Sunday, September 30, 2007

Smiley Baby

Jeremiah has just started really smiling over the past few days. We just had to share this with everybody. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Random Stuff

Uggg... it's been a hot week, at least during the day, and in the house (which takes forever to cool off in the evenings, and we can't leave our front door open for very long until we put our screen back up). Anyway, it's been too hot to think of anything much to write on our blog, so I'll update you all on the latest food going-ons.
Recently our chinola vine beared (bore? what verb is it) fruit (2 actually) and we made 2 glasses of chinola juice. Yummy. :)
Our menu for the week:
Saturday night- split pea soup (peas soaked in our rice cooker) and bread-machine herb bread
Sunday- burgers, grill fries, salad, and jello
Monday- Mango-melon soup, wraps with homemade tortialls, and roasted corn dip with homemade "pita" chips (using the homemade tortialls, which are somewhere in between and tortilla and pita because I don't like to make them thin)
Tuesday- Dinner group at Leah's
Wednesday- meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and vegetable
Thursday- use leftover mashed potatoes and put in leftover vegetables from the week, and meat from the freezer
Friday- leftovers, throw together, find something in the freezer, or eat the bats in our roof that keep pooping in our house

So, there it is. Other things worth mentioning... Jeremiah is starting to "Goo", smile, and laugh! We are trying to get a video put up of him, but are having difficulties getting it from our camera to the computer. Speaking of Jeremiah, I should go feed him.....

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Roasted Peanuts

So, we finally tried roasting peanuts on our own. It worked out very well. For at least 1/3 of the price, we can now have our own freshly roasted peanuts instead of buying pre-roasted ones. Here are some foods with which we used our peanuts...

Chinese Chicken Salad (yummm)

Homemade snack mix

My base was a recipe I got from my mom. However, I adjusted it based on ingredients we can buy here. Here's how it turned out:

Melt butter in the pan in the oven. Add some amount of the seasonings (didn't measure). Add cajun seasoning. Put in: corn flakes, casaba crackers (made from yuca), cheetoh type things, dry ramen noodles, and peanuts. There wasn't enough butter and spices, so I added more spices and oil. Then I baked it, stirring every once in a while. And it turned out pretty yummy. Here's the original recipe:

Chex Mix

6 T butter
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ t seasoned salt
½ t onion powder
2 2/3 C Rice Chex
2 2/3 C Wheat Chex
2 2/3 C corn Chex
1 C mixed nuts
1 C pretzels
1 C bite-sized garlic flavor bagel chips or regular-sized
bagel chips broken into 1” pieces.

Melt butter in open roasting pan in preheated 250° oven. Stir in seasonings. Gradually add cereals, nuts, pretzels, and bagel chips; stir to coat evenly. Bake 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on absorbent paper to cool. Store in airtight container.

As far as other fun food things go, this week so far we've made pasta with spinich, tomatoes, pine-nuts, etc., Cabbage Roll Casserole (Taste of Home), and Grilled Pork rolls with Grilled Polenta. Wednesday is Tuna Casserole.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Faith and Fear

"So do not dread, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." -Isaiah 41:10

Daniel and I have both been struggling with fear lately. We're now up to 10-11 teachers that have been sick since the start of the school year; we currently have a few sick and 2 in the hospital. Almost all of those who have been sick have had Dengue; either the common form or the hemorrhagic.
As a result, we have been struggling with the fear of contracting Dengue ourselves, or, even worse, having Jeremiah get sick. While proper precautions are necessary- keeping unscreened doors clothes, being careful when going outside (the Dengue mosquito is a day-time mosquito) by putting bug spray on ourselves and having Jeremiah wear long legged footies, etc. ,I've been letting it control me through fear. Controlling fear, unlike caution, is not healthy. It only creates anxiety about what I cannot control. And if I'm living in fear, I'm not living in Faith that God will take care of us. Isaiah 41:10, as well as some other passages, especially Psalm 112:6-8, brought me great comfort this morning. No matter what happens, God is protecting us. And who better to trust than the One who created us and sustains us? Living in peace and faith, while still using caution, is much better than living in fear!
Please pray that Daniel and I will continue living in faith, and pray for the health of the school, ourselves, and our precious baby!

Monday, September 17, 2007

More pics!

What I'm sure you've all been waiting for... we've posted new pictures of Jeremiah!

Some of them are on our old album here. And some are in a new album (we can only put 60 in per album) Here are some teaser photos- go look at them all!

I can't believe how much he's changed in just a short period of time. I know you can't probably tell from the pictures, but seeing him each day it seems that he changes daily. Every day he looks more and more like a little boy. I can't imagine how I'll feel years from now, when it's only been a month and a half and I notice the change! I pray that I will cherish every moment as it will all go by too quickly!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Swaddling and Such

Before Jeremiah was born, I read the book, The Happiest Baby on the Block. It talks about the idea of a "fouth trimester." Basically, it says that in the first three months, your baby needs to feel as much like it is inside the womb as possible. Since it went from 24 hours of comfort, anything we can give them is already cutting back. To do this, it recommend using any or all of the "5 S's": Swaddling, Side/Stomach, Shhhh, Swing, and Suck.
Here's how we use these 5 with Jeremiah...
1)We swaddle Jeremiah every night. It helps him to sleep (many times babies wake themselves up by moving their arms around. Jeremiah sleeps so much longer when he's swaddled. Right now he normally only wakes up once in the night to eat.
2) Jeremiah's favorite postion to be held in is lying upright on his stomach against somebody's chest. I think it's because he was always head-up in the womb!
3) The womb isn't a very quiet place; there was a constant "shhhh" noise, and babies are used to noise. Jeremiah enjoys noise, whether it's music or the motor on the vibrating infant chair.
4) Obviously babies feel a lot of movement in the womb, since most mothers are moving often. Jeremiah gets this through the vibrating infant chair, being carried or worn, and his new swing. :)
5) Sucking- That's an obvious one! Even when he's not hungry he likes to suck on things. We try to give him his pacifier only if he's upset, however.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Frugality in the Dominican Republic

This post is inspired in large part by Ashley, Beth, and Joanna. :)
I have various friends who have posts and links on their blog dedicated to frugality. I enjoy reading these, and appreciate them as well. Although there are many tips I can use in the D.R., there are so many things that are inexpensive in the U.S., but expensive here, and vice versa. And, although some things may be comperable, a salary of about $7,000/year doesn't go very far. So, I thought I'd put together a list of helpful frugal tips in case any of you move down to the D.R. some day. Some of these things work for life in the States too.
-Food- get creative! Find creative substitutes. And don't buy many pre-packaged things. We get mac n'cheese (not American brand, corn flakes (cereal is expensive!), and sometimes dry sauce mixes for nights I don't feel like making a home-made sauce.
-Rice and pasta are great staples!
-Dried beans are much cheaper than canned- we soak ours overnight in a rice cooker (cheap at Walmart!)
-Unlike the States, produce is the way to go! Fresh veggies are very inexpensive. And we discovered that if you stick with the same vendor at the market, the prices eventually go down (loyalty is important). And we get free bananas too! So go veggie-happy!
-If you want frozen veggies (which you can't find in Jarabacoa), buy fresh veggies and blanch them.
-Homemade tortialls, bagels, and bread is a great way to go!
-Sour Cream is rare in Jarabacoa, and expensive when an option. Daniel and I often use this as a substitue: Take plain, unsweetened yogurt; line a strainer with a coffee filter; pour the yogurt in; set it in a pot in the fridge overnight. This also works well for a cream cheese substitute, but let it sit a little longer to drain out more liquid.
-A good recipe book for frugal meals not just for the States is Extending the Table. (Ashley, it sounds similar to the book you mentioned; I would love to get recipes from it!)
-If you want a blender (lots of inexpensive fresh fruit here!), bread maker, etc. bring it from the States, the price here isn't worth it
-Same with ziplock bags and tupperwares: plastics are expensive here!
-Packaged peanuts can be a little pricey, but they also have raw peanuts here. My friend bought raw peanuts and roasted them on the stove. They were good! I'm going to be trying that soon...
-Walk, bike, or buy a motorcycle. Not only is the start-up and up-keep cost cheaper than a car, but the gas is too! (We "fill up- a few gallons" about once a month or less)
-Eating Out- cheap vendors (but fried). For healthier food, find a place that offers a whole Dominican Meal (meat, rice, beans, and salad) for only a few dollars.
-Pork and Ground Beef are inexpensive meats
-Make your own salad dressing; have someone send ranch packets to mix if you want ranch dressing.
If you have a baby:
-Cloth diapers is the way to go (if you have a washer. If not, a Dominican washer is a good investment- you can sell it eventually)! Diapers are even pricier here than the States! And they will probably end up being burned or in someone's back yard.
-Make baby food. With how easy and cheap it is to get fresh fruit and veggies here, I plan on doing this!
That's all I can think of for now. Any other ideas, Leah?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Messy Desk Meme

So, Beth tagged me and I suppose I should do my part...
The five most interesting things on my desk... (I will resist the temptation to find interesting things to put on my desk, and is it so small there's not room for much (see pic))

1. A ticket stub to Pirates Del Caribbean 3 (in Santiago)
2. An old Codetel bill (our electri
3. a piece of paper with 3 medicines that I have no clue what are written on it
4. A metal circle (the size of a key chain) with a piece of material attatched, that folds over at the end... I have no clue what it's for
5. A mouse for our laptop that I rarely use

So, not very interesting, but that's the best I can do.

We have water!

After living in this apartment for 2 years, we have finally figured out the water problem. We recently discovered that the reason we seldom have water is because the pump did not work (the pump was in our neighbor's yard, so we never thought to check it until our new neighbor mentioned that she never heard the pump turn on). So, for $1500 pesos (about $50) we had the pump fixed and a switch wired up to our house so we can turn the pump on and off as needed. There was no switch previously (I wonder how long the pump has been out of commission...). So, unless the city water is turned off, we can turn on the pump when we are out of water and "magically" the water appears! Praise the Lord! If only we had known sooner... ah well, I learned a lot of patience and trust during those frustrating water times...

Friday, September 07, 2007


Daniel and I love to cook. We also love to cook complicated meals. However, with time being on short demand, I know we will need to cook simpler, less time costly meals. We have a handful of "simple" meals we like to cook, but I would like to collect recipes and ideas from others on:
one pot meals, slow cook (but less time prep!) meals, quick meals, etc. Please share with us. :)

Changing Seasons...

So, I've finally done a make-over on our blog. Why? Well, I decided that "Married Life" wasn't a very accurate description of our lives anymore. I decided we needed a title that better described our lives, and with that, we needed a new design that fit. Why "Changing Seasons?" Many reasons. First of all, since living here, I have realized the importance of seasonal change in my life. After living in year-round summer for two years, I have discovered how important the transition from warm, to cool, to cold, and back again is for me. My favorite season has always been fall. I love the colors, the smells, the way the fresh-but not freezing- wind feels on my face. And I miss it terribly. I don't miss the cold Chicago winters, but I do miss beautiful snowy days. However, even though I don't get to experience seasonal weather changes, my life is full of changing seasons. And this gets to the real reason for the title. Having a baby has probably been one of the most changing events of my life. Every single thing I do in my life is impacted- even going to the bathroom! (the times I either have to rush or hold it because setting down the baby means he'll start crying again) This has also been one of the most difficult change in my life (wonderful yes, but difficult too) due to all the adjustments. But, just as I am so grateful for the changes in seasons, I am grateful for the seasons of life. I love warm weather. I've never enjoyed having cold weather for very long. However, without the cold weather, it's hard to appreciate the warm weather as much. Living in warm weather for 2 years has given me such a longing to experience cooler weather again (now, I don't think I'd want to experience mid-west winters very often, but I could do for some kind of cold weather).
Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that transitions are important in our lives. Just like fall, they add color and bring us a fresh perspective. I'm hoping that on our blog, we will not only update you on what is going on in the D.R., but share what we're learning as we continue to face the various seasons of our lives.
So, what have I learned recently?
God has really been teaching me to appreciate the routine things in life. In one of our couple devotion times recently, we were reminded that Jesus spent about 30 of his 33 years doing "routine things." He was a carpenter and therefore did carpentry things. So many times I feel like my work around the home is of little eternal significance. I feel like I should be "out there" wherever "there" is doing something "world changing" (whatever that is). Right now, God has called me to be a stay-at-home mother. And even when I go back to work part-time in October, my main duties will still be as a wife and mother. It is tempting for me to get bored and frustrated with the "routine" things. But God's been reminding me that nothing is routine in my life as a disciple of Jesus. When I set my heart on Him and my view on eternity, even the "ordinary" becomes extraordinary. Through my work in the house home, I am letting God love my son, husband- and others that enter our home- through me. And I get to experience the love of a Heavenly Father and Savior, the joy of being a wife and mother, the security of knowing who I am in Christ, and glimpses of eternity each day! I have so much to be thankful for in this current-and every- season of my life. I still have a long ways to go, but God is definitely teaching me to set my heart on Him and rejoice, instead of feeling bogged down with the "routine." Praise the Lord!


Under Construction

I'm in the middle of making some changes to the blog... any advice on how to change the background color?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The first month

Wow, a month has already gone by! On Saturday Jeremiah will be 1 month old! A lot has happened in that month. It was great to have my parents visit and help out around the house and with the baby. It would have been very difficult without that extra help! As far as recovery goes, I'm doing pretty well. The only things I have to be cautious about are not lifting heavy things for a while and not doing strenuous exercise. As far as Jeremiah goes, he's gained 2 pounds since birth, but hasn't gotten any longer- he's bulking up!
Along with learning how to be parents, this month was full of other craziness:
-Trying to get the birth certificate (this took multiple attempts in Santiago)
-Daniel driving to Santo Domingo to get an interview for the passport (the interview will be in October)
-school starting a week late
-school starting still short teachers and with teachers sick and in the hospital (the director missed the first two days because his wife was one of them)
-school continuing with more teachers getting sick and going to the hospital
-and in our third week, we still have 2 teachers sick, 1 of which just went to the hospital
Daniel said his classes are going well; he's teaching junior high and high school science.

So, please be praying for the illnesses that have been spreading (some are bacterial, and some are Denge, a serious mosquito disease)