Haitian Marinad

I have written about Miss Jasmine before.  She is our school morning nanny for Aimee and Callie and also teaches Christa and Hannah French four days a week.  Sometimes Miss Jasmine likes to spice it up in French class (especially when the students are feeling a little overwhelmed and frustrated about French!).

One of their favorite activities is to make “marinad” which is fried dough.  I love it that Jasmine teaches the kids French but I really love it that they get to learn Haitian culture and how to make Haitian food.  Marinad is a snack food that is typically sold on the street to passersby who need a little bite to eat.  When Eric and I lived in Port-de-Paix, he always bought marinad outside of the gate of the school to help him make it to lunch time.

First you mince some garlic together with some salt and pepper.  Dissolve Maggi (or chicken bouilion) in some water.  Mix in all of the spices and water with a couple of cups of flour and a teaspoon of baking powder. I understand that my measurements are quite vague, but I wasn’t with them while they were preparing the dough!  Add enough flour/water until a soft dough forms.  Heat up some oil in a skillet and drop spoonfuls into the grease.  Fry, turning after a few minutes.

Golden Fried Marinad

Callie likes to call them “sea turtles” because that is what they look like to my little three-year-old.  They are best served hot with some Haitian piklis.

I have to say that I think these taste a lot like Long John Silver’s batter..Maybe we have just discovered their recipe.

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Painting and Funnel Cakes

Hannah Grace was the one who chose to make funnel cakes last Wednesday.  I love funnel cakes!  They take me back to the days of Silver Dollar City when I was a kid.  I am pretty certain we smelled a lot more funnel cakes than we actually ate, but I remember our whole family digging in together for a sweet, tasty treat.  That smell in my nose and that taste on my tongue takes me right back to those carefree days of riding rides, watching the glass blowers in awe, and smelling the sawdust of the woodworkers.  (and waiting for my mom to hurry up and stop looking at all the things we weren’t allowed to touch!) When Hannah said she wanted to make funnel cakes for our Wednesday Tea Party, she didn’t have to ask twice.  We found a funnel cake recipe that was simple and delicious. We poured the batter into an empty honey bear and then squeezed it into the hot oil.  It worked perfectly. Topped with a little bit of powdered sugar, they tasted every bit as good as Silver Dollar City’s (and a lot cheaper!).

Hannah's Funnel Cake!

On Wednesdays, I try to work some art into our day. My mom sent down a bunch of paint-by-numbers for my kids to do.  What can I say?  We are all beginners!  Last Wednesday, the kiddos painted while I read out loud to them.  The girls lasted for two hours!  They boys grew tired after the first hour, but made some really good progress on their paintings.

Hannah and Christa working dilligently.

Jetty's Clown Fish

Wilson's Panda

Since last Wednesday, Christa finished her painting.  I think she did an excellent job!

Good Job, Lotzie!

Meet Miss Jasmine

Miss Jasmine is part of my sanity for this school year.  She comes every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday to help watch over Aimee, Callie, Wilson, and Jett during my morning school schedule with Christa and Hannah.  Jasmine is also our French teacher. After my time with the girls is finished, she takes Christa and Hannah and instructs them in French for about an hour on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. I get the boys during French until our lunch time.  Fridays they usually watch a movie in French during French class.

Jasmine is a younger sister of one of my former Sonlight Academy students.  She speaks English, (which is a huge bonus for me) and she is great with the kids. I really want for the kids to pick up more Creole as well.  Language is so tricky.  Callie understands a lot of the Creole spoken to her, but she refuses to say very many words in Creole.  Hopefully, they are getting it!

Christa glaring at me during French class.

 

Miss Jasmine and Aimee

 

She even helps me with Aimee’s hair.  It is so hard to braid!

Joumou

It is pumpkin time everywhere, including here in Haiti.  I love the deep green of the Haitian pumpkins and wonder why in the States, we find so many orange pumpkins except at the specialty pumpkin patch.  In all my years in the States, I have only used pumpkins in decorating, carving, and pumpkin pies made from canned pumpkin.  I think I have been missing out!

We started our pumpkin day with Pumpkin math.  We gutted the pumpkin and while the kids removed the seeds from the rest of the innards, I put the pumpkin flesh into the stock pot with just a little water and cooked it while we were working at the table.  After we removed the seeds and washed them up a bit, we divided them between all of the kids.  Christa had 200 seeds and she worked at dividing them into groups of 9, then 8, and so forth.  We worked those division problems on paper and then acted them out with the seeds.  Hannah reviewed regrouping 10’s, and Wilson and Jett practiced counting by 10’s, 5’s, and 2’s.  Callie worked on counting by 1’s.  I don’t think anyone learned anything new, but it was fun to get our hands dirty.

Jett, always ON the table!

Hannah and Callie

After we finished counting the pumpkin seeds, I removed the yummy orange flesh from the peel and pureed it.  Aimee has a nice stash of homemade pumpkin baby food.

Sweet Pumpkin Face

I coated the pumpkin seeds with coconut oil and salt and roasted them at 225 degrees for about an hour.  Wow!  They were so yummy!

Later that night, I made Diri Ak Joumou, or Rice with Pumpkin for dinner.  It was good, although all of the kids weren’t completely impressed.  Eric wants some meat loaf.  I think it will make a great side for some meat loaf.

Our pumpkin day wasn’t exactly like we would do it in the States.  We didn’t get to go to a pumpkin patch and ride on a hayride.  We didn’t get our picture taken on a hay bale next to a scarecrow; but, we had a fun day together!

A was an Apple Pie

 

After some reflection, I have realized this is my third fall that I have missed from Southwest Missouri.  Our family moved to Haiti in the November of 2008.  As I see all of the current posts about fall from other blogs and facebook, I am feeling homesick for that fresh, crisp fall air.  I long to put on a pair of jeans, a long sleeved tee-shirt and a pair of tennis shoes and hike a long trail in the Ozark mountains.  I want to go apple picking, take a trip to the pumpkin patch, and sit around a campfire roasting marshmallows with my Little Lotz Kids.  All of these fall activities seem so far away right now.  With afternoon temps still quite high and a daily rain shower or two, it seems my tropical summer will never end.  I love a few surprises along the way that bring me back “home”.

One such surprise was when the last of US military pulled out back in July, they left a bunch of goods to Operation Blessing to use and disperse as they saw fit.  We scored a big box of each: apples, pears, and oranges.  We ate all we could and after a week or so, I decided to put away the rest of the apples.  I made some apple butter, and saved two bags of apples in the freezer for some yummy apple pie for a day when we all needed a taste of home.

That first week of school, when Jett was just beginning Kindergarten, we learned a poem.  Wilson had already learned it previously, so it is now solidified in everyone’s memory.  I cannot wait to do this activity again in a couple years with Callie and Aimee.  It is a great excuse to have an apple pie tea party.

 

A was an apple pie;

B bit it;

C cut it;

D devoured it;

E got to eat it;

F fought for it;

G got it;

H had it;

I ignored it;

J jumped for it;

K kept it;

L lunched on it;

M munched on it;

N nodded at it;

O opened it;

P peeped at it;

Q quartered it;

R ran for it;

S sang for it;

T took it;

U,V,W,X,Y,Z all had a large slice of it and went off to bed.

Kate Greenway

Jett and Callie putting together the apple pie.

Jett helped me make the apple pie from the apples we had tucked away in the freezer.  We recited the poem.  It was a great way to get that back to school, taste of home we were all looking for.  And now, when I really want to do something fallish, I can spread some of that apple butter on my sourdough bread and call it good.

Alphabet poem was found in the Language and Thinking for Young Children by Ruth Beechick and Jeannie Nelson, as part of the Sonlight K curriculum and was copied without permission.  😉

Pale Tortillas

When we moved our family to Haiti in the fall of 2008, perhaps there was a bit of guilt that played into my parenting.  Every time we traveled down from Ft. Jacques into Port-au-Prince, we bought the kids sodas and papita (fried plantain chips) on the side of the road. When we went to the grocery store, we bought them snacks that would remind them of the States.  These treats soon turned into expectations from the kids and unhealthy habits were formed.

Last December, I was desperate to move from “survive” to “thrive” with my kids and our home school.  Occasionally, I would get a glimpse of what our home school could be; what it needed to be.  Somedays everything went so well.  The kids were happy to do what ever I told them they needed to accomplish.  They worked their hardest and did their best.  There were no emotional outbursts and running to the other room.  It was enough of a glimpse that I started investigating ways to ensure that there were more days like these.

One area of our lives I focused on was the nutritional habits of our family.  I thought maybe eliminating sugar might be part of the solution for our home school woes.  As I investigated what “eliminating sugar” actually meant, I read about the differences between white flour and whole wheat flour.  I bought a five pound bag of whole wheat flour just to experiment some with it to see if I could do anything fun with it.  Turns out I found some really great recipes on the internet and in just a matter of time switched out all of my recipes for whole wheat flour.  My kids didn’t fuss a bunch about the switch.  It has taken some trial and error in finding the right amounts and consistency.  I found a lot of useful information from heavenlyhomemakers.com that I use on a consistent basis.

After nine months of mostly using whole wheat flour (and LOVING it), I cannot find any more in Port-au-Prince.  I am not the “sugar nazi”  and we have in no way eliminated sugar; but I am confident we are much healthier now than we were a year ago.  I don’t want to switch back to white flour, but it seems at the moment I have no choice.  I have pale tortillas, pale pizza crust, pale muffins.  When I put any baked items on the table, my kids all think they look funny.  My measurements are all off, I cannot get the consistency right anymore.

The question now stands, will the grocery stores ever restock with whole wheat or should I look for other options?  I can buy wheat here in Haiti, but I need a grain mill to grind it.  Do I want to be a hard core whole wheat grain grinder?

tomato and basil pizza, with a pale crust

I miss my whole wheat flour…must find a grinder.

Whale Watching

Sweet Hannah wrote a summary of all she learned about whales.  I wish I could take my kids on a whale watching expedition.  It would be so fun after learning all about whales.  Maybe someday.  The Pacific coast is calling my name…

Whales

I learned all about whales. I learned about the two different kinds of whales: baleen and toothed. A baleen has baleen instead of teeth. Baleen are smooth on the outside and bristly on the inside. Baleen are bigger than toothed. Toothed have teeth. Whales can perform too. They do four things: breaching, lobtailing, spyhopping, and logging. Breaching is jumping up in the air and splashing into the water. Lobtailing is sticking their tail out of the water and smacking the water. Spyhopping is sticking it’s head out of the water and spinning. Logging is floating with very little movement and looking like a log. Whales also migrate.  They will usually go to Antarctica and eat four tons of krill a day.Then they will go to their breeding grounds where they will have their calves.There they will not eat until they go to Antarctica again.They live off their blubber.

By: Hannah

 

Whale behaviors, by Hannah

 

 

Apple Down Cake

A week or so ago, Eric came home with three amazing pineapples.  As soon as Jett saw them, he said, “YUM! Now you can make an Apple Down Cake!”  That might be the only way I ever refer to a Pineapple Upside Down Cake for the rest of my life.  Those pineapples were all eaten fresh, so the thought of apple down cake has been on his mind for a while now.

Fresh Haitian Pineapples!

 

Today was Jetty’s tea party day.  He knew for a few days that it was coming up because I asked him what he wanted to help make and serve to his siblings.  Of course, he wanted to make apple down cake (although he has corrected himself) for the tea party.  Eric found some more pineapples on Tuesday evening because that is just the kind of great dad he is!  So this afternoon, we ate apple down cake and drank a little soda pop.

Jett concentrating hard on the pineapple placement.

 

Jetty's Apple Down Cake

We sent Eric and Callie off to Joplin, MO early this morning.  Eric has a minor surgery on Friday morning for a neglected medical issue. We decided to send Callie at the last minute for some time with her Grandmas and Grandpas.  We are missing them like crazy, but the house is such less chaos without a three-year-old!  I plan to get all my laundry finished tomorrow afternoon.  Hopefully I can spend some quality time in my kitchen to get ahead for when they return.  Chances are that isn’t going to happen because Wilson is always hungry!

Oh, I shouldn’t forget to share this picture of an awesome rainbow we saw this afternoon.  Careful not to point at it, it will bring bad luck…a Haitian superstition.

Taken from the roof of our house.

 

Just after I took this picture, my exact words were, “No sword fighting on the roof with no railing!”  I love these crazy Lotz kids!

A Little Quiet Time

Sometimes I need just a little peace and quiet.  In a family with six kids, ages 6 months to 11 years, I must demand it or I will never get it!  Every school day at 2:00 PM, all the kids head to their rooms.  Ideally, they are supposed to read silently or play quietly on their beds.  Reality is that sometimes they get a little rambunctious with building blocks and Thomas the Train.  The girls love to spend their quiet time belting out tunes with Hannah’s Karaoke machine.  Poor Callie gets shuffled between the boys and the big girls.  Seems being three-years-old is rather rough.  She is at that age where she needs a nap, but doesn’t want to give up the fight.  Some days she wins, some days I win.

As I have mentioned, home school did not start out so great for us.  Not quite a year ago, I started reading a lot from other home schoolers about their schedules, curriculum, and expectations.  I came across several families who insist on quiet time for their kids (no matter the age) and I thought it should be added to our day.  My oldest girls are readers and Christa was insisting that she needed an hour everyday to just read.  Quiet time was just what we needed.  It gives the kids a break from listening to their mom’s instruction.  They need a break just as much as I need a break from trying to teach, train, and guide them.  They now refer to it as “QT”.

At two o’clock, everyone heads to their room and shuts the door.  They are not supposed to come out until I excuse them.  Although they didn’t like it at first, there are no arguments now.  Everyone is content to play in their rooms.  Even Aimee lays down in her pack-n-play to take a nap as well.  I reheat a cup of coffee and  I escape to my room usually to fold laundry.  If there is a lot to fold (and there usually is), I turn on a Mark Driscoll sermon from Mars Hill Church out of Seattle, WA.  Sometimes I spend QT in the kitchen getting ready for dinner.  Sometimes I talk on the phone with my best friend Krystal.  Sometimes I accidentally fall asleep.  After an hour of QT, I am ready to take on the kids again!

I am so thankful that other moms shared this tip with me.  I love this time and I am thankful that it helps me be a better mom!

I sure wish I had started this earlier…

 

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Family Legacy

Wednesday has been a non-traditional school day for us this year.  Traditional subjects such as world history, science, English, and math are ditched and replaced with music, art, tea parties, and family history.  It is definitely my favorite school day of the week.

I am very blessed to be a part of the Bandy family legacy.  My grandmother, on my mom’s side was a Bandy.  She was one of 13 children born to John Wesley Bandy and Nora Victoria Bates.  They bought a farm in Flat Rock, near Summersville, MO when my grandma was just a little girl and at that time only one of four kids.  Before my great-grandpa passed away, he left a memoir for his family of his life and adventures. I read this aloud to Christa and Hannah a couple of weeks ago.  We were all amazed by his stories about his hunting, saw mills, and his faith in God.

Many of the 13 children have now passed away as well, including my grandma back when I was 18.  This group of 13 brothers and sisters are unlike any that I have ever seen.  They loved (and still do) getting together with each other, taking care of each other, and serving each other.  This group of godly men and women have served as examples to my mom and all of her many cousins.  They have served as examples to all of us in the third generation, and now my kids also have the privilege of knowing and loving those who are still with us.

This week we read my great Aunt Alene Bandy Fleener’s account of her parents and growing up in Flat Rock/Summersville.  She wrote about her mother,  “Our mom was so much fun, even though she was so burdened down with so many babies, and so much work to do.”  Aunt Alene mentions that their mom would sometimes dress up and try to scare them outside their window at night.  Maybe that is where my Aunt Mabel picked up her practical jokes.  Aunt Alene also mentioned how sweet and kind her mom always was.  My great grandma Nora Victoria passed away far too young, before she was able to see all of her own children grown.  Her death left far too deep of a hole in the hearts of her children.

Sometimes I feel a little (or A LOT) over whelmed by all there is to do in the raising of only 6 kids. I must do more than just hope that I will be remembered as “fun” by my children.  We are working on making memories and traditions within our own family.  Yesterday, we played a little game that Aunt Alene said that her mom used to play with them.  She called it “Twitt, Twitt, Twee, What Do You See?”.  She would choose a letter and the kids would have to guess which item in the room of which she was thinking.  This is a great game, especially for Jett and Callie as they learn their letters and letter sounds.  It is even more fun because it comes from my great grandma.

Of course, my kids love to have tea parties.  They get this from their Grandma Susan, who has been giving tea parties for her grandchildren for several years now.  The last time I was in Summersville, my great Aunt Mary Lou and Uncle Joe had a tea party for my mom and dad, me, and all of my kids.  They treated us like royalty and served with gracious hearts.  It was a delightful time together.

Wednesdays are our tea party day around here.  Yesterday was Christa’s day to prepare.  She made some yummy peanut butter balls.

Chocolate covered peanut butter balls were a definite hit.

I am striving to leave a godly, fun family legacy for my kids.  What other suggestions do you have to help develop a strong family legacy?  I would love to hear what you do with your families!