30 Day Song Challenge: Week 1

Have you heard of the 30 Day Song Challenge?  It's a popular meme floating around Facebook and Blogland.  Each day has it's own topic/category such as: your favorite song, your least favorite song, a song that drives you crazy, etc.

Well last week my friend, Juan (from the blog Juan of Words) and I started the 30 Day Song Challenge on our Facebook fan pages.

I'm having so much fun remembering old favorites, that I thought I'd share them here too.    

Day 1 - Your favorite song:
Choosing just one favorite song was not an easy task for me.  But out of all of the songs I love, this is my absolute favorite.  I could listen to it over and over again.  

Day 2 - Your LEAST favorite song:
I like the message of this song, but that's about it.  And I'm usually a fan of Beyonce's, but I can't stand this song.  

Day 3 - A song that makes you happy:
Yes, I know I'm a dork!  But I LOVE this song and can't help but feel happy whenever I hear it. 

Day 4 - A song that makes you sad: 
Living in Mexico, I rarely get to hear the Star Spangled Banner.  So whenever I do get to hear it, which is usually while watching the Super Bowl, I can't help but cry and feel just a little sad and homesick for the good ol' U.S. of A.

DAY 5 - A song that reminds you of someone:
This song reminds me of my mom because it was one of her favorites.   

DAY 6 - A song that reminds you of somewhere:
The title of this song is pretty self explanatory.  It reminds me of the three years I lived in Amarillo when I was a kid.  (And I've had the biggest crush on George Strait for as long as I can remember!) 

Day 7 - A song that reminds you of a certain event:
This song reminds me of my Senior Prom.  (The theme was Set the Night To Music.)  My prom wasn't all that memorable or traumatic for me, but it was for my best friend.  I know she still cringes
whenever she hears this song.  

What songs would you choose? 


Sundays in My City: The World's Largest Molcajete

It seems only fitting that the small town known for producing the best Chile de Arbol, would also have the world's largest molcajete


Linking up with my friend, Unknown Mami for:

Unknown Mami

First Day of School 2011

Today was the first day of school here in Mexico.  And of course my kiddies went back to school looking pretty darn cute! 

Hope started 9th grade. 

Nick started 6th grade and Ashley 4th.

And Jack started 1st grade!

I can't believe my baby is already in 1st grade!  And next year Hope will be in High School and Nick in Junior High.  (Sigh!)  They're growing up so fast.  Part of me wishes that I could freeze time and let them stay "little" for just a while longer.   

One Year Ago: Back to School (2010)

Back to School Spanish Lesson

It's Spanish Friday and since my kiddies are going back to school on Monday, I thought I'd combine the two to bring you the very first Motherhood in Mexico Back-to-School Spanish Lesson. 

Let's start with the basics:
Escuela - School
Kinder/Jardin de Niños - Kindergarten
Guarderia - Daycare 
(Escuela) Primaria - Elementary School 
(Escuela) Secundaria* - Junior High 
Preparatoria (Prepa)/Bachillerato - High School
Universidad - University
Colegio - Private School  (Colegio in Mexico does not refer to college!)

*One of my biggest pet peeves when watching movies or TV shows dubbed in Spanish is when they refer to High School as Secundaria.  

Young children, some as young as 3 years old, attend Kindergarten for 2 to 3 years, depending on how old they are.   Some start with Primero de Kinder (First Grade).  But some, mostly older kids, jump right into Segundo de Kinder (Second Grade).  And all kids attend Tercero de Kinder (Third Grade).

Elementary Schools in Mexico are just like most schools in the U.S.
Primero = First grade
Segundo = Second grade
Tercero = Third grade
Cuarto = Fourth grade
Quinto = Fifth grade
Sexto  = Sixth grade

When you start junior high, you don't continue with 7th, 8th and 9th grade.  You start all over with First, Second and Third grade.
Primero (de Secundaria): 7th grade
Segundo (de Secundaria): 8th grade
Tercero (de Secundaria): 9th grade

Same with Prepa and Bachillerato.  Although some schools divide the year into semesters.
10th grade = Primero (de Prepa) or Primer y Segundo Semestre
11th grade = Segundo (de Prepa) or Tercer y Cuarto Semestre
12th grade = Tercero (de Prepa) or Quinto y Sexto Semestre

Some schools have so many students that they offer morning and afternoon classes.
Turno Matutino = Morning classes
Turno Vespertino = Afternoon classes

Back to School Questions:
What grade are you in?
En que año estas (en la esuela)?

What school do you go to?
A que escuela vas?

Who is your teacher?
Quien es tu maestra/o?

Speaking of teachers...Did you know that in Mexico it is customary to call teachers by their first name? 

There is so much more I could add to this list, but I think I'll save it for another day.  I'll just add one more word for you moms and dads.  It's where some of us will be spending our weekend and most of next week...

Papeleria - Office/School Supply store


The Name Game: Back to School Edition

Every year it's the same thing.  First day of school.  New teachers.  Roll call.  Gringo names.  Spanish pronunciation.

Things tend to get a little confusing because there is a big difference in how words (and names) are read (and pronounced) in English and in Spanish.

If read in English, my kiddies' names all have a very nice ring to them.  But read in Spanish, they become something totally different.  For example, the "J" in Spanish sounds like the English "H", so Jack Alfonso becomes HACK Alfonso.

And because the English "TH" is very hard for many Spanish speakers to pronounce, Ashley Faith becomes ASH-LAY FIGHT.

Since the Mexican "CH" is never pronounced like the letter "C", Nicholas Patrick becomes NEE-CHOH-LAWS PAW-TREEK.  His first grade teacher, refused to pronounce his name in English, claiming that since we were in Mexico, his name had to be read as if it were in Spanish.  Finally after a couple of months, she started calling him Nick.

This isn't the only problem Nick's had with his name.  When we first moved to Mexico, Hubby's grandmother was waiting for us at my in-laws house, anxious to meet her great-grandchildren.  As soon as she picked Nick up in her arms, she asked us what his name was, to which we both replied, "Nicholas Patrick."   She looked at us kind of in shock and said, "Nicolas Parches?  What kind of name is that???"  Parches is Spanish for "Patches".  She thought we named our son, Nicholas Patches.

Oddly enough, Hope's one syllable name causes the most confusion.

The "H" in Spanish is always silent, so Hope Nicole becomes OH-PAY NEE-COLE-AY.  Sounds a little like Pig Latin doesn't it?  But no, it's how most teachers have pronounced Hope's name over the years.  When Hope explains the proper pronunciation, the name Hope is then mistaken for HOBE, which is the Spanish pronunciation of the Biblical name, Job.  Which then leads to the following conversation...
"Isn't that a boy's name?"
"Yes, Job is a boy's name.  But my name is Hope, it's the English word for Esperanza."
"Then why didn't your parents just name you Esperanza?"
"Because my mom's a Gringa!"

But wait, the fun doesn't stop there.

Remember, everyone in Mexico has two last names.  Hubby's last name, Limón is easy to pronounce: LEE-MOAN.  But my Gringo maiden name?  Not so easy!  "Harris" has that darn silent "H" and the double "R" so it becomes AH-RRRREEEESS. (UPDATE: As per a new law in Mexico, my US born children only have one last name to match the name on their US birth certificates. Read more...

I told you it gets confusing.

Thankfully, my kiddies are all great sports and really don't mind having to go through this year after year on the first day of school.  They are proud of their names and like the fact that no one in school has the same name.   
Have you ever had someone mispronounce your name?

For more posts like this, be sure to read The Name Game.

New Exercise Craze

Move over Jillian Michaels, Billy Blanks and Richard Simmons.  From the woman who hates exercise and thought it would be a cold day in Hades before she'd ever feel differently comes an exciting new workout that will help get your body (and home) in tip top shape.

Forget Zumba, Spinning, Pilates or whatever exercise craze is currently "in" and say hello to a revolutionary exercise that I like to call...Cardio Mop!

For those of you unfamiliar with houses in Mexico, most homes don't have wall-to-wall carpeting.  But some of us are lucky enough to have wall-to-wall tiling.  And not that vinyl peel-and-stick kind of tiling.  I'm talking handmade cement tiles. (Some are quite lovely.)

Part of every Mexican housewife's morning routine is to sweep and mop the entire house.  EVERY day.  Luckily my house is small, so this workout only takes me 30 minutes from start to finish.  Most days. 

I like to start my "work-out" with a warm-up which consists of sweeping the bedrooms, bathroom, living room, dining room and kitchen.  There's bending and stretching to get all of the dust, candy wrappers, toys, shoes, stray school supplies and lost socks from under the furniture.  Followed by a quick run around the house trying to put everything back where it belongs.

Now that I've got my heart rate up, it's time to start the real workout.

Fill a bucket with water and add your favorite cleaning solution: bleach, Pinol or Fabuloso.  (I love that purple stuff!)   A little aroma therapy really helps makes for a much more pleasant workout. 

Dip your mop in the bucket and wring it out, but not completely.  The first pasada (passing of the mop) is best with a very wet mop.  The extra water adds weight which will help in shaping and toning your biceps, triceps and shoulders.  Mop one or two rooms at a time, making sure to really put your weight into pushing the mop around, which will help work every muscle in your body.

Return the mop to the bucket, then wring it out completely.  This final pasada is to dry the floor and is the second set of your workout.

Continue to mop the remaining rooms, until your entire house is clean and you feel the burn in every muscle.

Now that's what I call a great workout!  And it's also great for relieving stress!

As a co-founder of H.A.H. (Housewives Against Housework), I wasn't always fond of having to mop my house every single day.   But there was only one thing I disliked even more...EXERCISE.  Since both activities are necessary evils, why not turn such an arduous chore into a workout, thus killing two birds with one stone.

Now if only I could convince the folks at Bally's or 24-Hour Fitness that Cardio-Mop is sure to be the next big exercise craze. 

Linking up with: 

Momma Made It Look Easy

Mystery Solved: Mezquitamal

In yesterday's installment of Name That Food, I asked if anyone could identify this mystery food...

Like many of you, I thought it was some kind of cheese.  But it is not.  It's a typical Mexican candy called Mezquitamal, made by the Huicholes  in Chimaltitan, Jalisco. 

Mezquitamal is a paste made from ground up Mezquite seeds.  I am not a fan of eating raw or dried Mezquites, so I was a little hesitant to try this dulce tipico.  But dedicated blogger that I am, I finally worked up enough courage this morning to taste it.

When you cut into the Mezquitamal, it looks a little like a Queso Fresco, but the texture is kind of dry and crumbly, very much like a mazapan (Mexican marzipan).  The taste is pretty strong.  That's why it's traditionally served in small portions with a steaming mug of Atole.  The more I tried the Mezquitamal and really took the time to savor the flavor, the more I liked it.  To me it tasted like a strong herbal tea.  And it left me with this fresh and pleasant aftertaste.  Not what I expected at all.

I think I'm going to go have another slice. 


Name That Food

I don't know about you, but I really love playing this game.  And there are just so many foods to choose from here in Mexico.

Today's mystery food is brought to us by my brother-in-law, who saw these and thought they'd be perfect for another installment of Name That Food.  

So...Do you know what today's mystery food is? 


Two Weeks Notice...

I can't believe that we've already come to this.

I have been having so much fun.

Staying up late, not worrying about waking up before the sun comes out.  Waking up at 8.  Taking my sweet time to do my housework.  Not really planning anything.  Playing outside.  Playing hooky from my blog and Facebook.  Laughing.  Watching movies.  Going to soccer games.  Hanging out with my visiting in-law's.  Dias de campo and picnics at La Presa.

I knew it wasn't going to last forever, but I didn't think it would all be over so soon.  It's only been four weeks! 

But looking at my calendar today only confirmed my suspicions...School starts in just two weeks!

Ay Dios mio!

Time to start going to sleep at a decent hour and waking up early.  Time to start making lists.  Time to buy school supplies, backpacks, shoes and uniforms for all the kiddies.

Time to come back to the real world.


So...ready or not, here I come!