Tuesday, August 18, 2015

What To Do When You're Waiting for Paperwork in Calexico


Salvation Mountain; Crazy place in Niland, CA where this guy built up a mountain of hay, coated it in something, then used thousands of gallons of paint to cover it in scriptures and decorations.


Mountains and desert on one side and the accidentally created Salton Sea with its pelicans on the other. The kids had fun finding pelican feathers.

The International Banana Museum in Mecca, CA had almost everything banana you could think of. 

Wisteria Candy Cottage 
Unfortunately, this famous chocolate shop was closed on the day we visited... So we went to the:

Desert view tower
The views at the top of this tower/shop/information center were spectacular but the wind was super strong! On the same property were some kid-friendly caves and rock formations.

Coming next: what to do when you unexpectedly hear your work visas will take an extra week and a half and you're in southern California...

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Tucson, Arizona to Calexico, California; Texas to Cabo Trip 2015 part 3

This morning we left Tucson, Arizona for California. Our first stop was in Dateland, Arizona where Ben tried a date shake. There were also these date treats: date butter, pecan pumpkin pie spiced date rolls, balsamic date vinegar and regular date vinegar.
There were mountains (and tons of RV parks) after Dateland:

Then we went to Yuma for some family history:
Where we walked around in 115 degree heat looking for the plank road until...
We found it!

This was our first time in California.
And it was interesting to see signs like this periodically:

We ended our day in Calexico where there are several places for the kids to play, a consulate and a border crossing and the people have all been very nice!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Van Horn, Texas to Tucson, Arizona; Texas to Cabo Trip 2015 Part 3

One of the different things about this part of Texas is that we haven't seen a grocery store in several hundred miles, (before entering Van Horn, TX and as we travel into Mountain Time Zone the last hour of driving through west Texas.)

This is mostly what there was to see:

We were reminded that we were still in Texas this morning at breakfast:
We went through El Paso and crossed into New Mexico, a state neither of us had visited before.
In Las Cruces, NM the kids had a blast at a train museum!

And the rock museum in Deming, NM where we got a lesson in which minerals make which colors in rocks, and about different agates.
After which we crossed into Arizona:

Where they boasted all kinds of different jerky:
The kids had a hard time with this stretch of the road getting to Tucson. It was hot, but we made it!

Friday, August 14, 2015

North East Texas to Van Horn, TX: Cabo Trip 2015 Part 2

This morning we loaded the rest of the essentials we had been using into the van. (And then unloaded some and put more in storage and reloaded and saw if the kids would fit and the doors would shut...) We did it. There's always a feeling of finality as you pull out of the driveway: all of your decisions, good or bad, are finished for the most part and you'll have to live with your choices when you get to the new place. (Barring spending money on more things, to which I'm always opposed.)

We drove a good two hours before everyone had to take a potty break. (Can you tell I'm a mom of small children by my language?) For an approximate 45 hour trip, hopefully we will get a better average of stops to progress over the whole trip.) However, there was a nice grassy place the kids could run in, so we raced. Talia won most races.

We saw refreshing rain for the first time in a couple months just west of Fort Worth.
Another highlight was finding an interesting truck stop with interesting canned goods like jalapeño or chipotle ketchup and sweet potato butter... And a fried pie shop! Ben and Talia split a vanilla pie and Elias and I shared an apricot.

When we spotted Odessa, Texas' version of Stonehenge we decided it was a good place to let the kids expel some excess energy.

Then we drove the last 160 or so miles for the day and got a hotel in Van Horn, Texas. 

9 hours, over 600 miles. Done. Zzzzzzz...

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Packing: Texas to San José del Cabo 1

When I was young my dad built himself a little shop to work in and to hold his tools. As we grew up he graduated to a bigger one and gave his little portable shop to me. When we began our international travels it became a great storage place. We began international teaching in 2009 in Guatemala when Talia was only 18 months old, and in between times we haven't had enough time to unpack and reorganize everything; until now, so you can imagine the variety of things that have collected just in different gender and sizes and seasons of children's clothes!

The last few weeks we've been busy seeing family for the last time and sorting storage into: take, give away, store and trash. Since we are driving and moving to a house, we can take things that weren't feasible in Abu Dhabi. Like a mixer! However, everything we bring must fit into the minivan we've purchased with no racks or trailers to attract the attention of the possibly search-happy Mexican cops. This is the challenge... And it has been one to make us question the line between having faith that what we need will be provided and being a good steward with what we have and not just getting rid of everything. 

(Pictured above) A neighbors' house burning down cemented the thoughts we already had during this packing process: we will make the best decisions we can, but in the end it's just stuff and if something happens to it there are more important things in life than stuff. We were thankful to hear that our neighbors' family was ok!

Now, I need to go make sure we can close the van doors...

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Homemade Fig Newtons

The squirrels and wasps and other creatures were really enjoying the figs from our tree, but there were enough untouched ones to make something with, so we decided to try to make one of my dad's favorites: fig newtons.

We looked at two recipes; one from food.com and one Healthy Green Kitchen and combined the ideas.
They came out delicious! However we decided it only needed a half cup of sugar in the crust and a half cup in the filling instead of the full cup it called for in both to not be too sweet. It's worth trying again!