Tip for enjoying Halloween: “Don’t text and fly!”

Love it! Happy Halloween! 😮

Ending the 20 days of a Joyful Christmas… our wishes for a very happy holiday season!

#holidays @postaday #Christmas #imagesofjoy

Front & BackOur Family's 'Happy Holidays' Card
Front & Back
Our Family’s ‘Happy Holidays’ Card

Image #20: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Our Happy Holidays Card!

3 days away! This year, they made it to his ‘Good List’!

Image #17: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Anxiously waiting to see if they made it to Santa’s “Good List”… I guess they did! 😮

4 days away! And according to our 3 Mayan Calendars… it’ll be a Happy Solstice!

Image #16: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Mayan Calendar

Backstory: Our family’s got Portuguese, Spanish, English, French, Mexican, Native American [and who knows what else!] heritage. All into the very same pot… and due to work, we’re bound to the foreign service life(style). That said, we like to ‘collect things along the way’, as we travel, as we move from country to country. And funny enough, we do not not have ONE Mayan Calendar. We have THREE… We like the pieces, and I don’t think they’re any indication of the ‘end of an Era‘- let alone, the end of this world we call home…

And right now, since we were able to get our stuff/household effects from our last post, the calendars are mounted to the wall…. Next to an Elf Stocking (!) and a ‘twinkling plant’, surrounded by tiny colorful Xmas lights. As you may see, we’re a pretty eclectic family… We believe in Christmas Morning Magic, Santa, Elves… and everyone gets along just fine, around the Mayan predictions!

Now, go over for the quick explanation from NASA… Happy Solstice! 😮

 

5 days away! Santa Claus and his wonderful stories…

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Image #15: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Silently listening to Santa, while he reads a Christmas story…

Silent kids during “Breakfast with Santa? Surprising!

What wouldn’t one do to be on ‘his good list’? 😮

 

Early Christmas gift: …and the winner of the 2012 Expats Blog Awards Bolivia is…

Expat Blogs

… this blog! 😮 Gold it is!

blog award goldI’d like to thank you all for reading, suggesting, commenting, checking the blogposts out… Thanks for the positive feedback!

Thank you for showing support through the great comments you’ve written.

One fan says: 3rd Culture Children has a wonderfully diverse mix of cultural posts, photography, food, local and daily life, and just general musings on life. It is a blog that gives you a glimpse of life as an expat, not life as a tourist living temporarily somewhere other than “home.”

If there are any suggestions or questions, please feel free to give me a shout… or Tweet along, or check the Facebook page [see right sidebar]… but I do believe the easiest way will continue to be this one over here: leaving your usual thoughtful comments at this blog… 😮 Thanks!

Now, as the tired involved mom I’m, back from the last day at the kids school, enjoying their end-of-the-year stage performance, the best way to celebrate this achievement is hiding from the kids and taking a nap, enjoying a glass of wine, bragging about it sharing the good news with my fellow bloggers!

Thank you very much for the ‘serial expats’ and friends in the Expat & Foreign Service community for taking the time to read the blog and leave comments… Much appreciated! ♥

Related articles

6 days away! Holiday greeting cards already sent!

IMG_3462Image #14: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Holiday Cards are on their way… What about you? 😮

7 days away! He can barely wait for another week…

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Image #13: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: And this boy here sent only FOUR LETTERS TO SANTA! 😮 Hopefully, one of the 4 will make it to the North Pole with his long, long, wish list…

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Previous image here.

8 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’… Crazy head day!

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Image #12: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Up with the holiday spirit! Crazy head day for school!

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Previous image here.

9 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’… Very, very sweet greetings!

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Image #11: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Sweet Season!

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Previous image here.

10 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’. Colors from The Bolivian Folkloric Ballet of Potosi.

Image #10: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: The Ballet Folklorico de Potosi, Bolivia.

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Previous image here.

11 days to Christmas: It’s Friday! The Hormone Guide…

It’s friday, gotta share this: the hormone guide!

Friday is here… holidays are just around the corner… Husband’s gone on a work trip. This mom is left home with 3 little ones and a pet hamster [come on, what you mean ‘you won’t be able to clean his house today? how is it any different from all the other days?’] Oh, well, gotta find something to cheer me up, and sure enough, rescued an old post, especially prepared for Fridays like today.

Read and learn – great tip for this holiday season, where, we, women, tend to eat shop talk indulge a little bit too much! 😮

It’s coming from another woman, to all other women, and probably, all men with a good sense of humor…

Source: another fellow blogger, with great sense of humor! 😮

12 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’… not quite your regular ‘Elf on the shelf’!

Image #9: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Not quite your regular ‘Elf on the shelf’… more like ‘a non-stop climbing pre-toddler’! Climbing on the half-desk… going up the stairs… just got caught, while, quietly, trying to move on… Oh, the perks of being a mother of 3 little ones! Who needs adult supervision, anyway? 😮

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Previous image here.

13 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’…making my wish for 12.12.12: to witness their shared passion!

my two boys
my two boys after the match

Image #8: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: My two boys on a regular Saturday morning…

While many are still sleeping in, my boys head to the soccer field at the kids’ school… The ‘older one’ is the player, but my ‘youngest boy’ has to be there to support his dad… I couldn’t be any happier when looking at their faces… That’s a good wish for this 12.12.12: I’ve got 2 girls and 2 boys, and being able to witness their happiness is priceless… Today, I’m sharing the joy these boys bring to my life, through their shared passion: sports! 😮

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Previous image here.

14 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’. An evergreen centerpiece as a keepsake…

There’s a bit of backstory to this branch of evergreen. It used to belong to a much larger tree, in front of the Radiation Treatment Facility here in La Paz. The tree has been trimmed to offer space for a canopy, where patients and patients-to-be would benefit from some much deserved shade, while waiting to be called into the facility. Several branches were cut down, and a few of the volunteers decided to take them home, using them as part of a unique Christmas decoration…

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Image #7: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Evergreen centerpiece.

There’s a bit of backstory to this branch of evergreen. It used to belong to a much larger tree, in front of the  Radiation Treatment Facility here in La Paz. The tree has been trimmed to offer space for a canopy, where patients and patients-to-be would benefit from some much deserved shade, while waiting to be called into the facility. Several branches were cut down, and a few of the volunteers decided to take them home, using them as part of a unique Christmas decoration

Two weeks later, one of the branches still exists as my dining table centerpiece… beautiful… a keepsake of a day of work, but most importantly, reminding us about how blessed we’ve been… There’ll be no holidays at a hospital facility for our family… we’ll spend these holidays together, as a family.. we’re all healthy and grateful…

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Previous image here.

15 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’… Driving among the clouds…

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Image #6: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Literally driving among the clouds, outside the city of Nuestra Señora de La Paz… And we DID GO through this ride [or at least, the fab hubby did… all the driving!]. Here is the link for the complete Photo Essay!

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Previous image here.

16 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’… Joy after the hail showers!

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Image #5: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Joy after the Hail Showers… 

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Are we gonna get any snow?! Who knows… maybe! Previous image here.

17 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’… Making fun Science with… Snow!!!

Image #4: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Let it snow in school… if [natural] snow doesn’t fall down from the sky, the solution is… let’s make it! [nothing wrong with having fun with school-made artificial snow!]

Makes Fluffy Artificial Snow in Seconds!

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Are we gonna get any snow?! Who knows… maybe! Previous image here.

18 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’… each day, an image of joy! You know you’re in Bolivia when…

20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Getting ready to enjoy the holiday season dinners, nights-out, get-togethers… That’s when you know you’re IN BOLIVIA… it’s possible to find PEPTO BISMOL [or any similar!] in a LADY’S PURSE… hummm, wonder why! 😮

Let’s enjoy the holidays!

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Image #3: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Getting ready to enjoy the holiday season dinners, nights-out, get-togethers… That’s when you know you’re IN BOLIVIA… it’s possible to find PEPTO BISMOL [or any similar!] in a LADY’S PURSE… hummm, wonder why! 😮

Let’s enjoy the holidays!

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Are we gonna get any snow?! Who knows… maybe! Previous image here.

19 days to a ‘possible White Christmas’… each day, an image of joy!

Image #2: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Hang on… we’re almost there… The family is ready!

In order to celebrate our “non-tropical season of joy”, we’ll continue to share images that showcase how we’re seeing and enjoying this time of the year. Today, a ‘snapshot of our family’… aren’t we the best looking family in town?! 😮
Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Are we gonna get any snow?! Who knows… maybe! Previous image here.

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Image #2: 20 Days of a Joyful Christmas: Hang on… we’re almost there… The family is ready!

In order to celebrate our “non-tropical season of joy”, we’ll continue to share images that showcase how we’re seeing and enjoying this time of the year. Today, a ‘snapshot of our family’… aren’t we the best looking family in town?! 😮

Twenty days until Christmas – through twenty images of joy… We’ll get a bit closer each day that goes by… Are we gonna get any snow?! Who knows… maybe! Previous image here.

Photo Essay: Road trip to Coroico, Bolivia.

Coroico is a town in Nor Yungas Province, in the La Paz Department of western Bolivia. Coroico Viejo (Old Coroico) was founded above the Kori Huayco River (which means “golden valley” in Aymara). The town lived from mining gold, but the massive attacks by Indians left the first settlers in search of protection. From the mid-18th century the lands in this region came under the control of a few powerful families, the hacienderos. These families maintained control of this region until the mid-1950s, when they were overthrown by revolution. After the revolution, agrarian reforms were put in place, dividing the lands up between the national government and the locals.

Coroico is a town in Nor Yungas Province, in the La Paz Department of western Bolivia.

Thanksgiving weekend – the first time our family is traveling ‘solo’ through the roads of Bolivia. Our car finally arrived, and the time to explore our surroundings has begun! Some 2 hours from the capital, La Paz, the city of Coroico was the choice made for an extended weekend of adventure and relaxation! Also, a fantastic way to test husband’s skills when driving with no road shoulders, endless cliffs, through thick fog and heavy rain, overlooking the so-called, ‘death road‘! From tour buses to brave mountain bikers challenging the road of death; from volcanic rocks to water falls exploding from within the rocks… From green tropical vegetation to snow-capped mountains, we saw it all… Quite an experience! 😮

Below, some great views of the volcanic rocks lining up along the drive, as well as exquisite red cliffs framing our road trip towards learning more about this beautiful country we’ve been calling home for the past 4 months…


Llamas crossing!
water falls from within the rocks

Coroico Viejo (Old Coroico) was founded above the Kori Huayco River (which means “golden valley” in Aymara). The town lived from mining gold, but the massive attacks by Indians left the first settlers in search of protection.From the mid-18th century the lands in this region came under the control of a few powerful families, the hacienderos. These families maintained control of this region until the mid-1950s, when they were overthrown by revolution. After the revolution, agrarian reforms were put in place, dividing the lands up between the national government and the locals.

The snow-capped mountain contrasts with the tropical vegetation found around the town of Coroico.

La Familia

Now, Coroico has a mostly Aymara and Mestizo population. The town has become a major market for the surrounding region. Staple products arrive from La Paz and the surrounding areas to be sold in the colorful markets and stores all days of the week.

A great reward after a difficult drive!

Death Road’ bikers and tour buses are common visitors to the region around Coroico, which has remained a traditional adventure growing area….

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Snapshots of the 2012 International Day at School [or ‘when you’ve got more than one Country in your heart!’].

This past international day at the kids school made me remember a post I wrote some time back, about raising our children with a sense of different cultures… honoring and loving their unique background…

This past International Day at the kids school made me remember a post I wrote some time back, about raising our children with a sense of different cultures… honoring and loving their unique background…

Picking their ‘home countries’ up for the 2010 World Cup!

When you’ve got more than one place in your heart …you’re expected to love, honor and respect them both [or the 3, 4… of them!]

Living in-between cultures, besides being an exciting experience, could be pretty challenging, as well.

Raising children from hybrid cultures offers countless possibilities to keep traditions alive, maintaing memories and links to the home country always fresh. It takes a great deal of effort. But it’s worth the trouble.

Witnessing your kids cherishing different traditions, honoring and respecting your and your spouse’s home countries, is worth any extra work. It’ll pay forward, we hope! ♥

They are learning to love and respect their mixed culture. They’re beginning to understand historical events, their causes and consequences. They’re learning that any country is not just about land, but also, its people, their beliefs and their sense of social respect. Hybrid cultures are a rich experience. Hopefully, our three TCKs will grow up comprehending that the world they live in is much bigger than geography may present itself. And a country’s boundaries go as far as its people. We bring our culture with ourselves. Our traditions, our honor, our respect to others. Wherever we are. Wherever we move to. It’s good to know that some of us ‘serial expats’ bring more than one country in our hearts!

Is it really about Thanksgiving? or “Why I’m boycotting ‘Black Friday’…”

Well, the Season to be thankful has began, and its greatest day is already here. Thanksgiving day is all about family, friends, cooking, sharing, enjoying each other’s company and football! Be Thankful. It’s the word for the Season.

“Thanks. And a whole lot more.”

That said, I think I just got tired of being bombarded by the commercialism associated with the upcoming holidays… somehow, even though we’re living overseas, the commercial holidays and their unique products, find a way to come to us…. don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays, need the holiday spirit around my house, love to cook for my family, trying new and improved recipes… But, come on! Witnessing Christmas trump over Thanksgiving, having suggested ‘Thanksgiving gifts’ for our children… seems a bit too much… But again, maybe, it’s just me…

Credit: Someecards.com

Well, the Season to be thankful has began, and its greatest day is already here. Thanksgiving day is all about family, friends, cooking, sharing, enjoying each other’s company and football! Be Thankful. It’s the word for the Season.

“Thanks. And a whole lot more.”

That said, I think I just got tired of being bombarded by the commercialism associated with the upcoming holidays… somehow, even though we’re living overseas, the commercial holidays and their unique products, find a way to come to us….Thanks to our Direct TV routed signal from Puerto Rico (which I’m deeply thankful for!). It’s great being able to watch our favorite shows, movies… but it comes with a price: you also get all the commercial, car & medicare adds, sales specials… the whole nine yards that make this end of the year period Merry & Bright!!! 😮

Please, don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays, need the holiday spirit around my house, love to cook for my family, trying new and improved recipes… But, come on! Witnessing Christmas trump over Thanksgiving, having suggested ‘Thanksgiving gifts’ for our children… seems a bit too much… But again, maybe, it’s just me…

Credit: http://blogs.clarionledger.com

I’m a bit overwhelmed by what the holiday season (and all the commercial adds around it!) has turned into!

If you like to shop, go for it. Enjoy your time. I myself like shopping as much as the next person, but this year, I’ll be passing on the ‘early Black Friday‘. Not only there’s the option to shop online for pretty much, the same products, but one could also begin his/her shopping ventures as early as [Thanksgiving] Thursday, at 8 pm! Go, have your dinner with family, grab your purses, and head to the mall, walking off all that turkey, trading the very-much-needed nap for long walks through the stores! If one likes it, go ahead, have a great time window shopping, talking to other customers at the stores, finding the latest, coolest, brightest, piece of clothing! Forget about doing the dishes – they can happily wait in the crowded sink – call your friends, get into your car, pack an extra dose of patience and kindness for the parking lots, and… Go shopping!

http://www.usatoday.com

Once more, not for me.

And I’m fully aware that by now, I may have gotten several readers errr, upset with my take on the whole thing… Apologies. If you dearly love the madness that comes with the strongly suggested shopping” the day after Thanksgiving Day, good for you. Just don’t keep reading. I respect people’s opinion and they’re unexplainable desire to shop, but, it’s not for me. And why all this?

The explanation is actually, quite simple, and it involves no previous frustrations with this time of the year, nor any bad memories from any childhood. Holidays are fun, and mine are always filled with great moments of joy. The reason I began to boycott the Black Friday madness comes from answering a few simple questions:

Image Credit: http://pigtown-design.blogspot.com
“Do I really need this?”

“Do I have money for this, or I’d need to dive into our Christmas budget?”

“Do I have space in our house for that?”

If it’s a decorative piece, “what am I gonna do with this after the season is over?”

“Do I have storage space?” 

Don’t know about y’all, but because we’re a ‘nomad’ family, moving every so often, due to work and lifestyle, my answers were all ‘No’… Besides, this year, husband and I spent a good hour explaining to our [7 years old and younger] children the meaning behind the celebrations, why we need to be thankful, the meaning of gratitude… Why it’s necessary to share what we have  with others, and why give not because you have to, but because it truly makes you feel good about yourself and about life… Not sure if the kids grasped all the information that was thrown upon them, but at least, got them understanding what Toys for Tots is, and the importance of volunteering when yo have a skill and time to share…

Image Credit: http://inhabitat.com

After our ‘quasi-family meeting’, I realized that the post-Thanksgiving shopping idea runs completely opposite to these ‘freshly-developed’ concepts! How could I explain to my children that, despite all the ‘teachings’, I needed to go out and guess… go shop for more stuff! 😮

I’d be contradicting myself, and jeopardizing the ideas I’d just planted into my children’s minds and hearts… So, I decided: we’ll be passing on the Black Friday madness shopping. Right now, don’t really need any new sweaters, decorative pieces, nor the newest-coolest talking toy…

Today, it’ll be about cooking, family and friends. We’ll enjoy our Thanksgiving Day. And a restful evening with our kids.

Tomorrow, we’ll be enjoying the day off. Far away from the malls, stores, or even, clicks away from any dot com attractive store website… Maybe, we could even take a short road trip? Since we’re not in the US, roads shouldn’t be packed with cars coming and going from who knows where… We’ll enjoy our ‘Black Friday’, hopefully, keeping our wallets safeguarded from any ‘shopping madness’! 😮

Wait!! Just remembered something: I forgot to mention “Cyber Monday” is also coming… be aware… be careful… together, those two ‘shopping days’ will find a way to get ya! 😮

What about you? Looking forward to Black Friday shopping or… just relaxing and staying as far away as possible?  

You already know my answer! 😮 Happy Thanksgiving to us all!

It’s time to be Thankful…

Thankful. It’s the word for the Season. A little early, still, but the season for being grateful has begun. Thanks to This mom’s got something to say for letting me share this fantastic post. It’s about being grateful, which I’m sure many of us need to be.

“Thanks. And a whole lot more.”

“It’s Thanksgiving. The perfect time to reflect and say thank-you for all of the things you have been blessed with in your life. A time to hug your loved ones and let them know how much they mean to you. It’s a time to step out of yourself and recognize what’s truly important.
After you’ve said your thanks this year, I challenge you to do something more. I challenge you to forgive.

little things that make me happy… click here for this week’s ‘Happy’ post!

Less than one day until our Thanksgiving is here! Be Thankful. It’s the word for the Season. Thanks to This mom’s got something to say for letting me share this fantastic post. It’s about being grateful, which I’m sure many of us need to be.

“Thanks. And a whole lot more.” Just in time for this Friday’s photo challenge: Thankful!

“It’s Thanksgiving. The perfect time to reflect and say thank-you for all of the things you have been blessed with in your life. A time to hug your loved ones and let them know how much they mean to you. It’s a time to step out of yourself…”
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Why are you looking for “41”?

Ok, let me explain this question. I’m a curious cat, by nature. That said, recently, I discovered that since I began blogging, people come searching for ’41’… Is that just a number? An age? [it’s coincidently my current age, but I really don’t think people would be interested in that! Also, be kind: one should never ask/try to guess a lady’s age… especially when it’s past 35! :o] Is there any cabalistic meaning for the number? Since I had no idea, I went out on searching about the intriguing number, in order to find some sort of explanation why, almost 200 people/visitors would be looking for that!

Credit: http://www.britishracecar.com

Ok, let me explain this question. I’m a curious cat, by nature. That said, recently, I discovered that since I began blogging, people come searching for ’41’… Is that just a number? An age? [coincidently it’s my current age, but I really don’t think people would be interested in that! Also, be kind: one should never ask/try to guess a lady’s age… especially when it’s past 35! :o] Is there any cabalistic meaning for the number? Since I had no idea, I went out on searching about the intriguing number, in order to find some sort of explanation why, almost 200 people/visitors would be looking for that!

Credit: http://drewbabb.com

What did I found? Nothing conclusive… it’s an odd, prime number, with no real numerological, biblical or historical meaning… What a disappointment!

So, again, I come back to the question: “why would people be interested in this number?” After exhausting the ‘fancy searching tools/engines’, I resumed to the old-fashioned Wikipedia, the ‘mother of all lost cyber-information‘, for some non-scientific, unlikely reliable shed of light on this problem.

[By now many are probably thinking that I’ve got a lot of free time in my life, pretty much doing nothing, and with tons of ‘unassigned’ minutes to spare… definitely, not the case. I’m also a serious procrastinator, and, sometimes I allow my endless curiosity prevent me from carrying on with real choresgood explanation for escaping from my real duties, right? o]

Anyway, getting back to Wikipedia’s cyber explanation, get this:

“41 (forty-one) is the natural number following 40 and preceding 42, as well as two numbers preceding 43.”

Credit: http://www.interballoon.com

Pretty fantastic, right? Maybe that’s why people have been searching throughout this blog: seeking the number that sits between 40 & 42, which, by the way, are much fancier, even numbers, with several numerological attributions! Got my answer at last, I suppose! 😮 Of course, if one [with time to spare] is heading to check the number on that site, will find references ranging from religion to TV, from big screen movies to politics, and obviously, some math & science references – but again, nothing that could make almost 200 people come blog-hopping over here… 😮

But now, that I’ve got some attention to this ‘matter’, I had to, obviously, tag this post with “41” – at the end, it was the original reason people begin coming over… Oh, the intricate ways the human mind works… one can only wonder! Well… Got you reading, right? 

Thanks for reading! 😮

Illustrated ‘Bolivian-style’ adapted cooking: Green Bean Casserole!

Now, updated with the promised images! Great fit for this week’s photo theme, as well. How I love coincidences!

Enjoy!

Here is my ‘adapted’ recipe:

Green Bean Casserole, “Bolivian-Style”, totally vegetarian!

Ingredients:

1 cup and some 5 oz of 1 can CAMPBELL’S® Miranda Family’s Kitchen homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup

3/4 cup milk

1/8 tsp. black pepper

2 (9 oz. each) pkgs. frozen cut green beans, thawed* 1/2 kg (1 pound and some 4 oz) of freshly cut, cooked [with a bit of salt] green beans

1 1/3 cups FRENCH’S® Original or Cheddar French Fried Onions homemade onion rings (yeah, that one, where you beat one egg with 3 Tb spoons of all-purpouse flour, and a bit of salt!) [hopefully, it’ll do the trick… gotta be original, at least!] 😮

Directions:

MIX soup, milk and pepper in a 1 1/2 – qt. baking dish. Stir in beans and 2/3 cup homemade onion rings (see the images for a real shock on my recently-discovered cooking skills!) 😮

BAKE at 350°F 375°F for 30 35 min.

STIR. Top with remaining 2/3 cup of onion chips/rings. Bake for some 5 min. or until onion chips are golden.

Liked the results? What about my first-time homemade onion rings for the topping? ♥

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Images and instructions for ‘Bolivian-style’ “camote” casserole [Thanksgiving cooking].

The last days of this week are all dedicated to my ‘adventures in the kitchen’… all the perks of a mom of 3 little ones! Again: pre-Thanksgiving recipes! [Using a kids’ school event as the perfect excuse for trying things out!] Ohh, the wonders of life in the foreign service…. 😮 Already shared my semi-successful attempt to make the well-know Green Bean Casserole. I guessed, it worked well – jury’s still out there! Note: NEVER MADE IT BEFORE…. Now it’s time to try it in ‘breathless La Paz”! Here is my ‘adapted’ recipe:

detail, Bolivian sweet potato (camote)
The last days of this week are all dedicated to my ‘adventures in the kitchen’… all the perks of a mom of 3 little ones! Again: pre-Thanksgiving recipes! [Using a kids’ school event as the perfect excuse for trying things out!] Ohh, the wonders of life in the foreign service…. 😮 Already shared my semi-successful attempt to make the well-know Green Bean Casserole. I guessed, it worked well – jury’s still out there! Note: HAD NEVER MADE IT BEFORE…. Now it’s time to try it in ‘breathless La Paz“! Here is my ‘adapted’ recipe:

‘Camote’ Casserole with Marshmallows, “Bolivian-Style”

1 (16 oz.) can sweet potatoes 1/2 kg (around 1 pound) of Camote, bought today at my dear neighbor, the Achumani Market
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 egg, beaten
4 tbsp. melted butter
1 pkg. marshmallows

Step 1: Get the ‘sweet potatoes’ (camote) ready: cooked, peeled.

cooked and peeled ‘camotes’ (Bolivian sweet potato)

Step 2: Mix (potatoes, cinnamon, brown sugar, egg, butter) in a buttered baking tray, topped with slices of white marshmallows. Place 1/2 of mixture in dish. Dot with marshmallows, then add remaining mixture. Bake at 350 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven, dot top with marshmallows and replace in oven about 10 minutes or until brown.

after baking for 30 mins, cover the top layer with marshmallows, and allow them to melt for about 10 mins in the oven… hummm!

100 days at Post: Flowers in La Paz…

Celebrating our first 100 days in Bolivia – our current post assignment, our home.

New life brings new expectations… Here’s what we’re seeing throughout the city of La Paz and its surroundings:
“Flowers have spoken to me more than I can tell in written words.  They are the hieroglyphics of angels, loved by all men for the beauty of their character, though few can decipher even fragments of their meaning”.  Lydia M. Child

“Pluck not the wayside flower;
It is the traveler’s dower”.
William Allingham

“For myself I hold no preferences among flowers, so long as they are wild, free, spontaneous.  Bricks to all greenhouses!  Black thumb and cutworm to the potted plant!”  Edward Abbey

my sweet little budding girl…
…from seedlings, they’re now all grown!

“The flowers of late winter and early spring occupy places in our hearts well out of proportion to their size”.  Gertrude S. Wister

“Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature”.  Gerard de Nerval

“The artist is the confidant of nature, flowers carry on dialogues with him through the graceful bending of their stems and the harmoniously tinted nuances of their blossoms. Every flower has a cordial word which nature directs towards him”. Auguste Rodin

“Flowers have an expression of countenance as much as men or animals. Some seem to smile; some have a sad expression; some are pensive and diffident; others again are plain, honest and upright, like the broad-faced sunflower and the hollyhock”.  Henry Ward Beecher


“Perfumes are the feelings of flowers, and as the human heart, imagining itself alone and unwatched, feels most deeply in the night-time, so seems it as if the flowers, in musing modesty, await the mantling eventide ere they give themselves up wholly to feeling, and breathe forth their sweetest odours. Flow forth, ye perfumes of my heart, and seek beyond these mountains the dear one of my dreams!” Heinrich Heine

Everyone loves a friendly match…

…especially if it’s followed by a more than friendly picnic, where not only the players, but also their kids, were able to enjoy the after-match luncheon! Congratulations to both teams, the US Embassy and the Embassy of Japan, for their good athletic performance, and most of all, for displaying a great example of camaraderie! 😮

Weekly Photo Challenge: Renewal

Renewal: the sound of water… Image capture during one of our trips through the Atlantic Coast of South America (Northeastern Brazil).

According to Cheri Lucas, the courtesy inspiration for this week’s photo challenge, “Renewal. This word conjures a variety of images, from bright blossoms to meditating monks. When I think of “renewal,” I think of starting a new job, arriving in a new city that’s ripe for exploration, walking through a new apartment with white walls, and taking a hot shower after a challenging day.”

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Happy 237th Anniversary to the Marine Corps! Celebrating in style.

Celebrating in style: On November 10th, 2012, Marines stationed all over the world will celebrate the 237th Birthday of the Marine Corps.

On November 10th, 2012, Marines stationed all over the world will celebrate the 237th Birthday of the Marine Corps. It couldn’t be different here in La Paz, Bolivia. We’re thankful and proud!♥

Cycling Video: Terrifyingly brilliant extreme downhill cycling in Bolivia.

Cycling | Video: Terrifying but brilliant clip of extreme downhill cycling in Bolivia.

 

Everyone loves a Fall Bake Sale!

Well, I already shared here my very first attempt to make Apple & Cinnamon Muffins for my kids school – a humble contribution to a great initiative to have a Fall Bake Sale, even though it feels like Fall, here in La Paz, Bolivia, we’re officially in the middle of Spring… Here is what I spotted during my time there, giving a hand to the other moms and enjoying a fantastic Pumpkin Latte (gotta get that recipe!) 😮

Twenty months of blogging, and the 100,000 hits milestone is reached. Thank you!

What is you NEXT BLOG MILESTONE? SHARE HERE, IF YOU CARE… March 2011 marked my very first blogpost: shared impressions from the world’s largest street carnival. It was obviously in Brazil, the country that lives and breathes popular festivities, and our assignment with the foreign service from 2010 to 2012.

From that point on, blogposts began to come out quite often, increasing the number of subscribers, comments and blog followers. Today, a great milestone was reached, making me surprised and pleased to find out that our ‘family travel & photoblog’ displayed over 100,000 visits.

Credit: Google Images

http://sassandbalderdash.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/one-lovely-blog1.jpg?w=227&h=270&h=270 March 2011 marked my very first blogpost: shared impressions from the world’s largest street carnival. It was obviously in Brazil, the country that lives and breathes popular festivities, and our assignment with the foreign service from 2010 to 2012. From that point on, blogposts began to come out quite often, increasing the number of subscribers, comments and blog followers. 

Today, a great milestone was reached, having me surprised and pleased, finding out that our ‘family travel & photoblog‘ displayed over 100,000 visits.

Being passionate about your life experiences, sharing images and impressions, reporting what one sees happening around, somehow, pays back. At least, in the blogsphere… I’m inspired by the several bloggers who take part at the WordPress writing prompts, Weekly Photo Challenges, FrizzText and Jake Austria, probably being my very first inspiration (thank you both!); as well as, all the beautiful ideas shared by Ailsa, from ‘Where’s my Backpack?‘, with her travel theme challenges, and The Island Traveler, a parent, like many of us, who decided to share some beauty from their regular lives with the world… It’s great to have wonderful people out there, to look up to! I’m very grateful for all the support, and couldn’t have found a better time to show my gratitude [Thanksgiving just around the corner!]

Thank you all out there, parents, expats, bloggers, friends, for reading, commenting, following, and for offering a great deal of inspiration… Now, moving on to the next 100K visits… blogging is fun! 😮

Now, now is it, for you all? What is your NEXT MILESTONE? Your Blog Milestone? Share here, if you care! Thanks!♥

Getting ‘high’ on [apple & cinnamon] muffins!

Again: my path towards learning how to bake goods in high altitude settings…

Another fundraising bake sale, and, this time, the theme is “FALL BAKE” [even though it’s Spring here!].

La Paz, Bolivia, can be a great example of how frustrating it might be for a rookie baker! In order to remain in good terms with my kitchen oven, ‘we’ decided to go for this ‘new & improved first-timer’ apple muffin mix, step-by-step: 😮

It yields between 12 and 15 muffins. The recipe has already been adapted to the altitude so I should have no problems with it, right? 😮

Again: my path towards learning how to bake goods in high altitude settings…

Another fundraising bake sale, and, this time, the theme is “FALL BAKE” [even though it’s Spring here!]. This week is all dedicated to my ‘adventures in the kitchen’… all the wonders of a mom of 3 little ones! 😮

La Paz, Bolivia, can be a great example of how frustrating it might be for a rookie baker! In order to remain in good terms with my kitchen oven, ‘we‘ decided to go for this ‘new & improved first-timer’ apple muffin mix, step-by-step: 😮 Following this post, I’ll share images from the actual bake sale, with all their goodies: caramel apple, pumpkin pies, pumpkin brownies, honey bread… hummm!

It yields between 12 and 15 muffins. The recipe has already been adapted to the altitude so I should have no problems with it, right? 😮

APPLE MUFFINS
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 eggs
1 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cups chopped apples
For the topping:
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp butter
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Prepare muffin tins.
In a medium bowl mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl beat butter, sugar and eggs until smooth. Mix in vanilla extract and milk.
Stir in the chopped apples and gradually mix in the flour mixture. Spoon into prepared muffins tins.
In a small bowl, mix brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture is like coarse crumbs. Sprinkle evenly over muffin batter in tins.
Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle of muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes before removing muffins from tins and letting cool completely on wire racks. At the end, it’s all about a great deal of TLC! ♥

Curious about the results?

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Snapshots of husband’s New Mexican stacked enchilada: his first one in Bolivia.

Ingredients:

12 corn tortillas
2 cups shredded mild Cheddar cheese
2 cups enchilada sauce or 2 cans Old El Paso
Enchilada Sauce
1 cup chopped onion
4 fried eggs
oil for frying tortillas
Preparation:

Put 1 inch of oil in small skillet. Fry tortillas a few seconds until limp. Place on paper towels to drain. Dip a tortilla in sauce and place on plate. Sprinkle on some grated cheese and onion. Repeat for two more layers. Makes 4 stacks. Pour on any remaining sauce and sprinkle on remaining cheese and onions. Top each stack with a fried egg.

Ingredients:

  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 2 cups shredded mild Cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups enchilada sauce, 2 cups of chili sauce (homemade with chili powder, water and flour) – th’s the way my husband does it! Alternatively, it’s also possible to use cans Old El Paso, but this second option is for the ‘weak ones’! 😮
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped red tomatoes (garnishing)
  • 1 cup chopped lettuce (garnishing)
  • 4 fried eggs
  • oil for frying tortillas

Preparation:

Put 1 inch of oil in small skillet. Fry tortillas a few seconds until limp. Place on paper towels to drain. Dip a tortilla in sauce and place on plate. Sprinkle on some grated cheese and onion. Repeat for two more layers. Makes 4 stacks. Pour on any remaining sauce and sprinkle on remaining cheese and onions. Top each stack with a fried egg.

Random thoughts [and curiosity!] about the ‘Redskins Rule’…

I try not to talk or share opinions about politics here. For obvious reasons, I’d say, but also, because it could distract from the main idea of this blog. That’s not my goal. This blog’s been used as a forum for other expatriates, to share impressions, advice, comments about traveling, living overseas, challenges of raising children, parenting, multicultural settings. NEVER about politics, and I prefer that way…

Well, because today is Sunday, and Sundays in my household are devoted to sports, recently, to Football. More precisely, the ‘men in my family’ [husband & son] are unconditional fans of the Washington Redskins. The Redskins play today. They play at home. Their last home game before the Presidential Election. That said, I just happen to learn (thanks to dear hubby!) about the ‘Redskins Rule’.

More can be found searching history about this ‘quasi-urban legend’… 😮 In any way, the question remains: “Will the Redskins performance determine the winning candidate?” Again, no political discussion, just curiosity… Now, let me get back to the game, and who knows? Maybe the traditional ‘predicting behavior’ will happen again.. or… maybe another ‘2004’?? 😮

What history tells us:

  • Since 1940 — when the Redskins moved to D.C. — the team’s outcome in its final game before the presidential election has predicted which party would win the White House each time but once.
  • When the Redskins win their game before the election, the incumbent party wins the presidential vote. If the Redskins lose, the non-incumbent wins.
  • The only exception was in 2004, when Washington fell to Green Bay, but George W. Bush still went on to win the election over John Kerry.

Here’s a rundown of the Redskins Rule games since 1940:

  • 1940 – Redskins 37, Steelers 10 – Roosevelt (D) defeats Willkie.
  • 1944 – Redskins 14, Rams 10 – Roosevelt defeats Dewey.
  • 1948 – Redskins 59, Boston Yanks 21 – Truman (D) defeats Dewey.
  • 1952 – Steelers 24, Redskins 23 – Eisenhower (R) defeats Stevenson.
  • 1956 – Redskins 20, Browns 9 – Eisenhower defeats Stevenson.
  • 1960 – Browns 31, Redskins 10 – Kennedy (D) defeats Nixon.
  • 1964 – Redskins 27, Bears 20 – Johnson (D) defeats Goldwater.
  • 1968 – Giants 13, Redskins 10 – Nixon (R) defeats Humphrey.
  • 1972 – Redskins 24, Cowboys 20 – Nixon defeats McGovern.
  • 1976 – Cowboys 20, Redskins 7 – Carter (D) defeats Ford.
  • 1980 – Vikings 39, Redskins 14 – Reagan (R) defeats Carter.
  • 1984 – Redskins 27, Falcons 14 – Reagan defeats Mondale.
  • 1988 – Redskins 27, Saints 24 – Bush defeats Dukakis.
  • 1992 – Giants 24, Redskins 7 – Clinton (D) defeats Bush.
  • 1996 – Redskins 31, Colts 16 – Clinton defeats Dole.
  • 2000 – Titans 27, Redskins 21 – Bush (R) defeats Gore.
  • 2004 – Packers 28, Redskins 13 – Bush defeats Kerry, ending the streak.
  • 2008 – Steelers 23, Redskins 6 – Obama (D) defeats McCain, restoring the Redskins Rule.
  • 2012 – Redskins vs. Panthers – Obama vs. Romney – TBD
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Snapshots of the Mundialito Inter-Embajadas (Soccer in La Paz).

[Weekly Photo Challenge: Geometry] The singular city of Brasília, where architecture and mysticism meet.

[Backstory] Geometry. This challenge is about the shapes and rhythms that make up the geometry of our world. Many photographs of any genre have an underlying sense of geometry, but I often like to make this the main subject of my work. I think it’s the most important aspect of a photograph’s success. This could be the patterns of the natural world up close and personal, or the rhythm of your local buildings. The above photograph, “Positive Negative,” depicts the Paula Rego Museum in Lisbon where the sky created an equally strong element of the composition as the building. The image has a totemic quality, softened by the passing cloud. I had waited for this cloud to move into the perfect position within the frame. The colour, light, and form of the image emphasize this geometry.

[Backstory] Geometry. This challenge is about the shapes and rhythms that make up the geometry of our world. Many photographs of any genre have an underlying sense of geometry, but I often like to make this the main subject of my work. I think it’s the most important aspect of a photograph’s success. This could be the patterns of the natural world up close and personal, or the rhythm of your local buildings. The above photograph, “Positive Negative,” depicts the Paula Rego Museum in Lisbon where the sky created an equally strong element of the composition as the building. The image has a totemic quality, softened by the passing cloud. I had waited for this cloud to move into the perfect position within the frame. The colour, light, and form of the image emphasize this geometry.

Share a photo that means GEOMETRY to you!

Tip: Once you have found a good subject that contains an interesting geometry, try to crop tightly into the subject to make an unexpected composition. Your goal should be to create an abstract composition so the image is more about underlying shapes than a literal representation of the subject matter itself — by doing this you create art rather than a snapshot.

Brasilia cathedral

Image Source (left): “aboutBrasilia.com” Brasilia is without any doubt a singular city, different from all others; even those ones considered moderns and planned.

For such special city, an equally singular Cathedral was designed and built. On 12th September 1958, the Cathedral’s cornerstone was laid. The Metropolitan Cathedral of Brasilia is an expression of the geniality of the architect Oscar Niemeyer. In 1960, the Cathedral’s structure was finished, and only the 70 m diameter of the circular area and the 16 concrete columns were visible. These columns, having parabolic section and weighing 90 t, represent two hands moving upwards to heaven. The Cathedral was dedicated on the 31st May, 1970. At that time it had already the external transparent window. Four bronze sculptures 3 m high, representing the Evangelists, can be seen at the external square in the entrance of the Temple. These sculptures were made with the help of the sculptor Dante Croce, in 1968. Inside the nave, three sculptures of angels are suspended by steel cables.


The smallest angel has 2,22 m of length and weighs 100 kg. The medium one has 3,40 m of length and weighs 200 kg. The big one has 4,25 m of length and 300 kg weighs. The sculptures were made by Alfredo Ceschiatti, with the help of Dante Croce, in 1970. The nave stained glass is made of 16 pieces of fibreglass. These pieces, in colours of blue, white and brown, were fixed between the concrete columns, in triangles of 10 m of base and 30 m of height. They were painted in 1990 by Marianne Peretti. Having an oval form, the Baptistery has its walls covered by a panel of ceramic tiles painted in 1977 by Athos Bulcão. The local architecture is completed by a bell tower. Its four big bells were donated by Spain.