Monday, March 31, 2008

Lewis and Clark's Cinnamon Buns

This morning, the kids made the cinnamon buns from "The Food Journal of Lewis and Clark: Recipes for an Expedition". We are having so much fun with this book!

From the book, "Philadelphia bakers drew from English and German traditions to establish the city's reputation for bread baking....vendors sold hot Cinnamon Buns on the street." p. 24
Sarah was surprised at how long the buns took from start to finish (they have to rise twice), but she still wanted to make them three times a week to eat at our house!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Fun with Friends

We enjoyed a visit from some friends from Memphis last night. Russ and Crystal were in Dallas for a conference, and gave us some of their valuable time to share a meal and cheer the Memphis Tigers on to victory! Crystal embroiders beautiful baby clothes, so check out her ever expanding creativity.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Making Ugali with Mwalimu Alice

My Swahili teacher, Alice, held class in our kitchen this morning. She showed us how to make ugali (all in Swahili, of course), and the process is fascinating! The ugali puffs up while it is cooking, and you have to use a special stirring stick and strong muscles to make the ugali come out just right. Ugali (oo-gaw-lee) is a little like cornbread without any leavening, and you eat it with your stew. The consistancy of the ugali is like play-dough, and you break off a piece, mold it into a little scoop, and use the ugali almost like a spoon to eat the stew. I have really enjoyed learning Swahili with such a patient and kind instructor! Hard to believe that my Swahili evaluation is next Friday.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Ladies' Room

On yesterday's post, I failed to include the treasure that the kids found on their hike with Aaron over the weekend. Sarah came in with her prize, and I asked her where she found it. "In the Ladies' Restroom," was her response. Visions of bones decorating the windowsills of the restrooms here on the center went flashing through my mind until I heard Sarah giggle. Then I realized she had taken an urgent squat behind a tree and discovered the bones while she was indisposed. What a great sense of humor! Any guesses as to the former life of Sarah's treasure?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Busy Easter Weekend

We have enjoyed a full Easter weekend of celebrating God's gift of life! Saturday, Aaron took the older children on a romp through the trails. We've had so much rain lately that the streams and creeks were full, and the kids had a blast exploring all of the waterfalls and mud.

Like many of you, we have lots of Easter traditions (most of which revolve around food). Saturday afternoon, we decorated eggs, and Saturday evening we made resurrection cookies. The kids' least favorite part is beating the nuts because it is representative of the soldiers beating Jesus's body. Notice Benjamin is holding his ears while Olivia beats the nuts. He actually asked if we could skip that part this year. We gave cookies away on Sunday morning along with jellybeans to color-coordinate with this poem.
God’s Jelly Bean Rainbow
Orange is the twilight night He prayed.
Black is our sin stain for which He paid.
Red is His own shed blood so bright.
Yellow is the Son’s warm, healing light.
Purple is His head crowned with thorns.
Pink is hope risen on Easter morn.
Brown is the ground where He was laid.
Gray is the stone that was rolled away.
White is God’s grace we freely receive.
Green our eternal life when we believe.
All of these colors represent something true:
Jesus Christ, God’s own Son, died for me
and died for you.

Breakfast on Sunday is always "Resurrection Rolls" and fruit salad along with some of the hard boiled eggs we died on Saturday. The rolls are just Grands biscuits (we like the wheat biscuits) stuffed with a big marshmallow before baking and dipped in butter and cinnamon sugar. When the biscuits are baking, the marshmallow dissolves leaving a empty hole - just like the tomb!

After a rough night with Katherine, this apple omelet was a lovely welcome to a beautiful day! Aaron is a master chef who enjoys making food pleasing to the eyes as well as pleasing to the palate.
Eighteen years ago tonight, Aaron and I were in a movie theater watching "Hunt for Red October" with a bunch of friends when he realized that "Joanna is a girl!". I am so thankful for my godly and servant hearted husband who is leading our family through this exciting journey of life.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

March Madness (with apologies to the fans of K-State, the Razorbacks, and the Memphis Tigers)

Thanks to Aunt Rachel, we are ready for the games to begin tomorrow! The kids begged to wear their Jayhawks t-shirts to sleep in last night. Sarah wanted me to note that she fixed Olivia's hair.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Update on Olivia's toe

Thanks to those of you who have checked on Olivia's toe. The nail came off last night, and she is feeling great. We appreciate your prayers for quick healing and for siblings to not be clumsy!

When I grow up... (or Language Arts assignment at the Choate house)

Benjamin, age 80
When I am eighty, I am probably going to live in Arkansas. I will need a big house because my parents will live with me. My dad is going to be bald, probably. He is great. My mom will still be loving. As for my wife, she'll be good at housework. Although I will be old, I will like sword fighting. My favorite people to fight with will be my great-grand children. I'll also make candy for them. That is what I will do when I am eighty.

Sarah, age 20

Have you ever imagined what will happen when you grow up? Someimtes I imagine that when I grow up, I will live in Amarillo, Texas. I will be a ranch owner and worker. What' I'll do in my spare time is write letter, cook, read, and exercise horses. My family will consist of my horse, my daughter, and my husband. Star, my horse, will be quick and gentle. Sara, my daughter will be smart and like to clean. My husband, Austin, will like to play outside. Doing all that will be so much fun! I can't wait till I grow up!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The good, the bad and the ugly

Here's "the bad and the ugly". Olivia dropped a rock on her toe earlier in the week. I didn't see the accident, but I heard the scream! Throughout the week, her siblings have stepped on her toe causing various results: Friday's result was a nice blood spatter pattern on a clean white shirt (I'm so thankful for Clorox 2). Today's result was a ripped toenail just before time to leave for church. So Olivia, Katherine, and Mama stayed home while Olivia laid down with her foot propped and listened to Mama read books. Her toe looks much better tonight.
Here's "the good":
The ornamental pear trees were lovely this past week, so we tossed the kids in one of the trees and snapped some pictures. We have neighbors with green thumbs, and we're looking forward to enjoying more of God's incredible creation as the spring progresses.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


A friend online recently encouraged me with her recipe for curing a "Soul Drip". Her words always force me to stop and think deeply during a phase in my life when I tend to rush through everything and only skim the surface.

On a lighter note, one of the goals for Sarah this year was to help her learn how to be comfortable in the kitchen and begin to cook on her own. Thanks to our friend G. in Kansas, we have found a fabulous source of fun new recipes online. The one Sarah made last night was apple dumplings, and, boy, they are yummy! Enjoy serving up some love to your friends and family.

Guess What We Enjoyed For Lunch Today?

For lunch today, our family ate at the African Village restaurant in Irving to help fulfill a requirement for my class. It was delicious! We shared some peanut soup (chicken in peanut sauce served over rice), jollof rice (rice cooked with vegetables and chicken), fried plantains, and the fish above. The kids enjoyed it, too. We like to "adventure eat" as a family.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Corps of Discovery

As you know, we are studying Lewis & Clark's expedition right now in history. Their team was known as the "Corps of Discovery". I was reading in Joshua this morning, and I was struck at the similarities between the Children of Israel, the Corps of Discovery, and our family. Please don't think me a heretic! We have a huge adventure of the unknown ahead of us, and so did they. Joshua 1:9 is one of Benjamin's memory verses this year, but I never really paid attention to verse 8 until it jumped up and smacked me this morning.

"Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do eveything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:8-9
The key to the victory on our journey into the unknown is 1) to not let God's Word depart from our mouths, 2) to meditate on His Word, and 3) to make sure we follow it. Then we can be strong and courageous because we know we are doing exactly what God wants for us. So as you continue to pray for family, please add these verses to your arsenal!

Some favorite books

I've come across some books that will be added to my "favorite teaching books" collection.
At the Dallas Library, I found "The Food Journal of Lewis & Clark: Recipes for an Expedition" by Mary Gunderson. Check out her website and learn what "paleocuisineology" is. We can hardly wait to try out some of the recipes while we are reading about the expedition.
Online, I discovered "Literature for Lively Lessons: The Month-by-Month, Week-by-Week, Day-by-Day Guide to Great Picture Books That Will Help You Plan Your Lessons!" by Sheila Edwards, Ed. D. We are going to have so much fun (once I get out of SLACA!) utilizing this book about books. Next week is the birthday of Randolph Caldecott (yes, the honor awarded every year in the US to the illustrator of the most distinguished picture book published in the previous year was named for him), and we are going to enjoy some books suggested by Dr. Edwards.
I hear Katherine waking up from her nap. Hope you enjoy the books along with us!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Paul Revere's Ride

For Sarah's memorization over the last few weeks, she has been working on Paul Revere's Ride. She amazes me with how well she uses the brain God gave her. Well done, my daughter!

Our camera only takes videos for three minutes, so her poem is in two sections. Keep listening...

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Half Way There!

Thanks to everybody who has been praying for our family as Aaron and I have both been in school. Yesterday was day #20, only 20 more to go! I'm really enjoying learning, and the kids are doing very well. Still haven't found regular Thursday childcare, but God is still providing day by day in every area of our lives.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Thumbs Up!

Olivia was reviewing her memory verses with a CD this afternoon. Her version of Matthew 7:12...

"Do to others what you would have them do to you. For this 'thumbs up' the law and the prophets."

She held her thumbs high in the air as she sang, convinced that the law and the prophets were great!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


It started last night while the kids were asleep...

"He sends his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly.
He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes.
He hurls down his hail like pebbles. Who can withstand his icy blast?
He sends his word and melts them; he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow."
Psalm 147:15-18

The kids were asleep, and we were disappointed that they would miss the snow show. But then Benjamin wet the bed, so he was able to enjoy the beauty of God's creation last night. This morning, we still had a little dusting (those of you in Kansas and Minnesota, don't laugh at our excitment!) so the kids went out and played before breakfast.

What a treat to be able to play in the snow with friends one more time before we move!

The finished product:

Monday, March 3, 2008

I needed a break between reading "Kick Starting Your Language Learning" and "How to Develop a Situational-Topical Syllabus"! Sarah wanted to share her piano progress. I'm really proud of both her and Benjamin and how hard they are working on piano. We will miss their sweet piano teacher when we move.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Now or Never

Thought I'd better post, because once I get up in the morning I may not have time! Nothing exciting or spectacular to report this weekend. We have a new favorite opera, Rossini's "La Cenerentola" (Cinderella). Not only is Cecilia Bartoli fabulous, but the whole story line is so much better than Disney's version. The whole family has enjoyed watching the opera in 30 minute snatches. Rossini's birthday was February 29th, so this was a perfect year to study him. Only two more weeks until we switch to a new composer and artist.

The week ahead just holds lots of school for all. Assignments and expectations are increasing as we begin Week 4, and God's grace and provision keeps increasing along with the load. As the weeks pass, I know we are becoming better equipped to serve in the Solomons.