Just another day in the neighborhood

Just when you think that it's going to be a quiet, uneventful Saturday afternoon, the faint sounds of a tuba playing can be heard a couple of blocks away.

Today was our barrio's turn to host El Señor del Encino before he returns to his home in the nearby ranch community of Ocotes de Moya.

Under normal circumstances, El Señor del Encino is accompanied by loud cohetes (fireworks).  But the town's cohetero (firework technician), who was also one of Hope's teachers,  passed away at the beginning of this year in a fiery accident.

Here is a short video of our barrio's farewell:




With Love,

My Happy List


My new friend Tammy, from I Don't Like Mama has tagged me to make a list of 10 things that make me happy.  (Tammy's a fabulous mommy blogger who decorates the most gorgeous cakes.) 

10 Things That Make Me Happy (in no particular order)
  1. My hubby!  Aside from the fact that he's the love of my life and my best friend, he's also cute and funny.  The perfect combination. 
  2. My kiddies!  I love them so much.  Just watching them play brings a smile to my face.
  3. Cooking and baking! I am happiest when cooking.
  4. Cows!  I love all things cow, especially if it's for the kitchen.  (My obsession make me easy to shop for...if it's got a cow on it, I'll be happy!)
  5. Hugs and kisses!  Nothing like a hug and a kiss from my kiddies! 
  6. TV shows in English!  I know it sounds a little funny, but after living in a Spanish speaking country for 9 years, it's nice to be able to watch some TV shows in English.
  7. Comments!  This isn't a ploy to get you to comment.  But comments really do make me super happy! 
  8. Reading a good book!  Now that I know that I can download books on to my computer, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't read. 
  9. Holidays!  Did you really think I wouldn't mention how much I love holidays and how happy they make me?  I have yet to meet a holiday that I don't like!
  10. It's a Wonderful Life!  My all-time favorite movie!  I always feel so much happier after watching it.
Now, I'm supposed to "tag" 10 ladies to write their happy list.  But I follow so many great blogs, that I can't narrow it down to just 10.  So, if you want to make your happy list, go for it and let me know that you wrote one in the comments!

With Love,

Oh, Happy Day!



I'm so happy.  Even giddy!  I feel like screaming from the rooftops!  But I'm afraid of heights, so I'll have to shout it from this blog. 

Drum roll, please....

I have a fully functioning stove and oven!

It wasn't easy.  We talked to our regular stove guy and he suggested that the problem wasn't the with the stove.  Our problem was most likely a problem with the gas lines.

We talked to the gas guys and they didn't think the problem was with the gas lines.  And they suggested we get a new stove.

This was all very frustrating to me.  I was having baking withdrawals.

Hubby wiggled and jiggled parts here and there when he could.  But we had a very busy week at the shop.

Just when I was about to give up hope, one of Hubby's customers stopped by to schedule some work for his truck.  In passing, the customer mentioned that he fixed stoves and ovens.  Suddenly, I felt like I was floating on cloud nine. (Or maybe it was cloud ten!)

Hubby and his customer agreed that Hubby would work on the man's truck seat, while he fixed my stove.  But I would have to wait until after the weekend.  Strangely, I was okay with that!

Long story short, the new oven man removed a few parts from the stove, lit a few matches and declared that there was nothing wrong with my stove or oven.  He said that problem was probably the pressure regulator on our stationary propane gas tank.  So, he and Hubby climbed up on the roof and replaced it.

And voila!  I have a working stove and oven with huge flames.  Honestly, my "old" flames were so low, it took about 30 minutes to boil a cup of water.

I made lunch today in a record breaking 30 minutes.  What a great feeling!

My only problem now, is that I have to relearn to cook with a stronger flame.  But, I'm not complaining!

With Love,

Unanswered Prayers

Last month, I told you about my struggle to have children and how I begged God to allow me to have at least one child.  But there was also a time, when I considered not having anymore children.

I was pregnant with Ashley and was making plans to travel to the U.S. with my two young children.  We were a happy family of four, soon-to-be family of five.

Hubby and I spent many a sleepless night watching World Cup 2002 soccer matches and discussing the fate of our family.  Were three kids enough?  Did we want to have more? Could we afford to have more?  How much longer would we continue having children?  I really didn't imagine myself having children at the ripe old age of 30.  

After months and months of discussion, Hubby and I decided that Ashley would be our last child. 

When I traveled to California to deliver Ashley, the first thing I discussed with the OB/GYN were the alternatives to closing down my baby factory for good.  My OB/GYN suggested tubal ligation and with a heavy heart, I agreed.  But God had other plans, because the doctor started flipping through my paperwork and asked me how old I was.  I was 27 at the time, and Ashley was due the day after my 28th birthday.

The doctor looked up from his paperwork and shook his head.  He looked at me, smiled, then proceeded to tell me that I was too young to be considered for tubal ligation.  I had to be 30  or older for the procedure.

To be honest, I wasn't the least bit broken-hearted.  Remember, I am the same girl who always wanted a big family.  Hubby wasn't too upset either when he learned the news.  We both said "Por algo sera", which means there's a reason why this happened.

But even without the tubal ligation, Hubby and I didn't plan on having more children.  But again, God had other plans, because four months after my 30th birthday, Jack was born.

Tomorrow (January 25th) is Jack's 5th birthday and this line from a Garth Brooks song sums it up perfectly:
"Some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers."

With Love,


Now What Am I Supposed To Do?

Something pretty terrible happened to me this week.

I thought that the worst thing that could happen to me, a person who loves to cook and bake, had already occurred.  That incident happened last summer, when my herbs, spices and my gel icing colors were "accidentally" thrown in the trash.

But this is much worse!

The trouble started four years ago.  My two year old stove wasn't working well.  The flame coming out of the burners wasn't as strong as it used to be.  Baking anything in the oven took anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes longer than usual.  But I persisted and made very minor adjustments in my cooking.

I continued to use my stove for another year.  Then one day, two of the burners and the comal (griddle) in the center of the stove,  stopped working.

It's not easy to cook for six people, with only two functioning burners. So Hubby called the oven repairman, who poked, blew, twisted and jiggled the different parts in the stove and oven.  All four of my burners were now functioning and the flame was almost as strong as when the stove was new.  But my oven flame got weaker.  It now took me almost twice as long to bake something.  My cakes and cheesecakes resulted even moister, but roasting a chicken was out of the question.

Again, I adapted.

But in October, I noticed that the stove flames were at an all time low.  The oven repairman was summoned once again, but the results weren't what we expected.  This time, the damage was irreparable.  

On Thursday, I was baking a cake for my mother-in-law's birthday.  The baking time for the cake layers was 25 to 30 minutes.  But with my malfunctioning oven it would take atleast a hour.

After the hour had passed, I peaked through the oven window to see if the cakes looked done.  Imagine my horror when I noticed that the cakes hadn't risen at all and the cake batter looked the same as when I had popped it in the oven.

I left the cakes in the oven a little longer to see if they would cook.  But after another thirty minutes, nothing had changed.  Knowing that my cake had no chance of surviving, I opened the oven door and immediately noticed that the oven flame looked as if it were struggling to stay alive.

The first thing many of you might be thinking is that we ran out of propane gas, but we just filled our stationary propane tank with 300 pesos worth gas this week.  That's enough gas to last us about 3 months.

Yes, it's true.  My oven and stove are quickly ceasing to function.

Hubby and I have toyed with the idea of calling the repairman.  But we are also pretty sure that there is nothing that can be done.  I know that some of you are handy at fixing things and I'm wondering what you think should be done.  Is it a lost cause or should I start shopping for a new stove?

With Love,

It Ain't Easy

What is the hardest part of living in Mexico?  Being so far away from one of the people I love most in this world....my Grandmother. 

Happy 93rd Birthday, Gramm!
I love you and miss you!


With Love,

Three Kings and a Full House (includes video)

Forgive me for not sharing this with you sooner, but I was experiencing a few technical difficulties.

On January 6th, we celebrate Dia de Los Santos Reyes (Three Kings Day).  It is the big gift-giving holiday in Mexico.  In some parts, its even bigger than Christmas.  But as the name of the holiday suggests, the gift bearers are the Reyes Magos (The Magi or Wisemen), who go by the names Melchor, Gaspar and Baltazar.  And instead of hanging a Christmas stocking on the fireplace, the children of Mexico leave their shoes by their beds for them to be filled with presents. 

Just as we celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, we celebrate Dia de Los Santos Reyes the night before.  The entire family gathers at my in-law's home for our favorite part of the holiday, the Rosca de Reyes (Kings Bread). 

The Rosca de Reyes, is a bread wreath, beautifully adorned with dried fruits to resemble a king's crown.  Tucked inside the bread are small dolls, made of either plastic or porcelain, representing El Niño Dios (The Christ Child).  The hidden Niño Dios is symbolic of when Jesus was hidden from Herod's decree to kill all male babies.

Whoever uncovers El Niño Dios in their slice of Rosca, must provide the tamales for El Dia de La Candelaria on February 2nd.  (This is the celebration of when the Virgin Mary presented Jesus in the church.)

We always have such a great time with the Rosca de Reyes, that I've posted a video to share with you. 




With Love,



Memorable Moments of 2009

One of my New Year's Resolutions is turning out to be great fun! The actual work part isn't, but looking through all of the pictures we took during 2009, I am reminded of the great times we had.

Here are just a few pics of the Limon Family's most memorable moments of 2009.  (Click on the pics for a closer look!)

 
Weekend Getaway to nearby Tepatitlan de Morelos


 
 Creating Señor Piñata with Nick



Coloring Easter eggs


 Berry Picking during Spring Break




 

Swine Flu Fashion for School


and Home

 


A fun game of Iron Chef Mexico.
(The secret ingredient was homemade Play-Dough.)


Feeding the ducks at La Presa.



Hubby's First Bike Race
(He finished in 4th place!)


A Zombie-style Halloween


And many visits to my favorite place...El Rancho.
(I really need to write a post about this place.)

*The only picture that is missing is of the entire family gathered together for Christmas Eve.  I will post it as soon as my sister-in-law emails it to me!

With Love,
Leslie Limon

Happy 2010: New Year's Resolutions


New Year's is my kind of holiday.  I know you're probably thinking, "Aren't they all?"  But really...What isn't there to love?  It's the time of year to look back on the year that was, and to look forward to what lies ahead in the New Year.

And not far from my mind has been my list of what I want to accomplish in 2010.  Ah yes, New Year's Resolutions.  Many of us make them, and only few accomplish them.

Here's my list of resolutions that I hope to keep past January 15th!
  1. Exercise.  One of my least favorite things to do.  But, it is supposed to be "good for you" and I do have a lovely elliptical cycle that Hubby gave me for Mother's day (at my request) that I should use.  I'm not promising much, but 3 days a week should do.   
  2. Sew.  I love to sew!  And I'm somewhat good at it.  But I haven't made the time to do it lately.  I have a huge sewing machine sitting in a corner of my kitchen, with a large pile of fabrics just waiting to be turned into something fabulous.  I'd really like to get back into the habit of sewing once a week. 
  3. Write.  I rediscovered my love of writing when I started this blog,  I haven't been as consistent, not due to lack of inspiration, but because again, I don't allow myself the time.  I'm not promising to write everyday, because I do have a Hubby, 4 kiddies and a house to care for, but I am hoping to give myself time to write.    
  4. Keep in touch.  I love my family and friends dearly, but I'm really bad at keeping in touch, specifically  answering emails.  One thing I've already started is answering emails as soon as I open them, which is great, because I usually forget to answer them when I decide to "answer them later". 
  5. Back up photos.  This is a hard one for me.  I have a year of pictures on my computer that need to be sorted through before I am able to back them up. But I will.  You think I would have learned my lesson when my old computer crashed Thanksgiving 2008, taking all of our family pictures from that year with it. 
  6. Garden.  Remember my dream garden?  Well, to make a long story short, my pup Brownie destroyed it almost immediately after I planted my seeds.  Maybe a raised garden box isn't for me or my pup. (Atleast for now.)  I've noticed that my pets pay no attention to my potted plants, so I'm thinking I'll start a container garden in the Spring.  
  7. Read. I've always loved to read.  It broke my heart to have to leave my collection of books when we moved to Mexico.  Sadly, I've only read maybe a dozen books in the 9 years that I've lived here.  All of which have been in Spanish, because English language books aren't easy to come by.  But I recently discovered that Amazon delivers to Mexico and they also have the Kindle for PC.  At the moment, I am reading a book a month and I hope to continue to do so.  Although I wouldn't mind reading two or three or four!
  8. Be a better person.  I know that sounds generic, but I believe all mankind can be kinder, gentler, more tolerant, more understanding and attentive to the needs of others.  I hope to improve on that!
What about you?  Did you make any Resolutions for 2010?

With Love,
Leslie Limon