Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas Dinner

The Busby's had the couples over for dinner Christmas Day.  They said they would do the meat and that we were to do the sides.  Shannon likes to "play in the kitchen" so we had an abundance of good food, good company and good spirits!

Shannon's Dr. Seuss Zucchini Christmas tree appetizer

Ryan made cinnamon, orange and cinnamon pecan rolls!!!  They were served warm and devoured before they could cool!

Ryan is taking the picture and Elder Hezseltine was home recuperating - I did take him a plate - actually 2!
L-R Elder and Sister Wollenzien, Sister and Elder Allen, Sister Hezseltine, Sister Busby
We are standing in front of the Busby Christmas tree which is a canoe (pronouuced key new) cut in half!
Ryan bought it off a fisherman!

Christmas Morning Walk

Elder Hezseltine was home sick but the rest of the couples all went for a long (2+ hour) walk on the beach.  We walked from 9th Street beach entrance to the Mission office.  It was beautiful and all the Sisters found lots of sea glass.  Tis the season!!!

                               Sister Allen, Sister Hezseltine, Sister Wollenzien

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas Treats - Breakfast

I decided we needed some Christmas treats.  I splurged and bought us two oranges.  They are $7.50 USD a pound!  Ouch!!!! The Scottish shortbread is a tradition that I grew up with long before I met Elder Hezseltine.  It seems to be a "worldwide" tradition.  It was almost as good as my Great Grandmothers!!!

Our Christmas morning breakfast was a real treat - not our usual oatmeal with bananas. I had some left over coconut cream that I added to the scrambled eggs and veggies.  Oh my, they were the richest eggs I have ever tasted!  Yes, we had shortbread for breakfast.  It was Christmas!!!!!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Morning

About 6am this morning there was a big thud right outside our apartment.  We live on a corner and a car travelling too fast (with heavy speed - Liberian) went off the road.  It cut a coconut tree in half and up rooted it and dropped about 30 feet down an embankment.  From what we have heard there were four Lebanese in the vehicle.  They think they had been partying.  The 2 in the front died and the 2 in the back were taken to hospital.

A sad start to Chirstmas Day especially for those families.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Liberia All Zone Christmas Party

All of the Liberia Monrovia Mission - Missing President and Sister Carlson

Friday, December 18, 2015

Our Christmas Tree

Thank you Sista Berrett!!!

When we were in Liberia for the Christmas of 2013 Sister Berrett did this cute Christmas tree on the wall of their apartment.  It is so simple and festive.  We pray that all of you are enjoying this glorious season and are "remembering the reason for the season."  It seems easier to "remember" here where things are so simple.  I will be doing my "Christmas baking" on Saturday.  I am actually excited for it!  I will get it all done in one morning instead of the usual  3 weeks of holiday baking!!!!!!

The stocking was our gift from Sista Berrett in 2013.  We couldn't come and spend Christmas here without it!
Elder H watched a YouTube video to make the dimensional star and Ryan let us use his gold spray paint to paint it.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 7, 2015


We went to Harbel - the Firestone Plantation.  I love that place!  I wonder if it is all the trees neatly lined up.  Order is so calming!!!  Now I just need to get my life in order as well!

The Firestone Plantation has cattle that they graze between the trees to keep the vegetation down .  I was told that "the trees are very selfish" with the ground and the nutrients she gives.

In the picture if you look close you can see what looks like a small white crane.  I asked a local what the name of the white bird was that is always around the cattle.  He gave me a very puzzled looked and said "white bird."  They are also called cow birds because they are where the cows are.

When ever we go there the local boys come sit on the porch and watch what we are doing.  They love to help when they can and they squeal when we give them empty boxes to "own" and play with. 

This little boy had to "hide" his truck while he helped because he didn't want anyone to take it.  It is made of an empty motor oil container.  The wheels were made of caps off of other bottle or container.  Very simple, very fun, very low tech and all his.  Recycling at it's best!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Our Friday Night Thanksgiving Movie Dinner

All the couples get together on Friday night for a movie.  We rotate the location and whoever hosts gets to choose the movie.  The Friday after Thanksgiving we decided to start with a Thanksgiving Feast.  It was not the normal Thanksgiving fare but it had the same feelings of thankfulness, friends that feel like family and the pain of overeating!

Shannon made a cornucopia  of cauliflower cheese bread and filled it with roasted vegetables!  Yummmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!!

We did so much eating and visiting that we never got to the movie!!!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Beach Walk

While Sister Terry was here we took her on one of our beach walks. Because she always has her camera with her she was able to get some pictures of us so we can prove that we really do get to walk on a great beach!!!!!  The sea glass and sand flowers are making a come back - slowly.

I am always on the look out for sea glass, sea flowers and anything fun - that includes Elder H!

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The Carlson's and Busby's have introduced us to "Bananagrams."  We play our own version most days.  We will start a game in the morning and finish it after dinner.  It has really helped me with my spelling that got zapped when I had my "brain freeze."  It is also helping me retrain my brain to vary it's processing. 

I came down to fix breakfast and found the game started and this message written in the tiles.  It melted my heart!

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Fishing Boats

There are fishing boats out every day.  We see them up by the port and further down the coast.  Seldom do we see them fish in front of the office.  It makes for a great diversion when they do!

The Royal Grand

Our friends the Terry's stayed at the Royal Grand Hotel.  It is nicest hotel in town and the only business that takes a credit card (this is a cash society).  When we dropped them off I noticed their Christmas tree.  It reminded me of the Barbie birthday cakes we all use to make.  This Christmas tree used African fabric on the bodice, to cover the ornaments and as the ribbon.  It was put up and used to tie into "Fashion Week" in Monrovia.  Very clever!!!

Where is the Gingerbread Man?

Our friends the Terry's from Accra, Ghana came this last week for a visit.  Elder Terry is the IT man for all of West Africa and Sister Terry is the literacy specialist.  It was so great to be with them, visit and feel of their love and friendship.  We picked them up at the airport and made a small detour before heading back to town at the Harbel Country Market for some fruit.  The Harbel Market on the Firestone Plantation is the best place for fruit, the local's are all so friendly.  Sister Terry was talking with the local kids while I got some fruit.  I remembered that my granddaughter Emma's kindergarten class was doing the "Gingerbread Man" geography activity.  All the local kids were willing to participate.  They love to have their picture taken and see themselves.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Elder Bednar Visits Liberia After Country Declared Ebola-Free

Elder Bednar's Visit

The Executive Pavilion

Our Guests

Sister and President Carlson, President and Sister Hallstrom, Elder and Sister Bednar, President and Sister Curtis

Can you find Jessica?

Security officer standing behind Prince Nyanforh, Elder and Sister Bednar

The kitchen help.  Oops, 7 kitchen help and 2 guests!

After lunch there was a Priesthood Training session for the men.  Here is the Sister Auxiliary Training group.

Jessica, Shannon and Ryan are the only  white, member, non-missionary people in the country (that we know of).

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Ground Peas

Sister Gaye lives near the Mission Office.  She does catering and sells at a local market.  The AP's told us that she did "ground peas" - peanuts.  So, we asked her to do us some.  She takes ground peas and washes them in salt water to rub off the shells.  She then puts them out to dry in the sun. If you look closely at the back parking lot, on the side of the small hill that is facing the sun you will see a canvas with ground peas drying.

Ground peas basking, drying in the sun.  Once they are dry she "parches" them in a big pan over a charcoal cooker.

Our ground peas are then delivered right to our desk.  They have a half raw, half cooked crunch with just a hint of salt - so good - and fattening!  We once had a batch delivered still warm!  Oh my, we ate so many we got sick!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Mission Office

I noticed that our picture of the Mission Office from our 2013 blog post has disappeared.  The Mission Office is on the first floor (the second level).  Temporal Affairs (Humanitarian, Liberia Facility Manager, CES, PEF, Records etc.) are all on the ground floor (first level).

The building is currently having what appears to be a new floor added.  In reality it is a new room.  They will put "zinc" on the slanted rafters on top.  This eliminate the constant leaking from the flat cement roof.  It will also protect the A/C units that will then be moved to the roof and give us some water again.  By putting the 1,000 gallon water tanks back on the roof we get water in the office bathrooms by "gravity feed."  While they have been working on the roof they moved the water tanks to our level on a patio roof outside.  No gravity feed + pump and generator not big enough to pump water up = NO WATER.

I do not have a proper desk but sit at a table next to a window.  This is my view out the window - I do not want a desk!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Shower Power

We moved into our apartment and I took a shower and did not notice until after I got out that there was a wall plug IN the shower! 

Elder Hezseltine used the voltage sensor that Jeff Abeyta  gave us to use to Africa (Elder Hezseltine uses it ALL the time) and surprise - the plug was LIVE!

What makes this bathroom even more fun is the fact that the light switch for the bathroom is in the other room behind a door.  I guess I could always plug in a light to shower by!!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Pumpkin Season

They do not celebrate Halloween here (thank goodness) so the only thing to do with these pumpkins is to eat them!  They are more like a butternut squash than a pumpkin. They make great soup and are good smashed with butter and salt.  We are coming into pineapple season and are so excited.  The only thing better than pineapple season is mango season (which we missed)!