Thursday, July 16, 2015

Homeschooling at its finest

We recently befriended a family living nearby who raise shrimp. Their water supply flows down from the mountains in the west. They have one pool that is teeming with tilapia. They must have accidentally been washed down the pipes, because our friends say they didn't do anything to bring about this bountiful protein source.

Well, I'm sure they didn't know what they were getting into when they kindly welcomed us to come fish anytime. So far, the kids have gone to their house to fish two, maybe three times. They would go every day if they could.

This family is so nice! The first time we went, we had asked on a whim. They said we could come right over. We spent the next two hours fishing and talking. Good times! And the kids actually caught some fish! What a feeling!

They saved the fish for us in a net compartment, and brought them over the next evening. Joseph and Anna were beside themselves with excitement that they had a chance to do one of their favorite jobs: gut the fish.


 I'm happy they like to gut fish; I'm happy Anna likes to eat fish eyes, I'm happy Lydia begs for the bum of the roast chicken; I'm happy that all three devour the sliced pig ear when we go to a nearby shop to eat; I'm happy they slurped up those squid legs with relish when our neighbor gave us two whole fresh creatures to cook. I'm getting carried away. All this to say, I'm free. Let them enjoy those delicacies. I'm content to watch with morbid curiosity. Let them gut all the fish they want. I'm content to wash, salt, and roast them.

...which is what we did that evening. They were delicious! And all the more so because of the work that went into it. I wish I could find a way to measure how much confidence they gained in the process.

Thank you, Men-Feng and Pei-Ting!

Oh yes, and to boot, all of this busyness happened with this as a backdrop. It never gets old.

Homeschooling at its finest!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Small harvest!

Those are heirloom roma tomatoes. Next year, I'm planting them earlier to maybe get a whole jar of tomato sauce out of them. Ken seems to like pumpkin flowers in his omelet, so I'm not completely disappointed that this particular plant has only churned out males flowers so far.   The okra are coming steadily, and the long bean will begin to overwhelm us (like zucchini) pretty soon.         

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

So fake it till you make it really works!

Two and a half years ago, when we started sharing space with every sort of flying and crawling creature, I determined in my heart to hide from my kids my disgust for caterpillars. I didn't want them to develop the same reaction. So whenever we saw some huge, bulbous thing crawling on the ground, I would exclaim with wonder at its beauty, etc.

Well, this worked. Too well. Lydia loves millipedes, grasshoppers, inchworms, caterpillars - anything, grabable, she will grab. Sadly, most of them are furnished with cute little "house" and left to die in their plastic prison. Unintentional neglect.

But on the bright side, I was surprised to notice a subtle shift in my own attitude toward crawling things. The more I touched Lydia's pets at her insistence, the less I minded. I even got to the point where picking worms off my cauliflower was no big deal. See below.

Today took things to a whole new level.

Lydia found an extra fat, really fast worm almost running along the cement. Of course, she immediately tried to pick it up. As soon as she touched it, it made a sudden twisting, jumping motion that made us all take a small step backward. I told Lydia that this was its only defense mechanism against a world full of predators. It became like a toy - every time she touched it, it would make spastic motions. So much power in such a tiny little worm! I'm sure that instinct helped the little fellow escape many near-death encounters. God has everything worked out to a "T'.

Anyway, Lydia eventually picked it up, and started carrying it around. It got used to her hand quickly, and the two were inseparable for the next hour.

What I couldn't believe, is that when Lydia brought it over to me, and insisted I pet it, I looked at it, and felt a mustard seed of affection. It was so cute and fat! This feeling actually grew!

There is a certain feeling one gets when they see an adorable baby with soft, pudgy cheeks. Those cheeks just have to be kissed....

Well, believe it or not, the same feeling welled up within my chest, and yup, it's true - Reader, I kissed it!

I was not going to let this little cutie meet the same fate as the others. After Lydia tried to feed it every kind of leaf in the yard to no avail, I demanded that she let the little presh go. He wasn't even defending himself anymore, he was so weary. So Lydia put him in a special spot in the grass, and looked in on him occasionally. Who knows if he will be there tomorrow? Deep down, I'm hoping he will. :P

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Dutch Blitz

There is nothing like a hearty game of Dutch Blitz...

and chess...

With good friends.

Steven and his family have been so helpful to us since we moved here. Details of their kindness need their own post.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

new laoban

I'm fixing to have the kids take over Hen & Chicks as soon as possible. They made these cinnamon rolls themselves a while back. (with the help of the thermomix, of course)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Fading memories

I'm going through old pictures in preparation for our end-of-year homeschooling presentation. I need to prove that we have been diligently dispensing knowledge on a daily basis. Thankfully, I don't need to prove this. The committee is obliging and supportive. Nevertheless, I'm going to try to give off the impression that all we do around here learn and create in peace and harmony. Thanks to Jin-li for the idea she gave me long ago - simply glue photo documentation to A4 paper, and have the kids write about what they did. In no time, we'll have a folder full of cute, creative projects. Never mind that they occurred perhaps twice a month. So anyway, I'm taking a happy trip down memory lane of this past year. I want to write down as many memories here as possible before they slip into the fog of my 37 year old brain.

For example, I wish I could remember what song these three were dancing to here:

I have a hunch it was Nicole Mullen's My Redeemer Lives. How can you not dance to that song?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Our land!

Here is our land!

The "strange hand" (excavator) came in for a few days.

But that was a few months back. So our land looks different now.

We have planted several hundred trees.

 And all the original vegetation is growing back with a vengeance.

We are still praying about how best to use this land.