This afternoon I found Governor Doyle’s memo buried in my kindergartner’s back pack. I read that the state of Wisconsin recognizes this week as Bus Driver Appreciation week. The governor directs all parents to say thank you to our children’s bus drivers with a token thank you gift or card, – this week. And tomorrow is Friday.

I was expecting bus driver appreciation week, just not so soon. Prior to the governor’s edict, our elementary school had observed bus driver appreciation week for years. But May, not February, has been the season when we shower our drivers with thank you gifts of baked goods, candy, flowers, and hand-made cards. My neighborhood shows exceptional enthusiasm during bus driver appreciation week because WE have THE BEST BUS DRIVER! Her name is Jean and we, meaning both parents AND kids, LOVE her. She is not only friendly and kind, but she keeps our children safe. Jean gently enforces safety and courtesy rules. My children often say how glad they are that she does and they complain about substitute drivers who don’t. They say that kids act crazy on the bus when Jean is gone. And although my children won’t admit it, I think that craziness on the bus makes them nervous.

So I am definitely on board when it comes to celebrating bus driver appreciation week. I want to give Jean just the right thank you gift. But it’s 8:00 pm and I need the thank you gift in less than 12 hours. So to whom do I turn? – Grandma (Alice) Peterson, mother of Wanda Peterson Mango. Grandma (Alice) Peterson had twelve children, and she loved baking so much that she opened up a Swedish bakery in Door County, Wisconsin. So I figured that this woman not only had great dessert recipes, but with 12 kids, she could cook FAST! Wanda had collected her mother’s and her grandmothers’ recipes used in the bakery into a cookbook calledGrandma’s Home Kitchen: Family Recipes and Traditions of Grandma’s Swedish Bakery. This was the cookbook I used last night. I knew any recipe in the book would turn out well. My focused search was on recipes’ prep times. That’s why I chose to make lemon bars.

I’d never made lemon bars in my life. But Grandma’s lemon bar recipe claimed the bars only required 15 minutes of prep time. And they did; I timed them. Of course, the baking time took longer, but that wasn’t a worry. I was happy that the recipe made many bars that looked very pretty and tasted lemony sweet. Cutting them out in a shape of a large bus did not work so well, however. I recommend sticking to the traditional bar shape.

Click on “Continue reading …for this fast, easy recipe for lemon bars.”

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