My house is crazy quiet this week, down five kids and up one. That means the washing machine is getting a break, the oven is getting a break, and ultimately I am getting a break or at least a change of pace. I have an unwritten list of things I want to accomplish while my oldest kids are hanging out with their cousins and grandparents. This list is floating around in my head and each day that passes, I realize my time is ultimately limited. When my scheduled pizza group bailed on me this evening, I felt a freedom that I haven’t felt for a while. I dragged the two remaining kids out to the garden and began to turn the earth. I loaded up buckets of compost and carried them to the garden plot and turned the rich compost into the dark earth. Dust from the soil caked my feet and ankles. My hopes are not too high, not like in summers past, about the abundance my garden will produce. My true hope is for some amazing amounts of basil, some cilantro, and maybe a pepper plant or two. For whatever reason, I have not had a lot of luck with gardening thus far; however, there is something within me that compels me to try just one more time.
I saw a quote on a garden stone at a beautiful hotel, the Villa Bamboo, as I was walking through their gorgeous property. “He who cultivates a garden walks with God.” I wrote it down because I loved it and immediately wanted to get my hands in the earth, plant seeds, pull weeds and watch something grow and then flourish. Abundance is not a simple matter. It can be dirty, frustrating, time consuming, and demands time spent in the presence of God.
Three things I worked on today from that list floating around in my head:
1. Worked in my garden.
2. Ordered some school books for the lovely Lotz kids.
3. Wrote a new post here, the first time in a year!
So, I know before I posted that the pumpkins in Haiti are all green. That was not quite accurate. I have found another variety that is a yellow-orange color. It has a much richer, sweeter flavor than the mild green pumpkins. I am very excited to find some more of these pumpkins because I have found that they make some awesome recipes simply amazing! I really want to stock up on this puree and keep a year’s worth in my freezer until they come around again next year. I love these pumpkin recipes.
Some things I have made recently with this pumpkin:
pumpkin chocolate chip muffins
This recipe can be found over at Heavenly Homemakers along with a lot of other great recipes. My kids LOVE these muffins! Oh, and so do I. In the words of 3 year old Callie, “I love chocolate because it is so chocolatey.”
French Toast Pumpkin Pancakes
When Hannah Hamilton came over after church last Sunday, she suggested we eat breakfast for dinner. I thought that was a great idea! I had this pumpkin pancake recipe that I had been wanting to try out; however, she said she wanted some French Toast. I had no bread in the house to be used as French Toast, so we compromised! I made the pumpkin pancakes and then proceeded to batter and fry them up for…tada…French Toast Pumpkin Pancakes. Simply put, they were amazing! I topped mine with a small handful of walnuts to add a little extra protein (and flavor!). Perhaps a little too much work for a regular pancake breakfast; but, it will definitely be the way I serve leftover pancakes in the future!
Poor Sophie Cat
Last Sunday, (when we were all busy painting the living room) Christa snapped this picture of her poor kitty. She finally gave birth to five really sweet kittens later that evening. In fact, the first one popped out right under the kitchen table. We quickly moved her over to a safe corner so she could have the rest…well, right after she ate the placenta. Weird, but true.
Five Day Old, Muffin
The Whole Gang
"I Surrender!" (one week)
My Christa has always been my candy queen. When she was just a toddler, she could sniff out candy no matter where we were. While visiting other people’s homes, she would find their secret stash of candies and Christa would help herself. Somehow she always talked her daddy into buying candy out of the candy machines.
Wednesday was Christa’s tea party day. She was online looking at recipes and found the Groovy Jeans Cake by Betty Crocker. It is no surprise that this cake jumped out at her because it is decorated with candy! I hesitated granting permission for her to prepare this masterpiece, but decided since we have a nice variety of candy (thanks to a visiting group’s generosity) and it was something she chose and wanted to do, I agreed to help.
She baked the cake all by herself. I helped her flip, cut, and arrange the cake. We made the icing and she did the decorating.
Our chocolate cake had way too many crumbs for a smooth design, but we did our best. All of you cake decorators out there, don’t be too harsh. We tried our best! Christa said that the lady in the demonstration video was using a rubber cake anyway. I think she was right!
Today’s lunch was inspired by another blogger that I found a couple of days ago. The basil jumped out at me as I was scrolling through her pictures. I simply love basil right now in my life and have been using fresh basil from my garden all spring and summer. Perhaps it is because basil is the ONLY thing I could get to grow in my garden! Check out her post at Channeling Contessa.
Basically following her instruction, I placed half of my homemade sourdough English muffin on the pan and layered 2-3 slices of bacon with pepper jack cheese. I broiled on high for 5 or so minutes. I pulled it out just in time; the bacon almost wanted to overcook. While the bacon and cheese were melting in the broiler, I put a bit of Kraft Creamy Poppyseed dressing on the other half of the English muffin. This second half Christa toasted for me. Then covered it with fresh basil leaves with a tomato slice.
When the cheese and bacon half came out of the oven, I placed the two halves together and served.
Everyone was all smiles and wanted to know if there was another one. Not this time, but next time I might have to make more!
Things I loved about today:
Key Lime Pie for breakfast
Church (only 2o minutes late!)
Great worship with a lot of songs that brought back a lot of great Wesley memories
Holding precious Aimee while she slept soundly throughout church
Eric replacing faucet in the guest bathroom
Shooting hoops with my big girls
All of Callie’s hugs
Jett’s missing tooth
More key lime pie
A surprise thunderstorm
My time to plan for this next week of school
Just one year ago, we paid our rent and started moving into our house. I know it was exactly one year ago today, because our rent was due today. In Haiti you pay rent by the year, up front, no refunds. Just after we moved in last year, a strong storm blew into Port-au-Prince and the whole area was within moments pounded by heavy rain and extremely strong winds. We remember this day so well and the kids still refer to it as the Friday storm because a window blew into the house from a three story tower/stairwell. Glass shattered everywhere and water rained through the gaping hole in the wall. The event shook everyone up and caused a lot of anxiety from the earthquake to resurface.
Our landlord never sent anyone to fix the window until today (because the rent was due and Eric said he wasn’t paying until the window was fixed!). These guys show up today to fix the window. They didn’t have their own ladder and had to use Eric’s, which was a little short to complete the job. Eric suggested they bring the ladder upstairs to our hall which is open to the stairwell and put the ladder from the hallway up to the third story window that the men were changing. Eric was not yet here while they were doing this and I was somewhat freaking out because of the danger involved in the prospect of doing this. I very politely asked them not to climb up there until Eric was here. Sweet baby Aimee distracted me for just a few minutes and the next thing I know, the guy is all the way up to the top. Wow, talk about a knotted stomach…And such is life in Haiti.
The ladder stretched across the foyer down below. Craziness.
It wasn't so scary after he got up there, and I was glad when Eric finally showed up!
As it turns out, they fixed the window and no one fell. Up tomorrow…a basketball goal in the driveway. We will see how that goes down.
Well, the whole blogging thing came and went for Eric and me…seems like it is time to bring it back around again. We will see how it goes. I would love to share about life in Haiti, the work that Eric is privileged to participate in through Operation Blessing, and our Lotz home school. I am anxious to get started in order to keep up with old friends and hopefully, meet a few new ones along the way. Mostly, I think the Grandmas will be happier than anyone!