Thursday, October 27, 2016

Is it? or is it not?!

     So I've been cooking for Institute twice a week.....on Wednesday in Utrecht and on Friday in Den Bosch.   As you who know me can imagine, after a few weeks I was out of menu ideas!  Stomppot is a traditional Dutch dish that I thought I could do without too much stress.  It is basically mashed up potatoes with other vegetables mixed in, served with meat. I had talked to Sister Hill about it and she had told me about several kinds of stomppot, all of which sounded yummy.
       When I mentioned at institute I was going to cook it a discussion ensued about what kind and the consensus was that the only kind worth making was Hutspot.  So I carefully searched the internet for recipes, chose one and prepared it, complete with rook worst, which all the recipes said you served with it.
I thought it looked wonderful!  We took it to institute in Utrecht on Wednesday.  I took off the lid of the crock pot with a flourish.  Noel (the only Dutch kid there) took one look and said "that isn't stomppot!"  "What do you mean?" I asked.  He said, "you don't mash the potatoes with milk and butter, the carrots are too big, and my  mom serves it with the meat mixed in, never with rookworst."

 Noel gave me step by step instructions which I followed exactly when I made it a day later for institute in Den Bosch.  I meticulously chopped carrots into tiny pieces, slow cooked the meat for 3 hours until it shredded.  I didn't add any milk and just smashed up the potatoes so they were chunky and stirred in the carrots, onions and meat.

We took it to institute in Den Bosch.  I took off the crock pot lid with a flourish.  The Dutch kids took one look and Timo said, "that isn't stomppot!"  "What?" I cried.  "I made it exactly like I was told!"  Timo said, "my mom mashes it with milk and butter and we always have it with rook worst, never with the meat mixed in."  "Ahhh" I said with a some dismay, "that's how I made it Wednesday!"

We concluded that a true stomppot was whatever their mothers did!  They were all thrilled I had tried to make a Dutch dish and assured me that even tho it wasn't like their mother's stomppot, it was tasty and they ate it all up!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Gone....but not forgotten :)

The hardest thing about leaving for 18 months on a mission is leaving the family!  It's so nice to have Facetime, Skype and other technologies to help stay in touch.  But nothing is quite like seeing them in person!

Dona and kids arrived Oct. 14....Dean was so happy to see us and Ruby kept shouting "Grandpa"!

Ruby is Grandpa's buddy :) 
Ice Cream tastes great even on a cold day!

 Our friend's back yard...

 We have been the Apenhul Monkey park, Giethoorn, Amsterdam and our favorite, Kinderdijk.  We have loved having them here!  Ruby wasn't talking much when we left but is jabbering non stop now.  Dean is more grown up...and they both love riding bikes on our errands!  It's been so great to have them share our mission experience in a small way.

Two of my favorite things to do with the kids....make cookies for institute and read books!

Monday, October 3, 2016

How we love General Conference!

   We look forward to General Conference every 6 months with great anticipation.  It is always a time of spiritual comfort and encouragement.  For years we listened as the individual conducting the sessions thanked the radio and TV stations for their help broadcasting it around the world.

 Then we went to the Philippines and Hong Kong and discovered it wasn't really broadcast around the world.  The best we could do then was get up in the middle of the night and try to stream it live on the internet.  It was at best spotty and intermittent.

While we were in Hong Kong the Church began installing satellite dishes at the Stake Centers in Asia.  We could then gather with the saints to hear a few of the sessions re-broadcast.

This last weekend we were able to see 5 of the six sessions of General Conference at the Rotterdam, Netherlands Stake Center.  It went something like this:)

Sat. Oct. 1, 2016, 2-4 PM  We watched a re-broadcast of the General Women's Meeting:

We watched it in English with the Dutch using headphones.  After the session the Stake Relief Society had "High Tea" for the sisters.  It was lovely and could have been in the Peninsula Hotel in Kow Loon!  I especially loved the large circles of chairs they arranged
around the hall.  I got to know a few more sisters in the Stake.  As usual, Joe helped clean up and put the chairs and tables away!  (as missonaries, where I go he goes and vice versa!)

6-8 PM we gathered in the chapel to watch the Saturday morning session of Conference, live.  

Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016.  11AM -1PM, We watched a re-broadcast of the General Priesthood session.

2-4 PM we watched a re-broadcast of the Saturday afternoon session.

We had lunch with the missionaries in our zone :)

Then gathered in the chapel from 6-8 PM to watch the Sunday morning session, broadcast live.

The weekend involved 4 hours of driving, 6 hours at the church on Saturday and 9 hours at the church on Sunday and packing food for 3 meals.  

It was so worth the effort!  We have been humbled, encouraged, lifted and our testimonies of the restored Gospel and the Book of Mormon strengthened.  We learned how to be better missionaries, parents and grandparents.  We are more grateful than ever for our family and their love and support....and we look forward to General Conference again in 6 months :) .

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Play day!

Periodically the mission arranges for all the senior couples to get together.  We have a big group! There are 6 couples from the USA, the Misson president & his wife, the Bunnells, and 2 local couples, the Van Der Puts and the Jansens.

 The Van Der Puts, from Zoetermeer, arrange the activity.  Elder Zoetermeer is serving as the counselor in the mission presidency. Sister Van Der Put serves in the mission office with him. They are amazing and with all they have to do for the mission they also take great care of the couples!

The activity was in Leiden.  We had a training meeting about how to inspect the young missionaries apartments for cleanliness once a quarter.....ugh!  I can hardly keep my own abode clean!

Then it was off for a canal tour around Leiden.  It is a very beautiful old we from America can hardly comprehend it!  And the weather was spectacular.  The  Dutch can't believe it is still warm and beautiful :).

After the tour we walked to the oldest home in Leiden, supposedly where the pilgrims lived.  In my ignorance I didn't realize the Mayflower pilgrims left England and went to Leiden, Holland there about 10 years before sailing off in the Mayflower for the New World!  It turned out that they didn't actually live in this house but it was interesting nonetheless!
 We had ice cream on the way to dinner (you know, have dessert first!), then on to a delicious dinner.  The steak was primo!  The day was so great.  I am appreciating where we live more and more.  Zeist is right in the middle of the Netherlands so even though we do a lot of driving, we don't have the 2 1/2 hour drive the Olivers and Caldwells do when they come to the mission office or the temple.  It is interesting to learn how the other couples are doing things.  Even though we all have the same calling, how and what we do is different.  The Caldwells serve in a branch of the church as the Primary president and branch counselor in addition to their YSA assignment.  The Hills and Caldwells apartments are the YSA center in their area so they have many meetings right in their homes.  The Olivers, in Belgium cover a HUGE area.  The Reeves work in the office so their schedule is pretty much M-F, 9-5. )more on our schedule later :)

We learn from them all, love them and appreicate their friendship.  It's a privilege to be working with these wonderful senior saints!