Dear Prayer Warriors:

Hey everybody, we could sure use some prayers tomorrow.  If you aren't aware, our permanent visas expired while we were home for furlough last year.  It was a mistake to let that happen (a longer story for later if you want the details), and el presidente, Ollanta, has changed the rules on visas making it harder to get one or renew a visa.  Greg had to send all of our documentation and bus tickets to Lima to be approved in a special office in order for us to exit the country without visas.  The kids are all legal.  It is just Greg and me… makin' a run for the border.

He bought our bus tickets 2 weeks ago (in order to depart last Friday), sent the documentation, and then we found out through the guy in Lima that Mon and Tues are government holidays.  Well, we thought there was a chance.  He could take care of it Wed and speed mail it to us Thursday.  Then we remembered where we live.  Our departure date came and went and our documents and approval from the Lima office arrived this past Tuesday morning.  Greg went and bought our bus tickets for tomorrow morning…
Wednesday, Greg, Ana, and I all shared the same stomach bug.  The works.  Today has been better, but I now know what is worse than our water being cut off unexpectedly (which I guess at this point should really just be expected): the water being cut off when the family is dealing with the squirts.  Sorry if that was TMI.  I thought we were doing better.  We all felt better, Ana was fever free and had more of an appetite (we have had it arranged all along that the Smiths would take care of them while we are gone).  And then this afternoon, Maggie started.  Blast.  But, Kyle and Larissa said they would take them.  You see, we only have until the 26th to get this done by law.  God bless the Smiths.  Our beautiful, blessed teammates that we owe BIG TIME when all of this is said and done.
We took the the kids over to the Smiths' home tonight since we leave so early tomorrow morning.  As I was tucking Maggie into bed, she threw up all over the bed spread.  Nice, right!  That is when my tears exploded.  What mother leaves her sick babies to get on a bus and leave the country!?  This one.  I feel absolutely terrible about it.  But, again, I am so thankful for our teammates.
So, here is what you can pray for:
1.  Our 8 hour bus ride to Chile.  That we cross the border and reenter with no problems.  I have anchor babies, people!
2.  That Greg is better.  He has had it the worst.  And I don't think I need to explain why an 8 hour bus ride is miserable in this condition.
3.  The Smiths.  They already have three kids of their own.  And if this thing is contagious, curses be upon us.
4.  Cohen is the only healthy McKinzie.  It will break my heart if I find out he gets sick while we are gone.  He has never been really sick in his short little life, but I am comforted by the fact that Larissa and Kyle have tons of experience.
5.  Sweet little Maggie.  She told me she didn't want me to go.  Try walking away from that one.  I pray she gets over this quickly.
We leave the house at 6 am in the morning.  We will take a bus to Tacna, Peru, and then find a taxi to drive us across the border.  We will immediately reenter (with hopefully no problemos) and take a taxi back to Tacna.  We will buy bus tickets for the following morning, find a place to stay the night, and leave Saturday for the bus ride home.
Please be in prayer for us.  We love you all!
Dear Prayer Warriors:

Healthy Cookies from Skinnytaste

Okay people, read the title, “H-E-A-L-T-H-Y.”  Don’t go complainin’ when they don’t taste like unhealthy cookies.  Truth be told, they are not my favorite.  But the fact that my kids LOVED them means that I will be making these again.  And who can beat TWO ingredients?  Here is where you can find the original recipe with lots of professional photos:


Now on to my un-professional notes and photos.  🙂

The ingredients of the original cookie are the following:

  • 2 RIPE bananas, mashed
  • 1 cup of quick oats

Things I would suggest adding after making them:

  • nuts
  • chocolate chips
  • peanut butter chips

You just mix them together and spoon them onto a cookie sheet (and don’t forget to grease the cookie sheet like me).  I fit them all on the same pan.  You bake them at 350 F for 12-15 minutes.

And my kids ate them up.  How can you beat bananas and oats as a snack?  As the website says, you can serve them for breakfast, in a lunch, anytime.  There is no added sugar!  If I can get away with my kids being excited about cookies just by using the word and shape, I am a happy momma.

Healthy Cookies from Skinnytaste

Baked Dijon Salmon

photo taken from:

This was delicious.  I decided to make something special for my Valentine this year.  This recipe was sent to my inbox this past week, and it didn't disappoint.  It was easy, and it was worth every bit of the effort (if you are a fan of salmon, of course).  And my Valentine liked it very much, which is the reason I add any new recipe to our website.

I baked the salmon for 20 minutes here in Arequipa.  I served it with blackened asparagus and rice.  The topping for the fish is perfect, but it isn't a glaze.  So don't expect to “absorb” extra with rice or a different side.  I think mashed potatoes or blackened green beans would compliment the fish also. I didn't have dijon mustard.  So I melted the butter and added the following:

  • 1 1/2 Tbs dry mustard
  • 1 1/2 tsp water
  • 1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tbs mayo
  • a big pinch of sugar 🙂
Here is the link to the recipe:  Baked Dijon Salmon
Baked Dijon Salmon

A “McKinzie 3” Update

they think they are so funny

I feel like I haven't done a good job with documenting things the kids are doing.  We have had a busy January, but I put my foot down this full week of February and decided that I would jot down some things about each child.  They are growing and changing so quickly.  School will start the first of March, so I don't have much longer with all three in the house all day…

Ana Banana

she turns 6 next month, so hard to believe

I really can't believe this girl right now.  She is our long-legged girl.  🙂  She just seems so incredibly grown-up some times.  Honestly, she is forced into the grown-up part many days.  She helps me so much with her younger siblings.  Whether it is getting Maggie dressed in the morning, pouring Cohen's milk for him, or straightening up their play areas, she is my little “Momma 2.”

Some things to note about Ana:

1. She is taking swim lessons this month for 50 soles, 3 days a week at the Olympic-size indoor pool in our district.  She has had a blast taking the lessons with her two gringa friends, Shaye and Bailey.

2. She requested to get her hair cut to her chin.  Ana has the thickest hair, and she has decided that it is easier for her to manage when it is shorter.

3. She is super independent.  We love it, but it sometimes gets her in trouble.  One morning, she decided to make everyone cinnamon toast before we got up.  This means she used the toaster oven by herself.  To make a long story short, I woke up to the smell of burnt toast, and she received a very stern warning to never operate the oven alone… ever.

4. She has been learning ancient Greek with her Daddy on specific nights of the week.  She loves spending that time with Greg.  I have been working a lot with her on sight words.  This school year, we will be having a disciplined schedule for her to learn to write and read English well.

5.  She starts 1st grade in less than a month.  We are enrolling the girls in a new school two doors down from us.  It will be so much easier for us to drop off and pick up, but this is the first year that Ana is old enough to tell me she doesn't want to change.  She tells me that her friends are at the other school.  This girl has no idea how used to change she will be when her elementary years are all said and done.

Maggie Moo

Oh, Maggie.  She has grown so much in the last few months.  What is fun to see is how much she enjoys hanging out with her sister.  They fight like sisters as well, but it is neat to see them make-believe with each other.  I think “Momma and Baby” is the most popular game between the two of them.  Maggie's little personality is so different than Ana's, and it is really showing out these days. To sum Maggie up in two words: clown and stubborn.  🙂

1. Maggie was going to take swim lessons but got scared the first day.  I didn't push too hard.  She was the smallest out there, and there is one teacher to about 15 kids.  She has decided to take lessons with Cora next year.

2. Maggie has been eating like a horse lately!  She is our petite child, but I do believe there might be a growth spurt going on.  She is so funny when she is eating something she likes.  She will say, “Thank you, Momma.  This is soooooo good. Ummm.”  She has a little bit of the “What About Bob” factor going on.

3. The girl is a clown!  She loves to make people laugh, and she really does have a knack for being funny.  She gets a kick out of getting laughs, and those laughs only fuel the fire.

4. She was playing with the Fisher Price animals above, and she said, “Momma, these are the Peruvian Wonderpets!”  I thought that was so clever since the animals are a llama, chicken, and rabbit.  Ha!

5. She calls her “Baba” (what she has called her blanket since she could make the sound) her “Bobby.”  I have no clue why she changed the name.

6.  Maggie LOVES playing with the dollhouse right now.  She plays by herself and pretends with different voices way more than her older sister ever has.  We have loved seeing this part of Maggie develop.  Greg thinks it might be the introvert in her.

The Cohenator

He is my precious boy and he is SOOOO big.  I just can't believe it.  He is wearing a lot of 3T clothes (which is Maggie's size by the way), and he just walks around the house like a little boy.  He is not my baby anymore.  He reminds me of Greg sometimes, but more often than that, he reminds me of my brothers.  He is almost like a little Collin.

1. He is talking more and more.  He jabbers a ton, but he will try and repeat things that we ask him to.  My absolute favorite “conversation” with him happened last week.  I was holding him in the kitchen.  He jabbered away at me like he was telling me all about it, he pointed to the tea kettle (which is obviously what he was talking so much about), and all of a sudden he makes a high pitch squeal.  He was imitating the tea kettle from the day before.  I thought he was so clever!

Some new words: he is now calling Manuela, “Lehlah;” “tock” for truck; Awesome (thanks to Jeremy Daggett); “Nigh, Nigh” for Night Night.

2. He is really funny right now with Shaye's name.  Whenever he is in the depths of despair, he will just moan and say, “Shayyyyyyyye.”  (That is our teammates' oldest daughter.)

3.  When he is really tired, he will look at us and say in a very pitiful voice, “Ooo, Ooo, Ahh, Ahh.”  That is the signal that he wants his monkey (who he sleeps with every night).

4.  For the entire month of January he slept in his pack-n-play in Ana and Maggie's room.  He did great.  So great that when I moved him back to his room after the Daggetts left, he did not like it one bit.  I guess we can rent a house with one room for the kids now if we need to. 🙂

5. He has such a thing for my pots and pot tops in the kitchen.

6.  He has started whacking his sisters when he doesn't like something they are doing.  They will tell on him, and I ask him to give them a hug.  He hugs and kisses on them very well.  He is a swooner, that kid.

7.  He loves pointing out trucks to me outside.  And he loves playing with anything with wheels inside (including the baby stroller).  His new sound is “Vroom, vroom.”

Well, there you have it.  A little update-a-roo.  We love our little ones.  The time has flown here, and when the time flies, the kids grow up so fast.

Can you make up a good caption for this photo?
A “McKinzie 3” Update