Monday, April 25, 2011


I enjoy cooking, which is good, because I spend a lot of my time doing it.
We can sometimes get packaged products here, but most of what I cook is
from scratch. Lately, I've been cooking even more things from scratch.
Some things that used to be readily available have been harder to get.
An example of this is canned tomato products. It used to be that you
could almost always get diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, etc
in our store. Lately this is not the case. We have randomly had a small
amount of tomato products, but in the 3 months we've been back from home
assignment, I'd say the times when those shelves are bare have far
outnumbered the times when we've had these things in stock. I don't
think I realized before how much our family consumes tomato products.
Luckily, we have a beautiful fruit and vegetable market 3 mornings a
week here. Knowing that canned tomato products ultimately come from
fresh tomatoes, I decided to teach myself how to make my own tomato
products. As with most things, it's not really all that HARD to make
tomato puree from scratch, it just takes time.
Bread is another thing I often make from scratch. We can get some
sandwich bread from a nearby town. I often buy this for toast and
sandwiches because, frankly, I have a really hard time slicing my bread
in nice even slices like you find in a store bought loaf of bread. The
problem is that it tastes a bit like cardboard, especially once you get
used to eating fresh homemade bread. Nevertheless, the kids don't seem to mind it for their PB&J or grilled cheese. 

Although we do have this option for sandwich bread, whenever we want rolls, bagels, hamburger buns, etc.  They have to be made from scratch.  One thing I've wanted to try to a while is making English Muffins.  As with most things from scratch, they are easier to make than I thought they would be.  In fact, I was pretty pleased with the results. I'll definitely we making these again.  The best part about making English muffins is that I didn't have to turn on the oven.  On a hot day this is a definite plus.  Here are some pictures.  They didn't have all the nooks and crannies you'd find in Thomas' English Muffins, but they were still a hit with the whole family!

Happy Easter

Celebrating Easter here in PNG looks, in many ways, a lot like it would
back in the US. We go to church, we share a nice meal with people we
love, we decorate Easter eggs, and we even have an Easter Egg hunt. The
biggest difference is who we celebrate with. If we were home in the US,
we'd be surrounded by family. Here, we live in a community full of
people who are away from their families. Because of this, we build
relationships here that often feel like family.

We had the pleasure of hosting Easter dinner this year and invited two
other families to join us. Certain food items have been rather scarce
lately, but we managed to pull off an impressive Easter spread complete
with rolls, mashed potatoes, vegetables, salad, and the traditional
Easter Chicken. Sometimes we've been able to get ham here around Easter
time and, although it can be a bit expensive, we've splurged to get
one. This year, however, there was no ham to be had, so chicken it
was. It's not really all about the food, although it WAS really tasty.

We had a lovely afternoon relaxing afternoon with good friends as we
celebrated our Savior's resurrection. We also took the time to take a
couple of family pics as we do every year at Easter. Here are a few
pics form the day...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Eggs

I thought this year the kids wouldn't be interested in the annual Easter
egg dying... after all, they are 11 and almost 10 years old.
Thankfully, I had an extra dozen eggs on hand because our store here is
not open on weekends or holidays. Friday morning (Good Friday is a
public holiday here), Sydney says to me, "Mom, when are we going to
decorate Easter eggs?" and "Can we each invite a friend to dye eggs with

I have to admit, I was kinda looking forward to not dealing with the
mess of it this year, but without too much complaining, I went and
boiled a dozen eggs while the kids each called a friend. Thankfully,
too, I had the food coloring and vinegar on hand (Which brings me to a
quick rant... Why do we (in the US) spend money on packaged egg dye kits
when all you need is water, vinegar, and food coloring? I will admit
that I didn't know it was so simple until I moved to the land of no
commercial holiday items.)

So, once again, the kids enjoyed the tradition of coloring Easter eggs
with friends. The mess wasn't bad and I can't really blame me daughter,
I am the one in the family who is big on traditions... I guess I've
rubbed off on my daughter a bit... that's not so bad is it?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Missionary Kid moment

Recently we had a team of people come from the US and Australia to hold a 2 week long Vacation Bible School for our kids while we attended our biennial PNG branch conference (translated that means the parents were in all day meetings for 2 weeks and we needed people to look after our kids). We were so thankful for these wonderful people who came to help in this way.  The kids had a blast doing all sorts of games, songs, activities, crafts, etc.

Doing a Vacation Bible School for a large group of missionary kids is an interesting experience, I'm sure.  The typical commercially produced VBS curriculum doesn't work so well with a group like this who often know the Bible stories as well (or sometimes even better) than their VBS leaders. We heard many times from the teachers how smart and well versed the kids here are in their knowledge of the Bible.  As you can imagine, the leaders had to use some creativity to keep this group of MKs interested and engaged... they did a great job!  As we spoke to the kids teachers we heard some great stories of things they did together and the fun they had.

I had to share one such story with you all....
The grade 6 girls were playing a game of Apples to Apples.  Their leader (a really fun college aged young lady) knew that these missionary kids may not "get" some of the things on the cards (this game is heavily tied to US culture). She told the girls, If you don't know the thing on the card, just put it back and take another.  This lead to quite a lot of cards being turned back in.  Finally, after trading in several cards, one of the girls turned over a card that read "Abba" (it was referring to the popular music group, Abba).  The girl excitedly said, "Oh, I know this one!  It's another name for God!"

And there you have it folks...out of the mouths of MKs