All content, of both the original and this blog, is written from my point of view and is my opinion. I believe it to be accurate at the time it is written. ~ Kyle Prast, Brookfield resident since 1986

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pond full of fun

Whenever I drive by Kinsey Park pond at the end of my street, my heart is warmed when I see kids playing at the water's edge. Whether they are fishing or frogging or just fooling around, the pond is a source of good old clean fun for neighborhood youngsters. (OK, good old muddy fun.)

Maybe it is just because they remind me of my childhood days of catching frogs and collecting snails that I always have to smile when I see them there.

From what I have observed, the toddlers and younger kids might play on the playstructure, but the pond reigns supreme with the older set. Lest you think pond play is just for little boys, I see plenty of older boys and girls with their buckets and nets too. In fact, I think the pre-teen and early teen girls just might be the frog catching champs of Kinsey Park.

It is nice to know that the simple joys of catching a frog can still compete with computer games, the internet, and nonstop DVDs. I hope our neighborhood pond will continue to delight each generation to come.

Links: Practically Speaking, Fairly Conservative, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, CNS News, Jay Weber, Mark Levin, Vicki McKenna Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, The Heritage Foundation

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

A summer delight: Chicken Salad

This chicken salad is a favorite at our house; it's one even my menfolk like. The fruit and touch of curry make it a little unusual and the abundance of chicken makes it hearty enough for a summer supper.

The recipe came my way from my Mom's and More days at Elmbrook Church. (Child is now 20 so I have had it a while!) It has also undergone a few tweaks and additions over the years. Hope you give it a try.

The Recipe: Makes enough to serve 4. The ingredients I changed or added are in italics.

3 Cups cooked chicken, cut up. (If I am making this for our supper, I use one chicken breast per person. If it is just a side dish or for a pot luck supper, the 3 cups are fine.)

1/2 Cup diced celery

Red and/or green grapes, about 2 Cups total.

20 ounces pineapple chunks, drained or use fresh pineapple if you have it. Fresh is better.

Cooked rotini or shell pasta. These days I am trying to cut down on empty carbs so I might use about 1/2 pound of pasta for the whole salad. Pasta may be omitted all together if you like.

1/2 cup diced peeled and seeded cucumber

1/2 cup or more toasted and salted slivered almonds. I like salted cashews better.

The dressing:

1/2 Cup mayonnaise (I use the less fat kind or mid-grade as I call it not no fat. Aldi's worked fine.)

1/2 Cup sour cream (Sour half and half works fine.)

2 Tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons lemon juice

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1/8th to 1/4th teaspoon of curry powder

salt to taste

Stir dressing ingredients together and toss with chicken, fruit, vegetables, and pasta. Garnish with the nuts on top. If you wanted to increase your veggie count, serve on a bed of lettuce.

I think this salad tastes best out on the patio with a tall glass of iced tea. Enjoy!

Links: Practically Speaking, Fairly Conservative, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, CNS News, Jay Weber, Mark Levin, Vicki McKenna Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, The Heritage Foundation


In honor of State Fair, try a cream puff recipe!

Cream puffs usually top the list of must have food treats at the State Fair. In case you didn't get your fill, why not make your own? They are not difficult to make, plus you can make them yourself for a fracton of the State Fair price

Cream puffs use the same pate a choux dough as éclairs, just the shape and filling are different. In fact, the shells can be used for savory dishes like creamy chicken stew or some sort of creamed seafood dish too.Whatever filling you choose, the dough is made from very basic ingredients.

My recipe came from Breta Griem, a cook I used to watch on TV when I was a child. She was my 1950s version of Martha Stewart **. I have made this dessert many times, ever since my early teen years, and my only failure occurred when I used a Teflon pan instead of a stainless steel saucepan, so make sure you don't use nonstick.

The recipe: Yield: about 8-10 large cream puffs / éclairs or about 18-22 smaller sized ones. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Heat to boiling in a 2 or 3qt. sauce pan - NOT TEFLON: 1 Cup water and 1/2 Cup butter

Stir in all at once 1 Cup all purpose, unbleached flour

Stir constantly with a wooden spoon, in one direction, until mixture leaves the pan sides and forms into a ball--about 1 minute. (At this point you might wonder what in the world are you making!)

Cool about 10 minutes in the pan.

Beat in 4 eggs, one at a time, stirring in the same direction. Stir each one until smooth before adding the next. When all 4 eggs have been added, beat by hand until smooth and velvety.

Squeeze through a pastry bag onto greased aluminum cookie sheets into smooth mounds. Cream puffs/éclairs puff up quite a bit so leave about 3 inches between. Whatever shape you make, oval or round, try to make your shapes tall. Flat ones don't work as well. If you don't have a pastry bag, you can just spoon onto the cookie sheet.

Put into a preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Then turn the oven down to 350 for 30-35 minutes. Times are for large size.

Open the oven door and poke a hole in each with a skewer or tooth pick. Leave in oven to cool with door open.

Carefully cut off top 1/3 with a sharp knife and gently pull out and discard any moist center membrane. Fill with freshly whipped cream* for cream puffs. Put top back on. Dust with powdered sugar.

For éclairs, fill with vanilla custard. Cooked Jello brand pudding and pie filling works fine for éclairs. Spoon in the filling then put the tops on and frost with 1 bag chocolate chips melted with around 1/2 cup cream or half and half . Stir well and cool before frosting the eclair. Or use your favorite chocolate frosting recipe.

Variations: Cream puffs: layer sliced strawberries or fresh pineapple slices with the whipped cream.

Éclairs: Add banana slices or coconut to the pudding before putting the top on. Then frost.

You can make the shells ahead of time and fill shortly before serving.

Hope you give these a try. Everyone will think you are quite wonderful if you do!

*I prefer to use non ultra pasteurized whipping cream. Sendik's in Elm Grove has this. It has a fresher flavor than the ultra pasteurized type. Be sure to chill the bowl and beaters well before whipping or you might make butter instead. I add about 1-2 teaspoons vanilla and around 1/2-1 cup powdered sugar (to taste) per pint whipping cream. Add this once the cream starts whipping and forms soft peaks, toward the end of the whipping procedure. Be careful not to over whip!

**When I wrote the original posting, I did not have easy internet access. After writing the original posting, I Googled Breta and found the article linked to above. Interestingly, Daniell also thought of Breta as I did: "Breta was kind of the Martha Stewart of Milwaukee."

Links: Practically Speaking, Fairly Conservative, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, CNS News, Jay Weber, Mark Levin, Vicki McKenna Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, The Heritage Foundation

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Congress in recess; I'm taking a mini recess too

My computer is acting up a bit; I'm having great difficulty copying and pasting. That might not seem so bad to you but it makes blogging a rather frustrating experience for me. So I am thinking, if our Representatives are in recess, maybe I will take it a bit easy too for the remainder of August? (Hopefully I will get to the bottom of my copy/paste issue in the next week or so.)

I can probably manage a recipe or two or something else on the lighter side, just not much with links and quoted text for a while.

At least while our Senators and Representatives are in their home states they can't be voting for health care reform or Cap and Trade in the Senate. Somehow I feel more at ease knowing they can't be spending money we don't have or legislating more restrictions while they are taking a break.


Saturday, August 08, 2009

Brookfield's 2035 Vision Materials display no longer at library

Imagine my surprise. The 2035 Vision Implementation Comment Form I filled out at the library over a week ago stated in bold black letters: The deadline for providing comments is Monday, August 10th.

The library had a display with the various areas of "Vision" for Brookfield's future illustrated on large poster boards. There were also comment forms and a wooden box to collect the forms on a table front and center as you walked into the library.

Late Saturday afternoon, I stopped in for some music CDs and was going to look at the 2035 Vision renderings and information again, but it all had vanished!

I asked at the circulation desk what happened to the display and was informed that "they" took it away on Friday (Aug. 7).

But, if you still wanted to throw in your 2 cents regarding the 2035 Vision Implementation Comment Form, as seen at the library and Brookfield Square, know that the library comment box is no longer there to receive it. I would guess City Hall would still be accepting the forms? They were closed at the time I discovered the collection box and display were gone. You might want to call to verify City Hall will accept your comment form: 262-782-9650. The form is available online for you to print out. Their fax number is 262-796-6671.

According to the City's website, there will still be 4 Open Houses in September "to get direct input from the public into the City's vision for the future." The notice talks about sending in your comment form to the City's planning consultant next month, so I don't know what the August 10th deadline was all about.

Please know that the input they are looking for is all in the positive. You are to select 5 things that are important to you. There is no way that I could see to object to any of the specific initiatives except to not check that vision.

Past Post: Voice your opinion on rail & Master Plan at National Night Out tonight

Practically Speaking, Fairly Conservative, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, CNS News, Jay Weber, Mark Levin, Vicki McKenna Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, The Heritage Foundation

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Friday, August 07, 2009

My day at the Wisconsin State Fair w/photos

The weather was perfect for opening day at the Wisconsin State Fair, not too warm or cool. It was also Hunger Task Force Day: People could get in for $2.00 until 6pm if they brought a food donation. Check the schedule for other special days. Maybe it was just because I had not been to the fair for a few years, but it seemed crowded to me.

Since this was a girl fun type day, our first stop after a quick walk through the Wisconsin Exposition Center was the Horticulture, Craft and Culinary Pavilion. This used to be just the flower building, but now they combine the crafts, sewing, food and plants in one location. It seemed to work well.

I always enjoy looking at all the entries, be they sewing, knitting, quilting, cake decorating, canning, or baking. My Home Ec. roots still run deep.

I make a special effort to find the entries from Linda Kuligowski, a former coworker from my working days at the Milwaukee Ballet costume shop. This year I think she entered 30 pieces!

We had easily spotted 3 in the first display case alone. The one pictured won a blue ribbon and the Judges Favorite award. At the 2nd grouping, I told my sister, this one looks like a Linda Kuligowski. From behind I heard someone say, "I'm Linda Kuligowski!" I turned around to see Linda, who I haven't seen in years. Then another woman started to talk to Linda. I knew her too, as did Linda; she worked on the wardrobe crew for the ballet. What are the odds of that?

Linda gave us a quick guided tour of the garments, pointing out both hers and others, giving us the behind the scenes scoop on the judging process, which is always very subjective.

I also spotted a pair of cute watermelon socks knit by Brookfield friend Cheri Mastel. (Cheri teaches knitting and cake decorating at Michael's craft store on Bluemound Road.)

We parted company with Linda and further examined the baking, canning, and flowers. That cabbage had to be 3 feet across.

By this time we were hungry and so we hit the Wisconsin Products Pavilion. We lunched on baked potatoes and tried something new: delicious lamb sandwiches from the Lagniappe Brasserie restaurant booth. (The actual restaurant is located at 17001 West Greenfield Avenue.) Then we ventured into a few barns to look at the animals.

We took a stroll through the DNR area, which is a quieter haven if you need a place to relax, and then went back to the Exposition Center, where they hawk mops, fry pans, hot tubs, you name it. There were quite a few fair goers carrying mops of various sorts. I can't imagine wanting to carry a mop througout the whole fair, but these people had to have them, I guess. Some of the salesmen are worth watching just for their showmanship.

The 3pm parade is not much to talk about but the Budweiser Clydesdales are worthy. Alas, no burro that I could see toured with the big guys this year. The dalmatian was atop of the wagon as always though.

Clydesdale judging began at 4pm. This event started with the adult stallions and moved on to the youths.

Some of the younger horses just would not behave and strut their stuff for the judges who wanted to assess their gait. Isn't that just like kids?

No rides for us but a woman next to us said they were $6.00 per ride or you could buy a wristband for $24.00 for unlimited riding.

All in all, we had a great time and didn't overdo the eating too much. This year we opted for Italian gelato instead of cream puffs. (I think it wasn't too far from the WE Energies area.)

We left at 6pm, the deadline for the special reduced entrance fee. Paying full price did not seem to daunt the masses awaiting entry. Someone we knew, who came after work that day, reported that it was very crowded. And all of that without a government stimulus bill!

Check the schedule for the special events of the day if you are going. We always liked to watch the horse pull. If you have never seen one, they are remarkable. The horses pull amazing loads on voice command only. They really seem to want to do it.


Practically Speaking, Fairly Conservative, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, CNS News, Jay Weber, Mark Levin, Vicki McKenna Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, The Heritage Foundation

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Obama's request to turn in citizens' emails/postings eerily reminiscent of WW2 era

While studying the WW2 era in our homeschool history class, I was surprised to learn how many Americans living on the east and west coasts were instructed to keep their eyes open for any enemy activity. In fact, South Carolina's Coast Guard Beach Patrol trained for possible German landings. The threat was real.

Since September 11th, Americans are called upon to be observant and report suspicious behavior or abandoned parcels/backpacks. These examples of vigilance are understandable.

But I cannot remember any president in my lifetime ever asking that people's emails or web postings* be reported if they are against their agenda. In this case, against Obama's ideal of Health Care reform. That seems awfully Big Brother-ish.

From the White House website via Redstate: (Their emphasis)
"There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to"

President Obama's request to turn in citizens' "fishy" information seems eerily reminiscent of Germany's 1930s and WW2 years to me. Remember how Hitler encouraged the Hitler Youth to turn in anyone, including their parents, who did not support Hitler's agenda? From Military History Online:(My emphasis)

"An ominous new development within the HJ [Hitlerjugend or Hitler Youth] was the appearance of HJ-Streifendienst (Patrol Force) units functioning as internal political police, maintaining order at meetings, ferreting out disloyal members, and denouncing anyone who criticized Hitler or Nazism including, in a few cases, their own parents."

"Many of these same HJ became so infatuated by their Nazi education and work ethic, that they became hostile towards anyone who did not share the Nazi view of the world. Often, this included members of their own families. ...In one of the great ironies of history, parents suddenly became afraid of their own children, especially if their sons were HJ members. The adults found themselves living in fear that their son or daughter could report anti-Nazi talk or behavior to the Gestapo, whereby they would end up in a re-education or concentration camp."

As for President Obama's unprecedented request to turn in those who don't share his vision, most of us wondered, is this reporting legal? Doesn't this violate the Constitution's 1st amendment? Redstate thinks so:

"Given the near certainty that no one will be stripping from emails the names of the people forwarding on the information, the White House is most likely engaged in unlawful activity."

"According to 5 U.S.C. § 552a, United States agencies, including the Executive Office of the President shall, 'maintain no record describing how any individual exercises rights guaranteed by the First Amendment unless expressly authorized by statute or by the individual about whom the record is maintained or unless pertinent to and within the scope of an authorized law enforcement activity.'"

The Heritage Foundation had an clever piece regarding just who should be turned in under the President's request in The People Spreading 'Disinformation' About Obmacare. They mention Rep. Jan Schalowsky, Rep. Barney Frank, Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein, and Noble Prize winner columnist Paul Krugman as those with an opposing view to what Obama promises. Heritage concludes, (My emphasis)

"Americans deserve an honest debate about health care. President Obama, Barney Frank, and Jan Schakowsky cannot all be right. Either the President is wrong when he says his plan will not lead to government-run health care, or Frank and Schakowsky are spreading disinformation when they tell their single payer advocate base that it will. So let’s help the White House out. Do email and let the White House know you’ve seen something “fishy” on the web about health care reform."

I wonder how may citizens reported those fishy 4?

*Correspondence or letters to the editor in pre internet days

Practically Speaking, Fairly Conservative, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, CNS News, Jay Weber, Mark Levin, Vicki McKenna Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, The Heritage Foundation

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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Sometimes you just need a good laugh, watch this

Take a break from growing deficits and the prospect of single payer Obamacare and watch Extreme Shepherding. It is truly remarkable when you consider how dumb sheep are.

Practically Speaking, Fairly Conservative, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, CNS News, Jay Weber, Mark Levin, Vicki McKenna Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, The Heritage Foundation


Voice your opinion on rail & Master Plan at National Night Out tonight

Tonight is the National Night Out at Brookfield's Safety Building and Civic Plaza, 5:30 - 8:30 pm. Not only are there some fun family activities offered, but there is also an opportunity to voice your opinion on Brookfield's future initiatives.

You can also fill out a comment form at the Brookfield Library. Deadline for submissions is August 10th. The 2035 Comprehensive Plan, will be adopted by the Common Council at year's end.

Some of the items on the 2035 Vision Implementation Comment Form (feedback form) are rather benign. Others are hot button issues. Here are some of mine in the order they appear on side 2. My position is in red.:
  • Establish a new Targeted Investment Area along the 124th Street corridor from Burleigh Road to North Avenue. (I am against if it involves a tax district and usurps property owners rights.)
  • Take a supportive approach to historic preservation including educational and persuasive (not coercive) efforts, and at all times supporting the rights of property owners. (I am for this. Saving the Siepmann home is an example of a supportive role.)
  • Support the completion of an Environmental Impact Study (EIS), through an open, public process, to study the feasibility, locational options, impacts, and design options of a future interchange from Interstate 94 between the two that now exist. (I am against a Calhoun Rd. exit.)
  • Support future high speed intercity rail service connecting Minneapolis - Madison - Milwaukee - Chicago and beyond, provided that a station in Brookfield is maintained and funded in state and federal plans. (Note: This is not the same as commuter or light rail.) (I am AGAINST rail in any form because it requires taxpayer subsidies and is NOT practical for most travelers.)
You may not wish to partake of the Night Out festivities, but do fill out the survey and contact your Aldermen with your opinions.

Practically Speaking, Fairly Conservative, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, CNS News, Jay Weber, Mark Levin, Vicki McKenna Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, The Heritage Foundation

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Monday, August 03, 2009

In Obama's own words, "I don't think we're to eliminate employer coverage immediately..."

To us the President says, "You can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan. Nobody is talking about taking that away from you."

But check out this video piece I found on Drudge today: UNCOVERED VIDEO: OBAMA EXPLANAINS HOW HIS HEALTH CARE PLAN WILL 'ELIMINATE' PRIVATE INSURANCE I only just got my sound back on my computer so I could watch it. But in case you don't want to watch the clip, here are the quotes (as close as I could transcribe) from the video clips:

It opens with President Obama to the AMA in June of 2009: "The public option is not your enemy, it is your friend, I believe."

"Let me also address a illegitimate concern that is being put forward, by those who are claiming that a public option is somehow a Trojan horse for a single payer system."

Followed by Obama to the SEIU Health Care Forum in March of 2007: "My commitment is to make sure we got universal health care for all Americans by the end of my first term as president."

"I would hope that we set up a system that allows those who can't go through their employer to access a federal system or a state pool of some sort."

"But I don't think we are going to be able to eliminate employer coverage immediately, there's going to be potentially some transition process. I can envision a decade out, or 15 years out, or 20 years out."

Then it shows Obama addressing the AFL-CIO Civil, Human and Women's Rights Conference in 2003: "I happen to be a proponent of a single payer universal health care plan. A
single payer, health care plan, Universal health care plan, that is what I would like to see."

July 27, 2009: Democrat Representative Barney Frank then expresses his support for single payer systems: "I think if we get a good public option it could lead to single payer and that is the best way to reach single payer."

May of 2009: Democrat Representative Jan Schakowsky then talks about how an insurance guy sitting next to her argued against the public insurance option, saying that it would put private insurance out of business because it wouldn't allow private insurance to compete. She then says to the crowd she was addressing, "He was right, the man was right!"*

Lastly, a clip of the President saying, "Nobody is talking about some government takeover of health care."


More reading and viewing:
The YouTube piece on Breibart came from

*Hear the whole clip, which adds "I am so confident in the superiority of a public health care option that I think he has every reason to be frightened." Gateway Pundit: Rep. Jan Schakowski Lies to FOX Business Channel About Destroying the Private Insurance Industy

The Heritage Foundation:
Barney Frank: Public Option is Best Way to Single Payer

HotAirPundit has an intersting set of video clips at the bottom of his post showing Pres. Obama claiming "I don't believe Government can or should run Health Care."

Practically Speaking, Fairly Conservative, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, CNS News, Jay Weber, Mark Levin, Vicki McKenna Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, The Heritage Foundation

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My tomatoes not happy with chilly July

My, oh my, we had a chilly July. We only went above our average high of 85 degrees to hit a sweltering 86, according to once and 3 times if you use AccuWeather. Out of the 31 days in July, only 4-6 were above the average low of 63 degrees, depending on which source you use. That is pretty chilly.

The chart on was rather interesting for Milwaukee. It shows the highs, lows, records, etc. all in easy to compare columns. Neither nor AccuWeather show the high of 94 degrees on July 27 this year as JSOnline reported though. But we really don't need the charts to tell us this July has been cool, our gardens and number of blankets on the bed tell us that.

Milwaukee's all time high was 105 in 1934. In fact, the 1930s look like a hot decade. The next record high was 103 in 1995. I knew that without looking at the chart; that was the summer we remodeled and literally had half our house open to the elements. Yup, that means living with NO air conditioning and lots of mosquitoes. Believe it or not, you do get used to the heat. The mercury topped 105 at our house.

Most of us have not had our air conditioning on for much this summer, which is a plus when it comes time to pay our WE Energies bills. But the tomato plants in my garden are not so happy with all these good sleeping, cool nights!

Today I did find one tiny tomato that had fallen off the plant and had started turning a dull orange. It is a new variety to me called a berry tomato and is shaped much like a small strawberry. That berry tomato was my first inkling of anything ripening in my garden.

Any of you gardeners out there have tomatoes ripening? Do let me know if yours are maturing. I would like to think someone is enjoying a tomato mayonnaise sandwich out there. After all, it is summer.

Practically Speaking, Fairly Conservative, Betterbrookfield, RandyMelchert, CNS News, Jay Weber, Mark Levin, Vicki McKenna Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, The Heritage Foundation

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