Monday, July 28, 2014

Zimbabwe Feast

The father of a family we know was born in Zimbabwe; he is of European ancestry, so he, like many "white Zimbabweans," emigrated in the mid-80s, and he finished growing up in South Africa. Tonight the whole family came over, and he told us a little about Zimbabwe. He also brought cricket equipment and let us play some cricket at a nearby park. Now I know what a "sticky wicket" is!

I spent much of today cooking, trying to provide both enough traditional African food and food that was what a white Zimbabwean would have eaten. Here was the menu, along with websites that taught me how to make the items:

  • Sadza -
  • Greens -
  • Oven-baked chicken (our guests brought piri piri sauce to put on it) -
  • Okra -
  • Mealies (corn on the cob)
  • Sweet potato cookies -
  • Candy cake -
  • Sweet buns -
  • Shandy - homemade non-alcoholic version consisting of pink lemonade (from a powdered mix) mixed with lemon-lime seltzer water
  • Baobab powder in water - (I ended up adding grenadine to this because it just didn't taste that great alone)
  • Water

The sweet buns were probably the biggest hit with everyone. I'll be cooking those for my family in the future for sure. The okra...not so much of a hit....It's just so slimy.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Greek Weeks

Between Brazil and Mongolia, we learned about Greece. I had just had the baby, so we didn't do that much. Highlights included watching Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (for the Greek mythology aspect) and tasty Greek food from a local restaurant. The adults (my mother-in-law stayed with us for 2 weeks after the baby was born) also watched For Your Eyes Only (it has James Bond being a tourist in Greece) and My Life in Ruins (the actress from My Big Fat Greek Wedding portrays a boring tour guide in Greece who learns to loosen up and finds love).

I was planning to have the girls take a session of swim lessons, but never got around to it while we were on Greece. Maybe when we're studying Zimbabwe...hey, the country may be landlocked, but they still swim sometimes over there!

Mongolia Weeks

I have been witness to the slow miracle of a newborn changing to a baby for the past almost-4 weeks. A miracle which I get to witness just as readily at 3 am as at 3 pm. Our baby is quite healthy except for a little jaundice--more common here in Colorado, apparently due to the high altitude--and a mild cold that has required some use of that bulb syringe they gave us at the hospital. My husband is 75% back at work (having him home when the older kids wake up and need breakfast is SO helpful), and my mother is funding 20 hours of having a local teenager be a "mother's helper" for me.

We are still doing math and a little music on a daily basis and studying countries. Last week and this week, the country was Mongolia. We listened to throat singing and the Mongolian national anthem on YouTube. We watched two movies set in rural Mongolia--which is pretty much the entire country outside the capital city of Ulaanbaatar--which displayed modern nomadic life very well. The movies, The Story of the Weeping Camel and The Cave of the Yellow Dog, were in Mongolian, but when I read the English subtitles aloud, dd4 and dd2 unexpectedly found them engaging. We also ate buuz and a cheater crockpot version of lamb khorkhog. Finally, I surprised dd7 and dd9 with horseback riding lessons.

If I had more energy, I'd even be able to take my children into central Denver for the Mongolian summer festival, Naadam. Ulaanbaatar and Denver are sister cities, and Denver apparently has the largest population of Mongolians in the Americas.