Saturday, April 27, 2013

Joseph's book list

is very, very long. I have lost track. I had a bunch of 3x7 inch cards taped together (about as long as my arm), listing every book he has read up until we moved. I just couldn't keep up. He's reading too fast. I need to start it up again.

This book would go on the top of the new list. What a riveting book! We got it from the Taidong Library (I'm impressed with their Engish children's book section).

The Holocaust comes up occasionally in conversation between Joseph and I. When it does, I try to be informative without weighing him down with details too heavy for his seven year old mind to bear. But by informative, I mean telling him about the atrocities unflinchingly (we're currently reading through Corrie Ten Boom's Hiding Place). He's old enough to start to understand the scale of suffering in this world. Well, this book is perfect for making such a horrible, and rather distant event become real and palpable. And it does so with such an uplifting tone. I highly recommend this book. The artwork is so alive!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Mom, this is for you.
After driving up a short, steep, curved driveway, this is what you would see. (And there is Ken, slinging dog poo over the cliff right beyond the picture)

To the left of our cute little corrugated metal home is my attempt at a garden. Again, I will never give up hope.

This is our dining room. This is where a lot of life and learning happens. Mealtimes with a beautiful view of the ocean.

In fact, I need to find a picture of our view. Maybe I already put one up.
The kitchen is off to the right. A Laura Ingalls Wilder lean-to that I love. I'll find of a picture of that as well.

Ok, finally found them. Here is my cute, cozy, rustic kitchen:

And here is what we gaze upon every morning.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Teacher Anna

I love when this happens: the older teaching the younger. Anna loves to teach Lydia. Makes my job so much easier. Thank you, Sara for this puzzle! Still getting some mileage out of it.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sermon on the Mount

I am amazed.
This morning Joseph recited the entire sermon on the mount (Matthew 5, 6 and 7) for us. In Chinese. Then later on in the evening he did it again for a family that we went to visit.  He stood up, introduced himself, then looking around at each of us, he launched into the approximately ten minute sermon. Not one mistake. Only a few pauses to recollect.
I wonder if this thirty-five year old brain could manage a feat like that. Not likely. It has been my dream to become a walking storage of vast amounts of scripture in case the day come when Bibles are banned. Maybe this dream will come true in the next generation.
I'm so proud of my big little guy!
It is only a matter of days before he will have a swiss army knife in his hands.
Joyful Potter, as soon as I find the spare battery of our smaller camera, I'll put a video up of him reciting.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Thank you, Tartine. Thank you, Smitten Kitchen

Thank you Tartine for this recipe:

Croissants made right. It took two days to make. Can't get much better than this. I have to limit this near paradise to once or twice a year. Delicious.

And thank you, Deb at, for this blackberry white chocolate pudding, which works just as well (better?) with mulberries. Yours is the only recipe blog cookbook that I have ever purchased.

And yes, this is homeschooling. My kids have learned that there is such a thing as too much white chocolate (we cut it down by a third the second time around).

I love to bake yummy things. I just need to face it and move on.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

HG 101

I'm hard pressed to come up with anything more fun than gathering sustenance from on the ground, under the ground, in trees, in bushes, and the sky above. Our garden is plodding slowly along, but that hasn't stopped us from reaping a rich harvest of mulberries, plums (tiny sour ones really good for pickling), coconuts, loquats, veggies (carrots, cabbage, sweet potatoes, etc. from neighbors. Ours our growing too slowly), passion fruit (well, about five), and custard apple. This plot of rented land came replete with fruit trees. We are waiting for the mangoes, jack fruit, guavas and avocados. It is only a matter of time when we declare war on the monkeys.
The plums came from our neighbors' orchard which they are no longer tending. We all went one morning and picked as many as we could. We rubbed them in salt, soaked them in sugar water, and put them in the refrigerator. A perfect snack.
We are surrounded by custard apple orchards, so every now and then, someone gives us some.
We have one avocado tree, whose little thumb sized fruits I just encased in bags today. We hope to have more avocados from the same neighbors (let me just say kind, good friends) who let us pick their plums. They let us help bag their trees these few days. They said if all goes well (no big typhoons or anything), there will be more than enough avocados for both families.
Today, I took a short walk up the road. There are coconut trees everywhere. We already ate all of our mature coconuts, and none have dropped recently. So when I saw a whole row of dry, brown coconuts, I couldn't resist. I took one in each arm and headed back home. We hacked one open with an ax, chopped out the flesh (ate some), sterilized it in hot water, put it in the blender with warm water, squeezed the liquid from the pulp with a cheese cloth, and admired the creamy off white milk.
We have the gathering part down; now we just need to work on the hunting.
I love Taidong

Friday, April 5, 2013

Perfect Gift

Thank you, Ken, for the perfect birthday gift! Yesterday morning, I said goodbye to the kids and my husband, hopped in the car, and only looked back once. I beat a trail to the "city" and spent a blissful 4+ hours eating good food, drinking good coffee and reading good books. Bliss.
And thank you, Olivia (Mei Huei) for the perfect bag to fit this occasion!
This was a 2 second self-timer shot. We almost got it.