Saturday, June 2, 2012

Successful Saturday!

We participate in a local veggie co-op. It's not a CSA, just a group of people who contribute money every 2 weeks, and then one person goes to the farmers market and shops.

This morning, Pooh and I headed across town to pick up our veggie co-op delivery. It was quite a haul! Here's what we got:
2 heads of lettuce
2 baker potatoes
1 huge sweet potato
1 celery stalk
2 lb of carrots
3 large yellow onions
2 zucchini
1 yellow squash
2 red bell peppers
about a dozen mushrooms
about a dozen jalapenos
a crown of broccoli
1 pint of cherry tomatoes
7 roma tomatoes
4 apples
6 oranges
1 large mango
3 kiwis
2 peaches
1 quart of strawberries
After hanging out with my sister and doing a little shopping, we headed home, where I spent the rest of the day prepping the fruits and veggies for easy grab and go meals next week. Here's what I did:
1. Cut up celery, carrots, and red pepper
2. Made a mushroom and tomato frittata, adding in a little spinach we already had
3. Made brown rice with tomatoes, peppers and onions
4. Steamed broccoli
5. Washed and prepped lettuce
6. Cleaned out my fridge!
7. Arranged everything back in the fridge with room for the new stuff
As I was working, I was happily planning all the great meals I could make this week with this great co-op haul, and I realized that this is really good practice for life in Guatemala, where fruits and vegetables are typically fairly inexpensive as long as you buy local and avoid the imports from the superstores (or, as many say, the gringo markets). It's so great to be able to plan a menu around fresh fruits and veggies!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Me querido esposo

I'm participating in Spanish Friday over at Latinaish. English translation is at the bottom.

Hoy por la tarde fui con mi esposo (P-Daddy) a Home Depot. De regreso, decidí que fue (era?) buen tiempo para practicar el español con él. Hay que entender que él casi no habla español. Tiene "Español de Dora y Diego" debido a mirar con Pooh, pero realmente no se puede conversar. Pero si vamos a mudarnos a latinoamerica, será necesario que él aprende. Por eso trato de conversar con él de vez en cuando. Hoy la conversación fue así:
Chayo: Mi amor, practicamos el español, vale?
P-Daddy: huh?
Chayo: Quieres hablar español conmigo?
P-Daddy: [silencio]
Chayo: oh, no quieres practicar español; estás cansado?
P-Daddy: huh?
Chayo: [repitiendo con un bostezo y gestos que indican sueño] Estás cansado?
P-Daddy: oh. si.
Chayo: ah, estás muy cansado. tambien estás muy casado. jajajaja
P-Daddy: [en inglés] I have no idea what you are saying.

Les digo dos cosas. Primero, acabo de aprender una palabra nueva en español porque no sabía como decir "yawn" y tuve que buscarlo en diccionario. Bostezo. Voy a tener que recordar esta palabra y practicarla. Segundo, usar estas dos palabras "cansado" y "casado" es, para mi, un chiste (no se confunden con chisme!) porque cuando estaba aprendiendo español nunca pudo recordar cual era "tired" y cual era "married". Pero P-Daddy no entendió nada de mi chiste. Creo que tendremos que practicar mucho mas!

Y ahora, tengo una pregunta. Necesito recomendaciones para ayudar a P-Daddy aprender el español. Cuando hablo yo con él, siempre cambiamos rapidamente a inglés. No quiero pagar un curso de gramática, porque creo que hay que aprender los idiomas con un enfoque comunicativo. Pero no conozco a ningún lugar donde dan clases de español con un enfoque comunicativo. Qué piensan? Cómo ayudar a un adulto con aprender y practicar el español?

This afternoon P-Daddy and I went to Home Depot. On the way home, I decided that it was a great time to practice Spanish. Now, you have to understand that P-Daddy really speaks almost no Spanish at all. He has "Dora and Diego Spanish" due to watching it with Pooh, but he can't really converse at all. But if we are going to move to Latin America, it's going to be necessary for him to learn, so I try to talk to him in Spanish sometimes. Today our conversation went something like this:
Chayo: Hey Honey, let's practice our Spanish, okay?
P-Daddy: huh?
Chayo: Do you want to talk Spanish with me?
P-Daddy: [silencio]
Chayo: oh, you don't want to speak Spanish. Are you tired?
P-Daddy: huh?
Chayo: [repeating with a yawn and gestures to indicate sleep] Are you tired?
P-Daddy: oh. yes.
Chayo: ah, you're very tired. And also very married. hahahaha
P-Daddy: [in English] I have no idea what you are saying.
I'll tell you two things. First, I just learned a new word in Spanish! I didn't know how to say "yawn" and had to look it up. Bostezo. I'm going to have to remember that and use it. Second, to use the words "tired" (cansado) and "married" (casado) is a little joke to me because when I was learning Spanish I could never remember which was which. But P-Daddy didn't understand my joke at all! I think we are going to have to practice a lot more Spanish!

And now, the real question: I need some recommendations for helping P-Daddy learn some Spanish. Us conversing doesn't really work because we just revert back to English. I have no desire to pay money for a grammar class, because the language acquisitionist and TESOList in my truly believes that the communicative approach is the way to go. But I don't know too many (okay, any) places where Spanish is taught communicatively. So, any ideas? What's a good way to give an adult some exposure and practice with Spanish?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Steps toward Spanish

One thing that P-Daddy and I are aware of as we take steps toward moving internationally is that we both need to have at least some degree of fluency in the language of our destination. Pooh also needs to be able to communicate with other kids and people there. Since we are pretty sure we will end up in Latin America, even if it ends up not being Guatemala, I'm thinking a lot these days about how to get P-Daddy and Pooh up to speed on Spanish. This is not to say that I don't also need to brush up on my Spanish, but I'm at least conversational, so I'm a bit more worried about them than I am about myself.

For Pooh, we have purchased a Spanish language learning program called Little Pim. It's pretty simple, but Pooh loves it! The first couple times he watched it, he was pretty quiet, just observing what was going on. Now, he happily shouts the words back as he listens. I'm not sure how much he's understanding, but he's definitely picking something up. The program is available in several languages, including Spanish, French, and Chinese, and so far, I'd recommend it!

Note: the links in this post are my Amazon Affiliate links. Clicking them and purchasing may give me a kickback.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My challenge of the week: Getting life a little more organized

It's been a busy weekend around here! We headed out to my parents' house to celebrate Memorial Day, with my Dad (my favorite veteran!). There were lots of people there - me, my 3 sisters, all the husbands, most of the kids, and even a few grandkids, cousins, and lifelong friends in the mix. All in all, about 25-30 of us (I never counted, but the plan was for about 24 and then a few extras came by). Anyway, needless to say, little work was done other than simply enjoying the holiday! Tomorrow, I'm headed out to help take mom and dad to a couple dr appts over the next 2 days, which means I won't be home or able to head to campus. But I cannot afford to keep missing work. So I'm looking into organizational tools, so that I can get work and things organized and in control so that I can get back to the garage. Here are the top 5 things I'm trying to do this week:

1. Plan my time better - I love working with students, but I have to jealously guard my time or I can easily spend too much time working on other people's stuff and not on my own. I've found that setting specific office hours, or lining appointments up one after another, all on the same day, really helps me control the amount of time I am spending in support of others rather than in pursuit of my own goals. Having a workable calendar to schedule this stuff is crucial, so I'm following this example to create a planner that meets MY needs.

2. Plan my blogging better - I'm looking at a few tools for this, and I've decided to use some pages available through Mama Jenn. I'm excited about getting these printed and bound into my new planner (see point #1) and getting my blogging back on track!

3. Plan my eating better - my recent freezer cooking session will help with this, as will the leftovers from yesterday's cookout. Best of all, I've got both fresh and frozen fruit ready to enjoy for a healthy snack (as long as I can resist the ice cream to go along with it!)

4. Plan my writing better - I've got several manuscripts for work in various stages of non-completion, and I'm working on setting some goals for that too. One way I try to do this is through using the site 750 words. The goal on this site is to write 750 words a day, about anything. Or nothing. Or lots of things. It's about getting words on paper. I struggle with this, but I find that having a set goal for a number of words really helps me feel like I've accomplished something! And many times, when I reach that goal, I'm on a roll, and I keep on going.

5. Plan my breaks - I am highly motivated by being able to check things off of a list, and I find that once I've made a list, it's really helpful to not allow myself to take a break until I can mark off at least 2-3 items. At that point, I've likely worked for several hours, and I need a break, plus my reward of email checking, tweeting, or web surfing is much more meaningful since I had to work for it!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tasty Tuesday

I've been on a freezer cooking kick lately, so much so that my freezer is jam packed and we are going to need to spend some time just eating from the freezer pretty soon! This week, I made a new batch of burritos as well as a small batch of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

This time, we made Roast Beef Burritos, using some leftover roast and adding a few things to make a large pot of taco soup. We kept half as soup and drained the liquid off the other half to use for burrito filling. It went something like this:

Roast Beef Burritos
leftover roast beef, shredded
2 potatoes, diced
1/2 pound of carrots, diced
1 cans of black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cans of corn, drained
1 can fiesta tomatoes (w/ peppers)
1 pack of taco seasoning mix

Mix all together, add water if needed, and simmer long enough to let the flavors meld. If I were doing this again, I would add a can of refried beans at this point to give the mix some stickiness, but in this batch, I did not do that.

I do the rolling assembly line style. First I scoop the filling onto a tortilla, roll it up (I tuck in both ends so nothing falls out either side), and place it, seam side down, on a paper towel on the counter.

I keep filling and rolling until I'm out of space, filling, or tortillas, then I roll each burrito in a paper towel, and then in aluminium foil.

And then I store the individually wrapped burritos in plastic bags (here, I used the tortilla bags, but gallon size ziplocs work great too). You can also see my extra soup there - stored in a gallon size ziploc and frozen for quick and easy use next time we want it.