Sunday, May 29, 2011

Of course it did!

Update:  The repair person came today.  We will be without the sink and the dishwasher until Wednesday.  The fun factor on this is dropping.

The kids were putting away the clean dishes.  As Carson closed a cabinet, I heard a weird thud noise.  I turned around to see the sink resting atop the dish soap in the lower cabinet.  A mere two months ago, this would have sent me to Hissy Fit Land.  Today, I had a good laugh and asked if this meant we got to go out to eat until it was fixed.  Unfortunately, we were blessed with a separate sink in another part of the kitchen so no dinners out for me!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

We're for real!

Today, we had an impromptu trip with friends to some of the local markets.  I've been wanting to visit the markets, but I'm definitely not adventurous enough to go by myself.  Tony texted a friend to ask for some pointers, and they decided to join us.  So the nine of us piled into the van (It's Panama.  There are no seatbelt laws) and headed to the markets.

We decided to hit the seafood market first.  I was very excited about this because I love seafood.  I've become a bit of a fish junkie since we moved to Panama.   The market did not disappoint.  It was well organized, by Panamanian standards, and had lots of friendly vendors.

All the fresh seafood was so amazing!

 Our friend posing with the sea bass that we took home.  He filleted it for me!

Chloe and the shrimp selection.  We ended up getting 2lbs of the big shrimp on the left.

The seafood market wasn't as cheap as I had hoped it would be.  The sea bass averaged out to about $8/lb.  I'm not sure how the compares to the local grocery stores because I've never bought sea bass.  The shrimp was a better deal at $3/lb.  We laughed they we would be hosting Panama's first ever Low Country Boil!

Unrelated, but stinkin' cute, picture of the Bits.

After the seafood market, we piled back into the van to travel to the produce market.  I was warned on the way over that the produce market isn't near as well organized as the seafood market.  That was accurate.  Stands appeared haphazardly around a cramped field.  Kind of like a very junkie, very crowded county fair.  But the selections of fruits and veggies was varied and inexpensive.  If you forget about the 8 or so teens desperately trying to kill the rat, it was a downright fun experience.

One of the several lime vendors.  The price?
.10/lime or $10/bag for the large bags in the background on the right.

Here we are choosing pineapples (2/$1) and cantaloupe ($1 each).

The deal of the market was this bag of oranges- 40 pounds for $6!

It was a great afternoon.  It was the first really we-live-in-Panama thing we have done, and I'm thrilled we took the time (and found the courage) to do it.  All told we ended up with: sea bass, shrimp, 10-limes, 40#-oranges, 5#-potatoes, a couple red and yellow bell peppers, cilantro, 7- cucumbers, 4- zucchini, 2- cantaloupes, green onion, and 2- pineapples. for about $45.00.  I think that is a pretty good price, but even if the deals weren't that great, the time we had feeling connected to our new home was priceless.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Competition of the Day!

We are competitive people.  Really competitive people.  Tony and I both come from long lines of competitive people.  The kids didn't stand a chance.  After a week of busy fun during our staycation, Tony and the kids determined a day at home was in order.  (For my part, I'd always rather be doing something out than be at home.)  Everyone agreed that a friendly competition would be an enjoyable break from the Mommy-enforced busyness.  The Family Mario Kart Competition was born.  After a quick google search for help drawing the double elimination for 5 players brackets, we were ready to go.

Competition was intense as player after player was eliminated.


Notice that Carson channels his inner Tigger Uncle Tim watching the races.

The faces of determination.  The piles of laundry.

After tough rounds of play, only Chloe and Carson are left.  Watch their entire battle to see the winner!

Congratulations to.........

Carson David!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Word of the Day!

Wanna guess what word we've been working on?  Coralynn's at the really difficult stage when she knows what she wants, but she can't get her point across.  This leads to her screaming at us which leads to Carson and Camilla cracking up.  In turn, Coralynn screams happily for her easy audience.   This leads to Chloe reminding everyone that she could talk at this age.  So, we've been working on "more."  So far, she makes this cute face but doesn't make any noise.   I think we have decided to introduce some simple sign language  to help the screaming.  So, stay tuned.  Cute video with either speaking or signing will hopefully follow soon!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Praise of the Day!

In lieu of Weekly Wednesday 7, we will have the staycation praise of the day.

At 7:40 this morning, my cell phone rang. (Hard to believe any praise can start at 7:40 AM)  It was Carson's "friend's" mom.  Sunday we had chatted for a bit and decided to get the boys together sometime this week- either Wednesday or Friday.  She was going to check her calendar and get back to me.  Those words- check calendar and get back to me- instantly bring me back to junior high hoping the right person is going to call.  I feel 13 and pathetic again.  Nonetheless, I'd been checking my phone a little obsessively to see if she had called.  Nothing.

When the phone rang this morning, I was thrilled! It was her.  She called like she said she would.  She wanted to know if we would be interested in going to the pool to meet some other moms and to let the boys play.  Everyone's heart sunk.  Carson doesn't want to go to the pool because we've done it several times this week.  I don't want Camilla in the sun anymore because she's getting toasty again.  Tony has zero interest in sitting around the pool with the ladies.  I said, "Sure!  We'd love to!"  (Seriously, what else could I have said?)

We got to the pool, and the boys immediately jump in and start having a great time.  Isn't that the best thing about boys?  There is no gettting-to-know-you period.  They're just all in.  Carson can be difficult to raise, but he is a pleasure to watch.  The kid has the It-factor.  He just does.  I know I've said it before, but I love watching people respond to him. 

He is not a great swimmer.  He can prevent drowning for a little while, but I wouldn't call him a swimmer.  The other boy and the other boy's friend were doing front flips off the side of the pool.  Carson, who can't do it and isn't going to try, watches and cheers from the side completely enjoying their abilities.  It's his turn.  He jumps in.  No form.  No flip.  No cannonball.  Just jumps in like a soldier. If any other kid did this, the more talented kids would kind of scoff and move on.  But this is Carson.  Next thing I know the others are jumping in like soldiers.  Next, their following his belly flop lead.  2 hours later, Carson has a parade of people playing with him.  It must be nice to have the "It."  We got in the van after the swim, and I asked him if we could put AG (my new blogname for him) on the friend list.  "Mom, he's been there for like 3 weeks already."   My child likes making friends.  My child chooses friends that are friend material.   That makes this mamma's heart praise!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Picture of the Day

Staycation day 2.

We had originally planned to spend 2 nights at the local hotel.  Last night, we decided to leave in the morning instead.  This morning we decided to spend the second night.  Who says we aren't exciting people?  So, today, we decided we would ride bikes and walk along the beautiful canal.  We got the kids all sunscreened, put Coralynn in her stroller, and headed off for our morning.

The weather was perfect here on the Causeway.  It's about 90 degrees, blue sky, puffy clouds, little breeze.  Gorgeous.  Canal and ocean on our left.  The city skyline and more ocean on our right.  Perfect.  We all had a wonderful walk- all 2 hours of it.   That was just the part when we were actually exercising.  We stopped and had a lite lunch.  All told, we were gone about 3 hours. It was a great family time.  We're headed to the pool.

I wanted to share today's staycation moment, and Tony agreed that I had to share a photo with you from the walk.  A little glimpse into Panama.

Warning- Be careful of the super-buff crossing the road.  They could cause serious car damage.  Seriously, who came up with this sign?  Caution- Arnold is crossing the street. There's just nothing else to say.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Quote of the Day

We have been enjoying our staycation- day 1.  We went to Gamboa Resort and took a boat tour to Monkey Island.  It was a beautiful day and amazing to see all these creatures in the wild.  As I pointed out to the children, it also smells much better when we don't visit them at the zoo.  Monkeys are amazing.  Their ability to swing between trees is way cooler than it looks on TV,

We were on a small boat.  It sat about 15 people although there were just 9 of us on it.  We were able to get within just a few feet of some of the monkeys, sloth, and crocodiles.  The howler monkeys were farther up in the tops of the trees.  We sat back in total awe watching the creatures swing effortlessly.  Then, Chloe said the quote of the day.

As she watched, she (in all her eldest child and a girl fullness) commented in total seriousness, "Mom, that monkey's taking a big risk."  Thank you, forty-year-old Chloe.  We appreciate your consistent dedication to safe behavior.

quiet here

Tony is on vacation this week so we are busy enjoying our staycation.  Hope everyone is having a great week, and stay tuned for many updates- including the plan for telling the kids about our upcoming trip!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Coralynn Mae turns 1!

Photo by Tom Farr

Coralynn Mae
5 lbs 12 oz      19 1/2 inches

Happy Birthday to You!

We started the day at the park!

Happy Birthday to You!

Then, Coralynn enjoyed the pool in her floaty.

Happy Birthday, dear Coralynn


Coralynn taking her first steps- with the help of her new toy!

Happy Birthday to You!

Enjoying her first piece of cake!

(And many more!!)

Coralynn Mae
1 year old
20 lbs
28 inches
Absolutely Bestest!

Hey y'all!

It's my birthday!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Sleep well, my baby.

Tomorrow, you will be one-year old and a big girl,
but always my Bits.

Funsy Friday: Update on Scheduling!

Earlier this week I asked for help coming up with a schedule for housekeeping.  You were so sweet.  Besides the comments posted here, I received emails, inboxes, and facebook comments full of great suggestions. 

Some people thought getting it all done in one day was the way to go.  Others felt that a little everyday was the best option.  One person skyped me to let me know her vacuum theory.  Another person switched her schedule over from Excel to Word for me- a sweet (and rule-following) gesture.   All of them had seemingly workable plans.  And I so much appreciated the help.  I had great hopes that these schedules would make the difference. 

I tried.  I got some very strange virus.  I lay in bed.  (I'm no good with lie vs lay.  I think it's "lay" in this sentence as the past tense of "lie".  Feel free to correct me, but I'm only taking my Dad's word for it.)  I gave up cleaning.    Today, I hired someone.

Now before the lazy or cheap police start in on me, let's make a few things clear.  First, I hired someone to clean from 9-3 for $15 per day two days a week.  The household helper will clean, cook, teach Spanish, or watch the kids.  That, my friend, is better than a coupon!  Someone coming 2 days will alleviate enough of the work that I can easily get the rest of it done throughout the week.  With someone coming to help, I will be able to focus on other things- like homeschooling the kids and training the baby.

And I'm totally good with that.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thoughts from Thursday

~I love alliteration.

~I'm an emotional person, and I'm thankful to be. 

~If I have an opinion on something, I hold it passionately

~I have an opinion on everything.

~There is no gray in my world.  Everything is black and white.

~What I view as black and white can often change in a moment.

~I love my children desperately.

~Whether you are my child, or my friend, or someone I have never met, once you are in my heart, you will be there forever.

~I am great with change, after my 15 minute meltdown has passed.

~My Lord is bigger than my meltdowns.  His shoulders can handle my honest hurt.  I don't have to pretend to be holy because He is.  And He already knows I'm not.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Weekly 7!!

Before we start praising, I want to apologize for not posting yesterday.  I have a 2-month anniversary post in my brain, but I woke up with a fever yesterday.  I ended up spending ALL day in bed because I had to feel well enough to attend a function with Tony's work last night.  That post will be coming soon....

Now for Wednesday's Praise Report:

~We found a babysitter to watch the kids last night! 

~The house is completely unpacked!  (Those pics are coming, too!)

~Our house in Georgia sold! (The closing is in June!)

~The older two kids each have a child at church that they enjoy!  (Chloe is too loyal to her bff in LaGrange to use the term "friend" with anyone else.)

~We found a new restaurant that everyone enjoys!

~Got an awesome early birthday present!  (My birthday's in October.  More information on that later in the year!  Thanks Mom and Dad!)

~Chloe is an absolute blessing in my life!  She has always been a great helper, and she has taken over feeding Coralynn breakfast and lunch.  To watch her interact with her baby sister makes me smile.  Chloe is so good with her and the Bits just lights up when she sees her Big Sis. We were concerned that the 8-year age difference would be too much for them to overcome, but Chloe is definitely investing in Coralynn.

A quick prayer request:

I follow a few different caringbridge sites, and one of the children I've been reading about since November 2009 passed away today.  Please be in prayer for Jack's moms and sister.  Thank you!

Sunday, May 15, 2011


I need to ask for help.   I truly need help.  But it requires me moving far outside my comfort zone.  I'm gonna have to use the "s" word.  That word isn't who I am.  It isn't who I want to become, but it appears I have come to that time in my life where it becomes necessary.  I need help on developing (deep breath, swallow hard, and say it) a schedule.    Blech.  I hate the way that word sounds coming out of my mouth.

I am not a scheduler, but I am never late.  Never.  I don't forget to go places or do things.  I am reliable, but free-spirited.  I enjoy my planner, but a schedule?  That's a whole 'nother thing.  Schedules are for people who use Excel spreadsheets and like it.  The ones who know the fun shortcuts so they never have to go to the toolbar.  They are disciplined and organized.  Inflexible and non spontaneous.  Ruled by consistency and order.  Their closets are color coordinated by Roy G. Biv and their can labels all face forward.  You know the type!  I married the type!  I'm entirely too free-spirited to have a schedule.  I tried once to come up with a daily schedule for homeschooling,  Chloe thought she had died and gone to OCD heaven.  Tony applauded my new conviction in homeeducating the children.  Carson and I knew it wouldn't last.  I think we made it 3 days. 

But this is more than just any ole schedule.  I need help coming up with a housekeeping schedule.  Double blech.  Sometimes, I pretend that I relish my role as Keeper of the Home.  That I find great satisfaction in folded towels, clean laundry, and empty sinks.  Then I remember, I am not Tony.  Or my mother.  I don't like laundry or dishes or dusting or mopping (shout out to Elizabeth- the Queen of Mopdom!)  And it's more than not liking them.  I actively resist them.  I'm not a big fan of authority, and I can hear the dishes and laundry telling me that they have to be done.  Proving I am Carson's mother, I resist anything that tells me it has to happen.  So, the laundry sits.  (I have successfully trained Chloe to do this dishes.  Score 1 for Momma!)

I'd show you a picture of the laundry pile, but Tony would be forced to lie about its existence, and I don't want to put him in a position of sinning.  Instead, I humble myself before you and ask for help.  I need to come up with a schedule of which jobs need to get done which days so that everything can be done by the end of the week.  At this point, the cheap me and the lazy me are battling about getting a maid.  Cheap me is winning.  Come along side, and help her!  Help me create a schedule!  (but no excel links, please!)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Happy Saturday!!

A baby is born with a need to be loved -- and never outgrows it.

Frank A. Clark

Friday, May 13, 2011

Agua, por favor

(Can I just say I love this picture!!)

In honor of Funsy Friday, I wanted to share a funny that also teaches a lot about perspective.  We moved here to Panama on March 15th.  We moved into our apartment on March 19th.  Tony left for Illinois on business on March 27th.  He took with him several of his new employees for training.  Only 1 of these new people had been to the United States before this trip.  I asked Tony to really pay attention to their reactions of central Illinois- which, for the record, looks quite a bit different from Panama.

He came back with the expected answers.  "It's (the traffic) really slow here."  "There's so much space."  "It's so quiet."  I was really disappointed.  I thought maybe they would say something about the corporate headquarters or the corn fields.  Maybe comment on everyone speaking English.  But he didn't have anything too fun to report.

Then, they all went out for dinner.  Their choice?  Mexican.  I don't know why, but this struck me as odd.  Probably because I lumped all of Latin America into a they-eat-Mexican-food-all-the-time category.  (I now know that Panamanian food bears little resemblance to Mexican food.  And even the thought that Latin American food is all the same is ridiculous when you think about it.   You know, since European food all tastes the same.  May not want to mention that to the French.  Or Italian.  Or Spanish.  You get the point.)

Back at the restaurant, Tony was struck at how thrilled the waiters were to have native Spanish speakers ordering.  He said you could see a calm come over them.  (I understand this now.  Our Pastor refers to this calm as "hearing the language of your soul."  It just puts you at ease.)  The other thing that struck Tony?  His Panamanian colleagues wanted to check with him about something.  They wanted to know if the water was safe to drink.

Water Department jokes aside (a shout out to Uncle Steve and his serious chemist-for-the-water-department skill!), I found it almost unfathomable that someone would ask about the safety of the US water supply.  (And I didn't consider myself an America-is-the-center-of-the-whole-world person.)  Tony assured them that the water was fine.  We had a little chuckle over the whole event. 

And then it struck me.  At that point, I had lived in Panama 2 weeks or so.  I had never had a drink of tap water.   Never had an ice cube.  I even brushed my teeth with bottled water.  I kept my prescription stomach upset medicine with me at all times.  It makes me wonder if they had a chuckle over the silly American who thought there might be something wrong with the Panamanian water supply.

The lesson here?  That cliche about we are all more similiar than we are different?  I am still not sure that's true, but we definitely have more similarities than you might expect.  For them, coming to the United States was not only different, but a little scary.  I know I felt that coming to Panama, but it never occurred to me that people coming to the US would feel that way.  It's the US afterall.  But there is no afterall.  It's not home for them.  And home will always feel safer.  All the way down to the water.  (And I wonder how many of them also said a silent prayer that night when they went to bed that they wouldn't have to use the traveler's diarrhea medicine they kept close by.)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wednesday's Weekly 7!

Feeling much praisier today!!

Here we go...

~Feeling much praisier today!

~Had a skype double date this weekend!

~Got up the gumption and called someone to make a play date!

~The kids don't seem to have serious damage from their severe sunburns!  (still pray for Camilla on that one)

~Looks like schooling options are improving!  (that's a to-be-continued prayer request)

~Skipped language training yesterday!

~Tony took some vacation days so we will have a week of fun this month!

As always thanks to all of you who read and comment and share and pray.  I appreciate you so much!!!  Please feel free to share your praises with me!!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend

Seriously, you would think by now I would get it.  By in large, my kids are all Tony or all me.  There is very little combining of personalities.  Except one area.  I am a notorious deep thinker.  I think beyond what people say to what they must really mean.  I ponder the silliest of comments looking for the deeper meaning.  I have to know the heart of everyone especially those in positions of leadership.  My husband lovingly tells me that I should win the Beat-The-Dead-Horse Award because I refuse to accpet anything at face value.  Tony, for his part, is the question man.  Nothing is obvious- even the obvious.  I tell him that he proves the adage about no such thing as a dumb question to be wrong.  I lovingly tell him that he should win the Beat-The-Dead-Horse Award because he needs total understanding before he can take the smallest step forward.  So, in short, I need to know everything from top to bottom.  He needs to know everything from left to right.  Comprehende?

These traits have combined to make my children curious to the fullest.  I know this about them.  People with children laugh at the stuff that my kids want to understand.  Like 6 year-old Chloe's desperate prayers for the rapture to happen before Camilla turned 2 so that they're wouldn't be any question of her eternal future.  That's normal here.  Still, I blindly and often, enthusiastically, walk into some really awkward situations.  (Reading Cain and Abel as a bedtime story comes to mind as an example) Today, I ran right into it.

The kids and I were headed home from a lovely trip to the mall.  I was feeling my Spanish-speaking wheaties, and they had enjoyed the break from the apartment.  Normally, the kids listen exclusively to Christian music, but at times, I have to turn on something else.  (I'm sure there's a blog entry in that sentence, but that will have to be for another time.)  Today, after I hit my Steven Curtis Chapman limit, I decided to go secular with Billy Joel.  At this point, my brother is doubled over laughing at the lameness of that choice.  If the Piano Man is as far as the kids ever dive into secular music, my parenting life will be a success.  Carson's only request was that we listen to the fast ones.  Can do, son!  We put on We Didn't Start the Fire and everything quickly went south.

My inner homeschooling nerd came out so we began talking about all the history in the song.  I let the kids listen to the words and ask questions.  I did have enough sense to pray that they didn't ask about the more questionable parts- like that British Politican part.  So, I'm singing away, and then Chloe asked the now infamous question, "What's Russians in Afghanistan"?   No problem.  I got this one.  I start waxing eloquent about the whole conflict.  Caught up in my own knowledge and how much this is counting as school (what is that verse about pride and a fall?  Get your helmets ready people!), I talk about the United States supporting the mujahideen and, therefore, Osama bin Laden in the fight.  The kids are completely enthralled with this.  Teach them the expression that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.  Now, we are talking about Al-Qaeda and terror networks.  I'm focusing on traffic so I miss Camilla's eyes getting bigger and bigger.  Carson, my mini me- bless his heart- starts waxing eloquent about September 11th.  But he has the facts all wrong.  So, I start correcting him.  Son, the planes went into the buildings.  Dear, no one on the planes survived.  (The astute readers are jumping up and down seeing where this ship is heading.)  I look in my rearview mirror.  Camilla is hiding under her hat.  Chloe is whimpering under a blanket.  Maybe this isn't kid stuff.  Ya think? 

Traffic finally breaks, and we make it to the parking garage.  The girls all but dive out of the van to get away from the conversation.  Carson still has a million questions about the hearts of terrorists.  (Um.  I have no idea where he gets this stuff...)  For my part, I'm desperately talking about the different kinds of ice cream we saw today in a lame attempt to lighten the mood.  Fortunately, we walk into the apartment and are saved by the sounds of skype.   I plop into a chair and decide it's my Dad's fault.  He's the original Billy Joel fan afterall.

And remember that post about how to tell the kids that they are getting on an AIRPLANE?   I think we are going to hold off for a little while longer.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Real Weekend in Review


Saturday, we went to the beach with some people we met here in Panama.  It was a beautiful day.  We left at 8 am.  Drove for 2 hours on one seriously winding road.  Got to the shoreline.  Took a 5-minute boat ride and arrived at the beautiful beach.  Isla Grande - I think is the name.  We had a wonderful day.  All 4 of the kids thoroughly enjoyed a day outside with dad and other kids!


Coralynn (who is not so bitty) playing in the waves and sand.

Here in Panama the rainy season has begun.  I thought y'all might enjoy a bit of a tropical storm.  (Not like a pre-hurricane tropical storm, but a storm in the tropics.)  The view is from our main room balcony.  The row of buildings you see at the beginning is the club house, restuarant, and adminstrative offices for our neighborhood.  On a clear day, you can see the buildings of downtown Panama City over the clubhouse.


The Weekend in Review...turned out to be a commentary on friends

Saturday, we went to the beach with some new "friends".  I've discovered I'm quite stingy with that word.  Friends.  I'm sure it comes from being a disgruntled lonely person, but I've decided that people call other people friends entirely too much.  It struck me on facebook the other day.  I have 222 facebook "friends."  I don't really have 222 friends- and I've deleted lots of people since I joined.  I don't even want 222 friends.  Then you read people's statuses and comments.  They're full of friend this and friend that.  Seriously, are you really friends with these people?  And don't get me wrong, I enjoy facebook.  I like getting to see what is going on in everyone's lives.  I enjoy the community I get to enjoy with communities that I have left. 

I guess I'm just hyper protective of that word. Friends are in a higher category for me than family.  My family didn't get to choose me.  They were stuck with me through birth or marriage (you can almost hear the Amstutz side groan- just kidding- don't email Tony!)  Family who have become friends are truly priceless!  I have a few true friends.  Deep relationships that make us both better.  I don't want those relationships cheapened by referring to everyone I've ever met as my friend. (You can almost hear Carson's lecture on love vs like, can't you?)  I have secondary circles that involve people that I will always love dearly.  I have mentors and others who have made my life better because they were in it.  But I don't call all of those people my friends. 

To all the people in my life who have made it better, fun, more enjoyable, healthier, happier, more challenging, calmer, and the like:  Thank you.   I will forever appreciate that the Lord brought you into my life.  Our lives will eternally be tied together in a Christian bond.  And to those of you are my true friends:  I am who I am because I have you in my life.  Michael Card (who is one of the great Christian minds of today) explains it this way:

 Friends help each other understand who the other is. 
They define one another over the course of a lifetime. 
(A Fragile Stone , 58) 

Thank you to those of you who have walked beside me this far.  As Paul writes in Philippians, I thank God everytime I remember you.

Friday, May 6, 2011

It's Funsy Friday- and you can help!


Okay, here's the gig.  The kids and I are going to Georgia in July to visit friends and do some VBS.  Also, we will be celebrating Chloe's birthday a little bit early.  Tony and I are so excited for the kids, BUT we haven't told them yet.  We wanted to make sure their little focuses were on getting used to life here not going back home.  I'm been trying to come up with a fun way to tell them.  Like a really fun way.  I've got a few ideas, but I know y'all have some great ideas!

So, I need your help!!  Leave a comment letting me know the best way to surprise the kids.  As involved or simple as you want.  (You know I love involved!)  Maybe I can come up with a prize for the winner- who wants a Panama Canal souvenier t-shirt!?!


1.  After some sweet additions, the yogurt tastes much better than it did unsweetened.  Don't be afraid to try making your own yogurt!

2.  I'm feeling much better after my melancholy day from yesterday.  Thank you for the prayers.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

It's Thursday.

That's basically all I have this morning.  Feeling melancholy at best.  I no longer feel the draw to go "home."  I guess that is good.  This melancholy comes from life moving on.  I know it and I need to accept it, but I'm gonna sit on the couch instead.  It's one of those days when the hurt from things left behind is greater than the joy of what's in store.  Tomorrow will bring a better day.  For all I know 11:30 might bring better things, but for now, I'm sitting on the couch with my cake watching the Cs play Mario Kart.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Weekly Wednesday 7

Our weekly opportunity to praise is here!!!

~The kids had a wonderful time in Sunday School.  They all met other kids and look forward to going back next week!  There transitioning is going well.

~We have plans for the weekend with other people!

~My washing machine is fixed!

~Some dear friends stood in the gap for us when we weren't in a place to pray ourselves!

~According to Rosetta Stone, I can now correctly say sandwich!

~I continue to lose the rest of my pregnancy weight in a healthy manner.  Only 5 pounds to go!

~Tony was able to skype one of his friends.  It was encouraging to see him encouraged!

Suzie no en casa.

Review from Day 1:  Homemade Yogurt

Milk after 2 1/2 hours on low and 3 hours sitting.

Crockpot wrapped in love for 8 hours.

Filling containers with the yogurt.

It made a good quantity.

Preparing the pineapple to add to the yogurt for breakfast.

The Verdict:

I think that says it all!!

Okay, so it tastes like plain yogurt which is terrible.  We added pineapple to try to help it.  After trying it, we felt badly that the pineapple gave its life for that.  Uck!!  The process itself was super easy and definitely cost effective here in Panama.  I will probably strain the rest of the yogurt through coffee filters and use for a sour cream substitute because it can run about $1.50 for 8 ounces.

Review of Day 1: Bonus Round- Wringing Laundry

Fun surprise, the washing machine stopped working leaving a drum full of water!

Wringing out clothes so they weren't in the dryer all afternoon.

Little did I know when I started this Suzie adventure that God would send me an extra credit homemaker project!!  I was trying in my Suzie greatness to get all the laundry done yesterday.  We were a fair amount behind because we spent the weekend playing with Tony instead of doing housework.  When I went to get load #4 out of the washing machine, I found it full of water and clothes.  Yuck!!

The Verdict::  Wringing laundry is not my thing.  God knew this and it is why He chose to have me on earth after the invention of the washer and dryer.  (Shout out to Alva J. Fisher for his good work on that!)

The Verdict for the Day:  I'm not Suzie Homemaker  (or Suzie Jo Homemaker- her Southern counterpart as Amelia suggested).  Not only am I not Suzie, I don't want to be.  I love to cook, but I'm not that Suzie baker kind of girl.  I'm frugal, but I enjoy the finer things in life- as this shows, Dannon is a finer thing.  Although I enjoy a challenge, I get no pleasure from straining yogurt through cheesecloth to get sour cream.  If you are a Suzie Homemaker, more power to you!  I'm impressed with you.  I would love to love all the things that you do.  I love the ideas you have.  People suggested I make soap, pillows, tortillas, and bread.  All great ideas that I like the sound of, but I'm not one of you.

So this morning, I decided to make something that LOVE to make.

I made a PURCHASE!!  Chloe is desperately in need (like seriously in need) of some new dresses.  I was able to find a few clearance dresses on Kelly's Kids website that she liked (God smiled on me) and that were in her size.  I'm feeling quite satisfied as a wife and mother now.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I wonder how you say

Suzie Homemake in Spanish??? 

Yesterday was Labor Day here in Panama so we spent the day swimming and shopping with Tony.  It was a great day, and I must say this place is sort of beginning to feel like home.  We continue to meet new people.  I now have about 5 people's contact information.  I don't plan on contacting anyone soon, but I could if I wanted.

Anyway, in honor of the short week, we're going to celebrate Suzie Homemaker week.  4 days of fun homemaking things that I don't normally do.  Sounds good, don't you think?  Ya, I'm not sure, either.  Today, I'm making homemade yogurt.  13 hours of crock pot fun.  This woman enjoys her crock pot more than I do so I thought we would use her recipe.  I'll let you know!!

Now, I need your help.  Send me your ideas for fun Suzie Homemaker suggestions!!