A Week “Off”

He loves his sister's sunglasses.

He loves his sister’s sunglasses.

What a week! I took the week off of homeschooling to train my toddler in sanitary methods of human waste disposal. (Public schools also took a week off, but not for the same reason.) 🙂 It usually takes me at least a week to accomplish this “training”; but alas and alack, we have no accomplishment to report as of yet. That’s okay, because my expectations were so low going in this time that my disappointment in our failure was decreased by at least half.

By the great Limpopo River (border between South Africa and Zimbabwe).

By the great Limpopo River (border between South Africa and Zimbabwe).

Sunday night we drove to an Afrikaner friend’s farm. Caleb’s birthday was this week, in conjunction with a public holiday on Monday, so it was a perfect time to go. Our friends usually work in the town near us, so they only go to their farm on the occasional weekend. I had no idea how far away it was! I thought it would be an hour’s drive, but it was almost three. Their farm borders Zimbabwe and is pretty close to Mozambique as well. We returned Monday afternoon to host our teammates for a pizza dinner.

Come, we thankful people come!It’s harvest time here, and my neighbors have shared their little with me. (I really can’t call subsistence farming “bounty.”) Zimbabwean neighbors brought me sweet potatoes, and our kokwana (grandma) brought me pumpkins.

Thus Tuesday morning the kids helped me pick out pumpkin seeds to roast, and I made pumpkin puree to bake with. I had to search online for how to roast pumpkin seeds (since I failed the last time I winged it). I conscientiously followed the directions, and the first pan was nice and crispy, in spite of my oven that doesn’t heat up evenly or enough.

Picking pumpkin seeds out of glumpy goop.

Picking pumpkin seeds out of glumpy goop.

The second pan I took out too early, fearing that I would burn the inside as the internet had warned. In my impatience I mixed the two pans of warm seeds in a bowl, and they all turned woody instead of crunchy. This was a despairing moment after how long it took us to cull seeds out of the goop. I have since made seven loaves of pumpkin bread, and still have puree left. Any more yummy ideas on how to use pumpkin puree? (Please no mention of cake–we’re caked out…)

He's getting so big!

He’s getting so big!

IMG_1971Then I decorated Caleb’s birthday cake,

Lincoln logs

Lincoln logs

which received rave reviews.

He enjoyed his presents, especially a huge set of Lincoln Logs. Colin saved up to buy marbles for him, and the neighborhood boys showed them how to play their way.

He can read his own cards now!

He can read his own cards now!

His favorite birthday present came from his aunt–“safari” materials: a vest, a cheap magnifying glass with ruler markings on the handle, a mini lantern, and best of all, a net and mesh case to keep butterflies and other captured critters in. Several boys in the village have enjoyed catching butterflies, moths, beetles, lizards, and even spiders.

Got em'!

Got em’!

Wednesday also I devoted to cooking overmuch. One bag of sweet potatoes doesn’t look overwhelming, but hours later, I had a sweet potato casserole made and twelve 1-cup portions of mashed sweet potatoes for an awesome recipe for rolls my teammate has.

In the afternoon I taught neighborhood boys about place value. It was fun. I used Math U See’s materials, presenting it from the perspective of “Decimal Street.” I was amazed that several 5th and 6th graders were misreading numbers like 605 to be 6,000, or 60, just for an example. I congratulated myself on deciding to teach that lesson (which I’d considered skipping), since it will help explain other future concepts; and I now know that they didn’t have a firm grasp of it.

Caught a lizard with his net.

Caught a lizard with his net.

The kitchen madness continued into Thursday and today; but I also found some time to prepare some worksheets for Callie’s preschool. Our meanie laminator ate a few of my projects.

On Thursday afternoon Caleb began a hopefully enriching course in private piano lessons! I followed my friend’s advice on how to teach your own kid piano without interpersonal issues. I told Caleb to go up and down our road twice (we don’t really have a “block” to go around) while I went to dress up the house and myself a bit. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find my makeup (which tells you that the last time I had used it was on our trip), and so just put on a nicer outfit. The kitchen was a total mess, so I guess I didn’t do that point so well either. Meanwhile, Caleb trekked the road twice as much as I told him to–running half the time to make it go faster. He’s excited about piano so far, though!

I also wrote more on meekness. Having experienced a frantic search for makeup and not finding it (until after the piano lesson), I realized that while my posts focusing on the hidden heart instead of outward appearance do center on eternal values…I could probably put on makeup more often. 🙂

We finished reading The Magician’s Nephew and have moved on to The Horse and His Boy from The Chronicles of Narnia. We love reading together at lunchtime.

Now that I write out our week here, it doesn’t sound like so much, but I felt that our week was extremely full. I plan to share our stories from the “farm” on Monday.

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About Amy

I'm Amy, a missionary wife and mother of four children, blogging about our lives and perspectives on culture in South Africa.
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2 Responses to A Week “Off”

  1. aleassa says:

    I found your blog from the Baptist Missionary Women board, and I am really enjoying it! I’m especially interested in your future posts on math reviews. We’re just starting out homeschooling this coming fall while on deputation for Honduras, and I’m having a hard time deciding on Math. Homeschooling is a foreign subject for me. 😉 We have 4 kiddos, 1 girl and 3 boys ages 8 and under, so I feel like I can definitely relate to you!

    Pumpkin…endless possibilities besides cake and bread! Pumpkin bars, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin coffee creamer, pumpkin oatmeal cookies, pumpkin donuts, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pie, I saw a recipe for no-bake pumpkin cheesecake…of course I’m not actually speaking from experience here, I usually just enjoy everyone else’s pumpkin creations. I’ve only made pumpkin pie. 😉

    • Amy says:

      Wow, God bless you as you jump into a new life, especially beginning homeschooling right away with a few grades. I just noticed you have a blog too, so I’ll hope over to check it out. \

      Thanks for the suggestions! I was hoping someone would chime in. I just googled pumpkin bars, pancakes, muffins, and a no-bake cheesecake, so looking forward to some great stuff here soon!

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