Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Baked Potato Salad

We have a crew from the US coming to town tomorrow, so let's be honest: I'm mopping and cleaning out closets today.  I use guests as external motivators for all sorts of household projects.  

I also popped some potatoes in the oven because there's a meal on the schedule that's right after Silas's Pre-4 "showcase." This has become my favorite make-ahead side dish.  

Link over for the recipe to Foodie With Family.   Check out her loaded Baked Potato Salad.  

Memphians, think Corky's potato salad...only in your own fridge! (Note for ex-pats: Because sour cream is hard to come by in these parts, I substitute plain greek yogurt, blended with some cream cheese and it's delicious!

With BBQ Chicken in the crock pot and this little dish in the fridge, I feel like I walk into the house and dinner is ready! 

Put it in your recipe box for this summer, ladies.  This one is worth the effort! 

Friday, May 26, 2017

return to Ikea

We had a few things that have been stacked in a return pile for about 6 months now, so last night we headed to Ikea. I don't think I'll ever stop feeling nostalgic about that store.

It makes me remember that season when we were living in a little hut near the ocean.  Asher was dancing near the roof edge during laundry hanging.  The boys were tired before we even walked out the door in the mornings.  We were spending all our time walking the streets on the grand apartment hunt and our evenings eating at Ikea and shopping for a house full of furniture.  I told you I'm all nostalgic about it, see?

We've come a long way.  And Ikea, and their wonderful Swedish economy, helped me build a home here.  Boy am I glad to have a home to rest in.

We bought a new bookshelf, because it's just about impossible to leave that store empty handed.  Those people know how to market.

Hope we're done there for a long while now.  Except for the hot dogs.  We'll never be done with their hot dogs.

Hubs ate three. He loves Ikea too:)

Thursday, May 25, 2017


Um.  I've not been doing so well at keeping up lately.  We had a few visitors from the states.  And I got not one picture.  And my friend from here is in the US right now.  So I've had six kids every day at lunch.  Six is a lot.  

Thankfully, this lot is seriously well behaved.  Barring my own two year old maniac.  It's been so fun to watch the kids together.  And there's a girl in the mix! (Yes, only one.  5 boys, haha!) We did a sewing project together.  It's like boy-mom therapy. 

It's definitely eaten into those few spare minutes of blogging time:) I just wrote on my to-do list today: Blog something. This is it. 

Someday soon I'll tell ya something deep.  For now, here's the monster. The cutest monster I know:) 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Jude's Party

How did it get so late so soon? It's night before it's afternoon.  December is here before it's June. My goodness, how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?
- Dr. Seuss

Thursday, May 18, 2017


 I had the morning off of class on Tuesday.  Usually, those mornings are spent catching up on all that falls to the wayside while I'm conjugating verbs.  It's occurred to me lately though, that I really don't spend as much intentional time with this little two year old as I did the other boys.  I'm a multi-tasker, so it always seems so much better to go to the zoo or do an outing when I need to entertain all three boys.   But if I run things down that track, the third born will definitely get the left overs of this momma's time.  

So we went.  

We sat in front of the gorilla cage for a long time.  He looked at pigeons and ignored the flamingos.  He gave me a big kiss by the monkey swings. 

Then, we were standing in front of the pelicans.  With their weird beaks and crazy faces. 

This past week in particular, I have been battling comparison.  Feeling shoved into all kinds of boxes in my mind...what I should be, do, say, how I should dress, eat, pray.  Part of it is the necessity of finding a way forward here in this new season we're entering.  But another part of it has been so dark and tangled, accusing me of a thousand things that I'm just not.  

Someone else said it. I can't remember who.  

Comparison kills spirituality. 

And friends, it does.   I've been battling against it hard lately.  It will spread a blackness on your soul.

Anyways, I was looking at a pelican, marveling at that beak and those eyes, when my soul heard the whisper of truth.  God made pelicans and ant eaters, flamingos and tigers. Those little ground hogs and prairie dogs, cows and butterflies.  

If someone is pushing me into a box or making me feel like I need to have a certain cookie cutter shape of gifting and abilities to be "right", it's not my Maker.  He is a God who delights in differences.  He gives purpose and place to the smallest ant all the way up to the roaring lion.  He created them all.  And because of that, there's dignity in all.  

Me included. 

You too.  

Think about a Maker who creates so uniquely and extravagantly .  It will take your breath away.  

My purpose and yours is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.  And that might just look as different as a pelican and an elephant.  

I should go to the zoo with Asher more often. 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Mother's Day

These boys are all sorts of sweetness.  And wildness too. Which is why my Mother's Day request was breakfast in bed.  

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The Grand Camp-out

For Jude's upcoming birthday, he requested a family camp-out.  My parent's gave David camping equipment for Christmas and we've been waiting for warmer weather to try it out.  

Friends had told us that European camping is much different.  And, wow, they were right! 

The "campground" had a full service restaurant, a grocery store, a swimming pool, jacuzzi, tennis and futbol court, trampoline and playground. In the summer months, they have entertainment 2x a week, and a disco party on Saturday evenings.  No fires.  It's like a European rule or something.  We roasted marshmallows over a candle.  The campsites are practically on top of one another.  Thankfully, right now is low season still so it was really peaceful for us. It's almost like a summer camp set up...only for everyone.  I walked past a camper full of French-speakers near dinner time and their table was set with crystal wine glasses.  

These people are serious about their camping.  The Germans we talked to were using their maternity leave to camp with their parents.  The Dutch were taking a two month sabbatical to camp...in a tent....with their toddlers. It was a big tent though.  Big.  

They thought it was hilarious that we unloaded all our stuff to stay for less than 24 hours. We're just dipping our toes in now though:) Ok. Enough chatter.  Here are a few pictures. 

Happy Campers.  (Let's keep it real too: Silas was like an inchworm all night in his sleeping bag.  At one point, Jude was using Silas's bootie as his pillow. David couldn't fit inside the actual tent with us comfortably, so he slept in the entryway. And my back is so sore today that not even Advil could cure it.) But we did love it! The birthday boy was particularly happy!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Monday Miscellany

Hellooooo!!! It's Monday.  Here's a little miscellaneous information from our world on this side.  

1. David ran the "Bombers" 10K this weekend.  That's bomberos.  The firefighters.  There were over 10,000 people in the race.  A few of the guys ran in all their firefighter apparel, pushing wheelchairs....for 6+ miles.

Hubs has a hilarious habit of racing "himself" in these situations. He takes it very seriously and I get really tickled by it. His goal was 42 minutes.  He came in at 42.03. Ya'll that's a good time. But I could tell those 3 seconds really irked him though. There's a 5k in June that he's planning to run and he's already setting his goal:)

He did eat the celebratory cookie cake in spite of the three seconds though.

2. The boys watched Barca play "futbol" on Saturday night.  They now have full apparel, thanks to Grammar and Pop.  Silas even made me paint the Nike check and a 10 on his shorts so his uniform would be authentic. That kid loves Messi. Jude's a Neymar, Jr fan...quite possibly just because he wants to be different from Silas.

3. Last week alone, people from four different continents ate at my dining table. I thought we were inter-cultural before, but this city is making me feel like I've been culturally unenlightened heretofore.

Ya'll.  I admit that to this Southern gal, it's just a little stressful to welcome people from so many backgrounds...knowing that they definitely do not eat, drink or do hospitality the way I do.  I'm trying to lean into humility though and add enough kindness to cover up the abundant cultural errors that are inevitable.

I served this Au Gratin Potato casserole from All Recipes.  So far, friends from four countries have loved it.  I'm adding it to the no-fail list.  It's really delicious.

4. We are going camping this week for Jude's upcoming 7th birthday.  He requested a camp out. You can look forward to the full report later this week. I have every confidence there'll be a story or two to share.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

the funk

Ya'll.  There's a serious funk in our house.  At first we thought it was the radiators.  We had them checked.  It's not the radiators.  We thought maybe it was a dead animal. Or maybe the neighbors had something weird going on. 

We're not talking a little whiff now and then. We're talking rotten, putrid air when you open the door to our bedroom and Asher's room.  

Hubs resorted to neighbors.  The elderly lady on five sent her caretaker down to take a whiff.  No help.  The architects below us said that this has been a recurring problem for the past two years.  They even ripped out a wall to try and fix a drain in hopes it would diminish.  To no avail. My hopes sunk. I thought I left smells like this behind in South Asia.  

It would appear it's some sort of internal building problem that won't be easily discovered or remedied.  The good news is, it was almost unnoticeable this winter.  The bad news is, it's barely hot right now.  If this is the heat bringing it out, I cannot even imagine what August will be like.  

I'm working it out a little better these days...closing off the rooms with the strongest smell and putting fans in the windows. 

And finally, after about 7 years of snobbishly resisting "faddish" behavior, I am diffusing essential oils in my house.  All you granolas will be delighted to know, it is helping. 

(I hope you hear the love, Amanda.)  

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

sister, sister

It's my sister's birthday.  And it just never gets easier to be so far away.  I will say that the longer we are living on the far side, the more I treasure the ties that don't fall away with time and distance.

Happy Birthday, Sister!

For there is no friend like a sister in calm or stormy weather; 

To cheer one on the tedious way, to fetch one if one goes astray, 

to lift one if one totters down, to strengthen whilst one stands. 

- Christina Rossetti