Saturday, October 25, 2014

Raising smart boys!

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I love educational toys!  I love toys that challenge and get kids’ brains working and prepare them for future learning.  I’ve been on a semi-Montessori kick lately and am trying to implement some of their educational philosophies.

So I bought a really cheap Tangram “game” at a really cheap store in South Africa.  Julio pulled it out and he loved it!  He played with it the entire 30 minutes he was in my house and was so excited with every shape he could re-create.

I could just FEEL his brain working!

And yes, that’s a good old fashioned, non-educational viewfinder toy next to him.  I’m not ALL about the educational toys!

So do you have favorite educational toys or activities or crafts you might recommend?  I love new ideas!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Guess Who’s Coming for Dinner ~ or Lunch?

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I’m still learning!  I’m still getting great ideas from all over – directly from the Lord somedays as he plops an idea in my head, something I read online or see somewhere, or in this case, from a kind visitor!

We were chatting about the lack of good quality time with so many boys and she asked if I ever brought them in for a meal together in my house.  You know what?  I never have!  Plenty of meals with a room at a time (11 boys) but never just a meal at my table.  Abby was recalling how that was a priority in her family and the great conversations that developed at the table.

I said “I’m doing it!”

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So I will be inviting in the “brothers” – not REAL brothers, the brother groups that we created..  I started with big brother Felix and the two “little brothers” he chose, Lulu and Junior.  They came in for lunch.  Most of the time, I will simply bring the plate of whatever all the kids are eating from the kitchen.  Maybe sometimes I will make them something different.  The point is the eating together more than what we are eating.

Their highlight might have to be that they got to use forks instead of spoons.  Who am I kidding?  It was definitely the little chocolate I put out for dessert!

They were awfully quiet – I think they were a bit overawed by eating with my at my table!  Cutie pies!

Who wants to come join us???

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Just because . . .


. . . he is gorgeous, thought you’d all like to enjoy this little cherub with his improvised Cap-i-tan America hat and shield as much as I do!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

It’s that time of year again!


The Shoe Store is open for cute customers!

Although I’m a big believer in Christmas festivities starting after Thanksgiving, I don’t get that luxury here in Moz – with 34 munchkins to prepare for, I need to start early!

I have been collecting shoes since Children’s Day (june 1) and we’ve also received a huge donation from China recently so I had a lot of shoes to set up for the boys to try on.  I would prefer to surprise them but there’s no way I can estimate the size for 34 boys!  What you see here is about a third of the shoes, there were two more lines on the floor. 

Out of 34, I only didn’t have a pair to fit ONE boy!  Amazing!  I think there were others his size and they got it before him.  So I’ll be on the look out for a pair of shoes for Gil. 

In case you’re curious how I do it, I line up all the shoes in size order.  Then I start with the biggest boys and usually invite two or three in at a time but a couple extra slipped in when this photo was taken.  I compare the size of their feet and the boy with the biggest goes first.  They choose the ones they want to try on (while I pray they find something they like that fits!).

In the past I have bought almost all their shoes so they were new (and set aside the new ones from donations so they’d be equal).  But since we had a big donation, it seemed a waste to not use them even though they are used. 

Amazingly, every boy was happy with the pair he chose!  Sweetie pies!

Next up – arranging new outfits for 34 little pumpkins!

Thursday, October 09, 2014

X is for Xima!



X is pronounced “ch” in Portuguese and there aren’t a whole lot of words that begin with it.  Xima does though!  And it’s pronounced “shee-ma”.

Xima is Mozambque’s variation of an African staple, known in other areas as pap or mealie-meal.  It’s corn based.  It can be served as a type of porridge but it almost never is.  Instead it is serves as a type of thick, solid mashed potato-y type side to go with anything with a sauce.  I served theirs with sardines in tomato sauce, yum!  It is thick and filling. Plain with no real taste but I like it. 


I invited the Tias of each room to come in and tell the boys about Xima, what it’s made from, how it’s made, etc. and then make it for the boys.  They loved it!  We used store-bought “Top Score” corn flour but many, many Mozambicans make it from scratch from the corn in their fields and that’s the process the Tias described for the boys.


As much as the boys like Xima, watching the Tias make it does not constitute a program!  (The tia above is one of the sweetest ladies ever, I just captured a funny face on her, don’t think she’s mean!)

I had just ordered (and a nice visitor delivered for me) a set of peg boards for the boys so we tried them out and boy were they a hit! They never wanted to stop playing with them!


First I asked them to make an X, then the first letter of their name.  Then various shapes as I held up our wooden shapes.  Then more intricate things like planes and houses.  Here’s a fun, blurry shot of us with our houses!


They did finally break from the the peg boards to color in X-Men sheets, that my trusty helper alisha hand-drew!!  They pronounce it “sheeshi-man” – SO adorable. 

I don’t have too many photos because they always turn out blurry in my house if I use no flash and over-exposed and yucky if I use one. 

Speaking of, in case you’re wondering why I’m inconsistent with blogging about the letters of our Afternoon Program, it’s because I usually forget to take photos!

Monday, October 06, 2014

V is for Viola!


Look, the Incredible Hulk dropped in for a jam session with my boys! 


For the letter V in the Afternoon Program, our main activity was creating “violas” which is the Portuguese word for guitar.  See, if you read my blog, you will learn Portuguese in tiny, incremental bits!


The boys love imitating our worship team on their guitars and these may have been one of the biggest hits we’ve ever made!  I love how in the one above, it looks like Armando, the littlie, is listening to tune his!  And in the one below, Ernesto, in bright green, has perfect form!



Marley, on the left might follow his namesake, you never know!  And Julio on the right is putting on a proper performance.

Love these cutie pies that are so excited about everything!

Friday, October 03, 2014

We’ll Miss You Alfiado!


This little cherub, Alfiado, left us recently to return to live with his mom and new little sister.

He arrived when he was Baby House age so I don’t know all the particulars of why he was here for a time.

But I do know his mom was a faithful visitor in the last year and asking regularly for her son to return home to live with her.

This is one of my favorite scenarios.  When we can provide care for children whose situations are volatile or desperate but the family is able to make a change and return for their children. 

And Alfiado was delighted to go home.  We miss him though, his little intense nod for a yes, his thoughtful questions, his unexpected grin . . .  he’s a treasure and now back being loved on by his mom.  Yay God!