Friday, July 29, 2011

a little about me and you

A while back I renamed my blog "This is Life".  When I started it back in 2008, after moving to Mexico, I had titled it "Life in Mexico".  I changed it because I realized it didn't matter where I was living and didn't want my focus to be on the fact that I am in Mexico.  Life is life no matter where you are located.

Of course I talk about it here and there, comparing things, even three years later, to how here is different from there.  But, overall, my life is not Mexico and I don't want to dwell on it.  There are more fun things to talk about than Mexico.

A few months ago I found a whole community of people that are in a similar situation.  And, that community is nice to belong to.  So, having said that, I am going to join the expat community in a blog challenge.

This originated at Lisa's blog, From One Country to Another.  She created a set of questions so we could get to know a little more about each other.  Even my non-expat readers could learn something about me.  If you want to participate, please do and link up in the comments.

1. How long have you been with your husband?
We have been together seven years and in September will have been married for 5 years.

2. Can you remember a funny miscommunication due to language barriers?
I can't recall any funny miscommunication.  But, there have been miscommunication, some due to the language barrier.  None stick out in my mind, though.

3. Where have you relocated?
In May 2008 I moved to Jalostotitlan, Jalisco.  If you find Guadalajara and Aguascalientes on a map and draw a line between the two cities, we are pretty much in the middle of those two places.

4. Do you have any children?
We sure do. As you might have noticed, part of this blog is dedicated to our crazy girls.  Annabella is 4 and will be 5 on December 31.  Emily is 3.  She just turned 3 on March 6.  They were 16 months and 2 months when we moved here so this whole "living in Mexico" thing is normal to them.

5. What is one thing that your blogger friends don’t know about you?
I would say the one thing they don't know is that I played clarinet from 5th grade through my senior year of high school.  And, just to clarify, I was NOT a band nerd! (That was for you, Marla.)

6. How did you stumble upon the blogging community?
Well, I stumbled onto a expat forum and was just looking around at all the questions.  Someone posted Leslie of Motherhood in Mexico's blog and she had a sizable list of "mexpats".  I commented on a few blogs and ever since I have joined the "community".  I have to say, I have "meet" a few people that I just have hit it off with and seem like there is definitely a friendship forming.  That is what I like most about it. 

7. Have you learned something new about yourself through the immigration process?
I already knew I don't like waiting, so I can't claim the immigration process allowed me to learn that.  I would say...that I do have the ability to relax a bit.  I can just take one day at a time and not worry about the future, too much.  I didn't think I could do that.  But, thanks to all this loveliness, I am doing exactly that.  It is refreshing in a way.

8. What is something that you love about your new country and what is something that you cannot stand (or greatly miss from your home country)?
I can't really say there is anything that I "love" about the country, but I do like that living here has allowed the girls to experience their Mexican heritage.  And the full immersion has produced two bilingual little girls.  It's really cute to hear them having conversations in Spanish with each other.  Also, I like that life is more laid back down here.

I miss lots of things.  I make up for some of them with a little thing called the US Post Office and a mother that is willing to box up stuff and mail it to me.  Of course I miss my family and friends.  Even though we get to visit the States fairly regularly, it isn't the same. 

9. Did you know your in-laws before moving? Has it been an adjustment being closer to them?
I had visited twice, once for a couple days and the other right before I moved here.  At first it was a HUGE adjustment.  We live, literally, down the street from my in-laws.  Now I rely on my mother-in-law to watch the girls for me.  They all seem very nice and have no issues with me.  That I know of. :)

10. If you were going to your home country next week, where is the first place you would go after seeing your family?
I'm not going next week, but I will be there in October.  I have a ritual for each time I visit.  My mom picks us up from the airport, we head to her house and I leave the girls with my parents and head straight to Target!  I try to squeeze Target in as much as possible on my visits!  Love that place.  But, who doesn't?  And, why isn't there any in Mexico!?
11. What is your favorite pasttime?
Being down here, in the house most of the time, I have to have many pasttimes.  My "favorite" changes from week to week.  Or month to month.  I might be on a reading kick.  Right now with my Kindle broken, I have been obsessed with the internet and food blogs.  I love finding new recipes to try.  It is a challenge because finding all the necessary ingredients isn't always easy.

nothing new

I have admitted that I didn't cook much when we lived in the States.  Here I cook all the time.  And, while most of the time I don't mind, sometimes you just get tired of it.

Going to the grocery store couldn't be more routine.  I always make a list of things I need for the meals I am going to make, but I am not sure why.  They usually involve the same ingredients, just different results happen.

The boring part is there are no good snacking type of pre-made items at the grocery store.  Every time we go, after getting back home and putting the groceries away, I always expect to open the fridge and see something good to snack on.

Nope.  Never happens. While I do like fruit and vegetables, they don't always hit the spot.  But, that is the majority of our shopping trip.

If you want something to snack on, you have to MAKE it!  Bummer!  Just take a peek into our fridge.

You see.  I swear I keep opening the door expecting to find something different. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

is she serious!?

Normally I don't like to fuss about other blogs, especially in a negative light.  And, I usually don't post negative comments on other people's blogs.  I go the route that if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all.

But, a blog that I frequently read bothered me the other day.  I thought instead of making some pointless comment on her blog, I would vent on my own blog.

I remember standing in Goodwill a few years back with my friend Heather.  We were looking for jeans for the girls.  I told her I just wanted regular jeans with no embellishments on them.  No characters, no flowers, no anything.  She didn't totally understand why.  She had the logic that if one of the girls like Elmo, why not buy pants with Elmo on them.  And, I understand her logical totally.  For jeans I just like them to be able to be worn with anything.  So that is why I don't want the jeans to be decorated.  But, the girls do have pants with stuff on them.  So, my line of thinking went out the window a while back.

But, for shirts, whatever goes.  If the girls like Elmo, then they can have an Elmo shirt.  Whatever characters the girls have been into, they have several clothing items (underwear, socks, jammies, shirts...) of them.

The post that bothered me was talking about character clothing.  And, the way she stated it, I just couldn't believe it.  I guess it just hit a raw nerve or something.  To me, the way it came across was that she is a better mother because she puts her kids in non-character clothes.  Maybe I am being too sensitive.

These are the parts that bugged me:

"I totally went against my better judgment last week and bought an "ugly princess shirt"...or some fabric (from Joann) that I thought was not very cute, but Owen liked it."

"So on this particular shopping day, we were on the flannel aisle and Owen spotted the frog fabric and got excited. I decided that a 1/2 yard can't hurt. No one really sees jammies anyway; I'm a little more lenient with what my kids wear to bed. Lucy however, was begging for a real bad Princess Tiana fleece print which I definitely vetoed. Sorry Luce."

So, she let the boy pick out the stuff she didn't like but didn't let the girl.  And, the fabric is for jammies!  I mean, come on!
Does this make me a bad mother because of these pictures?

OH NO!  A dreaded "ugly princess" shirt!  What will we do!  Burn this picture immediately!

But, it is SOMETIMES OK to let them wear these since they are jammies.  Although, the "ugly princess" one that Bella is wearing might not be...

sorry for the poor quality...used the iPhone in bad lighting

Whatever the girls like I will buy for them.  Heck, half the time I am lucky to get Emily to wear clothes at all.  So, if she needs a Batman shirt or Woody shirt in order to wear something, then that is fine with me.

I do agree, the girls look SO cute when they are wearing a non-character piece of clothing.

But that doesn't mean that is all they should wear.  Looking through the comments on the blog I saw a comment that really stuck out.  The lady mentioned that she remembered being younger and LOVING her CareBear and other character shirts.  So, she gets them for her kids.

I am right there with agreeing that for certain times, non-character clothes are more appropriate.  But eliminating them totally just doesn't make sense. 

And I know I am not a bad mom due to letting the girls wear these types of clothes. But I just couldn't get over how Dana talked about it.  And that she refused the Tiana fabric for jammies for her girl.  What!?

It obviously left a really bad taste in my mouth.  And makes me not even want to read this lady's blog anymore.  I feel like she thinks she is a better person because of what she chooses for her kids to wear.  I guess I could summarize it by saying she judges.  Just see how she starts out the blog post.  Unreal! 

OK.  I'm over it now!  I feel a little better.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

apple pie

When I moved to Mexico I came knowing little or nothing about cooking.  When I put my belongings up for sale when I was preparing for the big move, I sold lots of things I wish I had kept.  Since then I have replaced most things and actually use them now.

Moving down here changed how I cooked.  I HAD to.  Of course there are places we can pick up food to go, but there are only so many choices.

Over time I have learned to cook many things and most of them I have to do from scratch.  Wish we had a Kroger to stop in and pick up things.  But, that is not an option down here.

Thankfully the internet has been a wonderful tool.  Each week I look at several food blogs trying to find new recipes to try.

The first time I wanted to make an apple pie I turned to the internet.  I am sure there were tons of recipes available but I narrowed it down to one.  The first one I tried turned out wonderfully so I never looked for a replacement recipe.

I don't remember where I found the recipe, but if memory serves me, I believe it was somewhere on  I liked the recipe because, not only did they have a recipe for the pie filling, they had an attached recipe for the pastry shell.  Remember, no Kroger to pick up the prepackaged ones!

I figured I would give you the recipe so you can try it out for yourself.


2 1/2 c AP flour
4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp fine salt
14 Tbsp cold butter, diced
1 egg, lightly beaten w/ 2 Tbsp cold water

2 Tbsp lemon or lime juice
3 lbs apples
2/3 c sugar
1/4 c butter
1/4 tsp cinnamon (I use a lot more)
pinch of nutmeg (and more of this, too)
1 egg, lightly beaten


Dough:  In a bowl, whisk flour, sugar and salt.  Using a pastry blender or fork (or a food processor if you are cool, unlike me) and work the butter into the dry ingredients.  Once it is like cornmeal with small chunks, add the egg-water mixture and combine with a fork.  Once combined, form into a disk, put in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Filling:  Cut apples and put in a large bowl.

Pour sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and lime/lemon juice onto the apples and mix together until apples are well coated.

In a large skillet, melt the butter and then add the apple mixture to the skillet.  Cook until soften, maybe 15 to 20 minutes.  (While you are waiting for the apples to soften, prepare your pie shell.)  Using a slotted spoon, remove the apples, leaving the syrupy mixture in the skillet, and put in the pie shell.  Once all the apples are removed, continue to cook the cinnamon sugar mixture until it caramelizes some, just for a few minutes.  Then pour the syrup over the apples.

Put the top of the pie crust on and brush the surface with the beaten egg wash.

Cook in 375 degree oven for 50 minutes (or until crust is golden).


Monday, July 25, 2011

what's for dinner

Last night we took a trip to the grocery store.  On the way Bella said she was hungry.  Thinking that I could buy whatever food she was wanting, I asked her what she wanted to eat.

Her response:  "Chuck E Cheese"

It has been about 7 months since we were in the States and went to Chuck E Cheese.  We went this past November for their friend Alex's birthday. 

We told them that when we take our trip to the States in a few month, then we can go.  But it is just too far from here.  Bella seemed OK with that answer but her next request was out of the question too. 

She wanted "Old Mac Donald's".  I asked her, "McDonald's or Old Mac Donald's".  She said "Old Mac Donalds'".  Strike two.

It has been about 2 months since they have been but the place never leaves their mind.  It's probably due to the large indoor playground that McDonald's has.

We might have to make a trip to Old Mac Donald's this weekend.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

a found use

My last trip to Cantia I bought these little storage containers.  They are not made very well and are really small.  But seeing them there sitting on the shelf in the store, I just couldn't pass them up.  They were only $15 pesos (approx. $1.30 USD) for a set of 6.  Surely I can find some use for them.

They have just been sitting in my kitchen cabinets since I bought them.  I did use one once to put ranch dressing in for Bella to dip some carrots.

Then the other day the girls were wanting to do a crafting project and I realized those little containers would be perfect for them to use.

So, we got out the containers and put some beans, macaroni, yarn, colored rice and glue in them.  The girls had their own little containers to use. Perfect!

They had fun, made minimal mess and felt like artists.  I think these little containers have found their intended purpose.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

pictures around Jalos

Nothing very exciting is going on so I thought I would just give you something to look at today.

I took all of this pictures around Jalos over the past 3 years.

The cemetary in town.

Natural wildlife.  Ok, maybe not.  You see cows everywhere here.  This one and I had a moment.

A side shot of the main church in town.

Bella walking near some farm area.

A donkey grazing outside of someone's home.

A pretty nice house out in the "country".

Nice open area for the cows.

A view of inside the cemetary.

This is outside of Jorge's grandma's house.

An OLD truck on the side of a dirt road.

 This is the road that leads to where Bella was walking in the picture above.

A hot air balloon floating past our house.

The only park with some grass in Jalos. 

A road that leads to "downtown".

Friday, July 22, 2011

why I miss my kindle

We live in a small town.  When I say small, I am not talking about the small towns that you picture in the US.  The ones that have one or no stop lights.  The one that has Main St. and the one General Store on Main St. 

I remember when my parents came to visit they were surprised by the town where I live.  They were probably picturing the scenario above because I would complain about how small it it is here. 

I have always lived in Indianapolis.  And while it is no New York City, it is a city.  A decent sized one that has anything you could want.  So, moving here I got transported into a small town.  While we don't have any stop lights, we do have about 30,000 people.  But, we are all shoved into a considerably small area.

Anyways, I am rambling.  My point is that this is a commercial free zone.  Most of the stores here are the Mom and Pop type joints. You won't find any big grocery store or fast food joint or chain restaurant.

For all of our commercialization needs we travel about 1.5 hours to Aguascalientes.  It has most things that I need/want.

But, being that we are in Mexico, there are a small number of books in English that I have stumbled upon.  And, opposite of probably the small town image, you are picturing only one isle of a store with books that are in English. 

No.  No.  No.  It is MUCH smaller.  Take a look.

I wish I hadn't broken it.


One of the times I was visiting Indy I saw some crazy bird activity.  I had never seen anything like it before.

I have seen when there is a large flock of birds flying in the air, but have never seen them touch down.

There were so many that my camera doesn't do justice at all.

They kept landing and taking off again.  Over and over.

I am amazed how they know what direction to go and do it without knocking into each other.

It was just such an odd sight.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


We had a foggy morning today.

It has cleared up now but I still want to act like it is foggy outside so I can cozy up in my bed and watch some TV on the internet! 

Monday, July 18, 2011


I have been tagged!  Sarah over at Greenga Girl tagged me to play along in a little game.  Here is her post.  How fun!  There are 7 categories and you pick one of your own blog post to best fit the category.

Actually, it was harder than I thought it would be.  But, I came up with the seven blog posts that I think fill in the blank.

Most beautiful post:

For a not so obvious reason I am picking Fun in the Sun! as my most beautiful post.  When I first moved to Mexico I thought, due to our financial restraints, that we wouldn't be able to take a family vacation.  But, this past May we had a family vacation!  It was the first time the girls had seen the ocean.  So in a way it is my most beautiful post.

Most popular post:

Surprisingly my most popular post is Overnight Guest.  It has been view almost 3 times more than the 2nd most popular post.  The title is so vague I'm not really sure how it became the most popular, but it is.

Most controversial post:

I find that I don't really post anything controversial.  The post I chose is controversial in a way that relates to my personal life.  I would say that my post Bittersweet is the most controversial thing I have written about when it relates to my life.  My actions might not have been understood by everyone. 

Most helpful post:

Looking back through my posts I don't think I have written anything "helpful" for anyone.  BUT, I sometimes find myself reading back through my blog and have found that it helps me.  So, while I know I didn't help anyone else with this post, it seems to help me.  I picked One Year.  Just looking at the picture of Jorge seeing Emily for the first time reminds me that moving down here was the right thing.  And, I can see that some of the things I complained about are not even worthy of complaints.

A post whose success surprised me:

I picked my very first post Five Months and Counting for this category.  Because honestly I am surprised that anyone would be interested in reading my blog.  So, here we are almost 3 years later and we are still going.  It is nice and still surprising that I have people that read this thing. 

A post that didn't get the attention I felt it deserved:

This category is kind of weird to choose something.  The way I narrowed it down was a post that was crazy but didn't have many comments.  I haven't even seen how many people viewed it. So, for little reasons I am picking Flying Solo Yet Not Solo for this category.

Post I'm most proud of:

After looking through my blog I selected Settling In as the post I am most proud of.  It seem to be the time where I FINALLY accepted living here in Mexico.  I had gone back to live in the US because I didn't think it was my place to be down here.  But, I realized that I needed to be with my family.  Jorge, the girls and myself needed to be together no matter what.  It was going to be the first time I had no income living in Mexico.  I really was giving up everything to come back.  It ends up that a few months later is when I got offered a job.  Everything fell into place and I haven't regretted once coming back.  I am proud of myself for choosing the right path.  I can tell you it wasn't easy getting to that point. 

There you have it.  It wasn't easy to come up with those.  I try to keep this blog light and entertaining.  Some of those categories were hard to pick from my blog. 

Anyway, I am supposed to tag others but I'm really not sure who to tag so I will let you decided if you have been tagged or not.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

bad hair barbie

I'm sitting here at my computer watching Life Unexpected.  I have been having my own marathon.  My friend Heather suggested that I might like it.  She was right.

But, my marathon isn't really possible without interruptions from the little ones.  About every 5 minutes I pause the show because one of the girls wants something.  So, a 42 minute show takes about 2 hours. But, that's OK.

My most current interruption was kind of cute.  Emily comes walking in here with a Barbie in hand.  A Barbie with crazy hair.

She told me that the Barbie's hair was just a mess and she wanted me to put it in ponytails.  She already had gotten a few hair bands and a brush.  I put it up and gave it back to her.

About 2 minutes later she comes back to me and wants me to do her hair like Barbie's.  This, my friends, is unexpected.  Emily thinks she is a cowboy and cowboys don't do their hair.

Now her and Barbie share the same look.

Friday, July 15, 2011

sleeping beauty

Bella thinks she is a princess, really.

I have a picture to prove it.