Jul 1, 2015

Café con Leslie: June in Review

Hi friends! Welcome back to another edition of Café con Leslie - a biweekly review of what we've been up to. So without further ado, I'm just going to jump right into where we left off in our previous Catching Up post.


Summer has arrived to most parts of the world, meaning that there are more kids in the neighborhood visiting from the US. Sadly here in Mexico school is still in session. Nick, Ashley, and Jack still have two weeks of school left. (Yawn!) I am ready for them to be on summer break, and not having to wake up at 6:30am. But just because school is still in session doesn't mean that the kiddies don't get to play with their friends from the US. Every evening the street fills up with kids of all ages playing everything from stickball to futbol in the street. Just one of the many joys of small town living.

Speaking of school... we finally have a date for Nick's graduation ceremony and mass: July 14th. We'll probably end up going out to lunch at Nick's favorite restaurant after mass since Nick's classmates can't seem to agree on whether or not to have a party. Or we might wait until the weekend to celebrate with the entire family.


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Hope, who has been on vacation for most of the month, has a new summer job. It's part of her servicio social that she has to fulfill in order to graduate from bachillerato (high school). Servicio social is a cross between community service and apprenticeship (in that it focuses on the students area of studies and they don't get paid for their servicio). Some students work at the high school, while others work as aides to teachers at one of the many kinders, primarias, and even the secundaria (junior high). Since Hope's class is focusing on accounting, she is giving her servicio part-time at an accounting office. So far she has logged more than 50 hours and she is really loving her job. Only 430 to go!

Hope at work - lacasadeleslie.com


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My Erin Condren life planner, the planner I've been dreaming about owning for the last couple of years, arrived about a week and a half after I ordered it. Woo-hoo! Kudos to the Erin Condren company for their impressive international shipping. It's so bright and pretty! I love it! (Even though I've only been using it for a couple of days.)

There was one little mix-up due to the madness of launch date... I ordered the horizontal layout, but received the vertical layout instead. But I'm not too upset as I prefer the brighter colors of the vertical layout to the softer, subdued colors of the horizontal layout.

Erin Condren Life Planner (week 1) - lacasadeleslie.com

Menu planning in Erin Condren Life Planner - lacasadeleslie.com


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For Father's Day we celebrated at the reservoir with Hubby's siblings and their families. And I managed to snap some new pics of the Hubby and the kiddies.

Hubby and the kiddies (Father's Day 2015) - lacasadeleslie.com

Hubby & the boys (Father's Day 2015) - lacasadeleslie.com

Hubby & the girls (Father's Day 2015) - lacasadeleslie.com

(Sigh!) I can't believe how big my kiddies are now. 


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Hubby is keeping busy with work. And when he gets a chance after work (a couple times a week) he goes cycling with his buddies. The Mexican countryside and the recent rains have provided a gorgeous backdrop for his photos. (For more of Hubby's cycling pics follow him on Instagram.)




Enough about me... What have you been up to? Catch me up on all the details in the comments below.













Jun 15, 2015

Café con Leslie: Catching Up


Don't be alarmed and do not try to adjust your computer screen. It's just me with a new blog post updating you on what we've been up to recently. I realize it's been forever since I've updated the blog, but in the spirit of trying to get back on track with my New Year's Resolutions I'm hoping to start posting more often than once in a blue moon. And to kick things off I'm starting back with my weekly Café con Leslie posts to keep you up-to-date with what's going on in our lives.

Hope's last day of 11th grade - lacasadeleslie.com

First things first... This past Friday was Hope's last day of 11th grade, and she finished the school year with straight 10's. (Happy dance!) Hubby and I are so very proud of her. (She doesn't look too happy in the pic because she was complaining about being too old for these type of photos. But I'm a mom and taking these pics are part of my job.) 


Speaking of school, Hope is lucky in that her summer vacation starts four whole weeks before her younger siblings. The official last day of school for Nick, Ashley, and Jack is July 13th and I can't wait!


Nick will be graduating from secundaria (junior high/9th grade) next month. (He was in 3rd grade when I started this blog.) We've enrolled him in the same high school as Hope, and will be taking his entrance exam in 3 weeks. No plans for graduation yet, as the parents (and students) haven't been able to agree on what to do for the big day. Most of Nick's classmates just want to each do their own thing and celebrate with their families. There also isn't a set date for the graduation ceremony and mass yet either. It's going to be one of those last minute things that drive a planner like me crazy. The good thing is that Nick has already chosen his madrina (godmother) for the graduation mass.


Grilled frog legs - lacasadeleslie.com

This weekend we had another cookout with family and friends at el rancho. We always have a good time and usually when we go to el rancho there's some new food adventure to be had. Last time we went, which was a couple of weeks ago, I tried riñones (kidneys) for the second time. (Still not a fan!) This weekend my foodie adventure involved grilled frog legs, except it wasn't just the frog legs, it was the whole darn frog! I wasn't sure I'd work up enough nerve to try them, but Hope and Hubby convinced me. And you know what? They weren't bad at all. Frog legs really do taste like chicken! One frog leg was enough for me. I just couldn't stop imagining the frog I disected back in 10th grade biology some 25 years ago. But... I'll take grilled frog legs over riñones any day.


As for me, I'm keeping busy being a wife, mom, and caregiver. Nothing too exciting to report. I did cut my hair... again. And this time I went even shorter. (Will share a pic soon.) It's summer and there really is no point in trying to do my hair. It just curls back up the minute I start to sweat. And with this heat and humidity... I'm sweating ALL. THE. TIME! But I'm totally in love with my new 'do!


Oh, last week I ordered my very first Erin Condren planner*. I've admired them for years, and finally decided to take the plunge because life is short and I couldn't resist the new horizontal layout. I'm hoping that my 18-month planner will arrive by the beginning of July, but snail mail has not been my friend lately. So, we shall see.


Enough about me and the kiddies... what have you been up to? Catch me up in the comments below.












*This post includes an affiliate link. If you order from Erin Condren using the link provided, I receive store credit. 



May 2, 2015

Currently | April 2015 Faves

Because it's been a while since I've done one of these, and because I love looking back and seeing what I was loving during certain months.

Reading: I'm actually in-between books at the moment. In April I read a lot of organizing and tech books, none of which really stood out. The  I'm looking for a good novel to read this month, maybe in the mystery/thriller genre, so if you have any suggestions let me know in the comments below.

Listening to: I don't know if it's because the warmer weather has me feeling like it's already summer, or if the teenagers in my house are influencing my taste in music. Whatever the reason I've been listening to a lot of Top 40/pop music hits. Some of the songs I've been listening to over and over are Jealous by Nick Jonas, Style by Taylor Swift, Love Me Like You Do by Ellie Goulding (Don't think I love this song because I'm into 50 Shades of Gray, because I'm not. At all!), and Sugar by Maroon 5.



(Adam Levine... In a tux... Swoon!)

Watching: No surprise here. I always watch Grey's Anatomy, and for most of the month of April I was loving it. And then the unthinkable happened last week to one of the original characters and now I don't know if I can continue watching. I'm still not over what happened. I'm hoping it all turns out to be just a dream.


(Yes, I realize it's just a TV show and that McDreamy isn't a real person.) 

Eating: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, lots of salads, and easy, no-fuss crockpot meals like Beef Shank Barbacoa. (Recipe coming soon to my cocina blog.)

Crockpot Beef Shank Barbacoa - lacocinadeleslie.com

Drinking: Water. Lots and lots of water.

Loving: Our annual Semana Santa camping trip. This was our 6th one, I believe.


My new phone! Nothing too fancy, but I do love that it has a big (5.5 inch) screen.

I'm also loving my new 'do.


I was hesistant to cut my hair so short because "they" say big girls can't wear short hair, but "they" were wrong! I feel fierce with my short hair. And I love that it's so easy to manage.

Hating: I have a long list of things I wasn't liking in April. Let's see... Daylight Savings. Since springing our clocks forward on Easter Sunday, I have not been able to fall asleep until after midnight. Ugh! I was sleeping so well before Daylight Savings, falling asleep between 10-10:30pm every night for I don't know how long. But not anymore. Take right now as I write this post for instance, it is after midnight and I'm not the least bit sleepy. Oh, but once my alarm goes off in about 7 hours, I will be plenty tired and not want to get out of bed.

Other things I wasn't liking were the creepy crawlers that came to my house uninvited like the ugly, hairy rat that wanted to take up residence in my bathroom, and the huge bigger-than-the-palm-of-my-hand spider that tried to move into my suegro's house. (((Shudder!)))

Toothaches. I had a doozy of a toothache when we got home from our Semana Santa (Holy Week) camping trip. My dentist said I had an abcess and needed a root canal. (My worst nightmare!) Well, after a round of antibiotics and pain meds my tooth is no longer bothering me, so I see no reason to get the root canal. For now.

Looking forward to: Pitaya season! Pitayas (the fruit of the pipe organ cactus) are only in season for a limited time (about 4 to 6 weeks) during the hottest month of the year here in Mexico, which just so happens to be the month of May. Squeee!












Feb 18, 2015

#WednesdayWishes for the Tooth Fairy

Today I'm joining my friend Unknown Mami for #WednesdayWishes. I've been wanting to join in on the Wednesday Wishing fun since Unknown Mami started posting it on her blog, but it was always one thing or another that prevented me from linking up. But today I actually remembered on the right day. So here goes...

WednesdayWishes

My wishes this week are simple and all revolve around one theme: my teeth.

1. I wish the left side of my face would stop hurting like the dickens. My teeth are a hot mess. I chipped a molar while chewing gum, I need a wisdom tooth pulled, and I might need a root canal. (I'm really hoping to avoid that last one. I'd rather have my wisdom teeth removed again than have another root canal.)


2. I wish for a quick and painless wisdom tooth extraction tomorrow. I've had two wisdom teeth pulled by the same dentist and haven't had a problem yet. I'm hoping that tomorrow things will all go just as smoothly as before.


3. I wish for a speedy recovery, even though I plan to take my dentist's orders of bedrest very seriously.


*Bonus wish: I wish there was a Tooth Fairy for grown-ups. Have you seen the size of some wisdom teeth? The last one I had pulled was HUGE. Jack thought it was worth at least $100 pesos. Plus, factor in all the trouble they cause a person from the moment they start coming in until the moment they have to be pulled. We should be making some good money from those wisdom teeth.



What are you wishing for this week?









Jan 7, 2015

Café con Leslie: January Goals

Aside from my New Year's Resolutions that I shared with you last week, I also have a couple of goals that are specific to this first month of the year. Nothing big or drastical, just simple practical things that I want NEED to do around the house.

January Goals - lacasadeleslie.com

January Goals:
(in no particular order)

1. Take down and put away Christmas decorations here at home and at my suegro's house. Okay, this was at the top of my list and it's the first of my January goals that I've already accomplished. Yay for me!

2. Get back to my "normal" routine/schedule. December was a month full of celebrations, visiting in-laws, and family gatherings. Now that the holidays are over and the kiddies returned to school today, it is time to get back to our regularly scheduled routines. I don't know about you, but I function so much better when I have a set routine/schedule to follow. Mind you, my routines aren't set in stone and my schedule isn't very strict. But I do have certain time frames that I need to follow to get everything done. I've made a few tweaks to my routine/schedule this month because Hope is still on winter break for a few more weeks, and because I'm making a conscious effort to schedule time to accomplish some of my New Year's Resolutions (like blogging more regularly) and also some down time to just relax, watch a movie, play a board game with Hubby and the kiddies, or read a book.

3. Try out my new cleaning schedule. Along with the few adjustments I made to my daily routine, I've also made some changes to my cleaning schedule at home. For years I followed the FlyLady method of dividing my home into zones, tackling one zone per week. But that method just isn't working for me anymore. So this month I'm going to try something a little different. Instead of tackling one zone per week, I'm going to spend an hour every afternoon tackling one zone (room) per day, aside from my regular morning cleaning schedule. I just started this week and I'm already seeing a difference. We'll see how things go as the month progresses.

4. Find an easy and fail-proof way to back up my photos from 2014. I need to find a fail-proof method of backing up my photos. I can't tell you how many times I've lost tons of photos because my "back-up plan" failed. For instance last year I backed up 4 years of food photos from my food blog and from work to one of those flash drives. As long as it was in my possession, everything was fine and dandy. But the moment I lent that flash drive to one of the kiddies who desperately needed to borrow my flash drive to save an important homework assignment to take to school the next day because he lost his flash drive... Yeah, I never saw that flash drive again. I haven't completely recovered from losing so many pics, especially the ones I hadn't gotten around to sharing.  Anyway, this year I don't want to lose any of my pics so I need to find a way to store my pics, besides just storing them on my laptop, that won't get lost like flash drives and disc thingamajigs. Do I dare store them in "the cloud"? I'm open to suggestions.

5. Plan Jack's birthday party. Jack (my youngest) will be turning 10 at the end of the month. Usually we just have a small party with all of Hubby's siblings and their families to celebrate Jack's and my suegro's (father-in-law) birthdays. (They share the same birthday.) But this year Jack wants a big soccer themed birthday party at la presa (the reservoir). I've never planned or thrown a really big birthday party, so I'm a little nervous. (Make that a lot nervous.) But with the help of Hubby and my sis-in-law who lives here in town, I hope it turns out to be one of the happiest birthdays Jack's ever had.


Do you have any goals you want to accomplish this month?











Jan 1, 2015

New Year's Resolutions 2015...


The older I get the quicker time seems to fly by. It seems like just the other day that I sat down to write my resolutions for 2014, and now it's time once again to make another list of resolutions. As with every new year, my feelings about resolutions aren't the same as they were the year before. When writing out my resolutions for 2014 I was a lot more optimistic, hopeful, and full of exciting energy. This year??? I don't know how to explain how I'm feeling. I'm still very excited about what this new year has in store for us, and as usual I have a long list of ideas and things I want to accomplish in 2015. But my feelings about it all are slightly different than last year. Practical! That's the word I'm looking for. This year I'm taking a more practical approach to my new year's resolutions.


My Resolutions for 2015...
(in no particular order)

Read 52 books in 2015. I have loved to read for as long as I can remember, but because I get so caught up in the busy-ness of life I don't always make time to do it. I chose the number 52 because I figure I can easily read (I say that now) one book per week. But you'll notice I didn't actually say I'd read one book per week, because sometimes there are books that take me a lot longer than a week to read. In years past when I've set a goal of reading one book per week, I feel guilty and/or bad when I'm unable to finish reading certain books in that one week time frame. And it ends up being too much self-imposed pressure. So we'll just leave it at 52 books in one year. I'll try to remember to link to the book that I'm currently reading in the sidebar. And as always if you have any suggestions for books you think I might enjoy reading, let me know in the comments below.


De-clutter and organize every room in my house. Just like my trying to conquer the never-ending pile of laundry, this particular resolution is a constant battle. It's at the top of my lists of weekly and monthly goals, but it's also one of the goals that gets pushed to the back burner for whatever reason. This year I want to go through each nook and cranny of our house and get rid of the things we no longer use, and organize the things that are left in such a way that it works for our family so that things don't pile up on the kitchen counter or on the kids' desk. I'm far from reaching hoarder status, but I want to tackle things so they never get to that point.


Blog regularly and consistently (on both my blogs). This should be called "The Little Resolution That Could." Because every year I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. And dammit, one of these years I'm actually going to do it. So why not this year?! Blogging is the other resolution that gets pushed to the back burner, more so than the de-cluttering and organizing. But it's also the resolution that I can't stop thinking about, nor can I let it go. So this year I am determined will be the year that I get back to blogging (and writing) on a regular and consistent basis. I've set up a blog planner, I have a list of blog post ideas and recipes for each month, and I'm trying to figure out a blog posting schedule that's totally doable for me.


Write and send letters via snail mail. Once upon a time, a long, long time ago I used to be an avid letter writer. I'd mail letters that were at least 6 pages long to friends and family across the globe. There wasn't a holiday (including Groundhog's Day) that went by without me sending out cards to my nearest and dearest of friends. Of course this was before the age of email, social media, and text messages.  As much as I love hearing from my friends on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, I miss that special feeling of happiness and excitement of having a letter hand-delivered by the postman. So because I miss sitting down to write a letter to friends and family that live far away, and because I would love to recieve something in the mail beside bills, I am going to bring back the ancient art of letter writing.


And that's it. These are my four main resolutions that I'm going to make a conscious effort to work on throughout the year in addition to my monthly goals, which I'll continue to share here on the blog. Wish me luck and share your New Year's Resolutions in the comments.








Aug 18, 2014

Café con Leslie: First Day of School 2014

First day of school 2014 - lacasadeleslie.com

Hard to believe since the kiddies just got out of school, but a new school year has started. So it's time to share the kiddies' first day of school pics. But first a little disclaimer... The pics are a little darker than usual because I took them before the three older kiddies left for school at 7am, and it was still pretty dark outside. And well, flash photography never looks all that great.