Saturday, May 31, 2008

Drop ins

One of our favorite things about living here on the International Linguistics Center is the people that drop by unannounced! Some drop by for laundry, some for supper, and some to practice on our children. This sweet couple is expecting their first wee one this fall, so last night they took turns loving on Katherine. Come one, come all - we love company and the front door is always open!

Pen Pal Day

Tomorrow is Pen Pal Day worldwide, but we have a busy day planned for tomorrow so I thought I would post tonight while I wait for Katherine to get sleepy. I know some kids in the Choate household who would love to be pen pals if anybody is interested! Sarah loves to hand-write notes with her calligraphy pen and different color inks.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Hair today, gone tomorrow

Since October 2005, we've been waiting for today...the day Sarah donates her hair (again) for Locks of Love. Aunt Rachel drove down from Kansas to donate her hair as well. I'm so proud of my girl who has already decided to grow her hair out while we are overseas so she can donate it again when we are home on fulough.

Just this week, a friend of ours decided to donate her hair for her seventh birthday. Way to go, Olivia! Anyone else want to join us?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Today is Ian Fleming's 100th birth anniversary. He was the author of the James Bond series of books, as well as the beloved Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Go read the book today - it's a great read aloud if you have young children, and the book is much better than the movie (plus, there is a yummy fudge recipe at the back of the book!).

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Busy Weekend

Thursday night, we had some sweet friends from church join us for supper.

Then on Saturday, Uncle Daniel came over and showed us how to make sushi.


Nanny came for the long weekend and got lots of hugs and kisses (especially sweet are the "straight-from-the-bath" snuggles). Thanks to ALL of you who made my birthday so special!

The posts will probably be getting briefer and fewer as we began the major packing and preparing to leave. We have four more weeks to organize and condense our lives. Please pray for our wisdom!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bathing Beauties

The pool is open again, and the Choates are getting in shape for our Pacific Orientation Course. Adults have to swim a mile in the ocean, and children also have to show proficiency in the water. So we are practicing (can't you tell we are suffering?).

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sixteen Shots

This has been a whirlwind of a week for our family! Monday, our family received sixteen shots total and ate lunch with Uncle Daniel. We were also assured by the Dallas Police Department that we were law-abiding citizens. Yesterday, we all got poked for blood samples and donated other kinds of samples as well. Today, we went back to the hospital so Aaron and I could receive chest x-rays. Only one more appointment this week! Thanks for praying for us in all of the upheaval as we prepare for more training in Papua New Guinea.

Pulling Up

Yesterday, Aaron and I were in the kitchen when we heard Katherine yelling for her Daddy. We found her under the table, and she had pulled up on the dining room chairs! She was so proud of herself that she had to tell her Daddy.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Ah, boys

[Aaron's first post! :) ]
I know what you are thinking. Why are you showing us a picture of the hallway? Well, first, a little background. Since we moved, on occasion, our children have all (except Katherine) had moments when they have gotten up at night and wandered the wrong direction when heading to the bathroom. We have many funny family stories about such outings. Here I thought the most recent too good not to share. This picture is taken as Benjamin would see it standing in his doorway. To the right you have the bathroom, the target location. Straight ahead, mama and daddy's room [note the do not disturb sign :) ]. To the left, our cute version of a laundry chute.
We join our nightly drama in the Choate house. The house is dark and quiet, all that can be heard is the thup thup thupping of Katherine getting her last meal of the day. Suddenly, Joanna hears a sound in the hall and asks me to check on the child who is up. (Above the laundry chute is the hall closet where, among other things, the medicine bag is kept. Sarah has had a round of poison ivy lately so it is not uncommon for her to be digging for hydrocortizone cream.) I opens the door to see not Sarah but Benjamin...
I pause here because the next part of the story must be told with care. I see Benjamin holding the laundry chute door up. He is also standing funny. I quickly have the following thoughts: "Oh, it's Benjamin. What a good boy to get up and go to the bathroom! Bathroom, wait...what is that sound. Oh, no he di'unt" (the way some of our students used to say it). At this point I was shocked, in disbelief and really laughing inside. I turned around, closed the door and tried to figure out how to tell Joanna what I just saw.
We are so thankful for our children who provide great, inexpensive entertainment. Joanna started some laundry a little earlier than anticipated, Aaron cleaned a new spot on the carpet, and all got tucked in bed for a good night's rest. Pleasant dreams!

Saturday, May 17, 2008


The Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics (GIAL) where Aaron and I attend school has adopted a stretch of road to keep clean. Today was the day for students and faculty to pick up trash, so our whole crew donned gloves and sorted the trash on the side of the road. The boys took one side, and the girls took the other. Even Katherine helped out by carrying the trash bag on the stroller!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Children's Choir

Wednesday night, the children's choirs at church sang their spring musicals. We were so honored to have lots of guests come to cheer on our kids!

After church, we stopped by Sonic for ice cream, thus sealing the "tradition" we began last year. I'm proud of my kiddos!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Choate Bed and Breakfast (and Lunch, and Supper)

We have been so blessed during the last few days to enjoy lots of company!

Miss Elizabeth came back to Dallas for a few days and visited us before she heads out to Africa. We felt so special!

Nahna and Papa spent Mother's Day weekend with us. What a treat!

Mr. Jeremiah celebrated his birthday with us last night.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy Spiritual Birthday, Sarah!

Saturday, we celebrated Sarah's 3rd Spiritual Birthday by having a crew of boys and girls over. The theme was "Taste and See That the Lord is Good", so we had lots of food and lots of verses about food and drinks.

"Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." Proverbs 16:24

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." Matthew 5:6

"How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!" Psalm 119:103

"They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them drink from your river of delights." Psalm 36:8

"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my sould pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. " Psalm 42:1, 2a

"The ordinances of the Lord ...are sweeter than honey, than honey from the comb." Psalm 19: 9b-10

Friday, May 9, 2008

In the Choate kitchen 2

Here is the recipe for "Crookies" from "Queen of the Castle" by Lynn Bowen Walker:

On baking sheet spread out:
1 sleeve of Saltine crackers
In small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt:
1 stick butter
1 cup brown sugar
Once the mixture is gooey, pour evenly over crackers. Bake at 350 degrees for five minutes, until bubbly. Remove from oven, and sprinkle on top:
2 cups chocolate chips
As the chocolate melts, spread it with back of a spoon. Pop into the refrigerator until set, then cut apart the candy.

Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive

Since we don't have mail service on Saturdays, we took our non-perishable food to the post office this afternoon for the "Stamp Out Hunger" food drive. Olivia and I had fun picking out food while Sarah and Benjamin were in piano lessons yesterday. You still have one more day to shop!

Beautiful Day

"This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24

The day was too beautiful to be inside for school!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

In the Choate kitchen

Yesterday afternoon, we all seemed to end up in the kitchen cooking (one of our favorite things to do), so I thought I'd share what the kids mixed up. I should tell you that Sarah wouldn't let me near her while she baked, every bit of the cooking was her own.

Sarah: Lemon-Syrup Loaf Cake from "How to be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking" by Nigella Lawson

for the cake:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup plus 1 TBSP self-rising cake flour
1/2 cup plus 1 TBSP sugar
pinch of salt
2 large eggs
4 TBSP milk
zest of 1 lemon
9x5-inch loaf pan, buttered and lined with wax paper

for the syrup:
juice of 1 1/2 lemons (about 4 TBSP)
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and butter and line your loaf pan well with parchment or wax paper. Make sure the lining comes an inch or so up the sides of the pan for easier unmolding later.

Cream together the butter and sugar, and add the eggs and lemon zest, beating them in well. Add the flour and salt, folding in gently but thoroughly, and then the milk. Spoon into the prepared loaf pan and put in the oven. While the cake is baking, get on with the syrup: put the lemon juice and sugar into a small saucepan and heat gently so that the sugar dissolves.

Bake the cake for 45 minutes, or until golden, risen in the middle (though it will sink a little on cooling), and an inserted cake tester comes out clean. As soon as the cake is out of the oven, puncture the top of the loaf all over with the cake tester or suitable implement. Pour over the syrup, trying to let the middle absorb it as well as the sides, then leave it to soak up the rest. Don't try to take the cake out of the pan until it is competely cold, as it will be sodden with syrup and might crumble.

Serves 8-10

Got to jet off to piano lessons, so I'll post the recipes that Olivia and Benjamin mixed up later.

No Socks Day!

Today is officially "No Socks Day", of course every day is unofficially no socks day at our house. And to give you a little time to prepare, Saturday is the National Letter Carriers Food Drive. So head to the grocery store this afternoon and stock up on canned goods to give your letter carrier on Saturday!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Day for Musicians

For Music lovers everywhere! On this date:

In 1824: Beethoven's Ninth Symphony premiered in Vienna, Austria - sing along with the last movement

In 1833: My favorite composer, Johannes Brahms, was born in Hamburg, Germany

In 1840: Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky was born in Vatkinsk, Russia

The CD player will be busy today!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Field Trip: Dallas Museum of Art

Today, we took a field trip to the Dallas Museum of Art. The kids always look forward to riding the trolley to and from the museum. The trolley we rode first was absolutely beautiful! It had stained glass and burgundy velvet seats.

The kids enjoyed the scenery as we rode to the DMA.

Even Katherine!

We've been studying J.M.W. Turner, and the DMA hosted a special exhibit of his works. It was amazing. We each got a little hand held "tour guide", and Olivia took this trip very seriously. She listened intently to each lecture, and wouldn't leave the room until she had read about each picture. Unfortunately, we couldn't take pictures in that exhibit hall.

These chairs are made from corrugated cardboard, and they feel like corduroy.

Sarah is coloring on a table with lots of different textures.

Benjamin and Aaron build a castle out of cardboard boxes.

Katherine helps out, too.

One of our favorite exhibits was a sculpture you could actually touch. Each column consisted of a different "every day" material. This one was made of different colors of thread slightly overlapping. The column was delicate and beautiful.

On the way back to the van, the trolley ride didn't disappoint. Katherine was still fascinated.

Benjamin made a new friend in the trolley conductor!