Monday, November 24, 2008

We are now 11 weeks into Helen's kindergarten year. Wow! We are having a great time. Even before we moved to Thailand I longed to home school. Now, it is nearly a necessity. I do think that I might be just a bit more excited about it all than Helen. Daniel hangs out with us for as long as his interest lasts. He's only 3 1/2 so some days that's not long at all.

Here is a typical day for us:

* Bible story, one hymn (we usually spend about 3 weeks working on the first verse of a well known hymn), and Bible verse for the week

* Read Alouds: this usually includes a Mother Goose poem and a fable or another short story

* Either a Science or a Social Studies read aloud. We are currently reading from a Berenstein Bears Science book, and an Usborne book about different kinds of jobs people do

* An early learning worksheet

* And occasionally, a fun hands on project/game

This lasts anywhere from 30-90 minutes, depending on the interest level.

After lunch when Sam and Daniel take naps Helen and I work on:







*Memorizing Poetry

Though it looks like a lot, we don't usually spend more than 10-15 minutes on any one thing and we certainly don't tackle everything everyday! Our afternoon session is about an hour.

We are using Sonlight and though at first I had other plans for home school, this has turned out to be a great fit for us now. It is a literature based history program, meaning that history is the base of the curriculum with lots of period literature added in. For the most part "living books" (books written by one author who is knowledgeable and writes from his love/interest on the subject) are used instead of textbooks. Also, it does a great job with world cultures and missions. It is a curriculum well known for its excellent choice in books. If you love to read to your children, the Sonlight catalog is a great resource for finding books worth reading.

Bonnie and Clyde

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My One Year Old

One tired little boy...

One adorable lady bug birthday cake filled with chocolate chips inside...

One fat little belly from a day full of eating...

Happy Birthday to my One Year Old!

Friday, November 14, 2008

September, October, November

These are the months that I am the most homesick for Utah. Living in the tropics. fall colors, no snow. For a few brief days, we get some cool weather. Those days came early this year. And when they hit, I felt like a new woman! I was energized and ready to take on all kinds of projects. I was baking and cleaning and creating! Well, the temperature is spiking unfortunately, but I have hopes it will drop again.

When the fall months hit, I get this silly desire to bake apples and light candles and pretend it is cold out, even if is 90 degrees and 70% humidity. When the coolness came last week we didn't have to pretend so much as we sipped our apple cider. I found this Starbuck's knock-off recipe and it was a hit with my kids and even Pun!

Caramel is scarce here so we boiled some sweetened condensed milk in the can for a few hours, and wa-la! Something like caramel pours out. The whole experience was yummy and quite nostalgic for me.

Starbuck's Caramel Apple Cider (as copied straight from the web)

For one mug:

Fill a mug nearly to the top with apple cider/juice. Add 1/2 stick cinnamon. Put mug in microwave for 2 minutes and walk away.

Ten minutes later, remember there is a mug in the microwave. Remove cinnamon stick and decide cider isn't warm enough. Microwave 1 minute more. (You could be less distracted than I am, but then your cinnamon wouldn't have a chance to steep into your cider. Perhaps you could warm it on the stove?)

Add a nice squeeze of Smucker's Caramel Sundae Topping (conveniently packaged in an upside down squeeze bottle)--I add 1 to 1 1/2 TBSP. Stir briskly. Top with canned whipped cream and sprinkles if desired.

A bottle of apple juice and the caramel topping cost less than a grande from Starbucks!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Healthy Snacks

I have one child who would prefer to eat only fruits and vegetables. She tells me after a few bites of ice cream that she has had enough. She would agree that sugar is not good for you. I know. She really can't be mine. This child definitely belongs to Pun.

Then I have another child. He's a sweet boy. He wakes up in the morning with a silly grin thinking about candy. He will warn me not to eat all of the cookies (ice cream, cake, candy, ...) so there will more for him later. For him, there is only one food group--sugar. The rest is complimentary. Now, this is my child.

Children in Thailand typically do not eat sweet things. Or at least they do not crave them the way my son does. They eat things like seaweed chips or squid-on-a-stick as seen being sold by this lady.

Just seconds before I took this next picture, the little boy behind the girl in a pink dress was tearing into his squid stick. Seriously, I thought he was going to growl. My kids watched in shock, not convinced that it was as delicious as these children made it look.

So imagine my surprise when my children (both the responsible one and the one like me) began eating Taro. What is Taro?

Well, it is made of flour and fish and pressed into long, thin, dry strips. It tastes fishy. Apparently, this package is Bar-B-Q flavor. My kids don't like fish, they tell me. But they love this stuff. I think some of it is made from squid. These days it is not uncommon for me to hear:

"Mom, do we have any 'quid'?"
"Oh, good!"

I watch him tear into it with a big sweet smile, but I am not so convinced that is as delicious as he makes it look.

Dear Grandma and Grandpa

I can walk!


Friday, October 17, 2008

I know I haven't been around much. And I won't be for a little while longer. We are leaving today for a border town near Laos. Pun has another conference to attend there and I am so thankful we can all go with him. We will be gone for 9 days. It is a region of Thailand I have never seen before so I am very excited to be going for that reason as well.

When we get back, I hope to post about the trip as well as our homeschooling adventures. I love homeschooling! In just 7 short weeks I am hooked! My only problem so far is time management--hence no blogs lately!

Gotta run!

Proverbs 16

I just can't get out of Proverbs. I have been reading it for nearly a year but it is still so fresh to me. This morning, in Proverbs 16:

1 The plans of the heart belong to man,
But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.

2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight,
But the LORD weighs the motives.

3 Commit your works to the LORD
And your plans will be established.

4 The LORD has made everything for its own purpose,
Even the wicked for the day of evil.

5 Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD;
Assuredly, he will not be unpunished.

6 By lovingkindness and truth iniquity is atoned for,
And by the fear of the LORD one keeps away from evil.

7 When a man's ways are pleasing to the LORD,
He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

8 Better is a little with righteousness
Than great income with injustice.

9 The mind of man plans his way,
But the LORD directs his steps.

33 The lot is cast into the lap,
But its every decision is from the LORD.

In light of the coming election in the U.S. and the political trials in Thailand, these verses comfort me.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I was told before I moved to Bangkok that it is the hottest city in the world. Now I have proof:

"According to the World Meteorlogical Organization, Bangkok, Thailand qualifies as the world's hottest city. Some cities may get hotter during the day, but BKK doesn't cool down much at night. Average Annual High is 32.7 C or 90.0 F; Low is 24.1 C and 73.4 F."

Umbrellas are used every bit as much for sun as they are for rain. No wonder, when you take a look at these statistics!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

On Servanthood

Worth your time; read it, I promise it will encourage you.

Making of Heroes

Friday, September 26, 2008

Remember Highlights Magazine??

If you have little ones kindergarten age or so, this Highlights website should be quite entertaining for them. Helen and Daniel are especially enjoying the hidden pictures games.

Also, here is a great site for free homeschooling material--something new and free each weekday.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Things You Don't Want to Hear...

Helen and I sitting at the computer, Helen reads out loud an advertisement on the site I am at:

"'Lose Stomach Fat!'--Hey Mom, that's what you have!"

Guess I won't eat any dessert tonight! LOL!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Visiting the Orphans

Last weekend we had the opportunity to visit an orphanage. I really didn't know what to expect. This particular one was started 30 years ago by a monk because soldiers kept bringing him children after killing their communist parents. I haven't completely processed my thoughts about this experience but I want you to see what we saw. So many children without a dad or a mom or any family to love them...

Everyone who donated items to the orphans came up to the pile of stuff and placed their hands on it to receive back the merit for their good deed. This is a picture of those who did so just after.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I have been tagged...

I went to upload my pictures from the weekend to show where we have been and my battery died in the middle...ugh! I hope I didn't lose them! So that will have to wait.

My friend Karen tagged me in a blogging game of "get to know me." I have never done one of these before, but I feel obligated...:)

1. Four places that I go over and over: upstairs, downstairs, my in-laws, and church

2. Four people who email me regularly: Pun, my mom, my feed, Sonlight

3. Four of my favorite places to eat: the outdoor markets, McDonald's (I admit it!--especially when I miss home), Beruit Cafe, at home when Pun cooks

4. Four places I would rather be right now: Ada, Oklahoma; Payson, Utah; Chiangmai, in the mountains or in snow anywhere where it is beautiful and cool! (actually I like where I am right now--home and all is quiet and peaceful, everyone is asleep :))

5. Four people I tag: Jill, Laurel, Christy, Erin

6. Four TV shows I watch: we don't have tv!

I hope to post again tomorrow after my batteries charge assuming I still have my pictures. Goodnight!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Passion Fruit

How can it be that I have been here 2 years and am still trying new fruits? I just ate my first passion fruit last week and I am wondering where they have been all this time? Oh my, I love it! Not for those who like their fruit sweet, this is a sour one. Some in my Thai family don't even care for it. Not me. This last week I ate 15 of them, 7 in one setting. I can't get enough. Have you ever seen it? Tried it??

Doesn't look like much from the outside.

Inside, bright yellow with little crunchy edible seeds. You scoop out all the yellow with your spoon and eat it up. My mouth is watering.

If you come to my house, you will have to fight Sam and me for them! He is the only other one who likes them!

Friday, September 05, 2008

So we have been busy getting stuff done around here (as I mentioned a few posts ago). We aren't as far along as we had hoped we would be but it's coming along. I keep telling myself, it's coming along. Just today, I nice gentleman with a very tall ladder came and painted our stairway. Done. That was a task neither Pun or I was looking forward to. Tomorrow someone else will come help Pun put up all (I hope!) of our curtains. A huge job drilling a hundred holes into solid concrete. The addition is all but done, a few little things need to be fixed, but we have already moved boxes in. We have done a little work out side, but have big dreams for it and little time. Pun keeps telling me it will happen. Or he will change his encouragement tactics and say, "someday we won't even be here!" with a smile, of course. Wherever we are at in this process of making a house our home, I am so thankful to be here in my home. I truly love it!

As I have mentioned before, I don't get out much, at least not on my own. It's just to difficult to commute, especially with 3 little ones. The other day, it was time for a yearly visit with the immigration office. To do this as efficiently as possible, we asked Pun's parents if they could watch Helen and Daniel while we took Sam with us. We left our house and drove to Pun's work where parked the car and walked to a nearby bus stop, caught a bus which we rode for 45 min, got off and immediately hopped into a taxi for another 5 min ride to the immigration office. After we finished (well, not really, because I have to go again on Monday!) we caught a song-taow--a pickup truck with two rows of seats in the back and rode it to a shopping area where we could catch the subway back up to meet one of Pun's co-workers, who, after they finished their business, drove us back to Pun's office. Does it tire you just think of it? I was wiped out! So I don't go out often. About the only form of transportation we missed was this one:

We don't have TV connection, which I like except when the Olympics were on... But I was beginning to feel in the dark about all that is going on. Maybe you have heard, but if you haven't, Thailand is struggling once again politically. It's been heating up and I was completely unaware until one morning as Pun was leaving earlier than usual he told me in a nonchalant tone that the government might be dissolved that day so traffic could be bad. I had no idea. Like I said, I am pretty isolated here. Apparently it has been rather ugly in the areas where they protest, but it seems to stay right there. We live quite a safe distance from these hot spots. But we appreciate your prayers for peace, discernment and understanding here.

In light of my ignorance about Thai politics and for that matter US politics as well, I have gone a bit crazy with my RSS feed. Do you know about these? I love watching blogs but spent too much time going to each sight to check to see if they had written anything new. I had no idea that I could be informed when they did. Now my Google Reader tells me when there are new posts. (If you would like to set this up for yourself, my friend Brian has an excellent tutorial. If I can do it you can, too!) Then I saw that I could add all the top stories from the Bangkok Post, Fox news, and other interesting news sites. I even added the word of the day to help increase my vocabulary! Now, I am in the know... Of course, I rarely have time to actually read the articles, but if I do, they are there! I love the internet.

Lets see, what else is new...oh yes! We started home school. And I love it! I was a little worried. I have only thought of and prepared for this since Helen was born. It would be a shame if I didn't like it. But we are having a great time. Daniel is joining in and doing quite well. And Sam is even cooperating for us, at least for now. I will post more later about what we are doing.

One other thing, about my last post, my mom asked me if I was having a bad day then. I don't think it was really a bad day so much as I was catching myself not being thankful for right where I was, even if it was less than what I would wish for. I was thinking about what I didn't have, or how I wish the kids would behave, know what I mean. Making the mental shift to embrace what God has allowed in my life right now to transform me right where I am and bring Him glory in that moment, and be grateful for it, this is my hope.

And my hope for you as well. Miss you all.

Friday, August 15, 2008

"Give up
the bitterness, the anger, the sadness

for what isn't,
that you wish you had.

And embrace the gift of what you do have.

For therein
is really what you want more of:


~Elizabeth Elliot

All the days of the afflicted are bad,
But a cheerful heart has a continual feast.
Proverbs 15:15

It is making a difference in my day.

Friday, August 01, 2008

The Woes of Digital Photography

I have been trying to capture a picture of Sam's new smile. He just pushed 4 new teeth through and has the cutest crooked grin. With digital cameras, I always seem to fail in getting the exact expression I want, because my babies faces change between the focus and the click!


"This one?"

"Maybe, tomorrow, Mom."

Thursday, July 31, 2008

I have been collecting snake stories for awhile now. Not intentionally. I just keep hearing them. I would have blogged about these, too, but I am well aware of how much time I devote to animals on this blog, so I have refrained. I could have told you the one about the 10 foot python in my father-in-law's yard that he clubbed to death (he thought) only to find him missing the next morning and then spotted by 2 others later. I could have told you how my aunt had to call the zoo to get another large snake out of her tree. Or how about the cobra my neighbor found in his yard, or the viper in my other neighbor's yard. These are all recent. In the not too far past, my father-in-law had to deal with a king cobra at his ranch. No worries, though, that is a good 2 hour drive from here.

I now have another story to add to my collection. Yesterday, on the day Pun stayed home because he was sick (Thank you, Lord!) we had our own visitor. I looked outside, and there he was! Chills went up my spine! Of course, I alerted my whole family. I really wanted Pun to come immediately. He came several minutes later.

The kids and I enjoyed all the drama of it. Pun finally caught him under the wheel of the car. Before it was all over, the poor thing lost his tail. Pun called security to help. He must of crawled up into the car because he was being spotted on all sides and never appeared again.

No worries, though. He was just a common (non-venomous) rat snake.

Helen and Daniel decided to plan a snake trap. Here is what Helen came up with, with Daniel's suggestions at the bottom.

Pun was proud...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Lazy Days

**** Dear Reader: This blog contains and inordinate amount of pictures. Really, I tried to edit them; I could have added so many more. So here is our vacation in pictures!

Last week, we went back to a resort (of sorts) which we had visited once before and fell in love with. I meant to blog about it at the time, but, well, you know me. So when Pun had a day off for a national holiday, we took 2 more and a weekend and spent 5 days there. Ahhh... so relaxing. And to top it off, our very good friends came along for the first 2 days.
I am not sure what to call this kind of resort. It is very simple, yet charming, somewhat like camping, but luxurious, quiet, but personal and inviting. You really just have to experience it to understand.

Each room is decorated in a different theme. Here is our room:

And here is one of the bathrooms. Actually it is more of an outhouse. A really nice one.
Several of the bathrooms are rooms with open ceilings with the shower hiding behind a tree.

The first morning we were there, our kids played outside for hours with their friends that came along with us. We sat to the side visiting and enjoying watching all the creativity in their play.

One thing we love about this place is the animals. Last time we were there they had a horse, baby chicks, rabbits, a bull, and a dog. This time they didn't have the rabbits or chicks, but they had guinea pigs, or as we know them--skinny pigs.

Of course we spent time admiring insects and lizards, and listening to geckos. If you have never heard one in real life, it is really a bizarre noise they make. Almost sounds unreal.

Here is a cute little "patter-killer" we watched for awhile:

Apparently, and I didn't know this before our trip, some caterpillars can cause nasty stings if handled. Others can give you quite a rash if you touch them. On the last day, Daniel got a hold of one and half his face broke out in hives.

So what else did we do?

Well, be lazy of course! After our friends left, we spent an entire day parked by the kitchen/dining area (which was so beautifully decorated) just visiting with other guests and getting to know the owners better. When guests arrive, they are served a beautiful blue tea drink. P'Nok, the owner, took a special interest in our kids and taught them how to make it. She showed them how she steeped the leaves to make the tea. Then they helped her put ice in glasses and pour some for Pun. Then they poured the lemon juice into it which turns the blue tea into an amazing purple color. So delicious!

P'Doi, husband of P'Nok, found out I like iced coffee. He spoiled me! He kept making me iced caramel coffees. Yummy! I made Pun pose for a picture with my coffee. He thought it was too strong!

Here I am after I finally got Sam to take a nap in the hammock. Doesn't it just look blissful?

Sam--vacationing at 8 months. I could just kiss those cheeks off!

We went to a nearby national park where we saw many things like waterfalls...

monkeys watching the traffic,

and this sign...I made Pun stop the car on a busy mountain street to take this picture, so sorry you can't see it well. If you can't read it, it says "Beware Cobra Crossing". I kind of wanted to see the real thing, but I had to settle for the sign.

Someone from our resort who knew the park rangers took us to their station and introduced us. The rangers showed us their bull like animal they keep as a pet (can't remember the name)

and then invited us to go up into the restricted land to look for more animals like tigers, bears, these bull like animals, elephants and deer. We were escorted there by the ranger with an M-16 in hand. They say they nearly always see animals at dusk (we went at dusk as well) but we weren't so lucky. Maybe it was the 6 children that scared them away.

On one of our last days we decided to go take a look at a little shop down the road. We had heard that the lady their had every species of orchid in Thailand. She also collected and sold pottery. I could have hung out at her place for hours. She was a collector! And she had an eye for beauty as well. She and her architect husband had built a little home/business in the mountains and it was stunning. Unfortunately for us, it was not the right season for the orchids (the picture from my last post was one of the only flowers blooming while we were there), but everything was lush and green. The more we enjoyed looking at their collections of pottery, the more they showed us. Eventually they took us into their home for a tour. We saw pottery from all over the world, seashells with natural colors that I was sure had been painted on, and Thai antiques that even my husband was unfamiliar with. Everywhere we looked there was something unusual with an interesting story about it. I could have been looking at the pages of a National Geographic magazine. Of course, by this time my flash card was full and I was searching for pictures delete so I could take more. Here are a few shots of the pottery pieces.

So now, if you are still with me this far, we are home, and back into our routines. Pun just finished another weekend away. I think he will be home now for awhile. Our house is still under construction, but they say it should be done soon. We will be spending August (hopefully) hanging curtains, organizing the last unpacked boxes, and pulling out pictures and decorations for the walls. Maybe we will even get the rest of the painting done. I will be finishing up preparations for Helen to begin school Sept 1. I am not at all excited. Wink. Talk to you later.
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