Thursday, June 30, 2011

La Trocka

It's Wednesday, and usually for us that means the truck comes. We go back and forth between the English version of "truck" and the Spanglish version of "trocka", but either way it has a way of causing a little excitement around our house.

My husband likes it because even though it carries mostly Mexican items, it supplies other Hispanic goods too and it comes to the house.  Big Brother likes it because of the cheap toys (always easily seen just as the door swings open).  Little Sister does not quite know what to make of this all yet, but likes the excitement and the barking of the dogs across the street whenever the truck pulls into the driveway.  I like it because I get to find out about some new-to-me, interesting, Latin American grocery store-type cosas, all while shopping in the privacy of my own yard.

The produce is usually fresh and much cheaper than we can find in the nearby grocery stores.  Besides food though, Ruben also carries hats, soccer balls, cds, toilet paper, laundry detergent, soap....if you can find it in a Mexican store, it's most likely in this one on wheels.  

I was able to get him to carry Bubu Lubus, that I found out about from Tracy at  Yum, yum! You should try them if you can find them! These candy bar-sort-of-chocolates can be addictive, however.  Ruben as well as others shared with me that many folks like to eat them straight from the freezer, but mi familia will eat them at room temperature as well!

He carries Mexican Coca Cola and some are even kept cold in the ice chest he keeps at the back of the truck.  That is my favorite thing from the truck, because the Cokes come in glass bottles, and taste so much better. Tonight as well as Coke, I was able to find some Jarritos and opted for the Tamarindo flavor.  The Sidral Mundet Apple Flavored Carbonated soda has been one of the most interesting finds. I was surprised at how good it was. (I got another one tonight.)

I feel blessed to not only have learned about the truck, but to now be on his route as well.  Do you have a trocka?  What are some interesting things you have tried or would suggest?

Cloth Diapers

My cloth diapering adventure has been mostly a self-taught method. There was no one beside me to hold my hand, but I did have one real-live friend who had experience with using cloth diapers. I suppose I thought, "if she can do it, I can too!"  (I think this has been a theme throughout many adventures in my life!) Thank goodness I kept investigating and went through with it using Little Sister as my guinea pig. 

I researched websites and found some Twitter friends to follow about cloth diapering, but was disappointed that I was not able to find more information in stores near me about specific products available to use in this new venture.  Nevertheless, I was determined to at least try.

I had to purchase my All-in-one Cloth Diapers online, and I found Ebay to have what I needed for the best price.  I have been pleased with the diapers also known as pocket diapers (I think!), because there is a cloth insert that is put into the diapers for extra absorption. I opted for velcro across the sides of the diapers (similiar to Pampers/Huggies/Luvs) and the only snaps I have are the three rows under the velcro, which is to help the diaper to be smaller or larger based on the babies size.

I must admit I used some of the disposable diapers I was given at a shower for the first two weeks or so of Little Sister's life. Then I realized that since she had been born at 9 lbs 4.8 oz and 22 3/4 inches long, she was practically the size of a 2 month old already, and I could begin using the cloth diapers. (Many folks suggest waiting to use the cloth diapers until the baby is big enough for the fit to be snug.)  The diapers fit her from the beginning. I was in luck!

The advantages for choosing cloth diapers were that it is so much better for the environment than the huge mess the others leave in the landfills, taking years to biodegrade; more economical for our checkbook; and the babies who are cloth-diapered are usually potty-trained 6 months quicker than those who use disposable diapers. 

The disadvantages for choosing cloth diapers is that you must be committed to this choice, the smell, and you must plan ahead. Everyday things must be tended to, meaning when the diaper is soiled, the insert must be taken out and put with the outside part of the diaper into the diaper pail (which for me is a plastic garbage bag inside a small fliptop garbage can).  The diapers must be washed at least every other day too. I have a supply of about 40 right now and this helps me keep some ready while some are drying (if I have the advantage of using the sun, which takes a little longer than the dryer, but is cheaper too.)  The smell can be bad, but the fliptop on the garbage can really helps.  It's better than when we used the Diaper Genie with Big Brother.  If I have a trip out of the house, I must take extra diapers of course, and have something to put the "used" ones in as well. (I opted for a velcro insulate lunch bag which works great for us!) 

I wish now that I had known more about cloth diapering with Big Brother so that he could have taken advantage, and maybe have potty-trained earlier too, who knows!?!  I am grateful that I do know now at least, and have been able to save so much money for my family and be better for the environment as well.

Not everyone understands my decision and at first my mom and my husband thought I was a little crazy (it wasn't the first time and it won't be the last, I assure you!) but they have even supported me and use the cloth ones I send when it is their time for diaper duty.  Sometimes my husband will even "stuff" (put the inserts into the pockets of the diapers) at night as I put Big Brother and/or Little Sister to bed, as he watches TV. 

Since as of this writing Little Sister is 13 months old, I am not sure how much longer we will be cloth other words I am not sure when she will be potty training, but hopefully it will be an easier process because of the cloth diapers.  Time will tell!

Do you or someone you know cloth diaper? What has been your experience?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I must admit...we watch novelas

My husband didn't understand at first, and was even quite against it.  I'd heard reputable language learning folks mention the advantages of watching telenovelas to increase vocabulary in another language.  About a year ago, I gave it a try.  I have a firm foundation in Spanish, but am always trying to learn new phrases, idioms, accents, so this seemed like a good way to start.

My son, who wasn't even Big Brother at the time, because Little Sister was on the way, was up for the adventure with me. We started with Un Gancho al Corazon y En Nombre del Amor. We especially liked the theme song from En Nombre del Amor.

I made sure the closed captioning was available for the shows and had them turned on just in case I encountered unfamiliar words. I did understand the majority of the conversations, but occasionally picked up words that I do not use or hear every day. That was my goal, to increase my vocabulary, and it worked!

Those novelas have now ended and mi amiga, Tracy at, introduced me to our current fave, Los Herederos del Monte and I have been hooked ever since. It is on Telemundo at 9pm, Monday through Friday. 

I enjoy that the same characters are on almost everyday, so we get used to their forma de hablar. Many of the personajes have certain sayings that they use often too. These things and an interesting plot make for fun language learning. I highly recommend this entertaining method!

As 9pm draws nearer, Big Brother says, "Is it time for our show yet?"  Little Sister has this strange reaction every time she hears the theme song come on (when she is usually nursing) and she always stops taking milk and jerks her head toward the television to watch the horses gallop on the opener.  She even grins, giggles, claps, and bounces now too! She likes the music and horses.  Most of the time both of them fall asleep before the show finishes, and then we have to wait another day before it returns. 

Big Brother has picked up more vocabulary however. He heard one of the brothers call their girl, "mi reina" and he said, "Why are they talking about the Reina del Sur?"  (Reina del Sur was a very popular novela that earlier this year, followed Los Herederos on Telmundo, but it has since ended.) Little connections here and there are what I was looking for. More exposure to Spanish helps him want to try to use it more as well. 

We are now in the final weeks of the story and unlike Soap Operas in the US which last for 40 years or more, this one, which started in January 2011, will be completed before August I'm thinking. 

So much more to share about novelas, and this one in particular, but that's for another day. What about you? Do you watch Los Herederos del Monte or another telenovela?  We may be in the market in a few months for a new one!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Nuevas Recetas

Just checked our mail and was pleasantly pleased to see my Season Eleven DVD set of America's Test Kitchen! I've been watching these guys on PBS for the last several years and finally decided to purchase the set for the episodes I've missed while "adventuring" with my niños.  I love watching them because not only do they test out a variety of recipes for the best basics of home cooking, but they also review kitchen gadgets to share the best brand for the value.

Can't wait to view some and try them out! I wonder what their Tostadas & Empanadas recipe will be like? I could've made their Lazy Day Breakfast this morning, if I had received the mail in time.  Maybe mañana.....

Futbol Connections

Ayer fuimos a comer nuestro almuerzo en a wonderful Mexican family restaurant, in the "big city" close to us. As we walked into the crowded dining area, we were greeted by the same mesera from last week. (My husband had joked last domingo that this would become our new tradition for Sunday lunch...I hope it's true!) 

We settled into our seats and Little Sister got herself comfortable. (Big Brother went with the abuelos today to spend time with his primitos who were in town.) After the yummy guacamole was made tableside, by Yuri the mesera, the charla turned to the Copa de Oro partido de USA y Mexico that we all saw the night before.  Little Sister had even seen most of it before drifting away to dormir, as did Big Brother. 

De repente ella vio el gran pantalla del telvisor en el restaurante and started clapping! She'd remembered watching the game the night before and cheering along with us whenever the USA scored their goals.  She recognized that what was showing on the TV was a soccer game too.  Little Sister just turned 1 in May, so it was interesante to see the connection she made.  Esta hijita is definitely on her way to learning some Spanglish, with this part of the culture already underway!

Did your kids get to watch the Copa de Oro con ustedes tambien?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Spanglish Summer

We've just returned from a mini-vacation to the beach, and plans are underway to make a more concerted effort to increase our Spanish, or at least Spanglish, en casa.  Big Brother will be attending language camp in July which will hopefully motivate him more and more to have confidence con su español. 

Little Sister is babbling bunches these days and will hopefully have a better start than Big Brother did, but that's a story for another day. 

We just want our hijitos to have it easier than we did learning another language.  Solo tenemos que poner mas pilas a este esfuerzo!

Gracias por sus consejos! :)