31 May 2011


I was doing some picking up and sorting this morning when I had this nudging that I needed to check our bank account.  I had just checked it at the end of last week and we hadn't made that many transactions over the weekend, but I couldn't ignore the urge I had.

This is one of those times that I truly believe it was the Lord giving me that little nudge.  Wouldn't you know, there were 13 fraudulent transaction from Illinois that had popped up today!
I immediately called and reported the charges and got the visa debit card cancelled.  I forget sometimes that Jerry and I have 2 different cards.  When it was cancelled, I was worried that we wouldn't be able to get cash out.  It's not like we could head to our bank or a store with the check book and get cash.

I then had to call our credit union to work out the details of a new card.  The lady I talked to was so nice and was so apologetic that this had happened to us.  I asked how this could have happened.  She went on to explain that some ATMs had been hit in Spain.  I have no idea how it works, but somehow they are able to get your information and create a new card.  She said it can take up to a year from the time they steal the info to the time they use the fraudulent card.  Interestingly enough, right after we moved to Spain, in July our cards got cancelled because they discovered this.  Sounds as if it was still happening once we got our new cards.

She then verified that it was only my card, so we are able to continue using Jerry's.  Phew!  She suggested we watch our account closely to see if fraudulent charges begin popping up on his card.

Even in this unfortunate event and feeling violated, the Lord sure has worked out some of the details.  I leave for the US in 3 weeks.  It is perfect timing so that I don't have to worry about having the new card mailed internationally.  It's a blessing that it isn't Jerry's card as well and if it had been Jerry's card instead of mine, we would have to have it mailed internationally.  Not a huge deal, but I'd much rather that card stay in the mail system in the US and I can pick it up as soon as I get to Texas.

The other blessing.  We completed an expense report just last week and the reimbursement came through TODAY!  Thankfully we have funds to draw from instead of sitting with an empty account until the charges are reimbursed to us.  We were stressing with a vacation planned for next week, but God is working out the details!

Thank you, Lord!

30 May 2011


Paella is a traditional Spanish rice dish.  There are SO many variations out there for paella (pronounced pi-ay-ya).  The great thing I learned.....it's a very versatile dish.  I actually had to do a bit of improvising and you know what? It still turned out great!  You can change up the meat & vegetables easily.  Change out the meats to your liking, add all seafood, or make a vegetarian version adding white beans and carrots to the recipe.

I used my friend and colleague, Mara's recipe as a starting point.  I thought when I had checked the recipe a few days ago that I had most of the ingredients on hand.  Oops! I had the basic ingredients, the spices, the rice & chicken, so I started from there. 

The most traditional way to cook this is with a paella pan.  I have a medium sized paella pan that I recently bought and cooked it on 2 burners.  This could easily be cooked in a large frying pan as well or possibly even a wok.
This was the first time I had used my pan, so I did a little seasoning by boiling some water in it first.

What Tina Came Up With Paella

1 lb chicken breasts, cut up
2 cups of frozen or fresh shrimp (just make sure it's good quality!)
1 cup of chopped fresh green beans
1 can chopped tomatoes
1 small can of green peas
1 or 2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 green or red pepper (or a bit of both), sliced longways
2 cups of rice (1/2 per person)
4 cups of water (possibly more for when it cooks down)
olive oil
saffron (or a paella spice mix)
salt to taste
Lemon wedges (optional)

Cook the chicken on medium heat in olive oil.
When it is no longer pink, add the shrimp & vegetables.
 Add the water and let it cook for about 30 minutes.  Then add the rice, saffron and salt (or paella mix).

You may need to add more water before rice is added.  You don't want it to get dry.  Cook for about 20 minutes, until rice is done.  Let it "rest" for a few minutes before serving.  To make it pretty, the vegetables and meats can be arranged in a design in the pan like the picture on Mara's blog.  I didn't bother with that step since it was just Jerry & I eating it.
Squeeze some lemon over the rice if you like (I prefer not to).

This made about 4-6 servings.

Don't hesitate to ask if you have questions and let me know if you try it!!  Enjoy!

27 May 2011

Apple Scone Cake

I'm linking up with Kelly again and we are sharing desserts. Welcome to any who are here for the first time. 

I LOVE to bake, but I haven't been doing as much of it lately.  Our lives are a bit crazy right now.

I had to share a favorite.  Some may think this is more of a Fall dessert, but I really like it any time of the year.

Apple Scone Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour (280 grams)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (100 grams)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces (113 grams, 1 stick)
2 large eggs, divided
1/2 cup milk, divided (120 ml)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 lb apples (pick your favorite), peeled, cored, and cut into 1 inch
2 tablespoons granulated sugar (30 grams)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter or spray a 9 inch (23 cm) glass pie plate.

In a small bowl whisk together one egg and 1 tablespoon from the 1/2 cup milk. Set this aside as it will be used as a glaze for the top of the cake.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. In a separate small bowl whisk together the remaining one egg, remaining milk, and vanilla extract and add to the flour mixture, stirring just until the dough comes together. Do not over mix the dough.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead dough gently four or five times and then divide the dough in half (it may be a bit sticky). Roll or pat one half of the dough into a 9 inch (23 cm) circle and transfer to the pie plate and pat onto the bottom and up the sides of the pie plate.

In a separate bowl toss together the cut apples, sugar and cinnamon. Spread the apples evenly over the bottom of the dough in the pie plate.

Roll the remaining dough into a 9 inch (23 cm) circle, on a lightly floured surface, and gently place the dough over the apples. With your fingers seal the edges of the top and bottom crusts. Brush the top of the dough with the egg and milk glaze, and sprinkle with white sugar. Cut a slit in the center of the dough to allow the steam to escape.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 35 - 45 minutes or until the pastry is nicely browned and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

If you'd like to see a picture (unfortunately I have not blogged about this one), you can check out Joy of Baking.  She's got a beautiful picture there!

Let me know if you decide to try it!

26 May 2011

What Does Spain Need?

 My hubby is actually contributing to the blog!!  He told me he wanted to write something about his experience this weekend and he gave me first dibs on putting it out on the world wide web.  I feel so special.  Ha!

“It’s the economy, stupid.”

These words changed the political landscape in an American presidential campaign when I was growing up. I couldn’t help but recall this when, on election day in Spain, I rode the escalators out of the metro onto the crowded square at Puerto del Sol in Madrid where thousands had camped out the past week to protest the economy. I strolled around the make-shift, tent town that had been built on this tourist location, complete with mess hall, sleeping quarters, lounging areas, sign-making station, and even a place for childcare.
Every inch was taken up by placards and signs promoting any and every cause that might be important to a nation facing 21 percent unemployment (45% among youth).

 As I looked into the eyes of many, I could see anger, disillusionment and what I can only describe as apathetic rebellion. I don’t believe many truly understood why they were there. They just simply knew something was wrong, and they wanted to stand up against it.

Just a few days before, I experienced a totally different reality in another Spanish city, Seville. Granted, the economy is just as bad, maybe worse. I lost count of the number of “walled off” retail spaces that I saw. And, I was told, many youth stood in protest in the main square as well. But, I spent time with others who were discovering something that penetrated deeper than the effects of the economy. They were wrestling with truths that were beginning to shake their entire world view. They were encountering the Gospel, the good news of grace and forgiveness through Jesus Christ.
My entrance into this world was quite different. I didn’t step into an open square where strangers were brought together by problems that they couldn’t solve. I walked into a two-bedroom apartment where young people were drawn in by changed lives, by truths they saw lived out at the university, at work, and at play.
 A town wasn’t being built in that small space, but a community was, a community of believers in Jesus Christ letting their faith, peace and assurances in God protest against the problems brought on by a faltering world, not just a bad economy.
 They shared this community with any and all who sought answers. Questions weren’t being averted. Truth wasn’t being defended. It didn’t have to be. Simply put, the Gospel was on display and allowed to stand on its own through the transformed and transparent lives of a few young people that have put their trust in God, not the economy.

So, as it turns out, it’s not the economy that changes lives. It’s the Gospel.

24 May 2011

Re-visit from Moli & a Recipe

Last week I mentioned our weekend visitor, Moli.  But I forgot to explain who he is and why he was visiting for the weekend.  In the Fall I wrote about Karis' weekend visitor, Aris, a mascot (for lack of a better word) for her class.  Moli is the mascot for Brennan & Reegan's class. 
Reegan had her turn with Moli last weekend and this weekend was Brennan's turn.
After school on Friday we went to the park by our house.
My kids would love to go after school every day and some moms take their kids every day.  I just can't do that.  I have too many other things to do. 

Saturday we had a picnic with some colleagues and the students from the Baptist seminary.  It was a beautiful day!
I was asked to bring a potato salad and decided on one of my favorites.  Salad Olviet, a Russian potato salad.
Look at all that goodness!!  Recipe to follow.
On Sunday we headed to church where Brennan forgot Moli in the car, oops!  But we remembered him
for eats at Taco Bell, our Sunday after church meal!
And can't forget to include Moli in our Bible story time.  We want to take every opportunity to show and share our faith (not to Moli, but to the teacher and kids at school ;)). 
Fun times in the Barnwell household!

And if you were waiting for it, here's the Salad Oliviet recipe.  Some of the ingredients may sound strange, but trust me, it's good!

1 c. diced, cooked chicken breast
1 large potato, peeled, boiled, and cut into bite size pieces
1 medium carrot, peeled, cooked, and cut into bite size pieces (I use canned)
2/3 c. cooked green peas (I use canned)
1 medium red apple, cored, and cut into bite size pieces
1 large dill pickle, diced
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
2 T. chopped fresh dill
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/3 c. sour cream
1-1/2 t. Dijon mustard
1 T. lemon juice
1/2 t. sugar

In a large bowl, combine the chicken, potato, carrot, peas, apple, pickle, eggs, and dill.
Mix thoroughly and season with salt and pepper.
To prepare the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl, and mix thoroughly.
Add the dressing to the salad and toss gently, careful not to mash the ingredients.  If it looks a bit dry, just make up another batch of the dressing.

School, Housing, Sorting, Packing, Applying, Planning

I can't say that I've had much to blog about lately.  But, I'll let you see what is continuously cycling through my brain!

*Last week I spent several hours filling out and scanning school applications for the kid's new school in Vienna.  As long as everything continues smoothly, they should be attending the International Christian School of Vienna.  It is an English speaking school which is completely different than this year in Spanish.  For many different reasons, I'll spare you the details, we chose this school.  On my trip to Vienna I was able to visit the school, fell in loved with it and could envision my kids in the classrooms.  What I most like is it is not an American bubble.  Kids from all over the world attend and I love that!

*We are also in the midst of looking for housing.  Our "release" date from Spain is July 30.  We've been searching online and talking with a colleague in Vienna.  We've been trying to figure out if and when to fly over there to look at places.  "Do we go the beginning of June or wait until the beginning of July? Do we go ahead and move and find month long accommodations and look?"  It is all mind boggling!

*We've decided to leave some larger pieces of furniture behind.  We have a certain size truck that we can pack our things into and need to get busy selling and ridding ourselves of these things.

*American Embassy visit!!  Brennan and Reegan turn 5 in 2 weeks and that means it's time for new passports!  I'm sure glad I remembered before we have to get on a plane to move to Vienna!

*A week from today we are taking the kids out of school for a week and taking off for  Benalmadena, Spain where we went last summer.  I am so looking forward to it!  Beach, surf, sun, and maybe a return trip to Gibraltar!!

*Six days after we get back from our vacation I will be stepping on a plane to America, by myself!!  I am ready for a little dose of home!!  I will spend 2 nights in TX with my family, then head to Orange County, CA for a BOD meeting with my Hannah's Prayer gals!  Then 2 nights back in TX and then back to Spain.  It is going to be a whirlwind trip and I am SO going to be jet-lagging!

*Then it's time to pack, pack, pack!  Didn't we just do this a year ago?  Why yes we did!  Are we crazy or what?!

Have a great week!

20 May 2011

Main Course Recipes

I'm linking up with Kelly's Korner and we're sharing main dish recipes.  I kind of threw this post together, so I don't have photos.  But, I've got three recipes to share!

First is a recipe I found at Our Best Bites for Crispy Coconut Chicken Fingers with Pineapple Dipping Sauce.  I even entered it into my bloggy friend, Jenn's recipe giveaway and won!  You can take a look at her site to see a great step by step process with pictures!!
Here's the recipe:

12 chicken tenders
1-2 eggs (start with one and crack another if it runs out)
1/2 C flour
1 C sweetened coconut flakes
1 C panko bread crumbs
1 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp table salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp onion powder

preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Give coconut a rough chop so it's about the same size as the panko pieces.
Combine it with Panko and spices in a shallow dish. Mix well to distribute all of the spices.
Place the flour in another shallow dish, and the egg in another. Give the egg a quick beating.
Working with a few chicken tenders at a time, dredge in flour. Dip in egg, then finally coat in the coconut Panko mixture. Press in with your fingers to make sure the entire thing is well coated.
Place chicken tenders on a foil-lined baking sheet that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. You can drizzle or spray olive oil on top for a crispier tender.
Bake in 450 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until juices run clear. If tenders are on the small side, they could even be done in about 15 minutes. If they're big they can take more like 25. The coconut will be nice and golden and the panko crisp, but light in color still.
Pineapple Dipping Sauce
1 cup yogurt (I've used pineapple yogurt too)
1 can pineapple tidbits
2 Tbsp powdered sugar
1/4 cup coconut
2 Tbsp coconut milk
combine all, refrigerate until ready to use.
The great thing about this recipe is you can change it up a bit.  I've bought pineapple yogurt and just used that.  I've substituted sour cream when I didn't have yogurt.  I've omitted the coconut milk and just added coconut.  Play around with it until it's to your liking.  The above recipe is my fav though.
Next is Mexican Chicken.  I've seen so many variations of this, but the recipe below has family history.  We have some great friends from our time in Alaska and any potluck, church function, you name it, Kay brought it!  I love this recipe and think of our friends every time I make it!
1 whole chicken OR 4 chicken breast
10 pkg flavored Doritos (I've used anything from plain chips to spicy flavored chips.  Choose what you like), crushed
1/2 or 1 whole onion or 1 Tbsp minced onions
1 cup chicken broth
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 can rotell tomatoes
1 Tbsp chili powder
16 oz cheddar cheese

Start out by layering the bottom of a 9x13 pan with crushed chips, then onion, chicken and pour the broth over the top.  In a bowl combine the cream soups (I've also used 2 cream of chicken soups) with the rotell (I've also mixed crushed tomatoes with green chilis when I haven't been able to find rotell overseas) and chili powder.  Pour over other ingredients and top with cheese.  Bake at 400 for 30 minutes

Toasted Ravioli's
This recipe was a new one to me that I tried for the first time last year at one of the cooking times I hosted for our Bridge Community outreach.  My colleague and friend, Andrea was teaching us how to make HOMEMADE raviolis!  I fell in love with this recipe, however, I don't make them homemade.  It can easily be done by buying frozen raviolis.  The homemade version is delish though!
2 tablespoons milk
1 egg
3/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs (this can easily be done by just adding some basil and oregano to some plain bread crumbs)
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/2 (25 ounce) package frozen raviolis (any flavor)
vegetable oil for frying (enough to generously cover the bottom of the pan, but you don't want too much)
grated Parmesan cheese
marinara sauce
Combine milk and egg in a small bowl. Place breadcrumbs and if desired, salt in a shallow bowl. Dip ravioli in milk mixture, then coat with breadcrumbs. 
In a large heavy pan, pour oil about an inch deep. Heat oil over medium heat until a small amount of breading sizzles and turns brown. Fry ravioli, a few at a time, 1 minute on each side or until golden. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve immediately with hot marinara sauce.  
I hope you've found some new recipes to try!

18 May 2011

Weekend Visitor for San Isidro

We wrapped up our weekend festivities by attending the local carnival in celebration of San Isidro.  It's standard fare to have all kinds of food and rides,  pretty much just like in the States.
We had a tag along for the weekend.
Introducing Moli!
He attended church with us.
Reegan, Moli & Me by the stage.  Lots of singin' going on!
One of my favorite foods and one of the things I am determined to make before we move is Paella.
 We let the kids chose one ride.  I know, mean ole parents only letting them ride one thing, but whoa nellie is it expensive!!  It's €3 ($4.25) a kid!!  They all happened to choose the same thing, the Sponge Bob bounce house.

 We splurged in the eating department though and got a cotton candy (that we all shared) and then got ice cream.
 Since the rides were so expensive we let the kids play at the nearby park.  Had to run off all that sugar and fat!

 We were all fairly tired by days end.  Especially Moli and Reegan!
You might notice Karis is missing from a lot of the pics.  It is hard to get that girl to be still for a second!  Ha!

Back to life as normal.  Or as normal as it can be for the end of the school year, with a move in the nearby future, applying for a new school and looking for apartments with planning a vacation stuck in there!

15 May 2011

Saint Isidro

We got a note home that, once again, we needed to purchase costumes, called chulapos for the boys and chulapas for the girls for the Fiesta of San Isidro.  I had no idea what that was!  Since our, never to be forgotten shepherd costume incident, I've been a bit worried if I'm doing things correctly.
So, I went to Google!  In my Googling, I came across Nieve's blog.   I wish I had found her sooner.  Nieve is a Madrileña (that is the name of people who are from Madrid) with a blog in English (she has blogs in Spanish too).  And she wrote about San Isidro last year.  I asked Nieve if I could post it here for you.  Here is what she explained about this celebration.
Each Spanish city has its own saint patron, to honour which there holidays celebrated, ceremonial masses and festivals are organized. Spanish people still follow this tradition and saint patron days are widely celebrated not only in large cities but also in small villages.

According to the legend, Saint Isidro was born in 1087 in a Christian family that lived in the small Madgerit city, which is now Madrid. When the boy grew old, he started doing peasant work for his landowner Juan de Vargas. At the same time, he revealed an unusual ability to find sources of drinking water, which made him popular all around the neighbourhood and which combined with great devotion and kindness. St. Isidro lived a long life till 90. Little by little he became one of the most esteemed Madrid saints and in XVI century there was a chapel built on the place where St. Isidro revealed the spring. In 1610 he was officially canonized and was named the patron of Madrid.

This celebration starts Sunday before May 15th and lasts a whole week and you can participate in a lot of celebrations organized in many places in the city and you feel as part of one culture, following our (I was born in Madrid) ancestor’s traditions.

Many madrileños wear the traditional dresses “chulapa dress” (for the girls) and “chulapo suit” (for the boys). The word “chulapo” comes from the word “chulo” that in Spanish language is a derogatory term meaning someone is full of oneself….. and so, madrileños are often described as “chulos” by people from other parts of Spain. And although San Isidro and his wife, Santa Maria de la Cabeza were poor people famous for their generosity giving food to the poor, now this celebration is an excuse for big celebrations.

Thank you Nieve for this explanation!

On Friday the kids were to wear their outfits that afternoon.  They would have a little party and then do some dancing.
Here are my little chulos!

Dancing! (don't they look excited? Ha!)
 (excuse the fuzziness in the middle, we had to take pictures through some bars)
 Here is a video that Jerry put together of all the pictures and some video (email subscribers can click here)

Stay tuned for our trip to the carnival to celebrate San Isidro!

13 May 2011

Where's the Tooth Fairy?

The kids took a school trip to a farm yesterday.  I wish I could have strapped a video or camera to them to see what all they got to do.  Trying to get the details out of them was like pulling teeth!
Speaking of teeth, Karis is losing them left and right.  In just the past couple of weeks she has lost THREE!  Both her top teeth and now a bottom tooth.  We have had a couple of incidences where the, ahem, Tooth Fairy has shirked her duties.  The first top tooth, the Tooth Fairy forgot to come!  Oops!  I convinced her that because she lost it so late in the evening, the Tooth Fairy didn't get it scheduled.  Karis seemed to understand that.  She came the next evening (while Karis was out to a late dinner with the family).  The second top tooth the Tooth Fairy got it scheduled and made it that night.  Whew!
This last one the Tooth Fairy forgot didn't come again. Luckily, it came out right before bed so the "not being able to get it scheduled" worked again.  Saved!!

Of course, in between all this she is question who the Tooth Fairy is.  A friend told her he saw his parents one night.  So now she mentions that from time to time.  Then she'll turn around and think through it and say "You can't be the Tooth Fairy!" 

We've got lots more teeth to go between her, Brennan & Reegan! 
I've got to, I mean the Tooth Fairy has got to start setting a timer from now on!!  Ha!

11 May 2011

The Royals

Last Friday I had a coffee time with some ladies from church. 
Half the ladies there were from the UK and of course our gossip talk turned to the royal wedding!  We were discussing a popular British magazine called "Hello!"  Last week's edition was all about the wedding.  My hubby was in London part of last week for some meetings.  So I had the idea to send him a quick message to pick up a copy for me!

And do you know what?!

I found out when he got home that he had already gotten it BEFORE I sent the message!  Does he know me well or what?!  He was a bit proud of himself!  Ha!

I am savoring every page and reading every bit of info.  I find the royals fascinating!

 My very own "Hello!" magazine!
Pictures of the Queen's wedding in 1947!
The Spanish Royals!  Queen Sofia, Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia were in attendance!
Didn't know until this picture that they were expecting, a girl!  Does she ever smile for pics?  I don't think I've ever seen it, if so!
 I've been a bit enamored with Autumn and Zara Phillips, for some reason.  

The cake only gets a bottom corner of the page?  It's more news worthy than that!!

And I'm only half way through!!


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