Friday, April 27, 2012

{last} friday {in april} links

whew. the last friday in april! and the beginning of a very, very busy month and a half! our friend and co-worker, kelley, arrived on wednesday night and tomorrow night another 5 other co-workers join us. then on may 1st, 12 canadian students are arriving for a summer missions trip/project until mid-june! i'm excited. it's going to be busy and crazy, but so good. i'm looking forward to some more female interaction! not that i don't enjoy being around jamie, my boys and nick & trevor, but still. girls are good.

speaking of trevor, it's his birthday today! happy 25th, trev!

today noah said, hey mom! do you know what i want to be when i grow up? an artist!!! because i really like to draw things.

so i totally just noticed that noah is flipping the bird {unintentionally, of course} at jude. 

he drew the baby and turned to me and said, do you think his hands will be that big? i guess we won't find out until he comes out of your belly!

so cute.

weekend links!

i'm not sure if i've said so before, but i am hopeless at sewing. i wish i could sew. i even have a sewing machine. maybe i need some one-on-one tutorials or something. anyway, if i could sew, i would totally make this pouf. or several.

who doesn't like freebies? here's a {free!}sweet "week-at-a-glance" planner from Oh the Lovely Things.

this is something i've contemplated. we don't have a huge issue with gifts with us being here in africa and so far from family and friends, but the wheels are a-turning for the day we return. because - well, for so many reasons. but that's for another post. here's a birthday trend that started a couple years ago.

this idea may be more acceptable to our families for birthdays. i absolutely love it and my friend jen did a variation of this with her "5 & 5" birthday party she threw for her son, elijah when he turned 5 years old.

and if you haven't seen this video, you must. a 12 year video project!

and while i continue to meditate about our family expanding and adding a third boy, i am excited. seriously. so much joy. i was encouraged by this woman's blog post on the joy of boys.

and of course, food. i am making this cake tonight upon trevor's request. it doesn't look like much but

happy weekend!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

little world traveler

the other day noah said, i want to travel the world. like mouk.
i laughed and said, buddy, you are mouk! you've been to more places than a lot of kids i know! and you're living in africa! not very many kids from canada get to move to africa and live there for 2 years.

so what {or who?} is mouk? well, it's a show that the kids have started watching on tv here on disney junior and it's adorable. it's essentially about these two animals that travel the world and experience different cultures and then they skype back home on the computer to their friends/family and share their experiences. i love it! and our boys really relate to it, especially noah.

anyway, i think it's super cute. and thought i'd list all the places noah has been to in his short little life {for posterity, of course!}.

toronto, ON
guelph, ON
vancouver, BC
{road trip to} quebec city, QC
{road trip to} florence, SC
{road trip to} chicago, IL
london, england
all over northern ireland
madrid, spain
nerja, spain
amsterdam, the netherlands
all over tanzania
kampala, uganda
jinja, uganda

i think that's it {so far}.
that's huge! what a little traveler. and more places to come...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

when in uganda...

...make pineapple coconut banana bread!

oh yes.
i'm feeling very bake-y these days what with the rain and cooler weather {oh hello jeans and socks and sweaters. in africa! crazy.} and some lovely guests arriving soon. and so, my freezer is as full of muffins and breakfast breads as i can cram - which isn't a lot because our fridge/freezer is about the size of 2 bar fridges. i kid you not.

our house girl doesn't "get" these breakfast breads i make. she says they look and taste and smell like cake. i told her that it's true. they pretty much are cake, but if we call them "breakfast bread" then it's okay to eat for breakfast. works for me.

i hear that the weather isn't much warmer in ontario {where i'm from} so make yourself a cuppa and get baking!

pineapple coconut banana bread
recipe adapted from Laura's Best Recipes

1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
5 very ripe bananas, coarsely mashed
6 oz. canned crushed pineapple, drained liquid {or if you live somewhere like me where the fresh pineapple is out-of-this-world-amazing, use that instead. i just used my kitchen scissors and snipped the pineapple into little tidbit-sized pieces - about 1 cups' worth}
5 oz. canned coconut cream {not coconut milk although you can use it if you can't find coconut cream, just add an extra 1/4 tsp of vanilla}
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chopped nut of your choice {the original recipe calls for macadamia nuts which would have been amazing, but i already had pecans so i used those}

this is how we do it
preheat oven to 350F. grease and flour 2 loaf pans
cream butter, 2 of the mashed bananas and sugars in a large bowl.
mix in eggs.
in a separate bowl, mix the remaining dry ingredients.
mash remaining bananas thoroughly in another bowl and fold in pineapple, coconut cream and vanilla.
fold both banana mixtures into the dry ingredients - don't over mix!
fold in coconut and nuts.
pour batter into your prepared pans {i always forget to "prepare" the pans first so i'm usually greasing and flouring my pans at this point}.
bake for about 55-60 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.
let the bread cool on a rack and turn out of the pan after 15 minutes. let cool completely.


*professional food taster, noah strickland gives this bread two thumbs up and asks "why do i only get 1 piece of bread? why can't i have another?" {because mommy is mean and i'm saving the rest of this loaf for breakfast tomorrow. and freezing the other loaf.}

Friday, April 20, 2012

friday links

this morning i threw jude's beloved bunny in the wash thinking, if i do it now, it'll be washed and dried by the time his nap rolls around.
and then our inverter went on the fritz and everything connected to our inverter stopped working. like the washer. we called our handy electrician friend who said he'd come by around "mid-day" {noon}. we went out to run a few errands. came back, ate lunch and then it was time for naps and jude's bunny was still sitting in the washer; soapy and wet.
i convinced him to lie down and told him that he'd have to nap without his bunny. he didn't cry, but he did tell me {repeatedly} that he missed his "bun-bun" and wished he had his bunny back. and then he napped. for a good {almost} 2 hours. woohoo!
by the time he woke up, our inverter was working, bunny had been washed and was in the dryer. jude was happy. so was i.

anyway, here are some links for you to enjoy this weekend!

already thinking about mother's day? here's a fun-looking craft for the mom who is a goddess in the kitchen!

this.looks.amazing. please make this today. or this weekend. or just...soon.

this is a fun craft you can do with kids and it's from a blog i've recently discovered and subscribe to.

addicted to instagram? i think i might be if i had a smart phone. here's a review on a bunch of really cool and fun-looking products you can make with your instagram pictures. {i also just found her blog and am now subscribed to it. love these aussie bloggers!}

i am addicted to this website. gorgeous nursery themes for your baby or toddler. love, love, love all of her themes!

and an article i came across this week and was so refreshed by. on finding and receiving grace - especially in those early years of motherhood.

happy weekend!

Monday, April 16, 2012

how to make a sandbox in uganda

on saturday morning we woke up with no plans.

jamie said, let's go to the beach.

i said, let's make a sandbox instead!

so jamie called our friend james who can do pretty much everything and our local carpenter friend robert and told them what we were looking to do. today.
they both came over around 11am.
jamie, james and robert gathered 'round a notebook and discussed plans and materials.

then they dispersed, picked up supplies and got started.

one of the delightful things about africa when it works to your advantage is how people are just 'available' to help out with whatever needs to get done. sure i can come to your house right now and help you build a sandbox. why not?

we decided we wanted to paint it red. {noah said he wanted pink, but personally i don't think i could handle seeing a pink sandbox for the next year and a bit.}

oh...and then you probably need some sand for that big 'ole empty box. many sandboxes is all that sand for? just ours? oh. okay.

now it's time to fill 'er up!

sandbox complete!

and now we welcome many hours of play outside and more sand than i'd like inside!

also...anyone need any sand?

Friday, April 13, 2012

rainy friday links

it's rainy today in kampala. probably one of my most favourite kinds of days in uganda. i know that the rain is something i will miss when we leave. it's just somehow different than rain in canada.

here are your friday links:

start your mornings with this amazing smoothie. i know i would if i had these ingredients!

and then perhaps make this snack for your kids. how adorable!

looking for a gift to give a new mom or mom-to-be? this is amazing. a box every month full of amazing gifts. i want this.

please. as soon as you have nice weather {wherever you are} throw this party. do it now.

butternut squash muffins! who knew? {i'm trying them this weekend!}

need a reading nook? i would read in this every day if i had this. part nook/part fort. love it.

and lastly {and most importantly}, if you're in Canada, you should sign up and register to be a stem cell donor to see if you're a match for someone who desperately needs it. my good friends, andrew and suzanne, are asking all their friends and family to get tested to see if you match andrew, who has been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia since this past december. they have an adorable 1 year old son named jacob and they are some of the most amazing, wonderful, Jesus-lovin' people i have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

traffic cop

so i got pulled over today.

we were driving to my friend kelly's house today to hang out with her boys and there is this one spot that i've almost always seen a traffic cop standing at, pulling people over. i've gotten pulled over once before and the cop just checked my license and wished me well.

not so today.

i was polite and gave my license when the cop came to my  window and asked me for it. then she proceeded to ask me to put on the brakes and checked my lights. then she came back and proceeded to ask me to put it in reverse to check my reverse lights. then she told me she was going to write me a receipt {ticket} because my back tires were not filled enough. i politely said that i was not aware that this was an illegal offense in uganda.
she told me she could "park my car" right now or write me a receipt and hold onto my license until i went to the bank and paid it and then i could pick up my license at the police station. i told her that i would be happy to go to the station and she could write me the receipt and i would pay the ticket there. she repeated what she had already told me.

she left to go back to her other traffic cop buddy and so i called jamie and told him what was happening. noah asked me why she had pulled me over at this point and i {somewhat bitterly} replied that it's because i'm white and she thinks i have lots of money to give her.
she came back with an official receipt book and showed me that my offense was {on the back of the receipt} for not having a car that was fit for driving on the road.

at this point i was getting frustrated and feeling taken advantage of and again said that i was not aware that my tires were less than full and that i did not know that this was an offense that would get me a ticket. she then started saying that my brakes lights were out and reverse lights are out and this and that {she started pointing to random things on my car} and that my seatbelts - oh no, you're wearing your seatbelt. i told her that of course i was as it was unsafe not to {me being a smartass}.

she kept saying that she would write me a receipt, etc. etc. and then finally {i admit, with frustrated tears in my eyes} i told her to write me the receipt as she was leaving me no choice and i had two small children with me and had no other options. she just looked at me and then said,
you go to a gas station and buy new tires. i am forgiving you this time. but you go get those tires replaced.

i took off as soon as she gave me my license back before she changed her mind.

these are my tires when i got home today {no filling with air, no replacing.}

front tire

back tire

um? how are my back tires flat? yeah. she was totally looking for a bribe and to take advantage of the white woman. i was so angry when i got to kelly's house and looked at the tires for myself.

so this is life here in uganda. bribes are expected but today i'm glad i fought the system and also didn't get a ticket while i was at it.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

it's a...

...bit of a gong show, actually.

but i'll get to the part you've been waiting for.


i am thrilled. and thankful. at one point i wasn't sure if we'd get to find out today, actually.
so we {the whole family went} got to the clinic in great time. my appointment was at 9:30am and we got to the clinic {after crossing ridiculously crazy roads both ways} by 9:15. i paid for my ultrasound and then we went to the waiting area. shortly after we sat down, a cute couple sat down beside us. i wondered if there was another doctor who did ultrasounds in the building.
then alice {our fabulous ultrasound technician} nodded us in and we got all set up {the boys with their snacks, me on the table with the cold gel on my belly} and alice started taking her measurements via ultrasound. 
then jamie said, "hey, your name isn't eleanor." and alice said, "that's not you? what's your name?" and so we told her. my name wasn't on her list of appointments for the entire day. she was confused. so was i. and feeling a bit of dread. i knew without a doubt that today at 9:30am was my appointment. {trust me. a mama about to see her baby and find out the gender does not get that sort of thing messed up.}
so she finished up her measurements and then told me if we could just wait for the next appointment {it was supposed to be a short one, she said} she'd do their ultrasound and then i could come back in and she'd show us the baby.
i breathed a sigh of relief. we'd get to find out after all.
so we finished up {the baby was a-MOVING!} and then we waited in the hall for about 30 minutes before she was finished and nodded us back into the room.
we got to see and hear the heart beat, she showed us the face and head and hands and spine and everything. then she asked if we wanted to know the gender. when we said we did, she moved the ultrasound wand around for a bit and then there it was. boy parts. he was being very proud of his manhood and we laughed at how un-shy he seemed.

we are thrilled, although noah did say he had wanted a sister. i think i always imagined our family as a whole troop of boys. does three count as a troop? i think it will definitely feel like one. welcome to the strickland boys, my little one!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

when tuesday feels like a monday

it really was one of those perfect kind of days.
we didn't really do anything out of the ordinary. but we made the most of the day we were given.

i've started a morning routine for the boys where jude gets to experience "room time" and noah gets some time to play on this fabulous website called 'starfall' where he learns about letters and phonetics and whatnot.

i set jude up in his room with the toys he wants on the carpet, bring in the stereo and put on some music. then i tell him he gets to play in his room until the timer goes off {today we attempted 45 minutes. i know he can do longer, but we haven't been practicing "room time" so we're slowly building up}. today he happily played except for the part where he played with the plugs on the power bar and turned off his music. i went in and turned it on again.

noah happily plays on starfall and sometimes i'll sit with him and talk about the letters, or sound out letters and words with him and then sometimes i'll get some things done like laundry done or exercise {i've been doing these since i found out i was pregnant alternating with riding our stationary bicycle}.

then i carried out some buckets of water and some water toys for the boys to play outside with. eventually jude decided to "water the car" which led me to get some more water, some stools and some cloths for them to full-on wash our car. they loved it and spent the better part of the morning outside washing our car.

but it eventually turned into this. we're sorta doing potty training with jude right now.

noah was such a helper today, jude is getting so much better at sharing with his brother and we did a bunch of crafty-type things today. it was a good day.

i covered some tin cans in ribbon to make the boys' marker jars so much prettier. and i made a tiny vase for the flowers that the boys like to pick for me. 

oh and jamie came home with these today:

Friday, April 6, 2012

Good Friday links

it's good friday.

we are making hot cross buns today.

we are reading the story of jesus' betrayal and death on the cross. we are remembering. lingering. thanking Him.

yesterday i wept and my tears dropped onto the picture i was painting as i listened to 'watch the lamb'. i will probably listen to it again over this weekend and weep again.

we are reenacting the easter story with these toilet paper roll figures.

Jesus, thank you. thank you for being obedient, even to death on a cross. thank you for doing it for the joy set before you. open my inner eye to see you. every moment. of every day. give me wisdom, Lord to parent these beautiful, but sinful children that you have given to me as precious gifts. give me the words to speak truth into their lives, to be You with skin on to them. today as jamie and i explain to them about your death and the importance of it in our lives, may you speak to their little hearts through us.
Thank you. Just...thank You.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


you didn't think i forgot about two on the second, did you? good. i didn't.

someone was not very cooperative. and it wasn't the unborn child in my womb.

it's three kids on the third! {for this month. we'll go back to two on the second until baby is born}.

our third is due this september and we'll find out next week if we'll be adding a third boy to our troop or a girl.

linking to Steph who takes pictures of her 4 kids on the fourth

Sunday, April 1, 2012

palm sunday

another no-church sunday for us today.
but today i was prepared. i did a little lesson for the boys on palm sunday.
we made palm branches {i like calling them palm fronds} and waved them and shouted hosanna! and i read the story of palm sunday to them.
noah commented, i think the people were really happy to see him!
oh how they were, my sweet boy. and how everything changed within a week.

making a way for the king of the universe

singing this song in my heart and with my lips today and forever:

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