Local Favorites #3

I’ve never considered myself to be a collector, but I noticed recently that I collect unique earrings! And so, I present: my earring collection!

For Christmas the girls (with the help of a handy elf named “Dad”) made an earring frame for me. It’s a simple frame made of Mulanje cedar that holds a piece of window screen. It is perfect!

My earring collection, both as unique pairs and especially as a whole, leave no doubt where I live. Elephants, baobab trees, crocodiles, and the shape of the African continent are shapes related to Malawi, but the materials are all local and unique as well: teak wood, ebony seeds, crocodile teeth, porcupine quills, bone, and coconut shell are some of my favorites.

The only problem now is picking which pair to wear!

Construction

While Shelbi was teaching at the conference, the 6 men of the GCC team went to work. On Monday Shelbi, Abigail, Naomi, and I went to check out the progress on the church property.

The guys had been hard at work with surveying equipment, so there were lines all over the ground representing future buildings.

To get a look at the rest of it, Shelbi’s husband, Sean, took us on a tour.

They’ve been charting out and digging septic lines.

Digging the septic pit and leach field, as well as a cistern to collect and store run-off from our heavy Malawi rains.

They’re also making an awning for our current storeroom, which I believe will eventually be the maintenance area. Sean, Edgar, and Christopher are busy, but not too busy to strike a pose for a picture or two!

And they’re just about ready to lay pipes for the septic system. Abi and Omi were giving it a go to see if they were any good at construction. They are significantly better at wearing pink tutus and posing for cute shots than they are at construction, but they had a great time pretending!

It was fun to see progress on the land! I’m sure we have many, many months of construction ahead, but I’m looking forward to the day when both the church and CAPA can move onto this property!

Pink Day!

Today was our last day before Matt comes home, so we girls were very girlie today.

We fell in love with 8 little puppies at our friend Alicia’s house. 💕

It was difficult to pull ourselves away from such cuteness! I appreciated that Alicia enjoyed the puppies – her puppies – as much as Abigail and Naomi did!

Alicia joined us for lunch out, and since it is winter here in Malawi, the girls had hot chocolate – with white and pink marshmallows!

Since the girlie thing was working out so well for us, we had pink pancakes for dinner. A little bit of beetroot goes a long way… healthy and girlie!

The Pancake Princess highly recommends vanilla yogurt and sliced bananas.

Matt comes home tomorrow! We have enjoyed these days of fun girl time, but we will be so glad to have him home!

A Productive Day

If we accomplish nothing else while Matt is away, I will be completely satisfied with what was accomplished today.

We cleaned out the fridge and freezer.

We finished the hall bathroom tiling project – plumber is coming tomorrow to check and turn everything back on, then it just needs a good scrub!

And no one was electrocuted! 😳

Bonus: we got to cuddle the Hirotos new little kitten!

All in all it was a great day around here. And we are now more than half way through Matt’s trip, so that makes today even better! Two more sleeps til he is home!

The Farm

If I tell my girls we are going to the farm, they start squealing and giggling and dancing like crazy kids. They know that “the farm” means Auntie Shannon, Morgan and Meren, baby chicks, the calves Sunday and Easter, piglets, and untold surprises. And this afternoon we got to go to the farm!

It’s about a 45 minute drive to the farm, heading across the countryside toward Zambia. No drive through the countryside of Malawi is complete without a few goats on the road.

As we head off the paved road and onto the dirt track, the peace and beauty of the farm start their work. Abigail and Naomi are not the only ones who love going to the farm.

Lest you forget we are in Africa, there are monkeys on this farm.

Shannon and I have tea, and more friends – Rene and Bianca – join us while Shannon’s daughters take Abigail and Naomi around to see all the animals. Then they head to the kitchen to make candy floss. My girls have never had it, so I don’t even bother telling them the American name for it: cotton candy. They really don’t care what it’s called so long as they get to eat it!

The day ends all too quickly. Special friends and a special place have made for a wonderful afternoon! The girls are already talking about “next time we go to the farm…” 💕

While the Cat’s Away…

Very early this morning we sent our favorite guy off to conferences in South Africa.

He left for the airport before the girls woke up. But when they did, this conversation happened:

R: “It’s just us girls! What do girls eat for breakfast?”

A: “Pancakes! With chocolate hair! And raspberry eyes, and scrambled eggs mouth and a cherry nose!”

Oh boy! I hope we survive 5 days without Matt’s steadying influence! We modified the stated “girls menu” and came up with something that satisfied everyone:

After breakfast Matt let us know they were about to take off for the first leg of their trip, a short, 27-minute flight from Lilongwe to Blantyre. Our airport has little enough traffic that everyone knows exactly what flights we are flying overhead. Ethiopian Airlines flight 20 was the only flight leaving the Lilongwe airport at any time even remotely close to 8:20am, so we went outside to wave goodbye to dad!

See the contrail in the sky?!? There he goes! And so begin the Floreen girl adventures!

Visitors

Today we were tremendously blessed to have two dear friends come to lunch. George Crawford is an elder at our sending church in California, and Rodney Anderson is the new pastor over missionary care at the same church. We have known these men and their families for 10+ years, so it was so, so good to see them both!

These men blessed us with their encouragement and counsel. I can’t even begin to tell you the importance of having a great, supporting sending church, and today these men embodied that care and support to us. We feel loved and very well cared for!

And so do our girls! What girl (of any age!) doesn’t feel loved and cared for when they are given mounds of chocolate and peanut butter?!?

I even got a little extra love too: a hand-stamped tea towel and sweet note from Glenna and Amy Anderson. (Thank you ladies!!)

We are so thankful for the show of love and support our sending church poured out on us today! These guys will catch up with the rest of the team here, and then head down to our organization’s regional conferences in South Africa on Wednesday. Matt goes with them to those conferences, so keep us girls in your prayers this week!

Boerewors

One new food I had to learn to cook when we moved to Malawi was boerewors. Boerewors, literally “farmer’s sausage,” is a South African favorite. A+ Geography students will know that Malawi is not in South Africa, but it is in southern Africa, and we do have a lot of South Africans who live here. And where you have South Africans, you have boerewors.

The most common way to cook boerewors is on the grill, or braai as South Africans call it. Lay your sausage out on the braai and use large tongs to flip the whole thing. Pretty easy.

Before we had a braai, my sweet friend Igna taught me a second way to cook it. I still use this method when I’m cooking boerewors that I know has a lower fat content. My friend Shannon made a batch of low-fat boerewors and it was so great that I bought it all from her! But if I’m not careful it gets dry very quickly… thus the stove-top method.

First, I sear the sausage on both sides. The picture above is of the lovely sear marks it develops. Then I add about 1 cup of water to the pan and quickly clap on the lid to keep the steam inside. After about 10 minutes the boerewors is cooked through, moist, and perfect. How do I know it’s done? When I bend the sausage with tongs, it breaks off cleanly. All done!

On to the table it goes! We had this sausage with some baked beans and fresh sweet corn on the cob. Smiles all around!

Gecko Hotel

We run a hotel. A Gecko Hotel, that is. Yep, a…

Matt and I decided long ago, that a hotel was a much better idea than keeping a lizard as a pet. So we have geckos that check in – and out – on a regular basis. For instance, I found a little guy in our shower the other morning, so Abigail came to catch him and Naomi had the Gecko Hotel all ready for him by the time he was caught. We kept him for observation until the afternoon and then let him go in a more favorable environment.

He was a cute little guy, and friendly – for a gecko.

See ya, little guy! Enjoy the great outdoors!