Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cassava Root

This week while we were in the village we were able to try a new food.  For a snack they dug up some cassava roots for us to have.

Cassava root can be prepared many different ways but this time we just peeled off the hard bark-like outside and ate the inner root raw. 

It was very good and even the Little Sojourners like it!

Tryin' new things,
*I'm linking up with "Try New Adventures Thursday" at Alicia's Homemaking.

It was the First Day of School...

When began the days of racing out the door in the morning cool.

The obligatory "First Day of School Pictures" were shot;

And the empty oatmeal bowls were left in their spot.

The sound of Little Sojourners filled the house no mo';

As Mrs. Sojourner sat down with the Word and a cup o' joe.

Until Little Sojourner woke up from her beauty sleep;

And began to laugh, play, run and leap.

When her sisters returned that afternoon;

For Little and Mrs. Sojourner it was none too soon.

Thus began another school year;

But this year there was not one tear!

I am obviously NOT a poet, but it was a fun way to capture our first day of school!  Also, I finally tried a recipe (except I added dark chocolate chunks instead of nuts) to make with the pumpkin I prepared.  It turned out pretty tasty. 
Hope your first day of school was a good one too!

Kind regards,

Cilantrao: Pt. 2

I know that after the first post about cilantro you have been anxiously awaiting part two.  So, without further ado here it is!

I tried a new recipe I found on (Love that site! Love how you can put in any ingredient and fid a zillion recipes.)

Lime Chicken with Cilantro Cream Sauce and Roasted Zucchini

Several of the reviews added avacado on top.  We did too.  It was a great idea.

My Little Sojourners were not crazy about the lime chicken but they liked the cilantro cream sauce on the noodles.

Kind regards,

Grandma's Biscuits

Or, at least pretty darn close!

My Grandma used to make the most awesome biscuits!  Just thinking about it brings back some great memories.

  Mr. Sojourner has been asking some biscuits so I pulled out the King Arthur Cookbook to search for a recipe.

(Great for cooking from scratch!  It has come in really handy for me.)

All American Baking Powder Biscuits:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 to 4 tbsp. sugar
4 to 6 tbsp. butter or shortening
1 cup milk (or buttermilk)

Preheat oven to 425*.  Mix together dry ingredients.  Cut in butter or shortening until mixture looks like bread crumbs.  Add the milk and quickly and gently mix for about 20 seconds until dough is soft.  You can either: drop by spponsfulls onto a lightly floured baking sheet, fill greased muffin tin about 2/3 full, or roll until 3/4 in. thick and cut biscuits with round cookie or biscuit cutter and place on cookie sheet.  Bake 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned. 

This one did it.  Everyone was happy.

Kind regards,

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Joy of Teaching

Last year at this time we were consumed by language learning.  Ms. Sojourner and Middle Sojourner were in their first un-homeschooled year.  Life was really different.  (That doesn't even include all the geographical and cultural differences we were experiencing!)  It has been a hard year, but God has been faithful and He has continued to work in our lives. 

I went from being a stay-at-home homeschool Mom to a full-time language student, full-time NGO worker, with no more homeschooling.  Some days I wish things could be like they once were.  Sometimes I long for my old life.  Every once in a while I desire the solid purpose my life had at that time.

This summer I scaled down my language and work hours so that I could enjoy more time with my kids while they were on break.  I am so glad I did.  It was a refreshing time for me.  As the summer came to an end (as I shared last week) I was dreading it.  I wanted my old "job" as a wife, mom, and homeschool teacher back!  I knew that this was not possible in this season of our lives.  I laid it at His feet.

The past few days He has blessed me.  He knows the desires of my heart.

My Little Sojourner is eager to learn.  She wants to "go to school" like her big sisters.

Every morning I have woken up to the sweet voice of my Little Sojourner, "Will you be my teacher again?  What will I learn today?"  Precious to my heart. 


*Linking up with Emily at Chatting at the Sky for Tuesdays Unwrapped.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Remember how I told you how I love cilantro?  But, how that was for a whole other post?  (If you get a chance: read Suzannah's comment with the cool fact about cilantro in that post.)  Well here is the first instillation (of two) about my love for cilantro.  I know; you are excited!

I just love the smell of cilantro!  It is a fresh and yummy smell.  It makes me happy.  I know; I'm weird!  (I resigned to that fact a long time ago.)

So, on the happiest of days that I founded some of the amazingness that is fresh cilantro of course we had to have mexican!  And, the love of my life and my best friend, Mr. Sojourner, made some awesome pico de galo type yumminess.  And, I made refried beans and all the taco fixin's!  Oh my goodness!  It. Was.  Delicious.

Mr. Sojourners pico de gallo type yumminess.

As soon as I figure our where in our cement jungle of a yard that I can plant some stuff, cilantro is on my long list!  But, I may just need to break down and try to make one of these and plant some fresh herbs in it.  I also want to find a place to make one of these.  I have so many ideas of things I want to try in this house but have been trying to wait until I have figured out the whole organization of where everything goes in my closet less house.  (When you have have a 3 years worth of toiletries, OTC meds, office supplies, etc. that kinda thing is really important!)  I'll share more about my adventures this week with that later.  Sorry for following that rabbit trail.

Back to cilantro!  We have also had it in our salads since we got it and that is some good stuff!  I have found a recipe that sounds really good that I will try and share with you later.  I know; you can hardly wait!

Do you share my love for cilantro?  If so, what are some of your favorite cilantro recipes?  If not, why not?!

Joining a twelve step program for cilantro addiction, 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Today was a pancake kind of morning.  We are savoring our last few days of Summer before heading back to school on Thursday.  I have so enjoyed having all of the Little Sojourners home again.  I really miss our homeschooling days and hope that someday, God willing, we will be able to do it again.  This will be Ms. Sojourner and Middle Sojourner's second year not to be homeschooled and I am dreading it.  But, today instead of focusing on how much I am going to miss them, I am focusing on thoroughly enjoying them.  Who knows what fun we will have today!

Middle Sojourner with the syrup.

Since it is about $10 for a small thing of prepackaged syrup here we opt to make our own and the girls are great helpers in this.  It is super easy too!

Maple Syrup Substitute:
1 cup sugar, 1 cup brown sugar*, 1 cup water.
Boil until desired thickness.
*You can use white sugar and 1 teaspoon maple flavoring.
(We usually add a little bit of maple flavoring even if we use brown sugar, but you can adapt it to your tastes.)

Ms. Sojourner enjoying every bite.

To make this a little bit simpler of a meal we make up our own Pancake Mix:
10 cups flour, 2 1/2 cups dry milk, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup baking powder, 2 Tbsp. salt.
Combine it a large bowl.  Stir until blended well.  Store and label in an airtight container.  Use within several months.

To make pancakes with mix:
1 1/2 cups mix, 1 egg slightly beaten, 1 cup water, 3 Tbsp. oil.
Mix the wet ingredients together in a small bowl and pour over the dry ingredients.  Blend well.  Let stand 5 minutes before cooking.

You can also make these great onion rings with the mix (they remind me of Sonic's onion rings):
1 1/2 cup mix, 1 egg slightly beaten, 1 cup cold water, 3 Tbsp. oil, onions cut into rings.
Mix together the wet ingredients; pour over the dry and blend well.  Let stand 5 minutes.  Dip onion rings into the batter, then fry.

Easy peezy lemon squeezy as my Little Sojourners would say.

Little Sojouner cleaned her plate.

So this morning our bellies are full, our hands are sticky, we are high on sugar, and we are ready to enjoy a day together.  I can hardly wait!

I love linking up with Emily at Chatting at the Sky on Tuesdays and "unwrapping" the small things in life like pancakes with my Little Sojourners.  What are you "unwrapping" today?

Kind Regards,

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Help! I Am Surrouded by Trekkies.

Mr. Sojourner comes from a family of Trekkies.

The ring leader.

He has decided to pass this weirdness uniqueness down to our Little Sojourners.

Excited for a new episode.

For Mr. Sojourners birthday we got him Star Trek The Next Generation: The Complete Series. I am beginning to wonder if this was such a good idea.

Live long and prosper.

There are now conversations of Star Trek filling my house along with the Little Sojourners' excitement of watching the next episode. I am seriously outnumbered here and it is cracking me up.

I have already been concerned about weirdness upon returning to the US.  I am not sure this is going to help matters.


Saturday, August 14, 2010


And all things Fall. Sort of. A little bit. African Style. Just pretend with me, ok?

I found a small pumpkin at a local produce stand yesterday (Along with cilantro! I. Love. Cilantro. But, that is another story for another day.) and I had to buy it because I just love Fall. And it reminded me of Fall. And I sure miss the change of seasons that I will miss yet again this Fall.

I am not sure what will become of this pumpkin.

But tonight I am doing this so that tomorrow I can make something fun that smells and tastes of Fall.

What are your favorite Pumpkin recipes?  (I was thinking about trying this one.)

Today I also spent several hours at the girls' small school (25-30 kids K-12) helping to get things ready.  That felt very Fall-like. I am not really looking forward to that part of Fall. I really miss homeschooling. I miss my kids while they are at school.

It has rained most of today and it is in the low 80's.  Very chilly.  I am in long-sleeve shirt and track pants. That feels Fall-like too.

What do you most love about Fall?  What are you looking forward to about this Fall?

  Pretending it's Fall,

Friday, August 13, 2010

Little Helper

We're slowly getting there.  I think the main reason that it is taking so long to unpack is because the lack of storage space.  Where to put all this stuff?!

African houses are built without closets.  Our last house had been previously rented by other ex-pats and so it had a wall-to-wall unit built on one wall in each bedroom.  I didn't realize how awesome this was until I no longer had it!  Isn't that how it often is with life?

In our new house our NGO has provided us with an armourer for each bedroom, which we are super thankful for, and we are now learning to be creative with storage.

The Little Sojourners have been good sports about the house being filled with boxes while I figure this puzzle out.  Here is Little Sojourner helping to unpack the box of fridge magnets.  Apparently we thought these were essential in moving to Africa and more then two bras were not?!  (Remember I lost my brain.)

Isn't she a super cute little helper?

We have the older versions of these fun sets:
They have been great for learning phonics and practicing spelling.

One box at a time,

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

When Life Gives You Limes

Make Limeade!

I got the birthday package my Momma sent to me.  It's awesome to get mail isn't it?  It's super awesome to get mail when you are homesick and living a bazillion miles (that might be a slight exaggeration) away from your family and friends!

My favorite thing in the package?  A new bra.  Seriously.  Do you know what Africa has done to the two (don't get me started on my reasoning for only bringing two bras?!  I like to say I lost my brain when we packed.) bras I brought in 14 months?!  It is very, very sad.  I felt like a new women today in my new bra.  Amazingness.  It is really weird not to be able to go buy a new bra when you need one.  That's a whole other post.

My second favorite thing in the package?  My pampered chef citrus press I ordered last summer.  I totally forgot I bought it since I never have been able to use it yet.  Mr. Sojourner brought me home some limes so we could try it out.  We made some really great limeade.  Yum!

A bowl full of limes halved.  Juice squeezed out.  Water added.  Sugar to taste.  And, viola. :)

Sippin' Limeade,

Pizza Soup

One of my favorite websites for trying new recipes right now is A Year of Slow Cooking.  This awesome lady in 2007 (I think) cooked a new recipe every day in her crock pots (plural; she has an arsenal and makes me want a few more!).  She still posts new crock pot recipes from time to time and I find her website amazing.  Right now I love my crock pot.  Absolutely.  Love.  It.  Here where it is normally a bazillion degrees (not really but it gets close!), it is super nice to use the crock pot because it doesn't heat up the kitchen like the oven does.  Here where cooking from scratch is the norm, it is nice to throw something in the crock pot that is magically ready at the end of the day.  Do you get the point?  I love my crock pot and this site rocks.

This is definitely on my Christmas wish list this year (Stephanie's cookbook inspired by her year of slow cooking):

While Mr. Sojourner was away this weekend and I was unpacking I decided to try this new recipe: Pizza Soup.

The finished product.  It was super good. I will me making it again soon.

The Little Sojourners liked it too.  It was a hit.

It was especially good on the rainy and cool weekend we had (get out your winter coats it's 80 degrees!).

And of course we had to throw in a salad to make is officially a healthy meal, right?

Here's the scoop via Stephanie's website (my commentary in red):

--1 jar (14 oz) of pizza sauce (I used our pizza sauce recipe here.)
--3 empty jars full of water
--1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
--1/2 red onion, chopped
--1 cup sliced mushrooms (I added diced zucchini because we had it on hand.  I think this would be great with lots of veggies!  Next time I will try some carrots and maybe some canned mushrooms because we can't get fresh ones here, but fresh would be really good.)
--1 cup baby tomatoes, cut in quarters (or 1 can diced tomatoes, drained) (I used diced roma 'cause that's what we had and can get cheapest here.)
--2 already-cooked Italian sausage (I used chicken Italian sausage)  (I skipped the sausage because I would have had to make my own.)
--1 cup sliced pepperoni, sliced in quarters (Hormel turkey pepperoni is labeled gluten free)
--8 fresh basil leaves, chopped (or 1/2 T dried)  (I used dried.)
--1 T dried oregano
--1/2 to 1/3 cup of dried pasta (if your pasta is tiny, use 1/3 cup. if it's big, do 1/2. I used 1/2 cup Trader Joe's brown rice penne) (I used more; about 1 1/2-2 cups because I used less meat and I wanted it to be hearty.)
--shredded mozzarella cheese (to add later) (Yum!)

The Directions.
*Use a 5 or 6 quart crock pot for this recipe. Serves 4 hungry adults, or 2 hungry adults and 2 kids with enough leftovers to feed them all again.  (It served me, our three kids, and a leftover big bowl for Daddy to try.)
*Wash and prepare veggies. (I sauteed the onion and zucchini together first to make sure the zucchini cooked all the way.) Dump them into the crock pot. Cut up the sausage into small pieces--I sliced, then cut the pieces in fourths. Add to crock pot. Cut up the pepperoni, add it, too. Add basil and oregano. Pour in the pizza sauce, and follow with three empty jars of water.
*Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours. Everything in this is already cooked, so you are really only heating through and allowing the flavors to meld.  (Mine probably cooked more like 5-6 hours.)
*Thirty minutes before serving, add the dry pasta, and turn to high. My pasta only took 20 minutes to soften quite nicely.
*Garnish/top with shredded mozzarella cheese.  (The best part!  My kids added some grated parm too.)

This was a winner with us!

Kind Regards, 


When the electrician comes to look at a few ceiling fans he comes on a motto (pronounced mow-tow; think cross between a motorcycle and a moped) with his assistant; no room for a ladder.  He asks you if you have a ladder.  You do not.  He then asks to use your table.  And a step stool.  You are sure he is going to fall and break his neck.  He does not.

He runs an errand to check on a part.  His assistant stays to take a nap in your courtyard.

He will return next week to fix the fan.

This is Africa.



Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Little Backwards

Little Sojourner demonstrating how it's done.

For my first eight plus years of parenting I taught my little sojourners how to sit at the table, eat over their plate, use a napkin, politely decline when they didn't like something, etc.  You know...all the normal manners stuff!

Then, for the last year I have been teaching them (and me!) to squat around a communal bowl, eat with your right hand, eat out of "your section," not reach across or step across the bowl, eat even when you don't want to know what it is, be gracious when those who have very little share what they have, etc. etc.

You only eat with your right hand because your left hand is your potty/nose picking hand.  Literally in the local language "right" is "rice side" (the hand they eat rice with) and "left" is "nose side" (the hand they pick their nose with).  Awesome.

Now if I could only convince my kids not to pick their noses at all.  We don't have to be that cultural!

Learning as I go,

*Linking up with Tuesdays Unwrapped at Chatting at the Sky!  Also linking up with Try A New Adveture Thursday at Alicia's Homemaking.

Check Out These Giveaways...

*Kimba at A Soft Place to Land is giving away a Silhouette Craft Cutter.  That thing is seriously cool!  Check out some of the projects she has already done with it.

*There are always some great giveaways and links to TONS of giveaways (scroll down to the "link up" on the giveaways page) at Money Saving Mom.  Do you coupon or want to start couponing?  Check out this giveaway.  (Oh, how I miss couponing!)

Good luck!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Why can't the boxes unpack themselves?!

Mr. Sojourner is away for the weekend.  The girls and I have watched a marathon of chick flicks like our absolute favorite The Love Comes Softly Series and some episodes of Little House on the Prairie.  I am pretty sure we will watch Pride & Prejudice before it is all said and done too.  It has rained off an on which is perfect movie weather.  What are some of your favorite chick flicks?  These (above) are my kid-friendly ones.

I had grand illusions of finishing the unpacking while Mr. Sojourner was away.  It isn't really happening.  I have, however, tackled the laundry monster; folding and putting away all of the laundry that has piled up while we moved and unpacked this week.  I even killed a few spiders while I was at it (the fun of hanging clothes to dry!).  I hung some more curtains.  I cleaned and organized the porch.  I unpacked a few boxes and I am hoping to tackle some more boxes tonight and tomorrow before he gets home.  We will see!  What are you up to this weekend?

Kind regards,

And the Winner is...

Paige @ CraftyGiveaways!  If you email me your address (at mrssojourner at gmail dot com) I will get it in the mail to you.  Hope you enjoy!