Saturday, October 29, 2011

Lost In The Blogging World

Good afternoon, friends!

I should be checking on my laundry on the back porch, doing the dishes, and *finally* putting away my folded clothes from this week (points for actually folding them?  please?)...but, instead, I spent the last 45 minutes checking out other people's blogs.  Not just the ones I follow.  "Other" people's blogs.  I don't know them from Adam, or Eve, for that matter...but their blogs were linked to this blog that was linked from that blog that had a really cute button on this other blog I ran into.  Know what I mean?  Instead of catching up on how my friends are doing with their lives (what ever happened to real letters, anyway?  or, real emails, for that matter?  thank you, WWW)...I get distracted with the mass of strangers making their name in the blog world.  

Wait a minute, that gal has 2,000+ followers?  Sheesh!  She has 7 kids, and has her own DIY shop on Etsy and posts three-page articles on how to save the world through living granola...every day?  Exactly.  I feel like a loser already.  The trap of comparison captures me again.  (btw: you are blessed if the above woman actually happens to be you...way to go!  I just don't know if I can live up to quite the same speed as you!)

Having "just" three little munchkins running around...NOT making my own cool crafts...and still eating high fructose corn syrup (blasphemy!) suddenly makes me feel the weight of not being a successful me.  Wait, how did that happen!?  

Clicking those little "x"s on the window tabs of my Google chrome browser brings me back to reality.  And, laundry.  This is my "fleeing temptation" act and I'm stickin' with it today.  Instead of getting lost in the blogging world and looking at other's lives through a glossy screen filled with Photoshop-perfect pictures in sepia tint...I remember that I have a portion...a household...a family...a group of friends...a people group...assigned to me. I am responsible for how I view my life through the assignment God has given me.  Praise God - I just found freedom again!  

I am responsible only for the measure of grace that He has given me today.  No more.  No less.  

But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, to reach even to you.   2nd Corinthians 10:13

Back to the "grace" I have been given today - the blessed duty of laundry and dishes.  To do it faithfully and to, Lord willing, complete these tasks during the sacred two hours that we call "Nap Time," is my assignment and responsibility today.  What's yours?  

Go do it!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mom, I Think I Just Caught A Snake!

"Mom, I think I just caught a snake!"

Not the words you want to hear from your front lawn...

...and said by your (almost) six year-old son... Thailand!

Unless it is this kind of snake...

Jeshurun with a worm?  No...that would be a snake!

the blind snake of Thailand...courtesy front yard.

This is the blind snake of Thailand.  They are harmless to humans and resemble earthworms.  Jeshurun thought he had, in fact, caught an earthworm to deposit in my basil planters...until he looked a little closer.  This guy clearly had scales, a teeny-tiny, flickering tongue, and the movement of a snake.  Oh yeah...and it "bit" him and "stung" him with it's mouth and hind part (they call it a spur).  He said it wasn't as strong of a sting as the red weaver ant (which is my nemesis...).  He flung him down after a few pricks and we decided to observe him in our bug aquarium.

We think he's about 12-13 centimeters.  And, yes, we love Tigger and Pooh!  :)

By the way, if you have boys and don't have a bug aquarium, you should stop reading this and go pick one up pronto!  It is a must have!  I'll never forget the time that we caught a praying mantis the size of my son's forearm and watched it eat katydids (that we caught for it) all morning...

Ah...memories of our home in the south...

At least the snake we caught today wasn't like this one that Treavor massacred at our home in the south...

Treavor vs. monocled cobra.  Treavor won.  My hero!

Ah...horrible memories...

But we got some cool photos out of it!  Check out this one!  Eew.  I digress...

Moving on...back to today and the *reminding the grandparents* harmless snake Run caught today...

My son is so brave.  He would stick his hand in the aquarium to try and catch that wriggly little thing.  It is hard for me to hold a worm, let alone a snake!  Even Kyla sat mesmerized as we observed the snake.  She is acquainted with all things "boy."  

Anything that interests the boys interests her.  For now!

Hopefully she won't grow up to be as squeamish as I am around creepy crawlies.  We will see.

So, after a quick search on the Internet, we found this video and this article on Wikipedia.  Our snake fit all these descriptions.  We learn something new every day! 

Though, the next time Run finds one, he said he'll let it go.  Apparently, the blind snake eats termite and ant eggs.  We could do with a little natural pest prevention around here. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Today, happiness comes in the form of a handful of fresh basil, just cut from my sweet basil plants. 

Even with my black thumb, my basil plants have withstood floods, hot tropical sunny weather, a move across country, and an invasion of snails, termites and ants.  Maybe God let them survive solely so I wouldn't feel like a gardening loser.  Let me remind you of this post where I planted cilantro, chives, parsley, thyme, rosemary, oregano, lavender, sweet basil, Genovese basil and dill.  Only the two types of basil have survived.  It is painful and quite humbling to admit that.  

But, today, as I minced up the basil and added it to my spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove, I feel satisfaction, happiness, and...hunger!

Are you a green thumb or a black thumb?  Please let me know that I'm not alone...comment below!  

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Lull Between Grades and a Cranky Baby

With the end of the Kindergarten year, there has been a lull in our home school.  I have a few extra subjects to catch up on that didn't get finished over the past school year, so we've been doing that off and on.  We're awaiting our next collection of school books that Treavor's mom has graciously packaged up for us.  It is hard to be patient.  As excited as the kids are to receive their new curriculum, I might be even more anxious than they are!  Opening a box jammed packed full of new stories, activities, and (I would say) occasions to dive deep into the wonderful world God has made for more fun than a new toy or some other treasure.  

Also, my precious little fireball of a daughter has had quite a tough week.  She is over 15 months now, and has been crying through her morning nap for a few weeks.  I finally clued in to the fact that she's giving up her morning rest and is...growing up.  I'm in denial.  Its a fact. 

In addition to becoming an insomniac, she's getting her first molar!  Imagine your gums being assaulted by incoming teeth.  Ow.  I'd be cranky, too.

So, for the past few days, we've started a modified school schedule for the mornings to keep sane.  Here 'goes...

9am - Bible time all together.  Kyla has to stay put in her walker chair until we're done with reading, praying and worship time.  Let me tell you, there is screaming involved.  We're training her to be content sitting still for more than two minutes.  For a toddler, this is torture - she hasn't gotten the memo yet that it is for her benefit to follow Philippians 4:11 "...I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances."  Excuse me, Paul, could you please talk with my daughter?  Thanks.

9:30am - Workbook/Coloring time.  My step-Momma, Eileen, found these awesome workbooks for 25 cents at a thrift store.  They're perfect for early readers practicing their handwriting and following direction skills.  If you think you have to spend loads of bucks on your school materials, you might be mistaken.  Check out thrift stores, garage sales, and the Internet for some awesome finds!

I have to keep Run at his desk in the corner of the room.  My highly distract-able son couldn't handle workbook time with  the other kids.

Huy is using a Little Einstein's shapes/colors/numbers workbook that we bought from 7-11 for 2 bucks or something ridiculously cheap.  Awesome!

Kyla's coloring time consists mainly of taking the crayons out of the box and putting them back in.  Whatever works!  She's occupied!

10am - Huy's play time with Kyla / Run studies Science and Reading with Mommy.  A few years back, I read in Managers of Their Homes about siblings having scheduled play times with the babies to occupy them and set aside "special" times of connection.  Huy gets excited that he has his "own" time with the baby.  While they play in the school room, Run and I sit on the couch and go over whatever on the menu for the day.  Sure, Kyla toddles over every now and then to check up on us, but Huy, almost 4 years old, steers her back to the play area to distract her from what we're doing.  It works for now!

"Playing" Animal Dominoes together.  What a pair.

10:30am - Huy's Computer time / Run continues school work with Mom / Kyla's play pen time. is the coolest computer site for my preschooler (and even Run still loves it!)  We have been going there for years now to learn letter, phonics reading, etc. - and are pleased to find that they have expanded their website for subscribers!  The basics are still free - but they have added more computer books, songs, nursery rhymes, math, and loads of other stuff for only $30/year.  We bought a subscription and I still can't believe all that Huy has been learning through it.  Fantastic!  Check it out if you've never been - and if you have but haven't subscribed yet, seriously consider this small investment for your little ones.  Well worth it! 

Kyla gets to watch Huy while he learns at Starfall.  She loves it!

Add caption

Pre-school is serious stuff.

The new "normal."  Can't wait to see how it is going to evolve once we jump into a fuller morning school schedule, but until then, we're keeping busy and having fun.  

What ways have you found a little structure to help the day pass smoothly?  I love comments.  Share yours!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Adventures In Breadmaking

Ever baked a brick?  I have.  I can make a mean pot of chili (did today!), but I stink at making bread.  Experiments with my trusty toaster oven have resulted in odd-shaped, free-form lumps of things slightly resembling bread.  My kids and husband were brave enough to taste them, and they didn't die.  For this, I am thankful!  There was that one time when I followed this recipe for the Pioneer Woman's no-knead dinner rolls...and they turned out like a dream.  A wonderful, fluffy, butter-laden dream.  You should try them for your next sit-down with the neighbors!

And, then, there's this recipe - my current favorite - for Indian naan bread.  And, you don't even need to install a tandoor oven to make it!  Flat bread is my friend.  It is already flat, so I'm not offended when it doesn't look like Mrs. Baird's, because it isn't supposed to.  Perfection.

But, today, while eating lunch with Steph and commenting on the delicious sourdough bread she had just made, I was reminded that I have a bread machine.  Duh, right?

I haven't always had one.  This one is a hand-me-down from Steph, who had it handed down to her from another expat family with a gaggle of kids.  This machine is a beast.  A real, heavy, bulky, used-looking beast of a wonder that was sitting lonely in my kitchen cupboard.  Steph has a real oven, so she doesn't need this collecting dust in her kitchen.  I, on the other hand, am tired of making bricks in my toaster oven.  I'm ready for real bread!

Tonight, I pulled it out, wiped it down, and speed-read the instructor manual.  What did I choose?  An absolutely scrumptious recipe for Cinnamon Raisin Nut Bread.

Here's the recipe.  I left out the nuts, added an extra tbsp of sugar, and an extra 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon.  Btw: check out those stains on the paper!  This recipe manual has seen some days!

The excitement brews...

Geez...when is thing going to start?
Almost there!

2 hours and 40 minutes later, something aromatic and wonderful emerged from my "new" bread machine.  I am in love.

I've always had a weakness for cinnamon raisin bread.  Good bye bricks!  Hello goodness!

Now that I've got my machine, there's no stopping me.  Got any recipes to share?  Feel free to leave them in the comments below!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Because Today Something Is Better Than Nothing

the three munchkins on one of our many car trips

Nothing out of the ordinary has happened yet today.  

Wake up.

Spend time with God.

Drink lots of coffee.

Kids up.  Chores.  Breakfast.  Making jokes.

Grandma Cool came to visit this morning to give Run a Thai lesson.  If you haven't heard about her yet, she's a new neighbor friend that lives down the street.  She's a retired schoolteacher with loads of time.  She walks around the entire neighborhood every day.  She gardens.  She feeds the fish in the canal.  She has brought us flowers, bananas and Thai dessert since we met her last week.  She's a gem.

She showed up this morning with a basket full of goodies.  Stickers.  Clay-dough.  New crayons.  She was ready!  I am so thankful for her.  She offered to teach the kids a little Thai if their attention spans can stand it.  A huge answer to prayer!

After that, the kids and I piled into the car for errands.  Furniture store.  Makro (a bulk food store).  We bought a boatload of shredded cheese (hallelujah) and a brick of butter.  5 kilos of butter.  Did I mention that we love to eat butter?  Ever want to make me food?  Make it with butter and you're set.  Butter is my love language lately.

After that, we drove back to the house and picked up Treav to go eat lunch.  Lunch.  Done.  Back to the house.  Playtime.  Reading.  Naps.

Sometimes my days seem too ordinary to write home about.  No new factoids, natural disaster, sickness, cobra in the backyard, or play date with pictures.  

So, today, posting something is better than nothing.  Ordinary.  But, there it is.  It is my life.  A lot of the mundane with bits of extraordinary sprinkled here and there.  Reality.  I'm OK with it in this season of my existence.  It is my "Ordinary Life In The Wild" today.  

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Thailand Fun Facts: Elephants!

Thai elephant from the zoo.  Really, I can't tell if he's Thai...but the least I know is that he's not from Africa.  Read below to find out why I am so sure...

Thailand Fun Facts: Elephants!

This week, our Fun Fact series focuses on elephants.  Just forget that I forgot to post any Fun Facts last week.  It never happened.  Literally.  I blame it on my life-long inability to be consistently consistent.  I am sure that none of you even noticed I won't even mention it.  Here 'goes...

* GENUS : Elephas Maximus (largest elephant)  COMMON NAME : Asian or Indian Elephant
* The Asian elephant is second only to its African cousin (Africana Loxodonta) as the largest of all land animals.
*  Newly born baby elephants (calves) stand 3ft high and weigh 200 lbs. 


* They have smaller ears than the African elephant.  Although small, their ears are so important for cooling them off. 

This guy is an African Elephant.  Check out the size of those ears!  Their ears are about three times bigger than those of an Asian Elephant like the ones picture elsewhere in this post.  Now you know!

* Elephants sweat only at their toenails!
* Elephants have an excellent sense of hearing and are said to be able to pick up some sounds over distances of ten miles! No sneakin' up on these guys...
*  The trunk can be used to move a 1,500 pound tree or to pick up a coin - extremely versatile!  Can you do that?
* At its tip the Asian elephants trunk has a single "finger." 
* Did you know that elephants cannot jump!  Neither did I!
* Thai elephants usually, but not always, have four toenails on their front feet and five on the rear.
* In the 1908s, there was a banning on logging, which put most domesticated elephants in Thailand "out of work."  Now, people work hard to save these animals (who can't safely re-enter the wild) by creating attractions for tourists (like our trip to the zoo a few weeks ago).  The money spend on seeing, riding on, feeding, taking pictures of, buying paintings from (you heard me!), etc. helps to keep these animals alive.
*  100 years ago there were at least 100,000 elephants in Thailand. They were a treasured resource. Now sadly, their number has dropped to under 5,000.

I am sure this elephant enjoys being put to "work" - entertaining kiddies (mine are on the right) and eating sugarcane.  Its a hard-knock life for them.  It definitely beats dragging logs around all day!

Sugar cane.  The snack of champions!

Elephants are purely vegetarians. Their favorite foods include: Bananas, bamboo, berries, mangoes, coconuts, corn, jungle shrubs, palm fruits, sugar cane, wood apples and wild rice. 
*  If YOU come to Thailand to visit us, we'll go visit all the elephants you want to see.  That's a fact!

sources: Eleaid, HandicappedPets, Elephant Art Gallery
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