Pics from the East


Happy Easter 2014

Easter 2014
Happy Easter 2014
Shorel & Sandra
Senna (1), Selah (3), Sianna (4), Schäfer (7)

Yesterday, I put in a grave effort for an easy and relaxing Easter morning.

Yesterday, I…
laid out clothing for 6 people
stuffed 120 plastic eggs
prepared gifts for 4 children
deviled 12 eggs
made German potato salad
gathered the craft supplies for Sunday school
printed out the coloring pages
had Schäfer and Sianna sort the mosaic tiles for the craft
sharpened all the coloring pencils
grabbed the crayons
packed The Easter Story book
baked muffins for breakfast.

I literally did everything I could think of so that this morning, all we had to do was enjoy breakfast, dress, and spend some time in family devotion.

But this morning was CRAZY.

Hubs and the kids scarfed down the banana crumb muffins while proclaiming that they were a great muffin. Then, Hubs had to go to the market to get fruit for the watermelon fruit bowl but before he left he dressed Selah in her favorite white dress with pink flowers.

Then, I got Senna dressed. Selah and Senna played together in the crib while I got dressed. Next was Schäfer who was excited about wearing his new belt. Finally, Sianna needed her hair washed because it was in braids and she wanted to wear her hair down.

Thankfully, Selah and Sianna were pleased with their dresses (all hand-me-downs) so there was no fighting over who was going to wear what.

Our Sunday morning ride normally picks us up at 9:45am, but today he needed to come at 9:15 so we threw the fruit in a sack, grabbed all the Sunday School supplies, pot luck supplies, diaper bag, and my purse (just in case) and headed out the door.

No family devotion.

No Easter treats were passed out to the kids.

But that was OK. Everyone was dressed and ready.

Our time in fellowship this morning was rich and I think the kids enjoyed the Sunday School time. One thing is for sure, those kids know the reason we have Easter!

Our potluck was delicious. We had cured ham, broccoli salad, asparagus, rolls, German potato salad, deviled eggs, and watermelon fruit bowl. The real show stopper was the bucket of ice snagged from a nearby restaurant. Ice is a rare commodity in China.

After our meal, we headed down to a local park where we enjoyed chocolate cake and the egg hunt. Since our kids ages are varied, we decided to have one hunt, but each kid could only collect 15 eggs. (120 / 8 kids) The hunt was a great success. There was much trading of candy and stickers afterwards.

We returned home around 3pm and Senna was a mess. She had only slept for 30 minutes in the early afternoon and it had caught up with her. We managed to keep her awake long enough to give the kids a small Easter gift. The kids played with their new toys while Senna napped. I quietly made my way around the house trying to pick things up from The Invisible Tornado that swept through this morning.

Tonight, the kids begged me to watch a Buck Denver DVD. Schäfer really wanted to watch The Book of Acts so we let him. After such a busy day, everyone needed a little chill time – especially Mommy.

Today was especially sweet as we enjoyed our very first Easter as SK6.

Last year, Senna was still in my tummy and I kept pondering that scene in Steel Magnolias where Annelle goes into labor during the Easter Egg hunt and her husband, who is wearing a bunny suit, whisks her to the hospital on a motorcycle. Senna was born just 5 days after Easter last year. It is such a joy to have her here to celebrate with us now.




Good Friday Goodness 2014


This morning, I lost track of time.

Before I knew it, we only had a few minutes to have a daily reading at the kitchen table and write in our family gratitude journal. Hubs rushed out the door with Schäfer and Sianna agreeing to grab them a Chinese steamed bun on the way to school.

Selah and Senna had a late breakfast at home while I got my market list together.

Since our market is in a wind tunnel, I asked Ayi if Senna could stay home with her. Selah and I headed to market for pizza sauce staples (garlic, onions, 3 jin fresh tomatoes and red peppers). As always, we were in dire need of fruit.

I came home and started on the sauce while Selah ate her treat: a Chinese steamed bun she purchased in the market. I like to give her one kuai and wait for her to ask the seller in Chinese for a bread. It’s not much, but it gives her a chance to practice her Chinese.

All was going well with the sauce until I dumped way too much basil in. I added a can of tomato paste and that evened things out.

Hubs came home at 12:30. He tasted and approved of the sauce.

After lunch, we had a devotion with Ayi in honor of Good Friday.

Then, Sianna went to read books with Ayi. Selah usually does not go and listen, but today she did. I am thankful for Selah’s willingness to soak in more Chinese. Language takes work – at any age.

Schäfer and I started on homeschool. Normally, we do this in the morning before Chinese school, but today time slipped away. After we are done with reading books, phonics, grammar and math, we snuggle up in the big chair and I read to him. We are completely immersed in “On the Banks of Plum Creek”. Pa just walked 300 miles East to find work since the grasshoppers ate his entire wheat crop.

Meanwhile, Sianna and Selah never went to sleep. After Ayi read to them for 30 minutes, they played in their room. The good thing about this play is that they are together and happy and will be dead tired by 7:30 pm. The bad thing about this play is that The Grouchies sometimes make an appearance by 6pm.

Today, The Grouchies kept at bay. Thank goodness.

When Hubs came home, he sent me on a run. We’ve gotten into a pretty good routine where I can run in the evening while he directs the children in their chores. Hubs is passionate about teaching our kids the value of money so having him in charge of the chores works for me.

I love the 30 minutes I get all to myself. Running and listening to a podcast has become a highlight and true stress relief for me.

When I came back, we officially started our Family Fun Night. We always have pizza on Friday night. Selah requests, “Cheesy pizza!”

Earlier this morning, I made a big pot of sauce and each pizza only takes 3/4 cup of sauce so the rest of it will be portioned out in freezer bags and put away for upcoming Friday nights.

For our Family Fun, Hubs read the story of the Resurrection Eggs. Schäfer, Sianna and Selah each took turns opening an egg. The kids really did look at the items inside each egg.

While the pizza was in the oven, we dyed eggs. That’s always super fun, but very hands on. Each child was delighted when they got 4 eggs to color. Unfortunately, those four eggs went fast and all of the children were asking for more. Schäfer and Sianna asked several times, “When are we going to do this again?” Bless their hearts. I think they could have dyed eggs all weekend.

Finally, the pizza was ready and the kids dug in. Though I do like movie watching, it was fun to do a craft together tonight. Before we knew it, 7:30pm arrived and all the kids were tired from missed naps and long days of Chinese school + homeschool.

Today was Good Friday. It was good indeed.

2013 December Daily :: 26 :: All is Calm

This morning all the girls went shopping. It was fun to go to the mall with Sianna, Selah, Senna and my Mom. Of course, it was work and it involved a lot of snacks, but it was neat to have a girl outing.

Other than our morning excursion, we had a very slow, post Christmas day. The kids played with their toys. We once again ate leftovers.

Now that Christmas is over, I’m starting to feel the urge to pack and get things prepared for our move back to Asia. Last night, I separated all of our toys from the guest house toys. There’s some packing that is ready to be done and some supply shopping that needs to happen. But today we enjoyed one last day with my Mom. She’ll train back to Arkansas tomorrow evening. (We’ll join her there a couple of days after that. So our goodbye won’t be too teary… yet.)

We ended our day with one final photo before the tree is taken down.

The kids asked Nanamaw for one final reading before bed.

For Selah, another book meant a few more flips before bedtime.

German Pyramid Round 2

September 2004

On September 23, 2004, while Hubs and I were backpacking Europe, we found Kathe Wohlfahrt’s Christmas Shop in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany.

While in the shop, we toured her German Christmas Museum which included a collection of beautiful 6 foot tall German Pyramid’s.

Surprisingly, we left the Christmas Shop empty handed. Like all budget backpackers, we decided to try Rothenburg’s famous treat: the Schneeballen instead of purchasing a $10 ornament.

2004-09-23@16-58-04 2004-09-23@17-29-25
The Schneeballen is basically a deep-fried pastry that tastes like oily, hard pie dough. Tastes as good as it sounds. Here’s Sandra in front of the store holding one of the pricy things.

After trying to eat it plain, Hubs soaked the Schneeballen in tea. Didn’t help.

Blast. We should have purchased a pyramid! (At that time, the small 10 inch tall ones would have only been around USD80. Bargain!)

December 2011

While we were living in JiuJiang, I became good friends with Elena whose husband worked in Germany. For Christmas that year, he mailed a package from Germany which, to our surprise, included special gifts for our family. We were so delighted that he sent a small, traditional German Pyramid.

Christmas Eve 2011, Sianna (2) loved sitting close and watching the pyramid spin.

December 2012

We fire them all up at once because we like to watch the baby Jesus spin. Plus, ours is a little underpowered and three candles barely gets it moving.

Trust me, everyone loves the German Pyramid.

December 2013

Hubs added a traditional German Pyramid this year. He has been watching these for YEARS on eBay.

I’ll move it by the fireplace for a better look. It’s a vintage pyramid made in East Berlin prior to the collapse of the Berlin Wall.

Angels announcing good news of great joy to the shepherds…
(all the pieces are carved from different types of wood)

Mary & Joseph with the shepherds…

Wise men see the star and begin traveling (spoiler: they arrive a couple years later) …

Soldiers being sent to to Bethlehem to search for the new king (yes, an oft left out part of the Christmas story, but essential nonetheless)…

It’s a wonderful addition to our select Christmas collection and is sure to provide a great illustration of the Christmas story for years to come.

2013 December Daily :: 25 :: Merry Christmas!

(Just wrapping up the December Daily. Thanks for your patience.)

Merry Christmas from the Kleinerts! Schäfer 6, Sianna 4, Selah 3, Senna 8m

Our Christmas day began the same way it does every year: with the reading of the Christmas story.

After recognizing why we have Christmas and why we give

[Continue reading 2013 December Daily :: 25 :: Merry Christmas!]

2013 December Daily :: 24 :: Happy Birthday Selah!

Happy 3rd Birthday Selah!

The day began with cereal and blueberries which Selah separated into two bowls. There’s a lot of cooking that needs to happen today so making a big, birthday breakfast was not on the list. (Love her two bandaids. For Selah, bandaids are an accessory.)

For Selah’s third birthday,

[Continue reading 2013 December Daily :: 24 :: Happy Birthday Selah!]