Friday, October 30, 2009

Our Grandchildren

I just have to squeeze these two extra pictures in here tonight.
These are our grandchildren: David (almost 18 months old) and Carmen (6 years old in January). They truly are the light of our lives... as people say about their precious children and grandchildren! They truly are. They live in Mexico with their parents. Their father is out oldest son and our business partner in Mexico. The children are bilingual... something I must admit that I am very happy about. Carmen goes to a school that focuses on English. David is quite the little athlete and loves anything that he can kick. Soccer (futbol in Spanish) is his passion... so watch out Beckham! Carmen loves cooking with her mother and riding around the farms with her dad. We are truly enjoying getting to spend time with them... even though it is never enough.

Another flower of Mexico

Here is another beautiful and popular shrub in Mexico. It is very delicate looking but manages to handle the sun and heat just fine. I had one of these on my patio when we lived in Mexico. Wish I could bring a plant back to the States with me but, sadly, it is not allowed.

Who can resist the toy man in Mexico?

My husband buys toys for the grandkiddies

We took our two grandchildren to the town park last night. Of course the man sellig toys knows just who to entice into buying his wares. David got a ball and Carmen got an inflated caterpiller... pink of course! So much fun.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Flowers in Mexico

I know this grows in Texas... but do I know the name of it?? No... These beautiful flowers were on the patio where we ate our lunch today in Mexico.

I wish so much I could tell you  what the name of this flower is. I just love it. So different. When I was living here I had a pot of these on my patio.

Lunch at Boca de Pascuales, Mexico

Lunch at Las Hamacas in Boca de Pascuales

    My husband and I enjoyed such a nice lunch at the beach yesterday. The beach is just barely a ten minute drive from town of Tecoman, Mexico. I love the baked fish, topped with sauteed almost fried garlic, rice and salad. There is potato salad also on the plate but it is not one of my favorites. The drink is agua de coco, coconut water. I love it! Very refreshing.
    The restaurant, Las Hamacas (which means "the hamocks") is a very large restaurant on the beach. All open-air, of course. We love going there and have been for nearly fifteen years. It is located on the second best surfing beach in Mexico. Surfers from all over the world come to surf there... and many of them come to be filmed. We love it when we can catch them surfing.
    More tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

All set for a week in Tecoman, Mexico

All set for a week in a hotel room in Tecoman

This may not look so interesting to you, but if you travel with your husband on a business trip to a smallish town in Mexico, these may be a few things that you will need:
  1. Servitoalla - paper towels
  2. Quaker Instant Cereal de Avena Fortificado - instant oatmeal
  3. Great Value Crema en polvo - Yes, you may recognize the Wal-Mart's answer to Coffee Mate
  4. Platanos - bananas
  5. Equate Quita Esmalte con Lavolina - nail polish remover because I will be so bored in this hotel room, I will have time to do my nails!
  6. Equate Gel Antibaterial - because even people in Mexico don't want the flu
  7. Marias Gamesa - my favorite plain vanilla cookie... that is great with coffee
  8. Folgers Coffee Packets - for the desperate coffee drinkers
  9. Heating element for a single cup of coffee because I just cannot handle Mexican coffee.. the only thing I could never adapt to.
  10. Plastic spoon, bowls and glasses
  11. Dawn for washing those coffee cups
    So, see... that's all it takes. Most of these items were purchased at Bodega, which is owned by Wal-Mart.

    And, yes... my trusty computer. Notice one of my favorite blogs White Spray Paint on the screen? So what more do I need????

Carmen in her clown costume - 2007

    The reason why I am here in Tecoman is to give my almost six year old granddaughter and almost two year old grandson a Halloween party. This will be the fourth Halloween party we have hosted. It includes seven of Carmen and David's cousins in Mexico, plus their closest friends... and parents.

    My husband is here for the party, of course, but he is also here on business. For my readers who have not read my earliest blog entries, we farm here in Mexico and lived here for three years to get this new reorganized company "reorganized".

    If you are interested in life in a working town in Mexico, very different from the towns and politics you read about in the papers and see on the news, stick with me. I will show you something a little different.


Manzanillo, Colima, Mexico

    This picture was taken a couple of years ago, but hopefully we will get a chance to make it over to Manzanillo while we are here in Tecoman, Mexico this week.
    We have just arrived here in Tecoman. My husband and I flew from Reynosa, Mexico (across the border and near McAllen, Texas) to Mexico City, then Guadalajara and then drove from there to Tecoman.
    If you keep tabs on my blog for the next few days I will do my best to show you a little of the town where we lived for three years. It is no resort, believe me, but it is a progressive town and there is plenty of work for everyone.
    We are off to Bodega, a large grocery store that is owned by Wal-Mart. I do not shop at Wal-Mart much in the States, however, while living here in Tecoman, I was thrilled to have Bodega close by. "Bodega" means shed in Spanish. But this store is certainly much more than a shed. I'll try to take a few pictures.

Monday, October 26, 2009

For Today

FOR TODAY...October 26th
Outside my window... I see a day that is full of promise!
I am thinking... What a busy week this will be. We will fly to Mexico early tomorrow morning and return on Monday.
I am thankful for... My wonderful son, his wife and their two children we will be visiting.
I am wearing... Ooops! Still in my gown.
I am remembering... What a wonderful and special time I had with my aunt, my brothers and their families.
I am going... I need to get packed and shop for last minute items for the grandchildren's Halloween party I am giving for them and their friends in Mexico.
I am reading...I will take my At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon with me to Mexico. Her writing just sets my world straight and declutters my soul.
I am hoping... I will be able to be a good mother, mother-in-law and "abuela" while I am in Mexico.
On my mind... I am feeling so blessed to have such a wonderful husband and family!
From the learning rooms... The various blogs I visit show me what people (like me?) are able to accomplish. It gives me confidence that with some practice, I too can have a home that I will be happy and comfortable with.
Noticing that... I need to tend to my family more.
Pondering these words... 'To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did.' When God takes something from your grasp, He's not punishing you, but merely opening your hands to receive something better. Concentrate on this sentence... ‘The will of God will never take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.'

From the kitchen... Not much as we will be out of town this week.
Around the house... I need to call the man who will put in our granite countertops and backsplash. I still have to pick out a sink and backsplash TODAY!
One of my favorite things... A good visit with a friend.
From my picture journal...

Sweet Carmen - my granddaughter in Mexico

To read other Daybook entries, go to the following link.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Visit to Rochelle

    In the 1930's these buildings were part of the bustling community of Rochelle, Texas. A grocery store and pharmacy were two of the thriving businesses that were visited by residents of this small settlement located near Brady, known as the Heart of Texas. This past Saturday, several of our family members got together to seek out the tiny town where my father lived for a brief time and considered Rochelle some of the best and most memorable years of his life. Fortunately, we had some of his memoirs with us to refer to, adding to the awe we felt as we toured the area. Some of our family had taken trips with our father back to Rochelle just to "check on things". I had not been one of those who had made this trip, but had gotten a peek of the area just when passing through on other trips.

    We found the building above and tried to figure out why it looked so different. My aunt was just sure this was the building we were looking for. It matched the old picture we had in many ways, but the picture we had did not have a two-story building. We were totally baffled. It was time for a lunch break, so off we went to Brady since Rochelle had no restaurant in sight. (Chicken fried steak was enjoyed by all!!)

Upon our return we found a man mowing around the building. We decided to quiz him. Fortunate of us he was the owner of the building! The building we were looking for had been torn down, but the building we were looking at had just been down the street from it. We had already dubbed the structure the mystery building, but now the mystery had been solved.

    It was fun to go inside of the existing building though. Tin ceilings! I thought about Rochelle residents coming in an out. There had probably been screen doors that slammed when a customer came in do conduct business.

I thought I could hear people greeting each other and visiting, talking about the weather, the economy and as much local news as possible. I wondered how they would have been dressed, what their purchases would have been... and what were the women cooking for supper. Day to day living during that period of time has been an real interest of mine.

    Of course, a visit to the cemetery was in order. As noted by our hair and clothes it was a very windy day, but the temperature was perfect! My niece, Kensey Lee, and I stand at the head of my great-grandmother's headstone. Her name had been Eula Lee. Kensey was named after me, Karen Lee, however, she had not known that the name Lee in our family had actually come from my father's maternal grandmother.
   The day had turned out to be more than I think any of us had counted on. Walking the streets of our father and ancestors is a way of "re-grounding" ourselves and helping us to remember that we come from good stock, as they say in our "neck of the woods". It was truly a blessing to spend the weekend with our loved ones and remembering a truly amazing man... my "Indiana Jones".

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Indiana Jones

Calvin Clay Boykin, Jr.

October 23, 2008 was a bitter-sweet day for me. My father left us for his next big adventure... and to join my mother who passed away just four months earlier.

My father was my "Indiana Jones". He was a man of adventure and a man with the best will to do right. He was a fine Christian, not in word so much, but in action. He traveled the world, most of the time with my mother. They were married to adventure and did their part in uniting mankind for the good of peace and understanding. A young soldier in World War II, he served bravely and later became a historian for as many of the men he had served with and admired. He was an author of many articles and books, he helped many to understand what war was about and how war most of time defined a person's character.

He was a devoted and loving husband, father, son, brother and friend to many. Even the postman shed tears upon learning of my father's passing.

It is hard to write more about my father. He would be so embarrassed. Just know that 365 days ago this world lost one of the finest men God placed on this earth.

My father told his doctor as he received a report of bad news from him, "I've lived a good life, had a good wife, had a good family, done more than I ever thought I would... and then some." My father was forever saying, "Just keep putting one foot in front of the other."

I'm doing just as you taught me, Daddy. I love you.

First Cup of Coffee

Here I am with my first cup of coffee for the day. You may wonder why there is a small shaker of turmeric by this "Cuppa Joe".... well, my doctor (doctor of internal medicine who happens to be from India) diagnosed me with osteopinia... a precursor to osteoporosis. It is a refersible condition if I mind my P's and Q's. My doctor did tell me though that in her native country turmeric is a very common spice. One of its attributes is that it helps to ease the pain of achy joints. As soon as I left my doctor's office last Friday I headed straight for my local grocery store and bought fresh turmeric. The bottle in my spice cabinet had to be at least five years old. She told me it would just take a pinch daily in a cup of warm, sweetened milk. Since I am not a fan of warm milk (at all!) I chose to put it in my first cup of coffee every morning. I was told it would probably take six weeks to notice a difference, so this is purely an experiment for me. Just thought I would share this bit of information with you. And there's just nothing like that first cup of coffee... even with turmeric... which I cannot taste.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Kensey at the Pumpkin Patch!

I just had to post this cute, cute picture of my niece, Kensey, at the local pumpkin patch.
This really puts me in the Halloween spirit!!
She is such a sweetie. She loves school, friends,
volleyball and is active with in her church. And
there aren't many people in this world that I can enjoy sharing a bag of Cheetos with other than

A Sentimental Journey

Aunt Jo Anne with my sister and me

My husband and I are off to see Aunt Jo Anne in a couple of days. I can hardly wait! It is a special time to be with family. It will be one year since my father passed away this Friday, October 23rd. Jo Anne is my father's youngest sibling... the only sister. She was considerably younger than my father and he even helped to name her when she was born. Jo Anne has never married, so her father and her older brothers have been the most important men in her life. There was a serious boyfriend at one time, but that just didn't work out. Jo Anne, along with my husband and I will make a sentimental journey on Saturday. We are going to drive to the town where my father and his brother spent several of their growing up years. Their parents were in the hotel business in Big Spring, Texas. After a few boyish pranks it was decided that my father and his younger brother should go to the farm in Rochelle where their maternal grandmother lived. It was perfect for young boys... wide open space, places to fish and hunt and a good school to attend. We will drive to the farm and see the home where they lived... which is still standing and in great shape. We will tour the area and hopefully my aunt will remember some family stories and a little history that she may possibly have forgotten. Since I love genealogy and old family stories this is a trip that I have looked forward to for a very long time.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Dia de los Muertos

Dia de los Muertos
Bodega - Tecoman, Colima, Mexico

Day of the Dead, Dia de los Muertos in Spanish, or All Souls Day in the Catholic church, is celebrated November 1st and 2nd. In Mexico it is a day to honor the dead. Shrines are built to honor a loved one, or as in the case above, someone people admire and respect. This is the shrine that was displayed at our local Bodega, a grocery store chain in Mexico owned by Wal-Mart. In case you do not recognize the man in the picture, it is Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart. The employees of Bodega made this shrine. It displays foods and drinks that the employees fee that he might have liked. While this may seem a little strange to some people it truly is a sign of respect.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cornucopia - "Horn of Plenty"

Cornucopia - "Horn of Plenty"

If it was Fall, then this cornucopia was on our maple table or hutch when I was growing up. We moved fairly often, but my mother liked using many of the same items for decorating using a little twist of something different each time. Seeing our traditional decor for the seasons probably gave our family a sense of security and definitely home. I remember helping my mother to decorate, probably one October day, when I asked her what a cornucopia was. She explained to me that it was a "horn of plenty", meaning that it was a symbol of having enough to eat. I can hear her voice now explaining this to me. I'm not sure at what point I asked my mother when I was fully grown and had a family of my own, if someday I could have the cornucopia. She insisted that I take it then and told me that it had been a wedding gift to her and my father. I cherish this cornucopia dearly... and by the way, as I placed it on that same maple table today, I felt my mother smile.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Treasure Shop

The Treasure Shop in Dickinson, Texas was a beautiful place for ladies to shop in the 1950's. Jean, my grandmother, and Rosemary, my mother, are pictured here, probably waiting for the next customer to arrive.

I loved going to the Treasure Shop. My younger sister and I (age probably, 10) would entertain ourselves by "posing" as mannequins in the very large picture window in the front of the store. Jean would actually allow us to do this! We would stand in some dramatic form, perfectly still, trying not to giggle. Then when we knew we had someone's attention we would wave and laugh! More than once we nearly caused and accident right outside my grandmother's shop.

We went so far as to "entertain" customers when they came into the shop. Jean would have us sing and act out "Dance with me, Henry! No! No, baby!" We just knew eveyone was thrilled by our charm. Ha! I wonder how much business my grandmother actually lost. It's just so much fun to think back that far and remember such fun times. You can read more about Jean and Rosemary in my older posts.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Foodie Friday!!!!!

It's Food Friday again which is sponsored by
Designs by Gollum

It's Cabrito Time!

It's cabrito time... goat is one of my husband's favorite meats. This one was very fresh. We know the man who raised it... and his are the best. The only places I have eaten cabrito are on the border with Mexico and in Mexico around Monterrey, Saltillo to be exact. We prepare ours by seasoning it with sea salt, fresh cracked pepper, a little meat tenderizer just to help it stay moist, and a little garlic powder. I baked it covered in a 325 degree oven for about 3 hours, cut it up and then put it on the grill to crispen it up and finish the cooking. It was so tender and moist. We like to eat it with guacamole, pico de gallo, fresh Mexican lime juice squeezed on top and then stuffed inside a hot corn tortilla. This is just the best meal... and served with a cold Tecate Light beer!!

Monday, October 12, 2009

The stairs: before and after



Well, more progress today. Why I didn't figure out that the stairs needed to be "wooded" I will never know. But now they are! It certainly looks very "plain Jane" at the moment. I will have to figure out some sort of decor.  We'll see what happens... 

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Almost there... the progress I've made

Well, this is what my living room/dining room looks like this evening. There is much still to be done but progress is being made. Later I will show other views of the room, but tonight... well, I am exhausted!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

It's "Rednesday"!

Cherry - Cranberry Topsy Turvy Cobbler for "Rednesday"

Cherry - Cranberry Topsy Turvy Cobbler

1/2 c. butter
1 c. sugar
1 c. flour
3/4 c. milk
1 Tbsp. baking powder
Nuts, optional
1 can of fruit pie filling of choice
1/2 - 1 c. dried cranberries

Melt butter in large casserole dish in a 325 degree oven. Mix batter ingredients together and pour over melted butter. Mix pie filling and cranberries in a medium size bowl. Pour on top of batter. Sprinkle with a little more sugar and if you like, cinnamon and nuts. Bake for about 45 minutes. Serve with Blue Bell Vanilla Ice Cream.

This is one of my childhood recipes. By the time I was nine I could whip this up with ease. I always thought it was so "modern" until I found almost the same identical recipe in my husband's grandmother's recipe file. It's so good. The cranberries were my idea and I love the tartness it adds.

This was fun, Sue. Your It's a Very Cherry World  blog is great!! It was a challenge for me to look for red in my home, but then remembered I had just made this cobbler. Perfect timing!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Time for a redo on the bookshelves

This may be like airing dirty laundry.. but I am getting ready to redo my bookshelves. Some of this did not originally go on the shelves... they're just there ready to be placed somewhere. I have some milk glass that I am considering putting in there. Also, I have two shelves to install that years back I had removed. The colors in the room are a light olive green and brown. The old National Geographics date back to the 1930's and I love them, but it's time to put them somewhere else. I would like to see a nice mixture of books, plates or vases... something of that nature. Suggestions?? And the deer head stays. I know. That's another subject.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Papaya - delicioso!

Papaya is one of our main crops. We grow papaya in Mexico all year round. While papaya is not one of the favored fruits of the U.S., it is catching on. It is great for digestive problems and if you are prone to bruising.
This is the way we serve papaya. It is peeled, the seeds removed and cut up into bite-size pieces. Fresh lime juice is squeezed on top of the papaya and some people like to sprinkle a little Tajin (pronounced ta-heeen) on top. My husband prefers sea salt. In our opinion papaya that is the color of a sweet potato is the best. Give it a try. You just might like it!

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Okay... it's kind of a joke.. but this is my very first attempt at joining in the "meme" madness. It just looks like(d) like so much fun. BUT I just reminded myself how much difficulty I have following directions. Oh well... it's a start... and I'm not stopping! Hang in there with me, please!

"Mimi's Chicken Recipe" - Foodie Friday

Marmalade - Catalina - Onion Soup Chicken
"Mimi's Chicken Recipe"

     This is a poorly named chicken recipe that for me dates back to the 1960's. I say that it is poorly named only because I had to think up something, because we just call it "Mimi's Chicken Recipe".  "Mimi" is what my sons called my mother. Even my sons know this dish by this name. While I was growing up, my mother worked outside the home, so when I came home from school I would start supper. This was one of our all-time favorites. Mother always had the ingredients on hand, and so do I.
     In the 60's if there was cut-up chicken to buy, we did not buy it as a whole chicken surely was cheaper. Consequently, I learned to cut up a chicken at an early age. So I would be there whacking away at the chicken, oiling the baking dish (since this was before Pam!) and mixing up just three simple ingredients. So here is the recipe for

"Mimi's Chicken Recipe"
Marmalade-Catalina-Onion Soup Chicken

1 large bottle of Catalina Dressing - the original recipe called for Russian, however, now that is pretty hard to find
1 jar of orange marmalade
1 packet of dehydrated onion soup mix

You see double the ingredients because I was cooking two chickens.

     If you want to cut a few calories, choose to cut the fat. It is important to have the sugar so that the chicken sort of "candies" on top when it is baked.
     Place cut-up chicken in a "Pam'd" baking dish and salt the pieces just a little.
     In a large bowl stir together Catalina dressing, orange marmalade and dehydrated onion soup mix. Make sure that all of the soup mix is blended in well.

Taste of the Tropics - 25 years

Thomas and Katyla at Taste of the Tropics
25 Years in Business

Thomas and Katyla opened Taste of the Tropics twenty-five years ago today! Thomas is my youngest brother. Their shop is located in Post Oak Mall in College Station, Texas ... home of Texas A&M University.
My SIL texted me last night that 25 years ago, my brother and I were sitting at the table writing out recipes for the drinks that were going to be served. Wow! I had remembered that I was there for the week to help them with the opening but had forgotten that I had assisted with recipe recording.
It was such an amazing time. The first drink served was a peach drink. I will refrain from using the word smoothie since if this word is said in the presence of my brother, it sends chills up and down his spine and he grits his teeth. He does not serve smoothies! He serves a tropical fruit drink that has a specific mixture of milk, ice and sweetening. It is blended to a stage that only brother and SIL know exactly how to achieve. There is a signature dot on each drink that has two flavors. It is a secret as to how this dot appears. I can tell you that the flavor of the dot goes all the way down the drink. Sooo yummy! Thomas figures that it takes roughly 100 "pours" to acquire the ability to make the "dot". The drink shown might be a strawberry/banana drink.
There is no telling how many employees Thomas and Katyla have hired, but one thing is for sure, if you have worked for this couple you have been through a leadership program and work experience that will last you a lifetime. They have a knack for teaching pride in one's work and dedication to business. They have set the bar high and standards attainable through teamwork and dedication.
Congratulations, Thomas and Katyla!! I love you both!