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My family was here for my actual birthday. Kim, my parents, and I spent the morning in Santa Clara doing some last minute shopping for baskets before they left. I had been complaining about needing more storage space for my dishware (probably because my mom, sis and I had all just snagged some handmade pottery for pennies) and when I saw this cabinet my mom urged me to get it, offering it as a birthday gift for me. It was originally brown but by afternoon they had stripped it, painted it this tu...

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New Years Eve Day was my family's last day here so a bit of packing was done, my sis and her daughter got manicures and then we headed out to Amazonas street, where some of the action happens. Well, actually I should first let you know what the streets are like. Picture loads of colorful masks and stuffed dummies on every corner being sold. And then picture clumps of young adult men dressed as scantily clad women holding ropes across the street to make every car stop. They stop you and you have ...

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Passmores hosted Thanksgiving this year and it was a CROWD! About 50 people total. They asked 3 friends to each set a table and it was fun to see how everyone's Thanksgiving style came out. Christy saved me with an extra piece of butcher paper. It was hectic and there was waaaay too much food and of course we came away stuffed and the kids had a blast running around with their friends and all that good stuff. Nate and I both agreed that we like a bit more of an intimate setting next year and wil...

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I have been itching for some time to make doughnuts with friends and my monthly dinner club seemed like the perfect place to do it!   Frying is not my forte, nor is frying particularly glamorous what with the grease everywhere, the heavy smell in the house and more. But man, those fried pockets of dough are delicious going down. So delicious that I probably ate about nine doughnuts this night. Yep. Classy.     But it was super fun to share with friends. The kind of friends who are...

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Last year we did a Girl's Weekend to the coast, which was the original plan for this year. But with all of the earthquake damage it didn't seen right to go there, both for safety and just sensitivity to what was going on. We threw out idea after idea but none seemed quite right and then one of us got pregnant and that changed their availability and then one had a trip to the US come up and before long the trip was looking really different. But Christy has just moved into her new place in Ca...

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We had a combined birthday celebration at Flor's house this year. We celebrated Canaan and Pauli, who share a birthday, and Carol as well. Francisco couldn't come as he had been battling a bad virus for ten days and was still flat on his back. We finally ate chivitos, a Uruguayan sandwhich, after years talking about when we would get together to make them. Chef Agustin didn't disappoint. I was put in charge of birthday cakes, which I happily complied with to try out a few new recipes.   &nb...

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Dirty from camping, but we love waking up on Easter morning on the side of a beautiful mountain. Every year as we drive up to the cross, the skies are bright blue and the yellow wildflowers are blooming. This year our kids were old enough to sing along to the Sunrise Service songs. Canaan held baby Clay's hand sweetly the whole time. John Darnell used the kids and the 12 easter eggs to tell the resurrection story. It was short, it was simple and it was a perfect way to remember.   We then h...

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Easter Camping round 2. I appreciate already being on the mountain, enjoying the view and the fresh air, before the sunrise service on Easter. I don't particularly love being dirty and smelly when everyone else is showered and in their Easter outfits but it's still worth it!   This year we invited the Wallaces to join us and it was a fun addition. We ate lots of veggies and ranch dip and had more success at cooking over the fire. The first night Christy came up and we sat around the fire, d...

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Eight plus hours each way. Our longest Ecuador road trip yet. Carnaval was the perfect time to attempt it with a 5 day break. It was also the perfect time to break out my sister's Christmas gift to the family: Two-screen, car DVD player. Anyone who knows me knows I'm pretty anti-TV for kids. Like usually the rule is 30-minutes on Sunday nights only ... and half the time we skip that because we are with friends. But this car DVD player? Why have we not done this before??? The trip was so quick an...

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We all agreed that we wanted to go to the Christmas Eve service at the Nazarene College Church. We love the simple but beautiful service they put on, with more choruses and hymns than spoken words. This year, after weeks of working long hours, of trying to squeeze in activities around the work and the sadness that our community felt, there wasn't a lot of time to sit and BE. I didn't realize this until a few minutes after entering the service, when I felt my body and heart start to unw...

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