Last week, I learned about the Mommy Reality link up, where moms chime in every other week to reveal what life is really like. The theme was "room with a view." Well, the reality is that we live on a hill with no other hills between us and Arabuko-Sokoke Forest. So I have a great view. I linked up only via Instagram because it was the last day of that theme, and I didn't have time to compose a real blog post!

This time the theme is "What's broken?" Where do I start? Maybe I should ask what's not broken? That's a shorter list.

Broken things is part of life here. Especially when it comes to toys. (I won't go into detail on the other most commonly broken things, i.e. anything the housekeeper touches, aka the reason I don't have a housekeeper anymore even though I'm supposed to because I'm white and rich or something.)

We have two options when it comes to buying toys for our kids: 1) a small, overpriced import that is good quality and will last, though it may not be very impressive or 2) something made here (or in another country with cheap labor and no quality control) that will probably break soon, but is big and impressive, though still overpriced when you consider the quality. Our third option is to get toys in the US when we are there and/or have someone bring them to us. We do that when the opportunity arises, but for gift giving occasions, we are stuck with what can actually be bought in Kenya.

We do a little of both options. When we go for small but pricey, we make sure it is something that they will really, really love. I'm always a little nervous that they will feel deprived receiving "just this" but they aren't, as evidenced by their reaction to Dusty Crophoppers as their "main" Christmas gift. Ben cried when Nate opened his. It took a lot of convincing to get Ben calmed down enough to open his own!

That is not what's broken. They are a little beaten up from crash landings, but Ben's is the one that keeps landing upside down. That's how they tell them apart - all the paint is gone from the top of Dusty's "head" on Ben's.

When we go for big but cheap...Well, I just keep the tape handy. Rodgers is more reluctant to buy cheap toys, but I've made peace with doing repairs. Tape tends to be more effective at repairing cracks than superglue. And electrical tape is way better than scotch tape, but scotch tape is invisible. So it's kind of a toss up there. On the other hand, Shoe Goo (a gift from America via my dad) works great for certain types of repairs, too.

What's broken? These (and more like them)...

posted on Instagram a few months ago

The monster truck is most epically broken, partially because it is made from a thinner plastic than the fire truck, and partially because it has gotten smashed by doing classic monster truck tricks. Lately the boys have been tying a ribbon around these and pulling them behind their tricycles. There does come a point when I just throw the broken toys away. But these trucks should last at least another year (and 2 rolls of tape).


  1. Haha! Tape is a parent's best friend! I even once taped the hem of a skirt 2 minutes before we had to leave for a dance rehearsal. It lasted as long as I needed it to and not a second more. I am right there with you on the dilemma of what to buy our kids. Somethings you know will only last a short while and then there will be tears, but sometimes the hardy and sturdy ones aren't so much fun.... Your boys are adorable!

  2. YES, tape is awesome. And hot glue is something used quite frequently here, too. Your boys definitely are getting some great usage from their toys! I remember as a kid, they'd sell the toy cars that you could push a panel and it would flip over and make the car look smashed up. I couldn't ever figure out why that was necessary because we were kids and naturally would do that with our toys anyway, haha.

    1. Lol! That's so true. Incidentally, the monster truck engaged in some demolition derby this weekend. I'm not sure it's repairable this time!

  3. It's a shame you can't get middle of the road toys there, we used to have a similar problem and the toys that broke were often the most loved...Which is probably why they broke in the first place!

  4. Yes! We can either buy toys from the US, pay extra for shipping and then just hope it gets here, or buy something cheap imported from China or the Philippines on Ebeye and expect it to last for about five minutes. Oddly enough my kids seem to love those cheap toys and will keep playing with them after they break.
    Great job on the truck repairs!


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