Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Wagons Ho!

Let me make a note to myself of this date.  A rite of passage occurred around here today if you will.  And a choice I made a few weeks back came back to stare me blatantly in the face in the form of my four year old.

Let me back up...

A few weeks ago we had done some back to school shopping and snagged some Children's Place cash that was good at some point in the future.  I had told the Bean we would use it to supplement her wardrobe with it when we were able to spend it.  So this morning after getting NJ off to school the Bean and I packed up and headed to Great Lakes Crossing for some shopping.  We had lots of fun (in spite of me getting us turned around on the way there.  I miss my GPS - Grant did you hear that??), scored some fun deals and then decided to head home.  As we're driving we were discussing that she could wear one of her outfits for Picture Day on Friday and I mentioned that I needed to desperately trim her bangs before then.  To which I heard

"Mom, I want to cut my hair short like yours!"

My heart fell into my stomach, but I think I handled it rather gamely all things considered.  I asked her how short (above my shoulders) and why she wanted to do it (I think it'll be cute).  I may be strict about a lot of things, but I also believe that both the kiddos should be allowed to assert their own individuality (and there's NO DOUBT that Mikayla is an individual) and what she was asking to do wasn't completely out of line.  Just different - more my hang-up than hers.  I asked her if she wanted to think about it first or if we should just go and do and I got a resounding "now" so we were off.

She's had her hair cut before (though only by Sarah) so it's not like this was the first time or anything, but it was the first time that SHE asked to do it, and SHE picked what she wanted.  As I watched them snip it was like one more heartstring for me, and after the past few weeks, there's been plenty of them being snapped!  But she looks adorable and as I reminded her (though she was totally on board the whole time, grinning like a cheshire cat and not batting an eyelash) - it's just hair.  It will grow back.  And I've got plenty of heartsrings left - right?

After she had sufficiently shown off her new do to her brother when he got home, I let them open their Oregon mail.  Believe it or not, I have been holding on to this mail for almost a full year now!  This is another 'friend of a friend' that is helping us out who was way on top of things!  Our mail came to us from a 23 year resident of the Beaver State who currently resides in Dallas.  Not only did we get a cool postcard telling us about her favorite things in Oregon, but she also sent a neat photo book!  Thanks Janess for helping the Dynamic Duo learn about Oregon!

After such an eventful day I was glad to throw an easy Oregon meal of Caramelized Onion Pork Tenderloin and Tater Tot Potato Romanoff together tonight.  The pork recipe calls for sweet onion, many of which are grown in the Willamette Valley.  The recipe creator who is from Ontario  says "We live in a farming community, and one of our main crops is onion. When I competed in a cooking contest at the Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onion Festival, I was flabbergasted when I won the top three prizes. This was the first-place recipe."  And like its neighbor Idaho, Oregon has quite the potato crop.  In fact, also in Ontario, is the headquarters for Ore-Ida, which is where I got this recipe from.  (Kristi's side note, Ore-Ida is actually owned by Heinz, which hails from next week's state, Pennsylvania!)  For dessert I used Oregon's State Fruit to make Pear Cake.

Since tonight is one of the only night's this week that all four of us are going to be home at the same time, I really wanted to try out making some edible covered wagons in honor of the Oregon Trail.  I will admit that I only used the tutorial as a guideline if you want to try it yourself.  My 'not first trip to this rodeo' self was smart enough to make the wheel axels this morning and then had the kids assemble the wagon part with me this afternoon so they got a few hours in the freezer before we finished them off.  The kids had a blast - you'll have to see how they came out. And you know me and my obsession with 'cute' food :)   There'll be more covered wagon fun later in the week.

The business continues around here tomorrow with both kids at school, a playdate for the Bean after school, Noah's first Cub Scout meeting and the Ice Cream Social at Beechview.  Plus I've got another seafood recipe on tap for the (short-haired!) Bean.  So until then...

Oregon Fun Fact of the Day  Oregon has one city named Sisters and another called Brothers. Sisters got its name from a nearby trio of peaks in the Cascade Mountains known as the Three Sisters. Brothers was named as a counterpart to Sisters.

Every girl needs a pair of sparkly pink and silver shoes covered in stars

What a big kid


Hmm, says we had some luck shopping

There is no doubt to me that this is the Bean's wardrobe

Oregon mail call!

Ready to make his wagon

We got it assembled

Two more done

Tater Tot Potato Romanoff (everyone here really really liked this and I liked how easy it was)

Caramelized Onions with Pork

Dinner's ready!

Pear Cake

This was a (somewhat) surprising hit as well.  Oh, and just to clarify, I actually cut the recipe to 1/3 and didn't make it in a bundt pan - it was just right for an 8 inch round.  The boys especially liked it requesting it in their lunches tomorrow

Getting the driver on the wagon

Noah's covered wagon

Tell me this isn't fabulously cute!

Think he can do it in one bite?

My grown-up engineer had to show he could improve on my design

Kayla got hers put together as well

And quickly dis-assembled it

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