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Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Zoo

I wanted to post a few pics from our zoo adventures over the last two weeks:
Admission: 1L (.60)
Rides: 5 L (3.50)
Hours for the boys to roam: PRICELESS

Brown Bear





Ferris Wheel

Ferris Wheel...YIKES

Albino Peacock?

 Swing Ride (the favorite)
Overall, if you aren't into Animal Rights, this was a really nice experience.  I think the cages were a little small, but the space to walk around (without cars) was SO NICE! This is about a 15 minute walk from our house, so it's a really nice place to go for the afternoon.  Thankful for this find.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

DIY Flour Tortillas

This is a great recipe for those of you that want to know what you're eating, can't buy them at the store, or forget to buy them and need to make some for dinner!

4 cups flour
1 t. baking powder
1.5 t. salt
2 T oil
1.5 cups water

Blend well (mix in a bowl).  Makes nice dough!  Pinch off 2-3 Tablespoons and roll in ball before rolling with a rolling pin.  Cook in teflon (?!) pan over medium heat.  Best when served warm.  Makes a dozen.  We use these for tacos, burritos, fajitas, quesadillas, and breakfast burritos.  
Thanks for the recipe, mom!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Green TGIF

It's been a great week.  Can't believe that we're 2 weeks down with language study...we have conjugated 3 verbs and I feel great (granted, pronunciation is a completely different story!)
Tonight we had dinner at our teacher's house, so I'll try to get some pics posted soon.  
The following pics are all green...
This is the tent we got for Mr. T to sleep in throughout our trip over here.  We also thought it would be handy for travel in-country.  It was a great buy, great alternative to the pack 'n play, and he really likes it:
This is the second asparagus that I've gotten here.  Cutest old man sold it to me:
Some fabric, thread, ribbon, and buttons that I've gotten here. 
 Today, I also got a sewing machine!!!  This is really another story for another day, but I will brag on the BIG Mr. of the home and say that he tracked a shop down that was just across the street from where we live.  So, we packed up the boys and took a little jaunt over there this morning!  
So, let the crafting begin:
 The park that we went to last weekend.  This seems to be a garden for larger plants.  
 The same park where took the boys to kick their soccer balls around.  It was great -- we'll return soon:
Happy Friday, Everyone!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Missing This...

Have fun without me, America!
I've actually never bought a pair of these.
I saw this sale and thought that it would be rude if I didn't pass on the info.

In other news, I found walnuts for a mere $20/kilo.  I bought 100 grams.  This was the perfect amount for my recipe, but it has been really "stretching" for me to start thinking about buying things in terms of kilo/gram vs. pounds.  PLUS, some things are bought per item (bananas) and some items are bought via weight...and SOME depend on where you buy them.  For example, I bought spinach a few days ago from a man and he sold it to me for less that .50 for the cluster.  Today, I bought some and the lady weighed it first, selling it to me for $1.50 (it was a larger amount, so it was fair).  It's just interesting.  As we learned, "Not wrong, just different."  Someday, all these different things will be normal...and I'll think you're the weird ones :)

So, anyway...back to making batch #2 of granola!!

Great weather the last few days!  We've had some good afternoons of bringing the boys out to play with their balls and getting some fresh air after studying.  In making plans for this weekend, we are trying to go to one new part of town each Saturday (as a family).  This Saturday...the ZOO!  I will definitely take the camera.  Stay posted...!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Language Study: Day 6

It is Day 6 and I feel like I need to say something about learning the language since most of you know what a stressor this was for me.
We started meeting with our language teacher last Monday.
We can read the symbols (letters) completely.  This feels like a huge accomplishment. 
I'm about to write out some of the struggles in learning this, but I want to really focus on the good...!
You should hear it, I sound like I'm a robot.  On top of that, our teacher told us today that we aren't even close to a 1st grade level because 1st graders that have grown up here know many more words.


The other problem is that, over the weekend, my vocab. list of "butter," "salt," "sugar," and "onion" all started sounding the same to me.  In a group of words, I think I could pick out the right match, but if I had to say the right word at the market, I wouldn't buy the right thing.  So...I know sugar starts with the same sound..."sh".  Oh gee...I need to go practice.

Real quick, the other observation is that I've picked up an Italian accent.  Yes, you read that right.  A lot of the words end in a vowel.  Specifically, "i".  So, somewhere, my mind has put "ending in i" with "I'm Italian."  It sounds funny, but in reality, it's hard to focus on NOT being Italian on top of everything else!

Okay...more language learning updates as we continue into verb conjugation tomorrow!!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Best Granola Ever

  • I got this recipe from the ALL YOU magazine a few years ago.  i cut it out and tucked it away.  Never made it when I was in America.  I've been craving granola since I've been here.  After three weeks, I gathered all the ingredients!  The only thing I changed was: No pecans.  Added coconut.
This turned out SO GOOD.  Our whole family ate a ton of it, with yogurt, for breakfast!  
We were joking that this would be such a nice gift to give someone and then we would eat another huge bite.  So...the next batch will be for friends!  

  • YIELD: 8 Servings
  • COURSE: Snacks
  • 4 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 375°F. Mist a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Mix oats, nuts, sunflower seeds, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. In a saucepan, combine brown sugar, honey and oil and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat; carefully stir in vanilla. Pour hot liquid over oat mixture, stir and toss until thoroughly mixed.
  • Spread granola on baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to brown evenly. Transfer sheet to wire rack and let cool.

Lunch Date

This is what I had for lunch today.  It was filled with meat and juices.  SO GOOD!

With some space this afternoon, we also went to get a few things we beans, strawberries, bananas, carrots, and a light bulb.  This place has everything!

Tired from the first week of language study.  
Encouraged from the first week of language.
Enjoying the process, even after three weeks.
Missing friends.
Wishing for a magazine in English...I don't know why!
Wanting a sewing machine.
Loving the warm air.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Craft Project

I have my first project that I'm going to start collecting for:


It's from a few different blogs, but the original comes from Just a Girl.
I've got Mr. S on the toilet paper rolls and I think he'll enjoy painting with me.
Since there's nothing on our walls, even this art will be welcomed!

Cheese Mistake

I made a mistake.
This cheese seemed to look like swiss or something similar.  It was in a case, so I had no idea what it smelled like.  Big mistake. Do you know what people call it here?  STINKY CHEESE.  
Granted, they love it.  I think it's used to put onto a patty made from corn meal and water, then fried.  So...the taste is in the cheese.  The real kicker is that this was SO SALTY.  I tried a tiny piece to see if I could even think about serving it to the boys.  My eyes were watering it was so salty.  I guess I need to work on my palette.  
Today, a friend took us to the market to learn about some of the fruits and veggies we haven't seen before.  At the cheese booth, there were all sorts of varieties of this.  One option was "no salt".  I had the opportunity to sample, but I'm just not there yet.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Market Finds

This is from the first market run last week...
1 kilo apples
1 kilo carrots
.5 kilo cukes
.5 kilo potatoes
.5 kilo onion
1 garlic
2 shotey (bread)

The people looked at us like we were crazy, but they we're very gracious.  At one point, the lady that was helping us yelled into her little kiosk for her husband to come and help.  He came right out and basically grabbed Mr. T (our youngest) and held him.  I practiced every last word I knew.  The man was playing with Mr. T's cheeks, so we decided we should move on before Mr. T decided to bite back (he's teething still).  Mr. S was just staring at the entire situation.
I'm not sure what happened, but they've only been open one other time in the last week and a half.  Did we buy too much?  They were running a little they just wait for more to grow?  Did they go on vacation with all the money we spent?!  Where's my vegetable lady?!

First Cookies

Our oven doesn't have a temperature setting.  I am learning to go by an oven thermometer (so glad we picked one up right before we left)!!  Sometimes things get a little carried away and we lose touch of how fast the temp can rise and fall.  The first few days we didn't have a ton of food/ingredients in the place, so I used one of two cookie packs...we were desperate.  
 They started okay, but ended a little crisp!
We ate every last one.  For dinner.
I've burned just about everything on the bottom, so I think we'll try to raise the rack a bit.

Yesterday we learned a very important lesson about paying our bills.  We figured we had a month, or so. A week ago we got the bill for electric, water, trash and knew we needed to pay it.   The system works well here as you go to a kiosk and pay all the bills at one place.  I was going to meet a friend for coffee and learn how to do it exactly.  We waited a day too long.  Electricity was shut off from Thur-Fri (until we got it paid).  No hot water!  No heat!!  No Internet! I know this is normal for so many people, but it seemed crazy that we were being penalized for paying only a week after we got the bill.  Plus, I felt like a rebel for not paying on time and I don't always like that feeling...only sometimes!  Live and learn.  It took us all day, but we got it all paid!