Dinner, thanks to Nana!

Paraguay is home to some pretty tasty food, and one of our favorites is a steak and chicken sandwich wrapped in pita bread. Called a “lomito arabe” it is one of the foods our visitors remember most fondly.

Last night, thanks to Nana Cantrell’s Christmas gift, we went out to eat with my sister, brother-in-law and niece.

Samantha just slept.

The rest of us inhaled the amazing steak bombs slathered in a creamy garlic sauce while gently nudging away the stray kitten under our chairs. (Sad.)

Thank you, Nana, for the yummy meal and good time. Christmas continues for us here in Paraguay!

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Goals, dreams, wishes

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We spent New Years Eve with dear friends who have been with us through thick and thin.  We said we would only be there till 10:00, no way would Kate make it till midnight. No way, jose. Not possible.

She made it. By 10:00 there were already fireworks going off and Kate’s eyes were lighting up and her dimple was popping. No way could we leave. So we Just Danced, we Farkled, we laughed, we ate, and we oohed and ahhed at the sparkly show in the sky.

We went home,  and tucked everyone into bed but my head kept spinning with all the goals I had been pondering since August.  I looove setting goals, knowing full well there are some I won’t keep, let’s be real. But, I need to have a plan to change. I have to start somewhere.

(One goal that I have already decided to fail: Do not buy books until you have read the ones you already own.)

I’m baaack.

A few months ago we were sitting around a friend’s table for dinner and he told he had recently gotten in touch with a friend from his years in high school. This friend of his had left Paraguay and moved to the United States, but had returned for a quick visit. During their time together he mentioned us vaguely, an American family (I’m not sure how the topic even came up) and she said…”Wait…the blogger??? With the little girls? I used to read her blog everyday!”  We laughed a lot at that. Me? A “famous” blogger! But it reminded me of dusty little neglected blog and I remembered how much I used to love it. So, let’s try this yet again, shall we?

The “blogger” is back.

I am not sure how to segue this into a Christmas post, so let’s just jump in, okay?

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Tia Jayde and Tio Hugo..the engaged couple to be wed in March!

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“Soccer” tournament.

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Tiny house, lots of people

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The king of pie pastry.

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Baby Sam and her Mommy

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Abbie and my Mommy

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The half-way done Christmas tree

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Thank God for an engineer uncle to help Abbie with her solar powered rover!

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Kate’s Christmas was Barbie themed.

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New dog, lots of cuddles

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My Dad and I lived in the kitchen. All others must stay out of our pie-making way.

 

We had a lovely Christmas where I received mostly Pioneer Woman kitchen items (LOVE.HER.) and we lounged around watching Elf (one of the most quotable movies ever) and not much else.

How was your Christmas?

She is turning 6!

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Lexi girl is turning six today. We’ve been anxiously counting down the days, and yet still I managed to not buy a birthday present. Hopefully today we’ll find the time?? I am the WORST at birthday parties… we’ll see what we can come up with to make her day super special.

The pictures were taken  for a pretend wedding that was announced in a pretend newspaper. So hilarious!

Happy birthday, Lexi! You are amazing!

Evenings

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Kate loves playing with the little cars…finally, toys that she will actually use!

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Privacy? What’s that?

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My two blondies.

Last night, being a Wednesday, was youth Bible study night. I fed people, an extra teenager who had been hanging out doing homework as well, and then everyone headed out to the Bible study. Afterwards we gathered in the living room and read a loud from Winnie the Pooh while baby Kate played with her cars and Carlos was “facebook-ing” as they say. Then someone decided they wanted ice cream and OH NO, the ice cream store closes in thirty minutes, but the girls were able to beg Carlos to run out and buy some. He made it in the nick of time. Ice cream for a night time snack and then bed time for everyone.

I was in bed by 9:30 and asleep by 10:00. Eight of hours of rest never felt so good.

Today’s agenda includes an all day government meeting for Brian, while I will be homeschooling kiddos and trying to get the last minute touches on uniforms (socks. so many socks) for the kids of Hogar El Camino. Also, must make snack for Carlo’s study group this afternoon. Cinnamon Roll Pound Cake? Yes, I think so.

Please pray for two of our house dad’s. One recently had his mother under-go major surgery and the other recently lost a dear family member.

Overall, yesterday was really nice, especially when I received a piece of paper from a judge’s office which, had I received it last year, would have sent me over the edge with fear and anxiety. This time though, I was able to keep my wits about me and pray and watch God work the situation out. He is healing me and the wounds that an abundance of stress left. I am praising Him for that!

Have a nice Thursday, everyone. (My favorite day of the week.! Random, but true.)

 

The BSC!

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They are addicted.

Years ago, I started reading the Baby-Sitters Club books. Do you remember those? It took me years to collect 90+ books in that series, which were then passed on to my younger sister, Jayde. Thankfully, my mother in her infinite wisdom, kept all the books and gave them back to me.

They have been sitting in an Action Packer for years. The collection has been in the deepest part of the Amazon jungle, the bustling cities of Venezuela, and all over Paraguay. About six weeks ago, during the first week of our blazing hot, hazy summer, Elena cracked one open and we’ve barely seen her since. The collection that took me years of birthdays to gather, has been devoured in six weeks. For all the family members reading this, now you know what to get her for birthdays. Only numbers 100 and up please! I assure you, numbers 1-99 have been read and some more than once.

Abbie is flying through them as well, and talking to them about the different characters in the books makes me feel like I’m chatting with old friends. Yes, Claudia does dress cool. How bizarre that Dawn doesn’t eat meat? And of course, which girl do you think you are most like? (My answer: Mary Anne.)

Happy Reading!

Our Monday

These pictures have nothing to do with the post.

Yesterday was a decent Monday (it is possible). We finished homeschool in record time, with good attitudes! Three cheers for the McCobb girls! Kate did not break anything valuable! The washing machine did not overflow into the kitchen! There were ants ALL OVER the just-been-cleaned-spotless kitchen counters, but hey, that’s summer for you, nothing you can do about the ants.

There was an unplanned visit from a public defender regarding the case of one of the girls here at Hogar El Camino, a prayer meeting with the female staff of the home, emails finally answered, free days for house parents scheduled (a good friend told me she would now be able to help more with child-care, and that was a huge relief!).

There were visits from kids. One with a tummy ache, one one needing some new reading material, and just to show you where my brain is at: when he asked for a book, I said, “yes, of course” and then handed him the keys to my car! He is thirteen and would have no doubt gladly hopped in the car for a spin. Haha.

A few came to visit their older brother and drank many cups of coffee accompanied by chocolate chip cookies. The cookies were made for a study group that Carlos was going to have but it was canceled. Oh well, more cookies for us! He was not upset. 🙂

Then, because Carlos said he wanted to learn how to cook, he lit the grill and made his first batch of hamburgers. They were delicious…and dinner was served at 8:30 PM… we eat dinner late around here.

Finally, kitchen was cleaned, children were in bed and Brian and I romantically synched our calendars for the upcoming weeks. True love!

How was your Monday?

 

Menu Monday

Last year was a beast, and we ate way too much processed food and spent way too many hours staring blankly into the fridge wondering what to feed the four small girls and one tall teenage boy.

This year, I’m trying to get back on track in the kitchen. One, because dinner rolls around every. single. day. I may as well be ready for it. Two, I miss cooking. I miss making great food with side-dishes and serving it with love to the people around my table. It’s healthy for all of us physically and for me, emotionally as well.

So here is to 2016! May the meals in it be way better than all the frozen chicken nuggets that were consumed in 2015! (In interest of full disclosure, they are still eaten, but only once a week on our craziest day.)

On the menu this week:

Monday: Hamburgers and french fries (Served those up to Teen Boy two weeks ago and they were a hit. Easy peasy and filling. #winning)

Tuesday: Lemon Chicken Potato Casserole

Wednesday: Slow Cooker Chicken Tiki Masala (this is youth group night, henceforth, I dub Wednesday “Slow Cooker Night.”)

Thursday: Beef Burritos (from the freezer) and a Tomato and Onion salad to go on the side.

Friday: Pizza Night

Saturday: Lunch with friends and leftovers for dinner

Sunday: Eat out for lunch

What are you eating this week?

 

Weddings and such

We had a wedding here last night and I was the photographer. Our surroundings are very beautiful out here in the country so I was able to snap some pretty nice shots of the bride and bridal party, but as usual, my favorite shots were the candid ones. Those little moments of “just life” captured forever. The kinds of pictures that help me see how blessed I am that I get to do life with this amazing group of people.

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Lucas and Abbie…ready to walk down the aisle as ring bearer and flower girl.

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Teenagers…they can sometimes drive you crazy…but hey, we love ’em anyway!

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Maybe not the most flattering picture, but I do love laughing with this group of ladies. (Laughing at Brian and his awkward photographer pose)

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Friends with the husband-to-be at his legal wedding.

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Milciades, the groom, is our head of maintenance at Hogar El Camino. Among many other things, he keeps the buildings from falling down around us. Enjoy your honeymoon, Mil, and when you get back can you look at my toilet? It’s leaking again. Ha!

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Two siblings here at Hogar El Camino looking all spiffy for the wedding.

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Elena, enamored with the bride. What little girl isn’t?

Yeah, I’m kind of in love with my life right now. Happy occasions can do that to a person.

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ABBIE!! HAHAHAHAHA!!!

The Party Planning Committee

(Do you like The Office? It’s one of my favorites.)

Just call me Angela from Accounting. Because I am the chairman of the Party Planning Committee.

On April 2nd, my four little girls are the flower girls of my their aunt’s wedding. Their dresses are yellow, and they will look the Disney princes, Belle. This thrills them. Final fitting is in a few days, and then we’re off to buy shoes. Even Baby Kate is supposed to participate in the walking of the aisle, but I’m taking no responsibility over her actions, participation or lack thereof. Should be interesting.

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On April 12th one of our sweet young ladies here at Hogar El Camino will be turning 15. Fifteen is a big deal here in Paraguay, as it is in most of South American countries.  Her dress is blue, the theme is butterflies, and she chose finger foods instead of a full meal. The other day she and I went shopping for the fabric for her dress and I think it will lovely and colorful. Much like the girl wearing it.

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Things to do before the Big Days?

1. Final fittings for all five girls.

2. Hem 20 white tablecloths with a friend from Tennessee who is coming down on a missions trip.

3. Order food, make invitations, take portraits, edit portraits, make a playlist, buy party decorations, schedule decorator, pick up dress, order cake, buy shoes, buy jewelry…

I had better get off the internet.