Tuesday, July 14, 2009

An account of our adventures (hiking, campfire, scary bridge, playing in the river) and mis-adventures (falling rat, little boy who wouldn't sleep, etc.):

So I'm a little late for Meet-and-Greet Monday. Ah, well.

For Daniel's birthday (Friday) we went "camping" in a little community up the mountain from Jarabacoa. We arrived, parked our car at the top, and proceeded to "walk" down the stairs to the valley below. I carried Jeremiah on my back, and Daniel carried all the "stuff" in his hiking back-pack. After settling into our cabin, we went down a little further to the river, where we started a fire for dinner. Jeremiah helped gather the sticks and attempted to roast his own hot-dog (which didn't last for long). Dinner consisted of hot dogs, veggies packets, and stick-bread covered in butter and cinnamon-sugar. Mmmmm.... Of course, we had forgotten the flour, so we had to run up and ask if we could buy some flour off of somebody. After finally locating some flour, we were able to make the stick-bread. By this time it was very late, so we hurried to put Jeremiah down for bed. We had just transitioned him two days earlier to a mattress on the ground (in preparation for the bed his grandpa is going to make him). However, he was not keen on sleeping on a mattress in an unknown place. We went through his night-time routine, but him on the mattress, and went outside to sit on the porch. When he started screaming and crying we knew we should go back in. This turned into 40 minutes of Daniel and I laying on our bed and singing/ignoring him (he wouldn't accept any comfort from us) while he threw a temper tantrum and declared "no nigh-nigh. Iah side!" (This translates to "no sleep, Jeremiah wants to go outside" for you who don't understand toddler-talk.) Suddenly in the middle of his ranting he stopped and said, "Nigh nigh, Iah," laid down on the mattress and didn' t say another word. After 10 or so minutes of silence, we snuck back outside. It was 9:50 by this time. Be attempted to go to sleep shortly after.
By "attempted" I mean just that. I had trouble falling asleep, being 7 months pregnant and wondered what large animal was on the roof (after all, they have no small mammals here besides rats and mice). Hmmm.... a few minutes of wondering, and I hear something slide down the side of the cabin, and feel something on me. I immediately pushed it off. I have no idea where it went. But of course, for the rest of the night I didn't get much sleep, worrying about the rat falling on me again! (and listening to it climbing around the cabin). Praise the Lord that Jeremiah slept through it all and that the rat left him alone! I kept scooting further and further down the bed, away from the wall. I eventually fell into a very fitful sleep with strange dreams (but luckily, no dreams of rats).
The next morning we woke at 8:00 (well, I woke earlier but kept falling back asleep) and had breakfast at a little restaurant/meeting room. They use the room when if they have groups, etc. But since it was just us, the guy in charge made us breakfast at his house and brought it to the restaurant. After a very satisfying meal, we decided to go hiking and explore. Three local girls showed us the way across the bridge and to a path leading to a "pear" tree (not American pears). We played by the river for a bit, hiked a little more, and then headed back to swim in another part of the river. After a picnic lunch, we went back to the cabin for nap time. Jeremiah didn't nap, but he was content to roll around on the mattress, talk to himself, etc, so Daniel was able to nap. :) Shortly after that, we packed up and headed back up to the road.
In all, we had a fun time as a family, despite the rat, the lack of sleep, and, oh yeah, the fact that we forgot our toiletries as well. I'd love to go back and stay at the cabins again- as long as we knew there were no rats! But it is close enough for a day trip, as well. :)

The view of the valley from the road

The "steps" we hiked down

Jeremiah attempting to roast his hot-dog while shielding himself from the smoke

For more pictures of our adventures, including the scary bridge, our hike, our cabin, and cool flowers, click on, or view, the slide show below (sorry, no photo of the rat).

Monday, July 13, 2009

Jarabacoa Christian School needs...

Please pass this on to anyone interested in helping out! Here are some needs we have for this school year:

*Sponsor a child! There are several children in Jarabacoa that want to attend JCS, but cannot for financial reasons. There are several types of scholarship available, starting at $17/month (see below). You can choose to give 25%, 50%, or 75%. You can give monthly or all at once. If you pay all of it up front, you receive a 10% discount, if you pay one semester you receive a 5% discount.
Here are the areas of need:
PreK3-K5: $177 inscription; $66/month for 10 months
1st-2nd Grade: $211 inscription; $94/month for 10 months
3rd-5th Grade: $225 inscription; $112/month for 10 months

For example, if you chose to sponsor a student in preschool at 25%, you would give $53 for inscription/August, and $17/month from Sep-June. If you chose to sponsor a 1st-2nd grader at 50%, you would give $106 for the inscription, and $47/month from Sep-June.

*Donations- JCS needs lots of basic supplies: construction paper, glue, tape, markers, pens, pencils, teaching tools, teaching resources, etc... We also need sports equipment, as well as play items for preschool, such as toys, pretend play, clothes for dress up (if you have fun old shoes, dresses, hats, belts, shirts, vests etc.), etc.

*Come join us! We still have some positions that need to be filled: PK4, 2nd grade, 3rd or 6th grade, jr/sr high history, and jr/sr high science. College degree is required, certified teacher is preferred.

*Partner in Prayer! Please pray that God will fill our staffing needs, for safe travels for incoming teachers, for a good start to the year, that all of our teachers and staff would effectively share the love of Christ with our students, and that God would bring us through any obstacles we face this year.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

4th of July, freezer cooking, etc...

We've been busy lately! July seems to be flying by; less than 1 month and summer is over (teacher training starts the first week of August). Here's a run down of what we've been doing:
-3 play dates last week
-"Celebrated" 4th of July on the 3rd with a picnic lunch in our back yard. Jeremiah finger-painted some nice red and blue pictures. :)
We finally turned on our deep freeze and are now trying to fill it!
-Really stretching a chicken: Saturday we bought 17 pounds of chicken (4 large chickens), at about $1/lb from a place that sells fresh, farm raised chickens. It's nice to support local business and know our chickens have some freedom! I used the necks, wings, feet, and skin for broth (yield=9 cups). After cooling it, I skimmed off the fat and saved it to use for cooking. I saved 1 chicken whole to roast (which will go towards at least 2 meals). I have 2 freezer bags of half chickens (also more than 1 meal each unless we have company) and 2 bags each of 2 thighs and 2 breasts. So, the chicken meat itself will give us at least 10 meals, and the broth chicken fat will go towards other meals.
-We also bought 4 pounds of ground beef (also about $1/lb here). I used this recipe (more or less, but added some bell peppers and garlic) to make a "ground beef mix" and divided it into 6- 1 pint bags for 6 different meals. I can use it for quick sloppy Joes, chili, rice casserole, pasta casserole, stuffed peppers, etc.
-After all that I did some weeding and trimming in our back yard. Daniel made a "square foot" garden that I'll transplant my seedlings to after they've started to grow.
-Sunday: after church, we drove with a team here from Minnesota (they're here with our church) to a little neighborhood/town further up in the mountains. We parked our cars on the side of the road and then hiked down the "stairs" into the valley (the only access to the town). We played in the river, and looked at the cabins that they rent out (we're staying there this Friday, for Daniel's birthday). Then we hiked back up to the car. I crashed for the rest of the day.
-Yesterday (Monday) I mostly crashed, but managed to make Mangu for breakfast, cook 7 jars of pasta sauce to freeze and visit Daniel for lunch. Then I crashed some more, went on a walk with my family, and had a light supper.

So, that's been our past week. I'm continuing to fill the freezer little by little. I want to have it well stocked for when baby comes (only 2 months now)! Jeremiah enjoys helping me cook and bake. I didn't really take any pictures last week; I'll try to do better this week! :-D
P.S. If you have any great freezer-cooking recipes, please share them with me!