Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Africans Love Pap!"


We've heard that so many times! The first time we did the Saturday Mbonisweni Ministry Day we brought peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the kids. They ate it but the ladies of the house told us the next week, "Africans love pap!" It's true. They would much rather have it over sandwiches. This maize meal dish looks much like mashed potatoes and is very filling. Since it doesn't have much flavor by itself, they usually make a soup or stew to go over it. They make a huge pot of it and take turns stirring it. The bigger the pot, the more fun it is to watch!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Commissioning...


I am writing this blog post at 11:00 on Sunday night waiting for my husband to get back from a busy day of hosting the conference. You're probably wondering why I wouldn't just go to bed or relax or something but tonight was such a special night for us, I felt I couldn't wait to talk about it. The conference kicked off tonight with a commissioning of our team. We invited all our friends in White River and the communities we are working in to celebrate this time with us, and a celebration it was! As one of the YWAM leaders did a roll call of the nations, I was amazed at how many nations have gathered at University Village. It is truly amazing to have about 270 people from 6 different continents and too many countries to count, gathered here to pray over what God is doing in our region of South Africa. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it!


There is so much power in being commissioned by our fellow YWAMers. They have embraced us and encouraged us so much. I know that in the spiritual realm, it's even more powerful than I can imagine. Though this conference has been so much work, seeing all the people walk and bless the grounds, makes it all worth it.


Jeremy and I had the privilege of being prayed over by our friends and YWAM leaders. Again such power in that! We had words of leading the children right to Jesus, churches catching the vision, that people will learn from our example... All I can say is, "Wow, God!" And, "Thank you, Jesus!"

PS: Today the 29th is Jeremy and Emma Grace's birthdays! We're celebrating after the chaos!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Open Season Drawings

Here's some drawings that Joshua did from Open Season. I think he did a pretty good job on Elliott! Don't you!?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

From Africa To America...

...all little girls must think the same! :)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Final Cricket Match Of The Season...

From Cricket

Well, Joshua had his final matches last Friday. He really enjoyed playing although he said he would rather play baseball! We'll have a hard time finding baseball teams around here! I thought this time I would take some video so everyone could see him in action! It's just a short clip of him bowling and batting.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Greek Chicken Pitas


I found this easy recipe for chicken pitas in the crock pot. It turns out so tasty! We go the extra step and make our own pita bread. We've gone too many times to the grocery store only to find that there was no pita bread! So rather than be disappointed and have to change dinner plans, we just make our own.

Greek Chicken
6-8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1-2 minced garlic cloves
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon pepper seasoning
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Please chicken in crock pot. Lay onion over chicken. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with seasonings. Cover and cook on low heat 4 1/2 hours. Break chicken apart with 2 forks. Spoon into warm pita bread halves.

Serve with greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and yogurt sauce.

Pita Bread
1 package active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups warm water
3 1/4 to 3 3/4 cups cake flour
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1. In large mixer bowl soften yeast in warm water. Add 2 cups of the flour, the butter and salt. Beat at low speed for 1/2 min. Beat at high speed 3 min. Stir in as much of remaining flour as you can mix in with spoon. Turn out onto lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic. Cover; let rest in a warm place about 15 min.

2. Divide into 12 equal portions. Roll each between floured hands into a very smooth ball. Cover with plastic wrap or damp cloth; let rest 10 minutes.

3. On a well-floured surface lightly roll one piece of dough at a time into a 7 in. round, turning dough over once. Do not stretch, puncture, or crease dough. Place on baking sheet.

4. Bake 2 at a time in a 450F oven about 3 min. Turn over and bake 2 min. more.

5. To make whole wheat pita bread, substitute 2 cups whole wheat flour and 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 cups cake flour for the 3 1/4 to 3 3/4 cups cake flour.

Yogurt Sauce
1 cup plain yogurt
garlic powder and lemon juice to taste

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It's Down To The Wire!

Well, we're nearing conference time and things are getting crazy! I thought I would post some pictures on the progress and so you can "see" what still needs to be done so you know how to keep praying for us! Mattresses and tents were delivered yesterday, food is being purchased daily, and I think I'm about tired of shopping!

From University Village

From University Village

From University Village


Setting up tents!

From University Village

From University Village


Work on the bath house continues...

From University Village

From University Village

From University Village


And the sewage...well, we're hoping things get sped up a bit!

From University Village


So keep praying for us as people arrive this week!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Ahhh!!!!!

From Kidtastrophies


Joshua picked a little hiding spot in our house...under the borrowed futon in our guest room. The other night Emma Grace couldn't find the doll she wanted to sleep with so I briefly looked underneath the "hiding spot." I didn't find the doll but found this instead:

From Kidtastrophies


I was NOT happy to say the least. Joshua colored on the wall. He got a stern warning and I went to searching for how to get crayon marks off of concrete walls. I knew our landlord would not be happy about finding that! Back in the US of A, I would use magic eraser but unfortunately you can't find that here so I had to go back to the basics. I found a good website, Tip Nut, that gave me the help I needed. After scrubbing very hard with toothpaste, this is what the wall looked like:

From Kidtastrophies


It's not all gone but it's not a "GASP" mark anymore!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Soft Pretzels!



I pulled out a recipe book the other day called Gifts From the Kitchen. I hadn't looked at it in a while, therefore missing all the great treasures it held! From tortilla chips to truffles to play dough, this book has it all! I found this recipe for soft pretzels. They turned out so good! Emma Grace was my little helper while the guys just enjoyed the treat! Here's the recipe:

1/2 cup warm water
1 tsp. sugar
2 1/2 tsp. (one 1/4 oz. package) active dry yeast

1 cup warm water
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 tsp. salt

3 3/4 cups flour

1 large egg
1 Tablespoon water

Coarse salt
Sesame Seeds

Stir first amount of water and sugar in small bowl until sugar dissolves. Sprinkle yeast over top. Let stand for 10 minutes; stir to combine.

Stir second amounts of water and sugar in large bowl until sugar dissolves. Add salt and yeast mixture.

Gradually mix in flour until stiff dough forms. Turn out onto lightly floured surface. Knead for about 5 min. until smooth and elastic. Let rest for 10 min. Divide dough into 12 equal portions. Roll each portion into a 15 in. rope. Shape each rope into a pretzel. Arrange on a greased baking sheet.

Combine egg with remaining water. Brush tops of each pretzel.

Sprinkle salt and sesame seeds over pretzels. Bake in 425F oven for about 15 minutes. We ate them warm with mustard for a dipping sauce.

*You can also make sweet pretzels by brushing tops with butter and sprinkling a cinnamon and sugar mixture over top.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Picture Of Exhaustion...




Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Best Looking Pirate Ever!

Joshua's big school concert, Holiday At The Sea, was this past Wednesday, the 17th. He was a pirate! It's amazing to me how they get 150-200 kids to sit on stage and perform 28 songs! The kids did awesome. This year Joshua got to do several songs as a pirate, but our favorite was "What Do You Do With A Naughty Pirate?" Even Emma grace started singing the catchy tune. Here's a video of that song (Joshua is the middle pirate).

Friday, September 19, 2008

Creative Expression

The other day Joshua spotted my basket of craft supplies and asked if he could make something. Sure, I said, so he picked out a pipe cleaner, wooden beads, and yarn. I didn't know what he was going to make but was quite impressed when he showed me his creation - a ladybug! I love to encourage my kids to tap into their creative side!




Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pretty Pinwheels!

With spring fast approaching (well, not for my northern hemisphere friends!), we decided to make pinwheels! I got the idea from Kaboose but changed it up a bit. For the Kaboose directions click here. Here's what we did:

Supplies
sticks or pencils (I think the pinwheel actually moves better using pencils.)
Paper - white card stock, construction paper or copy paper
push pins
crayons, markers, paints, stickers - anything to decorate with!


1. I had the kids go gather sticks to use (instead of pencils). This got them outside and added extra fun to the project!

2. I cut pieces of white card stock to 8.5" X 8.5" square. Then I put the ruler diagonally across and drew lines with a pencil 5 in. long starting at the corner and going towards the center. Do this for all corners. This leaves a spot in the middle.


3. Then I cut the lines I drew. Using a small hole punch or even the pins make holes in the corners and center as seen in my picture.

4. Then let the kids decorate both sides.

5. After they are finished, match the holes up, stick a push pin through and stick in the stick or pencil.

Works In Progress


Our Creations


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Soft Tacos and Tortilla Chips!


For some time, I have been craving corn tortillas. The only problem? They don't sell them here in SA! So, again, I went hunting for a recipe! They don't sell masa harina flour here so I had to find a "mock" corn tortilla recipe. Along the way, I also found a recipe for tortilla chips (another thing that is very hard to find here!) We made some fresh guacamole from the avos in my backyard and some fresh salsa (from the tomatoes at the store!) A totally homemade meal! It was delicious!

"Corn" Tortillas

1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cornmeal (or polenta as it's called here)
1 tsp. salt
2 Tablespoons butter
1 cup boiling water

Combine flour, cornmeal, and salt. Cut in butter. Add water and mix well. Shape into 12 equal balls. On lightly floured surface, roll to 6 in. circles. (If you are making enchiladas, roll to 8 or 10 in. circles.) Fry on hot, lightly greased skillet for 20 seconds on each side.


Tortilla Chips
10-12 flour or corn tortillas
1/3 cup oil
3/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. seasoned salt

Cut tortillas in small, triangle wedges. Place on ungreased baking sheet. Combine oil, chili powder, and salt. Brush top sides of wedges with oil mixture. Bake at 400F for 7-8 min. or till crisp.

Guacamole
We just mix avos, salt, and lemon juice to taste.

Salsa
4 tomatoes, diced
1 can chopped tomatoes
6-8 chili peppers (or more if you like it hotter)
2 cups red onion
1 green pepper
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tablespoons vinegar
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Chop tomatoes, chili peppers, onion, and bell pepper into small pieces (or use electric chopper). Mix with remaining ingredients. Chill in fridge for at least 24 hours to absorb flavor. Serve with tortilla chips.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Some "Me" Time...

Last week the kids resumed their swimming lessons. So what does that mean for me? Thirty minutes of "me" time every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon! The parents are only allowed to watch the first lesson of the month and are encouraged to sit in the beautiful garden until the lesson is over.



Thirty minutes feels so short but I love getting those scheduled times to just sit and read.


"Getting alone time just for me helps me to love my family even more." Jen Price

Monday, September 15, 2008

Lazy Sundays...


picnics in the grass basking in the sun reading
napping time for scrapbooking
outside adventures simple meals
trips to the park family

I love sundays...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Avocados...


I have an avocado tree in my backyard and I love it! I've always loved the creamy taste of them spread on bread, cut up and put in a salad, or as an extra on my burger. So when we moved into our house, you can imagine my excitement when I found out I had my very own avocado tree in my backyard!

Did you know...

1/2 of a typical avocado contains approximately 160 calories ~ 20 calories less than a small bag of peanuts, and slightly lower than a small slice of cheddar cheese. In fact, here's a surprising finding...
Eating an avocado can be part of a successful weight management program because :

its monounsaturated oil speeds up the basal metabolic rate;

its oil content may help reduce overeating because you get full faster.

This same oil content reduces the urge to binge on unhealthy foods.

One hundred grams of an avocado (less than 1/2 a medium avocado) provide 3.2 grams of dietary fibre (0.9 grams soluble, 2.3 grams insoluble), giving it the highest concentration of dietary fibre of any commonly eaten fruit.
High fibre intake is important because it lowers risk of cardiovascular disease, some types of cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.

Avocados do not contain cholesterol and are very rich in monounsaturated oil, an essential element for lowering LDL cholesterol levels (in other words, for lowering the bad cholesterol).
Mono and polyunsaturated oils make up more than 70% of the oil content in avocados.
These 'good' oils have been shown to protect the arterial walls and, therefore, protect against arterial heart disease, one of the country's major killers, which claims tens of thousands of lives every year.

An avocado is particularly rich in these important antioxidants : Vitamins E and C. Antioxidants protect the body from free radicals that cause gradual deterioration and aging. By eating an avocado a day you benefit from the daily intake of Vitamin E necessary for boosting energy levels and strengthening the immune system.
As for Vitamin C its benefits are numerous, ranging from common cold prevention to protecting the body from stressful situations. The dual combination of Vitamins C and E is a major advantage because one strengthens the fortifying action of the other.


To ripen avocados at home, keep them at room temperature until they are ripe.
To accelerate the ripening process, place avocados in the fruit bowl with other fruit (especially bananas),
or better still, pop them into a brown paper bag with the bananas.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Celebrating Marriage!


It may be an ominous day for many Americans, but for Jeremy and I, September 11, 1999 was magical! (Oh now I sound like my daughter in her world of princes and princesses!) We expressed our vows to each other and said, "I do!" I can't believe that was 9 years ago! Many miles traveled and 2 kids later, we are still very much in love!

We went to a tasty dinner at The Ocean Basket and then off to see Mamma Mia at the movies. Nothing too fancy but it was nice just to get out. By the time we got home, Jeremy was exhausted (like you couldn't tell in the picture!)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Nighttime Lullabies!

For several weeks, our evenings have been filled listening to the lullaby of croaking frogs. Did you know that it's only the male who croaks and it's to attract the females during mating season and to warn the other males to stay away? Listening to this video, it sounded like a whole chorus of males croaking together! There's no picture, just the sound of frogs!



Sadly, after I came out of my sick stupor, the croaking frogs were gone! I'm going to miss that lullaby!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Reading...The Shack


I just finished reading The Shack. I had heard a lot of great reviews on it. I received it for my birthday so I quickly started diving in. Sometimes I'm a little scared to read something that everyone says is great. I'm always scared I will be disappointed but I must say that I thought the book was fantastic. It blows religion out of the water which I love. Living in Africa, you quickly see that religion CANNOT and WILL NOT change anything. It must be about relationship and that's what I saw weaved through the book. I love how God (in a very non-religious form) meets the main character right where he's at and doesn't pressure him to go anywhere he's not ready to.

I don't want to say too much for those who haven't read the book. But if you haven't you should! It gets 2 thumbs up in my book!

One of my favorite quotes from the book:
"Life takes a bit of time, and a lot of relationship."

Yes, that about sums it up!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Apple Butter

I love apple butter but have never seen it in Africa. I found this easy recipe from Just Slow Cooking. I liked it because instead of using sugar, you use apple juice. It turned out so good and my house had the lovely aroma of baked apples! I cooked the apples overnight and then did the rest in the morning.

12-15 apples, cored and quartered
1 cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed
1 tsp. cinnamon

Core and quarter apples. Don't peel them! Combine apples and juice in a crock pot. Cook on low 10-12 hours until apples are soft. Remove from pot and blend until smooth. Return to pot; add remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 1 hour. Will keep several weeks in fridge or seal in jars. Makes about 8 cups.

*I usually drain some of the juice before blending.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

It Was In The Evidence...

(These are actual events retold as best as I can remember.)

Maybe it was the ever growing mounds of laundry. Or maybe the heap of dishes. No, it must have been the lack of carefully planned out meals. Actually it was more like the plethora of movies my kids watched in one week. Whatever gave it away, all signs pointed to the fact that mom was sick!

From Blog Pics
From Blog Pics


Last week had to be the worst week of my life. It started out with mild aches and pains, but it escalated so much that four days into it, I knew I had to go to the doctor. My fever had gotten so high that I couldn't even see straight. I arrived at the doctor's office only to wait an excrutiating long 15 minutes. She called me back, and with concern etched on her face, asked me my symptoms. "Where do I start?" I thought. In a whisper I replied, "Bodyaches, headaches, fever, chills, dry heaving, cough, sore throat, loss of voice..." I stopped, feeling that was adequate. She took my temperature and I saw the look of concern grow deeper. She gave me a suppository to immediately bring the fever down and took me to get a malaria test. Although I had not been in any malaria areas, she wanted to rule out that possibility.

The lady at the lab was anything but sympathetic. She seemed frustrated that I would only whisper the answer to her questions. After the labwork and everything was done, Jeremy took me home to rest.

I finally found some relief when the suppository started to kick in and my fever start to go down. I thought, "Maybe I'm on the road to recovery." Jeremy returned home with my scripts and I quickly took the antibiotic prescribed, thinking it would heal my poor body. Little did I know it would bring on the one symptom I didn't have - diarrhea.

Frustrated! That's how I felt. So the next day, my loving husband called the doctor. "Stop the antibiotics right away!" she ordered. I guess the results from my lab proved I didn't have malaria but my white blood cell count indicated I was fighting a virus. No antibiotic could help that. It just had to run its course. I stopped the antibiotics and immediately started on probiotics to increase the good bacteria in my body.

From Blog Pics


I am happy to say I am now on the road to recovery. My body is still weak but I am feeling 90% better. A big thanks to my husband for taking care of me, Emma Grace for her sympathetic hugs, and for Joshua for taking care of his little sister when Jeremy wasn't home and I couldn't get out of bed!
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