30 December 2010

Mis Pastores, My Shepherds

December 30, 2010 6
We got a note home a few weeks ago that the kids would be doing a performance on the 23rd, their last day of school.  The parents were asked to dress the kids in a shepherd's costume.  I started looking online at some ideas for a shepherd, but I started seeing shepherd costumes in the Christmas section at the stores.  Jerry said he did as well and found some that weren't too badly priced.  We wanted the kids to blend in, so we decided to purchase outfits.  They were cute.  A little woolly vest, bag and woolly material pieces you tie around your shins.
We were feeling pretty good that we were following suit and fitting in culturally.

That is until performance day.

The girls did not have the same outfit.

They all wore cute little head scarves and flowy long dresses or a skirt with the woolly vest.

I'll be honest, I cried!

I was upset that our attempts to fit in kind of backfired on us.  How could we have known that the girls wear a completely different outfit as Spanish shepherds?!

As kids walked into class and parents made their way around the building to the gym, I turned my back and cried.  Yes, I did!  I kept thinking about how it must be effecting Karis.  She even said walking in that we bought her the wrong thing...a boy costume!

I gained a bit of composure wishing for my big sunglasses on that cloudy day so I could cover up my blotchy red face! Ugh!  I continued to be a bit teary waiting for them to get started and parents are crowding in, wondering if my face shows the signs of my little emotional breakdown.  Jerry told a few parent friends of our mishap and they told us "no pasa nada!" (no big deal).  I appreciate that, but I still felt like the foreigner who didn't do it right!

I tried to gain composure and was somewhat successful until the kids start coming in and I got all teary again.

It's a being proud thing, I guess.  Seeing them walk in, looking for us and then waving big when they see us and then singing so big up in front of everyone.

Once I saw Karis' teacher I felt a bit better.  She had the boy costume on and I hoped it made Karis feel better.  Not sure that it did, but she didn't show one way or another during her performance.

Seems kind of silly now to be so upset, but I guess it was just the straw that broke the camels back, so to say.

Here are a few pictures and a video.  The video gets a bit long, but you can skip around and watch pieces of it if you like.

The parents waiting.  The blue signs say "Merry Christmas" (in English) and Feliz Año (that's how they say "Happy New Year."  They shorten it, leaving out "new" and it translates "Happy Year."

Here are each of them when they spot us in the crowd.




Blowing us kisses!  Awww!

 Brennan is under the "I" Reegan under the "Z"

 Karis right in the middle

Karis had a speaking part, in Spanish!  Several people commented on how great her Spanish is with no accent!

28 December 2010

Gift Making

December 28, 2010 1
Well, Christmas has passed, but I'm still going to share about some easy teacher's gifts I made.

I was blog hopping and came across a recipe for homemade sugar scrub that included ingredients that I already had in my kitchen!!  Sugar, brown sugar, olive oil and vanilla.  That's it!  I added a little cinnamon just because I love it so much!

I have not looked to see if I can purchase canning jars here, but I had some applesauce and bean jars (beans are sold in jars in Spain) that would work and had a plain top, so that's what I used.

Also in my research I found a bunch of blogs that have free printable tags and one that even had a tag with directions on how to use sugar scrub.  I printed it out, then had my Spanish teacher help me translate it into Spanish that I printed on the back.

Aren't those cute?

It made such a fun gift and they were well received!  I will be filing this away to use again, for sure!

I hope everyone had a great time celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ with your family and friends!!

Next time I have to share the kid's Christmas performance at school!  There's a little story among the fun of watching them sing and even a short speaking part for Karis!

23 December 2010

Not So Hairy

December 23, 2010 6
A hair cut was way overdue!  We moved 6 months ago and it was probably 2 months before that when my hair was cut.  Even longer since it had been highlighted.  However, my hesitation was trying to communicate the kind of cut and color I wanted in Spanish.  I had a neighbor offer to go with me, but I really didn't want to inconvenience her.  So I put it off some more.  I finally decided I was going to google "English speaking hairdressers, Madrid."   And I found someone!

I found a guy and a lady, both that come to your home to do it.  That was a huge plus!  I opted for the lady since I never knew if I might be home alone come appointment time and really didn't want the awkwardness that might be present, so I emailed Sally.  

Karis was in desperate need of a cut and I decided to get Reegan's cut too.  

And again, HUGE bonus that she is a traveling hairdresser and I didn't have to go to a salon!  And, oh yeah, I got to speak English!  Maybe a little more pricey, but well worth it for me in more ways than one.

It is a bit short, but it is growing on me (ha, no pun intended)!  And I know it will grow.  Otherwise, the cut is just what I wanted.

21 December 2010

Happy Birthday to My Hubby

December 21, 2010 0

It's hard to believe we are hitting the big 4-0!!

Well he is!  I still have another few weeks and a year in my 30s!  Ha!  I feel 40 looming though.  Hitting 30 was not a big deal to me.  But I'm having a harder time with 40.

When I hit 30 I always said "It's just a number!  Age does not define me!"

Hmmm...I'm having a harder time with that statement this go around!

Ok, enough about me and how I'm feeling about being almost 40!  Ha!

This is about Jerry!  He doesn't seem to be phased by it and it helps that he doesn't even come close to looking like 40!

We didn't do a big party or anything.  This was his last day of Spanish courses and we could not be happier to celebrate his big day and the last day of these dreaded courses he's taken that have just about done our family in!

Ok, not quite that bad.  But courses 5 days a week with an hour and a half of travel EACH way and him not getting home until about 8:30 three evenings a week, 6:30 on 2 evenings!

It is cause to celebrate!!

I always fix the dessert of his choosing and the last few years he has chosen Cranberry Bliss Bars!  They are sold this time of year at Starbucks and a few years ago I found a copycat recipe.  They are easy, just a bit time consuming!

So happy birthday, Jerry!  Love you!

16 December 2010

Am I A Servant Leader To My Kids?

  "Mom, can you get the ketchup?"

"Mom, can you get my clothes?"

"Mom, I need salt?"

"Mom, I need more toilet paper!"

"Mom, you didn't put my socks on right!"

"Mom, you need to put my shoes on!"

When my son said to me " YOU get my water." the other day I got to thinking about my role as a mom.  How often I feel like a waitress or a maid or a taxi cab driver.

Just so you know, I didn't get his water.  I made him get it!

It is really important to me for my kids to learn independence.  Of course I'm going to help each of my kids when they need it, but when I KNOW they can do something I want to encourage them to do it.

But then I got to thinking about servanthood.  Am I being a servant to my children?  Honestly, that word makes me cringe sometimes, does it you?

Didn't Jesus show servant leadership?   Why yes, he did!

Wow!  Am I showing servant leadership to my kids??  I can honestly say "not always."  I probably come across as a tyrant most days when they talk back or do something they know they shouldn't do, like marking on the entertainment center, jumping off the bunk bed, peeing on the couch or using a ton of soap when washing their hands.

The Lord gave me a little lesson through my son.  The importance of being a servant to my children while teaching them to be respectful.  Does the respect not come from servant leadership?!  Hmmm, I guess it probably does.

Have I done a 180 and instantly changed?  Unfortunately, no.  What can I say, I'm a work in progress!  But it made an impression on me and with the Lord's help I can begin to work towards an attitude of servant leadership in my home.

Can I get an "Amen?!"

13 December 2010

Christmas Tour of Homes

I'm joining in on two different Christmas Tour of Homes, Kelly's Korner and Nesting Place.  I love sharing Christmas in my home!
Our eclectic tree!

One day I'd like to have a more grown up, formal tree and make this our kid's tree.  But, right now apartment living in Spain doesn't really allow the space for that.  I'd also like to replace this tree with a taller, skinnier tree, but that hasn't happened yet.  What matters is that my kid's love it!

 Some of my favorite ornaments!

The ball and snowflake are crystal from Czech Republic, our home for 9 years.

The blue one below is too fragile to go on the tree, so it sits on the bookshelf where it is safer! It is from Kazakhstan.

The angel is very special because my hubby picked her out!  Many years ago he braved the after Christmas sales, when I had to work, and picked her out all on his own.  I just love her!

I found this wooden Santa here in Spain just a few weeks ago and I just love him!  He came at an incredible price too!

The top of our bookshelf in the family room.

I love this guy.  He was given to me by a friend from Finland.

  "S novem godem" is how you say the Cyrillic letters below.  It is translated "With the new year." We bought this when we lived in Russia about 11 years ago.  They do not celebrate Christmas on December 25 as we do, but on December 31 along with New Years Eve.

Some of the items on our bookshelf.  These are stacking dolls from Russia.

The letters spell "collector."  My oldest daughter and I have a little game where she likes to move the letters around to see if I notice.  Silly girl!

Crystal tree and snowman from Czech Republic and a Polish pottery tea light candle tree.

Can't forget my kid's Little People Nativity!

 Various items from my snowman collection I started several years ago.  It was my reminder of Christmas' in Alaska growing up.

 Snowman from Germany.....

and Czech Republic.  It says "Merry Christmas" in Czech.

I had to add this next snowman because it has become a funny for me now.  My hubby says he looks like he's been hung on a noose.  Ha!

 I just picked these tin signs up here in Spain.  I like the old world look to them.

This little guy welcomes you as you enter in.  He's about 2 feet tall.

My mom made these stockings.  Mine was given to me in highschool.  Jerry received his our first year of marriage and my kids' followed when they were born.  They are so special!

I got it in my mind several years ago that I wanted to quilt a tree skirt.  I commandeered my mother-in-law to help.  Actually she did all the measuring and I did most of the sewing with her helping me get it all set up on the machine.  I loved it so much that I couldn't cut a hole in if for the tree.  Ha!  Now it just sites on the back of the couch.  I just love it!

Items in my kitchen.
This is Polish pottery that I picked up while living in Prague.  We were only about 4 hours from the town the Polish pottery factories were located.  I went on occasion and picked up these plates on one of my trips.  I only have 4 of them, that's all they had.  I'm not sure if these are still made, but I'd like to get more some day.

The plate on the right is also Polish pottery.  I picked up 2 of them to have 6 plates total.  The other plate is from a set my mother-in-law gave me when she decided to get a new plate set.  So now I have an 18 piece Christmas set of plates.

Can't forget the drink ware!  I loved these when I saw them at Target a couple of years ago while in the US.

I couldn't leave my kids out when it comes to dinnerware!  Ha!  They love these plates that I also picked up at Target a couple of years ago!  Here is a lunch of champions!

I like to keep this mock eggnog around for eggnog lattes!  Yum!

 And my new addition (as of last year) that I've enjoyed keeping around, Cranberry Punch.  More yumminess!

 The hallway to our rooms is decorated with another set of stockings.

 And last but not least our home would not be complete without Christmas tunes playing as often as possible!

Thanks for stopping by!

09 December 2010

My Christmas Music List

December 09, 2010 2
Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a Christmas caroler.

The Lord sure uses music to speak to my heart and some Christmas songs do just that. 

If you haven't heard "How Many Kings" by DownHere you MUST take the time to listen.  Wow, what a message woven into this song!  It's at the top of my list!  I found this interview with Kevin, the lead singer, about how the song came about and you can have a listen as well.

I love MercyMe and Amy Grant's version of "Silent Night."  I LOVE to sing along as they harmonizes!  Just beautiful!

Jars of Clay's first single of Little Drummer Boy is my favorite and I've just discovered two song on their newer album, Hibernation Day and Love Came Down is beautiful too!

Among my secular favorites is definitely Brenda Lee's version of "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree!"  It's been a favorite since I was a kid.  When I hear it, it stirs up memories of Christmas' passed.
Among my other favorites would be "Baby Please Come Home" by U2, "I Saw Three Ships" by Sting, "Last Christmas" by Jimmy Eat World and "Wonderful Christmas Time" by Paul McCartney.

So what are some of your favorites?

05 December 2010

Sickness Wins

December 05, 2010 0
Our friends asked us to head to the mountains for some sledding on Saturday.  I was excited!
We packed up for our day, being sure to pack some extra clothes and food.  I even spent time getting some thermoses together to have some hot drinks.  I was so proud of my self for thinking of it!  Ha!

I had just seen some little paddle sleds for about €3, so we headed to the sporting goods store to grab some.  As well as a bunch of other stuff.  What was suppose to be a quick trip for sleds turned into grabbing some waterproof gloves, a new coat for Reegan, a vest for me, an extra shirt for Brennan and a few other odds and ends.

Brennan had come to my bedside early in the morning telling me he had a fever.  I felt him and no sign of fever.  I guess it should have been a sign.  And he was grouchy that morning.  While walking through the store Brennan started complaining of being cold and he was just fussy.
We got in the car and our friends called that they were caught in traffic.  We soon found that we were in traffic too.  We later learned that their was a walk out of the air traffic controllers at the Madrid airport and figure that contributed to the traffic.
We had to do a bit of map searching and doubling back to find the right trek.  I soon looked back and saw that Brennan was asleep.  Another sign that he was probably sick.  Jerry wanted to trudge on.  Due to our doubling back we went right by our place.  Brennan woke up and felt sick and was whining and really wanted to go home.  We were about 5 minutes past our place and decided we better just head home.  Karis cried for about oh, a half an hour!  We had to remind her that we were in this place just a short week ago when our Thanksgiving plans were altered for said girl being sick.  That didn't make a bit a difference to her, of course.

All that time and money for nothing!  Isn't that just the life with little kids and the season of sickness?!  Oh well, maybe not for nothing.  The kids have the next 3 days off for the Spanish Constitution Day and the Immaculate Conception Day.  Maybe we'll have a chance to get to the mountains for some sledding one of those days!

I guess the day wasn't a total loss.  I decided to start a little Christmas goody making.  More on that soon!

03 December 2010


December 03, 2010 5
A few weeks ago my tutor, Marisa told me about the Spanish Christmas candy called turrón.  I was anxious to try it.  The next time I found myself at the store I got to looking for it.  I spotted a display and got to looking at all the different kinds.  There was white, milk, and dark chocolate.  Me being a milk chocolate fan and seeing that it said "Clasico" on it I thought it was the original, classic turrón.  Take 1 of turrón!

 I was surprised to find that it had rice crispy pieces in it, which I love.  Hopefully I will not offend any of my Spanish turrón loving friends, but I thought the chocolate was not a very good quality.  I guess I've become a bit of a chocolate snob!  Ha!  I don't like a lot of American chocolate either.  Swiss, Belgian and Germany chocolate for me, please!

After visiting the store a few more times I noticed all kinds of candy called "turrón."  In my opinion, it seems they are calling any candy they sell at Christmas "turrón."  Ha!  Maybe not, but in talking to my tutor again this week I realized that I did not actually buy the original kind.  Marisa gave me the name of 2 different kinds to look for "Jijona" and "Alicante."  She explained that Alicante is the Arab version and Jijona is the more Spanish version.

Once again I found myself at the store and decided to look for the ones she mentioned and found both.  Take 2 of turrón!

 I opened them up for a little evening snack and was surprised when I saw the Jijona.  It was in a foil pack surrounded by sealed plastic and looked like there was lots of oil inside, hence the plastic seal.  Hmmmm, interesting!  I cut it open and found it had a similar texture to peanut butter.  It was soft, but still thick enough to hold up in a bar shape.  It had a good flavor, but I can't say that I just loved it or couldn't stop eating it.

Th Alicante was a hard candy with nuts inside.  When I took it out I noticed what looked like a paper wrapper, but it kept coming apart when I would go to pull it off.  I then tasted it and found that it dissolved in my mouth and seemed to be an ultra paper thin wafer.  Interesting again! 

So there you have turrón.  So far I'm not a huge fan, but if you are familiar with turrón and have one that you love, please let me know.  I will definitely keep trying them to find one I like!

01 December 2010

Solomon's Temple & Phineas and Ferb

December 01, 2010 2
We are officially addicted to Phineas & Ferb!  Ha!

We love this show!  Fun for all the family!  To give you a little background, it is a cartoon on the Disney Channel about 2 brothers who every day they devise imaginative creations while their older sister is always trying to bust them.  But each time she brings her mom to show what her brothers have been up to, the creation always somehow disappears.  Another side story to the show is their pet platypus who is a secret agent (unbeknownst to his owners) and the nemesis of the evil Dr Doofenschmirtz.

Just typing it all out puts a smile on my face.  It is just so funny!

Recently we've been watching the Christmas Vacation episode quite a bit.  To get the full hilarity of my story, that will soon continue,  I would love for you to pause and watch this clip where Phineas & Ferb build a rest stop/clubhouse for Santa.  Watch the very first part and then go 1:50 in to see the rest on the Santa story.

We had watched our beloved show once again this evening.  Right before bed we were doing our Bible story, reading about Solomon building the temple for God.  The process of carving the stones, the inside of the temple being covered with cedar wood and gold!  And how it took 7 years to build.

Towards the end Brennan pipes up and says "It's kind of like how Phineas and Ferb built the club house for Santa!"

I just about rolled over with laughter!  It was the cutest thing ever!!

Why yes, Brennan.  I guess it is kind of like how Phineas & Ferb built the club house for Santa!  Ha!


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