January 20, 2017


I decided to try out a new bank this week--one closer to my house. Going to the bank to get cash out has been my responsibility since early after we arrived in Madagascar. It's very time consuming and has to be done during hours when Rob is at work. In the past I've tried to redeem the awful long wait-in-line with promises of ice cream treats for us all... the kids don't complain about this. However, by the time we actually get to the bank (if the traffic is bad, which is most of the time) and then wait through the line up, which can take upwards of an hour, and then return home after getting ice-cream, I feel like we've spent most of our morning out--severely disrupting our school schedule or other fun activities we could be doing. This different bank, located a mere 5 minutes away from my house seemed like a great new option. Plus, the line-up was almost non-existent! I couldn't have been more thrilled to take my youngest out and return, cash in hand, in 20 minutes! How amazing this was. My disappointment came later that evening however when Rob calculated how much this bank had charged me for international funds exchange. Their exchange rate was much higher than my previous bank ever charged us. MUCH. So unless I can figure out a way around this, I think we will have to continue going to the other, much longer-of-a-wait-but-we-get-ice-cream-bank.


A couple of really cool school-finds I wanted to share!

This site has some really nice free devotional materials, journal pages, and a large Bible activity book, great for keeping younger ones busy while they listen to a sermon in church, or even for using in their own quiet times.

I used to teach piano before I was married and had children. And I have taught music to my own kids in the past, but this resource has benefited us so much! I love Mr. Hoffman's teaching style and how he gets brand new beginners playing pieces they can be proud of. As a piano teacher myself, I appreciate how he teaches rhythm and ear training--giving students confidence on the piano right away. My kids are going to the piano on their own most days without me asking them to practice. Definitely check them out if you're looking for a solid beginner music program. Hoffman also encourages improvisation at an early stage and builds on those skills throughout the course as the students gain confidence in their knowledge of music.

Ongoing Projects

One of the things I've come across lately is hand-lettered cards. I've found so many neat ideas online, and I'm always looking for new simple designs for homemade thank-you notes. This Madagascar palm was one design I came up with this week. It's so iconic of Madagascar, and I'm really pleased with how it turned out.

Local News

Normally at this time of year we should be experiencing tropical torrential rains every afternoon around 3:30. Those downpours have yet to arrive, and the reservoirs that provide water to our city are said to be basically empty. We were told that the dam some 70km away from the city has been opened, so now water should be flowing and on its way here. Everybody is praying for rain, however, as crops are having to be harvested early due to a poor growing season, and a second planting season probably won't be successful. This of course means most people here, who rely on their own agriculture for survival are entering a desperate time. If the dry season comes earlier than normal (typically April), it means we will have a very short rainy season, and not much chance for the reservoirs to fill again.


While the rainy season keeps holding off, things in my garden are still growing. I love these plants called heliconia flowers, or also known as false bird-of-paradise, lobster claws, or wild plantains. This is a new plant to my garden that is blooming this year. I didn't get to see it bloom last year, as it was still new. This bud just started opening, so I'm looking forward to seeing it fully open in the coming weeks.

On My Side-Table

Going Solo: from Sonlight 9th Grade Classical Literature program

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