Monday, May 31, 2010

Aggravated beyond belief...

That is what I would change my facebook status to if I wasn't so attached to my current one.
Current status:
Esther: Look mommy!
Me: At what?
Esther: At the raindrops. Aren't they beautiful?

Holy petals batman, she makes my heart puddle into a pool of sunshine.

I can't find the kid's scissor, so I am feeling a bit more stormy than normal.
Why do I need the kid's scissor? Why don't I just use mine?
Good question. Hilarious answer.
I broke mine.
While using them to cut my lawn. Really.
There is not a single lawn mower for sale in all of Loja. Quito is a day's drive away.
The scissors worked. Until they broke.

But why do I need scissors so badly?

Because I was perusing the "World of Momcrafts" (That is my made of name of the collection of internet resources that make me want to craft. Quick! Someone trademark it!) and I found the following:
Apron made of T-shirts.

I doubt you will read the rest of my post. You are all already lost in ruffles... and stuff.
Just in case you come back:
I have a stack of t-shirts that have mysterious holes. Knit does not last long in Ecuador. It's a true mystery. Really. I hired Nancy Drew and she told me it was the fault of the clothespins. I quickly fired Miss Nancy. The holes are all on the front of the shirt, where no clothespins touch.
Then I hired that one lady who solves all those crimes in those books that use the alphabet for titles. (I forget her name) and she said it was my laundry detergent. Ding Ding.

Dong... I thought it worked. Two weeks later... more holes. Dingly dangly. Another shirt in the holey pile.
Agatha Christie (I don't care for Hercule Peroit OR Miss Marple so I went directly to the source), says it is because the buttons on my jeans are wearing holes in the shirts. Seems reasonable I guess. But why did it not happen in the States? I am still unsatisfied as to the cause of the mysterious holes... but back to the problem at hand.

The previous link gave me the immediate desire to turn my pile of holey shirts into an apron. Right now. This second! Ahora! Rapido! (I had café italiano tonight).

So--- Up I ran to get my shirts. Had to root around in the dark to find them because the light in my bedroom takes about half an hour to turn on. But I found them.

Found the needles I bought. (I bought them at a small hole in the wall fruit store. The guy stored them with buttons and matches. In a cookie jar.)

Couldn't find the thread, but decided that dental floss would be stronger anyway.

Everything was ready. Except that I realized I had broken my only pair of scissor.

No problem----
I would just use the kid's. It would be interesting. The kid's scissor are safety scissors, and it would probably be easier to just use my teeth... But I want to make an apron. Now! Right this second! Before I even post this blog post! (I don't think I will be sleeping tonight).

Okay--- so instead of making my apron, I decided I would torture you with this very long missive of nothingness that leads to no where.

But at least you have the link for an awesome blog. (not mine silly. The ruffles and stuff one.)

PS. It is my birthday. Someone send me a pair of scissors and a lawn mower. A human lawn mower is the best sort.

Shopping in Ecuador: part 1

I thought I would keep track of a month's worth of expenses, I think it will be a good portrait of what life is like here.

Monday is the day we shop at Supermaxi for El Sendero. Supermaxi is a large supermarket (I will try to get a picture next week), that is very modern. It reminds me of the grocery stores back home. Except that some praices are much better, and some prices... WOAH NELLY, I am lucky if I don't get a heart attack. Do not try to buy peanut butter or tabasco sauce in Ecuador.
We take a taxi to supermaxi, then take a taxi back to El Sendero we we unload the food and haul it up to flights of stairs.
After we put it away, we usually take our two market bags of food and walk home.

Today we took a taxi because we had to buy paper plates and wood chips (not pictured) and the wood chips were heavy and bulky.

Since we didn't walk home, we also did not stop at the local tienda where we buy our fruits, or the market where we buy our veggies.

Anyhow, here are the pics of what we did buy:

We spent 65.00 which is about what we spend at supermaxi each week. We have a challenge though to only buy things there that we can not buy at the tiendas. Sometimes, for convenience, we ignore our challenge. I can get brown sugar almost anywhere!

See anything interesting? Have a question? Want to know how much a specific item cost? (The snickers were a STEAL! Normally 10.00 they were only five! That made them about what we would have paid in the states! Now I am wondering if I should have bought an extra!) Just ask away.
Today was a boring shopping day. Not all that different than what we would have done back home.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Future blackmail?

Elizabeth Greenwood is 15 now, and presumably too old for Polly Pockets. (I bet she still played with them when no one was looking.) So, in an act of extreme generosity she gave the entire collection which included no less than a bajillion microscopic shoes, to Esther.

I like to complain about them a lot.

I mean, they make a HUGE mess. H.U.G.E. You can not even imagine how long it takes to clean up that many itsy bitsy shoes. Not to mention the four hundred and fifty thousand kagoogle shirts, pants, skirts, hats, and purses.

Polly Pockets are the stuff that crazy mother's are made out of (and legos- but that is another post).
(When no one is looking, I sneak into Esther's room and play with them.)

But, Esther loves them, and so, I take a deep breath, and try not to curl up and die when I walk past her room and see "Polly Pocket Mall" look like polly pocket tornado after-effects.

Sunday afternoon when I went upstairs (and no, I wasn't going to sneak into Esther's room to play), I noticed a strange sight:

Yep. That's my boys, playing with Polly Pockets. I had to sneak to take a picture because...
Well, what boy would want his mom taking a picture of him playing Polly Pockets????

Apparently this one.
"Look Mom! Cute, right?"

"You realize I have a camera, right?"

"Take a picture of this one!"
"You are a strange child."
"What? Esther plays with my hot wheels."
"You better clean up those its-bitsy-teeny-weeny-drive-your-mommy-crazy-shoes."

Friday, May 14, 2010

Una pequeña rincón en mi casa.

This is a little corner in my house.
It isn't awesome...
Or interesting...
But I thought I would post it anyway, to prove that in some way, I am carving out a home in our little mud hut (which is neither made of mud, nor little).

The shelves are on loan from some missionaries on their way to furlough. I can't really paint them but I am considering wrapping the bricks in paper, and maybe using some more substantial fabric to wrap the shelves in.
Have any ideas? (This shelf is the first thing we see when we walk in the door.)

I am remember the good old days (no so good really) when I tried to turn our 1970's home into a cottage. Hahahaha. What a crock. One thing I learned through that experience to to be content with all things. Hey- I think that is even in the Bible!
Every woman longs for a beautiful home- to be sure, but in the states, I was inundated by beautiful places. Magazines galore were everywhere galore, just sitting around waiting to show me how "ugly" my house was.

There are no Better Homes magazines here. No Martha Stewart (save an old Halloween edition from 2007) to show me all the things I "need" to make a beautiful home.

Frankly, I think it is easier to be content here. No one else has more than me. Not even far off people in a magazine fantasy land of staged photographs. People here wrap their sofas in old sheets to keep the dust off and the decorate their homes with knick knacks my granny would adore.

The other missionaries have modest furnishings with decorations that they find around them. A piece of pottery that cost 2.00 in the market, a piece of original indigenous fabric weaving, a tourist token from their travels...
No one would take a photo and place it in a magazine, but I must admit, I admire each of these homes. There is something there that makes me want to sit...
It is definitely not in the carefully chosen wall colors (though I admit my love for the Ecuadorian LOVE of color), or the arrangement of the conversation area (some homes don't even have a sofa! They sit around and chat at a table).

The difference is in time. In Ecuador, relationships are built on time. In the States, we would always say time is money, and then we would buy things with that money to strengthen relationships... (well, maybe not you- but I fell into it plenty of times).
Here there is no money. At an hourly wage of 2.00 a day, there is not much hope for money. And for those who do have money, it is still so ingrained in the culture, that they will ignore everything else for the chance to sit down and build relationships.

I didn't mean to say all this, but I caught myself being embarrassed to post my exposed brick bookshelf (which is actually ingenious and incredibly functional- not to mention FLEXIBLE) because it does not look like something that anyone would want to show off.

When, in fact, I am very happy that I now have a place to show off our family picture (we brought with us), a stack of favorite books (brought with us), and my case of wooden tulips that I fell in love with and bought at Todo Hogar for myself as a Mother's Day gift.
My scarf is Ecuadorian, and I love the color.
And well...

I have learned to be content.

One of these days I will be so content that I will show off the ugly 1980's, and much too small, bedspread I have on my bed. Until then, I will just enjoy my new, my free, my rustic, bookshelf.

And as an aside, The Greenwoods (bless their hearts) let us borrow a tremendous amount of bricks and shelves and we have these located throughout the house.
One in the office houses all the games that we also borrowed from the Greenwoods (love them- and are really gonna miss them!)
One in Esther's room holds her puzzles and bottlecap collection.
The one in Weston's room holds his stuffed animals, lego, and geometric building set.

If you need storage in your house and can't afford the Ikea system (which is uber cool) then this system might also work for you in the states. (or elsewhere, if I happen to have readers in Timbuktu, Ireland, or Argentina) (I don't. I checked.)

Thursday, May 13, 2010


I made this simple meal for dinner tonight. Pork is is ready supply here in Ecuador, and the chuletas (pork chops), are outstanding. I hated pork chops in the states, but somehow I just can't get them wrong here. This is good- because the rest of my family loves pork chops.

I simply cut onions into rings, added largely cut up tomatoes, a bit of tomatoes, some garlic paste, and olive oil.
I added the chuletas on top of that, added some agua, covered and cooked on low heat.
I checked frequently and added water if needed.

THe kids all declared that I could "not have cooked them any better", and that they were "just as good as Irma's".
Anytime irma cooks for us, I am reminded by my children of how much better a cook Irma is than I am.
So, bravo for me! A+ for mommy.

I didn't make the rice however, because, everytime I even try, I am told "not to even bother." I have such kind worded children. I think they need a lot of prayer.
And obviously, they think I need cooking lessons.

Anyhow, this was uber easy to make, took almost no prep time, and it wasn't much of a bother except to add water every now and again.

Everyone else LOVED it, and I liked it pretty much (which is high praise for a pork chop from me)- so, you should try it.

Simple sometimes is the very best.
Marcus became less bored once the picture taking stopped and the eating began.

And, since Thursday nights are family night at the mud hut- we had desert as well. Ice box lemon pie, almost exactly like my sister used to make when we were growing up. The only change I made was to use a coconut crust instead of a graham cracker one in order to make it gluten free.
It's is also...
1/2 cups of lemon juice (I used fresh, because lemons are 3 for a dime- can't get anything cheaper than that)
1 can of sweetened condensed milk.
Blend with a mixer until thick
Pour into pie crust and refrigerate until set.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy

Friday, May 07, 2010

A post about hair:

Esther's hair to be exact.
It has gotten long enough since the fun days when she thought it would be fun

I have promised several people that I would post the blog links to where I find instructions for our hair dos, and since I finally have a wee bit of internet access, and because it is almost midnight which means it is far to late to respond coherently to emails, I am finally making good on my promise.

Girly dos by Jen is perhaps the one I reference the most.
The Princess in her Hair is another good one.

Please check the blog roll on both these blogs, you will find many more blogs just dedicated to little girl's hair.

As a cultural side note, hair is a big deal in Ecuador. Every little girl sports a hairstyle each morning. I am so glad I started working with Esther's hair before I came here because otherwise I would have felt overwhelmed trying to help her fit in.
As it is, we have had several comments and requests for instructions.