Monday, October 30, 2017

October

Spring has sprung here in Purpletoria...oops, Pretoria! The jacarandas are everywhere and they are gorgeous. It feels like you're driving through a purple cloud.


One day, the spring rain brought us a beautiful double rainbow.


The babies are all doing well. Baby C (below, left) is four months old. Baby L (center) is one now and is crawling all over the place and trying to stand up. Baby J (right) is six months old and smiles so much! 


At church!

Below: M and J (again). M is also six months old. They are both starting baby food - our blender never seems to stop running! M likes to hang out and roll around on the floor.


Baby R is already two and a half months old! She's catching up on C - they both wear the same clothes.


Our newest driver - just kidding! He does look quite at home behind the wheel, though...


Big T and baby L both had birthdays this month (on the same day). T is two and L is one. We had a party for them and we made a HUGE cake. It was kind of an ambitious project so I talked Kundai, my newest coworker, into helping me bake it. She's pretty much game for anything that involves baking.


The finished product! (Photo credit: Britt)


The big kids enjoying Pancake Night! Someone was pretty excited, I guess.


There's been a lot of life happening at Living Hope, as well! We held our annual Fun Day, where our small groups compete against each other in singing, volleyball, cheers, and games. We won! Now I have to dust the trophy all year...haha.


CPGC! (Capital Park Gospel Community)


Some days I feel like a pack mule and/or a one-woman band!


Here is our GC's song! I'm the white girl in the back with zero dance moves. I struggle enough to kick AND sing to an African beat, and adding clapping is pretty much impossible. It was fun though!

More random pictures - here's Sunday school this month. The kids were having a competition with their tops they won for learning memory verses. It was really cute.


At a wedding!


Congolese food at the wedding. I tried one of those fish with heads too...only I didn't eat the head...or the tail...or the bones...so I'm not sure you could say I really ate it at all, by African standards...


The next day I went out with a friend and we tried Turkish food, which I'm not sure either of us had ever heard of, but it was delicious - would definitely recommend. All those things (except the fries) went inside pieces of the bread that you tear off. It was pretty good!


That's about all I have for right now! Stay tuned as I have an idea for a new series of blog posts - I'd like to introduce you to my coworkers.

Monday, October 9, 2017

MBH is Expecting!!!

Here is an exciting announcement from our director!

MUPHAMUZI BABY HOME IS EXPECTING!:)
BABY HOME #2  - Due Date - ASAP
"As many of you know, some months back the Dept of Social Services suggested we request to become a 'Cluster Care' property.  This means we would be allowed to have TWO baby homes on the same property.  Normally NOT allowed.  We are happy to report that after various meetings – Architects, City Planners, Dept of Social Services, and a Child Protection Organization, God seems to be swinging doors wide open for this opportunity.   We were met with enthusiasm in each meeting.   From Government workers to CPO workers, our expansion was met with full agreement and willingness to help wherever they can.   We were told our home is a 'luxury home for babies' and more homes like this are needed!   The application is now in process. We were not allowed to submit the application until we got 'pre-approval' by all of the above parties.   So now, as we understand, it is a matter of getting paperwork done as requested.    
"Muphamuzi Baby Home will be the very first 'Cluster Care' property in South Africa that offers 'temporary care' as our passion is the family and we pray that our babies will only be in our care for a short while as they await their forever family.   
"We are chomping at the bit to get started.   This past month we have had to say no to SIX babies as our current home is already full!     Home #2 would have already been filled and this breaks our hearts each time we must legally say 'sorry, we are full'!     

"Will you pray with us that we can see the doors of MBH #2 open VERY soon?"

Monday, September 25, 2017

September

September has been quite the month! Life is happening as always here in Capital Park, Pretoria. 

We welcomed sweet baby "Rosebud!" We are so happy to be able to care for her! She likes to sleep sometimes, but she has a squeaky yet loud and insistent cry when she's had enough "down time" and wants to be picked up again! She loves her bottle and is such a good eater - she has grown quickly even in just a few weeks.



Baby C is three months old now - it's hard to believe that it's been that long since she arrived here, only a few hours old. She is definitely becoming a big girl and is no longer the youngest baby in the house. She smiles and coos and loves to interact with her nannies. She also loves lying outside on a blanket under the tree and watching the leaves blow in the breeze. She doesn't really like tummy time, and hates having her hair combed, but she's getting better at that. Most days she does pretty well adjusting to her new nap schedule, although sometimes she'd rather be playing!


She has the sweetest smile!


Baby J is four and a half months old, but he weighs 9 kg - almost as much as our 11 month old! He is a sturdy boy! He's smiling a lot these days and doing much better at tummy time - he can hold his head up for a lot longer. He is starting to propped sit as well and we think it's his fat that is holding him up! He enjoys spending time outdoors sitting under the avocado tree, and swinging in the swing. He LOVES looking at his handsome self in the mirror!


Baby M is five months old now! He's growing and changing a lot. He likes to smile and he has the craziest eyebrows, no matter how much we try to tame them. He likes being held and he DOESN'T like naptime or being put down very much. This month he decided he doesn't like warm milk anymore and would rather take his bottles barely heated. He's a bit of a charmer and has made various people at church fall in love with him. 



Baby L is almost a year old! He is crawling everywhere and causing mischief - he keeps us busy! He loves to give sloppy kisses and laughs a lot. This month he is learning to feed himself finger foods, although the floor is getting fed pretty well too as he likes to throw whatever doesn't make it into his mouth! It's hard to chew when you only have two bottom teeth!



Hope the floor thinks those Cheerios are yummy!


He's a big fan of porridge too. "Can I have some more...gruel...please?"


Happy smile!


The 2T's are getting bigger as well! Here they are learning to feed themselves pap and sauce.


Tadi turned ONE this month! And after the birthday-cake-hyper-baby-fiasco that happened (thanks to Auntie Abbie) her mom declared she was NEVER ALLOWED TO HAVE CAKE EVER AGAIN.


Happy birthday, sweet girl!


We love you SO MUCH! (Just remember that when we won't let you have cake at Big T's party next month!)


So, besides growing babies, what else is happening around here? Well, summer has arrived (after the first and last day of spring, which were, incidentally, the same day). I spent most of a day packing and unpacking clothes so everyone has something seasonally appropriate to wear...soooo thankful for our intern Melanie (now at home) who helped me organize everything! We may not have much storage space - there is so much stuff! - but it certainly streamlined the process greatly!


It's so fun to have fresh new summer clothes to dress them in every Sunday!


Baby L and I. He's very...ACTIVE in church.


We are thankful for all the extra hands to help us out!





We went over to my sweet friend and coworker's new house for a pool party! We were thinking it would just be a few of us girls, her, and her boys. But she suddenly had visitors, and her visitors had visitors, and I think her visitors' visitors had visitors (that they may have met on the street and invited along). So they left their many children (7? 8? 9? We never did get an accurate head count...)  with Gertrude, who can't swim, and Sarah, who thankfully can, while they left to buy drinks. When I showed up on my bike, an insane amount of children, very few of whom may actually have been able to swim, were running around in their underpants/swim suits, shouting, splashing, and thankfully not drowning while using my slightly questionable thrift store flotation devices. (Those were intended for a slightly lower adult/child ratio in the pool). Sarah brought noodles, too, so somehow everyone managed to stay afloat in the very frigid water - the nights haven't warmed up all the way, and the pool was still pretty cold. So *I* did not swim, and I'm very glad I didn't have to jump in to save anyone.


Thankfully after an hour or so of crazytown, everyone cleared out and we moved on to Pancake Night!


The boys were veeeerrryy excited to help and made all kinds of "shapes." "Look, it's a helicopter!" "Oh really, buddy, is that what it is?"

Here's our giant mountain of pancakes, which we kept warm in the oven...


And here is the aftermath!


At Living Hope, we had a special service and baptized seven believers this month! (Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures!) It was such a blessing to hear everyone's testimonies. People came from all different cultures and backgrounds and Christ has woven a beautiful story of redemption in each one's life. 

The next Sunday we welcomed a number of new members. I'm so glad we are a part of the same family, not on Christ's body but also at Living Hope where we get to be part of each other's lives.


Watching God at work in this way reminds me of the beautiful truths about unity in Ephesians 2.

"For he himself is our peace..."

"...you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God..."

"Christ himself being the cornerstone..."

"In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit."


We may not have divisions between Jews and Gentiles, but South Africa has generations of built up racial tension. It paints a backdrop that shows God's grace. I love how in Christ, we all were once far off, but now we are near to Him. And, we have each other. What more could we ask for?



(Sorry for the poor quality! Blogger won't let me upload anything bigger...)

Chakutumaini sina
(My hope is built on nothing less)
Ila damu yake Yesu
(Than Jesus' blood and righteousness)
Sina wema wa kutosha
(I dare not trust the sweetest frame)
Dhambi zangu kuziosha
(But wholly lean on Jesus' name)

Kwake Yesu nasimama
(On Christ the solid rock I stand)
Ndiye mwamba ni salama
(All other ground is sinking sand)
Ndiye mwamba ni salama
Ndiye mwamba ni salama.

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:

Bananas

Apples

Spinach

Butternut

Pumpkin

Plain yogurt

Chicken

Green beans

Beets (known as beetroot here)

Pears

Papaya

Sweet potatoes (white and orange)

Avocado

Carrots

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

Spinach/banana

Spinach/banana/apple

Chicken/pumpkin

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



Banana/avocado/yogurt

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


Rice

Some of whatever the nannies are eating!

More menu ideas are always welcome!