Thursday, December 30, 2010

Maria's curita

Remember at Christmas when Maria burnt her finger on the firework.
Yeah, it turned into a little blister and then proceeded to break.
My little two year old can NOT leave things like that alone.... she picks.
It was not a pretty site, but we didn't have any band-aids in the house and it was going to be a little bit before I could run to the pharmacy to get some.
And she also can NOT refrain from playing in the dirt, and I don't expect her to, again she is only two years old...
.....  so this is what we came up with.

A tissue (which isn't the greatest of bandage materials) wrapped around her finger and then tied with a balloon.... she thought it was pretty cool.

We ended up having to go to three pharmacies to finally find curitas (band-aids) and antibiotic ointment.
Her finger is starting to look so much better now.

Fred's Alive

Remember this guy.... he got the Christmas pardon.... and He'll be sticking around for the New Year too.
I'm feeling pretty comfortable with giving him a name...  not sure if we'll stick with Fred or if he'll get dubbed something else.
(speaking of Fred, every time I watch the animated movie Cars, at the end, where Lightening McQueen grinds to a halt and then goes back for Mr.the King, I get all teary inside. 
do you get the "Fred" reference?)

 This guy on the other hand.... I'm not even going to make eye contact with him.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Christmas Outfits

 For Christmas Abuela wanted to make Maria a dress, a pretty red princess dress.
While she was making the dress I asked if she had any extra fabric and if she could make Cooper a tie to match...

So here are my two little lovelies in their Christmas duds.
 Hahaha... they look so happy don't they.  The pictures didn't go that well.  These are the only two that I could get of them together.  Maria is all over the place these days.
 I did manage to get this one of Cooper with the Christmas tree in the back ground.... Isn't he just a little stud!?!
 Maria was a little more difficult to get a picture of....
She picked her nose....
 ..... and pouted on the floor....
 ...and finally ran away....
 ...but I did get some nice shots of the dress...
It buttons up the back and has a pretty white bow. The skirt is one of those full ones that when spun spreads very nicely.... also when she plops down on the floor it floats more gracefully to the ground.... just like a princess.
 It's got a pretty flower sewn on to one side of the bow.  It's also got a little lace trim sewn around the bottom of the skirt...
 ... and cute little cap sleeves....
and did I mention that she made everything without a single pattern.  She took the measurement for how long Cooper's tie should be, and then 4 measurements off Maria and made everything...  I'm totally impressed.  (A couple of weeks ago she made a wedding dress the same basic way... a few measurements, talk of what the bride wanted and then she made it... in less than a week.)  I'm hoping that she'll be able to teach me how she does it!


I just love it when they play together.  It makes me so happy.

Abuela's Kitchen

 Here is Abuela's kitchen.  It's not much but it gets the job done. 

 There is the sink for washing dishes, and next to that is a sloped counter top (towards the wall) with a drain in the wall.  The counter is a rough material.  I'm not sure why its there like that, but it is.  Then there's the stove in the corner, and then shelves with a counter below.  The only things not pictured are the fridge and microwave which are in the dining area.

Here is a view of just the stove.  These pictures were taken just before tamale prep started for Christmas.  Since then they have repaired the chimney, keeping all the smoke out of the kitchen (Yay!!)  Abuela also repaired the walls where the fire burns.  They are fixed with mud because if they were fixed with concrete it would crumble quicker.
 This is the orno (oven) that Abuelo built last week.  He completed it Christmas, so we were not able to use it for cooking because it still had to dry out.  Maria and I went and watched him building the dome part for a while and it was pretty cool.  He used bricks and mud to build it.  He had a small metal rod attached to a string that was attached to the center of the square on which the dome is built and on each block he placed he would run the rod along the back of the brick to make sure that it was in the right spot.
 The bricks are not rectangular, they're more of a tall rhomboid.  After he finished building it he lit a fire so the mud would dry and cure.  It took about 24 hours before it was all dried out.  We plan on using it for New Years!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Honduran Tamales

 Now these are different than Mexican tamales.  They are not spicy, but they are a nice blend of flavors.
Abuela did things the harder way... instead of using Maseca she used masa.  Meaning she took this corn....

 Cooked it, ground it, and cooked it again to make this...
 Here's a close up after it's been cooked (yes the masa is cooked before the tamale's are assembled - if using Maseca add water and cook)   When cooking add some of the same tomato mixture that the chicken marinated in that has been reserved for the masa part.  Here it is starting to solidify just a little, it should have a cream of wheat-ish texture..
 Here is the chicken.  This is two chickens cut up (bone still in) and marinading in a tomato, garlic, cilantro (two kinds), onion, chicken bullion, and pepper mixture that has been liquified in the blender.  (As noted above save some of this mixture for adding to the masa).
 Other components:
Green beans chopped up.
 Potatoes chopped up and then put in water so they don't turn brown.
 Banana leaves  Which are heated on the stove until pliable.
 Here's the big basket of banana leaves.
 Here we go... assembling the tamale.

First lay out banana leaves until you've got a good base one or two if they aren't ripped and if they are then add a third just to be safe.  Add a good size spoonful of the cooked masa (or Maseca) mixture
 Nest, add a piece of the (raw) chicken.
 Add a few of the diced potatoes:
And then add a few of the green beans:
 Top it off with a little of the marinade and then wrap it up kind of like a burrito with the sides tucked in.
Then after you get all your tamales made comes the cooking part...

Take a big pot and put some water in it.  Take some extra banana leaves and put them on top of the water.  What you're doing here is making a steam bath for the tamales.  You don't want them sitting in the water, and you also don't want them to burn on the bottom of the pan.  
Then you steam them until they are done. You want the chicken to be cooked.  I think it's pretty hard to over cook these.... you want to make sure that the chicken is cooked.  
Check your water level from time to time... you wouldn't want to run out of water and then start burning banana leaves.... 

When they first come out the masa mixture will still be runny... That solidifies as they cool down.  

I've also seen it where they add a few peas, another addition could be an olive (with thie pit in- I didn't eat the olive, it just adds to the flavor of the tamale)
I've also seen it where the meat is pre-cooked, so you don't actually have to cook the tamale, just let it steam for a little while so all the flavors have time to marry.  If you do it this way add a little oil (or broth from cooking the chicken) to the masa/Maseca mixture, when cooking tamale's with raw meat & bone in, the fat is distributed through the tamale giving it a nice texture & added flavor.

If you don't have banana leaves you can use aluminum foil.  The banana leaves to add a little flavor, so if you can only find a few lay out your foil, and then a piece of banana leaf and then the rest of the tamale ingredients.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Honduran Christmas...

Christmas here in Honduras is a little different from the celebrations that I'm used to.

For starters here the big celebration occurs on the 24th of December instead of the 25th. 

They also don't have all the pre-Christmas celebrations.

For us the day started off pretty normally. 
Wake up, have breakfast, get showers, child #2 down for a nap, play with child #1, child #2 wakes up, hang out at Abuela's, have lunch, child #1 goes down for nap, play with child #2, get child #2 to go down for second nap..... in the meantime Abuela started working on the tamale's the night before and is busy getting things ready to finish up...

Tamale's are a VERY big part of the food here.  I think that every single family made tamale's (it's kind of like that party you go to where everyone brings a 7 layer dip).  
I will do another post with the Honduran tamale how-to.

After the kids woke up from their naps the festivities began....
We ate.... oh boy did  we eat.  
The tamale's were delicious.... 
So was the chicken that was cooked down the street in a neighbor's outdoor orno (oven). 
(Abuelo finished our orno in the backyard this morning so we'll be able to use it for New Years.  I'll post pictures later.)
THEN.... the power went out.  The first time the power was out we had just started getting ready to eat.  We bring out the candle and without fail Maria starts to sing "Happy Birthday".  Each time it is a different persons birthday. 
The power was out most of the night 5ish to almost 10.  It came on twice for a little bit only to be turned off again.  
We kept things interesting though.... 
The computer's battery worked long enough to give us a good variety of music.
And we played with sparklers.
Maria and her cousin Luis Gustavo did most of the playing with an occasional cry from Cooper when there were no more sparklers for him to see.  

haha... these two look SO happy don't they.  They are.  really.  no joke.  They enjoyed the sparklers so much.  Maria so much that she didn't even notice she'd burnt her finger until after all the sparklers were gone.  

We also watched the neighborhood fireworks for a little while before it was seriously time for the kids to go to bed.  

I have really missed all of the festivities going on back in Washington, BUT I would not trade my Honduran Christmas for anything.  I am so glad that Marco has FINALLY had the opportunity to share his families traditions with us.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays

Sorry, but there was no way that I was going to send Christmas cards from Honduras.  There is no print shop here and I have no idea where the post office (or whatever they call it here) is. 
So, here you go.... 
Happy Holidays to all my lovelies out there..... 
I wish you all the best!

(The picture was taken the day Marco left for Honduras!)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Santa Rosa de Copan

 A week ago Monday we went on a little trip to Santa Rosa de Copan.
We got ready and walked to the bus stop... maybe 1/2 a mile away, and hopped on the bus.  Most of the buses are school buses with tinted windows, so we couldn't see how full the bus was.  It was full.... but how full I didn't know until people started getting off.  As we were approaching the bus, it was already starting to inch forward, but apparently it does that.  I don't know if the driver is antsy and wants to get going or what, but even after we were on the bus it kept inching forward for at least 5 more minutes.  People kept getting on and pushing their way back.  When we got on, our group consisted of 3 adults and 3 children.... so two kind fellows gave up their seats for Marco's sister, Yanessy and her daughter, and for Cooper and I.  I got to sit in the seat behind the driver on the asile side.  Probably the seat in the bus with the most leg room.  Marco had Maria in the backpack and stood beside the driver.  There were even a couple of people sitting on the dashboard.  After a few minutes we got going.... the first official stop was at the T where one road leads to Gracias (where there are apparently some really nice hot springs) and the other direction leads to Santa Rosa.  BUT the bus made numerous brief stops between Lepaera and the T to let people on and pic more people up.... when the bus reached a capacity where NO ONE ELSE COULD FIT one of the two helpers (plus an 11 year old boy) that the bus driver had would motion to the people waiting on the side of the road letting them know.  (Put all your fingertips (including thumb) together in an upward pointing direction, and then slightly move your wrist, moving your hand in an up-down motion).

Ok, so we get to the T and people get off so they can cross the street and get on the bus that will take them to Gracias.  And people get off, and people got off, and people keep getting off.  Over 50 people must have gotten off the bus... I looked back and the bus was still full, as in there were still 2-3 people per seat.  A few people got on the bus, but nowhere near as many that got off, and then we took off for Santa Rosa.  Many more mini-stops were made along the way, people getting on and off at different aldeas (village) or farms.

The roads in Honduras (that I've been on) are not in the best conditions.  There are pot holes everywhere.  There was even a sign, and not a construction sign, that I believe said something like "Use caution, rocky road ahead", and there was a section of the road that had fallen into the ditch or something so it was down to one lane and there was no pavement..... so instead of fixing the road they put up a permanent sign warning you of the danger ahead instead.  It's not exactly the most comfortable of rides.  About half way between the T and arriving in Santa Rosa Maria threw up everywhere.  When we got to the T she was able to get out of the backpack and sit on Marco's lap on the seat across from me.  Most of the yuck got on the floor, but some did run down Marco's leg (he was wearing shorts) and into his sock (YUCK!).  He was a total trooper about the whole thing though.  Next time we're on a bus we will remember to bring plastic baggies just in case.

This is a picture of the inside of the bus that we came back to Lepaera in looked like.  The bus on the way there did not have the racks above the seats.
(I did not take any pictures that day so thank you Google Images for this image)
The bus helpers.  There are two... and a half.... of them (besides the driver).  One helps people get on and off the bus, helps them with any oversized things that need to go underneath.  The other takes care of ticketing and money gathering.... I'm not sure how it all works fee-wise because people get on and off at seemingly random locations, but he knows.  For us to get from Lepaera to Santa Rosa it cost 30 lempiras per adult.  Ok... there is that little half a helper that I mentioned, the 11 year old boy.  He helped the guy the helps people get on and off a little bit, but it seems his main job was to preach a sermon to us.  About 10-15 minutes before we got to Santa Rosa he started preaching.... walking up and down the aisle talking.  I'm really not sure most of what he said, it was along the lines of Jesus saves, and he was pretty passionate about what he was talking about.

So we got to Santa Rosa and got off the bus.  We got in a taxi that took us to the "Occidental".  We shared a taxi with a lady and her daughter from Lepaera that we knew.  The daughter was super stoked to be getting a hamburger.  We went into the "Occidental", which from what I saw was kind of like a department store, and the largest store.  We got some Christmas gifts for the kids.  You're not allowed to take purses or backpacks into a lot of the stores there.  They have a security guard (for lack of a better term) that checks your bags into a locker at the front of the store for you.  They also have people who follow you around and carry the items that you want to purchase to the front of the store.  I was a little disappointed at the selection of toys that they had...  definitely not a Toys-R-Us or even a Walmart.  The quality of toys was another thing that I was disappointed by, a lot of them looked like they won't last a long time before they break.  They also didn't have ANY children's books.  They had workbooks, and books that are for beginning readers that were kind of like workbooks, but no children's books.  Maybe we didn't look in the right stores.

After the Occidental we headed over to Marco's Uncle's office.  He works in glass (windows, display cases, showers, etc) and has an office a block or so from the Occidental.  They were super nice and let us use their office as a home base.  Somewhere where we could keep our purchases and change diapers.

We got pizza for lunch.  Hawaiian.  It was just ok.  It tasted kind of like a frozen pizza.  They had a little courtyard inside with a little play yard which was nice for Maria.

After lunch we went and got Marco's watch fixed, and checked out appliances. We're looking for a fridge, not a full size fridge, but not an under the counter fridge either.  We checked out some that are maybe 4 1/2 feet tall with access to the freezer inside the fridge.  We also looked at gas stoves, since the power goes out here quite frequently (and mostly around dinner time) we think that gas is the way to go.  We didn't purchase anything yet (I'm still cooking on the griddle) but we wanted to get an idea of what was available and what the prices were.

We shopped around town a little more, bought internet (apparently the only thing they have here is USB internet.... not exactly the fastest thing on the planet.), ate some green mango's (that come with salt and vinegar and end up tasting like a pickled green mango), tried to find some grocery items at the supermarket,  and visited with an uncle, before heading back to the bus station and hopping on the bus back.

 Here is a view of one of the streets in Santa Rosa de Copan.  This is pretty typical.  Stone one way street with parking on one side, narrow sidewalks, and lots of power lines.

The bus ride back went pretty well (except for Maria's dirty diaper, but that's a whole 'nother story I'm not going to get into).  We took the bus from Santa Rosa to the T (it was MUCH less crowded), and then got off and took a van (which was crowded) to Lepaera.  The driver was kind enough to drop us, and all our stuff off at our front door which was MUCH appreciated since we got back after dark, which isn't saying much because the sun rises and sets between 5:30 & 6:00 every day.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Market

The Market happens every Thursday and Sunday.  
Now that is closer to Christmas things are getting busier.
There are more booths and more people.
Marco has said that just before Christmas it gets so packed that it gets hard to walk, and cars definitely can't pass thru.
Here are a few pictures from The Market (just surrounding our house) this past Thursday.

This is looking down the hill towards the hammock (the bridge in the background). This guy sitting down sells popsicles.  Behind him is where people sell beans and rice.  One of the guys that sells beans stores them in our front porch area and gives us beans for free.  Beans are inexpensive... the price is rising, but they are still inexpensive.  So is rice.... rice actually costs less than the beans per pound right now.  To be completely honest... I'm tired of beans.  We have beans at almost every meal.  Cold beans, hot beans, beans in their 'soup', beans blended and fried, whole beans fried with onion and tomato.... beans, beans, beans!!!
Here is the view looking up the hill.  The booth with the Christmas garland on the left is right in front of our house.  We have to go thru their booth to get in our front gate.  That little red 'car' with the number 20 on it is a taxi. They have three wheels, and a handle bar instead of a steering wheel.  We rode in a taxi once, it was raining and I was sick, we had to go to the pharmacy to pick up some medicine.   Ok, the tree that is in the middle-right... just behind that you can see some concrete peeking thru, back there are stairs that lead up to where the vegetables are sold which is off the picture to the right.
 Here is the Christmas booth in front of our place... you can't even see our front door.  The people that have the booth are really nice and always tell us that our kids are 'munecas' (dolls).  They gave us a door ornament  that is a pair of bells that has lights inside that you can change to make flash, or glow, or fade on and off, etc.
The booth next to the Christmas peeps is a friend of Marco's family.  She is really nice and sometimes Maria will go and sit with her.  Her husband is working in Canada right now.
 Most of the booths sell clothing.  The kids are all really excited because at Christmas they get new clothes.  Some of the most popular clothes are ones that are used and sent from the USA.  People will shout out from their booths what they're selling and how much things cost.  Sometimes I can understand, most of the time I just tune it out.  If they're speaking Spanish REALLY clearly and repeat themselves over and over again I'll get what they're saying.  One guy sells his shirts for 10 lempiras each.

Hot Dogs

Hot dogs here come in a package of 15.
Each hot dog is wrapped in plastic that you have to remove before cooking.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

An Early Christmas Present

I am generally a stickler when it comes to opening presents before Christmas...
but with this present it was impossible to wrap them up and keep them hidden for over a week.
Our Christmas Chicks.
 Aren't they so fun and colorful!
 I just couldn't resist.  We got eight.  They were 5 lempiras per chick.
 ... And Marco made them a little home.
As soon as they loose their baby fluff they'll be white... I kind of wish that they'd stay colored though.
Right now they eat rice.  Later they'll eat leftovers.  We eat plenty of eggs here so they'll have lots of egg shells to munch on.  
Hopefully there will be more hens than roosters in the bunch.
We'll see how it goes... I'm not really an animal person, but Maria loves Nanna's chickens so we will try to get her to take care of them, feed them and water them.... make sure they have a clean home and stay safe and warm.


Sometimes I feel like the guy in charge of turning the water on and off wakes up late, goes on vacation, or just doesn't feel like getting up to turn the water on. 

Today the water didn't come on until after 5 PM!!  

And there was lots that needed to be done that involved water....
cleaning the floors (needs to be done EVERY day)

and I had to prioritize... what is more important... doing the dishes or giving the kids baths, especially when I don't know when the water will turn on again.

(just in case you were wondering, the kids got their showers.... the dishes came second.... I got my shower after the water came back on, and I'll clean the floors tomorrow.)

Friday, December 17, 2010


Maria wakes up yelling “Mommy, I’m awake!!” 
I love it.
I love that I’m always there when she wakes up.
I love that she knows that.
I love that she wants to let me know that she’s awake. 


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Alive and well

We are still here... alive and well for the most part.  We got the internet up and running at our place yesterday, but I've been feeling a little under the weather.  

Hopefully I'll be able to get some posts up later today about everything we've been up to for the past couple of weeks.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010


That’s what I call him in my head…. But I refuse to actually say the name out loud because I don’t know what his fate will be.  Will he be the turkey that gets the Christmas Pardon, or will he be dinner. 

About a week ago a lady came by the house carrying this bird asking if we wanted to buy it.  Normally it’s banana’s or oranges.  I have seen a couple of chickens, but this was the first turkey.  She wanted me to hold it to see that it was heavy and that it would make a good meal.  I let Marco hold it.  I have to admit, I am a little scared of a bird that size. 

We ended up buying it, and she said that she had females too if we happen to want to have little baby turkey’s running around.  I know nothing of turkeys, so I’m leaving that one up to Marco.

Now Fred lives in the backyard.  He’s got a rope tied around his ancle which we (and when I say we, I most definitely am NOT including myself) tie to a tree during the day.  At night Marco moves him to a container so the dogs (which are let loose at night) will not bother the bird.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Maria got an umbrella from Nanna this fall.  She loved her umbrella.  

She learned to walk around the house saying "Tut, tut.  Looks like rain." (Thank-you Winne the Pooh!)

I decided that a rain coat with a jacket was enough to bring to Honduras and that we could use the space that an umbrella would take up for other things (which we used every available space in our luggage, every piece weighed about 51.5 lbs...just over the airlines limits, but they accepted it anyway).

Since we've been here Maria has seen a lot of umbrellas.  People use them when it rains, they also use them when it's sunny.  And she started asking for her umbrella.  

I let her know that her umbrella was at Nanna's house, but she saw umbrellas here and kept asking.  

So one day we were out running errands and it was lightly raining.  A lady that lives up the road saw us and gave us her umbrella to use while we were out.  It was WAY TOO BIG for Maria, but she REALLY wanted to hold it.  So we ducked into a little shop and picked up an umbrella for her.

She is in love.  
Still walks around the house saying "Tut,tut.  Looks like rain."   
She uses it as a microphone when she sings "How does she know...." (from Enchanted)
She uses it as a walking stick.
And occasionally as an instrument to hit with.
But she also shares her umbrella. (And tries to get others to say "Tut, tut.  Looks like rain!")

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Adriana Sophia

(pronounced Ah-dree-ahn-ah)

This is Marco's sister Yanessy's daugher.  She was born two months and one day before Cooper.
She is a beauty!!  Check out those perfect little lips!
I got to snap a couple of pictures of her before my kids needed attention.