered, starting to cry. Now every Christmas I always think of how important she was to me and that I will never forget all the memories we had together. Even though she died when I was young i can still to this day remember what a kind and beautiful person she was. I will never forget the bracelet my mom found in her room that she was hiding for Christmas, but never made it. That bracelet is still with me to this day and i’m grateful I have something to remember her by. Submitted by: "Brooke L."

Cookbook Recipe
Crab Stuffing
“Ouch!” I screamed. As I stepped on a very pointy and painful object . Wait! I am going way too far in the story. Let’s start off when I went camping. My grandma was bringing my brother and I to camp. We were driving my aunt’s campsite. Once we got there we got unpacked into the camper. After we got settled my aunt took all of us out on her huge boat. Riding the boat was so much fun, having the ocean water splash on your face and to smell that ocean breeze. It was like we were in heaven. Once we got to the shore we found the perfect spot and got settled. After that I went swimming. When I came out of the water I was walking up the beech and I stepped on a crab shell I screamed. I was running back and forth to the water because every time I would run up the beech I would get sand into the hurt area. So here is the lesson is a lesson wear water shoes on the beach or you could step on a crab shell just like me. Submitted by: "Daron C."

Cookbook Recipe
Apple Crunch Pie
A Setback Victory Have you ever felt completely and utterly bored? Even, sometimes, at a party? I was feeling this way this past Thanksgiving. None of my cousins that were my age were there, so I was surrounded by adults. Desperate for something to do, I trudged into my aunt’s living room, where my eighteen-year-old cousin Connor was sitting on the worn brown leather couch, engrossed in the football game on television. I wondered if maybe he would want to play setback with me. I’m glad I asked. “Do you know how to play setback?” I asked hopefully. Connor switched his attention from the bright TV screen to me. With his crop of blonde hair and tanned complexion, he looked like the kind of college-aged boy you would expect to see on the cover of a sports magazine. “Nope,” he answered nonchalantly, his bright blue eyes staring up at me. “Can I teach you?” I asked. “Sure,” he replied casually, “just let me go grab a deck of cards.” When Connor came back, I slipped us each six of the smooth, glossy cards, three at a time. After that, I taught him the basic rules of setback; for example, the suit that gets the highest bid is called ‘trump,’ and you can only bid up to four points. “Why don’t we lay all of our cards out on the table the first time we play?” I asked. “It makes it easier.” “Okay,” he said. Once we had laid everything out, we ran through the rules of bidding before staring the round. We went slowly, but Connor caught on fast. Soon we were ready to play with teams. In the first game, my Memere (a French word meaning Grandma) and I played against Connor and my brother, Brian. The game was surprisingly close. When we made it to the last round, Brian threw out his last card, the Jack of trump. Both boys cheered and slapped hands, believing that they had won. While watching them, I grinned and quietly played my last card, the queen of trump. Memere and I erupted in laughter, for we had won after all. We continued playing for awhile, switching teams a lot. Connor was never on Memere’s team, and her team always won. Finally, my grandmother and I sat down eagerly on the living room couch, ready for the last game. Dad and Connor came over. “Whose team do you want to be on, Connor?” he asked. “I’ll play with Sam, so I can beat Memere,” he said determinedly. We laughed and began the round. As the game progressed, Connor and I slowly pulled ahead. Suddenly, it was my turn to bid. Either I bid three or I could pass. I considered the possibilities. “Go for it, Sam,” Connor suggested. “It’s just a game.” We made three points that round! After a few more hands, Connor and I jumped up, high-fiving and grinning. We had proclaimed victory! I will treasure the memory of this past Thanksgiving forever. Just being able to see Connor made this holiday a special occasion, since he lives at college and is almost never home. The reason this Thanksgiving was extra special is because not only did I get to see Connor, I really got to spend time with him in a way I hardly ever get to do. This past Thanksgiving really was amazing. *This is my mother's special pie recipe, a delicious dish often found at our family Thanksgiving gatherings. Submitted by: "Sammi K."

Cookbook Recipe
Delectable Pasta Sauce
Have you ever noticed how most Italian families eat so much sauce that it is just pouring out of their ears? Well, my family is just one of those millions of families that loves sauce. Ever since I was very young, I have always loved good Italian sauce with angel hair pasta and a big, juicy meatball on top. Whenever I get sad, pasta and sauce makes me feel better than good. I guess for Italians, pasta and sauce can cure anything. The recipe that I have chosen for the Team Falcon cookbook is my dad’s famously delicious pasta sauce. I have had several memories helping my dad make this amazing sauce, but this one definitely stood out from the rest. It was a frigid winter day in December, only six days away from Christmas and I was helping my dad prep to make sauce. As we started making the red tomato filled concoction, we were both on the same page thinking that today’s day of cooking would be like all of the other times. Little did we know that the sauce wasn’t being heated up on the stove at level 2 but at 8. We had made the sauce at one pm and had planned on letting it take its time, slowly simmering for the rest of the afternoon and then, just having dinner a little bit later than we usually did. While my little brother Jimmy and I were helping my dad to clean the house, the sauce was already was done and ready for eating because it was being cooked on such a high temperature. When it was 7 pm, my dad went to check on the sauce and the next thing I knew, my name was being called, “ Courtney, Courtney, can you come here really quick?” I went over to see what was going on and that’s when I found out. The sauce was cooking on too high a heat and burned. The color of the sauce was still red, but once we stirred it, there were little blackish-brown specks scattered throughout it. That night, we still ate the sauce because we didn’t want to waste it. Surprisingly, it tasted the same, but still wasn’t the same as sauce that was cooked the way it was suppose to. Since that sauce incidence, my dad, my little brother, and l always check the stove’s heat so that we don’t have to go through the same thing again. A good lesson that was learned here is to always double and triple check what temperature you are cooking your food on so that you will have delicious and not burned food. Submitted by: "Courtney L."

Cookbook Recipe
Delicious Amazing Fluffy Vanilla Cake
Last year, my cousin and I used to make videos and put them on You Tube. One night, I slept at her house, and we were bored, so we decided to make videos. We had so much fun that night, and even went to McDonalds at 11 or 12 at night. We used to say “dunk” when we dipped the chicken nugget in the sauce. So for the videos we would dip them in and say dunk. We went to the mall one day, and we baked corn muffins later. We didn’t have any cooking skills before because we used to go downstairs when everyone was asleep and take stale food, and add toppings from the fridge. We threw it all out, and sometimes we would make more after that. When everyone was awake, we would make normal foods and we kept it a secret that we made the world’s most disgusting hot dog, without meat. When we made the cake, we actually followed the instructions and didn’t put anything in it. We both liked to bake, so we made a couple videos about baking. Most of the videos were random, and they weren’t even planned out, so we would upload whatever we had. We stopped making the videos after awhile, but they’re still up and sometimes I watch them just to see how weird we were, and I laughed at almost every one of them. One of the videos was my favorite. That was when we bought handcuffs from the dollar store, and no one was with us, so we had to ask the lady how to get her out of them. The only good things we baked were corn muffins, cake, and cinnamon rolls. All of the other videos were for laughs, and we couldn’t turn on the microwave, because her dad would catch us. Submitted by: "Lizzy D."

Cookbook Recipe
Shanty Spaghetti
“Are we there yet?” my little brother Nicholas asked for the third time now. “Yes Nicholas we are here,” my Dad said excitedly. I have always wanted to be like my Dad when I grow up. He is very creative and musical. My Dad also loves to camp. When he was a kid, he was 99% outside, unlike me and my brothers, so that’s were I think he gained his camping skills from. As we drove into our campsite, I heard the little rocks banging under the car. Once the car was parked, I opened the car door of my Dad’s gray Hyundai Sonata and looked at my surroundings. The perfect blue sky was filled with white wispy clouds. The campsite wasn't as big as I expected, but it was filled with entertaining things to do. A picnic table with an umbrella sticking through the middle of it, a tire swing, and we were about 20 steps away from the tiny beach. The smell of campfires and barbecues filled the air. I knew that I was going to like it here. As we unpacked my Dad’s car trunk, we sang “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”. It was a painfully long process to do such a task. After we unpacked our massive amount of supplies, we relaxed and played games. We launched our yellow Frisbee around the campsite, and chucked the rock(football) around for about an hour. As I caught the football I felt its leathery texture and started to hear my stomach rumbling. We all started to get famished so my Dad and I left the campsite to go get Spaghetti, Parsley, Garlic and Pepper Salt, Basil, and Olive Oil. When we got back my brothers were saying that they were “dying” of starvation, so as quickly as possible my Dad was trying to make Spaghetti from his little portable stove panel. My Dad is very skilled when it comes to cooking. He once made a giant pancake and then flipped it with two forks, because that was what he had at the moment. As my Dad was finishing up making his concoction dinner we heard a slight pitter-patter on the tent about 10 feet away from our picnic table. We've all realized quickly that it was beginning to rain. All of a sudden, it started pouring outside. My brothers rushed into the tent with so much fear and speed. My Dad and I were still at the table laughing our heads off because of the situation we were in. My Dad’s creativity kicked in and got two tarps, rope, and lawn chairs that we’re in the piles of supplies we had put down on the ground. My Dad and I made a shelter across our whole campsite that made the other people jealous of us. We named the shelter “The Shanty”. As we started to eat under “The Shanty” we named the spaghetti “Shanty Spaghetti”. As we giggled and smiled under our rain protection I made the quote that will be used for the rest of our lives. “It’s never dull.” Submitted by: "Adam R."

Cookbook Recipe
Shrimp Scampi
A Gourmet Dinner It was a special day. It was an exciting day. It was my Dad’s 38th birthday. For his BIG day, we were going to do something out of the ordinary. Something he would never think of or expect in a million years. My sister, Jaiden, my mom, and I were going to throw him a surprise party. Even though it was just the three of us, a lot of time, thought, and effort went into making this party come to life. It was October 16, 2008. The day was gray and gloomy. It was a day that seemed to drag on as slow as a snail. Finally, the last school bell rang and I dashed for my bus. I couldn’t wait to get home and get ready for Dad’s party. As soon as the bus pulled up in front of my house I jumped off and ran inside. It was time to start prepping. To begin, we needed to decorate the house. We splattered streamers of every color across the kitchen ceiling turning it into a rainbow of fun. Balloons of all shapes and sizes filled up the rest of the space in huge bunches. One gigantic silver balloon was taped to Dad’s special chair that read, “Happy Birthday Dad!” In the center of the table was a bouquet of red and white carnations. The table was set with our fine china and silverware. Everything looked “perfect”. For dinner we were serving up shrimp scampi, a delectable concoction made with a lot of love. My sister and I had put a lot of time into pulling the dish together and let me tell you, it smelled delicious. It was seafood and Italian food at the same time, my two favorites. Angel hair pasta, cooked al dente, was bubbling in a large pot on the stove. While jumbo shrimp was sizzling in a buttery frying pan near by. A fresh loaf of Italian Ciabatta bread was browning in the toaster oven. Crisp, green Caesar salad chilled in the refrigerator. Most importantly, a rich chocolate birthday cake hid in box on the counter. The smell in the kitchen was indescribable. It felt like we were dining in a fine restaurant in Italy. Finally, the time had come. My nerves were kicking in and I had butterflies in my stomach. We knew that Dad would be pulling into the garage in his Ford Fusion from work at any second. We scampered around the kitchen testing out different hiding spots. It was essential that we chose the perfect hiding places in order to give him the ultimate surprise. I finally decided to hide in the coat closet, in the kitchen, waiting in dark silence. I tried to calm down my breathing, but my adrenalin was pumping so fast. Jaiden hid behind the red couch in the living room, waiting patiently. Mom peeked through the corner of the window ready to give us the signal. Our hearts were beating fast with excitement. Finally, my dad walked through the kitchen door, completely unaware of what awaited him. We all popped out and yelled, “SURPRISE!!!!!!” The look on his face was priceless. He looked like he was in shock, but at the same time was as happy as could be. A wide smile broke out across his face and his eyes popped out of his head in amazement. He dropped his computer bag and ran across the tiled floor to give us a great big hug. He spun around the room looking at all of our hard work. We all stood their, proud and satisfied by all of our effort. Our planning had paid off. Dad’s birthday surprise was a success! I wouldn’t have changed anything, even if I could have. The night couldn’t have gone any better. It was just the four of us sitting at our table eating a home cooked meal and sharing stories about our day. It was simple, but it made me realize just how important my family is to me. Sometimes it’s just the small moments and little things in life that mean the most to people. And that is exactly what this memory is to me. I will remember it until the day I die. Submitted by: "Jackson D."

Cookbook Recipe
Special Stuffing Recipe
My grandma is very special too me, she is very understanding! When she and my grandpa come visit we always have the best time! This time she came to visit it was for Thanksgiving. Although not many people would be excited to cook all day I love it. So when my grandma said ”Marissa we're gonna cook all day for Thanksgiving” I was so excited! My grandparents live far away so when they visit it always nice to do something I love. At least I’m not bad at cooking and am very decent at it. That day my Mom, grandma and I put on some music and got to work. We gathered what we need to bake and started to chop, mix and pour. My grandma and I started to make stuffing together for the first time ever. She had me cut up peppers, onions, bread and a lot others. We threw it all together in a couple hours and then stuffed it in the nice big turkey breast. That was just the beginning though, there was a lot more to cook. We started dancing and singing the whole time. My mom told me to cut up celery stick and put peanut butter on top of them, to make peanut butter logs. Then she also asked me to throw on some carrots on the vegetable plate. I love to use knifes while I’m cooking because it’s fun to chop up vegetables or fruits! There are a lot more things you can cut up than really do anything else while you cook. My mom We all had a blast that day! It was my first time ever making stuffing and I’ll never forget it. My favorite part was when we blasted the music and then we were dancing while cooking! Once in awhile my grandma or mom would throw a carrot at me or some flour just for fun! My mom and grandma are so important to me and there a big part in my life. I’m so glad we had this day together. Submitted by: "Marissa O."

Cookbook Recipe
Mom's Fabulous Bacon Cheeseburger
Yum, tonight I’m going to Joe’s Pizza! It is the home of the delicious bacon cheeseburger in Canton. My family and I go to this restaurant every Saturday night. Have you ever been there? Well, if you haven’t you should go there with your family. Joe’s Pizza is located in a remote, quiet, and community friendly neighborhood. The staff is always welcoming and remembers your favorite orders. The restaurant is small, cozy and atmosphere makes you feel like if you are at home. The only difference is that it is stress free because I don’t have to clean up afterwards. I get to spend quality time with my family. When I’m at Joe’s my family get to talk about school, work, or just general things about the day. I also get the opportunity to eat my favorite meal, bacon cheeseburger. My burger needs to be cooked well done and the bacon needs to be extra crispy. I love to add special spices; such as: black pepper, crushed red pepper and parmesan cheese. These spices add to the burger a bigger kick to the flavor Every time, I go to Joe’s Pizza Restaurant it reminds me of how lucky I am to have my parents. It means a lot to me when we are together. My father works at least 70 hours a week at the Hartford Police Department. We have a tradition while we are waiting for our food; we play fun guessing games. I like to have my parents guess the number I am thinking of and my mom likes for us to guess a food item. When the food comes it’s a whole different story. It’s time for us to get our eating on! I put my special spices (black peppers and crushed red peppers) to spice my burger up. When I take a bite of it the juices fall into my mouth. I just want to eat the whole thing in one gulp, but I don’t rush eating it quickly so I can savor the moment. I have a special memory of this restaurant that I will never forget. Three years ago, my parents decided to take me to Joe’s for my birthday. When we were done eating our usual meal, I had a feeling my parents were going to surprise me by having the employees sing to me happy birthday. I noticed the employees walking by and singing happy birthday, but then I realized that they did not stop at our table. Instead, they went two tables from us and sang happy birthday to someone else. My parents noticed my facial expression and we were all laughing so hard that we could not control ourselves. A few minutes later the employees came to our table and sang happy birthday to me. To this day, I always laugh when I see the employees sing for someone else’s birthday. So what are you waiting for? Head to Joe’s now. You may not like their burgers but they have a variety of food and desert waiting for you. Why not create your own memories at Joe’s. Enjoy. Submitted by: "Kyle R"

Cookbook Recipe
Choclate Chip Pancakes
“Bang!” was the sound of the door swinging wide open as the three, drunk, teenagers walked into my house. It was around 2:00 o’clock in the morning, and I heard my dad run out into the kitchen and start yelling at the teenagers. I was frightened and nervous. Then I saw something go flying across the room. “Woosh”, was the sound it made! Glass shattered all over the floor. It was a chandler , one of the teenagers threw a chair at my dad and it hit the chandler! Then my dad realized my brother was right in the direction where the chair was headed. So then my dad caught the chair before it hit my brother, then he threw it back. My dad ended up chasing the teenagers out. And then he called the police and the officer wouldn't let my dad get off the phone until they arrived to my house. Meanwhile there's blood all over because my dad stepped in the glass from my chandelier that shattered when the guy threw the chair. Shortly after the cops arrived. Then thats when we started calling our family. I called my best friend Carly, and told her what happened. She started crying and she came to my house and tried to comfort me. My whole family is scared now and I still have trouble falling asleep at night. This is definitely something that I will always remember! Submitted by: "Kaylin A."

Cookbook Recipe
Awesome Donuts
One memorable thing that I did was making fresh donuts with my mom and dad. This was memorable because my mom and I have never made fresh donuts before. This was going to be a new experience for both of us. We thought that making fresh donuts would be easy, but it was a lot of work. It was a rainy Saturday morning and my mom, dad, and I were looking for something to do. I suggested that we would make fresh donuts. My mom and dad said that it was a good idea so we decided to make fresh donuts. The first thing we did was make the dough. That took the longest because we had to let the dough rise for what seemed to take the whole day. After the dough was done rising, we took the big mushy white blob out of the bowl and we began to roll it out. When we were done rolling the dough out on the counter, we took a big cookie cutter which was for the size of the donut. We also had a shot glass to make the hole in the middle of the donut. Once the big blob had all the donut holes in it, we squished it together to make a smaller ball of dough then we cut it once again and kept doing this until we used all the dough. We got out the fryer to fry all the little donuts. When my mom and dad were putting the raw donuts in the fryer, I got the job of making the frosting for the donuts. I had to whip up the frosting fast before the donuts got cold. Just as the new donuts came out I was still making the frosting, but I got it done as the donuts were the perfect temperature to put it on. I drizzled the donuts with the perfect amount of frosting and they looked very good. In the end, the donuts were delicious and they tasted perfect to us. This was a fun experience for all of us but it took a lot of work. The good thing was it was something to do over a rainy day and I had fun doing it. Submitted by: "Dustin S."

Cookbook Recipe
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Riding a Tractor “Turn the key. Okay; you got it. Nice and easy” my grandfather said in a nervous voice, “ Don't go near the hill!” “Okay Perperé! Stop worrying! I'm gonna do fine!” I screamed over the sound of the engine. This is when I learned how to drive a tractor. I was about 5 or 6 years old and I was also extremely eager to learn. On a summer afternoon when I was practicing my fishing skills with a magnetic hook and fish, I asked my grandfather if he would teach me how to drive a tractor. He didn't like the idea at first, but after 10 minutes of me giving him puppy dog eyes, he said sure. I could tell he still wasn't liking the idea. We went onto his front lawn. I was getting nervous. I thought to myself, I don't want to do this anymore. Maybe I should back out. My grandfather got his red, sparkly tractor out of the garage, settled me in the seat and gave me instructions. That's when I knew that I had to stick with it. I turned the key and the tractor started moving! I was so excited that I stopped paying attention to the direction that the tractor was going in and crashed into a lamp post! I was fine, and so was the tractor, except for a scratch and a tiny dent. I thought that my grandfather was going to be SO mad at me, but surprisingly, he didn't care! “Haley, Haley! Are you okay?” my grandfather said as he quickly ran over to me. “Perperé I'm okay, really, I'm okay!” I said in a somewhat shocked voice. I had a really great time driving a tractor and I want to try again. My mom wouldn't be as okay if I were to crash our tractor though. Submitted by: "Haley D."

Cookbook Recipe
Venison Stew
Every year in the winter my dad always goes out hunting for deer because it feeds my family and saves us money. When my dad comes back with one my mom and dad help seperate the different parts of the deer for different recipes. This recipe came from my own recipe she made, this means a lot to me because this is our recipe that my mom had created. Last Christmas As I woke up I remembered it was Christmas day and we were going to my friend’s house to open presents and spend the day there. As I slowly entered our living room where our tree was, I looked at it. It felt comforting to me with all the lights and presents we opened yesterday on Christmas Eve. We open present on Christmas morning, but my parents were too tired so that’s when we changed it to open presents on Christmas Eve as soon as it gets dark out. At 10:00 a.m. it was time to leave for our friend’s house. We all got our hats and jackets on and my brother and I brought snow pants to go out side. My family and I gathered up all the presents for our friends. Next we got in our Subaru and took off. It takes us around 40 minutes to get there but we finally made it. Once we opened the door there was a beautifully decorated tree with presents all under it and friendly hellos from our friends. We all took our jackets off and put the presents under the tree. My parents and my older sister walked over to the grownups to talk and my brother and I walked over to our friends Hunter and Andre and said hello and smiled when we saw each other. We all said hello and were all excited to open presents. Everyone gathered around the tree to see what was in the brightly colored gifts. One of the presents I got was an MP3 player. Once I was done opening presents I was looking at what everyone else got. Finally, everyone was finished opening the gifts. The grownups went back up stairs and all the kids were playing on the x-box. Soon after, my brother and friends and I went outside in the snow and walked in the woods. We were getting tired so we all headed back inside the warmth. It was getting dark so my parents, sister, my brother, and I made the long drive back to our house. Last Christmas was one of the most memorable holidays that I can recall. It was so much fun to celebrate Christmas with some of my best friends and family. Even though I would have played the x-box and opened gifts at home, this was even more fun because I got to do these things with my friends. This was nothing we’ve ever done before and we created a new tradition we can all look forward to. Submitted by: "Brandon L."

Cookbook Recipe
Barbecue hamburgers
Don't you love to go to the fair? I do, and I went with one of my best friends last year. His name is Blake Keller, and he is awesome. He got me to finally go on the rides I thought I would never ride. I thought I would never go on this ride that you stand in and spin really fast until you think you will go flying out of your seat called scat. "Come on Ryan," Blake said, "The line is getting longer!" I was scared to go on at first. It got so fast that I couldn't lift my head from the head rest."I dare you to spit while we are moving our fastest." said Blake, and I, being the king of dares in my school, readily agreed. As we were going as fast as it could go, I spit. I didn't see where it went but not two seconds after i did I heard, "Why did you spit on me?" and we continued to ride. I found out that I like feeling like my face was pealing off. Next we visited avalanche which is a ride where you go up and down slowly until you are going in circles and you don't go upside down. In the beginning of the ride it's slow an it gets better when you get faster and you lose that weird stomach feeling. Eventually you stop, and then you go around the other way. Finally we visited the ferris wheel. Not your normal ferris wheel where you slowly go up and down over a circle, but the kind where they lock you in a metal cage and give you a thing that controls which way you do flips. It was exhilerating. I found out 5 things that day. One, momentum sucks, gravity rules. Two, when you do backward flips in that it takes a while to go upside down. Three, I hate doing forward flips no matter HOW fun it is on a trampoline. Four, doing a front flip is scarier and a lot faster than a back flip. Five, if you time it right, while you flip backwards, you will fall towards the top of the cage extremely fast. On the way off of the spinning ferris wheel for the fourth time, with the night growing closer, I started to crave food. We had to leave the fair though so we went home to his house, but not for long, because my dad was making his DeLayo family famous hamburgers. Submitted by: "Ryan D"

Cookbook Recipe
Barbecue hamburgers
Don't you love to go to the fair? I do, and I went with one of my best friends last year. His name is Blake Keller, and he is awesome. He got me to finally go on the rides I thought I would never ride. I thought I would never go on this ride that you stand in and spin really fast until you think you will go flying out of your seat called scat. "Come on Ryan," Blake said, "The line is getting longer!" I was scared to go on at first. It got so fast that I couldn't lift my head from the head rest."I dare you to spit while we are moving our fastest." said Blake, and I, being the king of dares in my school, readily agreed. As we were going as fast as it could go, I spit. I didn't see where it went but not two seconds after i did I heard, "Why did you spit on me?" and we continued to ride. I found out that I like feeling like my face was pealing off. Next we visited avalanche which is a ride where you go up and down slowly until you are going in circles and you don't go upside down. In the beginning of the ride it's slow an it gets better when you get faster and you lose that weird stomach feeling. Eventually you stop, and then you go around the other way. Finally we visited the ferris wheel. Not your normal ferris wheel where you slowly go up and down over a circle, but the kind where they lock you in a metal cage and give you a thing that controls which way you do flips. It was exhilerating. I found out 5 things that day. One, momentum sucks, gravity rules. Two, when you do backward flips in that it takes a while to go upside down. Three, I hate doing forward flips no matter HOW fun it is on a trampoline. Four, doing a front flip is scarier and a lot faster than a back flip. Five, if you time it right, while you flip backwards, you will fall towards the top of the cage extremely fast. On the way off of the spinning ferris wheel for the fourth time, with the night growing closer, I started to crave food. We had to leave the fair though so we went home to his house, but not for long, because my dad was making his DeLayo family famous hamburgers. Submitted by: "Ryan D"

Cookbook Recipe
Grandma's Crepes
Last year my grandmother was in a nursing home and hospital. I will never ever forget what happened. It was sad but a little after it was fun for everyone. But first you need to hear what happened. My grandmother (Oma) has very small and thin stairs going to the basement. So she came home from the Y.M.C.A. So she was carrying her towel down the stairs and on the way down she goes down backwards and tripped on her towel and fell down the stairs. So then she called my mom who then called my dad who then called my uncle who then called 911. It was very terrifying when my dad and I got there my grandmother was going onto the ambulance. The next day she had to go into surgery and after was funny because she went into the same hospital room my mom was in a year before she had knee surgery. My grandmother is a German she grew up there and came here and well because she is a German she refused to take any painkillers and two days later after having hip surgery she was walking around the hospital. So, they sent her to a nursing home. The nursing home was so fun! We played and looked at fish. But the sad thing was that my grandmother was there for her birthday. But we threw a surprise party upstairs with all of her friends she loved it. Two days before she left my little cousin said to her “Oma now you can make Oma pancakes.” but they are just crepes. My grandmother recuperated and still makes the best crepes in town. Now I hope that you can make them and enjoy them just as much as I do. Submitted by: "Erika Bertell"

Cookbook Recipe
Mini Doughnuts
“Let's go!" yelled my dad. "It takes about an hour to get the Big E." As I rushed down the stairs, I remembered that we had to pick up Jenny on the way. I reminded my dad that I invited her to go with us. I was excited to go on amusement rides and eat all different kinds of food. My dad and I hopped in the car to Jenny's house. She got in the car and we talked the whole car ride. I kept talking about the times I went to the Big E in the past. Finally, we arrived at the fair. We walked down a long and busy street. We had to wait in a never ending line for ten minutes. In line I could see the tall amusement rides towering over me. I got into the fair and we started planning out where we were going to go. Jenny and I were hungry, so we skipped around to see all the choices of food that was offered. We saw cotton candy, curly french fries, and hot dogs, but wasn't good enough for us. We needed something interesting. Finally, we saw something new and exciting that we have never had before. In front of was the coolest thing ever. There was a small booth with a machine. This machine made mini donuts. I stared at them getting flipped and formed. My dad said, " I remember that I had these once before." Jenny asked, "Should we get some?" I said, "Yeah sure!" My dad bought us a large bag of 18 mini donuts that we could share. We carried them with us to the gigantic slide. The bag was, sadly, almost empty, but I brought some donuts with me on the ride down. On the slide as I was chewing one, the fluffy doughnut came out of my mouth. Jenny and I started laughing so hard because a piece flew back and hit her in the face. My dad was behind us just chewing on his own. All of a sudden, a doughnut that Jenny was holding fell out of her hand. Now, my dad was even laughing, trying not to choke. When we reached the bottom, I noticed the mini doughnut that dropped out of Jenny's hand. It touched the edge of the mat I was riding on. We pretended like we didn't see it and got off the ride. It was so dirty that we choose not to pick it up and just left it there. We left the fair and drove Jenny back to her house. Jenny said excitedly, "I had a great time with you. I will always remember our mini doughnut adventures." I know she wasn't kidding because I had so much fun too! We went on amusement rides and had a bunch of food. I didn't want Jenny to go home that day. Even though I was with my friend, my dad was glad that we went with him. I will never forget the time I went to the Big E with Jenny and my daddy." Submitted by: "Miranda M."

Cookbook Recipe
Chicken Cutlets
My recipe is a chicken cutlet recipe. When I first learned how to make chicken cutlets my great-great-aunt Mary taught me. We were at her apartment the first time. Watching her make chicken cutlets was like watching real a magic show with real magic! She was even generous enough to show me how to make them. I enjoyed the times we spent together. She used to tell me about her childhood while we made these supreme surprises! Sadly though, she has passed away. Some of the stories she said to me while we made these irresistible desserts were knowledgeable, others were just plain hilarious. I know she always had something special in her chicken cutlets to make them so delicious. I remember the first time my aunt showed me how to make chicken cutlets, I was about 6. The first thing she told me about was the steps; like to first put eggs and the mixture in bowls. The mixture (bread crumb) can be different depending on how you want to make your chicken cutlets. For our recipe we put in egg, parmesan cheese, and bread crumb. The egg helps the cheese and bread crumb stick. After you dip the raw chicken in the egg to the bread crumb you fry it in oil. Once you get the bread crumb onto the chicken you put the chicken into the fryer you heat it up to a toasty 365 degrees. You leave them frying for about 15 minutes. After that you have a heavenly treat awaiting you at the table. I remember my aunt used to tell me stories about her childhood, while we were making the pieces of edible heaven. It was one of the ways we spent time together. Another big way we spent time together was when we ate the chicken cutlets. One story she told me was as a kid/teen she tied her little, baby brother to a tree and went to go shopping at the mall with her friends. She said “…But when he got older and could talk… I was BUSTED!” After that story I laughed so hard that I nearly fell off my chair! I asked her, “What did your parents do to you when they found out what you did to your brother?” She responded, “Nothing you could ever imagine in your worst nightmares!” It was one of the funniest stories I’d ever been told, especially when she told it. She would use a sarcastic voice in the best places, to make the story twice as good. Another thing she told me while we were making chicken cutlets was that she had a secret ingredient. She never told me what it was though. My family and I have always wondered what the secret ingredient was, but sadly we will never find out. My aunt’s chicken cutlets were definitely the best! I have never had a chicken cutlet as good as hers. One little secret ingredient can make all the difference in a chicken cutlet. My mother and grandmother can’t even make them nearly as well as hers. As you can clearly see my aunt has taught me almost everything I know about chicken cutlets, including the process. She never ended up telling me what the secret was though. My great-great-aunt definitely made the best chicken cutlets in my family by far. I relished it when she would tell stories to me too. I hope I have now made it very clear that my aunt was probably the best chicken cutlet maker in the world!! Submitted by: "Lauren E."

Cookbook Recipe
Cheese and Broccoli Casserole
The first time I had my dad’s recipe for cheese and broccoli casserole, the flavor burst inside my mouth and furthermore, it became my favorite dish in the world. The first time I had this magnificent dish was about one week after Christmas. My neighborhood settled down after the holiday cheer ceased, and the town was in peace and completely quiet. The house was pleasant and it was noon, about time for lunch in our family. We ate and had a conversation on the couch while watching the Bengals play against the 49ers. Off the topic about football, my dad popped the question about what we wanted for dinner tonight. We asked what the options were and what was available. Or dad gave us three choices, but the one that struck us as odd was the recipe for cheese and broccoli casserole. We asked our dad what it was and he responded,” it is a delightful dish. I had it every once and a while as a kid and I think you’ll really enjoy it.” So we chose that for our dinner tonight. About a few hours later we heard something beeping in the oven, so we rushed downstairs in excitement to see what it was. As my dad pulled it out of the oven I caught a glimpse of its wonder. It looked like the best entrée I have ever seen in my life. I sat eagerly at the dinner table awaiting the arrival of the dish. I could tell it was coming because I could smell the scent of it coming this way. The entrée was plopped down in front of me, and I dug my spoon into it like a shovel plunging itself into a pile of dirt. I lifted the fork as a it entered my mouth. It was like an explosion of flavor slowly taunting my taste buds. As the tip of the fork touched the tip of my tongue, a spark of wonder ignited inside my mouth. The feedback I gave my father was wonderful and I told him that he could make this dish any day of the week. i cheered in wonderful delight like a toddler at his first birthday. I honestly knew inside that this would be the dish that would always cheer me up on bad days. Submitted by: "Gavin D."

Cookbook Recipe
Potato Latkes
I never thought i would be getting a skateboard from my dad because he kept saying it was too dangerous, but i would soon learn that it was all a lie! I will always remember the Hanukkah when i got my first skateboard, and I’ll never forget the delicious potato latkes! My dad kept saying “no” over and over again as i asked for a skateboard. I was counting down the days until me and my whole family came over to my dads house to light candles, get presents, and eat potato latkes and applesauce. Even though i didn’t have my hopes up (because i was 99% sure i wasn’t getting it) I still kept a tiny thought in the back of my mind about what would happen if i got one. When i saw my brother walk into the door i was so happy because he was the last family member to come, which means we could finally open presents. My brother, My sister, and I all opened our presents at the same time. I got an iTunes card. I wasn’t disappointed because like i said before, i didn’t have my hopes up. Then i heard my dad say “wait, i think i see another present”. I look and it says my name. this is when i start to get a little excited, but i knew it still wasn’t a skateboard. But that was wrong... I wanted slowly and neatly open the wrapping paper, but when i looked down all i could see are my hands ripping the paper like a wild animal. When i first saw it i thought i was tired and wrong, but when i looked down again, i could tell that i was right... it was a skateboard. I may have been a cheap wal-mart board, but it was good enough for a beginner like me. After my brother and i put it together, we headed down to the basement. My brother picked it up and did an awesome trick and made it look easy. Then it was my turn. I thought it was going to be easy, but i guess not. As soon as i stepped on it i fell right on my face. Thank god i was wearing a helmet! “well, you’ll learn!” said my brother as he tried to hold back a laugh. Even though it was about four years ago, i still remember that night like it was yesterday. My brother and I still joke about that night and how hard i fell, and every hanukkah we eat potato latkes and joke about that one hanukkah when i got my first skateboard. Submitted by: "Ben K."

Cookbook Recipe
Buffalo Chicken Pizza
Did you know that this year I went to Albany and raced my dirt bike in a small stadium? Most people would think that a hockey stadium is too small for a little track but really, it is the perfect size for a bunch of people to watch. It is always a fun weekend to hang out with friends. This year I went to Albany and raced arenacross, like I do every year. Arenacross is racing dirt bikes inside a hockey stadium. It is a little track with a lot of jumps and turns. There are jumps in the corners even, making it tricky. This year at arenacross I won in front of the 20,000 people up above. This was just on November, 17. I remember getting there from the hotel still eating bacon. The sign up to race started at 8:00 am, and it was 7:30. Since there were already people waiting to sign up we hopped in line so we could finish early. Once we got through this hassle we took a look at the track. I remember walking around it with my dad and planning out what I was going to jump and where was the best passing spot. I then looked over at this HUGE jump that was the finish line. My dad told me that I could try to jump it in practice. This was the biggest jump there and I jumped it 1st out of all the bikes (about 3,000 bikes). When the race came I was very nervous about a lot of things; mostly falling and getting last. But when the gate dropped I floored it and I got the lead right off the bat. The second lap I was still leading with a 3 second gap in between me and 2nd. My mom was standing up as I crossed the finish line and took first place. I realized that my name was now flashing at the top of the stadium stating that I won. The announcer was exclaiming, ”Justin Curtis has won the 85 class!” I was very happy that I could now say that I won that race every time I go. Another thing that I could now do was get pizza at midnight. This only happens when I win. As I pulled off the track I remember seeing my friend Angelo coming off close behind me. He got 3rd which was really cool for him. I now can be called a champion for winning that race again. The best part was my friends were the ones that got 2nd and 3rd place. That was a night to remember. I am very proud of my wins at that stadium. Submitted by: "Justin C."

Cookbook Recipe
Strawberry-Lemonade Smoothie
Train Trip The sudden rush of flavor from the strawberry-lemonade smoothie reached my tongue as I started walking toward the subway. Just moments before I was hugging my best friend goodbye after the long day in New York with him. It was an adventurous day in the city, but what I really remember happened on the way home. All we needed to do was get on track 26, then transfer at Bridgeport to a different train to take us to Naugatuck where our car was. After about an hour and a half on the train and many station stops, my mom got worried that maybe we past Bridgeport. We put the scary book down which we were reading together, Wait Until Helen Comes, and began paying attention. But what happened next was scarier than the book... A few minutes later, the voice on the intercom said, “Next stop, Bridgeport. Please take note that the first car and the last two cars will not be opening!” We thought we were okay and in the correct car. The train stopped and we went to the doors and waited. They weren’t opening and I looked behind me and I saw it. The tracks; we were in the last car. I asked my mom, “Umm, mom?” She asked, “Yeah?” I started getting really freaked out and I don’t know what I was saying but I just said what came to mind. It was too hard to think. “We’re in the last car. We need to run, now.” I ran, pushing her in front of me. “MOM, C’MON FASTER!!!” I was really getting scared now. We were in the middle of the second to last car, and the train started moving again. I knew it was too late. I entered the third-to-last car and my mom sat down, holding her head as my eyes started watering. We found the train conductor and told him we missed our stop and therefore our connecting train back to our car in Naugatuck. He was quiet and then told us our only option was to get off the next stop and wait for a train to take us back to Bridgeport. The connector train would arrive in about two and a half hours at 10:37 P.M. We arrived at the next station and had to wait 30 minutes on the dark, empty, freezing cold platform for the train to take us back. We both felt disappointed and scared knowing that we would have that long wait back at Bridgeport. Then my mom remembered her friend Terri lived near Naugatuck. She called her but Terri didn’t pick up. We finally ended up at the Bridgeport Station crying. Then to our relief Terri called back. We were very excited. Terri was going to help! My mom explained everything and we were so comforted that she could pick us up. We are grateful for what Terri did and we still thank her since she saved the day. If she didn’t we would either have had to wait and wait or pay $45 for a taxi ride! From now on we will always ask the train conductor when he takes our tickets if we are in the right car for our stop so this scary nightmare doesn’t happen again. Submitted by: "Avery N."

Cookbook Recipe
The Best Homemade Pancakes
“Come on, Molly,” my mom shrieked, “or we are going to be late to pick up Tori. Did you even get out of bed yet?” I thought to myself, oh man, I fell back asleep! I f I had known how funny my trip to my grandma’s house in New Jersey would be, I would have gotten up extra early. Finally we picked up Tori and headed to New Jersey. Little did I know how long the car ride was going to be. My brother, Ben, was crying and whaling his arms in my face the whole time! when we finally pulled into my grandmothers driveway I jumped out, because after three and a half hours in the car with a screaming child you tend to want to bolt out of the car and into a quieter environment. In excitement to be out of the car and see my grandma I ran around the the corner to find her with hose in hand. My first instinct was to run because i thought she was gong to squirt me with her blue slimy hose. After running around the house into the kitchen I was pretty much exhausted. As I walked in and screamed, “She’s a crazy...” My voice cracked at the smell of delicious pancake, and finished quietly, “woman.” Later as I was talking to Tori i said, “I told you my grandma is crazy,” and put a huge stack of pancakes as big as my head on my plate. “she isn’t crazy!” Tori exclaimed. “I think you’re the crazy one.” The time I spend with my grandma isn’t a lot so when I do get to spend time with her I cherish it forever. Most of our memories are super funny and my whole family laughs at them to this day. Im looking forward to more memories I get to make with my grandma in New Jersey. Submitted by: "Molly P."

Cookbook Recipe
Mom's Ice Cream Cake
Ice Cream Cake Have you ever had a food that can just make a good day turn into a great one? Well I think a food that can really make any day into a great one is my mom’s ice cream cake. The ice cream cake is something that my mom will usually make when it is a family members birthday or a special occasion. It seems like whenever we are able to eat the cake it puts almost everybody at the party into a better mood. Some of the best times that I have had with my family are the times we have the ice cream cake. Almost all of the birthdays that we have celebrated with my family have included the ice cream cake. The ice cream cake is a tradition to have in my family for birthday parties. Everybody always agrees that the cake tastes great regardless of what time of ice cream that is used in the cake. The highlight of many birthday parties is the ice cream cake. I remember about two years ago when I was having a birthday party in the summer and I had a bunch of friends over to hang out and swim in the pool. So for a couple hours we were spending our time in the pool. After a while we got bored and decided that we were going to take a hike in the woods before it started to get to dark to be able to see in the woods. As we started to dry off we realized that some of my friends parents were started to show up. So as quick as we could be started to walk into the woods behind my backyard; after about 2 minutes of walking we heard my mom yell “be back in an hour for the ice cream cake!” We yelled back “ok” and continued on through the woods. After a couple minutes of talking we decided that we were going to go to the power lines. Finally after about twenty minutes of walking we had finally reached the power line trail. All agreeing on taking a rest, we found a big boulder and climbed up onto the top of it to rest for a couple of minutes. Just minutes later we all started to get up and get ready for the walk back. Once we were ready to go and about to wonder back into the woods, we realized that we did not know which trail we had come from. We all spread out and started looking for the path that we would be able to recognize but could not find it. After checking the time and seeing that we only had fifteen minutes before we had to get back, we began to panic. Guessing and hoping, we randomly picked a trail that we hoped would lead us home. When we were about two hundred yards down the trail, we realized that had definitely taken the wrong trail. We checked our phones and saw that we would have to be back within the next five minutes. Now, completely panicking, we all started to run as fast as we could through the woods in direction that we thought we had come from. Starting to get tired, we took a break to see if we knew where we were at all. Looking in the distance, I was able to see a faint but slightly visible orange glow peeking through the trees. We all sighed in relief as we heard our parents talking around the campfire. As we were walking towards my house, we all started laughing about how we had just gotten lost in the woods. We started to joke about whose fault it really was. Walking into the back yard, as if planned, we heard “ice cream cake!” and started to run towards the deck where that cake was. Once we were all seated and eating the cake, we started to tell everybody what had happened while we were in the woods. The ice cream cake was the best thing that we could have possible heard as we finally got out of the woods. Submitted by: "Jayson R."

Cookbook Recipe
Three Cheese Raviolis
l was in the dining room of my aunt Mary Ann's restaurant. “Yaaaaaa” my brother cried “Papa John and Nonni Rita are here”. But little did we know that tonight would be a very interesting night at my Pappa Johns 77th birthday. “ Happy Birthday Pappa John” we all cried as he emerged from the crystal doorway. After that we all walked over to the table talking and laughing all the way. But no one but I noticed that my dad broke off from the group to talk to the waiter who quickly scurried away into the kitchen. And I didn’t think anything of it until later in the evening. As we sat done the waiter brought over the appetizer which surprise, surprise was chic peas. Chic peas are disgusting peeled peas that have been bathed in vinegar for the entire day only to be brought out in the nighttime hours of the restaurant. before anyone could eat the the waiter took our orders in which she already knew, we all had our regulars. Then she raced into the kitchen to collect the pre prepared meals. “ Heh Sam, have you ever had a chic pea” even though he knew the answer he asked anyway. “No” I answered slowly ”Well tonight's the night you try one” he replied gleefully as he put a few peas on my plate. Just before he made me try them the waiter came with our meals. “Dad” I replied” can I have my dinner first?”. “OK,” he said “but you're trying those peas”. “OK” I said as I dug into the succulent delight on my“Thump thump thump” I heard the soft padding of feet coming down the ha plate 3 cheese ravioli. It is the greatest ravioli the world will ever see in my opinion. with the three greatest cheeses in the world in it. Later as I finished the last ravioli he replied gleefully “Looks like you are trying them now “. “OK” I replied glumly as I dumped them into my mouth it suddenly felt like it was on fire. “AHHHHHHHH” I cried as I reached across the table and grabbed my water and soda and gulped them down. “AHHHHHHHH” I sighed as the fire in my mouth died down. Then as I looked across the table I saw all the smiling faces. Then I realized I had just been the but of a joke. When my dad was talking to the waiter in the beginning of the evening (who is a family friend) he must have asked for Mary ann’s special super spicy chic peas bathed in vinegar and hot pepper oil. And as we all finished our plates my dad added jokingly “ Want some more?”. This is an instance that I still laugh about today. And know I have a question for you, do you want some more? Submitted by: "Sam.C."

Cookbook Recipe
Mom's Lasagna
We had been waiting for weeks. My patience was low and I couldn’t wait for the 26th of October. The final week came and all Maggie and I talked about was going to Six Flags Fright Night. Turns out, we ended up running away from zombies, rushing around trying to squeeze in the last few thriller coasters, and get our Season Pass pictures taken before OUR ride home arrived at 10:00 p.m. The rides weren’t easy to time, but we ended up satisfied at the end of the night. The first ride Maggie and I went on was Batman. It has always been my favorite ride at Six Flags, just because I love all the loops and twists. They make my head spin and tie my stomach in knots, but the thrill is worth it. We ended up on Batman twice, just because we craved another go at it after the first time around. Next stop on the thrill train was Mind Eraser. “I don’t want to! It hurts my head,” said Maggie. I protested, “Nope. You have to come on, because you’re making me go on Bizzarro later!” Side effects did include a small headache, yet we didn’t care. We navigated around the lifeless creatures that wandered through the streets of the amusement park to the next attraction. We decided we’d go from Flashback to Goliath, which we later found out was a mistake. Turns out that the two rides are very similar. They both take you up a tower of some sorts and drop you at a random time. You go through all these twists then go up another tower and repeat. The only difference is that Flashback is much smaller, and less extreme. Our muscles were pretty sore after those two. So we decided to take a rest from the rides for a bite to eat. We walked cautiously so the zombies didn’t end up taking bites out of us. The walking dead that roamed the crowds were terrifying, especially for two 12 year olds walking alone. Our first encounter earlier that night had been some blue-skinned man with black robes and a bloody knife. We knew it was just for pretend, but we ran faster than roadrunners being chased by a wolf. The way these people stare at you and play the character so well gave me an eery feeling. Every time one of the monsters was within 10 yards of us, we would plot out the best escape route to the nearest ride. One encounter I remember all too well, was the Snake Dude. Maggie and I were headed to the Food Court, and were almost there, when an undead guy with a plastic Boa Constrictor around his neck comes from nowhere and runs toward us! Maggie bolted and left me there. I didn’t move, but by the way he looked at me expectantly, it seemed he thought I’d run after my friend. The whole situation turned out quite anti-climactic, as all that he had done was snap his little snake’s mouth in my face and with that, he strolled right off into the night. “I can’t believe you left me!” I exclaimed after I caught up to Maggie. It may sound like I was angry, but we were laughing our heads off! “I’m sorry. What did he do?” asked Maggie between laughs. “He just snapped his snake in my face,” I said nonchalantly. “Hahaha! Let’s just try to fit in a few more rides before we head over to Bizzarro!” said Maggie. I debated, since the food court was only a little ways down the street and I had been hungry for a while. But I remembered my mom had promised a special meal when we got home. I reluctantly agreed and we visited a couple more attractions until we decided that we should head over to Bizzarro before it got too late. Since the wait for Bizzarro was usually long, we stayed on the safe side and got into line at about 9pm. I ended up getting really nervous the closer we got to the cart. I had dreaded the 200 foot death drop in July, which was the first time I went on it with my friend Hannah. I enjoyed it, but it had been about 3 months since then, and my stomach kept jumping. I kept questioning whether I was going to go through with it, but in the back of my mind I knew I was going to have to no matter what. Maggie let me pick our seats. I wasn’t quite ready to sit in the front so I picked middle. We got onto the ride around 9:50 pm. Which meant we had 10 minutes to get through the ride, and run over to get our pictures taken before 10 pm. As we buckled into our seats, I tried to just think Don’t look down. Don’t look down. The cart started moving and the lady over the headset signed out by saying “WHOOP WHOOP!” normally, you’d reply “WHOOP WHOOP!” but what I said was more of a “woo.. wah!” Maggie laughed and taunted me, trying to lure my eyes to gaze down and said things like “Oh is that a lake down there?” or “Look how high we are!”. We approached the drop and I didn’t glance down. I sort of folded up and buried my face into my lap, although the safety bar restricted me. I sensed when we had reached the bottom, and as soon as we did, I lifted my head and flailed my arms in the air. I had a blast and might have gone on a second time if I could have. The ride was only a minute long, so we raced out of the exit as quick as we could, and dodged the terrifying zombie with the chainsaw. It appeared he was chasing people and neither of us wanted any part in that! We rushed in to get our photos taken. Luckily all the running paid off and we arrived in time. We met my mom at the entrance and left. I dropped off my friend and turns out, my mom had already prepared some home-made lasagna for me to gobble down before bed. That day was probably some of the most fun I’ve ever had in my whole life. I spent an entire 5 hours at Six Flags, New England with one of my close friends. I couldn’t have asked for anything more on that night. It couldn’t have gone more perfectly. And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better as I watched Maggie walk through the door, I was proved wrong by the mouthwatering, delicious, cheesy plate of my mother's’ homemade lasagna waiting for me at the end of a long day. Submitted by: "Julia S."

Cookbook Recipe
Old Fashioned Fudge Pie
This story is when i was over my grandmothers house and ate a delicious choclate fudge pie.This is perfect because my family loves cakes and pies. I barely saw them that year, but my grandmother still knew I really wanted a kitten. We talked on the phone almost everyday until Christmas day. Me and my family made plans to see her Christmas day. When we got to her house, I saw a big present, I ran towards it . When I did my grandmother said,"Emily, wait til after dinner to open your present." I ate my dinner as fast as I could. When I finished, I ran all the way to the living room and sat next to my huge present. I opened it as fast as i could. Then i noticed it was what I wanted. It was a kitten. After all that excitement my grandmother called all of us into the dinning room to eat the delicious fudge pie. I had a big slice of the warm, melting fudge pie. It was very good. Submitted by: "Emily A."

Cookbook Recipe
Mac-N-Cheese
Did you ever know that Mac-N-Cheese originated from Italy and recipes for it date back to the thirteenth century? Or that Crayola named one of its colors macaroni and cheese? In January of 2007, when I was six years old and on my second family trip to Disney World, it was my favorite food and all I wanted to eat for dinner. After visiting the Animal Kingdom amusement park one day, we stopped at a restaurant to get a bite to eat. I was craving Mac-N-Cheese so I ordered it. As the waitress placed our food on the table, my mouth started to water. Unfortunately from the first bite I knew it wasn’t my mom’s recipe and that I wasn’t going to be able to eat it. I only like Mac-N-Cheese made out of the box or my mom’s special recipe. My favorite Mac-N-Cheese is my mom’s, made with a combination of lots of cheeses including Cheddar and American. It’s my comfort food. The food I want when I am having a bad day. I could eat it for lunch or dinner or as a side dish with any meal. I love its creamy gooeyness. But I can only eat it freshly made and hot off the stove. Once it cools I can’t eat it. I absolutely hate Mac-N-Cheese reheated. When I think of Mac-N-Cheese, I think of the time I spent in Florida with my family on vacation at Disney World. The trip was amazing. I got to see enormous African animals, ride gut wrenching roller coasters, go to a super exciting water park, and watch spectacular firework shows. The most memorable ride there was the roller coaster called Exexpedition Everest. The ride begins with a steep uphill climb then the cars rocket down the other side. It sends riders on a narrow track twisting and turning. Suddenly the cars are engulfed by a cave and shot down in sheer darkness. I was scared out of my mind; you have to remember I was only six at the time. I was terrified when the Yeti jumped from the darkness. I thought it was real. My heart was racing the entire time that I was on the ride. It took fifteen minutes to calm my heart from beating out of my chest. I loved being there, and have memories that will last a lifetime. Whenever I eat a bowl of Mac-N-Cheese, I think about our Disney Adventure. I had the time of my life on that trip, and would love to go back for a visit. But one thing I know for certain, I won’t be ordering any Mac-N-Cheese. I learned my lesson about that. Someday I would also like to visit Disney Land in California; hopefully they have the kind of Mac-N-Cheese that I like there. But for now, at least I have my mom to make me Mac-N-Cheese. Submitted by: "John A"

Cookbook Recipe
Marinated Steak
Family Reunion are full of surprises. The night before the family Reunion some family members stopped by and surprised us. We did many things like tell stories, play with cards, and watched movies. I will always remember that night. The night my aunt,uncle,and grand parents came over. All we did was tell stories for a while. My grand parents were talking about how different it was. I also thought it was cool that they used to travel different places. We also played cards. I started to think that my uncle was cheating because he kept on winning. We also played high five I didn't know how to play so I just watched. And once again he won. My dad went to the steak and asked me to grab the barbecue “Ok” I said has I opened the refrigerator door. When we were done we played cards again. After we played cards we watched movies including family, comedy, and horror. My favorite movie was the horror movie but I had to help my dad. That night was memorable because some of my family came over. Submitted by: "Wesley C"

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Grandma's Biscuit Pizza
This recipe came from my Grandma Karen. What it means to me is that my Grandma always cooks me what I love and takes care of us when we need her. I wanted to share this because it brought back great memories of family time. Enjoy. I remember Hurricane Sandy like it was yesterday. It was a cold and windy October, but I had no idea what I was in for. We were all in a jumble screaming and yelling, like when Chicken Little said that the sky was falling! This was one hectic time at my house and was one I will never forget. My grandma came to my house and said, “Have you seen the news? We are having a hurricane!” I thought that my grandma was just making a joke because last October we had storm Alfred. I was hoping that this storm was not going to be as bad as last year when we lost power for 6 days. After she left we sat around and talked about last year. That is when it started to get really windy and rainy. I knew then that she wasn’t kidding. The wind started to blow and the trees were bending left and right. Black is all I saw in a matter of minutes. “I can’t believe that we have another power outage!” my little sister said. “I just can’t believe that I have to pull out the generator again,” my dad said. My grandma called my dad’s phone and said, “Do you have power?” My dad said with a sigh, “No. “I don’t either” my Grandma said. This was a stinker because I was going to play my Xbox 360. Day by day, night by night, I was eating, sleeping, and playing my IPod in the pitch black room. I hear my dad’s phone ring and he picked it up and said, “Hello?” it was my grandma. “I have power!” she shouted with happiness. “Come down to my house” “I will make my homemade fried dough/pizza pockets.” Without any hesitation we all ran to the car, and went to my grandma’s house for the best thing that my grandma makes. We all ate with delight and savored the chewy and sweet fried dough/pizza pockets. While sitting at the table I said “I hope we never have a power outage like this again, but Grandma keep these coming please!” We brought the rest of them home and we saved the rest of them until the power came back on. I was relieved when our power came back on. We will always remember this because we all got together as a family and had a good time even without power. My story shows that you don’t need power for everything and that you can’t let technology rule the way you eat, sleep, work, play, and do other things.


Taco Salad
Fantasia On November 3, about two months ago, my parents and I went to the Big E fairgrounds in West Springfield, Massachusetts. The first things you see when walking in are the different jumps and obstacles. We were at the Fantasia horse show. Fantasia was the most memorable experience I have had with my parents. This horse show exhibits many different styles of riding. For example, you could see people shooting, acting, and unique movements of dressage. Out of all the different acts my favorite was the shooting. The goal was to shoot more balloons than your companions while riding a horse. This activity had the most competitors. The best female shooter just happened to be a retired school teacher; she shot every balloon she passed. She even ended up beating most of the male shooters. However, she was not good enough to beat one man who shot every balloon and ended with the best time. The person to come in last was a guy. He only ended up shooting 4 out of 10 balloons with the worst time. Though he was still had high spirits when he finished. My second favorite part of the horse show was a man and his horse acting out scenes. During this act they did a segment about drinking and driving. The actor did this to show how dangerous it is to drink and drive through comedy. An example of the humor was when the man pretended to drink and he got bit by his horse. In another part of the act he pretended to crash like a drunk driver would do. He and his horse also gave a lesson on texting while driving and, to make it seem like the horse was the car, he made the horse swerve. The last but not least were the different forms of dressage. Dressage is a form of riding that takes a lot of time and effort. Some people would say that the horse is dancing. And, those people are correct; dressage is basically moving the horse to the beat. There are lots of different moves to dressage. One of the hardest moves of dressage is called sustainable. This is when the horse jumps into the air kicks out there back legs. They also did many other moves such as half-pass. Half-pass is when the horse is moving forward and at the same time to the side. Out of all the different places I have been with my parents the most memorable was going to the Fantasia horse show. I thought it was amazing that the guy and his horse prepared that whole segment and that those people were able to do dressage without missing a single step. Though the part that fascinated me the most out of all the different sections was the gun shooting. I will never forget the time I went to the Fantasia horse show. Submitted by: "Julia H."


Moravian Lovefeast Buns
Laughter fills the air as I step into my grandparents’ house. It’s Christmas Day and everyone is already by the tree, impatient to open the beautifully wrapped gifts with their name on it. I rush over, equally excited, and am dazzled by the tree. It isn’t tall, but it’s fat, so there is plenty of room for decorations. The white lights are on, making the colorful, shiny, ornaments sparkle brightly. I swiftly help unpack the presents that we have brought and take my seat on the couch, only to get up for my temporary job as “elf”. Being the elf means that you stand next to Grandpa and bring the presents to people after he announces who they’re for and from. Every time I get a present, (most are clothes or books) I take a break. There is one long, thin present that I am interested in, and finally it is announced, “To: Calli. Merry Christmas! Love, Mom+Dad.” I tear off the red, Christmas-tree wrapping with my breath held. My fingers stumble on the ribbon, but soon that is torn, too. “Yes! Thank you, thank you, thank you!” I exclaim. Under my fidgety hands is a full sized keyboard. I absolutely can’t wait to get home and set it up! However, we aren’t leaving yet. There are presents left under the tree and dinner and dessert to be eaten. I pass out the rest of the presents in a giddy daze and moved on to dinner. The table is set with all the food you can imagine. Golden ham, green beans, delicate shrimp, many salads, devilled eggs, and delicious Moravian lovefeast buns are sitting on the ornate table cloth. We dig in happily and don’t leave any leftovers. Dessert is next, with cakes, pies, cookies, and more. I am still thinking about my new piano, though. I can finally take piano lessons, which I’ve wanted to do since I started fiddling on my friend Maggie’s worn down piano. Maybe since it is an electric piano, I’ll even have different instruments to play on. By the time we leave, it is so late that I fall asleep on the hour-long car ride home. I dream about opening my presents and my delight over the keyboard. In my dream, the whole evening after that is dim and foggy, and dinner alone seemed to take less time than unwrapping my favorite present. Dessert is even quicker, and there appears to be a piano instead of food. Then I awake with a start. We’re home! I walk inside, tripping up the stairs, and sluggishly get into my bed. My last thought before I drift off is, I guess I’ll have to play piano tomorrow instead. Submitted by: "Calli S."


Classic Waffles
Making Pancakes I bet you didn't know waffles were invented in Europe. My mom knows that because she loves waffles. But she has them all the time for breakfast, so On Mother’s Day My sisters Maya, Lily and brother Deepak and I deiced to make pancakes for our mom. But something odd happened. The four of us had been ecstatic the night before to make Mom’s surprise. My sisters and I all knew how to make pancakes so we were not going to use a cookbook. Then morning. Our dog started barking like crazy. We all ran out trying to make Tesa stop barking we gave her a treat and pet her, but she was still barking. I was about to take her outside when Maya said “there is a bear outside.” Tesa had been barking at a bear outside. Luckily he saw us looking at him through the window, and got scared so he ran off. Now that Tesa stopped barking we started making Pancakes. We were all so delighted to make pancakes for our mom, because she is always supporting us, helping, us, and being a great mom. Deepak and I got eggs, flour, and baking powder. My sisters got sugar milk and butter. Then Deepak cracked all the eggs and put them in the bowl. My sisters put the flour, milk, sugar, and flour into the bowl. After Deepak mixed it all up, then I cooked it on the stove, we made pancakes for us kids, and some for our mom. But then realized we hadn't cooked pancakes, we had cooked waffles. We didn't look at a cookbook to make the pancakes, because we knew how to make them. “Lets try them ”said Libby. We did they didn't taste that good so we got a cookbook and made new waffles for our mom. We decided to make waffles instead of pancakes because Maya suggested it. We ate the first batch of pancakes, and gave the waffles to our mom. As we approached the door we were all so eager and nervous to see if our mom would like the waffles. I thought she would because we made an extra waffle for the four us to split and it tasted delicious. When we went into our parents’ room our mom was still sleeping so we left them at her bedside. Luckily she woke up ten minutes later so the waffles were still warm. My mom said she loved them, and that made us happy. This was a memorable day for the four of us because of the bear outside. Also how we turned pancakes into waffles and the four of us were having fun together making our mom happy. Submitted by: "Aakash T"


Gram's Chocolate Cake
I love to spend time with my great grandmother. She’s so funny and always so energetic. Every summer on Mother’s Day, we go to her summer house in New York State and eat lunch and spend time together. But there’s one specific Mother’s Day that I remember, my great grandmother and I especially spent time together. We played cards together. We sat next to each other at the dinner table. All together, I always have a good time with my great grandmother. We walked in the door of my Aunt’s house in New York State. It was a beautiful day out, the birds were singing, breeze was blowing. We eat dinner there every Mother’s Day with my great grandmother for as long as I could remember. I walked in after my dad and mom and sister and shook my grandpa’s hand and my uncle’s hand. I then went over and gave my great grandma a big hug. “How are you gram?” I asked. “Great, how are you,” she asked. “Fine, just tired from the long ride up, it seemed to take forever,” I answered. “Well that’s good,” gram replied. Boy was I happy to see all of my family. ><><><><><><><><><><>< Later we all sat down at the table for dinner, I sat next to gram of course. We had prime rib; it was so juicy and rare, just how I like it. I sat and talked with my grandmother as I ate my green beans, mashed potatoes, and corn casserole. It was quiet for a few moments as we all really dug in. Then we all socialized while we waited for desert. Then it all came out, some pecan pie, chocolate pie, and of course my gram’s chocolate cake. “Oh…” I said, and I licked my lips as I said it. I cut some and ate it and boy was it good. Then my gram pulled out a deck of cards. She said, “You know how to play poker?” “No,” I replied. “Ha ha ha ha ha,” “I’m just playing with you, I didn't actually mean poker!” she said. “So what do you like?” she inquired. “Go fish,” I replied. “Okay,” she said. So we played go fish for the rest of the day until it got dark and I was tired. I hugged my grandma and went upstairs to make my bed for the night. As I walked up the stairs to bed, I thought about the time I spent with my great grandmother. Man, She’s getting older, at 95, and the times I’m spending with her are getting more valuable. Memories of my great grandmother are some of the times I will never forget. I will especially never forget how she made this cake for everyone at their birthday, this recipe means a lot to me. In Loving Memory Of Margaret Lawson 1917 to 2012 Submitted by: "Michael O."


Homemade Pizza
Swoosh!!Swoosh!! I watched intently as my dad threw the pizza dough up into the air and caught it again. My sister and I loved to watch my dad do this. My dad told us that he used to work at a pizza shop where he learned to do this. When my dad was done with the dough I took the oil from the shelf and oiled the big black pizza pan. My dad then set the dough on the pan. My dad’s favorite sauce to use on his pizza is rage because it is very yummy and it is cheap. My dad then put the grated American cheese over the bright red sauce. The only thing left to do now was to wait for the pizza to cook which was 20 minutes. So me, my sister, and my dad decided to watch the Atlanta Braves play, our favorite baseball team. As we watched the game we could smell the sweet cheese cooking. It made my mouth water. There was five minutes left till the pizza was done. So my sister and I got out all the silverware and poured us all a glass of milk. Just then the timer went off. I grabbed the cooking gloves and pulled out the steaming pizza. It filled the house with smells of cheese and dough. My sister and I watched as my dad cut the pizza into eight even slices. As I pulled off a piece to put on my paper the gooey cheese stuck to the pan and steam rolled off. I tried to take a bite but it burned my mouth so I drank some milk and waited for my piece to cool. It felt good to finally sit down and have dinner with the family again after a long day. Submitted by: "Wade A."


Grandmother's Chicken Soup
“Angela!” my grandma called, “I have surprise for you! It’s your own tomato plant!” My grandma handed me the pot filled with black/brown soil. I took a look at it, although it had no stem, I knew that with my tender, loving care it could turn out to be a beautiful tomato plant. From that moment on, my grandma has taught me how to take care of my plant, how to nurture it, to care for it, and to pick the fruit when I thought it was ready. Although I didn’t have any other plants of my own, my family still grew lettuce, zucchini, sugar snap peas and cucumber. My family also taught me to nurture the other plants too. I really have not met anyone that does not know how to take care of plants, so, that means it is really simple when you get used to it. Here are some steps… 1.) You have to make sure to water your plants every day, but you must check all of the plants to know if they are dry or not. 2.) You have to make sure, with any type of plant, that you keep it in the sunlight, but if you keep it there and you don’t water it, they will shrivel up and they will die. 3.) When you start to see green tomatoes then you are doing good, and after a while they turn red and when they do, go to the tomato plant and gently squeeze the tomato. If it is really hard then let it stay on, if it is really soft and squishy then pick it off and throw it out. But if it is firm but still a little soft, then gently pull it off the stem and it is ready to eat. My family has grown so many different foods over the years like tomatoes, lettuce, zucchini, snap peas and an orange tree. With all of our ingredients we made a chicken soup with the whole family. That is when I really started to love chicken soup. Since I was the youngest in my family, I will always have members of my family to teach me different things so that was a very good advantage. Plus, because my siblings have gone in the same grades and the same school as me they can help me understand more and they could help me know what is coming. One of those things that they taught me was gardening. I have had so many different people in my family tell me their way of gardening and they were always different. But, I got a very good understanding about different things to worry about, which was also very good. Although I do know how to plant and take care of other plants, I think the best plant that I work with is the tomato plant. I think this is the easiest because that was my first plant given to me and I think I got used to it the most. I was around 4 in 2005 when I received the plant from my grandma. So that was a very young age and I knew I was really little so when my grandma gave it to me, I was surprised that she trusted me with a living thing. So I think that was the big point when my grandma and I became really close. So I have a special connection to gardens because my grandma taught me how to take care of different veggies, which veggies we grew, and how to take care of my own tomato plant. But the real master piece is the chicken soup; my grandma has been cooking that same recipe and has never changed it since. Now, almost every Sunday, we see each other and for dinner we have, well a lot of things, but we always have chicken soup as the main dish. Submitted by: "Angela B."


Caramel Cake
Did you know that 15,885 dogs are rescued each year? In 2011 my family and I contributed to this number. A memory I will always cherish is when my family and I first brought our dog Lulu home. I had always wanted a dog since I knew what a dog was. My mom had been searching on Petfinder.com for the newest member of the Evon family. My sister and I had been spending the week at my aunt’s house when we were given the news that my mom had found our new best friend. “What breed is she?” “How old is she?” I had asked my mom. “She’s a beagle/coonhound mix and she is 1 ½ years old” my mom had responded. “Does she have a name?” I wondered aloud. “Yes,” my mom said.”Her name is Lulu.” I was very excited and anxious to get Lulu home. I searched online for more information on her background. I soon learned that she was traveling all of the way from Tennessee. Her former family had given her up because they could no longer care for her. Now that I had learned all about my puppy, it was officially time to bring her home. My grandparents drove my me and Rachel all of the way to Southington where we would meet our mom and finally be united with Lulu. “Are we there yet?” my sister chanted in the back seat. Once we arrived, we shopped in the plaza stores for any last minute items that we could get her. The truck carrying our little girl was an hour late from the scheduled time. When the vehicle finally decided to come to Connecticut, all of the expecting dog owners formed a line to get their bundles of joy off the large, white truck. My family and I were towards the back of the line so we were able to see some of the other passengers. When it was our turn to get our Lulu, I was very nervous. Would Lulu like her new forever home and family? More importantly, would she love me? As these thoughts ran through my head, a man came walking out with my baby in his arms.“I believe this is your new dog,” he stated in his deep voice. My mom extended her arms and the kind, strong man lowered the beautiful dog into her waiting arms.Lulu was considerably larger than the other dogs but still the cutest. She had a beautiful tri - color coat and her big friendly eyes were the color of caramel cake. Lulu was the most stunning dog I had ever seen. “Wow,” I breathed, “ she’s gorgeous.” My mom led our newest family member to the car. There, we gave her a proper greeting and a cold drink of water. She was a bit apprehensive at first, but once she realized that we were kind and caring she loved us right back. Lulu must have really loved us because she gave us several kisses each. The car ride home was not as pleasant an experience as I had anticipated. After being shut up in a cage for nearly a week, Lulu smelled absolutely terrible. The smell was so bad that we had to keep the car aired the entire car ride. “You smell repulsive,” I stated to Lulu. “We’ll have to give you a bath right when we get home.” When we arrived home, everyone immediately started preparing a bath. After her first day home, Lulu settled right into her new life in Connecticut. As you can see, a memory I will always cherish is bringing my spoiled, two year old beagle/coonhound home for the first time. I chose Caramel Cake as my recipe because Lulu's fur and eyes are the color of caramel. Submitted by: "Sarah E."


Clam Chowder
This recipie came from www.foodnetwork.com it was soppose to be my grandpas recipie but it was secret. He is a really great cook. Here is a backstorie i would like to share. Whale Watch I was in 6th grade and there was a really famous Field trip. It was to go to Cape Cod for a week and study sea animals and nature. It was at a camp called Natures Classroom. That Whale watch was mostly what I was looking forward to the whole time I was there. I couldn’t wait! We could only bring cameras, no phones, I pods, I pads, etc. I got mad at that because it was for the whole time we were there. We could only use it on the bus. Finally the day had come! A couple of days before we had to leave, we went. But our teacher, Mrs. Ellison, had to leave the second day so we had to leave with our field group leaders. My field group leader’s nickname was called Mighty Mouse. We filled up the bus with other kids at camp and went! On the way there we played this game that the other field group leader, Bravo (a nickname), chose (he even had the hair and everything like Johnny Bravo and a very deep voice) I forgot what the game was called but it was really fun and that’s all we did on the way there. About an hour had passed and we got there. I was so excited because I’ve always wanted to see a whale. When we got on the boat, we had to find a seat and stay there until we got far out. When we were far out it was surprisingly hotter than it was when we were at the dock. The boat had a snack shack but “We weren’t allowed to get anything from it!” according to my teachers orders. About 20 minutes had passed until we saw a spray of water come up from the ocean. I knew it was from the whales blow hole (obviously.) Then everyone saw a bunch of seagull’s and wondered what that meant. Then a whale shot up from the ocean. It was awesome! I took a picture of it on one of my like 10 film cameras. Then a bunch of them came up from every direction. It was very cool. Then I looked down at the water as we went really fast it looked like a bunch of bumpy glass or ice. I could have swarm that while I was standing in one spot I would get sunburn. Then about 1 hour had passed and all at once 4 whales came up. I had to get a picture of that on my last thing of film I had on one of the cameras! I told my principle, (who also came) “I got that!” She said, “Good for you Megan!” I was starving and found out that the leader of the camp brought a box of baby carrots. At that point I could eat anything. So me and my friends got a bag and pounded down carrots. That wasn’t filling so we kept on eating them. And of course us, Colebrook kids, finished the whole box before anyone else from other schools even got a carrot. Hey, at least it’s healthy. So that day was awesome. Best field trip ever. I used up every camera I had. Filled with a bunch of pictures of whales and tiny jellyfish we zoomed past! I won’t ever forget about it. This recipe was supposed to be my grandpa’s famous clam chowder but it is a secret and I'm not allowed to share it . So, here’s a random recipe I got from a website called www.foodnetwork.com Submitted by: "Megan J."


Dad's Italian Burger
Hiss! Sizzle! The grill heated up in a flame of tremendous size and the contest was on. This was the first time that anything like this had ever been done in my house, a cooking battle of cooking battles, but as one of the judges I knew it would taste amazing when it was all over! It was my brother pit against my dad and they were both fantastic when it came to making burgers. I was sure I would have a tough decision coming up soon, for my brother and dad had been fighting for weeks about who made the better burger. My mom and I--the two judges--were watching a little TV. We had been confined into the living room once the cook-off began, not able to get the slightest glimpse of the action while the master chefs were at work. But, it was all I could do to stop myself from sneaking a minuscule peak. I hoisted myself off the couch with a lazy grunt, and gradually crept down the hall leading up to the kitchen. My nostrils could barely catch the faintest aroma of.....what in the world was that? Was that bacon? Oh yes, indeed it was! It was the smell of bacon sizzling away in a pan on the scorching stove, until puddles of grease formed on the bottom, making the smoked meat almost stick to the pan it was cooked in. The heavy scent of it made your mouth flood with saliva and your taste buds tingle vigorously. But was this just bacon? That's what most would think, but this was different in a way I couldn't comprehend. On top of the bacon aroma was the delightful and gooey stench of maple syrup as well. I had never dreamed of a combination such as this until this very day. My mouth did salivate and my taste buds did tingle! I could almost feel my fingertips shaking with excitement. Like a snail, I dared an inch closer and inhaled the mixing smells until my lungs might've burst. I found it difficult to bottle up my excitement and bit my lip to keep me from uttering the tiniest squeal of bliss. This event would definitely go down in family history and it would be an excruciating struggle to decide the burger crafting king! A few hours later, the night is just falling over my house and neighborhood. My mom and I sit patiently at the dining room table, awaiting the delectable burgers yet to come in mere seconds. The cold wood of the table is icy on my hands and sends a chill up my spine. At that moment, my brother and my dad waltz into the room, each holding a plate with a heavenly appearing burger on it. They lay the plates in the center of the table, cut each burger in half, and sit down. Confident looks are spread across both of their faces. My mom and I are each presented one half of the each of the two burgers. I peer into both. My mom and I--the two judges-- sat on the cozy, leathery living room couch watching a little They're a delightful golden brown and grease leaks out from the meaty goodness. The wondrous smell hits my nose and I inhale deeply. It has the properties of grilled meat and if perfect had a smell, it would be these burgers. The meat on both appears perfectly rare and juicy. My brother clears his throat and confidently announces, "I have prepared the perfect all-American burger. It includes all of the classic American ingredients--beef, cheese, barbecue sauce and bacon cooked in maple syrup." My mouth filled with saliva with each word he spoke. My dad then bursted out of his chair and put his say into the competition. "And I have made a classic all Italian burger. The meat you see in front of you is made of sweet Italian sausage, topped with a layer of cheese. Unlike my competitor, I have toasted the bun and cooked it in garlic and butter. I'm sure you will find it superior," he informed us. I couldn't wait to dig into this and I did, beginning with my dad's burger. The mixing tastes hit me in a significant order. First, my taste buds dug into the Italian sausage, absorbing every bit of the fattening grease and sweet and spicy flavors. Then, the cheese. It was cool and soft on my tongue and smoothed its way in between the bites of sausage. Finally, the garlic and butter bun. It was crispy like fresh toast and the butter made it taste juicy and like silk. As soon as the garlic taste hit me, I was immediately reminded of garlic bread--one of my favorite Italian foods. Next, I tried my brother's burger. The beef was rare enough to be a slight pink color and full of succulent juiciness. The cheese and barbecue sauce added a refreshing tang to the mixture of tastes. (Normally, I would taste something like that in American restaurants.) Then I tasted the heavenly bacon. It was cooked to a perfect amount of crispiness and the syrup around it gave a gooey and sticky property. It was nothing like I'd ever tasted before. After I’d taken in the epicness of both fantastic burgers, my mom and I tallied our scores using the rubric we had developed a few days before, based on presentation, meat quality, condiments, and bun quality. “Can I use decimals in my scores?” I wondered. My mom nodded and we finished our scores, adding up the specific scores for each competitor. I cleared my throat and began to declare the champion burger-crafting king. “It was a very difficult decision, for both burgers were incredibly amazing and fabulous. I have never seen a battle so close. The winner won by .5 of a point. The official winner is Dad!” My dad and brother both got up and shook hands and we soon went back to relaxing, like we always do after dinner. My cooking theory was correct. My dad won because he had more experience, while my brother is a rookie chef. This will never fully leave my memory or anyone elses’. This is bigger than my mom and dad’s pizza battle. But that’s another story for another time. Submitted by: "Dominic R."


Amazing Apple Pie
About three years ago my mom had been making food for the Thanksgiving meal all day and it was about to pay off. The best apple pie creation was being made, and it was so good that even after all of the food for a Thanksgiving Day meal was finished, it was devoured too! It started off as any old normal Thanksgiving with my brother and me getting out of bed to watch the Macy's Day Parade and as usual, they outdid themselves. My brother and I would be watching the TV and as soon as a new float came we start saying, “I can’t believe it! That was the best one.” At the end though, neither of us knew what our favorite was because they all looked great. I can remember one special float. My brother and I were about to leave to help cook but then the Santa float came. We both said in astonishment, “I wish I were there to see Santa come down the street in that huge float. That is amazing.” After the Macy's Day Parade finished, we raced to help our mom cook in the kitchen. This was a very fun time that the three of us spent together because we were learning the family recipes. The recipes weren't too complex but, being the first time, we had to keep saying, “Mom, I forgot what step is next. Can you tell me one more time?” Even though we were really annoying about helping, I think that helping out made this meal even more special. We made homemade stuffing, mashed potatoes, and vegetables. We cut and baked rolls, and most important of all, made the turkey. The turkey took most of the morning preparing, but it was worth it. The turkey mixed with the mashed potatoes and stuffing was amazing. This day may seem memorable but the important parts are yet to come. My whole family showed up there and this doesn’t usually happen unless something big happens. We all gathered around the dining room table and held hands for grace. This year was my turn to say grace and that made a pretty memorable moment in my life. Everyone told me I did a good job because I had come up with it off the top of my head. As we sat down the whole family engaged themselves in the food and in no time at all the entire turkey was gone except for enough for about two turkey sandwiches. Then from the kitchen came a huge apple pie that my mom made from her own recipe. This was the best apple pie I had ever tasted. It was so filled to the very top of the crust that it looked like it would explode. The apple pie had to have used 10 apples, and it was over filling the pan it was put in with the warm apple gooeyness. The pie’s crust was crispy, brown, and tan while the apples tasted slightly like cinnamon. And the filling with the apples was delectable and completed the whole dish. This is what I was waiting for all Thanksgiving Day. That is my story on the time I got to say grace, I got to help cook the meal, I watched the Macys Day Parade, and tasted the amazing apple pie. As my brother said that day to everything that happened, “That was amazing!” Submitted by: "Will T."


Candy Cane Cookies
When I think of celebrating Christmas, I think of going to bed early on Christmas Eve and anxiously awaiting opening presents in the morning. I also think of spending time with my family in the afternoon as we eat turkey, ham, potatoes, vegetables and yummy desserts. But a couple of weeks before Christmas, I enjoy a fun Holiday tradition with my mom, making Christmas cookies. This tradition has been passed down from my Nana because she baked with my mom when she was younger. Some cookies we bake are sugary, powdery snowball cookies, crispy, chewy chocolate crinkles, gingery, flavorful ginger snaps, and my favorite kind, candy cane cookies. Candy cane cookies have a peppermint and vanilla flavoring that makes them delectable treats. Two weeks before Christmas, my mom and I searched anxiously in the brown wooden cabinets for our ingredients. We hope we have every ingredient we need, but if we don’t, we bundle up like snowmen, face the festive holiday crowd, and find the closest store we can get to. After we have all the ingredients on our list, we can begin our marathon-bake-a-thon! First, we rummage through the cabinets for dozens of supplies like bowls, wooden spoons, mixers, sifters, and measuring cups. When we finally have all our supplies, we can start to bake. I think the candy cane cookies are the hardest to make. They take the longest, and twisting the red and white dough together to make the candy cane is tiring and tedious. It can be very hectic in the kitchen sometimes. My mom helps me with the measurements I have trouble with. For example, measuring exact amounts of peppermint or vanilla. Or, cleaning up the flour all over the counter! Different distractions get in the way. For example, when we finally start the batter, the phone rings, or the dog has to go out, or we need some joyous, cheerful Christmas music to help us with our task. No matter what happens, we get the scrumptious cookies done. The candy cane cookies are my favorite to make, but they take patience and are a lot of hard work. I bake with my mom all day. Listening, dancing, and singing to Christmas music helps the time go by. My mom likes smooth Elvis Presley songs like Silent Night and Blue Christmas, and I like faster ones like Jingle Bell Rock and Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree. After all day long, I can’t keep my patience or do any more cooking! The thought that keeps me going is that, after we are done baking, I get to enjoy the delicious, heavenly cookies. After a long day of hard work, I think that making cookies with my mom is great because we get to spend time together. I enjoy eating the cookies we bake, but I also like giving them out too! And knowing my mom baked cookies with her mom when she was my age makes this tradition extra special. Submitted by: "Julia B."


Mexican Omelets
Do you take family vacations? I do! In my family we take vacations every other year. One vacation, we had an amazing time. It was in the Dominican republic. On a Monday, two days before we left the island we swam with dolphins. I remember waking up, taking a shower, then eating. I ate one amazing Mexican Omelet! It was very cheesy, spicy but sweet! “Hola, ¿qué tipo de tortillas te gustaría?” (Hello, what type of omelet would you like?) The man questioned me. I was confused, and I didn’t know Spanish too well, but I know the basics, I saw him cooking Omelets, so I said, “Me gustaría tortilleria Mexicana.” (I would like a Mexican style omelet) After we ate we got into a cab, and onto a dangerous road. We headed onto our long 45 minute destination to swim with dolphins. We arrived into the station. There were parrots, and we made them say bad Spanish words! That entertained us until our captains called us up to the boat. “Hola ellos! Disfrute de nadar con los delfines!” (Hello we hope you enjoy your trip!) “Gracias!” my mother chanted! (Thank you!) We took the small boat up to the dock where dolphins, sea lions, sharks, and even sting rays were! The water was warm and very vibrant. I jumped into the glistening aqua colored water, feeling the wet water float around my body. It filled my body with warmness. The water was literally warmer than the outside air! The five dolphins one by one kissed us and swam around us multiple times. Then we got our pictures taken with them! Then the sea lions came over, kissed us and did the same! We all cherished this amazing family moment. We especially enjoyed the dolphins, because my sister accidently touched the…uh, bad spot of a dolphin, I should say. We all had a very comical laugh about that. I will remember this moment forever. It had to be the most memorable moment I’ve ever encountered! I hope me and my family have a great vacation like this again, although, it isn’t a very high possibility. Submitted by: "Noah L."


Magnificent Hot Cocoa
Creating Hot Cocoa “Do you think that’s enough?” my friend, Paige, asked as I carefully poured another mountainous spoonful of Swiss Miss into a mug. “Um, I guess,” I told her. “There’s only one way to know for sure!” I grabbed the white mug and took a small sip. I choked down the cold, watery hot chocolate. I watched her do the same. “Why’s it cold?” she asked. I thought back to what we put in, and in what order. “Must have been the milk and the time we took. I don’t know why it’s thin and watery.” “Well,” she exclaimed, “let’s find something thick and creamy!” We exited the bright kitchen and sat on the stairs of the dining room. I thought about everything in the kitchen. As I stood up to pace, I looked at the dirty dishes by the sink. In one of the bowls, I saw melted ice cream. “Ooh! Ice cream!” I ran to the freezer and yanked it open. Ripping the top of the container off, I snatched up a spoon from the counter to scoop the ice cream and paused. “How much?” I pondered. “Just scoop some and throw it in there,” Paige said. I began working away at the hard, frozen ice cream as Paige shoveled all our other ingredients into the mug. Then, I put a spoonful of ice cream. We peered into the cup and watched it melt. After it was gone, we each took a sip. We’d found the right consistency, but it was still cold. Both of us frowned in disappointment. We once again sat to think up a way to solve our problems. Paige asked, “How did we do that, again?” “What do you mean? You were there, weren’t you?” She laughed, then replied, “Like, in what order?” “It was the hot water, then all the dry ingredients, then the ice cream.” “That’s it! The ice cream made the water that had been sitting there cold!” “So the ice cream goes in first!” We hopped up and repeated our process, this time pouring the boiling water over the frigid delight. Once again, we each took a sip, and danced with delight. Our experience showed us that our imaginations work great together and that with a little effort, we could create something amazing. Now, after we dash inside to escape the wind and snow, we know exactly how to get warm. We found it is worth the effort when you want to invent something wonderful. Submitted by: "Rosie S."


Poppy's Eggs Benedict
“Lad, can you please put the English muffins in the oven, we’ll need more for the upcoming Christmas day brunch,” Poppy asked. I was dropped off at Nana and Poppy’s house at 9:00. My sister and parents went to go get the much needed eggs for the egg benedict that Poppy was going to make. It was Christmas day and I doubted that there would be much stores open so I wished my sister the best of luck as I watched them get into their car. Since it was Christmas day I had already had a morning filled with happiness and many of the presents that I had asked for. While Nana was supervising the meal, I asked Poppy if he could show me some of the valuables that he had collected as memorabilia from World War II. I carefully walked down the stairs to the cellar and I found a coin on the floor which I gave to Poppy. “Good job, lad. This is a coin from Libya.” He showed me the date 1829, and I realized that some of these coins could be very expensive. I saw Poppy tuck the coin into his pocket and we strolled on. “Here are some of the coins I collected as an engineer on the B29,” He exclaimed. (I watched in admiration as all of the coins were carefully wrapped up in tissue and other means of protection from scratching the other coins.) “Is that a Peso?” I asked Poppy as I saw Mexican writing that I recognized from my Spanish lessons in school. “It is lad, how did you know? One of my friends gave that to me when we were on the B29. Lad do you want to play some tunes upstairs?” “Sure” I said. We cautiously made our way upstairs dodging the cobwebs as we went. We had played together before and we sounded pretty good. Once his harmonica was out and my trumpet unpacked we started playing. “Watch this Poppy,” I said. I played the different octaves of the note “C” by not pressing any keys on my trumpet. I could tell he was amazed. How did you do that lad,” he asked as I put my trumpet down secretly happy that I stumped Poppy, (that rarely happens). I told him that with each octave I go up, I must blow harder on the trumpet mouth piece to reach that note. As we continued to play Christmas music in the bedroom, my sister and parents walked in, just in time to admire our duet of “Sleigh Bells.” As we finished we earned a well-deserved round of applause from Mom, Dad, and Sister Alison for our performance. “That was great Poppy,” said Mom. She always calls him Poppy too, although he really is her Dad. “I got some special eggs from a gas station that was open. We tried most of the stores in the area but they were all closed. Luckily we went to a gas station to fill up our tank and Alison suggested we look inside for some eggs. Sure enough they had them. I can’t wait for the egg benedict that you are going to make.” Mom exclaimed. We cheerfully walked to the kitchen where we found Nana setting the table. “I heard the performance you two put on. It was really great” Nana said. “Thanks,” Poppy and I said simultaneously. Meanwhile, in the kitchen everyone was doing their part helping prepare the meal. Mom and Alison cooked the English muffins while Nana, Poppy, and I were cooking the eggs and the hollandaise sauce. After about thirty minutes of preparing the meal, we finally sat down and enjoyed the delicious egg benedict, it was the best breakfast I’ve ever had with my family. When we were finally done and wished everyone a Merry Christmas, Poppy said, “Wait, Adam, I would like to give you this,” and he held out his hand. My mouth dropped and I was very happy. It was three of his special coins that he collected when he was in World War II. I thanked him very much and I gave him a big hug goodbye. “Merry Christmas, Lad,” he said. I replied back with a Merry Christmas and turned down the steps and waved a big goodbye. I knew those were a couple of Poppy’s prized possessions and I would never forget them. Having a Christmas breakfast with my grandparents definitely was a first and something that I would look forward to again. I learned a new tune with Poppy, ate a delectable breakfast, and got some very special coins from Poppy. I know if we ever have another Christmas breakfast with my grandparents, I will be looking forward to it. This was a Christmas that I will never forget and till this day I still have the 1829 Libyan coin and the Pesos wrapped in tissues in my room. Submitted by: "Adam C"


Biscuits
Climbing the Big Tree “Oh, that tree is huge!” I exclaimed when my dad pointed to the 200ft. tree. We were on summer vacation in Australia in Perth which is on the western side of the country. We were in a forest with a bunch of really tall trees. On the way to my cousins house we stopped to climb one of the four tallest trees in Australia. None of us expected it to be that big. We moved away from the car and over to the museum portion of the tree. It was a small 20ft. covered platform with a wooden floor and walls. The glass covering the pictures and articles of the tree were blurred by mold. My dad pointed out and exclaimed, “This article says when the pegs were getting hammered in one day, part of another tree fell and demolished the pegs below the worker. He couldn't get down so he had to climb 100 feet on a thin piece of rope only a few centimeters thick. Nothing would catch him if he fell. He made it down alive eventually.” The story didn't make me feel any better about climbing the tree. My dad, brother, and I walked over and started our ascent up the pegs spiraling around the huge wooden mass. The tree was almost like a bigger redwood trees in California. It was a reddish brown and had rough bark. One hand and foot on the pegs at all times, I said in my mind as we climbed. The pegs were stainless steel and looked like nails hammered into the tree. The part of the pegs you put your hand or foot on had tread so it was easier to grip. There was nothing to below me to land on but other pegs and the chicken wire above them. Half way there, I said to myself reassuringly. It felt like seconds, minutes, hours until I gradually made my way up to the first platform marking half way. We peeked over the stainless steel railing to the ground a hundred and five feet down. Green leaves littered the ground as summer was turning to autumn. My dad pulled out six biscuits from his backpack. He gave me one and I took a huge bite. It was crisp and still warm. It melted on my tongue as I gobbled it down. I ate the other then stood up. “I'm going to drop my hat down,” I mentioned to my dad as I did so. It fluttered to the ground like the hundreds of other leaves falling. When my bright blue baseball hat hit the ground I took a picture with my camera. Then I asked my dad, “Can we go up the rest of the pegs to the top?” “No, it gets steeper and the pegs are farther apart,” he answered. I thought the real reason we couldn't go up more was because he was scared. “Let's go back down,” he remarked. My brother went first, then my dad, and finally me. The descent was much easier and a lot less time consuming than going up. After about five minutes I was only about fifty feet off the ground and everything was much more visible. Then I was at forty feet. Then thirty. Twenty. Ten. Five. One. I was the final one on the ground. We all took a few more pictures. Then I sprinted over to my hat and saw it was covered in some leaves, but other than that was fine. I ran back over to my brother and my dad. “Can we go to another tree like this?” I asked my dad as we got into our white rented Honda. “Um, maybe,” he replied back. We never got to go up another huge tree like that one in Australia. Whenever I see huge trees though it makes me think of the time in Australia. Also it makes me hungry for those delicious biscuits we had when we finally accomplished our goal. Submitted by: "Max B."


The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever!
“Hooray!” I shouted with glee. “This is the my favorite part of the entire year!” It was Christmas Eve six years ago and we just started making the yearly batch of chocolate chip cookies for Father Christmas. I sniffed in the chemical scent of cleaning soap as my mom swept the soft, squishy sponge across the hard, granite countertop. My eyes peered over the center island, assisted by little feet on tip-toes. I stared intently as the little bubbles left behind popped one at a time and the remainders were wiped up by a stark white paper towel. Sharp beeps pierced the air as our oven was set to preheat. “Fiona,” my mother started, “would you like to...” but I had already raced out of the kitchen to grab a step-stool so I could see over the counter. Racing into the room, I quickly deposited the booster and jumped up, almost knocking down the jar of flour in the process. “Woah there!” My mom laughed, “We don’t want you to end up in the cookie mix!” I started giggling uncontrollably. The disease spread like wildfire and soon my mom erupted into a fit of laughs too. Once our stomachs ached and our faces hurt, we decided to finally start measuring out the ingredients. THUNK! Ssssshhhhhh! Clang! Sounds of measuring spoons, pots, and ingredients in motion filled the large kitchen. Even fireworks couldn’t have been heard over our racket. After blending everything together, I looked at my mom and we both knew the next step was the best part! I stuck my tiny fingers in the dough, creating a satisfying squish as I groped around to find a cluster of yummy chocolate chips. Finally finding a treasure trove of sweets, I yanked hard and pulled a chunk off of the mound from the bowl. As I shaped it into a slightly ovalish ball, my mom asked why I wasn’t using a spoon or an ice cream scoop to make things easier. I paused for awhile, thinking. “Well,” I started, “I get more chocolate in my cookies when I do it this way. PLUS I get to eat the ones that are mine too!” “That is a very good idea, but you will get sick on cookies!” mom reasoned. “Aww,” said my younger brother, Colin, as he rushed in. “I want some too!” “So do I,” chimed in my dad from the next room over. “I think I at least deserve a couple!” “They have to bake first,” my mom said, “Then we can eat them.” As she pushed the tray into the oven, Colin and I sighed wearily. It would take a lot of patience to survive this long, tortuous wait. About fifteen minutes later, a delicious, mouth watering scent took over the air, almost like a fog settling in a valley. It was simply trapped there until it dispersed later. The smell of cookies wafted through the house and lingered at every door, bringing out hungry occupants. We all staggered into the kitchen, where my mom had just finished cleaning up the mess we had made earlier. My mom had just pulled a steaming tray from the oven and man, those thing looked delicious! Ignoring her warning on how hot they were, Colin took a huge bite. “AHHHH! My tongue!” he shouted. “Told you, silly,” Mom laughed. “Those things are hot! It nearly killed me to wait, but I finally got my prize I had been longing for since last Christmas. My little teeth bit hard into the cookie. The semi-sweet chocolate chips melted in my mouth. They softened on impact and it felt like there was a waterfall of candy that had just erupted in my mouth. The vanilla-rich cookie was soft and warm as I practically inhaled it. These were amazing. I knew no other dessert could top it. As I reached for the next one I wondered, can we have enough willpower not to eat all of Santa’s cookies? That definitely would be a huge problem. Hmm... Maybe after this I should just have one? Maybe two? Or three? Whoops, I just ate four! I really need to stop. I might have just one more... Sensing my hesitation, my mom said, “You know there is more in the bowl. Just don’t gobble them all down!” My brother’s face and mine lit up and we grabbed cookies left and right and stuffing them in our faces. That Christmas truly was one of the best ones I have ever had. My family joked around, ate my dad’s amazing food, and the kids played until bedtime. It was very special and memorable for us since we never made cookies together before. Now, my mom and brother and I always make cookies every year. It is a family tradition! We had so much fun together and there were enough cookies for Santa Claus at the end after all! Submitted by: "Fiona Q."


Super Easy, Moist Chocolate Cupcakes
Mixing the ingredients for the sweet dark chocolate cupcakes is like a dance as I swing around the spring air, jamming to my favorite country music. There is a distinctive smell wafting towards me from my delicious, chocolaty desserts as they come out of the steaming, hot oven. I hope these are good, not like last time. I thought as I pull the chocolate cupcakes out of the oven. Last time I made brownie cupcakes, it was up in Massachusetts, with my best friend Katie. Instead of chocolate chips, we included crushed-up candy canes in ours, and it came out absolutely AWFUL! Of course my grandfather and dad said it was fantastic, but I am convinced that they weren’t telling the truth. I was hoping that these delectable pieces of art would be a spectacular addition to my aunts’ bakery/cafe. After I mixed up all the ingredients and pulled the desserts out of the oven to cool, I decided to sell them to my Auntie Rachel for her Bakery/Cafe in Winsted Connecticut. After all, the frostings did match the wall colors quite nicely. “Hi Auntie!” I said entering the kitchen. “Hi baby!” Rachel screeched forcing me into an embrace. After showing her my masterpiece Rachel took them and gently placed them in one of her cookie jars. “Thank you baby girl,” she spoke in relief as I walked out of the doors, “now I don’t have to cook any more sweets for a little while.” The next day I woke up feeling energetic and ready for action. That feeling slowly creeped away, as I saw my mom hovering over me like a cat taunting a mouse. “Ahh!” I screamed as I darted myself up, just barely missing the ceiling of my bedroom. “Alex guess what.” my mother said mysteriously. “I don’t know! Was it worth scaring me half to death?” I said as I tried to focus on the objects surrounding me. “Definitely” my mom said just barely audible. “Then what is it?” I said starting to get annoyed. “It’s about your cupcakes...” she said dropping her voice also taking my confidence down as she went on, “Rachel’s customers loved it! They’re all out!” I was stunned. I mean how could they have sold out that fast? They were only given to her two...three days ago. I must have looked ridiculous just standing there trying to make sense of it all. I didn’t know what to say... How did... Are they...What? nothing made sense for a while. Then I started thinking, maybe i’m not as bad a cook as I thought I am. Several minutes passed until I chose to make a visit up to the Bakery myself. To see if my mom was telling me the truth. She definitely was! Even still, I give most of my goodies to my Aunt’s Bakery/Cafe. Submitted by: "Alex A."


Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies
The Cold Hunt Don't you hate getting up really early and your house is freezing while, your parents have a surprise for you? I don't like surprises or getting up early in a cold house, so this was pretty much the worst morning experience ever. I am startled when there is someone at the foot of my bed saying, "Colten, Colten wake up, wake up." I sit up in my bed and take glance at the clock. It's just past four-thirty in the morning! I ask my grandpa why he is waking me up so early. "You'll see” he says,”but dress warm." “What could we possibly be doing at this time, I thought. I got out of bed,still half asleep,and opened my closet to get ready for the cold. I dressed in a pair of blue worn out jeans, a red long sleeve Under Armor shirt and,to top that, a thick red leather coat with two button up pockets. On the way out I tossed two strawberry pop tarts in the toaster and looked at the thermometer. "Nineteen degrees" I screamed! Whatever this is, it better be inside. I carefully stepped my foot outside. It was freezing. I couldn't survive this. I thought to myself, ahh, suck it up. I would one day regret not doing this. I walked to where my grandpa was tossing pieces of wood into the wood stove. It was toasty in here. I had a big sigh of relief knowing that I was going to be inside. I took off my jacket. My grandpa stopped me in my tracks and said, "Hey what are you doing.” “We're going outside." I groaned and said, “Do we have to.” I picked my jacket off the dusty cement floor and I prepared for the worst. I spotted my grandpa in the back of the garage. He was reaching for a giant steel safe with a big lever on it. He twisted a knob for a few seconds until it finally made a click and opened. I couldn't see what was in it but my grandpa pulled out a sleek, jet black rifle. It hit my mind immediately, we were going hunting! I had always wanted to go hunting, sitting in the woods and waiting for a deer. I ran out the door very anxious and started my way into the woods. Cold gusts of wind passed me leaving my teeth to chatter. When I started onto the path in the woods all I could hear was the leaves crunching under my brown boots. My grandpa kept on telling me to take lighter steps and to try to avoid the leaves so the crunches wouldn't alert the deer that we were coming. We halted to a stop and took a sharp turn to the right where we were no longer on the trail. I had to be very careful because there were sticks everywhere and if I tripped or stepped on one it would make a large cracking sound that would travel about a mile to a deer's ear. When we finally got to our stop where we would stay for a while I wiped all of the white fluffy snow off a rock . I would sit there and try to make myself comfortable for a few hours in this cold, cold weather. I was very uncomfortable because of the cold weather and wind but I enjoyed being out in the quiet woods with my grandpa. A couple hours after the sunrise we headed back. I was a little discouraged we had not seen even one deer, but I felt good because I had spent quality time with my grandpa and it was relaxing being out in the woods watching the squirrels jump from tree to tree and listening to the birds chirps at sunrise. When we finally got back to my grandpa's garage he put another log into the fire and I lightly laid my jacket down on the solid, dusty cement floor with a relieved feeling that I was finally warm. That was the best time of my life. We had gotten off to a rough start, but it was worth waiting on that rock with my grandpa even if there wasn't a deer in sight. Submitted by: "Colten B."


Pepperoni Pizza Rolls
A chilling droplet of water from the swimming pool splashed on my thigh as I woke up from a light, relaxing nap on the large pool float. Walking inside wrapped in a towel, I was told by my Aunt, Lynne, that my stomach wouldn't go five minutes without “growling”. Almost every night my family & I went out to dinner at a restaurant. But, there was one night where no one wanted to go out to eat. So instead, we stayed home and did something of our own. My aunt and I were looking everywhere around the kitchen to find something to eat. We were desperate to find something. It took forever, we really felt like there was nothing to eat. Later, my uncle came home from Stop and Shop after 2 hours of grocery shopping. When we were unloading all the groceries into the refrigerator, we noticed six rolls of Pillsbury Crescent dough and a large container of tomato sauce. Stored all the way in the back of the fridge, was 3 huge bags of shredded mozzarella cheese and, a small bag of pepperoni. All of a sudden, my cousin screamed, “I have the perfect idea!” She then pulled me aside and whispered, “We should make mini pizza rolls. We have all the right ingredients for it, so why not try it?” I thought it was the greatest idea because we were all starving by that point. I exclaimed to her, “That sounds really good! How do you make them, though?” I guess she’s made pizza rolls before, because she knew the directions like she knew the back of her hand. Soon enough, my whole family was participating. Eleven of us in the kitchen were working as a team to make our dinner. In less than ten minutes, everyone and every thing was covered in sauce! We were all having so much fun rolling up the sauce, cheese, and pepperoni inside the dough. Eventually, when everyone made the amount of rolls they were going to eat, my cousins and I put all of them on the tray and preheated the oven. When it was finally hot enough, I put the trays in for about 10 minutes. It seemed like forever before the oven finally beeped, to let us know that dinner was done. Finally, after five minutes of cooling, everyone came to the counter and grabbed their servings. My whole families’ faces lit up as they took the first bite. I felt very proud of myself and my cousin for coming up with such a great idea. I won’t ever forget the night that my whole family worked together to made a very delightful but easy dinner. It was a really great experience for me. Submitted by: "Jenny J."


Grilled Cheese
The Grilled Cheese Mayhem “Brandi, are you getting hungry, or is it just me?” my best friend Kate asks with her stomach growling loudly. I rub my stomach a couple times thinking. I finally nod and smile at her, “Yeah, sure, what are you thinking to eat?” We walk to the kitchen and open the fridge. We think about having some chicken nuggets, but we would have to cook those in an oven. We put the chicken nuggets back and then Kate pulls out bread, cheese and butter. She then gets a butter knife and starts to butter the bread up lightly. “What are you doing?” I say looking over her shoulder. She looks at me and smiles, “I am making a grilled cheese, you want to try? They are quick and easy to make.” I shuffle my footing and look at the stove wearily. “I don’t know, i may ruin it.” “Oh come on, it’s going to be okay! These things are easy to make how can you possibly ruin it? You’ll do fine!” She assures me. I get a butter knife, plate, all the ingredients and sit down. I start to spread the butter and then she sees it, “Woah, that’s a lot of butter, are you sure you want that much on it?” I look over my shoulder to her, “There’s a such thing as too much butter on bread?” She looks at me, the bread, and then my big, cheesy grin I was giving her. She shakes her head and laughs. She makes hers and it comes out a little burnt but a nice color, “Darn it! Not perfect, I must make another one.” She goes to throw it away, but I eat it feeling bad for the poor grilled cheese. I then ask politely after her third attempt of making one, “Can I possibly make my grilled cheese?” She nods then I throw mine onto the stove. Sizzle sizzle sizzle, POP. BANG. BOOM. The sound of the butter on the bread crackling scares me. Soon afterwards, smoke fills the air. “BRANDI! I let you use the stove and you fill the room with smoke, great job!” She quickly turns the stove down to low. “Are you mad at me?” I quickly respond, but silently scared to hear what she has to say. She shakes her head and says, “No, I can’t be mad at you!” She starts to laugh and then I ask in confusion, “Why are you laughing? What’s so funny?” I look around and then she responds, “look at your grilled cheese! Haha, it’s completely burnt! You weren’t joking about ruining a perfectly good grilled cheese!” I look over and nervously laugh with her at my mess. Then I quickly whip around back at the stove and take my grilled cheese off it. I look at my wreck and then at Kate. She’s cracking up laughing. I pull the grilled cheese to my mouth and then take a bite. I chew it up, and it tastes like charcoal. The crusty, black, smokey bread covers the cheese, which is so hot it’s almost a liquid, and it burns my mouth. I run to the sink and gulp down a couple gallons of water to get the taste out and to soothe my burnt mouth. “So Brandi,” Kate asks with a giggle, “How did charcoal- I mean, your grilled cheese taste?” “Fantastic Kate, just fantastic.” I lie sarcastically. Submitted by: "Brandi S."


Birthday Party Bonanza Pancakes
I woke up the morning of the greatest day ever. I didn’t know it until later that day. It was my eighth birthday party and it is my first slumber party. Would you be excited? It was a warm July morning when the best day of my life happened. I sprang out of my bed ready for my first sleepover party. My mom was down stairs cooking a delicious breakfast of eggs, bacon, and my favorite sausage. I ran down stairs in under one minute to smell the delicious scent. The bacon was juicy and crispy. The eggs were sizzling and were perfectly baked. Then there was the sausage. It was scrumptiously perfect in every way. After we all ate I got dressed in my favorite outfit and waited for my friends. The first to arrive was Emily. She looked really excited. As soon as we get upstairs, Natalie comes. She looked happy to be here. Again the same thing happened; Ashley comes once we get upstairs. She also looked excited. We were all ready to go mini-golfing for the night then get pizza. So we headed out to the golf place. When we got there, we chose our balls that were glow in the dark and a club. We started for the course. The holes were sort of easy and some were hard. We tried our best and on one hole the balls didn’t like us so we gave up after five tries. We finished the course in twenty minutes which isn’t that long. So, my mom gave us quarters to play at the arcade there. We had an air hockey match and I won. We exchanged our tickets for prizes and I got a popper. That is the little things you would flip and it would pop into the air. After we got the prizes we went back to my house for pizza. While we waited for the pizza we played hide and seek. My house can hide anyone if you try hard. When the pizza arrived we ate a lot of it. We must’ve had like four or five pieces. When we finished we got into our pajamas and watched TV on the couch. At 8 o’clock or so, we walked upstairs and went to bed. We actually did makeup and played Would You Rather. I was the first to go to sleep and I slept well. When I woke up the next morning, I smelled the sweet scent of my mom’s pancakes. They smelled like perfection on a plate. I tiptoed across my room and then raced down the stairs. I was ready to chow down when… “Emma, wait for your friends to wake up first!” My mom yelled not to loud. “Fine, but my stomach will want otherwise,” I respond with an annoyed voice. So, I waited for my friends to wake up to dig in. They woke up a little after I did and we ate the delicious breakfast together. After we got dressed everyone’s parents came and they had to go. I couldn’t wait to see them in school in the fall. I loved my party because I spent it with my friends. I had a wonderful time and I think the girls did too. I say the best way to spend a day is with your friends and family. Submitted by: "Emma G."


Trail Mix
A Adventure to Remember Have you ever been on an adventure? Was it longer but just seemed horrible? Well I had that when I had that adventure it was fun and now that I look back it was a great time and a time will never forget. I climbed up the hill but I kept on losing traction. When I reached the top I was annoyed. I was at the end of the road. I was at a muddy downhill, I went to the opening of this road and there was a downed pine tree. There was a hole just wide enough that I could could ride right through it. The trail was covered with big rocks and more downed trees. I grabbed my bike by the top of the frame and jump right over the big pine. I got covered in a pine sap that was sticky and stayed for days. I was just about to pass the main road and I stop to hear a loud sound. It was a fleet of fighter jets. A neat triangle of about 5 fighter jets. We move forward and we pass the driveway to a camp that I thought we had been to. "Was that the place where we went to that party that one time?" I asked. "I don't think so," my father spit out. "It is I just know it is," I yelled. I moved up and around the sharp corner and there was a big hill we climbed. There at that time I knew that we were lost. I was annoyed and I just wanted the ride to be done. That didn't happen. Soon after that we were going down a hill that was all rocks from the size of 6-30 inches it was horrible. Once we made it past that long obstacle course my father said it would be easy way home. But of course I should have After I made it down that mess I went down a road with my dad. My dad said it had a extension but when we made it down it was a dead end. "Did you use hybrid mode?" I asked. (hybrid mode- a Google earth like show in the apple maps app.) "No it uses more data," Dad stated. Well it could have saved a lot of time. "So are you sure it is a dead end." "Of course it is a dead end. All that is around here is that ranch. Look there is the farm it is in the way." (As I stare at my dad’s iPhone now in hybrid mode.) So now we start climbing up the big dirt hill one I get to the top of a one hill I am relieved for only one second. As when we get to the top of one hill there was another hill upon another hill upon another hill, or it felt that way. Once I made it to the top my dad was already there. Then he says he has found another route. "Did you go into hybrid mode this time just to make sure?" I asked. “Yesss!” my Dad states. Once we made it out of the woods and onto the main road I was happy. That was of course before I found out that we actually got out on the main road farther back then we into the woods. The white line was like a boundary. No cars went by and I sprinted and sprinted as fast as I could and I did. I was relieved once I made it past the Massachusetts line and into Connecticut because the roads got smoother and the got to the sprint where there were almost no hills. I sprinted for a throbbing pain runs through my legs. As I reach the ending hill I want to give up but a piece inside deep in my heart says go on. Finally I reached the turn that makes my effort all worth while that was the second turn until I made it home. In, conclusion this was my favorite mountain bike ride ever. It was an adventure or another way to learn what mistakes not to make. I never just remember the mistakes, I remember the mistake and the big pro that I learned from it. Submitted by: "Connor Q."


Trout
The Trout Adventure Can you imagine worrying to catch a supper but then have so much that you can have so much you can feed your family for a week! That is what happen to me across my street. Last year me and my dad went across the river to go fishing for supper. We were expecting one big fish but we got much more than expected. So our true story starts when I asked my mom,” Is it okay if me and dad go across the road to the stream to catch a big fish while you get the spices and french fries ready?” She answered,” Yes but you better catch one big or else you will have ruined supper for everyone else.” So I said yes and me and Dad got our fishing supplies together. I got the worms from the ground while Dad got the fishing poles, hooks, and bucket to put the strong fish in. So we walked across the road and notice today was going to be a great fishing day but had no idea what was going to happen. When we reached the deep refreshing water hole that was about ,6 feet in some parts, we saw a ripple in the water and then we got the idea we were going to get a lot of fish. I was the first person to get the fishing pole ready and casted the juicy worm in the clear water. There was a bite in the first thirty seconds. I reeled in the line to find a fish the size and my head. Then my dad casted and caught even a bigger one. This fish was very strong. After about ten minutes we had about twenty fish, a lot more than expected. Then we went home. When we got home the first thing my mom asked was,” Did you catch a fish?” I jokingly said,”no”,and show her the bucket. Then she looked in and in then she picked me up and screamed, “yeah!” This is the story when I caught about twenty fish. Submitted by: "Kory P"


Snowflake-Top Chocolate Cookies
Christmas Afternoon at Grandma’s “Here, take some bags,” my mother says to me as she’s unloading the back of our green minivan. It’s Christmas of 2011 at my grandma’s house again. I can’t wait to play with all of my cousins! I groan and roll my eyes, eager to get inside to see my happy family members. I snatch up a big red present with a huge bow on it and race inside, where Joe and my dad have already entered. A wave of warmth and noise washes over me as I step into the threshold, and hugs and greetings are exchanged quickly. Placing the present on the kitchen table, I streak towards the playroom. The beautiful Christmas tree in the sunroom makes me skitter to a stop, and I take in all of the lights, ornaments, and presents that are placed under it. The green background of the tree compliments the gold star at the top perfectly. I can’t look for long, though, because my cousins all shriek contrasting variations of “Hello, Irene!” We’re mostly different ages, so it’s kind of funny to hear our atypical ways of pronouncing our names. My cousin Katherine pats a place on the chair next to her, and I go sit next to her. She’s exactly my age, so we always have loads of fun together. My youngest cousin waddles over to me, looking to play with the MyLittlePony that grandma keeps in her closet, special for her. Anna just turned one this year, so she’s at that age that wants have fun and be ready for a nap at the same time. Before I get the chance to help find the pony, my 12-year-old cousin, Andrew, strolls in. Sean and Emma, the other twins in the family, trail in behind him with their sister, who’s my age, marching along slowly. Another cousin of mine, Timothy, is six years old. He’s Anna’s big brother, and he comes sprinting in, pushing everybody aside, screaming, "It’s stocking time! Come on! Grandma says it’s time to open the stockings!” he shouts. “LET’S GO!” Everyone makes a mad dash for the living room. I scoop up Anna and race Katherine into the room, who wins (again!). All of the adults are smiling and laughing, and my grandmother claps her hands loudly and says, “Alright, is everybody here? Where’s John?” she asks. “Johhhhhnn!” All of us cousins start yelling for John until he finally appears in the doorway, shaking off snow. “I’m here!” my 15-year-old cousin announces. “Good, good, John,” my grandma says, “now go and sit down with your cousins.” He shuffles to the floor. “Okay, kids, I’m going to hand out your stockings only if you’re sitting quietly and nicely.” My grandmother pauses for a second, evaluating our postures, then says, “Timothy, come on up!” My little cousin races up to the railing like he’s just won the lottery. He eagerly tears open his stocking and gasps with delight at the new matchbox car he found inside. When my grandma calls up the rest of the cousins, similar reactions happen. All of the boys get tiny magnets that are different shapes. They also get other small knickknacks and huge candy tubes. All of the girls receive little “dabbing” bottles of Justice perfume. Also, we are given tiny compact hairbrushes that pop out when you push up the bottom. That was the Christmas that my grandma gave me the compact that had a cursive L on it. She thought that it was the letter I! I never mentioned it to her, though. After we finish oohing and aching over what the stockings held, all of us start begging our grandma to be able to open our presents under the Christmas tree. We finally wear her down after ten minutes of pleading, so we all cheer with delight and tumble to the tree in the sunroom. I take in the crisply wrapped bright presents, searching for one that says Irene. Katherine, Andrew, John, Thomas, Joseph, Emma, Sean, Rachel, Anna, Timothy… Irene! It takes me ages, but I finally spot my white-wrapped present. It’s thin and hollow-sounding, like an empty box. I trace my fingers around the swirly, sparkly snowflake pattern. My heart is thudding in my ears, and I take a deep breath. Then, I rip open the paper like icicles cutting through a blizzard, and I find just what I wanted: the JustDance3 video game. I screech with delight and sprint over to where my grandmother is standing in the doorway. “Thank you so much, Grandma!” I cry. “It’s exactly what I wanted!” My grandma hugs me tightly back and says, “You’re welcome, honeybunches,” I smile. After that, all of us cousins troop downstairs to the basement to raid the mini-fridge for soft drinks and get comfy on the two huge beds in the backroom. The basement is complete with a small living room, a little bedroom with a TV, a tiny bathroom, my grandpa’s office, and a sliding glass door that leads outside. After we grab our sodas, the nine of us scamper up the stairs, snatch up our coats, and jog outside to play capture the flag. The rest of the night flies by in a flurry of yummy dinner, snow-top cookies for dessert, games, trying out gifts, and family. This is one of the best Christmases I ever had, and I can’t wait for next year. Submitted by: "Irene R."


Sweet and Spicy Whoopie Pies
“We should have a sleepover soon!” shouted my over-exited and very loud cousin. “Yes! Let’s go to Grammy and Papa’s house and sleep there! We can help them decorate their Christmas tree!” I suggested to my cousin Alana. “Cool, we’ll ask them if we can go over there. I wonder if Julia and Abby will want to go, too.” “I’ll ask Julia!” “Okay! Got to go! Bye!” It was three weeks before Christmas and a week before we actually went to our grandparents’ house. I kept planning in my head what we were going to do at their house. We could decorate their tree exactly how we want. We would get to choose whatever we want to eat for dinner. We would pick out the movie we would watch together. The weekend would be perfect. Finally, it was the weekend. I packed up my clothes and bathing suit. I had to convince my sister, Julia, to come. Eventually, she decided she would. However, only Alana went with us, not her sister, Abby. I was a little bit disappointed at first, but the weekend would still be really fun. When we got there, we went straight to the tree. It was only a couple feet taller than me, but it always is because it’s fake. My grandpa had already put on all the lights and it was ready for us to place the ornaments in their perfect spots. We grabbed a couple in each one of our six hands and loaded up the shining tree with fake, colorful birds that made the tree look natural and even more beautiful, thick and thin Santa’s with rounded and pointy hats, shimmering snowflakes, and many other shiny, hanging ornaments. We finished all the other ornaments and started to hang my favorite kinds of ornaments, the icicles. They glimmered all along the tree. The colorful lights cast beams of light onto nearby walls through the icicles. Then, I placed the angel on the very top of the tree and plugged it in. It changed colors from red, to pink, to green, to blue and to purple. My grandparents, Julia, Alana and I stood in front of the completed Christmas tree admiring our hard work. After that, Alana, Julia and I went to relax in the hot tub. We sat out and talked for a while. As we drank cool Shirley Temples, the hot steam rose into the chilling air and onto our smiling faces. Finally, we decided to go inside to dry off. After dinner, which was delicious chicken, creamy mashed potatoes, and sweet corn from my favorite restaurant, we watched Elf to complete our night together. We had all seen it before; however, it is one of our favorite movies. It was also an awesome movie to get us in the Christmas mood. Julia, Alana and I slept on the couch and floor right next to the tree. It was lighting up the entire room because the lights were so bright. We slept all night with dreams of Christmas, family, and our day in our heads. I can’t think of a better way to spend a weekend with my grandparents. That experience was full of bonding time with my family that I will never forget. Submitted by: "Jenna K."


Maggie Mae's Pancakes
The soft drip of maple syrup sliding down my stack of golden, fluffy pancakes was the start to one of my best and most memorable days. Thinking back a couple years to this will also send a ton of different images through my head. One of which is my brother being chased by half the seagulls on the beach! This day was a day I would never forget. As we set up our chairs along side of the shore, my brother went straight to the food. “Remember last time we were at the beach, and a guy was buried with Doritos around his head?” my sister asked my mom and I. We nodded our heads and thought back to a guy shoulder deep in sand. Seagulls were diving in one by one, fighting for their food as the man’s friend kept throwing more towards him. Apparently, this gave my brother and the rest of us a different idea. First, it started with throwing out some food and chasing the seagulls. We were young though and it’s what a lot of kids tried to do. Just running around we were having a lot of fun! After a little bit, though, we wanted to try something new. We took out a stick, some string, and some Cheez Its. Carefully poking the string through a few Cheez Its and tying them up, my brother was off! He started sprinting back and forth down the empty beach, followed by at least 20 seagulls chasing the food at the end of the string. We watched him for quite a while, unable to stop laughing as the seagulls never gave up. It was a really funny thing to see. Every year during spring or summer break, we go back to visit that beach. My family and I take one step onto that beach and start laughing and talking about that once again. I don’t think any of us will ever forget this. But maybe this or a new idea will even come up again. I can remember everything from this day. Breakfast included! Submitted by: "Hannah R."


Glazed Donut Burger
Crash! The waves hurry up the beach towards the houses, then drawn back into the gorgeous blue sea! Every year my family travels up to Salisbury, Massachusetts where our 143 year old cottage, lays. Every year all the kids (9 kids) lay on a mattress riding the waves desperately hanging on. The day we started this amusing tradition we had the best dinner that my older sister, Jaclyn, spotted at the Big E. This meal is a burger with cheese and bacon on a grilled glazed donut Yum! The worst part of going up to our cottage is the long drive up! Along the way we have our usual stops with the family and it always Dunkin donuts or rest stops to play with the dogs. The appalling three hours up to Mass on the never ending highways, is what everyone in the family dreads! Cars honk as we pull up to the tolls. Finally, we start to recognize the scene around us. A ‘Welcome to Salisbury” sign greets us. We drive through the center where there are, arcades. After an ongoing minute we spot at our little square cottage next to all the huge hotels. We walk in greeted with a perfect view of the ocean! We all ran down to the beach on the hottest day yet, pulling down the raft, and heading for the water. The cold water swarmed around us. Not caring we ran deeper and deeper in to the water. For a while we wait around for a wave to come. Soon we are cold and head in without a wave. On the last gimps back at the water I saw it, the biggest wave. Everyone dove on to the raft, like a pig pile. Water splashed around us as the wave lifted us higher and higher picking up the speed as we went. Then it threw us down and we slowly inched our way to the shore. We walked up to where we were sitting, with smiles to our ears; we were all reliving the great time in our heads. We dried off then lay down on our towels getting baked by the sun soon being hot enough to go back into the water! The clock was ticking away, coming close to 12:00. My dad got up to make lunch telling us, “It is a surprise.” We waited for his “okay” for us to come in. When he finally called us in we could smell a sweet smell joining another smell of bacon. There on the table, we saw what we all have been dying to try. Burgers with bacon and cheese on a grilled glazed donut one of the best meals! What could make this day any better? First having a slow drive up to Mass., ridding the great blue waves into the sandy shore, and being greeted by family. All to build up to devouring a spectacular burger with a sweet and salty taste! This is sure to be one of the best vacations I have had yet! Submitted by: "Maggie D."


Mim's Cranberry Sauce
Have you ever picked cranberries before? I do every year in the summer. It is so much fun! The best year though was 2010 in Maine. “SPLASH!” my older brother threw me into the freezing cold lake after a hot day of cranberry picking. “Now it’s your turn Danny.” I say. He does a huge cannon ball it was so big it was like an elephant jumped into the water. We dove underwater taking in the coldness. “Lets go get some rafts.” Dan said. I followed him to the latter. After him, I dragged myself onto the latter. Something white and squirmy caught my eye. “EWWWWW DANNY!” He comes rushing over. “Look. What is that?” I say surprised what my eyes are seeing. “I don’t know but get a bucket and we will take a look at it.” Danny grabs the worm like thing quick and puts it into the bucket. We take a look together. “It looks like a white skinny earthworm.” I say. This thing was disgusting. It gave me chills when I would look at it. “Let’s take it back to our cabin to show Nana and Papa.” Dan says. We had the worm in the bucket. We got into the boat and took a small trip back to our cabin. When we arrived we showed Nana and Papa. “I have never seen anything like it.” Nana says. “Get a insect book and look it up.” As I sit there with the worm like thing, Danny looks it up in the book. “AH I FOUND IT!” He says proud. “It seems to be something called a Horse Tailed Worm.” We looked at the picture and knew it looked like the worm. Sense we never seen this before in this lake, Danny and I took a walk in the woods far away with our new friend. When my big brother and I let the worm go we walked back to our camp disgusted. Submitted by: "Nicole T."


BLT Burger
Skiing Slip-ups “Speed it up, dad! You’re slowing down!” I shouted over my shoulder. “Geez, I’m not as fast as I used to be,” he shouted back. Unfortunately, he had also told me that he was losing his balance, but the wind had carried his warning away. I heard a huge thump and saw my dad start rolling towards me. I wasn’t exactly prepared, and when he came by, he knocked me over. We both landed in a heap of snow, and our skis were scattered across the slope. Now, a year later, I still remember the icey snow going down my shirt. This was probably the most memorable skiing adventure that we’ve ever had. We had decided to make our way down to the ski lodge where they had a cafeteria. There was a fire in the fireplace in the back that made it cozy. We didn’t need our large winter parkas on, so we quickly hung those on a hanger. In the process, my dad had also undone the clips to his snow pants. Sadly, no one noticed. We just carried on, oblivious to the fact that his pants could fall at any moment. We both ordered. I got the BLT Burger and dad got the clam chowder. Both were really tasty, so we shared. Well, he shared his soup, and I just let him have my fries. After we ate, we talked about who knows what. My dad and I are surprisingly alike, so we can talk about mostly everything together. We talked about school, clothes, politics, and well, everything. Eventually, we had gotten ready to go head on home. We always took bathroom breaks before we left, so we both stood up. Little did dad know, that his pants had gotten stuck on the chair. So, as he stood up, his pants fell down. Good thing he was wearing long johns under his pants, because there were a bunch of young, impressionable, children around. It seemed as if the whole lodge had stopped talking, and looked in our direction. “What’s wrong?” dad asked, “Why’s everyone looking at you?” “They’re not. Your pants fell down.” His mouth formed an ‘O’ shape and he slowly pulled up his pants. He nodded his head towards the door, saying we should probably go. I agreed and we grabbed our stuff. I think that was by far the most mortifying memory that we have together, but it’s one that we can always laugh about. We’ll always remember that day when his pants fell down in front of fifty people. I don’t think that I’ll ever let that one go, and always tease him about it. But, he had learned a lesson that day; always buy snow pants with suspenders. Submitted by: "Joy H."


Good Old-fashioned Pancakes
New Year of 2012 Have you ever gone on an exciting trip but it was not the trip itself that made it awesome? Really, it was the little things that happened that made it so great. Well that was what happened on the skiing trip to Killington, Vermont. It was during the weekend of New Year’s 2012. The morning of the trip to Killington, Vermont was cold and snowy. It was the perfect conditions to ski in. But before we could embark on the trip we had to pick up Sam and Spencer. They were my brother and I friends that we were able to bring on this trip. We all skied except for Spencer. He snowboarded. Before the trip we were at my dad’s house and we asked if we could bring Mario Kart with us so we could play it. I did not know that that would play a big part in the trip. The trip up wasn’t that good. It was a 3 hour drive so it was pretty long. But Sam and I found a way to stay occupied. The trip went much faster having my friend along. My family has had this ski house for several years. They share it with a few other families. I know every inch of that house and most things about it. I especially like the downstairs where all the kids hang out. When we got there, Sam and I played Mario Kart. We swore that we would get to 200 points and when we did Sam said “let’s get to 205!” With a lot of commitment we did manage to get to 205. That was one of the little things that made this trip so awesome. The next day we were ready to go skiing on our four day trip to Killington. The first day was cold but all the days were cold because it was winter. So all considered it was not so bad the first day. The powder was moist and puffy which are the perfect conditions for skiing. My favorite trial that we took was Timberline. I did not go off any rails but I went on the small jumps and that was loads of fun. The four days we were there we mostly stayed on Ramshead Peak but at times we skied to the other mountains to explore. The four days we were there were really fun. In the evenings after skiing we always ask my mom, “Can we go swimming now?” We like to swim at a place called Sunrise Lodge. It is in a condo complex off the main mountain. We found this place a few years ago when my cousin, Garrett, came up to stay in the condos. He invited us to the pool and we have been going ever since. So off we went to go swimming. On New Year’s Eve, the grown-ups were setting up for a huge party. The kids went up in the attic to play water pong until the adults came to use it for beer pong. When the guests arrived we went down stairs and watched the movie Old School until they left for a restaurant called Sushi Yoshi. At 12 o’clock we took out a bottle of sparkling apple juice and made a cheer to the new year. The next day was time to go home but we still made some traditional stops. We stopped for breakfast at our favorite breakfast place called Sugar and Spice. We had some sugary syrupy pancakes that were piled so high. Next, we went to the Yankee Candle Factory and looked around at all the cool stuff there. So this trip to Killington Vermont was defined by not only the big things but also the little ones like the Mario Kart game, water pong, Yankee Candle Factory, and breakfast with family and friends at Sugar and Spice wehere we had some awsome pancakes. These made the big thing even better. Submitted by: "Tyler K."


Apple Pie
Have you ever had a present that you got on Christmas and your eyes just lit up? When I opened my present in 2011, I noticed that it was that best present I ever got. It was a cotton candy maker. This was the best present ever because cotton candy is my favorite food. That night I made cotton candy. This fluffy candy was delicious. My family and I were driving to my grandmas house on Christmas Eve. When we got there my grandma greeted us and welcomed us in. We all sat down at the dinner table. The food was set down on the table. We all took some of the mouth watering food. “This is delicious” everyone said. After everybody was done eating we went to go open our presents. The Christmas Tree lit up with tons of presents under it. “I can't wait to see what I got” I said. “Who will open their present first?” my mom questioned. “Can I?” my sister asked. “Yes” my mom said. As my sister opened her first present she screamed with joy. As I start to open my present I finally realize that it was the present that I had always wanted. “Thanks!” I shouted when I fully unwrapped the cotton candy maker. After that everyone kept unwrapping the things they wanted. As the last present got handed out all of us were hungry. So we all got up with smiles on our faces and went into the kitchen and got out the deserts. As we had every dessert we had spread out on the table we all started to eat. “Yumm, apple pie my favorite!” my sister said as she took a bite of it. Everyone dug into the apple pie and other desserts. After all the desserts were gone everybody started packing up to leave. “Bye” everyone said as they were walking out the door. “I will never forget this moment” I said to myself as we drove off. Everyday ever since I got the cotton candy maker I made cotton candy at least five times a week. everybody was happy that Christmas day of 2011. Everybody got what they wanted that day and was thankful of what they got. You should be thankful if somebody gives you a present even if you don't like it you should still be thankful. Submitted by: "Caleb P."


Potato Pie
-This recipe was one of my grandmas most popular recipes that she made. Now my family now makes it to carry on the tradition, now that she has paced away. Don’t you just love being with family for the holidays? Don’t you also just love baking on a beautiful Christmas Eve day? Well if you do like both of these things, then what could be better than doing both of these at the same time? My story is mostly about being with my grandma and how we would always make memories together. It was December 24, 2004 on a frigid winter day. “Ring, ring, ring,” goes the doorbell as I vigorously hit it. “Hi Thomas,” my grandma would always say as she answered the door to their house. “Hi Grandma Tess,” I replied with a big grin on my face because I was so excited to make the pie. She let us in the house and we got right to business on making the pie. But before we did anything, I would go into the dining room where my grandpa would always be sitting and I would always give him a firm handshake and sit down and talk to him. I did not see my grandparents very much, but when I did, it was a definite treat. They are so important to me and I love them so much and don’t see them that often so when I do see them it automatically puts a big smile on my face. The reason why my grandma always made potato pie every year was because she has been making it her whole life from when she was a kid all the way up until she passed away. She learned it from her parents from Slovakia. But, everybody used to make this recipe when she was a kid. And another reason why she made it every year was because as a kid, the stuff you needed to make potato pie was cheap and had a lot of calories which means it keeps you full for a while. But this meal was cheap and easy to make for the whole family, but the biggest thing was that it tasted amazing. Nothing beats a cheap meal that tastes delicious. Potato pie is just one of those foods that once you try it, you will for sure never forget it. It has such a distinct and good flavor that you can’t get enough. I am happy that my grandma made this because if I had never known about this recipe, then I would so fewer memories of my grandma because while we made this together, we would make so many memories. Finally I asked my grandma “Grandma Tess, can please start on the potato pie?” “Sure,” she said in reply. So, just like every year that we made this recipe, my sister and I would shred the specifically sharp cheddar cheese, while my grandma Tess got all the other ingredients. Once we had everything together and were ready to start cooking, we would wash our hands so the food would not have any germs on it. Once we do that, then we have to measure all the ingredients to the pies because it was not like we just made one pie, we had to make at least eight for all my dad’s brothers and sisters. The reason why we made that much was because my dad had four sisters and four brothers not including him. So once my sister and I were done shredding the cheese, we would start making the delicious delights I was so mesmerized by how she would mold the crust to the pie tray. And once we pulled the steaming delight out of the oven, we would wrap it up so it would not go bad before Christmas morning when we would deliver them to our family members. Then we went in the living room and sat down for a break and we watched some TV. Usually there is some kind of good show or movie on before the day of Christmas. And we would have a slice of pie and eat it in our own peace of the living room. This is just one of the few memories that I have with my grandma. I don’t really know why, but this time making the pie with her was member able. As much as I want to make more pies with her, she has passed. But that is why my dad, mom, sister, and I carry on the tradition of making this every year. And even though ours might not be exactly like my grandmas, whenever I have some or see some, I think of her and how many memories we had together as such a joyful family together we are. Submitted by: "Tom Y"


Gingerbread Cookies
That Christmas Feeling Have you ever had that Christmas feeling? When you count down the days till December 25? When you search for your Christmas presents? Well, these words describe my usual December weekends.. When I awoke in the morning I saw a delicious plate of warm homemade gingerbread cookies on my kitchen table. They were all ready for decorations. The thing was, I had to go to the barn. I put my hair up in a messy bun and threw on my riding pants. Next, I put my wet, cold, and mucky boots on and ran to my dad's car. I still can't believe that on this same day I didn't really realize what was heading my way! Ten minutes later I arrived at the ruby red modern-built barn. When I got out of the car, the owner of the barn, Holly, handed me a pink folder with horse stickers plotted on the top. When I opened it I couldn't believe my eyes. There was a paper that said Boarding Agreement. There was also another paper that was a horses registration!! And then, in a flash it all hit me, my dream horse Pixie was about to be mine! "Sabrina, fallow me!" said Holly. I fallowed Holly to Pixie's stall. Inside was Pixie with a giant red bow and neon lights around her neck! Everyone wanted to take pictures of me and her so I brought her into the riding arena. I really couldn't believe that my dream of four years had finally come true! I was so in shock I couldn't stop crying! After I rode for a hour I just kept wanting to stay with my horse all unfortunately I had to go home. At the end of the day I certainly still had that Christmas feeling! In fact after I took my shower I got into those fuzzy pajamas and started decorating my warm gingerbread men. I'm positive that from now on every December 1st I will remember the day I got my first horse and celebrated with warm, soft gingerbread men and a cold glass of milk! Submitted by: "Sabrina F."


Green Bean Casserole
It was two years ago at Christmas time. It was time for my uncles Christmas party. My cousin, aunts, uncles, and people who are just guests brought something for the dinner table. My mom brought her most exquisite, most fabulous green bean casserole. Since the green bean casserole was so good in the past years we knew it was going to be the best food of the night. As we entered the house almost everyone was asking what smelled so scrumptious. I told them it was my mom’s casserole. “Wow,” said the crowd of hungry people. As I went to set down the flavorsome casserole, I saw all the other food. There was a lot, but I knew our heavenly goodness would be the top discussion after dinner. “Dinner,” said a hungry adult calling everyone to eat. The first thing to plop on my plate was the green surprise. Then other tasty foods went on my plate. As I sat down, I could smell the salty french fried onions on top of the casserole. That made my mouth water even more than before. Now this smell made me starving. I took the biggest bite in the world from the casserole making sure I still had enough on my plate. Just this one bite made me craving for more, but I couldn't after eating the heavenly goodness twice. I was too full. After everyone was done eating I went over to my mom. I asked her “How was it.” She knew what I was talking about because that was all I was talking about the whole night. She replied, “great.” I knew she would have said that. Everyone else heard our conversation and they also said, “Delicious.” I was so thrilled because I helped make it that year. After all the compliments, on the casserole I decided to make it the year after and the year after. Now nobody can get enough. That night was the best! Everyone including me, went home with full stomachs. I will always remember how much fun it was to make the green bean casserole for the first time. Many people enjoyed the casserole that year especially my mom. Submitted by: "Maggi A."


Hobo Dinner
Dystopian The early light of dawn woke me at four in the morning. For a second, I was at home. Maple was sitting at my feet and the light was coming from the window that's at eye-level by my bed. But as I looked out the window, my expressionless face suddenly turned ugly. Really, there was nothing to be angry about. The view from my window was actually beautiful. The sun was rising and cast a warm, bright light across Camp Jewell. There were no people and I could see squirrels and birds in the pine trees. The sky was a beautiful orange and pink. I scowled again. This sucked. I didn't want to be here. I didn't like the girls in my cabin and my counselors didn't like me. Well I don't give them any reason to like me, but they started it. I jumped down from my bunk and padded silently into the bathroom, where I brushed my teeth, threw on my favorite clean camouflage shorts (the long soft ones) and my ugly Utopian shirt. I hated that stupid yellow shirt that said Camp Jewell on it. All Utopians had to wear these shirts. "Yellow is the color of flowers and dog piss," I muttered angrily to myself, then smirked at my reflection. Swearing is against the rules and it made me smile to break the rules. The yellow shirt looked like a pile of dog puke after your dog has eaten grass, so I threw that back on my bunk and took out my plain hunter green shirt. I threw my hair back in a ponytail and then topped it off with my favorite Log Lifters hat. You look like a redneck hillbilly. The voice rang out in my head. I didn't care about that, but the fact the some idiot girl from my cabin, Sidney, pointed that out made me angry. "I don't give a s**t," I had glared. Nobody from Colebrook had ever commented on the fact that I sometimes wore long camouflage or cargo shorts. My friends Cammie, Maddie and Charlotte who are not from Colebrook didn't care. Why did these dumb city girls care? I checked my watch. They don't have clocks at Camp Jewell and the counselors certainly wouldn't tell me the time. It was four-ten in the morning. The bell rang at seven. It annoyed me that I was so angry and full of negative energy that I was barely getting five hours of sleep. I had already made triangles out of dots on the ceiling mentally and reviewed the types of triangles. I was bored and I wanted to be alone, so I decided to break the rules again and take a little walk. Nobody would miss me. I stuffed pillows into my sleeping bag so it looked like I was still there and grabbed some sunscreen. Once I was outside, I sprayed myself down. All the other girls were tan. I still had my pale skin because I put so much sunscreen on. One of the downsides of the sunscreen was that a thin layer of dirt and grime was forming on my skin because I refused to shower, simply because I didn't care and that it drove the counselors crazy. As I walked, I stepped to the beat of a song running through my head. I hadn't heard the song since the end of school, a month ago. I remembered only the chorus and it ran through my head, that stupid Rascal Flatts song I sometimes caught myself singing. The song is called Here Comes Goodbye and was a little, okay, a lot depressing. I jogged up to my sister, Laura's, cabin. I looked into the window of 3B and peered in her cabin. I saw her sleeping peacefully. That made me feel a little better. My walk continued down to the waterfront, where I splashed water on my face. I checked my watch. It was four-thirty. I had to be back by five-thirty. I sat down on the dock and dipped my feet into the water. If anyone came, I would jump in, despite the stupid yellow band that made me shake with anger. I remembered how I got it. "Swim to the other end," the counselor instructed me. "You have to go under at least twice." Easy. I took a deep breath and swam the 30 feet entirely underwater. It felt good to be in this underwater world, away from snotty people. "You failed because you did not follow directions," the lady said. I clenched my teeth. I felt my insides bubbling with rage. "I'll give you a yellow band, because I feel sorry for you." "But I can swim, really well!" I yelled. I was about to say, "I don't need your flipping pity!" but then I would have said the worst four-letter word known to man instead of flipping. "I said you had to put your head underwater." "I did! You're just too -" I stopped. Screaming would get me nowhere. I was so angry I was shaking. "Are you okay?" I took a huge breath and although my body was shaking uncontrollably, my voice was steady and calm, not shaking with anger. "I'm fine," I said and tried to calm down, but negative energy bubbled up and I was still shaking, although not as hard as before. The memory made me angry. I had past that swimming test; it wasn't my fault I didn't get the lessons the snotty city girls did. When I got back to the cabin, I had ripped up that band to a million pieces outside and then kicked it away. That day we had our overnight. The overnight sounded pretty good. I scowled at the lake. It would be good because the city girls were terrified of raccoons and bears. That made me laugh. By five-thirty, I was back in the cabin, reading a book and after that, writing a letter: Dear Dad, I don't like Camp Jewell. They made me flunk the swimming test. The girls are idiots. Come pick me up. I'm running away on Saturday. I'll be safe on the road. - Emma PS They won't let Laura see me PPS They call me a Utopian, but I'm a Dystopian. I folded the letter up so nobody could see and then put it in an envelope. Just as I shoved it under my mattress, the bell rang. "Time to get up!" the annoyingly cheerful voice of the coordinator, Molly, rang out. She turned to me, "How are you doing, Emma?" "Just peachy," I said in a sickeningly sweet Southern accent. "She talks like a redneck hillbilly," I heard one girl remark. I jumped down from my bunk. "That's my mocking accent," I glared. "Then what's your Southern accent?" "This is my Southern accent. Have a problem with that?" The counselor, Sonya or something like that, glared at me. "Let's go to breakfast, girls." Idiot. The rest of the day dragged on. I went to soccer (tacked the boy who was picking on my sister), scored in basketball and my friend, Lauren, set me up and I spiked the ball in our volleyball game. It hit a girl from my cabin, Connie, in the head, accidently. She glared at me while Lauren and I were talking. "You have your overnight after this, don't you?" Lauren asked. "Yep," I smirked. "What are you going to do?" "Nothing, just laugh at them later," I dropped my voice down to whisper. "They're afraid of bears and raccoons." _______ Three things that pleased me happened that afternoon. First, the canoe I was in almost sank. I sat on top of someone else's gear and held mine in my lap so it wouldn't get wet. My stuff stayed dry. Then, we couldn't find our campsite. Everyone but me was scared and tired. We finally camped with a different bunch of Utopians. The girls from my cabin were just straight up rude about getting firewood and having to wait to eat out Hobo Dinners. The third thing that happened that pleased me was that I got my Hobo Dinner first, because my counselor grudgingly admitted I had collected the most firewood. I put ground meat in it, then some onions for flavor and bread and potatoes. For dessert, we had s'mores. Since I didn't want to be near the girls from my cabin, I ate the chocolate and the graham crackers, then threw the marshmallows into the woods, hoping that a real bear or raccoon would find them and scare the crap out of the girls in my cabin. My counselor was worried about our supply of water. I drank some of the water I had packed for myself, then filled my water bottles up with their supply. I slept on the edge of the tarp that night. Just as I had predicted, the girls flipped out over a shadow in the woods. Their screams woke the counselor up and she was extremely angry. I laughed so hard I almost fell out of my sleeping bag. Nobody else thought it was funny. The next morning, we hiked back through Ranch Camp. I practically ran through the woods so I could get to Laura in time and to keep ahead of the whiners. We surprisingly got to the Mess Hall in time for breakfast. I told my mom all about my overnight, and she laughed. That night was Sisters Night for Utopians, me (I considered myself a Dystopian) and the Nit Nois, like my sister. We watched a boring movie. Laura's counselor, Chelsea, was mean as dirt to her. She shrank back as Chelsea approached. "Laura, you have to stop going near your sister." Laura was silent. "I have permission from my and her coordinator, who are much more important than you could ever be," I spoke up. "Well, Laura, what are you going to do when you're eighteen and have to go away to college? You won't have your sister then." "That 's in ten years," I glared. "She has ten years to grow up, so go! Leave my sister alone!" Laura and all the other Nit Nois from her cabin looked at me. I was about to say, "What are you looking at?" Then Laura said admiringly, "Nobody's ever talked to Chelsea like that," "Well, she better leave your alone," I looked over and saw Chelsea sulking in the corner, like an eight-year-old. After the movie, we had Spirit Night. I was allowed to sit in the back because my ears were sensitive. A few minutes into it, I saw Laura walking back from the bathroom. I looked at Molly, who was there "supervising" me. "The noise bothers my sister, too." "You can ask her coordinator," Molly said, doubtfully. I begged and pleaded. I finally got what I wanted, and dragged Laura to the back with me. We talked and at the end, I told Laura about my agreement with our parents. "Tomorrow morning, I'm going home. You can have my toothbrush and toothpaste, since you lost yours." The next morning, I saw Laura leaving for Chapel. "Bye, La, I'll see you next week," I pressed a note and her toothbrush and toothpaste into her hand. She looked sad, but took everything I offered her. "Bye Emma," I watched her until I noticed I was the only one left. I turned back, then gave her one last wave. That was the last time I saw her for a whole week and two days. Submitted by: "Emma K."


Cape Cod Surf and Turf
I awoke from the immense mound of fluffy pillows and soft blankets that I called my bed on that July day. The birds were chirping their songs and a warm comforting ray of sunshine. I soon glanced over at my alarm clock it was mid-morning and the rest of my family was already out of bed. I went over to my closet and put on some pajama pants. We were at our house in Chatham, Cape Cod which was a two floor house with 4 bedrooms, a kitchen, and a dining room. I trudged out of bed and went upstairs to find out what we were doing today. My mom said, “We are going to the beach with your cousins again.” I went downstairs to the guest room of this rented house, threw on my bathing suit, and grabbed my pair of sandals. I soon rushed out the door to our car and got seated. Then, after the drive that seemed to go on forever, our car pulled up to the beach. We took a while to unpack all of our belongings, which consisted of a lunch bag, an umbrella, some beach chairs, and a couple of boogie boards. I hopped across the burning hot sand to where our cousins had already set up a spot. Then, as soon as we were unpacked, I made a beeline for the wavy water. When I tried to ride the waves theycrashed right on top of my head, sending what felt like gallons of water on top of me. I toppled and turned and got tangled with my brother. I soon recognized that I would have to wait for high tide, and when it came, it came. I was soon in the water bodysurfing and boogie boarding I was so caught up in the fun that I almost missed lunch. For the rest of the day I was just playing football in the water with my cousins. It was almost time to go home for a good dinner with the family. But before we even pulled out of the parking lot we were asking, “Can we go to sundae school for ice cream?” She replied, “Yes”. When we got home I asked my mom, after having changed out of my sand-filled swim trunks, what we were having for dinner. Her reply was, “We are going to have surf and turf for dinner with your cousins.” I waited on the grass by the driveway for our family to arrive. It may have taken them longer than we had expected but that gave us extra time to prepare. The whole time we laughed and played games like “left, right, center” and bekum, which is basically hide and seek. Then when it came time we all settled down with immense amount of meat and seafood. We soon all rushed over to the dinner table and dug into the feast. We had seconds, thirds, and my cousin Quinn even had fourths. After that my brother Connor’s birthday cake arrived at the table. We sang happy birthday and then devoured the delicious Death by Chocolate cake. We then spent the rest of the night playing around, opening presents, watching T.V., catching up, and recollecting memories. That night when I went to bed I couldn’t wait till tomorrow and wondered if we could top this next years summer. Submitted by: "Dylan M."


Cenacle Cookies
Trinita Here’s a fun fact; I am a nervous wreck at sleepovers. So, when my sister and I were asked to do a sleepover at Trinita, for the “club” that we are in, you can imagine how I was feeling. I didn’t want to let my sister or my friends down so I agreed. When Nicole said that we stayed up to almost 3 am, I was second guessing staying over. I realized that my mom had already left, it was too late. Trinita, in case you were wondering, is a retreat center in New Hartford. When you walk inside, there are long tables covered with plastic tablecloths. Behind that is a kitchen. If you walk down a hall there is a staircase that leads to dorms, a few offices and a chapel. It is a very welcoming place to stay. Lizzie and I walked into the girls’ cenacle sleepover and we saw our friends. Nicole, Morgan and Bethany were there. Bethany’s mom was also there to help. She was going to stay the night. Sister Deb, the leader of the girls’ cenacle and a nun who lives at Trinita, welcomed us to our first activity. The activity was to complete puzzles. When the puzzles were finished, we made cookie mix in mason jars for gifts. It was really hard because you had to get all these ingredients into a small little jar. My sister playfully scolded me,”Abby, you’re making a mess!” I looked around my area and laughed while saying,”I know!” Afterward, we all went down to the lodge with Bethany’s mom while Sister Deb stayed back and made cookies. The lodge was a different building and was warm and really cozy. This was made of wood. It made you feel like you were in a comfortable cabin in mid winter in Alaska.There is a ping-pong table and a counter with stools. Since it was Lizzie and my’s first time, we were told that there is a stage and costumes, so basically we dress up and perform on stage. We went digging around and finally decided that Morgan, Nicole, and I were going to be sheep and Bethany was going to be Little Bo Peep. Lizzie was going to announce all of our acts. It turned into a big mess where Lizzie was chasing us around with a fake sword. Then we decided to do a different show, so Morgan and Bethany got into a dress together and said they were Mexican Siamese twins. Well, Nicole and I wanted to do that, so we did too. It turned into a battle against the two twins and ended up a fail again. We decided plays aren't our thing, so Bethany and Morgan started teaching us cheerleading moves. Next, we crazy danced on stage. Bethany and Morgan were really dancing. After that Sister Deb told us to clean up. The back changing room looked like a major hurricane struck . There were old, fancy dresses lying everywhere and you couldn’t tell there were once tables in the room. We had to all use all of our power to clean up the mess. Finally we finished. We got back to the main building and we got into our PJ’s and we said a prayer. By then it was midnight. We were promised hide and seek, so we played. It was only supposed to a twenty minute game, but it lasted forty minutes. After we finished it was 1 am. We all decided it was time to watch a movie. During the movie, Bethany’s mom, Morgan and Nicole fell asleep, but not Liz, Bethany and I. Finally the movie ended at 2:30am. Bethany smacked Morgan and Nicole on the head and they woke up. We went up to bed, but that doesn’t mean we went to sleep. We played Truth or Dare, but no one wanted to dare so everyone truthed, except for Bethany. Wow, she was a night owl! I asked Bethany,” Aren’t you tired?” She answered,”No.” While answering she pulled out a bag of rock candy and started eating . I was really surprised because it was 3 am. Finally Morgan gave up and said,” Can we please go to bed?” (Like she had been saying all night). We all had been ignoring her. We agreed. The last thing I remembered was the clock ticking to 3 am. Originally, my eyes creaked open at a bright 6 o’clock, but they fell tired again and drifted back off. Then, my eyes opened at 7:30, but history repeats itself and they closed again. Finally we arose at 8:00 because Sister Deb woke us up. We went down for a pancake breakfast. By nine we were done. At 9:30 my mom came. I climbed into the car, a little reluctantly. I didn’t want to leave. But it felt good to be in my own car again. When Mom asked me how it was I answered, “ Great!” But inside I knew it was more than great. Now, I know I will never walk into Trinita and look at it the same way ever again, at least not without a flood of hilarious and tired memories. Submitted by: "Abby H."


Nachos
“We finally get to go!” I exclaimed to myself. I couldn’t believe the day was finally here. Maybe if I’d known how this day would end up, I would’ve just stayed in bed! Today was the day that my best friends (Addie, Morgan and Joy) and I were going to go tubing for Joy’s birthday. We’d been planning it for about two months, so we’d all been looking forward to it for a while. We were doing something special, since Joy was turning 13 on the 13th. After we went tubing in the Farmington River, we were going to go back to her house and sleep over. I was a little bit nervous, when Joy picked me up, since the news said there might be thunderstorms. I wasn’t that nervous since I didn’t see any storm clouds. How could it rain if there weren’t storm clouds? When I got into the car, Addie and Morgan and, of course, Joy since her dad was the one picking us up. We all chatted excitedly until we got to the tubing company. We had to go up to the workers first and give them the paper that we and our parents signed, saying that we wouldn’t sue them if we got hurt. It made me slightly nervous that we had to actually sign things like that, it meant there was a chance I could actually get seriously injured! I brushed it off though, if so many people did it, it couldn’t be too dangerous. After that, we went over to get the tubes we were going to use in the river. “Step forward if you’re 90 pounds or less,” the worker instructed. I was the only one out of the four of us to step forward. We all giggled and I blushed. They were always calling me small, since I was short and barely weighed anything. They got tubes the next weight class up. After that they told us to go into the river, and we’d know we were at the end when we saw a blue tube hanging in a tree. Then there would be a path, and we should go up, and walk until we saw the bus stop. Then we were supposed to wait there until the bus came to take us back up, to where Joy’s dad was parked. “Any questions?” the employee asked. We all shook our heads, it seemed pretty self explanatory. At the time, I was really shocked. I thought there’d be more supervision. I grinned, it would be private, so it would be more fun. Besides, it seemed simple enough. If only we’d known, how complicated it would turn out to be, we would’ve never even stepped foot in the river. We got into the river, slowly one by one, each time we held each other’s hands, so we wouldn’t drift apart. We’d decided to do this before, since we all wanted to stay together. “Don’t let go!” Joy called as we started to float off in the river. We were all a little scared at first but quickly calmed down, and enjoyed the ride. I was getting very nervous though, when I noticed some gray clouds in the sky. I didn’t even want to think about what would happen if it started thundering. I pushed the thought out of my mind as we started down the first set of rapids; we were told there would be three. “Hold on, guys!” Morgan called over the rushing water. We all nodded in agreement as we were pulled into the first set of rapids. They weren’t very intense, however they were lots of fun. We kept chatting happily as we glided gently down the river, getting excited every time rapids came along, or even just a little current. The trip was going really well until Addie said, “I think I felt a drop of water,” in an anxious voice. We all looked at her, since we heard the news. We waited a little while, and each of us felt a few more drops. “It’s just a few drops of rain. It’ll be alright guys,” I reassured, but even as I said it, I wasn’t sure if I quite believed it myself. We all kept going down the river uneasily. It was quickly starting to downpour. “As long as there isn’t any thunder, we should be fine,” I said reasonably, ironically almost immediately after I said that, it starting raining really hard, like it would in a thunderstorm. Again, I was trying to be reassuring, but I was a little uneasy. Everyone agreed, but I could tell we were all afraid. A few minutes later, lightning flew across the sky and thunder boomed and shook. We all shrieked, terrified. “Guys, we should get out of the water,” Morgan said. “But, we’re supposed to stay in the water. That’s what the instructor told us,” I protested uncertainly. “It’s thundering, and we’re in the water!” she shouted back. I wasn’t offended, we were all scared. “Okay, if we hear thunder again, we’ll get out of the water,” I shouted over the rain. It was getting really loud. I could feel the water rising around me, and the pull of river getting stronger. Both of these facts horrified me. I tried to convince myself it was all in my head, but I knew that it wasn’t. Everyone agreed to my suggestion. We all sat in silence for a few moments. The happy, carefree feeling that we all had earlier in the trip was completely gone. It was replaced by a rapidly growing fear, that was clearly visible in everybody’s eyes. After only a few moments thunder boomed again, like a bass drum, hit right in our ears. We all screamed again, and quickly swam to the side of the river where there was a little path. It seemed perfect. After we were all out, I shook a little. Partly from the cold, but I can’t deny that the other part was from fear. I tightly gripped my red rubber tube and we started to walk by the edge of the river. When the thunder roared again, we couldn’t contain our shrieks. We all knew it was coming, but that didn’t stop our reactions. Morgan, who was in the front starting running up, and away from the river. “Are you sure we should go away from the river?” Addie shouted over the noise. “We’re in the woods. Next to a river. Soaking wet. In a thunderstorm, let’s get away from the water!” I exclaimed, too terrified to remember to look for the blue tube. There was a little voice in the back of my head, telling me to be careful, that I was scared, and fear could change the way I think. We ran up a path, for a while, and whenever we took a turn I was careful to point out some “landmarks” like a shoe, or a piece of rubber, or even a certain indent in the road. I figured we needed something, in case we decided to turn back around. After a while we couldn’t hadn’t seen the river in a long time, and were just walking. We all stepped together in time, our feet pounding against the dirt. At this point, we were less concentrated on getting away from the water, and were a little bit calmer, so we could think a bit better. “Should we try and find the river?” I asked. They all looked a bit unsure. None of us wanted to go back there, but we had to go back and find the blue tube so we could get to the bus, and finally end this horrific nightmare. If only we’d known, the worst hadn’t even happened yet. We finally decided it was time to turn around. I didn’t remember a few of the turns, but thankfully, the ones Morgan and I didn’t, Addie and Joy did. I was both relieved and horrified when we saw the river again. “Which way do we go?” I questioned. “We can check the little maps on our tubes,” Addie suggested. This seemed like a good idea. We looked for a while, before I discovered something truly terrifying. We all seemed realize it at the same time. “Guys,” I said, in shock, “We’re on the wrong side. We have to cross the river,” Just the thought of going back in the river, was enough to make me tear up, and get a huge lump in my throat. I started shaking in fear. I was hoping that, just maybe, I was wrong, and we didn’t have to cross the river. Joy and Addie both noticed something that, sadly, proved me right. The traffic and cars were on the other side. If we wanted to get to the bus, we had to cross the river. We had to go back in. I took a deep breath and went back into the icy water. Immediately, we all noticed how much the water had rose. It was up to our chests the second we walked in! We swam for a little bit, the river wasn’t very wide at all, but the current was pulling at us and the water was pretty high. None of us could touch the ground. I wanted to stop swimming. I was so tired, I thought it would be better just to stop. I just wanted to rest. “Swim! We have to keep going! What are you thinking?” Morgan called back horrified, when I begged to rest for a just a little bit. I knew we couldn’t rest or the river would pull us farther down. Nevertheless, resting was what I wanted. I pushed through, I kept swimming, even though every muscle and bone in my body ached. I finally reached the other side, and felt like crying with relief. Morgan had already made it. Addie was almost there. Joy wasn’t though. I didn’t understand what was happening, she was stuck somehow, and the current had pulled her further down. She wasn’t able to swim. I was so terrified that everything was kind of a blur. It was like my mind was numb, and I couldn’t really process anything. Things were happening around me, but I wasn’t reacting. I was vaguely aware of Addie calling for me to help and Morgan going back in to help Joy. It wasn’t sinking in though. Then it hit me. Help. She needed help. I couldn’t go back in the water, I couldn’t! That was all I could think. I needed to help Addie though, she couldn’t reach the shore all the way. Once I could force myself to move, and react, and thrust my tube into the water, and told her to grab on. At least I didn’t need to go back in the water. She held on, and pulled her in a little with it. When she close enough to reach my hand, I pulled her in with that. Soon we were both sitting on the edge of the river. By this time, Morgan had been able to help Joy, Addie and I used our tubes and hands to get them on the shore. By this time I had already cried a little, and was shaking even more. This time it was a little less fear, and a little more cold. A small victory, which I was too tired to recognize at the moment. We started to walk up the hill, not really being careful around bushes with thorns or anything. At this point, we were just ready for it to be over. We all had scrapes, and scratches all over our knees and legs, but we didn’t stop until we reached the road. I was so happy, the worst was finally over. We were almost there. We were walking for a while, but Addie and Joy thought we were going to the wrong way. I couldn’t really see, but I was pretty sure we were walking in the right direction, according to which way the river was going. Morgan thought so too. After a bit, we saw a couple get out with their tubes, but they were walking the opposite direction we were. After briefly talking to them, we realised we were going the wrong way. Addie and Joy were right. No one felt like saying that though, we were just happy that we knew we were going the right way this time. We were so close. After walking for a little bit longer, we noticed the blue tube hanging in a tree, way down by the river. “We are so making some nachos when we get to your house, Joy,” Morgan said, lightening the mood. “Oh, of course,” Joy replied, “We’ve earned it,” Part of me was excited that we really were going the right way. The other part was upset that we’d gone past the tube in the first place. We’d gone too far, done more than we needed to. The couple was going to call someone for us, but right then we saw the bus stop. We all screamed excitedly, making the couple laugh. We quickly thanked them, and took off running towards the bus stop. We only had to wait for less than a minute, before blue bus showed up. We jumped up and down, waving our arms, just in case the bus missed us. The couple, again, laughed at our enthusiasm. It stopped in front of us, and we smiled from ear to ear as we stepped on. “We got the last ones,” the bus driver said into the radio. Hearing this, my smile widned even more, no one else was out there. Everyone was safe. We were safe. It was over. We were on the bus, safe, and it was all over. This whole nightmare, was all over. Joy said something about us almost dying and we all had a loud conversation about it. The other people on the bus were laughing at how dramatic we were being. None of us cared. We weren’t being that dramatic. Joy had almost drowned, as I later found out, when I could process things better. Their laughing, just made me laugh. I was in the mood, where every little thing made me happy. I was completely grateful and content. Just sitting on this bus, made me happier than I could ever think. Just a simple thing like this seemed like an amazing miracle. Soon the bus dropped us off back where Joy’s dad was. We ran off the bus, and met her dad who was waiting there. We all climbed in the car and relayed the whole story to him. By the time we finished and added every little detail, we were back at her house. Our crazy, adventure of tubing in that thunderstorm, was over. Totally, and completely. How had the day ended so differently than it began? I had been so excited, then terrified, then just plain happy. Now it’s all in the past, just a crazy story, that I’ll get to retell. I’ll definitely never go tubing again, if there is even a chance of a thunderstorm. Maybe I’ll never go tubing again, period. Only time will tell. “C’mon,” Joy said as her dad parked the car her driveway, “Let’s go make some nachos.” I grinned and followed my best friends inside. Submitted by: "Lily B."


California Rolls
Oba-chan’s Sushi The warm summer sun beat down on my face as I waited silently on my front deck. The wood screeched a protest as I shifted my weight, the boards wanting nothing to do with newly added pressure. Ignoring its pleas for mercy I stared out into my driveway, tapping my foot and gnawing on my lip. The whoosh of wind rattled the bright green leaves, tossing them about on their branches and trying to rip them away. Ponytail swishing I tried to look through the branches and tree trunks to the road not far off. Slowly time passed by and my nerves ate away at me until I was seconds from flinging myself back into the house and giving up on waiting. I’d never been patient and standing out there for nearly half an hour was testing how long I really could last. Finally, seconds from my departure, the soft rumble of a car pulled around the driveway’s bend and brought into sight the familiar red sheen of my mother’s car. I didn’t know what really to do with myself so I simply squealed with delight and raced off through the house. Inside I plummeted down the steps and towards the basement door. I didn’t bother to put on shoes so it was a painful race over the rocks and onto the sweltering pavement. Hopping from foot to foot I winced at the unforgiving heat and made a mental note to grab shoes next time I went out. From outside the car I could see my Auntie Peg sitting in the front seat, laughing at my odd dance from the burning of the pavement. She smiled out at me, the dimples in her cheeks and the crinkles by her eyes wonderfully familiar characteristics about my aunt. She pushed open the car door and stepped out, my Oba-Chan following suit behind her from the back seat. She smiled over at me, both walking over and pulling me into two separate hugs. Their brown eyes were alive and bright as they hurried me inside, knowing my feet stung painfully from the unforgiving sun and it’s impossible heat. They were supposed to stay for three days so we made the most of our time. They got their early the first day so we had the whole day to share together. At least that’s what I’d been hoping for. They obviously had different plans considering they’d excused themselves to take naps due to the three hour time difference and jet lag they were experiencing. For the most part of that first day I sat in my room with a smug look. Either that or I’d be out in the living room watching TV to try and make the time pass quicker. Finally in early evening my Aunt and Oba-chan woke up and decided to make dinner with us. It was only pasta but they still helped. the first day was mostly staying in and talking; the adults conversing about how they’ve been and what they’ve been doing since they’d last seen each other. Parent stuff. At the end of the night we watched a movie together and I was sent off to bed, being ten wasn’t easy you know. The next morning my aunt was somehow up bright an early, the fresh scent of pancakes looming in the air. Both my brother and I seemed to be out of our rooms at the exact same time, racing towards the overpowering scent of pancakes and half-burnt chocolate chips. There was orange juice set out on the counter and two plates of pancakes were already awaiting my arrival. Well mine and my brothers but who really counts him? Oba-chan came down around a half an hour later, my mom, aunt, and I all inviting her to the table while my brother scrambled away to do something in his room. Oba-chan told us she wanted to make sushi for us that night- California rolls in particular. We didn’t have much in the way of any ingredients so we had to go to the store. My brother and Aunt decided to stay home instead of going out and helping with buying the groceries. At the store we gathered the necessities for the sushi. Once back home Connor was on the computer and my aunt helped bring everything back inside from the grocery store. When everything was inside and in the refrigerator we sat in the living room, watching TV and talking. It wasn’t a regular occurrence for family to be here considering my family is the only one that lives on the East Coast. The majority of my mother’s side lives in California while my dad’s side lives in Oregon. They only come over every so often and I don’t remember the last time they’d been over before then. The last time they’d come over was probably when I was four or five, I don’t remember it but that’s what my mother had said. Bright blue skies puffed cigar smoke clouds, contaminating its perfect blue and turning it white with a thin wispy layer of clouds. We stayed inside like we had the previous day, talking and trying to catch up on what had happened over the past few years. Obviously my mother and aunt talked as well as with my Oba-chan but we hadn’t been to California it felt like forever. We spend most of our time together talking because our family doesn’t do much in the way of playing games with one another. Dinner time came fast and unexpected, the sun dropping and icing the clouds an array of pinks and oranges. The temperature sloped down, causing the AC’s to be shut off and the screen door to be shut. The warmer air trapped inside while the summer settled into what could be imagined as spring air stalking around the house, trying to find somewhere to penetrate its walls and invade the house once more. Hissing winds rattled windows and doors as we gathered in the kitchen and pulled out the groceries from earlier in the day. My mother helped my Oba-chan set out the supplies to make the sushi and started the rice, a proud smile covering her face as she cooed for me to come over to her. Eager to help, I scurried over with wide hopeful eyes and waited for information on why she had called me over. She opened the bag of crab meat with graceful fingers before opening the pack of avocados and quietly instructing me on what to do. Connor had seen me helping and had decided to butt in and try and help to. After a moment of bickering the trouble started. My Oba-chan knew the rice was done and so she moved around us silently, not even caring to give us a glance of acknowledgement, she’d already had her fair share of children’s banter. “I want to help!” “Well I was helping first!” “Oba-chan never said I couldn’t!” And for what felt like a lifetime the banter and mocking shouts continued. We were too caught up in our debacle to realize Oba-chan was humming quietly to herself as she rolled the sushi around the nori and sticking in the crab and avocado before sticking in the small pin sized cucumber rectangles and setting them onto a plate. A life time or two later I gave up on arguing and turned to my Oba-chan who looked very pleased with herself as she rolled up the last California roll and set it onto the shiny pink plate. “Don’t fight,” she said calmly, words thickly accented. She smiled over at us before gesturing a hand to the plate, a silent offering for us to take it and eat. Glaring momentarily at my brother, I turned back to my Oba-chan and chirped a ‘thank you’ before grabbing the plate and rushing into the living room. Connor followed in seconds after, muttering how I had to share and it wasn’t fair to hoard the delicious treat to myself. My mom let us be for the next day, deciding it was time for more grown up things. The day passed in a blur of voices and noises, shouts and laughter and colorful things passing before my eyes. Soon enough it was time to see my Aunt Peg and my Oba-chan out. Their bags were packed and their faces composed of sadness and prolonging. They dawdled their way to the car, their feet dragging and their bags seeming to have gained at least ten pounds. We said our sad goodbyes late that night, the freezing air nipping at my toes and exposed skin. Another few minutes of warding off their departure passed before my mom insisted they had to go with a sorry sigh. I nodded, pliant under my mother’s orders to go back inside. Jogging in, I made my way upstairs and to the familiar deck, padding onto the wooden surface. The sky was a cerulean blue, clouds nonexistent in the sky and moon starting to fight it’s way up over the skyline of trees.The milky white shining full and bright on my family. It was too early for the twinkling stars to be out, too late though for much animal noises except the consistent chirping of a cricket. My gaze drifted back to the small red Toyota slowly backing out the driveway. The familiar sight of my mother in the driver’s seat backing out of the driveway with her two passengers smiling sadly at me and waving. After a few shivering minutes of staring at the end of the driveway I scampered back into the house, teeth chattering and goosebumps raised over my skin. Submitted by: "Chloe G."


Firecracker Jello
Firecracker jello. The sun shone through the hazel color curtains almost looking like a spotlight in my room. My blanket was as light as a feather. My pillow surrounded my sleeping head and I was as warm as a bunny. My eyes slowly opened to the sight of my cat snuggled up against me. It was another cold Saturday morning, which, made me want to stay in bed, but I knew it was time to get up. Normally every day I wake up to the smell of my apple freshener. Instead of smelling this, I smelled something different, and it was sweet. My curiosity got me out of bed, down stairs, through the living room and to the kitchen to see that my grandma had come over and was making something “That smells really good, Grandma!! What are you making?” I questioned. “I am making cherry jello for the picnic this afternoon,” she replied as she started to stir the berry gelatin and water. “Go upstairs, get dressed, and you can help me!” “Oh okay!” I exclaimed. “Thanks!” I zoomed up stairs, ignoring the freezing cold wood floor. I opened my dresser and picked out an ordinary blue shirt and black pants. I brushed my teeth, and I brushed my hair. I put it into a lazy bun and put on my cozy monkey slippers. I skipped down our carpeted stairs and had to block my eyes from the sun gleaming in threw the window. By the time I reached down stairs, and in to the kitchen, my grandma was ready for me. “Why don’t you pour the boiling water in the bowl and start to stir it!” my grandma suggested. “All right!” As I carefully poured the 2/3 cups of water into the bowl, steam blocked the bottom, making it look like a tropical rain forest. I started to stir the water until the gelatin dissolved. As I did this, my grandma poured ¼ of milk into another small, green bowl. She sprinkled some more gelatin and waited for about 5 minutes. The smell from the bowls, filled my nose. It had a sweet sent, almost like honey. For the rest of the hour, we both made my soon to be favorite dessert. Finally, we left for the picnic. I was concerned about was my jello. Did it turn out all right? What if nobody likes it? As we arrived in front of the tall white house, kids played in a large pool and as soon as I put my bathing suit on, I joined them. I did summersaults in the water and we all played a large round of sharks and Minos. Unfortunately, lunch arrived and all fun stopped. I helped myself to baby chicken wings and pink lemon aid. After the chicken wings for lunch, I was finally able to try my jello. I took the smallest one out of the batch and slowly began eating. The spoon brushed past my mouth and on to my taste buds. Yummy! It was soft as a cloud and moist as one. The cherry on top topped it all off. It was the best dessert ever. You could call that day anything you want, but to me, it was a special day. It was the very first time I made a dessert that came out right, not demented and most of scrumptious!! Now, I want to learn more desserts to make all because of the jello I made that day. From there on out I realized how fun cooking and baking is, but off course the best part is being able to eat it. Submitted by: "Paige R."


New England's Famous Lobster Rolls
There was a Splash in the Distance A mist settled over the blue green cove in the dark of the early morning. It was the perfect combination of hot and cold air rising and falling, mixing together to form the moist, hazy fog that clogged the air and played with your senses. There was no wind, yet the beach grass on the cove’s shore still fluttered gently, as if some hidden spirit were at work. The thick air wafted slowly into my nose and mouth as the salty aroma shot straight toward my brain. The sun struggled up over the horizon, bathing the ocean in a pink light that reflected off the fog and into my eyes. Few lights were on in the city that we had left behind, as the apartments inhabitants still rested in their dense slumber. I stepped forward until the tip of my toe rested in the green blue of the icy, morning ocean… I woke up in a blur, my air mattress none too comfortable and the air much too cold. The morning wind whistled around the perimeter of my tent, as the sounds of awakening wildlife filled the air. I rolled over to check the battery powered radio/clock that we had brought with us to Rhode Island. It was five in the morning, much earlier than I would have wanted to be waking up on my summer vacation. Today was different though. With the promise of going clamming in the morning, I was up and ready in no time, waiting anxiously for the rest of my family and relatives to arise to the smoky smell of the ashes, still hot, from last night’s campfire. I didn't have to wait long though. The rest of our “clamming team”, as I considered it, woke up just as anxious as I was and ready for the trip. We drove for a short while, through cities and neighborhoods so dark that they were almost ghostly- ghost towns. Suddenly, we stopped abruptly near a stretch of long beach grass, but no water was in sight. My uncle explained that we would have to walk a short way to reach the best clamming locations. I was given a rake and told to carry it with us as it would be crucial later on. Confused and overwhelmed at the speed of this series of events (all of which had happened in a matter of seconds) I had no choice but to follow along and go with the flow. We trekked for a while through endless waves of grass that tickled at our ankles and hid who knows how many creatures and unknown bugs, hiding from the blundering humans crashing through their home. After coming to a break in the trail, I halted at the majestic sight before my eyes. A sea, reflecting the brilliant colors of the rising sun, stretched out and covered the entire horizon. The water glistened purple and gold in the suns burning light. “There, that’s where we’re headed,” my uncle proclaimed, aiming a finger at a small cove jutting out from the main body of water. Again we set off, and it was only minutes before we reached the water. Each one of us children held our rakes like weapons in our short, pudgy little fingers. It was amazing how darkness affected our eyes. A splash was a monster rising from the ocean, a crack was a tree falling on top of us, and the beach grass tickling our legs was crabs scuttling over our feet. Suddenly, my brother yelped with fear. He had stepped on a sleeping hermit crab, and awoken it. In fright, the terrifyingly ugly, but quite harmless crustacean scuttled off into hiding again. I treaded more carefully though, frightened by my brothers near demise (so it seemed to a seven year old). We entered the water, all ten of us, and as instructed, began to rake up the floor of the cove beneath us to unearth the clams hiding below. Following the adult’s example, I scratched at the ground, hunting for the clams whose air bubbles I could see, but shells I could not. I submerged under the water to try and get a closer look at for the clams that I was sure were just below me, but to no avail. In the clear water, I could see the mossy lobster traps that lay on the seafloor, forgotten long ago by fishermen. Running out of breath, I emerged from the water spitting salt from my mouth and resumed my resilient scratching and scraping. But, after just about about five minutes of futile pushing and pulling, I “struck gold” for the first time. I submerged myself in the shallow water and unearthed an exposed clam, its shell clamped firm from the invaders threatening its safety. I kept it under the water so it could breathe and watched air bubbles smaller than the head of a pin drift up to the surface. Its bluish purple shell glistened in the now sunlit water and I knew that even if I were to eat the other clams I was sure to find, I was going to set this one free. “Goodbye little buddy,” I whispered when no one was looking as my arm reared back and I launched a perfect throw into the watery beyond. There was a splash in the distance. Submitted by: "Zach A."


Death by Chocolate
My Thanksgiving In my family I have two Thanksgiving dinners. We have one in Rhode Island at my grandfather's house and one in Connecticut at home. In Rhode Island my Aunt Valerie does the cooking; in Connecticut my mom does the cooking and it's always like there is a competition to see who can prepare the best Thanksgiving dinner! This is always to everyone's benefit; they're always coming up with something new or just improving a traditional recipe. At my grandfather's house, there’s always a feast. Every time we go out there for Thanksgiving we have a great time watching football with Uncle Chuck, playing basketball on the patio or going to the park. When we're done playing sports it’s time to eat! Zia, as we call my Aunt Valerie, knows how to cook. There’s always a huge turkey with mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and at least three types of orange veggies (which doesn't mean I like them all). She also makes my favorite crescent rolls baked to perfection. Everyone always gathers around the table for dinner, except for Uncle Chuck who has to watch his Cowboys play on TV. This time, I actually got to sit with him and eat dinner and watch the football game. After we get back from Grandpa's house, my mom makes a second Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday. The whole Jerram family is invited and that's a lot of people. We have to transform our living room into a dining room. My mom usually makes a ham and this year we tried something new, a roast duck from New Hartford. The duck was tender and tasty. There were mashed potatoes and green beans. But the best part of the meal is always my mom’s desserts. This year she made Death by Chocolate. It’s so chocolaty you'll die. Everybody just has a good time and stuffs themselves. With everything that is left over there is enough for dinner for a week. I think I'll explode from all the weight the family's two greatest chefs put on my body. The meals can have that little extra microscopic detail that can make the difference and make them taste like the meals themselves were prepared were by an executive chef. By the way I was just wondering, what is your perfect Thanksgiving dinner? Submitted by: "Mike J."


Crisp Wontons
Christmas Morning The smell from the Christmas tree covered with beautiful ornaments and twinkling lights filled the air as I darted down the stairs to the kitchen. All the stations were set up and we were ready to make the delectable treats. I hopped into my seat and waited patiently as my brothers and sister walked into the room picking their own seats. I rolled up my sleeves and started folding, as Christmas music accompanied the occasion. This was the best part of the holidays and the wonders of Santa Claus were to come soon after. Every year, my brothers, my sister and I always make Wontons as a treat for the holidays. They are a fantastic food made up of meat folded up in dough sheets and fried until they have a crunch. We would sit at the table and have our stations all set up with the wrappings, the meat and just a cup of water to put it all together. I loved going through the process my grandma taught me. We’d take one of the Wonton wrappers, place the meat inside, and use water to seal it up into a delicious package. We would always race to see who could finish their stack the fastest, but were always told not to rush it and create a disaster. As the common saying goes, haste makes waste. Finally they’d all be done and ready to be put in the pot to fry into the great treat they are. I’ve gone through this fun process since I was young and I loved the festivities that would follow. All the time we would get presents for each other for Christmas but what I loved most about this holiday was seeing the presents that we got from Santa. I always got so excited on Christmas Eve that I could barely sleep! We would track Santa online and when he came closer to us it was a joy. But when Mom told us that you have to be asleep for Santa to come, I raced to my bed finally resting my eyes. When I was 5 years old I remember on Christmas Eve night my brothers and I all slept in the same room. We had our plan that if one of us got up we had to wake the others. We even practiced what we would do if we were the first one to wake up. I went to sleep that night knowing exactly what to do in the morning. In the morning I heard my brother, Ben’s voice. “Wake up, wake up,” he was saying to me while shaking my pillow. I opened my eyes to see his face. “It’s Christmas!” he exclaimed with excitement in his voice. We raced down the stairs and right over to the Christmas tree to see our presents waiting there for us. We had to wait for the others to wake up but soon they were there, too, smiling at our delighted faces. “Santa ate the cookies!” I heard Andy yell to us. When we went over to the plate we had left for him the night before we saw that the cookies and Wontons we left him were gone. Now we all gathered around the tree, ready to open our presents. We took turns and youngest went first. That was me and I couldn't wait. At my dad’s word I tore into the wrapping, ripping it to shreds. Inside I found a toy castle. It was the one I had wanted all year! I was elated at the sight of it and wanted to enjoy it immediately. My dad told me to bring it over as Ben started on his present. I played with that castle all the time and it was one of my favorite toys ever. I loved that time that I spent with my brothers and the excitement of knowing that presents were waiting for us. It was one of the happiest times of my life. Christmas morning, the joys of Santa Claus, and delectable treats are vivid memories of Christmas at the Schiffer household. My favorite is our delicious Won Tons that bring back my memories of the night before Christmas and being able to spend it with my siblings. Waking up on Christmas morning is one of my favorite experiences and the memory of opening that castle will always puts a smile on my face. Submitted by: "Sam S."


Lena's Meat and Cheese Goulash
The Christmas Party Ahh, Christmas! That wonderful time of year when people gather together to celebrate the birth of Christ. Everyone does their own thing to celebrate on this fantastic occasion. Some throw huge parties, some just gather together in their families and honor the occasion quietly. Either way, just about everyone agrees that Christmas time is the best time of the year. But my class in 2010, well, we celebrated in a rather different matter. We threw a wild party in which all of us were required to bring in a food item. “All right, everyone! Let’s eat!” our teacher, Mrs. Boucher, called over the clamor of our uproarious class. Everyone cheered as we dug in. Meanwhile, 1 or 2 weeks earlier, all of my class was highly excited about the Christmas party that was coming. All’s that anyone cared about was who was bringing what. I remember thinking of the wonderful, meaty, chewy goulash that my mother had made 4 or 5 weeks earlier and suddenly blurting out, “I’ll bring in goulash!” My teacher, in the middle of talking over the finer points of the plan with the rest of the class, looked up in surprise. “Joe, what’s goulash?” she asked. The rest of the class giggled. I guessed at the time that they were laughing at me for being so off topic, but later on I realized that they were simply amused by the ridiculousness of the name. I guess the word goulash does sound funny, if you compare it to other words. But back to the story at hand. Finally, on the day of the party, I walked into my classroom to see that the only things that were different were the arrangement of the desks and the fact that there were some extra tables out for the food that we were to bring in. I also noticed that there was a short silver fountain on one of the tables. I didn’t find out what that was for until after we ate our food. Now, I was by no means the first child into the classroom. There was already a small crowd of kids clustered around the food tables, pretending to be interested in the mysterious fountain, but sneaking bites of food when the teacher’s back was turned. I saw that Devon Sundquist had brought in Swedish meatballs like he said he would. Over to the right of his meatballs, I once again surveyed the fountain with deep interest. There was no water coming out of it, so what was it used for? I had a funny feeling that I would soon find out. Once everyone had arrived, Mrs. Boucher called us all to attention. “Class,” she called, “I have an announcement to make. You all saw the fountain when you arrived, right? Well, that’s not just any old fountain. It’s a chocolate fountain!!!” The room was filled with cheering for a couple of minutes; so loud that my teacher had trouble gaining the attention of the class. “All right, everyone! Let’s eat!” she finally managed to yell out over the noise. Once again, we all cheered as we dug in. Everyone agreed that the goulash was the best food there! Every time that I eat the fabulous goulash, I remember the Christas Party. Submitted by: "Joe R."


Antipasto
The Best Christmas recipe “Hey, mom, when is the family coming over.” I said on Christmas Eve. “They’re here now,” my mom said, and that’s how it all started. When all my family came in they dropped all of their food on our table and we started the night. To kick off the night we ate appetizers (my sister’s mini-pizza for one thing), then my grandma’s Italian wedding soup, then my uncles #1 Anti-Pasto. He always makes the biggest batch of Anti-Pasto. But there is still only a little left at the end. After eating our three courses, we would play some games like RIGHT LEFT CENTER, JENGA, and POCENO. We always get really loud during our games and yell out “Al Pacino” and “playing with the queen of hearts”. It never fails, we always yell out the same funny phrases every year and get loud and laughing. After playing all these games we get right to our grab bag or as other people call it, (secret Santa). Almost everyone gets really cheap gifts and then hides a gift card or cash in it, well almost everyone. My grandpa that year got a really big and fat candle and cut it open. He then put a $100 bill in it, and then he melted it back together. No one knew it was there, so no one wanted the candle and kept giving it away. My grandpa ended up with his own gift but laughed when he told us about the stash. Of course he cut the candle open with a saw when he got home and had to go to the bank for a new bill the next day because he cut it in half. That year I got a really nice blanket with a gift card on the inside from Dicks Sporting Goods. My brother got a crock-pot (he wasn't exactly happy), and my sister got a glass chess set. I think I made out the best. My mom gets part of what I get since she buys me my gift. After doing all the games and doing our secret Santa we got right to watching The Grinch. This was not our first time so we were reciting the lines. When we got to our favorite part which is when the Grinch yells, “we’re going to die, we’re going to die, I’m going to throw up and then we’re going to die…mommy tell it to stop,” (it stops) “I almost lost my cool there.” After watching the Grinch my brother, my sister, my cousin, and I went sledding. This was three years ago so we got at least a foot and a half of snow. In my back yard there isn't a very big hill, so we use it for terrain. I came down the hill and went off the ramp onto my 20 foot rail, and I went at least halfway and fell into the luscious white powdery snow. Then my brother did it and he went almost all the way then he did a 180 after it. Our last thing of the night is always our slideshow. This slideshow contains pictures of us and all the fun things we do during the past year. When we go to Rhode Island we always take pictures at Point Judith mini golf and go- kart place. It also contains funny pictures that we take at Easter or our birthdays. After everyone gives there hugs and kisses and leaves, my brother, sister, and I build our annual fort downstairs. Then we crash so we can get up early and wake up my mom and get our presents open. That’s how my Christmas goes. How about yours? Submitted by: "Zack P."


Hot Fudge Sauce
*This story reminds me of when i had hot fudge as an ice cream topping at Boulder Ridge. * ”You should just JUMP,” I yelled to Hannah as she looked down into the water. She was on a blow up iceberg in the middle of the pond at Boulder Ridge. Finally, Jenna just shoved her down, and then snickered. Hannah screamed, plugged her nose, and then plummeted into the water with a huge ‘SPLASH’. It was the summer of 2011 and the fun had just begun. It was time for my dad’s annual work party, so I invited the friends I thought would be the most fun to be with. We picked up Hannah, Jenna, and Julianne and headed for Barkhamsted. I had a faint memory from past years. I remembered there being a pool, pond, and rock climbing wall. When we pulled in, a yellow and blue sign read “BOULDER RIDGE.” When we got out of the car, I knew it would be a funny day because Julianne hit her head on an overhanging branch in the parking lot. We trudged across a small but open field to the main deck. Music was blaring and snacky food traveled around. My friends and I packed our belongings away and went off down to the pool area. After changing into our bathing suits, we went down to the pond. A view of open water and an activity field lay before us. First, we tried out the kayaks. A British lifeguard (who amused us with his unique accent) assisted us with our life jackets. We each grabbed a kayak and paddled off. Struggling to steer, we must have looked like delinquents! Soon after realizing it was a bad idea, we headed back and tried something new. Everyone gathered on the dock and viewed the blow up iceberg. There were handles and pegs making a path to the top. It looked like a tricky task. We finally jumped in after Hannah complained about the fish swimming beneath us. She groaned, “EW there’s fish in the water!” There was an easy, medium, and hard side of the iceberg. We tried the easy first, and it definitely fit its name. Once everyone was at the top, we either jumped or slid off. After that, we challenged ourselves to the harder sides. Everyone had fun falling off and getting back on, so there were tons of laughs. When we had been there for a while, we swam back and moved to the next activity. As everyone dried off, we went to the rock climbing wall. Fastening our harnesses and snapping our helmets, we started off. Looking up to the top at 40 feet, everyone put their first foot on the pegs. Jenna, like usual, finished the wall effortlessly and speedily. She got to watch Hannah, Julianne, and I merely fall numerous times. As soon as everyone was up, the next step came into play. Jenna staggered onto the next platform, sat down, and listened to the instructor. She fastened another safety carabineer onto her harness, took a deep breath, and jumped. She rocketed across the zip line like a Frisbee slicing through the air. As she reached the end, she climbed onto the ending platform and went down to watch us. Everyone else followed her, and regained feel of the ground. The zip line definitely dried our hair from being in the pond! Hannah, Jenna, Julianne and I decided it was time to grab something to eat. We hiked up the hill, up the staircase, around the pool, and to the deck. Food stands were set up like buffets. We all took plates and helped ourselves. Everyone came out with something similar, like corn, macaroni, and chicken. The chicken was tender, with steam blowing up like a delicate puff of smoke. We found a table that was not takien over yet, and dug in to our delicious plates. Macaroni stuffed everyone’s faces; warmed butter tingled on our taste buds. Like always, we chatted about stupid and pointless stories. Our food was scoffed but there was more to come… Food servers conveyed the tub of ice cream around the servery table. The lines piled within minutes, but luckily we shot to the front. The option of vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry roamed our open minds. Three scoops jumped into our cups. Next, whipped cream, sprinkles, and hot fudge was available. The server dripped the chocolate fudge onto my vanilla scoops. Colorful rainbow sprinkles dashed across the top. Last but not least, a swirl of whipped cream spurted on to top it off. The mixture of chocolate, vanilla, and sugar was gone in minutes. We hung out by the pool for the remaining time, resuming our pointless conversations. Jenna, Hannah, Julianne, and I look forward to repeat the Boulder Ridge trip in years to come. It was enjoyable to be with my friends on a day doing something unusual. It’s not that often that a group of friends can actually make their plans happen. As you can see, this is why I can easily reflect on this memory. Also, it was a time very unlike the present (during the school year) where we could just be ourselves and not have to worry about a thing. Everyone enjoyed it; we were already making plans for next year. Submitted by: "Gina W."


Homemade Ravioli
Raviolis With a Dog “We’re here,” say’s my mother as we open the car doors. When I walked out the first thing I saw was my Aunt Debby’s house. My Aunt Debby lives in Long Island which was hit badly by Hurricane Sandy. Considering I don’t see my Aunt that much it looked like the storm hadn't changed the house much. In her backyard I saw some plants that had survived Hurricane Sandy but it looked like there were not many left. Some tree branches were on the ground but it looked like there were not that many. Suddenly my mother dropped my bag into my hand and said for me to get all my stuff unpacked inside. I still didn't understand why I needed such a big bag. We were only gonna stay here for a short time. When I walked in I expected to see my Aunt Debby considering she’s normally always there to greet us. This time was different though. Instead I walk in to find my cousin Nick sleeping on the couch with the TV remote on his lap. That’s when CJ came into the picture. CJ is my cousin’s new puppy who’s a small chocolate lab. Little did we know he was full of surprising. Our first surprise came when Nick finally got up (after CJ licked his face) and brought CJ over to Sophie. Once CJ was on the ground Sophie started to pet him. CJ just stood completely still as Sophie rubbed his back. “He likes me,” Sophie said. Nick had a strange look on his face though. “That’s strange. Normally he’s not like that when he first meets someone,” Nick said. I really think we should have taken that as a warning. Suddenly, CJ stomach started making noises and out came his breakfast onto Sophie’s shoes. “Aw, gross!” Sophie screamed. I started to giggle under my breath. Fortunately for Sophie she didn't have to pick up the mess. After that incident my father told us it was time to go to work. I couldn't believe I didn't notice that dad had already set up his equipment outside. Again CJ decided to get into mischievous. Once we started working my father told me I had to scoop the leaves out of the pool with a net. I tried to get the pole but it was stuck. That’s when I noticed that the net was stuck under a bush. When I looked under the bush I expected to see the net stuck on a stick or something but instead I found CJ trying to tear up the net. Luckily his teeth were not strong enough. Still I’m puzzled about why I couldn't get the net out of his mouth in the first place. It’s probably because CJ had a very tight grip on it or I’m getting a little weak in my arms. Most likely I’m getting weak. After work was over with, my Aunt and Uncle finally showed up. It turns out they were at their house in Florida and hadn't heard of what happened to their plants and trees at the house. Though they had heard of the storm they didn't expect it to be that bad down here. Before I could give my Aunt a hug CJ ran in front of me and jumped on top of her. “I missed you, too CJ,” my Aunt replied. I have to say CJ is a very funny dog. After we said our hello’s it was time for lunch. I asked my Aunt if I could have a roast beef sandwich with cheese and mayonnaise. “Sure thing Duncan,” she answered. When she looked in the fridge there was a puzzled look on her face. “What is it Aunt Debby,” I asked. “I can’t seem to find the roast beef,” Aunt Debby answered. That’s when we heard a chewing noise. I looked around the corner to find CJ trying to open the bag of roast beef. Like I said before, CJ is full of surprises. Soon I got bored of just watching television and walking around the house. Sophie had asked me to play soccer earlier but I said no. My mom however was looking for something to do herself so she agreed to play. I thought that they might still be out there considering Sophie and my mom hadn't been seen inside for awhile. When I walked outside I found them but they weren't playing soccer. Instead they were chasing CJ and trying to get the soccer ball. I’m serious when I say that CJ is a natural at keeping the ball away from his opponents. Finally it was dinner time and I was ready to have homemade ravioli’s. My Aunt makes the best ravioli’s and my dad loves to help out. Soon a whole batch of ravioli’s was set down on the table. I thought they looked delicious. Unfortunately, CJ had the same idea. Once I put one on my plate I saw a small nose trying to nudge at it. Luckily Nick saw it as well. “CJ, no!” he told CJ, “Ravioli is not for you!” CJ wasn't going to give up so easily. He kept trying and trying to get ravioli but my cousin caught him just in time. Near the end of dinner I had one more ravioli on my plate. When no one was looking I passed it to CJ as a treat. But hey, you never heard that from me. Then, after all that ravioli I decided to go to bed. My trip to my aunt’s house was so much fun. I enjoyed it so much that my parents decided we’re going back next year and though CJ was a small bother I can’t wait to see him again as well! Submitted by: "Duncan D."


Homemade Banana Bread
The warm sun beat down on my hair with the puffy white clouds in the crystal blue sky. Boston had felt like my new home. It was full of wonder and amazing secrets I've never known. She took my hand and rushed me over to the snack plaza that was finally brought out doors because of the gorgeous weather. Her blonde hair brushed against my shoulder as we ran to the nearest stand with sweet smelling fluffy pastries and colorful assortments of gummies of all shapes and sizes. I reached into my backpack to pull out my wallet but instead was a little container of some sort of bread inside and a note attached to it. “What’s that Syd?” Mady asked me sincere. “I am not really sure… But there’s a note attached to it.” I looked at the note puzzled. I unfolded the crumpled note and read out loud with a sad tone in my voice. “Dear Syd, I decided to leave you with a healthier snack instead of all of that candy. When you get back and finish your banana bread I will give you your money back. Until then, enjoy sweetie. Love, Mom…” We simultaneously sighed and Mady took the container from my firm grasp and opened the lid. A unique aroma of bananas and brown sugar invaded my nose and blocking out all of the other sweet smells of the other foreign pastries. I picked off a little piece of bread and squished it in my fingers. It felt like a gooey sponge between my two fingers. I shrugged, popping it in my mouth. My taste buds swirled with delight as the banana bread rushed down my throat. “Hey, don’t leave me hanging! I want a piece, I forgot my money!” Mady shouted. She plucked off the same size piece as me and tossed it right into her mouth. Her eyes became wide and she chewed even slower. “Wow! Nothing here could top that!” She yelled. We strode to the park to enjoy the unique addicting treat. We sat at the bench in the park and nibbled away on the heavenly bread like no tomorrow. A pigeon swooped onto the table and pecked at the crumbs on the wood surface. I tilted my head in surprise to see the pigeon so close to me. It finished its crumbs and turned to look at me. It tilted its head to match mine and walked even closer. Mady cracked up laughing as I turned my head the other way and the pigeon followed my movement. Mady’s laughter grew louder and she fell off the bench, clutching her stomach and rolling around on the green grass. Another pigeon landed down on the table and started picking at the open container of banana bread. “Hey, shoo you bird! Get away from my banana bread!” I pounced at the table and snatched up the banana bread. Two more pigeons flew onto the table and stepped closer to me. “Mady help me! Get the pigeons away from the banana bread!” She tried to grab the pigeons which only made them step even closer. I held my breath, praying they wouldn’t attack me. “SHOO YOU STUPID UGLY BIRDS! SHOO SHOO SHOO!” She shouted. I knew Mady’s loud voice would startle them, and I was right. The pigeons were startled and flew right at me like bullets. I screamed at the top of my lungs as I dove off the bench and covered my head with my hands. I sealed the banana bread under my body as the pigeons started landing on me and pecking me. “GET THEM OFF ME! GET THEM OFF ME!” I screamed repeatedly in a shrill voice. She flailed her arms around and I felt her hand slide under my stomach and grab the container. Mady grabbed the banana bread out from under me and threw it across the park. The pigeons flew across the park like silver bullets and dove at the banana bread. I couldn't speak the rest of the day after that. I remember I got back to the hotel with red marks all over me and a part of my shirt torn. My mother asked me what had happened and I just looked over at Mady, praying she could be my voice for today. I still wasn't able to speak even after a long walk back to the hotel. I saw Mady’s cheeks puff up and she fell onto the ground laughing as hard as she could. She held her stomach tightly as I put my face in my hands. My mother still never knew what had happened that day, but I’m guessing now she will. Submitted by: "Sydney G"


Cinnamon Crumb-topped Coffee Cake
Last summer during break I was baking and I decided to make some coffee cake for the first time. I went on the computer to look up the recipe. After I printed the recipe off the computer I went into the kitchen to prepare all the ingredients I needed. Then I set the oven to the proper temperature and started to mix the ingredients in a bowl. When the oven beeped I put the mixture into the cake pan and baked it. When the cake was finally finished baking, I let it cool and put the cinnamon mixture on top. When I added the toppings I asked my mom is she wanted to try a piece. She said “Yes.” I gave her a slice and she said that she loved it and said it was really food and I should go offer my neighbors a piece as well. I went over to my neighbor’s house and offered her a piece of the cake. She also responded “Yes.” As I was handing her the cake I was feeling kind of nervous and hoping she wouldn’t say something mean because this was my first time I made this recipe. But I was totally wrong she loved it and said she wanted another piece. Then she had complimented me again! This made me feel very good because it was a new recipe and it was my first time making it. As you can probably tell I am very happy with myself for getting good complements about making the cake by myself with nobody helping me. I will never forget this day because it was the one time I got complimented on my food that was made from scratch and by myself with no help at all. Submitted by: "Kaitlyn W."


Peanut Butter Blossoms
Christmas Baking Day It’s the time of the season, Christmas Baking Day! The cookie dough, cake mixes and other sweet treats are in the fridge for tomorrows festivities. This is the beginning of baking day and so much more fun involved. From the fun colored decorating tool to the rolling of the dough, it’s the jolliest time of the year. This is how I felt last Saturday when I actually got to bake. My sister and I took the sweet mixes out of the fridge. We choose that we would like to make peanut butter blossoms first! Carefully, we rolled the tasty dough into balls. I’d have to say that there were at least 50 cookie balls. My mom took the job of presetting the oven and getting it ready. About 10min later, the first batch was done, again, my mom took them out of the oven and my sis and I took the job of pressing the Hershey kiss in to the cookies, which made them even more moist and gooey! Our next attempt was to make sugar cookies. I get flashbacks of the last time I made them, the crystal coating on top. Back to today, my sister poured out the box of cookie cutters to find out which shapes we would make. Christmas trees, Santa’s, and reindeers were the picks. I settled the dough from the fridge to the counter and went on with rolling dough with the rolling pin. Soon enough there were tons of uncooked cookies getting ready to be baked. About 7min later, I took the cookies out and popped a warm one into my mouth. It’s decorating time!!!!! I stirred up the glaze and pulled open the frosting cans, shacked the sprinkles, and filled the pastry bag. The first cookie I frosted was a Christmas tree; I frosted green frosting with a knife and then squirted out red ornaments with the pastry bag, making unique designs. Some other things that we made were chocolate covered pretzels, so I dipped the warm chocolate on the pretzel stick into Christmas colored sprinkles. I repeated this step many times and soon enough, we were done! Christmas baking day has come to a close, but I had so much fun, this is why I have decided to choose peanut butter blossoms as my recipe for the cookbook. To everyone who try’s my recipe, I hope you enjoy and perhaps bake it next holiday seasons! Submitted by: "Lizzie M"


Yellow Allergy-Free Birthday Cake
I have allergies, so my mom found a recipe for me to have a birthday cake. The Birthday of Firsts “Hey look at the time. Happy birthday Jacob!” said my Aunt Ruth. A huge ray of happiness flowed through me. “Happy Birthday!” cheered the others in the room. “I'm nine!” I yelled out, “Finally! I get to go to New York City!” “You're not 9 yet. You will be though.” said my mom. “When?” I asked. “11:57 my son,” said my father in a hilarious voice. I went back to the office, where I would be sleeping while my Aunt Ruth and Uncle Bryan were here.The next morning I woke up. I walked outside of the office. My sister then had to pinch me 9 times. Apparently each pinch would make me grow an inch. She regrets it now because I tower over her. When we got to the train station I was so excited. Not only was it my birthday and my first time in NYC, but it was also my first time on a train. We boarded the train. The train roared and came to life. The repetitive thud became the tune of the trip. Then my mom yelled “Look Jacob!” I saw it on a white billboard. In huge blue letters, NEW YORK FILM ACADEMY. “That's where I'm going for college,” I proclaimed. Then my sister said “You might change your mind.” “Well, I won't.” I never have since I saw the billboard. Then we departed from the train. That is when I saw it, Grand Central Station. A shock came over me. The walls were a beautiful light brown. So many people. I knew at that moment, this isn't Barkhamsted. The ceiling was painted like the night sky. We walked out the door. In my mind I yelled OH MY GOD! THIS PLACE IS SO HUGE! Every building I saw was much bigger than my house. Suddenly I was lifted off my feet. My Uncle Bryan had put me on his shoulders. He was so much bigger than anyone else in the group. Now I could see like a giant. There were bars, apartments, huge people, small people, in between people. Then eventually skyscrapers. Who cares if I didn't get any other presents or cake. This was all I need. Then came Toys R Us. I didn't go on the Ferris Wheel until my 2nd trip. Times Square was amazing, especially at night, but I'll get to that later. “Hey guys it's the Empire State Building!” I blurted out. They all started laughing. “Little dude, that's the Chrysler Building. You'll see the Empire State Building later,” my Uncle Bryan told me. That was embarrassing. About an hour later I asked my Uncle Bryan “Hey Uncle Bryan. What's that building?”“Little dude,” he replied “, that's the Empire State Building.” “Oh, it's fatter than I expected.” Then I got back on his shoulders and we went back to Times Square. It was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. Lights flashed everywhere. Very interesting people dressed up in costumes. My Uncle Bryan told me he paid to get these lights on just for me. I know that is not true now because Uncle Bryan is a cook. So we said goodbye to Aunt Ruth and Uncle Bryan. We went back to Grand Central Station. The nighttime sky painting lit up. I fell asleep on the train and woke up to the cart being empty except for my family. Then came our stop. We got out and got in the car. That is when I checked the time. 11:57, I was officially 9 years old. Back in New York a sign stood near the train tracks. It was a sign for New York Film Academy. And some were in New York the academy waits for me. Submitted by: "Jacob T."


My Great Grandma's Famous Danish Pancakes
Did you know that Danish people eat danish pancakes on Easter. Well I have a Danish grandma and i am going to tell the time i had danish pancakes on Easter. Then we went to go find eggs. Me and my sister find them in my grandma’s house. They are plastic with candy inside the eggs so we eat them. Did you know that Danish people eat danish pancakes on Easter. Well I have a Danish grandma and i am going to tell the had at least It was a couple years ago. I was at my grandma’s house in Winsted, Connecticut and I was about to cook bacon when my grandma said”We are making danish pancakes.” and i had to help her so i got all the ingredients and my grandma showed me how to make them. We started following our recipe book when my mom said i was too young to cook. My grandma had a big fight. Then i said,” Is is really a big deal to fight about me cooking”. My grandma wanted me to be ready. Then my mom said it was fine then we started making danish pancakes and we had so much fun. We had a lot of people over for pancakes My Uncle Chris, Aunt Sandy, Aunt Becky, Uncle Jay. There was at least ten people there. We serve them then eat the danish pancakes. Then we went to go find eggs. Me and my sister find them in my grandma’s house. They are plastic with candy inside the eggs so we eat them. Then if there were any danish pancakes left and no one wants them we eat them. And that was the time our family had danish pancakes for a holiday and I got to share it with someone i love. Submitted by: "Nick B."


Grandma's Italian Cookies
Grandmas Cookies My eleventh Christmas was one that i will remember for the rest of my life. It was the Christmas after my grandma died, she was like a second mom to me. When I became older i was the golden grandchild. That July when she died was devastating The morning when i got the call ~ I asked, “Hello?” “hi sweetie it mommy,” she replied. “Omma died last night between three and four o’clock am. I didn’t watch her, i was sleeping but i was just letting you know, okay?” “Ok,” i whimpered, starting to cry. Now every Christmas I always think of how important she was to me and that I will never forget all the memories we had together. Even though she died when I was young i can still to this day remember what a kind and beautiful person she was. I will never forget the bracelet my mom found in her room that she was hiding for Christmas, but never made it. That bracelet is still with me to this day and i’m grateful I have something to remember her by. Submitted by: "Brooke L."


Crab Stuffing
“Ouch!” I screamed. As I stepped on a very pointy and painful object . Wait! I am going way too far in the story. Let’s start off when I went camping. My grandma was bringing my brother and I to camp. We were driving my aunt’s campsite. Once we got there we got unpacked into the camper. After we got settled my aunt took all of us out on her huge boat. Riding the boat was so much fun, having the ocean water splash on your face and to smell that ocean breeze. It was like we were in heaven. Once we got to the shore we found the perfect spot and got settled. After that I went swimming. When I came out of the water I was walking up the beech and I stepped on a crab shell I screamed. I was running back and forth to the water because every time I would run up the beech I would get sand into the hurt area. So here is the lesson is a lesson wear water shoes on the beach or you could step on a crab shell just like me. Submitted by: "Daron C."


Apple Crunch Pie
A Setback Victory Have you ever felt completely and utterly bored? Even, sometimes, at a party? I was feeling this way this past Thanksgiving. None of my cousins that were my age were there, so I was surrounded by adults. Desperate for something to do, I trudged into my aunt’s living room, where my eighteen-year-old cousin Connor was sitting on the worn brown leather couch, engrossed in the football game on television. I wondered if maybe he would want to play setback with me. I’m glad I asked. “Do you know how to play setback?” I asked hopefully. Connor switched his attention from the bright TV screen to me. With his crop of blonde hair and tanned complexion, he looked like the kind of college-aged boy you would expect to see on the cover of a sports magazine. “Nope,” he answered nonchalantly, his bright blue eyes staring up at me. “Can I teach you?” I asked. “Sure,” he replied casually, “just let me go grab a deck of cards.” When Connor came back, I slipped us each six of the smooth, glossy cards, three at a time. After that, I taught him the basic rules of setback; for example, the suit that gets the highest bid is called ‘trump,’ and you can only bid up to four points. “Why don’t we lay all of our cards out on the table the first time we play?” I asked. “It makes it easier.” “Okay,” he said. Once we had laid everything out, we ran through the rules of bidding before staring the round. We went slowly, but Connor caught on fast. Soon we were ready to play with teams. In the first game, my Memere (a French word meaning Grandma) and I played against Connor and my brother, Brian. The game was surprisingly close. When we made it to the last round, Brian threw out his last card, the Jack of trump. Both boys cheered and slapped hands, believing that they had won. While watching them, I grinned and quietly played my last card, the queen of trump. Memere and I erupted in laughter, for we had won after all. We continued playing for awhile, switching teams a lot. Connor was never on Memere’s team, and her team always won. Finally, my grandmother and I sat down eagerly on the living room couch, ready for the last game. Dad and Connor came over. “Whose team do you want to be on, Connor?” he asked. “I’ll play with Sam, so I can beat Memere,” he said determinedly. We laughed and began the round. As the game progressed, Connor and I slowly pulled ahead. Suddenly, it was my turn to bid. Either I bid three or I could pass. I considered the possibilities. “Go for it, Sam,” Connor suggested. “It’s just a game.” We made three points that round! After a few more hands, Connor and I jumped up, high-fiving and grinning. We had proclaimed victory! I will treasure the memory of this past Thanksgiving forever. Just being able to see Connor made this holiday a special occasion, since he lives at college and is almost never home. The reason this Thanksgiving was extra special is because not only did I get to see Connor, I really got to spend time with him in a way I hardly ever get to do. This past Thanksgiving really was amazing. *This is my mother's special pie recipe, a delicious dish often found at our family Thanksgiving gatherings. Submitted by: "Sammi K."


Delectable Pasta Sauce
Have you ever noticed how most Italian families eat so much sauce that it is just pouring out of their ears? Well, my family is just one of those millions of families that loves sauce. Ever since I was very young, I have always loved good Italian sauce with angel hair pasta and a big, juicy meatball on top. Whenever I get sad, pasta and sauce makes me feel better than good. I guess for Italians, pasta and sauce can cure anything. The recipe that I have chosen for the Team Falcon cookbook is my dad’s famously delicious pasta sauce. I have had several memories helping my dad make this amazing sauce, but this one definitely stood out from the rest. It was a frigid winter day in December, only six days away from Christmas and I was helping my dad prep to make sauce. As we started making the red tomato filled concoction, we were both on the same page thinking that today’s day of cooking would be like all of the other times. Little did we know that the sauce wasn’t being heated up on the stove at level 2 but at 8. We had made the sauce at one pm and had planned on letting it take its time, slowly simmering for the rest of the afternoon and then, just having dinner a little bit later than we usually did. While my little brother Jimmy and I were helping my dad to clean the house, the sauce was already was done and ready for eating because it was being cooked on such a high temperature. When it was 7 pm, my dad went to check on the sauce and the next thing I knew, my name was being called, “ Courtney, Courtney, can you come here really quick?” I went over to see what was going on and that’s when I found out. The sauce was cooking on too high a heat and burned. The color of the sauce was still red, but once we stirred it, there were little blackish-brown specks scattered throughout it. That night, we still ate the sauce because we didn’t want to waste it. Surprisingly, it tasted the same, but still wasn’t the same as sauce that was cooked the way it was suppose to. Since that sauce incidence, my dad, my little brother, and l always check the stove’s heat so that we don’t have to go through the same thing again. A good lesson that was learned here is to always double and triple check what temperature you are cooking your food on so that you will have delicious and not burned food. Submitted by: "Courtney L."


Delicious Amazing Fluffy Vanilla Cake
Last year, my cousin and I used to make videos and put them on You Tube. One night, I slept at her house, and we were bored, so we decided to make videos. We had so much fun that night, and even went to McDonalds at 11 or 12 at night. We used to say “dunk” when we dipped the chicken nugget in the sauce. So for the videos we would dip them in and say dunk. We went to the mall one day, and we baked corn muffins later. We didn’t have any cooking skills before because we used to go downstairs when everyone was asleep and take stale food, and add toppings from the fridge. We threw it all out, and sometimes we would make more after that. When everyone was awake, we would make normal foods and we kept it a secret that we made the world’s most disgusting hot dog, without meat. When we made the cake, we actually followed the instructions and didn’t put anything in it. We both liked to bake, so we made a couple videos about baking. Most of the videos were random, and they weren’t even planned out, so we would upload whatever we had. We stopped making the videos after awhile, but they’re still up and sometimes I watch them just to see how weird we were, and I laughed at almost every one of them. One of the videos was my favorite. That was when we bought handcuffs from the dollar store, and no one was with us, so we had to ask the lady how to get her out of them. The only good things we baked were corn muffins, cake, and cinnamon rolls. All of the other videos were for laughs, and we couldn’t turn on the microwave, because her dad would catch us. Submitted by: "Lizzy D."


Shanty Spaghetti
“Are we there yet?” my little brother Nicholas asked for the third time now. “Yes Nicholas we are here,” my Dad said excitedly. I have always wanted to be like my Dad when I grow up. He is very creative and musical. My Dad also loves to camp. When he was a kid, he was 99% outside, unlike me and my brothers, so that’s were I think he gained his camping skills from. As we drove into our campsite, I heard the little rocks banging under the car. Once the car was parked, I opened the car door of my Dad’s gray Hyundai Sonata and looked at my surroundings. The perfect blue sky was filled with white wispy clouds. The campsite wasn't as big as I expected, but it was filled with entertaining things to do. A picnic table with an umbrella sticking through the middle of it, a tire swing, and we were about 20 steps away from the tiny beach. The smell of campfires and barbecues filled the air. I knew that I was going to like it here. As we unpacked my Dad’s car trunk, we sang “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”. It was a painfully long process to do such a task. After we unpacked our massive amount of supplies, we relaxed and played games. We launched our yellow Frisbee around the campsite, and chucked the rock(football) around for about an hour. As I caught the football I felt its leathery texture and started to hear my stomach rumbling. We all started to get famished so my Dad and I left the campsite to go get Spaghetti, Parsley, Garlic and Pepper Salt, Basil, and Olive Oil. When we got back my brothers were saying that they were “dying” of starvation, so as quickly as possible my Dad was trying to make Spaghetti from his little portable stove panel. My Dad is very skilled when it comes to cooking. He once made a giant pancake and then flipped it with two forks, because that was what he had at the moment. As my Dad was finishing up making his concoction dinner we heard a slight pitter-patter on the tent about 10 feet away from our picnic table. We've all realized quickly that it was beginning to rain. All of a sudden, it started pouring outside. My brothers rushed into the tent with so much fear and speed. My Dad and I were still at the table laughing our heads off because of the situation we were in. My Dad’s creativity kicked in and got two tarps, rope, and lawn chairs that we’re in the piles of supplies we had put down on the ground. My Dad and I made a shelter across our whole campsite that made the other people jealous of us. We named the shelter “The Shanty”. As we started to eat under “The Shanty” we named the spaghetti “Shanty Spaghetti”. As we giggled and smiled under our rain protection I made the quote that will be used for the rest of our lives. “It’s never dull.” Submitted by: "Adam R."


Shrimp Scampi
A Gourmet Dinner It was a special day. It was an exciting day. It was my Dad’s 38th birthday. For his BIG day, we were going to do something out of the ordinary. Something he would never think of or expect in a million years. My sister, Jaiden, my mom, and I were going to throw him a surprise party. Even though it was just the three of us, a lot of time, thought, and effort went into making this party come to life. It was October 16, 2008. The day was gray and gloomy. It was a day that seemed to drag on as slow as a snail. Finally, the last school bell rang and I dashed for my bus. I couldn’t wait to get home and get ready for Dad’s party. As soon as the bus pulled up in front of my house I jumped off and ran inside. It was time to start prepping. To begin, we needed to decorate the house. We splattered streamers of every color across the kitchen ceiling turning it into a rainbow of fun. Balloons of all shapes and sizes filled up the rest of the space in huge bunches. One gigantic silver balloon was taped to Dad’s special chair that read, “Happy Birthday Dad!” In the center of the table was a bouquet of red and white carnations. The table was set with our fine china and silverware. Everything looked “perfect”. For dinner we were serving up shrimp scampi, a delectable concoction made with a lot of love. My sister and I had put a lot of time into pulling the dish together and let me tell you, it smelled delicious. It was seafood and Italian food at the same time, my two favorites. Angel hair pasta, cooked al dente, was bubbling in a large pot on the stove. While jumbo shrimp was sizzling in a buttery frying pan near by. A fresh loaf of Italian Ciabatta bread was browning in the toaster oven. Crisp, green Caesar salad chilled in the refrigerator. Most importantly, a rich chocolate birthday cake hid in box on the counter. The smell in the kitchen was indescribable. It felt like we were dining in a fine restaurant in Italy. Finally, the time had come. My nerves were kicking in and I had butterflies in my stomach. We knew that Dad would be pulling into the garage in his Ford Fusion from work at any second. We scampered around the kitchen testing out different hiding spots. It was essential that we chose the perfect hiding places in order to give him the ultimate surprise. I finally decided to hide in the coat closet, in the kitchen, waiting in dark silence. I tried to calm down my breathing, but my adrenalin was pumping so fast. Jaiden hid behind the red couch in the living room, waiting patiently. Mom peeked through the corner of the window ready to give us the signal. Our hearts were beating fast with excitement. Finally, my dad walked through the kitchen door, completely unaware of what awaited him. We all popped out and yelled, “SURPRISE!!!!!!” The look on his face was priceless. He looked like he was in shock, but at the same time was as happy as could be. A wide smile broke out across his face and his eyes popped out of his head in amazement. He dropped his computer bag and ran across the tiled floor to give us a great big hug. He spun around the room looking at all of our hard work. We all stood their, proud and satisfied by all of our effort. Our planning had paid off. Dad’s birthday surprise was a success! I wouldn’t have changed anything, even if I could have. The night couldn’t have gone any better. It was just the four of us sitting at our table eating a home cooked meal and sharing stories about our day. It was simple, but it made me realize just how important my family is to me. Sometimes it’s just the small moments and little things in life that mean the most to people. And that is exactly what this memory is to me. I will remember it until the day I die. Submitted by: "Jackson D."


Special Stuffing Recipe
My grandma is very special too me, she is very understanding! When she and my grandpa come visit we always have the best time! This time she came to visit it was for Thanksgiving. Although not many people would be excited to cook all day I love it. So when my grandma said ”Marissa we're gonna cook all day for Thanksgiving” I was so excited! My grandparents live far away so when they visit it always nice to do something I love. At least I’m not bad at cooking and am very decent at it. That day my Mom, grandma and I put on some music and got to work. We gathered what we need to bake and started to chop, mix and pour. My grandma and I started to make stuffing together for the first time ever. She had me cut up peppers, onions, bread and a lot others. We threw it all together in a couple hours and then stuffed it in the nice big turkey breast. That was just the beginning though, there was a lot more to cook. We started dancing and singing the whole time. My mom told me to cut up celery stick and put peanut butter on top of them, to make peanut butter logs. Then she also asked me to throw on some carrots on the vegetable plate. I love to use knifes while I’m cooking because it’s fun to chop up vegetables or fruits! There are a lot more things you can cut up than really do anything else while you cook. My mom We all had a blast that day! It was my first time ever making stuffing and I’ll never forget it. My favorite part was when we blasted the music and then we were dancing while cooking! Once in awhile my grandma or mom would throw a carrot at me or some flour just for fun! My mom and grandma are so important to me and there a big part in my life. I’m so glad we had this day together. Submitted by: "Marissa O."


Mom's Fabulous Bacon Cheeseburger
Yum, tonight I’m going to Joe’s Pizza! It is the home of the delicious bacon cheeseburger in Canton. My family and I go to this restaurant every Saturday night. Have you ever been there? Well, if you haven’t you should go there with your family. Joe’s Pizza is located in a remote, quiet, and community friendly neighborhood. The staff is always welcoming and remembers your favorite orders. The restaurant is small, cozy and atmosphere makes you feel like if you are at home. The only difference is that it is stress free because I don’t have to clean up afterwards. I get to spend quality time with my family. When I’m at Joe’s my family get to talk about school, work, or just general things about the day. I also get the opportunity to eat my favorite meal, bacon cheeseburger. My burger needs to be cooked well done and the bacon needs to be extra crispy. I love to add special spices; such as: black pepper, crushed red pepper and parmesan cheese. These spices add to the burger a bigger kick to the flavor Every time, I go to Joe’s Pizza Restaurant it reminds me of how lucky I am to have my parents. It means a lot to me when we are together. My father works at least 70 hours a week at the Hartford Police Department. We have a tradition while we are waiting for our food; we play fun guessing games. I like to have my parents guess the number I am thinking of and my mom likes for us to guess a food item. When the food comes it’s a whole different story. It’s time for us to get our eating on! I put my special spices (black peppers and crushed red peppers) to spice my burger up. When I take a bite of it the juices fall into my mouth. I just want to eat the whole thing in one gulp, but I don’t rush eating it quickly so I can savor the moment. I have a special memory of this restaurant that I will never forget. Three years ago, my parents decided to take me to Joe’s for my birthday. When we were done eating our usual meal, I had a feeling my parents were going to surprise me by having the employees sing to me happy birthday. I noticed the employees walking by and singing happy birthday, but then I realized that they did not stop at our table. Instead, they went two tables from us and sang happy birthday to someone else. My parents noticed my facial expression and we were all laughing so hard that we could not control ourselves. A few minutes later the employees came to our table and sang happy birthday to me. To this day, I always laugh when I see the employees sing for someone else’s birthday. So what are you waiting for? Head to Joe’s now. You may not like their burgers but they have a variety of food and desert waiting for you. Why not create your own memories at Joe’s. Enjoy. Submitted by: "Kyle R"


Choclate Chip Pancakes
“Bang!” was the sound of the door swinging wide open as the three, drunk, teenagers walked into my house. It was around 2:00 o’clock in the morning, and I heard my dad run out into the kitchen and start yelling at the teenagers. I was frightened and nervous. Then I saw something go flying across the room. “Woosh”, was the sound it made! Glass shattered all over the floor. It was a chandler , one of the teenagers threw a chair at my dad and it hit the chandler! Then my dad realized my brother was right in the direction where the chair was headed. So then my dad caught the chair before it hit my brother, then he threw it back. My dad ended up chasing the teenagers out. And then he called the police and the officer wouldn't let my dad get off the phone until they arrived to my house. Meanwhile there's blood all over because my dad stepped in the glass from my chandelier that shattered when the guy threw the chair. Shortly after the cops arrived. Then thats when we started calling our family. I called my best friend Carly, and told her what happened. She started crying and she came to my house and tried to comfort me. My whole family is scared now and I still have trouble falling asleep at night. This is definitely something that I will always remember! Submitted by: "Kaylin A."


Awesome Donuts
One memorable thing that I did was making fresh donuts with my mom and dad. This was memorable because my mom and I have never made fresh donuts before. This was going to be a new experience for both of us. We thought that making fresh donuts would be easy, but it was a lot of work. It was a rainy Saturday morning and my mom, dad, and I were looking for something to do. I suggested that we would make fresh donuts. My mom and dad said that it was a good idea so we decided to make fresh donuts. The first thing we did was make the dough. That took the longest because we had to let the dough rise for what seemed to take the whole day. After the dough was done rising, we took the big mushy white blob out of the bowl and we began to roll it out. When we were done rolling the dough out on the counter, we took a big cookie cutter which was for the size of the donut. We also had a shot glass to make the hole in the middle of the donut. Once the big blob had all the donut holes in it, we squished it together to make a smaller ball of dough then we cut it once again and kept doing this until we used all the dough. We got out the fryer to fry all the little donuts. When my mom and dad were putting the raw donuts in the fryer, I got the job of making the frosting for the donuts. I had to whip up the frosting fast before the donuts got cold. Just as the new donuts came out I was still making the frosting, but I got it done as the donuts were the perfect temperature to put it on. I drizzled the donuts with the perfect amount of frosting and they looked very good. In the end, the donuts were delicious and they tasted perfect to us. This was a fun experience for all of us but it took a lot of work. The good thing was it was something to do over a rainy day and I had fun doing it. Submitted by: "Dustin S."


Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Riding a Tractor “Turn the key. Okay; you got it. Nice and easy” my grandfather said in a nervous voice, “ Don't go near the hill!” “Okay Perperé! Stop worrying! I'm gonna do fine!” I screamed over the sound of the engine. This is when I learned how to drive a tractor. I was about 5 or 6 years old and I was also extremely eager to learn. On a summer afternoon when I was practicing my fishing skills with a magnetic hook and fish, I asked my grandfather if he would teach me how to drive a tractor. He didn't like the idea at first, but after 10 minutes of me giving him puppy dog eyes, he said sure. I could tell he still wasn't liking the idea. We went onto his front lawn. I was getting nervous. I thought to myself, I don't want to do this anymore. Maybe I should back out. My grandfather got his red, sparkly tractor out of the garage, settled me in the seat and gave me instructions. That's when I knew that I had to stick with it. I turned the key and the tractor started moving! I was so excited that I stopped paying attention to the direction that the tractor was going in and crashed into a lamp post! I was fine, and so was the tractor, except for a scratch and a tiny dent. I thought that my grandfather was going to be SO mad at me, but surprisingly, he didn't care! “Haley, Haley! Are you okay?” my grandfather said as he quickly ran over to me. “Perperé I'm okay, really, I'm okay!” I said in a somewhat shocked voice. I had a really great time driving a tractor and I want to try again. My mom wouldn't be as okay if I were to crash our tractor though. Submitted by: "Haley D."


Venison Stew
Every year in the winter my dad always goes out hunting for deer because it feeds my family and saves us money. When my dad comes back with one my mom and dad help seperate the different parts of the deer for different recipes. This recipe came from my own recipe she made, this means a lot to me because this is our recipe that my mom had created. Last Christmas As I woke up I remembered it was Christmas day and we were going to my friend’s house to open presents and spend the day there. As I slowly entered our living room where our tree was, I looked at it. It felt comforting to me with all the lights and presents we opened yesterday on Christmas Eve. We open present on Christmas morning, but my parents were too tired so that’s when we changed it to open presents on Christmas Eve as soon as it gets dark out. At 10:00 a.m. it was time to leave for our friend’s house. We all got our hats and jackets on and my brother and I brought snow pants to go out side. My family and I gathered up all the presents for our friends. Next we got in our Subaru and took off. It takes us around 40 minutes to get there but we finally made it. Once we opened the door there was a beautifully decorated tree with presents all under it and friendly hellos from our friends. We all took our jackets off and put the presents under the tree. My parents and my older sister walked over to the grownups to talk and my brother and I walked over to our friends Hunter and Andre and said hello and smiled when we saw each other. We all said hello and were all excited to open presents. Everyone gathered around the tree to see what was in the brightly colored gifts. One of the presents I got was an MP3 player. Once I was done opening presents I was looking at what everyone else got. Finally, everyone was finished opening the gifts. The grownups went back up stairs and all the kids were playing on the x-box. Soon after, my brother and friends and I went outside in the snow and walked in the woods. We were getting tired so we all headed back inside the warmth. It was getting dark so my parents, sister, my brother, and I made the long drive back to our house. Last Christmas was one of the most memorable holidays that I can recall. It was so much fun to celebrate Christmas with some of my best friends and family. Even though I would have played the x-box and opened gifts at home, this was even more fun because I got to do these things with my friends. This was nothing we’ve ever done before and we created a new tradition we can all look forward to. Submitted by: "Brandon L."


Barbecue hamburgers
Don't you love to go to the fair? I do, and I went with one of my best friends last year. His name is Blake Keller, and he is awesome. He got me to finally go on the rides I thought I would never ride. I thought I would never go on this ride that you stand in and spin really fast until you think you will go flying out of your seat called scat. "Come on Ryan," Blake said, "The line is getting longer!" I was scared to go on at first. It got so fast that I couldn't lift my head from the head rest."I dare you to spit while we are moving our fastest." said Blake, and I, being the king of dares in my school, readily agreed. As we were going as fast as it could go, I spit. I didn't see where it went but not two seconds after i did I heard, "Why did you spit on me?" and we continued to ride. I found out that I like feeling like my face was pealing off. Next we visited avalanche which is a ride where you go up and down slowly until you are going in circles and you don't go upside down. In the beginning of the ride it's slow an it gets better when you get faster and you lose that weird stomach feeling. Eventually you stop, and then you go around the other way. Finally we visited the ferris wheel. Not your normal ferris wheel where you slowly go up and down over a circle, but the kind where they lock you in a metal cage and give you a thing that controls which way you do flips. It was exhilerating. I found out 5 things that day. One, momentum sucks, gravity rules. Two, when you do backward flips in that it takes a while to go upside down. Three, I hate doing forward flips no matter HOW fun it is on a trampoline. Four, doing a front flip is scarier and a lot faster than a back flip. Five, if you time it right, while you flip backwards, you will fall towards the top of the cage extremely fast. On the way off of the spinning ferris wheel for the fourth time, with the night growing closer, I started to crave food. We had to leave the fair though so we went home to his house, but not for long, because my dad was making his DeLayo family famous hamburgers. Submitted by: "Ryan D"


Barbecue hamburgers
Don't you love to go to the fair? I do, and I went with one of my best friends last year. His name is Blake Keller, and he is awesome. He got me to finally go on the rides I thought I would never ride. I thought I would never go on this ride that you stand in and spin really fast until you think you will go flying out of your seat called scat. "Come on Ryan," Blake said, "The line is getting longer!" I was scared to go on at first. It got so fast that I couldn't lift my head from the head rest."I dare you to spit while we are moving our fastest." said Blake, and I, being the king of dares in my school, readily agreed. As we were going as fast as it could go, I spit. I didn't see where it went but not two seconds after i did I heard, "Why did you spit on me?" and we continued to ride. I found out that I like feeling like my face was pealing off. Next we visited avalanche which is a ride where you go up and down slowly until you are going in circles and you don't go upside down. In the beginning of the ride it's slow an it gets better when you get faster and you lose that weird stomach feeling. Eventually you stop, and then you go around the other way. Finally we visited the ferris wheel. Not your normal ferris wheel where you slowly go up and down over a circle, but the kind where they lock you in a metal cage and give you a thing that controls which way you do flips. It was exhilerating. I found out 5 things that day. One, momentum sucks, gravity rules. Two, when you do backward flips in that it takes a while to go upside down. Three, I hate doing forward flips no matter HOW fun it is on a trampoline. Four, doing a front flip is scarier and a lot faster than a back flip. Five, if you time it right, while you flip backwards, you will fall towards the top of the cage extremely fast. On the way off of the spinning ferris wheel for the fourth time, with the night growing closer, I started to crave food. We had to leave the fair though so we went home to his house, but not for long, because my dad was making his DeLayo family famous hamburgers. Submitted by: "Ryan D"


Grandma's Crepes
Last year my grandmother was in a nursing home and hospital. I will never ever forget what happened. It was sad but a little after it was fun for everyone. But first you need to hear what happened. My grandmother (Oma) has very small and thin stairs going to the basement. So she came home from the Y.M.C.A. So she was carrying her towel down the stairs and on the way down she goes down backwards and tripped on her towel and fell down the stairs. So then she called my mom who then called my dad who then called my uncle who then called 911. It was very terrifying when my dad and I got there my grandmother was going onto the ambulance. The next day she had to go into surgery and after was funny because she went into the same hospital room my mom was in a year before she had knee surgery. My grandmother is a German she grew up there and came here and well because she is a German she refused to take any painkillers and two days later after having hip surgery she was walking around the hospital. So, they sent her to a nursing home. The nursing home was so fun! We played and looked at fish. But the sad thing was that my grandmother was there for her birthday. But we threw a surprise party upstairs with all of her friends she loved it. Two days before she left my little cousin said to her “Oma now you can make Oma pancakes.” but they are just crepes. My grandmother recuperated and still makes the best crepes in town. Now I hope that you can make them and enjoy them just as much as I do. Submitted by: "Erika Bertell"


Mini Doughnuts
“Let's go!" yelled my dad. "It takes about an hour to get the Big E." As I rushed down the stairs, I remembered that we had to pick up Jenny on the way. I reminded my dad that I invited her to go with us. I was excited to go on amusement rides and eat all different kinds of food. My dad and I hopped in the car to Jenny's house. She got in the car and we talked the whole car ride. I kept talking about the times I went to the Big E in the past. Finally, we arrived at the fair. We walked down a long and busy street. We had to wait in a never ending line for ten minutes. In line I could see the tall amusement rides towering over me. I got into the fair and we started planning out where we were going to go. Jenny and I were hungry, so we skipped around to see all the choices of food that was offered. We saw cotton candy, curly french fries, and hot dogs, but wasn't good enough for us. We needed something interesting. Finally, we saw something new and exciting that we have never had before. In front of was the coolest thing ever. There was a small booth with a machine. This machine made mini donuts. I stared at them getting flipped and formed. My dad said, " I remember that I had these once before." Jenny asked, "Should we get some?" I said, "Yeah sure!" My dad bought us a large bag of 18 mini donuts that we could share. We carried them with us to the gigantic slide. The bag was, sadly, almost empty, but I brought some donuts with me on the ride down. On the slide as I was chewing one, the fluffy doughnut came out of my mouth. Jenny and I started laughing so hard because a piece flew back and hit her in the face. My dad was behind us just chewing on his own. All of a sudden, a doughnut that Jenny was holding fell out of her hand. Now, my dad was even laughing, trying not to choke. When we reached the bottom, I noticed the mini doughnut that dropped out of Jenny's hand. It touched the edge of the mat I was riding on. We pretended like we didn't see it and got off the ride. It was so dirty that we choose not to pick it up and just left it there. We left the fair and drove Jenny back to her house. Jenny said excitedly, "I had a great time with you. I will always remember our mini doughnut adventures." I know she wasn't kidding because I had so much fun too! We went on amusement rides and had a bunch of food. I didn't want Jenny to go home that day. Even though I was with my friend, my dad was glad that we went with him. I will never forget the time I went to the Big E with Jenny and my daddy." Submitted by: "Miranda M."


Chicken Cutlets
My recipe is a chicken cutlet recipe. When I first learned how to make chicken cutlets my great-great-aunt Mary taught me. We were at her apartment the first time. Watching her make chicken cutlets was like watching real a magic show with real magic! She was even generous enough to show me how to make them. I enjoyed the times we spent together. She used to tell me about her childhood while we made these supreme surprises! Sadly though, she has passed away. Some of the stories she said to me while we made these irresistible desserts were knowledgeable, others were just plain hilarious. I know she always had something special in her chicken cutlets to make them so delicious. I remember the first time my aunt showed me how to make chicken cutlets, I was about 6. The first thing she told me about was the steps; like to first put eggs and the mixture in bowls. The mixture (bread crumb) can be different depending on how you want to make your chicken cutlets. For our recipe we put in egg, parmesan cheese, and bread crumb. The egg helps the cheese and bread crumb stick. After you dip the raw chicken in the egg to the bread crumb you fry it in oil. Once you get the bread crumb onto the chicken you put the chicken into the fryer you heat it up to a toasty 365 degrees. You leave them frying for about 15 minutes. After that you have a heavenly treat awaiting you at the table. I remember my aunt used to tell me stories about her childhood, while we were making the pieces of edible heaven. It was one of the ways we spent time together. Another big way we spent time together was when we ate the chicken cutlets. One story she told me was as a kid/teen she tied her little, baby brother to a tree and went to go shopping at the mall with her friends. She said “…But when he got older and could talk… I was BUSTED!” After that story I laughed so hard that I nearly fell off my chair! I asked her, “What did your parents do to you when they found out what you did to your brother?” She responded, “Nothing you could ever imagine in your worst nightmares!” It was one of the funniest stories I’d ever been told, especially when she told it. She would use a sarcastic voice in the best places, to make the story twice as good. Another thing she told me while we were making chicken cutlets was that she had a secret ingredient. She never told me what it was though. My family and I have always wondered what the secret ingredient was, but sadly we will never find out. My aunt’s chicken cutlets were definitely the best! I have never had a chicken cutlet as good as hers. One little secret ingredient can make all the difference in a chicken cutlet. My mother and grandmother can’t even make them nearly as well as hers. As you can clearly see my aunt has taught me almost everything I know about chicken cutlets, including the process. She never ended up telling me what the secret was though. My great-great-aunt definitely made the best chicken cutlets in my family by far. I relished it when she would tell stories to me too. I hope I have now made it very clear that my aunt was probably the best chicken cutlet maker in the world!! Submitted by: "Lauren E."


Cheese and Broccoli Casserole
The first time I had my dad’s recipe for cheese and broccoli casserole, the flavor burst inside my mouth and furthermore, it became my favorite dish in the world. The first time I had this magnificent dish was about one week after Christmas. My neighborhood settled down after the holiday cheer ceased, and the town was in peace and completely quiet. The house was pleasant and it was noon, about time for lunch in our family. We ate and had a conversation on the couch while watching the Bengals play against the 49ers. Off the topic about football, my dad popped the question about what we wanted for dinner tonight. We asked what the options were and what was available. Or dad gave us three choices, but the one that struck us as odd was the recipe for cheese and broccoli casserole. We asked our dad what it was and he responded,” it is a delightful dish. I had it every once and a while as a kid and I think you’ll really enjoy it.” So we chose that for our dinner tonight. About a few hours later we heard something beeping in the oven, so we rushed downstairs in excitement to see what it was. As my dad pulled it out of the oven I caught a glimpse of its wonder. It looked like the best entrée I have ever seen in my life. I sat eagerly at the dinner table awaiting the arrival of the dish. I could tell it was coming because I could smell the scent of it coming this way. The entrée was plopped down in front of me, and I dug my spoon into it like a shovel plunging itself into a pile of dirt. I lifted the fork as a it entered my mouth. It was like an explosion of flavor slowly taunting my taste buds. As the tip of the fork touched the tip of my tongue, a spark of wonder ignited inside my mouth. The feedback I gave my father was wonderful and I told him that he could make this dish any day of the week. i cheered in wonderful delight like a toddler at his first birthday. I honestly knew inside that this would be the dish that would always cheer me up on bad days. Submitted by: "Gavin D."


Potato Latkes
I never thought i would be getting a skateboard from my dad because he kept saying it was too dangerous, but i would soon learn that it was all a lie! I will always remember the Hanukkah when i got my first skateboard, and I’ll never forget the delicious potato latkes! My dad kept saying “no” over and over again as i asked for a skateboard. I was counting down the days until me and my whole family came over to my dads house to light candles, get presents, and eat potato latkes and applesauce. Even though i didn’t have my hopes up (because i was 99% sure i wasn’t getting it) I still kept a tiny thought in the back of my mind about what would happen if i got one. When i saw my brother walk into the door i was so happy because he was the last family member to come, which means we could finally open presents. My brother, My sister, and I all opened our presents at the same time. I got an iTunes card. I wasn’t disappointed because like i said before, i didn’t have my hopes up. Then i heard my dad say “wait, i think i see another present”. I look and it says my name. this is when i start to get a little excited, but i knew it still wasn’t a skateboard. But that was wrong... I wanted slowly and neatly open the wrapping paper, but when i looked down all i could see are my hands ripping the paper like a wild animal. When i first saw it i thought i was tired and wrong, but when i looked down again, i could tell that i was right... it was a skateboard. I may have been a cheap wal-mart board, but it was good enough for a beginner like me. After my brother and i put it together, we headed down to the basement. My brother picked it up and did an awesome trick and made it look easy. Then it was my turn. I thought it was going to be easy, but i guess not. As soon as i stepped on it i fell right on my face. Thank god i was wearing a helmet! “well, you’ll learn!” said my brother as he tried to hold back a laugh. Even though it was about four years ago, i still remember that night like it was yesterday. My brother and I still joke about that night and how hard i fell, and every hanukkah we eat potato latkes and joke about that one hanukkah when i got my first skateboard. Submitted by: "Ben K."


Buffalo Chicken Pizza
Did you know that this year I went to Albany and raced my dirt bike in a small stadium? Most people would think that a hockey stadium is too small for a little track but really, it is the perfect size for a bunch of people to watch. It is always a fun weekend to hang out with friends. This year I went to Albany and raced arenacross, like I do every year. Arenacross is racing dirt bikes inside a hockey stadium. It is a little track with a lot of jumps and turns. There are jumps in the corners even, making it tricky. This year at arenacross I won in front of the 20,000 people up above. This was just on November, 17. I remember getting there from the hotel still eating bacon. The sign up to race started at 8:00 am, and it was 7:30. Since there were already people waiting to sign up we hopped in line so we could finish early. Once we got through this hassle we took a look at the track. I remember walking around it with my dad and planning out what I was going to jump and where was the best passing spot. I then looked over at this HUGE jump that was the finish line. My dad told me that I could try to jump it in practice. This was the biggest jump there and I jumped it 1st out of all the bikes (about 3,000 bikes). When the race came I was very nervous about a lot of things; mostly falling and getting last. But when the gate dropped I floored it and I got the lead right off the bat. The second lap I was still leading with a 3 second gap in between me and 2nd. My mom was standing up as I crossed the finish line and took first place. I realized that my name was now flashing at the top of the stadium stating that I won. The announcer was exclaiming, ”Justin Curtis has won the 85 class!” I was very happy that I could now say that I won that race every time I go. Another thing that I could now do was get pizza at midnight. This only happens when I win. As I pulled off the track I remember seeing my friend Angelo coming off close behind me. He got 3rd which was really cool for him. I now can be called a champion for winning that race again. The best part was my friends were the ones that got 2nd and 3rd place. That was a night to remember. I am very proud of my wins at that stadium. Submitted by: "Justin C."


Strawberry-Lemonade Smoothie
Train Trip The sudden rush of flavor from the strawberry-lemonade smoothie reached my tongue as I started walking toward the subway. Just moments before I was hugging my best friend goodbye after the long day in New York with him. It was an adventurous day in the city, but what I really remember happened on the way home. All we needed to do was get on track 26, then transfer at Bridgeport to a different train to take us to Naugatuck where our car was. After about an hour and a half on the train and many station stops, my mom got worried that maybe we past Bridgeport. We put the scary book down which we were reading together, Wait Until Helen Comes, and began paying attention. But what happened next was scarier than the book... A few minutes later, the voice on the intercom said, “Next stop, Bridgeport. Please take note that the first car and the last two cars will not be opening!” We thought we were okay and in the correct car. The train stopped and we went to the doors and waited. They weren’t opening and I looked behind me and I saw it. The tracks; we were in the last car. I asked my mom, “Umm, mom?” She asked, “Yeah?” I started getting really freaked out and I don’t know what I was saying but I just said what came to mind. It was too hard to think. “We’re in the last car. We need to run, now.” I ran, pushing her in front of me. “MOM, C’MON FASTER!!!” I was really getting scared now. We were in the middle of the second to last car, and the train started moving again. I knew it was too late. I entered the third-to-last car and my mom sat down, holding her head as my eyes started watering. We found the train conductor and told him we missed our stop and therefore our connecting train back to our car in Naugatuck. He was quiet and then told us our only option was to get off the next stop and wait for a train to take us back to Bridgeport. The connector train would arrive in about two and a half hours at 10:37 P.M. We arrived at the next station and had to wait 30 minutes on the dark, empty, freezing cold platform for the train to take us back. We both felt disappointed and scared knowing that we would have that long wait back at Bridgeport. Then my mom remembered her friend Terri lived near Naugatuck. She called her but Terri didn’t pick up. We finally ended up at the Bridgeport Station crying. Then to our relief Terri called back. We were very excited. Terri was going to help! My mom explained everything and we were so comforted that she could pick us up. We are grateful for what Terri did and we still thank her since she saved the day. If she didn’t we would either have had to wait and wait or pay $45 for a taxi ride! From now on we will always ask the train conductor when he takes our tickets if we are in the right car for our stop so this scary nightmare doesn’t happen again. Submitted by: "Avery N."


The Best Homemade Pancakes
“Come on, Molly,” my mom shrieked, “or we are going to be late to pick up Tori. Did you even get out of bed yet?” I thought to myself, oh man, I fell back asleep! I f I had known how funny my trip to my grandma’s house in New Jersey would be, I would have gotten up extra early. Finally we picked up Tori and headed to New Jersey. Little did I know how long the car ride was going to be. My brother, Ben, was crying and whaling his arms in my face the whole time! when we finally pulled into my grandmothers driveway I jumped out, because after three and a half hours in the car with a screaming child you tend to want to bolt out of the car and into a quieter environment. In excitement to be out of the car and see my grandma I ran around the the corner to find her with hose in hand. My first instinct was to run because i thought she was gong to squirt me with her blue slimy hose. After running around the house into the kitchen I was pretty much exhausted. As I walked in and screamed, “She’s a crazy...” My voice cracked at the smell of delicious pancake, and finished quietly, “woman.” Later as I was talking to Tori i said, “I told you my grandma is crazy,” and put a huge stack of pancakes as big as my head on my plate. “she isn’t crazy!” Tori exclaimed. “I think you’re the crazy one.” The time I spend with my grandma isn’t a lot so when I do get to spend time with her I cherish it forever. Most of our memories are super funny and my whole family laughs at them to this day. Im looking forward to more memories I get to make with my grandma in New Jersey. Submitted by: "Molly P."


Mom's Ice Cream Cake
Ice Cream Cake Have you ever had a food that can just make a good day turn into a great one? Well I think a food that can really make any day into a great one is my mom’s ice cream cake. The ice cream cake is something that my mom will usually make when it is a family members birthday or a special occasion. It seems like whenever we are able to eat the cake it puts almost everybody at the party into a better mood. Some of the best times that I have had with my family are the times we have the ice cream cake. Almost all of the birthdays that we have celebrated with my family have included the ice cream cake. The ice cream cake is a tradition to have in my family for birthday parties. Everybody always agrees that the cake tastes great regardless of what time of ice cream that is used in the cake. The highlight of many birthday parties is the ice cream cake. I remember about two years ago when I was having a birthday party in the summer and I had a bunch of friends over to hang out and swim in the pool. So for a couple hours we were spending our time in the pool. After a while we got bored and decided that we were going to take a hike in the woods before it started to get to dark to be able to see in the woods. As we started to dry off we realized that some of my friends parents were started to show up. So as quick as we could be started to walk into the woods behind my backyard; after about 2 minutes of walking we heard my mom yell “be back in an hour for the ice cream cake!” We yelled back “ok” and continued on through the woods. After a couple minutes of talking we decided that we were going to go to the power lines. Finally after about twenty minutes of walking we had finally reached the power line trail. All agreeing on taking a rest, we found a big boulder and climbed up onto the top of it to rest for a couple of minutes. Just minutes later we all started to get up and get ready for the walk back. Once we were ready to go and about to wonder back into the woods, we realized that we did not know which trail we had come from. We all spread out and started looking for the path that we would be able to recognize but could not find it. After checking the time and seeing that we only had fifteen minutes before we had to get back, we began to panic. Guessing and hoping, we randomly picked a trail that we hoped would lead us home. When we were about two hundred yards down the trail, we realized that had definitely taken the wrong trail. We checked our phones and saw that we would have to be back within the next five minutes. Now, completely panicking, we all started to run as fast as we could through the woods in direction that we thought we had come from. Starting to get tired, we took a break to see if we knew where we were at all. Looking in the distance, I was able to see a faint but slightly visible orange glow peeking through the trees. We all sighed in relief as we heard our parents talking around the campfire. As we were walking towards my house, we all started laughing about how we had just gotten lost in the woods. We started to joke about whose fault it really was. Walking into the back yard, as if planned, we heard “ice cream cake!” and started to run towards the deck where that cake was. Once we were all seated and eating the cake, we started to tell everybody what had happened while we were in the woods. The ice cream cake was the best thing that we could have possible heard as we finally got out of the woods. Submitted by: "Jayson R."


Three Cheese Raviolis
l was in the dining room of my aunt Mary Ann's restaurant. “Yaaaaaa” my brother cried “Papa John and Nonni Rita are here”. But little did we know that tonight would be a very interesting night at my Pappa Johns 77th birthday. “ Happy Birthday Pappa John” we all cried as he emerged from the crystal doorway. After that we all walked over to the table talking and laughing all the way. But no one but I noticed that my dad broke off from the group to talk to the waiter who quickly scurried away into the kitchen. And I didn’t think anything of it until later in the evening. As we sat done the waiter brought over the appetizer which surprise, surprise was chic peas. Chic peas are disgusting peeled peas that have been bathed in vinegar for the entire day only to be brought out in the nighttime hours of the restaurant. before anyone could eat the the waiter took our orders in which she already knew, we all had our regulars. Then she raced into the kitchen to collect the pre prepared meals. “ Heh Sam, have you ever had a chic pea” even though he knew the answer he asked anyway. “No” I answered slowly ”Well tonight's the night you try one” he replied gleefully as he put a few peas on my plate. Just before he made me try them the waiter came with our meals. “Dad” I replied” can I have my dinner first?”. “OK,” he said “but you're trying those peas”. “OK” I said as I dug into the succulent delight on my“Thump thump thump” I heard the soft padding of feet coming down the ha plate 3 cheese ravioli. It is the greatest ravioli the world will ever see in my opinion. with the three greatest cheeses in the world in it. Later as I finished the last ravioli he replied gleefully “Looks like you are trying them now “. “OK” I replied glumly as I dumped them into my mouth it suddenly felt like it was on fire. “AHHHHHHHH” I cried as I reached across the table and grabbed my water and soda and gulped them down. “AHHHHHHHH” I sighed as the fire in my mouth died down. Then as I looked across the table I saw all the smiling faces. Then I realized I had just been the but of a joke. When my dad was talking to the waiter in the beginning of the evening (who is a family friend) he must have asked for Mary ann’s special super spicy chic peas bathed in vinegar and hot pepper oil. And as we all finished our plates my dad added jokingly “ Want some more?”. This is an instance that I still laugh about today. And know I have a question for you, do you want some more? Submitted by: "Sam.C."


Mom's Lasagna
We had been waiting for weeks. My patience was low and I couldn’t wait for the 26th of October. The final week came and all Maggie and I talked about was going to Six Flags Fright Night. Turns out, we ended up running away from zombies, rushing around trying to squeeze in the last few thriller coasters, and get our Season Pass pictures taken before OUR ride home arrived at 10:00 p.m. The rides weren’t easy to time, but we ended up satisfied at the end of the night. The first ride Maggie and I went on was Batman. It has always been my favorite ride at Six Flags, just because I love all the loops and twists. They make my head spin and tie my stomach in knots, but the thrill is worth it. We ended up on Batman twice, just because we craved another go at it after the first time around. Next stop on the thrill train was Mind Eraser. “I don’t want to! It hurts my head,” said Maggie. I protested, “Nope. You have to come on, because you’re making me go on Bizzarro later!” Side effects did include a small headache, yet we didn’t care. We navigated around the lifeless creatures that wandered through the streets of the amusement park to the next attraction. We decided we’d go from Flashback to Goliath, which we later found out was a mistake. Turns out that the two rides are very similar. They both take you up a tower of some sorts and drop you at a random time. You go through all these twists then go up another tower and repeat. The only difference is that Flashback is much smaller, and less extreme. Our muscles were pretty sore after those two. So we decided to take a rest from the rides for a bite to eat. We walked cautiously so the zombies didn’t end up taking bites out of us. The walking dead that roamed the crowds were terrifying, especially for two 12 year olds walking alone. Our first encounter earlier that night had been some blue-skinned man with black robes and a bloody knife. We knew it was just for pretend, but we ran faster than roadrunners being chased by a wolf. The way these people stare at you and play the character so well gave me an eery feeling. Every time one of the monsters was within 10 yards of us, we would plot out the best escape route to the nearest ride. One encounter I remember all too well, was the Snake Dude. Maggie and I were headed to the Food Court, and were almost there, when an undead guy with a plastic Boa Constrictor around his neck comes from nowhere and runs toward us! Maggie bolted and left me there. I didn’t move, but by the way he looked at me expectantly, it seemed he thought I’d run after my friend. The whole situation turned out quite anti-climactic, as all that he had done was snap his little snake’s mouth in my face and with that, he strolled right off into the night. “I can’t believe you left me!” I exclaimed after I caught up to Maggie. It may sound like I was angry, but we were laughing our heads off! “I’m sorry. What did he do?” asked Maggie between laughs. “He just snapped his snake in my face,” I said nonchalantly. “Hahaha! Let’s just try to fit in a few more rides before we head over to Bizzarro!” said Maggie. I debated, since the food court was only a little ways down the street and I had been hungry for a while. But I remembered my mom had promised a special meal when we got home. I reluctantly agreed and we visited a couple more attractions until we decided that we should head over to Bizzarro before it got too late. Since the wait for Bizzarro was usually long, we stayed on the safe side and got into line at about 9pm. I ended up getting really nervous the closer we got to the cart. I had dreaded the 200 foot death drop in July, which was the first time I went on it with my friend Hannah. I enjoyed it, but it had been about 3 months since then, and my stomach kept jumping. I kept questioning whether I was going to go through with it, but in the back of my mind I knew I was going to have to no matter what. Maggie let me pick our seats. I wasn’t quite ready to sit in the front so I picked middle. We got onto the ride around 9:50 pm. Which meant we had 10 minutes to get through the ride, and run over to get our pictures taken before 10 pm. As we buckled into our seats, I tried to just think Don’t look down. Don’t look down. The cart started moving and the lady over the headset signed out by saying “WHOOP WHOOP!” normally, you’d reply “WHOOP WHOOP!” but what I said was more of a “woo.. wah!” Maggie laughed and taunted me, trying to lure my eyes to gaze down and said things like “Oh is that a lake down there?” or “Look how high we are!”. We approached the drop and I didn’t glance down. I sort of folded up and buried my face into my lap, although the safety bar restricted me. I sensed when we had reached the bottom, and as soon as we did, I lifted my head and flailed my arms in the air. I had a blast and might have gone on a second time if I could have. The ride was only a minute long, so we raced out of the exit as quick as we could, and dodged the terrifying zombie with the chainsaw. It appeared he was chasing people and neither of us wanted any part in that! We rushed in to get our photos taken. Luckily all the running paid off and we arrived in time. We met my mom at the entrance and left. I dropped off my friend and turns out, my mom had already prepared some home-made lasagna for me to gobble down before bed. That day was probably some of the most fun I’ve ever had in my whole life. I spent an entire 5 hours at Six Flags, New England with one of my close friends. I couldn’t have asked for anything more on that night. It couldn’t have gone more perfectly. And just when I thought it couldn’t get any better as I watched Maggie walk through the door, I was proved wrong by the mouthwatering, delicious, cheesy plate of my mother's’ homemade lasagna waiting for me at the end of a long day. Submitted by: "Julia S."


Old Fashioned Fudge Pie
This story is when i was over my grandmothers house and ate a delicious choclate fudge pie.This is perfect because my family loves cakes and pies. I barely saw them that year, but my grandmother still knew I really wanted a kitten. We talked on the phone almost everyday until Christmas day. Me and my family made plans to see her Christmas day. When we got to her house, I saw a big present, I ran towards it . When I did my grandmother said,"Emily, wait til after dinner to open your present." I ate my dinner as fast as I could. When I finished, I ran all the way to the living room and sat next to my huge present. I opened it as fast as i could. Then i noticed it was what I wanted. It was a kitten. After all that excitement my grandmother called all of us into the dinning room to eat the delicious fudge pie. I had a big slice of the warm, melting fudge pie. It was very good. Submitted by: "Emily A."


Mac-N-Cheese
Did you ever know that Mac-N-Cheese originated from Italy and recipes for it date back to the thirteenth century? Or that Crayola named one of its colors macaroni and cheese? In January of 2007, when I was six years old and on my second family trip to Disney World, it was my favorite food and all I wanted to eat for dinner. After visiting the Animal Kingdom amusement park one day, we stopped at a restaurant to get a bite to eat. I was craving Mac-N-Cheese so I ordered it. As the waitress placed our food on the table, my mouth started to water. Unfortunately from the first bite I knew it wasn’t my mom’s recipe and that I wasn’t going to be able to eat it. I only like Mac-N-Cheese made out of the box or my mom’s special recipe. My favorite Mac-N-Cheese is my mom’s, made with a combination of lots of cheeses including Cheddar and American. It’s my comfort food. The food I want when I am having a bad day. I could eat it for lunch or dinner or as a side dish with any meal. I love its creamy gooeyness. But I can only eat it freshly made and hot off the stove. Once it cools I can’t eat it. I absolutely hate Mac-N-Cheese reheated. When I think of Mac-N-Cheese, I think of the time I spent in Florida with my family on vacation at Disney World. The trip was amazing. I got to see enormous African animals, ride gut wrenching roller coasters, go to a super exciting water park, and watch spectacular firework shows. The most memorable ride there was the roller coaster called Exexpedition Everest. The ride begins with a steep uphill climb then the cars rocket down the other side. It sends riders on a narrow track twisting and turning. Suddenly the cars are engulfed by a cave and shot down in sheer darkness. I was scared out of my mind; you have to remember I was only six at the time. I was terrified when the Yeti jumped from the darkness. I thought it was real. My heart was racing the entire time that I was on the ride. It took fifteen minutes to calm my heart from beating out of my chest. I loved being there, and have memories that will last a lifetime. Whenever I eat a bowl of Mac-N-Cheese, I think about our Disney Adventure. I had the time of my life on that trip, and would love to go back for a visit. But one thing I know for certain, I won’t be ordering any Mac-N-Cheese. I learned my lesson about that. Someday I would also like to visit Disney Land in California; hopefully they have the kind of Mac-N-Cheese that I like there. But for now, at least I have my mom to make me Mac-N-Cheese. Submitted by: "John A"


Marinated Steak
Family Reunion are full of surprises. The night before the family Reunion some family members stopped by and surprised us. We did many things like tell stories, play with cards, and watched movies. I will always remember that night. The night my aunt,uncle,and grand parents came over. All we did was tell stories for a while. My grand parents were talking about how different it was. I also thought it was cool that they used to travel different places. We also played cards. I started to think that my uncle was cheating because he kept on winning. We also played high five I didn't know how to play so I just watched. And once again he won. My dad went to the steak and asked me to grab the barbecue “Ok” I said has I opened the refrigerator door. When we were done we played cards again. After we played cards we watched movies including family, comedy, and horror. My favorite movie was the horror movie but I had to help my dad. That night was memorable because some of my family came over. Submitted by: "Wesley C"


Team Falcon is a group of middle school students who created this cookbook for a seventh grade English class writing assignment . The students wrote personal narratives about experiences that brought to mind a favorite food. Many of the students have shared family recipes. The students are sharing their narratives as well as their recipes.
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Cookbook Recipe
A Falcon Feast

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Team Falcon is a group of middle school students who created this cookbook for a seventh grade English class writing assignment . The students wrote personal narratives about experiences that brought to mind a favorite food. Many of the students have shared family recipes. The students are sharing their narratives as well as their recipes.