Wednesday, September 28, 2011

it smells like rain

we've been hearing thunder for the last couple days but no rain.
i had just been speaking with my mom on skype and mentioned how we hadn't had rain in a few days.
about an hour after i said this the skies opened up and rain poured down from the heavens.
i breathed in deep.
it smelled so good. earthy. wet. 
i grabbed my camera and went outside to find it smelled even better out there.
i thought to myself
i never want to forget this. 

to my delight, noah joined me and sat on the warm steps as we watched the rain come down.

can i go and run around in the rain, mom?

definitely. always and definitely.

Listen, you heavens, and I will speak;
hear, you earth, the words of my mouth.
Let my teaching fall like rain
and my words descend like dew,
like showers on new grass,
like abundant rain on tender plants.

I will proclaim the name of the Lord.
Oh, praise the greatness of our God!
He is the rock, his works are perfect, 
and all his ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,
upright and just is he.
Deuteronomy 32:1-4

Monday, September 26, 2011


a taste of life in kampala:

and before this ride, at the market:

day to day life is fairly non-eventful at home with the boys. we play together {cars, pretend cooking and real cooking, read books, do crafts, kick the soccer ball around outside and watch some tv - the boys' current faves are Handy Manny, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Jungle Junction} but to be honest we rarely leave the house on our own. it's quite a lot for me to to take both the boys out by myself especially at the age jude is where he just likes to take off and explore on his own. not really a safe thing to do with boda bodas whizzing right beside you.
but we get by.
i continue to work through why God has specifically brought me here to do what i could easily do at home in canada, but i trust Him and already sense that He is using this time to refine me, shape me and make me into someone i wouldn't be if i had stayed back in canada.
as a wise woman said to me, it is a time of "hiddenness". hidden away from distractions. hidden away from comforts. hidden away in the home with often no one by my children to see what He is doing in me.
for such a time as this...

linking up with Miss Elaine-ous Mondays

Saturday, September 24, 2011

friday night fun

it all started with some life ministry staff {stephen & grace} dropping in on thursday afternoon. they mentioned they would come by on friday and make matoke. and bring their kids. their 5 kids. 
love this ugandan culture.
so we didn't really know what to expect. 
but more people kept getting invited and at final tally i think we had about 18 people over last night for a dinner and impromptu birthday party for little junior {the fifth child of stephen and grace}.
so we sent nick off to the market to pick up some drinks and a birthday cake and grace and stephen and i prepared food in the kitchen.

they showed me how to make matoke, ground nut sauce and chapati and i introduced them to the glorious food that is quinoa {although in the end we all agreed that it was useless for me to show them how to make it as you can't buy it here in kampala}.
we all snacked on roasted ground nuts {exactly like peanuts} and popcorn while we waited for the matoke to finish cooking.
the kids watched some cartoons on jamie's computer as the power was out.
kids are the same no matter where you are. they all like cartoons.

once dinner was here and everyone had arrived we all enjoyed a delicious dinner of matoke, chapatti, quinoa and fresh pineapple {you have not eaten pineapple until you've eaten fresh, tropical pineapple} and bananas. 

it was a fun and relaxed night and it felt good to have a full and happy house. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


happy first monthiversary to us!

to celebrate living in uganda for 1 month we {me and the boys} made rice krispie squares with {lots} of sprinkles. i gave jude a little container of sprinkles thinking he'd pick them up with his fingers and delicately sprinkle them all over the rice krispies.
oh silly, silly me. why of course he just dumped the entire thing out in a pile on top of the rice krispies.
they tasted amazing.

then the boys helped me make {whole wheat molasses} bread.

and then i made italian ground beef and veggie soup with apple crisp for dessert. jamie even came home with strawberry ice cream so we served it up with a scoop of that deliciousness. 

and then {just now} i found out that i won a contest i entered on this fantastic kids style blog i subscribe to. 
what a day of blessings.
what a month of blessings.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

whether the weather...

i can't complain about the weather here. it's been lovely.
we are in the rainy season so it's rained almost every day here. but i don't mind. i like the rain.
however last week the rain turned into this:

Ice in Africa from Vanessa Strickland on Vimeo.

i've rarely seen hail in canada, but africa!? that's incredible.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

mint chocolate brownies

we've been in uganda for 4 weeks today.
that just seems absurd to me.
but here we are.
this morning we were invited to a different church and so {reluctantly} i agreed and we went.
it was at 9am so that meant no big Sunday brunch. *sad face*
after about 1.5 hours of sitting quietly and then running around outside in the mud and puddles i grabbed a crying {mucky} jude and walked to our waiting taxi with noah walking behind me.
we were going back home and we would do church there.
it was a good choice. for me and my attitude and for my kids. they just can't sit still for 3 hours.

anyway so i was able to have lunch ready for the guys when they got home and i made these.

well, they were mint chocolate brownies.
they were just so good we ate them up far too quickly for me to grab my camera.
no joke.

one of the cool things about being in another country is they have food products that you can't find at home {and vice versa, usually}. the range of cadbury chocolate bars is unsurpassed. like, amazing. they've got your typical fruit and nut bar, dark chocolate bar, milk chocolate bar - but then there's things like top deck {half white chocolate and half milk chocolate}, snack bar {like a fruit and nut, but it's basically fruit and cookie - it's good!} and my favourite - mint crisp. it's a milk chocolate bar with pieces of crunchy mint candy inside. so.stinkin.delicious.
it's become clear to jamie as well as nick and trevor that the mint crisp is my favourite and it seems that they keep picking them up for me when they see them. so at one point i had THREE mint crisp bars in the fridge. then i saw these on pinterest and i knew what i would do with them.
so here's my recipe for mint chocolate brownies. if you can't find a mint crisp bar {too bad for you}, you can use whatever kind of mint chocolate bar you can find - or mint chocolate chips. but it's absolutely DIVINE with the mint crisp bar.

3/4 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 bar of cadbury mint crisp, chopped up into chunks {or equivalent minty chocolate)

blend the butter, sugar and vanilla. then add the eggs - beating well after each addition. combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt & chunks of minty chocolate in another bowl. gradually beat in the egg mixture making sure not to overmix.
pour into a greased pan and bake at 350F until sides are pulling apart from the pan.
my oven is hotter than mount vesuvius and so it took just under 25 minutes but yours may take up to 40 minutes depending on your oven. also, i guesstimated the temperature.
serve warm on its own or with a big hunk of vanilla ice cream.

also, this is a great recipe to win over a man's heart. just sayin'.

Friday, September 16, 2011

that's my jude.

moments with jude...

watching him walk around the house wearing jamie's necklace. it looks so cute on him!

looking over at him guzzling from my glass of water. "were you thirsty, jude?"
*breathless* "yeeeah."

just now he ran over and handed me my hair straightener {which I have NOT used at all since being here. natural waves, baby.} saying "mom, hold this."

smelling a stink and i ask, "jude, did you do a poop?"
wrinkling his nose, "neeoo. i did poop."

this morning jamie asked him, "jude, where's noah?"
and he answered {no word of a lie}, "he's on the couch watching topy & binoo." just like that.

that's my jude.

Ginger Snaps

what does one do after sleeping off a massive migraine?
make ginger snaps, of course!

i got this recipe from my delightful friend, kelly. i think she got it from her mom. moms' recipes are the bomb.

here's the snappiest of ginger snaps:
3/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar (i actually found some here!)
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses (called black treacle here)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
2 1/4 cup flour

cream the butter, brown sugar, egg, molasses & vanilla. this is much easier done with a blender or mixer than by hand, but very doable by hand, let me tell you.
add in your spices.
blend in the flour.
roll cookies into little balls - i made mine just shy of a tablespoon each but feel free to make yours however big or small you prefer.
then roll in some white sugar.


then bake for 9-12 minutes at 375F.
now, my oven is a gas oven and has no temperature gauge. at all. so i guesstimate for the temperatures. so mine baked at 7 minutes and were perfect.
also, it could just be my Ugandan-bought baking sheets, but a little baking spray helped to get them off (as the first batch stuck to my sheet). it also helps to remove them right away onto a baking rack.

(this was the batch that stuck. but a picture and a hug from jamie in the kitchen was worth it. don't they look perfect?)

if these don't say fall/winter i'm not sure what does.
make sure to nom on these with a nice warm cup of tea.

or just nom. either way.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

giving thanks for the ugly

i've picked up the habit of giving thanks in a journal. of doing eucharisteo.
{i even started a new "gratitude" journal that my sweet friend, mandy gave to me as a goodbye present.}

today after i dumped in a new package of pasta and then noticed there were dead bugs floating around in the boiling water i sighed.
and then grabbed a spoon and started spooning out as many bugs as i could find.
later as i picked through the cooked bow tie pasta for the ones that had bugs on/in them i was floundering.
how do i give thanks for this?
how do i practice giving thanks for the ugly things in my life? like bugs in my pasta.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
as i pondered my predicament, the horn of africa's famine came to mind.
and then i gave thanks. with a sincere heart. not just because i ought but because i truly felt grateful to have food.
i have food to feed my children.
i don't have to watch them starve.
and when one of them doesn't want tonight's dinner, i can offer him last night's leftovers.

today during my quiet time {noah and i had one together!} i read that "anything less than gratitude and trust is practical atheism." i was shocked. and convicted. how often do i grumble with an unthankful heart or stress because i do not trust the I Am?

so when i found bugs in my pasta i dug deep to find something to give thanks for.
even for bugs in my pasta.
besides, isn't there some sort of missionary joke about finding bugs in your food?

lessons in being organized

because i can't just run out to the grocery store and buy everything i need in one place {oh how i miss super walmarts - not going to lie}, i am being forced to cultivate something i've tried to do for years.
meal plan.
i know a meal plan saves money, time and lightens my emotional load as dinner hour approaches.
and yet i've not been able to consistently do it.
until now.
i have no car.
and the market doesn't always have what i want or need.
and my fridge is smaller so i only have so much room to keep things cold/frozen.
plus having to cook for two extra guys demands that i think ahead.
so i plan.
my meals and my grocery list.
i use what i have. before it goes bad.
i can't count the number of times we had to throw food out in canada because it went bad because i didn't plan to use it but bought it anyway and then forgot about it.
it makes me sad and kinda sick when i think about it.
we eat everything {except the things that have bugs in them. ahem. oats. ahem.}.
so i've been meal planning on a weekly schedule.
and it's glorious.
and it's posted on my fridge {the yellow one on the right}:
{also we found a woman who will be our "house help" and i've made a weekly, biweekly and monthly cleaning plan. look at me all organized and such!}
i am able to plan my week so that we're eating foods that we love and enjoy but also that are good for all of us.
and i'm not stressed.
in fact, i'm really enjoying it.
i've always loved cooking, it's just been the planning {at the last minute} and the clean up that's stressed me.
oh yeah, because i cook, i don't have to clean.
it's a pretty sweet deal.

i figure that 2 years of this will have it fully ingrained in me so that for the rest of my life {whether in Canada or Africa} i'll be meal planning and saving us all time and money.
i set up my meal plan by general categories:
monday: indian/ethnic
tuesday: pasta
wednesday: soup/stew
thursday: comfort food
friday: pizza/mexican
saturday: bbq/leftovers
sunday: big brunch in the morning and a roast/comfort food for dinner

this gave me a framework to build my plan around. wanna know what we're having this week for dinner? m'kay.
monday: indian spiced beef with warm curry potato salad and dhal
wednesday: butternut squash soup & fresh bread
thursday: shepherd's pie
friday: pizza!
saturday: leftovers
sunday: banana pancakes {recipe forthcoming} + egg bake {brunch} and then zesty mac 'n cheese for dinner

how has being organized helped you?
share your tips with me!

Monday, September 12, 2011

big Sunday brunch

i love traditions. 
and i just started a new one.
because the church we've decided upon doesn't have any english services earlier than 11am and goes 'til 1pm we found ourselves very hungry after church is finished.
so on saturday night i decided that sunday mornings we would have a big Sunday brunch to tide us through the lunch hour while at church.
this Sunday brunch menu consisted of:
masala tea
baby bananas and oranges
my own take on the pioneer woman's cinnamon rolls
cheese and ham quiche
and some cinnamon bread/toast for those who wanted it.

it was delicious.
i love this tradition already.
{because really? who doesn't like brunch?}

dinner is almost ready and we had minor snacks this afternoon.
i think the big Sunday brunch worked.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

so big

hey noah and jude,
stop growing. okay?

not really. but how are you getting so big so fast?

noah you are long and tall and big and still loving cuddle-time. i love that. 
don't stop loving cuddle-time. 
i think we both forget that we need it every now and then.
and your cheeks.
they are boy cheeks.
not toddler cheeks or baby cheeks.
you're so stretchy-tall!

jude you are talking talking talking.
i'm sorry i can't always understand you.
i know one day i will and you'll be telling me amazing stories and making me laugh even more than you make me already.
you are still squishy. but you are getting so tall!
your arms and legs are so long and you can reach - um, pretty much everything i put up on the counters.
you are fearless.
and jumping! real two-footed jumps!

you boys together = chaos and frustration and joy and sweet moments and separating you to two different couches and wrestling and uncontrollable giggles and brother-secrets and crumbs on the floor and yelling and hugging and driving cars and copying each other and thanking Jesus for our food and family and friends.

oh my boys. i love you.
with all my heart.
my heart is so full.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

rain :: storm

quiet nights are hard to come by here.
it's now been several nights in a row where jude has slept all the way through the night without waking up {thank you Jesus}.
but the other night i woke up to


no dogs barking.
no african clubbing music.
no random djembe drummers.
no loud cawing birds.
no honking.
no sirens.

just a few crickets.
and then it started to rain.

have i mentioned how much i love the sound of the rain here?
well, it's amazing.
incredibly soothing.
and lovely. 
probably one of my favourite nighttime sounds.
{another one being the sound of cars driving along at night on empty roads. it reminds me of home. 
total city girl right here.}

i decided to thank God for this sweet middle-of-the-night blessing.
just for me.

look for the every day blessings.
they are there.
alongside the challenges and hardships, they are there.
you just have to look.


and then there was last night.
raging, fierce, thundering, lightening, sheets of rain poured down.
angry, harsh, powerful rain.
not the steady, sweet sound of a light rain that happened a few nights ago.
no, this was pure power.
He was there in that powerful, fiercesome storm.
but just like elijah, i didn't hear His voice in it.
but i knew He was there.
sustaining us.
protecting us.
my heart broke as i lay there listening to the rain go on and on.
i was thinking of all the ghettos i've seen here in kampala.
children and their parents live in those ghettos.
i'm sure their roofs leaked.
i'm sure they were cold.
did they tremble in fear because of how exposed they felt in the storm?

there are blessings in my life, but even here, in this life that is so different from what i'm used to, i have it so much better than most others in this city.
what are their blessings?
what do they look like?
is their faith stronger than mine?
surely it must be.

Friday, September 9, 2011

how to take a cold shower

it's true.
i take cold showers.
perhaps when we get out of this "cold" season i'll be happy for the cold showers, but for now my motto is "get in and get out.".
so here it is, my guide to taking a cold shower if you must.

step one.
hopefully your shower has a faucet (in addition to a shower head). if not, disregard this post.
this is necessary if your water pressure sucks is not so great (like mine).
turn on your water faucet.

step two.
starting from your feet, get wet as high as you can. for me it's usually up to my thighs.

step three.
crouch down and get your upper body wet.

step four.
put your head under the faucet and get your hair wet.

step five.
lather up your hair with your shampoo of choice (currently mine is Pantene).
you can either do this with your head still somewhat upside down or invert yourself. i usually stand up once my hair is lathered and on top of my head. (cold water on the back is the hardest part. hang in there, you're almost there.)

step six.
put your head back under the faucet or at this point, feel free to turn on your lousy shower head and stand underneath it to rinse out your hair.

step seven.
wash your bod.
rinse your bod.

step eight.
turn off the water and get out of the shower.

step nine.
use a spray-in conditioner and comb through.

you're done!
welcome to my life.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

and that's okay.

this place is not my home.
not yet.
i know it will feel like it someday.
but it doesn't feel like it right now.
and that's okay.
i miss my home and native land.
and that's okay.

there are so many things that are wonderful in my life and in my house and in this city.
and i'm learning to count them every day.

but i'm not denying that right now...
i miss my home, my friends, my family, {my car}, my city, my church.

and that's okay.

{there is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens;}

found on pinterest.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

little things

it's the little things that make me happy.
i think that's true about most people.
here's what's made me happy in the past few days:

is it weird that it makes me happy to have somewhere to put my toothbrush and face wash? 

oh and not only do the boys have a shelf for toiletries but they also have a mirror! oh the luxuries!
{it only took 2 weeks. still waiting on ours.}

you guys, i have mixing bowls. in all different colours! happy!

would you just look at that soft lighting? goodbye ugly florescent lights! 
tonight i had a hot shower! {also for the first time in 2 weeks.} 
all those who are planning on visiting us here, take heart! 
your bathroom has the only hot water tank in our house. 

and last, overhearing noah "reading" the very hungry caterpillar to jude this afternoon.
a moment of sibling happiness a midst the cranky, aggravating behaviour that was more than present today.
and now off i go to read in the beautiful glow of my new soft lighting.
bon nuit!

Thursday, September 1, 2011


yesterday i decided to just go ahead and make some plans with a blogger friend i had not yet met.
so this morning {after baking some banana bread} jamie called our taxi driver {his name is abby and he's been great so far} and me and the boys loaded into the car and drove to the other side of kampala to meet up with kelly and her boys.
it took less than 30 minutes {i was totally expecting it to be longer} and we arrived to their lovely house way up on a hill.
me and jude. noah was beside me.

my view from the backseat.

oh my. it was indeed a breath of fresh air to my soul.
to be honest, i've been missing my friends and specifically some solid, female interaction. 
and so i prayed.
and God is so faithful.
kelly and i had a lovely time chatting and our boys played together quite well.

in the words of  humphrey bogart, "i think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

thanks God for providing for your children. 
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