Monthly Archives: April 2012


Last week I began to feel settled enough to start back into the routine of cooking here in Indonesia. Cooking Western food, I mean. Which means my list of things I need to make (from scratch) so that I can cook said Western food includes:

  • Chicken stock – done!
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Pizza Dough
  • Yogurt – done!
  • Bread
  • Granola
  • Tortillas
  • Muffins – I made these, but they’re already gone. Yummy!

Tomato sauce is on the schedule for tomorrow, and I have to make tortillas before Thursday to use them in a new recipe so I had better get busy! I actually really enjoy making this stuff myself, but it’s just challenging that it ALWAYS has to be made from scratch and when I’m tired or the girls are cranky I can’t just whip out the box (or whatever) I have in the pantry from the grocery store.

Thanks to Pinterest, the newest apparent source of endless inspiration, I have come across some recipes that were pretty easy to come up with all the ingredients. So… I have tried some new recipes this past week. Three in fact! With some mixed results.

I made this Roasted Lemon Garlic Herb Shrimp. It tasted really good, but next time I’ll cut down on the oil a bit and not cook it quite so long. The shrimp that we can get here are actually REALLY REALLY fresh, but I overcooked them and they got a little rubbery. I’m still getting used to cooking in our smaller gas oven again. With Celsius… sigh. Here is a picture I got of the final dish. Will definitely be making this one again!


I also made these Baked Chicken Fajitas ( I made a small batch of tortillas that afternoon just for this recipe). They were really good and easy (even easier if I had tortillas made already in the freezer). My spices are not the freshest (I really need to find replacements somewhere), and it would’ve been better still with chili powder that hasn’t sat in 90-degree humidity for 2 years. Keeping spices fresh (ones that I can’t get locally) is a real challenge for me here. More on that later. Will definitely be making this recipe again!!

Last new recipe this week was this Slow Cooker Rotisserie Chicken. Good, easy recipe, but again I overcooked it slightly. Chickens here are smaller than in America, so I think that it could’ve done with maybe an hour less cooking time. Also would’ve been better with fresher spices. But really, really easy!

Sorry I didn’t get pictures of the other two. It gets dark here at 6:00 every single day and that’s the same time that we eat (two very hungry little girls), so the camera is usually the last thing I’m thinking about until the food is completely gone.

On the menu for this week – 4 new recipes!! One of them was just sent to my by a friend from Houston. Making it tomorrow night, so Ill let you know!

It’s exciting to try new things here, but at the same time I am really trying to find recipes that are worth the amount of work that I put into them – i.e. they taste REALLY good.

That’s all for now from Indonesia! If you have suggestions of good recipes, comment or send me an email. Thanks!


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Filed under cooking, daily life, family, Food, recipes


Disclaimer: This post might get a little nerdy about electricity and such.  Also, I am not an electrical engineer so I make no claims as to the accuracy of any statement in this post!

If you were reading our blog about 2 years ago when we first got to Indonesia, I did a short series of posts that I called RIOs – Random Indonesian Objects.  Now that we’ve been here a while longer it seems like there’s many more items I could add to the list, so we’ll start with this one:


The Stavol is the white box on the bottom; the blue thing on top is our WiFi router.  I don’t know where the name “stavol” came from, but it probably is a shortened version of “voltage stabilizer” in reverse.  And that’s exactly what it does – stabilize the voltage.  In the US, this really isn’t an issue at all.  The outlets in our homes always put out 120V, and we don’t really ever have to think about it.  Here in Indonesia, there’s 2 reasons to use one of these things:

1. It converts between 120V and 240V.  Any of you who have ever travelled outside the US have probably run into the 120/240 issue, and have maybe had to bring along not just plug adapters, but also a little transformer box so you could charge your phone, run your hairdryer, etc. because it only ran on 120V.  The Stavol lets me run any of our American gadgets that won’t run on 240V, which is what we have in Indonesia.

2. This one is more important: our house never actually gets 240V like it’s supposed to.  I’m looking at my voltage gauge right now and it says 170V:


That’s pretty bad, and although most appliances here will run fine on low voltage, that’s pushing it a bit.  So, I use these Stavols to raise the voltage back up to 240V on anything we care about to make sure that it doesn’t break.

I’m not an electrician so I don’t want to try to explain how it raises the voltage like that, so I’ll let one of you electrical engineers explain it in the comments if you care to.  The Stavol pictured at the top is in my office, where it runs the laptop, printer, monitor, WiFi router, and some external hard disks.

This one is running our TV and entertainment stuff:


So that’s what a Stavol is!  This probably isn’t the most exciting blog post you ever read, but hopefully it gives you a bit more insight into our lives here.

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Sepak Takraw

When I was up in the village last week I had the opportunity to attend a multi-denominational Easter service that included all the churches from the area.  After the service there were lots of games and sports played, but instead of arranging teams by church or denomination, they were arranged by village.  This was a great way for each of the churches to come together and also for everyone to come together as a community.

All of the games were traditional Indonesian/SE Asian games.  There was tug-of-war with a huge rattan vine:

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Climbing a greased pole to try to pull prizes down from the top (sorry I don’t have any pictures of the actual climb!).  Greasing the pole: 2012_4_13_Walandano_multidenomination_church_service&games (2) 

The poles upright and ready to climb:

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And last but not least: takraw .  It looks a lot like any other net-based game like volleyball or badminton, but the big difference is that you can use anything BUT your hands.  That means feet, chest, and head are all fair game and it leads to some pretty spectacular spikes made with a flying kick.  The ball is made of woven rattan.  I was absolutely fascinated by the coordination and skill it takes to play this game!

If you’d like to read more about the history and rules of Sepak Takraw, here’s a link to a great wikipedia article.  Otherwise, I highly recommend you check out this approx. 5 minute video I shot of two local village teams competing.  (Sorry if the camera is a little wobbly: I wasn’t really prepared for a recording session so this was all done with a hand-held point-and-shoot camera)  There’s some great plays at about 1:25, 2:20, 3:50, and 4:30.

Takraw in our village

I also got a picture of one player in the middle of a spike/kick:

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It’s a crazy game, well beyond my limited athletic ability!


Filed under Church Events, Sports

The Journey

Hello all!

Matt just returned this evening from a trip to one of the villages where we work. He was there to support the translation team as they prepare for the upcoming consultant check for the book of Matthew. Getting close to being done! Here at home, we had a successful time too! No one got sick (thanks for praying!) and the power never went out – yay!

I know you all just really want to hear how our long (loooong, looooooooong) journey  was from America all the way here. I know that we have been here for two weeks now, but I think that I finally have processed being here, landing, jet-lag, and unpacking enough now that I can reflect back on it a little bit. The whole trip was better than I expected it to be. The flights (#s 1 and 2) from Ohio to California were pretty uneventful other than having to pay an arm and a leg for our 8 pieces of checked baggage on a domestic flight. Grrrrr. Oh well. C’est la vie. Elizabeth now LOVES to fly, and she was so excited to get on an airplane again that we really didn’t have to do much to keep her entertained. Both girls even took a (short) nap on the second flight.

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Charlotte was very curious!

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There was a lot of this…

I was glad that we had an overnight in San Francisco so that we didn’t have to start the really long haul to Asia already tired. We were able to get a good night’s sleep before the next flights. Those flights (#s 3 and 4) were L-O-N-G. The 12 hour flight from San Francisco to Seoul, Korea was SO much better than I expected that I wished we could’ve just kept going instead of having to get off and back on the same airplane again. We all got to sleep on that flight, and the girls and I all slept for like 5 hours in the middle of the trip which on an airplane with two small kids is a small miracle. Yay!

The flight from Korea to Singapore was the roughest one. None of us wanted to get back on an airplane for another 6 hour flight. No one really got to sleep for very long, even though we were all tired, and Charlotte decided to scream herself hoarse on this one. At least then the sceaming was silent…. (sad). She had a pretty bad cold also, so we kept her going on the Ibuprofen and Benadryl almost the whole time. Poor thing! But a big THANK YOU to Aunt Denise who gave Charlotte some Sesame Street stickers for her birthday. They kept her entertained for hours. HOURS. We put them everywhere. And then moved them. And then ate puffs. Puffs and stickers got us through!

We had an 8 hour layover in Singapore and we went straight to the transit hotel when we got there (it was 1 in the morning Singapore time, but felt like I don’t know what to us… we were pretty mixed up by then). We showered and tried to put the kids to bed. I think we all slept something like less than 2 hours. I think. It was a little fuzzy. Anyway, we were up early enough to have time to get breakfast in the airport, look at the butterfly garden…

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(sorry it’s blurry, it was REALLY humid in there and I was trying to keep two kids from ripping the butterflies apart)

… and still be one of the first ones to our gate. The flight from Singapore to Jakarta (#5) was only 1.5 hours, and it felt good to be back in Indonesia when we got here. All our bags made it safely, too!

This was when the jet-lag hit us really hard. We all went to bed by 6:30 p.m.  But then we were up nice and early (ha ha!) for our final two flights to our home city (#s 6 and 7). We didn’t have a seat for Charlotte on those flights, so she sat on our laps. It worked just fine, but neither of the girls napped at all that day. So we were all really tired again and went to bed by 7:30 p.m. But… we were up nice and early the next day to get a great start on all the unpacking.

Which is what I’ve been doing since. Unpacking, settling, re-organizing, going through and tossing, and wiping. Wiping and wiping and wiping. The kitchen (EVERYTHING in the kitchen), the floors, the doors, and I’m not done yet. I think coming straight from America gave me new eyes to see the dirt that I am not willing to live with. Hoping it will last.

Okay… I hope I didn’t bore you with the miniscule details of our travel back to our home here in Indonesia. We miss everyone in America! In some ways it feels like we’ve already been back for a really long time, and in some ways like we’ve barely been here at all. I’m sure some of you can relate.

P.S. – I forgot to praise the Lord for Dramamine Less Drowsy. Lasts 24 hours and I didn’t get sick at all. AT ALL. But yes, I took it for 4 days straight.


Filed under family, our kids, travel, Uncategorized

Our Beautiful Island

One of the things we’ve noticed since we returned to our home here is that this place is just beautiful!  I guess before we returned to the US in November, we’d lived here in Indonesia long enough that we didn’t notice it anymore.  I’ve been taking some pictures the last few weeks, and I wanted to post a few from my trip yesterday.  I was on my way back from a church service in the village, and as the sun was setting I snapped a few pictures on my phone:2012-04-13 17.31.14

You might recognize this one; it’s the new banner on our blog:

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Shot from the side of the road on my way home:

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There’s a little sliver of rainbow right in the middle, just to the left of the hill, but it’s hard to make out (gotta love cheap phone cameras, they don’t do this place  justice):

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A boat heading out to fish in the twilight:


And one more panorama just for fun:


This one is from our front porch:


One of my goals is to start snapping more pictures of beautiful things while we’re here; it reminds us of the beauty around us in the midst of a sometimes-difficult life here, and it helps me show all of you the wonderful, unique things about this country and its people.

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Since we had only been back in Indonesia for 4 days we did a few things for Easter but for the most part kept it pretty low key. I just wanted to post a few pictures of our girls and little things that we did for family to see. Keepin it simple these days. I’ll write a post about the traveling in a few days here for those of you who I know are just dying to hear how it went…

So we woke up (really early, because we were still getting over jet-lag) and let Elizabeth open her Easter basket. Charlotte was still sleeping until a bit later. Elizabeth was very happy, can you tell? Love that precious smile!


Both girls got these goofy glasses in their Easter baskets. So silly!


Me with my girls on Easter morning! (sorry a bit blurry)


After church we did a little egg hunt in our front yard. Elizabeth was SO excited about doing this that I wasn’t even able to snap a picture of the two girls together before she was off finding eggs. Charlotte wasn’t sure what to do at first, but after she watched Elizabeth and then saw us pointing to the eggs and putting them in her basket, she thought it was so much fun.




Happy Easter to you all!! Praise the Lord for a Risen Savior who has come to set us free from the power of sin and death!

P.S. – Thanks to Aunt Margaret for the adorable dresses!

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Filed under daily life, family, Family Pictures, our kids, religion

Google Art Project Brings Indonesia’s Artifacts, Batiks to Worldwide Audience

The Jakarta Post just had a great article on some of Indonesia’s greatest art being posted into the Google Art Project

Here’s a link to the Museum Nasional Indonesia exhibit.  Enjoy!

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Our New Water Filter

One of the things we brought back with us was a new water filter system.  Before, we were ordering bottled water in big 5 gallon jugs, office water-cooler style.  While not expensive, it was costing us about $20-$30 per month.  Ever since Elizabeth had typhoid last year, we’ve been trying to eliminate as many possibilities for infection as we can and our new water filter system lets us control one more aspect of what we consume rather than trusting someone else’s filtration system that we can’t see or monitor.

Figuring out a good water filter system isn’t easy, especially with the amount we consume.  So, due to one of our supporter’s passion for clean water and a generous gift to take care of this, we’ve got a new water filter system!  We opted for the Sawyer PointTwo system, which filters down to .02 microns.  That’s better than any of the ceramic filters out there, and it even takes care of viruses along with anything else living in the water.  Since we have a nice, deep, clear-running well of our own to start with, this just takes care of anything biological that might be hiding in there. 

The best part about these filters is that they’re relatively cheap and portable.  The one in the pictures below is plumbed into our house water supply, but in the village we can hook one up to a bucket of water and it will run off of gravity.  With the water pressure in our home, this filter fills a cup just as fast as a built-in water dispenser on a refrigerator in the US.

Here it is mounted next to our kitchen sink.  I put it up high to keep it clean.  At some point in the future I might work out a better bracket mount for it.IMG_5839

And here it is in use!


Thanks once again to our awesome partners who set us up with this!

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Filed under daily life, Gadgets