book review: babu's song

The church I attended during college had a monthly Ladies' Missionary Prayer Group at which there was a key note speaker followed by breakout prayer groups and fellowship. I thoroughly enjoyed this one special night a month, getting away from university studies.

One of the treasures I always took away was a book checked out from their collected library of missions related biographies--like My Heart in His Hands about Ann Judson--great for Sunday afternoon reading. But I also loved checking out their collection of children's books, mostly with a missionary emphasis, but also some non-religious titles like Jambo Means Hello with a country-culture-language emphasis.

I don't remember seeing this title (Babu's Song) there, but was delighted to find it at our local library, and would love to add it to my own children's lit library soon (as I've done with Jambo Means Hello). And I think it would be a fabulous addition to any church's missionary library for children.

Babu's Song has so many jumping off points to discuss making wise decisions, loving others sacrificially, working hard, living without a lot of things, being creative and content, etc. It's actually in several curricula for second graders and thus has book link vocabulary, spelling and writing activities available online, like this one created by Sandy Fiorni.

Babu's Song connected with my boys because of its protaganist's love for soccer, his relationship with his grandpa, and because eventually we'd love to live in Africa (if the Lord wills, obviously).

For now, I hope you enjoy this thoughtful read (along with the delightful watercolor illustrations) as much as we did.

proverbs time

I have been spending a lot of time in Proverbs since Mark was born, primarily because even if I can only squeeze a few minutes here and there I still get pithy and applicable truths to meditate on.

The breakthrough recently has been then turning around and having pithy applicational truth talks with my older boys. We call it "Proverbs Time." And I'm finding that, especially if we have these talks regularly during non-confrontational times, when confrontations arise (and it's not like they won't between a five and seven year old, so when they do), we can point back to a proverb we've recently discussed, and they have the pivotal truth they need to turn (repent) from foolishness and/or evil to wisdom and righteousness.

Honestly, it's helpful for me too, because it means I'm thinking and applying the Scripture more frequently too and I'm using Scripture in my child training. I love God's Word: it is so powerful and promotes peace in our lives. Thank You, God.

It is my hope to blog on specific proverbs that we discuss as a hopeful tool for you as you work with children God has placed in your sphere of influence.

Looking forward,

recipe: rosemary pork and spiced apples

 Gold Star Pork Stew Meat was 1.99/lb last week at BiLo. Yeah! And I had this distinctly accented voice in my head saying, "pork chops and applesauce," that others of you could peg, but all I remember is the phrase. My stomach says, "I want something pork with apples, but with a fresh spin." So I search "pork + apple + recipe" and get way too many ideas, scrap most of them, but toss a few in the back of my brain and start cooking.

Stock Pot, Medium High.
Start with 1/4 cup butter.
Add 6 apples, sliced and cored, but not peeled.
Spice it up with 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ginger, and 1/4 tsp nutmeg, or try pumpkin pie spice, more or less to your liking.
Stir, nicely coating apples in the spice mixture, then ...
Add 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Cook w/o lid just until tender (about 5 minutes). 

spiced apples.

Set aside liquid (drained off apples) and spiced apples separately. You'll add them both back at specified points in the process.

Now you're ready to brown the meat in a generous amount of olive oil in the spiced pan.
I had 1.83 pounds of meat, but anywhere from 1 1/2 pounds to 2 pounds would work for these amounts.
Add 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (opt.) and 1/2 tsp rosemary. Brown.

Once meat is browned, kick it with 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar.
It's gonna bubble up. Just let it work it's magic for about 5 minutes. This will both tenderize your meat and give it a tangy German flair.

pork with apple cider magic.

After about 5 minutes, go ahead and drain off the vinegar.

Add spiced liquid from apples back into the pork. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to simmer.
Let cook thoroughly. Just before serving, return apples to pot to ensure warmth and stir in 1/3 cup brown sugar (opt.).

Serve with tangy green beans (or steam-in-a-bag peas for ease) and brown rice. Enjoy!!!

bon appetit.