Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Making baby food

I am in charge of making the baby food for our babies who are six months and older here at the baby home. It is so much cheaper for us to make our own food and so nice to use fresh ingredients. Baby food is about $0.75 a jar here - can you imagine how much our grocery bill would go up? I thought I'd share some of my ideas for different foods to make for different ages. Maybe you will enjoy a little glimpse into our lives.

This was a year or two ago, but I'm pretty sure I got all of this for about $15 (or about 20 jars of baby food).

It's a fair amount of work! Thankfully I have my trusty friend Gertrude who helps me sometimes.

We introduce one new food every week when a baby is learning how to eat. We buy mabele porridge for one of their first foods (mabele comes from sorghum). Baby L loves it so much! We also introduce a number of fruits and veggies.

These are some foods that are affordable to make (depending on the season...) and easy to buy locally:






Plain yogurt


Green beans

Beets (known as beetroot here)



Sweet potatoes (white and orange)



They also enjoy various food combinations...we try to start them on veggies but some things we have to mix with a little fruit!


Mashing turnips and apples to mix together




Avocado/yogurt (this was pretty popular at one point!)


Green smoothie with spinach and various fruit

Standard finger foods around here include Marie biscuits (kind of like graham crackers) and Otees (South African brand of Cheerios).

It's pretty easy to make purees for the younger kids, but as they get a little older I have to get more creative. In a family they would probably just eat some of whatever the family is eating, but here I need to have things that are prepared ahead of time and easy to pull out of the freezer, or at least very quick to cook. Here are some of the things I have tried (with varying success...)

Pumpkin/rice mash

Potatoes and spinach

"Spaghetti" - macaroni with canned tomato and onions, ground beef, and spices - or finely chopped macaroni with tomato paste, spices, etc.

Creamy chicken and veggie stew

Mini quiches

Spinach patties

Macaroni and cheese with finely chopped viennas (like hot dogs, but taste more like Spam...big hit though!)

Veggie/ground beef soup

Baked beans and viennas (also very popular!)

Lentil/bean soup from dried mix


Some of whatever the nannies are eating!

More menu ideas are always welcome!

Monday, August 28, 2017


It's been a busy month here in Pretoria at MBH! I always say I'm never sure quite how many people I live with. These are the people who actually stay in the same house as me:

Five babies (give or take)
Makoena and Garakai, our house parents, and their two children

But these are the people who are always here, or frequently in and out enough that it almost feels like I'm living with them, at least to some extent:

Britt, one intern, and another girl who is staying "downstairs" (in the back cottage)
At least two interchangeable nannies
An endless procession of volunteers, church family, family of nannies, friends, friends' children, people taking tours, social workers, foster parents, adopting families, visiting biological families, etc, etc, etc.

So, technically, I live with nine other people in our immediate house but it feels like more!

Sweet boy J1 was adopted today! Our loss is his gain. Please pray that he will know and love Jesus as he grows up.

I won't have TWO boys anymore as baby girl C is moving from Room 1 to Room 2 to balance things out. 

I will miss all the twinning...

...and the peaceful naptimes!

Baby J2 (now just baby J) is finally holding his head up, and smiling more! 

He is so chubby he has earned the nickname "Baby Oros" after the fat cartoon on the Orange Kool-Aid type drink that is popular here. (Only this is from an Oros Lite bottle and J is NOT light. Ha!)

Baby C is growing and not crying QUITE so often. I found out she really likes to be swaddled when she is sleeping.

From top to bottom: L, Auntie Patricia, M, and C. L and M are growing as well! L is starting to crawl and sometimes we find his adorable face peeking into the kitchen, so we have to keep the gate shut! As you can see, they keep Auntie Patricia busy tending to their needs and helping them with development exercises!

We made a lot of trips to the clinic for immunizations this month! It's crazy how many appointments we have some months.

The two T's on a grocery shopping trip. They got free balloons. They bopped all the things. Their mom, who has a paralyzing phobia of balloons (because they might pop and scare her, not because they are a choking hazard) was very happy that these ones quickly met their demise.

A number of us from church made a trip to visit the observatory in Johannesburg this month. We listened to a talk about the solar system and looked at Saturn through the telescope. (I saw two rings!)

1Hope had a team "hike" this month. It was actually a walk, but it was nice. Someone had a selfie stick and we used it a lot! We wandered around Rosemary Hill (which wasn't a hill, but a farm) and then had lunch. We finished up with a braai (cookout) at the deWitts' house and sat around talking into the evening. 

Mama Linda is going home to Zimbabwe during her vacation this month, so we went shopping last Saturday. This is Marabastad, which is probably the most African part of Pretoria. Hang onto your handbag!

We drove into the parking lot next to the questionably cooked meat, but did not find a parking space despite sitting in the queue for a long time. I was about ready to give up, but we eventually found parking in the lot next door. This place will exercise ALL your combative driving skills.

Like this intersection - it was kind of a joke. I'm not even sure what was happening there...

...but it involved a lot of taxis and one large bus.

We did, however, make it out alive, intact, and with no possessions stolen - so it really isn't that scary. ;)

That's about all the news I have for this month! My goal this month is to journal regularly so I have more funny stories to tell you! 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Enjoying singleness

I think at one point I had a really snarky and clever title for this blog post...it's probably just as well I forgot it, ha ha!

I am 27, and I am single. This alone causes a number of people to feel sorry for me, or at least feel the need to reassure me that "don't worry, someone will come in God's time!" Well, maybe they will, or maybe that time could be "not at all," but either way I'm not sitting around pining, twiddling my thumbs, and feeling sorry for myself while waiting for my life to begin.

Let me clarify here. I think marriage is wonderful! God created it and it's a very good thing. In fact, I do hope I am married one day. And I look forward to loving and serving God alongside someone for life. Marriage is great. Kids are great. I hope I have both someday. (And I'm not opposed to single mom adoption, either, in fact I'm a fan, although I'd have a lot to think through, plan, pray about, and talk through with a lot of people in my life.)

But singleness is also great. This is actually in the Bible, yet some Christians act shocked when I tell them I thoroughly enjoy my current status. I had this conversation recently...and although my memory may be a bit fuzzy on the exact words exchanged, I am not exaggerating...

Me: So, I do want to get married someday...in the future...but I really LIKE being single.
Newly Engaged Friend: Noooooo!!! That's wrong!! You can't enjoy it!
Me: But...Paul says it's a good thing in Corinthians.
NEF: But still! You can't ENJOY it!!!

My naturally stubborn nature says...why not?? If you tell me I shouldn't enjoy it, I will enjoy it even MORE! Ha. But seriously though, I'm single and I don't particularly enjoy being pitied for it. I actually love my life. 

I love working in ministry, and if I married, I'm not sure I'd want to leave it. I love caring for babies that need a home.

I would say I love my independence, but in my situation, I depend on others, and I have a LOT of people who depend on me for everything from rides to church to finding the sugar (like a mom, I'm apparently the only one in the house with x-ray vision). And although it may be tiring at times, it is good practice in laying my life down for others. I don't think people are meant to be as isolated as we are in the States. 

I love my little room, even when I'd rather have my own place, because I'm learning contentment.

I love my church and the fact that my adopted family is as real as any biological family.

I love the future, the potential of years ahead of loving and serving alongside these people, and the unexpected things God brings into my path.

I love living in South Africa, early morning walks in the neighborhood, trying to learn languages, finding new things and places to love.

I love the good, the wonderful, the crazy, and the obnoxious about living in the baby home...New babies arriving.  Bengu dancing in the sitting room. Four people trying to cook four separate dinners. "You wash, I'll dry." "Can I borrow an onion? Cooking oil? Sugar?" The endless requests to "show me how you cook that!" Embarrassing lessons in cooking pap - which seems like it would be easy, but taught me a very humbling lesson in patience for the next time someone asks me how to scrape a bowl with a spatula. Seven-minute workouts. Saturday morning scones and dancing as people run in and out. Rapping into a bottle of soy sauce about grasshoppers and mice. Earnest conversations, tears, laughter. Endless, endless Psalty, Steve Green, and Slugs and Bugs songs filtering over from our slowly dying TV. Piles of laundry loading into our washing machine that constantly sounds like it's readying for takeoff, no matter how many times it's fixed. Gertrude's stories of her childhood. Labor advice for pregnant moms. ("Scream really loud.") African and American dishes cooking side by side. Babies crying. Babies laughing. Learning to love each other well.

I love my good God. I love the fact that He is my dwelling place, my family, my joy, my ENOUGH, whether He brings someone into my life or not. And I hope He does. Just maybe not quite yet.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Life at the baby home

Life here at the baby home has been busy! (But I'm sure you've surmised as much from the absence of blog posts, right?) We currently are full with five babies!

Baby L is 9 months old. He is scooting all over and loves bananas. He loves to make happy sounds and interact with us!

Baby J-1 is about five months old. He also is very interactive. He smiles and laughs so much! 

Baby M is four months old. He wants you to talk to him and play with him, and his hair is finally growing in nicely (he looked like a grandpa for a while...) 

Baby J-2 is three months old. His favorite thing to do is sleep! I joke that we sleep train the other babies but we have to wake-train him! He also likes to eat and I think his ankles have ankles.

Baby C is about six weeks old and is our only girl. If she had her way, she'd be held 24/7. (She does get her way often, because she is a loud one!) And this princess isn't happy with you holding her while you do other things - no, she wants your FULL attention!

And of course, the baby home photo gallery wouldn't be complete without these two who belong to our house mom, the two T's:

Big boy T

Naughty Tadi

Lots of babies means lots of chores! This is only part of my shopping haul for one month. (Psst - MBH needs lots of support to pay for all those nappies and cans of formula! If you'd be interested in directly supporting the ministry, click on the link on the sidebar, but choose Muphamuzi Baby Home instead of my name.)

Lots of baby food needs to be made!

Clothing ALWAYS needs to be sorted. I can't keep up with how fast the babies grow!

I organized the garage, which took forever. It's actually stayed neat for a few weeks now, which feels like it should be a record. Thanks Melanie for your help!

Sunday mornings feel like they come around more than once a week.

With the addition of baby C, there are now five carseats and five nappy bags in this lineup.

We love our new bottle bands! Everything is organized and labeled with a color system - the bottle bands match the carseat labels which match the nappy bag labels, and so on and so forth. It's beautiful.

This is our church. (Actually, this is our Good Friday meal, which shows how long it's been since I have written a proper blog post.) We are enjoying our new (rental) building! We are able to meet there more than once a week, which is really helpful for our rapidly growing congegation.

My room is finally clean. Well, it was when I took this picture...this was when I finally finished unpacking. I'm pretty sure it took at LEAST a month.

I've been enjoying time spent with our MBH interns. Erika and Melanie have returned to the US, and we miss them!

Rachel is also returning to the States after two months of serving with us. Like a good intern, she cheerfully puts up with all my crazy organizing chore ideas.

Baby home ladies all enjoyed a nice surprise "staff meeting" that was actually a trip to the bowling alley...

...and Cinnabon.

We had a power outage one evening and ate pb&j's (or variations on that theme) by candlelight. Thankfully we don't have regular "load shedding" - I've heard it's because we live close to the hospital. Load shedding is when they have scheduled power outages in various parts of the city...I think it's to keep from overtaxing the power system.

We also dealt with a rat infestation in the ceiling. That was delightful...NOT. Thankfully they never came into the house, but I could hear them up scratching around in the attic over the bathroom. They chewed through the wires to the hot water pump, resulting in no hot water to the back of the house and bucket baths for a few days! The chewed wires set off the hot water pump alarm...which could not be silenced...except with five cotton balls, a dozen or so pieces of duct tape, and three blankets to smother the obnoxious thing. I'm very glad that it's all fixed now...and we're starting to see dead, poisoned rats in the yard, which is pretty gross, but at least they aren't in the ceiling!

I've also enjoyed a few hikes lately. The Faerie Glen nature reserve is in the heart of Pretoria East, but it's a nice getaway nonetheless.

Wonderboom is a great hiking spot. It's also in the city, but on top of the hill is a crumbling, abandoned fort. It's peaceful, far above the busyness and you can see both the main part of Pretoria as well as Pretoria North.

Hennops is also a nice place to hike, although you have to drive out of the city a ways. 

There are lots of fun things to see...rock formations, lookouts, a tire ladder to climb down, a cable car across a river, and a suspension bridge.

This was a day or two after I started exercising and I was soooo sore! I could barely move. But it was fun!

So anyways, that's what I have been up to the last few months! Life is good.