Tuesday, September 29, 2009

September? Where'd you go?

I can't believe October begins this week. Wow. It will officially begin the countdown of one year left in Africa.

My fantastic in-laws departed for the US on Saturday night. Will and I were super sad to see them go, but understood that life was calling them home. To put it simply, we had the best time. Will and I learned that sometimes the best day can be spent reading a book in the sunshine with no plans whatsoever. They've learned that their daughter-in-law will argue for a solid 10 minutes that "FAQ" is a word (seriously. its a verb now. I don't care if its an acronym. I'm using it as a verb. there. ha.) just so she can win at scrabble. We've all learned that the best way to start your day is with a glass of bubbly South African sparkling wine and a shower overlooking a water hole filled with elephant, buffalo, hippo, and a croc.

Pictures to come soon, when I finally find my camera. sigh.

In the mean time, there's this!!! Pioneer Woman has A COOKBOOK! heck yes! On October 27, I will be pressing "order" on Amazon so I can get my hands on this bad boy as soon as can be (in fact, I'm really tempted to do my first pre-order on Amazon - its that bad!).

I'm posting because it looks like she may come to a city near you. Yes, YOU. Not me. For some reason, I'm guessing Africa is a bit too far for a book tour. She'll be in Atlanta on December 7. Go. For me. Please? Go see her.

She also posted this recently... I like. And this too (probably just because I love beef stroganoff).

In other news, Will and I have been cooking up quite a bit. A month's worth of dining out will leave you wanting to eat at home. Will did cook up some scrumptious impala tenderloin while the parents were here. Who knew that a dinner of impala, mac & cheese, southern style green beans, and rolls could be so good? Yum.

Will the hunter has stocked our freezer full of warthog, impala, and wildebeest that we must eat over the next few months. I'll post recipes soon. Impala burgers are perhaps the best burgers I've ever had.

Sunday night we had a relaxing night at home with Rilla, who has a brand new puppy (a lab/sharpei mix!). The dogs played and we enjoyed a nice dinner on the patio of grilled shrimp and salad. Rilla made a killer salad of avocado, tomato, onion, and hearts of palm. Paired with some grilled portabellos and onions, it made for a killer light meal on a hot day.

I made round two of spaghetti and meatballs to watch The Godfather Part II with (we've decided to veto watching The Godfather Part III, mainly because Part II wasn't as good as Part I and if Part III is much worse than Part II, then I'll pass) (I love italics today). I think I've decided that while I make a tasty meatball, they are too much work for a week night meal. Besides, my meat sauce rocks.

I'm eating a yummy lunch right now, which I brought from home. YAY! I've decided my new favorite thing to take for lunch is fat free refried beans and spanish rice. I make it Sunday night and divide the beans and rice into several separate containers. I then take a container with some salsa, guac, and tortilla chips and voila! A perfect lunch that's cheap, tasty, balanced, vegetarian, and doesn't leave me feeling hungry at 3:00pm. I won't even abandon it for other offers of going out to lunch because its just that good. YUM. And did I mention cheap? If you figure the beans are $1/can, the rice is about $2/packet, the chips are $3, the salsa is $3, and the guac is $3, then that's $12 total. This makes at least 4 lunches (you could make 3 man-size lunches) which winds up at $3-4 per lunch. It would probably be cheaper in the states as mexican food comes at a price here - its just not that popular yet. But again, yum. Just trying to throw out a new lunch option!

Read: send me spanish rice!

I'm trying avocado enchiladas tomorrow (but am cheating and using can sauce rather than making the recipe here).

This weekend we're headed to Taste of Joburg (hooray free tickets for diplomats!). Me = can't wait!

And by the way, Happy birthday Little Friend!

Friday, September 4, 2009


I'm overwhelmed.

My mom always said that it never hurts to ask.

I asked.

I received an overload of emails, donations, and more from family, friends, and even complete strangers. I feel so blessed to know so many amazing people that are happy to help me in this cause. I am so grateful for your generosity. As soon as things are more finalized with the orphanage, we can really plan on how to get this place into shape!

So - update!

I learned Nico's name is actually spelled Nyiko. Nyiko means "gift" - awwww.

Last Friday, I gave Maria money to go to the uniform store to purchase a uniform and shoes for Nyiko (I would have gone but alas, had no car since Will was on a hunting expedition). The cost? R500, which comes out to $62.50 (pretty good deal for pants, shirt, sweater, shoes, socks, etc.).

Maria took the uniform to Nyiko. He wept. He said, "I didn't think anybody loved me."

And so I cried when she told me.

She said he loved the uniform and is so proud of it. She said all he needed was a school bag. Ironically, Will and I had just cleaned out one of our closets and found a backpack. We decided to hold on to it and give it away when needed. I filled the bag with odds and ends - bubble gum, socks, a set of dominos, etc. I also included a pen and notepad. On the first page of the note pad, I wrote:


You are very loved.

Will and Valerie

Maria goes on Monday to finalize the land and hopefully learn the name of the orphanage. She had to submit 5 names to the board (just in case any where already taken) and they will let her know which one wins.

More soon!