Friday, 10 February 2017

January in Review

The idea behind doing a review of each month is partly to hold myself accountable to my goals and see how much or how little I've achieved, give myself some encouragement and motivation (if I don't, who will?) and set new goals for the coming month.  If I have to write about it, maybe it'll help me be more constant and persevere in working towards what I want to achieve.  That's a good word for me: PERSEVERE; I'm not very good at it generally so there's something I need to practise.  Should make it my motto.

January in Review

The other purpose of a monthly review is to record the best moments of each month, focus on the positive as much as possible, remember Emma's favourite things, funny phrases and sayings and include my favourite photos.  I hope there will mostly be highlights, but I may write about some of the low points, too.

LIFE

Rosca de Reyes

Día de Reyes (Three Kings Day) was on January 6th and they brought Emma a couple of very nice Peppa-related presents (Mexican children get presents from both Santa and the Three Kings, lucky things!).  We also cut the traditional Rosca De Reyes, a sweet bread in the form of a ring with crystallised fruit on top, and ate it of course.

Presents Peppa figures

I took up the #YogaRevolution 31 days of yoga challenge, although I started on January 2nd instead of the 1st, with the aim of doing some yoga everyday for the whole month.  Each session is approximately half an hour, so it's not a huge chunk of time out of each day.  While I was still on holiday, it was easy to keep up the challenge, as it was the first thing I did every morning.  Once I went back to school on Jan 9th (nice long holiday we had this Christmas!) it was a bit more complicated as I had to find time in the evenings.  I did miss a few days, but at the end of the month I had reached day 23, so only missed eight days in the whole month, which I think isn't bad at all considering I used to only manage one or two sessions per month!  Anyway, I intend to repeat the whole thing when I finish and keep practising and improving.

We had a really lovely day out one Sunday at the Granja De Don Pollo, a little farm especially for family and school visits.  It was fun getting close to the animals, being able to feed and pet them, and Emma really loved it.  So did I, actually!  Her favourite was the rabbits.  I'll probably write a post about our farm visit at some point.

Farm rabbit preschooler cuddly

BLOG
At the end of December I finally got round to buying my own domain name and one of my first goals for January was to transfer the new name to my blog.  I'm quite proud that I managed to do this all by myself!  So now, instead of having .blogspot.com at the end of my name, I'm just www.mummyandthemexicans.com, which sounds much better.  Of course, my DA plummeted down to 1, unsurprisingly, but rock bottom is a good solid foundation to build upon!

I also wanted to sign up to Amazon Affiliates since my ultimate goal is to monetise my blog and eventually earn something (anything!) from it.  In hindsight, maybe it was too soon to do this and it would have been more logical to work on increasing traffic first, but I didn't really think about that at the time and did it anyway.  So now I seriously have to work on getting my visitor numbers up.

I'd planned to write four or five posts in January, but struggled with getting enough time to write.  Weekdays are almost impossible; in the mornings I'm at work and get home around four; afternoons and evenings I'm with Emma and cooking, washing up, having dinner, etc.  By the time I'm free it's usually quite late and I'm too tired to think.  My main blogging time is at the weekend in the mornings before anybody else is up.  At the beginning of the month I published a food/recipe post,  Things to do in Mexico when you're hungry #10 - Arroz con Leche (Rice Pudding) and a post on goal setting and achieving, How not to fail at reaching your goals and at the end of the month I wrote a book review of one of the books Emma got for Christmas, We Love Books! #6 - Oi Dog! but didn't publish it till the beginning of February.  I need to do better this month and publish at least one post a week.

I enrolled on the Project Productivity course by Aby of You Baby Me Mummy and have been, admittedly very slowly, working my way through it.  I've now divided up my goals for the year, sharing them out over the four quarters, which I found quite difficult at first as I wanted to try to do everything as soon as possible - not very realistic!

EMMA SAYS...
...A lot! She can be quite a chatterbox when she wants and often surprises me with the things she comes out with.

Favourite phrases: "I NEVER gonna....!"
"...and up and up and all way to moon!"
"This is the best ... ever!"
(I suspect Peppa is mostly to blame for these phrases!)

Funniest saying: She was sitting on the toilet and said, "The mummy is the pee-pee, the baby is the pun (fart!) and the daddy is the poo-poo!" I was in stitches on the bathroom floor!

She chatters away in both English and Spanish, now separating the two languages most of the time.  She occasionally comes out with a mixed-up Spanglish phrase, but that's not so common these days.  She knows who to use each language with and translates like it's the most natural thing in the world.  She can say something to her grandmother in Spanish, then turn to me and translate it into English, or vice versa.  Of course, at almost three she's not always intelligible in either language and can be babbling away and we haven't got a clue what she's talking about - or even which language she's speaking!

FEBRUARY GOALS

  • Most importantly; send off all the documents for Emma's passport application.  I finally have everything together, about a year later than planned, and have done the online application, so that's my top priority.
  • Publish at least one blog post a week, realistically I should be able to manage this.
  • Start scheduling social media - I have already started doing this just this week to try it out, now I need to make it part of my routine.
  • Design a new header and logo - I've been meaning to do this for the past two years!  The parrot was only meant to be temporary.
  • Get a haircut!  My hair is a mess at the moment.
I'm going to sign off with my Quote of the Month, on the subject of self-doubt again....

Quote doubt self doubt shakespeare





Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Cuddle Fairy

Cuddle Fairy

Saturday, 4 February 2017

We love books! #6 - Oi Dog!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to Amazon.com which means I make a small commission on purchases made from these links.

Books, children's book review, picture book

Oi dog, get off the frog!

Emma already knows the first line of this book off by heart.  It's one of several she was sent for Christmas from my parents and is already one of her favourites.

Oi Dog!by Kes and Claire Gray and Jim Field is a great book for toddlers and preschoolers as well as slightly older kids.  Jim Field's illustrations are funny and appealing and we love the absurd humour of animals having to sit on things that rhyme with their names.  Emma seems to think the dog's name is Oi Dog, which is rather cute!

Books, book review, picture book

This is a follow up to Oi Frog! which we haven't read, but I imagine that someone sets out the "rules" that frogs have to sit on logs, dogs sit on frogs and cats sit on mats.  In Oi Dog!, the frog has had enough of being sat on and changes the rules for everyone.  The last page is a great punchline where the frog reveals what frogs will sit on - can you guess? (Clue: it doesn't rhyme!)

So many different creatures make an appearance in this book, even quite obscure ones - how about gnats, gnus, boars and hornets?  And I would never have thought to rhyme cheetahs with fajitas!

Some of these animals get a bit of a raw deal, too; we have fun sympathising with the elephants, having to sit on a pile of smelly pants while skunks sit on their trunks!  Then there's the plight of the whales... rather uncomfortable, to say the least.  The frog's merciless retort of "They don't have to like it, they just have to do it" sounds like the downtrodden underdog (underfrog?) who turns the tables and is now taking out his revenge on the rest of the animals.

Anyway, Oi Dog!is great fun and provides learning opportunities too, from animal names to the possibilities of rhyme.  It also serves as a starting point for some funny and ridiculous conversations, which are the best kind, as far as I'm concerned.

Have you read this book, or its prequel?  If so, what do you think of it?  I'd love to hear your opinions in the comments below!

Books, picture book, review
You can get the books mentioned in this post here:








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Monday, 16 January 2017

How not to fail at reaching your goals

Just to make this clear, I'm not writing this as someone who hasn't failed at achieving my goals... I almost always fail miserably so I want to analyze why and work out what I need to change about the way I set goals in order to succeed.

I was in two minds about whether to write a post about my goals for 2017, as I did that last year with 20 Things that will definitely happen in 2016, and it's rather depressing/ humiliating to reflect on my complete failure!

However, I'm going to try to look at it constructively, see what went wrong and come up with a "How not to fail" strategy that will hopefully be just as helpful for me as for anyone else.  Maybe even more so.  That's the plan, anyway!

Goals strategies success


My biggest mistake was this:  Lack of strategy
I really had no strategy for reaching the goals I wanted to achieve - huge mistake.  Without a strategy,
I was lost in the wilderness.  I actually forgot what most of my goals were!

Here's what I didn't do in my non-existent strategy:

No deadlines
As I said in my own post:
I need a plan - with deadlines, or none of this is ever going to happen.  I'm going to make a schedule for all of these goals and put it somewhere visible to make sure I accomplish them.

Did I do that?  No, I didn't!  

No breakdown of bigger goals into manageable chunks
This is key!  It's like having smaller stepping stones to get you across the river to your ultimate goal, one step at a time with daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly targets to bring you closer to where you want to be.

Not measurable 
A vague statement like "Do some yoga" is not a measurable goal.  I did do some yoga last year, maybe once every couple of weeks or so, but that's not really what I had in mind.  By specifying exactly how often, how much, how many, how long for, etc, then you are able to measure your achievement and how close you are getting to your goal.  

This year I decided to take up the #YogaRevolution 31-day yoga challenge on YouTube so I have to find time every day for a half-hour yoga session.  So far I've only missed one day and when the challenge ends I think I'm going to repeat the whole thing as I'm really enjoying it and feeling the benefits.  The idea with this is that I'm forming the habit of practising yoga daily and I'll just keep the habit going after the end of the challenge.



Not visible
I wrote my goals for the year in that blog post, which I never looked at again, and at the back of a notebook which I occasionally stared at and did nothing about.  So of course they weren't very present in my mind and I mostly forgot about them.

This year I have everything in my bullet journal, but the pages are starting to fall out, which is not great.  Feels like my planning is falling apart!  I think I'll have to get a new notebook, probably spiral-bound, that will hold together.  Apart from that, I'm going to try out the Trello app, on the recommendation of Aby from You Baby Me Mummy; she makes it sound like a really effective and useful tool and something I need to help me organise my life!


Bullet journal


Procrastination 
I am the queen of procrastination; always putting things off till later, tomorrow, next week.  The Mexican mañana (such a stereotype!) was made for me!

However, with a proper strategy in place to hold me accountable I should have the tools to block my own tendency to procrastinate and actually get things done.  If I want to succeed in reaching my goals I need to do all these things:
  • Keep my goals and planning visible to refer to every day 
  • Have measurable goals so I can track my progress 
  • Have smaller progress goals that are steps towards reaching the main goals
  • Keep all goals time-based, with deadlines for each step

I'm also doing a free online course, Project Productivity created by the very productive Aby of You Baby Me Mummy.  It focuses on setting goals and planning in order to be much more productive so I hope it will help me!

Lastly, my other deadly enemy:  Self doubt
There's not much I can say to help with the struggle against self-doubt, except to just keep ploughing on regardless and ignore those voices in your head that tell you you can't, you're not good enough, no one is interested in what you have to say, etc, etc.  Don't listen to them!


Self doubt Van Gogh quote


Do you have any other advice on how to achieve your goals?  Please share your experiences of success or failure, words of encouragement or advice in the comments below - I'd love to hear from you!




Cuddle Fairy

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Diary of an imperfect mum

The Pramshed

Friday, 6 January 2017

Things to do in Mexico when you're hungry #10 Arroz con Leche (easy rice cooker version)

Happy 2017 everybody, I hope your year has got off to the best possible start!

For my first post of the new year I'm going to start as I mean to go on, with a foodie post, which I'll hopefully be writing more of and more frequently.

Arroz con leche is Spanish for "rice with milk", or rather, good old rice pudding.  That may not sound like a typical Mexican dish, but it's arguably as much Mexican as British.  You see it on dessert stalls along with jellies and flans at fairs, markets and on the street, served in little disposable plastic cups and always flavored with cinnamon. It's a homely and simple dessert that has become part of Mexican cuisine.


Things to do in Mexico when you're hungry #10 Arroz con Leche

Arroz con leche, like many Mexican traditions, was brought to Mexico from Spain, but going further back in time, the origins of the dessert are most probably to be found at the place of origin of the main ingredient, in south-east Asia.

I have childhood memories of Ambrosia tinned rice pudding, and fonder memories of my mum's oven-baked flaked rice pudding, but I'd never made rice pudding myself.  Ever since I saw a recipe for rice pudding in the little recipe booklet that came with our rice cooker I've been wanting to try it - that was about three years ago, though!  That booklet got lost the last time we moved house and I just hadn't got around to looking for a similar recipe on the Internet ...until these holidays.

Of course, it's a dessert that's eaten all year round, but it does seem to me especially appropriate for winter - maybe it's because of the cinnamon, or because it's such a cosy, comforting dish.  Anyhow, I was determined to try it out in the rice cooker over Christmas.  It seemed so easy, and it was!

I sort of amalgamated/adapted several recipes I saw, some were for the stovetop, others were for a rice cooker, but I knew my recipe had to have both condensed milk and evaporated milk.  In this recipe, the delicately fragrant citrus peel mingles with aromatic cinnamon and the creamy sweet combination of milk and rice, making for an irresistible dessert and ultimate comfort food.

Arroz con leche

Ingredients:
1 cup rice (all recipes called for Arborio rice; I just used the normal long-grain rice we always buy as it's cheaper and it worked perfectly!)
3 cups water
1 cup milk (recipe specified whole milk, but I used skimmed as it was what we had in the house)
1 tin evaporated milk
1 tin condensed milk
1 lime peel, whole or grated
1 stick cinnamon
Ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt

This recipe does no need any extra sugar as the sugar in the condensed milk makes it sweet enough.

First, rinse the rice and cook with the three cups of water, lime peel and salt in the rice cooker on the normal rice setting.  When it's done, the liquid should have been absorbed and the rice should be soft.  Switch off the rice cooker and stir the rice to make sure it's not stuck to the bottom, then add the three different types of milk, stirring them in.  You can put the cinnamon stick in whole or break it into pieces which, so I'm told, releases more flavour, but also means you'll be picking small pieces of cinnamon out of your pudding later.  If you want extra flavour, or instead of the cinnamon stick, you can mix in some powdered cinnamon.

Now close the lid again and switch the rice cooker back on.  I put mine on the low setting at this point, but, rather unhelpfully, I don't remember how long for.  I guess there's probably some variation among different rice cooker models anyway so I would advise you to keep checking it to make sure it's the consistency you want.  Definitely don't wander off and lose track of time as I tend to do, and don't put it on the "keep warm" setting either; I did this after I thought it had cooked enough, came back to it later and found most of the milk had been consumed.  I had to add extra milk while it was cooling, but that worked fine and it turned out well in the end.

Arroz con leche
Before I added the extra milk, looking a bit too dry.

Oh, dilemma - do you serve it hot or cold?  According to my mother-in-law, eating warm rice pudding will give you the runs (I didn't suffer any ill-effects, though, thank you!) so I guess the convention in Mexico - or in this corner of Mexico, at least - is to serve it chilled from the fridge.  And it is delicious cold.

Either way, serve with a sprinkling of ground cinnamon and enjoy!

If you try out this recipe, let me know how it went.  I'd love to hear from you!

Things to do in Mexico when you're hungry #10 Arroz con Leche



More Mexican food posts you might be interested in:


Tortillas

Mummy in a Tutu

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Cuddle Fairy

You Baby Me Mummy

The Pramshed

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Our Unplanned, Unexpected, Imperfect Christmas!

The best laid plans and all that... And even when you have no plans things still don't turn out how you expected them to. It's just as well that we didn't make any definite plans for this Christmas because on Christmas Eve we ended up in the hospital!

Unplanned Christmas

In Mexico, the main Christmas celebration is on the 24th; a big Christmas Eve dinner late at night with typical dishes such as bacalao, a rich and tasty cod dish prepared with olives, peppers, tomato, chilli, small potatoes, almonds, amongst other ingredients, romeritos, a plant with long thin tender leaves, which are mixed with mole, small potatoes and shrimp cakes, ensalada de Navidad, a Christmas fruit salad made with cream, apple, pineapple, raisins and pecan nuts, and more familiar foods like spaghetti or ravioli and turkey or leg of pork.

Well, we had none of that this year.

It was the fault of a horribly swollen abscess on one side of my husband's throat that had him in a lot of pain and meant he couldn't eat anything and could barely even swallow liquids.  It got steadily worse over the course of the day of the 24th, the pain spreading to his ear and side of his head, and by late afternoon we realised we would have to ditch our half-made plan to go out for dinner.  By about 8pm, he couldn't stand it anymore and we decided to go to hospital.

We called a friend of his who lives nearby as Eduardo was in no condition to drive and I don't drive (maybe that'll change next year), so he very kindly came over to help - with driving and moral support.  Emma stayed at home with her grandmother.  There followed a brief discussion about which hospital to go to: the Seguro Social (free health service) was not an option at this point - having to wait hours and hours before being attended wasn't an appealing prospect.  So, prestigious expensive hospital or smaller more economical clinic recommended by friend?  In the end we went to a small inexpensive hospital close to home, the doctor on call arrived after a short wait, examined Eduardo and gave him more painkillers through a saline drip, another dose of antibiotic and prescribed more medicine.  After about two hours, the pain had calmed considerably, his fears had also been calmed and he was feeling a bit more human.

When we got home it was about 10.30pm and Emma had fallen asleep.  I was a bit disappointed that I didn't get to give her her new Christmas Eve pyjamas - she got them for Christmas Day instead!  I was hungry as I hadn't had any dinner - well, there was no dinner as such.  Eduardo went to bed and slept, he couldn't eat anyway.

Christmas tree
Emma on Christmas Eve, with biscuits.

I heated up some spaghetti, got everything ready for Santa's visit that night and decided to make the pumpkin spice cookies from a packet mix I'd bought a few days earlier.  Such a star baker!  I hadn't baked cookies in years so this was quite adventurous for me!  Despite my doubts, they turned out pretty well.




Christmas Day was much better; Eduardo was still not 100% and having to take two different antibiotics, but he'd recovered enough to set up Emma's new trampoline outside - between the two of us, with some trial and error, we managed to figure it out!  It was fun watching Emma open her presents and play with them, she was pretty excited.  I'd put out the stocking I made for her last year and she seemed quite surprised to find it stuffed with presents.

Christmas stocking

Christmas presents



We spoke to my family on Skype, just in time to watch us open the presents they'd sent us.  It was especially exciting to help Emma open loads of little individually wrapped presents from my sister which were all part of a food and kitchenware play set which Emma was fascinated with.  It was quite an event, unwrapping item by item!  My parents, sisters and brothers-in-law were all at my parents' house and it was great to be able to see and talk to them all together - almost as if they were here with us.  Although trying to give someone pretend breakfast and pretend cups of tea over Skype is a little difficult!

Real Masha and the bear
Emma and her daddy - they look rather like Masha and the Bear!

Later we went out for dinner - still no Christmas food as it was an Argentine-style buffet, but it was delicious and we ate enough to make up for the previous day!  I loved the coconut shrimp with mango and ginger sauce.  Happily, my husband had completely recovered the ability to eat and really savoured every mouthful!  I took Emma to the children's play area in the restaurant where she had great fun bouncing, climbing, crawling, sliding and playing and exploring in general.  That was definitely one of the highlights of the day.


So that was our unplanned Christmas; some unexpected bumps in the road turned all our expectations  upside-down and being ill is horrible, but in the end we were able to make the most of the circumstances and enjoy it  - Emma enjoyed it, that's for sure!

I was thinking when we got back from the hospital on Christmas Eve about how you just have adapt to what life throws at you without getting upset because its not as perfect as you wanted it to be.  Nothing can be perfect, you just have to make the best of what you have.

Or perhaps, if you look at it another way, you'll find that this imperfect reality is much better than perfect (I dare to say that perfect is boring and we all thrive on a bit of drama in our lives...) and the bad times make us appreciate the good times much more.

Here's to imperfection and mess and struggling to make something out of the everyday chaos.

I hope you all had a great Christmas and have a very happy New Year!


Cuddle Fairy

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

4 Homemade Christmas Cards to make with a Toddler


Only a few days left until Christmas and the excitement and expectations are building up... I can't believe how fast December has flown by so far - the school holidays have already started for me, which is great, hopefully I can catch up on all the things I hadn't had time to do.

Are you ready for Christmas? Have you managed to tick off everything on your to-do list?  Do you have a to-do list?

We're not that organised in our household - we haven't even finished decorating the tree!  However, I did manage to get all my Christmas cards sent off a week or so ago.  That's still a bit late, as the post takes about a month from Mexico to the UK, but at least they're on their way.  I'm so terrible at planning ahead.

Toddler homemade Christmas cards


I've always made my own Christmas cards, for family at least, so these days I try and involve my daughter, now two and three quarters, in the card-making process.  It's not always easy to hit a compromise between the quality-controller in me and the overzealous glue and paint enthusiast in her!  There are times when you have to take over and times when you just have to let go!

So, anyway, if you want to make some last-minute Christmas cards with your toddler or preschooler and need a few quick and simple ideas, you've come to the right place.

Last Christmas, Emma was 21 months old and we made these cards (my own idea!), which I included in my post 5 ideas on how to make homemade cards with a toddler a few months ago.

Homemade Christmas cards


In the interests of recycling, here are the instructions again!
  • First I drew lots of outlines of Christmas trees and stockings on several blank sheets of paper and asked Emma to colour them in with some crayons. She obliged with a kind of multicoloured scribble which was just what I was after.
  • Then I got out some red and green watercolour paint and a paintbrush and she did more "colouring in" over the top of the crayon lines which gave us a really great two-textured effect; the paint, of course, only being able to take hold on the blank spaces on the paper where there wasn't crayon.
  • Then I cut out the tree and stocking shapes and arranged and glued them onto different coloured cards.  I also cut out some presents from the leftover pieces of Emma's paper, to stick under the Christmas trees.
  • I also stuck one shape - a tree, stocking or present - in the middle of the inside of each card.  
And they were done!  Quite simple.

Of course, if you need ideas Pinterest is the obvious place to turn to, and I'll admit this year's cards were all Pinterest-inspired.

I thought it would be fun to do some foot painting, and it was.  Emma loved doing this and then wanted to paint her own feet!

Penguin footprint cards

First we did some black footprints to turn into penguins, then another day we did white footprints to turn into snowmen.  When we made the black footprints I made sure I left an oval-shaped patch in the middle of the foot free of paint for the penguins' white belly.

We used patterned paper and decorative tape for the hats, scarves and ear-warmers, orange paper for the beaks or noses and hole-punched some white paper circles for the penguins' eyes.  I drew on the eyes, mouths, arms and buttons of the snowmen, but you could also use different materials to stick on instead.

Snowman footprint cards

So, if you're expecting a card from us, one of these cute little penguins or snowmen is on its way to you at this very moment (Postal service, don't let me down!).

The last card is also based on a footprint, but in this case we used brown paint and turned it into a reindeer.  I did this activity with my kindergarten class so didn't take any photos myself, but my inspiration came from Emmaowl.com.

Reindeer footprint card


We changed a few things; the kids drew the eyes themselves, cut them out (sometimes with a little help) and pasted them on, then they made the nose by scrunching up red tissue paper into a ball.  I asked them to collect some sticks while outside in recess that they could use as antlers and then I stuck these on with liquid silicon glue.  Perhaps the finished cards weren't as perfect as the photo, but they children did most of it themselves.

So there you have a few tried-and-tested Christmas cards that aren't too complicated to make with a small child and look rather cute!  Let me know how you get on if you try any of these ideas!


Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

November Update

What happened to November?  It seems to have passed by without me even realising it and now Christmas is almost here!

Having said that, looking back at my photos, it was quite a busy month, so here's a quick roundup.

November update


November 2nd was the Day of the Dead here in Mexico and a national holiday.  It happened to be a Wednesday and we were originally only going to have this day off work, but a couple of days before the weekend we were told we would get Monday and Tuesday off too!  So we had a surprise five-day weekend, yay!  Of course that only applied to schools, and my other half had to work as normal.

I decided to make my own Halloween pumpkin this year - it was really tough to cut into, or maybe my knife wasn't sharp enough, anyway I was quite pleased with how it turned out!

Halloween pumpkin

There was an organised trick-or-treat gathering in our street on the evening of November 1st.  We dressed Emma as a witch in a slightly improvised costume and with the wrong kind of broomstick, but she was happy!  She was delighted to find a bag of mini marshmallows in her Halloween candy!

Little witch


That same day we'd gone into the centre of Queretaro to have a look at the altars on display, which are always very eye-catching and colourful.  You can see some more of the pictures I took and read a little about this tradition in my last post, The Day of the Dead - in pictures.

Day of the dead


We had a surprise visit from our goddaughter, now aged seven, her six-year-old sister and their mum, who stayed with us for a few days.  The girls are distant cousins of Emma's and it was great for her to have children to play with and share her toys with - which she was pretty good at; I overheard her asking her cousin to lend her a toy.  We taught her to play Memory one evening and the three of them had fun playing it together with Emma's animal cards.  They were very amused by Emma's way of counting:  Unu, dos, tes, sete! (1, 2, 3, 7!)

Due to Revolution Day on November 20th, we had another puente, a long weekend  - just three days this time - so we went to San Luis Potosí, where we used to live, for a couple of days.  We mostly saw relatives, had a wander around the centre and relaxed.  We got to taste once more the famous tacos rojos from Tequis garden, near where we used to live, yummy!

On the steps


I bought a book I'd been wanting to read for ages and ages.  It's about an English-born artist, Leonora Carrington, who made Mexico her home.
I'm sure I'll write more about it in a We Love Books! post at some point.

Leonora Carrington book

To find out more about this artist Artsy.net is a useful resource with various examples of her work and a brief biography.

Emma's become quite a chatterbox, chattering away in both English and Spanish.  Near the beginning of the month I wrote a Bilingual Toddler Update about her progress with both languages.  However, one of my favourite phrases that she has started saying just recently is about our dog, Solovina.  Emma suddenly says to me, "Sonina is my bes fend!"  How cute!  The other day she told me, "I love Sonina, Sonina love me!"  And they are great friends.

I saw a video on Facebook the other day of a speech by J. K. Rowling in which she was talking about the opportunities provided by failure, and how it made her focus on what was really important to her.  I took this phrase from it, which I think is important to remember:

Failure quote J K Rowling


Cuddle Fairy