International Night: India

26 02 2009

We headed to India tonight for our International Night.  I made Baji Dhal, a.k.a. Spinach and Lentils, along with Chapati.

Spinach and Lentils:

In large saucepan, heat 3 Tbsp. oil over med-high heat.  Brown 1 large onion, chopped.

Add and brown lightly:  4 cloves garlic, minced, 2 Tbsp. ginger root.

Stir in:  2 tsp. cumin seed, 2 tsp. curry, 2 tsp. salt.

Stir in: 2 cups red lentils, rinsed

Add:  6 cups water, 2 large potatoes, peeled and sliced, 1 bunch spinach, chopped (may use frozen).

Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until lentils and potatoes are tender.  Place in serving dish and sprinkle cilantro on top.  Serve with hot rice, tomato and cucumber slices, and chapatis.


2 cups whole wheat flour, 1 tsp. margarine, melted, pinch of salt.  Gradually add 1/2 cup (or more) lukewarm water.

Knead until dough is soft.  Cover with damp cloth and let rest 1 hour.  Divide dough into 10 pieces.  On floured surface, roll each piece into 4-inch circle, 1/4 inch thick.  Heat heavy ungreased frypan.  Cook each Chapati until it starts to bubble on bottom, turn, fry other side, and remove.  Stack in tea towel to keep warm.


My Thoughts Exactly

22 02 2009

3 entries in one week just might be a record. . .but, once again, I had a thought that I wanted to share with my faithful readers and fellow moms.

Just yesterday, my friend Kari and I were discussing how our daughters have just turned 7 and now we have officially graduated from the section of the department stores marked size 4-6 into the much more mature 7-16.  Then we gabbed at length about our disgust at what the new section had to offer our daughters:  nothing but Hannah Montana, High School Musical and other CRAP that I have no tolerance for.

Then, last evening, just hours after my discussion with Kari, I attended my book club (sounds downright so-fist-ti-cated, don’t it??  Don’t be impressed, it was the first time I attended and it was a blast!) where I received a copy of our next book, entitled, “Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank and Other Words of Delicate Southern Wisdom.”  Sounds like a fun read doesn’t it?

Here’s what Celia Rivenbark has to say on this topic (I have slightly altered the language to fit my “I-love-Jesus-and-I’m-a-pastor’s-wife” lifestyle):

My princess had just graduated to a size 7 when everything went downhill.  We headed for our favorite department store, ready to take that leap into the new world of 7-16.  Bye-bye 4-6x, I thought to myself with a tug of sadness.  My baby was growing up.

And apparently into a prostitute.

“Where are the sevens?” I asked the sixty-something clerk.

“You’re standing in ’em,” she said.

Oh,no, I thought, looking around. Oh no, no, no, no, no, no.

“There must be some mistake,” I said.  “These are, well, slutty-looking.  I’m talking about clothes for a little girl in first grade.”

“That’s all we got.”

I went to my second-favorite department store and was invited to peruse the awfulness that is Tweenland!  A better name would be Lil Skanks!

Sequins, fringe, neon glitter tank tops with big red lips on them, fishnet sleeves, scary dragon faces lunging from off-the-shoulder T-shirts.  Whither the adorable seersucker?  The pastel floral short sets:  The soft cotton dresses in little-girl colors like lavender, pale pink, periwinkle blue?  This stuff practically screamed syringe sold separately.

I get it.  Now that my kid is practically of childbearing age (is six the new seventeen?) I must choose from ripped-on-purpose jeans and T-shirts that scream things like Baby Doll and Jail Bait, not to mention a rather angry Girls Rule and Boys Drool! where an embroidered flower with buzzing bee should be.

When did this happen?  Who decided that my six-year-old should dress like a Vegas showgirl?  I know that my daughter and I will fight about clothes in a few years, perhaps horribly, but, for now, there will be none of this Little Ladies of the Night look.

And there you have it.  I would say she nicely sums up my feelings on this issue.  I’m thankful that my girls run a little small for their age, which should buy me at least a few more months of pastels and seersucker.  I’ll enjoy it while I can. . .and I’d love to know how you moms of older girls are dealing with our society’s definition of modesty.  Any thoughts?

International Night

20 02 2009

Two posts in the same week?  I know, I know.  Never happens.  But, I wanted to tell you about a fun thing we’ve been doing with our family.  Every Wednesday night is International Night.  We pick a country to celebrate.  I cook a meal from that country, we look at maps and atlases and find pictures of children from that country.  Then, when we sit at the table and pray for that country.  We pray for revival in the churches,  that boys and girls would come to know Jesus, that missionaries would be raised up and effective in their work, and we pray for an opportunity to visit that country.  Often, we have missionary friends living in that country so we pray for their family too.

Last night we celebrated Poland.  I cooked Golabki (stuffed cabbage rolls) and boiled potatoes.  It was delicious and the girls loved learning about the children in Poland (is it cold? do they wear coats? what language do they speak? do they know about God? etc.)  We’ve also celebrated China and the Philippines recently.  India, Mexico, and Madagascar are coming up in the next few weeks, depending on what ingredients I can find.

I love Wednesday nights because it’s fun to try new foods, but also because I love watching our blond haired, blue eyed girls learning about children of other races and cultures.  Priceless.

The Twins Turn 7

17 02 2009

Every year I say I’m not going to let birthday week get out of hand again. And every year at some point, I say to myself, “How did I let this get out of hand again?”  Ah, well.  The truth is, I love birthdays!!  I lay awake at night dreaming up fun games, prizes, cake ideas, themes, gifts, etc.   All on a budget, of course. I think it’s mostly because Bryn and Lydia think their birthday is a national holiday and the whole world should stop for their sake.  I haven’t done much to convince them otherwise.

The big day started with breakfast in bed:  hard-boiled eggs, scones, a banana and a cup of juice.  They headed off to school in great anticipation and they were not disappointed:  they got to wear birthday crowns all day long, which got them lots of attention from the other students and staff.  In addition to their birthday, they were celebrating Valentine’s Day at school.

The school nurse called me at 10:30 that morning.  I panicked when I heard her voice.  She informed me that Lydia was in her office complaining of a belly ache but she didn’t have a fever and she wasn’t puking.  She told me she thinks Lydia’s stomach was all in knots due to being over excited about the day.  She asked if I was okay with just letting her rest for a few minutes in the office and then have her try to go back to class.  I said that was fine so that’s what we did and she perked back up and was fine the rest of the day.  That was close.  A sick kid would have been a real catastrophe!

At 5:30 that evening several of the girls’ friends came over and we were soon full swing into our “Fancy Nancy” party.  (If you have daughters and aren’t familiar with Fancy Nancy, I recommend you check her out. . .so cute!).  At 8:00 that night, Conrad’s parents arrived from PA along with 2 of our nieces, ages 5 and 3.  To say that it was chaos is an understatement.

In the end, the girls had a great time.  Bryn whispered in my ear, “Mommy, this is the best birthday I ever had!” which made it all very worthwhile.  So now we take a break from the birthday thing until May when Ellie turns 3.  By then I’ll be ready to start dreaming up another theme. . .until then, I’ll enjoy the leftover birthday cake and call it a day.

Breakfast in Bed:


This is how we felt when it was all said and done:


The tea cup birthday cake.  “Pinkies up Darling!”