Thursday, December 31, 2009

Homemade Christmas

This year, I wanted to save some money and make Christmas even more special by giving as many handmade gifts as possible. These are the bags I made for my niece and nephews, I will fill them with cookies when I see them this weekend, and hopefully get a drawstring inserted into the blue bags, but I need a little help from my sister-in-law to do the buttonholes on the sewing machine. Hats galore this year. Actually, a couple are missing from this photo because I sent them out of town before I took the picture. Whoops! I was pulling my hair out with a couple of them. It took me a while to perfect the pattern, and I used an acrylic yarn for one of them which I will never do again. It was not fun to knit with!
Potholders for my sister-in-law.

Chili's monkey robe. This material was a pain to work with, but the end result was well worth the effort!
Had to get creative this year for the "tree." In all the moves of the last couple of years, the artificial tree was lost. We talked about getting a real tree, but have been busy, and that plan never materialized. This was what I engineered to hang our ornaments.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Movie Review: The Visitor

This movie is about a university professor who finds himself depressed and unhappy with his life after the loss of his wife. He is unsatisfied in his job, where he admits it's been a long time since he's done any real work. He tries to look busy and go through the motions, but without any real interest. He is trying to learn piano, I guess as a way of remembering his wife, who was a pianist, only to learn he really doesn't have the talent or love for it that has wife did. When he goes to another city to present a collegue's paper, he stays as his apartment there. When he arrives, he finds an immigrant couple is staying there, presumably someone named Ivan was renting it to them. They apologize and quickly offer to leave, but really don't have anywhere to go. When the professor sees them outside later, he offers for them to stay a few days while they look for something. This begins a friendship that brings him back to life. The two men bond over drumming, something the professor finds he has a passion for. When some unjust events bring difficulty to the lives of this couple, the professor is deeply affected as he sees and experiences the world from someone else's point of view. I highly recommend this movie. It can be found on Netflix watch instantly(for those who have that).

Sunday, December 27, 2009

One BIG Snowman

The snowman Papi made for Chili.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Snowy Day

Chili enjoying some fun in the snow with Papi!
Oh, and this is the hat Mami knit her for Christmas. I love how it looks on her!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Funky Santa

Wishing you and your families a Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

1 Year and Over 100 posts!

Yesterday was my one year blogging anniversary. I've been sharing with all of you my journey to live simply and love strongly for one year now. I hope that my experiences have encouraged or inspired or at least amused someone out there...has it? Now is the perfect time to say hi if you've been reading this! Let me know what you've learned or enjoyed in this last year of live simply, love strongly.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Winter Wonderland???

Looks so pretty from the pictures, but the reality is, the roads have been a challenge to say the least. We are getting a little stir crazy. Personally, I think this winter weather is not so wonderful.

Monday, December 7, 2009


No, not the Mariah Carey song...but toddler obsession. Once a toddler gets something in their head, there is no stopping them. It can be something they want to do or something they like, but whatever it is, the feelings that come about are extreme. They do nothing in moderation. Our recent experiences with toddler obsession have to do with a pair of pink Dora sunglasses and a dilapidated thrift store dog. Wherever she goes, she must have them. Glasses on, dog in arms, she heads about her business. That is until, inevitably, she lays them down to do something, and absentmindedly leaves them behind. Then we hear screams of "wow, wow"(what she calls dogs) and "dentes"(lentes, Spanish word for glasses), as she adamently demands that mami find her lost items. She will not rest until they are found and returned to her. The lentes only come off to sleep, and the wow, wow accompanies us on most of our trips. But everything goes "to the dogs" if during the trip she realizes he's not there. Ah yes, toddler obsession. We know all about that.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Bread Pudding

This is our current favorite afternoon recipe. So easy! This is the first recipe Chili can actually help with...most times her help does more damage than good :) She is pretty good at ripping bread apart though. Let the ripping begin!
Not all of it goes in the pan though...
Beating eggs.
Now doesn't that look good!
Did I mention Papi loves this?

Here's the recipe, this is doubled from the original(so you could cut it in half):

16 slices of whole wheat bread
6 c of milk
6 eggs
1 stick of butter, melted
1/2 c sugar, plus more to sprinkle on top
a little salt (if you want, I used salted butter, so I left that out)
cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves if you want
sliced bananas

Grease pan, put in ripped up pieces of bread. Beat eggs together, add spices and milk and stir. Pour mixture over bread pieces. Make sure all bread gets wet. Add butter and raisins. Sprinkle sugar on top. Slice bananas and place on top. Bake in oven on 350 for at least one hour, maybe more. It will get harder as it cools. Enjoy hot or cold!

Out My Window

What a beautiful way to end this special day!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Monkeying Around

With the money she received for her birthday, Chili bought herself a swingset. Mami and Papi found it on Craiglist, and she paid for it herself. She has enjoyed swinging and monkeying around these past few days.

Just a reminder for those who know me personally, we are trying not to use our names in our blog, so please don't use our names in your comments. Thanks!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Best and the Worst

The best pizza I have ever made! The worst outfit ever! Lime green pants, pink long sleeved T, with a short sleeved red button down shirt...can you tell who picked out that outfit?!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

Planting Garlic and Shallots

With help of course! We hope to see them make their appearance in the spring.

Friday, November 6, 2009


This is one thing I WON'T be recycling.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Tale of the Scary Bunny

This little Chili thought she was tough stuff this Halloween all dressed up as a...bunny! She growled the whole night long thinking she was just as scary as all the other little monsters. And here is my little monster:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

After getting inspired from reading this:, I decided to try my first ever pot pie. It took a long time to make, but it was much better than the store bought variety. I cooked a chicken the day before, deboned it, and shredded it up. The next day, I added some fresh green beans, carrots, and parsnips and let them cook in the broth. I added a little flour to try to thicken it up a little. When they were done I added frozen peas and the chicken to warm. Then I tried to prepare the crust which was a mess! I used the recipe that my favorite cook book recommended. It was:
1 1/4 flour
1/2 t salt
10 T butter, cold and cut into chunks
1 egg yolk
3 T ice water, more if necessary
(I doubled this to make a larger pot pie.)

Put flour, and salt in food processor for a couple seconds. Add butter and process until uniform. Add egg yolk and process a couple more seconds. Put in bowl and add ice water, mix with hands and form a ball. Wrap in plastic and freeze ten minutes. Sprinkle countertop with flour and roll with rolling I did this. When I took it out of the freezer it was rock hard. It did get a little more managable as it warmed. But it started cracking and I couldn't roll it out well. Eventually when I had it flattened to the thickeness I wanted, I put the pieces in the pan and used my fingers to connect the pieces and form the shape I wanted. This part took a long time, and was almost impossible to get the top pieces to connect. That turned out to be ok, since my inside mixture was not very thick, and the holes let the water evaporate as it cooked.

The end result was very tasty! I think next time I will try a different crust recipe and see if that makes a difference. I think I will leave out the parsnips too. This was the first time I had ever used them, and I wasn't crazy about them. I will definately make this again!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

200 Words and Analysis

Early in the month of October, Chili hit her 200 word mark. She is picking up new words everyday and loves to copy things she hears even if she doesn't know what they mean. She is enjoying being able to communicate, and we get such a kick out of hearing what she is thinking. The linguist in me of course had to do a brief analysis of her language aquisition. She has more than 104 words in Spanish and more than 42 words in English. She has more words (about 16) referring to animals and noises, and more than 22 referring to people she knows or characters (in books or on TV). She is now starting to put words together to show who it belongs to (like "mami gorro" for "mom's hat"). She also has a couple phrases she can use like, "How are you?" (not that she knows what that means, but she hears people say it all the time), "love you," and "alli esta" (it's over there). She really surprised me the other day when she said, "woo, woo alli esta" to tell me that there was a dog over there. My personal favorite is lately when she is asking for something and I tell her not right now, or maybe later, she responds, "maƱana." I don't know if she really understands the concept of tomorrow, but she at least is okay with the fact that she's not getting it now. It makes me chuckle every time.

Now that I have written this blog post, it is really bothering me that I don't have my tildes on any of my Spanish words. Does anyone know how to do this when you use a IBM laptop and are writing using Blogger?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Making Birthday Cake

Chili helped make her own birthday cake this year. Some good, not-so-clean birthday fun!

She had fun, and got to put that apron I made her to good use.

I can't believe my baby is 2!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


I finally have real curtains up. I made the curtains for the family room and the bedroom with the help of my sister-in-law E. She found some store bought curtains that she split in two lengthwise, hemmed, and added loops in order to have matching curtains for the two kitchen windows. Thanks to E's help, my niece and nephews keeping my daughter occupied, and my sewing, my house now has curtains! And here they are:

Bedroom curtains, need to finish the other panel, but this works for now.
Kitchen curtains

Family room