Who’s excited for Mole?!

  Tomorrow is the day folks! And I’m so excited! I just thought I’d give you a little peak at what will be on the blog tomorrow. MOLE! This is pronounced mole’. This dish is so delicious and is so easy to make. My suegra makes it for birthdays and anniversaries in her house. So…since there are so many people in Jose’s family we have this bowl of glory about once a month.

So check out the blog tomorrow for the amazing red mole recipe!

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Our Garden: Radishes

ADVENTURE CLUB I went outside today and saw that our radishes were all bursting from the ground, ready to be picked. We had tons! I got to thinking. What are radishes even good for? So I did some research and found so many benefits that I think radishes will be a common ingredient for us now! Not to mention we have hundreds growing… There were so many benefits! Who would’ve thought so much good could come from this tiny vegetable.

1. Gives you Glowing Skin

2. Cancer Fighting- especially Colon Cancer

3. Constipation

4. Urinary Tract Issues. Radishes clean and clear our your liver and kidneys. They cleanse the whole tract so you have no more crazy infections goin on down there.

5. Boosts Immune System

One thing I love about Mexicans is that they use EVERYTHING. They use every part of a plant, an animal, etc. So I also needed to find out if we could eat the leaves and live. Turns out that YES you can eat the leaves, in fact, you should! They are the most nutrient dense part of the plant.So don’t throw them away!

I’ve listed a few things here that I found:

1. Helps Rheumatism: mix the extract of the leaves with the same amount of sugar. Add a tiny bit of water and you will have a paste. Rub this on your soar knee joints from the disease and this will soothe the pain and decrease swelling.

2. Prevents Diabetes

3. Contains TONS of Vitamin C

4. High in Fiber…you know what this means!!! It helps you poo! No more constipation!

5. Iron, Calcium, and Folic Acid

They are so good for you!!!

So I had to think of an amazing dish for Comida so that they wouldn’t all go bad. As I looked on the shelf I had a brilliant idea of what to make and thought I would share it with all of you.

You’ll need:

  • radishes (of course)
  • Zucchini
  • vegetable oil
  • lentils
  • salt
  • oregano
  • tomatoes
  • tortillas

First you’ll want to wash the lentils. There are some types of lentils that need to be soaked for a time before cooking, but I’m not really a fan. So we just use plain ‘ol brown lentils here in Mexico.

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Wash em good. Then place them in a pot with some hot water. Let them boil for a while until they are cooked through

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Next, I washed the radishes from our yard and diced them. Make sure you save the leaves. You will be using them in the next step. Saute the radishes with some vegetable oil until they are nice and soft.

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Rinse off the leaves and chop them up like you would cilantro. Here we need to soak our leafy foods with a couple drops of disinfectant. After is soaks for about 10 minutes then strain the leaves in a colander.

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Then just pop them in the boiling lentils so they can cook for a little while! This will get rid of the bitter, leafy taste.

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Let them boil for about 10 minutes together and then strain the water out of the pot. Then set them aside so they can cool down a bit.IMG_1226

While the radishes are cooking, wash and slice the zucchini. These also came from our garden!!

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Saute these babies in a little bit of veg oil and season with salt and oregano.

Once they are cooked through, scoop them out of the oil onto a toweled plate to get rid of excess oil and set aside.

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You don’t want your zucchinis to just taste like oil. That’s nasty.

Once the zucchinis and radish are cooked you are ready to put it all together. Combine the lentil mix, radishes, and zucchini into a bowl and mix together. I added fresh tomato for a little boost, but this part is totally up to you. Just sayin though…it is delicious.

    IMG_1229 What is a Mexican meal without tortillas? So heat em up baby!! IMG_1236 Serve your plate and keep the tortillas next. Make sure you got some agua fresca so go with it! Today we made agua de mango. So yummy! My favorite kind of agua fresca. photosd Like I said before, we have SO MANY radishes! Leave a comment and let me know what you do with radishes? Do you have an amazing recipe? What do you eat them with? I’d love to hear your ideas! -Ash

Ponderings

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Today as I sit at my kitchen table and look out of my window I think of the life that I chose. I think of the things that are new in my life. Our garden, the language, the culture, the food, the pesos, the work, the climate, the music, and so much more. I sit here looking at the cobblestreet and the empty lot across my house. It is now overgrown with plants. There is a small path through it that leads the way to the next street. Right next door to the Tortillaria. I visit here a few times a week. Surely, when our family grows this will turn to daily visits. I see two children playing in our quiet street with their puppy as the thunder rolls. It will rain soon and the air is crisp. I have my music on playing through the speakers in our kitchen while dinner is cooking in the oven and the no-bake cookies set in the freezer. As I sit here pondering, I realize that this is the life that I have always wanted. A safe street where my kids can play. If one of them falls and gets hurt, I know that one of my neighbors who saw would go to help my child with the same motherly love I would give him. We have a garden that sustains us and nourishes our bodies. Our front yard is beautiful with flowers and trees. Of course Jose has his chile plants in the front yard growing. My kitchen is organized just how I like it. I am a stay-at-home wife. I am a homemaker. My heart is so full of gratitude. I have waited for so long for this moment. There have been many heartaches and trials leading up to this. I’ve made so many mistakes that could’ve taken this away from me, but I know that it is because of the Savior that I am here in this peaceful, yellow kitchen right now. His Atonement is real. He answers prayers. He leads us, and is always with us. He is in the little things and the big things. He speaks to us everyday as we listen. He has answered the prayer of my heart in his own way by leading me to Pachuca last summer to teach the children. That is where I met my dear husband. That is where my life changed forever, but yet became what I always wanted. God has a marvelous way of taking care of His children. He has our best interest in mind. He is truly our Father.

Products for Parenting: Citrus Lane

So, I was searching online to see what kinds of things could be sent to Mexico from the states and got carried away into the land of product boxes. These boxes are kind of a big thing right now. There’s boxes for makeup, crafts, free trinkets, shavers, tampons, even food! I’m impressed with how the internet has given us so many new ways to receive anything we want right to our front door! I found this parenting box (http://sharedwithlove.com/l/4r3x8w1q65o4) as I was searching and was so very impressed. I am not pregnant yet, but we hope to have a baby in the near future. As I browse in the tiendas here and the street stands, there are stuff for babies, but it is all really bad quality. Citrus Lane (http://sharedwithlove.com/l/4r3x8w1q65o4) is a box just for parenting! I got so excited as I was looking through it! Baby snacks, baby toys, books, clothes, stuff for mom and dad, information on parenting and more! Oh my gosh this makes me baby hungry. More than I have been…

Being Happy No Matter What

I saw this video on Facebook today by BC Serna and I was deeply moved. This video may have been filmed in Africa, but it totally portrays the people here in Mexico. I am so grateful to be surrounded by people who live in the moment and find joy in the little things. There is not a lot of money here, but people are always smiling and willing to help you with whatever you need. They give you whatever they can, even if it is the little food they have.

This reminds me of a time last summer when I had the opportunity to go on an excursion in Cuetzalan with my Pachuca girls. We climbed up and down a huge mountain, explored caves, took a mud bath, enjoyed waterfalls, and swam in the rivers. It was one of my favorite moments in Mexico last summer. When were done with our adventure we were invited to eat with the guide’s family. They fed us the food they had made for their family for comida (the main meal of the day in Mexico). Our guide led us into his one room house with dirt floors. They had two beds, a TV, a table, and a small corner to cook in. I was so inspired by this family. They gave what they had and welcomed four strangers into their home.

Happiness is all around us. Living in the present moment brings happiness. As does serving others. There are many lessons to learn from those who have next to nothing. I know I am definitely learning from them. They are so kind and humble. So charitable, and yes, they are so happy.

The Gringa Tries Mexican Candy

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Get ready for a post full of selfies!

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AND THE FUN BEGINS!

grossThe first candy I tried was Chavalinas Dip. We got this in our bag of apples a few weeks ago, so I figure it is supposed to be eaten with them… it is kind of like a liquid chile. It  came in a package that reminded me of ketchup. Opening it was quite a challenge.selie

And then it splattered…all over my fingers. I was not expecting it to be a brown with a grimy texture. It oozed out the package so quickly! I had to act fast!

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ew

 

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Verdict? Not my favorite. And my tongue looks like it is bleeding.

Next is Cremino! This one looked so delicious. Milk AND white chocolate? Heaven.IMG_5105IMG_5106

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Ready to add marshmallow? I AM! Malvabon looked very strange. Remember when you were little and you’d hold the eraser of a pencil and as you shook it it would look like rubber? That’s just like Malvabon.

As we all know, I have been craving peanut butter. That is such a common theme on this blog. So I found something quite similar! Mazapan! This candy is very common here and a lot of people recognize this as a traditional Mexican Candy.

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IMG_5110You need  A LOT of water after you have a Mazapan because it is so dry, but oh so delicious!

As I looked down at the pile to grab the next piece of candy I froze. I was petrified.

no way I have to try the chile/mango sucker. I’ve heard of this one. After the experience with the chile apple dip, I’m not sure about this one.

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It was horrible but I had to finish it. Jose came in while I was suffering and took a few tastes because, believe it or not, this is his favorite candy. He says once you reach the mango part it’s the best! You get the best of both worlds. Spicy and then sweet.

How many licks does it take to get to the mango?

It took forever! And you gotta take water breaks. BUT THE MANGO WAS DELICIOUS! It tasted like a real mango! I guess it was worth the pain to get to the treasure.

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Now for my favorite. Coconugs. I know this is a post about the first time trying them, but I couldn’t leave out my best friend coco. This little buddy has brought me so much joy in my time here. It is a special treat when I get to have one of the beautiful nuggets.

These are amazing!!

Chile Eyes

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I ran to the bathroom. I couldn’t let Jose know that I was crying and in so much pain. It was so embarrassing. I sobbed in silenced. I wanted to rip my eyeballs out. I tried to fit my head under the faucet in the sink, but my head is too huge. After clever maneuvering, I finally got the stream of cold water drenching my eye. The burn only got worse. WHAT???! I had always learned that whenever you had something in your eyes you should run cold water on them. I stopped and washed my hands. I tried to get all of the serrano chile off of my fingers before I took the next step. I was terrified. I needed to take out my contacts. With my hands. My chile hands. I scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed. Finally, I felt like it was OK to stick my fingers in my eyes and take out the contacts. I was so wrong. The burning intensified. I could hear Jose down the hall calling my name. I really didn’t want to answer. He came to the bathroom door.

“Ash? Are you crying?”

“No, I’m fine!” I yelled back. I was so grateful right then that I had locked the bathroom door. Our lock is a deadbolt. Pretty serious privacy for a bathroom if you ask me! By this time I was back under the water soaking my eyeballs. I thought I had no other choice.

Then all of a sudden I felt a hand on my back. My sweet Jose was standing right next to me. I have no idea how he got into the bathroom. But he was there. I was so mad he was there! I really didn’t want him to see me like this. And over something so ridiculous!

“You got chile in your eye, didn’t you?” he asked.

“Yes and my contacts are soaking in it”, I sobbed.

Then he was gone. The next thing I new I could hear him speaking Spanish on his phone. He was talking to his mom. When we was finished he rushed back into the bathroom and said,

“Take your hair down. You need to rub your eyes with your hair.” So I did.

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Immediate relief! As I continued the pain got so much better. It was the best massage my eyeballs have ever received.

So there you have it folks. The cure for the dreaded chile eye. Advice from a true Mexican woman: my suegra. Online people say flush with cold water. DO NOT. I REPEAT. DO NOT FLUSH WITH COLD WATER. This only makes it worse. Like A LOT worse. If you ever get chile in your eye wipe your eye with your hair. God gives us cures all around! Even on our own body! This also works if you get lavender oil in your eye. (Tried it last night when a little spewed into the corner of my eye)

Remember. No water. Only hair. I think it has something to do with the oils absorbing up the chile juices. At least I like to think that is the reason because it makes me sound very smart.

You could always wear those rubber yellow gloves when you cut chiles as well. Maybe that would save you from the trouble and the pain in the first place…

in

PS the contacts…flushed em.

Missin and Lovin

Tomorrow is our four month anniversary. I know that is a short amount of time, but as I think about it it is just crazy to me how time flies. A year ago is when I first came to Mexico. I came with a language teaching program to teach English to children in Pachuca. I was originally supposed to go to a different city, but was changed to go to Pachuca. I had no idea that going to Mexico would drastically change my life forever. This adventure has been amazing. There have been so many ups and downs. Learning Spanish is still a struggle, however, I am now at least able to communicate. I can go grocery shopping in Calvillo by myself and ask the clerk where a certain item is. I can talk to people about certain simple subjects like food, our English school, soy Americana, si quiero bebes pero no, no estoy embarazada. That last one is seriously a daily sentence with someone from Jose’s family.

I love it here, yet there are things that I miss about home. I may say that I miss something, but there is something about writing it down that makes me really feel it. The words are then more concrete. They are more real when written. I miss a lot of things, but rather than post all of them, I am only going to allow myself ten items.I’d rather not focus on what I don’t have. So they better be good huh! PS Missing family and friends is a given so they are not part of the list.

1. Bathtub. Bath time was always my favorite stress reliever back home.

2. Peanut Butter…Facebook…yes I did post about this today. I AM CRAVING IT SOOOO BAD. They have very small jars in the big stores for tons of money. Peanut Butter is so expensive here. And yes Jose’s dad is a peanut farmer, but you can’t make the smoothness without a food processor. Wishlist…Food Processor. We could make bank with that thing!

3. Coconut oil. This is another luxury here. I have only found one store that has it and I asked every pharmacy and natural beauty store around Calvillo.

4. Carpet. My toes need some care.

5. Walking barefoot in the grass. Again…My toes.

6. Pedicures. I miss pedicures given by the asian ladies in Logan. They really knew how to pamper your toes. I think my feet are trying to tell me something with the last three items…

7. Driving a car. Oh man I miss driving a car.

8. Air Conditioning. I am grateful for Jose. He really uses his brain. He has made his own DIY air conditioner for our room. Yes there will be a post about that beauty soon.

9. Multi-grain wheat bread. Here is the white bread with brown dye to make it seem like it is wheat. I need some grains!

10. Drinking from the hose. The water here is dangerous to drink. I remember as a little girl drinking straight from the hose. Man that was the best!

Now that I got that out of my system. I want to share at least 10 things that Mexico has that I love! Gotta end on a positive note!

1. The Spanish language. This language is so beautiful!

2. Coconut treats. I’m obsessed with these. Recipe coming soon.

3. Saludos. Everywhere you go you are greeted by EVERYONE. LITERALLY! “Buenos Dias”, Buenas Tardes”, “Buenas Noches”. This is all over the country. Plus when you greet someone at the beginning of the conversation you always give them a little cheek to cheek smootch. When I went back to the states after my summer of teaching, besides Jose, this was the thing that I missed the most about Mexico.

4. Tacos. Taco Bell’s crunchy tacos are good, but authentic Mexican tacos cannot be beat! In fact, Jose just went down the street to get me some street tacos for cena! Lucky.

5. Water bill…$10 USD every two months.

6. Rent. $40 USD a month.

7. Music. Music is everywhere. Even right outside your front door! There is always some band playing at one of our neighbors house at night. We always have live entertainment.

8. COLORS. This is something that relieves my stress. I love going on walks and seeing the colorful buildings. Our house is a bright blue. I love the variety. Bright colors are everywhere you turn.

9. Culture is everywhere. Whether it is at a party, a wedding, an Easter event, or the circus, you always get a taste of the Traditional Mexican culture. They celebrate their heritage here so often. I love how proud of their background and traditions they are. Even Jose’s Grandma, Milla, wears a head-wrap/bandana that all of the older women wear.

10. Jose. How could I not mention this man. He is my dream come true. No he is not perfect, nor am I, but I love that I am traveling this peanut butterless road with him. He is the one I chose. I am forever grateful for my decision to come here and to start my family with this selfless, loving, hardworking man.

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Banana Bread in Mexico

One of my favorite types of sweet bread is banana bread. I have searched and searched, but this little piece of heaven is not available anywhere here. The people are not aware that there is such a divine taste in this world. So I thought I would make a batch and share it with the Mexican world. Jose was the biggest fan. Since I’ve first made the bread, this has been pretty much a weekly happening in our home. We’ve also shared this with our neighbors and friends. This last Sunday morning we were in a rush out the door to catch the Combi to go to church. I hadn’t eaten so I grabbed the rest of the banana bread. It’s a good thing too. When we got to church we found that there was no bread for the sacrament. So our sacrament bread was banana bread that day. And PS this is OK. We were in a bind and didn’t want to spend money on Sunday. So…banana bread it was!

 I found the recipe on SimplyRecipes.com. This is definitely a keeper!

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1st preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Then you smash the bananas in a mixing bowl. If they are lumpy like above…that’s OK. Adds a little character to the bread!

Next is the butter! YUMMY!! Melt 1/3 cup of butter and mix it into the banana mush. I didn’t have a 1/3 cup butter so I used about 1/2 butter, 1/2 vegetable oil. Great substitute. IMG_4992

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Baking soda anyone? Add a teaspoon of baking soda to the bowl of love. Stir into to mush.

See this salt in my hand? DON’T ADD THIS MUCH!!! A pinch will do.

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Next comes the sugar. The recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, but today I used 1/2 cup of white sugar and 1/2 cup of brown sugar. Oh wow did it turn out amazing! I recommend switchin up the sugar bit. Stir in the sugar with a fork. PS this whole recipe is stirred with a fork. No power tools needed.

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EGGS! We got em. One will be enough. Make sure to beat the egg in a separate dish before adding it to the mix. And also…I love this photo.

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Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Or if you speak Spanish…Vainilla. I love Mexico.

Flour ladies and gentlemen. So last time I used flour I was making Pizza with our little church family group of 10 people. One of the sisters got so confused by flower and flour. It took a good while and a good laugh to be able to explain to her the difference. Add 1 1/2 cups of FLOUR. Harina. And mix.

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For good measure you might as well add chocolate right? I suggest chocolate chips, but this picture says otherwise. These actually are chocolate chips, I promise. They just melted a little because it is so freakin hot here. I put them in the fridge to reform and, well, they aren’t that pretty anymore. But they taste so good in the bread!

Pour your batter into a greased pan and stick it in the middle of your oven for the best distribution of heat.IMG_5009

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As I was growing up, my mom taught me the value of cleaning as you cook. It keeps your kitchen clean and saves so much time. So as I waited for the bread I cleaned the dishes. And, of course, licked the spoon. It’s your right of passage for cooking something for your family!!

 Also just want to give a shout out to the necklace around my neck. This is a piece made with love from Abuelito. He is 90 years old and still makes jewelry, weaves baskets and chairs. Always smiling that man is!IMG_5011           Now I know that you probably want to see the finished product. Am I right? Well…you can’t. I forgot to take a photo of it right out of the oven and Jose and I gobbled it up before I remembered to take a photo. So the end result is either left to your imagination or make this bread for yourself and you can send me photos of the end result.

Again this recipe is not mine so here is the link to where I got it…

http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/banana_bread/

  • 2-3 very ripe bananas, peeled
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup of sugar (can easily use 3/4 cup, or drop it down to 1/2 cup if you want it less sweet)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour

Read more: http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/banana_bread/#ixzz3YjimA2SH

Peace out!

Don’t Mess with the Gringa

Living here in Mexico, there is never a dull moment. Even washing the dishes is a new adventure for me. We have no dishwasher so everything is washed by hand. Every. Single. Little. Thing. At first I loved it. I was so excited about the work that I was doing around the house. And then I started having to do dishes about 6 or 7 times a day. I’m no longer on the cloud and understand why so many people don’t like doing dishes.

IMG_4554 I do love, however, that I have my “chalkboard of positivity” in front of the sink. I think when we build our Rancho, I will make sure that there is a window facing outside above the sink rather than a wall. It will make the task a lot more pleasant.

Just a side note before I move forward about the mundane duty of dishes. I’m sitting on the porch with my back against the cement house of Jose’s uncle and aunt. We are currently in a small village in the mountains where there is no phone service and no internet. I am writing this so that when I go to Jose’s parents’ tomorrow I can copy, paste, and post. The roads are dirt. Cows are all around. The ranch is on a hill and I am looking out at the village below me. This place reminds me so much of our B-13 family ranch in Pinedale, Arizona. Men ride their horses passed the house with their sombreros. There are empty fields where corn will be planted when planting season comes. Below the house, about a ¼ a mile away is the field of Nopales. The cactus paddles are cut and just sticking out of the ground in straight lines. A cactus garden. Sounds of animals fill my ears. Cows, roosters, different sorts of birds, a horse, dogs barking, and the faint chattering of Spanish from the villagers. It is very tranquil here. I like coming here to get away and be with Jose while he works, but I’m not quite sure I’ve reached the point of wanting to live in the boonies without contact with the outside world just yet.

Back to my dirty dishes.

One particular time, I’m home alone doing dishes while Jose is gone working on someone’s house. I had a huge pile which seemed like it was not getting any smaller as I washed. I had just made a batch of cookies so I could try my hand at selling cookies for pesos. You see, we had several tiendas de abarrotes offer to sell my cookies at the front of their store near the conchas and bolillos. (These are different types of bread, Taneesa)  So I’m cleaning the mountain one spoon at a time when I see it. Eyes are staring at me from the corner of the sink. Disgusting little bubbles of brown. The body was hidden in between wall and the sink, but I knew exactly what it was. We had been finding the little devils around our house since we discovered our stove, a gift, was infested. Ew. The stove is gone, but the cockroaches remain.IMG_4555 We have no idea how the crap they continue to show up. We have searched and sprayed the living day lights out of the kitchen and still, they reappear.

I acted like I didn’t see it. Hopefully it would see I “didn’t notice him” and come out in the open. He didn’t. I continued washing the forks. He still hadn’t moved, but was still staring me down. I began to clean the table and stovetop. He moved! But only slightly. I could see the knobby head his eyes were attached to. There still wasn’t enough room to kill. I had to be patient. I cleaned the floor. He inched forward a little more. I snuggled the rabbit. He moved back into his crack of a cave. Dang it. At this point I was getting tired of waiting so I left the kitchen and went about some other chores around the house. Fine. If he wasn’t ready to die, then I wouldn’t waste my time waiting for him to come into full view.

Time flies and a couple hours later it was time for me to make dinner for Jose. I took out the vegetables and started the lentils on the stove. Just then, I saw a quick movement out of the corner of my eye. A cockroach! This one was on the other side of the room so I knew it was new. I quickly killed him. 10 minutes later another one scurried up the wall near the kitchen door. SLAM! Dead by way of my shoe. I killed 2 more while cooking dinner. Don’t worry, I sanitized every spot where a dead roach had lay. I decided to try the king. The master cucaracha. I went to the sink to find his eyes staring me down. Our eyes met as he came forward from his sanctuary. Slowly. Just then he made a run for it. Running up the wall as fast as he could. How cute. I watched him with a sense of sympathy. Poor guy, thinks he can outrun the deadly shoe. SLAM!!!!

IMG_4561 Nope. Sorry guy, it’s over. Turns out that this Mr. Roach was no Mr. at all, but an expecting Mrs. She had egg sacks on her butt. At least I thought they were egg sacks. Taking the shoe outside and scraping, stomping, and spraying with pesticide brought me so much pleasure. Since then there have been a few, but not as many as before little cucas showing up in our house. After the death of their queen they don’t mess with Mrs. Ashlee Martinez.