Posts Tagged ‘Africa’

This Week’s Happenings–April Update

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Besides Easter and a very special fourth birthday (stay tuned for a separate post on this one), April was a pretty routine month for us.  Ben worked, Mikayla and I had school and hung out at the hostel and we enjoyed time as a family!  After our month of visitors in March, we enjoyed some quiet down time as a family. 

I was also able to take a mini trip to Mozambique with Joe and Scooter for a weekend, while Ben stayed home with Mikayla.  It was a nice weekend.  We hit up the craft and fabric shops, some of my favorite places to go!!  I got lots of fun fabrics, purses and other small items to add to my collection.  We also visited a fish market and had a delicious lunch of crab, prawns, calamari and some sort of fish.  It was nice to get away for the weekend, but I was glad to get back home with my family when it was over. 

Below are some pictures from our month.

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Mikayla dyed Easter eggs this year.  All the eggs are brown, so it was a little tricky.  She enjoyed every minute of it and asked frequently afterwards when we were going to to dye more.

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Dansile, a child staying short term at the hostel, even got in on the action with the help of Scooter.  Scooter was with Cabrini as a volunteer for a few months and really latched on to taking care of Dansile.  We were even able to have a slumber party with Dansile one night when the kids at the hostel were gone and Scooter had prior commitments. 

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Hunting for eggs.  She was so cute and excited each time she found one!

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Mikayla and Ben had a "tea party date" one day. They both dressed up and had tea in her room while I showered and relaxed!  Please take note of Ben’s tie, this is how everyone here wears them…about a foot too short!

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For school one day Mikayla got to experience shaving cream.  She loved exploring it, writing letters and drawing pictures!  She has even enjoyed playing with it in the shower since then!

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This is a picture we forgot to post while the Steve and Rita were here for a visit.

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This picture is for Meghan, Ben’s cousin.  She made the necklace for Mikayla as a birthday gift.  Mikayla was being too silly to get a good picture, but says thanks for the beautiful necklace.

May is already shaping up to be a busy month for us, but more on that later!


This Week’s Happenings–March 1-27

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

Well, another few weeks have flown by with no update from me.  I have a good reason though.  One, Ben was out of the country (in Ethiopia) for one of those weeks and then his parents have been here for the others.  We have a down day at the mission today with no traveling so I thought I would take advantage and do some blogging!  Here are some quick recaps of what we have been up to.

Ben traveled to Ethiopia for a week to do some visiting and information gathering of the Catholic mission they have there.  He also had an overnight layover in Dubai where he explored the city.  He came back very excited about his time and wants to take us there one day!  Anyone want to meet us?Mikayla and I stayed in Swaziland and had fun working on some Dr. Seuss stuff.  Check it out here (it isn’t an exhaustive list of what we did, just what I managed to take pictures of).

Ben got back home and we had a day to recoup before his parents arrived.

Ben’s parents arrived and we have spent the last 2.5 weeks showing them around this part of the world.  It has been a whirlwind.

We started the tour with some stops around Swaziland including Execution Rock (in Mlilwane Park) and a visit to the Mantenga Cultural Village.   We also visited Malolotja Park for some beautiful scenery and a pretty intensive hike for a lady who is 25 weeks pregnant!

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Then we packed our bags and headed toward South Africa.  Our first stop here was Blyde River Canyon.  We had a great day, despite the fact that we had some car trouble.

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I find this picture really hilarious!  Between Ben showing off his thigh and Rita’s face…classic Kickert pose!

The next two days were spent in Kruger National Park where we got to see all kinds of fun wildlife!  The highlights of the trip would have to be seeing six cheetahs that walked right up to our car and hung out for a bit (check out the video here) and an elephant knocking over a tree with his trunk (video can be viewed here)!  Both were pretty incredible.  Ben, Steve and myself took advantage of our overnight in the park (which by the way was amazing), and participated in a night drive.  I would highly recommend taking one if you ever find yourself with the opportunity! It was also our first trip where we were able to see all of the Big Five in one day!  (More pictures can be found here on my FB page).

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While in South Africa I was also able to get my hair cut.  (It was no Ali Townsend cut, but at least it is even, unlike my last African cut).  We also visited the Botanical Gardens in Nelspruit.

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We headed back to the mission long enough to sleep and repack for our beach trip to St. Lucia.  Mikayla absolutely loved the beach!  Unfortunately, I don’t think we took a single picture while we were there (the pictures below are from Steve’s camera that died shortly after arrival)!  She played so hard in the water and sand, and even wanted to continue playing after a minor run in with a jellyfish!  What a trooper.


We went to two different beaches, unfortunately we only managed to take pictures on the uglier of the two!



We picked up a pig for our pig roast/princess birthday (read the full party details here).  Since we were heading back from St. Lucia and had stopped at the grocery on the way, we were a little limited on space.  So, Mikayla got to ride on my lap and the pig in her car seat for the 45 minute drive home!  I don’t think Rita was too thrilled to be sitting next to a dead pig, but she was a trooper!

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Saturday and Sunday were spent prepping for the big party, and then celebrating on Sunday afternoon.  I think everyone had a good time. 

The next few days were down days at the mission, a couple quick stops in town and then the Kickerts start their journey back to the states bright and early tomorrow morning.

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Mikayla went on an adventure with her grandpa one morning while we were prepping for the party.  She saw all kinds of fun things!

It has been a jam packed couple of weeks.  I have enjoyed all the visitors, but I am ready to be back into a normal routine!  Easter is this weekend and I think the plan is just to take it easy at home and maybe have a special dinner!


This Week’s Happenings 4/29-5/6

Sunday, May 6th, 2012

I didn’t do a This Week’s Happenings last week because our week was filled mainly with Mikayla’s birthday activities which I posted about here and here.  This week has proven to be very busy with out of country visitors and birthday party preparations.  We also spent a lot of time playing with birthday gifts she had already received.

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She got into the stamp pad without us looking!  See that big thing of stickers there…it is already halfway gone!

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Playing her version of Candy Land – the gingerbread men characters visit the different "candy stores" and eat all the candy!

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This was a craft sent from her aunts and uncles and cousins.  She has named it Aunt Christa and plays with it like it is a doll.

On Monday evening two people from Switzerland arrived to visit Cabrini for a couple of days.  We hosted them, along with several other staff members for dinner on Monday night and breakfast on Tuesday morning.  For dinner we had lasagna, spaghetti, salad, homemade bread and a Snickerdoodle cake for dessert.  After spending the majority of the day prepping for dinner I was exhausted after our guests left.  Then we got up the next day and made a fabulous breakfast of fresh squeezed OJ, eggs, bacon (both grilled and fried), fried potatoes and more fresh bread!  It was delicious but we were so full we couldn’t find it in ourselves to eat much for lunch or dinner!  The best part about our guests (at least for Mikayla the best part) was that the girl’s name was Michaela!  She thought it was really silly to say her name for someone else!

We have converted Joe to being a Settlers of Catan player, so we had a fun evening of Settlers after Mikayla went to bed on Friday.  I won of course, which made the evening even more enjoyable!

We have officially entered "winter" here, but it didn’t feel much like it!  It warmed back up again this week after a quick cold spell last week so we spent some time in Mikayla’s swimming pool playing.  We played with both princess dolls and her tea set.  And she spent a lot of time riding her rocking horse swing, despite the heat.  She also spent some time playing in the mango tree with her Super Mikayla cape (thanks Cat, Dave and Molly) trying to save Flounder who was supposedly at the top of the tree!  Her imagination never ceases to amaze me.

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Where is Flounder, Super Mikayla?

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Tea party in the swimming pool…doesn’t get much better than this!

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At night when it cools off some Mikayla enjoys sitting and staring at stuff on her rocking horse swing.  I think it is really precious.

On Saturday we had Mikayla’s Mickey themed birthday party, more on that later.

But most exciting news of the week is that we bought plane tickets to head back to the US for a visit from August 19-September 24.  Plans while we are there are still up in the air and Ben will be working for most of that, but we were excited to get the tickets out of the way!   We will keep you posted of details as the time gets closer (and we have them of course)!


This Week’s Happenings 4/9-4-22

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

I never got around to posting last week’s happenings because we took a long weekend trip to Nelspruit, South Africa.  I was too busy enjoying some family time, relaxing and seeing some really cool things (more about that in a bit).  The good news is that you will get two weeks worth of Kickert living in one!  Get excited!

After work on Friday we packed up the car and headed to Nelspruit, South Africa.  We visited here at Christmas time and it is a great place to go to get away and enjoy some "western" time.  On Saturday we did some shopping and picked up some goodies.  We of course stocked up on tortilla chips and salsa!  I also found a small craft store inside a store called Mica.  It was beautiful.  It was like going in a miniature Hobby Lobby.  I didn’t get much (besides a few supplies for Mikayla’s Mickey Mouse Birthday Party coming up in a few weeks), but it is nice to know that it is there.  Now I can start thinking crafts again and actually have somewhere to pick up the supplies.

On Sunday we loaded up the car and headed to Blyde River Canyon, which is about an hour away.  We experienced some of the most beautiful scenery we had ever seen.  The pictures don’t do it justice (you can see Ben’s full album here), but if you ever find yourself in South Africa, you should check it out.  We basically drove around and stopped at different viewpoints.  Some of the viewpoints you had to walk to (although not very far) and others were right beside the car.  Amazing!

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Obligatory tree pictures!  I am always on the lookout for good trees to snap some pictures in.  I LOVE this picture of Mikayla!  She is such a ham sometimes!

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We saw several waterfalls on this trip, but this one was my favorite! 

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Skipping rocks with daddy!

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And of course, what would a Kickert family trip be without Ben being a little goofy!

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Another Adkins Family Tree shot. 

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We want to go camping down by this lake.

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Another amazing waterfall!

On Monday we laid low and did a bit more shopping.  We had planned to take Mikayla swimming, but it was windy which made it a little too cool for swimming.  She did go "swimming" in the bathtub that evening though!  On Tuesday Ben got up and did a little repair work on the vehicle, then we packed the car and headed back to Kruger National Park.  At first we didn’t see much of anything besides impala and a couple of elephants way off in the distance.  We were getting a little discouraged and then out of the corner of my eyes I saw these guys.

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That’s right folks, we have two cheetahs.  Beautiful creatures and we were so close to them.  When we saw them, we immediately turned around and "stalked" them for a bit.  There were times when we were less than ten feet from them.  One of the best animal sightings we have seen to date.  Here are some more shots of the cheetahs (forgive us we took a lot) and some other animals we spotted.  (More pictures can be found here).

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Some more impala, these guys are seriously everywhere in the park!

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We saw lots of these guys flying around too.

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These are the first hippos we have seen out of water.  Of course it was from a distance, so it is hard to tell what they are.

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I think this guys lashes were beautiful.  We watched him eating for a bit and Mikayla kept calling him Horton!

The weather is starting to cool off a little at night time so we decided that we should build a fire pit in the back yard this week.  The other night we got out our new camp chairs (even Mikayla has one) and sat around the new fire pit enjoying some chili.  Felt a little like a fall evening!

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Doesn’t Mikayla look so grown up in her "Junior" Camp chair?  Please ignore Ben’s combination of shorts, dress socks and hiking boots.

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This stubborn goat ended up on our porch one afternoon and we couldn’t get rid of him.  He fell on the porch at one time and because of the wax couldn’t get up and was stuck on his side for several minutes.  He was scared of the dogs, so he just froze.  Ben tried to chase him off with a broom, but we eventually had to pull him by the horns.  Unfortunately, I think the dogs got the better of him because we found him dead outside the fence in the morning.

I also managed to do a little baking and cooking in the last few weeks.  I made some pretty tasty chocolate chip cookie bars one day.  I really wanted cookies, but didn’t want to invest the time in making them, so I made bars instead.  The next best thing!  While in Nelspruit I found some recipes I want to try in the next few weeks.

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This is the Piña Colada Cake I mentioned making for Easter dinner.  It was good, but not my favorite dessert.  If I make it again I will make a lot of changes and alterations to enhance the flavor.

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For part of my birthday Rita made me this fabulous bowl.  She mentioned she uses one similar to it for making bread, so I gave it a go.  Look how pretty it is!  I would love to try it as a Deep Dish Chicken Pot Pie.


This Week’s Happenings 3/26-4/1

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

It is so hard for me to believe that Easter is one weekend away.  Anybody doing any fun Easter activities or crafts?  Where has the time gone?

Ben got home last Saturday, so we enjoyed lots of time with him over the weekend and then throughout the week.  It was nice to have him home again.  I think Mikayla enjoyed her daddy time this week as well.

He brought back lots of goodies from the states so we played with those and even ate some too!  He was even able to snag a box of our two favorite Girl Scout cookies (Tagalongs and Thin Mints) so we enjoyed those as well.

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Enjoying a Girl Scout cookie daddy brought home!

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Sporting her new apron from her Great Aunt Ellen…thanks, she loves it and the goodies that were inside!

On Thursday, Mikayla and I headed into town with some other staff members to pick up my driver’s license (and some other errands for others).  I am now an official Swazi driver!  More than I can say for Ben!  Unfortunately, on the way in Mikayla got sick.  She threw up several times and was very lethargic and sleepy for the rest of the day.  The unfortunate thing about our situation was we were two hours from home and with other people so we couldn’t exactly turn around and head back.  She was a trooper though and curled up on my lap for most of the day sleeping.  By the time we got home she had a temperature of 103.6!  It dropped quickly as soon as we got some Tylenol into her system.  The next couple of days were filled with lots of time on the toilet and very restless nights.  Needless to say, we all took a day of rest on Sunday!  I am thankful to say she is on the mend and was feeling back to her regular self today!

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A silly Mikayla face…love this picture though!

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I have mentioned Joe a couple of times, but haven’t posted a picture of him yet.  Here he is showing Ben a bottle of Chicago Bourbon he found at a store in town.

Ben and I plan on getting up at 3 am to watch the National Championship Basketball game.  It will make for a sleepy day tomorrow, but hopefully it will be well worth our time investment!

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Posted in Life |

Who Says It Doesn’t Snow In Africa?

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

If you caught last week’s Toddler School post you will know that we studied the letter W and focused on winter.  I feel that it is important to continue to teach Mikayla about the seasons even if we don’t really have big differences.  Since it is winter back in the states and my friends have been posting all kinds of fun activities they have been doing with their kiddos, I couldn’t pass up the chance to jump in on the fun.  On Sunday we (by we I really mean me, but Ben was a trooper) decided to make it a winter fun day.

We began with a breakfast of snowman pancakes and bacon.  Mikayla had a blast using the sprinkles my grandma sent her for Christmas to decorate her snowman.  And if you look really closely, you will be able to see that she made two eyes and a mouth all by herself!  She had a blast and proceeded to make and eat three snowmen pancakes when she usually only eats one!  (Apology for the lack of shirt, but it is hot here so she only sleeps in underwear most nights.  We hadn’t gotten dressed yet!)

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We laid low for the rest of the morning and then while she was napping I hung up snowflakes all around the hallway and living room.  I have been secretly making these when Mikayla is cutting in her cutting box.  When Mikayla woke up we told her there was a surprise, but that it had gotten really cold in the house so she needed to put on a scarf and hat.  Her reaction was priceless.

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After she explored the "snow" we had a family snowball fight using marshmallows.  She thought it was hilarious to throw snow at mommy and daddy.  After our snowball fight, we built a couple of snow forts by stacking the marshmallows.

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Trying to catch the snowflake.  She actually got a little frustrated that they weren’t falling down for her.

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It took her a few minutes to catch on to the snowball fight, but in the end she understood to throw them and not hand them to you!

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Building a snow fort with daddy.

When we were tired of throwing snow, we moved on to building a snowman.  We took empty plastic grocery bags and stuffed them with other grocery bags to complete our snowman.  She lost interest pretty quick, so we didn’t actually decorate him. However, she was able to make the connection that she was dressed like her snowman we made last week all on her own.  She just looked up at her footprint snowman and said that she looked like him. 

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Our wimpy snowman – it is no Grandma and Grandpa Kickert snowman!

After all the snowball fun, we made some snow to play in.  We mixed 4 cups of flour with 1/2 cup of baby oil and mixed with our hands.  When we were finished we had a mixture that was a snowy consistency and could be molded fairly easily into snowballs.  Mikayla had fun using her Goofy and Donald Duck characters in the snow!

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Our final winter activity for the day was driving through a snowy scene on our Wii Mario Cart game.  She was not the best driver, but she still had fun!

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We had a fun winter day, even if it was 90 degrees outside!  She actually kept saying, "I am going to go play in winter now".  So sweet!

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Posted in Life, Parenting |

This Week’s Happenings 1/9-1/15

Saturday, January 14th, 2012

We had a pretty quiet week.  Ben worked a a lot and Mikayla and I played a lot!  She did request on several occasions for the twins to come play though. 

In the last week or so Mikayla has learned to gallop.  She thinks it is fun and so everywhere we go she gallops.  It is so cute, but don’t take my word for it.  Watch it for yourself!

In addition to learning to gallop, Mikayla has gained a new cooking obsession in the last week or two.  When I start cooking she pulls her chair over to the counter and gets a measuring cup.  Then she proceeds to "make dessert" with the spices on the counter and any scraps of veggies and what not that are leftover from my cooking.  She will spend the whole time I am cooking doing this and is so serious about it.  She even knows the names for most of the spices.  Most of the time the concoction is inedible, but she always tries it!  Here is her latest concoction.

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This concoction included matches, noodles, water, spices galore, some wild berries found on the mission, onions and I think apple peels.  Yum yum!

Sunday was Sister Barbara’s birthday, so on Monday we cooked her a meal of her choice which just so happened to be one of our favorites…MEXICAN!  We still had some chips and salsa leftover from our Christmas finds so we served those with black beans, rice, guacamole, chicken fajitas and homemade corn tortillas.  The corn tortillas weren’t truly authentic because we didn’t have the right kind of corn flour (it requires a special one), but they still turned out pretty good.  Ben said he liked them better than the flour tortillas I have made in the past.  We topped the meal off with some chocolate covered pretzels made by Mikayla (of course I helped a little).

On Tuesday night we had a big storm come through.  Probably an hour before it started raining we lost power.  And then the rains came!  It was actually so windy and rainy that the wind blew the rain sideways and into our house.  Mikayla’s room was flooded and our room got quite a bit of rain too.  We quickly realized what was happening and shut all the windows and then set to work to clean up the mess!  Lucky for us we didn’t have anything too valuable on the ground.  Mikayla had some books and a couple of toys lying around, but we were able to get them all dried out with only a few wrinkles.  Unlucky for us was that the power didn’t come back on for almost 24 hours!  Humidity + plus heat + no fans = HOT!  Since there was no power all day on Wednesday, Ben decided he would try his hand at cutting our grass with a "slasher" (similar to a machete).  He posted a video on his blog that you can check out if you are so inclined.

Back around Christmas I started reading Harry Potter.  I have put it off for so long for no good reason and finally decided I would give it a go.  And I am so glad I did!  Like my friend Catherine said to me when I started reading them, they are not the most well written books, but I still love them!  Just ask Ben, I couldn’t stop reading them until I had completed the series!  I read all 7 books in just over 2 weeks.  If you haven’t read the series yet you should really give it a shot.  Just a question though for all you HP fans…are the movies worth trying to track down to watch?

Friday morning turned out to be pretty exciting for Ben and not in a good way.  Mcamiso, one of our drivers, stopped by early to pick up our propane tank to get refilled and asked Ben to help.  When they tipped the tank back there was a cobra coiled up underneath it.  Luckily the snake was pretty docile.  Between Ben, Mcomiso, Socks (the dog) and some garden tools, the snake was dealt with swiftly. 

On a more warm and fuzzy note, Friday evening I made cookies for the “Ambassador” for the EU (European Union).  Never thought I would say that when I moved to the bush in Swaziland!

To all you friends out there with little kids, here is a fun cooking activity that your kids can help out with (or make completely on their own)…pudding pops!  Basically you make pudding (which they can practically do without your help) and then pour into a popsicle mold or ice cube trays.  Add a stick of some sort and then freeze.  The best part is that because they are pudding they don’t melt as fast and are way less messy!  Doesn’t mean much to you guys getting snow right now, but for us battling the heat at the moment it makes great sense!  Your kids can feel proud because they can make them on their own (with a little supervision of course)!  And like with any cooking, licking the spoon is the best part…just ask Mikayla!

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Week’s Happenings – Christmas Edition

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

We have had a busy Christmas season, although it hasn’t felt much like Christmas here.  The 100 degree days, lack of snow and Christmas decorations made it difficult to really get into the Christmas spirit.  We did our best by listening to Christmas music, hanging stockings and putting up a tree.  Most of our Christmas vacation was spent in South Africa.  We were actually talking to a friend from home this week and decided that our holiday season seemed more like a vacation than a holiday season, so it was different.  But I think we all enjoyed ourselves despite missing family and friends.  The sisters were wonderful and took us under their wings to celebrate with us.

On Thursday of last week we slept in and then headed to Komatipoort, South Africa right on the Mozambique border.  We spent the evening driving around and swimming.  We woke up early on Friday morning and headed to Kruger National Park.  It is one of the biggest game reserves in Southern Africa and is the best known.  We saw some incredible animals.  Whole herds of elephants, lions, giraffes, impala, rhinos, hippos.  You name it and we probably saw it.  We saw four of the Big Five within the first few hours.  The only animals we didn’t see that we really wanted to were cheetahs and leopards.  Although at one point we were pulled off with several other vehicles, including a tour guide, where there was supposedly a leopard in the tree.  We never saw it, but like to pretend that we did!  I am not going to include all of our animal shots, but you can check them out on Ben’s Facebook page if you are curious.  Here are just a couple of snapshots. 

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First elephant we saw for the day and probably the largest!

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Warthog family.  First time I have actually seen a baby warthog.

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Nothing like eating on the go!

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Drinking giraffe. 

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Don’t you just love Mikayla’s hair in this picture!  I swear we brush it every once in awhile.

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I wanted to take this giraffe skull home but Ben said it would be illegal.

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One of our last sightings of the day was this monstrous rhino.  He kept trying to get away, but we finally captured a few good shots.

After a full day of driving around the park (we covered over 300km) we headed towards Nelspruit, South Africa where we spent the rest of our Christmas.  Nelspruit was incredibly western, with almost any type shop you can imagine.  If you didn’t know better you wouldn’t have thought you were in Africa.  On Christmas Eve we drove around the city and checked out some of the shops and malls.  It was amazing how much like the States it felt.  We were lucky enough to find some really special finds.  There were tons of clothing stores, two good outdoors shops, a couple of great liquor stores with good wine and familiar spirits, and a huge Toys R Us (although we didn’t go in this store for obvious reasons).  We even found a candy store that sold Willy Wonka candy!!  Then at the grocery stores we were able to pick up a few things we don’t really see in Swaziland too often – Funfetti cake mix (no Rainbow chip icing though), tortilla chips, salsa in a jar, taco seasoning, corn syrup (stocked up for rolls next year), tahini paste (for hummus), pretzels and few other odds and ends.  That evening we headed to visit with the sisters for pizza and a few games of Boggle.  We also attended the midnight mass before heading back to the hotel. 

We woke up on Christmas morning not really feeling like Christmas at all, but we still tried to get in the spirit of things.  Mikayla opened her stockings and couple of small packages from us.  It took her a good half hour to open her stocking because she would only pull out one thing at a time.  Then she would ask questions about it or play with it for a second before moving on.  We ended up giving her the big gifts before we left so we wouldn’t have to pack them and worry with customs at the border.  All in all I would say she racked up this year with gifts.  She got a table and chairs, her rocking giraffe swing (check out Facebook for the video), a tea set, blocks, a mop and broom cleaning set, tons of books, a new dress, some Signing time DVDs and a few other odds and ends.  And she still has a couple of other packages on their way that haven’t arrived yet.  She was excited about each of them and jumps from one thing to the next now that we are back home.

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Waking up Christmas morning.

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Playing around in the hotel.

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Stockings and small packages on Christmas morning.

After showering and opening packages we headed back to spend some time with sisters for a Christmas brunch and then back again for a fabulous Christmas braai.  Mikayla and Ben were even able to do a little swimming!  We crashed early Christmas evening and then headed home the next day. 

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Cheesy girl enjoying swimming outside in December!

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Swimming with daddy!

We spent yesterday relaxing at home (I started reading Harry Potter and can’t put it down), cleaning and organizing.  Sometime today we will be picking up the twins for a months stay at our house.  The kids from the hostel are on holiday right now (summer vacation) and the twins have been back at their homesteads for about three weeks.  This will be a much different stay for them because they are both relatively healthy now and extremely mobile.  Both are walking/running all over the place!  I think this time it will feel more like we have triplets than just three kids. 

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Kruger Bird Pictures

Monday, December 26th, 2011

We took lots of pictures of animals while in Kruger (you can find them on Ben’s Facebook page), but here are a couple of bird pictures for you.  We haven’t identified all of them yet, but will when we get back home.

Kruger 166

Not a great shot, but still a cool bird!

Kruger 261

This bird was just hanging out on top of a hippo!

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Kruger 264

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Kruger 332

Some of these birds have amazing colors.

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This was some sort of eagle, I think an African fish eagle.

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Kruger 427

Kruger 436 (2)

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Love this guy – we have actually seen him around our house too.  His color is beautiful!

I am sure I will post some animal pictures later, but if you want to see them now you can go to Ben’s Facebook page.

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This Week’s Happenings 12/12-12-18

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

Ben had a three day meeting in town this week.  We were sad for him to leave since I was gone so much last week.  But then on his first night he called and said he ended up with a suite and that we should find a ride into town to come stay with him (our car is in the shop).  So on Thursday we got up early and hitched a ride with one of the Cabrini vehicles heading that way to enjoy some time with Ben (although he was in meetings for most of the time).  We got to enjoy some AC, excellent Internet and some rain!  I am starting to get spoiled with all the getaways!

Speaking of getaways, we finalized our holiday plans this week.  We will spend some time in Kruger (one of the largest game reserves) and Nelspruit – both in South Africa.  We will also be spending some time with the sisters.  We will surely miss our families and friends a lot this week, but are hoping to have some decent Internet so we can make some video calls.  We will keep you posted on that.  When we get back we will pick up the twins we kept earlier in the year.  They will have a months stay at the Kickert’s abode during the "summer" break!

We have been thinking for awhile that we wanted to get Mikayla a pool to play it.  It is just so hot!  Well, we finally purchased one this week and I think she is in love.  Originally we planned on getting one of those wide shallow pools, but I think this is going to be even better because she can submerge herself and we can use it as big bath tub if we need to.  It will actually come in really handy when we are keeping the twins.  We have also been having some problems with our shower so it will be nice to bathe ourselves as well.  It is amazing how small things can make such a big difference here.

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swimming pool 019

Just hanging out in her new pool/tub!

On Saturday I did some baking for the sisters.  They wanted to give some homemade goodies to the priests and sister here.  They had given me a couple of box mixes they picked up in SA last week, but I had some butternut squash that needed to be used.  So I decided to throw some "pumpkin" (aka butternut squash) muffins into the mix.  When I had some leftover puree I decided it was a great chance to try out some Pumpkin Monkey Bread I have had on my radar for a bit.  I am so glad I did because it was delicious.  Maybe even better than traditional monkey bread.  I found the recipe here.  I didn’t take any pictures because our pan was actually too small and it fell out as it rose so high during the baking process, but trust me it was amazing!  Try it, definitely worth the wait time.  If you do try, be sure to read the recipe all the way through before starting because it requires two rise times. 

For all you Clark folks – we will be thinking of you this week as we make the annual cinnamon rolls!  It’s just too bad we will have to eat them all ourselves!

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