Well, time surely does fly when you're having fun!!! Our 47th wedding anniversary just sort of snuck up on us this week... As we've done in other years, we chose to stay home, cook our favorite meal, and reminisce about all the adventures we've shared.
We have a long history of loving the center cut of the Filet Mignon loin. We also love Rox's stuffed baked potatoes. We have discovered this combination in the Sixties before we even got married, and have shared this meal from Berkeley, San Francisco, Grants Pass, London, Berlin, Garmisch, the Canary Islands, Quito, Montanita, and of course, our own kitchen.
We also served hundreds of filets in our Steak House restaurant in Mendocino County.
So...here we are posing by the fireplace before our anniversary dinner...
Rox sent me to the store for baking potatoes, and of course, you can't just buy two, so here she shows off five large bakers already "once baked" and ready for the "twice baked' part of the recipe. We don't eat them all at one seating--the others are "money in the bank"!
These two Filets come from a little less than have the loin roll.
The food and conversation for this evening was perfect! We even surprise ourselves recounting our adventures...
And...earlier in the week, Isidro, had his birthday, so we invited him and Agripina over for presents, nibblies, and Cuba Libres...
In addition, to ice cream and a huge cake for later with his whole family, Isidro received a really neat shirt, 8 cell flashlight, some beers to go, and a motorized TV antenna, all the better to reel in those variable TV transmitters.
We also printed him a bunch of business cards. In addition to being invaluable to us, Isidro also has a fish route where, 6 days a week, he travels by bus to Palmar 18 km away, buys fish from the main market, and travels back by bus with his large crate full. He then puts the crate on his bike and peddles it all over Manglaralto and Montanita, selling to his restaurant customers, and special families. "Pescado Fresco" means fresh fish.
So...all in all, a very nice week!
Kid's Christmas Party Photos--just to remind you how rewarding it is to bring a smile to a deserving kid's face!!!
It's hard to believe that Christmas is just around the corner, especially since our weather has just turned "summer-like". Roxanne reminded me today that we only have four more weekly shopping trips left before the party!
Roxanne mostly does all the behind the scenes stuff. Today, she displayed some of the kid's toys as she made sure that all price tags are off. Not too hard of a job, until you multiply everything by 400!
The above photo only shows about a quarter of all the kids gifts that we just bought in Cuenca. Here are some of the rest of the dolls and trucks...
We started the tradition (We guess that 7 years running could be the start of a tradition) of having a Kid's Christmas Party at our place, because we were told that many of the more impoverished children in our village received nothing more at Christmas than a piece of fruit or a some candy. Seven years later, that is still the case.
The party is so popular that we now print tickets, that are distributed by Agripina.
This year, we will be giving a gift bag, a visit to Papa Noel, (Santa Claus), and a 5" by 7" photo of each child with Santa. The gift bag contains a truck or doll, lots of Christmas candy, animal crackers, and some school supplies if possible. We also serve up hot dogs, lots of Coca Cola, and chips to each person attending. We have found that many of the families treasure the photo with Santa, because that photo of that child might be the only one they have for that whole year.
We are reprinting our shopping trip for the 2013 party, because we were so sick this year, that taking fun photos was out of the question!
Take a look...
This year, the same amount of dolls, trucks and cars, cost us over $500 extra, due to price increases!
Rox is posing with just some of the gift bags that go to happy kids.
We have wonderful neighbors who work that day to put out over 550 plates of hotdogs, potato chips, and tons of Coca Cola.
We pay a crew of workers full construction wages for their help in setting up on the day of the party, waitering all the food and drink, and then cleaning up the mess, and restacking all the party tables and chairs, before they go home that night.
We print up over 550 5" by 7" photos of each child getting a gift from Santa Clause (Papa Noel). For many of these families, that photo is the only picture they have of their child for that year.
What makes it all worth it, are the big smiles of all the girls and boys!!!
We have been able to put on this really fun party for these kids mainly due to the help that we have received from a lot of you folks reading this blog.
This year we are really in pretty deep on our costs already, and we still have all the food, drink, candy, and animal crackers, table rentals, wages, and photos to buy!
We really need your help this year! Every red cent you can send us goes directly to the kids--no overhead, no administrative costs, no nada!
To make it easy, all you have to do is send a few bucks to our PayPal account, which is:
Thanks in advance for helping bring more smiles to all of these kids!
Note: you can contribute, even if your don't have a PayPal account. Just drop us a note, and we will send you a "Money Request", which makes it very easy...
It's that time of year again, as we try to bring lots of smiles to lots of deserving kids in our Pueblo of Manglaralto.
This year will be our seventh annual Kid's Chirstmas Party. The first year we only had 47 kids show up. This year we expect to provide dolls, trucks, candy, animal crackers, hot dogs, chips and drinks to about 400 kids and food for about 200 moms. Best of all, each child gets a photo with Papa Noel and his elves.
We just made our annual trip to Cuenca to buy the kid's gifts, and we were shocked to see that Coral Department Store had increased the price of each truck or car by over $2.00. So, instead of our cost for the toys and dolls being the usual $650 to $750, our factura (receipt) ended up being a whopping $1571!
We were pretty bummed out dealing with the terrible increase in prices, but even worse, both Rox and I were dealing with the worst flu attack we have ever had. Roxanne was left to pick out all the dolls and all the trucks and cars, as I was doing my best not to throw up and pass out.
It was a nightmare shopping with 103 degree fevers, non-stop coughs, cold sweats, and no energy whatsoever. (and trips to the bano).
Here's a couple of shots of Roxanne unloading 9 carts of toys...
We finally checked out with over 18 full sized bags. Rox had three of them on her lap as we pulled out of Mal Del Rio. We thank Rich and Nancy for their wonderful help, hospitality, and nursing. When we left the next day, Rich was wonderful, getting all the toys and our luggage stashed. We were so weak, that nothing would have happened without his help.
It took us 8 hours to navigate home, what with the driver almost delirious, and the copilot sick as a dog. We were welcomed home by Agripina, Isidro, and the whole family. Without their terrific help, those gifts would still be in the car.
Roxanne was a trooper, who got our stuff unpacked, 8 loads of wash done, and took a coupe of swipes at our correspondence. I went to bed for three days solid.If you are trying to lose weight, just contract this flu--I lost 30 pounds in three weeks! (basically, no eating)...Rox looks like a size 0 fashion model.
Agripina has been making trips to the pharmacy for us, but mainly bringing by various Ecuadorian dishes very much like "mom's chicken soup".
Well folks, normally we don't belabor our bumps in the road, as they happen to everyone, but this year we really need your help!
So, if you want to make some worthy kids smile brightly at Christmas, please send a few bucks to help us pull this off this year. And of course you know, every red cent that you send goes directly to the kids!!!
Please send what you can to our PayPal account: firstname.lastname@example.org
We and the Kids thank you all!
A Couple of shots from last year...
A shot of the christmas bags ready to make each kid smile!
Please copy and paste the address below to see a bunch of good feeling photos of lots of happy kids...or...you can scroll down the left side to find lots more fun Christmas Party entries...
From the moment we landed in Quito, Oct 3, 2007, we never questioned our decision to buy one way tickets, and move to Ecuador.
Every day has been filled with excitement and adventure.
Our adopted--extended, Ecuadorian family has been a joy, providing us with never-ending kindness and readiness to help in every way!
The beauty of the changing ocean waves, and the wonderful sandy beach, keep us humbled at the power of Mother Nature.
We look forward to many more years in this beautiful country!!!
A couple of hours after we took the above photo, we were treated to a wonderful rolling sunset...almost as if Mama Natura was smiling back!
Rich & Nancy, brother and sis in law, and George & Carol, original owners of the California Kitchen in Cuenca, all arrived here a few days ago for fun on the Coast.
Even though, it's our "winter" here in Ecuador, we had a couple of unsurpassed beautiful days.
It was George's first visit to the Coast, and Saturday was just beautiful. He and Rich walked on the beach, looked for interesting shells, and waded in the warm waves...
In the evening, we all trooped down to the Casa Blanca in Montanita...it was great for people watching, and the crowds turned out in droves...all worshiping the wonderful weather, and celebrating school vacation in Cuenca and Quito...so "people watching" was great, as usual...
Rich and Nancy picked up the tab, so thanks mucho guys!
Sunday morning we were surprised by Carol and George preparing the full bore "California Kitchen famous breakfast" featuring the best bisquits and gravy anywhere, tons of bacon, knock your socks off omelottes and George's famous fried potatoes. And...those wonderful breakfasts kept on coming every morning!!! What a treat! Thanks for the memories George and Carol...
Roxanne prepared Sunday dinner of sauteed chicken breasts baked with bacon and cheese, with generous servings of Rice Pilaf...actually a favorite in our own restaurant of many years ago...Every plate came back spotless...
We spent many hours watching the waves from the various decks and patios, and even saw whales in the distance a few times.
All the visitors took leisurely shell hunting walks...
We received much-needed rain Sunday night, and Monday still remained cloudy, but it was still warm enough for shorts and tees only.
However, the weather gave us an excuse to eat inside by the the fire on Monday night, as we had mountain-sized burgers with lots of trimmings, plus yummy potato salad, especially made by Rox...
The sunsets were perfect!
As if we weren't having enough fun, we also got to celebrate Rich's birthday...some during the day shots...
Birthday Dinner was a whole Filet Mignon roll, expertly cut up by George, with Bob at the Bar-B-Que. We had lots of baked potatoes, and a delicious Zuccinni Mushroom dish made by Carol...and if that wasn't enough, we had Tres Leches ice cream slathered all over the cake you see in the preceeding photo...
Fabian came down to pick up the happy group, and they are now all safely back in Cuenca...
Too Much Fun Is Just Enough!!!!