Saturday, October 29, 2011


monday was the day before noah's birthday. it was the morning. i had just finished reading a story to the boys which involved some friends making cinnamon rolls.
noah asked me if we could make cinnamon rolls.
i said yes.
and then we ate them for lunch.

tuesday was noah's birthday. i said yes to a lot of things. including hugs, smiles, kisses, sugar, bike riding, skyping, and lots of laughing.

wednesday i said yes to creativity and googly eyes and 2 hours of playing with homemade play doh.

thursday i said yes to getting a cracked tooth fixed and a cavity filled here in uganda. it's gorgeous. and it was 1/3 of the price of what i would have paid in canada.

friday i said yes to cuddling on the couch and watching a movie while the rain poured down.

today i said yes to socks in mud puddles and warm bubble baths.

who knows what i'll say yes to tomorrow!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Apple-Carrot Muffins

i have had this recipe saved on my computer for ages but have never made it.
well, because it calls for milk powder and i never had milk powder in my pantry in canada. 
but here in uganda? we always have it. sometimes we have the real stuff, but it's not like canadian milk and it goes bad a lot faster. so i almost always have a tin of powdered milk on hand.
i made these yesterday and i will definitely double the recipe next time. these went like hotcakes! muffins. they are delish.
bon appetit!

you need
1 cup of whole wheat or all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp dry milk
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ginger
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large apple, peeled and grated
1/2 cup finely grated carrot

preheat your oven to 350F degrees. combine flour, sugar, dry milk, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and ginger in a mixing bowl. in a separate bowl combine the oil, honey, maple syrup, eggs and vanilla. beat lightly with a whisk until blended. add the grated apple and carrot to the liquid mixture and stir well. fold in the dry ingredients until just combined but don't over mix or the muffins will become heavy.
line a muffin tin with paper liners {or grease them up with butter like i did} and fill muffin cups until 2/3 full. bake for 20-25 minutes. 

these are delicious. make them today and surprise someone with them.

these were enjoyed with the best cup of instant coffee i have ever tasted. so.stinkin.good.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


today was a good day.
i slept 'til 8am when the boys ended waking up {glory! a sleep-in!}.
i made "sprinkle pancakes" for noah's special birthday breakfast.

he still says his favourite colour is pink. so pink it is.

then he opened his presents {a brand new bike from family back in canada, a mickey mouse pop-up book and the new Cars 2 video - bootlegged of course.}.

such a big boy on his 2 (four) wheeler bike!

and we watched videos from friends and family wishing noah a happy birthday and other funny shenanigans.
i took the boys to the mall to pick up a few items we needed for his birthday dinner and he picked "bubblegum marshmallow" ice cream. of course he did!
and then we took it easy in the afternoon and i relaxed on my "no tv during the weekdays" stance and let the boys watch Cars as a set-up to Cars 2 which we had planned on watching during dinner.
it rained.
we talked to "gramma" on skype and then i made pizza for dinner and we ate it while watching Cars 2. then we had cupcakes and make-your-own ice cream sundaes with homemade hot fudge sauce, candy, sprinkles, bananas and marshmallows as toppings.

it was a good day.
so thankful for noah. he made me a mama 4 years ago.
he is bright and smiley and cuddly and long and gangly now.
he is questions and giggles and knock knock jokes.
he is sweet toothed and chocolate milk, please and glasses of water in the middle of the night.
he is racing cars and building tall towers and taping pieces of paper together to make ramps.
he is noah. my son. my first born. a small piece of my heart that walks around outside of my body.
i love you, noah. 


today i am a mama to a FOUR year old. 
no time to write a sentimental post, we're busy partying!

noah on his brand new bike!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

big Sunday brunch

it's sunday again.
sundays aren't really my favourite day of the week here. going to church isn't really that fun or enjoyable and often i come home quite tired from trying to corral my kids and not make too much of a scene. it's enough that we're mzungus {white people} without being rowdy mzungus. 
but that's not what this post is about.
big Sunday brunch is partly for me. to eat delicious and filling food before heading out to church that happens to fall right over the lunch hour.
this week i had some leftover pumpkin puree from thanksgiving so i made up my own pumpkin spice pancakes and served them up with an overnight egg bake. add some tea and juice and you've got yourself a big Sunday brunch.

here's the overnight egg bake {which was delicious, by the way!}:

8 eggs
1 cup of milk
8 slices of slightly stale bread {more or less...whatever looks good to you. this recipe is totally changeable depending on what you have in your fridge/cupboard/pantry}
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
whatever else you want to throw in! {i used 1/2 a green pepper, 1/2 a red onion - finely diced, some pork sausage. next time i'll add in some tomatoes and maybe some mushrooms too!}

assemble ingredients and put in a large, greased casserole dish. cover and put in the fridge the night before.
in the morning, sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top and bake at 350F for about 45 minutes or until it's not so jiggly and looks done to you.

and the pumpkin spice pancakes while they were in the pan {also a hit!}:

2 cups flour
2 T sugar
4 t baking powder
1 t salt, optional
combine separately and add:
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup oil or melted shortening
2 T brown sugar
1/2 t each cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
stir quickly until blended and then drop onto an {ideally} hot, greased griddle {or you can just use a large pan like i do.} in any size you prefer {i use a 1/4 cup measuring cup}.
keep warm in a warm oven on a baking sheet if you want to serve all at once. serve with  maple syrup or anything else you think would go nicely with pumpkin spice pancakes!

one thing i do love about sundays here is after church, once we get home, we hear hymns being sung in luganda for the whole afternoon coming from a nearby church. it's beautiful with all the different harmonies and i often hum along with them.
there are always things to be thankful for. sometimes you just have to listen for them.

linking up with Miss Elaineous Mondays

Saturday, October 22, 2011


so...we bought a car.
i know! crazy.
but true.
and actually, i'm really glad we did!
this past thursday i ventured out with the boys for the first time.
we lived to tell the tale.
{so maybe i crunched into a parked truck on the side of the road and maybe it scratched the car pretty bad and maybe now the passenger doesn't exactly open, but...we're alive and that's the most important part, right? also, i'm still not entirely used to leaving enough space on my left.}
mostly i'm just glad i actually did it and have driven a few times now. it's a tad stressful, but i'm figuring it out and getting used to driving on the left side of the road in a country where road rules don't really exist.
it sure is cheaper to drive to kelly's house {on the other side of the city} than hiring a taxi to take us there.
it is also going to free us up on weekends to venture out of the city and see some of the sights on our own.
i'm so thankful for yet another blessing God has given us here.

last night on the way home noah said {again}:
this is really feeling like home now!
and i agree. i really can't think of anywhere else i'd rather be.

Friday, October 21, 2011

a perfect 30

i almost feel as though i can't even write words to do this day justice.
it was perfect.
jamie and the boys brought me breakfast in bed {okay, so i was pulling on my jeans as they walked into the room, but it's the thought that counts, right?} and then gave me a couple cards {thanks amanda for the sweet card and hilarious lollipops!}.
i came out to the living room to discover that they had put up "30" garlands everywhere {again, thanks amanda! you are one thoughtful, wonderful girl!} and the new coldplay album playing {shhh! it's an illegal copy, but jamie's buying me the real one in 3 days when it officially comes out!}. go and buy mylo xyloto when it comes out. just do it. it's freakin' awesome. i've been listening to it non stop all day long.
then i hopped in the car {yes. i am driving in kampala. this is a blog post for another day.}, cranked up the coldplay, and drove to meet my sweet friend, kelly at a wonderful french bakery called le patisserie. we had lattes and apple turnovers that had the most delicious apples inside the butteriest, flakiest pastry ever. perfection.

outside le patisserie

then we drove to friday market where we walked and talked up aisles and aisles of gorgeous african art, jewelry, musical instruments and general creativeness. 
i bought some pretties for me, an apron, a light shade to cover up the hideous florescent light fixture in our dining room and a cool wooden block thing that you can change to show the month and day for "educational" purposes for the boys. 

after a very productive shop at friday market {i'll be back.} i drove home and hung out with the boys for the afternoon and even got to have a wee nap.
also, did i mention that all this week jamie has gotten up with the boys in the morning so i can lounge in bed a little longer? i married up. just sayin'.

then jamie and the boys and i got back in the car and drove to the mall and did a bit of looking around. i got the boys some juice boxes and we waited for jamie to finish paying for the other things.

then we went over to cafe java's and i ate the most delicious curry EVER. it was their coconut fish curry and OH.MY.GOSH. it melted in my mouth. buttery, coconutty, deliciousness. 

then we ordered dessert {why yes i did pack up 1/2 my dinner so that i could still have room for their brownie sundae! how did you know?} and nick and trevor surprised me with this fantastic batik for our dining room! great job, guys!

and then, our dessert came out and all the waiters sang to me. ha! love it. sneaky, sneaky, guys. 
and then we stuffed ourselves with delicious ice cream and chocolate brownies.

{note jude's finger reaching out to nab some of my ice cream!}

easy there, big fella.

i was so blessed today. by friends a far sending me sweet messages on twitter and email and by friends here treating me to breakfast {thanks kelly!} and giving me very thoughtful gifts.

teapot from kelly, sugar bowl from our housegirl elizabeth and delicious camembert cheese from a fellow missionary, lynn {who remembered our conversation about our mutual affection for cheese.}

i wouldn't change a thing about today and my heart is full. 

*also now? i'm going to watch The Fellowship Of The Ring - per my request. happy birthday to me!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

land of eternal summer

today we went swimming. outside. in the middle of october.
so surreal.
and yet, i love it.
it even rained while we were swimming but then the sun came out and it was a sweet, warm rain.
the boys loved it and i think we'll likely do it again sometime soon.

later today while i was pushing noah on the swings, we talked.
he - without any prompting by me - started listing off all the things he loves, make him happy or is thankful for. it was so wonderful to hear my boy choosing to give thanks and recognizing that he has much to be thankful for. i am thankful to have such an amazing little boy with such a huge heart.

one of jude's latest saying is "i'm safe. we're safe." and when i asked where he got it from, jamie told me it was him.
sometimes when our power goes out in the evening i light a candle in the hallway near the boys' room in lieu of a nightlight, but every time i've done it, jude cries and cries and jamie told me he blows it out and tells jude that he's safe and he doesn't need to be afraid. so i guess i'm not lighting a candle near their room anymore.

why being a mom rocks.

last week i made a little mail box for the boys and it's been a huge hit. every morning noah races out to the living room and checks in the box to see if there's any mail for him.
i don't remember to do it every day but when i do, oh he is just beyond thrilled.
sometimes it's just a note saying something i really like about him.
sometimes it's a small candy and the other day i wrapped up 2 small books - one for each of the boys that i had picked up at a book store in town.
the other day i left them little note cards and i didn't know what jude really thought of it all or if he even got it. but yesterday i heard him say "love, Mama" to himself. i looked over at him and he was holding his note card {upside down} and he said it again, "love, Mama". then he saw me looking at him and he walked over to me and held out the card for me to read to him.
oh my heart. words can't describe.

Friday, October 14, 2011


a few days ago i decided enough was enough.
for whatever reason, i feel a lot of guilt when my kids watch too much tv. i think mostly it's because i know i put it on for them a lot of the time because i'm lazy or selfishly want to do my own thing instead of interacting with them.
so i put a kibosh on tv during the weekdays. except for a movie night a week there is no tv allowed. on the weekends they'll be allowed to watch saturday morning cartoons and that's probably going to be it.
i expected so much resistance from them, but for the most part...nothing.
they've asked a few times and when i've said no, we've thought of another alternative and they've been happy enough with that.
because today was rainy for most of the day, they did get to watch a veggietales movie while i biked on the stationary bike. but because of this, i've been engaging so much more with them and we've been so much more creative and things like this have happened:

lots and lots of reading. we've always been big readers, but lots of reading happens around here.

we play with cars. a lot.

we do a lot of crafts. this is the boys "car garage" that they built this morning and played with for so long this afternoon.

our very own cooking show, here in uganda! {here you can see jude stirring the popcorn and noah is cutting his stove with a plastic knife while thomas the tank engine is being fried up in a wok.}

music + crafts = dance party.

i read a quote a couple days ago that said, "the grass is always greener where you water it." and so that's exactly what i'm doing. here and now. i'm watering this grass that i've been given. and it's so good.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

my love for coldplay

it all started in a rusty red car driving along a scenic route on the north island in new zealand in 2000.
a song came on.
it was catchy.
i'd never heard it before.
and i really liked it.
the announcer {in her adorable kiwi accent} said it was a song called yellow by the british band, coldplay.
i was hooked.
and today they are by far, my favourite band of all time.
i have loved every single album for different reasons.
i love how each album reminds me instantly of a specific time in my life.
parachutes reminds me of my time in new zealand and directly after when i returned back to canada. yellow and sparks {this should have been the song jamie and i danced to at our wedding} remain two of my most-loved songs.
a rush of blood to the head reminds me of the winter in toronto; crunching down snow-covered sidewalks at night while listening to politik or the scientist.
x&y will always remind me of the months jamie and i spent living with my mother and sister in law and while fix you is such a great song, some of my favourites from that album include 'til kingdom come and swallowed in the sea.
and then there's viva la vida or death and all his friends. jamie and i purchased this one while in england on our way to ireland. and then? we listened to it for 5 days straight while driving through the irish countryside. sometimes i can still smell that gorgeous irish air when life in technicolor starts playing.
and now a fifth album {mylo xyloto} is being released just 3 days after my 30th birthday {that would be october 24th}. and i'm pretty pumped. {because someone is buying it for me, right?}
also? i have never seen coldplay live.
this is a travesty.
it's also on my bucket list {okay, so i don't really have a bucket list, but if i did have one, this would be ... definitely in the top 5}.
did you know they played downtown toronto {for free} a couple weeks ago?
they did.
and where am i?
not in toronto.
but that's okay.
this post doesn't really have a point, other than i felt like i should catalogue my love for coldplay over the years.
that is all.
happy random thursday!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


there is so much to be thankful for;

no headache when i woke up this morning.
a new swing set for the boys!

{do you like our tire swings? i think they're cool.}

turkey dinner - the turkey was a fail {um, i had to pluck some lingering feathers. it was not a pleasant experience.}, but still...turkey! in africa! amazing.

and the pumpkin pie. how is it that the smell of something brings back memories of so many things? when i smelled this pie come out of the oven last night, i thought of autumn, thanksgiving in canada, Summit {a student retreat that we go on every year}, fall leaves and so much more. and the worth the baking, mashing, blending, straining that i did. it.was.amazing. {if i do say so myself.} my first ever pumpkin pie! from scratch. like, for real scratchy, scratch scratch.
bet you've never seen a rectangle slice of pie before! {i had no pie plate so i improvised.}

anyway, jude thought it was good enough to practically inhale. and quite frankly, i agree.

and just over a year ago i wrote this. and now we're here. amazing.

Monday, October 10, 2011

turkey in uganda

so this is a story about my quest to serve a turkey dinner for the real Canadian thanksgiving {that would be today, folks}.
i figured my best bet was to go to a local and ask if they have turkey here.
elizabeth. my trusted, amazing, sweet, hard working house help was the first person i thought of.
she smiles and says that yes, they do have turkey here in uganda and she will go to the market and find out for me how much.
then she pauses
do you want them to kill it or will you do that here?
she smirks because i believe she already knows the answer to the question she asks.
we laugh as i say that yes please, we'd like it to arrive dead. and preferably plucked.
she laughs again.
later in the week she texts me and asks if i want a male turkey or a female turkey.
seriously have you ever thought about if the turkey you eat at thanksgiving and/or christmas is male or female?
me neither.
so i google it. {of course.}
and we decide male is the way to go.
and i find a pumpkin!

and last night i baked it. {it's just as orange on the inside as ours are on the outside.}
and then this morning i woke up with a migraine.
and elizabeth is MIA until 11am.
with a female turkey.
cut up into pieces. in a black plastic bag.
i smile.'s funny. our different cultures. me trying to do this "canadian" thing in the middle of uganda.
and a turkey cut up into pieces seems funny at the moment.
i tell her that usually we cook it whole.
we smile at each other, probably thinking how funny the others' culture is.
and then i go back to bed.
and i'll cook my thanksgiving dinner tomorrow instead of today.
i'm feeling better now and will probably bake my first ever pumpkin pie for my sweet husband. this is probably his favourite part of thanksgiving dinner.
i'm learning {ever so slowly}. to be thankful. every day.
and this afternoon as my headache slowly subsided i looked outside and saw my home. my green grass and exotic trees. the stone wall behind us and the red dirt on the roads. and i smiled. because being thankful in all things {as hard and ugly as they sometimes are} is teaching me contentment and joy.

linking up with miss elaineous mondays

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


today we made fall leaves and put them up on our front door.
it makes me smile.
i miss fall.

Monday, October 3, 2011

date night and big Sunday brunch

so we had our first date night since moving to kampala.
we went out for dinner and a movie.
and i took a boda boda. at night.
it was terrifying. 
i honestly do not want to do it again.
and there is no way i will willingly let noah or jude take a ride on one.
absolutely terrifying.
my legs were like jello for a couple hours afterward.
but i digress.
we got there safely and quickly and a lot more cheaply than if we had taken a private hire (taxi cab). 
dinner was delicious, i laughed out loud (a lot) in the movie and we got to chat about a lot of things.

and yesterday was Sunday which meant that we had big Sunday brunch!
it was delicious. i love big Sunday brunch. trevor said to me that he doesn't know which is more exciting; Friday pizza night or big Sunday brunch. i couldn't pick either.
we had bacon and cheesy scrambled eggs with banana muffins (for the kids) and coffee banana scones. yum!
next week i'm making these. um, i'm really excited.

after brunch, while we were at church i was getting pretty frustrated with the boys. they were fighting with each other and up and down and not listening and  i could feel myself getting angry.
angry at the boys. angry at our church for not having children's programs that start at the beginning of church and just angry that i didn't get to have a peaceful church experience. 
as we sang (i forget the song), the thought of sacrifice and picking up our cross and following after Jesus struck me. hard. 
motherhood isn't easy breezy. 
but it isn't the easy breezy things in life that conform us to the likeness of Christ, is it? 
so i lowered my expectations, prayed for patience and love and moved through and forward to choose to have joy. 
and church finished early! 
i was thankful for that. (is that wrong?)

we're just over 6 weeks into life here and it's pretty good. my next goal for myself is to make up a monthly curriculum plan for noah including games, crafts and reading/writing. hopefully by the end of the week i can have something made up.

happy Monday to you!

Saturday, October 1, 2011


i slept like a log last night. it was amazing.

i made starbucks coffee this morning for breakfast. have you heard of this amazing invention called a thermos? you should get one. it keeps your breakfast coffee hot when it's 2pm in the afternoon and you're hankering for another cuppa.

it's pouring rain. the boys were delighted to put on their raincoats and run around. i liked watching their joy and the beads of water coming off their {MEC} raincoats that we bought before we came here. a wise investment as far as i'm concerned.

i had cheesy scrambled eggs with a leftover biscuit from yesterday for lunch. and a cup of coffee.

i lay down with jude for his nap and watched him suck is fingers until slowly he drifted off into sleep and his fingers fell out of his mouth. is there anything more wonderful than watching your child sleep?

i took this picture of noah while running in the rain and all i see is baby noah. i love it.

i'm waiting for my butter to come to room temperature and then i'm making these. be jealous. or make 'em. whatever.

tonight jamie and i are going on our first date night since moving to kampala. i'm excited. maybe i'll tell you tomorrow what we ended up doing. {rule #1 of living in africa. always hold your plans loosely.}

plans are in the works for a swing set to be made for the boys. again, holding this loosely. maybe by the end of this month there will be some sort of play structure in the backyard for the boys!

i'm exercising almost every day. we got a stationary bike and i'm using it! i think i'm in a place where exercise is just a part of my life. i enjoy it. i need it and i want it in my life. so i do it. it makes me happy and a little bit proud of myself.

our house girl {elizabeth - she is awesome} is looking into the availability and prices of a turkey and ... pumpkins! now apparently they don't have orange pumpkins here. they only come in yellow/green so we'll see. i may have to experiment a bit but i'm hoping to be able to serve pumpkin pie come next monday {canadian thanksgiving}.

have i told you how much i love october? no? well. i love it. it makes me sad to be missing the change of the colours of all the leaves in ontario. the crisp fall weather that requires cute hats and pretty scarves and stylish boots and goes well with steaming mugs of hot chocolate and apple picking and baking, baking, baking. so i'm getting some of this and i miss it, but i'm not homesick. instead, i'm embracing the goodness of living in africa. life is pretty awesome and i'm choosing to open my eyes wide to the beauty and splashes of glory in the everyday.

this is me. on the first saturday in october. 2011.
how's your saturday?
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