Archive for July, 2013


kitumbua :/

kitumbua 3 (ish)   farmergirls 0

I keep learning how to not make kitumbua and I found out it’s actually vitumbua (vitumbua is plural to the singular kitumbua).  K and F are happily devouring my almost embarrassing attempts and are not at all frustrated.  Keep trying mama!  I’m not totally incompetent in the kitchen and these little Swahili doughnuts are not going to get the best of me, again!  I found an incredible instructional video on YouTube.  If only my Swahili extended past the numbers one through ten and hello.  I only understood three parts for sure, “amazon dot com” indicating where the pan can be purchased, “rapid rise yeast” and “crunchy.”  I have two mugs of rice (a mug is the preferred measuring tool in most of the recipes I’ve found) soaking overnight and tomorrow I’m sure we will be enjoying perfectly browned and delicious vitumbua with our afternoon chai.  For me it will be a nice change from the mangled stickiness we’ve enjoyed (?) the past two days.  Plus, it will dramatically reduce the soaking and scrubbing time the pan requires.  For K and F it’ll be bittersweet.  I will have finally learned the secret to this complex treat (totally NOT complex, just trying to lessen my feelings of utter failure) from their birth country, but they will no longer be enjoying the benefits of the learning process.

Other happenings and wise words from the farmergirls……

If, just before dinner, a child yells “Mama come see what Nay brought in!” and you find it’s a very recently killed baby bunny, no one will have a good dinner.

If you have the “hippucs” water will take care of them in no time, according to Francine.

“That scares me out!” or “That scares my heart!” are popular expressions right now and are useful in practically any situation, scary or otherwise.

“Let me catch up on you!” is the same as asking for the person to please wait for you.

Stage whispering is not any quieter than regular talking and is often louder and yes, mama can hear you even down the hall or in another room or running on the treadmill with ear buds in and an ipod turned as loudly as it will go.

A chair placed partially in the pool and used as a diving board will no longer be a chair in any way at all.  The transformation will be so complete that sincere and complete confusion will be the response to any reference to it as a chair.

If you wear your glass slippers while riding Rody it will sound almost exactly like an actual horse galloping through the kitchen.

Such good times!  Aside from cooler weather on the way we are so sad that summer is winding down and we’ll be back at school in less than three weeks.  😦

New clothes for back to school




In one of the three photos of Francine that I received during The Wait she had something in her hand.  It looked like a small fruit or maybe a ball????  I didn’t know.  I was just thrilled to see her unbelievably cute little self.  She had awesome cornrows with a pink highlight.  Adorable!  Anyway, since she’s been home we’ve talked about this photo and the others that I have.  I’ve asked her who the people are, where she is, what’s in her hand etc etc.  She was only two years old when it was taken, so what could she remember?  But, just in case, I had to try before anything she did remember was gone, forever.  She never was able to offer any reliable info about it.  She told me what was in her hand but I didn’t understand and she didn’t have enough words to tell me about it, just what it was called and she didn’t seem too sure even about that.  No biggie.  Just recently we were hanging out when she suddenly tells me about when she had a grey dress on and a moto car cycle came and got her and took her to the doctor and the doctor gave her a ouchie on the bum and then she got a kitumbula from the lady and it was so good and tasted like orange.  WHAT?!?  Is this real?  Both girls have made up some stories about their time in DRC, but this seemed absolutely not like that and it just sort of spilled out of her.  I knew she knew what she was talking about.  I was instantly Google-ing.  I found it!  I found a description of kitumbua (she says it kitumbula) and photos of women making them on the streets of mainly Tanzania, but also DRC and Kenya and I found recipes and yesterday we made them!

kitumbua 1   farmergirls 0

I’m a tiny bit Danish and often make abelskivers, so I thought these would be no problem (they look the same and can be made in the same pan).  I learned a few things and next time, they’ll be no problem!  We’re so excited to have a food from my babies’ birth country that one actually remembers having.  Francine cannot wait to make these for our extended family!





I’m making a list of essentials.  Maybe, if I win the lotto (I’ve never bought a ticket) and decide to add another kiddo to the current craziness (would I, ever, even if I could?? hmmmm) I’ll have this list to refer to.

1.  Glitter

There is no such thing as too much glitter.  Few things are more fun than emptying half a container of washable glue (thank you to the mama who came up with this!) onto a piece of whatever then pouring the entire contents of a tube of glitter onto the oozing puddle of stickiness.

2.  A good vacuum and the ability to accept being glittery for days or weeks, even after repeated showers

Glitter will get everywhere, even impossible places like the ceiling and freezer (and probably even the ceiling of the freezer).  Vacuuming will help, but no amount of vacuuming will prevent “glitters” from sticking to hair, feet, eyelashes, clothes, and teeth.  Only time can truly undo a super fun day with glitter (actual amount of time has yet to be determined).  Embrace being “farkeley” and after the three day drying period, proudly hang that six pound piece of super shiny scratch paper on the “frig-lee-ator” (and don’t be surprised to find glitters in breakfast).  Then go buy more glue and more glitter or get ready to claim to have forgotten, but here’s some crayons!

3.  A good masseuse

I don’t have one of these, but if that winning lotto ticket thing happens I’ll be looking for recommendations.  Until then, I find a nice glass of red wine helps me relax after (during) glittering.

4.  Stickers

Certainly not as fun as the impossible to beat duo of glitter and glue, but stickers are still super fun.  Alternate uses for stickers include use as band-aids when playing with the doctor kit.  In these desperate situations, dozens and dozens are often not enough.  Also fun, stick the impossibly sticky ones on wooden furniture while mama is trying to de-glitter the dog, as many as you can in the little time you have before mama turns around.  Always important to remember, removal is prohibited, especially when clothes are thrown into the laundry basket.  That sticky residue left after washing and drying makes a perfect surface for glitters.  Just like those glitters, stickers will end up in some surprising places.  No need to be alarmed.

5.  A blog

As this has veered off course and become an anti-glitter diatribe, I recommend a blog.  It’s cheaper than therapy.  😉




I have questions.  First, where did half of this year go?  Wasn’t I just sitting here posting Christmas photos?  How can a person grow so much in such a short period of time?  In May we tried on all the clothes from last summer to see what we needed and what still fit.  I was pleasantly surprised Keta still had a few dresses that fit, in May.  Now it’s July and that is no longer that case.  How can they still be growing at the rate they’re growing?  How can they be growing so fast and have any coordination?  How can they learn all that they’re learning: English, how to live in a family, play, laugh, behave at mealtime, hold and use a crayon, touch, trust in mama, trust in stability, skip and swing, ETC!?  Wild.

We just got back from an amazing week at Lake Powell.  Keta skied!  She skied on a ski more like a tube than a ski, almost impossible to fall off or crash, and reached a top speed of about 4 miles per hour.  Still, Keta skied!  She’s so proud of herself and I am too!  She also learned to “swim” in her life jacket.  It started happening when I stopped trying to teach her and just let her learn.  She’d slowly walk into water almost deep enough to get her jacket wet and then she’d pick up her knees.  She’d thrash around, fingers splayed and frantically grabbing for something, anything.  I knew she could touch, so I wasn’t too worried.  I’d just be getting ready to reach a hand out for support and she’d grin, a huge gorgeous grin, and shout, “Mama, I’m swimming!”  Francine spent a good chunk of time on the sandy beach pretending to be a “chefer.”  She’d make cakes and sandwiches and take orders for whatever anyone wanted.  She’d patiently roll small balls of sand, sprinkle them with “sugar” and then put them on a cookie sheet to bake.  I think she has a happy future as a chefer or food critic or something else to do with food.

Words and phrases that make me smile…..

dandeflion = dandeflower = dandelion

hippo-the-potomus = hippopotamus

Umpitty Umpitty = Humpty Dumpty

Bastard = Baxter (our imaginary dog)

my brush your teeth = my toothbrush

Mary had a little lamb who followed her to school on Monday

My name not Fwancine, it’s Fwancine! = Francine trying to correct people who use the incorrect American pronunciation of her French name, sounds the same both ways she says it.

snores = snooze = s’mores   They had their first ones at Powell, yumma!


The little skier!  We have a rotation when skiing, we take turns.  Keta tried to talk people out of their turns and when she finally did get to ski again, we just had to eventually turn off the boat.  She practiced the signal for stop, just never used it.DSC_0440

The s’mores, such ooey, gooey, awful goodness!DSC_0439

Here’s the chefer hard at work.DSC_0414

This is what swimming looks like for now.DSC_0425

Sand castle constructionDSC_0239

The girls with two of the girls, Auntie B and Cara.DSC_0182

Lake Powell prep, getting faces wet with new goggles.

We love summer!IMG_3067