Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thursday's Travel Tales & Tips: My Trip to Kenya Pt. 3

It's time to link up your travel posts again.  And, look I actually remembered it was Thursday....on Thursday.  (Of course the 5 hour power outage and slower then molasses internet delayed things a bit.)  A novel idea, I know.  Last week I posted more about my Kenyan adventures (up close and person adorable animals) and there was also this great post about "why not to travel"; check it out!  I can't wait to check out your links this week!  (Don't forget to check out the rules.)

My Kenyan adventure continues with a safari!  I never in my life would have thought I would get to do something so very cool.  It was amazing.

We went a few hours outside of Nairobi to Lake Nakuru National Park.  (The one thing to know about Lake Nakuru is that it is a smaller game park, with less animals, and it has no elephants because of it's size.  But, because it is so small your chances of seeing everything are great and it is perfect for a 1-2 day safari.) On our way we stopped at a lookout to see over the Great Rift Valley

It was a beautiful view (and this poor picture does it no justice).

We stayed at the Lake Nakuru Lodge.  The rooms were very nice and our rooms overlooked the national park with cape buffalo right outside the fence line (and the occasional monkey or baboon visitor inside the fence).  The food was delicious and we ate lunch outside overlooking the park.  The Lodge was a wonderful place to stay and we enjoyed it very much.

 Driving through the National Park up to the Lodge.

Our room and the view from it out into the National Park.

Cape buffalo right outside the fence from whee we were staying.

Our driver/guide was excellent.  He drove slowly on our way into the park and we saw many animals.  Then we had a late afternoon drive after lunch, a dip in the awesome pool, tea time, and a nap.  The next morning we grabbed a quick bit to eat, did an early morning drive, came back and showered and packed, and checked out.  On the way out our guide drove slowly again so we could see more, and we stopped at the "Out of Africa" lookout to get a last view of the park.

A quick dip in the pool. 

Afternoon tea.  I loved this about Kenya! 

The whole crew in the very cool safari van.

 Giraffe crossing in front of us.

 Lions; oh my!


White rhinos; they were one of my faves.

Look Daddy; I'm up at the crack of dawn smiling at lions.

Heading to water early in the morning.

The "Out of Africa" over look.

It was a short safari, but I am so glad we did it.

There are lots of places you can safari at while in Kenya.  I would also recommend Masai Mara National Reserve or Nairobi National Park (depending upon where you fly into, how long you have, what time of year it is (during rainy seasons some areas are much harder to get to), and what kind of experience you would like).

The last place I want to share with you about on our Kenyan adventure was a cultural center called The Bomas of KenyaThe cost is 600 ksh (about $8)/adult and 300ksh (about $4).  A group of dancers do traditional dances to traditional music dressed in traditional costumes representing each of the tribes in Kenya.  It was very neat to see the similarities and differences of each tribe.  They also have replicas of different traditional tribal villages that you can tour.

Traditional dancers.

Husband's hut of one tribe.

1st Wife's hut of another tribe.

My biggest tip for a trip to Kenya: have a really good camera.  That is my one regret.



Homemade Egg Noodles & Chicken Noodle Soup

After my first attempt at sticky chicken (and yummy chicken broth) I decided that homemade chicken noodle soup was in order.  One problem: we can't get egg noodles here.  So, I set off to search for egg noodle recipes and stumbled upon this one, which I thought I would try.
 2 cups flour.
 1/4 teaspoon salt.
 1/4 teaspoon baking powder.
 1 whole egg (suggested from the comments on the recipe).
 4 egg yolks.
 A tiny bit of milk or water (also suggested in the recipe comments).  {I opted for the milk.}
 Work the dough together and turn out onto a floured surface.
 Cut the dough in half and roll out (a half at a time).  {I love my Pampered Chef rolling pin.  With all this cooking from scratch it has come in handy!  Next time I will roll it very, very thin.}
 Cut it into desired noodle size.  {A pizza cutter works great for this.  Next time I would make the noodles much smaller.}
 Set the noodles out to dry for several hours.  {If you make long thin noodles you can hang them to dry.  I did not allow enough time in my prep time for very much drying time.  I will try it with the proper drying time next time and see if it makes much of a difference.}
 Heat the yummy chicken broth.
 Cut up some carrots.  (And celery if you have some/want to.)
 And, dice up a small onion.
 Add the veggies to the heated broth.
 Add your pre-cooked (possibly frozen) chicken.

This may have been the world's best chicken noodle soup.  The noodles were good, but need a little tweaking (as I noted above).  The chicken broth was amazing.  Words can't quite do it justice.  Go try it.  No seriously; go put some sticky chicken in the crockpot and then make some broth.  You will not be sorry.
Kind regards,
Linking up with Try New Adventures Thursday at Alicia's Homemaking.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

American Dreaming

There is a slight possibility that the Sojourners will get to go "home" to the US for a short vacation in November-December and to say that we are excited about even the possibility is quite an understatement.

We miss our family and friends a lot.  It's been 16 months since we have seen any of them.  16 months is a long time.  It's about 1/3 of Little Sojourner's life.  We hope that this slight possibility turns into getting to hug the necks of those we love very soon.  If it doesn't we'll be sad, but we will still rest in His love for us knowing that He will carry us though.

So, since this possibility presented itself the Little Sojourners and I have been singing.  It's not very pretty (we will not be the next Brady Bunch or anything like that), but it is a lot of fun.

Do you remember the movie An American Tail?  If so, do you remember the song "There are no cats in America"?  Well, the Littles and I have made our own fill in the blank version of that song that goes something like this: "There are no _________ in America and the streets are filled with ______________."  The first blank we fill with things that we don't quite appreciate about Africa.  (Please forgive us, we are in no way perfect.  Though there are many things we love about Africa, there are also many things that drive us crazy, or drive us crazy some of the time.  We chalk it up to culture shock.)  For instance: garbage, beggars, motos, pot holes, foreign language, to (pronounced toe; kinda like congealed bland grits), dust, malaria, etc.  Then, the second blank we fill with things we miss and can't wait to see/have.  For instance: family, friends, air conditioning, reliable electricity, clean running water, Chick-fil-A, Disney World, English speakers, shopping malls, McDonald's, grocery stores, Dr. Pepper, chocolate chips, bacon, etc.

"There is no garbage in America and the streets are filled with Chick-fil-A!"

At least like Fivel and his family we can pretend until our bubble is burst.

Dreaming of America,

Wordless Wednesday: African Celebration

Kind regards,
*Linking up with Say "Cheese" at It's a Blog Party.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Embracing Moments of Friendship

Recently we went to a celebration, in a village we had not yet been to, with one of our friends.

As we were watching the festivities this sweet little girl kept touching us and trying to get out attention by calling, "White person!"  Each time we would turn around and greet her in the local language giving her big smiles.

Eventually, she became comfortable enough to come closer to us.  She practically came and sat on my lap.

  Little Sojourner took this all as meaning that she had a new friend; that she immediately embraced.

 They were curious of one another.

But, despite their language and cultural differences they had a great time keeping each other company for the afternoon.

The way children embrace situations like this will never cease to amaze me.

Today I am unwrapping this sweet moment with Tuesday's Unwrapped over at Emily's.

Kind regards,

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pad Thai

This is becoming one of our family favorites.  To make this a fairly quick and simple meal I cook a whole chicken, de-bone it, and freeze it in meal size portions for making this great dish.
Dice up what ever extra veggies you would like to add. We usually do carrots and onions. (You can also do green peppers, cabbage, etc.)
Dice up some green onion and set to the side.
Gather your brown sugar, soy sauce, and vinegar for making the sauce in just a minute.
Saute your extra veggies together in a little bit of oil.
Get however many eggs you would like.
Whisk 'em together.
Get out your bean sprouts.  Not sure why, but we really like these in there.
Get out your rice noodles and start boiling your water.  (They won't take long to cook so don't put them in the water until your other ingredients are just about ready.)
Scramble the eggs with the sauteed extra veggies.
When the eggs are coked through add the green onions.
Then the bean sprouts (if they float your boat).
Then the pre-cooked, and already defrosted chicken.
While that is heating up mix up your sauce ingredients that you already gathered.  Bring them to a boil and then let them simmer over low heat while you get everything else together.  (About now is when I add the noodles to the boiling water.)
Add the cooked and drained noodles and the finished sauce into the pan with everything else.  Toss it all together.
Serve it up and enjoy!

1/4 cup oil
1/2 bunch green onions
extra veggies
bean sprouts (if desired)
rice noodles

3 T brown sugar
2 T soy sauce
1 T vinegar

Saute diced veggies.  Add eggs until cooked through.  Add green onions, bean sprouts, and then chicken until heated through.  Bring sauce ingredients to a boil and then simmer on low until thickened.  Boil water and cook noodles.  Drain noodles and toss noodles, sauce, and other ingredients together.

(We usually triple the sauce and use a whole package of rice noodles which makes about 6-8 servings.)

Do you have a pampered chef chopper?  If so, are you in love with it as much as I am?

I use this think at least once a day, but probably closer to two or three.  I dice up veggies in just about everything I cook; except maybe cake.  Haven't tried that one yet.

What are your favorite kitchen gagets?

Kind Regards,
*Linking up to Delicious Dishes at It's a Blog Party.