Where you go, I will go; where you live, I will live. Your people will be my people for your God is my God.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sharing Jell-O

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The last cup, a Saturday afternoon, one spoon, and two mouths.  True love.  {And check out that concentration!}

CHRISTMAS {Eve and Day}

 

 

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

So Job.

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This morning Job discovered one of my scarfs and thought it would be fun to play with it.  I wrapped it around his head just to be silly, but I had no idea just how cute it would be!  I think this be one of my favorite pictures of him.  It’s just so *Job.*

“Rubber Ducky…

…you’re the one!  You make bath time so much fun!”

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For months, I have been putting a little rubber ducky in Job’s bath tub. I think there’s something just darling about a little boy playing in the bathtub with his rubbery ducky. Dreamy even. Picturesque.  He’s never paid attention to it.  Splashing and sliding around were just too much fun!   But this week things have changed!   All of of a sudden my little boy has noticed the little yellow blob floating around.  Job has discovered that the rubber ducky is fun too!  I mean, hitting the water with all your forces WITH a rubber duck in your hand?  What could be better?!   And this momma smiles. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Grocery Shopping.

One amazing thing about living in Mexico is how ordinary things are just so different.  It turns the mundane into an adventure.

One such thing is grocery shopping. Without a car.  With a baby.  As Job and I set off today to the center of town to do some shopping, I realized that shopping the way we do is normal to me now and not so big of a challenge.   It’s become a peaceful, enjoyable event of our week.  Here’s what grocery shopping looks like for us. 

At the end of the week I menu plan.  It’s nothing complicated, I just write out five meals for the week and list out the ingredients that we don’t have on hand.   {Maybe someday soon I’ll go into more detail about what our meals actually look like and how the menu works.} The ingredients we normally don’t have on hand are the meat and fresh produce.  If you include pantry items, that makes three categories of food that I need to buy and three places to go. 

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1. Produce Stand.

The fresh produce I buy once a week at the vegetable stand a couple blocks away.  I can also buy my chicken there, so I do that at the same time.  I like going here close to the house, because we have gotten to know a lot other women that way.  When we first moved to this side of town, they all kinda looked at me funny and would say hey, but not too much more.   Now, thanks to Job, conversation has become so much easier for them and me.  I mean who could look at such a darlin’ boy and NOT say anything?!  Once every few weeks, we go to the weekly open air market. Again, that’s a post in-and-of itself, but when we go, we buy our fresh produce there.

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2. Butcher’s.

Red meat and eggs  I usually buy near my in-laws whenever we are there because they have butcher shop close by {something we don’t have in our neighborhood.}  Most of the time Job stays at the house to play and I slip out for a few minutes.  Again I have my list of exactly what I want and I normally go to three places.  The butcher’s.  The place where you can buy smoked meat {like bacon, sausage links, or ham.  And a little hole in the wall place that sells super fresh eggs.  If I haven’t done my produce shopping for the week yet, I stop my the veggie stand there, cause I like to see the ladies there too.

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3. Pantry Items.

Then that just leaves us with one more place to go for the week and that’s to buy pantry items.  We walk to the center of town for this one. {Well, I walk, Job rides in his carrier!} I have a simple list of things to purchase weekly, bi-monthly and monthly.  For example, my weekly list includes sugar, flour, toilet paper, past and dried beans. Some bi-monthly items are oil, rice, and oatmeal. That way I’m sure not to run out of something at the last minute. And if, for some reason we don’t make the pantry item run of the week, everything’s just fine and we aren’t rationing the toilet paper.     

There are rarely sales here for such items, but sometimes the product is less expensive than others.  From week to week I have no way of knowing so I just ask.  In the budget I have few pesos set aside for whenever I find something cheaper than normal.  For example, sugar is normally 13 pesos per kilo and today it was 9.5 pesos so I bought a few extra kilos.  I only buy ask about prices of things that I normally buy.  The items on the list are the ones we use and eat. I don’t want to be tempted to buy something that we don’t like or would never use just because it’s a great deal. 

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I do however, also set aside a few pesos to buy “special” pantry items that wouldn’t make it to the list of staples I buy each week.  This items are usually a special treat. Today it was jello packets.  Once everything is bought, I put everything into my bags and step outside and find the nearest taxi.  It’s usually a lot to carry, especially with the baby, so we opt to take the ride home. 

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{On our way out the door this morning!}

Whenever Job and shop for the pantry items, I try to make it special. We try to go after Job’s morning nap and after he has eaten so that he’s in the best of moods to enjoy it all.  We take our time on our walk to the town center.  Sometimes we stop by the bakery or go to the park before going to the store.   Today we bought muffins at the bakery and came home to eat them with a cup of coffee.

And with that our weekly shopping is pretty much done!  Of course we buy our tortillas fresh every couple of days and Rafa always asks if there is something he can pick up on his way home from work.  There are also special times like when a truck full of potatoes goes by the house, calling for people to buy their produce  and we buy a crate full of them. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

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“No longer will you have the sun for light by day, nor for brightness will the moon give you light; but you will have the Lord for an everlasting light, and your God for your glory. Your sun will set no more, neither will your moon wane; for you will have the Lord for an everlasting light, and the days of your mourning will be finished.”

Isaiah 60:19-20

Breakfast Saturday Morning.

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A knock on the door mid-morning Saturday.  The eight-year-old lad and his 70-year-old grandmother giggle over some unknown joke as they hurry through the front gate, past the Doberman, and into the house looking for their favorite 7-month-old brown eyed boy. 

The come bearing gifts of sweet bread and vanilla flavored wafers.  I turn on the coffee pot, scramble eggs, and warm up tortillas. Tita sits to rest from their 20 minute walk, and the lad asks for the dishes and sets the table for four.  And has there ever been a group of four so unique?  The third grade man.  The 75 pound, angle on earth grandma.  The white, funny talking young mama.  And of course the beloved babe. 

We sit to eat and thank God for His unfailing provision.  We laugh at the boys, talk of Christmas and school breaks, entertain the babe, but he really entertains us.  We speak of the future, of God’s goodness and our regrets.  Tears fall and hugs are given.  The boy slips out doors, the babe goes down for a nap.  We linger over the last bit of coffee, dunking in the wafers to soften them up.  Dishes are cleared and washed.  Counters are wiped and the floors are swept. 

Soon the babe is up from his catnap looking to play.  We all go out to look at the chicks, gather eggs, and cleanup the chicken pen.  We end up nailing down chicken wire in the areas that the dog had attempted to get his head through.  We discuss plans for the garden come spring and this that and the other. 

It’s nearing noon and appointments and commitments bed for our attention and the morning comes to and end all too soon.  But as long as there are days and weeks, there will be Saturdays and, Lord willing, breakfast for these four.  A unique group?  Yes.  No questions about it. But somehow over the months of Saturdays we have become the best of friends. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas Projects.

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I believe I mentioned earlier that I had some projects that I wanted to do to add to our modest Christmas decorations.  At the time, I had some ideas in mind, but I was not sure exactly what would become of them.  The ideas are not originally mine but with each of the projects something is unique.  If you want to see how to make the originals, a simple google search should get you what you are looking for. 

I first made a Christmas wreath out of out of a coat hanger and round plastic ornaments. Simple. Cute. Colorful. Festive. 

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What’s unique here is that I covered the coat hanger hook with thread like I used to cover entire coat hangers for my grandma.  I think I got paid 50 cents for each of those babies!  Who knew that having coat-hanger-covering talents would come in handy later on in my life?! 

Today I made a Christmas tree out of lights.  The original picture that I saw online used a tomato cage.  We don’t have any of those, so I had to figure out  how to make the base on my own.  I went outside to see what I could find and came back in with some rods, sticks, and sunflower stalks. 

I ended up using an old wooden broom handle and two of the sunflower stalks to make a tee-pee. 

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Then I took a little metal weaved trash can that we had, flipped it upside down, and tied the sticks to it for support.  Afterwards, I simple wrapped a string of lights around it and ta-da {again!} we have a Christmas tree! {And a little boy fascinated by the lights!}

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Silent Night.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Evidence of 8-year-old Boy Imagination.

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Little cheery gifts.

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A new oval shaped yellow bowl and fresh mandarin oranges to fill it up! Both *happened* to be given to me on my birthday.  The givers had no idea of the significance of the day.  I’m blessed to be have such generous people on my life!

Project

The first few supplies of our upcoming house project.  I’m excited about this one!  I’ll share more details once the first phase of it is completed, but let’s just say this project is much more so on the practical side than on the d├ęcor one!  We can’t wait to get it going! DSCN3501

Hersey Kisses

 

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Friday, December 7, 2012

Habits

I lay by sweet babe down for his morning nap.  Poor kid is tired out and more than ready for some shut eye. I look at the clock. It reads 9 am. 

9 am!? 

Seriously? 

It feels like the middle of the day!  How can it only be nine in the morning? 

Then I remember. After a full night’s sleep my little man was up and ready to conquer the world before 7 this morning.  He’s an early to bed {8:30ish}, early to rise {6:00-7:00ish} type kid.  And while that takes some time to adjust to, I’m sooo grateful for it.  ‘Cause if baby’s awake. more than likely mama is too. 

I’m pretty sure I’ve seen more sunrises in the past seven months than in my entire 23+ years before them.  All thanks to my sweet bundle of joy.  And on top of that, a lot can be accomplished in the first two hours of the day.  Baby feed and changed.  Family time.  Husband sent off to work with lots of kisses and hugs.  Beds made.  Myself dressed for the day.  Dishes put away. Dog, cat, and chickens feed and watered.  Patio cleaned. Floors swept.  Chickens chased out of the garden and back into their pen.  Trash taken to the street corner.

It’s good to be up early. And thanks to my little boy, I’m learning to be early to bed, early to rise type kid too. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bugs and Critters.

Growing up in the South, I saw my fair share of bugs and such and I was not your typical girly-girly who would run away screaming at the sight of them.  My sisters took on that role for me.  Not that I particularly care for such things, but it was not big deal to kill them and get it over with.  Spiders?  No problem.  Cockroaches, just grab a flip-flop and they’re done with in .5 seconds.  I even have battled it out with a mouse or two. 

But that was there.  This is here.  Mexico is different.  Here I don’t know what these critters are.  Are they harmless?  Or deadly?  Do they bite?  If you touch them will the prick you?  Do they jump?  I really have no idea.  And it scares.me.to.death. whenever I find something crawling here or there.  That and the fact that I have a curious, active 7-month-old boy to look out for.  What could be more frightening?!   Our house is also surrounded by fields.  There are houses near by, but we do not have any next-door neighbors.  Nor neighbors in front.  Nor behind us.  So it makes for lots of interesting-unknown-to-me critters looking for water and warmth.  EEEeeeeeeeeekkkkkkk!

When I am home alone with Job, I follow my old strategy--Kill.it.as.quickly.as.po ssible!  But I feel the fear creeping up my spine as I deliver the death blow. 

That’s when I’m home alone and have a baby to protect.  When Rafa is home, home, however, the scene changes.  {I completely gave up my “I’m independent and can do it myself” card when I married him!} When a bug enters the scene and Rafa is near by I  jump. And scream.  Loudly.  “RAAAFFfaa!  VENTE.  Que es eso?!! Matalo porfavor! Pero rapido!”  And he usually does. ‘Cause he’s nice like that.  Either that or he tells me not to worry because the critter is innocent and harmless and then he describes to me what it is, what purpose it serves, and what its probably looking for in the house. It’s *a little* comforting.  I’m getting better.  Slowly but surely

On that same note, I’m so grateful for chickens who love to eat bugs and a cat who hunts.  Between all them, unwanted creatures rarely pass through the door! The picture below is our cat a couple of days ago. I’m not sure what he has in his mouth, but I’m glad it’s no longer alive! 

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Oh the excitement of living south of the border!

Papas

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Known in the English language as potatoes. {Yes, this whole post is about about potatoes.  Feel free to stop reading now!

I love them and we eat a lot of them around here.  They are a great filler food and are very versatile.   Often times I will cube them up and throw them into whatever meat dish I’m making.  Ribs in salsa seca, for example.  I stir the cooked cubes in with the ribs, making sure they are good and covered with salsa. When it comes time to eat the potatoes and the ribs taste *almost* the same and a few pesos of ribs is stretched a long way. 

We also like empanadas de papa. Sounds fancy, but it’s really not.  When tortillas have been in the fridge a couple of days, they are not taco worthy.  But heat them up a bit, place in some mashed potatoes, double to form a taco, and then fry in vegetable oil, until both sides are golden in  crispy.  Let your empanadas cool off a bit and add cream, lettuce, and your favorite salsa.  It makes great Mexican comfort food and uses up your leftovers!  {If you have cheese and leftover shredded chicken, those make great fillings for fried empanadas as well. And if you make all three and some soup, you can get away with calling it a meal! At least that’s what I tell myself!}

We also like fried potatoes and scrambled eggs, the classic French fry, I’ll add potatoes to just about any soup, and well the list could go on and on.  The point is, we eat a lot of potatoes and enjoy it. 

As in most parts of the world, potatoes are cheap….a very attractive characteristic! We have found that they are even cheaper here if you buy them by the crate and not per kilo. A crate, I’m guessing is probably over 10 kilos, or enough potatoes to fill up two 5-gallon buckets.  So my suegra and I buy a crate together and each take home a five gallon bucket of potatoes. 

The other day when Rafa came home from work, I excitedly told him about our latest deal on papas. He then told me that a guy had stopped by their shop and left a lot of papas as well.  {Not an uncommon thing.} Potatoes are always welcome here!  So that night he came home with a backpack full. 

A five gallon bucket and a backpack full of potatoes = a lot of potatoes.  More than several months worth for our family of three. 

The trick to keeping potatoes for an extended amount of time {you don’t want them turning green or growing roots} is keeping them in a cool, dark, and dry place.  Think root cellar. It also helps that the potatoes that we buy have still have dirt on them. So I dug a hole a shady spot in the garden, put a black trash bag lined bucket inside and filled the bucket with potatoes.  I folded the trash bag ends on top, topped the bucket with a lid, and then filled the hole with dirt, only leaving the lip exposed.  I then put a cement block on top to help keep any unwanted critters out.

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When I want to get a few potatoes out, I’ll just take off the block and the lid, open the bag, pull out the potatoes and then close everything back up again.  Ingenious, I know! And more than a little redneck!  I come by it rightly! Now just to go through all the potatoes before planting time!

What’s your favorite way to eat potatoes?!

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Helper.

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My darling little boy is at a very fun age.  He can’t quite get anywhere on his own yet, but he is full of personality, wonder and excitement, and wants to be involved in everything!  Of course setting up the house for this Christmas season was no exception!  I’m pretty excited and beyond blessed to be sharing this baby’s first Christmas with him!  DSCN3453

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Decked Halls

Or the beginning of them at least. I *plan* on doing different crafts and projects over the next few weeks to add to the few decorations that we have.  Nothing big, everything should stay simple, functional, and homey.  

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“…He who promised is faithful.”

Hebrews 10:23