Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Power of Comfort Food

As many could attest when far away from your cultural roots there is nothing quite like some traditional "homey" food to lift the spirits. Food is such a powerful tool; whether from a stressful experience or bazillion of them, homesick days, special occasions and many times just to make a good day even better! I mean what day can't stand some chicken wings, hamburger, biscuits & gravy, Salisbury steak, chicken and dumplings, BBQ pork or on this occasion fish and chips. I'm sure you can tell by the list I've spent a large part of my life in the south y'all. As I write this I'm thinking to myself there should be something healthy on this list buuuuuut you know as much as I love a good smoothie, salad, or cucumber wedge it just doesn't have the same affect. You know?

So a couple days ago my husband brought home some fish fillets from an imported meat shop. Admittedly, the amount of times I've cooked fish I can count on one hand. I didn't grow up eating a lot of fish and it isn't on the top of my list generally but we've always enjoyed a good plate of Fish N Chips. So yesterday I thawed my fillets of Basa fish and thought my best chance of success with these fish fillets would be Fish N Chips.

I found a yummy recipe and me and my lil helper got to work.

Though she is pretty much entranced with the flour. She spent most of the time rubbing it on her skin like lotion and spreading as far as possible. But very enjoyable company.


After coating the fish in oooey gooey goodness we fried up the chip portion and popped them in the oven to stay warm.

Followed by some crispy beautiful pieces of fluffy pillows of fish. As these puppies fried up we mixed up some faux tartar sauce (had no relish) my husband popped on some Irish tunes. We did a few square dance type jigs while we waited for our dinner. This was a hoe down Irish style:) Thats what happens when you mix a husband with Irish roots and a girl who got deep fried as a teenager.

Placed on the plate with a vinegary cucumber tomatoes salad to give a break in the fried goodness.

It was all we were looking forward to! We were all in good spirits as we shoveled down some Fish N Chips. I know these dishes sound like boring normal dishes people eat every day in the States but here they are so much more! For one they are much more labor intensive and many times ingredients that you don't get all the time but most of all its memories on a plate that fill you with a warm contentment. Thank you Lord for good food and the small pleasures it brings with it.



Monday, September 28, 2015

Giving, Receiving & Eating

Pyro Aloo
Roll that "R" baby and you'll have it just about right. Pyro means spicy and Aloo means potatoe. It is my first Nepali dish to make for our Church Fellowhsip. I admit it was under the supervision of a Nepali friend but its success in my eyes:)
I brought this to a ladies house in our church for a Fellowhsip. We all ate, laughed and prayed. It was a good night! The next day at church I found my Tupperware waiting for me in the nursery filled with uncooked rice. She told me with a big smile, "I filled your bowl with some rice from our village". How sweet!
It may not make a lot of sense to people in other counties but sometimes it just feels like you can just feel the love oozing out of small gifts like this in this culture. It makes you feel so wonderful and appreciated. Giving is better than Recieivng but sometimes it's not the excitement of the gift that makes receiving better but the feeling of love that accompanies it!

We took home our village rice and popped it in the pressure cooker.
It came out sticky and yummy. And here comes the yummy part, We were able to top it with my moms Sweet N Sour Pork Crockpot Recipe.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Parenting Challenge #1-Godly Grace

In the last couple months I've been able to take the time to read a little bit more about one of my greatest ministries, My Children. I've learned so much and it's made such an impact on our family. My pastor always says, "Study your ministry". It is very wise advice. So I thought I would post occasionally the Parenting Concept I've been learning about and Challenging myself to put into practice.

Parenting Challenge #1- Showing Godly Grace


This morning I was reading a blog update from Not Consumed. She was talking about how to deal with the times when our children frustrate us by needing constant correction. She said the Lord convicted her about complaining to the Lord about her children and not showing them the same Grace He daily shows her.

This was for sure a great learning moment for me. It's so easy to get caught up in selfish feelings such as; "Why do I have to tell them the same thing constantly", "Why do have to constantly correct you?". The Lord helped me realize a few weeks back that these thoughts are just selfishness. Selfish because I'm really bothered that I have to stop My schedule in My busy day and My routine and My good mood to deal with their issues. My children need me to selflessly like the Lord take the time to guide them.

Fast Forward to today's lesson. I also need to show the same Grace to my children with their mistakes, challenges, learning curves and at times down right stubbornness that God ever day shows to me. There is no doubt that God daily can see the same problems in me as he looks down. But does he ever stomp off in a huff? Does he ever growl in frustration, "Why do you keep doing this?"? No. Our God of grace and mercy and love constantly loves and guides us in the best way possible for every situation. He always sees us as the best picture of ourselves and continues to lead us closer to that destination.

What a challenge! That's what I want to be! God help me show the grace that I can only learn from you.


Gardening take 2

After some discouraging setbacks I woke this morning to find buds on my other flower! Ahhhhhhhhh, how rewarding and encouraging to my gardening attempts! I'm still not really sure what kind of flower it is but hopefully we will find out soon!

Also this week, I have begun a new rose plant from a clipping. I decided to use a different approach this time. I read a few article on Pinterest about planting your clipping with it inserted into a potatoe. Sounds kind of crazy and I don't understand the science of it but hey, what do I have to lose.

I should have got pictures of the whole process but you know how it can be with lil ones sometimes. I always start with great intentions of cataloging so many things and then I enter survival mode! Finish this task befor anything or anyone stops you. So I took a rose out of the bouquet my husband recently brought home for me.

Another great benefit to third world living, flowers are super cheap! So I get spoiled with frequent floral deliveries. They arrive in a pink plastic bag that has been slung over the handle bars of my beloved:) He takes the time from his hectic schedule and the generally frantic traffic to stop at a little flower shop and pick out a bouquet bursting with different colors and types of flowers to brighten the day of a sometimes frazzled wife and an eager lil "princess" that loves daddy's return.

So, we cut off the top of the flower at a 45 degree angle, dip it in rooting powder, stick it into a raw potatoe and plunge it into an awaiting flower pot. Then I put out on the balcony hoping for the best while taking this pledge with hand raised.

"I, April McTague promise to never again torture my rose plant with water boarding and such unkind tactics."

Let's hope this does the trick and gets us on the road to horticulture success.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Attention followers

Attention Followers

If you want to follow "keeping house in the himals" please read this carefully. I have found you must follow these specific steps if you want to receive email updates.
1. Put your email address in the follow by email blank at the top right. YOUR NOT FINISHED.
2. Enter the code that feedburner asks you for on the next page you are directed to. NOT FINISHED YET.
3. Go to your email to click on the email verification. FINISHED!!
Enjoy and thanks for stopping by.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Living Big in A Small Place

I'm not sure if any of y'all have ever experienced fitting all your belongings into a smaller space than you probably need or lived in a world where storage was virtually non-existent. But, if you have you know that it can be a challenge for sure. Sure anyone can cram junk into a place until it spills out the seems and you look like an episode of hoarders but who wants that??? Now as my sister-in-law is a firm believer in, you can always Purge your belongings but for me.....nope, not happening:) Me and my husband are just not minimalists. Maybe one day it will come to that but that day isn't in sight. There has been many a day we probably should have been and yet....we remain unchanged.
Many of those days involved us trying to pack way, way, way to many things in a vehicle while we traveled. Do we need the golf clubs? .....of course. Do we need 35 changes of clothes for the next 3 weeks? .....uh yah! Honey do we really need that trycicle the child doesn't even ride it?......oh come on, I can shove it somewhere. Do you really need 6 coats for this 4 week trip? ......have you lost your mind, you bet I do! Now which questions came from me or him I'll leave to your imagination but point made.
So as kids have come and houses have down sized and we have moved to a land where closets, laundry rooms, garages, basements,attics virtually don't exist I've learned to get a little more creative. So this article is all ideas about how to make space do more for you. You may have already seen lots if these tips but this is how I've put them to use overseas.

1. Baskets, baskets, baskets! They are attractive and add storage to so many places. On top of hutches or bookcases, under end tables or coffee tables, in bathrooms, toy storage, book or magazine storage. The possibilities are endless. Here they are corralling all of my daughters color books & puzzles.

2. Make furniture do doubt duty. If you are shopping for a new piece of furniture and you live in a place with limited storage find something that will give you as much storage as possible even if it costs a little bit more. You are already spending the money in something make it work for you. For things you already own, be creative as to how they can serve in different functions.

Here is a picture of a storage sack I made to tie to my dining room chair. I used leftover material from my Living Room pillows. So, it matches the room and hides all the unsightly clutter that you can never seem to keep of the dining room table.

This is my daughters first big girl bed. My thought going into this purchase was I want this bed to last till she is 18. Also she is sharing her room with baby brother and before we got the bed there was toys everywhere and we need some more well executed storage. I found this design where someone was making their own bed on their blog. Don't get impressed, I didn't make this bed! But I handed the photo to a talented carpenter who did:) Advantage of third world living. It has a massive amount of storage! I love it and the floor is clean and the toys are organized. It was a great choice.

When you live in a land where you can't dry all your laundry in a dryer what do you do? It isn't America so, no we don't throw up a line in our backyard. If you have a backyard and it's bigger than a mouse pad you are super swank dude! Most run a line on their roof but in our new apartment we are pretty far from the roof and it's not private access so we have turned the "veranda" as they call it here into a double duty clothes line. It runs acrossed our three back balconies and does the job nicely.

Also, I have followed my neighbors example and placed leftover kitchen tile over the gap between our balconies for extra space for flowers and plants.

3. Go up! When you have limited space look up. Many times there is lots of options for extra storage going vertical.

Hanging my jewelry on a coat rack was one of the best decisions I ever made.

We also have limited space in the kitchen and fridge. You quickly run out of space. I just recently bought this three tier vegetable holder. It has definitely added more storage and cleaned up my fridge!

I don't about y'all but we are book people. Another thing we cannot claim to be minimalists. So when we ran out of space up we went and I have always loved how it looks.

4. Take advantage of store bought storage inserts. IKEA is a well known maker of storage solutions. Not everything I have used is from there but many are. It was just this year I have learned how to put some of their products to good use.
Two of their drawer storage compartments fit perfectly in the kids dresser. I have never had all their tiny little belongings so organized! Mmmmm....happy dance. In these compartments I can fit both kids socks, cloth diapers, underwear, tights, leggings, swimsuits, hats, ties, wash cloths, towels,receiving blankets and burp cloths. Wow! I also have a set in my room. Sure makes your life easier when you open a drawer and know exactely where everything is.

For my sons baby shower someone gave him this bear hanging storage compartment. I figured out I could hang it off the crib with door hangers. I am able to fit most of their stuffed animals inside. They are off the floor but still in reach of the kiddos so they have easy access.

I also recently bought a hanging clothes storage solution. It has been a challenge for me to neatly keep my clothes stores in a wardrobe. Either it's hard to see or it just won't fit. This hanging drawer set has been quite helpful. It makes my clothes a lot higher and more in eye sight and definitely neater. These are my few new finds at ikea and I can't wait to add to my collection.

The organizer in me loves to see things that used to be chaotic neat and tidy. Now to keep it all that way!


2 Steps Backward; 1 Tiny Step Forward

In the midst of dying roses my balcony was being turned into a construction zone. For many months all of Nepal has trudged down the road of earthquake recovery. Day by day they work to repair and rebuild, unless there is a worthy reason to rest and party:) For a few weeks this meant men hopping on and off my balcony from scaffolding to repair the broken exterior of our 12 floor apartment building.
While I'm glad the building has been repaired I'm even more glad to not have people hanging out outside my window. So...maybe I can blame some of my floral damages to emotional stress on the part of the flowers. Either way their home has now been shifted to the back porch for the few remaining sprouts.
In the photo above you will see we have one flower that has endured my in-humane watering tactics and....get this, two plants of lemon grass tea. Can you believe it I've grown tea!! Say what! That's right! My husbands desires for attractive flowers are still in the works but the Man loves tea so, score on that note. Please Lord help them to be alive Tomorrow and don't strike down my beauties! Signing out with much to learn about the care and growth of anything green.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

My Love Affair with My Crockpot

My love affair with my crockpot!

I don't know about anyone else but I am a SUPER DUPER fan of my crockpot. You know how we all have a few things we are just so glad we packed up and brought overseas? This is on the list. I can't help but love being able to take 20 minutes and throw some raw ingredients in the pot and when I return home dog tired with whiny sleep babies....oh wait that's me...there is usually a pot full of steamy goodness. We step off the elevator and the whole hallway outside our door is filled with the smell of deliciousness. There are those days when the electricity wasn't on long enough and we come home to a disappointing pile of hard potatoes but those are very few.We rush in throw a vegetable or necessary side on the stove for a few minutes and by the time we have our comfy clothes on and drinks made things are ready to dish up.
Today was a new experiment and baby did it work! I was slightly skeptical but thought I was willing to give it a go.
Roast chicken

All you do is rub it down with butter and spices and put 4 balls of aluminum foil underneath it and switched it on. I used:

A dab of parsley

A pinch of basil

A handful of seasoning salt

A dabble of red pepper flakes

A generous shake of paprika

A sprinkle of thyme

A slight shower of onion flakes

We came home to find a slightly sifter version of rotisserie chicken waiting to fall off the bone onto our plates. If you want an easy peasy recipe to try, this is the one! Whether you already are a faithful user or you've never once tried it this is a home run in every way.

Right now I'm drooling over a new crockpot:

The Ninja® Cooking System | Cooking Easier, Healthier, Better

I'm my dreams I'm sautéing and simmering in this bad boy! On that note I'll sign off until my love affair continues with something else tasty. Happy cooking!





Wednesday, September 9, 2015

One of my favs of 3rd World Life

Knock knock....every night at approximately 7pm the tap at the door is heard. They have kindly abided by my request to not ring our obnoxiously loud doorbell at the tiny tots bedtime. One of hustles to the door to receive our bag of milk straight from the cow.

Why does this excite me? I don't even know! It's just one of the perks of living in a third world country. I never have to worry about opening the fridge to see I'm out of milk. I never have to worry about the kids not having anything to drink. I don't have to rush to the store when it's out. I don't have to pay an exorbant amount to keep two kids and a kitchen stocked with milk. I pay approx $20 a month for 1L a day delivered to my house.

First we take a few minutes to pasteurize by boiling for a few minutes then off to the fridge for cooling. After a few hours it will be chilled and ready to strain off the cream. And for impatient children straight into the cup with some ice cubes! As you can see the white clumps stuck to the outside of the jar, you can never get all the cream out completely. Some may be thinking,"uck! I don't do milk!" Admittedly I never did much either before we began getting fresh milk. I still don't down a glass of milk but I probably wouldn't mind it with this stuff. It has this twinge of sweetness to it. So much better than boxed milk!

Today it means gravy and full sippy cups. Tomorrow it may be cream of mushroom soup, milk or pudding. No matter what the recipe milk is always on hand. Ide like to say we had a lovely meal of biscuits and gravy BUT....it was not to be. In a ziplock bag on my counter sat "biscuit-muffins". They were supposed to be the yummy English muffin recipe I have when I made them 3 days ago but a rush visit to the docs office rushed my muffins into fallen biscuits! Then this morning when reaching for the bag of "biscuit-muffins" for gravy I found monsoon had made them into "mold- muffins"! UGH! Yes I should have put them in the fridge but the deed is done now. So plan C gravy and toast. Nothing spectacular but tummies were filled at no fault to the milk:)


Package Delivery

The day when my husband walks through the door loaded down with a duffle full with a package from the post office is like Christmas at our house! I know he has spent 30 min to an hour haggling through the process of receiving a package. He has walked continuously from one station to another retrieving signatures, producing copies of our passport and visa, chasing someone down who is in a tea break, watching others eat their daily delivered lunch (which by the way they will eat as leisurely as they desire while you sit 3 ft away in line), paying the duty on our package and then finding a way to shove it all on his motorcycle somewhere. We all gather around as a family and slice through the heavy duty packing tape....shhh...ahhhh what is inside?
Each package is individually wrapped with tissue paper by our considerate family members to avoid nosy postal workers from ripping it open and requiring a higher fee or a portion of the "booty" in pirate lingo. And let me tell you he is a few french fries short of a happy meal if he thinks I'm sharing my imported Dove chocolates with him! No way Jose, says the experienced negotiator in me!
As we tear open all the goodies the floor is littered with debris from the wrappings and all the exciting new goodies. My daughter has taken up asking my husband every time he returns home, "What did you bring me daddy?" as if we were on a Dick Van Dyke television episode. On this special day he can tell her, "Lots of goodies!"

For baby M it's basically the wrapping that causes the most excitement but Savy is always thrilled with ever piece of candy and new book she receives. She is a book and candy lover! Daddy has some trinket he has ordered for himself and mommy usually is enjoying some sought after house hold domestic goody she hasn't been able to find in her little country.


We all sit for 20 minutes or more drooling over our goodies and showing them to each other. It's always a fun day at out house! Now the count down begins again for the day another lovely white box or envelope will grace our doorstep. My daughter still daily watches snippets of the Cinderella movie she received for her birthday. She told me this week. "I love Cinderella. Nana sent it to me, that's why.:)".