Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Breath of Fresh Air

We went for a little drive the other day.  It might have been more than just a little drive.  But we started up in the business of crowded peopleville, and ended up in the refreshing quiet of the mountains.  The air was clean and clear and tasted wonderful

We stopped and walked down a dirt road to see a dream.  We've been having this dream for a while, but I'm not sure if it is the right time for it to come true.

We spent a while poking about and looking at the adventure.  We learned that even though we have two coats and two jackets for the twins, three of the four will be lost at any given time and one of the twins will have to wear his sister's pink jacket.

We learned that velvet princess dresses and cockle burs don't mix very well.

We learned that dreams come with big costs.

And we remembered that we love being in the mountains.  And we remembered that God made an awesomely beautiful planet.

We'll have to think about those dreams for a while.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


I was helping put on a women's conference a few weeks ago, and it wasn't too bad.  I am so much more comfortable working with a group of men than a group of women, but it turned out better than I thought it would.  It's probably because I didn't sign up for the decorating committee, because the frou-frou might make me a little bit crazy.  I designed the invitations and the program, and I think they turned out pretty well.  

Then they wanted some chalkboard signs, so I thought it might be fun to learn how to do that.  It's pretty popular right now, and it wasn't too hard.  

I designed the page in Word using wordart. Not hard.  I printed it out, drew lines on the page with a ruler and pencil.  I just divided the page into four parts across (half, then half again), and eight parts down, since the chalkboards were roughly twice as long as they were tall.  I drew lines on the chalkboard to divide it up the same way, and did the old fourth-grade method of transferring the words one square at a time.

I outlined the words, fixing them as I went, then filled them in.  I smudged inside the letters with my finger to smooth out the chalk.  I erased little accidents and the grid lines with soft rags and q-tips.

It took a little longer for the first one than I thought it would, but I got faster as I went along.  I just had a really tired back and shoulders when I was done.

Angel wanted to help, of course, and she decorated the back of one easel chalkboard while I was doing the front.

I think they turned out pretty well.  Now I want a chalkboard!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Happy Birthday, Eddie!

Here he is, the birthday boy, with his snazzy new haircut.  Like you can tell.  But it looks great, maybe just because I look at his face and the way I love him more than I look at his hair.  He wanted pizza and chocolate cake for dinner, so that's what he got.  Even if I had to dump cocoa powder into a yellow cake mix to make it.  That's ok.  The look on Georgie's face when he stole the cocoa powder spoon to lick it off was worth every moment of cooking!

Eddie, I love you to the moon and back.  You were a ray of sunshine just when your daddy and I needed it.  You still are.  Happy twelfth birthday!  Twelfth.  Don't look at that word too long or it will mess you up.  Twelvth?  Will you tie your tongue in knots if you try to pronounce "L-V-TH" too many times in a row?  Quit it.

Twelve things I love about Eddie:
  1. He is so kind.  He sees times when he can jump in and help that many others don't notice.
  2. He is so thorough at cleaning the kitchen!  I love his night to clean up (although he doesn't).
  3. He brushes my hair.  I'm always been a sucker for that.
  4. He is my snuggle buddy, always wanting to sit close and put his head on my shoulder.
  5. He has a gentle strength that flows through everything he does.
  6. He loves soft clothes and wants me to feel how fluffy his sweatshirt is, and then loves me for buying it for him.
  7. He is a great babysitter!  He plays well with his younger siblings, and they love him.
  8. He does his schoolwork independently.  Most of the time, he finishes at school.
  9. He is the first one to start and finish his chores, and rarely requires any prompting from Mom!
  10. He likes watching documentaries so he can learn things.
  11. He is easy-going and nice to be around.  He has good friends and develops friendships easily.
  12. He's my newest deacon, and is excited to help at church with those new responsibilities.
Love you so much, Eddie!  I hope this year is a wonderful one for you.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Mission Monday

From South Africa:

This week has been really crazy with all the random weather that we have been having. We will wake up in the morning with almost perfect weather, and then by noon it is absolutely horrible. Then on the other hand, if we wake up and it is cloudy, then by about noon it clears up and it is a hot and humid day for the rest of the day. So the weather has been crazy and makes it crazy right in the middle of the work day. But it has been fun.

Then on Sunday (at church), we had a third hour combined and we went in with the youth, and they were talking about seminary and how important it is. People here don't realize just how important it is for the kids to be going. So it was cool to see the parents realize it and to have them fired up about seminary as well. This week has been awesome! I can't wait to see what happens this week!

From Madagascar:

Then we got on the wrong bus and ended up stuck in traffic far from home for two hours. That was poopy. Upside to that is we got to talk to a very interesting man who was telling us why Malagasies don't like people from India. Then he was talking about how Malagasies don't discriminate. Literally he said, "Ny Malagasy tsy tia karana." (Malagasies don't like Indians) then two sentences later it was, "Tsy manavaka ny Malagasy." (Malagasies don't discriminate). Anyway, he was a delight. Then it was just work as usual until on Friday we were eatin lunch at a cheap, but very nice place that sells grilled chicken, when the guy at the table next to us bought us a drink. We got Sprite, of course, don't get too excited. Then we started talking to him and the owner, they're good friends, and we found out that if we bring sister missionaries next time, they'll give us a free cake. Unfortunately, none of the sister live close...

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Dane It!

A conversation this morning:

Georgie:  Mommy, can I play with the sticks and the little silver balls? (a set of Magnetix that is not always out because of all the small pieces that keep getting lost)

Me:  Yes, dear.  Just make your bed first.

Georgie:  (running into the other room where Freddie was laying on his stomach on the floor, reading a book) Freddie!  Mom says we can always play with the sticks and silver balls if we make our bed!

Me:  You need to make your bed every morning, before you play with anything.

Georgie:  What?  (hanging his head and stomping out of the room)  Oh, dane it!

I'm not sure what the Danes ever did to him to make him profane them that way.  But a few minutes later, he came up and triumphantly proclaimed that he had made his bed and that it was easy.  Good for you, buddy.  Good for you.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Happy Birthday, Eddie!

This cute boy has a birthday coming up.  I can't believe he will be 12!  Wowza.

Here is his birthday list:

Bunny or a parakeet
iPod or a phone
Motorized go-cart
X Box

That's all for the top of his list.  The rest of his list includes things like candy, Legos (and not Legos because you can't buy but a tiny set with a bunch of money anymore.  Oh, for the good old days when we liked Legos but everyone else didn't!), a play date at the local trampoline play place, electronics, rubber band guns, outside toys, and a million dollars.  No problemo.  Just let me clean out the sofa cushions and we'll be all set.

Love this boy.  I'd better go give him a haircut so he will let me take his picture.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Mission Monday

I asked the boys how their clothes were holding out, since I don't want them to be nekkid.  Or wear holy socks.

I guess South Africa is hard on socks, or maybe he's walking a lot!  They were J.C. Penney socks and I guess they aren't made to hold up to missionary work.  "I'm doing fine except for socks. BTW, the clothes here are a ton cheaper, and I can see them before I get them, so just do the same thing (put money in his account) and drop it in and let me know, and I'll go get them. I'm fine with shirts ( I have 8, and I have two full suits, so I think I'm good there. One of them is in the mission home right now, and they are taking care of it for me. And I also need more shoes. I'm going to go and get some soon, maybe today, so that will be good."

It's too warm in Madagascar for a suit, and he just had one tailor made anyway, so he's fine there. "I never wear a suit... so yes, I'm good on suits. Plus when I want a new one I will get another one tailor made (probably right before I go home). My white shirts are mostly white, but it is a little bit of a faded white. My pants are fine. My socks are fine. There is just a couple missing is all. Ooh, about the socks, for (the other boys) or posterity or whatever, don't get the ones from missionary mall. The absorb so much water! It's like walking around with wet rags around your feet that never dry out! I might send a video after a rainstorm next week, last night I wringed them out like 10 times and a ton of water was still coming. But they're not holey. My shoes are fine. Still water proof, but when it rains my pants just soak up all of the water and send them down my legs into my shoes anyway... Those are missionary mall too. They might be better for like a cold climate place, but not great for here. Thanks!"  So no Missionary Mall shoes or socks for warm, wet climates.

From South Africa:

I love being a missionary, and I love getting the chance to interact with the people here. I love getting the opportunity to work with them and to interact with them! I love it. Nuff said.

But this week has been really busy, we have visited so many people and gotten so many lessons taught. On top of that, we had the traveling assistants here with us for a day. That was really interesting. All they do is exchanges with everybody in the mission. That would be fun, but it would stink. No area, no boarding. Just exchanges all day for the whole transfer. It was fun to have them here.

From Madagascar:

Then on Sunday I bore my testimony in sacrament meeting and the bishopric told me I sounded just like a Malagasy, so that put me up on cloud 9 because Malagasy is one of my favorite parts of being a missionary here! Then we met a man as we were walking away from the church who told us he was searching for the truth and he was really confused because all of the churches said theirs was the true church. "How can I know where the true church is??!" So we talked to him a little bit, showed him the church, and asked his name. "Joseph Smith." Ok, ok, I see what's going on. You have a good day sir. Haha not very missionaries get to meet him!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day

What a happy day!  Sometimes.  In college I wore black to commemorate the day, but now I have more people to love - and less time to worry about myself - so I like the day much more.

I got little treats for each of the kids, but nothing Pinterest-worthy.  Love doesn't show up on Pinterest very well, anyway.  Trent surprised me with a giant bouquet of roses and lillies!  It was gorgeous and smells so good.  I love walking around the corner where the vase stands and just breathing it all in.  

Angel made (ok, I made) little books to give all of her classmates.  She loves nothing more than folding a piece of paper in half a few times, stapling one side, and trimming the edges to make a little book to write in.  So we made Valentine books with heart-printed paper for all her little friends.

Eddie made a Valentine Death Star to put his valentines into.  Out of cardboard and duct tape.  That morning.  I guess that is about what a sixth grade boy thinks of The Day of Love.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

At the End of a Driveway

I was walking home the other day and noticed a little boy standing at the end of his driveway.  His head was down and his shoulders slumped sadly.  Just as soon as I saw him there, a car whipped around the corner, screeched to a halt in front of him, and he scrambled in.  The car was gone again before I could really think.  So I thought about it the rest of the way home.

The first bell at the elementary school had already rung, so I can see why they were in such a hurry.  But the house was a scant block away from the school, so it's not like it was a long distance to go.  Laughing to myself, I imagined the hectic morning that must have erupted at that house.  I can imagine it well because we've had mornings like that.  Someone had a science fair project to finish up, or forgot to do their math homework, or we couldn't find the library book that was due today or there were no socks in my drawer or we were all slow this morning or Mom just got up late...  Yeah, it happens.

I suppose either breakfast got done too late or someone needed to take a large item to show and tell, so Mom barked at everyone to get in the van and we'd drive instead of walking - NOW!  The kids climbed in and they drove off, leaving one boy still in the bathroom.  By the time he flushed and came out, the house was quiet.  Mom?  Mom?  But there was no response.  Slowly, dejectedly, he collected his now-finished math paper from the counter strewn with breakfast dishes and crumpled it into his backpack.  He fished his jacket out of the closet and started the lonely walk to school.

Meanwhile, the harried mother pulled up the the school curb in a plume of hurry, kissed her daughter - trying vainly to smooth her wild hair -  while telling the son to hurry and get to class.  Son?  Dear?  She turned around in her seat and realized that she left a child at home.  There might have been some muttering through clenched teeth as she whipped back home, hoping to find everything ok, chastising herself along the way.  We've all had those really bad mother moments.

I chuckled to myself as I walked home, and said a silent prayer that the mother would find peace in the rest of her day, and that the son would manage to feel loved and important.  Those fluke things happen, and we pick ourselves up, dust off, laugh a little, and go on.

But a couple of days later, I saw the same boy standing at the end of the driveway.  His head was down and his shoulders slumped sadly.  This time, there was no one there and he stood alone, waiting.  My mother-heart aches for him.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Face This Way

We go for walks nearly every day.  I walk to school with Eddie and Angel, and I walk back to the school at lunchtime to pick her up.  In addition, I like to make sure my dad gets some exercise, so we wander about the neighborhood for a bit with him.

Today was beautiful.  Somehow I want to think that it is still February, but it sure looks like spring outside.  We didn't even take our jackets with us as we stepped out into the sunshine (for here, that means it must have been at least 50 degrees.  Floridans would be freezing).  Not a single cloud!  Robins!  Lots of spring bird sounds!  I haven't yet seen the flowers trying to poke up, but I'm sure it won't be long.

Today, Freddie and Georgie wanted to go for a walk with me and Opa.  We walked up the street, loving the warmth of the sun on our shoulders.  After a few minutes, we noticed our shadows.  We waved at ourselves and made funny shapes with our legs.  They tried to step on my shadow and I dodged back and forth to their giggles.  We rounded the corner and the twins ran forward and back, trying to step on each other's shadows.  As we rounded the next corner, they ran ahead for a bit, and then suddenly stopped.

"Where is my shadow?"  They both were a bit perplexed.  Georgie turned around in a circle and saw his shadow behind him.  "Oh!" he exclaimed, "If I walk backwards then I can see my shadow."

As we continued home, it occurred to me that I am often facing the wrong way.  If I am walking the right direction, with the light on my face, growing and developing the way I should be, then I have lots of sunshine in my life.  My attitude is more bright and I can see where I am going.

But when I get headed the wrong way, my life gets darker.  All I can see is my own shadow and all the things that are going wrong.  The colors dim and my cheer fades.  But even when I am all turned around, I can still feel the warmth of the sun on my shoulders, beckoning and guiding.

I'm glad that I can turn around and see the sunshine again.  What a blessing!

(That doesn't mean that there aren't shadows.  There are always shadows.  
But if I face the sun then I don't have to live in the dark.)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Mission Monday

From South Africa:

In other news, here is a story that happened yesterday. We got a dvd referral for a guy named Mxabisi (yes it has clicks), but his short name is Bobby. So we went over to his house and found out that we had seen the guy before. He is a car guard (somebody that watches the cars while you go shopping) at Buco (kinda like Home Depot, African Style). Oh, and he only has one leg, and he stands and watches cars all day long, making only cents every once in a while. But anyway, we go over and give him the dvd, and then he starts going off about something in Xhosa, and then talks a little, then rambles, and then all of the sudden, he is just like, "Thanks for coming, I'm busy right now, I'll see you later". And the weird thing is that it was so abrupt. So it caught Elder Weber and I off guard and we just had to leave and hope for the best. We will see him later this week and talk to him and see how he is doing. Yup, missionaries in SA get shot down at the most random times too :).

From Madagascar:

(It doesn't look there there are roads in the residential areas - just houses packed together.  How do you find your way?)
Yeah, there's not a ton of roads, just alleys in crazy mazes. It's pretty exciting.

(Why can we see Antsirabe listed on the map, but not Antananarivo until you zoom in more?  Is it bigger or more important?)
I have no idea why tana isn't out farther. Tana is waaaaay bigger. Antsirabe is kind of a little bit of a tourist place though. But not as much as a lot of the coast cities.

(How do you pronounce Ankorondrano?)
Alright, Ankorondrano is pronounced ahn-koo-roon-john-oo. And the r is rolled, not american. I will admit I still barely know my way around at all.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

This is what's for dinner.  I'm not sure where the original recipe came from, since we have been eating this for a very long time.  We have modified and easy-fied it over the years, because we like it easy, and this is what it looks like now.

This is not really what our casserole looks like, because we have neither orange plates nor perfectly-places sprigs of rosemary.  Ours is always gone before I can take a picture of it.  
But this is the general idea.

Chicken Enchilada Casserole
makes one panful - enough to feed our family of 10 if we have a big salad and a bowl of cooked veggies to go with it.

2 onions
3 cloves garlic
5-6 chicken breasts (I think - depending on how many we have and how hungry everyone is)

Chop onions and mince garlic.  Saute in oil.  Or bacon drippings.  Chop chicken into the bite-size that you most like to bite, and cook with onions and garlic.  Season to taste.  Today we went with a simple cumin, salt and pepper.  Other days I'm more in the mood for poultry seasoning (thyme, sage, marjoram, rosemary, black pepper, and nutmeg) or a stronger Mexican flavor (chili powder, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, cumin, and a pinch of cinnamon), so season to whatever sounds good to you.

36 ounces of sauce (tomato sauce, tomato paste - count half paste and half water, cream of chicken soup, tomato soup, or a combination)
1/2 cup of sour cream (or more if you are feeling really creamy)
4 ounce of diced green chiles (or more if you aren't feeding gringo children)

1.5 pound bag of small corn tortillas

Once the chicken is done, grease a 9x13 pan.  Start with tomato sauce, then tortillas, and layer ingredients, lasagna-style.  No need to roll up the tortillas like true enchiladas, and that's why we like this recipe.  Just lay them flat like lasagna noodles, in as even of a layer as you can.  I usually use two whole tortillas and four halves for each layer.  I sometimes just dump the sauce, sour cream, chiles, and chicken all together and then just layer than with the tortillas.  Proceed to the top of the pan, ending with sauce.  Top with grated cheddar cheese, if you like it that way and the boys haven't used up all the cheese on ham and cheese sandwiches for their lunches.

Bake at 350 or so for half an hour or so, until hot all the way through and cheese is bubbly, or until you are so hungry you just have to eat now.  Because we all know that happens sometimes.  But if you can be patient and wait, the tortillas get nice and soft and more yummy.  And yummier.  And tasty too.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The Used Bread Store

Well, I guess it's not really a used bread store.  I just call it that.  It's really the bread reject store.  Some people call it the day-old bread store, although we all know that the bread there is a bit more than just a day old.  Even my bread, homemade without preservatives, lasts more than one day.  I digress.

We have a store in town - most towns have one - which sells bread that is too old to sell at the regular store.  Every day, the bread trucks take the new bread from the bakery to the grocery store, scoop up the too-old bread still on the shelves, and take it to the used bread store.  There, you can buy bread for really cheap.  And usually packaged muffins and snack cakes and chips and the like.  After a while, it's too old to even sell at the too-old store, and they throw it out.  Or they give it to farmers for free as animal feed.

Last fall, Trent heard about this deplorable waste of good food, and went down to the old bread store to see if he really could get a few loaves of too-old bread to feed our chickens.  He got a little bit carried away, and came home with the car packed full of too-old bread.  Packed.  Enough to kill our chickens and smother us, as well.

There was white bread and really white marshmallow bread and wheat bread and bread with sunflower seeds and bread with nuts and twigs and bagels and packages of stale Sara Lee snack cakes and more bread.  He unloaded all of this into a freezer, because it wouldn't last long without being frozen.  We filled up our refrigerator freezer, a big chest freezer, and half of our giant you-could-hide-a-dead-body-in-there garage freezer.  And we still had a bunch of the best bread on the counter.

I called all my relatives and begged them to come get bread.  I sent the message out to all our neighbors.  I shoved bread into the hands of anyone who unwittingly came to the door.  I think people started crossing to the other side of the street rather than get too close to our house and have a loaf of old bread launched their direction.

Just for the record, I make good bread.  And even the best store-bought bread will never hold a candle to a loaf of fresh homemade bread hot from the oven.  And the homemade is so good for you!  And the store-bought is so not!  So I wasn't too happy too see so much of this inferior bread.  Am I turning into a bread snob?  Maybe.

Slowly, we went through all that bread.  It did come in handy when we moved within a few weeks and we weren't set up to make bread for about a month.  I breathed a big sigh of relief when we used up the last loaf of frozen marshmallowy-ness.

And then he went back to the used bread store.  <sigh>  He should not be allowed to go there unsupervised any more.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Bread Helpers

This morning, I found a great new bread recipe.  My bread has been turning out really well lately, but I have no idea what the recipe is.  I just start adding things and have anxiety about what else should go in it, add some more things.  Maybe I should just go with it, since the bread is good, but it stresses me out to not know what I am doing.  Especially since it occasionally bombs.  The boys take sandwiches from home every day for their lunch, so I need to have reliable bread (or Trent might go to the used bread store and buy some.  What?  I haven't written about that?  I should.).

So here is the new recipe, from Deals to Meals.  I will add in my modifications.  Doesn't it look good?  Hopefully this will work.

Step 1.  Grind flour.  Lug the wheat grinder out of the laundry room, then go back and lug the mixer into the kitchen as well.  Be smart this time, since you are wearing dark clothing and you are about to work with flour.  Grab your apron.  Pour in wheat and grind.  While it is about as noisy as a large airport in the kitchen, go in the back room and get out Alton Brown's baking book (no affiliate link - I just love the book because I like to know the why behind the what) because you remembered something about using the sponge method to make better bread.

Step 2.  Measure 7 cups of flour into mixer.  Pour the rest of the flour into the empty bread canister.  Let Twin 2 brush the spilled flour into a little pile on the counter, knowing that he will play in it and then eat it.  Justify the mess by thinking there wasn't much spilled.  Notice that you don't have enough flour to finish the recipe, and make a not to grind more flour in a bit.  Hold Twin 1 when he realizes (like he couldn't hear the grinder?) that you ground wheat without him and he wanted to see the kernels get sucked down into the machine.

Step 2A.  Grind more flour.  Mollify the little guy.  Fill up the grinder with more wheat and start grinding.  While it is going, put 4 cups of water in the microwave to warm up because your hot water is soft water and you can't use it in recipes.  Measure temperature of warmed water and decide it needs a bit more heat, so microwave it again.  While closing the microwave door, hear the spilling sound of several cups of wheat hitting the floor.  Chastise self for not keeping a better eye on them while muttering bad words.  Scoop wheat kernels off counter and add them back into the grinder.  Sweep floor and discard that wheat because it is really dirty.  Get out the water and mop up all the water that spilled all over the microwave when it boiled over while you were cleaning up the wheat.

Step 3. Measure 2 1/2 tablespoons of yeast - or approximate with a scoop and a half - into the mixer and blend into the flour.  Forget to put the lid on and fluff flour all over the place.  Wipe counters.  Sweep floor (floury floors are slippery!).  Pour in warm water and mix.  While it is mixing, get out another cup of water, warm it up in the now clean microwave, and add because your measuring cup only goes to 4 and you need 5 cups of warm water.  Mix.  But the new water won't mix with the dough, so it just sloshes around in the bottom of the mixer.  Turn mixer up higher.  And higher.  Watch with bad words as pasty water starts to squirt out to top of your mixer and dribble onto the counter.  Even though you remembered to put on the lid.  Hold the lid on tighter and turn the mixer down a little.  Give children popcorn to keep them busy while you wipe down the mixer and the counter.

Step 4. Refer to recipe.  Refer to alternate cookbook.  Get mixed up between the two.  Decide to do a full sponge step instead of just letting the flour soak.  Add 1 cup sugar and 2/3 cup oil and mix well.  Or just pour some oil into the mixing bowl while it is going and hope that was about the right amount.  Maybe a little more.  Should we add an egg?  No, you should stick to the original recipe when trying something new.  Too late.  But no egg.  Sweep floor again, because you gave the twins popcorn.

Step 5. Let the sponge rise until double. It is already covered, with the lid you jammed on in step 3, but forget that it will rise higher than the capacity of the mixing bowl.  Go put your feet up for a while.  On second thought, look at the time and run to the school in a panic to pick up the girl from kindergarten.

Step 6.  Pry lid off mixer and despair at the mess it made.  Knead in 5 more cups of flour and 2 tablespoons salt.  Oh!  There was supposed to be 2 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice, too!  Add that first, and hope it will be ok.  Measure out salt by dumping it in your hand and pretending to know the volume of your palm.  Out of curiosity, measure an actual tablespoon of salt and pour it into your hand.  Then add more salt to the bowl because a tablespoon is waaaay more than you thought it was.  Proceed with the flour.  Only add 4 out of the 5 cups because the dough is getting firm enough.  Dough should be soft.

Step 7. Turn out onto counter, cover, and let raise until double.  Make ham and cheese sandwiches for the kids.  Warm up and eat some leftover jambalaya, topped with Super Bowl 7 layer dip.  Clean up lunch.  Send the kids to clean their room, knowing that they will clean up three things and then get distracted and play with the fourth thing they pick up and you will have a short period of quiet.  Be disappointed that you weren't the only one who knew about that last piece of pie hiding on the bottom shelf of the fridge.  Hope that the man enjoyed it.  Placate your sweet tooth with an old Sara Lee snack cake.  A few minutes later, regret eating it.  Feel a little bit panicky when you can't remember how long the bread has been sitting there. Try not to let the children snitch and eat pieces of bread dough.

Step 8. Flatten and fold dough to redistribute gas bubbles.  Lest rest for a few minutes.  Shape dough into 4 loaves and place in oiled pans in a warm oven.  Let rise in oven until dough reaches the top of the pan.

Step 9. (optional) Forget about bread in oven and let it continue to rise until it threatens to take over your oven and ooze out to rule the world.

Step 10. Turn on oven to 350 and bake 30 minutes.  Die and float off to Heaven due to the wonderful smells wafting from your kitchen.  Remove from pans about the time the boys get home from school and cool on racks.  Blink and two loaves will somehow reduce to bread crumbs and butter smears across the counter.  Get out the sourdough starter and feed it, because we'll need more bread day after tomorrow.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Mission Monday

What?  It's February?  How did that happen?  I'm still not relegated to 2015, either.  Moving along...

From South Africa:

Well, this is the end of the crazy eight week transfer! And... I'm staying in Port Alfred with Elder Weber! It is awesome!!! I love serving with him. In other news, all of our lessons have been in the double digits again!! 53 lessons this week, which left us very busy and crazy insane running around like chickens with our heads chopped off. But it has been very great to see the progress of the branch.

From Madagascar:

Thursday we ate rice with boiled squash leaves at an investigator's house. Delicious. When we showed up [to church on Sunday], 40 people were there. However, by the time the sacrament was over, we were up to 113, so that was pretty scary!!! That's called fotoana gasy, or Malagasy time! Then, the second counselor in the branch presidency tried to give me a talk. Bad news... I can't, sorry... (*Spoiler alert*) I'm leaving this week... That was the easiest I've ever gotten out of a talk!

Transfers are this week, and unfortunately, my four transfer stay here is over. I'm going to Antananarivo!!! My new area is called Ankorondrano!