Saturday, April 30, 2011

Not May 2nd

It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood. 

 Theo and I went to Music Makers Kaia-less.  He is starting to participate and it is SO cute!!  Do you know 'Sleeping Bunnies'?  It is his favorite.  Afterward, instead of going on a Bundi Hunt like last week, we went on a Bunny Hunt.  Turns out that on the Mission property they also raise bunnies.  At least 50 of them. 

 We spent the afternoon and evening with Amy and Pray trying to console them.  An HOUR of Connect Four is just what the doctor ordered.  Turns out the court date of Monday May 2nd promised by the lawyers was fiction all along.  They are not on the docket.  This they confess to her Friday morning after she has been hounding them for a preparatory meeting.  As consolation they book a new date for her.  July 21st!!  Another 3 months away.  My heart aches.  If it is even a true date, it's not like they have an honorable track record AND the courts are closed this week, begging the question... how did they book this new date?  Please pray for her.  This situation is so unnecessary.   I don't know where she finds the strength.

 The best thing this week though was getting our new licenses!!!  Aren't they pretty?!?  They are way nicer than both Illinois and Ontario licenses, in my humble opinion.

But today has been all about getting ready for the party!!!  I spent the day in the kitchen, Carl at the store.  We will warmly celebrate her 4th year with glorious amounts of  food, drinks, games, sweets, friends, smiles, and lots and lots of laughter.  The cake is dying to be eaten!!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011


The Grind.

I cooked up some stew beef into Goulash the other day.  First time I have ever done that.  Today I turned the bones into beef stock.  Looks delicious.  But now what is something yummy I can do with the beef stock?

Carl is back at school and that means we are back in the garden.  I don't remember if I mentioned it on the blog but we had a professional gardener come to the house to evaluate the garden.  It was a grim prognosis.  We have major infestations of nematodes, spider mites, white flies, and so many other things that I had to make a priority list.  Yesterday we broke down and bought organic pesticides.  Hope this investment pays out.  This nameless 'beauty'  likes to eat the daisy flowers.

Here is a before and after shot of the daisy after 'beauty' nibbles it.  Before Moses told me I was ready to accuse Kaia of pulling our her scissors again!

 After school today we went to visit with a family that Carl teaches at school.  They live out in the coffee fields.  What I wouldn't give to live with a view of endless landscape.  Meru was striking today.

And as promised... your next sneak peak at Kaia's D-D-D-D-D-Dora cake.  I know you are at the edge of your seat by now.  To be unveiled Sunday.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Weekend

This is our last day of break.  We have enjoyed it SO much!!  Tomorrow it is back to the grind.  But that's fine, our grind is nice too.

 We finished our cleanse. Loved it.  From it we have decided to cut down on coffee, gained an appreciation for green smoothies, and found a few new yummy recipes.  Here we are juicing our oranges for Day 4's breakfast.  With our tiny manual lime juicer it took an hour to juice 1L but was totally worth it because we all sat around the table and chatted.  In review we survived cake baking, cake decorating, potluck, Easter chocolate egg hunt, and a 2 day visit with one of the best cooks we know.  Go us!!

 Here is the egg hunt.  Since Carl is 'in charge' of Easter, and thinks the Easter Basket tradition is silly, we have decided to carry on the Egg Hunt tradition instead.  I totally support him.  It was so much fun watching them find and load up on so much sugar!!  Here you can see both of their hands going for the same piece.  Didn't take Theo too long to catch on.

 Now, Kaia and Theo are in an interesting phase of their relationship.  Theo is starting to hassle Kaia and will chase and repeatedly hit her.  She will whine and cry, it is jolly fun.  It will take some time for them to work through it I am sure.  But the Easter Bunny brought only one Cadbury Egg!!!  Kaia was so good about sharing and this is the best they have gotten along in weeks!!
 In the afternoon we headed out to Moshi to visit Bob and Amelia.  The rainy season has brought the countryside to life and the scenery is spectacular.  Also, hardly any traffic on Easter Sunday :)

 Bob and Amelia are the couple that we have known in Egypt, Finland, and Tanzania.  We never remember to take a pic of them with the kids.  Carl taught his kids since they were in grade school and they are finishing university now.  They are great with Kaia and Theo and take great care of us.  Their house has a huge yard with a wide open view of Kili.  They have a little guesthouse so we don't even have to feel like we are in their way.  This time they opened their recipe box for us and we came home with about 10 new recipes to try. 

When we came home the weather was perfect and Kaia laid out to soak up the sun. 
Our Little Wildflower (the only nickname she officially approves of).

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Eggs

Cleanse is still going well.  Almost too well.  Today was the climax of the cleanse, only green smoothies spread throughout the day.  I didn't even think of coffee until just before dinner time.  Amazing how fast your body adjusts.  We spent the day indulging which may have helped.  We all took long warm scented baths and took long naps nestled under warm blankets.  Heavenly day.
We found this egg dying chart using only natural dyes online.  Using coffee, turmeric, beet, cabbage, and onion skins you can make 12 different colors.  In theory. 

 Well we ate a few eggs during the week and broke a few today so we had only 5 to dye.  Kaia choose to make 2 yellow and 2 blue.  Amazingly we started with eggs as brown as the one on the right.  I never thought it would turn out so well!!  Somehow they seem to bleach before they color but by then the texture is a bit off.  Next year we will find white eggs and pay more attention to stirring nicely to avoid the streaks.

Kaia also did her first sewing project today.  She is really into the crafts lately but still needs lots of assistance.  I poked the holes and she used a needle to decorate the edges with thread.  Her attention span is really increasing and she worked on this for quite a while as I worked online.  We sat together at my desk and it felt like she was such a big girl.  I am so proud of her!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Cake Decorating

Cleanse is going well.  Other than the initial caffeine withdrawal and food poisoning we don't have too many negative symptoms.  Definitely a little less energetic but life must go on with little ones!  

 In celebration of the holidays today at music makers we had a potluck which was great for the kids but rather unfortunate for Carl and I because we couldn't enjoy.  Then we had a bundi (owl) hunt.  The family lives on a huge mission property and there are a few bundi around.  We did find one bundi ( a great horned species) but not her mate.

 My doctor friend who makes the awesome cakes for weddings and birthdays offered to help me decorate Kaia's cake.  Despite much attempted coercion, this year Kaia wants 
A Dora Cake, with a map, and with two tiny people in it that say 'here's the map, here's the map, here's the map.
 Ok, so I can't fulfill all her dreams but I relent and Dora it is.  Of course I can't show you the finished cake until the big day (next Sunday) but I will post tidbits as the week progresses.  So far I have baked two very moist looking chocolate cakes and spent 6 hours with my fingers in frosting and still haven't tasted it.  :(

 So how did I find a free 6 hours to work on this you wonder?  Daddies Day.  What a blast!!  The big ones built it and the little ones got to throw balls at it to try and knock it down.

Trampoline, pool, sandbox, computer games, matchbox races, funny that the dads still seem gung ho to keep playing but the kids are getting a bit pooped. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Detox Blast

Carl and I have been drinking loads of coffee lately.  And even though we think we eat very very well there is always room for improvement and time for a cleanse.  We have never done this before and are both excited about it.  'Something different' I say.

 Last fall my brother organized this with a friend of his Rachelle Anslyn.  A gentle 5 day Detox.  I was breastfeeding at the time and put it off until later but now is as good a time as any.  If only we had thought to do it a few days earlier... then it wouldn't overlap Easter.  Rather ironically I just happened to be baking Kaia's birthday cake today too!!  With fresh brewed coffee in it!!  Somehow it wasn't that tempting though.  And with Carl on holiday we can do it at home together.

 The range in quantities was huge and Alice only goes to the market once a week so we wanted to be prepared.  Even buying in the middle of the recommended quantities filled our pantry.  Additionally the refrigerator is packed with spinach and the pantry with olives and cashews.  Really looks delicious!! 

Today went well overall.  Coffee was the hardest part.  We have been weening off it for a few days but today was still abrupt.  We both has some headaches and lethargic moments.  The worst part was that we must have gotten some bad produce because I had a rough but quick bout of food poisoning after lunch.  Rotten day for it but in a few hours I was fine and now I feel great.  Looking forward to tomorrow.

 Carl learned to braid today.  Ahhh, the things that make you fall more and more in love with someone.  I started the one on the right and he finished it.  He did the left one all by himself.  

And apparently we don't nap Theo nearly enough.  Today, during movie afternoon, he fell asleep on the floor while playing the sounds on his Pooh book.  Thank you Amy for always remembering to pull out your camera to beautifully capture my children on film.  So appreciated.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Today was the day we had been dreading for a while.  Tanzania is upgrading it's drivers licenses to a sheik version like we have back home.  Only they decided that EVERYONE has to get a new license by June 1st no matter when their old one expired.  Sad face.  So we spent the day at the Tanzanian Revenue Agency (TRA).

 Five and a half hours we dedicated to this today.  A crazy part of Carl enjoyed it though, 'something different' he says.  Way at the bottom of my list of stuff to enjoy but somehow he kept me smiling most of the time.  
The process?  
  • Step 1:  Biometrics.  Form, photo, fingerprints.  And after waiting 1.5 hours she says we also need a copy of our passports.  Of course the copier is 2 blocks down the road.  &%*#%$&.  And after we return with that she says we also need a copy of our old drivers license.  &%*#%$&.  For real?!?  That was the worst part.
  • Step 2: Police Check.  Then we walk down the road to the police station for the written and driving portion of the exam.  Given we were just renewing they didn't ask us to do anything.  Relief because there were a lot of traffic signs on their test board that I had no clue about.
  • Step 3:  Bill.  This we get after waiting in line again at the first office.
  • Step 4:  Payment.  We have to go to the nearest bank to do that.
  • Step 5:  Receipt.  We bring the receipt back to the first office again and are told to come back next Wednesday to pick it up.  Pretty exciting because it is going to be shiny and new.
 Made it home with enough time to make some Easter chicks with Kaia for the walls. 
Grandma Love... one of them is for you because your leg still hurts, but I don't know which one.

And if that wasn't enough we baked cookies after dinner too!!  Kaia said she wasn't going to have any because we had some friends for dinner a few nights ago and served ice cream.  'Too many sweets' she says.  But by the time they came out of the oven that thought was loooooong gone.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Grandma's Olives

Spring is in the air and Easter is right around the corner!!  Despite going into the cold season ourselves it still feels like spring because all the rain has turned the landscape a lush green and so many flowers are in bloom.  Somehow I love building up the Santa spirit but am having such guilt over telling Kaia about the Easter Bunny.  Seems like such a silly thing to believe.  So Carl has gleefully taken on all sharing of Easter Bunny Fantasia. 

 Today we decorated our first round of Easter Eggs with the most creative people ever.  It was SO much fun.  We did both crayon and wax designs. Kaia was somewhat keen.  I think she will be more into it the second time around.

 While the biguns decorated eggs the lilones got into trouble and we found these awesome sunglasses!!  Who looks like Lennon?

 Obviously everyone gets a turn.  Mommy too but that pic was deleted a long time ago.

 One of the things that we love about living here is that there is absolutely no pressure to keep up with the Jones'.  This is Claudia's new home entertainment system.  Since she has no power at her house (literally no power lines reach the property) she has this battery operated gem.  In the evening they pop on the generator for a bit and charge the batteries.  Quite frankly is is much nicer than ours!!

Interestingly, if you buy a house here that is not connected to the city power lines you have to buy your own transformer, poles, and power lines.  Then it basically becomes the property of the electric company and they charge you for the power.  Ouch.  She is currently waiting for more poles to arrive in the country, there are none right now.  Double ouch.

 But the best part of today was during dinner.  Maybe as a result of the sweet sour cabbage we ate a few nights ago, conversation drifted to my Grandma Heumann and I was telling wonderful stories about how amazing she was.  Kaia was quick to reply with 'my grandma is better' and after some quick banter I explained that being the best grandma is not a competition.  Each grandma has their own wonderful charactoristics and that we celebrate and appreciate what makes each one special.  So what makes my Grandma Heumann special?  Well... there are so many things but we happened to be eating olives and at every fancy dinner she would always let us put olives on our fingers.  Kaia thought that was the best thing EVER.  Giddy excited!!

Theo too.

Monday, April 18, 2011


Great Grandma Heumann's Sweet and Sour Cabbage
 It is supposed to be made with bacon and left to marinate overnight but even with hot dogs and a 5 minute marination... this stuff is SO good!!

 Kids were not fans though.  Mom did I used to like it?

Some other cute shots I found lying around...

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Today we had no plans whatsoever and spent the entire day at home.  Amazing how we can take so many pics on a day we do absolutely nothing... the kids are just so darn cute!!

 Have I mentioned lately how wonderful it is to have Carl home for 20 days straight!  11 days done, 9 more to enjoy.  The kids are so happy, think Daddy loves it too.

 Theo pushing Kaia in the swing.  Strong boy.  Can you see his pink rain boots?  Kaia helped him get his shoes on today.

 Photo of the finished chicken coop as promised.  Isn't it gorgeous?!?  No eggs yet.  Patience is a virtue (I am sorely lacking).

 Kaia got her own Wii character today. After an hour had passed we had already changed her features, just like Kaia likes to change her clothes, so she looks completely different now. 

 Although a little intimidated by it all, Kaia loved the games if we did them with her.  Here they are doing a ski jump.  And she did it better than both Carl and I.

 Then it is time to get going on dinner.  Theo must have had an exhausting day because despite an enormous nap he laid down, rubbed my toe, and started to fall asleep.  Whatever :)

Goodnight little bunnies.  Kaia can pretty well do her own teeth now as long as we keep an eye out and remind her of the bits she missed.  Theo is just eating toothpaste.  He loves it and will scream bloody murder if you try to take that brush away.


I also wanted to share the amazing story of a friend of a friend.  It is an extremely rare story, that is why it is so unbelievable, fascinating, and terrifying.  Even locals that have lived here there entire lives haven't heard anything like it.  But if you are uncomfortable with snake stories please don't read any further.

I don't remember his name but he has lived here most of his life and he trains safari guides for a living.  Last week they were out in the bush and sleeping in tents.  A 145cm black spitting cobra somehow made its way into his sleeping bag while he was sleeping!!  As he twitched in his sleep it bit him.  He woke up and felt the snake and somehow managed to get out of the sleeping bag and the tent without getting bitten again.  They are extremely poisonous and he had to rush to the local Meserani Snake Park where they have antivemon.  The poison kills the skin surrounding the bite until it spreads through the body, timely intervention is critical.  But driving here at night is very unsafe.  Along the way 2 lorries were blocking the road to rob passing cars.  Somehow their car miraculously made it through and to the Snake Park.  After a few days of treatment he is heading home, he was very lucky and all of his tissue should be fine.  He must have a guardian angel.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Island Style

We excitedly headed out camping this week.  3 families, 5 kids.  Coordinated meals, tents, gear.  Met up at ISM with full tanks, big smiles, and piles of travel snacks.  We were heading to a new site 'Island Style Campground' that was recently opened by an ISM parent.  At this point we called her for directions.  Ha Ha!!!  10 km later we arrived!!   Not even one 'are we there yet?'

 Meet Leandra, Claudia, and Yves (eve).  Claudia's sister owns the Blue Heron, the garden cafe with the fountain.  She was raised here and her parents still live in the country, mainly doing volunteer work.  She went back 'home' to Switzerland for university where she met her husband.  They moved back here a few years ago to build a house and spend most of their time working at the Heron.   Leandra is less than a year younger than Kaia, and Yves is only a month younger than Theo.  They also have twin cousins in Kaia's class at school.  We've known them a long time now... since our babies were just big bellies.

 The camping site was really nice.  Green, spacious, shady, private.  They had a hammock, tons of plastic chairs, grass mats, playground, bar, bathroom, (cold) showers, wood, charcoal, water.  It was close and easy, something we could do comfortably on a weekend.  She was extremely accommodating... more than happy to help us set up tents anywhere... next to the playground, or even in bar garden :)  She also said there were some nice walks nearby, we didn't have time but if we like them then it is a perfect weekend getaway. 

The only problem was the seafoos (biting ants).  There was a huge nest near the hammock and they were all over the site.  They are carnivorous and devouring a bit of hot dog in the photo above.  Originally we built the fire on top of the nest hoping to drive them underground but it only drove them out!!!  I am terrified of them and it took a lot out of me to be comfortable tenting with them.  We put on shoes and pulled our socks up over our pants.  Surprisingly it was fine.  Still gives me the hebegeebies to think about it though.

 Playground was very Tanzanian... The splintery wood kept falling out the swings.  The seesaw was too high for the kids to play on alone and so heavy that it was incredibly dangerous for the kids to walk under.  One slide had a 'bump' on it, great idea but was so abrupt that it was just a painful speed bump.  No matter though, kids always manage to have fun.

 Fire was nice.  They built it on a piece of tin roof which was a great idea for easy clean up.

 Boys did an awesome job of helping to build it.

 The ground was harder than I remember it being.  Gospel music rang out from the nearby church well into the night.  It rained and our tent leaked a little bit.  Kids were all up by 630am.  But despite a questionable night sleep, and between a few minor breakdowns, the kids got on so well. 

 Two peas in a pod... we always have to remember to bring two balls when they hang out together or it is tears all day long.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh.  Can't wait to go again.