Monday, April 30, 2012

A Lesson in Civil Authority

Sara Elizabeth over at A Mama’s Story, is doing a series on home birth and midwifery.  I was very honored when she asked me to answer some of her reader's questions.  This was especially time appropriate as in June we will be moving to Oaxaca to begin our own ministry and midwifery will be become a bigger part of that ministry.  Just last week Casa Compassiva, the birth center I will be helping with, had one of the mothers they are serving trust Jesus Christ as her personal Savior.  While Church planting is our main focus, we are excited to see what ministry opportunities midwifery will open up in Oaxaca.  And being totally honest, I am looking forward to attending births, prenatal and postpartum visits on a regular basis again.  
We are currently in the U.S. for the next 2-3 weeks to renew our visas, car registrations, and for me to be able to complete some of the requirements for recertification of my midwifery.  This past Thursday and Friday I was able to attend the ALSO (Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics) course in Corpus Christi, TX.  I really enjoyed the course, the case studies, the hands on practice and all the evidenced based information, but best of all I passed and learned new things, while concreting other skills!  :)  
The trip up to the border went very smooth.  We had everything packed, including food for the trip, the night before and we made it to the border in record time, without getting pulled over even once.  Once we reached the immigration office on the Mexican side we realized we had left 3 of the 7 passports and our Mexican visas in Encarnacion, 10 hours drive away.  We could not cancel the visas, and we weren’t sure if we would be able to cross to the U.S. side without our passports, plus we had almost no identification for Haden.  Sam thought he might have a scanned copy of his birth certificate in his computer.  We had copies of the passports and visas we were missing, but not his.  And my class started in Corpus Christi, a 4 hour drive away, early Thursday morning.
After some deliberation and calling back to Encarnacion to locate the passports.  We decided to try to go in and cancel the Mexican passports with the copies we had and then try to cross the border.  A national pastor was willing to ride the bus all night to bring us our passports by the next morning.  We could not cancel at the bridge with the copies because it was not the same bridge we had entered, but we did learn they could be cancelled without everyone present at the other bridge, so we decided to try to cross and Sam would come back the next morning and retrieve our passports and cancel the visas.  
As we approached the entrance to the bridge we were pulled over by Mexican police for  “speeding”.  We were already a little up tight about trying to cross without our passports and not looking forward to the wait on the hot bridge without air conditioning.  After quite a bit a talking, we moved toward the bridge.  As Sam was placing what paperwork and documents we had in order, he could not find his drivers license.  He jumped out and ran back across to the Mexican police to retrieve it.  They said they had given in back.  Meanwhile, I was trying not to get to a gate without Sam, much to the irritation of the people behind us.  When Sam returned very sweaty and out of breath, it was without his drivers license.  At this point, I had reached my stress limit and felt a constricting panic in my chest at the idea of trying to explain to the U.S. border authorities why we did not have three passports, and now Sam did not have a drivers license.  I rummaged around the car, remembering Sam had given the Mexican policeman a tract and there was his license neatly tucked in with all the tracts.  
Hannah mentioned she had no trust for anyone in civil authority and I assured her the U.S. side would be different.  Much to her surprise the U.S. authorities were professional and followed their protocol for this situation.  And we all breathed a sign of relief as we entered the U.S.  After watching the movie “UP”, we often start out trips and other adventures by crying out, “Adventure is out there!”  Sam began the chant and everyone followed along, but promptly stated that they were ok without anymore adventure for awhile.  There is actually even more to this story, but I'll stop here.  Praise the Lord for his ever present hand of protecton!
Because we were not busying enough, while we were packing and I was doing last minute studying for the ALSO course, the girls and I sewed some cute dresses.  You can see them at the top of the post.  Have a great week everyone!  

And of course I'm linking up with A Mama's Story!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

An Authentic French Meal, Even in Mexico

The ingredients for Pot Au Feu are so "basic", "from scratch", "whole" that we can find them even in Mexico.  However, while the ingredients are simple, excluding the veal and oxtail, I didn't even bother with those, the process of creating Pot Au Feu as simple.  Two days, brine soaking, bouquet garni, multi pot not as simple to be exact.  So why would one go to the grand extreme of creating this rather extravagant dish.  Perhaps a very important guest or an elegant party. Truth be told, I'm not sure how I landed exactly on Pot Au Fue, I must have been quite hungry and overly energized from a good nights sleep or stout cup of coffee.  The kind that makes you feel you can take on the world and you pretty much do until the three hour expiration on energy runs out.  That's why I stick to the green smoothies, much more consistent on their energy output.  Anyway, I've wandered far from the main point.
We were studying the country of France in school and the lesson plans suggested making the flag of France from colored construction paper, which was the same activities we had done several countries ago.  They did a great job on those flag by the way.  I'll post pictures of them below.  I gave them no guidance, only a photo of the flag and construction paper in those colors and all four made the same flag in a different way, which I thought was pretty cool.  As much fun as flag making is, the French flag is not exactly a challenge, so I thought it would be more fun and educational to create an authentic French dish.  So with the word challenge in the back of my coffee fueled mind and google at my fingers tips (this is a dangerous combo), as I said I may have been a little hungry too, making the famous and very complicated meat heavy dish of Pot Au Feu appeared upon my screen as a great idea.  After all didn't some other chic make a whole cook book of French food and blogged about it.
So we first found all the ingredients we could at the market and stores, than we sent Sam to the butcher for the meat.  I ended up going with the brisket, short ribs, and beef bones, leaving out the veal cuts.  I did put the oxtail on the list, but sadly, even with charades this could not be ordered.  Then we created a brine and soaked our meats overnight.  Then we cooked our meats and bones with our herbs and spices and water until we had the most fantastic tasting meat and broth you have ever tasted, I'm actually being very serious here, it was good.  Then you remove the meat and cook the vegetables in the heavenly broth.  THEN you serve it with a French bread, of course, and a variety of sauces you've also made while waiting for all this brining and cooking and removing and chopping and cooking.  While we ate we shared some of the facts about Europe and France we had been learning with dad.  Huh, maybe I should rename this post homeschool overkill: when mom gets more excited about the unit study than is really necessary.  Well anyway, it made three absolutely delicious meals.  Which was really surprising because the food in France seemed somewhat bland to me when we visited.  I guess we picked the wrong restaurants or just order the wrong things.  And really, I've tackled much larger culinary feats for much less honorable reasons.  Click the link to see the recipe we mostly followed.

We used cabbage from the garden.  Isn't she a beauty!

Homemade "French" Bread

Pot au Fue: literally meaning pot in the fire. 

It was recommended to serve in with a French mustard.

Looks humble, but it is absolutely heavenly.

OK, sorry about the million pictures, but I'm sure the grandparents won't be complaining.  The flag of Norway is supposed to be robin red, royal blue and white.  However, I only had pinkish, light blue and off-white, being the ubber organized home schooler I am.  Anyway, any homeschooler will have enough imagination to work with this small setback. 

And finally, I think they were supposed to be cleaning their room.  I'm not sure if this is Ferdinand the Bull or the Texas Longhorn.  Until next time, Blessings from Mexico.

Excited to be doing a link-up with my good friend and one of my favorite bloggers, Sara Elizabeth, over at A Mama's Story.