Friday, July 15, 2011

Hello Goodbye

Do you remember when we first said goodbye to Colorado in March of 2009?

Then a year and half later in August of 2010 when we said hello again old friend?

And then quickly said another sad goodbye only a month later?

Well we're about to reunite with our old friend, Colorful Colorado once again.

We leave for a visit today! With the temps in North Carolina in the 98 degree range with the heat index soaring around 105, we cannot wait to breathe in that fresh mountain air. Now let's just hope we can easily readjust to the altitude!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Roadtrippin' in style

You'd have to be blind to not know that we are mad about road trips around here, especially with tricked out campers. We love our Dewey to death even despite some of his pesky flaws (like a zipper that has jumped the track and refuses to close), but if we ever had a chance to hit the road again I'd love to do it in one of these.

Meet Caravanolic

With the help of Viceversa Interiorismo they have made my camping dreams come true. Born just 1 year ago, this duo is redefining the world of camping. No longer do girls like me have to eat Ramen over a camp stove under a blue tarp canopy. Instead I could cook up a real meal in style - all while allowing the sweet husband to have the camping experience he "needs" to have!

Isn't it amazing? If we took one of these babies on our next road trip to Guatemala we wouldn't even have to find a house to live in when we got there! And it really isn't even that far fetched since Ben has always said that he would love to own an Airstream one day...... Even if I can't win him over on a Caravanolic, this wouldn't be so bad either.

Oh boy. I think I hear the open road calling us again!

Friday, July 8, 2011

The many faces of Mia

A couple of weekends ago we took a last minute trip to the beach outside of Charleston. Ben was working in the area and Mia and I drove down to meet him. We never take time to relax here at home, so a weekend away was just what we needed. We only wish it could have been longer!

While hanging out on Sullivan's Island beach one evening during our trip I decided an impromptu photo session was in order for our beach loving girl. Honestly I think it's the happiest I we have seen her since......well, since we were last at the beach nearly a year ago in Mexico. What can I say? She's a girl after her own mother's heart!
You may not think that dogs are very human like, but I disagree. These expressions say it all. She is certainly not "just a dog!"

"Ah, thanks guys! You've made me so happy."

"Wait, what was that? We have to leave already?"

"You can't make me go!"

"What? We can stay a a little longer?"


"Ok mama, I'll let you take these silly pictures of me."

"Hey, make sure you get my serious side."

"I love you guys!"

"Hee hee! You can't see me now!"

"Stop messing with me Papi and just throw the darn toy!"

"I'm getting tired, but please don't stop. I'm having too much fun!"

"This is the life!"

"Please guys? Let's stay. I don't want to leave!"

"Seriously. I'm not leaving."

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Call me crazy....

You know those people that love their dogs so much it makes them kind of crazy, like coo-coo Leona Helmsley?


Well, I think I'm pretty sure I'm one of them.

I may not have 12 million dollars to leave my Goldie girl when I die, but I do plan to love her like crazy while I'm alive.
So you can call me crazy, you can call me whatever you want, but remember this is my blog (and my life) and I'll do/say/write whatever I want. I prefer to think of it as being a good dog mom. After all, she is our 1st baby. So she may be a little bit furry and have 4 legs instead of 2, but we love her just as much as..... (get ready for it) love your kids. She's the first thing I think of in the morning when I get up.....she likes to get her belly rubbed to her and I may or may not sing her cute songs while doing so. She's the entertainment in our home at night. She's the star of all our vacation photos and she gets spoiled with uber healthy dog food and delicious doggie snacks on a daily basis.

Last weekend we took a trip to the beach. There may not be a ton that we love about living in Charlotte, but it's somewhat close proximity to the beach is top of the list (and by somewhat close I mean in comparison to Denver). Ben was working in the South Carolina/Georgia area, so Miss Mia and I drove down to Charleston to meet up with him for a weekend away. It was very last minute, so finding a place to stay with a dog during the height of vacation season was a bit of a challenge, but we made out ok (not great - just ok). It didn't really matter anyway where we stayed because we were only there to sleep. The rest of the time was spent frolicking on the beach with our water-loving beach baby. It had been nearly 1 whole year since she had ridden the waves and rolled in the white sand on the Mexican beaches, but she sure didn't lose her love for all things beach during her time away. Unfortunately the rules at American beaches for dogs are much stricter and they generally can't even be on the beach during the day at most places, but we made it work and then lucked out finding 2 great beaches in the area that allowed her the freedom she was desperately needing.

a little roll in the sand always feels good!

Fast forward to this week when I did something else a little crazy. I bought a couple of these.


Most popularly known to work in conjunction with the Beaba Babycook Baby Food Maker, these silicon freezer trays are used for storing home prepared baby food for future use. Now don't jump to any conclusions. I'm not expecting - not yet. But I do have an immediate plan for these things. I'm using to store my homemade doggie ice cream treats! Since I do have an awesome discount at William Sonoma and one day plan to have a baby and probably make my own baby food, why not take advantage now? You see I'm tired of spending $5 for 4 measly Frosty Paw treats just so that my girl can enjoy a snack on a hot summer day.


Our sweet little dog is an ice cream monster. It's our fault. We created the monster, but we can't really blame her. We both love ice cream too much too. It all started somewhere in the middle of Mexico with a frosty from Wendys and now we only so much have to open the freezer door and she comes a running! I've been known to make her baked dog treats in the past, so her own ice cream isn't that much of a stretch. And it makes me feel good knowing that (1) we're not getting ripped off and (2) it's much healthier for her. And it makes her so happy! Does this still sound like crazy to you?

If you're a little crazy too, try this recipe for easy doggie ice cream. And here's
a link for some other good sounding dog recipes too.

Mia's Ice Cream Minis

32 oz. plain yogurt (I actually only used half)

1 mashed banana

2 T peanut butter

3 T honey

Mix all the ingredients together, portion and freeze.

If you aren't wild about buying the Beaba silicon freezer tray, just use ice cube trays or old yogurt containers for a bigger snack. *I've also tried churning the mixture it in our electric ice cream maker before freezing it. It does tend to freeze a bit quicker, but other than that it doesn't appear to make much of a difference to the end result.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

One year ago today....

July 5th, 2010 was our last official day as expats living in Guatemala. It was a really sad day for us. Sometimes it's really hard to believe that we have been gone for one whole year. While we remember every detail just like we were just there yesterday the year itself feels like it has gone by really least in comparison to the year that we spent in Antigua. I suppose we've struggled with adjusting to our old American lives a bit more than we realize. Honestly, I think we still struggle with it, but I'm glad that we do because that means that our experience left a lasting impression on us. Coming back to the States, a big fear that we had was that we'd fall right back into place a little too easily - in essence forgetting the hardships we saw & endured. While the past year hasn't exactly been our favorite one, we certainly have both learned and reflected a lot.

It was more like a year and half that we lived Antigua, but we didn't really form our good friendships until after we had been there for a couple of months. My expat bestie Abby reminded me this weekend that the first official time we hung out outside of work was at a 4th of July party 2 years ago. It was the beginning of some great friendships for both Ben & I and although we aren't there anymore, we know that the special bond we formed with everyone in Guatemala is something that will always hold close to us.

I love you Abs!

For our last hooray in Guatemala, we spent a weekend (4th of July weekend) at one of our favorite destinations - Lake Atitlan. To make it even more special, we went with our other besties, Carlos & Britt. We met them while living in our first apartment in Antigua. They were our neighbors - the ones that were always parking us in (we had to park single file down a long driveway)! After a few weeks of tiptoeing around, we finally knocked on their door one evening to chat (car talk) and it wasn't long until we were spending all of our free time hanging out with them at Carlos' favorite place, The MonoLoco bar. Ironically, Britt held my job at Common Hope before I's a small world after all!

We love you Uncle Carlos & Aunt Britt

It was a difficult decision for us to leave Guatemala - much more difficult than it was to decide to relocate there. We really didn't want to go, but after a lot of thought we realized that while we had an amazing experience our life there felt very temporary. Under the right circumstances we would have settled down for the long run in Antigua, but our situation didn't feel permanent. It was heartbreaking to come to the realization that we had to say goodbye to the country that had grown to feel like our second home, but we are confident that one day we will return and make Guatemala a more permanent part of our lives. Hopefully it will be waiting for us with open arms when we finally return, because we will always love it and it's amazing people!

We love you Guatemala!

Friday, July 1, 2011

I scream, you scream....

We all scream for ice cream!

If we have one downfall as a family, it's that we love ice cream - all 3 of us - a little too much. Luckily it isn't something we keep on hand at all times. We sort of go in spells. Now is one of those times. Maybe it's the heat? Maybe it's my new found interest in cooking? Maybe it's just that time of year? What ever it is, I've revived the electric ice cream machine that we received as a wedding gift from Ann & Jim almost 7 years ago and we've been indulging in all sorts of frozen delights! (BTW, I do believe that out of all the gifts we received this Cuisinart Automatic Ice Cream Maker was is without a doubt our very favorite gift!)

A year or so after receiving it and exhausting nearly all of the recipes that came along with it, I invested in The Perfect Scoop. It's chock-full of ice creams, sorbets, granitas, and sweet accompaniments - more than one person could ever dream of. I should pull a Julia Fairchild, and mix, whip, churn? my way through the book. Wouldn't that be fun? My butt would probably become enormous, but my tummy would be happy!

Here's a favorite revival that I first discovered a few years ago & then re-discovered this week.

Strawberry Sour Cream Ice Cream


Source: The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Makes about 1 1/4 quarts

1 pound fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled

3/4 c. sugar

1 tbsp. vodka or kirsch

1 c. sour cream

1 c. heavy cream

1/2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

1) Slice the strawberries and toss them in a bowl with the sugar and vodka or kirsch. Stir until the sugar begins to dissolve. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour, stirring every so often.

2) Pulse the strawberries and their liquid with the sour cream, heavy cream and lemon juice in a blender or food processor until almost smooth, but still slightly chunky.

3) Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

To top it off, this time I added some frozen dark chocolate chunks with about 5 minutes left in the mixing. It's absolutely, perfectly, delicious!