Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Born again

Hope you all had a great Christmas. I really want to keep this blog going next year and I thank you for visiting. A friend of mine painted this Nativity scene and when I looked at Mary the first thing that came to my mind was that she looked hopeless and scared. I can relate to her, first child, away from family, looking at the baby and thinking "Will I be able to take care of this baby?" Joseph, on the other hand, looks so happy, like my husband did when he first laid eyes on our children. How beautiful it is to think that one child changed the world and gave us hope of eternal life with Him, a lesson of faith, hope and love. My best wishes for a Happy New Year!

"God loved the people of this world so much that He gave His only son, so that everyone who has faith in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

It's beginning to look like Christmas...

Every year the Christmas decoration around town has little surprises. This year they decided to use recycled PET (soda) plastic bottles and thousands of electric poles have an unusual decor. At night, the ornaments are lit and create a beautiful and colorful effect.

What can we do to make happy green holidays? Let's try to use our creativity and limit the impact on the environment this holiday season.
- Recycle... Old Christmas cards into gift tags, bookmarks, decoupage boxes...
- Avoid unnecessary packaging and accept only the bags you need.
- Buy food and drink packaged in materials that can be recycled.
- Use a reusable shopping bag or reuse your plastic bags!
- Buy recycled... Or look for alternatives, there are pretty gifts that are made from recycled materials.
- Make decorations from scrap materials.
- Make a resolution to recycle in 2008!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A thankful heart

I spotted this large white heron, the Great Egret, during a walk in the park with a friend. It was a sunny Saturday morning, a perfect time to just enjoy nature, chat and take pictures. I believe this bird is found across much of the world but I felt it was worth sharing with you.

As Thanksgiving approaches I want to give thanks for being given so much each day. A simple walk reveals so many wonderful things. It is a time to smile, look around and appreciate the things that we have.

Kelli is hosting a Thanksgiving event called "Giving thanks" with prizes! She'll be sharing decorating ideas, crafts, poems, prayers, games, table settings, activities for children and a daily cleaning schedule (with before and after pictures). If you would like to join, please go here for all the details, including pictures of the giveaway prizes!

So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Ge 1:21

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Just like the old days

- Honey stop the car!
- What? Here? It's a highway!
- But the steam train is coming! Here, a dead-end roaaaaad! Pleaaaaase.
This dialog seems to have taken an eternity. We were on the road on the way back from church exactly at the same time as the steam train was coming! It only takes tourists on weekends and I was going to miss the chance to take pictures? Luckily, right after the bridge there is a dead-end road and I was able to photograph "Smokey Mary" or the steam locomotive-hauled train. The train rides about 16 miles (25 km) to a nearby town. School field trips have taken my kids to ride the train and they learned all about old train cars and wagons in a very amusing way.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Grab some coffee

If you are a coffee drinker and ever wondered how that steaming coffee you grab every morning gets to your table, here's how it is processed. After the coffee beans are harvested, they are typically sun-dried on large patios made of asphalt or cement, where they are shifted at regular periods of time for several days to prevent mildew and fermentation while they dry. Then they are transferred to mechanical dryers. This method is widely used in Brazil. Additional processes include: sorting and grading; polishing, storaging and aging. Roasting is the last step, and it can be done either at the roasting companies or at home. I used to roast coffee for our family when I was a teenager, it was one of those chores my brother and I did not enjoy much, but I can tell you, I can distinguish a good coffee from a distance today.

The coffee farm: Chic Coffee (English) and Café Pessegueiro (Portuguese)

More pictures related to coffee on my previous posts:
1) Guesses anyone?
2) How would you like your coffee?

And that's my dad waving on the first picture...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Colonial Blue

More farm pictures, the white and blue were popular in Colonial Brazil during the 17th and 18th centuries. This is a coffee farm, the owner was a kid when my dad was growing up and it was so nice to see them talking about old times. The farm is well-taken care of. Their oldest employee, who is over 80 years old, moved there as a kid, raised his family there and still likes to help out around the farm, taking care of flowers.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Landscaping ideas

Last time I showed you my Great grandparents cottage. This time, I want to show you this creative touch I found on the same farm, near the hard ground where they dry coffee beans. Not long ago, Geraldo posted a different view of the same basket.

Update: Many of you have asked questions about the basket fountain. The basket is made of bamboo, the fountain uses running water, no pumps. As far as I know, bamboo is a very resistant material, and I don't know how long the basket lasts when used as fountain. The use of bamboo goes beyond landscaping and crafts, it is a very good green construction material and it can be used to make furniture too.

During a storm, the resilient bamboo simply bends every way the wind blows and after the storm is over it goes back to its original position.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Back in time

My Great grandparents Virginia and Francisco lived here and they had 16 kids... Some of them were married already when they moved in, probably about 80 years ago. My mom first visited them in 1953, when one of my grandmother's brother got married and my mom was introduced to the family. My parents got married the year after that. Mom and dad say the house remains exactly the same. I have more pictures of this farm and I plan to show them soon.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Seasons come and go

While the northern hemisphere is getting ready for Fall and saying goodbye to Summer, at the same time the southern hemisphere is heading into Spring and different colors of "Tabepuia" tree show their glory everywhere in our city. First the pink and white trees, and then the yellow trees make their appearance. I did not have a chance to photograph any white ones.

On a sad note, just as the seasons that come and go, my husband just forwarded me an e-mail from a dear friend in Boulder who has been sick for the past six years and his condition is worsening. I cried as I read the e-mail for two reasons. First, because he is losing his battle and second, because his beautiful words touched me in such a way. He talks about the gift of eternal life, how he places his hope in God, in the person of Jesus who heals our brokenness and brings us back into relationship with God and ends his e-mail with this question: Where is your hope? And I pass it on to you.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Banana republic

Since both my family and my husband's live out of town, and we come from different states, when we visit family we like to surprise each other with little trips to the countryside to share a different part of our corner. This time my husband took me to see a banana plantation on the hills. All you see on first picture are banana trees, even going to the top of the hill and, if you enlarge, you will see the houses so small compared to the plantation. We look forward to these trips, the kids stay home with their grandparents and we are able to enjoy each other's company and stories.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Cars and trucks of yesteryear

These cars certainly wouldn't make it to a car show. They are all in such bad shape and they have been there on the same spot for years! My guess is that these cars are considered Classic, and were built long before pollution control, fuel economy and safety regulations became issues. I am sure they were very popular and expensive at the time and were once considered the best car of the year...

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Where the wild flowers grow

Wild flowers grow everywhere, and what a beautiful view when they bloom along the highways and in the wild. One of the things I enjoy most is to grab my camera and just shoot many pictures at once, and then be amazed with results later on my computer. And now... they remind me of one simple thing, that is to look around and consider all our blessings and give thanks with a grateful heart to the Holy One... and all the Lord has done for us.

"And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you." Matthew 6:30

Thursday, July 26, 2007

As simple as that

They say fish is good for you... Every now and then we go to this seafood restaurant located in a nearby town that offers mouth watering seafood dishes. And for the meat lover, they also have a few choices on their menu. Simplicity is the word for this place that offers a cozy atmosphere, filled with bamboo fences, poles of eucalyptus, lots of plants, a small pond, and trees. More pictures here, on their website.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Guinea fowls

These noisy birds are in the family of other fowl-like birds, such as turkeys, peawfowls and pheasants. They are kept as a good source of meat and eggs. Also, they have been used as organic pest control to gardeners and small farmers, as they eat most bugs in the garden without touching the foliage and are also known for ridding farms of bugs such as the deer tick, which can carry the Lyme disease. I found out that the female are more talkative, making a two-syllable call that sounds like they're saying "buck-wheat" or in Portuguese "I'm weak" (to fraco).

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

How sweet it is

Visiting family over the weekend, means taking time to enjoy a few flowers that will survive the mild winter. The orchid corner had a little surprise, the chocolate scented orchid above, which I tried not to pick, as the delicate fragance was so sweet.

Other orchids found in the corner. In the wild, they are found with roots attached to the bark of the trees, but in our homes they can grow in pots with loosely packed materials, such as chips of bark or stones. They demand the correct amount of water, light, and fertilizer. With such beautiful plants, my mother-in-law seems to master the art of growing orchids.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

If I don't see you

Through the window, I will see you through the week. Or is it the other way around? Since I have not had the time to post or visit many blogs lately, just wanted to say hi. I have been working late every day. I caugth myself thinking about this tree. A beautiful resource that is everywhere in our homes. Maybe we could begin to consider organic options and adopt a "green design," as a way to be environmentally conscious consumers, choosing sustainable furniture harvested from well-managed forests.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Walking in the park

We live near an ecological park to which I had really never paid much attention. They revitalized it after years suffering from neglect and we started going there again. My kids ride their bikes, we take a walk and enjoy the beautiful sights. I took the second picture and only when I was choosing which one I would post I noticed the sidewalk had a similar pattern matching the roof.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

You are appreciated

Let your light shine... that they may see your good deeds and praise your father in heaven.
Matthew 5:16
"I want to leave a legacy.
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love?
Did I point to You enough to make a mark on things?"
Nichole Nordeman

For all who father, share a special bond, make sacrifices and instill important values to their children's lives. For all the fathers in my family...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A country porch

This charming farmhouse with a rustic porch nestled among nature in the country seemed so inviting. Flowers show you care... and there were so many there! Notice the tin can turned into a vase!

Monday, June 4, 2007

The grass is always greener

In my hometown... This is on the way to a small town, where my mom was born, with dirt roads that hide beautiful and calm small farms. When we visit, our favorite pastime is to drive to different villages on Sunday mornings. The green pastures and the quiet waters... they restore our souls!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Turning over the leaf

On the way to my hometown there is this pulp and paper mill that has been there for years and it has changed names twice. You can tell you are close to the mill because of the rotten egg smell. Since paper is an essential product, I believe our role is to make good use of it, and think of all the toxic pollution to air, water and land the paper mills cause. We can help saving trees from being cut down by avoiding excess waste and reducing the amount of paper we use, using recycled paper, printing double sided etc. I am sure we can all come up with ideas that make a difference!

Friday, May 25, 2007


These pictures were taken on different weekends, different roads, different states. You can tell which state has a higher income by the condition of the road or should I say the different types of three-wheelers? I hope my husband does not feel offended, he is originally from the second state which, on the other hand, has beautiful mountains for dirt biking, his favorite sport, and great country food!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Tulips make me happy

The nursery at the mall supplies flowers all year long, making our shopping sprees more relaxing and enjoyable. The tulips make their appearance for a week and beautifully decorate the flower beds near the escalators and some vases spread all over the mall. Some people even touch them, wondering if they are real.

I have been tagged by Diyadear to tell five things that most people probably don't know about me...
Here are some highlights:
1) I am the fifth child, out of seven, and was a little spoiled as a child.
2) I was an exchange student in the US, graduated with honors, went to the prom!
3) I have been to more states in the US than to states in my own country, and I feel embarrassed to say that, but many trips were on business.
4) I love yard sales and antiques and blogs are a great place to meet people who like them.
5) I shot a TV commercial once, this is odd huh?

So, here's the challenge, I will not tag anyone, but if you would like to take part, just sign up!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

A cheerful heart

Frog legs stilts remind me that I do not have any motor skills... This is the physical education teacher at our kids' preschool and she always amazes me with so much balance and joy!

"A joyful heart makes a cheerful face"
(Proverbs 15:13)