Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Meanderings

Oh my word, but it's HOT! Here's what we had at midnight:
Note that it FELT like 90! It didn't get much cooler either; I think it only went down to 86. UGH.

The forecast is for a storm, but so far there are no clouds in sight. I think maybe the weatherman has it wrong AGAIN.

Days like this it's hard to get motivated to do anything. I just want to sit directly in front of my fan, occasionally removing the washcloth from around my neck to give it a fresh dip in some icy cold water, while sipping on something equally icy cold.

The morning walk seemed longer than usual, between the intense sun and smelly lake. Not sure what's going on but it smells like rotting fish. ICK! I made it half-way to town before turning around and heading home. Ivan was walking all the way in, to see if he can get the electric company to move a little faster on getting the electric pole installed out by the lot.

Friends who are vacationing in Carlos Paz came to our Sunday night meeting. Marcelo is a bi-vocational pastor and he and his wife are musically gifted. Ivan asked if they might want to teach us a new chorus, and they just happened to have their guitar and flute in the car. We enjoyed a wonderful time of singing together, and we even taught them a new chorus :)  Silvia was actually a classmate of Ivan's brother in Santa Rosa, so the friendship goes waaaaay back.

I'm sure y'all have heard is shutting down. That makes me sooooo sad! They've been my go-to site for making banners, putting together collages, or just when I needed to add text to a photo. I've read several blog posts about other options, but the consensus is that no one site has all the features of Picnik... which means we'll have to use multiple sites, depending on what we want to do. If you're a fellow Picnik enthusiast, you might want to check out blog posts by Centsational Girl and The SITS Girls -- I personally found these the most helpful and informative.

During a search for ice cream and sorbet recipes I came across a Round-Up of Frozen Desserts hosted by Mike's Table back in 2008. Some of the recipes sound very weird and I probably won't be trying them (fig and rosewater ice cream with crushed pistachio and dark chocolate? roasted plums with tarragon? I think not) but I do like the sound of fat free mango frozen yogurt, no-cook coffee ice cream, as well as a host of other entries. Definitely bookmark worthy!

A recent stream on facebook led me to Moody Radio, and specifically Midday Connection. I've enjoyed listening to a few of their programs, and appreciate that their archived programs are available online. I'm always on the lookout for something good to listen to while I cook, clean or sew.

I've mentioned Sew4Home before, but if you missed it the last time around, you really should check them out. They offer a ton of tutorials! Although the main focus is on things for the house, that's definitely not all they offer. Last Monday they had directions for making his 'n her pajama shorts. I've literally gone back through their entire site, bookmarking tips and project ideas for future reference. I really want to make their pretty ruffled glasses case with a handy key ring, to use when we go on walks. They have give-aways on a regular basis, too.

The latest issue of House of Fifty is out. I haven't had a chance to look through it yet (I like to allow myself a decent amount of time to oooh and aaaah over all the pretty pictures, and read each article) but you can count on a good deal of eye candy for the home.

I've recently started reading some sewing blogs and came across this one by a Brit. She offers free video tutorials which is invaluable for a visual learner like me. She also has lots of good advice for beginning sewers. She just came out with an e-book called Fashion Sewers Guide to Great Sewing Project that looks worthwhile, too.

I think that's enough for today, don't you? If you check out all the links, you'll be busy for a while :)
Have a Happy Monday!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Fixing Higher Education

There's been a lot of talk about what will happen to higher education. Burgeoning college costs are pricing a lot of young people right out of the market. Who wants to end up $60,000 in debt and no job opportunities in sight? While I've read lots about what's wrong, I had not seen anything remotely resembling a solution...

Until today. Dr. Wallis C. Metts, professor at a small, private liberal arts college in the Midwest, has written a comprehensive and -- more importantly -- comprehensible post on what we can do about it. Well written, thought-provoking, and exciting! I'm not even in higher education but I kept wanting to jump up and shout "Amen!" and send this to everyone I know.

So that's what I'm doing. I'm posting here and linking his post on facebook. Parents, politicians and those who are involved in higher education NEED to read this!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Some things to share...

I often run across fun (or funny) things and think, "Oh, I should link this on my blog!" But then I never do. Only today I have an abundance of fun, and funny, things so I'm taking a break from housework to post the links...

My SIL sent me to a post called "A True Southerner Knows..." by blogger Syrup & Biscuits. My southern compatriots can nod their way through the post with me, while my northern friends will be left scratching their heads. Sorry my northern pals, it's a southern thang :)

The bloggesphere has been buzzing about Pinterest for some time now, and it won't be news to you how addictive it can be. We're all guilty! But A.J. Willingham said it better than I ever could in her tongue-in-cheek article "The Agony and Ecstasy of Pinterest".

I may be the last one to hear about something called Texture Magic, but boy does it look like FUN! I'm sure I can't get any here, so I'll have to wait until our next trip to the U.S. Meanwhile, has anyone used this stuff? What did you make with it?

I made chocolate cherry dessert bread this morning. It tastes great but looks rather unappetizing. I want to ask my bread-baking friends out there: is it really necessary to make those criss-cross cuts on the top? Because I think if I didn't have to do that, it would look a LOT better.


On a completely unrelated note... we are having serious issues with our phones; both the land line and our cell phones. Ivan has called Telecom (we have the land line and internet through them) several times and they just keep giving him the run around -- when he gets anyone at all, and isn't just left listening to music forever. For some reason we cannot call a cell number from the land line. Telecom says we should be able to, BUT WE CAN'T. Coulda, shoulda, woulda, but WE CAN'T. They've been extremely unhelpful and it's seriously annoying, especially since they have a monopoly so it's not like we have any other options.

And our cell phones aren't working right either. We'll try sending a text message and it takes hours -- or even days -- to get delivered. Ivan was trying to get hold of me one day we were in Cordoba; he sent four messages and none of them reached me... until two days later. That's when the carrier sent me another annoying sales pitch (BUY MORE MINUTES NOW! GET DOUBLE FOR YOUR MONEY!) and when it came through, it showed I had four other messages. Yep, all the old ones from Ivan. Oh, and those annoying sales pitches come in the middle of the night as well as ALL DAY LONG. Last night Ivan tried sending me a text to open the garage door, since it was pouring cats and dogs outside. He arrived home about 15 minutes later and the garage door wasn't open. He waited... and waited... until the rain let up a little and he made a mad dash to open the gate and then garage door. He'd been inside about half an hour when my phone started buzzing to indicate I had a message. It had taken over an hour for his message to reach me. *sigh* It would be nice if at least one of the phones worked properly.


For over a month I've been making fabric yoyo's for a Pinterest project; a few here, a few there, and they're adding up. Yesterday I counted and had over 100 of them, so decided to start laying them out and playing with a pattern. I'm so glad I did! Just didn't like the pastel ones at all, so I pulled those out, leaving about 90. So far I like how it's looking but have no idea how many I'll end up needing since I haven't yet bought the canvas on which to mount them. I don't know what sizes of canvas are even available here.

So for now I'm taking a break from the yoyo's and pulled out an old -- a very old -- hand sewing project: Parasol Girls. I started making these blocks about 20 years ago, using fabrics from dresses I made Tina. Since I didn't make her many dresses, I realized I'd need to add other fabrics into the mix, and at some point along the way cut out enough for several more girls. Not sure what happened (I'm easily distracted) but I stopped cutting at seven blocks. Obviously seven is an awkward number of blocks to work with, unless I use one for a pillow. Not sure yet whether I'll cut out enough for a few more, or go with the pillow idea. Anyway, I periodically pull this out and work on it, and then put it away again, but I've decided that it's time to finish this project. I'll let you know how that goes.


The rain last night really helped cool things down a little. It was a very pleasant 63 degrees this morning at 6 a.m.! Hopefully the rain softened the ground enough for the guys to dig the leach bed out at the lot. A friend helped Ivan track down a crew of guys who take on digging projects like this, and the job will be a lot easier now that the ground isn't so dry and hard-packed.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

What a week!

I've been without a computer part of the week since we discovered that there is indeed an Apple store in Cordoba, and the nice tech guy there was able to track down the necessary part and have it sent from Buenos Aires so he could fix it. (How's that for a run-on sentence?!) It turns out the store is in the mall we couldn't find :) But our architect, who told us about the Apple store, was also kind enough to show us on a map where the mall is located. Easy peasy, once you know.

So when we went to Cordoba on Tuesday (a whole 'nother story I talk about on my P365 blog) we took the computer and left it with the nice tech guy.

I spent a good portion of my week in the kitchen, experimenting with different soups, and doing yet more baking. Including an amazing basil garlic bread recipe that I'll share at the end of this post. I also made a batch of brownies to take to the nice tech guy who fixed my computer.

As for the soups, the cold cucumber soup is one of my favorite summer soups. I'll share that recipe at the end of this post, too. A little more versatile, the hearty vegetable soup can be "dressed up" with the addition of whatever you want, at the time you serve it. For example, the first night I added a bit of chopped up chicken, some shredded cheese, a dollop of plain yogurt and a handful of crushed tortilla chips. Another night I added in some leftover vegetables (steamed green beans and roasted butternut squash) along with a bit of shredded cheese.

We put on so much weight while in the U.S., and we really want to not only get those extra pounds off, but just eat healthier in general.

So instead of making more ice cream with our handy-dandy KitchenAid ice cream attachment for the stand mixer, we tried an orange sorbet. It tasted great but was rather more icey than I'd like, so we'll try again with a different recipe.

Our architect sent a preliminary draft of the floor plan, and we loved it but have asked him to make a few minor changes:
One of the bigger changes is moving the house back farther on the lot. We'd like to put it at the required six meters distance from the casita Our street is already a busy one and we expect it to get even busier as the street becomes a main thoroughfare to the new costanera. I'd prefer as much space between the house and street as possible because of the noise. Other changes include a one-car garage door rather than two, moving the toilet and sink in the bathroom (and adding in a bidet), and putting two windows on the long wall in the main living area.

Ivan's spent some time at the lot figuring out that there is indeed a septic tank already in the ground, but we do have to put in a leach field. He's also been trying to track down someone with a back hoe to level out the area on the side of the lot so we can install a fence. He discovered that where we want to put the house is an area that's been filled... to the tune of about two meters. Which means we'll have to have posts sunk every few meters of the perimeter of the building, going down 2-1/2 to 3 meters so it's firmly anchored into solid ground. Not the best of news, but offset by the discovery of the existing septic tank. As anyone who has ever built knows, you can expect to run into the unexpected!


3 medium cucumbers
3 cups chicken broth
3 cups sour cream
3 T. cider vinegar
2 t. salt
1 clove garlic*
Peel and seed cucumbers. Cut in chunks and puree in blender, along with the broth, in small batches. Transfer to a large bowl and stir in remaining ingredients. Chill for at least four hours. Serve with optional toppings: chopped tomatoes, chopped green onions, chopped avocado, cilantro, slivered and toasted almonds.
*I used three cloves of mashed roasted garlic instead.
(My friend Katie gave me this recipe. She serves it with the most delicious little cheesey scones!)

1 cup fresh basil (hard packed)
6 garlic cloves (peeled)
1/4 cup olive oil
1-1/4 cup lukewarm water
 2 t. sugar
2-1/4 t. active dry yeast
1 t. salt
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Chop basil leaves and garlic finely, or place in a food processor and chop finely. Do not turn into a liquid. Add olive oil slowly. Set aside. In another bowl add lukewarm water and sugar, sprinkle yeast on top of water. Set aside to activate the yeast; about 5 minutes. Add yeast to basil mixture and mix. Add flour 1 cup at a time till dough is smooth. Place dough on a floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes. Place dough into a greased bowl. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap. Let rise till dough doubles in size. Punch down dough. Form dough into a loaf and place in a greased pan. Cover let dough double in size. Place loaf in a 350 F oven for 30-35 minutes. Remove and cool on a wire rack.
(This recipe is from the website.)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Asado y Arquitecto

So today our architect and his family came over for lunch and Ivan made an asado. We had a lot of questions (mostly technical in nature) and I was ready with what was probably the 1,357th floor plan I've drawn in the past year or so.

What can I say? Drawing floor plans is addictive.

It was a very productive "working lunch" and it's pretty safe to say we're über excited! Roberto liked the floor plan and had some excellent suggestions that will be easy to implement in the final design. He took both the floor plan and the site plan we'd created and he'll prepare the professional drawings from those.

Here's the floor plan after he'd gotten done scratching down his ideas:
I know it's hard to tell what we'll end up with from just this photo, but I can already "see" our house in my mind. {doing the happy dance}

Mari, Roberto's wife, has offered to drive down Friday mornings and help me practice my Spanish (and she'll practice her English). I gladly accepted the offer since I need all the help I can get! It's crazy how much I forgot after being away just six months :(

Mari has summers off because she's a teacher. The church they attend built a school in an area that might be called "economically challenged". They wanted to provide a quality education for those who wouldn't be able to afford it otherwise, so the vast majority of students attend on a scholarship.

By the way, I've posted week 2 of Project 365 on my other blog. Included is a photo of Roberto and Mari's daughter who is an absolute cutie.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Musical Trash

I found this news article interesting, and thought I'd share the accompanying video with you. It all started with a strategy session at the Taiwanese EPA. Someone with the ability to think outside the box came up with this idea: In an effort to keep garbage from collecting curb-side, stinking up the place AND attracting critters, they encourage people to wait until they hear the music before taking out the trash. And in the process they made one of life's LITTLE chores a LOT more enjoyable.

Now I call that some creative problem-solving!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Project 365, Week 1

I'm doing all my Project 365 posts over here this year. Finally posted week #1! Best viewed in "classic" mode, if you want an explanation of the photos.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Paperwork for Permanent Residency Almost Done!

Yesterday was Ivan's birthday! He had the choice to do what he wanted, and you know what he chose? To trek back into Cordoba AGAIN and see if we couldn't get the paperwork filed for my permanent residency :)  Since we'd gotten the police report showing I wasn't a criminal, we were pretty sure we had everything we needed, document-wise.

What was slowing us down was an appointment to actually file the paperwork. Ivan's friend in Bs. As. had done what he could, but the earliest he could get an appointment for us was July! He did, however, suggest we stop in at the immigration office sometime before that, and see if we did indeed have everything we needed, so things would go smoothly when the appointment rolled around.

It's a long-ish story (the only kind I know how to tell)...

When we arrived at the immigrations office yesterday, there was hardly anyone waiting (miracle #1). Ivan was able to go right up to the desk and talk to someone about our situation. At first it didn't seem like he was getting anywhere, but then he remembered to "say the magic words" (told to us by one of the people who had helped us at the Ministry of Justice). What were the magic words, you wonder? Simply a name! And it turned out the name was that of the head honcho. It truly was like magic, how speaking his name suddenly changed the demeanor of the guy at the front desk, who jumped up and said he'd be right back. A minute later he was ushering us back into the inner sanctum, all the way to the big guy's office.

We've run into so many "public servants" whose idea of helping is to bully, harangue and see how obnoxious they can be, that we were more than pleasantly surprised to find out the head man at the immigration office in Cordoba is a genuinely nice man! (miracle #2)

He looked over our paperwork and called his assistant, and together they said the only things lacking were: a photo, a copy of my passport (all pages), and a translation of the FBI report.

Oh, and miracle #3 involved that report. We'd had the reports done at the end of 2010, when we'd hoped to get this done, only to be told that wasn't possible. Then this past summer the lady at the consulate in Chicago indicated the initial report was too old, and we'd need to get a new one. Which we did. Or thought we did. But when we opened the envelope yesterday (waiting until we were in the office, as we'd been instructed to, to make sure they knew it was a legit document), we discovered they had not completed a new report because we'd failed to send one piece of information with the application. Uh oh! But Ivan quickly opened the old envelope which we still had, and that was accepted! Whew!

They told us where we could get the photo done, as well as the photocopies (just a couple blocks away), so we hurried and did that and then rushed back to file the paperwork. Once that was done, we were given a form to take to the bank to pay the requisite fee (quite a hefty one, too, I might add! -- but totally worth it!). It was 1:15 and the bank was closing at 1:30 and was about 12 blocks away (at least, we weren't sure exactly) so we grabbed a taxi and took off. The taxi couldn't take us all the way there, so we Ivan ran the last few blocks. He got there 5 minutes before they closed (me a couple minutes later, sliding in just before they started locking the doors). (miracle #4) Ivan stood in a long line and I found a seat.

[Side Note: I'd never been in the big national bank in Cordoba, and was amazed at how truly BIG it is! It's several floors, with the lower level being a huge cavernous space with various lines. There were at least 300 people waiting in one line or another, plus another 150 of us sitting on chairs in the center area. HUGE, I tell you!]

We were finally all done by about 1:45.

By that time we were exhausted from all the running around in the heat (it's always hotter in the city, with all the concrete and tall buildings that block any breezes) so we decided to find a place to eat and catch our breath. But first we planned to stop at the Apple store on the way out of town, to see what can be done about a problem I'm having with my Mac. A line appeared across the screen the other day, and our son diagnosed it as a hardware problem. Which shouldn't be a problem since it's still under warranty.

Except we couldn't find the store!

There used to be one in downtown Cordoba, but it's no longer there, and our search (both physical and virtual) has yielded no clue as to whether the store simply moved, or no longer exists at all. We may have to wait until March when we go to conference, and can visit an Apple store in Buenos Aires or Montevideo.

We also couldn't find the place where we were going to have lunch. Actually we were looking for a particular mall. They're kinda big and hard to miss, but miss it we did. Still not sure how. But we did find another mall. Unfortunately we chose probably the WORST place in it to have lunch. Yuck! It was a café and only offered salad and quiche. Okay, we ordered one of each. The food was both expensive (made the mistake of not asking for a menu or the prices first) and practically inedible. So sad that's Ivan's birthday lunch was such an epic fail :(

But the victory of being able to get the paperwork done over-rode any lingering disappointment over the food :)

Oh, and in regards to the permanent residency application... 

In this whole process we are once again reminded that Paperwork Makes The World Go 'Round. Although Ivan never saw the program, he's heard a lot about a variety/comedy show on Argentine t.v. years ago with a running gag about this very thing. A man wanted to plant a tree but before he could do that, he had to get the proper approval, and the process required all kinds of paperwork. Each time he'd get another required document, he was told he needed "one more" trámite (can be loosely translated as red tape). Each time he'd go away saying, "Un tramitecito mas y plantamos el arbolito." ["One more little step and we'll plant the tree."] The phrase caught on and become part of the culture, still used when referring to any kind of government or business red tape.

Today Ivan is tracking down a translator, and our hope is that we can get it done in the next few days so he can deliver the translation of the FBI report, along with the form from the bank showing we've paid, to the immigrations office on Monday or Tuesday. The sooner the better! And from what we were told, it's entirely possible I'll have my permanent residency document in hand before our trip to Uruguay in March. Which would make that miracle #5.

"Un tramitecito mas y plantamos el arbolito."

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Baking in the heat

By that I mean we're baking in the heat (or at least it feels like that -- it's been in the high 90s for over a week) AND I've been busy baking in the midst of all the heat.

Besides baking cakes for the neighbors on either side, I also tried my hand at a homemade version of the Pepperidge Farms Brussels-style cookies. They're not available down here, so I knew that if I was going to satisfy the craving I'd have to make my own. I found a recipe for lacey oatmeal cookies so I made those, then simply melted some chocolate and spread between two cookies to create a sandwich. YUM!

Today I decided to make chocolate meringue cookies, in an effort to use up the egg whites that had accumulated due to some recent ice cream making.

[Side Note: Because I have no desire to heat up my kitchen any more than necessary, my survival technique during the summer months is to move our toaster oven out to the garage. Although it's a rather large toaster oven, it's still not as big as the regular oven and I only have a few pans that I can use with it. Which means cookies take a SWEET FOREVER to make. Depending on the cookie, I can make between 4 to 9 at a time (only 4 lacey oatmeal cookies, 9 chocolate meringues).]

Okay, back to the cookies. Since I had enough egg whites to triple the recipe, and each pan takes 1/2 hour to bake, I was working on cookies ALL MORNING LONG.

I also had a hankering to make a pineapple upside down cake. Lately I've been wanting old-fashioned style desserts, like pineapple upside down cake and banana pudding. Not sure where that's coming from.

Anyway, I found a great recipe on the Joy of Baking website and had the cake ready to go in the oven once the cookies were finally finished. In the process of making this cake I ran into two problems. For one thing, we don't have the option of light or dark brown sugar here. There's one kind, and it's DARK. Even darker than the dark we get in the U.S. So I'm a little disappointed in how dark the top of the cake turned out.
And the other problem was the baking time. The recipe called for 35-45 minutes, and since I know the toaster oven runs a little on the slow side I left it in for the full 45 minutes. But when I pulled it out, the center was still jiggly. So back in it went, for another 10 minutes. At that point it had stopped jiggling, but a toothpick came out with a little batter. So in again for another 5 minutes. Finally done! But that meant it baked a full 15 minutes extra, for a total of one hour. Not a huge problem, but I'm wondering why? I've not had this issue with other cakes.

And I think it's the high heat that's causing the meringue cookies to stay rather soft. Usually they firm up once they've cooled for a while, but that's not happening this time. Maybe because when it's 99 degrees, there's not much cooling going on.

Oh well, es lo que hay. And for what it's worth, no matter how my baked goods look (or feel), they taste just fine.  Wish I could share them with you! I'd love to have y'all stop by and enjoy a few cookies or a piece of cake, and some iced tea. I could use some girlfriend time.

P.S. No, we're not going to eat all this ourselves. Most will be given to friends and neighbors.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Looking ahead

While 2011 definitely had some great moments, I can't say that I'm sad to see it go. It was also a tough year in a lot of ways. So bye-bye 2011!

Looking ahead to this year, I'm excited about shifting our focus to the other side of town... where we'll be building a house and moving to a different neighborhood. It's like that sense of anticipation I always had at the start of each school year. What new friends would I make? What would I learn? What kind of new experiences would I get to enjoy?

To say nothing of the absolute joy I felt in getting brand-spanking-new school supplies. The smell makes me heady, even today.

So does the smell of fresh paint :)

Which is a good thing, since there will be plenty of that in my future!

I've mentioned my obsession with drawing floor plans. We've gone back and forth numerous times on whether to build one story or two stories. Each time I've gone back to the drawing board. I think (fingers crossed) that we've finally settled on one floor.

Other important considerations:
1) We want to orient our house toward the river, to take advantage of the views.  Which means our house will face sideways, not toward the street.
2) I want a screened-in porch, since we can practically live outside 10 months out of the year. Our rental has a back patio that gets utilized a LOT, and it's not screened. But! Lot located by river = many mosquitoes. So a screened-in porch is mandatory in my book.
3) Also mandatory is a pantry. It cuts down on the amount of cabinets Ivan will have to build AND will allow me to keep my counter cleaned off. The plan is to have a space in the pantry with an electrical outlet so all the small appliances can live (and work) in there, without me having to drag them out all the time.
4) The laundry hook-up must be INSIDE. Right now my washer resides on the back patio, inside a nifty metal cabinet that Ivan made to house it. This works here, in an area that's considered pretty safe. But our lot is in a sketchier area and anything left out, even in a fenced-in yard, will disappear faster than you can say "abacadabra". It's disappearing magic of a different kind.
5) While we like the concept of an open living space, there are some things better kept behind closed doors. Like my sewing/crafting space. The newest floor plan has a rather ingenious cubby hole beyond the pantry, so nobody is going to wander in there by accident, insuring my creations-in-progress-mess remains hidden.
 6) A large garage/shop area for my handy husband. He needs a place to house his tools AND space to work.

Now that the holidays are almost over (today's a bridge holiday here), he can get busy nailing down quotes and hammering out the details. (Sorry, couldn't help myself.) We have a LOT to get done in the next three and a half months, before a construction team comes down to help us get the basic structure up.

Before then we must:
1) get a fence up
2) finish the casita and get it live-able (which in and of itself is a multi-step process)
3) have the septic system installed
4) hire a crew to put in the foundation

While doing all that, we'll also be busy getting to know the neighborhood and our new neighbors. The realtor who helped us find the house we're currently renting will be a neighbor; she and her husband live a block or two up our street. Recently she called and asked to come and talk about the Bible. We're hoping that first meeting (which went very well) will lead to a Bible study in her home. We shall see!

After we have the structure up, our plan is to move into the casita temporarily while we finish off the inside of the garage and house. Ivan's hoping to use that experience to teach some of the young men basic construction skills. And in the process also share more about what God has to say about every area of our life. Have you noticed it's those times when we're in the midst of just living that provide the best opportunities to share truth from Scripture?!

After six+ months in the U.S. and not speaking Spanish very often, I've regressed a bit in the language area. I'm looking forward to catching up and then progressing further. While I'm more comfortable speaking, I still have a LOT of trouble understanding what others say. So a big part of the learning process involves listening, listening and MORE listening!

I know three young ladies who are expecting babies. I'm not sure I'll have time to make quilts for all of them, but I can at least make something. There are some really cute ideas on Pinterest :)  Like burp cloths or a diaper bag. Whatever I decide to make, I just look forward to the joy I get from creating something pretty AND useful. I'm also planning to get a few hand-sewing projects ready for the time we'll be living in the casita. I won't have room for my sewing machine, but I can't imagine going months without doing SOMETHING.

For me it's not so much a matter of resolutions, as it is just seeking to greet each day as a gift and do the most I can with what God has given me.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Project 365: The 2011 Finale

I'm ending Project 365 for 2011 with a whimper. Which sadly reflects the status of my participation most of the year. I just had no idea how crazy furlough was going to be, or how difficult to post on a regular basis. To say nothing of totally dropping the ball with the basic premise of a photo-a-day. I didn't even manage to get the final post in the actual year of 2011 :(

BUT... that said, I did stick with it to the very end!

So here you have it folks, the final photos of 2011!

Stuck in traffic.
The story of our life this week as we dealt with yet more paperwork.

New Year's Eve here is like 4th of July in the U.S. We walked a block over to the lake and had a great vantage point for viewing the fireworks. We could turn 360 degrees and see fireworks in every direction! While the city does have a (usually) decent show, private citizens and clubs put on some pretty impressive displays as well. We stayed down at the lake for about 20 minutes, then walked home and watched the fireworks in our own neighborhood.

Having only two photos for the week is about par for the course this year. Hoping I can do better in 2012! Anyone care to join us this year? It's a great way to (1) photo journal your year, and (2) share your life in pictures with friends and family.