01 November 2009


MK+DM are moving out for a few weeks--about an hour away--and tomorrow their good friends are coming from Oklahoma to visit. This couple spent several years in Slovakia with CCCI and adopted one child from Oklahoma and one from SK. Our little girls are very excited their friends will be visiting, and the friends will be excited to speak Slovak again.

Today MK and I are making slow-roasted pork shoulder for pulled pork sandwiches and quesadillas, and a big batch of the creamy chicken pasta soup w/lemon--all this for them to take along to West Chicago for this week's entertaining. We don't often get a chance to cook together but we fall right in--the little girls line up on each side of us to help...

This pork shoulder is a riot--skin with a bit of whiskers still intact. Are we supposed to skin it? Can't find the answer--until later--on the Internet, so we shake on a bit of olive oil, rub in the spices and slide this baby into the 300 degree oven for 4+ hours before we are to check on its progress.

The creamy chicken pasta soup we've both cooked many times, and we share the chopping of carrots, onions, and celery. MK peels and slices of the mushrooms--I've learned from her that Slovaks peel the mushroom caps, and have found it a very easy task to accomplish. Rather than scrubbing the caps with water, you just peel off the thin top layer and all blemishes/dirt are removed. She, like me, makes chunky slices as mushrooms shrink so much when they are in the hot soup.

I sleep away half the afternoon--still recovering from my travels--and then a quick trip to Office Max and the grocery store. I have promised MK a flash drive of my cookbook and I want to laminate the Hawaiian paper dolls so that LG doesn't get frustrated when KF bends and mangles them. And, we need some chicken for the soup. I also grab a multi-grain baguette and an avocado to go in/along with the super salad that MK is constructing for our dinner.

CA is going to Small Group tonight, but I'm staying put. My outing to the shops convinced me that I am not yet ready for prime time consumption... Good thing I stay home as I am working with the pork and soup most of the evening--in between HGTV, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Mad Men. I've not watched t.v. in two weeks.

LG and KF are carrying around photos of their daddy and aunt at approximately 10 and 3 years of age, and one of four little girls sitting backwards on a lawn swing and giggling and laughing--me and 3 of my four sisters in Bowen, IL, somewhere in the mid-1950s. LG points to NC and says, "She looks just like Mary had a little lamb...." So, I call NC in Seattle to pass along the compliment.

In conversation with NC (the best cook in the family and the person most responsible for my love of cooking) she tells me that her favorite pork shoulder recipe is in the original Foster's Market Cookbook that I bought for her in Durham 5 years ago for her birthday. I look up the recipe and can already see another pork shoulder in my future... This recipe actually says to leave the skin on and bone in. WHEW! Although, I will say that this meat has a stinky quality at times in the cooking/checking process that I attribute directly to that skin.

I eventually add the mushrooms and chicken to the soup, and defer the remaining ingredients--milk, rotini, and lemon juice--until MK is ready to serve later this week. The pork is done after 8+ hours, and I let it cool a bit before pulling it from the bone/skin. I seal it with plastic wrap and then in a Glad container. MK is set for several meals for her guests this week.

I'm exhausted, but by 11:00pm the kitchen is relatively clean and I've been able to watch my t.v. programs. KF had a terrible time getting to sleep tonight, but at least she's had 3-hour naps the past two days. Even though the time changed last night, LG goes to bed easily and to sleep immediately. She is non-stop all day long, and seems to recover completely for more action the next day.

MK is noticeably pregnant at 7 months--bigger for her 3rd and final performance than with the first two. Another sweet baby girl, and based on our baby girl experience we can hardly wait. KF is as light as a feather, smiles frequently (with a devilish glint), and skips, tip-toes, and bounces everywhere. She can outsmart her bigger sister and outlast her, too when it comes to sisterly battles. LG is full of ideas and has a memory for promises made. She dances through the day and engages whomever she can with her ideas, adventures, and activities. She is tender-hearted and loving--preparing trays with cookies or crackers and water for anyone she believes is not feeling up-to-par.

And, then baby girl Omaha--LE... Another gorgeous little girl. She is our social butterfly and blooming flirt. We will see her in just a week and look forward to hugs and snugs. JA is our only squishy little guy and he is stretching out so long and tall--we can hardly believe he's passing from toddler to little guy. He has music to play for us and fire hydrants to explore... He's learning Bible verses and songs. I have a few new ones to share with him next week.

Another great day. DM+family move out for a bit tomorrow, but we won't be far apart and they will move back mid-December.

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