Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Chef Olivia

For Olivia's lesson in cooking, she chose to cook "scalped" umalau. She did a great job of peeling the potatoes, but she could only slice the skinny one. I, the sous chef, stepped in to assist my master chef.

Olivia picked out this fish in the market. We've been told to ask where the fish has been caught, and the first person we asked replied, "the Russell Islands"! You could have knocked me over with a feather. So, Olivia picked out a two-pounder from the Russells, and we chatted for a few minutes with the guy who caught it.

Aaron filleted the fish, but Olivia helped do things like remove the scales, grate the coconut, and grate the ginger for the sauce. We all decided that her choice of meal was lovely, if a little bit spicy. Next time, we'll reduce the heat a little bit. Notice I didn't get any pictures of the finished product, we were all too busy eating!

Olivia's Menu

"Scalped" umalau

Baked Spiced Fish

Smashed pumpkin

Bush Lime Pie

Baked Spiced Fish

Baked Spiced Fish
1 kg cod steaks (King fish could be used)
4 tbsp oil
125 g grated coconut
5 cm piece ginger, chopped
4 cloves finely chopped garlic
1 large chopped onion
2 green chillies, seeded and chopped
1 tbsp chilli powder
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander (optional)
1 tbsp coriander powder
4 tbsp lemon juice
salt to taste
Heat the oil in a pan, add the cocnut, ginger, onion, garlic, chillies, coriander powder and chilli powder and fry gently until the onion is translucent. Ad the coriander, lemon juice and salt to taste and simmer for 15 minutes or until the coconut is soft.
Oil the bottom of a baking dish just enough to hold the fish. Arrange the fish steaks side by side and pour over the spice mixture. Bake in a preheated moderate oven at 160 C (325 F) for 25 minutes or until tender. Serves 4
(From "Solomon Aelan Kuk Buk" published by Woodford International School)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

Please take a moment to visit Peggy who hosts this thought provoking blog

For today...September 28, 2009

Outside my window...dark and quiet, with the occasional interruption by barking dogs

I am thinking...about being more intentional in teaching my children practical life skills (things like cooking, handling money, organizing & cleaning a house, child development - all subjects they listed as important)

From the learning rooms...History - WWII (still loving it!), Sarah - parallelograms, rhombuses & trapezoids, responding to literature, Benjamin - comparing fractions, antonym review, Olivia - math review, writing mechanics (series & commas), Science - looking at plants through the microscope, a day off to celebrate Aaron's birthday on Friday, continued listening, singing, & reading Lavukaleve

I am thankful for...those of you who continue to send pillow cases and bandaids with antibiotic ointment, your small gift makes a big difference to our national translators and our neighbors in Marulaon

From the kitchen...baked oatmeal for breakfast, lunch in town today because of our big shopping trip, baked spiced fish, "scalped" umalau, spiced pumpkin, and bush lime pie cooked by Olivia to close our day (it took four hours from start to finish!)

I am wearing...pink paisley pajamas, it's been a very long day

I am reading..."The Way They Learn" by Cynthia Ulrich Tobias

I am hoping...that Aaron doesn't have malaria

I am hearing...the lovely quiet of night

Around the house...coloring sheets of Jackie Robinson displayed next to kids' drawings of a virus invading a cell, clothes hanging on the porch clothesline because of the overcast day, a 1000 piece puzzle of a Norman Rockwell print just started

One of my favorite things...a two year old on the porch wearing pink panties and her big sister's pink shoes while blowing me kisses

A few plans for the rest of the week...a meeting this afternoon with the literacy specialist to learn how to use our Lavukaleve primers, writing club for Sarah Tuesday and Thursday, Aaron's birthday on Friday, beginning the massive shopping to prepare for our next stay in Marulaon, helping each of the kids cook a complete meal with local food

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

a big moth we found on the back porch in the mop bucket, the kids were delighted!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sweet Sabbath

A few days ago, I spied Olivia and Katherine walking down the steep driveway hand in hand. They occassionally stopped to smell a flower together. I ran for the camera and "zoomed" it as much as I could to catch this sweet pair of sisters across the ravine.

Katherine loves to spend time with her siblings, and Olivia didn't gripe or complain when I asked her to play with Katherine.

"Therefore, I uge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship....

...Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves....Live in harmony with one another..." Romans 12:1,10, 16a

Friday, September 25, 2009

Normal, Everyday Life

Just a few pics from our normal, everyday lives the past couple of days...

...science experiements waiting to grow bacteria from washed and unwashed hands...

...the scene I happened upon yesterday (makes you think we might be bibliophiles)...

...swimming lessons...

...and a million dollar smile...

...and, finally, the birthday girl.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Birthday Girl

The birthday girl with her best buddy

Miss Personality

Mama's best helper in the kitchen

Under our house in Papua New Guinea

Wrapped up in a blanket made by my grandmother

Katherine's first Sunday, heading to church

Her "real" birthday in Duncanville, Texas

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Happy Birthday, Ice Cream Cone!

Today marks the anniversary of the ice cream cone's creation at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis. Two years ago, we got to celebrate with my brother in Dallas.

Today, we drove into town to enjoy a cool treat at Frangipanni Ice. Olivia enjoyed raspberry ice cream, Sarah ordered the soft serve vanilla/raspberry swirt, Benjamin tried something new, green tea ice cream.

Aaron and I always ask for waffle cones, even though the store is frequently out of them. But today, the employees had just finished making a batch, and my waffle cone was still warm! Katherine and I devoured coffee ice cream (she had some of Sarah's, too), and Aaron decided to try the papaya ginger flavor. What a treat for a hot, sunny day!

Some books to help you celebrate:

Ice Cream Cones For Sale! by Elaine Greenstein
Ice Cream: The Full Scoop by Gail Gibbons
The Sundae Scoop (MathStart 2) by Stuart J. Murphy

Monday, September 21, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

Peggy hosts this lovely blog visited by women around the world

For today...Monday, September 21

Outside my window...the morning sun is casting a big, beautiful shadow of a palm tree on the hill in front of me

I am thinking...about how much I miss my family and friends. We've been on this side of the ocean for a little over a year, and I long to be able to bring meals to new moms, help out with hospital stays, ring handbells side by side, and just "share life" with many precious people.

From the learning rooms...History - still WWII, Sarah - studying parts of a plot and writing a short story, learning about the sum of angles in a triangle, Benjamin - reviewing compound words, writing a "quilt poem", and comparing fractions, Olivia - reviewing synonyms, writing a creative story from a picture, introducing fractions (halves & quarters) & telling time, Katherine - just celebrating her 2nd birthday, Fine Arts - changing our artist (Norman Rockwell) and composer (Duke Ellington) this week as we begin our last nine weeks of American History, Science - still exploring the joys of the microscope, PE - swimming lessons

I am thankful for...hot water piped into the house when we are in Honiara

From the kitchen...baked French toast to sweeten our morning, leftovers again for lunch, and tacos with tortillas made by Sarah to finish off our day

I am wearing...khaki skirt, green sleeveless shirt with eyelet cut out of the neckline (a sweet gift from my mother-in-law)

I am reading..."A Garden of Friends" by Penny Pierce Rose, a thoughtful pick-me-up from a friend in Memphis

I am hoping...that the boxes with the rest of our new curriculum will come soon!

I am hearing...kids grabbing their piano books and going out the door to the Educational Resource Center to practice

Around the house...beans soaking for chili tomorrow, well-done handwriting samples hanging next to diagrams of bone cross-sections drawn in bright colors, leaf cookie cutters hiding out until tomorrow to help us celebrate the beginning of autumn

One of my favorite things...reading a good book together as a family (right now, it's "The Winged Watchman")

A few plans for the rest of the week...a farewell morning tea this morning for a couple of Wycliffe Associates leaving tomorrow, Sarah's writing club on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, swimming lessons every morning at the other end of town

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

yummy funnel cake that we made a few days ago from a mix sent by some dear friends

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sweet Sabbath

"Look at the birds. They don't plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren't you far more valuable to Him than they are?" Matthew 6:26 NLT

Friday, September 18, 2009

Buffalo Bill Choate

Even though I've known my sweet husband for 24 years (wow!), he still surprises me from time to time. He knows I don't like change, so he tries to soften the blow whenever he can. A few days ago, he came into the living room where I was checking e-mail. Holding his shirt over his face, I heard his muffled voice warn me that he had decided it was time for a change with his facial hair. I started giggling and couldn't stop! He had gone with the Old West look, and we both laughed until I was afraid I would leave a puddle in the chair. What an amazing, handsome, thoughtful, brilliant, (need I go on?) man I have!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

And the winner is...

Nana! Tell Cindy and Chelsea they can be watching for a new pair of earrings in the mail in about three weeks.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

National Playdough Day

One of favorite holidays to celebrate falls on September 16 - National Playdough Day! The camera battery died just as we began to make a yummy treat, peanut butter playdough. The kids enjoyed playing with (and eating) their playdough while we listened to custom stories in Lavukaleve. This afternoon, we'll make some batches of regular playdough. It doesn't last long in this climate!

Peanut Butter Playdough
1 cup peanut butter
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup powdered sugar
3 cups powdered milk
Mix all ingredients and enjoy. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. If you have any leftover ;-)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


To those five of you who recently commented on the giveaway, somehow I deleted your comments! I'm so sorry, please comment again and chalk it up to my technical incapacity.


Enter your name in the comments by midnight (CST) Wednesday for a chance to receive a pair of these fabulous mother-of-pearl earrings hand carved in the Solomon Islands. (Of course, we would love for you to come visit and pick out your own jewelry at the market!)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

Please visit Peggy and add your own day book.

For Today...September 14, 2009

Outside my window...fabulous sunrise, looks like it will be a beautiful morning, geckos finishing up their night hunting and chirping to each other on the veranda

I am thinking...about the great sermon we heard preached by a friend yesterday. He used parts of Acts 4 & 5 to teach about authenticity. Isn't technology amazing?!?

From the learning rooms...History - WWII, Science - continuing studying the micro world, Sarah - finishing her research paper, reading line graphs, Benjamin - exploring cause & effect, math review, Olivia - compound words, division (sharing & grouping), Katherine - intro to "circle time"

I am thankful for... a potential new walking buddy!

From the kitchen...waffles, watermelon, and scrambled eggs to begin the day, sweet friends to enjoy chili for lunch before they leave on furlough tomorrow, and we'll close our day with chicken & rice with some precious chocolate pudding for dessert (thanks to amazing care packages!)

I am wearing...mint green t-shirt, khaki skirt, mother-of-pearl hoop earrings

I am reading..."We Do Not Lose Heart" by Kathy Taber. She and her husband stayed with us during the first week of SITAG's Conference, and the book chronicles the ups and downs of their adventures while working on translating the New Testament.

I am hoping...that we can get good airline prices for Benjamin and Aaron to go to Brisbane

I am creating...new plans for school since it looks like we will be returning to Marulaon later than we had anticipated

I am hearing...the hum of the ceiling fan, insects outside, birds chirping

Around the house...just normal stuff this week, hungry mouths to feed, dirty clothes to wash, precious children to love, beloved husband to adore, absorbent minds to teach

A few plans for the rest of the week...some Wycliffe Associates coming for supper on Tuesday night and another couple on Thursday night, a SITAG Advisory Committee meeting on Thursday for Aaron

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

my big girls modeling their new birthday pajamas from their great-grandmother

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sweet Sabbath

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.

O, how great Thy loving kindness,
Vaster, broader than the sea!
O, how marvelous Thy goodness,
Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee, Belov├Ęd,
Know what wealth of grace is Thine,
Know Thy certainty of promise,
And have made it mine.

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings:
Thine is love indeed!

Ever lift Thy face upon me
As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting ’neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
Earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory,
Sunshine of my Father’s face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting,
Fill me with Thy grace.
(pictures of flowers in our yard by Sarah E. Choate)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Why I love to Homeschool...

I adore learning together as a family! Here's a sample of the things we've been learning...

The big kids and I made a puzzle of aluminum foil underneath the punched out holes in each index card. Then we swapped cards and discovered which holes were connected by creating a complete circuit with an aluminum foil ribbon, a battery, and a light bulb.

One of Sarah's very creative Language Arts projects. It reads: "A glass of lemonade's cold and sweet, a glass of lemonade's quite a treat."

Our "to-scale" model of the solar system. Sarah is holding Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars. Benjamin is holding Jupiter (which is really too small, we just didn't have enough paper, so the couch cushion had to suffice). Olivia is holding Uranus. Neptune was in the back bedroom. I was really thankful that Pluto is no longer a planet because it wouldn't have fit in the house!

Katherine gets to play with clothespins and attach them to the edge of a box for practice with fine motor skills. Recently, she came in from the porch all smiles because she had attached a row of clothespins to her dress.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Kid Zone at Conference

Our kids enjoyed SITAG's Conference soooo much! They have really missed VBS and children's choir and AWANA, and Wendesday afternoon the kids performed their closing program for all of the adults.

Olivia just watched from the back cuddled up in a quilt since she was in the fever and chills stage of malaria.

We are very thankful for the amazing people who came and gave of their time, money, and energy to teach our children this week!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

We need pictures!

As I was flipping through our prayer book with pictures of many of our family, friends, and churches, I noticed that most of the pictures are several years old. So, I have a request. Would you please consider mailing us a hard copy of a family picture or a picture of your church building? We would love the privilege of praying for you and your church, so please include ways we can be praying for you in the coming months. Thanks!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

Please visit Peggy and add your own day book.

For Today...September 7, 2009

Outside my window...we've had lots of rain during this last week (I went to market yesterday in the rain and waded through ankle deep puddles), the scarlet lorakeets are beautiful chattering in the trees

I am thinking...about the sweet Chinese babies at Starfish Cleft Home

From the learning rooms...we have the week off because of SITAG's Conference

I am thankful for...the absolutely amazing volunteers that have come to care for our children during conference, Wycliffe Associates are the best!

From the kitchen...cinnamon rolls and fruit smoothies for breakfast, the big kids will have sack lunches while Aaron, Katherine, and I will eat tuna salad, crackers, and carrot sticks at home, and tonight we'll just have a simple pasta bake.

I am wearing...blue jean skirt, green t-shirt, rosewood bangle inlaid with shell and tortoise shell ring (both bought here in Honiara)

I am reading...SITAG bylaws, thrilling, let me tell you

I am hoping...and praying that my sweet husband continues on his steady road to recovery

I am creating...this blog post

I am hearing...everybody finishing their last minute preparations before we dash out the door

Around the house...the freezer slowly emptying, switching our bedroom back to the "master suite" since our guests have gone, just maintaining until Conference is over

A few plans for the rest of the week...conference Monday through Thursday, taking snacks for Katherine's class and the adults' morning tea break on Tuesday, company Tuesday and Wednesday nights as well as Friday morning

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...
the camera has been misplaced in all of the chaos, sorry

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Table in the Desert

They spoke against God saying, "Can God spread a table in the desert?" Ps. 78:19
Can God spread a table
In the wilderness?
Is our Father able?
Praise Him, Yes!...
For His word is stable,
He who yesterday
Spread a bounteous table,
Does today.
-Amy Carmichael

Yesterday during the afternoon break, I went upstairs to the SITAG office to check our mailbox. In it, I found a yellow envelope. Excitedly, I grabbed it and was surprised to find that it had no stamp or postmark. I opened the envelope to find only three things inside, and I stood there and cried. Somebody had given us three straps to hold Benjamin's glasses in place.
He lost his other strap during a walk in the rain on Marulaon. Aaron created a new strap from some string, but it has been a battle to get Benjamin's glasses to stay on his face. We have no idea who provided this gift for us. We have asked around and nobody seems to know how the envelope appeared in our mailbox. I know that a glasses strap seems like a little thing. But it was HUGE, a reminder that God is still involved in the little details of our lives, that He can still spread a feast when we feel like we are living in a desert.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Update on Aaron

As some of the SITAG ladies were setting up tables for Conference, one of them mentioned that Aaron's symptoms sounded like glandular fever. When I got back to the house, I got online to research glandular fever. To be honest, it sounded kinda scary! It turned out to be another name for mono, and Aaron exhibited every symptom. So, I told him that, until he proved to me otherwise, I was treating him like he had mono.
This will most likely alter our time table for traveling back to Marulaon. Please continue to pray for Aaron as his body fights the virus and for his wisdom to discern a proper level of activity as he begins to feel better.