A Trip to Paradise!

Paradise is, in fact, fairly close to my house!  (I say fairly close, because it is the farthest place that I drive to in town…about 4 km away.  I think I’m going to feel culture shock in America when it takes more than 5 minutes to get anywhere.)

Just leaving our MAF base, stopping to open the gate.  I think we need to invest in one of those clickers that automatically opens it.  Or I need to start borrowing someone’s kid to come with me and open the gate while I sit in the air conditioned car 😉 but for now, I put the car in neutral, pull the emergency brake and get out to open it myself.  And then of course, I do the same thing to close it once the car in on the other side!

Out on the main road now.  This road runs parallel to the ocean.  It is where most of my shopping is done, with the exception of a few things that branch out to the south.  You can see the Dutch influence in this road, with there being a median down the middle of the road.

Nabire traffic.  What you can’t tell from this picture is that the motorcycles pass me on both sides, they cut me off and weave in and out of traffic.  Hardly anyone uses turn signals or their mirrors (if they have mirrors that is).  It’s all very unpredicatable.  All in all, it’s slightly terrifying.  It helps that I never get higher than 3rd gear, but you know, still scary.  They apparently don’t have a fear of being hit by a car here because people pull out in front of trucks like its no big deal.  Yikes.  I have learned to be a defensive driver.

I’m not sure if it’s legal or not here to ride in the bed of a truck, but it happens all the time and nobody is stopping them, so I suppose it’s okay.  The American in me wants to put seatbelts on all of them, but these are the same people who climb to the top of palm trees without a ladder.  Maybe Indonesians are just all around more brave than I am!

We’re almost to Paradise!!  I can feel your anticipation building!

Here it is!  Paradise!  I bet you had no idea with was right here in Nabire!!

This is one of several grocery stores where I shop.  And since it is “The Best Store of Your Choice” there must be no better place to shop than in Paradise!!

A little glimpse of the inside of the store. :)

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little journey to Paradise.

Come visit us and you too could go to Paradise (plus it’s beautiful here and we’d love to see you!)

Out With the Old…

…and in with the new!

My awesome front-loading Electrolux washing machine suddenly up and died.  It wasn’t even that old actually.  I’d only been using it for a year.  But Papua must be rough on appliances or something.  Or is it just appliances that have a wee bit o’ technology in them?  I’m not sure.  But either way, my washing machine broke.  And after some troubleshooting, Nathan determined (or at least he strongly thinks) that the circuit board needs to be replaced.  Sadly, there is no Electrolux circuit board store in Nabire, or even a washing machine repair man, so we had to buy a new machine.  (IWA!!  Indonesia Wins Again)

Goodbye machine…you’ve been good to me (right up until you broke that is…)


Hello new machine!

This time I went for a simple top-loading automatic LG machine.  Hopefully this one lasts me longer than a year!


Thankful in 2011:

A final base assignment
A smooth transition into life in Nabire
A place to call home
Good Health!
The other MAF families in Nabire
Our healthy, happy puppies
Internet that works (mostly)
A safe year of flying
Our new nephew that is on the way
Air Conditioning
Good coffee
Our awesome family
Our team of supporters
God, who sustains us


Look I What Made!

Remember all of that pumpkin I pureed a few weeks ago?

Well, here’s what I made!

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer

1 can sweetened condensed milk (regular, not cheese flavored)
1 1/2 cups skim milk *
3 Tbs pumpkin puree
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2-1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Combine ingredients in a container with a cover.  Shake until combine.  You could also mix with a immersion blender.
2. Store, covered, in the fridge and shake before using.

* After making this, I wish I had used cream instead of skim milk.  I like my coffee creamer to be creamy, but if you don’t mind a more milky creamer and like the lower calorie version, use the skim milk!

I doubled this recipe to make two bottles of creamer.



(my food photography skills are lacking, it looks yummier in real life!)

Pumpkin Spice Scones (A Starbucks Copycat)

2 cups flour
7 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
6 Tbs butter, cold
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
3 Tbs half and half
1 large egg

Spice Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbs whole milk
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1 pinch ground ginger
1 pinch ground cloves

1. Preheat oven to 425.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices in large bowl.
3. With fork, cut butter into mixture until it is crumbly.  Set aside.
4. In separate bowl, whisk pumpkin, half and half and egg.  Fold into dry ingredients and form into a ball.
5. On a floured surface, pat dough into a 9×3 inch rectangle.  Divide into thirds and then cut each third in half, diagonally, making 6 triangles.
6. Bake 14-16 minutes until golden brown.
7. Meanwhile, mix together ingredients for spice glaze.
8.  Spread over top of cooked scones.

Baked Pumpkin Donut Muffins

2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp round cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp ground cloves
dash of ginger
10 Tbs butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups pumpkin puree
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract

4 tsp butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1. Preheat over to 350.  Coat muffin tin with cooking spray.
2. Coming dry ingredients.  Set aside
3. Beat butter and brown sugar until creamy; add eggs, pumpkin, buttermilk and vanilla.  Beat until well combined.  Fold in flour mixture.  Spoon into muffin tins.
4. Bake 25-28 minutes.  Let cool, then move to a wire rack.
5. Meanwhile, combine cinnamon and sugar.  Melt butter and brush over muffins, then coat evenly with cinnamon and sugar mixture.

Makes 24 muffins.

Let There Be Light!

When we moved into our humble abode, every single light in the house looked like this:

Purdy, huh?

And incidentally, when we moved in my puppies looked like this:

So little!!!  Piper’s ears even still flopped over a little bit.  Sigh…

Anyway, lights!

Nathan and I have been in the process of slowly changing the bare light bulbs into something, well, prettier.  We’ve also changed out every single light bulb from a “cool daylight” bulb, to “warm white.”  Did you know that Asians tend to like cooler light in their house and Westerns tend to like warm light?  Making warm light bulbs somewhat difficult to find here, an expensive when you do find them.  So, we’ve just gone room by room making our house “warm.”

Thanks to a little trip to IKEA in Singapore, we’ve now change out the kitchen light fixture, the dining room fixture and the bathroom fixtures!

Dining room…and you can see the kitchen lights in the background.  They are simple and I love them.  And I’m amazed that the huge drum light shade made it all the way to Papua in our checked luggage from Singapore!  Way to go baggage handlers!!

And the bathroom light.  There are actually two of them in this room.  And we installed an exhaust fan while we were at it.  Hopefully it will reduce the amount of mold in our bathroom!  Yahoo!

So, a few rooms down, a few more to go.  We’re hoping to do canned lighting in the rest of the house.  Can’t wait!

Finding Ellie

I’ve been teaching writing to Anna, a sweet little 5th grader here on base, for the past several weeks.

Here is a short story she wrote about Finding Ellie (AKA Itty Bitty Kitty).  People’s names have been changed but this story is based on actual events:

One day Allegra sat sitting on her family’s couch wondering
all sorts of things when her brother, Alec, called from outside” Allegra, come
quick, there’s a kitten climbing up my pant leg!” [This, Anna tells me, is now known as
famous event on base]  Of course Allegra ran outside.  When she got there, she saw the most
adorable kitten.  It was striped gray and black, and could fit in your hand. Sure enough,
it was climbing up Alec’s pant leg. After a couple of minutes she and Alec decided Allegra
would tell Maya, their animal loving neighbor about it because Maya was looking for a new
kitten. Not only Maya came, but also her brother, John ended up coming as well.
Maya’s mom found out about the kitten, she let Maya keep it. It wasn’t long
before we called the kitten Ellie.

The End

The Pharmacy

Our pharmacies here in Papua work a little differently than they do in the U.S.

Most items you can obtain without a prescription…if they have it in stock.

I went recently to find birth control for my dog.  Yes, my dog.  We have no access to a vet here, so birth control is our only method of preventing her from getting preggers.  And there’s no such thing as doggie birth control, she will just take a smaller dosage of regular birth control.  Oh, and it’s in shot form and lasts for three months.  Poor Piper has no idea what’s coming.

Outside of the pharmacy.  Apotik means pharmacy.  Mulia means noble.

I apologize for the poor picture quality.  I look these photos on my phone.

Inside the pharmacy.  After handing over 50,000 Rupiah (just over $5), I walked away with 15 months worth of birth control for my little Piper-Doo!

Pure Vanilla Extract

I found vanilla beans in Bali, so naturally, I also bought vodka.

Never in my life have I bought vodka before, but there’s a first time for everything right?

So, what happens if you put vanilla and vodka together?  Over time it makes pure vanilla extract!

Gather your materials: Vanilla beans, vodka and a bottle that seals.

Pour vodka into the empty bottle.

Split the vanilla beans in half.  You’ll need 2-3 beans per 8 oz of vodka.

Sniff the beans because they smell like heaven.

Add to the bottle with the vodka.

Seal the bottle and set in a cool, dark place for about 3 months or until it’s the right color (dark brown).

Voila!  Pure vanilla extract!  Who knew it was so easy?  And much cheaper than buying the stuff from the store!

Note:  It’s probably better if the vanilla beans are entirely covered with vodka, but that’s all the vodka I have, so it will have to do.

Let’s review…

vanilla beans + vodka + 3 months = yummy pure vanilla extract!





Because I do so much cooking from scratch, I have accumulated quite the collection of spices!

Here’s a little peak at my spice drawer(s).  Since the humidity here does a number on spices, all of my opened spices are kept in drawers in my freezer.



A few of these spices are from Indonesia, but most are from America.

I’ve also started ordering spices from Penzey Spices and I love them!  They are high quaility spices that I can buy in bulk!  Perfect for my life over here.