Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Grocery Price Update

I was just scanning through some of my older posts when I came across this.

Shortly after arriving in Portugal I compiled this list of random costs. Looking back over it, I'm shocked at my ignorance! It's taken some time, but I've been able to find things I thought didn't exist and I've learned where to shop for the best deals. Original post in red. Update in black.

In American Dollars:

Plastic clothes hangers: $3.00 for 3 - I have more than I need now! Some kind folks mailed us some, and I brought some when we came. But the problem is that there aren't closets built in the houses here. So we fold most of our clothes.

Sour Cream: It doesn't exist...ughhh - It does exist, I just had to experiment with several packages of what looked like sour cream to find it. And get this, it's called "fresh cheese"!

Worcestershire sauce: $4.50 for small bottle - I've found an off brand for $1.50.

Kiwi: $2.25 for 2.2 lbs - This is still pretty accurate, maybe about $2.00 for 2.2 lbs. (The exchange rate is better right now.)

Furniture: don't even ask! - I can't get over how much some things cost, but we've discovered IKEA! When we need furniture in the future, we'll go there.

Oranges: Free in yard! - And boy are they good!

Tangerines: Free in yard! - Nummy, nummy!

Lemons: Free in yard! - Fresh squeezed lemonade, anytime! - And don't forget the pears, plumbs, cherries, figs, peaches and apples that are in the yard at various times throughout the year!

5 Liter Bottle Water: .60 cents - Now it's about 50 cents. But an individual bottle of water 'off brand' is 12 cents a bottle. You buy them individually here.

3 bags microwave popcorn: $6.00 - Wow....I hope I didn't buy any at this price! I can find them now for about $1.50.

Peanut butter: doesn't exist - A grocery store near me has started carrying Jiffy. It's almost $5.00 for a very small jar. I don't buy it. We have a precious church in Kimberly, AL that sends us peanut butter when we need it.

Kool-aid: doesn't exist - But we have plenty thanks to you good folks!

Cheap high chair..not so cheap: $55.00 - We're done with baby items!! My babies aren't so "baby' anymore.

Size 10 ladies shoe: doesn't exist - Hey..I lost a little weight and I can fit in the largest size here now! One of the many benefits to loosing weight.

Cheapest small bottle of hair conditioner: $4.50 - Again, I've found it cheaper and I usually always buy the off brand. It's about $2,00.

Smallest bottle of baby powder: $4.00 - Aren't off brands great! I get it now for about 1$.

Ranch dressing: doesn't exist - But we stay stocked cause of you!!

Awesome cup of coffee: .60 cents - Coffee prices are the same.

Fresh baked rolls.. the chewy kind: .15 cents ea. - I try to stay away from these, although a good roll is wonderful from time to time. Same price.

Weed eater: $375.00-guess we'll pull by hand - A little cheaper today....we finally broke down and bought one this summer. We were getting eat up with weeds.

Carrots: .50 cents for 2.2 lbs. - Lots of carrots get eaten around here....same price today.

Tea bags: $6.50 for average size box - Found the off brand and it's $1.50 for 20 teabags (individual cup size)

You know, the problem is not that everything is expensive, cause it's really not once you figure out how to shop. The problem that we have is that the packaging is so small I have to buy several of everything for my family. That's how it adds up. It's only getting worse too, cause they are getting bigger and eating much more....oh my, what will I do when they are all teens?! My only consolation is that I have 4 girls and they tend to eat less. But that wasn't the case when I was a teen...was it Mom?!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Summer Rolls On

After months of endless rain, cold winds and damp houses, the rainy season has finally ended.

And it's very difficult for me to stay indoors. Right now, the sun is shining so bright and beautiful in the kitchen window that I can't concentrate on what I'm supposed to be writing for the longing to hurry, get dressed and go outside!

And since my laptop doesn't have a battery, I'm not doing much blogging from the yard.

(making soup)

Last weekend we had a baptism at the river. Here are a few pictures.

Newly ordained Pastor Maicon, here from Brazil helping the Baptist churches in our area, performing his first baptism.

Singing on the river bank.

Me and my love.

My babies.

My kids trying to walk across the river without getting wet. Or at least that's what they said they were trying to do.

This is what ended up happening.....

Trinity - "Mom I made it across!! I'm the only one!"
Mom - "Just get in...everyone else is wet!"


It was a good day filled with lots of laughter, fellowship and great food.

This is what they looked like on the ride home.

I know I've been scarce lately, but please be patient with me. I need all the Vitamin D I can get.

Hope summer is going well for you,

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Heat Waves, History and Homeschool

The Portuguese Summer Heat has set in. Projected temperatures are frightening when considering we have a few fans and nothing more to keep us cool. Even the little kiddy pool out back with it's mysteriously developed hole offers no hope of reprieve from the heat. One of the advantages to such heat is that when I hang out a load of wash, by the time I'm done with the last article of clothing, the first one I hung out is nearly dry! Which means I can get lots of clothes done in record time. I just sweat like a dog while doing it!

4th of July was fairly uneventful here. We didn't even see a firework, or smell the delicious aroma of grilled hamburgers and BBQ. But we did enjoy watermelon....

..and we tossed around the football.

This morning, in between going out to hang out laundry and blogging, I'm being a very mean mother. Summer school is in full force.

When we discuss what we do in the summer with our friends here, I am always met with frowns and disbelief. Other parents cannot believe I 'make' my kids do school work in the summer! After all, 'children are not machines', we've been told.

However, much to my shame and embarrassment, my 11 year old could not accurately tell how many stars were on the American flag when asked by a Portuguese man at church on Sunday. This man knew the correct answer and she did not. He also knew what the 13 stripes represented...and again...she did not.

Now, to her credit, she can correctly conjugate just about any Portuguese verb thrown at her and she fills me in on the history behind each of the 2,000 Portuguese holidays when I wonder why the stores are closed again for the third time in a week. This was one of the concerns when we prayed about whether to allow them to attend a Portuguese school, or continue to homeschool. The decision was made to go to school and to supplement during the summer with American history, English and any other necessary American teachings that they lacked. They actually enjoy it....other parents don't believe me though.

We've been told by another American missionary family who raised their children here and sent them to the schools that one day one of their children (teenager) came to them and asked, "Dad... now is Denver a city or a state?"

Don't laugh...hearing something like this hurts a parents heart. It's one of the struggles families raising children in a foreign country experience. This family shared this story with us as a way to encourage us. They told us to not be surprised when something like this happens cause it will happen. Well...I had my day on Sunday when Brooklyn could not tell or even guess how many stars were on the American flag....on our day of Independence no less......

So...with this all said...we keep on....We teach when we see opportunities. We encourage when they get frustrated. We smile and laugh when we don't know what else to do.......

So goes the Life of a Missionary Wife.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

One Solution = Another Problem

An email I received this morning from some women's health magazine was titled "7 foods that make you gassy." After a brief chuckle my finger went to hit the delete button but instead I opened the email. Call it an accident, call it what you will.....but what I realized upon further inspection is this:

There is a reason my stomach has been bloated for the last 18 months!

I eat everything on that list!


All 7 foods! And the funny thing is (well it's not really funny for those that live with me) is that I eat most all 7 items everyday!

Does that not sound like my sort of luck, or what?!

Here are the seven foods: (cause I know you're wondering)
  1. Vegetables (I'm practically a vegetarian)
  2. Fruits, especially apples, peaches and pears. (Fruit has become, except in rare occasions, my dessert...and I have a huge sweet tooth, so you can imagine how much fruit I eat.)
  3. Starchy foods (I'm a carb addict..whole grains of course, which makes it worse)
  4. Milk and Dairy Products (I drink milk in my coffee, have milk in my starchy, fiber ridden cereal and eat cheese all the time...the low fat version, but by now, who cares?)
  5. Oats (This is ridiculous...I eat whole grain oats every morning)
  6. Beans (we all know how the song goes....bean, beans, the magical fruit.....)
  7. Sodas (I love a good diet coke from time to time)
So in my attempt to eat healthier, this is what I get.

Way too much information, huh?