May 092012

For the past few months we’ve had a guest in our house, her name is Maddie.

She belongs to Carlos’ cousin Chris, who in the  Air Force.  In January he was notified he would be going to S. Korea mid-March.  Maddie usually stays with Chris’ parents the house they lived in has a huge patio, but they recently moved to Indiana, and they do not have a fenced in yard.  Maddie gets along great with our dogs, so Carlos and I offered to take care of her while he is away.  One would think another dog, in an already full house would be a big deal, but it really is not.  The only problem with having five dogs is that Carlos and I don’t get to go out of town much, but other than that, its not bad.  Our dogs are really smart and well-behaved. 

Anyway, Chris took us up on our offer and Maddie has been here since mid-February.  Unfortunately (for Maddie), Chris’ deployment was postponed and he left for South Korea late April. 

We can tell that Maddie misses Chris, but she is doing well here at our house and has a lot of fun with our pack, especially Shelby and Tommy.  They wrestle and chase each other, a lot.

We take her out to run off leash, and she loves it!  She runs like a wild dog.  And luckily she is very good at coming back when we call her.  We feared she may not be, because at home she often does not come when called.  We are working on her = ) 

~ L.

May 092012

On Thursday, March 29th, we took Sasha to get her first chemo treatment.  While waiting, Carlos and I got hungry.   Even though we are trying to eat clean, we bent our rules and decided to check out a place near the Veterinary Hospital.  One place we thought of going was was Chubby’s Tacos, and the other was Munchies Mexican Grill.  We decided to try Munchies.

First let me say, having grown up in a little town called Naco, in Sonora Mexico, my expectations are high (very high) when it comes to Mexican food.   Most of the time, I’m being a Mexican food snob!  But hey, I like what I like =)  So, off we went to eat.  And I was starving.  It had been about 4 hours since we ate, and we usually try to eat every 2-3 hours.

Getting to the restaurant should be simple.  I mean, it is basically just one road right up to the door of the place, but my wonderful husband turns right earlier and we end up going through what I call, a convoluted shopping center.  No biggie.  It’s actually funny that he usually does this kind of thing = )  Gotta love’m, right?!  When we arrive at the restaurant, a woman is power washing the front area.  I thought, more like expected her to stop because a potential customer had just parked on the side of the restaurant, but she did not stop.  We get out of the car and I was sure she would stop then, but she did not stop and we got sprayed.  To this I say to myself, “it’s OK, chill” and I smile…I’ll have you know, I can be impatient and intolerant of certain things, but I AM a very nice person, really!

We head in and it is not the kind of place I imagined; its fine, we are here to try it out.  Patrick, the waiter, asks where we want to sit…we can chose from maybe 10 tables in a smallish area.  I need to let you all know something about Carlos and me.  We can be a bit indecisive when it comes to some things.  OK, we are indecisive about almost every trivial matter.  So, as indecisive as we can be, Carlos selects a table, but I want the next one over, then I change my mind and we sit at the initial table Carlos had chosen.  Follow me?  I hope so.

Patrick brings out the typical chips and salsa offered at most Mexican restaurants.   I ask for the hot salsa, and he makes sure to tell me it’s very hot = )  The chips are always good, I love chips.  Unfortunately, I didn’t think the salsas were anything special.  The mild salsa seemed to be made from a can of tomato sauce with seasoning and some hot pepper, and it was a little chunky, which I do not like.  The hot salsa seemed to be made with tomatillo and though I liked it more than the mild, it was also too chunky for my taste, and it seemed to be lacking in taste, Carlos liked the hot salsa.

For the meal, I ordered the tostada and enchilada plate with shredded beef and Carlos ordered his usual, the chimichanga.  When our food arrived, it looked like the usual food one gets at a Mexican restaurant.  I did notice the enchilada did not have the typical sauce that usually covers the tortilla, and it made me think the cook had given me a burrito covered with some shredded cheese.  The tostada was not completely covered with beans; the meat appeared to be ground beef instead of shredded and the tortilla was soggy, that I had to eat it with a fork.  My food tasted OK.  Carlos was happy with his order and enjoyed it.  However, I do not recall a time when he has not enjoyed food = )  The meat in the chimichanga was shredded and it seemed to have a pepper sauce; it tasted good, I liked it.  What I didn’t like was the cheese sauce poured over the chimi.

I do realize that one dish can be prepared differently in each region of Mexico.  There is no one set way of cooking something; it’s just a matter of what we are used to eating or what we grew up eating.  For example, here in the US, many Mexican restaurants add onion and tomato to all of the meats used in tacos, burritos, etc.  In many restaurants that I have been to in Mexico, they did not do this.  All the meats were prepared very simply, and most of the time, only seasonings such as salt, pepper, and garlic were added.  Many places add seasonings and vegetables to the water in which they boil the meat that is to be prepared for shredding, and used in tacos, burritos, chimichangas, or any of several other Mexican favorites.  This way, the meat is already seasoned, and when you place an order, you mainly get meat, not what I call fillings.

This is more what I’m used to a chimichanga looking like, but longer:


The color would be a little darker than golden brown, and it would be stuffed with either shredded beef cooked with onions, tomatoes and bell peppers, or just cheese.  When I cook chimis, Carlos likes to have them plain with a side of guacamole and my homemade salsa.  If I were to garnish them, I would smear guacamole on the chimis, then add shredded lettuce and queso fresco (a salty and crumbly cheese known as Mexican farmer’s cheese or fresh cheese – feta would work well as a substitute).  The Mexican farmer’s cheese is similar to cotija cheese, but in my opinion, it is much tastier.

The enchilada I was expecting would look more like this:

Typical enchilada – Enchilada roja

There are many types of enchiladas, but the one I grew up with is nothing like what is found in restaurants in the United States.  My mom used to make patties with maseca, a corn dough.  Then these were fried, and once cooled, they were dipped into a sauce made with chile sauce, known as chile colorado, placed on a plate individually or stacked, they were topped with shredded lettuce, tomato, onion and queso fresco.  From the research I’ve done, seems these are enchiladas Sonorenses.  However, I have not found many pictures or recipes close to my mother’s, other than this one and this one.  These enchiladas are by far my favorite.  It is without a doubt, because I grew up eating these, but also, their flavor is unique.  I have only cooked these a couple of times, and I should really make some more soon, they are delicious.

Enchiladas Sonorenses

Well, here is my first Raleigh restaurant review.  Probably not a typical review, but a review nonetheless.

If you are in this area, let me know where you end up eating.  Maybe write a guest review?



Lazy Sunday

 Posted by
May 072012

The weekend does go by fast.  Wouldn’t you just love to have a 3-day weekend?  I would.  Would you chose to have off Friday thru Sunday or Saturday thru Monday?  I think I prefer the first option.  If it was the latter, the week would feel much shorter, eventhough it would literally be shorter.

Anyway, my Sunday was semi productive:

Long overdue mini mani/pedi

Not the best picture, sorry!

Oops, should have noticed I need to wash these sandals!

Protein chocolate bars

Labeled containers and added spices I had purchased in baggies

Organized more firewood

And started going through a ton of recipes I’ve been keeping for years!

Have not finished this yet.  Need to figure out how to organize the recipes I keep.


Did you tackle any project this Sunday, or did you just rested and relaxed for the week ahead?  I am looking forward to Tuesday and Thursday.  Check in back later in the week to see why = )

I hope everyone has a great week =


~ L.

Lazy Sunday

 Posted by
Apr 302012

While our Sunday was not lazy per se, it was not as productive as I had hoped.  We took the dogs out to play on Saturday – we let them run off leash- so that we did not feel guilty not going out today.  I did get to bake a new batch of chocolate protein bars -they came delicious by the way, and I also made a green salsa with tomatillos and avocados.

Other things I wanted to get done on Sunday:

  • Do practice test for my final on Tuesday
  • Finish the practice essay for my final on Tuesday
  • Sweep
  • Buy fish oil for dogs and a food container for Sasha’s food
  • Marinade some chicken for the week
  • Connect laminate floors to hardwood floors
  • Clear outside underneath the kitchen window
  • Transplant the seeds that came up – I planted them a couple of weeks ago
  • Finish organizing the firewood

And a few other things.  Looking back I see I was asking for too much.  When I make a huge list of things to do over the weekend, we end up either not doing anything or only getting one or two things done; I end up disappointed.

This coming Tuesday I have my English final.  I’m working on my essay, I hope I can memorize most of it.  Oh, and sorry I have no pictures, I will definitely do my best to add 1-2 pictures to each post.  I use a point and shot camera and pictures don’t come out as nice.  Carlos has a nice DSLR, but it intimidates me = )  Hmm, that cold be a new goal.

~ L.

Apr 262012

Believe it, believe it, believe it!


Update:  I found the image on Pinterest.  I liked it so much that I looked up the page from which it originally came (Pinterest was not linking to it), so here it is.

Lazy Sunday

 Posted by
Apr 222012

Our Sunday was one of those days when not much gets done.  I say not much gets done, but we did work on a few things.  I worked on my final essay, which is due next Tuesday.  I read about creating buttons in WordPress, and read a couple of magazines I’ve had for over a month – now they can be donated = )  I also placed an order for our protein powder and supplements that we are running low on.  Carlos has been working on a project and has also been helping me with my essay.  I baked chocolate protein bars and made some chocolate protein popsicles.  The dogs have been lazy.  I am surprised that they did not ask to go outside much, and the times I’d get up and open the door, I had to make them go out.  Strange.  They always run out the door like they are ready to attack whatever might be outside.  Oh, and I washed our bed sheets and cover.  And now my buttocks hurt.  I don’t like sitting for a long time, I feel unaccomplished.  I’ll have to make up for it tomorrow.

How was your Sunday?

Lazy Sunday

 Posted by
Apr 172012

Our Sunday, in pictures:

Laundry - clothes drying outside


Burning pine wood


Planting tomatoes.

Starting seeds of radishes, cucumbers, watermelon, pumpkin, pickling cucumbers, and summer squash.


Sasha, laying on the deck.

Baked tuna and Quinoa.

Spinach and cucumber salad.

Tommy taking his amino acids.

Even though the dogs chilled and enjoy the day, they also got to chase each other.  A lot.  Hence Tommy taking amino acids to speed recovery for Monday = )



Apr 132012

After long and thoughtful consideration about our next steps in treating Sasha’s caner, Carlos and I decided to proceed with Chemo.

Thursday, March 29, was our consult with Dr. Waddle, and turned out to be Sasha’s first Chemo treatment.  Per our vet’s recommendation, we went to Veterinary Specialty Hospital here in Raleigh, and spoke with the oncologist, Dr. Waddle.  After learning more about the treatment, side effects, cost, etc., we decided to move forward with treatment.  We ended up having to leave our girl at the Hospital for a full check-up, and the chemo administration which is given via IV.

We were sure that when we’d pick her up, Sasha would be disappointed and sad with us for having left her.  While we waited for Sasha, we went to the Fabric Mill Outlet.  We had wanted to check out the place for a while, but had not gotten around to going.  And now it was a good opportunity because it is next to the veterinary hospital.  We purchased some poly fill for extra stuffing for a few dog beds back home.  We also went to Durant Nature Park, a place where we often come with our dogs.  We walked the trail where we normally let our dogs swim.  During our walk, we scouted for other spots for Sasha to go swimming; now that she’s a Tripawd, we wanted to find easier spots for her to get into the water instead of running and plunging like she used to do before the amputation.  After the park we drove around nearby neighborhoods and looked at houses.  We pointed out and talked about the ones that we liked and would like to live in.  We like the house where we currently live, but we would like to have a place with more land.  A ranch or a farm would be nice, and we think the dogs would agree.  After a couple of hours we headed back to pick up Sasha, but she was not ready.  The hospital was busy and her treatment got started later than expected.  Carlos and I were starving, so we headed to a nearby place to grab something to eat (more on this on a separate post).  After about an hour, we finished eating, and got in our car.  I was about to call the hospital because we couldn’t wait to see our girl, but before I was able to dial, the call came in to come and get Sasha.

When we arrived at the hospital, there was a woman with her son and their Golden Retriever.  While waiting for Sasha, the lady asked us if we have been at it (fighting cancer) for a while.  We told her that Sasha has Osteosarcoma.  We mentioned that her right arm was amputated, and now she was receiving her first chemo treatment.  I asked her about her dog Chelsea, and the lady explained that she has some type of cancer, but after two biopsies, the doctors were still not sure what kind.  She was only able to tell us that the cancer was in her gastric system.  Chelsea is 10 years old.  We hope that she has as long and happy life like her sister who lived an astounding 18 years.

As my eyes start to get watery from hearing the news about Chelsea, the nurse brings Sasha out.  She was wearing a red bandana that says, “Hug Me.  I got Chemo today.”

She comes out with a huge smile, which we did not expect, and when she sees us, her grin gets bigger.  Sasha notices Chelsea and goes to smell her.  Normally Sasha doesn’t care about other dogs, but it seemed to me that she spent several more seconds with this girl than with other dogs.  Maybe it was her way of saying its OK – don’t be scared.  I hope so.  We wished them the best of luck, thanked the techs and people at the desk, and headed out, Sasha leading the way, and pulling hard.

Still not believing how happy Sasha was -with her red bandana making her look, oh so pretty- we got her in the Jeep.  What is the first thing she does?  She hops from the rear seat and puts her left front paw on the center console between the driver’s and passenger’s seats!  This is amazing to Carlos and me, because it’s the first time in over a month that she’s done it.  She has always been our navigator.  And there she is again, on top of the console ready to go home and happy as can be.  We keep trying to coax her to get back, but she won’t budge.  We are thrilled that she feels as good as she does, and wants to stand on the center console to help Carlos navigate his way home = )  However, after we start driving, Sasha does end up getting back, because it’s difficult for her to keep her balance when Carlos applies the brakes.

On our way home, we drove with the windows down, and Sasha enjoyed taking in the smells, and feeling the wind.  Before going home, we need to take her somewhere to get some hugs.  We also needed to get dog food, so we stopped at Phydeaux.  We walked around the store for a little while. We let Sasha go anywhere she wanted in the store, and she seemed particularly interested in the section with pig ears, tendons, and other similar treats.  Three people saw Sasha hopping around, looking cute in her red bandana.  They came over to say hi and pay compliments to Sasha.  We didn’t want her to overexert herself, so Carlos went to grab the bags of food, we paid and headed home.

Upon getting home, Sasha is greeted by the pack, and they so want to give her some sniffing attention.  Sasha heads outside to relieve herself, and then she plops on her bed to chill.  It isn’t until about an hour later that we noticed Sasha seemed so tired that she even looked drowsy.  We quickly realized that she was having the lethargy side effect the oncology nurse told us about.  It was sad seeing her feel so sluggish, especially after how perked up she was earlier in the day.  Thankfully, the lethargy just lasted Thursday night.

Friday was a new happy day =)


~ L.


PS.  Sasha is my hero.

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