Wednesday, July 16, 2014

"Basque"-ing in Nevada

Today is the 16th of July.  When I left my house shortly before 9am the thermostat in my car read 57.  By noon it was 58.  And cloudy.  And dreary with occasional sprinkles  Seriously????  I don't know what the heck Mother Nature has going on, but it is really screwing with my plans!  (hehehe)  What happened to summer?  Given, I am ALWAYS cold so I have been looking forward to 90 degree weather since about last October, but I would gladly take the low 80's at this point.  I'm missing time at the pool/splashpad/sprinkler.  I'm missing melty popsicles.  I'm missing staying outside late (and not being devoured by mosquitoes) to catch lightening bugs in pjs. I mean, I broke out the cuddledud again last night for crying out loud!  What is up with this?  *Sigh*

Alright, enough of my ranting.  There was no way a picnic and the park was happening today, so we improvised yet again.  After VBS, the kiddos and I came home for a quick lunch and then I took them to pick out a few items to donate to the mission program they are pairing with VBS this week.  I made them both agree to some extra tasks (and super good behavior) around the house this week and they seem to be on board.  They are both having an absolute blast at VBS (*you are the clams and we are the butter* - it's stuck in my head now constantly) and I am thankful that they have this opportunity.  They've been brimming with tales of their adventures as soon as I pick them up, I think the Bean gave me a minute by minute recap this afternoon.

This afternoon we spent on some different odds and ends.  First, we managed to get the "We've Been There" state done and up on the wall.  The kiddos are getting good at splitting the name of the state in half and working together to find all the letters.  I noticed when I stuck up Nevada that we had put Colorado waaaaayyy too far East, accounting for a huge gap in the map.  I ended up shifting things around, and while we still need some stuff in the Eastern half to figure out where some of the Atlantic Coast states are going to fall, you can definitely see major progress!

We also finished off our dice!  I had every intention of pulling out some of my paint supplies (I have these cool sponge daubers) to let them put the dots on, but then I had a fun thought this morning - stickers!  So while they were at VBS I went and picked out stickers for each of them to use as the 'dots' on their dice.  (Avengers for Noah, Hearts and Flowers for the Bean)  I helped them figure out where to put the stickers so we had correct dice (we had to pull out some we had from Aunt Shell's wedding!).  I even came up with a simple game for them to play to try them out and they were more than content to play for the majority of the afternoon.  Only problem was that the stickers decided they didn't want to stick all the well after lots of rough play.  So we may end up pulling out the paint tomorrow anyway.

Tonight I am paying tribute to the one type of cuisine that Nevada claims to be known for, Basque cuisine.  According to my research, the origins of the Basque people are a blend of Spanish and French in a region that is located around the western end of the Pyrenees on the coast of the Bay of Biscay and straddles parts of north-central Spain and south-western France.  These people then made their way to Nevada in the 19th century (as part of the mining boom), most specifically to Reno, Nevada, where the Center for Basque Studies and the Basque Studies Library is located at the University of Nevada, and Elko, Nevada which sponsors an annual Basque festival that celebrates the dance, cuisine and cultures of the Basque peoples of Spanish, French and Mexican nationalities who have arrived in Nevada since the late 19th century (snippets borrowed from:  The cuisine that I came across actually reminded me a lot of Creole cooking, which has similar ethnic influences.  

There were tons of dishes to choose from, but I wanted something relatively easy and something I knew my crew would be on board with so this recipe for Basque Chicken and Rice won out.  It smelled super yummy bubbling away tonight and earned a thumbs up all around.  I think if I made it again I would take the suggestion from the recipe and add some corn (and maybe some tomatoes, which are prevalent in Basque cooking, for color).  Then for dessert I made Basque cookies.  I came across quite a few recipes for Gateau Basque (Basque Cake) but decided that cookies are usually an easier sell than cake around here, and this was just an adaptation of a gateau basque, so why not?  These came out like a crunchy shortbread (one of Noah's favorites) and both of the boys raved over them.  Two for two on the Basque cuisine :)

I'm really really counting on Mother Nature to get her act back in gear so that tomorrow we're able to make it to the park after VBS.  The library is having a lunch and water fun with the librarians at Shiawasee in the afternoon, so I'm hoping that we're able to head over there with lunch.  And if you thought they ate some mighty fine mud in Mississippi, wait 'til you get a lode of the brownies from Nevada tomorrow.  So until then...

Nevada Fun Fact of the Day:  Shrimp consumption in Las Vegas is more than 60,000 pounds a day -- higher than the rest of the country combined! (Though Noah and Kayla put a good dent in Michigan's contribution the other night...)

What they picked out to donate for VBS

Working on the "We've Been There State"

Nevada is up!

I keep meaning to take pictures of the wall for the week

The scorecard for their dice game

Working on making dice

Noah's ready to roll

Playing their game

Basque Cookies

Noah and Grant actually really liked these

Basque Chicken and Rice - another winner here tonight

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