Jelly Bean Day…Today

It’s TODAY!!

What is Jelly Bean Day?  I don’t know and none of us care…but its an excuse for the kids to bring back jelly beans from the Ajijic market this morning.

Collage jellybeans

Somebody always comes up with ways to celebrate a special day but I lack good planning skills which, since we have lots of family members to ‘manage’, would have been a great skill for me to foster.  However, I go-with-the-flow and by-the-seat-of-my-pants which seems to have helped our children grow up with little expectations of how it should be done.  That makes it easy to celebrate spur of the moment…like today’s Jelly Bean Day.  We’ll probably just see who can toss ‘n catch the most in their mouth…and hope they don’t choke on them.

We’ll eat a small dish of them today and make the celebration last a few days so we can nibble a few each day.  Until its Zucchini Bread Day or Pretzel Day.  Then we have a bit of a wait until Nat’l Coconut Cream Pie Day.  Mmmm!

 

 

Christmas Preps: Decorating Reception

For years we didn’t celebrate Christmas; tired of the expectations, the commercialism, the whiny kids on sugar-highs, the over-extending of ones family for all the activities at the church where we once belonged.  As fun as Bethlehem Walk was it was outright exhausting, particularly with a cart-load of little kids while hubby and teen kids were intimately involved in the activities.  We baked a thousand cookies over weeks.  Music practices never ceased.

For various reasons we caboshed the whole fanfare.  We tired of the Christmas carols (except for a few of them, and Rita MacNeil is still probably one of my favs since her songs weren’t so worn out!).  We stopped sending Christmas cards and sent out Thanksgiving Newsletters instead (which the feedback was absolutely positive, as so many people get tons at Christmas and nothing the rest of the year) which kept family and friends abreast of our almost-yearly addition of new family members at that time in our married life.

So years of quiet solitude, no tree, no lights, no gifts.  It was refreshing.  No squabbles over who got the nicest gift.  No debt-incurred.  A nice dinner, some games and family time.  And usually some chocolate.

Over the past few years we’ve started to do something for each Christmas.  Different each year, there are no expectations.  No tradition.  For some, that’s almost blasphemous.  Christmas without tradition?!!!  Can’t be.

But we’ve enjoyed it, I think…..kids included.  One Christmas my eldest brother+ came to the Island and did a big scrumptious turkey dinner.  Next Christmas we had an impromptu potluck at our palapa on a Baja beach, a mixture of stuffing and fresh skewered prawns, smashed potatoes and baked yams.  Last year we found ourselves sharing fresh snapper with Matt the Frenchman and Pamela in a Mexican fishing village south of Puerto Vallarta where English was certainly the minority.Collage reception

This year we are at Ajijic with people we met in the spring.  Here in time for preparations……and some decorating!  The kids volunteer to help decorate the Reception hall where we hold Movie Nights.  This is enjoyable for them, these artistic kids.  Their creative juices start, and plans are made for our own suites.  But first, the Reception is complete.

Collage tree

Side note: I found it very interesting that as we sent out less and less Christmas cards the number we received diminished.  Within four years we received virtually NONE.  So much for the Spirit of Giving that everybody else purports, supposedly without any bearing on receiving.  Really???

What You Can’t See (Easily) in Reggie’s New Look

 

van naked

We stripped Reggie early in the summer when we thought our lives were taking a different route.  But when the plans for Puerto Rico didn’t pan out we went back to ‘the drawing board’ which centres around Reggie.  And drawing is exactly what some of us did!!  We got to doodle on the lids of the cargo boxes.  Unfortunately you can’t see the lids from the ground, but we know they are up there!!  Even 2yo Marin’s hand-outline, and some funnies from Rauchelle.

New coatings on the boxes, to freshen them all up!

New coatings on the boxes, to freshen them all up!

Box #1 Lid

Box #1 Lid

Box #2 Lid.  The large photo is an abstract Big Cat face done by Maret.

Box #2 Lid. The large photo is an abstract Big Cat face done by Maret.

Everette, Mitchell and Seth reassembled the boxes on top of Reggie

Everette, Mitchell and Seth reassembled the boxes on top of Reggie

Things I Don’t Miss

I found this in my draft box….an idea for a post from days long past when we were camped on the Baja in Mexico two winters ago.

It makes me wonder why we tend to do so many of the things we do.  Is it because we really want to, or is it because it’s expected of us?

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Expectations: yard work; housework; visiting family because its been so long; certain behaviour for the holidays i.e. decorations, gifts, meals.   Everette mentioned the other day how, if he was in Canada he would have washed his van LONG before now.  But here on the Baja it just isn’t a consideration.  Who really cares, anyways?  Nobody is expecting your vehicle to be clean.

Housework: seemed endless

Paying Bills: There was always stress as to where the money would come from to pay our bills each month.  Now we pay cash for everything, and very little overhead.

Higher Cost of Living: No housing expenses.  Little for gas unless we are traveling.  We live on 1/3 to 1/2 of what we lived on in Canada and are enjoying life more.  This is connected with Expectations, where wardrobes aren’t replenished because of changing styles, not even so much for changing seasons.

Grey skies with rain and cooler temperatures.

Toveli's picture

Toveli’s picture

We’re back here in Canada with the higher cost of living and the higher expectations.  We are enjoying it for what it is, for what comforts it provides (hot running water, bath tubs, etc) and trying to shake off the unnecessary expenses and expectations that don’t serve us well.

We are taking time to re-evaluate where our focus needs to be, where we should be spending our time & energy, focusing on building our business and dreaming/planning our next adventure.

Thinking of things we don’t want to miss.

Settled on the Hobby Farm

The kids have been voluteering every day that the petting farm is open (6 days a week), so camping here made sense.  We set up our largest tent and the Hamilton’s are letting us use their spare 5th wheel for a more comfy home base.

5th wheel permanently settled here.

5th wheel permanently settled here.

Keeping things to a minimum, keeping life simplified….it’s not always easy but I find that it keeps my whole life simple.  I spend more time outside…we all do.  Housework is almost none existent when camping.  Sweeping takes 1 minute.  Dishes aren’t always used; hands work well for a lot of things.  At the end of the day we often sit around a campfire, talking.

Mitchell

Mitchell

Supper with Shelly and Chris

Supper with Shelly and Chris

Silkies

Silkies

It's not a farm without hay bales, is it?

It’s not a farm without hay bales, is it?

Kids have learned to care for horses/donkeys, goats, chickens & other fowl, pigs and rabbits.  Mitch is driving the Rhino, a quad and Ray’s stick-shift pickup truck.  Chores are done in the morning and evening and when the farm is open the kids work to keep things running smoothly.  Maret has learned to run the till.  All of them are involved in Customer Service.  We clean up messes, keep the bathroom in running order, blow up balloons and decorate for parties.  Whatever needs to be done we do….and hopefully with a good attitude.