Friday, August 29, 2014

It’s a City Thing: Bagels and Pizza

New York City is known for great bagels and the best pizza.  Personally, I think they are even better in Brooklyn, but the whole city shares this reputation.  Why are bagels and pizza so good here?  It’s in the water.

This is how we eat bagels in NYC – smothered in cream cheese or layered with salad, and eat it like a sandwich.  My favorite is a Schmagel Bagel with Bacon Cheddar Cream Cheese!



That’s right – the water here makes the best dough, which turns out the best bagels and pizza.  There is a famous pizzeria called Grimaldi’s at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge.  They have been making coal-fired brick oven pizza since 1905.  You stand in a line for hours to eat there – no call ahead, no delivery, no take out.  But it is so worth the wait!  Grimaldi’s also has locations in other parts of the country.  Here’s how they serve the same great pizza outside of NYC:

“It has been said that the secret to true New York-style pizza is the water. Grimaldi’s believes that too, going to great lengths to keep the integrity of the water used in the Brooklyn pizzeria by hiring a chemist to analyze and recreate the mineral content and exact composition of the water to ensure the dough tastes the same in Idaho.”  {source}


So come visit us in Brooklyn, or the Bronx, and we’ll take you for some great New York pizza and amazing bagels.  The best in the world – the secret is in the water!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

A Maineiac Hike

My kids have thoroughly enjoyed this week in Maine.  They have gotten to explore and enjoy the Great Outdoors in ways they didn't know existed.  Living in NYC, rocks and sticks and leaves are the only novelties to collect on a walk.  Here they have hiked, canoed, chased butterflies, romped in the grass, picked up toads, collected wildflowers, foraged for wild berries, and enjoyed picnic lunches.
Yesterday we went for a hike in the Bigelow Preserve here in Stratton, ME.  We were hoping that the road would take us to the lake, but it didn't go all the way through.  We parked on a logging road to hike to the lake, but after a while the foliage became too dense for the kids (and for Mommy who was carrying a baby!).  We had a picnic in the woods.  The kids loved sitting on a dead tree to eat.   

Elaine found some tiny toads and chased them.  Liberty got in on the action.  There were tons of wild raspberry bushes so we stole a snack from the bears (and then got out before they found out it was us!).  It was totally worth all the bug bites and raspberry bush scratches!

Nolan nearly disappeared in the wildflowers!

Liberty's toad.  Not so sure that he survived!

My kids are collecting grandparents all over the country.  They have really enjoyed being here with Mr. & Mrs. Pease.  I love listening to them talk in a beautiful Maine accent!

A Missionary Ladies Brunch

While we were in Colorado with Beth Eden Baptist Church, I got to be a part of the ladies brunch.  I especially enjoyed this because we were on a deputation trip when our home church had the ladies luncheon earlier this year.  My girls got to attend with me, and Mom came along too!  I was asked to give a three minute testimony along with the other missionary ladies.
The church did a great job of decorating.  It was an international brunch, so there were different tables with cuisine from around the world - British, Italian, French, American, Mexican, Asian, etc.  Everything was delicious.  Elaine loved that she got to have ice cream for breakfast!

I didn't take my pictures until later, so most of the food had been consumed!  This is the Mexican table.

Elaine made a friend at Beth Eden, and she was tickled to get to sit with Hannah for part of the bunch.  Apparently they were entertaining, too!

Liberty enjoyed her first ladies brunch! 

One of my mom's friends from BSF attends Beth Eden, so we sat with her.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

A Canoe Outing

We have had several meetings in Maine this month.  Last week we had to travel home on Monday so that Ben could finish a job he was doing in Brooklyn.  This week we decided to stay in Maine in between Sundays.  We had some accommodations in a prophets chamber during the week. But as we were leaving on Saturday morning, a college friend (who is a missionary in Siberia) emailed to say that she had seen we were in Maine, and that her parents would be glad to have us stay with them if we needed a place to stay.  The Lord answered an unspoken prayer to take care of our accommodations this week! 
We have had a wonderful time in rural Maine.  The kids are experiencing parts of the "great outdoors" that they never knew existed in New York City!  We enjoyed a canoe ride (another little thing that the Lord worked out - Nolan has been asking to go on a boat!), a couple of picnics, a hike, foraging for wild raspberries, looking at the stars, and "moosing".  We might have to come visit again in order to see a moose, though!
We have been so blessed to stay with the Pease family this week and we are grateful for their hospitality!

Twinsies ready for the boat

Some happy "big kids" enjoying the up front view in the canoe

Nehemiah is NOT a water lover.  He enjoys his bath, but prefers to stay dry otherwise.  He wasn't too thrilled with his life vest or being out on the water.  His attitude improved when he got to hold one end of the oar!

A Stop on the Farm

Last week we traveled to Maine round trip in one weekend.  The kids were pretty tired of being in the car, so we made a fun stop at a farm in Massachusetts.   They had a playground, and ice cream stand, and a barn of animals - llamas, sheep, goats, a miniature horse, and a cow.  There was also a little creek where Ben helped the kids catch some frogs.
We arrived right at feeding time, and the kids loved it!  They have always enjoyed feeding the goats the NYC zoos, so this was right up their alley.  Liberty was old enough to get in on the action, too.  She was completely fearless as she offered bits of grain and feed to the goats! 

 We had "purple cow" ice cream covered in sprinkles - to Elaine and Nolan's delight!

Liberty discovered that she is a "big girl" now - we had a hard time pulling her off this swing!

Our kids enjoyed this so much that we stopped at the Davidian Bros. Farm again on this trip to Maine.  Liberty recognized it and went right over to the fence by the goats!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

It’s A City Thing: Organic Recycling

We have a new mandatory form of recycling that is slowly being rolled out in New York City.  After the test neighborhoods, we were one of the first to get it.  Food Recycling.  Yeah – it’s as gross as it sounds.


The city gave us these lovely brown trash cans to collect our organic waste – anything food related, food soiled paper, and yard waste.  It all goes into the can (with no bags unless they are compostable) and gets picked up with our trash twice a week.


They also gave everyone a little bucket to keep “on your kitchen counter or in your freezer” (yes – the paper actually said that!) and collect food until it is taken outside and dumped in the other can.  This bucket is no longer in use in our house.  It got so stinky and slimy and yucky…  Now I just throw all of the food scraps onto one of the dirty plates and take it out right away.


These trash cans sit right outside of our window – right next to our air conditioner.  I am looking forward to cooler weather and less stinky odors!  One week the can didn’t get set out at the curb…and it didn’t take us long to breed maggots! 

I think the city is using this giant compost pile to create fertilizer for the parks, and renewable energy.  I guess it’s a good thing to put it to use, and it’s the same amount of stuff (trash) for them to pick up and process…but it is definitely not one of my favorite parts of living in New York City!

Monday, August 18, 2014

August 2014 Prayer Letter

To view/print a PDF version of this prayer letter, please click here.

August 2014

“Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
Psalm 16:11

The Path of Life

In the last three months our path has taken us to Maine, Connecticut, and Colorado. We have had the pleasure of reuniting with old friends, visiting family members, and making new friends. Sometimes the miles become monotonous but the journey is always exciting! We have seen the Lord provide for each journey as we follow His leading. With each answered prayer, our faith increases.

With the Kelly Family in Lewiston ME
With the Kelly family in Lewiston, ME

Fullness of Joy

There are certainly difficulties that accompany traveling often with four small children. However, we are finding joy in being able to spend so much time together as a family.

Rocky Mountain National Park crop
Our family in the Rocky Mountains

At a recent missions conference, both of us were given the privilege of speaking several times.  It is a joy to see the Lord work through a simple testimony or a Sunday school lesson.  He knit our hearts together with believers as we shared our burden for the Bronx and how the Lord is working in our lives.

Christina Licata
Andrea & Christina in Colorado

Pleasures for Evermore

Each month we have asked God to give us two supporting churches. This last month we received three! We are so pleased to share that we are at 6.5% of our goal. It sounds like a very small step, but it is one step closer to our goal of ministering in the Bronx!

Taking Christ to “Da Bronx,”
The Hamilton Family
Ben & Andrea,
Elaine, Nolan, Liberty, and Nehemiah


  • First supporting churches!

  • 6.5% of our support raised

  • A full schedule through the end of 2014

Prayer Requests

  • 20% of our support to come in by the end of the year, so that we can begin full-time deputation in January 2015
  • Safety and health as we travel
  • Wisdom as we schedule a western trip for the spring

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

It’s a City Thing: Alternate Side Parking

This was one of the most confusing things to me as a newbie to city life.  In order to keep the streets clean, the Department of Sanitation cleans most of the streets once a week, and many of them twice a week or even daily.  This all sounds great…until you realize that all of the cars parked on those streets have to go somewhere while the street is being cleaned.  Thus, in New York City, we have alternate side parking.


Every street has posted the day(s) and times of the street cleaning.  And during those times you cannot be parked on that side of the street.  Since there isn’t an abundance of parking anyway in NYC, we simply move our cars to the other side of the street until the street sweeping is finished.  Yes – we double park – for an hour and a half.  And if you don’t?  It’s a $45 fine.


In our current neighborhood street cleaning is Monday on one side, and Tuesday on the other side, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.  That means that on Sunday night when we get home from church, we attempt to park on a Tuesday side in order to avoid moving the car on Monday.  I have alarms set on my phone to remind me to move the car, because I have forgotten (and paid the price).

Even if the street sweeper has already come down the street, you cannot put your car back until the end of the posted time period.  Well…you can, but you will probably get a ticket.  In some neighborhoods where parking is bad people just go out and sit in their car for an hour and a half, to ensure they get their parking spot back.  And some people just don’t seem to mind getting a ticket every week.  I have seen the parking cops waiting to hand out tickets during street cleaning hours, and we have gotten a ticket for being just a couple of minutes late to move the car.

Sometimes I go to do certain errands during street cleaning hours, because then I know I can double park my car instead of wasting time searching for a spot.  As long as the errand takes less than the posted time, no ticket.  But sometimes it sounds like this…


…always try not to get parked in!