Cahokia Mounds & Other Destinations

Being a mom opens up some interesting doors. Just yesterday, I went on a field trip with my 2nd grader to Cahokia Mounds in Cahokia, IL. This is an historic site that shows artifacts of the Mississippian Indians. It also is the site where these Indians built huge mounds of dirt–some were for burial and others were for worship. There is one large mound that is flat on the top, which served as the location for the tribe’s chief and his palace. There are 154 steps to the top. It was 85+ degrees out when we climbed up all those steps. Let’s just say, it was a challenge! I think this was a great place for the chief to rule his tribe. One of his subjects would have had to be really motivated to see him to climb up all those steps!

Here are the other places field trips have taken me this year:

Service project at a local orphanage
Limited Too – for my first grader’s Brownie troop to participate in a fashion show
Build a Bear — just today, again for Brownies

I was supposed to go to the MO state capital with my 4th grader’s class, but Charis was sick, so I had to beg off.

A recipe

I have not posted many recipes because I haven’t been doing much real cooking this last year. But another blogger was talking about salmon, and it got me in the mood. I like salmon almost anyway it is cooked, but a convenient way to cook it in the house (as opposed to on the grill) is to poach it. It keeps the salmon moist, and if you are following a recipe like the one I am about to post, you don’t have the uncertainty of how long to cook it.

This recipe is from a cookbook called Bless this Food by Julia Pitkin and Karen Grant. My mother-in-law has made this recipe several times, and it always turns out great. I have followed the recipe to the letter once or twice, but I have turned to it many times to remind me how much liquid is needed for the poaching, what temp to set the oven at, and how long to leave it in. I made poached salmon tonight, and I didn’t have any wine on hand, so I used redwine vinegar, and it gave the salmon a nice tangy flavor but still let the taste of the meat come through.

One other thing about the cookbook . . . it’s sort of a fun one to use. It is set up with menus and recipes for holidays/special occasions throughout the year. Alot of them are a bit involved, but they are still easy enough for anyone who can read and follow instructions. I actually prepared the entire menu for the President’s Day dinner for some couples back in Oklahoma, so you know it’s not too hard.

Ok . . . enough going on. Here’s the recipe:

Poached Salmon
2 C water
1 C dry wine or vermouth (I prefer wvermouth for the nutty flavor)
4 slices fresh gingerroot, flattened
1 T black peppercorns, bruised
1 bay leaf
1 2 1/2 pound piece salmonm filet
Salt to taste

1/2 C sour cream
1/4 C mayonaise
2 t dijon mustard
1 1/2 T grated peeled fresh gingerroot
1 t freshly grated orange peel
2 T fresh orange juice
1 1/2 T drained green peppercorns
1/2 t sugar
1 T white wine vinegar
Salt to taste

Butter a large baking dish. In a small saucepan bring the water and wine to a boile with the gingerroot, black perppercorns, and bay leaf. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture stand for 5 minutes. Remove the bay leaf.

In the repared baking dish attange the salmon skin-side down. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Add the wine mixture. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, until the salmon just flakes and is cooked through.

In a medium bowl, whish together the sour cream, mayonaise, mustard, gingerroot, orange peel, orange juice, green peppercorns, sugar, vinegar, and salt to taste. Let the sauce stand at room temperature for 20 minutes for the flavor to develop.

Place the fish on a serving dish, and drizzle with some of the sauce. Serve the remaining sauce on the side.

Makes 6 servings.


Being a mom

Mother’s Day at our house was pretty low key. We were supposed to host some out of town visitors for lunch, but Charis got sick on Saturday night with a fever. So, Charis and I hung out at home while Daddy and the older kids went to church and out to lunch with the visithing family and our friends, the Craws.
When they all got home, the kids gave me cards, and hugs and kisses. So we celebrated Mother’s Day in the most important way–with the kids and Daddy giving extra love and with me being especially grateful for them.

I was supposed to chaperone Calvin’s field trip to Jefferson City today, but Charis’s illness continues, so I couldn’t follow through with the child care plans we had for her. Despite my laments to friends about the idea of spending 12 hours with 40 4th graders, I am sort of sorry I am missing the opportunity to share the experience with Calvin.

Life in the Fast Lane

Life in the Fast Lane

Life in the fast lane
Surely make you lose your mind
Life in the fast lane
Life in the fast lane
Everything all the time
Life in the fast lane

The Eagles

So what does a song dealing with partying all the time, doing drugs, and illicit sex have to do with a 40-year-old mother of 4? Not much really. But that line, “Everything, all the time,” seems to make this song applicable to so many people. Sometimes I just think we need to stop doing everything all the time. There is so much going on I often don’t have time to just “be.”

Yes. It is 12:40 am, and I am blogging. I should be sleeping. But I am restless. Sleep feels so good, but if I stay awake I might arrive at solutions to several problems I am trying to solve. It is doubtful though, so I will go to sleep soon.

My life in the fast lane has involved taking the kids to school, working on my little work projects for my at-home part-time job, retrieving papers about field trips from backpacks, helping with homework, picking up nerf darts, picking up puzzle pieces, picking up plastic toys of all sorts, stepping on hard molded plastic toys and screaming out in agony, and, last but by no means least, doing mounds and mounds of laundry (BTW, I never reached my goals of last week. Much laundry was washed, dried, and folded, but all the baskets are still not empty. I guess I could be doing that now!)

I write about these things to make myself feel like what I am doing is worthwhile. When I see it written out, it gives me a sense of accomplishment. I need that. So just bear with me…………..

How the day began

Mark and I attended chapel at our children’s school today because Nevin was receiving a little award that they give out each month to a member of each class who best demonstrates the “character trait of the month.” In April, the character trait was “being a friend to all.” So Nevin was chosen by his teacher, and we needed to be there to see him receive his honor. We are proud of him, and honestly, we can see this quality in him (although not always at home with his siblings!)

It is sort of a mind twister to think about how an award like this really reconciles itself to the quality of being a friend to all. Or, how all the awards like this for various character traits impact the behavior of the children. While I am happy for Nevin, I feel like singling out kids for this sort of behavior may not be the best way to foster good behavior. Because, let’s face it, not all the kids will get the award. Some kids will get chosen more than once for the award over the course of their time at the school. There are so many factors involved regarding how the kids are chosen–subjective judgment on the part of teachers, a teacher seeing all of one kid’s good behavior and none of his bad beahavior while seeing all of his neighbor’s bad behavior and none of his good, and the list could go on and on.

I am not on a some sort of crusade to stop schools from singling out children for good behavior. I am just working through thoughts about how the kids who never get the awards feel. What does striving for some sort of character award and not getting it do to them emotionally?

On a slightly related note, the chapel service at the school today used their “Remembrance of Baptism” liturgy. It was a nice responsive service in which all present had the opportunity to reaffirm their baptismal vows. They do this once a month, and all the children who were baptized in the particular month stand up and the group sings “Happy Birthday God’s Children.” This type of thing is what we really like about our kids’ school. We happened to be there today when Calvin and Evangeline were standing up to be sung to, and we were glad to participate and remember the days that God claimed them. The service was helpful because the way the liturgy was laid out just seemed to make infant baptism and recalling its significance and restating our beliefs in Jesus so sensible. It seemed to me that it would be a good service for our credobaptist friends to witness so they could better understand how we view baptism and that we don’t believe you just get baptized and that’s the end of it.

It was a good way to start the day. I hope you had a good start to your day.

Simple Goals

My goals for the week:

1. Put away all the clean laundry currently in baskets.

2. Wash and dry all the dirty laundry currently in baskets.

3. Put away more laundry after it is washed and dried.

4. Have completely empty baskets for at least 4 hours.

It is an impossible dream, but hey, we have to aim high in this life!