Thursday, November 19, 2009


1. I have successfully pumped for little Julia Belén for a full year (I know she's not 1 until the 30th, but I'm not counting next week since we're on vacation and there won't be a need to pump). I will be honest, hate is not a strong enough word for how I feel about pumping. Especially this time around since I have no office at my job meant pumping in bathrooms, my car, empty teacher workrooms, constantly worrying that someone would walk in. But it is a sacrifice I'm willing to make for my daughter.

2. I made the decision to stop pumping after Julia Belén turns a year old (so technically, I'm already done since I don't work next week). Pumping has been becoming more and more stressful as I have not been able to keep up with my little jelly belly. I felt a little guilt at first in my decision, but I feel sure that giving up the pump will rekindle my joy in nursing.

3. I did 4-5 loads of laundry this week (I lost count) and there is only 1 left to fold and put away.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


1. My family celebrated the marriage of my brother Carlos to his new wife Jenn! It was such a beautiful weekend, filled with such joy. I still get teary remembering hear my brother tell Jenn he loved her up at the altar, and how Jenn's love for my little brother is so strong that she was moved to tears.

2. I finished knitting one of the many Christmas presents that I set out to knit. One down and many to go. But one down!

3. We took down our Halloween decorations within a week of Halloween.

Thursday, October 08, 2009


1. I got all the kids' fall clothes out and washed, finally. Poor Julia Belén hasn't had clean pants and we had some chilly mornings. It was past due. (Of course the clothes being clean doesn't necessarily mean that they are put away).

2. Our refrigerator broke yesterday. The day before I told Andres that I thought there was something wrong with it. But of course it waits to officially break (and hence turn our ice cream into soup) until the day Andres leaves to go out of town for a night, and he almost never travels for work. I managed to call someone to come look at it, make the decision that the cost of fixing it was not worth the repair (it is always breaking), and go out and buy a new fridge on my own.

3. Andres went out of town and I actually cooked dinner for the kids. Anyone who knows me well should know that whenever Andres is gone, I order enough take-out to last me the whole time he's gone. I like the break of not having to cook. But since we just came up with a very realistic plan to pay off one of our big credit cards in only 6 months, I really need to stick to our budget.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The body of ... zzzrrrrbbbbttt

Yesterday we went to 5:30 Mass. Of the times of day we can go to Mass, the 5:30 is probably my least favorite. For starters, I hate leaving Mass for the end of the day. Just doesn't feel right. Secondly, it's a horrible time for the kids. Dinner is usually between 6:30 and 7, and when we go to afternoon Mass we're lucky to be home by 7:15. Trying to keep 2 hungry kids happy in the middle of Communion is not fun.

We just barely got to Mass on time. I had been in South Carolina all weekend visiting a friend. Made it home in time for a late lunch with the family and then I sought off the week's menu planning and grocery shopping. I had just enough time to put away all the perishables before we left for church. Since we got there "late", we ended up sitting in the very front, right across from the priest.

The kids did surprisingly well. I was worried they'd be all over the place. I pictured Antonio running up on the altar since there wasn't really anything else in front of us. I also worried when he turned to me in the middle of the readings and asked me for a hot dog.

But sitting in the front ended up being so good for little Antonio. He participated in the Mass in a way he never has before. He could see much more. He folded his little hands when we prayed, he even knelt during the Consecration. I was so proud and so happy for him.

Julia Belén on the other hand, decided to "participate" in another way. My darling daughter has recently discovered how fun it is to blow raspberries. Wouldn't you know she decided that Communion was the best time to really go at it. And how do you convince a 10 month old to stop blowing raspberries? I, being the worrier I am, started feeling anxious. She just wouldn't stop. The poor Eucharistic minister less than 2 feet in front of us was struggling to contain her laughter. People going up to receive the Holy Eucharist and all they could hear was zzzrrrrbbbbtttt! It proved too much for the Eucharistic minister, and when she couldn't hold back her laughter any longer, I couldnt' stop laughing myself. It was such a joyful moment, having just received the Sacred Sacrament and celebrating Holy Mass.

With the week that it had been, I can't imagine a better way to have ended it. God was speaking through my little jelly bean to let me know it was okay to feel joy. zzzzrrrrbbbtttt!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Rollercoaster of a week


1. I finally finished sewing Antonio his Curious George pajamas. It was my first project using a pattern. They're far from perfect, but they fit and he loves them.

2. We harvested an 18.8 pound watermelon from Andres' garden. It outweighs Julia Belén. We ate it for dessert tonight and it was soooo delicious. Even just the smell of it was enough to entice Antonio to eat 2 slices. I am so proud of all the work Andres has put into the garden and it was really fun to enjoy the fruits of his labor (literally!).

3. I made the decision to cancel my private patients this evening. It was an emotional week. A dear friend's father lost his battle with cancer, a parapro I work with lost her adultl son in a car accident, a patient of mine ended up in the hospital not long after I saw him (nothing I did, he had hit his head before I got there and started vomiting after I left). The flooding throughout Atlanta certainly didn't help keep spirits high either. And with a last minute appointment at the pediatrician a half hour before I'm supposed to head out of town tomorrow morning, canceling those patients was the wisest choice for our family. Keeping things in perspective was my small success.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

it's been a looong while...


Our poor little neglected blog. I have been meaning to post for so long, but things have been crazy. August was not a good month. It started off beautifully, with the baptism of my sweet godson James. I even survived flying alone with the two kids. The day after we got back, my last week before school starting and me working again, our house flooded. 11 nights staying in a hotel, replacing floors, ceilings, furniture (which while shopping for said furniture, I managed to break my toe). We were so excited to move back into our "new" house, when 2 days after moving back in, one by one we were all struck by the flu. It was a hard month. I feel like I'm still struggling to get my feet on the ground. Hence, our poor little blog was not on the top of my list of things to do. I like to think that surviving the month of August was enough small successes alll rolled into one to excuse not having posted on a weekly basis. So anywho, here's my small successes for the past week.

1. A successful week in meal planning. Slow cooker Tuesdays is turning out to have been a great idea, as Tuesdays are my busiest day of the week workwise. We got off weekly meal planning for a while with the flood and all and I'm so glad to have gotten back into it. Makes life that much easier.

2. I was super organized for the baby shower I threw for a close friend over the weekend. Got all the cooking done the day before while the kids napped and even finished knitting a hat for her sweet little boy.

3. I am caught up on treatment notes and work e-mails. Getting behind is so stressful to me so it's nice to feel on top of it, even if for only 1 week.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

we've skipped a few week, but here goes...


1. I took the kids to 9:00 Mass on Tuesday morning. Going to weekday Mass is something I've been wanting to do, especially since I have 2 extra days off work over the summer. But time usually gets away from me in the morning. Not this week. Taking the kids to Mass alone wasn't easy, but we got through it (and were blessed that we could sit with a friend of ours who helped a little with Antonio).
2. I finally finished the second dress I've been knitting for Julia Belén. I love how it came out!
3. We went to visit some dear friends of ours this afternoon. It's been something I've been meaning to do for a loonngg while, and I'm so glad we got to see them today. They are such a wonderful family.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


1. I got around to renting a carpet cleaner from the grocery store and steam cleaned the carpets yesterday. Myself.
2. I have made over 40 train shaped lollipops in preparation for Antonio's birthday party this coming Saturday. Last year I made tropical shirt lollipops. This year, I thought about not doing the lollipops since it is a labor intensive. But I decided to make it a fun tradition for the kids' birthdays and when they get older, they can even help.
3. Antonio is 100% pacifier free!! Our dirty little secret is that we've been giving it to him at naptime and bedtime. But on our way home from Helen last Saturday, Antonio was throwing a fit because he wanted his pacifier. We didn't have it so he screamed/cried the whole (hour long) ride home. Amidst the screaming I declared to all in the car, "That's it! No more pacifier, not ever." I had had enough. And we've stuck to it. And Antonio has been just fine without it.

Thursday, June 04, 2009


1. We celebrated Antonio's second birthday on Monday. A nice quiet day at home as a family, enjoying some of Antonio's favorite things. He even got to try chocolate milk!
2. Finally got around to some diaper maintenance and bleached them this morning. It was long overdue.
3. Planned ahead and included some "cook once, eat twice" recipes in our menu this week. I now have lasagna and ropa vieja ready for another week. I even made the ropa vieja earlier in the day today so when Andres was alone with the kids for dinner while I saw a private patient, all he had to was heat it up.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Happy Birthday sweet boy

Yesterday, Antonio turned 2 years old.

In the days and weeks leading up to his birthday, I would get sad thinking about my baby boy growing older. He has really starting growing more independent from me. I look at him and I don't see my little baby, I see a little boy. Just watching him you can see him scheming, thinking, problem-solving. You can see his little imagination at work as he plays with his new toy trains. He has his likes and his dislikes. He wants to choose his own shoes when we get ready. He has to have a big boy cup and fork and his own napkin during dinner. It's been such an adventure watching this little person discover who he is.

My little son has taught me so much these past 2 years. So much about living and loving and about what's really important in life.

Am I sad that he's not my little baby anymore? Yes. But I am even more excited about what the future will bring? You bet.

Happy Birthday my sweet Antonio. I love you more than you could ever know.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Proud of Antonio

This past weekend we went to see family in Panama City Beach, Florida. We had a great time, and were actually able to get in a few hours of sunlight, between the rain, at the beach and the pool. I was so proud of Antonio, playing on the beach made me realize how fast he is growing up. He was happily playing in the sand, and when we went down to the water with Julia Belén, he came with us, then decided that he would rather play in the sand back at our towels. So on his own, he found our towels and sat down to play. Later we went to the Ottinger's pool,  Antonio seemed a little hesitant about getting into the pool (since this was the first time since last summer), he finally warmed up to it, and eventually had the courage to go down the water slide (the bottom quarter of it). He did a very good job kicking to propel himself around the pool, which made me so proud. And you could tell he was proud of himself, at least with going down the slide. He would call out loudly "Mami" with a huge grin, so that Julia would watch him go down the slide. And he did a great job kicking around the pool.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


This week has been kind of a blur. We have a very busy month ahead of us and I'm tired before we've even gone anywhere. So I don't feel as if I've accomplished much thus past week. But here goes...

1. On Saturday I went to: the farmer's market, the bank, the library (twice), Toys R Us, Party City, and Gymboree. And I was home by 10:30 in the morning, in time for all of us to have a late breakfast together.
2. I caught up with laundry, even if only temporarily.
3. I wrote this post.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Home-Grown Pork Rub

Last night I was able to make a rub using all ingredients grown in our garden for the Pork tenderloin (except for the salt). I was not sure how it would turn out, as I used herbs that I have never cooked with before, and others that I am just starting to experiment with, but it turned out really well. We all loved the pork, Antonio ate everything we gave him, and he asked for seconds and then a third helping of the pork. The herbs I used were Lemon Verbena, Pineapple Sage, Common Sage, Rosemary, Cuban Oregano, and a pinch of Thyme (as that is barely big enough to harvest). Then I added some extra virgin olive oil and a kosher salt. It was definitely a nice feeling of being able to cook with herbs and vegetables that we are growing ourselves, where they were able to go straight from the garden into our dishes.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

1. I finished thank you notes from Julia Belén's baptism. They will go out tomorrow or Friday.

2. I made it through 8 hours of IEP meetings without falling asleep.

3. Planned a menu based on things we got at the farmer's market on Saturday. Really trying to stick to seasonal and local eating.

Thursday, May 07, 2009


1. We did the right thing and went to 5:30 Mass last Sunday. We were really tempted not to go. We had just spend 3 hours driving back from South Carolina and 5:30 Mass is a HORRIBLE time for the kids and it runs into dinner time. But we knew and felt it was the right thing to do. (and yes, the kids were just as bad as expected)

2. Celebrated Cinco de Mayo with some homemade chicken enchiladas and was able to freeze enough to have 2 more dinners.

3. I went to work today. Doesn't sound like much of an accomplishment, but trust me, that was a big accomplishment for me today.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

1. All 3 bathroom in our house were clean at the same time.

2. We made strawberry jam from the strawberries we picked over the weekend.

3. I went out shopping and when I got back I was 100% honest in telling Andrés what I spent. If you know me, and my shopping obsession, it's actually kind of a big deal for me. Especially when I had my eye on several little strawberry outfits for the baby. Telling him exactly what I spent meant a) I did not put it on the credit card that's only in my name (long story on how that even exists) and b) I did not go crazy spending. I know to get past my shopping habits, and thus get one step closer to being a stay at home mom, I have to have a change in mindset. Would Antonio look really cute in (another) embroidered shirt? Yes. But does he really need it? No.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

CSI: Suwanee

I enter into the nursery once I hear Antonio is up from his nap.

My first clue that Antonio may have gotten into trouble: his hair is C.R.A.Z.Y. I mean, totally wild. But it looked cute, so I didn't think much of it.

I notice that the room smells different. Not a bad smell. Almost an herbal, aromatherapy type smell. Hmmm...

As I cross the room to his bed, I see bits of torn paper all over the floor leading to a small fancy bath soap that now has small teeth marks. I don't know when Antonio got a hold of that decorative soap nor where he had it stashed. Oh, but that is not the only "crime".

I get closer to Antonio and notice white fingerprints all over the windowsill and his black bed. The herbal smell I noticed before seems to get stronger. I realize Antonio has a white paste all over his clothes, his face, and his hair.

Apparently, I have underestimated my son's climbing abilities. Someone got the diaper cream off the top of the dresser, unscrewed the lid, and proceeded to finger paint all over the window and himself.

Case closed.

Half full or half empty?

The good thing about really getting behind on laundry is that there were already clean pajamas in our room when Julia Belén spit up everywhere in our bed in the middle of the night last night. No need to risk going into the kids' room and waking up Antonio.

The bad thing about getting really behind on laundry is that the clean pajamas were on the bottom of a pile of laundry 3 loads of clothes deep. Which meant the somewhat neat pile of laundry relatively confined to the basket turned into clean clothes all over our bedroom floor in search for clean pajamas.

Next time maybe she'll just sleep in spit-up covered pajamas.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

1. Went strawberry picking with the kids on Monday and took the opportunity to do a small lesson on colors with Antonio. I will post about it soon.
2. We continue to handle Antonio's tantrums without squabbling between ourselves. I know it was one of my small successes from last week, but if you have kids, you know how easy it is to lose patience amongst the crying and screaming.
3. We harvested our first few vegetables from the garden, some radishes and some lettuce. They were so delicious and I'm so proud of Andrés for all the hard work he's put into it.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


1. Spent a beautiful Easter weekend full of egg hunts and time with dear friends. They are like family to us.
2. I delight in Antonio speaking Spanish. He recently learned the word "huevo" over Easter.
3. We are surviving Antonio's tantrums with great patience and calm.

Thursday, April 09, 2009


1. We had our beautiful Julia Belén baptized.
2. I pulled together a yummy taco soup the day we got home from DC using the stuff I had in my pantry. Usually we have Ramen whenever we come back from vacation.
3. Antonio and I made pretzels from scratch for Lent.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


1. Finished the dress I've been knitting for Julia Belén, and it actually fits her!
2. Sold some diaper covers on diaperswappers that have been sitting unused since before Julia Belén was born, and even shipped them within 12 hours.
3. Got caught up on paperwork for work in preparation for the start of IEP season.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Breakfast with Julia Belén

This morning I brought Julia Belén down with me while I was making & eating my breakfast. She kept me great company, she was full of smiles everytime I looked over at her. She was also chatting & giggling away the whole time.

Friday, March 20, 2009

green carnations

as part of our st. patrick's day fun here, i decided that it we could dye some carnations green. i got a bunch of white carnations at the store and then i let antonio help me add some green food coloring to the water. sadly, it didn't work as well as i would have liked.

dyeing the carnations made me think back to my kindergarten science fair project. same thing, dyeing carnations. i remember we dyed them red. i remember the dark green felt with which we wrapped the display board. and i remember ripping the dark green felt off in a rage as a way to get back at my siblings. apparently, i thought destroying my project would upset them as much as i upset me.

lord help me should julia belén take after me. let's hope it's not in the name.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

New thing

My sister has been doing this on her blog, and it's one of my favorite things now. Makes me think about the things I've done right over the week instead of worrying about the things that did not get done. So I'm gonna start sharing too.


1. Did 5 loads of laundry and only 1 still needs to be folded.
2. Went on my first run as part of training for my half marathon.
3. Celebrated St. Patrick's day with a beef and Guinness stew, even though it required a last minute menu change.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Adventures of Bike Commuting

Today was a very adventurous day in the world of bike commuting. This morning I had to sprint the 4 miles to make the bus. The reason I was late is that I had a nail embeded in the rear tire, and in the process of changing the tube I either found or made a pinch flat in my spare, so I had to patch the spare to be able to use it. Then wrestle the tire back on the rim, then head out.

And this afternoon on the way home from work, my bike was in another bus accident on the highway, almost 6 months to the day (tomorrow would have been six months exactly). I am fine, just sore, and it looks like my bike did not sustain damage this time. But it was scary, it was a multiple car pile up, very much like the crash in Taledega Nights, where cars were spinning in 360's in front of our path and the bus swerved, when up on two wheels and then started plowing into the spinning cars, using my bike as the plow.

But I did not start running around screaming about the invisible fire. . . .

Monday, March 02, 2009

Tuesday Feb 24th's reading

I had meant to post about this earlier, but last week, as you may have gathered was pretty hectic, but as I was listening to the daily scripture readings on my iPod while on the bus on Tuesday morning (as I do first thing every morning), the reading really hit home. With how things are going financially, with us personally and with the rest of the world, I really connected. I see it as God's way of sometimes telling me to have faith, that he knows what we are going through, and gives me the message in ways that are sometimes less subtle than others. Here is the reading that I am referring to, I have highlighted the part that really connected:

My son, when you come to serve the LORD, prepare yourself for trials.
Be sincere of heart and steadfast, undisturbed in time of adversity.
Cling to him, forsake him not; thus will your future be great.
Accept whatever befalls you, in crushing misfortune be patient;
For in fire gold is tested, and worthy men in the crucible of humiliation.
Trust God and he will help you; make straight your ways and hope in him.
You who fear the LORD, wait for his mercy, turn not away lest you fall.
You who fear the LORD, trust him, and your reward will not be lost.
You who fear the LORD, hope for good things, for lasting joy and mercy.
Study the generations long past and understand; has anyone hoped in the LORD and been disappointed? Has anyone persevered in his fear and been forsaken? Has anyone called upon him and been rebuffed?
Compassionate and merciful is the LORD; he forgives sins, he saves in time of trouble.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

hold the jalapeños

it's 8:30 in the morning and this is our house: antonio sleeping upstairs in his toddler bed. julia belén asleep in the swing downstairs. andres and i sleeping on the couches. cornflower asleep upstairs under our bed.

i couldn't have imagined a better way to end (start?) the week. it was a long one.

started off with both kids coming down with colds last sunday. julia belén has recovered pretty quickly, just a little bit of a stuffy nose. thank goodness for breastmilk. antonio's been slower to recover. he'd get better, then get worse. get better, then worse. and on monday he started running a low grade fever that lasted all week.

work is kicking my butt. even though it's only two and a half days, and a couple private patients, i am having trouble keeping up with the paperwork, the phone calls, the meetings, etc.

so come friday, one of my days off, i am wiped. frumpy fridays, i like to call them. we usually stay in our pjs pretty late and when i do shower i change into jeans and a t-shirt. no make-up. i don't dry my hair. lazy day.

decide mid-morning to take antonio the pediatrician. of course it has to be a frumpy friday, not looking my best. and at lunch antonio rubbed a plate full of ranch all over his head. i had to take antonio to the doctor and he smelled like a salad.

meanwhile, andres had taken the bus home at 12:30 to immediately turn around and drive back to the south of town to get tags transferred on the solara. we decided a long time ago to become a 1 car family and with the registration due in a couple weeks, we were running out of time. so andres is at carmax while i'm at the pediatrician.

antonio has an ear infection.

takes a lot longer to get the paperwork done on the solara than we thought. julia belén is getting hungry. don't tell us it's going to be 5 minutes to finish the paperwork when it's really 20. 15 minutes is a very significant amount of time when you have a nursling.

we have to stop at publix to get antonio's prescription filled. it's already 6:30. since it's getting late, we decide to get some spuds at mccalister's next to publix while the prescription is being filled. also gives me time to feed the baby.

it's friday in lent so no meat. we decide to get veggie chili spuds. didn't think twice about the jalapeños on top.

the rest of the night went relatively smoothly. we got through dinner and bedtime more or less on time. andres and i watched blood diamond while the baby slept. went to bed at about midnight. and then the fun started.

antonio woke up crying at about 4:45. he tried finding his way to our room but i think he got scared in the dark and just stood in our doorway crying. brought him to bed with us. the crying roused julia belén, who had just nursed about an hour ago. not really time for her to eat again. antonio was restless in our bed so andres went back to the nursery with him to see if he would fall asleep in his bed again. no such luck. even from our room, i could hear him chatting away.

it's now 6 in the morning. antonio's still awake. i can't convince julia belén to fall asleep without nursing again, so i give in. all of sudden, she starts gagging and then throws up EVERYWHERE. i mean, e.v.e.r.y.w.he.r.e. i am drenched, the sheets are soaked on both sides of the bed. there was no way we were getting back into that bed. apparently, the jalapeños did not agree with her. i call andres to come change the baby while i change. he takes julia belén downstairs, and i go back to antonio to rock him back to sleep.

he finally falls asleep. julia belén, not so much. i tried nursing her again. after all she did just throw up everything she ate. she's still up. so i tried just cuddling on the couch but she gets mad that i'm not moving. at this point i am too exhausted to walk around rocking her until she falls asleep so we bring the swing to the living room and see if she will fall asleep. works like a charm. it's like the padding is soaked in ether. andres and i finally lay back down to sleep on the couches if even for a couple more hours of sleep, forgetting that we left the dog upstairs. so that's how we ended up scattered about the house this morning.

i have never been so grateful for a rainy, better-to-stay-home-inside, saturday. because that's all we feel like doing.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

in defense of my food

recently, i was criticized for the food choices i make for my family.

we eat meat and dairy.

no, i don't buy grass-fed beef. no, i don't buy organic chicken. no, i don't buy a lot of organic in general. the fact is, that stuff is expensive. too expensive for our budget.

what i DO do is cook home-made meals from scratch, almost every day. i definitely think about it when i pass by the pre-packaged meals in the aisles of the grocery store. where labels advertise that they'll be ready in just 10 minutes. it's so tempting. they look good and they look easy. but they aren't. so i pass them by. instead i buy fresh meat (i have no qualms over feeding my family meat, organic or not), fresh veggies, fresh fruit and go from there. yes, sometimes it's a little more work. but it's healthier and also tastier, in my opinion.

yes, i have chicken nuggets, taquitos, frozen veggies, and hot dogs in my freezer. i am a working mom of 2, and sometimes life gets ahead of me and i need back up plans for those days. but by and large, i cook from scratch and i plan ahead to make sure all of us have well balanced meals, 3 times a day. i wouldn't call that eating crap.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Garden Blog

I have started a new blog that will serve as our garden journal. I am calling it the Stell Homestead. Enjoy.

Friday, February 06, 2009


my 20 month old is slithering out of his stroller and running away while i'm wearing a screaming 2 month old. and the kiosk vendor wants me to try some perfume?


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

despite our best efforts

last time we were at the pediatrician my kids were the grungy kids. the ones you look at and wonder geez, doesn't this woman bathe her children or even put clean clothes on them before they leave the house. and me, with my hair still wet, pulled back in a pony tail, jeans, a sweatshirt, and sneakers. no make-up, i'm lucky i remembered to brush my teeth. in my defense, the appointment was scheduled only an hour before i had to be there. and as i've learned, it takes twice as long to pack up 2 kids and get in the car than it does 1. so an hour is nothing.

but i digress.

we had julia belén's 2 month well visit today and i was determined to redeem myself. both kids were bathed last night. and i was very careful about what they wore today. julia belén in a a dress and tights and antonio with a dressy sweater and courdoroy pants. i put on a nicer sweater and put on make-up. we were lookin' good. but wouldn't you know that antonio found the cookie i had secretly packed in the diaper bag in case he got bored (and i got desperate). and sure enough, the doctor walks in when antonio is mid-cookie and his face and hands are completely covered in chocolate.

still the grungy kids after all.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Stell Homestead

This year is going to be the first year I attempt to grow a lot more food than the normal one or two tomato plants on top of the lemon tree and blueberry bush I have had for a few years already. I don't seem to be alone in this idea, there are many grass-root movements of people realizing that they miss the joy of gardening and growing their own food, and people who realize that it is much more sustainable eating local, and nothing is more local than your own garden. Some are doing it so they know exactly what goes into their food (or what does not go into the food). Some people see this as a means of insurance against the possibility of worse financial times, which is becoming a reality for many. To make things interesting, and to help promote the popularity of growing your own food, I have joined the Freedom Harvest Collective Growing Challenge. I'll let everyone know how it goes.

Monday, February 02, 2009


i have a love-hate relationship with couscous.
antonio loves it. but there lies the problem. do you know how hard it is to clean up couscous?

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Notes on "The Omnivore's Dilemma"

I am currently reading "The Omnivore's Dilemma" and am thoroughly enjoying it. Like Nina Planck's "Real Food" it dives into the history and make up of what we eat. I know I am biased, since I am an avid meat eater (although can't always afford to be), but small things like the fact that we (humans) produce in our stomachs an enzyme specifically designed to break down elastin, a type of protein found in meat and now where else, and that our metabolism requires specific chemical compounds that can only be gotten from animals (like vitamin B-12) confirms my belief (or preference) that eating meat in moderation is natural and healthy. One thing that I am learning from "The Omnivore's Dilemma" is that the difference of grass fed and grain fed meat, may be the difference between it being healthy or not. Studies show that grass fed meats and poultry do not have the same problems leading to cardiovascular disease, and have a higher content of omega-3, which plays an indispensable role in human health, especially in the growth and health of brain cells. It makes me wonder how many of our health problems are really ones that we can easily avoid if we pay more attention to what we eat, and eat more naturally in ways that God intended for us to. He obviously created us this way, why fight it?

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

the 12 days of Christmas

what a holiday season for us! we enjoyed pretty much all of advent with the abuelos in town. the abuelos villa were here the first week of decemeber and the abuelos stell arrived the 19th and were here for about 10 days. and then tío carlos and jenn arrived just in time to celebrate the new year with us. antonio (and the rest of us) miss everyone so much! we couldn't have asked for a better way to celebrate this christmas season than surrounded by our loved ones.

on the first day of christmas, our nephew john david was born! he was over 5 weeks early but is doing GREAT! he was never even admitted to the nicu and was able to go home with my sister 2 days after being born. he is evidence of the power of prayer. for weeks my sister had been struggling with cholestasis and they had already planned on inducing her 2 weeks early. we all prayed very hard that little john continue to grow and thrive. i guess 2 weeks early was not early enough it turns out. we are all very excited to meet the newest tiny little miracle in our family!

we only wish the 12th day of christmas was as joyful as the first. a dear family friend suffered a massive heart attack on new year's eve and the doctors have given him a worse than poor prognosis. but we all saw the power of prayer when it came to john. and miracles do happen. so we continue to pray.