Saturday, May 26, 2012

In Memory...

I'm off to spend the holiday weekend with family and will not be posting again until Tuesday. Best wishes to all for a meaningful and blessed Memorial Day!

© Liz Van Steenburgh |

Friday, May 25, 2012

Mi Papá

For this post I'm participating in Spanish Friday over at Latinaish. English translation is at the bottom (but try it in Spanish first and see how it goes!)

Hoy, estoy pensando en mi papá. Hace pocos meses, los doctores le avisaron a él que él tiene cancer. No sabemos cuanto tiempo él estará con nosotros todavia, pero estamos tratando de asegurar que los nińos tienen buenos recuerdos con el abuelo. Nos juntamos cada cuando, solo para estar juntos, pero tambien para dias de fiesta y ocasiones especiales. Esta foto es un dia así, cuando toda la familia se juntó en la casa pequena de mis papas y pasamos el dia juntos. Aque pueden ver mi papa, mi mama, y todos sus nietos y niños de nietos (como se dice "great grandchildren" en español?):

Y aqui, pocos momentos despues, cuando tuvieron que "be silly":

Today I'm thinking about my dad. A couple months ago, he was diagnosed with cancer. We don't know how long he'll still be with us, so we are trying to make the most of the time we have. In particular, we are trying to make sure that the kids grow up with good memories of their Papaw. We get together when we can, just to be together, as well as for holidays and special occasions. This picture is of the last time we all went out to my parents tiny house and spent the day together. You can see my dad, my mom, and all the grandkids and great-grandkids.

The second picture is a few seconds later, when we told them all to be silly.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

My favorite summer dessert

As I noted on Monday, I'm trying to get back in shape. That means no more sneaking bowls of ice cream after P-Daddy and Pooh have gone to bed. Instead, I'm finding myself loving this easy berry parfait, which I consider to be both delicious and healthy:

Easy Berry Parfait
1 32-oz container of plain or vanilla yogurt (or make your own)
3 cups of fresh or frozen berries
1 box of granola or Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal (I use the Aldi alternative)

Layer the three ingredients in a large glass bowl, using about 1/3 of each for each layer. Repeat until all ingredients are gone. You could also make these in parfait dishes or even just in glasses, but for a big batch, one large bowl is the easiest choice. It'll keep in the fridge, but the cereal/granola will get a little soggy, so if you won't eat it quickly, smaller batches might be better.

Life as Mom hosts the Ultimate Recipe Swap on Thursdays, and this week the theme is berries. It's the perfect time to check out some new recipes!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My challenge of the week: start tackling the garage!

As P-Daddy will happily tell you, we have way too much stuff! Our garage and extra bedroom have all kinds of things piled, stuffed, and gathering dust. Here's a peek at what it looks like:

There are a couple of reasons for this, the first being that we combined two entire households and moved to Texas in a bit of a rush, so we didn't sort through everything when we moved. It was easier to just pack everything up and plan to sort through it later. Well, three years later, we still have boxes that we have not opened a single time since we moved.

A second reason why we have too much stuff is that both P-Daddy and I are pretty dedicated to the reduce-reuse-recycle philosophy. You would think that this mindset would translate to less stuff, but neither of us throw things out willingly if there's still some use left in them. So while this is good in theory, it has added to the piles of stuff hanging out in the great abyss of the garage. No worries, we are not changing this philosophy, we just want to be able to get to those items to be able to use them.

Needless to say, before we can run for the border we need to deal with all this stuff. Plus, even while we live here before we go, we still need to sort, organize, donate, and sell. So this week, my goal is garage organization, which is just one step closer to heading for the border. Thinking of getting organized out there was made easy by a sale at our local Aldi store.

These units had been around $80 (same price as other stores around town), but had been marked down to $50. We bought 1 at first just to see how difficult they'd be to put together, but it was super easy, so we went back and got 2 more. You start with this:

And before too long, you have this:

One of these cabinets we are using for food storage (we'll talk about stockpiling in another post).

But the other one awaits the wonders of what I'll find as I clean out the garage...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Taco Tuesday

This past weekend, when we went to go meet up with the owners of The Property, we walked next door to a little taco truck for dinner. It was so good. I mean, really delicious. I'm talking so good that I have been craving tacos ever since. On Sunday morning I fixed a batch of breakfast burritos with egg, ham, and onion, and happily ate them for lunch and dinner. This morning I wanted the last one, but P-Daddy had already eaten it, so I fried a couple eggs and wrapped them in a tortilla. Yum! Messy, but Yum!

Since I'm trying to make meals easier to plan and make, I've been freezer cooking lately. (Money Saving Mom is my inspiration, and she recently posted about her freezer burritos, so I had modified the recipe somewhat and made a batch last week. Tonight, that was dinner. and a snack. It's crazy! Luckily, it's also cheap and easy :-)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Get Moving Monday

I can't speak for anyone else, but stress is never good for my health and weight. When I get busy and stressed, my focus on exercise and eating well is often the first thing to move down to the bottom of the priority list. But I'm trying to get back in shape, lose about 10 pounds, and most importantly, get ready to climb the 90 steps (yes, I said NINETY!) up to the house on The Property. I don't want to embarrass myself (or more importantly, P-Daddy) by having to stop halfway up and rest! So in preparation, I need to get moving! This week, here's my plan:
- walk Pooh to daycare at least 3 days
- work out at the Y at least 3 days
Pooh's daycare is about a mile away from our house, so each of those days will be a 3-mile roundtrip, giving me 6 miles if I do it 3 times. In all honesty, I'd like to do it everyday, but I'm trying to be realistic here. I'm also being realistic about going to the Y. Pooh loves to play in the pool, and as soon as the pool opens we'll be there every day if he has his choice. But this will be our first week at the Y, so I'll hope for more but set my goal at just getting there several times! How about you? How are you getting moving today?

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Today I'm thankful for...a creative kiddo

"We make an X, Mommy!" Pooh shouts excitedly as he flings himself down on the ottoman at my parents' house. His cousin happily plops down on top of him, and sure enough, they make an X. I was impressed with my kid's letter recognition, and loving his creativity.

My favorite example of him at his best creative play happened on Adoption Day. A letter tray became his Dinosaur Train car, and he happily wore it on his head throughout the proceedings. He loved that letter tray so much that it appears in almost every adoption picture that we have.

P-Daddy and I - and everyone else in the courtroom - were greatly amused to hear him singing and talking non-stop while the lawyers and judges and witnesses had their say. If you are not familiar with the Dinosaur Train series, you can see the similarity here between the letter tray and the train cars - just think creatively!

I know, you are wondering what this has to do with becoming an expat, but it really does! First, that's my kid, and this is my blog, so it's inherently relevant to me. But second, and more importantly for everyone else, Pooh reminds me of the kids I would see so often in the markets in Guatemala, happily "driving" a box, pretending to honk the horn and careen wildly through the streets. And I'm reminded of one of the main reasons why we think living somewhere other than the US will be a good thing: simplifying life, and possessions, and learning to be more minimalistic and less materialistic in order to give more of ourselves to each other and those around us.

Disclosure: that Amazon link above is my affiliate link, and clicking through and buying at Amazon may give me a kick-back.