Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A day eight years in the making

Today has been wonderful for so many different reasons.  I have to start with the most important - it's the 8th anniversary of the day Grant and I said "I do"!  I can't believe that it's been eight years, so much has happened.  We've moved across the country - twice.  We made additions to our family in pet and child form.  We bought a house, and then another one.  We've lived, we've learned, we've changed, we've grown, we've cried, we've fought, we've been and we've been low - but we've done it TOGETHER.  Love ya babe - would do it all over again.

I also had some really great moments with each of the kiddos today that touched my heart.  I spent a good chunk of my morning in Noah's classroom learning about taste.  By trying chocolate, potato chips, blackberries and lemons we learned about sweet, salty, bitter and sour and where each is located on the tongue.  I laughed harder than I have in a LONG time watching he and his classmates taste things today - especially the lemons.  They cracked me up and I so wish I had my camera with me.  Noah's favorite, in case you wondered, was the lemon :)

The Bean continues to wrap up school (her last day is Thursday) and this morning out in the hallway were the 'books' she's put together over the year.  My favorite was Mikayla's 'self portraits' - one from the first day of school and one from last week.  Oh my goodness what a difference year makes!  I'll let you see below.  She also helped me in the kitchen this morning after school by making a special treat for Grant.  We had a really good conversation about why people get married and how important love is and her take on it (she's going to marry Noah, by the way, because she loves him more than any other boy besides Daddy who she can't marry because he's married to me) made my heart melt.

I had a fun quick afternoon visit from my friend Amber and her adorable (walking!) little man while the Bean was down for a nap before attempting to get some work done this afternoon.  Then it was off to grab my favorite kindergartner (going to say this as many times as possible before its not true anymore) from the bus.  After school I let the kiddos dig into their Maryland mail.  As I mentioned yesterday, our dear friends the Kunkle's now reside in Columbia, Maryland and they put together a great box for the kiddos to represent the state.  Kristina - you may have outdone yourself with the blue crab (which we immediately named Pinchy!) as a state project 'mascot' for the week.  There was also a very cool key chain, a beautiful postcard and some fun pictures for them to color.  All of our love to Arthur, Kristina and the most beautiful Lillian for helping us learn more about Maryland this week.  We were hoping to be able to skype with them tomorrow night (because Noah really wants to discuss the fact with Arthur that jousting is the official state sport of Maryland and if he's tried it) but we were saddened to learn Arthur's grandma passed away over the weekend and the Kunkle's are on their way to Pennsylvania to be with his family.  Our love and prayers go with them.

After some play time outside (sun has been in and out all day - make up your mind Mother Nature!) we sat down to a dinner of Crusty Maryland Style Fried Chicken.  Alright, go ahead and say it, what's Maryland chicken?  Gee, so glad you asked!  The distinguishing factor of Maryland fried chicken from other Southern fried chicken is that rather than cooking the chicken in several inches of oil or shortening, the chicken is pan-fried in a heavy (traditionally cast-iron) skillet and covered tightly after the initial browning so that the chicken steams as well as fries.  Usually then, milk or cream is added to the skillet drippings to create a creamy white gravy that is a specific characteristic of Maryland style chicken.  Sounds like a recipe right up the Gatchel's alley.  To go with it I slice up a very ripe canteloupe I had picked up yesterday (seriously, it was like peeling butter to get the rind off...) and some Old Bay Coleslaw.  I took a picture of it (since it was in the crab cakes) yesterday, but in case you were wondering Old Bay Seasoning originated in Baltimore over seventy years ago and has maintained its distinct blend in the iconic blue and yellow tin the entire time.  Tradition has it that at one time the crab was so popular and prevelant in the Baltimore area that they were served up for free to patrons in local bars.  Spices like Old Bay were created to season the crabs and encourage the bar goers to order more drinks to combat the slightly spicy salty taste.  The Old Bay website has tons of fun recipes using the spice blend and you can plan on seeing a few more this week.  Oh, and Grant adored his special anniversary dessert by the way :) (I tweaked it a little to include chopped reeses cups between the layers and melted reeses cups to the tops but the basic recipe is here)

We headed outside after dinner for a quick game of baseball and I finally got the chance to break in my glove. It was the perfect way to end the day with my trio and now I'm off to enjoy the rest of the night with my one and only.  I am going to tackle the epic Smith Island Cake (with the help of my trusty assistant the Bean) tomorrow and there may be a few crabs around then too...  So until then...

Maryland Fun Fact of the Day:  In 1831, the B&O (Baltimore & Ohio) Railroad set a speed record at an incredible 30 miles per hour!

Mail Call!

Mikayla's self-portrait from the first week of school

Oh what a difference a few months makes...
Ready to help make Daddy's special treat

A treat making queen in the kitchen

Do I know my husband or what?

Helping make the cole slaw

Mail call!

Meet Pinchy!

Super cool key chain

Coloring pages!

He read the postcard all on his own!

Thanks wonderful Kunkle family!

Mikayla decided she wanted to play Monopoly - vs Pinchy

And does my husband know me???

This is how they do chicken in Maryland

 We voted - and while everyone enjoyed the Maryland chicken, we decided as a whole we preferred the Kentucky version

Old Bay Coleslaw

Gravy on the side!

Grant decided if I kept making things like this our marriage has a fair chance of continuing unscathed ;-)

Family baseball

My leftie at bat

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