Thursday, February 14, 2013

Crazyon crayon hearts

So I've never been big on Valentine's Day. Even when Elmer and I were dating and everything looked like love. It's just become another crazy consumer holiday to get sucked into. But the spirit of a seven year old can really make you feel different about love. It is really so great to be seven.
If more of the world could operate on the spirit of a seven year old, it would be a better place. Be happy, be nice, share, love. If you're not having fun, do something else. And love unconditionally, because you don't know understand about boyfriends and girlfriends and societies expectations.... or does that stop at 4? Anyway,...
We made homemade Valentine's for first and fourth graders last night.  We hadn't made class Valentine Cards since Tigo was in 1st grade, three years ago (and those were AMAZING, by the way). When we were in New Mexico the kids' school didn't celebrate Valentine's Day, so no one was obliged to receive our home made crafts from mid-winter craziness. So this week I was feeling crafty, therefore the kids had no choice to be crafty as well. In the usual style of waiting until the night before the party to prepare, I decided that we would try for the hip "make broken crayons into a heart shaped crayon" to show our love. It's totally easy, fast and lots of fun I was told...... Well not so easy, pretty messy, definitely not fast, and well, still pretty fun.

I felt like I was up to the wee hours of the morning helping put these together. You know, 9:30pm is the wee hours of the night when you want your kid in bed on a school night. But these were created with love and sent on their way this morning.

Remove any paper off the crayons and break them into little pieces in a bowl.
 So I'd like to say that we just had all these broken crayons around that we re-purposed into better crayons.... but truth is, that's not what happened. We needed a TON of crayons so we had to break into the stash of new crayons. Setting to make 50 some Valentines, you need a lot of crazyon. (Yes, I said CraZyon, because that's how I was feeling when this was all over, like a crazy crayon lady.)
Go get your crazy on.
Ice cube tray that you get from Michael's.
 Yeah, so it's an ice cube tray and I stuck it in the oven. I was a little worried, but it seemed to work up to 230 degrees. I got the cupcake shaped ones first, but they were humongous and there was no way we were making that big of a crayon for everyone. Even if it would have been total cool.
Crayons in the tray.
 You really need to pile them on, but not over the edges, they melt all over the place, and don't plan on actually using these trays for ice when this is over. Unless of course you like crayon in your iced drinks.
But this is how they look before you stick them in the oven at 230 degrees for what was supposed to be 15 minutes a batch, but really seemed like 30 minutes to get a good melt.
Chevron print card stock paper.
 We got this cute little card stock paper to fold and tape the crayon to inside, and make into "Valentine" Azalea worked really hard to make sure that each of her classmates got a color that she thought they would like best.
Example of our original message.
 The message was supposed to read
"Happy Valentine's Day, for Crayon out loud"
but Tigo was too embarrassed to write the joke,
and Azalea was too busy drawing hearts everywhere.
Out of the oven.
OK, these took forever to cool. I even stuck them in the freezer for a few minutes. I wouldn't recommend doing that though. I think it messed up the consistency of the melted gunk.
Close up of hot melted crayon.
 These really looked a lot cooler on this side of the crayon than the flipped side, which was shown on the card. Oh well.
Little crayon hearts layed out like a flower after they've cooled.
Finished product.
So this is what they looked like at the end, but for they got bagged up and sent away. I could have made the finished product look more "store bought", but then that would have been me making them (or buying them) and not the kids actually making them. So. The kids are gone now, probably sharing their cards. I hope none of the other kids think that it's candy and try to eat it... you never know. I am also really hoping that they come back with some other fun cards, but if nothing else, I'll steal some of their candy that I'm sure they will have from the day.
Happy Valentine's Day folks.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

At the corral

The young calves are separated from their mamas in the afternoon, so that the mamas can build up their milk supply until they are milked in the morning.
The calves line up to eat the grass in the corral.
 All the kids want to go for a ride on the little pygmy horse.
 Elmer took Azalea out into the fields where apparently she asked to have this poor little guy run at full speed. I'm kind of glad that I wasn't there to watch my babe run like that bare back. Apparently she wanted to keep doing it over and over.
 Tigo's turn.
Azalea gets a saddle and gets to ride around the corral on her own. Granted this horse was so perfect in size and temperament, she did pretty amazing on controlling this guy.
Azalea and Lola. 
So the kids wouldn't wake up for the 4am morning milking, but they still said they wanted a go at it.
 Thing is, this was a little baby cow, and there was no milk. Fondling of cow teats.
Abuelo and Elmer watching the crazy people of mine.
 Is that a cow? Um yes, actually it is a cow. Normally you people don't ride cows you say. Yeah, that's pretty accurate. Maybe it's early training for the bull riding.... No, I'm not going to encourage that.
In the end, salty, sweaty hands make a little boy feel loved.
What's next?

La Finca Familia / The Family Farm

On the road to the farm, the cemetery is to the left and Abuelo's corral is to the right.
 We waited for the cows to come down from the upper fields. Abuelo's farm helper and my nephew Hery, went to round up the cows.
 They get pretty excited to come down. They are trained to know that they will get salt, a special treat. So they are excited to come.
Hery slowly riding down to see us. 
I thought for sure it was burro or a donkey that he was riding.
 But it was just a tiny little horse, full grown, and fit for a little boy.
And here, the separation of the mamas and the babies begin. The babies are brought to the corral for the night so they won't drink their mama's milk until the morning after they are milked for sale and share.

Monday, November 19, 2012


Abuelo's 70th birthday was celebrated early during our trip. Coincidentally, the birthday of November 12th, is the same as my mom's. A cow was slaughtered before we arrived. We missed it this time around. Lola and Azalea switched their vegetarians and carnivores statuses this time around. Since we missed the slaughter (phew) Lola is still eating meat, and Azalea still with out.
 Yes that is a reflexion of a mariachi singing in the background.
 Looks serious, doesn't it?
Abuelito y Tigo
 Sopa de la Abuela
 So many preperations.


 Quatro Hermanos
 There's a small resemblence.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Los Animalitos de El Salvador

Only a small sampling of the creatures that we came across in our most recent adventure. These are from both the mountains and the coastal regions.
Beautiful yellow finch.
 These funky chickens had no feathers around their neck. It is a common breed in El Salvador. No, it wasn't disease, though I did ask "are you sure?" more than once. There were also chickens with plenty of neck plumes.
Do you see the baby chick sitting on it's mama's back. So sweet.
I don't know what's on the other side of this window, but it's gotta be something good. This iguana came and went out of this window all week long.
 Oh this poor little lizard was caught by Azalea. He had no chance.
 No, she didn't actually eat it. But she had a lot of fun pretending like she was going to.
 The only reason this sign tells you not to drink the water is because it was outside a hotel. You can pretty much confirm that all water you see is not drinkable... even if it comes out of a tap.
 I almost stepped on these things walking down the street. Tails of lizards that were lined up and left in the street. Fresh pulls as you can see from the bright red on the black and grey tail.
 A little crab found by the ocean.
 You can't tell from this picture, but this horse was one of the tiniest full grown horses I've ever seen. Is there such thing as a pygmy horse? This would be it.
 Vacas, vacas y mas vacas.
Cows are everywhere.
 Yes, and they were getting intimate with Tigo and his salty skin.
Vultures, circling everywhere. But it was a little creepy with them waiting outside the cemetery.
A little tiny hermit crab, that made Azalea cry like the end of the world when he crawled out of his shell and died. So sad.
I almost forgot to post a picture of a stray dog wandering the streets. There are so many of these everywhere, that they are almost unremarkable in their presence. Oh the dogs there give me such a different view of the canine world. Wild and domestic at the same time. But that is how El Salvador is. Domestically wild, and living on the brink.