occasionally i read things, or see things, that make me aware in a way that i can't always access.  aware of how very, very lucky i am to have the privilege of living this life.  it is my honest opinion that most people in my life, myself included, move about blissfully unaware of the world.

on the plane to san francisco, i watched "this (illegal} american life," a documentary about people living in the united states that are undocumented.  and i understood the message they wanted to convey, etc.  i saw both sides, i saw the political slant, blahblahblah.

but what i also saw, and have thought of over and over again, was the family of the undocumented worker.  what his family's living situation is.  what it must be like living in a 2 room house.  living in a tiny village.  women doing all the farm work because all the men have gone to the u.s. to work, trying to send home as much money as they can.

it is heart breaking.

it chills me to the bone, really.  my ingratitude.  my selfishness.  my truly pampered life, as i sit in a warm home.  on my imac.  with a full stomach.... i could go on and on.

we are truly an ignorant bunch, no?  and i struggle with this... what i have.  what i might have in the future.  the inherent selfishness of man.  i can not logically wrap my mind around it.  and i consider myself to think very outside the box on these type of things.

and then today, i read this article about how our electronics are made.  and this isn't a new topic of thought for me.  in college, i gave great thought to garment manufacturing conditions.  the fact that often times, what we in our pampered lifestyles thought was absolutely horrid working conditions and child labor, was a much much better alternative to other truly horrifying things, like child trafficking.

but the glaring differences... the people who slave over our iphones.  ipads.  everything, really.  the image that so many of us try to convey... of being down-to-earth.  the times we downplay hiring help for something.  the things that everyone glosses over.  we are not so self-sufficient.  we have lots of people working for us indirectly.

we are so ignorant.  i am so ignorant.  and sometimes i am scared to learn the truth.


odds and ends and ice cream

i am all over the place today.  so bear with me...

first of all, i want to publicly brag on myself for getting both kids out the door, dressed for picture day, and to school in time to take sibling photos before class began yesterday.  in the rain.  it might not seem like much of an accomplishment, but i was so proud of myself.  so.  proud.

i mean, really, who else can i brag about that to?  my husband was up and out of the house by 5:30.  in the pouring rain.  so for me to tell him about my great feat of getting out the door at 8:30... well, you get it.  so thank you, blog.

and yesterday stayed rainy all day long... savannah was quite the peach and decided that she wanted to watch her favorite princess, ariel.  it was so sweet... she had the figurine in her little purse.  and she had the little board book... when i sat her on the couch and she was still in the same place 20 minutes later, i decided i needed to take a picture.


i could eat her with a spoon.  sweet girl.

and then after dinner, as a family we watched toy story 3.  i cried {this happens every time} my eyes out at the end.  so much that ethan decided that i needed snuggles.  oh, toy story.  you get me every single time.  your ending turns me to mush...

after the babes were in bed we finished season four of dexter.  and i had strange dreams all night long.  do you watch dexter??  do you have strange dreams???  ahhhh!  so good, yet so disturbing! 

and then i skipped bible study this morning.  savannah woke up clingy.  ethan doesn't like going to the childcare there.  and i had yet to accomplish my "homework" that isn't mandatory... but sort of is...

and i still needed to get dinner in the crockpot.  {beef vegetable soup}

soooo... we skipped.  and the kids played in their pj's all morning.  and at one point i was certain that every toy had been taken out of its proper basket.  oh well.  once i finish up here, i have matchbox cars to corral.

but today is beautiful.  a little cool... sunny.... windows open.  but very muddy outside.  thought about taking the misfits out, but decided that i didn't want to fight the mud.  call me a wimp.  but seriously, the playground i like to go to becomes a super swamp when it rains... oh, the laundry!

instead ethan has enjoyed his legos.  these tiny pieces are the bane of my existence.  but he loves them... and they are good for his tiny fingers to master...  but can we say choking hazard??  ever since my friend's son swallowed a sequin and to have it surgically removed... i am a bit paranoid to say the least.  you would be, too.  i remember all that... i think i was pregnant with ethan and i thought, "how on earth does that happen?"  well folks, after savannah was born, i realized pretty quickly that when your older children have toys with little pieces... it could happen in an instant.  not to mention that my attention is split... sooo... those pesky legos...


but he does love them.

and one other reason holding me indoors?  this is the fourth consecutive day of no contact lenses.  now, you can really call me a wimp.  i just hate wearing my glasses.  i feel like i am about to go to sleep.  seriously.  and i don't have prescription sunglasses.  so i get all squinty.  in fact, in general, my face has been all pinched up lately... the glasses aren't helping things.   i had an eye infection... and seriously, i think this will be the longest time i have gone without my contacts since the 7th grade.  i must admit, my eyes look really white.  such a stark contrast to the normal bloodshot appearance...  when i go out and about, i pray that i don't run into anyone of real importance!  i feel so "undone."  i always wonder why i don't pull off glasses like other people do...i keep telling myself it is all in my head... but i dunno.

anywho...  ethan and i made ice cream this afternoon.  and i made up my own recipe.  because i only had milk and 1/2 c. half & half.  most of the recipes call for heavy whipping cream.  perhaps i can call this "light" ice cream??  :)


i received two tea kettles for christmas... you know, both my mother and mother-in-law wanted to increase the likelihood that i would successfully make iced tea without scalding myself.  so, one tea kettle went back to williams sonoma... and i got an ice cream maker in return.

folks, you've got to get one of these.  ice cream in 20 minutes!

today's recipe:

Light Berries and Cream Ice Cream


1.5 c. frozen berries
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. half and half
1.5 cups whole milk
1/2 T. vanilla extract
dash of salt


chop 1.5 c. frozen berries with food processor.
dissolve 3/4 c. sugar in 1/2 c. half and half and 1.5 cups whole milk.
add 1/2 T. vanilla extract
add dash of salt.
add berries and mix
pour into ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions.

if you don't have an ice cream maker... mine is on sale.  with the extra bowl.  just saying...

xoxo, s


a quick trip to san francisco


holy smokes.  it feels like it has been awhile since i have sat down at the computer to blog.

chalk it up to:

1.  a four year old who doesn't nap and is resistant to quiet time.  {do you know how many times and ways i have tried this?  some days are more successful than others.  just out of my mouth: "you actually must be quiet and lay down for it to count as quiet time"}

2.  a 20 month old who wants to do everything by herself but wants my undivided attention.  all.  the.  time.  

3.  a lingering sinus/virus/upper respiratory/case of the sickies/allergy thing that has been around since the day after christmas.

4.  and... faustino took me on a quick little trip to san francisco in conjunction with a fellowship interview.  so i had the pleasure of getting ready to leave, booking our trip, etc.

i still have yet to do all the little things i like to do in january.  like make a zillion lists.  and now, its almost february.   

i feel overwhelmed by all the things i feel like i need to and should be doing.  i guess i need to make a list... :)


but for now i will just hit the highlights of our weekend getaway.

::  san francisco is a great place to visit.  i had never been... and will most definitely go back.  there are several things i would have liked to have done but we were limited on time... and the food options are amazing.  we had the best chinese food {chef jia's} i have ever eaten.  saturday evening we ate at a bistro that was so good.  and it all amounts to the fact that now i really need to work out :)

::  we got a great deal on virgin airlines.  the personal t.v. was nice... the sandwich i ordered was actually good... but the vibe... was trying-too-hard-to-be-cool.  and our flights both ways were delayed.  and on our way there, we had the very unfortunate luck to sit next to some mid-30s guy that must have had outrageous hearing loss because his music was so loud that we could hear it.  loudly.  and he had ear buds in.  it was so loud that i thought someone near us needed to plug headphones in their laptop.  and at what would have been 1 a.m. texas time, he began listening to the ting tings "that's not my name."  on repeat.  i wanted to shoot him. 

::  you could go broke giving money to people who ask for it on the san francisco streets.  one guy asked for $12K.  ha!

::  the shopping is fantastic.  too bad we don't have the disposable income to fund it.  faustino even enjoyed window shopping watches...

::  and it was a little cheesy for me to have seen the speakeasy on the bachelor and want to go... but we did.  was easy to get to from our hotel.  and their drinks were delicious.  cucumber gimlet.  mmm...

::  despite the fact that it was dreary, i enjoyed myself.  though, i didn't take pictures of things i wanted to... because, its not much fun to pull out your dslr in the drizzle... on a pretty day, there are all kinds of photography candy.  the people watching is the best...

::  my kids enjoyed spending the weekend with their grammy.  and were adorable when we came home.   and as a mom, it is so nice to be missed.  so, so, nice.      


jumbo gumbo - my favorite gumbo recipe

it is sort of gray out.  rainy and gray.  and really, i haven't minded all that much.  not that i don't love sunshine, but i haven't felt 100%... and i certainly feel a little pissy when i miss all the good weather because i felt gross.  i mean, it's not florida.  we don't get an indefinite amount of 70 degree days.


anyway... feeling crappy and running errands in the rain is something i could do without.  and really,  i could do without the kind of errands that involve work on the car while i entertain offspring in a waiting room.  today was round 2 of fix-the-tire.  and after a couple of phone calls and a long wait where a trashy lady gave me an unsolicited parenting scolding {i must add, she told me that she never negotiated with her children when they were the age of mine.  it took every bone in my body to conduct myself respectfully so i did not set a bad example for the children.  i did tell her that we all have different parenting styles and i would appreciate it if she kept her commentary to herself.  my children were even being quiet and sitting nicely -- although that might have had something to do with my french fry negotiation}, i came out of the battle with a new tire, a mere $760+ ahead of what NTB told me it would be.  word to the wise... a second opinion is critical.  and take that NTB.  and i will never go back to NTB again.  granted, it still needs a little more work {something with the hub??} and the wheels aligned... anyway, for all the mucking around, it was worth it! 

so, with the weather like it is, and faustino's love for duck hunting, it was the perfect time for gumbo round 2.  i miraculously managed to find the handwritten recipe... but had a moment where i didn't know for sure where it went... so, for my own records most of all, i am blogging it.  but really, you should make it.  fantastic gumbo.  and equally fantastic the next day or two... especially when the weather is cold and gray.

do you remember the the first time faustino made his gumbo?  this time was just as delicious.  please let me know if you make it.  sooooo yummy.  even the kids loved it... ethan calls it Jumbo Gumbo.  and last night it was heart warming to watch ethan pick out the shrimp and spoon feed savannah.  so sweet.

and gumbo isn't the prettiest food... but i have to post a picture.  here is my bowl of gumbo for a gray day...


Gumbo Recipe

-  oil of your choice to cook duck and vegetables, as needed.
-  4 duck breasts, chopped into small pieces {1 cm sq.}
-  2 T minced garlic
-  3 cups chopped onion
-  3 cups chopped celery
-  3 cups chopped peppers {combination of red, green, and pablano}
-  1.5 lbs. andouille sausage
-  1.5 lbs. shrimp {shelled and devined}
-  3 cans chicken broth {small cans or equivalent}
-  1 can tomato sauce {14.5 oz can}
-  3/4 cup red wine
-  tony chachere's and cajun breakdown spices to taste
-  tabasco {few dashes}
-  1/2 T fresh chopped oregano
-  kosher salt to taste
-  1 T blackening spice
-  3/4 cup vegetable oil
-  3/4 cup butter
-  flour as needed to thicken roux

-  saute duck pieces with oil and 1 T garlic, set aside
-  broil sausage on low, when finished, slice into rounds 1/4" thick
-  saute vegetables in oil in stock pot until tender
-  while vegetables are sauteing, make roux {3/4 cup vegetable oil, 3/4 cup butter, and flour to desired consistancy (separates with a spoon) and color (carmel)}
-  add tomato sauce, wine and chicken broth to vegetables and bring to a simmer
-  add spices and herbs
-  add shrimp and sausage
-  slowly add roux.  it will start out thinner and slowly get thicker.  thin with water if needed.

-  serve over rice and garnish with fresh parsley

will you please, please make this and let me know what you think???

xoxo, s


ethan's birthday party


last week i would sit down at the computer, and all i could do was compulsively compare orbitz to kayak to travelocity to bing travel to priceline.

you get the idea.

travel arrangements on a tight budget make my head spin.  i will be happy when fellowship interview season has ended.  blissed out.  and equally happy when i know where we have matched... because the "where-are-you-thinking-of-sending-ethan-for-kindergarten" talk is pretty much the let's-catch-up ice breaker... and i am sure will only intensify.  right now... well, i don't even know what state we'll be in.  much less the public vs. private debate.

sheesh.  no worries though.  and i better chill out because we have four more months before we will have any idea.

and a year and a half from now until we move.

but fellowship is only a year {we can really do anything for a year.  even snow.  even lots of snow.  i think.} and then we will move somewhere else and begin a "real" job.  and no, we don't know where the "real" job will be...

that pretty much sums it up!  i've gotten those questions quite a bit lately... as we hover closer to the end. 

so the whole travel blahs began my week... then the kids went back to school... then i lost my voice.  right in time for ethan's birthday party.  {his real birthday is smack dab in the middle of december... so we have the party at the beginning of january}



my voice was sounding a bit pathetic on thursday afternoon.  but then, yours truly, had to take it to a whole new level by going to a bar on thursday night.  it was bunko night out... which means we just met up and of course didn't play... so i essentially sacrificed my voice.  but i desperately wanted to go.  and no amount of feeling crappy was going to keep me home... i had cabin fever...

so.  friday.  only a whisper.  nothing louder.  do you guys know what it is like to try and get your kids out the door in the morning when you can't yell, "c'mon!  move it!!  get your shoes on and line up at the door!!"  ethan proved that he will actually listen if i whisper.  a tip that i will remember...

one more thing... i got a flat tire 2 hours before the party.  really cool, huh?  and today, i found it that it's not the patch and get-going kind of flat.  it's more of the, we need to fix a, b, c, d, e, and you need new tires.  love. it.  {insert sarcasm.}  

but the party... 


thank god a billion times over that i decided to take the totally easy route and have his party at the little gym.  i mean.  best. decision. ever.

i managed to save my voice all day on friday.  and then saturday morning.  and with the help of visine and concealer, i managed to pull off less of a death-warmed-over look than i had been sporting earlier.


i will say, the birthday party went so well.  the cake was super tasty.  and pretty cute.  and we had pizza... {so original}  ethan loved playing with his buddies.  savannah might have very well thought it was her own party... and it was delightful, organized chaos.  chaos that our two party helpers had the joy of organizing.

i highly recommend it.

the photos... not my finest.  bad lighting combined with apathy.  :)









and i was so distracted by the chaos, i think i only got teary-eyed one time... possibly a new record.  lately everything sends me into an emotional downward spiral as i see my little guy as a little boy.  no more toddler.  not even a little bit.  i could get really sappy here... but... i won't!

happy birthday, again, sweet ethan. 

xoxo, s
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