Thursday, February 9, 2012

Random Things We've Been Up To

We'll the kids and I have been hitting the books hard everyday, this is the most stable our life had been in about 4 or 5 years.  Everyone is enjoying seeing their progress day by day and week by week.  It's probably a little hard to appreciate this blessing we are enjoying if your whole life hasn't been picked up and dumped on its side a few times, but rejoice with us anyway.

Samuel's birthday is exactly one week after Haden's.  He's such a good sport about letting us go on and on about how it's almost Haden's birthday for the whole month of January.  Some extra money came in so we were able to do some special things on his birthday and he got a really cool Lego set.  His actual birthday was so packed full that I got the cake baked, but not decorated.  So we celebrated again Friday night when we finally got around to decorating the cake.  It was a little crumbly, so I was sure it was going to be even more a flub than Haden's.  I apologized a few times when I was trying to put it together.  Hubby came in and saved the day somehow and it turned out really nice.  It's held together with a LOT of icing.  Hahaha!

In other news I have tried some new recipes I got off of life since I discovered Pinterest.....Facebook who?  LOL!  So I found this recipe for Portabella Pepper Steak from Once Upon a Plate blog.  You can get the recipe by clicking the link.  So I made something a lot like it but my own version.  Portabella mushrooms are actually kinda "meaty" and comparitivly priced to meat and my family loves mushrooms.  So I also read in Clara's Kitchen: Wisdom, Memories and Recipes from the Great Depression that sometimes her mom would use some of the bread dough on "bread making day" to make pizza.  Then Monday as the kids and I were in the middle of our own "bread making day" it all came together.  I had some of the wonderful fresh sautéed tomato sauce from making Huevos Rancheros, I added to that 5 or 6 sun dried tomatoes and one can of stewed tomatoes and it was AMAZING.  I rolled out some of the bread dough, put my AMAZING pizza sauce on it, topped that with the Portabella Pepper Steak and Mexican cheese.  I served it with sautéed collard greens from the garden.  What a gourmet dinner! 

But that wasn't the end of the portabella mushrooms.  I was able to get a huge package for less than $5, so I still had 6 left AND I had some of the Portabella Pepper Steak left AND I still had some of the AMAZING pizza sauce.  I placed the portabella mushrooms in the oven topped with olive oil and salt, while I added another bell pepper and onion to my "pepper steak" mixture along with the mushroom stems and let that sautee.  After about 5 minutes I pulled them out and topped them with the "pepper steak", pizza sauce and mexican cheese.  Then they went back in the oven until then were done.  So delicious.  I served it with Spicy Curried Beans.  

Hope you're having a great week too!  :)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Green Grass in a Dry Land

As I stepped outside our house and surveyed our town, "They are going to think we are crazy," is exactly what came to mind.  Our neighborhood is called Buena Vista or Beautiful View, it should just be called Vista, because for this Arkansas girl raised in some of the most beautiful scenery on God's green earth it is just a dusty dry view of the town.  A nice place to look over when you are praying, but the words beautiful never come to mind.  Several of the church folks mentioned that the winds come in Jan and Feb.  OK, I thought, what does that even mean - the winds come?  I didn't give it much thought.

On our drive to Oaxaca Haden got this picnic idea in his head.  He wanted to stop right where we were and have a picnic.  I think he just wanted the 12 hour drive to stop, poor guy.  Anyway, I assured him we would have a picnic when we got back home, with the kids.  He agreed a picnic with his brothers and sisters would be funner.  So, we've had several backyard picnics, but Haden really wanted a picnic at the park.  His birthday was in a day or two, so I said, "We can't have a picnic at the park today, but how about for your birthday."  His eyes lit up and he immediately got pictures of a park and nice green grass in his head.  Folks, it hasn't rained in months and when it did rain it wasn't a very plentiful rainy season.  I thought, we'll worry about the grass later, maybe the cake and festivities will be enough.

Wednesday came and we began to make picnic party preparations.  As I baked the caked I noticed there was quite a bit of wind, when we went to the market for a few things the vendors were starting to have a hard time keeping everything from blowing away.  By the time I had everything packed for a picnic and began loading the van, I thought, "They are going to think we are crazy having a picnic in this wind, and they are going to be right."  Not only was there no green grass anywhere in sight, the dust from the months of dryness was blowing everywhere.  Sam just smiled and said, our little five year old wants a picnic, lets go to the park.

We hadn't been to this particular park for a while, so I was very surprised to see they water it year round.  Maybe that's what they use that small entrance fee for.  There was a huge lawn of green grass, which really cut down on the swirling dust and made a very nice place to sit upon a blanket.  The wind had even died down and was hardly blowing by the time we left.  Another family had come and were having their own picnic, so we weren't the only crazy ones.  What a lovely little picnic party God provided for our little guy.  He of course, never even notice the wind and was not the least bit surprised by the green grass, which was just what he expected.

He's showing us which piece he wants, basically the whole head!  LOL!

Isn't this card Lena made him soooo cute!  On the hand is says, "I love you...." and when you open it up it says, "THIS MUCH!"  She got the idea from Pinterest!  LOL!

Cake idea is an alligator from the Family Fun web site.  I don't know if any of you have seen the picture of the super cute cookie monster cupcakes and then the picture of the total fail cookie monster cupcakes, but this kind of made me think of that!  Normally I'm pretty good at birthday cakes, but I got my icing too thin.  Anyway, he's cute and Haden was happy.