Thursday, April 28, 2011

Playing grown up

Sometimes I look around my house and feel like it will never be decorated the way I want it to be. It always looks cluttered, yet unfinished. I think that my kids will have memories of this house being what a "grown up" house looks like, but in my opinion, it doesn't come close to how I remember my childhood home looking. Our house on Saint Albans always seemed so cozy, a bit packed and full (five kids, after all, will take up a lot of room!). We had "enough" furniture, things on the walls, a table and chair set that wasn't broken (or about to break) and that looked sturdy and able to withstand the kids. There were things there like fireplaces and hutches and cabinets for dishes, and a dishwasher and all the rooms had overhead light fixtures. There were lamps in the living room and frames and pictures decorating the walls. And even though I hated piano lessons, there was a beautiful piano and a grandfather clock that rounded off the look and made it all seem like it belonged together.

In our house we have furniture, but everything seems put together haphazardly. (Which it is - the accumulation of things from when we first got married, piecing together things decade by decade, haha.)

Anyhow, one thing Andres has always wanted was a bar, a place for his wine collection and glasses. We are not big drinkers by any stretch of the imagination, but it is something that, to him, meant our house is becoming complete.

He found this amazing and gorgeous bar at a department store about a month ago, and went ahead and got it. The price was outrageous, but it looks so nice in our living room and has made things come together better that it is worth every penny.

I love opening it up and looking at it. It's so fun to have some "grown up" furniture!

Umm, now we need to complete our wine glass sets (they break so easily...)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My office

My "office", for the moment. Nice and quiet, not too cold, all to myself. You can get a lot of work done when ou're not interrupted constantly!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I got these cute bowls in the dollar section of Target.

A few months ago, Andres broke my only mixing bowl, promised to buy me a new one, and never got around to it.

So, of course, I saw these cuties and got them for myself on our last trip. And for only a dollar! Pinch me, please!

Unbeknowst to me, however, was the very very sticky glue that the Chinese factory that made these bowls used for the label - which was on the inside of the bowl.

I tried everything, for three weeks.

Soaking. Nope.

Scrubbing. Nope.

Nail polish remover. Nope.

Baby oil. Nope.

WD-40. Nope.

I was SO frustrated. I grabbed some powdered detergent, like Tide, and threw it in there to soak. Nope. Or, at least not until I started rubbing the detergent out. It took some major elbow grease, but the detergent stuck to the adhesive, and by rubbing and rubbing I created a little ball of sticky detergent.


Not sure these suckers were worth a dollar, though.

Monday, April 25, 2011

(Spring) Cleaning

There is no spring in Ecuador. Here on the equator there are no "real" seasons. But, it must be in my blood, April rolls around and I feel like cleaning!

A couple of weeks back now, I decided that we needed to do something about Nicolas's room. We got the loft put in (still waiting for the carpenter to come and fix the upper railing) and we moved most of the toys in there, but it was always looking like a mess, and there were a lot of toys that really just needed to go. In terms of toys, I've noticed (with my boys, at least) that less is more. YET, they will not throw or give away one single thing, which means we even have teething rings lying around, in anticipation of being played with.

(In all fairness, every time I think I will throw some toy away, the very next day, or even hour, I will spot one of the kids playing with it. So, I am always a little hesitant as well. I've also had those "Mommy, where is that ______ toy?" moments. *Gulp.* I can't say "in the trash" without causing a flood of tears.)

So, a couple of weeks ago, a night the kids went to bed early, I decided to go through their things and get rid of some of these excess toys. It took me hours of separating and throwing, and I couldn't walk for a couple of days afterwards (great exercise for the back and legs!), but the next day the kids actually took out some of their toys and got real excited to play with them.

It just goes to show that a little organization can actually spark a lot of creativity.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter 2011

Easter isn't really celebrated here much in Ecuador. Yes, there is vacation, and fanesca, but there is no decorating, or talk on the TV or radio about the Easter bunny or spring sales or what-have-you, and so every year I think I am going to forget about Easter Sunday. So far, luckily, I have always remembered, sometimes at the last minute.

Yesterday we decorated eggs, so the kids reminded me before they went to bed that the next day the Easter bunny would be coming. I don't know how many more Easters we will have of our beloved bunny, but this year the bunny obviously thought that since the kids were getting older, they could handle more difficult hiding spots. It took us a good half hour to find all the eggs and the baskets.

We had a great call later in the afternoon from our family in Minnesota! I was completely surprised! I was in the middle of making suncatchers (I always remembered them as so fun and easy, but now being the adult in charge - and in charge of clean up - I realize that making those things is a bit stressful!). The suncatchers took over an hour to bake, maybe even two hours (is it the altitude? I blame everything on the altitude! Even my moods, haha) and now they are on the kids' window. I will share a picture tomorrow.

In the meantime, we had a lazy day at home. With a little inspiration from my sister, we had cola-glazed ham, delmonico potatoes, mixed veggies (frozen), pickle dip, and French silk pie. We spent the day playing games with the kids like Wii, Go Fish, Old Maid and War (remember that one, Grandpa Dan?) and saw a movie on our new big screen at night.

Oh, and I went for a walk. Just like the last few days, it was sunny and nice (or at least not raining, it really hasn't been very sunny here) when I started off, and by the time I came home, lightning and thunder, and a downpour as I walk through the door.

We decorated white eggs this year, which turned out nicer, and now we've got a pound of egg salad in the fridge for tomorrow's lunch! :)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Blackberry Smoothie anyone?

Andres did a Chavo del Ocho today, blending a blackberry smoothie without the lid on. All over. Ceiling. Shelves. Cooking books. He thought it was hilarious. But I will be the one cleaning it up for the next week. (He cleaned the original mess, but you can imagine that specks keep showing up...when he is out of the room, haha)