Thursday, January 10, 2013

Chart Love

Much as I love poetry, sometimes a simple chart says it way better.

These three are some faves these days:

-- Essential Oil Use chart --by oil--from Family Essential Oil
-- Essential Oil Use chart --by need-- from Heritage Essential Oils (this whole site is great, as is Linda, the owner)
-- Nutrient-Dense-Food Source chart from the Nourishing Gourmet (the last 2 links in this great little post are to a handy-dandy PDF chart!)

I'm excited about some classes I'll be taking soon... on lacto-fermentation & on soaking grains... enjoying learning about using essential oils, continuing to explore my new sewing machine with new projects, kicking into nutrient-dense-meal prep gear after the holidays and the Newborn Exhaustion.  Just packed away the Christmas decorations a bit sadly... soon I'll have to post about our wonderful Advent & Christmas 2012!

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Epiphany 2013

For Epiphany this year we had some friends over to celebrate "the Last Day of Christmas."  I reeeeally wanted to make almond cookies or at least a "Galette des Rois" like I remember from my childhood in France, but everything I found had gluten in it... and I didn't have the time to make every single component (like almond paste) from scratch.  This year.

The kids didn't mind. :)  We made crowns, and I read about the Magi coming to worship the King, and how that was so amazing-- that finally God was telling all people everywhere how to be forgiven! I taught them how to play "Find the Baby King"-- I hid Baby Jesus and we all mounted our camels and trotted off to find him, with me giving "hot" or "cold" clues.  They really got into this game, though the littler ones didn't exactly "get" the hot-cold concept, hah. But they seriously would have kept on playing for an hour.  I should also point out that Eowyn didn't want to be a Magi-- she insisted on being Mary.  Not sure what that means about her mothering skills, if she kept losing her own child...

My friend Sarah (mother of the other munchkins at our celebration) had pulled up some blogs of friends of hers who are missionaries abroad, and we talked about how our job is, in a sense, to bring Epiphany to everyone.  Lots of people still have not heard of the Messiah who brings Light into our Darkness-- and it is our joy to tell them about Him!  I think the kids made the connection better than I expected, between a Baby King revealed to faraway Gentile star-gazers, and a Reigning Forgiving King revealed to faraway pagans today.

Of course I didn't think to take any pictures during the actual party, but I did manage to prop the kids down in front of the tree before we took all the ornaments off and said goodbye to Christmas.  Next year I'd like to do a little celebration every day of Christmas through Epiphany, but at least I'm glad to have managed a party to finish off the season.

[One last thought on the Magi.  I think they really could read the stars.  I think that God really has written --in sweeping, broad non-specific parameters-- His purposes in the skies.  He calls out the starry hosts by name, after all!  I think those ancient magicians (Magi) were onto something-- they studied for years upon years.  I don't mean piddly little horoscopes or personal life-stories; rather epic history foretold.  Rising of good & evil tides.  Scripture from Genesis to Revelation seems to hint at such incomplete revelation   My guess is that Rowling's & Lewis' centaurs are right-- but we have long forgotten how to read the stars.  ...if you really want to cook your noodle, what about Lewis' take on Merlin as an ancient Celtic Christian earth-magician?  Read The Hideous Strength and get back to me.]

“Never," said Hagrid irritably, "try an' get a straight answer out of a centaur. Ruddy stargazers. Not interested in anythin' closer'n the moon.”   :)
― J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Christmas 2012, Part 4-- Greenville Photos

Tia Christina, Addie Mae & Nina

E with her favorite gift -- a real live DORA backpack!! That Tia Nicole is so good at getting great gifts. :)

Mid-way through our chuchitos, we headed out back for a family photo session with one of my mom's girlfriends, who happens to also be a photographer.  The results were amazing and can be seen over my parents' mantel.  I snapped a few shots of the action myself, just because everyone was having so much fun...
I. love. this. picture.  If you know my parents, you know this captures them so well.

Mom & Linda

Don't ask, because I have no idea.  "Sisters" about sums it up.

Anna giving us some modeling tips... or something...

Liam sporting one of my favorite of his gifts-- a full-body sweater!

Chillin with the Ads.

Not much more entertaining than watching GB with his grandbabies

Flying the babies!

Eowyn trying to tell GB (who was playing her little boy at the time) it's time for bed.

Nicole cut my hair!

Oh my.

Liam going to sleep on Nina

Eowyn thought her brother looked lonely in the pack n play so she climbed in

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Christmas 2012, Part 3-- Ruiz Clan Christmas Dinner (Chuchitos Devoured)

We chowed down on our chuchitos with both my sisters & their families, my grandparents and two of my aunts (Olga & Sylvia) and their families.  My cousin Courtney didn't make it but her brother Justin brought along a pal in her stead, so it was the usual noisy, boisterous, never dull and VERY interesting family dinner!  Did I mention that the food was stupendous?  Salads, salsas, refried black beans, and of course the piece de resistance...chuchitos!!!  We had venison, chicken and vegetarian options.

Boys waiting for instruction

Papirucho (my grandfather) reading our family Christmas newsletter

Dining room table-- including my Aunt Sylvia & Uncle Joe, and grandparents

Yes, my husband being goofy... and check out my parents' amazing NEW dining room!
One of my favorite parts of the do-over is that we enlarged several of my parents' wedding pictures and now they are hanging where everyone can enjoy them.  They look so young!! :)

The Map that threw such a wrench in Nicole's & my plans ...and that has been such a fun conversation piece for my parents

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Christmas 2012, Part 2- Greenville SC- Chuchito Making

Guatemalan tradition is to make "chuchitos" (like Mexican tamales) for holidays like Christmas and New Year's.  Chuchitos are cornmeal-filled husks with a kernel of yummy meat & tomato sauce at their center, boiled and served piping hot.  They are a bit work-intensive but not hard... if you know how to do them. Which is the hard part-- they're kind of a lost art!  So my mom had the idea this year to have as many as possible come over and learn from my grandma --known as "Mama Lulu"-- and then enjoy eating the fruits of our labor together as our Christmas feast.

Mom ("Nina" to her grandkids") getting everything ready

Step one:  soaking the corn husks

Mama Lulu washing & soaking

Nicole... being... critical?

Colin & Andrew, supervising with Boy Power

Browning the meat, simmering the sauce, and making the masa (dough)

Tia Anna tending to the adorable nieces & nephew 
Hard to get work done with this much cuteness! 
Mama Lulu & her oldest grandchild (me!)

Simmering one more batch of sauce while 2 batches of chuchitos boil

Explaining how to make strips of corn husk to tie off the chuchitos
Up next-- family photo session and the Meal!!