Wednesday, February 29, 2012

i must be dreaming

the other night i dreamed it was winter and i was in canada. i was with 3 other coworkers {all females and all friends of mine}. we found our way into some sort of department store that was decorated all christmasey and happened to have a starbucks attached to it.
we found a group of 4 seats and sat down and started chatting. mainly i was chatting with one of them, but we were all having a lovely, relaxing time. the guy near us was on his cell phone and was ending his call when he said,
"i have to go, but what can i pray for you for?"
and the friend i was talking to said,
"prayer requests...NICE." pretty loudly with a very affirming voice {as opposed to sarcastic which you could totally read it as. it was not. she was impressed. or something.}
turns out he was a starbucks employee on break and when he came back on shift, he served us all $8 muffins {on the house} which were gigantic and delicious and we were happy for the freebie.
i woke up from the dream and it was the middle of the night. i was smiling. i honestly felt so refreshed by that dream girl time that i could have started my day. except it wasn't day. it was night.
my thoughts: i need more girl time. and starbucks.
also? hilarious but not far from the truth with the $8 muffins.
my subconscious must be dreading the sticker shock when i return to canada.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


this is my third attempt at writing a blog post today.
mainly because i was trying to be witty or poetic or pretty much something i'm just not feeling today.
but i wanted to blog because i wanted to show you these pretty donuts that me and the boys made today.

see? pretty.
also i needed to clear up a serious misconception on noah's behalf wherein he confused bagels with donuts yesterday. donuts are not bagels. and bagels are most certainly not donuts.
it's because we made bagels yesterday. they were a huge fail. however, i know what i did wrong and will not be repeating my mistake again. {curious? i boiled them for far too long. my recipe was not specific and i didn't realize they needed to be boiled for a maximum of 1 minute, not like...7.  holy water-logged bagels, batman.}
the plan for tomorrow is to decorate all spring-like. and finish off the leftover donuts.
sounds like a great day to me.

have you ever made donuts? or bagels? what's your worst baking/cooking flop? what's your biggest success in the kitchen? are you tired of all these food posts? {circle one: yes or no.}

Sunday, February 26, 2012

confessions of a young mom on sunday

today i went to church {as in, i entered a church building} for the first time in at least 2 months.
i know.
but church is hard. at least, i find it really hard here.
in canada, we entered our church to familiar, smiling faces. we didn't stick out like sore thumbs. we promptly dropped off our boys in their safe, incredibly creative and age-appropriate children's church classes.
then we would often happily chat with a friend or two in the lobby and walk in to find a seat to familiar songs to worship to. the sermon would usually be thought-provoking and Bible-based. then we would pick up our boys afterward, chat with friends until the lobby cleared and we would drive home or to a friend's house for lunch.

in uganda, we drive to church and immediately heads turn when we pull up. we are muzungus. white people. the boys are often happily greeted by ugandans with good intentions, but it's often too much - especially for noah - and i have to keep reminding them to say hello and be polite and not be rude or grumpy.
we somehow corral the boys into a pew and try to keep them from crawling all over the ground that's covered in a fine, red dust. they are up and down and fighting with each other and i can barely pay attention to the song that's being sung. then children are dismissed to their classes and i walk with the boys to theirs. they are expected to sit for the remainder of the time listening to a lesson or colouring. maybe they sing a song or two. the doors are left open to the courtyard, which leads to the parking lot. i stay with them because they'd run out in a heartbeat if i left them.

today we went to a different church that we could walk to. at our other church we were one of a few young, white families. at this church? out of at least 200 kids in their children's church, they were the only white kids. we were stared at. pointed at. giggled at. but the lesson was told much more engagingly for the boys' age despite being expected to sit for the entire time.

today was better. and i'm betting it's not necessarily because of the lesson {although it was so much better by leaps and bounds than any other lesson i've heard for kids since being here}. it was because my reason for going was different. today i went for my kids.

we are not in canada. we are in uganda. it is good to go through hard things. it is good for the boys to learn to deal with stares or "standing out". it is good for us to show our boys that church is an important part of our week. it is good for me to go. if only for the sake of my children.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

ash wednesday

today is ash wednesday. the beginning of the lenten season.
each year, lent becomes more to me. i think this is a good thing because i think it means that Jesus means more to me - that He becomes more to me. so this is good.
i don't have any specific resolutions/goals/things i'm giving up this year, but my hope is to slowly introduce the concept of focusing on the sufferings of Christ to my kids as well as regularly spend time in both the Word as well as on some lenten meditations. and i'm also hoping to re-read Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ by John Piper {free download!}. one of my favourite Piper books. if you haven't read it, it's a short book and a great way to focus on Jesus and what He's done for us.
if you're looking for some lent resources either for yourself or for your family/kids, here are a few places to start:
a daily children's lent devotional - counting down from days 40 to 1.
a blog post on why we do lent by the lovely Ann Voskamp
8 weeks of devotionals by Noel Piper
40 ideas to help with your lent preparations
and i'd love to have one of these candle wreaths, perhaps i'll find a master carver here and get one made for lent/advent...

make a Jesus tree by Ann Voskamp (scroll to the bottom)

lemon poppy seed pancakes

yesterday was pancake tuesday!
did you eat pancakes? we sure did.
i made our favourite banana pancakes as well as trying out a new recipe; lemon poppy seed pancakes! they were delish. i wish i knew where i got this lemon poppy seed recipe so i could give credit, but i don't know or remember. {please let me know if you recognize this recipe as yours!}

lemon poppy seed pancakes
aka pure deliciousness
2 cups unbleached ap (all-purpose) flour

1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1/3 cup poppy seeds
zest of 4 lemons
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons butter, melted

butter, to serve (and for pan)

to make the pancakes combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt in a large bowl. 
in another bowl the buttermilk, eggs, butter, lemon zest and poppy seeds. 
add the wet to the dry. stir all the ingredients until they are just combined. don't worry if the batter is a bit lumpy, you don't want to over mix.
heat your skillet, pan, or griddle to medium-hot and brush it with a bit of butter. pour about 1/3 of a cup of batter into the skillet. wait until the pancake bottom is deep golden in color, then flip with a spatula and cook the other side until golden and cooked through. repeat with the remaining batter. 

right now? i'm sitting in my living room with the smell of freshly cut grass, trying not to be angry with the stinking power company who has again shut off our power {after almost 24 hours of no power and no power the night before that either}. sigh. this is africa.
i think i'll go enjoy a leftover pancake.
and watch this video {please watch it here on hulu if you live in the united states as the quality on youtube is ridiculously bad}:

ps i totally heart kristin wiig.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

3 great finds

we went to the mall today. my main goal was not accomplished {to buy a potty for jude, but that's another post} but i did find a few other exciting things. you really just never know what you'll find {or not find} here in kampala.

corn flour {it's what they call corn starch}! plain cheerios! coconut!!!
oh the things i can make now!
this is the first time i've seen coconut here {aside from the whole coconut} and i'm really excited to make some sort of granola bar/energy bite for me and the boys to munch on this week.
and corn starch!?! now i can bake shortbread! i'm super pumped.
and plain cheerios. oh cheerios, i'm so sorry i took you for granted in canada. you are delightful and a perfectly wonderful thing to snack on. and to find them at 9,000UGX was very exciting. granted, that's like $4, but it's a lot better than $10! also? a lot healthier than the "loopy nuts" we've been buying for the boys to munch on.
another solution to my morning breakfast woes? flavoured milk in my cereal. i have sorely missed eating cereal for breakfast as the milk here just tastes a bit different. it's fine in my tea or coffee...but in my cereal? it's just not super-amazing. also, cereal is expensive here. so this week i'm trying vanilla-flavoured milk in my rice krispies.
anyway, it's truly the little surprises that can make a day here. i'm learning to look for them, name them, and be thankful.
{and in the future, i strive to never complain about the things i can't find in a canadian grocery store.}

Friday, February 17, 2012

books + music

it's only one of my most favourite things to see ever. my kids. reading {well, they're really just looking but still...with books!}. love this.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

valentine's day

at dinner last night i spoke to the boys about valentine's day and how Jesus loved us the most by giving his life for us.
but mom, i love Jesus more than you do because i love, love, love, love, love him.

this morning i pulled out the Jesus storybook bible and read about Jesus dying on the cross and rising from the dead.
childish observations are both hilarious and poignant.

he has no shirt on, mommy. {repeated at least three times by jude}
why are there three crosses, mommy?
are there more soldiers?
i see a crack above the stone. maybe that's how Jesus could get out.

as i read to them about mary in the garden, searching frantically for her Lord, i struggle {very unsuccessfully} to hold back the tears. the boys don't question the drops of water running down my face or my voice that tremors with emotion.

Only one person said her name like that. She could hear her heart thumping. She turned around. She could just make out a figure. She shaded her eyes to see...and thought she was dreaming.
But she wasn't dreaming. She was seeing.
Mary fell to the ground. Sudden tears filled her eyes and great sobs shook her whole body, and all she wanted in that moment was to cling to Jesus and never let him go."

o love that wilt not let me go,
i rest my weary soul in thee;
i give thee back the life i owe,
that in thine ocean depths its flow
may richer, fuller be.

o joy that seekest me through pain,
i cannot close my heart to thee;
i trace the rainbow through the rain,
and feel the promise is not vain,
that morn shall tearless be.

happy valentine's day.

Monday, February 13, 2012

i flop my legs over the side of the armchair when the night comes. 
heave a sigh.
it's so hot. i miss the rainy season.
rejoicing when power comes back on so we can all sleep with the fans on. full blast. 
i take a shower before bed to wash off the yuck and dust from the day. 
this morning it's grey. cloudy. thunder rolling in the distance.
could rain be coming?
the wind picks up and blows through the open windows in my living room.
and then...
the rain.
it's been 6 weeks without rain. 
but it comes 
lightly at first in drizzles and pitter-patters and then a bit harder - large drops splashing off our faces upturned with smiles and laughter
and then tapering off to a light drizzle. 20 minutes of rain. 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

let's talk...

with valentine's day being just 2 days away and being in uganda, i am mourning the lack of conversation hearts to be found here.
back in the day of my blogging life, i used to post "the treat of the month" and no doubt at some point, these were one of the treats i blogged about.
i love candy.

Conversation Hearts

while we were in spain, one of the main session speakers spoke on john 21, but mainly verses 15-23. she talked about how john {the author of john} never refers to himself by name, but by "the disciple Jesus loved". she thought it was probably because he was so consumed by the fact that
his entire identity was wrapped up in the fact that he was loved by Jesus. amazing.
next we came to the familiar passage where Jesus asks simon peter if he loves him. he asks him this three times.  one commentator reflected that Jesus asked simon three times to get the point across to simon. but john records it three times because there's a point that we need to get.
first Jesus asks simon if he loves him more than these. regardless of what "these" is referring to, the question that jumped out was do I love him MORE? more than candy or comforts or sidewalks or donuts or friends or family or life itself; do i love him more?
it was a fantastic session and i was blown away by the fact that Jesus doesn't call us to love His sheep. he calls us to love Him. when we respond yes, he tells us to feed and take care of his sheep.

Jesus, may i be fully consumed by the fact that YOU love me. may my love for you be all-encompassing, the first love in my life. may i love you more than anything else in this world because all that YOU are, is so much more than enough for me.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


so we went to spain. it was glorious.

it's been so long since i last blogged that i almost didn't know where to start. i hadn't meant to take this long, but the day before we left to come back to uganda i got slammed with a brutal head cold/flu thing that was going around. and i was pretty much bed-ridden until yesterday. absolutely brutal.
but i'm on the mend.
spain. our flight route was uganda to kenya to amsterdam to spain. and then a bus ride to our destination in nerja. but
our schedule was light and we spent afternoons walking around through the cobblestone streets and the mornings and evenings in soul-lifting sessions. {more posts to come as i process through the things i learned.}
lunch on the beach? awesome.

and while we had a rough go at the beginning with the boys in their classes/childcare, they had fabulous teachers and enjoyed playing with new friends.
after the conference was over our family took a train to madrid for a few days before flying home.

it was ridiculously cold in madrid. in nerja it would sometimes get up to 16 degrees in the afternoons reminding me of a warm, autumn day. but madrid? *shiver* it was -2 degrees. we had to buy scarves and hats and mitts for the boys it was so cold {and we certainly didn't bring those things with us to uganda!}. we did a bit of sight seeing and ate at mcdonalds and our last night there we bought a baguette, a huge hunk of delicious cheese and hunkered down in the warmth of our hotel room and demolished the entire thing. so. stinkin. good.
speaking our hotel, it was amazing. the staff were wonderful, the rate was cheap and the boys even got a little gift on our arrival. i highly recommend the novotel hotel in madrid, spain. and i know that the next time i go somewhere and need a hotel, i'll be checking to see if there's a novotel hotel in the area. we were also on the bus line and it only took us one bus to get into the heart of the city.

we're home now and i'm on the mend so i promise not to be a stranger and neglect this blog for so long again {if i can help it!}.
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