Monday, August 31, 2009

Under the weather

Ever since we got back from Marulaon, Aaron has been a little under the weather. But this weekend, his "under the weather" turned into full blown sick. He dragged himself to the doctor yesterday, and now he is on antibiotics to treat his very swollen glands. Aaron is a good patient, he is staying in bed and drinking lots of water. Will you please pray for him as we begin a really hectic period here at SITAG?

Simple Woman's Daybook

Please visit Peggy and add your own day book.

For Today...Monday, August 31

Outside my window...looks like it's gonna be another hot and sunny day in the Solomons!

I am thinking...about 2 Cor. 2:10-11, "...I have forgiven in the sight of Christ for your sake, in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes." What a difference it would make if I always chose to forgive (and not hang on to personal retribution) but always let the final result be in God's capable hands. What a blow to Satan's crafty schemes if we each chose to live that way!

From the learning rooms...History - Adolf Hitler, Winston Churchill, Josef Stalin, Dwight Eisenhower, beginning WWII, Sarah - revising her research paper, continuing word problems with rate, Benjamin - using details to create his dream room & write a paragraph about it, review of capacity & beginning bar graphs in math, Olivia - writing a friendly letter, sharing & grouping for division, Katherine - continuing with the same activities just bumping the difficulty level up a notch, Science - exploring the micro world, Language learning - charting masculine, feminine, and neuter nouns

I am thankful for...friends and family who continue to communicate and encourage even though we've been gone just over a year

From the kitchen...cheesy brunch roll ups & pineapple this morning, a quick PBJ (except with homemade papaya butter, yum) for lunch, and with company tonight we're enjoying bar-b-cue meatballs, coconut rice, watermelon, green beans with slippery cabbage, spiced pumpkin, and jello poke cake for dessert
I am wearing...comfy cotton pajamas that used to be to be pink and white striped before they were hung out in the sun to dry many, many times

I am reading...nothing new this week, a little too much on my plate

I am hear back from Benjamin's eye doctor in Brisbane soon

I am creating...not much! Just enjoying the daily rhythm of taking care of my family.
I am hearing...the lovely sound of a coffee pot finishing up the pot

Around the house...Benjamin's very nice cursive handwriting exercise hung up next to coloring sheets of Marian Anderson, a basket of new WWII picture books to explore, a gift basket waiting for our company tomorrow, the small but full freezer waiting to divulge its contents (the kids can hardly wait to eat waffles)

A few plans for the rest of the comes to stay in our home tomorrow, Aaron helping shuttle all of the visitors from the airport this week, conference starts Thursday so the kids will have a break from school, one more big run to market to stock up on produce

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...
Aaron's mom sent this beautiful tablecloth from the 1940's. It belonged to Aaron's great-grandmother, who I only met once in the nursing home before she died. (And, no, I don't iron anything here!)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Come Thirsty

"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters..."
Isaiah 55:1a

our rain tank spigot where we fill our drinking water containers each day

"...Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, 'If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.'" John 7:37-38

Saturday, August 29, 2009

More language learning

When I study language with the kids in school, we sing a song with our videorecording, then we listen and read along with a short story. Here is the first story in the Lavukaleve Primer with a very rough English gloss underneath:
Ngai vovou tula nun nganu logologo.
When I was a small child, my hair was smooth.

Aka ini rugiaril siare, nganu ga oitaua.
Then my hair was different.

Hano gnanu go ele hobea sia.
Now my hair looks good.

Aka ini tuaneare lore nganu ga fufulu tin osia.
Then when I am all grown up, my hair will be gray.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Jisas ngana laketei part 2

Ok, here is the best I can do for the translation of "Jisas Ngana Laketei". We're still working on figuring out what it means, but the first line means "Jesus gives me life". This stanza is the first of five, and each stanza sings of something else that Jesus gives me:
Jisas ngana mifouae ngone ra - Jesus gives me love
Jisas ngana namulae ngone ra - Jesus gives me kindness
Jisas ngana lalo ngone ra - Jesus gives me peace
Jisas ngana logologoe ngone ra - Jesus gives me joy
The other lines praise Jesus, but we don't have a working translation yet :-) However, our kids have every word memorized, so I think once we get back to the village a translation will come quickly!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Jisas ngana laketei

Every morning as we begin school, I take the kids over the Educational Resource Center to practice piano. Yesterday, Katherine wanted to have a turn in between Sarah and Benjamin, so she hopped up and began to play very gently. Then, she surprised me by singing one of the songs we've been practicing in language! She matched pitch beautifully, and I could actually understand a few of the words she was singing.

Jisas ngana laketei ngone ga

Foiga ena ngone haifoiare ngoa lame

Ngokiae laura go ena esevorima

Lod inu fin laketei hi.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

Please drop by and visit Peggy who hosts this fun journal!

For Today...Monday, August 24

Outside my window...yesterday morning we were awakened in the dark to hear the thwack of coconuts being opened. I fell back to sleep, but when I woke up, I could see that our neighbors were moving the hot rocks from a motu (an outside oven that steams the food with hot stones). I didn't realize anybody in town still cooked this way since the houses near ours all have modern kitchens. Made me miss the village! I just bought a pair of tongs at the market to help me move the rocks when I go back to Marulaon in early October.

I am thinking...that I am excited and a little bit apprehensive that I just signed up to host three different families for supper each week for the next five weeks!

From the learning rooms...History - Great Depression, Eleanor & Franklin Roosevelt, Marion Anderson, Sarah - word problems involving rate, writing the first draft of her research paper, Benjamin - gallons, quarts, pints, and cups for math, homonyms, Olivia - continuing simple multiplication, alphabetizing, Katherine - sorting colors & shapes, Science - beginning to explore the micro world, Language learning - listening to the recordings of our neighbors reading short custom stories and reading along

I am thankful for...conversations with other SITAG women about grace and authenticity

From the kitchen...muffins & papaya for breakfast, leftovers (my personal favorite) for lunch, and baked potatoes with cheese and BROCCOLI for supper

I am wearing...I just dumped my Tevas on the porch, but I still have on my stinky, sweaty walking clothes

I am reading...through resources in the Educational Resource Center as I prepare to start Sonlight Cores 5 & K

I am hoping...that we get our washing machine back soon. Every time I head up the hill to use another family's machine, I am reminded to be thankful that I'm not headed to the river to wash clothes by hand

I am creating...a welcoming home for my family and all of the travelers who will be passing through in the next few weeks

I am getting out the vitamins for breakfast, praise and worship music coming from the CD player, Benjamin finishing off the coffee in the pot

Around the house...switching our bedroom so that our house guests can have the "Master Suite" for more privacy

One of my favorite things...finding broccoli and carrots in the store!

A few plans for the rest of the week...lots of company, cooking and freezing to prepare for Conference

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

pure Olivia!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Busy Saturday

Today, we stayed busy, but it was a good kind of busy! Another SITAG family held an open house this morning, and we enjoyed seeing the place that God had provided for them. Their new home sits right next to SITAG property, and it perches on top of a ridge with a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean.

When we got home, we began cooking to prepare for the busy month ahead. I'm hoping to use this weekend and next to fill up the freezer so my extra busy days will be smoother. The kids helped me cook (one of their favorite things).
We made bread dough, which eventually turned into bierrocks (kinda like "Hot Pockets") and cinnamon rolls, mixed up two different kinds of cookie dough, and prepared supper for another family that was coming to visit. What a great day!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

And the winner is...

Due to some sporadic internet connections, we are just now posting the winner of the foot decoration made by some new friends of ours at the market. And the one who will get to show off her new pedicure is...Ashley! Hope you enjoy, friend :-)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

School Pictures

This started out as a school picture photo shoot, but just turned into some family pictures. The mosquitos kept us company even though it was mid-morning, so I'm hoping to get some more "school pictures" soon. I just love my family!


You could be the first in your town to wear this lovely hand-crafted shell decoration on your foot. Just enter a comment by midnight CST, Wednesday, August 19, and the kids will draw until one name is left in the bowl.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

Please drop by and visit Peggy who hosts this fun journal!

For Today...Monday, August 17

Outside my window...I miss the view of the ocean that we had in the last house, but I love all of the foliage that surrounds this house!

I am thinking...about the blessing of the band-aids with the antibiotic ointment that came in care packages. We gave away so many band-aids to our friends in the village, and every time we put one on a sore, we were able to say that people in America sent these, and they pray for you.

From the learning rooms...History - Great Depression, Eleanor & Franklin Roosevelt, Sarah - learning how to take notes for her research paper about Florida, learning how to find an average in math, Benjamin - eliminating "being" verbs, adding & subtracting liters and milliliters, Olivia - using the article A or An, beginning multiplication, Katherine - practicing counting 1-5 with some cute cards my mom made and some tiny cars to park on them, Science - finishing up studying our solar system, Language learning - continued singing along with the videos of songs from our village & learning the words and motions

I am thankful incredible husband who recognizes and values our differences.

From the kitchen...pumpkin bread and hardboiled eggs this morning, broccoli and cheese strata for lunch, papaya chicken & coconut rice tonight

I am wearing...sage green t-shirt, a pink and green floral skirt that I bought at a second hand store last week, jade earrings that belonged to my grandmother

I am reading..."The Complete Father Brown" by G.K Chesterson

I am hoping...that we figure out why the water pump keeps quitting on us.

I am creating...a new waistband on a burgundy floral skirt that I bought at a second hand store last week

I am banging on wood scraps underneath the house

Around the house...rearranged furniture to make the house feel more like ours for the next six weeks

One of my favorite things...the results of self-discipline

A few plans for the rest of the week...continuing to work in the Educational Resource Center in the afternoons carding new books, organizing and cleaning; enjoying the company of some SITAG families two different evenings, start Christmas shopping (it has to be done by the beginning of October before we leave for Marulaon)

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sweet Sabbath

the hand-carved cross in our church in Marulaon

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God's throne."
Hebrews 12:1,2 NLT

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Marulaon Journal

This is the last of my journal from our time in Marulaon:

Tuesday, August 4
Lots of packing and cleaning today. We learned from our last trip that we can't do school and pack at the same time - it just takes too long to prepare the house, cover every bookshelf with sheets, rat proof everything, etc. So, we let the kids have yesterday and today off (ah, the joys of schooling year-round). Everyone pitched in to help, and by the time we got the supper dishes washed, the house was ready for our departure. We all enjoyed sitting on the porch and relaxing instead of frantically counting how many cans of tuna were in the pantry, rolls of toilet paper in the bathroom, or bottles of dish detergent under the sink.
Aaron and the kids took our cargo down to be loaded on a friends canoe for the trip out to the Bikoi. A couple of people came by with lelenga and green coconuts for our trip on the Bikoi. I put Olivia and Katherine to bed, but when Katherine heard visitors on the porch, she hopped up to join the party. After a while, I lay down to rest in anticipation of our long night. We gathered the family around 9:30, locked the house, and headed down to the beach. We sat around and storied with friends who enjoyed taking turns holding Katherine and trying to get her to go to sleep.
Finally, around 10:30, the Bikoi came, and we saw all of the canoes head out to sell food to the ship. The Bikoi comes from way out in the Western Solomons, and the trip is long. Passengers are thankful for some fresh food when they reach Marulaon. We finally loaded the canoe after it had dropped off our stuff, then we waved goodbye to all of our friends and sped off to the Bikoi. Two of our foam mats had mistakenly gone under the boat, so we only had our new woven mat that we bought at the Grand Bazaar. Thankfully, someone brought us another one, and we quickly spread out and tried to settle in for the night.
All evening, Katherine had been excitedly talking about the boat, "Look, Mama. A boat!" But now, her excitement was short-lived, and she cried on and off throughout the night. Olivia, having enjoyed a two hour nap, was wide awake and quickly succumbed to the rocking of the boat. So, I held a crying Katherine, and Aaron took Olivia to the side of the ship and then down to the bathroom. We eventually settled down and dozed until we reached Honiara around 5:00. What a welcome sight to see a fellow SITAG member with the truck! We couldn't pick up our cargo until 6:00, so we decided to go on back to the house and begin to get settled in while Aaron went back to the wharf. Honiara always looks so huge and busy whenever we come back from Marulaon. We're looking forward to spending time with all of the SITAG families again!

Monday, August 3
Sarah lost her tooth yesterday in church while we were singing. Her eyes got big and she looked at me funny, then she handed me her tooth. We discovered that when a child in Marulaon looses a tooth, the proper thing to do is throw it on the roof and sing this songof two notes (a minor third apart), "Kokomita dengoneo nam nganeo." This songs asks the gecko (kokomita) to take your tooth and give you the new one in its place. "Nam" is one of the first words that Katherine learned in language. It basically means, "Give it to me." Sarah took the tooth to David and Eileen's house, sang her song, and threw her tooth on the roof. The tooth missed, bounced into the house, and David had to go searching for it. When David found the tooth, Sarah tried again, and this time the tooth landed securely on the roof.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Me and My Girl

This morning, I was hiding behind the closed door of our bedroom, trying to drink my coffee and read my Bible, when I heard one of my favorite words, "Maaaaammaa!" come from Katherine's lips. I walked over to the door and opened it to find a jaybird little girl with a mop of brown curls. Aaron said she had put her mouth down to the bottom of the door to call me more efficiently.
So, I grabbed my girl, tossed her on the bed, and covered both of us with a quilt. We sang "This Little Light of Mine", "Deep and Wide", and one of my favorite hymns "He Keeps Me Singing" before she began to play peek-a-boo underneath the quilt. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Action Jackson

We've had a good time learning about Jackson Pollock, and since we couldn't get the internet to cooperate on Classics For Kids this afternoon, we decided that this would be the day to practice being "Action Jackson".
So, we loaded up the egg beater, paint brushes, spatulas, whisks, and anything else that looked like fun, and headed down to the basketball court to paint. I followed a trail of green splatters on the sidewalk! We quickly gathered a small crowd of SITAG kids who offered their suggestions.
I loved watching the kids just let go and have fun being creative.
Sarah found that the potato masher worked quite well.
Great job, kiddos!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Peanut Butter Cookies

We have really enjoyed being back in Honiara and getting to meet all of the fascinating people that come through SITAG. This week, the SITBLP workshop has given Sarah several opportunities to make cookies to share. Monday, she made snickerdoodles, and today she doubled a batch of my mom's peanut butter cookies so she would have enough to share with the workshop and the staff meeting (and our family still had plenty left over). Here's my mom's recipe in her own words:

Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
1 cup chunky peanut butter
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. slat
3/4 tsp. soda
1 Tbsp. vanilla

Cream butter, sugars, & vanilla 'til sugar is dissolved. Add egg. Beat 'til creamy. Add peanut butter & beat in slowly. Mix dry ingredients together. Fold into creamed mixture. (I like to refrigerate the dough until it's firm.) Use a teaspoon to get a "walnut-sized" ball of dough. Roll it in flour & roll between the palms to form a ball. Place on cookie sheet & press a fork into the top of each ball to form a criss-cross pattern. Bake at 35o degrees for 5-8 minutes until the shine is gone & cookies just begin to brown.

While we lived in Dallas, we made a friend who introduced us to lots of good books and to the joy of adding chocolate chips to peanut butter cookies. I had been saving a bag of mini chocolate chips from a care package and decided that today was the day to indulge! It was a decision enjoyed by all - yum.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Holy Stone!

Soima and Eileen

Sunday, August 2
We have become good friends with the family who lives just down the hill from us. David and Eileen have four children, and their daughter Naris, son-in-law David (Aaron calls him David, Jr.) and two granddaughters Bernadine and Soima live with them. Naris has helped us with the house some, and Eileen has been a source of joy and friendship for me as she helps me learn language and culture. Every Sunday, she is sure to bring some lelenga and the most delicious, moist fish you have ever tasted. The small girls are a delight and will sit in my lap, and Katherine frequently asks to toddle down the hill to spend some time with this family.

This afternoon, Naris and her husband came up on the porch looking uncomfortable and asked to talk with us. My heart sped up not knowing what to expect. After some small talk, they explained that they were concerned that we didn't know about the custom medicine being practiced in the village. They just wanted us to be aware that a man in the village was known to still practice custom medicine. This medicine could be used to make a person well or sick. David was very careful to explain that he didn't think we were in any danger, but that we just needed to know that custom medicine was alive and well. After they left, Aaron looked at me and said, "Now, we can be REAL missionaries!"

This is one of five stones in our village. This stone sits between our house and the church, and four other stones like it sit in each corner of the village. The stones have been blessed by the priest to protect the village. Notice the yellow bushes around the stone, they traditionally have been used to protect people and places from evil spirits. These bushes are planted all around the church yard and our house.

Monday, August 10, 2009

New Roof

One of SITAG's literacy workers with three of the ladies who help us keep things running smoothly at SITAG.

For lunch today, SITAG gathered to celebrate the completion of the roof for the new dormitory. Our family brought a yummy carrot cake, and we all enjoyed grilled hot dogs and cold watermelon. The men who are constructing the building just said that they were thankful to be able to work in the shade now that the roof is on. They posed on top of the new building. When the dorm is finished, they will begin construction on the new training center. Lots of exciting things happening around here!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

If you would like to participate, please visit Peggy's blog.

For Today...Monday, August 10

Outside my window...sun just peeping up over the horizon, roosters welcoming the day, the huge coconut tree outside our house putting out some sort of long finger-like yellow flower that the insects LOVE

I am thinking...about this huge house where we are living while we stay at SITAG, it's twice as big as our house in the village, and we are getting spoiled to two bathrooms. Sarah loves having her own tiny room that she can keep as neat as a pin. And we still have a guest room set aside for company during conference.

From the learning rooms...History - Roaring Twenties, Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt, Gertrude Ederle, Sarah - memorizing Gettysburg Address, percentage of a quantity, thesis statement for her new research paper (can she really be that old?), Benjamin - math review, alliteration, Olivia - adding three numbers, alphabetizing, Katherine - I forgot her book back in the village, so she'll be enjoying her puzzles and lacing beads, Science - our solar system, painting pictures in the style of Jackson Pollock (that should be messy and fun!), language learning - practicing songs with the videos we took before we left

I am thankful for...Splenda Hazlenut coffee sweeteners, especially since I used my last one yesterday

From the kitchen...toast, eggs, and watermelon balls for breakfast, SITAG luncheon celebrating the completion of the roof on the new building (we're bringing carrot cake with yummy cream cheese icing), chicken noodle soup for supper

I am wearing...sea foam green cotton nightgown trimmed in white eyelet

I am reading..."Family Fragrance" by J. Otis & Gail Ledbetter, a great re-read by Focus on the Family

I am hoping...that we can find the parts to fix our computers without too much hassle or expense

I am creating...some care packages to send back to the States

I am hearing...not much but the hum of the ceiling fan

Around the house...just a little unpacking left to do, a carrot cake to ice, bagels to make

One of my favorite things...turning the monster ceiling fan on high and wrapping up in a quilt in the early morning with a cup of coffee to watch the sun come up

A few plans for the rest of the week...SITAG luncheon today, working in the Educational Resource Center during the afternoons to ready it for the new school year, Sarah has a sleepover to attend Friday night

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

my sweet and silly ten year old in one of her favorite places

Saturday, August 8, 2009

USS Mustin

Special guest post by Aaron:

7 August 1942, US Marines landed on Guadalcanal. This weekend, the US sent the USS Mustin to Honiara to honor the memory of the event. Three different memorial services were held around town and tours of the Mustin were offered to US citizens and special guests. Aaron, Sarah and Benjamin had a great time getting a little taste of America again.

First I will say thank you to the men and women serving aboard the Mustin. Seeing the US flag flying and knowing that all over the world our airmen, soldiers, sailors, and marines are working and or fighting was humbling. Psalm 144:1 "Praise the Lord who is my rock. He trains my hands for war and gives my fingers skill for battle."

Here we are waiting to board the ship. It is amazing how big is gets the closer you get to it. We never did find out what those two garage doors on the back were for.

This is a complex photo. The octagonal plate on the left is part of the missle tracking system on the Mustin. The USS Mustin is a guided missle destroyer. It serves is a battle group of eight ships in the Pacific. And the Mustin won the group's efficiency award last year. Our guide told us that coming here was kind of a reward for that! The tall mast of the ship carries most of the radio and satellite equipment. Making the ship top heavy, we learned that if the seas were very rough so the ship rocked to a 45 degree angle, the mast is designed to break off so as not to capsize the ship.

These are torpedo tubes on the side of the ship. There is another set on the opposite side. The tube with the door open has a live torpedo inside! The Msutin came to Honiara from unfriendly waters and the loaded torpedo was just part of protocol. We learned some fascinating science in dealing with torpedoes; launching using 1600 lbs of air pressure and chemical reactions with the salt water to activate the torpedo.

Sarah was our photographer most of the day, so we had to get her in at least one shot. This is one of two anchors at the front of the ship.

It was a great experience for us. God bless the USA.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Old Shoes

For some years now, my mama has called Aaron and me "a pair of old shoes" because we've been a comfortable pair for so long. Well, my "old shoe" outdid himself yesterday. You have to realize that after a while here, even the most yummy papaya doesn't quite taste as good as the fresh fruits of summer back in the States. So, when we get a new boat load of fruits and veggies in town (about once a month), we are willing to pay big bucks for something like, ahem...broccoli. When Aaron came back home from the store yesterday, he grinned and handed me a small, white plastic bag. Inside were...gasp...eighteen beautiful plump cherries. He paid about USD $26/lb. for those tokens of love because he knew that they would remind me of a farmers market we discovered in Germany. There was a sign explaining that these had been air-freighted into Honiara to justify the extra expense. The lady at the checkout even double checked with Aaron to make sure he was willing to pay for the cherries before she rang them up :) I'm so thankful for this amazing man and for God's provision of simple pleasures like cherries.
"A soul without a mate is like a vase without flowers."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today...Saturday, August 1

Outside my window...beautiful moon rising in a BRIGHT blue sky, my big kids splashing in an incredibly clear ocean with friends

I am thinking...about the family who lost their young son (late teens) this morning. He had been sick for three days, and yesterday the family called in the man who practices custom medicine. At 7:15 this morning, I heard the wails begin and knew somebody had died. Then our house girl showed up early to tell us that her cousin had died, so she couldn't help us today. I grieve for the family, but especially for the lies that still masquerade as truth here.

From the learning rooms... a short school week due to packing and moving, traveling overnight on a boat, and unpacking

I am thankful for...a great market this morning: pineapple, fish, bananas, green beans, urio, papaya, tomatoes, eggplant, bei, green beans, & cassava

From the out the fridge since we will unplug it to defrost before we leave (and somehow I've stocked up on loads of green beans, so we still have seven bundles in the fridge that need to be eaten)

I am wearing...purple skirt, purple floral sleeveless top, and lots of sweat

I am reading..."Secret of Chimneys" by Agatha Christie, a well loved copy that Aaron picked up for me when he was in Europe in 1991

I am hoping...that we don't have to stay up late packing that the Bikoi comes on time (10 p.m.), last week it came at 3 a.m.

I am creating...a meal to take to the family of the deceased

I am hearing...Katherine playing in the sink, mourning cries from across the village

Around the house...boxes and piles and lists and dirty dishes

One of my favorite things...when a neighbor puts her hand on my arm while we talk

A few plans for the rest of the week...returning to life in Honiara, and definitely a trip to Frangipanni Ice for some ice cream

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

This is our newest find at market, wing beans. They cook like green beans (sort of).

More escapee urio

Wednesday, July 29
You think we would learn our lesson and cook the urio right away, but we were so tired after market this afternoon (too many nights filled with howling dogs, loud music, kids with bad dreams, etc.). So Aaron put two very alive urio in a pot, put the lid on, and placed the pot on top of the stove. In the middle of the night, I awoke to some sound I couldn't identify. I decided since I was awake, I might as well make a trip to the bathroom. The pantry and the bath room share a wall, and I could hear a scritcha-scratcha sound coming from the pantry. So, I woke up my sweet husband! Aaron grabbed a flashlight and went off to find one urio climbing out of the pot and another one in the far corner of the pantry on top of the cassava scraper. He put both in separate containers, secured the lids, and set them on the porch so we could enjoy the rest of the evening in peace.

Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today...Sunday, July 26, 2009

Outside my window...REALLY dark and quiet

I am thinking...about how hard it is to live a life full of grace, that it is much easier for me to live in unforgiveness and bitterness and finger pointing

From the learning rooms... History – end of WWI, Spanish Influenza epidemic, Sarah – exploring parts of a story's plot, expressing a decimal as a percentage, Benjamin – writing a short story, word problems with pounds & ounces, Olivia - studying antonyms, addition & subtraction with renaming, Katherine – sorting foam shapes, Science –building electric circuits & then creating bypasses

I am thankful for...for ten years with sweet Sarah

From the kitchen...Sarah's choice for birthday meals tomorrow: breakfast – almond bread and yogurt popsicles, lunch – Mexican, birthday party – cherry pineapple dump cake & vanilla ice cream, supper – chicken fettuchine alfredo florentine (her annual favorite)

I am & white seersucker pajamas, damp hair

I am reading..."What's So Amazing About Grace?" by Philip Yancey

I am hoping...that John (the guy from SITAG) can figure out why we can't do e-mail and fix the problem this week

I am creating...lists of things to take back to Honiara, things to do while in Honiara, & things to brings back to Marulaon

I am' heavy breathing, Aaron & John visiting

Around the house...varnishing floors almost finished, dishes drying in the rack, candle burning on the table, all at peace in a house ready for the next day

One of my favorite things...having people stay in the Choate Bed & Breakfast

A few plans for the rest of the week...Sarah's birthday tomorrow, a friend from SITAG staying until Wednesday night, markets on Wednesday and Saturday (we always make loads of banana cake to sell), lots of list making and packing towards the end of the week as we prepare to go back to Honiara

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

Benjamin opening a kino (a type of nut)

Even more lelenga

Saturday, July 25
Today at market, we bought enough obikola (cassava) and dried coconut so we could make lelenga on our own. We're still waiting for the chairman to build our outdoor kitchen, but we are continuing to move up the learning curve. Today, we did all of the preparation of the lelenga by ourselves. We peeled and scraped the obikola, then we scraped the coconuts. I knew that we weren't supposed to add much water so the coconut milk would be strong (unlike when I cook rice), but I wasn't sure how much. So I took a glass of water and a heaping BIG bowl of scraped coconut in search of a neighbor to help. I found Melissa, one of the ladies who occasionally helps us. She laughed at me, then told me that the water in the cup was just right for the amount of coconut I had scraped, but that if I used all of that coconut my lelenga would be "gris fo gud" (really greasy). So, we squeezed the coconut milk and boiled it, and when I tasted it, the coconut milk reminded me of my great-grandmother's famous coconut cake (which I've never been able to make to my satisfaction). Then we sliced our bananas and got ready to go over to Auntie Sarah's kitchen. You need to know that this took us 4-5 hours with only a break for some lunch. Lelenga takes a long time, but I anticipate we will speed up with more practice.

Auntie Sarah showed up just as we were getting ready to come to her house. So, we all traipsed over to her kitchen, and she built up the fire around the stones to preheat. I remembered how to heat up the banana leaves, and I learned the word for "shiny" which I recognized from singing the Magnificat every evening. You know the leaf is ready when the intense heat makes it shiny. I haven't quite mastered the technique of removing the majority of the thick stem from the leaf, yet. We had plenty of coconut cream left over, so I was able to leave some of it for Auntie Sarah to cook her haleav. As we layered the ingredients into our pans, Auntie asked if we wanted our lelenga for dinner tonight or breakfast in the morning, and I asked which was better. She said it would be sweeter if we left it all night, so we did!

Grand Bazaar

Friday, July 24
We cooked twelve dozen banana muffins to help raise money for the church's grand bazaar today. People from all over the Western Russells were supposed to come and bring things to sell today, but the weather was very windy, so only people from Marulaon and the village at the other end of our island came. The ocean was so rough that paddling a canoe would have been very difficult. Most people brought food (cooking bananas, umalau, lelenga), but there were also some paddles, mats, and some children's clothes that one of the ladies had made. The urio were hung up with string tied to a pole, and each held their price tag on a piece of cardboard. We just laughed to see their pinchers reflexively holding the price!
The muffins sold out very quickly, and we purchased a mat and a skirt for Katherine. Sarah has made a good friend with a ten year old girl, Harris. Harris is from Marulaon, but she lives and goes to school in Honiara. She is only here for the school holiday, but we're hoping to be able to keep in touch with her while we are in Honiara.

Coordinating Injuries

Tuesday, July 21

Olivia and Benjamin seem to be joined at the hip in adventures. This afternoon, the three big kids were swimming in the ocean. We have encouraged them to wear shoes when they swim to protect their feet from the coral and the trash. Sarah came dashing up the hill calling for Daddy to come get Benjamin who had cut his foot. Sure enough, Benjamin was bleeding everywhere again and had cut a chunk out of the ball of his foot. Aaron cleaned him up, and we propped his foot up and gave him a book. Then we called the girls in to shower and get ready for supper and church. While I was cooking supper, I heard Olivia holler, so I finished what I was doing and went to check on her. I found her holding her elbow and crying. She explained that she had slipped and fallen and her elbow had caught the edge of the shower basin on the way down. She had a nice "V" shaped cut on her elbow, so we bandaged her, too. I hope that Olivia and Benjamin are finished with coordinating their injuries!

No Bikoi

Sunday, July 19 –
The bell this morning rang at 5:00 a.m. (over 70 times), then another one rang at 5:30, then the last one rang at 6:00 followed by the drums that signal it's time to come to church. The service began just after 6:30. We received an explanation during the announcements after church. Church services were going too late, so by the time Sunday School met (after the prayer service), the building was hot. So now, we will start morning prayer on Sundays at 6:30!

This afternoon, we discovered that the Bikoi had some engine trouble, so it was staying in Honiara for repairs. This means that our friend from SITAG won't be able to come out until next week, we're disappointed, but we look forward to getting e-mail fixed next week and meeting our colleague.

Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today...Saturday, July 18, 2009

Outside my window...bright sunshine & a brisk breeze drying the clothes on the line

I am thinking...that my brain can't absorb anything else in Lavukaleve right now!

From the learning rooms... History - WWI, Sarah –using symbolism in writing, math review, Benjamin – onomatopoeia, word problems with units of weight , Olivia –homonyms, Katherine – walking on a "balance beam", learning lots of fun action songs with big sister as a teacher, Science – batteries & electric circuits

I am thankful for...the foundation that was laid by the SITAG family who came to Marulaon before us. Over and over, Aaron and I see the fruits of their hard work & trials.

From the kitchen...we enjoyed baked French toast & papaya for breakfast, tuna salad for lunch, & for supper it will be some concoction with pasta to use the rest of the fish I bought at market this morning

I am & white floral sleeveless jumper, silver hoop earrings

I am reading..."A Life That Says Welcome" by Karen Ehman

I am hoping...that the next twelve years of our marriage is as wonderful as the first twelve years have been (our anniversary is tomorrow)

I am creating...our learning schedule & our school list of things to take with us when we go back to Honiara at the beginning of August.

I am hearing...sheets snapping in the breeze, laughter as we play a new card game we found in the house

Around the house...tomatoes ripening on the windowsill, crab waiting to be shelled, green coconuts lined up on the cabinet to refresh us, a countdown to Sarah's birthday on the chalkboard

One of my favorite things...watching my "three muskateers" clean up the kitchen after lunch while Aaron and I sat down to a language learning session that was earlier than we anticipated. The kids laughed and sang as they worked, and they are all so close in height! I marveled at the incredible people blossoming as I secretly observed them (when I really should have been notating Lavukaleve).

A few plans for the rest of the week...more language learning sessions, another SITAG member coming out to spend a few days with us and help us with the radio/e-mail (the Choate bed & breakfast is ready!), a bazaar on Friday to raise money for the church (we've been asked to bake & sell banana cake)

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, Olivia!

July 15 - Olivia's birthday
Hard to believe that Olivia is six today. She chose a chocolate cake and chocolate icing from my recipes, and it was VERY sweet! I gave the kids the day off from school. We shared our lunch spaghetti (Olivia's choice) with our house girl, Melissa, but she wasn't too crazy about it. Olivia
keeps us laughing with her antics, and I'm so thankful for the zest she adds to our family.

Billikiki rainbow

Wish you could have seen it!


Thursday, July 16
Today, the Billikiki stopped by Marulaon. It's a small cruise ship
caters to divers. We have some of the most beautiful waters for
diving in
the world! The passengers were from America, Spain, Australia and
The girls helped put frangipanni leis around the visitor's necks.
village (including our family) sang and danced as a welcome for
them. I was
holding a little girls who fell asleep while I was trying to sing
and dance,
so I retreated to the sidelines and just enjoyed holding her.
singing and dancing was quite a hit with the neighbors! When all of
festivities were over, we walked with them on a quick tour of the
The Bilikiki passengers ended their stay with a market to replenish
boat's kitchen. As they got ready to leave, a beautiful double
filled the sky.