Tag Archives: island life

Introducing…

hey gang. Sorry for my disappearance the last week or so. It’s been crazy up here in the Vizuete and Kaffenberger household with a teething baby (16 are all in. Do I see molars??!!??); changing rooms; shots- as in the needle kind but the other kind are pretty good; and the biggest change….we are chicken owners!!

On Sunday we made the early morning drive out to Hato Rey, which is slightly south on the outskirts of San Juan, to hook up with the Gallinas Urbanas guy to buy our baby chicks. I have a friend who bought her 25 chicks from them and she recommended that we get there early as there is always a line. And was there! He shows normally around 9am. We got there at 8 and there were probably 6 people already there. Yep. 

Unfortunately he was running late but thanks to my father, the little one was entertained by running around the square, waving at people, and hugging trees. Weird. Anyway, the market he sells his chickens is the Cooperativa Organica Madre Tierra. There’s maybe about 20-25 tents selling everything from plants to bread to fresh pasta to vegetarian empanadillas and much more. It’s an all organic sorta market. I even scored a much needed mini massage!

  
We had an idea of what we wanted and after waiting almost 45-60 mins for the 6 in front of us to get finished (some people were buying 20-30 chicks!) our game plan flew out the window! He had pulled out his ‘special’ box and he had some polish chicks. My all-time favorite chicken was the polish frizzle but of course there’d be no way of getting one here. So when I heard polish and big bouffant hair I. Was. Sold! They were sold in pairs so we ended up getting the 2 polish and one each of the buff Orpington, ameraucana, and barred Plymouth Rock. They are really too cute for words. Aside from my polish having very big round heads. 

So that’s what we’ve been doing all week: becoming mama and dada (and big papa) to our new little familia. And I’m so surprised how gentle and careful Gabriela is with them. 

  
May I introduce you to….(staring from the top right hand corner and going clockwise)

– Chickpea (polish) – Isa (aka Isabela; Ameraucana) – Lulu (polish) – Oreo (barred Plymouth Rock) and – Buffy (buff Orpington)

They are already showing personalities and I can’t wait to watch them grow and having Gabi interact with them!

   
   
And be sure to follow me on Instagram where I share lots more pics of our island life!

Have a great day!

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Ch ch ch changes…

(my little homage to the passing of David Bowie. What a legend.)

So changes…Gabriela turned 18 months old Sunday and that lil chica is changing day by day. It’s amazing. She’s growing and advancing and turning into a little <gasp> girl. I love it and I hate it. 

  
Our last beach outing consisted of well over an hours worth of Gabi running around on the sand, tossing sand over back, and jumping the waves (with big papa). Gone are the days of tranquility when she would just hang in her little tent and everyone else would get some sunshine. But ya know what: this is pretty awesome, too! Just seeing her explore and check out the world is pretty darn cool. And entertaining! And, I’m coming to grips with the whole ‘having sand in places you don’t want sand to be!’. It amazes me how sand can get up in places on that little chica! Thank goodness we started bringing a water jug so we can clean her up and there’s even a hose-like thingy at our spot if she gets extra sandy. I’m hoping she’ll eventually figure out face-planting in the sand isn’t a real good idea. 

   
 
Along with much more active beach days, we’ve FINALLY moved Gabi into her bedroom yesterday! Being 18 months old we figured it’s time. We’ve always kept her pack n play, and then crib, in our room. It made sense since I was still breastfeeding her and for some reason her weird habit of being wide ass awake at 5am. I’d bring her to bed (I know, I know) and she’d sleep until 7/7.30. Glorious. So there was trepidation moving her so. Far. Away. (About 10 steps to the other room.) but alas we did it and last night sucked! She was up every two hours and by 4am I was exhausted and we both were done. Needless to say she slept until almost 9 all snuggled up on my shoulder. I know, I know. 

But as of right now, sweet girl is taking an awesome nap on her own, in her crib, in her bedroom. Yes! 

Our chicken coop/tractor is finished and I’m thinking we’re heading to San Juan on Sunday to fetch our chicks. If I remember correctly we’ll be doing two buff orpington’s, 2 ameraucana, and 1 Plymouth rocks. Unfortunately we were hoping for an australop but our guy doesn’t have any. Gives us room to grow. Eventually. 

   
   
Also hoping to get back on the meal planning kick. I’ve been winging it lately and I’ve noticed that I’ve been using a lot of dairy, cream, buttttteerrrrrrrr, and not really accounting for portion sizes. Needless to say I’ve been feeling a bit on the chunky side. So I need to start planning better. Dinner tonight will be a pork loin. Of course I have no clue yet what to do but I’m sure I’ll think of something. 

Thanks for sticking with me. There will be much more food blogging to come as well as chicken updates and the goings-on with sweet Gabriela. 

Ps- be sure to follow me on Instagram for more pics from the island. 

   
 

Juggling 

I can now see how actual juggling is so difficult: the concentration, coordination, and multitasking is utterly mind blowing and I’ve again encountered a less than stellar juggling act the past week.  

The husband was back last week from his trip but my father was still gone so juggling the house, gabriela (who I think is getting 4 more teeth), dinner, errands, and training was left to me. This isn’t a woe is me moment– I’m actually recalling loving this time right now. Not every moment, but a lot of them. 

I’m loving the quiet time I get when Gabi (miraculously) decides to take a nap in her crib (yes, I’m that mother who would cuddle her while she naps until she’s 18. I’m working on it). It’s just me in the house and it’s blissful. (Sorry dad, I love having you around but being alone ROCKS!). I’m able to just sit. And that’s all. Before I was always doing something: meal planning, cleaning, etc etc. but last week I just vegged a few times. Priceless. 

But it was still rough for a hours/days. Sometimes naps weren’t had at all and that sassy little chica ruled the roost. On those days, dinner was had out. And I’ve got a lovely husband who’ll be happy to dine out anytime. Thank you, husband. 

 

Gorgeous view overlooking Jobos Beach

  

Grilled shrimp with mango pico de gallo at La Vista Smokehouse


Overall it was a great week and we even took a drive out west to check out a new restaurant and the sunset. Unfortunately it was overcast and it actually rained – a lot – but being up in the mountain region was very refreshing. It’s amazing how green things are up there. What’s even MORE amazing is that we can get this different terrain/scenery by only driving 45 mins away from our house in any four directions. Puerto Rico surely is amazing! 

 

Casa Linda Restaurant overlooking the Anasco/Aguada valley. Rincon beachline in the background.

  

daddy- daughter giggles as the rain comes down.


So that pretty summed up our week. This week found my husband working nights for the next two months (ugh) but at least my father will be back on Saturday and the husband and Gabi get to spend a lot of quality time together during the day. Which has allowed me to make homemade chicken stock, which i doctored up by adding fresh herbs, carrots, and celery. But the way the recipe as written really does churn out a lovely stock. And I’ll be doing chicken pot pies for tonight, along with little mini ones to freeze for Gabriela. I haven’t found a recipe yet so I just might wing it. I’ll update you. 

 

chicken stock stash heading to the freezer.


So far the week has been pretty good. This weekend we’re off to San Juan for three days for the races so that’ll be a nice staycation ! 
Happy Tuesday, friends! And welcome to the new followers and thank you all for the likes!

 

my girl and me ❤️

 
 

 
 
 

I Wonder Wednesday 

(I wonder… if I will ever actually post this on a WEDNESDAY) 🙂

So it’s been unusually hot (from what I’ve been told by the locals) these last few months. Plus we’ve been getting the dry air and sand storms from the Sahara so it just seems like the air is stagnant. Now I’m no stranger to a hot environment: I’ve lived in Phoenix for about 5 years, grew up in the heat and humidity in St. Louis, and experienced the southern humidity in Alabama. But all these places have something in common that is lacking in Puerto Rico…

AIR CONDITIONING

Yep. I’d guesstimate that upwards of about 75% of the houses here (including ours) do not have air conditioning. We have a whole lot of windows instead! Word round the campfire is that 1. Electricity is crazy expensive here and 2. They don’t do central air but rather individual units that are mounted to a wall so you’d need one for every room and those aren’t cheap. Plus factor in the cost of electricity. 

We knew this coming here but we (foolishly) thought ‘oh we’re in an island. There’ll be breezes and we’ll have the tropical wind blowing through our hair.’  Yea, right. While a majority of our windows do face the windward side and we do in fact get fabulous breezes, it’s still hot! 

But it’s slowly getting bearable. At times. Now the kitchen, well that’s another matter. There’s only 4 windows and it’s closed off so there’s not really a flow of air. It gets a bit stifling in there. But does that hinder me from using the oven, doing long roasts, or whipping up big meals? Nope. Sacrifice, I say. At least that’s the story I’m sticking with. 

We do, however, have lots of ceiling fans and ground fans. And of course we have a portable air conditioner in Gabi’s room (and my dad’s room for when she hangs out with him) and that really does keep us cool. I’m working on getting one for every room but the husband hasn’t gotten on board on yet. Lol. 

So I wonder…what did people do before air conditioning was invented? Did they complain or was it just the way it is? I guess I’m just spoiled having that LUXURY for all of my life that I seriously miss it. When we stay in a hotel I’m in heaven because of the A/C! Do you think you could ever live day in and day out with it? 

We’ve had a lot of trade-offs coming here and after completing our first year, they’ve all been worth!

Happy hump day (well Thursday now)!

 

Nice and chill in her own air conditioning.

 

Smorgasbord smashup…

And it’s not just about food!

I’ve noticed that I’ve been terribly absentminded these last few weeks and I have been neglecting my blog. My apologies to my followers. To say I’ve been crazy busy would be a fib; I’ve just been neglectful.

So here’s a smorgasbord (isn’t that such a great word??) smashup of the relevant high points of the last few weeks:

– baby Gabriela is 4 months old now! Well she was anyway on the 10th. She is a whopping 13lbs2oz, 24 inches long, and just perfect! She had her vaccinations as well and she was a rockstar. I can’t believe how big she’s getting.

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IMG_4436.jpg Such personality!

– speaking of getting big…she’s also getting her first tooth! Yikes!! She’s been a little more fussy the last few days and insists wants to be held as much as possible. Other than that she’s been pretty good. Thinking the tooth will pop through any day. She’s going to be too cute with a tooth!

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– cooking you ask? This week has been a bust and I sadly admit we’ve gotten takeout 2 times already. I’ve definitely lost my mojo this week. It doesn’t help that we spent 4.5 hrs at the doctor on Monday, I haven’t been to the grocery store in almost two weeks, or that Gabi is needing constant attention. I know, excuses excuses. Cooking will be had, damnit!

– when I was cooking the other week, it was pretty darn good! The standout has to be the 50 Shades of Chicken whole roasted chicken covered in bacon. The story for it is hilarious! Check out this excerpt:

“Chicken with a lardon.” [Seriously] “…He carries me in his arms to the sink. ‘I want to rinse you’, he mutters. “Now.” A strong, graceful hand cradles me under the cascading tap water while the other caresses me smoothly over the sink. His manicured fingers move in agonizingly slow arcs across my breast and the crease of my thigh. Holy cow. What is he doing to me? There’s a burning smell, and in my delirium I wonder if I’m already cooked.”

Even if you don’t ever make a recipe from here, you do just have to buy it for the novelty of the whole thing. Or at least that’s my story.

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– I also did a modified version of Giada de Laurentiis’ stuffed shells. Can anything be better than ooey gooey cheesy stuffed shells? Yum!

– we’ve squeezed in some beach time. Gabi is really starting to get used to the heat and we’ve been taking her slowly into the waters edge to get her feet wet. She seems to like it. I can’t wait till she’s a little bigger to really start enjoying it all! And that’ll mean more beach trips! 😉

– next week is Thanksgiving and also my favorite holiday because of all the food! My MIL Vicki will be in town so that’ll just make things extra fun. We’re getting ready for her visit by painting the living room and finally getting around to hanging up the final pictures. I also got a huge rug for the living room and it feels so much more cozy.

So check back over the weekend as I finalize our Thanksgiving feast and FINALLY make it to the market! Can’t wait to share all the yummy goodies I’ll be whipping up!

What will you be serving??

Bon Appetit!

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