Saturday, May 21, 2016

Summer in the tribe, take 2

 It's May. Countdown til we fly back to the States has begun.

But first....

Birthday for Dad...

Those are candles, not a bonfire...

Last week of school... magnet experiments

We finished school and promptly started "Summer Schedule" - we've done this the past few years and it's been great fun - one day Craft Day, one day Cooking Day, etc. With only 5 weeks of "summer" til we fly out, we were going to forgo this year, but the boys are cooped up inside to keep spreading Chicken Pox to the tribal people, so figured, they needed a bit of structure and attention. :)

"Work With Dad" Wednesdays - making rope stretchers from the "Get Out Alive" TV show.

"Make Something Yummy" Mondays - popcorn balls (these were on the cooking list last summer and never got made, and the boys remembered!)

Getting an education about pocket knives and dreaming about how he can spend his money in America...

This one has a keen eye for color and has been studying bubbles lately...

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Last batch

Today I made my last batch of granola. I almost cried with joy. I hate granola. When Brant and I first got married, I found a fun "Homemade Cherry Almond Granola" recipe and it was so yum and so much fun to eat for 2-3 days until the tiny batch ran out and we went back to eating Grape Nuts and Cheerios and frozen waffles.

There are no Cheerios or frozen waffles on our side of the ocean, so I make homemade granola because eating plain oatmeal every day gets boring and you can't make eggs last for months at a time, no matter how fresh they are when they pop out of the chicken. Do you know how much work it takes to make enough granola to feed a family of 5 for four months solid? Let's just say I am not a fan. There is no way we could afford all the almond extract and dried cherries to 100x that original recipe I found years ago, so we go with plain boring cinnamon and shredded coconut with some peanuts thrown in. 

When we go out to town, I usually take advantage of the duel kitchens and huge ovens (3!) at our mission guest house. I can knock out granola in about 4 hours that way and turn on some fun "House Hunters: Alaska" to watch while I am stirring and mixing (yes, no commercial cereal here, but plenty of cable TV!) This past week, I was inventorying all our food stock and figured out I had all the ingredients to make granola in the tribe and it would be cheaper to use what I had here than buy all new ingredients in town. So, with my tiny oven, one cookie sheet at a time, I made batch after batch of granola to stretch our last 3 months in the tribe. It took all day, BUT I WILL NOT MAKE ANY MORE GRANOLA FOR A YEAR. 

I also made my last batches of spinach pesto - again, normally a town task, but gotta use up what I have on hand. These pics are from when Brant's parents were here in December; I normally cook and process about ten pounds of fresh spinach to make enough pesto for 3 months.

Town time is fun for me, but it's a TON of work. I take advantage of the extra time and big kitchens to prep a ton of food so that meal prep is a faster in the tribe. After almost two years of living in the tribe, I have my system down - here's the freezer at the guest house after all my chopping/prepping - frozen pineapple (10!) bell peppers (9); 5 pounds of ground beef, cooked and seasoned and measured into 1 pound bags; 5 pounds of shredded beef, cooked and seasoned and frozen in its broth. A lot of the tribal wives do the same, so we sit around and chat and chop and help each other. Sometimes friends will come over and we'll clean spinach (no bagged spinach here - it comes with stems and roots still attached!) and have coffee and catch up. To get all my food prep in, it takes 3 solid days of work once every thing's bought. No "one hour freezer cooking" sessions here. :)

We head out to town next week for the boys to test at the international school and I am so thankful that I will not be chopping or cooking (or baking granola!) We're in the "use up" mode trying to clean out the fridge and freezer over the next 3 months. Going to be a tad tricky - I can't run out to the store if we run out of something in May, but I don't want to store food for a year and invite rats in to sublet our house. :) 

Friday, April 1, 2016

100s Day

100s Day has become a tradition in our house. It started the very first year we home schooled; I think I was feeling sorry for the boys that they never got to do any "fun" school activities, so my friend Rachel and I designated one day "the 100th day of school" and did a bunch of counting games and let the boys count out "100 snacks" and we all had a great time. And now, 6 years later, all my boys know how to count to 100, but we continue the tradition.... because there's something about eating 100 snacks that is just COOL. :) 

Choosing 100 "something" to build with.... 

Measuring out 100 square inches, feet, yards, meters.... helps to have an airstrip as a front yard. :) 

Being "given" $100 to spend on Amazon.... they could pick whatever they wanted as long as the total added up to $99-101. Was actually a really fun activity and gave them a good idea of toy prices in America these days. :)

And breaking with tradition this year.... we skipped the snacks and we did 100 PIECES OF DINNER..... Oh my goodness, it was SO much food and so fun. I cut those things as tiny as I could, but it still amounted to a TON of food - each boy had a cookie sheet full - but they ate every. single. bite. We did percentages to get some extra math in (40% meat and cheese, 30% veggies, 20% fruit, 10% dessert!)

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Pictures of the week

Rain. We've had tons of rain.... 38 inches in February to be exact. Not sure what happened to our promised El Nino droughts. Our backyard after a rainy night.... that's about a foot of standing water...

Because you always need to be prepared when mowing the air strip....

Making home made ice cream over the weekend. (Lavender Lime - recipe I adapted myself after having similar yumminess at ColdStone in Cali) I love my KitchenAid ice cream maker; it needs a bit of help in the insulation area with our heat and humidity. :)

HUGE spider Brant killed in our play room.... far upper left corner.

A close up of the kill.... it was a Golden Orb Spider. It's resting on a 2x4 to give size perspective. :)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Starting 2016 with a bang.... and a watermelon

Since the beginning of the year.....

We have studied California history and built our own bell towers...

And a mission....

And learned to help Dad mow the airstrip (this is only the first quarter!)

This little guy turned 7.... and lost his first tooth (naturally!) the next day....

Grandma thought I was crazy when I requested "edible eye balls" on my "bring from America" list. But aren't they cute? Yes, Ez's cake is in the freezer.... 80% humidity and butter cream frosting don't go well together...

We taught the tribal kids how to roast marshmallows... because, you know, we're here to help the people. :)

Our co-workers have been stuck in town for 7 weeks.... visa issues. So lots of just hanging around...

We spent a day upriver "helping" (by helping, I mean watching and doing absolutely nothing to help) the tribal people build a new canoe. (I guess they don't really build them; they hack a tree trunk into the right shape.) We got no pictures of the process, but I got some pretty scenery pictures. :)

And we had a tree felled right by our house.... it was the most scary "cultural experience" we have had yet.... it's that tree in the left of the picture - the one that is only inches away from our roof line....

They cut the tree with an ax in a matter of minutes and then used bamboo and vines (eeek!) to direct where it fell.... you can see the long thin poles of bamboo. Needless, to say, we had the boys out of the house and were praying hard! But it came down beautifully and missed the roof and our internet dish!

Our little boys are holiday junkies. They spent days and days working on Valentine's for each other. So this was what we woke up to on Sunday morning.... (those are painted rocks.... treasures gathered on our boat building trip as our village and section of the river has absolutely 0 rocks anywhere.)

We harvested our first watermelon! Such a fun treat on a hot day!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A few pics

Truth be told, we haven't been so busy I haven't been able to post pics.... really, we've been horrible at rationing our internet the last few months, so we always run out mid-month. So catching up a bit...

I requested a pumpkin on a supply order in August and got two beautiful ones that looked like this.... so they were spared being turned into puree while they served as "fall" decorations. :) 

Ezra got to his "Learning to Bake" lesson in his math book. A proud day when he made his "Apple Jack Cookies" all by himself. 

Really fun night in November - we did mini 'smores over candles with small marshmallows and egg drop cookies (like mini Vanilla wafers) and chocolate chips.

The boys' Christmas present from Brant's uncle. Yes, I gave permission for my six year old to receive a knife that's almost as long as he is. Yes, they really are sharp. Yes, we did not make it 24 hours after unwrapping them before busting out the band-aids.

Merry Christmas from our corner of the world!

Welcome to 2016

This past August we marked one year of living in the tribe. We celebrated with a steak dinner and measuring the boys' growth on the post in our kitchen. I took lots of pictures with grand plans to blog about God's faithfulness this past year, but you have yet to see those pictures.

The second half of 2015 has been a tad busy.

In the last six months we had lots of visitors - a short term college team, 2 pastors from the States, Brant's parents, 2 language consultants, 3 church planting consultants and 2 missionaries from other organizations. That is a whole lot of spaghetti and curry dinners and washing extra sheets and towels.

Our partners had to go back to the States for an emergency, were med-evaced out of the tribe twice for serious medical emergencies and then went back on their regular furlough.

I sat up half of one night with a tribal woman who didn't deliver her placenta; spent an afternoon sitting with women wailing and mourning their dead daughter, and saw a woman whose face was smashed in by her angry husband.

I have taught little boys contractions, cursive, long division, and multiplying fractions. We have studied levers and pulleys and the Civil War. I have nursed my babies through asthma attacks and malaria. I have listened to language recordings and studied verbs and aspect and mode and tense until my head spins.

I have had malaria four times since August. As I type, there is a horrible metallic taste in my mouth from a "new" medicine that is supposed to hopefully kick it "this time." I haven't decided which is worse - the medicine or the malaria, but right now I'm thinking I should have stuck with the malaria.

So today, this last day of 2015, I am tired. Brant is in bed with a fever. The boys are on hour number 2 of iPad playing. We'll tear them off the iPad soon and make them watch movies the rest of the day. We missed the big feast in the village today.

We are limping into 2016, folks.

January marks three years since we were back in America, and we are feeling it. Normally, we'd be taking a furlough about now, but we've had to push it back a bit because of our visa situation. Six months' delay doesn't sound like much, but today, it feels like these next six months might kill us.

And yet.... there's always an "and yet" - this was God's plan to end our year. We rest in that. We begin 2016 with an acute awareness that we will get through each day of this next six months only by God's grace and strength. Every verb that we figure out, every day that we stay healthy, every moment with our boys, every language hour that we log.... only by God's strength. We feel it and we know it.

That's not a bad way to start a new year.