Friday, February 5, 2016

Weeks 4 & 5: Project 365, the 2016 Edition

Saturday, January 23

Love these ladies! Marcela and her daughters came over for lunch. It was the first time we'd seen them all at one time in two years since the oldest lives in Europe and the youngest was in Canada for a year and a half.
We had build-your-own-taco-salad for lunch and homemade chocolate pudding with whipped cream for dessert. The pudding is super simple and quick to make, which is even more appealing in the summer -- no one wants to spend any more time than necessary over a hot stove! I make it in winter, too, but it's my go-to dessert for summer. I actually shared the recipe on the blog last January.

Tuesday, January 26

Had to run errands in town this morning and stopped at McDonald's for a little treat. We discovered that their vanilla soft serve ice cream is gluten free! It was such a gorgeous morning we ate it on the rooftop where they've set up tables with umbrellas.

Wednesday, January 27

I worked on a gift for a dear friend. It folds out to hold colored pencils, a notebook, and also has a zippered pouch on the end for little things like a pencil sharpener, small ruler and eraser. Her favorite color is yellow and I've had this fabric forever and it's gone into multiple projects, including a shower curtain we used for years. I bought yards of it the first time I went to the quilt show in Paducah, back in 1989, and I still have some left!

Thursday, January 28

Finally made some seeded gluten free bread, using this recipe. One change I made was to add cooked quinoa. I liked the added texture and heartiness, but will need to reduce some of the liquid next time to account for the added moisture of the quinoa. The recipe calls for making the bread in a cast iron skillet, which I did, but I think that's spreading the dough too thin so it rose less than 2 inches. Next time I'm going to use a pan with a smaller footprint and see if that helps. I'll also let it rise longer.

But overall we were pleased with this first attempt. We used the bread for several kinds of sandwiches, plain and grilled, and it worked out well.

Friday, January 29

We traveled to Venado Tuerto to visit friends, stopping on the way to have lunch with other friends in Sta. Rosa. He owns a tire store, and was getting ready to make a delivery to another store he supplies.

Saturday, January 30

Our friends in Venado Tuerto have a lovely home, and a gorgeous yard. We stayed in the study/guest house you spy in the lower right hand photo, that sits in the corner of the property.

That evening we spent a couple of hours with Dora, a contemporary of Ivan's mom. In fact, the Nuñez' cared for dad and mom's house in Sta. Rosa for those many years when there were no Hoyts in Argentina. The two families go way back. Although she's had six operatons since she broke her hip over a year ago and is now in a wheelchair, she's in good spirits and continues to paint each day in the bedroom she turned into an art studio.

Sunday, January 31

We enjoyed a wonderful asado with Jorge and Pola and mutual friends from Tancacha, Gabriel and Silvia. Gabriel is one of the elders in the Grace Brethren Church in Tancacha and is also heading up the task force regarding stewardship for the national church in Argentina.
The meat you see on charcoal warming rack was the first of many; the meat just kept coming and coming! The time together was such an encouragement and blessing.

Wednesday, February 3

I put together a little collage of our kitchen. I took these not too long ago.
It is rarely this clean in real life.

Friday, February 5

Woke up to a thunderstorm and it has rained most of the day.
Perfect weather for soup! I happened to cook a chicken in the crockpot yesterday so had ingredients on hand for a yummy chicken tortilla soup that we topped with chopped avocado, shredded cheese, fresh salsa, and homemade plain yogurt for lunch. This is a picture of the soup before we added the tortilla chips.

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It's been a rough week. I wasn't feeling very good at the beginning of the week, and then Ivan put his back out three days ago, about as bad as it gets. This evening he'll go just before the pharmacy closes for an injection, and hopefully that will allow him to sleep. Plus he's had hiccups almost constantly since about 11 a.m. today. Praying he gets some relief soon!  

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Week 3: Project 365, the 2016 Edition

Tuesday, January 19

We've started harvesting tomatoes from the container garden. We have a lot of cherry tomatoes coming on, plus a few of the larger variety. Have to stay on top, as you know, or they quickly rot on the vine (as some have started to do).

Thursday, January 21

Not a lot of photos this week, and that's primarily due to me not feeling up to par. I started having a sharp pain in my upper back last week, sometimes accompanied by a tightness in my chest and the feeling I can't get enough oxygen. We went to my doctor who referred us to a cardiologist, who we saw this evening. He only had a stethoscope, but he didn't hear any irregularities with it so he thinks I've simply pulled a muscle in the thoracic region. To be on the safe side he'd like me to have some tests done, but we're holding off until February for those. I'm hopeful that if it's a pulled muscle like he thinks, the pain will go away on its own and we won't need to spend money on unnecessary tests. Meanwhile I just stop and take it easy when the pain gets really bad.

All that by way of explanation for this next photo. Earlier in the day we had to park at one end of town and walk down to the clinic where the cardiologist keeps office hours, to set up the appointment.  [During January our town is overrun by tourists and finding a parking space is challenging, to say the least.] On the way back Ivan stopped to take care of some errands but I continued my slow meandering to the car, taking a side street I'd never been on before. At the end of the block was this lovely Spanish style home with the most inviting porch. You can't really tell in this photo, but it wraps around to the front, too. It was a scorcher of a day, and it looked so cool and pleasant on that well-shaded porch!

Friday, January 22

I've been meaning to take a photo of the morning glories growing on the dilapidated fence for the longest time. This is the lot next to ours, right on the corner of the new costanera.
The fence was never in the best condition, but it's falling down completely on one side because the owner uses the lot as a spot for storing broken concrete. Periodically he drives a big dump truck onto the lot and drops off a load and periodically he comes back and picks it up and hauls it off. I'm quite curious as to what he's doing with broken concrete. Any ideas?

I wasn't kidding when I said yesterday was a scorcher. It's been really hot all week, as evidenced by a check of the weather this evening:
I can't handle the heat like I used to, and even with the air conditioner going full blast, by mid-day it's 80 degrees inside the casita. Ugh! Which means if anything is going to get done, it has to be in the morning because by afternoon I am completely wilted. I'm hoping the forecast is right, and we'll see some cooler weather early next week. Meanwhile, those of you in the U.S. who are suffering severe winter conditions, stay warm and stay safe! 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Monday Meanderings

Haven't done one of these posts in a sweet forever, but decided to resurrect it. The meandering part matches perfectly with my mind -- which resembles the little silver ball in a pinball machine more than anything else. I can't remember the last time I had a linear thought.

So here we go, in no particular order...

I'm having a terrible time finding Nescafé decaf instant coffee. I've known for a few weeks that I'd soon be running out of the decaf beans that friends brought from the states last September, and have been on the look-out for my favorite decaf instant. But for some unknown reason, all the stores that used to carry it, no longer do. They have other Nescafé products, but not the decaf instant.

Before you ask, there is one coffee store here that sells a single variety of decaf beans. And it's horrible! Seriously, it's so bad I'd rather drink the Nescafé instant. If I could find it. 

The good news is, friends coming in March are going to bring me a fresh supply of decaf beans. Yeah!

Meanwhile I'm drinking tea. We bought a small tin of some lovely red rooibus from our favorite tea shop in Belgrano our last time out there, and we also have some excellent chai from Starbucks. We have to go into Cordoba later this week to deal with some paperwork, and I hope to find some Nescafé decaf while we're there. We shall see.
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In other news, I've picked up some unwanted friends. The kind that take advantage of you, and definitely do not have your best interests at heart. So I am doing my best to get rid of them! I'm doing a three-day regimen to get rid of the pesky little parasites, and once I'm through this round, I'll wait two weeks and do it all over again. That's what our trusted pharmacist recommended, to be on the safe side.

Ever since I was so sick with them our first year in Argentina, I've been paranoid about drinking tap water and stick strictly to bottled. But now we are being more careful with foods. We're starting to wash our fruits and vegetables with a bit of clorox added to the water. I've learned celiacs are more prone to picking up parasites. Aren't we special?
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It tickles us that Ivan and I are a unit in Simon's mind. We are NinaPapa, NinaPapa! We love that he asks to call us sometimes, and gets so excited when he sees us.

We are definitely prejudiced, but rightly so (in my humble opinion), and think our grandkids are the best! Cute, smart, funny... What's the phrase from The Prairie Home Companion? "...all the children are above average". Yep, that's our grands! Although we can't understand everything he says, Simon is speaking more and more clearly, and we get such a kick out of our conversations with him! We can tell from Betsy's videos that she's also going to be a very verbal young lady! And Adalyn definitely has some sort of future in music; the girl's got rhythm and she stops and listens whenever music is played -- and then starts dancing most of the time too.

In fact, now's a good time to share some of the cuteness, don't you think?
Simon playing in the snow for the first time!

Adalyn feeding her baby doll. So sweet!

Betsy expressing how she feels about photo shoots :) 

One of those sweet (but rare) sibling moments. 

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I finally put away our nativity set, the one and only holiday decoration we used this time. Unlike a Christmas tree, it was so small and unobtrusive that we sort of forgot it was even there. But periodically I do dust that shelf over the bed, and decided that was a good time to put the nativity away.
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Currently Ivan and I are reading "The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction" by Adam McHugh. It's very good so far, but we haven't had much time to read together lately. It's one of those things we have to be very intentional about, and some weeks are just too crowded with other things. But we are enjoying it.

In our last prayer update we asked for recommendations for books to read, and received quite a few suggestions. I have a growing list on my amazon wish list. Which I finally took the time to divide into categories covering fiction, non-fiction, creative pursuits (sewing, quilting, creating), and gift ideas. So many books, so little time!

Last year I made the decision that we'd get books for the grandkids' birthdays. I'm so happy that Simon and Adalyn already show such an interest in books! And my hope is Betsy will follow suit. Anyway, when I see or hear about a particularly good book, I throw that in the gifts for grandkids category, which makes it easier when it's time to actually place an order. Grandparenting from overseas carries a few challenges.

That brings up something I've been thinking about for a while: our family history but in a kid's story format, that we could give each of the grandkids. For now I'm letting the idea percolate, and it probably won't happen this year, but maybe by 2017 I'll be organized enough to actually put it together. I'd like to combine photos with graphics and other fun stuff. We scanned a ton of things a few years ago, and have more to scan, so it would include those images of awards, artwork, playbills... Who knows what all will end up in the final book?!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Week 2: Project 365, the 2016 Edition

Saturday, January 9

We got long overdue haircuts today and I tried taking a selfie with my phone.

Monday, January 11

Made some new pillowcases by repurposing cotton sheets, since it's hard to find 100% cotton in the stores here.
I made two king size with a blue sheet and one regular size with a white one. Not the most exciting sewing project, but a useful one.

Tuesday, January 12

There's a kiosko on the corner opposite our dentist's office. A kiosko is what we would have called a corner store back in the day. The kind of place your parents could pick up a gallon of milk rather than run all the way to a big grocery store, or where you could blow your entire allowance on candy and comic books. They went the way of 7-11s which went the way of... what, exactly? What's the new equivalent? We've been gone from the states too long. I know 7-11s died out, but what replaced them? Anyway, most kioskos here get paid to advertise some of the products they sell, so it's not unusual to see ginormous signs like these on buildings.

Wednesday, January 13

Told you I'd make more of those fun little box pouches. Also tried my hand at a cosmetic bag using the free pattern at Sew So Easy. She offers a ton of free patterns, so if you like to sew, you should check it out.

Thursday, January 14

Getting ready to have our trusted builder do some more work for us. He's going to extend the sidewalk to go in front of the cement pad Ivan poured last year right next to the casita. The idea is to turn that into a carport, and right now there's a big gap between the pad and the lawn. Extending the sidewalk will make the transition easier for a car to pull into the space when it is a carport. He'll also do a short cement ramp right in front of the garage, for the same reason. Finally we're going to have him tile along the lower exterior of the casita, about a half meter up from the bottom. When it rains, the water splashes up along with dirt, and tile is easier to keep clean than paint so we decided to go that route. Not a big fan of the look, in general, but we found some tile we think will look okay, and coordinate well with the light gray paint. It's the lighter sample in the middle.

Friday, January 15

Had a bunch of errands to run downtown so we had breakfast at Vitto's and then took care of our walking and the errands in one shot, and we were home by 10:30 before the crowds of tourists woke up and flooded the streets. Vitto's recently switched from table umbrellas to this more stream-lined shade (which can be rolled up to the center when it's hailing or extremely windy).
Can you see the big truck in the background? It's delivering beverages to several restaurants right in that area. We've always been amazed at how the crates of bottles stay in place, stacked like that, without any straps. But not too long ago when we were walking along the costanera we came across the carnage at a corner where one of those trucks must have taken the turn too fast or something -- broken bottles everywhere! It looked like they were empties, at least.