Skip to main content

Grillin' and chillin'

September 5th was Labor Day, which is kind of the official end to summer in America.  Right on cue, the temperatures dropped out of the triple digits and it got almost - gasp - chilly overnight.  Starved for fresh air after three months stuck inside breathing air-conditioning, we spent as much of the weekend outside as we could.

Saturday morning we went for a walk over at Parr Park in Grapevine.  It has a great-looking playground; unfortunately Toby's still a bit small for anything but the swings, and gets easily overwhelmed by big play spaces.  Still, it's OK if you're hanging on to Mum.


In the afternoon he was grouchy.  He has recently developed a scream which has roughly the same effect as a pneumatic drill boring into your brain, and deploys it to good effect.  After a few hours of this Graham and I were about ready to donate him to the nearest adoption agency and flee the country.  Finally he slept, and we collapsed onto the couch and tried not to snap at each other.  As the next best thing to fleeing the country, we packed up a picnic and drove to the Levitt Pavilion in Arlington for one of their open-air concerts.  As we spread out our beautiful wedding quilt on the grass and dug into some pasta salad, the tension began to dissipate.

Boogieing to the music
Melissa Lawson was playing, who, apart from writing some very listenable music, manages to mother five boys under the age of twelve.  She certainly knows what hard days are about.  Hearing a few of her stories and songs kind of put ours back in perspective, and made us glad to be a family again.  Of course, it helped that Toby had stopped screaming.

Always on the move
Monday evening we did what all good Americans do on Labor Day - grill.  We never did get around to buying our own barbeque, but all the parks around here are equipped with picnic tables and grills, so we hung out at Bear Creek Park and cooked veggie kebabs, corn on the cob and bacon, with a few toasted marshmallows for afters.


Tofu kebabs
1 red or green bell pepper, cubed
12 mushrooms, halved
1 onion, cut into chunks
2 zucchini/courgettes, cut into chunks
450g / 1 lb firm tofu, cubed
125 ml / 1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp grated fresh ginger

Thread the vegetables and tofu onto skewers, and place in a large non-metallic dish.  Mix up remaining ingredients and pour over.  Leave to marinade for 30 min or so, turning a few times if you remember.  Grill over charcoal, basting with the marinade, until cooked.  The tofu picks up a lovely smoky flavour.  Serve with couscous.

Isn't this fun?
Aside from the constant vigilance required to stop Toby stuffing his mouth full of dirt and wood chips (clearly he didn't appreciate my culinary genius), it was another pleasant evening.

Exploring the great outdoors - aka hitting it as hard as possible

Son-set

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Advent 2022

It's the first Sunday of Advent coming up, and for once I feel fairly well prepared! Of course, the proof is in the (Christmas) pudding - whether I actually do all this remains to be seen. If you haven't even thought about Advent yet, do grab an idea to join in with. None of them require any advance preparation except for downloading, printing or book ordering - and one of them doesn't even start until 20 December. Something to do I recently went to a Mindful Advent workshop, run by the lovely Stacey and Ella from Create and Connect . We spent a happy couple of hours folding origami envelopes to make our own Advent calendars, with a few mince pies to nibble as the November rain poured down outside. I'm filling my envelopes with a short activity for each day, a Bible verse from the Christmas story, and a tiny treat for each of us. Thinking of 24 different activities was harder than folding 24 origami envelopes! Mine range from "listen to your favourite Christmas car

Catching up

I know some of you appreciate the family news I post on here, so here's a quick summary of what each of us has been up to over the last couple of months. Toby - went to his first Cubs meeting on a night when they were eating hot dogs and marshmallows, loved it, and was very proudly invested as a member just before Christmas. - spends his spare time writing stories, designing vehicles, and playing Super Mario Bros. - has a large collection of beer bottle caps (any donations welcome, as his primary provider was an ex-work-colleague of Graham's). - plucked up courage to go on a zipwire at the playground, and discovered it was great fun. - enjoyed Lego, lots of books, penguin pajamas and a remote control car for Christmas. Theo - likes playing on the bikes and in the home corner at school. - is now right at home with phonics: "I can spell cat!  Cuh, Ah, Tuh."  He's also been telling us about digraphs, at which point Graha

Matcha Green Tea Cake Mix

Some blogs are full of posts which start: Recently, *big company* sent me three pairs of expensive shoes / five bars of delicious chocolate / a free holiday ... This is not one of those blogs. But, recently, a company so small I'm not sure it really exists yet sent me a free cake mix, on the condition that I filled in a survey about it and took a few photos.  Blogging about it was not a condition, but just in case the owner makes it to the big time, you heard it here first! So the Hope Makes It Easy Matcha Cake Mix popped through my letterbox on my birthday (good timing to start) and the rather pretty package sat on my counter for a few days until I'd assembled the ingredients.  Most cake mixes require a few extra ingredients, but this one needed milk, eggs and butter, plus cream and possibly white chocolate for the icing.  Not exactly all-inclusive.  On the plus side, it helpfully provided a cute origami cup for measuring the milk, a line to show you how much butter