Tuesday, March 31, 2009

La Feria de Ciencias

Last week was the Science Fair for Riley and Jane. They were both assigned to groups of 3 or 4 to complete a science project. Neither of their groups were very ambitious, which was O.K. by me. I actually lucked out quite a bit. A mother from each of the groups took over the project and I had to do almost nothing.

Jane's group grew stalactites and stalagmites with baking soda.

Riley's did the old Mentos and Coke experiment, determining which soda caused the biggest explosions.

Riley's exhibit became very popular when it came time for the explosions.

I wish I had taken pictures of the Junior High and High School projects, they were pretty cool. The Jr. H. built bridges out of toothpicks glued end-to-end with Elmer's glue. The H.S. did chain reactions with dominoes and other objects. Riley and Jane liked those the best.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hoops anyone?

This is by Chapala Lake. Obviously someone thought the lake couldn't get any fuller.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Mr Pebbles and Jr.

I'm finally going to blog about our new pets. We've had them for a few months now. They are red-eared slider turtles. Babies, I think. We only got them on the condition that Jocie would be willing to take them when we leave. Turtles this size are illegal in the US. Too small. Kind of like those toys that get outlawed because of their small parts. Kids put them in their mouths. And these toys will give you salmonella poisoning.

These were Jane's idea, but all the kids like them. They don't do much. Eat, poop, scamper around a little when you try to catch them. They kinda remind me of Charlie.

They came with some pellets of food that they haven't touched. I found out on the internet that they are supposed to eat vegetables and feeder fish. We just do broccoli. Seems to be the only thing ours like.

They also love these fake turtles we put in the container. And doing yoga in the sun. See that foot, stays like that for hours.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I will miss Grandma Browne

On Sunday, Dave's grandma Edna Smith Browne passed away after battling cancer for over a year. Her children all surrounded her in her last hour. I will miss most dinners at her house on Sunday, always seeing a quilt being tied in her living room, her homemade gift tags, and especially going to the Utah County Symphony with her the last 6 years.

Dave is in Utah. The funeral is tomorrow. Wish I could be there to say goodbye. Bye Grandma.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mexican Food Part 2

Wow! It's been 5 months since my last (and only) food installment. Time flies. But I have been taking lots of yummy food pictures, so I've got some of my favorites ready for you.

First, we have come into berry season, believe it or not. A few miles down the road is a Driscoll's berry farm. We've been seeing the plants growing for months, and now the berries are here. I can get a kilo (2.2 lbs) of strawberries for about $1 at a fruit stall in the tianguis (street market). The raspberries and black berries are about twice that. We love it. We eat berries in or on something 2 or 3 times a week. The only pain is washing them. We wash all our produce in iodine, just in case. Berries start to go bad soon after washing so we have to eat them fast.

We also have been having a huge lime harvest. Every morning 10-20 on the ground. We've made tons of limeade and frozen lime juice ice cubes. Can't get enough. These were from 3 nights.

Milli's and Charlie's new favorite drink is this soy based, guanabana flavored drink. You say it like the Sesame Street song Mahnamahna. We just love when Charlie asks for it. It's hilarious. We sing the name whenever we drink it.

My new favorite thing to order at a restaurant is ceviche. It is typically an appetizer. It is a kind of salsa made with fish or shrimp and put on a tostada. But the meat is not cooked with heat, only with lime juice. Obviously, you should trust the maker, because it can make you sick if not fully marinated. I find I am always safe getting the shrimp kind, because the fish kind sometimes has too much lime. This one is from a stand at the Ajijic tianguis, it is fish and exactly the way I like it.

Another Mexican delicacy is this corn on the cob. It's usually sold in the plaza mayor or at other places where there may be a crowd. You take your chances with it, because it may be tender or it may be tough. You can also have it cut off the cob and put in a cup. Various toppings are offered; lime, salt, cheese (not sure what kind it is), cream, and of course chili. Dave likes cream and cheese. If your lucky, it will be sold out of a wheelbarrow. This one was not.

Last, one of the kids favorite things to order at a restaurant is Chocomilk (don't say the k). Yes, it's just chocolate milk, but they put lots of chocolate and blend it, I think. Whatever they do, we think it's tasty.

I hope you've enjoyed part 2 in our tour of Mexican foods. I promise to be more timely on the next one.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Birthday present

I finally got all the details worked out for the much-anticipated Ultra-light plane ride. I was referred to a guy in Chapala that organizes adventures for tourists and he kindly arranged (for a small part of the fee, I'm sure) an Ultra-light flight for us even though it wasn't on his usual list of "adventures". Unfortunately, he didn't really know what an Ultra-light plane was so he booked Dave on this:

It turned out for the best though, because even on this bigger plane, Dave got horribly airsick. He said he felt fine until they turned around to come back and his stomach flipped. He didn't hurl, but spent some time wondering where he would do it if it got any worse.

The kids and I stayed at the airfield and watched his take-off and landing. As soon as he got back, Charlie said "my turn". And was only placated when he got to sit in the cockpit. He loved watching those planes.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I've been tagged

My sister tagged me with the 4th folder, 4th pic thing. The picture turned out to be very applicable for a post right now.

This is of our Browne family reunion 3 years ago. I was pregnant with Charlie. I know it was three years ago because another is planned for this June and we won't be able to make it back for it. I knew it was this year, but had really hoped it would be later in the summer, after we were back. We just can't afford to fly everyone home in June and then again in July. I'm going to really miss it. It's Dave's family officially but I feel very close to them. This year's picture will probably be twice as big with all the marriages and births. I'll be wishing I was there. Miss y'all, Brownes.

If you haven't done this yet, you are officially tagged.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Weekend in Guanajuato

We made another of our weekend trips again. We'd heard from all kinds of people about Guanajuato and how cool it is. So it was time to finally see for ourselves and we loved it. It is our favorite city in Mexico so far. (except Ajijic, of course)

On the way to Guanajuato, we stopped in Leon. This city makes most of the country's shoes and you are supposed to be able to get a great deal. It was all a bit overwhelming and so we only bought Charlie some shoes. He was growing out of his and wouldn't let me put any others on him. His old shoes were blue and he seemed taken with the color, so we looked for another pair of blue ones. We found some that were all leather and suede. Though I probably wouldn't have picked them out on my own, he seemed taken. I think they are pretty good quality and we spent less than $20.
Look behind the street performer and you'll see a bit of the large amounts of shoes we had to choose from. Blocks and blocks of these shops.

On to Guanajuato. It was truly amazing. The whole city is full of driving tunnels. I heard that they used to be rivers, but don't know if that's true. It reminded us a lot of Venice. Except that instead of canals you have tunnels and instead of gondolas, you have cars. Driving there was a little like trying to drive in Venice, too. Nerve-wracking with people everywhere and very narrow streets.

The town is also very hilly. We went up to a "panoramic" area to look at the town on a tour we took. They use very bright colors to paint the houses and shops. You can see them even from very far away.

In the center, was a great church and a beautiful plaza. This city hosts an internationally famous Cervantes art festival and supposedly is booked a year in advance. We ate dinner one night at a restaurant just outside the church. It felt like we were in Europe somewhere.

We went to a couple of museums while we were there too. Very morbid people, the Mexicanos. One was a museum that showed the torture devices of the Spanish priests during Colonial times. The other was the Mummy Museum. It was a museum of the bodies of people they found in a cemetary that were mummified because of the elements in soil here. Of course the kids loved both of these museums.

Riley thought this one had very clean teeth for a mummy.

We also went down into an old silver mine. Not as interesting to the kids.
I highly recommend Guanajuato to anyone. It was an awesome trip.

Before we left the area, I wanted to stop by another town that had been on my list of possible candidates for our "year of adventure." In my research, lots of people talked about a town called San Miguel de Allende, near Guanajuato. I wanted to see if I had made a good decision.
This very cool gothic church was in the plaza.

San Miguel was very different from Ajijic. Much bigger and more hip. Lots of interesting shops and nice restaurants. But also in the middle of the desert, an hour from Guanajuato. I have to admit that I really liked it. But I didn't feel at all like we were in the wrong place. Ajijic has been perfect for us this year and we'll miss it terribly when we go.