Guerrero, Mexico

The girls taking the public transportation to the swimming pool with their cousins. (February 2015)

Tlaxcala, Mexico

Erika picking out pan dulce at our favorite panaderia. (January 2015)

Bend, Oregon, United States

Our family photo taken in Drake Park with all three of my daughters (October 2014)

San Francisco, California, United States

Enjoying the beautiful view from the top of Twin Peaks (July 2015)

Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico

Exploring the ruins of Palenque during our Great Mexican Road Trip. (May 2014)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Easter

It's still march.and it's almost Easter in 7 days and my sisters brithday is on Easter and my Gramma's brithday is 1 day before Easter.we walked Pilot Butte.we went to Cupa Yo. we're having Tamales tonight for diner.my mom printed 2  pictures for us to color with are new markers,crayon,colored pencils.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Monthly Subscriptions for the Girls: Little Passports USA

I wanted to do something a little different for the girls for Christmas this year. I'm tired of the piles of plastic toys that get played with briefly and tossed aside in broken bits. Erika and Mia love to create and build things and express their imagination. This year I looked for craft kits that they could look forward to receiving in the mail each month.

I picked five different kits to try out: Little Passports USA edition, Little Passports World edition, Tinker Crate by Kiwi, Doodle Crate by Kiwi, and Green Kid crafts.

I will highlight the Little Passports USA in this first review.

The First Shipment and it came with lots of goodies

It has a plastic keeper to hold everything that you will rceive in the kits.

A Scratch Off Activity Book

A Field Guide to mark off the states as you visit them and more

A list of the states as well as activity pages to fill in about yourself

Pages to write down observations about each state as you visit them

A 2 sided booklet that features 2 states per month

Fill the booklet over to read about the second state

Activities and information about each state are included in the booklet
I chose the monthly subscription for $12.95/mo plus $3 shipping and handling as I didn't want to make any commitments until the girls had had a chance to play with it and see if it kept their interest or not. The recommended age range was 7-12 years old so I signed Erika up for this one. The girls have not had the opportunity to travel to as many of the United States as I have so I wanted to get them interested in learning more about the geography of their home country.

The girls opened the box and pulled out the map and flipped through everything oohing and aahing about it. They don't like to write a lot so they didn't really touch the booklet besides flipping through it briefly. The next months shipments are sizably smaller since they only include a new booklet with two new states, an activity, two postcards, and some stickers.

Final Rating: Great if your kids are get involved but it didn't hold Erika and Mia's attention so I cancelled our subscription after 3 months. Perhaps we might sign up again before we start taking road trips around the United States.

Spain

Hey ather blogers.I don't know if you know that I'm moving to spain! I think it's good experience so when I grow up I'll have kids and travel the world.I'm going to do a few things on my bucket list. we are going to take a plane and ride to Island for 6am and leave at 4pm in the middle we are going to ride Icelandic Ponies. my mom has a penpal in Germany.my mom got me a little set that's called little passport.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Spanish Housing

It is generally not recommended to find housing over the internet. You want to be there in person, walk around and explore the neighborhoods, look for the location of schools and shopping, access to transportation, etc. I'm going against every bit of advice in the book and I'm going to find our apartment before we ever step foot in Spain. I joined several groups on Facebook that deal with rentals in Salamanca as that is where we will be living. We want a 3 bedroom apartment so that we'll have an extra room for family and guests. Salamanca is a huge university town so all of the rentals are for rooms in pisos or apartments that you rent individually in a roommate situation. The turnover here is usually by semester for the fall and spring. I'm atypical as I'm looking to rent the entire piso for a 10 month period. 

I found one gentleman with a three bedroom piso who handled the rentals on behalf of his grandmother. Since we wanted to take whole piso for both periods, he offered to give us a discounted rate of 575€ per month with all utilities included except electricity and internet. It is located near a supermarket called El Corte Ingles which is rumored to have an ice skating rink right behind it! I have never lived in a large metropolitan area, much less right smack dab in the middle of it. We may not have a vehicle for several months, if at all, so I want something that is centrally located for access to the University, schools for the girls, groceries, and recreation. 


I asked someone in Salamanca if they wouldn't mind going over and checking out the apartment in person to make sure that it was in a clean area and not in any state of disrepair or neglect. With the Euro dropping so low these days, we are looking at a furnished apartment with utilities included for approximately $600USD a month in a downtown metro setting. Mia is really excited that one of the bathrooms has a bidet so she can try one out. After living in Mexico, anything looks great after that.

Jose and I will be sharing one room with a full size bed, the girls will most likely share the other room with a full size bed, and our guest room with be the yellow room with a twin bed. I figure we can always get a futon mattress to put on the floor if we have more than one guest at a time. At this time, everyone says that they want to come over and visit but in reality, it is generally just talk and nobody ever shows up. Six months in Mexico and Kara and Justin were the only ones to come see us. We definitely will not be making any trips home until our time is completely over. Four round trip tickets during a holiday break are extremely expensive. If you are flexible, you can travel roundtrip for about $500 but I'll save that for another post later on.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

oregon coast

I went to the oregon coast.today we went to the beatch we got all sandy.we diged a big hole.then we took a groop picture.we went to a candy store we got taffys my friend
got 2 suckers and a candy toilit he got one for his little sister. we had a water fite.we played Cops and robers.we played LEGOS.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Plan A and Plan B

It's March now and less than six months until we leave for Spain and so far the only thing concrete that I have is four one way tickets to Spain. While developing Plan A: Move to Spain and teach English part time through the Auxiliares de conversación en España program, I began to realize that other options existed out there and Plan B came into play. In the recent months, my priorities have actually switched and Plan A has become Master's in Advanced English Studies at USAL and teaching English has become my backup plan. 

Right on the nose on January 6th, I jumped online and submitted my application to the Auxiliares program and I scored the low admission number (inscrita #) of 44! At current time, I believe we are just tipping 4,000 applicants. Placements are traditionally assigned to applicants who are already in the program and renewing for a second year. Then the new first year applicants start to receive their regional placements and have three days to accept or decline. On January 23, I received the email that my application had been registered and moments later, the email that I had been accepted into the program. That means we are a green light for Spain, one way or another.

I've been able to do more research into the Master's program and the class schedule generally runs from Monday through Friday from 9am to 2pm. That wouldn't allow me any time to also participate in the Auxiliares program and teach the required 12 hours a week. The Master's program then became Plan A as the money from my housing allowance would actually pay more than the wages for teaching English. I hope that I'll still be able to pick up some private tutor classes in the evenings and weekends. 

Our projected savings are right on target and we hope to bring a little more than we had hoped for which is good. We received a healthy tax refund this year which went straight into savings. My paternal grandfather who passed away recently made me a trust fund grandbaby, literally. I have to share it equally with all of my aunts, uncles, cousins, and siblings but hey, even $1 makes me a trust fund baby. Thank you Grandpa Dick! I used your gift to buy our tickets to Spain and pay off our bankruptcy attorney. We depart September 4th at 3:40pm from Portland, arrive in Iceland at 6:15am and get a 10 hour layover to explore to Iceland before catching a 4:15pm flight to Madrid. In Iceland, we'll be renting a car to drive into Reykjavík to explore town and find some breakfast. Then we'll head out to the Laxnes Horse Farm for a two hour ride on the famous Icelandic horses. Afterward, we'll catch a 4:15pm to Madrid where we'll arrive just after 10pm and stay in a hotel for our first night in Spain. Then rent a car and drive to Salamanca to explore our new home!

The dollar is almost on par with the Euro right now so our money will get us farther during our stay in Europe if it remains on this course. When I traveled to Europe, the Euro was around 1.27 and now it's down to 1.04. Thankfully, we'll be living on the USD instead of earning the Euro so this means we'll be able to afford more vacations while we're there!

I'll update about my challenges in getting the necessary paperwork to even apply for admission to the University of Salamanca. I did manage to get both my and Erika's passports renewed along with getting the passport card for border travel in case we need to travel to Mexico or Canada while we're applying for our Spanish visas.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Second day

It was a little better then yesterday because I didn't throw up. I did a lot of things with my sister.  I thought my dog pooped because his bone was brown.I found my dog Bruno he was lost.I made some crafts.I made a bracelet today it was fun.My dad went to the gym. I wanted to go to my gramma's  house but I didn't want to go for a CuppaYo but my sister did. So I can't go boo hoo. but I can hangout with my mom and scrapbook with her. I snuck some grenadine syrup to put in my seven up. I played minecraft on the laptop it was fun. I watched my mom make top ramen. I watched The Way with my mom and my sister it is a good movie I've watched it. oh did I tel you that yesterday my mom got me a stuffed animal it was a little bunny. I wanted to go out side but I can't. My gramma went and picked my sister up and left.my sister's dog was being  a cutie he smiled.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

my tonsils

I was scared for my tonsils to get out . but now I have them out. when you get them out it doesn't hurt as bad.I kind of like it because I get some popsicles. in the process I bet my mom and dad were scared for me I know my sister was I got a dog and I gave it to her. I thought she would be more nice to me. it kind of was bad because I don't like that I threw up it taste bad.I thew up at the err.but I know my mom will be right by my side.My dog's name is Rinkls.

 

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