Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Formal Dance

Isn't this boy cute adorable handsome?  Psh.  They get older and we have to quit using the adjectives that are the most descriptive. 

He got asked to the girl's choice formal dance - by a girl he knew he was supposed to know but he didn't know who she was.  It was a bit embarrassing and tense for a bit, but he figured it all out and now has a friend out of this cute girl.  So glad my kids have good friends to hang out with!

He wanted to make her corsage, and in finding out what color her dress was, he came up with a new, unfamiliar word: burgundy.  What the heck was that? I had to pull up a color chart so he could learn that burgundy was just a deep, rich, not-purply red.  

No, this was not the chart I pulled up for him.  But it does describe his expression when I started going over the finer nuances of different colors.  Eventually we got it all figured out and bought the stuff.  He helped me to make the corsage, and I think he is ready to do the next one by himself.  Awesome that my boys can take learn how to do of these kinds of things.

What a stud!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Musical!

David has been taking a musical theater class this year, and really enjoys it.  One of his requirements is to participate in the school musical.  

He auditioned, and got the part of a Wickersham in the school's production of "Seussical."  We had to put an advertising poster in our yard, or a vinyl ad on our car.  We got the vinyl, and managed to smooth it out and pick all the letters back together after Georgie played with it and smashed them all up.  

He loves being on the stage, and performing in front of people.  I don't know where he got those genes, as that thought terrifies me.  I've only acted on stage once or twice, and it was terrible.  I'll happily leave that to those who enjoy it.  Like David.  And like Trent!  He was in the the drama club in high school and very much enjoyed his time performing in various plays and musicals.  Good for them.  Every play needs an audience, and applause is one part I can handle!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Good Morning, Good Morning!

I remember hearing my mother's voice as she walked through the house.  She would sometimes sing a little song in the mornings, as a cheerful way to wake us up, I suppose.

Way up in the sky
Is where the little birds fly.
And down in the valley
The little birds rest.

With a wing on the left
And a wind on the right,
The little birds sleep
All through the night.

Then up comes the sun
And the dew goes away.
"Good morning, good morning!"
The little birds say.

I walked through our neighborhood this morning, listening to all of the voices singing.  The voices were of the feathered variety, and there were sure a lot of them!  It seems that every tree had birds tucked among the branches.  There were chirpers and tweeters, squawkers and even a few warblers.  I wish I knew enough about birds to be able to identify their songs, but I love listening to them.  Our street sounded like Saturday morning at the Tweedlebug market, Good morning to you, too!

The weather has turned cold, and the summer birds are gone.  I've just started seeing a few of our winter birds, but in the middle are the migrating birds that stop in for a few nights.  Our street is lined with trees, a good 30 to 40 years old.  They aren't anything like the trees we had in our neighborhood in Washington State - those were enormous and stately.  No, here they are much shorter, suburban trees, but that means the birds are closer to the ground.

I grinned as I walked home, pulling my thin jacket closer around me.  The weather forecast said it would snow today.  I was glad that all my birdie friends were wearing down coats.  I ducked my head under the branches of one tree, half its golden leaves still shivering on the branches.  As I did, the tree came to life and a whole flock of little birds whooshed out.  The chilly breeze seemed to pick them up and whisk them right away.  I was impressed with how much noise their tiny wings made.

I guess if we work together, we can do amazing things.  Or just be more noisy.  My twins have that one down.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Mission Monday

It's Christmastime at our house!  I think we are actually running a little bit late.  A package only takes about 2-4 weeks to get to South Africa, but they are currently having a postal strike, so who knows?  It can take anywhere from 6 weeks to 3 months to get a package to Madagascar, so we are crossing our fingers.  Here are the contents of the first two packages.  We wrap things and put them in padded envelopes - I hear those get there better.  Oh, and the packages going to Madagascar get Jesus stickers stuck all over them.  Evidently, the people don't want to rip Jesus's face so the packages don't get broken into.  We still need to get a few things, and we'd better hurry!

From Madagascar:

Let's see, other than the water being cut, the power keeps getting cut too. Not that that's a big deal, because if we try to make toast while the dryer is going the power dies... However, it's been especially bad the past few weeks and we have our candles set up all the time because it's only a matter of time before the power goes out, so James... one upped!

As dark goes, Eskom, the government run power company has had some issues with power, from what I've heard, one of the main coal hoppers failed, and has resulted in them doing a bunch of load shedding, basically, rolling blackouts. This past week, we only had our lights on two nights, but we do have them on in the morning. So there Nate, there you go. And we don't have a dryer, we do clothes the good old fashioned way. So Nate, One UPed!

So here is the news that you have been waiting for. I am getting transferred to ...... Port Alfred! Which is a ways away from everybody...  So area three, here I come! It will be sad, I enjoy the area here, but I'm excited at the same time to go on to a new adventure. It really is bittersweet.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

10 Easy Steps to a Clean Pantry

This was my pantry the other day - after I had declared war on it and had already worked on it for a while.  The doors were hard to open, everything was crazily stuffed in, the chaos on the floor was nearly knee-high, and I could never find anything.  As an organized person, I made an followed a plan.  It will be easy!  Remove, clean, toss, decide, stack, corral, purchase, label, tidy, photograph!

10 Easy Steps to a Clean Pantry

1. Remove.  Take everything out.  Ignore teenagers who are trying to walk through through the mess and grumbling.  You have to make a bigger mess before you can clean one up.

2. Clean.  Wipe down shelves and doors.  Scrape off old, unknown blobs.  Scrub at grease and oil stains for a while before giving up.  Sweep the floor.  Deodorize a little, if needed.

3. Toss.  Throw out anything obviously gross or rotting.  Put these items in the garbage, underneath something else so they won't be found and returned to the pantry.

4. Decide.  Determine what you want to do with the space.  Is your pantry for food exclusively?  Small appliances?  Long-term storage? Your mother's paper plate collection?  Look at what you have strewn about the floor, and decide how much room you need for what kind of thing.

5. Stack.  Start putting like items together.  Stack cans in neat rows like the supermarket, or load into neato-mosquito can roller thingies.  Line up boxes.  Pile bags into neat areas.

6. Corral.  Get containers to contain small items.  For some reason, I have a bunch of baby shoe boxes.  Oh yeah, my box fetish.  They work great for collecting and sorting spices, seasoning packets, birthday candles, and other little  things that tend to get in the way.

7. Purchase.  Go to Cute Tubs and Baskets R Us or your local amazing mart and get all the adorable containers that you see on Pinterest.  Make sure to know what sizes you need before you go.  Measure the shelves from one corner all the way to the other...   Hey!  What's that box in the back corner there?  I've never seen it before.  Fruit snacks, granola bars, baby doughnuts?  Must be Trent's secret stash.  Looks good, though...

8. Label.  To heck with all the cutsie homemade chevron chalkboard labels.  I'm eating doughnuts!

9. Tidy.  Someone is coming home!  Brush the powdered sugar off your chin!  Stuff all the rest of the goods into the pantry and close the doors!

10. Photograph.  Doesn't that look lovely?  Much better.  I should just always leave the doors closed, and the pantry looks fabulous, dahlink.  Fabulous. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Camping We Will Go

A little bit ago we decided to up and go camping.  We had Opa with us, so actual tent camping was out.  We hadn't really planned ahead, so most everything else was out.  Trent came up with a cabin that some of he relations used as a hunting lodge, made a few calls, and off we went.  

Trent and the boys went down on Wednesday evening, and the little ones went with me and Opa the next afternoon.  Trent figured that since one hunting season ended on Thursday, while the next hunt didn't begin until Saturday, that we would have the place to ourseles.  It didn't turn out exactly that way, but the boys had a good time.

The bigger three boys spent some time target-shooting with BB guns.  There were a few targets hung in the trees, and the plink or ding of a target hit was a common sound.  When they put the guns away, there were always 4-wheelers to zoom about on.  It was a far cry from the quiet forest I had been envisioning.  The riding up and down trails was curtailed somewhat when David wrecked one of the machines, and Trent realized that only licensed drivers should be driving.  David smashed up his hand pretty good, and bruised some ribs, but fortunately nothing was serious.  Chris, the only boy with a license, may or may not have smirked a little as he rode for the rest of the day.

Trent kept the little twins entertained in the mornings and evenings by starting the fire for them.  Yes, that is a flame thrower.  He had a great time with that noisy beast, and they were properly awed.

After the stove got nice and hot, Eddie and I popped popcorn on it.  Or we tried to.  The wood stove was hot, but not quite hot enough, so we gave up and used the gas cookstove instead.  David shook the popper for me, and we all enjoyed hot popcorn.  Yum!

We all spent most of the time outdoors, looking through telescopes, sighting up rifles, shooting BB guns, riding 4-wheelers, swinging on a plank suspended between two giant trees, or just sitting on the porch and breathing the clean, crisp air (when it wasn't full of the dust the quads kicked up, that is).  Oh yeah, and we spent a little bit of time out back in the outhouse.  I'll let this picture speak for itself. 

It's nice to make memories as a family, even if it doesn't go exactly the way you planned it.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Mission Monday

What's that?  I disappeared?  Nay, verily.  I was merely writing in invisible ink.  

Um... the truth?  I just can't write and do Halloween costumes at the same time.  And process apples.  And keep the house marginally clean.  and feed nine people thrice daily.  And write my missionaries.  But at least they write back!

The work here in SACTM during the summer here is slow. Most people are away from home and they those that are home don't want to meet with us, and that makes work slow for us... Planting seeds stinks sometimes, but we have to remember that without the planting, there is no reaping the rewards from that. And we think that all of missionary work is just working on the reaping, but there is also the part of working with the ward, and building the ward....

One of the ways that we have been reaching out is through family history. So we have done a lot of work with familytree on and with some of the programs that are there. One of the coolest ones that I've found is at It shows how you are related to people, and that is how I have found out that Elder Neil L. Anderson is my third cousin, once removed. And in some way, I'm related to all of the prophets, and a ton of other people. So that has been cool, and I wish that I had more time to do Family history.

From Madagascar:

Last Monday we all went to Lake Tritriva, sorry, LAC Tritriva... (that French stuff gets everywhere!). Anyway, it was a nice long bumpy ride, but then it was super pretty! It's up in the mountains and you get a beautiful view of most of Antsirabe from up there. It's mostly a tourist attraction, so when we got there all of us white folk had to pay the vazaha price while Elder Andriamanganoro, the only Malagasy missionary in Antsirabe right now, got to pay the Malagasy price which was several times cheaper. And then we got hounded by people selling souvenirs. That was pretty funny because they all have jacked up prices because they're used to selling to French tourists. So they would run up and show us their carved rocks or bracelets and say, "Mora be!" Which means, "very cheap!" Then when asked how much their little polished rock was, they would reveal that it was more than the cost of my food for a day if I ate out for every meal. But the lake was super pretty, I took some pictures on other people's cameras, because I still haven't figured out what's wrong with mine. Most of that is probably due to the fact that usually I don't have time to mess around with it.