Tuesday, November 29, 2011

it's cold!

The title says it all!  It is officially winter here!  The house feels like I have stacked tons of ice in every room.  And remember, we don't have any heat in the house.

Living in Mexico doesn't allow me to escape the cold winters of Indiana.  I have escaped the snow, but not the cold!

The other day I was laying in bed and thought how, all of a sudden, the weather had started to get colder.  I got my phone and looked at the temp.  It showed 39 F.  That is cold.

Then the next day I thought it felt even colder.  I checked.  And, yes.  It was colder than the day before.

And, today.  I woke up and was thankful that I really didn't have to get out of bed right away because of this ridiculous temperature showing on my phone.  And is that a snow icon?  NO!

Out of all my purchases during my visit to the States, my electric blanket has to be my favorite!  It is so cold in the house that I haven't even bothered making the bed today.  That way if I want to get under the warm blanket, the bed is ready!

You won't see the control under "High" most of the time. 

Thankfully we have a space heater, too.  It is sitting next to me right now.  You can see how cold it is in the house even when the thing is on!  That 63 F on it is the temp!  This space heater has a thermostat built in.  I have it set on 75 F but it will never turn off because it won't reach that.  I have had it on for the past handful of hours while I have been working and it is still at 63 F. 

At night it goes in the girls' room.  Lucky for them, their room is the warmest in the house.  It is easy to heat.  The thermostat actually serves a purpose in their room.  I will set it around 72 F and it turns off and on throughout the night to keep them nice and toasty.

One other great use for our space heater is to use it in the bathroom.  Try showering when it is 60 F in your house.  Not fun!  I put it in the bathroom and let the room warm up.  This was the temp in the bathroom the other day right before the girls took a bath.  They would have turned into popsicles without the heater.

I even hooked Colbie up.  I bought him a sweatshirt that he wears around the clock.  Also, that red bed is heated.  He stays outside so it is important to have him warm.  He shakes when it is 80 F outside.  Since he has been wearing his sweatshirt, I haven't seen him shake!  I'm sure he is happy.

Since it is so cold, I finished working, put on some Christmas music on Pandora, and wrapped some presents.  I was inches away from the space heater the whole time.  I think it is time to turn on the oven and warm up the house that way.

Friday, November 25, 2011

first week of school

We are officially one week into our school year.  The girls seem to be really digging it.  Today, when I said we were finished, Bella made a noise indicating "oh man, I want to do some more".

Here are a few pages from their "Mathematical Reasoning" workbook.  It seems they already know the material that we are covering.  I just add things to help make it not so basic.  Like, writing the number that the book is referring to, etc.

There are books that specifically work on tracing, pasting, coloring, drawing, cutting and folding.  Here they are working on the pasting book.

Their favorite is when we do a science experiment.  The other day we filled the test tubes with water and dropped a color tablet in each test tube.  We discussed what was happening with the tablet (it dissolved) and why they couldn't see it anymore and where it went.  Today we used the colored water to show that when you mix two colors, it produces a different color.  This really blew their minds!

Having used the materials that were included in the curriculum, I am very pleased that I picked this one.  It seems to be laid out really well and the girls are enjoying "school". 

Even though this is just Pre-school and it isn't required, I am still documenting every day's activities for each of them.  I figure it will get me in the habit for when we start the school year next year, being that Kindergarten is required.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

happy thanksgiving!

This was my first Thanksgiving in Mexico. While we didn't have turkey or ham, it turned out well.  Since it is just the four of us, the turkeys and hams at Costco were just too big.  I wasn't look forward to eating leftover turkey for the next month.  So chicken it was!

Here is a little glimpse at our dinner.

(all photos were taken with my iPhone...so, sorry about the quality)

We had chicken.

Roasted parmesan green beans, carrots, corn, and mashed potatoes (not pictured because honestly, they are not that pretty).

Dinner rolls that took twelve and a half years to make.

And for dessert, carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese icing and cheesecake (not pictured because it is kind of boring looking).

I also made a nice big pitcher of Lipton iced tea. That is a treat around here!

Hope everyone's Thanksgiving was great!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

the tree is up!

Yeah, I know, Thanksgiving is tomorrow and I already have the tree up?  And?

Technically, we don't have Thanksgiving here in Mexico, so I don't feel the need to wait.  And, like I just told a friend, if I could have the tree up year-round without it making me seem crazy, I would!  Totally!

I wish I had more Christmas decorations.  The choices here are limited.  I wish for a stroll down the aisles of Target the day after Christmas.  Oh how I would buy, buy, buy!  Then the house would be like Winter Wonderland during the holidays!

And since we already declared yestereday that I am NOT Martha Stewart, making holiday decorations is out of the question.  I want them to be cute.  Not tacky!

So, I present you the holiday house of the Ramirez family. 

Our tiny little tree.  I believe this is the last year for this guy.  We are upgrading next year!

"And the stockings were hung from the door with care."  Oh, that isn't what they said?

Why not hang this from the light?  And, notice my candlestick holder?  :)

Just some holiday cheer.

And some more holiday cheer.

This is Colbie's (our dog) stocking.  He is trying his best to be a good boy this year.

Some festive placemats that are in desparate need of being ironed. (I hate to tell them that it is not happening today!)

And the alcohol needs to feel festive, too!
We put all this out this past Sunday.  When I asked the girls if they wanted to get the tree out, Jorge looked at me with those eyes that say, "Are you serious?"  Heck yeah!  The girls were all for it, too!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I'm resourceful, not Martha Stewart.

Most of you know that I am homeschooling the girls, starting this year.  Actually, we just started yesterday.  Our first day went pretty well.  The girls were very well-behaved and paid attention and followed directions as best as I could have expected.

I think preparing and organizing all the material the week before is the key.  I can't imagine the girls sitting still, waiting patiently, while I read through things and try to figure out what to do next.  So, definitely prepping was a smart thing to do.

The reason for our late start to the school year was because I ordered and shipped all the materials to my mom's house in the States.  Timberdoodle, the company I ordered from, offered to ship here to Mexico.  But, I thought it was a bit pricey and could mail them myself for cheaper.  Which I did!

Along with the stuff from Timberdoodle, I ordered some school/craft supplies from Discount School Supply.  Their prices were great.  And, I ended up finding a discount code and got free shipping!  Can't beat that.  Now we are set!

You will see in the pictures below that I now have so much stuff that I had to buy another shelving unit from Cantia so we could keep everything organized and easily accessible.

I bought buttons, pipe cleaners, pom poms, colored and natural craft sticks....

a large assortment of stamps and stamp pads....

crayons, markers, colored pencils....

stencils, self-adhesive magnets, wiggly eyes, erasers, pencil sharpeners...

incentive charts...

And you ask what all this has to do with the title of the blog post?  Let me explain.

I bought advent candles for the girls to do leading up to Christmas.  My friend, Heather, mentioned doing the advent Christmas candles when she was little and how much she liked it.  She found a seller on Ebay that had cute ones.  So, I bought several of them. 

The thing I didn't buy was a candlestick holder.  And, for some reason, am having trouble finding one here.  I starting brainstorming (I know, very dangerous for me.) and was trying to figure out how I could make one myself.  I thought, I have all these craft supplies, surely I can come up with something.

Attempt #1:  FAILURE!

Colored rice and a hot glue gun.

The idea was that I would create a base of the rice, then glue the candle onto the base, and finish by gluing more rice around the candlestick.  Rice and hot glue don't mix very well. I should have realized that from the start.  It was literally a hot, sticky mess!  Lesson learned.

Attempt #2:  SUCCESS!  (If success means it looks good enough to NOT throw away.)

Red and green craft sticks and a hot glue gun.

Now I have a candlestick holder.  It might not be the most secure, safest candlestick holder.  But, it is good enough for this year.  And, it isn't like I am going to hand the candle and matches over to the girls and let them have free range.  This is a supervised advent activity. 

On my list of things to buy:  Christmas candlestick holder

Monday, November 21, 2011

Wii time!

During my visit to the States I purchased many things!  Every time I go (and the month or so prior to going), I buy things like they are going out of style.

I compare it to stocking up for a blizzard.  You know, when you know the weather is going to be bad, you go to the store and stock up on essentials.  For me, living in Mexico, I am confused about what exactly the essentials are.  Almost everything I see looks like an "essential" to me! HA!

One of the things I bought this trip was a Wii.  I originally intended to save it and give it to Jorge for Christmas.  But, I'm not good at waiting.  So, he knew I bought it before I even left to go to the States.  Yeah, I'm bad.

Anyway, we have had lots of fun with it.  I bought several games while I was there at a used game store.  Boy am I glad I did.  I have seen some of the prices of games here and I about crapped my pants!  I thought $40 to $50 was a lot for a game.  Here I have seen some games cost as much as $80.  Just one more thing I will remain to buy from the States!

I bought the Just Dance for Kids.  The girls are more than thrilled with the game. Check them out in action!

I'll refrain from ever having video of me taken while playing any of the dancing games.  I am a white girl through and through and my moves are less than perfect. :)

During our trip on Friday to Aguascalientes, I found a Wii Fit at Costco.  I bought that sucker and have been working out for the past few days.  Let me tell you, it works! 

Another great thing about the Wii is accessing our Netflix account through the console.  This past week Jorge was on vacation and between playing the Wii and watching movies/tv shows through the Wii, I don't think he got off the couch that much.  But, that is OK.  He deserved the downtime.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Indy visit, part 3

This visit we decided to go to Indianapolis Children's Museum.  The girls had never been before.  And, it has been at least 5 years or so since I have been there. 

Let me tell you, if you haven't been before, it is HUGE!  I guess it is the largest children's museum in the country.  At least that is what I have been told. 

We spent 5 hours there and just skimmed through most of the place.  And, by the end of the day I was more than ready to go.  We had lots of fun.  But, it is a big place.  Lots of walking.

The girls were the perfect age this year.  They had so much fun.  We hadn't even gotten into the museum yet and they were thrilled as can be.  There was a covered catwalk from the parking garage to the museum.  They saw the dinosaurs on the outside of the building and got excited!

Once we got into the main lobby, they had Bumblebee from the Transporters.  This is the actual one from the movie.  Pretty cool.  Emily was too thrilled to stop looking at it for me to get a picture of her.

Once we were past the gates they had their mascot (can't remember his name) walking around.  Emily was over the moon with him.  Bella could care less. 

In the middle of the museum they have a large, and I mean LARGE, glass scuplture.  It is really cool!

The lowest level of the museum displays the bottom of the sculpture.

Emily found her hero's cape!  A very exciting moment for her.  :)  Here is her standing next to the original Batman's cape.

They had a Barbie exhibit going.  Emily and Bella posed at the Barbie desk.  They were in the middle of some very important business.

I remember this train being there from back in the day when I was a wee little one.  While a lot of the museum has changed and they have added on, some things remain the same. 

The dinosaur exhibit has to be the coolest.  The lights were dimmed, the room felt cool in temperature and it was just plain neat. 

The girls were doing some digging of their own.  Emily is working the safety glasses.

It was a fun day.  And thanks to my cousin Lindsey, we got in free!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Our trip, part 2

The weather, outside of a handful of cold rainy days, was excellent while we were there.  The girls took full advantage of all the room to run.  And all the grass!

First, here is the continuation from my last post.  Every year we go down the street to our friend Missy's house and go trick or treating with her little boy, Alex (he is the all black Batman).  He is BFFs with the girls.  As you can see, it is a workout for the kids since the yards are so big!  They definitely deserve some of that candy by the end of the evening.

My mom lives next to an elementary school.  The girls love going over to the playground.  I don't think they walked the whole trip.  They were always running.

When the playground wasn't enough for them they would come back and ride their bikes in the driveway.

And, usually that still wasn't enough for them.  Then they would resort to the backyard.  I think I just now realize why I was tired the whole trip.  Watching them with their non-stop action will make anyone tired.

Most of what I did consisted of shopping and eating all the great food!  I did manage to get the girls to go to a Mexican restaurant that Jorge and I used to go to all the time.  While there Bella overheard the employees speaking Spanish and she asked, "Why are they speaking Spanish?".  I guess being in the States confused her of why she would hear people speaking anything but English.  I need to get her out more.  But, here she would just continue to hear Spanish... :)

And, I would say my favorite part of the trip was seeing all my friends.  My mom watched the girls several times for me so I could go socialize.  Here is a picture from a night I met up with some of my friends, Heather, Julie, Jenni and Amy.  We went to my friend Bradley's restaurant.  It was great fun! 

Stay tuned tomorrow for a continuation!