Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Little Kigen's Medical Mercy Mission, Update March 30, 2011

I've been waiting for more information to be able to give you an update on little Kigen's medical mercy mission in Eldoret, Kenya.

The surgery we had been told would go ahead two weeks ago or so, did not go ahead after all.  Due to Kigen's fragile skin condition he has been under the watchful observation of a skin specialist and plastic surgeon.  This doctor must give the go ahead before any surgery is done.  In Kenya it is difficult when you are the patient or the family/friends of the patient, to be given details of your treatment. You must simply be patient and wait.

My friend Jonah has been helping Kigen's family get medical attention at the Moi hospital.  He says that what the doctors have been doing so far is cleaning the boys, and that little Kigen and his brother are very clean.  I don't really know if he means that the boys have been cleaned physically or internally with medicines, like antibiotics. I suspect it is a little of both.  I know that various topical treatments have also been administered to Kigen throughout his already 3 week stay at the hospital.

But we do not yet know what the ultimate treatment options for Kigen will be.

Fortunately Jonah was able to talk to the person in charge of the ward and was told that they are waiting for the report of the consulting doctor.  A 'lady' of Indian origin, the Ward Manager has refused to give up on Kigen and that has warmed the family's heart and Jonah's heart so much.  This woman was also the one who admitted them at the hospital and given the "hint" of surgery but she is still waiting for the report.  My friend Jonah is happy to report that the hospital is taking the utmost care not to do something that will worsen little Kigen's situation.

Jonah says he believes that Kigen will ultimately be able to get the help he needs.  Some of the boy's wounds have healed and he is moving around and eating.  This means he is gaining strength.

Prayers are requested for Kigen, his mom and his brother TikiTiki and for Jonah whose heart is heavily burdened by their needs. It is also his pocket that is sorely stretched. The burden of these things is heavy when you live in Kenya and don't know how you are going to cover the costs.  We are believing in God to speak to people's hearts about this need.

You can donate to assist in little Kigen's medical mission through
 Pay Pal here. Just click the donate button.
Updates on Kigen will be posted here as they come available. Please bare with us as we wait for word from the medical doctors. 

Photo credits: All photos the property of Jonah at Missions of Hope.
If you wish to share this story, photos may be used with credit. Many thanks and blessings.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Blossoms Make My World Tuesday

I want to welcome and thank my latest follower, Danielle Arruda. Unfortunately I don't see your blog so I'm sorry I cannot follow you back. I hope you enjoy your visits here and that you leave a comment or two!

I love this time of year when the Spring blossoms come out, especially apple, cherry and plum blossoms. Last year it rained a lot during the tree blossom season and there was never really a clear day to enjoy them. I'm hoping this year will be different though so far we've had a lot of overcast and rainy days. Blossoms are fleeting so I took a few shots to commemorate the year. I hope to get more soon.  If I'm fortunate I can get some on a sunny day too. 

Thank you for joining me for My World Tueday.
Please join others from around the world here so you can see what they are up to this Tuesday.

An Old Fashioned Day

The weekend is over. I did a lot of sleeping and napping. For some reason I felt quite tired. It was probably a combination of things: raining weather again, a full few days of cleaning the previous week, chronic illnesses. Some old pains in my stomach resurfaced after a long period of dormancy and when that happens I can only sleep it off. Nonetheless I am so grateful that I made a good start at Spring cleaning and today I am more mobile again.

Today I made some hamburger soup with macaroni and vegetables in a tomato base.
This is my go to "comfort soup".
The soup tastes extra good in my blue bowl on Blue Monday ;-)

I also made some easy oatmeal bread to go with it and I thought I would share the recipe. I have shared a recipe for oatmeal bread before but that one was for making in a bread machine. If you like, you can read it here. Today the bread I made required me to knead and let it rise, in the old fashioned way.

I've finished kneading the dough. I'm now going to cover it and let it rise for about 30 minutes.
2 cups water
1 cup quick cooking oats
3 tbsp. butter or oil
1 pkg yeast (2 1/4 tsp. bulk yeast)
1/3 cup warm water
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. white sugar
1tsp salt
5 1/4 cup flour (I used roughly half and half white flour and whole wheat flour)

Heat 2 cups of water to almost boiling. Add oats, butter, brown sugar and salt. Let cool.
Meanwhile, add 1/3 cup warm water to a small dish with yeast, along with 1 tbsp. of white sugar to proof. Once the yeast has proofed (foamed), add it to the oat mixture.

Next, combine the oat mixture with 4 cups flour and knead for 8 to 10 minutes. Add more flour until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled.  This takes about 30 minutes but will vary depending on your elevation and the warmth of your home.

Punch down. Let it rest about 10 minutes.  Shape into rolls or loaves and place on a greased pan. Let rise again. Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.

I think it turned out well. I cooked it a little bit longer than I planned.

After all this cooking and baking it was time to wash all the dishes I dirtied plus last night's dishes and the dishes from breakfast and lunch today.

I normally wash my dishes in a dishwasher but today I felt like doing them by hand.  They had a fair bit of crustiness on them from last night's dinner. Since I always run my dishwasher on a short wash cycle to save water, I just decided washing by hand would be a faster way to get everything clean today.

After all this talk of food and cleaning, I wanted to give you something pretty and natural to look at. Here is a photo of the evidence of Spring.

If you click on this photo to enlarge it you will see the pretty red coloured blooms coming out on the trees.

Please join Smiling Sally and all the gang for Blue Monday. Click on the badge to visit Sally and all her friends.

Friday, March 25, 2011

It's Been a Fruitful Few Days of Spring Cleaning

We've had a few days of sunshine in my city which has given me an impetus to do some spring cleaning.  It was also a few days of relaxing, cooking a bit and reading.

I read several chapters of my new to me book, "The Orchid Thief".  I wouldn't say that this is the best book I've ever read, but I must say I am enjoying it a lot.  I didn't realize there were so many varieties of orchids.  I also didn't know that there have been orchid collectors and hunters for hundreds and hundreds of years.  What is sad is that early hunters plundered the orchids in many countries around the world to satisfy the orchid fever of a few collectors in far away places.  Many of the orchids did not survive the shipping conditions enroute to their new homes in faraway lands.

I  purchased this book at the YWCA Thrift Store for $1.00.

I managed to make a good start on cleaning different parts of the apartment. The dining area in particular was cleaned and dusted and the dining table and chairs well cleaned.  I need to mix up some home made furniture polish and shine it up before taking photos so I can sell the dining set and make room for the smaller set I purchased in January.

In the kitchen I rearranged a few things, placing little used items on the top of the kitchen cupboards to make more room for the things I need to keep on the kitchen counter tops.  I would rather not have items stored at the top of the kitchen cabinets.  On the other hand, at least the items are close at hand when I do need them. I keep a two step ladder near by so I can reach the items.

Another big job was cleaning out the small laundry area.  It is very crowded in there as it is the only real storage area. It was rather dusty so I took everything out and washed the floor. I moved things out temporarily because the washer repairman was coming over to inspect the washer.  It has been making loud banging noises for some time. The repairman declared the washer in fine shape after taking it apart to have a look.  Too bad it cost me $90. to learn that. It hasn't eliminated the need to constantly rebalance the washer. I guess we'll just have to be more careful how the clothes go into the washer in the first place. I think the washer is starting to show it's age.

I've labelled the different things in this small laundry closet. If you want to read the labels please click on the photo to enlarge it.

I also made a start on the overhaul of the master bathroom. I really do have far too much stuff in there. The excess of things is a hold over from my spending days. I have enough facial and body wash products to do me for a few years. Probably longer than the shelf life of the products!  I confess I've spent so much money trying so many products largely due to having very dry and itchy skin and dry hair too. What I've learned is that this has largely been a waste of time and money. Spending in this area is probably the one where it has been harder to learn to exercise spending restraint and I am still learning to discipline myself.  I've been experimenting lately with natural products and I've noticed an improvement in skin conditions.  I think I need to learn to make my own products once I've used up what I have because the expense of naturally made products is quite high.  Cleaning the bathroom will be a lot easier once I have fewer products in there.

Click to enlarge and read the descriptions. I keep everything in bins and on trays to make it easier to move and clean.  When you have so much it needs to be easily moved.

I washed the mattress pad on my bed to get rid of dust mites.  I should probably vacuum the mattress also but I'll save that for another day when I have a bit more time.  I moved a few things around again because I really don't like having my suitcases in the corner of the bedroom.  I've moved the plastic tubs from the closet to the corner of the room once again, and moved the suitcases back into the closet where I can close the door on them.

Two of the three plastic tubs consist of sewing fabric and patterns. There really isn't a lot of fabric the tub.  It's mainly fabric for one casual jacket. If if I don't get around to making the jacket this Fall, I will gift the fabric to someone. I will go through the patterns in the second tub and most of it will likely go to charity.  The entire contents of the third tub will be taken to charity because it is full of wrapping paper, gift bags and ribbons.  I don't give many gifts anymore so I don't need this stash.

As I went along in the various rooms, I put things in the giveaway bag that I no longer want or need. More things will be put in the give away bag as I go through my things a third and fourth time and cull what I no longer need or use.  There are a few things I am holding on to for my nephew. I feel he is a little young to decide whether he wants them or not so I will hang on to them a little while longer.

We've had a few days of sunshine this week. Unfortunately it will turn to rain again very soon, but in the meantime, I've managed to clean some of the debris from my small garden as I turn my mind to what I hope to plant this year.

These are just some of the possibilities for the garden.
I took out my seed packs and looked for my seed starter cartons and trays.  I usually get my garden in late due to having to travel so often. This year I should manage to be on time with the planting as my travel schedule has been much reduced.  I hope to have some vegetables and herbs to use in my cooking this summer.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Skywatch Sunset

"Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world."

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What a Powerful Performance Tonight

I would like to say a huge "welcome" to my two newest followers, 
Nik and Raine.  Thank you so much for your vote of confidence. 
I hope you'll both feel free to leave some comments and 
visit again soon ;-)

I've been busy with this and that this week and haven't really had time to prepare an original blog post. Instead, I thought I would share an incredible performance by Jacob Lusk on American Idol, Wednesday night. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

More Signs of Spring

Glorious sunshine graced part of my day. As I walked home from church, I took these photos of beautiful spring flowers to share with you.

Harriet Beecher Stowe

Beneath the sunny autumn sky,
With gold leaves dropping round,
We sought, my little friend and I,
The consecrated ground,
Where, calm beneath the holy cross,
O'ershadowed by sweet skies,
Sleeps tranquilly that youthful form,
Those blue unclouded eyes.

Around the soft, green swelling mound
We scooped the earth away,
And buried deep the crocus-bulbs
Against a coming day.
"These roots are dry, and brown, and sere;
Why plant them here?" he said,
"To leave them, all the winter long,
So desolate and dead."

"Dear child, within each sere dead form
There sleeps a living flower,
And angel-like it shall arise
In spring's returning hour."
Ah, deeper down cold, dark, and chill
We buried our heart's flower,
But angel-like shall he arise
In spring's immortal hour.

In blue and yellow from its grave
Springs up the crocus fair,
And God shall raise those bright blue eyes,
Those sunny waves of hair.
Not for a fading summer's morn,
Not for a fleeting hour,
But for an endless age of bliss,
Shall rise our heart's dear flower

You can join Smiling Sally and the gang of blue lovers over here.

Yellow is the favourite colour of many people who join in at Mellow Yellow Monday.  Click here to see what I mean.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

~ More Frugal Tips ~

I want to say a big "welcome" and thank you to my newest follower, Katie over at the blog, Gates Place.

This post is part of my short series on how I personally save money so that I can give to causes I support and also help myself get out of debt. If you are interested in other the other articles in the series you may read here and here.

  1. I make my own laundry detergent and use vinegar and baking soda for household cleaning. Check out these uses for vinegar and baking soda here and a recipe for  making laundry detergent here.
  2. A new tip I've learned from Ilona at Life After Money ~ use bubble bath to clean the toilet.  This is a great tip for using bubble bath someone gives you as a gift when you don't know what else to do with it.
  3. I reuse plastic bags and various store containers where possible. The best repurposing I've seen for plastics came from a quilter who uses plastic take away food containers as storage for notions and fabric. Awesome!
  4. I purchase inexpensive plastic bins from the dollar store to store my potatoes and onions as well as other dried goods. I prefer to use wood, glass or other natural materials where possible but the cost is quite prohibitive. I will use the plastic bins as long as possible instead of discarding them just because I get tired of them and want a change.
  5. I also purchase inexpensive plastic bins to use in my bathroom and in storage areas like closets,
  6. There are many containers that I need for storing other foods and making sure they don't go bad. I don't always use plastic especially if they are to be stored on my kitchen counter (noodles, rice, raisins, brown sugar etc.). I look for attractive containers from the variety store where the cost is 1/3 to 1/2 off of the regular prices.

    All these containers were purchased on discount. I don't need them to be "matchy matchy". In fact, I dislike things that are overly matched.
  7. I purchase inexpensive white towels wherever I can find them. I like the thin, fluffy kind.  I bought my last ones at Field's and I think they cost me $2.00 each. Perfect for throwing in the wash with some disinfectant.
  8. I do not buy furniture very often and I use most things until they are quite worn out. My home, though comfortable, does not look like a a feature in a decorating magazine. I sometimes wish it did but  having time to enjoy life, and giving to the Kenyan Missions of Hope  is more important to me.
  9. To compensate for not buying furniture, I use slipcovers on my sofa and chairs.
  10. I give “lost” furniture a home. For example, I have a dresser/desk and a chair in my bedroom that came from the garbage out back of my home. They are in fine condition.
  11. I look for household items at the thrift store. I purchased a wing chair, lamp, and side table there in the past few years.
  12. I try and buy direct from the manufacturer for items like mattresses.
  13. I shop for appliances and large pieces of furniture when they are on sale. I also shop and wait around  if I am looking for something that costs more than I am willing to pay.  I ask stores to price match also if I find something close by for a higher price which is cheaper somewhere else. This saves on cost of delivery too.
  14. I buy furniture that needs to be put together especially if it will save money (shelves,closets and a TV stand are recent examples).
  15. I shop on Craigslist and am a member of my local Freecycle where I can list items I want to give away or look for items I want.  This doesn't always help me because I am limited in my ability to get around but it is an option, especially if you have wheels.

    I have plans for another two posts in this short series on saving pennies. Please check back again soon if you are reading/participating in this series. I'd also love to hear your ideas for saving money on household items.

    I want to add here that I have been challenged and inspired to make a change in terms of my habit of using plastics due to the efforts of one woman, Beth Terry, who has championed the cause of reducing plastic usage in her own life for the health of our bodies, our oceans and the planet.  Once you read this inspiring woman's blog you will see just how reliant on plastics we have become.  You can read more about the cause at Plastic Free Living. Before you go, please stop and leave a comment or your frugal tip for saving on household expenses.  Until next time, happy savings!

Friday, March 18, 2011

My Safari in Nakuru Park Comes to a Close

It has been fun showing you around the national park located in Nakuru, Kenya. I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have. It has been great reliving the memories of my safari there.  Today will be my last post on the trip to this wonderful park. If you've missed out on the rest of the safari, please be sure to check out the links at the bottom of this post.

In the late 1970s and 1980s poachers decimated Kenya's rhinos, of which there are only two species in the country, white and black rhinos. Before the rampant poaching Kenya had an estimated 20,000 black rhinos in 1973. Today, black rhinos number only 610, according to the Kenya Wildlife Service.  The David Sheldrick Trust was instrumental for the conservation projects related to preservation of the rhino in Kenya. You can read  much more about their wonderful efforts here.  The link will take you to the efforts to save the black rhino.

White rhinos are even more endangered in Kenya with only 240 in the country.  The Nakuru Park is home to a rhino conservation project and I consider myself very fortunate to have seen a group of white rhinos as we were driving around in the park.

The white rhino's name comes from the Dutch word "weit," meaning wide, which refers to its wide, square muzzle, adapted for grazing. The white rhino, whose real color is gray, has a pronounced hump on the neck and a long face.

These photos are of the extremely rare white rhino.


I feel very blessed to have seen the rhino up close as I did. As we sat in the vehicle and watched them graze, I felt an sense of awesome wonder.

It is sad that just just after my visit to Kenya a group of poachers was arrested for killing a southern white rhino for its horns.  The horns sell for more per weight than gold and are used in Asia to make medicines, and in the Middle East to make dagger handles.  The Kenyan Wildlife Service (KWS) is doing a great job to try and project the country's wildlife but they face huge challenges.  If you are ever in Kenya, please take time to learn about the KWS and ways you can help them or you can read here and see that there are different ways to support their work, including wildlife conservation.

As we move on in the park, I see many other types of antelope, both in the wooded areas and on the Savannah. I just love to watch them.

I also love to see the many birds feasting in the lake.

They provide many photo opportunities too for the tourists.

As I was going through my photographs I came across this water bird who I forgot to feature when I did my post on the flamingos and pelicans. I'm not sure what kind of a bird this is but it is obviously some kind of water bird with it's long legs.  Perhaps one of my African readers can identify it for us.

Now I must say that for me it is always a highlight to see the majestic lions of Kenya. These truly are magnificent creatures and unfortunately they are a dying breed in Kenya.

My driver was not so sure I would see a lion before I left the park but I had a sense of certainty about it.  Just as we were leaving the park, we came across this female lion. It was a little difficult to get a good photo but I did the best I could.  She was just going to find a resting perch on a fallen tree.

Here she is making her way to the end of the tree when we spotted here.

Ah, there she is now resting on her perch.

I thought it fitting that my last shot of the wild animals in this park was one of a lioness taking a rest. We make the journey back to the main part of the city, passing by the park sign and other photographers. I hope to pass this way again some time.

Click here to read Part 1 in this series. It starts with my stopover in Nairobi, Kenya.
Click here to read Part 2 in this series in Kenya. It continues with my sojourn in Nairobi, Kenya.
Click here to read Part 3 in this series on Kenya where I stop to view a stunning lookout.
Click here to read Part 4 in this series on Kenya where I stop at Lake Elementeita.
Click here to read Part 5 in this series on Kenya where I talk about some hotels in Nakuru.
Click here to read Part 6 in this series on Kenya where I show you some tourist sites around Nakuru.
Click here to read Part 7 in this series on Kenya where I show you the Castle Without a Princess.
Click here to read Part 8 in this series on Kenya where I feature a collection of scenes from around Nakuru. 
Click here to read Part 9 in this series where we enter the park and begin to tour it. 
Click here to read Part 10 about the flamingos and water buffalo. 
Click here to read Part 11 about  the Baboons of Nakuru Park.

Scenic Sunday
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Neighbourhood Street Scenes

Hello friends and fellow bloggers, I hope you are well today. These are photos I took on a recent walk in the neighbourhood. You can see the...