Friday, October 31, 2008

Visitors...Finally!!!


My Mom and Step-Dad are coming tomorrow!! I may be absent for a few days, but who knows. I'll probably post every day. You know me and pictures....I love taking pictures!

Ya'll have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

We Have Another Winner!

Auntie Em at The Salt Box is the new winner of "The Kitchen Trio".

Congratulations Auntie Em! I hope you enjoy your gifts.

Paging Kathleen....

I'm looking for Katleen, the winner of my give-a-way. Anyone know where to find her? If I can't find her, I'll draw again tonight (Thursday evening). Thanks!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Half American Half Portuguese

Brooklyn just submitted her entries for a writing contest at the LaGrange Daily News. We, as parents couldn't help her with it, so here it is in it's raw, 9 year old version. But didn't she do a great job?! She's already speaking better Portuguese than I am. Soon she'll be writing better than me too...but it wouldn't take much to do that.

HALF AMERICAN, HALF PORTUGUESE

Have you ever gone to Mozambique or maybe Brazil or Portugal, well I live in Portugal and I speak a little bit of Portuguese. I am a missionary to Portugal and this story is going to be about going to Portugal and what it is like here in Portugal. Well on our first flight (we had three) I was so scared I was pushed back in my seat as soon as the plane started, but when it got smoother I liked it a lot more. When we got to Portugal, we went right home and got in bed. And after we explored all the parts of our house, and then we went and bought a few thing that we could not bring with us. About 3 months before school started, my dad went and talked to the principal at the school and asked about the school and the grades and other things. I had language class for all of those 3 months for 2 hours every day except Saturday and Sunday. At the end of those three months we went to school and dove right in. it was hard to learn all this it all sounded like "rmabcfg". But now that I know more it's getting easier to understand. I am in the third grade, and my sisters are in the second grade. We have made tons of friends and I am starting to forget I'm not Portuguese.



Age 9


HURRICANES

Hurricanes are a thing of nature
They bring up things in their grasp
You can count on them not having much stature
We have had them in the past

Hurricanes are very rude
They are not one bit polite
For they mess up everything made of wood
And every thing else in their path

When they are here you had better hide
In the very best hiding place you know
For they will destroy the most safest place
If the right way they go


Age 9


How 'bout encouraging a young writer and leave Brooklyn a comment.

Monday, October 27, 2008

And The Winner Is.....

The random number generator picked number 60 (out of 91) and this number belonged to Kathleen!

Kathleen, I don't have a way to get in touch with you, so please leave me another comment with contact information or you can email me at nina@mbcportugalmissions.com. If I've not heard from you by Thursday, I'll pick another number.

Congratulations! I hope you enjoy your "Kitchen Trio"!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dead Strawberries - Guest Blogger

Thanks Dad...for Dead Strawberries


After five kids, one would think that parents would have no problem choosing just the right toothpaste for their children. Sadly, in the kingdom of the Andrews and Jewskis, such is not the case. Rather with each passing princess comes a different affinity for the sticky substance that delicately cleans the white gate whose job it is to guard the unruly tongue. The older two, Brooklyn and Faith, have safely passed onto adulthood as far as dental hygiene is concerned preferring “Mom and Dad's” toothpaste. The younger two female subjects, Liberty and Trinity make much of their desired brand, and the heir to throne, Justice can be found at various times throughout his day licking every last bit of residue from the lid, with blatant disregard for others' wishes.


Yet, last Monday, while brushing her milk teeth just before prayers, my considerably chatty four-year-old, Trinity, with great eloquence and masterful prudence, made clear her wishes concerning the latest brand. With great sincerity she disclosed, “Daaalllldy” (not disrespectfully, thats just how she says it, and following with complete composure...) “I thank you for this toothpaste, but it tastes like dead strawberries.” Then, she proceeded to brush. As if that wasn't funny enough, Nina later informed me that the night before Trin told her it tasted like a dead tiger. Nina talked her into rotten strawberries, and the next night I get an amalgamation of the two – dead strawberries.


Didn't Bill Cosby make a TV show out of stuff like that? I don't know, maybe it was the way she said it...maybe it was the words she chose, but the lesson almost ran me over like a fawning press corps running to Barack Obama's defense.


It made me want to go buy her the most expensive, best tasting, cavity fighting pediatric toothpaste in Portugal, right then. Leaving aside any attempt at deceit or flattery, she petitioned the proper authority without even asking the first question, simultaneously doing so with obedience and a side of thankfulness. She acted out of honesty but without thought of punishment or reprisals. There existed great liberty in her expression, albeit an expression of dissatisfaction. She pitched no fits, and stomped no feet, and made no demands on when she would or would not brush her teeth. Encompassed in all of this is my favorite lesson: She never once hinted at the expectation of good tasting toothpaste. While Trinity would like to brush her teeth without feeling like she has eaten from a compost heap, she never assumed entitlement.


Don't mistake what I am saying for neglect. Clean teeth, I believe, for matters of health and hygiene, is a basic right for a four-year-old, but clean teeth scented with bubble gum and Little Mermaid designs enters into the realm of preferences and privileges. Teaching the difference between those two worlds – our needs and our wants – is paramount in raising children.


Most of you probably think that I make too much out of a toothpaste preference. I disagree, but let's consider for a moment that you are right. One could reason, especially in the grand scheme of things, toothpaste should not be this big a deal. However, raising a generation of whiners and ingrates is.



Written by Michael Andrzejewski for The LaGrange Daily News.


24 hours left to enter my give-a-way.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A Little Of It All

Three days left to post a comment for the give-a-way. Click Here!

Last Sunday after church, we headed outside to give bike riding lessons. I've posted a few pictures...well...a lot of pictures.

Faith, the athletic one on the bunch decides to go first.


"Faith, put your feet here."


"Wooahhh...Daddy.....I'm a little crooked!"


Crash... right into the garden! At least she's still smiling.


Faith took a break while Lib took a shot. But it was short lived.


Faith tried again, and again ended up in the garden. But she didn't give up. Look at Lib helping her. They can be so sweet ...sometimes!


Hey...she's got the hang of it now. She has the look of confidence!


Lib and Brooklyn decided it was safer being the cheerleaders.



"This is how it's done, girls!" (Kind of reminds me of the circus when I was a kid)



Trinity stayed inside and loved on Major



And I made an Apple Crisp. Starr over at Cooking With The Preacher's Wife posted this recipe and believe it or not it was my first time to bake with apples. (I know Nanny...shame on me.) It turned out wonderfully, and it was so simple. Click here for the recipe.



Our friendly neighborhood girl came over to play last night, but it was homework time in our house. She wanted to help Faith, so here is a little video of them working together.
video


My mom and stepdad are coming in a week. Preparation are already being made! We've been looking forward to this for a while. We'll celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas and three birthdays while they are here. All good excuses to eat!

Okay, only three days remaining to post a comment to qualify for "The Kitchen Trio". Click here to see the rules.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Give-A-Way!!

Here's my thought.....I have lots of people that look at my blog but have never left a comment. I figured if I offered you something for free, maybe then you'd leave a comment. And who knows, once you find out that it doesn't hurt at all, maybe you'll leave some comments in the future. So, yes...this is a bribe.

Have you ever wanted to go shopping here?

Or maybe....

here...

Or what about here? (except, you probably wouldn't want to shop for under wear at the market....at least I hope you don't when you come visit me)

Well, since you can't shop at a Portuguese outdoor market, I went for you. And this is what I came back with. I'll call it "The Kitchen Trio".

"The Kitchen Trio" consists of this:

1) One Toalha De Mesa (Tablecloth)--- It's 2 meters by 1.5 meters. It would fit a rectangular shaped table that seats six. Made in Portugal, of course. These types of cloths are used very frequently by the Portuguese. I've even seen them carry these out and cover pic-nic tables by the road side. And they bring along real plates and utensils. There's not a lot of Dixie plates around here....Actually....I've never seen a styrofoam plate or dixie cup anywhere around here.

2) One Napkin Holder---It's a padded fabric that has a rooster in the middle which is the unofficial symbol of Portugal. There is a legend about the rooster and it was said to have occurred in our town, Barcelos. There are statues of roosters on just about every corner like these:


You can read about the legend here.

3) Six Cloth Napkins---Matching cloth napkins, for when you feel like dressing it up a bit. All these items are distinctly Portuguese. Things that you're not going to find just anywhere.

Here are some pictures of the "Trio":






Here are the rules:

1. ANYONE can enter! I chose lightweight gifts that will help save a little on shipping. So, there are no limits on your location.

2. You have to leave a comment (gotcha there) and tell me what you like or dislike about my blog. Seriously, I can handle constructive criticism. You can only leave one comment and it gets you one entry.

3. You bloggy girls can do a post on your blog with a link to mine and it will earn you an additional 2 entries. (Make sure you tell me if you do this)

4. The contest will end Monday, Oct. 27th at 6:00pm CST. - And I will choose a winner using that random number generator thingy.


That's it. Have fun, I know I am. I LOVE to give stuff away!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

THE Perfect Flower

Do they get any more perfect than the Calla Lily? These pretty things popped up in my yard again. I had no idea that they bloomed twice a year. The more I know about these boogers, the better I like them. They are so strong, yet delicate.




It's been pretty normal around here for the last few days. Not much to report. However I do have something exciting to tell you.---My sweet husband has given me the 'go ahead' on a give-a-way! That's right folks, a Give-A-Way! I've always had a great time participating in other blogger give-a-ways. Once I get the 'loot' I'll be posting lots of pictures and the rules for the game. Stay Tuned!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ducks, Dogs and Doctors

I have this weird thing about me. Well, I guess I have several weird things about me but the one I'm specifically talking about is this:

If I spend time with an animal doctoring it, or trying to help it through a situation, I get way too attached. I've always had the 'I can rehabilitate you' attitude about people and animals. Does that make sense?

For example, several years ago my mother gave my (at the time) three girls 3 baby ducks for Easter. We named them Rack, Shack and Benny. (You mom's should get that one.) They stayed inside till they got too big and stinky. Then we moved them outside into a old bunny cage until they got a little older and strong enough to run around the yard by themselves. There was a pond on the church property and we lived in the parsonage. We had beautiful visions of these ducks swimming on the pond and helping to beautify the church property.

Well, they got sick, bad sick almost like a bad drunk. They couldn't hold their head up and their eyes rolled back in their heads. I searched the internet...what was wrong with my ducks? I ran to the local farm store and got a huge bag of antibiotics they sold for cows and figured out how to treat my precious ducks. They wouldn't swallow, so with a syringe and towel, I sat on my back porch all day with their little heads in my lap as I forced antibiotics down their throat drop by drop. After several hours they began to 'sober up' and I was amazed at their recovery.

Well a few weeks later the same thing happened...This time I found them laying at the edge of the pond. One of them had it's head bobbing up and down out of the water. It couldn't control it's head and it was trying not to drown. The others were near by (they were inseparable) and both also showing signs of distress. So I again played a vet and nursed them back to health. It was
after this that I realized the problem. I made the changes in their diet and they grew to be big beautiful white peeking ducks. They wouldn't ever go back to the pond for some reason and would sleep with our cat. They would waddle behind us as we walked over to the church. Everyone loved them. They were so sweet and would eat out of your hand. Although we never had the beautiful scene of them swimming on the pond, and they ate every single flower that was in my yard, we still loved them.

One day, a friend came over and said, "What's wrong with Benny?" I ran outside and saw Benny hiding under the porch and the two others no where in sight. Benny was hurt. Had blood oozing, but dutifully came to me when I called. She(yes, they were all girls) was so sad and scared. We later found a trail of blood and feathers going down the yard and out into the woods. It was obvious that something had dragged off Rack and Shack and had tried to get Benny too.
I grieved and doctored Benny. Every two hours I was up and giving her antibiotics for two days and trying to treat her wounds...she wouldn't eat & started getting really bad. I was devastated. Michael had to 'put her down' and I couldn't stand to even hear the sound of the gun. So I went and sat in the mall parking lot and waited until he called me telling me it was over. I remember calling my Grandma from there and crying my eyes out. She was so sweet and offered to pay for me to have a vet do it.

I grieved for weeks and still grieve when I think about them.

Well, this morning. My sweet dog whom I've loved through his problems and difficulties came up missing. (He's adopted and came with some issues) He's had his share of mental and physical problems and I've done all I can to help him. Doing all this only made my love for him stronger, as it did with my ducks.

We went to chain him up this morning cause we were about to leave and he was nowhere to be found. Our neighbor helped us look and told us another neighbor saw him with another dog(female?) heading out through a vineyard. We drove all over the entire village calling his name. As we went along other men helped us. Calling his name...as difficult as it is for a Portuguese person to say 'Major'. Eventually and not without the help of the others we found him. He was relieved to see us. I told him that women weren't worth all this trouble and we brought him home.

Tonight, again as I was doctoring a boo boo on his elbow and giving him the 'talk' about lady dogs I was reminded of how attached I get to animals. I've never been a 'animal person' really. Maybe it's because I know I'll get too attached. Who knows....maybe I'm just weird. Maybe I just need pets like fish that I won't have to doctor and rehabilitate, just flush them down the toilet.

So, after typing the longest post in history, I am happy to say that Major is inside and laying on his blue blanket. Hopefully he is considering his actions today and deciding he doesn't want to do that again.


Special thanks to The Domestic Fringe for hosting the carnival and and to the AMNH for donating the prizes.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday, Faith and Family

I'm so glad it's Friday.

For some reason, I'm exhausted. Like I've really done something this week. Just the normal things...school with preschoolers, cooking meals, washing all the dishes, washing all the clothes and hanging them out, changing stinky diapers(and for the record...boys diapers are more stinky than girls...why is that?) going to the school three times a day, homework...in Portuguese no less, cleaning a house that's much bigger than I realized, scooping dog poop out of the yard so I don't have to keep washing shoes covered in poop, doctoring boo-boo's, fixing hair every morning...never mine, the "school girls"....mine is always last, if it ever gets done, bathing kids, blow-drying hair...etc...

And while I'm typing this I am reminded that my fridge is nasty....my kitchen counters and appliances are greasy...and so is my hair...Overwhelmed...yep, that's the word.

Enough of that...let's move on to something praise worthy.

This week, during music class the teacher asked for a volunteer. She wanted someone to sing a song of their choice and use their newly made instruments, water bottles filled with rice. Faith, having to always be the center of attention, excitedly raised her hand and was called on by the teacher. She got in front of the class and sang "Jesus Loves Me" in English. The teacher loved it and drew her a crown on the board as her prize. The teacher asked her to sing it again and Faith did it gladly. The teacher then gave her two more crowns, for a grand total of 3!! She was so excited about getting three crowns. I was so excited to hear that she sang about God's love in school. The Portuguese kids know enough English to get the drift of the song, and the music teacher I am told, speaks English. ---What do you think about that?! Pretty Cool huh!

The weather is beautiful. The trees haven't changed colors really, but it's cool and crisp and reminds Michael and I of football season. I love this time of year and I miss my fall decorations I had to leave in the States. However we are looking forward to a visit from my Mom and Stepdad the first of November.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

What I Found In The Box - Guest Blogger

Without fail, every single time we receive a package here from the States, it contains at least one completely unexpected but perfectly appropriate item. Normally what friends and relatives send has been requested and tremendously appreciated. Boxes have included peanut butter, Velveeta cheese, Kool-Aid and clothes. Simple things without a doubt, but secrets about which the Portuguese have no clue. For example, our girls often take Kool-Aid with their snack to school and have to tell their classmates that it is just, “the juice of America.” Such statements are glorious in their simplicity and perhaps more accurate than the average adult would admit, However, with upturned noses, our pedantic European friends often remain in the dark regarding some of America’s most precious treasures, including the freedom that comes with Christ’s forgiveness.

But the packages, oh, how timely are the packages - each one a conscious reminder of how our heavenly Father always knows best how to bless His children. He, as all great fathers do, cares for both our needs and wants. Many times the two, our need and wants, remain deftly interwoven and inseparable.

Our latest package came less than two weeks ago and a majority of the contents have already been ravaged, even with my feeble attempts to ration their Walmart-y goodness. The surprise of the box though was a book called “The Shack,” written recently by William P. Young. While I don’t normally read modern, living fiction writers, I try to read each book I receive as a gift. This was no different. I would try.

Dutifully, I began a novel about a man who spends one weekend by himself, in a shack with all three members of the Godhead. It’s fiction, OK? And, yes, he spends a weekend with God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Each appear in very surprising personifications, which I will not spoil for you, but for which you should be prepared seeing that they most likely will fly in the face of our American mindset.

Dutifully, I began, curiously I continued, and worshipfully I completed the book. My soul and spirit soared with each turning page, although troubled at times my heart ached and dared to process what my mind comprehended. I finished the book with a firm commitment to live each day striving to recognize God in everything that I do - as my Father and not some idea or delusion of my imagination. Everyday, I want to cultivate my relationship with the Lord, just as I would with my dad or my wife. That’s the essence of Christianity - a relationship with a living, caring God.

With a few statements I disagreed, but I have firmly decided not to play judge and jury with minor nuances and semantics. Want to know what I learned? Preconceptions are inevitable but never insurmountable. In turn, they are detrimental but should not be completely disastrous. The Lord gently reminded me that He doesn’t fit in my theological box, but He longs to be part of my life. From The Shack, I learned that He’s “especially fond of me,” and at the same time, that He’s especially fond of you too. Want to know what else I learned? I learned that what I found in the box, wasn’t what I thought was in there.


Written by Michael Andrzejewski for The LaGrange Daily News

Friday, October 3, 2008

Talking Tough

I took this video when we had only been in Portugal for a few days. Ms. Lora and I were stuck in the van with 5 cranky kids while we waited about 2 hours(it seemed) on my husband to open a bank account. He never got one open by the way, we ended up going to their rival across the street! Good for us, huh?

Anyway, this video gives you a glimpse of what Portuguese women are like, especially the older ones. I took it from the van while trying to be discreet, so there isn't any audio for the conversation. Just my motor mouth kids and a little wishful dialog I added at the end. You'll find ladies everywhere you go talking to one another like this. They point their fingers in each others face and hit on the other while talking. I'd hate to see them if they were mad at each other. Notice how bored the younger lady and man are during this conversation....I'm telling you...this type of "talk" is only for the older ones. I've often said that I don't want to make a Portuguese lady mad. They're tough!

At the end of this conversation they parted ways with smiles and waves.....strange, huh?
video

Wednesday, October 1, 2008