An Update

Hi friends,

 I haven't posted in awhile and there are a few updates and a short announcement.

Today was overcast and it rained a bit late in the day. It is supposed to rain a bit for several days this week. Not much rain but I hope it all adds up to enough to give the garden a good watering.

Sunday late evenings after dinner seem to be baking days for me, at least when it isn't hot outside.

I made date squares for the very first time as I had a small package of dates I've been wanting to use. I never used to like date squares but these days I don't mind them. I also made a batch of bannock bread to use up some milk which had passed it best by date.  I should have warmed the milk a bit first because it made the dough very cold. In the end though it tasted quite fine and took the edge off the hunger I was feeling despite having eaten dinner (marinated chicken, steamed rice and green salad).

The photo of the date squares isn't very good but oh my the square I had was very delicious. It must be all that sugar and butter. I know I won't be making these on a regular basis due to these two ingredients.  I'll be wrapping some up in wrapping paper and tin foil to take to a friend for her family. If I have another one or two that will be plenty and I will have saved myself from spending so much money on buying date squares. 

I calculated that this small pan of squares would have cost at least $18 Canadian if purchased in the supermarket here which usually sells 3-4 squares to a package. If purchased in individual squares at the cafe, the 12 squares would have cost 2 or 3x that.

I didn't calculate the cost of making the squares since I didn't go out and purchase anything to bake them  so I'm guesstimating the approximate cost of ingredients (only the amounts used and not the amount for the package of each item):  flour ($1),  sugar (25 cents), butter (60 cents), dates ($3), oatmeal (75 cents and shredded coconut (40 cents) for a grand total of $6.00 (Canadian). I used a recipe called Newfoundland Date Squares which you can find here.

I also made bannock bread.  Once it is baked and cooled, I  pack it away otherwise it gets dried out.  Bannock bread like this must be eaten within a day or two. It's best with butter, jam or cheese (Cheese Whiz is good too). I don't really follow a recipe. I make it often so it is by "feel" but here is a recipe to something similar. I make it in the slab but once I put the slab on a baking sheet I cut  the dough into squares with a sharp knife and prick it.  When it comes out of the oven it is already portioned out. I remember some ladies used to make a huge slab every day for their families rather than baked loaves. They didn't bother to cut it before baking. Everyone just tore pieces off at the dining room table or they would slice it into squares after baked and cooled.

Bannock bread

The root canal on one tooth was finished and I completed the antibiotics. It seemed like the tooth was quite badly infected and I know when they cleaned out the temporary cotton before finalizing the root canal there was still a lot of pain. They gave me extra freezing and they put some liquid antibacterial medicine which went down my throat and was burning. Right now there doesn't seem to be any real pain which is a relief as there had been slight pain for several days. I guess the tooth and gums needed time to heal. Anyway long story short is that I had to pay out of pocket due to the work needing to be done on emergency basis. Now I am hoping the insurance will reimburse me for most of the work. In the meantime I'm waiting for pre-approval for another major bit of tooth work. Even if they approve it I already know they won't cover much of it because my annual limit is almost exceeded with a bit of cleaning and the root canal.

Believe it or not I know some ladies that want to get dentures just to avoid pain and problems and future expense but I'm not at that point. My late mom had so many problems with partial dentures and if that were to happen to me it really isn't avoiding any future issues at all.

In Kenya, Ernest is slowly recovering at home. He will be in recovery mode for quite some time yet. I am still trying to raise the last $60 Canadian dollars or so to clear the hospital bill. I thank anyone reading this who has prayed for this need to be met, shared it on social media or given directly. You are all much appreciated and you know who you are. May God bless you also in your time of need.

Another friend is still in hospital about 3 hours from her home. She has been there for going on 3 months. I honestly don't know if she will improve as she has been in and out of ICU a few times but we continue to pray for her and I continue to try and meet the medical costs and to encourage her family as best I can.

I am letting one of my sponsored boys go. He is my most recently sponsored boy who lives in Uganda. His name is Kevin and I'm delighted to learn that his community will be graduating. I sponsor him through Food for the Hungry and the organization works intensively with communities for a10 year period during which time the community learns to be self sufficient. It will be an awesome time of celebration soon not just for Kevin and his family but also for the rest of the community they live in.

The other boys I sponsor in Kenya and Ethiopia are doing well.  John will turn 16 years old this month and is getting very close to graduating from the program.  He will be finished in 2 years and then he will be out of the program and I will be unable to communicate with him further but  I pray for and have hope and trust in his future. The other two boys, Ian from Kenya and Wondimu from Ethiopia are still several years away from finishing the program. I sponsor these three boys through Compassion International's Canadian office and have very much enjoyed working through this organization to help them.

We have started a short spell of rain this week. I hope it rains a lot for the gardens

Levi, one of the young university graduates I helped a bit during his last two yeara of university will be going to India next month. He is on a full scholarship to complete his Masters degree in Engineering over the next 2 years. While this is very exciting he first has to raise transitional funds and if he is successful he will leave for India in approximately 2 weeks.  

Alvin is another young graduate I have been helping. He graduated a year and a half ago and was hoping to do another year at his alma mater. It all fell through even though he was registered and paid the tuition.  We are now hoping he can continue studies in Canada but we need to get a scholarship for him. In the meantime he is keeping busy singing in the internationally renowned Kenyan Boys Choir.  After many months in the recording studio the choir has recently completed their latest album.  Soon they will be marketing it for sale. He also keeps very busy with church and helping his family in addition to looking for employment.  If he is able to come to Canada  to study it would greatly help him with future job prospects.

Last, but not least, is Carolly. He has been studying to become a medical doctor. Just yesterday he learned he has passed his examinations. He now has one 3 week internship in Ear, Nose and Throat department and after that he awaits graduation in November. I think Carolly will be snapped up by one of the Kenyan hospitals since the country is in need of doctors. That would be wonderful for him and his extended family.

I'm currently completing my 28th book of the year and will soon be reading Stern Men by Elizabeth Gilbert and The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain. I had a modest goal of 25 books which I've now surpassed. From now until the end of 2019,  I will only be reading for sheer pleasure and not only to achieve a goal. 
I may just not read anything for a few months and spend time in other pursuits.

So many things take up time besides housekeeping and other tasks. I've been participating in various free on line webinars, spending time in prayerful study, keeping up with a few friends and family members, making future plans and going to appointments which at times seem never ending.  I asked the doctor about possible knee surgery but apparently I  go to a program first where they teach about pain management and other relevant things. I believe they also assess whether and when I need surgery. 
I don't mind going because we have a waiting list for various kinds of surgeries here and I want to be in the queue. One thing that has been bothering me is the idea that I might wait too long and then end up being a long time on a waiting list if I don't do something to get myself on a list somewhere.  I'm not 100% sure if it really helps but at least I feel like I'm doing something positive.  In the meantime I also help myself by taking my supplements, walking and a bit of other exercise.

  At the end of summer I will have a family visitor and so I'm thinking about what we will do over the week, the menu and so on.  I was also expecting a cousin to make her annual visit soon.  I spoke with her last week and she won't be coming this year.  Her daughter decided to move to the city where she lives.  They are now living together until her daughter gets settled and so she has been busy showing her around the city and getting her familiar with everything.

I'm thinking of taking time away from blogging to relax and enjoy a slower pace over the summer.

 It has been a long time since I took a real blogging break and I've never taken a summer break from blogging. 
Summer always passes by so quickly and so I want to try and enjoy it this year.
  I'm not sure exactly when I'll start the break.  I was hoping to finalize my travel posts (Paris and Nairobi) first but not sure I will get to it.
Just in case you don't see me for awhile you will know that I've decided to go on break.
 🏖️  ☀️  🍹  🏝️

Until then enjoy your summer or your winter wherever you are in the world.


  1. Love your flowers. Here it is soooo warm.

    Love to read about the sponsor kids. A blog pause is sometimes good. But you can also wrote photo blogs. With a nice photo ;-)

  2. Enjoy your break. You are extremely busy in a number of areas. No wonder you need a break.

  3. Glad to hear that you seem to have your tooth sorted out. Mine is on going and I only have an appointment in Sept but I still have the temporary cap so I know there is still a lot of money involved. Our insurance does not cover teeth!!
    'Your' Kenyans all sound to be doing well in every aspect, they must all be very grateful to you for your help.
    Have a good week, Diane

  4. What a wonderful person you giving and thoughtful!
    So many people are blessed by you.
    Have a wonderful summer, and enjoy your Blog Break!

  5. Your garden is looking as nice as your baking. I wouldn't be too fond of date bars myself (too much sugar and butter), but I must look into that bannock bread.

  6. beautiful flowers....
    bread looks delicious....yummy

  7. Enjoy your time away from blogging, Penny. You have so much going on and I enjoyed reading about the young people that you sponsor. Such a good steward of what the Lord has blessed you with.


  8. You made me hungry with your cooking. You are doing a great job helping others.

  9. What a wonderful and newsy post! There is such a lot on your plate. The date bars look wonderful -- thanks for the link to the recipe! And I've not heard of that bread before. I'll have to see if Rick has.

    Your book list amazes me as do your sponsorships and study. I'm glad the tooth is easing a bit but it sounds like it really was a bear. And company coming too.

    My theory about a blog is that you write when you want to write. If you want to take an all-summer break, go for it. But if you get the urge to have one post in July or another in August, go for that, too. It's your blog, your life! Life it and enjoy! (But we'll look forward to your sharing when you can.)

  10. It is good to stay busy! : ) You've got a lot of reading in so far this year. Enjoy your break.

  11. Enjoy your time away from blogging. You will be missed in the meantime.

  12. You are so kind and generous Joyful, the kids you take care of must be so grateful. Not many people would do what you do. The date squares look really delicious, we get dates here but mostly around Christmas, they sell them by the box, about 40 Euros per box of about 3 kgs., quite expensive. I never heard of bannock bread, it looks good. I am not baking these days because as you noticed, it is just too hot here in Sicily.Have a nice and relaxing summer.

  13. Date squares...Oh my my those are absolutely delicious and I could eat the entire pan if they were left in my care alone!! ;)
    A dear friend I met years ago in Canada made those regularly and we would have tea together with a date squares or 2 and enjoy sweet fellowship.
    I have to be careful about making those very often because my husband will not eat them, so I have too.

    Your flowers look so beautiful and I'm sure they bring you much enjoyment.
    I know my flowers are a delight in my life.

    Root canals are such a great thing, at least I think so. I find that I would rather have a root canal over a filling as the intadontist does such a terrific job.

    Wouldn't that be wonderful if you could get that new knee?
    I just had my one year appt this week for my new knee and it was a great visit! The Dr was very pleased and so am I.

    Take care sweet lady~


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