28 December 2010


this one is for you, Grandma,

the flowers outside our apartment... have grown well above my head!

20 December 2010

a christmas party.

apparently i am getting caught up on posting today! i think this is the last... but i can't be sure.
i'm pretty sure that no matter where I go or where I teach, I end up with the best students. I have friends that I taught in SALI that I still go out for coffee with, students from the kindergarten that all out my name in the street (or the parent), and now I have students that own businesses that have Christmas parties with champagne, hot chocolate, and homemade paneton (think fruitcake... but then think sweat bread... and put a little less of the fruit cake combined with the sweet bread together and maybe you can imagine paneton... I'm actually, as of this year, a fan. and I don't even pick out the gummy fruits anymore.) all of those things plus christmas motivation and sharing gifts.. at 8 am! Actually, they started at 7... but they told me I could come at 8... tee hee... they know me pretty well. I had a great time, nothing like champagne at 8 am! It was fun, although a little embarrassing when they were going around giving their words someone (one of my students wife!) gave some for me too, what a surprise. she was so sweet and classy, and she did it all in English... it made me wonder if i could sound that good giving words like that in front of people, even in English. They all exchanged gifts in their secret friend game, and they even included me! I was so surprised... they are definitely ranking up there on the student meter... and not because they give me stuff. It was fun for me tha they invited me to their christmas party. so much fun. And one of my other students even made the paneton. She makes batches and batches of it every Christmas. She spends all day and then some of the night making ....40 a day! It was delicious.

(my gift.. a mug complete with step by step instructions for two coffee drinks.. quite handy)

christmas music

i've been meaning to share about some Christmas music that's been playing in our apartment... i mean other than the have yourself a merry little christmas or the all i want for christmas is you... or... last christmas... which i actually prefer to listen to in a mall. and i don't go to the mall often.

i'm talking about the music i've actually downloaded or seriously boost their number of views on itunes because i click replay so many times. 

i'm talking about....

You have come to save us.. y sons and daughters.. you can find that on noisetrade here.

I'm also talking about Omaha Collective...

which you can also find at noisetrade here. 

And I am also talking about the Walla Recovery's Christmas album which they just posted for free that you can get through their website (via noisetrade) here.
And that my friends, would be what I have been listening too, I hope you enjoy!

the blog with a ridiculous amount of kitten photos...

she's growing... she can barely keep her balance while sitting in one of my hands.. not that i usually try to juggle a pet in one hand..

she's also gotten used to her new home.. i can tell because she sleeps less and walks around like she owns things more. she also runs. fast. from one end of the apartment to the other. usually until she hits a wall, or any chairs or doors in between, since she hasn't figured out how to stop yet. she figured out how to cry but is still working on that whole meow thing... except for when she really wants the food i'm cooking.. then we fight a little until she finally settles for her kitty food. that has been soaked in water and warmed up in the microwave i might just add. she figured out that we come and go by  the door.. so if she hears anyone coming up the stairs she waits about a foot from the door, waiting to hop outside. she loves to sit in the sunshine, and she loves the ball of yarn i wrapped for her..almost as much as she loves jumping onto julton's lap.. but falling short.. and scratching him in the attempts at jumping. 
i kind of feel like i just wrote a personal ad for my kitten. so.. lets add some pictures for good measure. she really likes getting her picture taken, i swear its like she poses for the camera. and the flash fascinates her.  

in all seriousness... she loves getting her picture taken. can't you tell?

food food food

it's funny the things that you start to miss when they aren't so readily available for you... since i have been living in Peru I have had that thought strike me.. lets just say a few times. and for me its usually those things that i never even really liked - or thought i liked - or gave much care to it's existence for that matter, until one day i realized i wasn't surrounded by it... and suddenly i wanted it. the other stuff  (that i did care existed) i think i knew i wasn't going to be able to have once I moved here.. and I prepared myself for it. i remember how much my mom would laugh at me when i went home for Christmas the past couple years, because well.. I love grocery stores. And we could have (probably did) spent an hour getting things that should have only taken 10 minutes. Because what else can you do when you go into a Kroger's (a well stocked Kroger's) but stand in each isle for at least 10 minutes just gawking at... everything. look at that! hey did you know they made this?! hey look at what's ready made in this box... just.. add.. water. by the end of it all i caught myself saying hey i could make that, for a lot cheaper too.. and without all those words you can't pronounce in the ingredients. that's what i've learned about things that i have missed about being readily available, i've made them myself.. and had more fun doing it. 
i'm currently trying to figure out why i started to miss eggnog. eggnog.. i don't know if i ever even drank it but one year in college when a friend made me try it. but this year... when its not sitting on each grocery shelf i pass.. quite out of nowhere i developed a craving for it. and i'm currently looking for a recipe so i can make it myself. although i'm a little nervous about it since you use eggs... any suggestions are very welcome!

speaking of food.... we've been i think i saved up a lot of cooking energy all that time that Julton's grandma was here, and cooking lunch everyday... and I've started sending Julton's lunch with him to work... since I found out that he was ordering his lunch from the restaurant all the others there order from.. but he didn't like it/wasn't eating it. new plan: get up early (for me) to make it... but its actually working out well, i don't like mornings but i like to cook so the cooking is slowly turning my mornings around :)
 i found a website that i really like for peruvian dishes... yanuq they have everything! although its in spanish so if you want to make something let me know and i will help! i used it for this lomo saltado recipe. but.. it doesnt usually come with broccoli, and i would never put broccoli in jultons lomo saltado, that was my dish, the broccoli in his plate would just return in the same box i sent it in anyway... its basically stirfried onions/pepper/meat/tomato on rice with fries. yum. oh, and i dont want to forget to mention pineapple water, which is what is pictured there also. jultons grandma taught me to make it... well... she didn't go into detail.. we had several conversations over the measurements (i'm beginning to think all grandmas are that way...!) and i nervously tried it out. you boil the pineapple... skin? then strain it and add sugar. 
 shrimp and grits! another thing i strangely had a craving for... although i never ate it much in the states. i used this recipe. but actually i added mushrooms.. i'm not sure if that's against the rules in making shrimp and grits, but if it is, i probably wont do it again anyway because i think it changed the flavor too much. but.. julton was a fan! he was a little weary about the grits though. he had to have everything separated... which i'm pretty sure means he just set himself up not to like them to begin with. after we ate he said.. you know.. i loved, loved the food.. but you know what would maybe make it better? fried potatoes!!! i couldnt help but laugh... of course adding another starch to a starch would make the starch taste better!  (ps i definitely saw that one coming... as i was cooking it i was already considering if i should make some rice or potatoes too...) and you can see in that picture... we got our oven! i am beyond exited about it... since we've been married we've been cooking with the top of a stove, never an oven. the first stove we had it didnt work, then when we moved jultons family gave us the stovetop... actually a lot of families here only have the top portion. i'm not even going to tell you how long the list is of things i have been wanting to make since we decided to get one. i have been... waiting! the only tricky thing about is that the oven dial doesn't have degrees.. in F or C it just says high and low. so i've got some figuring out to do on that part.. but.. we have an oven!!!!
and... surprisingly.... one of the first things i made with that oven was... meatloaf. i can't even remember the last time i ate meatloaf.. its had to have been years. and then a few more years. but when i was trying to think of something from home that julton would like... this was at the top of my list. and it was a winner.

14 December 2010

christmas trees (tree)

Posted by Picasa

i figured out how to use Picasa!! and to demonstrate... our christmas tree journey... from lights to ornaments to popcorn to homemade/us. :) i hope you enjoy!

12 December 2010

k is for...

she still doesnt have a name... although i think maybe she thinks her name is kitty kitty or mishi mishi or a mix of both... or maybe she thinks her name is my name since thats all she hears from Julton every time she gets close enough to try to jump into his lap... or like today scale his legs to reach him... to which he responded quite urgently julie!!! julie!!! the cat!!! julie!!! ahhh its climbing me!!! i had to teach him that he could touch her to pick her up and shoo her away himself. hmmm

she so wants him to give her some attention. 


we saw it today... tonight rather. someone should send me the books so that i can sit and read them like a little girl to even out all the crocheting and in general acting like a little old lady that iv'e been doing!

Random note: I really enjoyed that in a random conversation today someone asked me if I was going home for Christmas then quickly corrected themself and said, oh, you are home! i can have two homes :)

Sadly though, Julton's sisters are moving back to Moyobamba this week. That makes me sadder than I expected. Since we've been living in the same building as them and seeing them a lot... and since his grandparents have been visiting and I've been having lunch with them everyday and making sure to get in some time to watch grandma's favorite soap opera (which apparently she got me addicted to.. because I had to watch the finale last night on the internet because we missed our lunchtime tradition)... I've gotten pretty used to them being here and us spending time together, and I like it. His grandparents are already half way back there by now, and his sisters will soon be following. I'm so happy for them that they have found jobs... but I'm going to miss them!

merry arbol christmas

Thanks to lots of craft blogs that I like to read more often that I would like to admit, and also to a new site Pinterest.com where you can browse pictures that others load which can be of anything.. food.. clothing.. homes.. crafts.. photography, and you can follow it back to the source. Which leads to a nice little game of round and round and find a fun blog to get addicted to. I would probably have more fun things to post about on my own blog if I spent less time browsing other peoples lives/creations via blogs. But one advantage of skimming through so many blogs.. are ideas for things I can do myself (since a lot of people post tutorials) or ideas for decorations or food. Which... brings us to ... Christmas! A fond memory I have of Christmas time and trees when I think back on our families Christmas trees, well was the tinsel ... and getting it everywhere jeje... well apart from that. When I think of a Christmas tree I think of all the things your family has collected or put together that you bring out each year to put up and remember. "Oh look.. that ornament has my name and my birthday from my first year!" (even though you dont remember the actual first Christmas) or for me, pulling out the ornaments that your grandma and maybe your grandmas grandma had made and are still around, still being loved and remembered and put up. And don't forget the popcorn strings!

Well, upon explaining that to Julton.. he couldn't  quite wrap his head around it. His idea of a Christmas tree is how they decorate them in stores.. with the coordinating ribbon and ornaments and all color comboed up. well... after much much debate over how we were going to decorate the tree... its been up for a while with only lights. and on a trip to the decorations shop (don't ever go into a small crowded christmas shop without having an idea of what you want... just dont..) i had an idea about combining our ideas... which i was starting to think that one half would be for him and one half for me... and i was/am quite impressed/surprised that this was a topic we talked about for so. long. 

meet the snowflakes i've been working on for too long! i found this pattern through the above mentioned Pinterest site, and i've been trying to figure it out. trying and trying and if you look at the picture you can see my progress

we went from incredibly wonky and not at all like a snowflake... to... okay i think i got it but i'm scared to try the next row... to okay i think ive got it down.. and lets try some other colors. 

let me just say that i am excited about this! and tonight we have finally gotten the tree fixed up to both our hearts content. gold ribbon, popcorn strings, red shiny bulbs, and crocheted snowflakes :) theres no origami star like i was thinking... but.. maybe next year :)

and... to top things off... i think that being the kindergarten teacher for even the little bit of time i was, rubbed off on me... and so we have some paper snowflakes for our window.

07 December 2010

in perfect peace


Encouraging Word

You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!
I never listened to KLOVE in the states... but since I've been living in Peru I ran across it and we listen to it in our home alot. Even our friend Kenedy who knows just a little English likes to listen to it. I like to hear the news stories and some of the fun stuff that's going on. It's also there that I learned that operation christmas child began in WV, I had no idea! We've even tried to call in a few times to win some free CDs... although I don't know if theyd be willing to ship oversees...
I went onto their website today, and found their verse for the day. It's funny how in different moments through various sources God can speak to us, even in different translations of His word. They've written it in New Living Translation. I usually read in English Standard Version, although my new Spanish/English Bible has the New International Version. There are so many! But, after reading that verse on their site, and contemplating it a big, I looked it up in the verses I usually read in and it just didn't jump out at me like the first. And I'm thankful that it did, I needed to hear a few words on peace. Peace and I have trouble keeping up a regular relationship. No matter how many times I'm told I can lean on God or reminded of His sovereignty, anxiety catches up with me. Anxiety and I are in a constant battle. It strikes at the oddest moments at times in small or large portions. I finally learned through a very wise and good friend/mentor to pray to God his glory or count how great He is or praying verses just like the one above.. instead of telling God all the reasons I was/am anxious. Because when you do that, you just get yourself caught in a circle and trust me, you don't want to be in that circle. Those kind of circles don't just make you want to go back to bed, they make you go back to bed. For longer than a nap. 
Side Story: One thing that often makes me anxious... too many people. A few days ago Julton and I went in search of some Christmas decorations for the tree... the little store that has all the pretty ribbon and everything you need... was smaller than our room, and filled... absolutely filled with pushy people buying ornaments as though it were the 23rd of December. I couldn't take it, we had to break into the store, take a quick look around, then dash back out to the street to discuss if we saw anything we liked. After doing that a few times over I waited outside by the guard and the kind of fresh air while Julton actually made the purchases. Thanks to God for giving me a husband that can understand me. 

I'm also thankful for old friends...today I met up at Starbucks with a friend I have known since I've been here. He's older, has kids my age (or older...) and we all called him Tio (uncle). He's a pretty busy guy traveling to and from Lima all the time for work. And even though he is Catholic he has been attending our services in the new church in the center of town for a while now. I had such a great time catching up with him. In a time when everything is changing and changing and changing again, all my old students have pretty much moved on, or moved to another city and I don't see them often, it was good to talk with him and have some familiarity. It made me feel like Heather and Gillian were back in town and SALI was still on the noisy busy street corner it used to be. Oh how times have changed. I also just recently got to spend some time with some old students, Angela (who now lives in the jungle, back with her family) and Johana ..who is expecting a baby girl!!! LOVED getting to catch up with those two. Angela and her aunt together have taught me to cook some great jungle food over the time I've bee here... and Johana... has helped me out with so many things, from introducing to my favorite salon to having her sister do my nails for the wedding. Those girls have been good to me. God has been very very good to me. Amen.


we have a little fluffly furball friend at home! she came to us a couple days ago, or shall i say we went to her. shes about a month old. i say she because she doesnt exactly have a name yet... thatst still up in the air. so... any suggestions are very welcome! so far shes just accustomed to kitty kitty and mishi mishi. she sleeps a lot. she yawns, has droopy eyes, eats (barely) uses her litter pan (yes!!!) - which i might add i constructed myself with a cardboard box, scissors, and black trash bags. total cost: 5 soles. if i had bought a littler pan? 50 soles.- 
i got out a big felt blanket to make a little mini home for her... at least to sleep it, and set it up in the living room... but it turns out that she wanted to choose her own sleep space since i found her again and again on top of some cardboard boxes under the stove (its only the burners sitting on the table.. no oven underneath.. yet!) im a little worried about her being there, the gas tank is right beside it... and i cook above her. but shes determined to stay there. i have been trying and trying to get the little thing to eat. i've tried milk, milk mixed with cat food (like ratio milk to cat food 9:1), milk mixed with pieces of bread... shes not that interested in any of it. i was beginning to think she was anorexic.. until.... i made a strawberry and yogurt smoothie today.. and topped it with home made granola (which i made from a recipe from marti bolton, who was a missionary living here, that gave me the recipe in my bridal shower... love it) now that... the cat was interested in. like, big time. i kept telling her no no no no, this isnt for you, its going to hurt your stomach.. seriously, no. but.... i'm a pushover. and since she wasn't interested in anything until now, i decided to share... but just a little little bit. i promise just a few specks of granola and the teensiest portion of yogurt (its made of milk anyway right...?)
well.. apparently are related or somehow cosmically connected because this little kitten loves granola and yogurt. 

you can see her there in the picture above looking at the other food i was trying to get her to drink (milk and water, milk water and cat food) as though she were saying... hmph what are you in comparison! well, yogurt and granola are not going to be her consistent diet but it made me smile and her content for a few moments that i let her have some. it reminded me of a cat i had once that wanted to eat cooked vegetables, even or possibly especially beets!
shes a really sweet cat, she sleeps and sleeps, (maybe because shes a baby?) she sleeps in her box under the stove, she sleeps in the chair and when i'm sitting down she sleeps in my lap. seriously, anytime i am sitting she finds her way to me, she loves to be held. i think we are getting along pretty well, and its nice to have her here. a little something for me to worry about and check on. its fun to come home after class to her... and possible to talk to her. especially since Julton is usually working when I'm not, and gets home a little late in the evenings. 

It took some convincing to get Julton to like the idea of having a cat. He's a dog person. I'm definitely not a dog person. He likes those dogs that are hug and incredibly wrinkly and incredibly slobbery. i've got him convinced our apartment isnt big enough and that we really should have a yard if we are going to have one. so for now.. no slobbery dogs. he did have a condition when we got the kitten though. that it not come in the room or in with his books. i agreed... but secretly wished (wish) i could cuddle with her while napping in my bed. i've always had a cat around. i remember my mom waking me up for school by bringing in the cat to my bed to wake me up. last night i went to sleep super early because i wasn't feeling well... and since Julton was studying in the other room and hadnt noticed that the door was open, said that when he came into the room he found the cat curled up around my feet like it was protecting me. (or just getting warm) i had no idea she was there because i was completely out asleep. 

so... any name suggestions??? before all i could think of were names of spices it seems.. pepper and nutmeg... then luna (moon) but... she doesnt really look like a luna. i need help!

for reference: all the cats i've owned i have named something about the weather or atmosphere... when i was little i named my first cat was named sky... then came storm... the dog was sunshine... until the most recent kira ( i dont know where that came from)

01 December 2010

here's to you...

December 1st! 
I cannot remember ever being so enthusiastic about holidays... not that I've been a bah humbug. But I was never one to get giddy about Christmas music or decorations or anything that goes along with all of that. But... that apparently is changing this year. I don't know if its the first year of marriage or the having a home (instead of a room) of my own to decorate or if two and a half years ( 6 1/2 if you count college) away from home is starting to catch up with me and make me homesick. But I -to my surprise- welcomed december 1st with a smile in the morning (i am NOT a morning person) and woke up early enough to make pumpkin lattes for my students and share some chocolate chip (and some with dried cranberries) cookies with them!
Although my Christmas spirit just might have something to do with us buying our Christmas tree last night. I (WE) got pretty excited about it. 

we're still talking and debating and discussing and contemplating what decorations we are actually going to put on it. i would love to make some.. he prefers the shiny ones in the stores. but he hasn't seen the ones that i could make yet. Julton picked out a tree in the store and said, we should decorate it like that! it had yellowish lights... with a gold ribbon... and gold shiny ornaments... i couldn't find one in the store that i liked how they decorated (for my own tree, that i would like to have for myself i should say, they looked good in the store...) but when i explained that i would rather string popcorn and use lots of yarn and paper... he just got confused. he's obsessed with the idea that it all has to be the same color, and why on earth would you use green ornaments on a green tree???? hehehe , well, for now it sits with its lights (that will play christmas music by the way) waiting for our decision to take it to the next step... 

it does look quite lovely lit up though :)

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