Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Scholastic Book Donation: ED Nixon Elementary

This morning, First Lady Dianne Bentley spent time with the students, faculty, and staff of ED Nixon Elementary. It was her fourth out of five stops for her Scholastic Book Donation tour. Mrs. Bentley particularly enjoyed this stop because she had the opportunity to meet some of her neighbors.
She was greeted by Principal Belle and ushered into the library to meet with and read to some of the school's third and fourth grade students. Mrs. Bentley shared about her love of reading and what it is like living within the walls of the Mansion. The students were most impressed by the pool shaped like the state of Alabama. Following her time in the library, the First Lady toured the school. Each morning for the first hour, classes spend time reading together. It was so impressive that in each classroom, students were sitting there captivated by the story being read. At the end, Mrs. Bentley sat down for an interview for the WEDN Action News. This was the youngest reporter and camera man that she has ever gotten to meet; they were in the third grade.
Mrs. Bentley hopes to continue working with this school in the future, especially since they are so close to her new home.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Department of Archives Exhibit Opening

First Lady Dianne Bentley was honored to participate in the grand opening and ribbon cutting for two new exhibits on Friday at the state Department of Archives and History in Montgomery. The Land of Alabama Exhibit and the First Alabamians exhibit will quickly become popular stops for anyone interested in Alabama's history. These exhibits show the progression of Alabama over time and include artifacts from the past.
Mrs. Bentley has always been an advocate for the state's Department of Archives and began taking her granddaughters there when Governor Robert Bentley was a member of the House of Representatives. Their hands on children's exhibit was a favorite stop but every floor was filled with impressive history. The First Lady hopes that these exhibits and the ones to come, will encourage people to learn more about the state of Alabama.

Volunteer Appreciation Day 2011

Last Thursday night, First Lady Dianne Bentley traveled to the Workplay Theater in Birmingham to honor first responders and volunteers who helped with the recovery from the April 27th tornadoes. This large crowd represented the thousands of others that were involved and the thousands more that will continue to help in the long term recovery process.
The First Lady and Governor are proud to represent such a wonderful state filled with passionate people devoted to service. Mrs. Bentley took time to share her own personal stories of tragedy and triumph surrounding the disaster. She concluded by relaying her gratitude for the hard work and dedication of all volunteers that aided in the disaster recovery process.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Scholastic Book Donation: George Hall Elementary

First Lady Dianne Bentley traveled to Mobile to donate books and tour George Hall Elementary today. She started her visit in the library that is decorated with murals to resemble a castle. The first class that gathered sat on a dragon rug and was from the pre-k class. Mrs. Bentley talked to them about being in school and then read two books with them. At the end, the class all told the First Lady "I love you," in sign language. She smiled and signed the same back to them.
The next class that came to the library consisted of first graders. These students were very curious and wanted to know about the Governor's Mansion. In turn, they shared some about their homes. Their behavior was quite impressive and they were all very respectful when Mrs. Bentley began to read.
Following her visit in the library, the First Lady toured the school. She was able to stop in and see other classrooms of students, up to fifth grade. Each room was filled with students that had an interest in reading. Mrs. Bentley said that she knew that passion was because of the teachers' and the faculty's dedication to education.
The First Lady feels inspired to share with other organizations about the work in schools like George Hall Elementary. If groups were looking for an outreach opportunity, they could sponsor a school. This would allow schools that had limited funding and parent support to provide their students the chance to go on field trips and be exposed to a world outside of their own.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Scholastic Donation: Harlan Elementary

Today, First Lady Dianne Bentley traveled to Florence to visit with the students, faculty, and staff of Harlan Elementary. As soon as she walked in the door, she was greeted by smiling faces and taken on a tour of the facilities. Mrs. Bentley was impressed by the cleanliness and beauty found throughout the school and by the students' excitement for learning.
At the school-wide assembly, the First Lady shared her love of books starting from when she was a child to now. She talked about getting books with her parents that told the biographies of famous figures in history. After, she answered questions ranging from what is it like to live in the Governor's Mansion to what were you like in second grade. Mrs. Bentley gave open and honest answers that made everyone in the crowd laugh. Then she read a book titled Emma Jo's Song. This book was written by an Alabama author and shares the story of a young girl going to her family's reunion. At the end, the entire school joined together to sing "This Little Light of Mine."
The principal concluded the assembly by presenting the First Lady with a gift basket of Alabama products found in the Florence area, as well as a t-shirt from the school so that she would always remember her visit.
Mrs. Bentley is again, thankful to Scholastic for donating books to the state of Alabama. Their generous donation has been the source of smiling faces, happy schools, and learning success. She hopes to join with them again in the future as they continue to encourage lifelong learning.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Governor's Mansion Gift Shop

Many people do not realize that the Governor's Mansion has its own gift shop located next door. It is a treasure for anyone looking for gifts and is special to all children taking tours because lemonade and cookies are served before they have to get back on the bus.

Starting today, August 22, and going through September 2, they are having a huge sale. Home decor, jewelry, and gifts will all be discounted. The Gift Shop is located at 30 Finley Ave in Montgomery, Alabama and is open Monday through Friday from 9AM to 4PM. Stop by and take advantage of the deals!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Magic Moments

Yesterday, First Lady Dianne Bentley gathered with women from the Montgomery area to raise money and support for Magic Moments. The event was hosted by the Women of Influence at the Alley Station in downtown. Attendees enjoyed lunch, a fashion show, and were touched by the personal story of a mother whose child received a wish.

Magic Moments fills wishes of children who are seriously ill in the state of Alabama. These wishes, even if just for a moment, allow kids to be kids again instead of always having to focus on their condition. It is a non-profit that accepts donations from individuals, corporations, foundations, and civic groups. All money raised stays in the state of Alabama so children from all sixty-seven counties can have a wish come true.

The story shared on Thursday was of a young girl named Holly. Her dream was to meet the Jonas Brothers and her dream came true. Her mom shared that at first Holly did not believe it but by that Friday they were on a plane to Houston for a concert. She had backstage passes and front row tickets to their show and claims her life will never be the same.

Children are our future and First Lady Dianne Bentley seeks the best for all of their lives.

For more information about Magic Moments please visit www.magicmoments.org or call 205-939-9372.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Scholastic Book Donation: Arcadia Elementary

Yesterday, First Lady Dianne Bentley visited with students and faculty at Arcadia Elementary in Tuscaloosa. This school was one of five schools selected by the First Lady to receive one hundred books from Scholastic. Schools were selected based on need and recommendation from the state's Superintendent of Education.

Third and fourth graders were called to the library of Arcadia to meet the First Lady and to accept the books that were being donated. As Mrs. Bentley shared her own personal love for books, the students were filled with questions about her life and her new role as the Governor's wife. She was impressed by their knowledge and their interest in reading. To conclude her time with them, she read an excerpt from the library's most popular chapter book and encouraged them to pursue their dreams and educational goals.

PAL: Parenting Assistance Line

First Lady Dianne Bentley spent time on the campus of the University of Alabama Monday to tour the Child Development Center. When she arrived she was greeted by members of the College of Human Environmental Sciences as well as faculty at the facility.

During the tour, Mrs. Bentley was able to get a look inside the PAL center which is the parenting assistance line. This hotline is in place for parents that need help and do not know where to turn. The clients that call are anonymous and the advice is free. The people that answer the phones are certified in child development and family studies so they are qualified to offer help to those that call. This program is for anyone in the state of Alabama who needs a few tops on raising a child.

First Lady Dianne Bentley is please that there are programs in our state to help better Alabama families. As a mother of four boys and a grandmother of five, she knows how important it is to raise children in a nurturing environment. As a part of her efforts as First Lady, she will support this effort as well as other efforts that improve the lives of children.

If you are interested in learning more about the PAL program please call 1-866-962-3030 or visit http://www.pal.ua.edu/. Any support is appreciated.

If you are a parent or guardian in need of guidance or support please call 1-866-962-3030. Someone is there to answer your call. "Parenting is tough! Sometimes we need a few tips." Call PAL today.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Recipes from the First Lady's Kitchen

Before Dianne Bentley started her role as First Lady of the State of Alabama, she spent a lot of time in the kitchen cooking for and with her familiy. Being together at dinner is important because it keeps everyone connected. Below are two of her favorite recipes. They are simple, fast, and according to the Governor, very tasty.

PoppySeed Chicken Casserole

1 Stick of Butter
4 Chicken breasts, cooked and cut up into small pieces
2 sleeves of buttered crackers (They use Townhouse or Ritz)
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 can of cream of chicken soup
8oz carton of sour cream
3/4cup of chicken broth

Take a 9x13 pan and crush 1 sleeve of crackers into the bottom for the first later. Use ½ the stick of butter and cut small slices over the crackers. Put the chicken pieces on top of the butter and crackers. After, mix the two cans of soup, sour cream, and broth together. Once they are mixed, pour over the chicken. Crush the remaining sleeve of crackers and sprinkle on top of the last layer. The final step asks for the ½ stick of butter to be cut up and distributed across the top layer of crackers.
It is optional to then sprinkle poppy seeds on top.

Bake at 350degrees F covered with foil for 30minutes. Remove the foil for the last five minutes in order to brown the top layer of crackers.

Serve over cooked white rice.

Blueberry Supreme

1quart of fresh blueberries
1 large can of crushed pineapple
1 box of yellow cake mix (Duncan Hines)
1 ½ sticks of butter

Mix all together and spread in a 9x13 pan. Cook at 350degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

First Lady Dianne Bentley encourages every family to spend some time together during the week.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Looking Back: Inauguration

The theme of this year’s Inauguration was selected to reflect the pride Governor and Mrs. Bentley have in the state of Alabama. Every event featured Alabama products and workers to showcase the wealth of resources available throughout the state.
There were many highlights to the festivities, including the public event held at the Montgomery Riverwalk Stadium which offered free food and games for attendees. Along with that event, the Bentley’s hosted guests at the First Ladies Luncheon, Prayer Breakfast, Inaugural Ceremony, and the Inaugural Ball.
At the ball, Dianne Bentley wore a custom designed dress by Anthony Williams, a University of Alabama graduate and contestant on the television show Project Runway. Together with their family, the Bentleys were presented to guests waiting inside the Renaissance Hotel. Entertainment was provided by several groups including the Montgomery Ballet, The Grand Band, and the Lamb Family Violin Ensemble.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Great American Seafood Cookoff

Great American Seafood Cook-Off crown goes to Alabama chef
Saturday, August 06, 2011, 7:50 PM
By Laura McKnight, The Times-Picayune

Jim Smith's winning dish, 'Late Summer Alabama Bounty,' highlighted crabs and shrimp among various fresh vegetables and global flavors. These crabs were photographed at the Westwego Seafood Market in July 2010. Smith, executive chef of the Alabama Governor's Mansion, earned the crown with his dish "Late Summer Alabama Bounty," which highlighted Gulf of Mexico shrimp and crabs among various fresh vegetables and global flavors. "Gulf seafood is some of the best in the world," Smith said, adding that he is honored to represent all of American seafood as the reigning champion of this afternoon's cook-off. The eighth annual Cook-Off, held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, included renowned and up-and-coming chefs from across the country, representing states from Oregon to Kentucky to Maine. The chefs celebrate domestic, sustainable seafood by creating dishes with shrimp, fish and other creatures from their home states. "I have the best, freshest seafood available," Smith said. "The crabs were still alive and kicking when I put them in the pot." Chef Bud Gruninger of North Carolina earned second prize with a red drum dish, and Chef Scott Anderson of New Jersey garnered third place with a creation featuring New Jersey fluke. The event, part of the Louisiana Foodservice Expo, is sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and presented by the Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board. One of today's judges, Chef Rick Moonen, a Las Vegas restaurateur and advocate for sustainable seafood, said Smith's dish managed to create intrigue while avoiding the common error of overwhelming the palate. "This dish was well-harmonized," Moonen said.