Monday, December 19, 2011

Santa Fe Plaza.

The Plaza in Santa Fe is a park/gathering area for locals and tourists. When I was there, it was cold and had snow built up from earlier days of snowing. The sidewalks were busy, but not crowded. The shops had authentic and “touristy” items in them and were on the “pricey” side. There are Native American sidewalk vendors who sell traditional and modern jewelry.

Lots of hanging shop signs.

Dog friendly place.
Those were real pine boughs wrapped around each post!
Pedestrian friendly as well.

Window reflection.
Traditional Pueblo artwork on a building's wall.

We ate at La Fonda, a famous hotel and restaurant- it has been there since 1929! We had their New Mexican buffet and were fairly impressed. Their green chile enchiladas, refried beans, and soups were delicious. For dessert they had biscochitos (a traditional new Mexican cookie made with anise seeds) and vanilla custard. Heavenly!

I loved the heavy beams and hanging copper pots! (source).
St. Francis Cathedral Basilica is beautiful and sits just off the plaza area. Please follow the link to learn more about it. I wish I’d had time to go inside. It is still a place of worship, holding services regularly.

You innocently turn the corner and see this majesty in front of you.

I’d love to spend a few days walking around the plaza area and surrounding streets.  It is such a creative and lovely place.  Have you ever been?

P.S.- I thought I had taken a bunch of Instagram pictures on my phone, but alas, I'm a techno loser who apparently doesn't know how to work the app, and none of my images were saved. Any tips would be appreciated.

Song of the Post: A Thousand Miles by Vanessa Carlton. This has been in my head lately.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Snowy Days in New Mexico.

So I visited my mother in New Mexico, arriving last Friday with my aunt, and leaving Tuesday morning.  Boy was it snowy on some days! 

Doesn't that just epitomize the word "cold"?!
My aunt and I had fun stopping both ways to eat at Charlie's Spic N' Span in Las Vegas, New Mexico. I bet you didn't know there was an LV in NM! They have some of the best green chile sauce. I could eat it every day. YUM.

We did a lot of fun things, like take over a Goodwill changing room, argue with the Salvation Army manager, and have an argument about how things were “too expensive” for me in a certain second-hand store. I was able to supplement my wardrobe with pants, shirts, and jackets. I still need to buy some more items of clothing, but it was a great start. 

Can you see the windshield crack?

I felt like I had two personal shoppers- both my mother and aunt would find things for me to try on and would gloat when I picked their choices. It was fun, except for the chaffing on my legs from trying on so many pairs of pants!

I may have had a few 12-year-old moments during the trip. Do you ever feel as though you revert to old patterns with people who knew you when you were young?

I’ll post pictures of my time in Santa Fe, New Mexico soon.

Song of the weekend:  The Trouble with Girls by Scotty McCreery. The radio played it every hour! I didn’t get to see the most recent American Idol, because we’re a couple seasons behind in South Africa, and I’m amazed at how talented he is for how young he is!

Friday, December 9, 2011

What a Special Time.

These last few days have felt like two weeks have gone by. Although there are three adults in the house right now, only two are functional at any one time because the baby is monopolizing the third. Throw in a three and a half year old, and mild chaos ensues! 
Brand new bum!
We are developing a routine, it changes slightly every day, but things are improving every day. The first two nights of the baby’s life were difficult- she hardly slept, meaning mommy hardly slept. We think that she was “backed up” and hadn’t needed many diaper changes. But, with the combination of some tummy medicine and mommy’s milk coming in, baby is now a gold medal pooper! 

Getting weighed: 7.5 oz.
Sleep has become more regular, so mommy is feeling much better herself. My hubby and I have been doing a lot of the day-to-day stuff- laundry, picking up, dishes, cooking, and caring for the older niece. There have been a few tantrums, and not just by the 3 year old. Time has slowed down to a crawl. We are exhausted due to lack of sleep and jet lag. However, we are getting things done.

Getting the footprint. Not a real birth certificate- just a nice one for the family.

It has been interesting for us, as a couple. We keep looking at each other, saying “do we really want this?” Hah. We do, but living in the world of babies and toddlers can be overwhelming at times. We have been missing our “couple time” and our “me time.” We really only have each other in Cape Town, and are together so much. The transition to family life might be harder that I thought- in ways I hadn’t expected.

Big sister meeting her new baby sister.

Tomorrow, I get to see my mother and some family members on her side of the family. I can’t wait! I more than likely won’t have the ability to post again until next week. 

See you then!

One last look. Little Darling!

Song of the Post: Baby Baby by Amy Grant. This song takes me back to the 90's!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Yesterday, my niece was born!

My sister-in –law (henceforth “sister”) was due on December 12th, however at 12:50 a.m. yesterday morning, my sister’s water broke! We spent some time confirming that it had ruptured, then she took a shower, and she and I arrived at the hospital at 3:00 a.m. My hubby stayed home with our 3 year old niece, who was sleeping.

Since I don’t have children yet, I really cherished this entire experience. I took notes and a timeline of most events so that the daddy, who is in Afghanistan, would have an idea of what happened. I also took notes so that my sister can use it for scrapbooking in the future! I was DJ, and played Enya and Norah Jones for my sister, because she wanted relaxing music with a female voice. I rubbed her back, which was the source of most of her pain. I used a cold wash cloth to cool her when she was hot. When she got her epidural, I told my hubby and niece to hurry over. They made it just in time (but waited in the family room until after the birth)! I got to cut the umbilical cord and took the first pictures of the baby! 

What amazed me is how mommy’s skin went from ashen and strained to glowing and beautiful. Baby immediately started crying, and when placed on mommy’s chest, she started trying to nurse. She was perfect. The doctors and nurses said that it was a “textbook” birth and one of the least complicated all week.

I kept my hubby updated through text/SMS’s, which he then relayed to the daddy via facebook. Unfortunately, we don’t think that daddy knows yet that he is now father to a second adorable baby girl! My sister has notified the Red Cross, they notify soldiers of emergencies and births while in combat. We’ve also e-mailed him, so hopefully he finds out soon!

I’m not posting a lot of pictures until daddy knows, but here is a preview:

Teeny, tiny foot!

Song of the Birth: Only Time by Enya.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

We're going home for a visit.

This is a quick post to say that I have been busy packing and cleaning and worrying for the last few days. We leave tomorrow for Denver, Colorado. We will spend the next six weeks between Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. We are leaving the summer here in Cape Town for snow in Denver. This will actually be the third winter we’ll have experienced in one year. We left our home during winter, survived our fist Cape Town winter (similar to where we lived before, but more rainy), and now are going to the USA, which is currently in fall/winter. I feel as though I have been wearing long sleeves all year long!
I made this for my belly dance teacher.
 I have been worrying because we are leaving our babies, our doggies, here . Our landlord, who lives next to us, is taking care of our dogs for free. It is incredibly nice, and one of the only reasons we can afford to go away. What is nice is that although their world will be disrupted greatly, Reeses and Etta will get to play in their own yard and sleep in their own beds. Etta has been refusing to eat the last few days, which has worried us greatly. We are unsure if she is sick, or aware that we are packing to leave. We’ve adjusted a few things and we hope that she will start eating again. We have notified the veterinarian of our leave, so if she does need to be taken in, it’s all set.

There are "my" colors. I adore them.

And now, another crisis steals me away….

This is A Daft Scots Lass' giveaway, all wrapped up!

I’m not sure how often I’ll have internet access, but I’ll try to post about my adventures when I can!


Song of the Post: Leaving on a Jet Plane as sung by Chantal Keviazuk.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Highs and Lows for the week of 21/11/11.

  •  Planning to go home!!

Our backyard, early 80's.

  • Successfully cooking most of a Thanksgiving meal. I’ve never worked with a whole chicken before, the fresh herbs from our garden made it delicious. The mashed potatoes were perfect and the favorite of several. Yellow sweet potatoes threw me for a quick one. And my marshmallows deflated after pulling my candied sweet potatoes out of the oven. My apple crisp turned out much better than the last one I made. Maybe because I followed a recipe! I’m actually pretty proud of myself…

Mashed potatoes and yellow sweet potatoes. Disintegrated marshmallows.

  • We got our December bonus- which is not really a bonus. They just save a part of our monthly paycheck,  totaling a full month’s pay, and give it to us in December, on top of our regular pay.

My two chickens. I wish the skin had gotten crispier!
  • We went shopping for Christmas and Hanukkah gifts for people back home. We were fairly successful, but can’t buy really big, bulky, or expensive things.

  • Seeing months of volunteer work come to fruition. The “fete” that we had been creating various crafts to sell at, was on Saturday.  It was a fundraiser for their non-profit outreach program. They sold potted plants, papier mache pigs, beaded key chains, magnetized note pads for the fridge, Corn Flakes cookies, among other things.

    The thanksgiving feast!
  • Having an “oops” moment while cutting my husband’s hair. That should NEVER happen. I thought I had a comb on the clipper head, but I didn’t. OOPS. But we made it work. It’s reminiscent of a “high and tight.”
  • Feeling extra emotional this week.  I think it’s because of our impending trip home. It’s stressful for me to think of leaving my “fur babies” here, and I’m just so excited to go at the same time.
  • Getting a bug bite on my hand that I couldn’t stop scratching until I cut myself. Then, I must have had an allergic reaction to it because my lower lip puffed up for several hours. 

 I hope your week went as well as mine did!

Song of the Post: A Change is Gonna Come as sung by Afro Blue. They made it to the final four, but unfortunately they were eliminated. They will still perform tomorrow, Monday, on the finale with Smokey Robinson!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving and Giveaway Winner.

I have a lot to be thankful for:

  • For having the chance to live in another culture and experience a different kind of life.

Beautiful. Looking down towards Muizenberg.

  • That I am an American and have all the privileges and resources that come with being born in the United States.

  • For the friends and family that I have who are supportive and caring.

My hubby is his element.
  • For marrying a man who is forever my champion and my hero.
  • For having wonderful dogs who are healthy and happy and know tricks!

My big girl Etta.
My "dittle bitty girl" Reeces.
  • For having the opportunity to go home for visit this holiday season and be there for the birth of my niece!
  • For having a landlord who is willing to take care of our dogs for free while we are gone.

For strawberries on the beach.

I’m making most of a Thanksgiving dinner later today for five people. On the menu: two small free-range chickens roasted with vegetables, mashed potatoes with camembert, candied sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top, and an apple crisp for dessert. Crossing my fingers/holding my thumbs that it turns out well!!

Giveaway: The winner is A Daft Scot’s Lass, based in Johannesburg. She’s really cool and sassy- you should check out her blog. She chose the Tiger Eye ring and I really hope she likes it!!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Songs of the Post: Two for your listening pleasure.

Thanksgiving by Deb Talan. She is one of my favorite singers. This video is one that someone made and used her song in the background.

Iron and Teanaway Peaks from Monty VanderBilt on Vimeo.

And on a lighter note,
Turkey Song by Adam Sandler, performed on SNL. If you haven’t heard this, you should- so funny!

***If you're outside of the United States, click here to see it in a web page.***

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Groote Constantia Wine Estate.

A few months ago, we celebrated my birthday by having a wine cellar tour, wine tasting and picnic lunch at Groote Constantia Wine Estate.
We booked the tour online- there is one on the hour 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. daily. We arrived 15 minutes late; we had to wait for the next tour. So we explored the grounds of the estate. Not a bad way to spend some time!  These blooms were so bright!

 We reserved our picnic lunch at the Jonkerhuis Restaurant just in time (it was their last one). The prepare them ahead of time and usually need 24 hour reservations. They do however, make a few extra each day, and we lucked out!

"Die Jonkerhuis."
The wine cellar tour was interesting and touched on the basics of their wine making, just right for us casual drinkers. It might not be enough information for someone who was really interested in learning about the industry. 

The big cisterns in the processing area.
This was on an old wine making machine. I have no clue what it says.
Cross section of cork.

Wine bottles filled and fermenting.
Wine barrels. The ones with stains have been used more than once.
Gigantic barrels!!

At the end, we had a wine tasting of 5 wines. We ended up buying the Port that we tasted and got a discount for having taken the tour. We were not familiar with Port and were intrigued by its rich, sweet taste and high alcohol content. 
The lovely 5 wines.

Enjoying the Blanc de Noir.

After the tour, we went to the Jounkerhuis and were given a blanket and told that we could set ourselves up anywhere in eyesight of the restaurant. We chose a half sunny, half shady spot near a low wall. The waitress took our wine order and brought our basket out. It was amazingly good! The variety of food- including bread and butter, salad, curry, quiche, gherkins, cheese, cured meats, cherries in syrup, and a milk tart. 

Our basket. Full loaf of bread!

Oh, the yumminess!

A fun time was had by all. Next time we will bring our doggies because they are welcomed warmly here. Also, we’d bring a little spending money because there are also some book and jewelry stalls to peruse as well!
Our view.
The vineyard.

It was a wonderful birthday.

P.S. Don’t forget to participate in my first ever giveaway: Beaded Rings!! Ends Wednesday.

Song of the Post: The Way I Am by Ingrid Michaelson. Thanks for a great day hubby!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Beaded Ring Giveaway: Lovely Light Creations

Okay, I’m talking the leap. I’m hosting my very first giveaway. I’m giving away a beadwoven ring of your choice. 

One of a kind, custom made!!

Color, shape, size!

Remember these rings?   

Tiger Eye Cabochon Ring.

Present Ring.
Pillow RIng

Pillow Ring

Dandelion Ring.
Dandelion Ring.

And my newest design: the Twin Peaks Ring.

Twin Peaks Ring.
This design was a happy accident.

You can pick whichever design you like, the tiger eye cabochon, the Present Ping, the Pillow Ring, or the Twin Peaks Ring. 

I have most bead colors, and we can work out a color pattern that you would enjoy.

Are you excited?! I’m excited! It’s my first Giveaway! I’m doing it in honor of reaching 200 followers and 85 posts. I never thought I'd get this far. I just want to show my appreciation to all my readers and thank them for being AWESOME!

Keep on the lookout for future giveaways. I’m thinking I’ll have one when I open my Etsy shop.

Really Easy Rules of the Giveaway:

All are welcome! Friends, family, followers, or potential followers, worldwide!

Here’s what you do: 
  • Please leave a comment for me, saying what colors you’d pick for your ring! 
  • If you don’t have a blogger profile, make sure you leave an e-mail address so that I can reach you if you are the winner! (If you’re worried about spamming, you can write your e-mail address to look like this: “withoutcomplexities at gmail dot com”.)
  • If you want extra ballots, become a follower through Google Friend Connect (it you aren’t already) of Lovely Light and, and/or follow me on facebook and let me know in a comment here (a separate comment for each one). 
  • This means that you have up 3 chances (via three comments) towards winning a beautiful handmade ring! I will use a random number generator to pick the winner.
  • If you are the winner and do have a blog, I’d love it if you gave me a little “shout out” and picture on your blog.
  • The giveaway will be open for one week, closing on Wednesday, 11/22/11.

Good Luck!

Song of the Post: 

I’d Like by Freshly Ground. They are an amazing South African group. I really want to see them in concert.