Posts Tagged ‘travel’

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!


What We’ve Been Up To

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

In case you hadn’t noticed it has been awhile since I have done a "This Week’s Happenings".  There are several reasons for this, but I won’t go into them for now.  What I will do though is give a quick rundown on what we have been up to for the last two months.

We celebrated the Feast of Mother Cabrini.

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Joe all decked out in traditional gear for the feast day with Mikayla.

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The kids marching in for the mass in celebration of Mother Cabrini.

Mikayla and I got to go see the Queen Mother.

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We also took some pictures of the whole Cabrini staff.

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I hosted lots of baking classes with some of the high school students.  We made anything from pancakes to cookies to cakes to pizza.  It was a lot of fun getting to know the kids better and sharing with them my love for baking.  I think they enjoyed eating everything the most!  They also enjoyed taking lots of pictures of themselves!

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Played with sidewalk chalk a lot and enjoyed eating fresh mangos from our yard.  She is becoming quite the little artist!

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We hosted Thanksgiving for 20+ of our staff members.  People were coming and going all afternoon and evening.  It was fun, but I will say I slept really well that evening!

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The Feast!

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We had each of our guest complete a leaf for our Thankful tree.  It was quite full when everyone left!

During school time Mikayla wrote a really cool story in her journal.  See if you can figure out what it was about!  She has also been doing some great artwork in her journal.

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We let Mikayla decorate our Christmas tree.  She was really into Christmas this year and enjoyed every aspect of it.  She is actually still celebrating.  Today (December 30) she wrote a letter to Santa!

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We did lots of fun family activities as part of our Christmas countdown.  Including making salt dough ornaments, gingerbread cookies, and crafts!

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Making salt dough ornaments.

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Gingerbread cookies!

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I baked over 500 cookies and popped popcorn for 150 as part of the hostel Christmas party.

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We turned an old nightstand into a doll house for Mikayla’s Christmas gift.  I am pretty sure she loves it!

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We packed up the car (including our tree this year) and headed to Nelspruit, South Africa for a week long vacation and the Christmas holiday.  We ate a lot and relaxed even more!

We made cinnamon rolls…can’t have Christmas without them!

We took our traditional Christmas jammies pictures with cocoa!

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We headed to Kruger Park with the Sister Barbara and Sister Diane for a little game drive.  We saw a lot including elephants, zebras, giraffe, leopard, hyenas, monkeys, a really cool chameleon and lots of others.  It was rainy and muddy, but we still had fun.  Mikayla even got to use her adventure pack her grandparents got her for Christmas!

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We Skyped and chatted with a lot of family and friends.

We went to the doctor and found out I was pregnant!  Baby Kickert #2 is due July 4th!

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We rang in the new year with our friends Peter and Callista and their daughter Aviva.  I hope to get back to doing our weekly updates soon.


London Round Two

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

In keeping up with posting old pictures, here are some from our return trip to London.

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Please ignore her crazy outfit.  We lost her jacket on the plane and forgot to pack socks.  It was a little chilly to say the lease.  Ben ended up pulling out a pair of his dress socks for her to put on her legs and feet!

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The real London Bridge.  Not very excited compared to other bridges in London.

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We found a really cool playground that we hung out at for a couple of hours.  Despite the rain and cold Mikayla had a blast!

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She climbed to the top by herself, and then got scared and couldn’t figure her way down.  Ben head to climb up and get her!

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Mattingly Time

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

In looking back through some pictures the other night I stumbled across the pictures I took while Mikayla and I were staying with our friends Lylah and Lara.  I realized that I never posted those anywhere and they were so fun I thought I would go ahead and do it now.  Better late than never.  We had a blast on our few days with these dear friends, and Mikayla asks often when she can go back and play with Lylah and reminisces on our time there!

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We had a movie night one night and Lara had this genius idea to make snack necklaces.  The girls spent time lacing different foods (i.e. fruit loops, cheerios, pretzels, gummy rings) onto string and then wore them during the movie to snack on!

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Concentrating hard!

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Cheesy toddler grins.

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Making pizza for our movie night.  Please note that Mikayla is not really helping out, but licking her spoon!

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Enjoying the movie (The Lorax) and having a picnic dinner.

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One of the local farms was having a fall celebration so we hit it up.  Mikayla loved riding the horse.

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Especially with her best buddy!

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Aren’t they sweet?

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First face painting.  She was so serious about this.

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Trying to get a good picture of two toddlers is almost impossible.

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Pumpkin picture fun.

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Love this face!

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Mom it is so heavy!

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One of my favorite snaps of these two crazy girls!

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Posted in Life |

More videos

Wednesday, September 19th, 2012

My Uncle Mark and Aunt Patty recently opened up a pool.  While on our visit to Somerset, we took full advantage of it.  Mikayla really loved the waterslide.  Check her out!

Human hamster wheel fun!


And Steve driving a tractor!

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Posted in Life |

This Week’s Happenings 6/24-7/1

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

Our week wasn’t too eventful, but we were able to finalize some of the details for our upcoming trip to the states.  Here is a rough overview of what what we will be up to while we are around. Please keep in mind that things are flexible.  The only thing set in stone now is our flight schedules.

  • August 18: Everyone departs Johannesburg in the evening.
  • August 19-22: We arrive in Newark that evening and will spend some time in NYC.  Ben will be working, and Mikayla and I are there for pleasure.  We are hoping to catch up with my brother and sister-in-law while we are there since they will have just moved to Boston. 
  • August 23-26: Everyone travels to Chicago for a Cabrini fundraiser.  We will be staying with Ben’s family that live in the southern suburbs of Chicago.
  • August 27-31: Ben flies back to NYC and then heads to Philly.  He will spend the front end in NYC for meetings and the back end (at least 29-31) will be at Cabrini college in Philadelphia.  Mikayla and I will fly out to Nashville on the same day and arrive at 8:30am.
  • September 1-24: Ben returns to Kentucky for a few small fundraisers and time with friends and family.  Tim and Chelsea are due to have a baby during this time and we are looking forward to snuggling with Baby Reid during part of this time as well as spending time with other family and friends. 
  • September 5-6: Ben will travel to St. Louis by car for a fundraiser there.
  • September 16-24(?): This last week is being left open for Ben for meetings that will develop in NYC/Philly/DC (or elsewhere).  Mikayla and I will still be hanging out with folks in Kentucky.  Mikayla and I will fly straight to Newark on Sept 24 to return home.  Ben will meet us there from wherever he ends up at the end of the trip.
  • September 26: Arrive back in Jo-burg in the morning.

So there you have it folks!  Let us know if there is something specific you had in mind while we are around.

As for the rest of the week…

We spent the week without the sisters because they were in Ethiopia visiting with other sisters.  There is another section of the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart there; the sisters went there this month and then next month they will come here to Swaziland. We picked the sisters up at the airport on Saturday and said goodbye once again as they traveled to South Africa for a few days.  Mikayla was so excited to see them though and ran right up and gave them both big hugs!  It was really precious. 

Since we had to be in town to pick the sisters up from the airport on Saturday we decided to take full advantage of the situation and spend some time on a hike we have been wanting to do since we arrived in Swaziland.  You can read all about it here on Ben’s blog.  We basically hiked up to the top of Execution Rock and drove around Mlilwane to see some wildlife.  Here are a few of the pictures we took.

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Our view coming into the park.  Please note the two hippos just hanging out on the island!

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Close up on hippos.  The lighting is terrible, but you get the picture.

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At the beginning of our hike.  See that big rock on the left…that is where we went.

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Cheesing with daddy…

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And mommy!

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Our little hiker.  She insisted on walking most of the way.  We only carried her when the rocks were steep and plentiful!

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The wildlife around the rest camp is used to humans and so they are really friendly.  Here is Mikayla hanging out with a Nyala.

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Huge crocodile!  We were able to get pretty close to this guy! 

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And of course we saw lots of zebra!

Here are some bird shots from our visit.

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This is one of my favorite bird shots we have taken thus far!

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We also spent a lot of time at the hostel this week.  I am helping out with the afterschool enrichment program we run for the children.  It is a program that focuses on English, reading and math skills.  Basically I am just offering support and suggestions for ways they can make the program more engaging and meaningful for the kids.  Mikayla has even started taking part in the groups and joining the youngest group that is focusing on sounds and basic math.  She is becoming more independent at the hostel and runs off with the kids to play immediately.  Where a month ago she would have hung onto my leg at all times and made sure I was in her line of vision at all times.  She still has though moments, but more and more she gains her independence.  It has been really fun to watch her progression.  The hostel staff even commented on it the other day!

Ben did some cooking this week.  He made a really delicious meal with Impala steaks one night.  And then another night he made a grilled shrimp dinner that was super tasty.  He used Julia Child’s birthday shrimp recipe and it was delicious!  On Sunday morning I made Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with a cream cheese frosting.  Mmm!  Who ever said you couldn’t eat well in Swaziland!

Mikayla enjoyed spending time playing with her baby dolls and princess dolls this week.  That is pretty much the only toys she wanted to play with!  We were also able to take some three year portraits one evening.  It was a very impromptu thing so her hair is a hot mess and the outfit isn’t what I had intended them to be taken in.  But she is still cute!  There is an album on Facebook with a lot of the pictures, but some of the best ones can be found here.

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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.


The Miracle Drug

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

First of of all, we finally made it to Swaziland.  We arrived two nights ago (Friday night for us), a day later than expected and extremely tired.  If you want to hear our whole story you can jump on over to Ben’s blog and read about it here.  We hoped to post a video of the house, but are not going to have long enough for it to download.  We will try again soon!  It is a nice house, much larger than we were expecting.  Fully furnished, we even have a Crockpot!!  I am going to be keeping my eyes open for some sort of stand up mixer to fill our empty counter spaces soon. 

Now, back to the story at hand.  As most of you may know I was a little bit anxious about traveling with a toddler.  Most people asked me if I had entertainment together for myself for the plane ride.  My response was a light chuckle and yes of course, I have Mikayla!!  I knew she was going to keep us busy most of the long flights.  If you know her at all you know that she doesn’t stay still for very long.  Others would ask me how I thought Mikayla would do on the flight.  My response was, either really well or really bad.  I was leaning toward the really bad though.  However, in true Mikayla fashion she took it like a rock star.  Even with all our delays and long layovers she never got overly cranky.  She was in a good mood the majority of the time and we only had to bring out a few of her toys we packed for entertainment.  She really enjoyed the busy book that her Mimi and Poppy gave her, as well as a flannel board and story pieces I picked up for her.  She woke up today after almost 15 hours of sleep and was excited to play with her new friends and hang out in her home.  She jumped right in at the hostile and played with the kids while we stood around a talked with one of the workers. 

I think she also did really well due to a wonderful recommendation given to us by our travel doctor.  She said to either give her a little Children’s Benadryl or Melatonin (100% drug free sleep aid).  Since we couldn’t find Children’s Benadryl we opted for the Melatonin and I am so glad we did.   It was like a miracle drug.  Even when we had to spend the night in the airport she was still able to sleep a little.  Seriously, once she took a 3mg dosage she was out in like fifteen minutes.  It was amazing!  And not only was she asleep, she conked out asleep.  No noises or bumps would wake her.  It also worked really well for us and allowed us to get a little sleep on the plane.  If you travel long distances at all or are traveling with a toddler, I would recommend this natural remedy to help you out!  For both of the long flights Mikayla slept for at least 80% of the time (maybe a little more).


This is Mikayla sleeping in the airplane after one 3mg dose of Melatonin.  She slept through all the hustle and bustle of the plane during meal time!

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Posted in Life |

Dinosaur World

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Today we took an impromptu trip to Dinosaur World with my sister, her kids and my mom.  Mikayla had a blast and loved saying "Din-O-saur".  She even commented that she wanted to "poo poo a dinosaur" when she got home!  That kid is hysterical! 

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Mikayla kept calling these elephants, but they were really wooly mammoths.

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Dinoslide as Mikayla called it.

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This is my niece who is 10 months old..I think she is going to be tall and pass Mikayla up very quickly!

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Mikayla and Tanner loved hanging on the bars!

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Posted in Life, Parenting |