Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Trip to Argentina

Last summer we had the opportunity to visit Argentina.  We went with several relatives and friends on a dove hunt near Cordoba at the Sierra Brava Lodge and my, were we treated royally!

The lodge was an old railroad depot that has been lovingly remodeled.  There were several rooms in the main lodge and a couple more in an adjacent building. 

Since Argentina is in the Southern Hemisphere, we enjoyed cool winter weather.  It was so nice because the weather at home last summer was incredibly hot and dry.  It was quite refreshing to experience 40 degree temperatures in the middle of that awful heat wave!!  Unfortunately, we weren't able to enjoy the swimming pool this trip.  I'll share more about the accommodations later. 

Our husbands enjoyed dove hunting each of the 4 days of our stay.  The doves are quite numerous there.  In fact, we were told the dove population had increased dramatically in recent years due to clearing woodlands for farming.  Changing the environment has been perfect for dove habitat and now there are more doves than ever in this area.  Some estimates exceed 5 million!  I won't spend any more time on that aspect of our trip except to show that Wonderful Hubby (as well as the other fellows) had a great time doing their thing.

Happy Hubby!

While the guys were busy, we ladies relaxed at the lodge reading, napping, hiking, sitting in the sauna and visiting with each other!  We even enjoyed a massage one day!!

The highlight for me, though, was the day we took a trip to some of the historic churches in the area.  Our driver/guide was one of our favorite staff members who spoke very good English!!  We visited 2 churches and each had a small museum documenting the Spanish Catholic influence on the area.  The day was fun and quite informative!  Here are a few of the pictures I took on the trip.

This is Jesuit Estancia of Santa Catalina near Cordoba, Argentina.  Even though photos were not allowed inside the chapel, we did tour the interior and it was stunning!  This complex was a Jesuit missionary training facility as well as a working farm.  I believe they raised donkeys needed on the nearby silver trail.  It was constructed in the early 1700's.


We ladies stopped to pose a minute on the chapel steps.  

The next church we visited was Estancias Jesus Maria, also near Cordoba.

Back at the lodge, we ladies did get to experience a bit of  the wilderness.  The staff prepared a meal for us in the outback with our hubbies one day!  What a spread it was!!

Here's Wonderful Hubby with his cousin who organized this whole adventure. 

The accommodations were wonderful.  Most of the rooms had 2 beds. 

I know it's a little tacky to show this is, but women usually appreciate a nice bathroom more that men and ours was quite nice!!

The common areas were also comfortable.  The dining area is pictured below. 

And what fun and outstanding meals we enjoyed!!!  One of the ladies in our party celebrated her birthday during the trip.  She and her husband had visited the lodge before.  The staff had a great time helping her celebrate her big day.  She's the one in the colorful hat!!

She was even serenaded by two outstanding musicians!! What a treat that was!!  And speaking of TREATS ...  here was her birthday cake!

Yes, that's a spun sugar ball on top!  They had a fabulous chef preparing the meals! 

Another evening we had a custard with more spun sugar garnish....

And then there was the crème Brulee ...

Oh, my!!!

Good times with good friends!

We had a wonderful time in Argentina!  The people were so warm and engaging!  We really felt we got to know them!!  It was a bit hard to say goodbye!

I hope you enjoyed tagging along with me on our trip to Sierra Brava Lodge, Cordoba, Argentina!!

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Monday, August 26, 2013

I know it's been a while since I posted!  I'm new at this blogging thing and am finding I need to designate a special time/day to dedicate to this new hobby.  Some of my retired buddies teased me that I wouldn't get half of my "to-do" list done because I could always put it off until tomorrow.  I am determined to not let this happen!  I'm getting a lot done ... I just need to find time to let you all know about it!!  I'll figure it out, though.  I'm putting THAT on my" to-do" list now!

In the weight loss department, both Wonderful Hubby and I have been pretty successful!!  We both have lost 7 pounds since starting the Weight Watchers 360 program!  After the first week, I figured out some good basic recipes that could be slightly altered to add variety.  Also, being able to eat all the fruits and veggies for little or no points has been great!  I just snack a lot less and make better food choices.  Being busy has really helped, too.

Even though I didn't start school like many of my (former) colleagues this year, I still had to get Precious Daughter and Favorite Son ready!  This included shopping days for each at the new outlet mall that recently opened in our area.  We enjoyed shopping, eating and spending time together!!  They have both started back at the University of Missouri-Columbia.  I hope they both have another great year!!!!  We had a dinner send off and I couldn't resist a little MIZZOU tablescaping.  (Eye roll from Fav Son!) 

Then there are those projects!  We had WONDERFUL weather a few weeks back and with many little jobs to complete, I spend a lot of time outside.  Temperatures in the 70's and 80's in July and August around here are almost unheard of so I didn't want to miss my opportunity.  The garden has been in high-production gear and I've been canning and freezing the bounty!  This is the first time in several years that I have been able to do this.  In the past, school prep has prevented me from doing much with the extra (when there was any).  What a luxury it is to spend time in my garden in the middle of the day!  But that's not the only project keeping me busy.  I've also been so inspired by many of the DIY blogs that I've tried a couple of my own.   I did take pictures and plan to post some on these, too.

Finally, when school started last week, some of my retired buddies decided another teacher friend and I should have a "retired teacher workshop" so we went to the lake for a few days to swim, hike and shop!!  ...and did I say eat????   Even though WW Points went out the window, I still managed a 1 lb. loss last week!  (AMAZING!!!)

I'll try and get some posts ready for a few link parties this week and next.  The summer is sure going by fast but I can honestly say I've enjoyed it so much!!  I hope your summer has been fun!  Let me know what you've been up to!


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Thank Goodness for the Garden

Well, it happened.  After our annual trips to the doctors, both Wonderful Hubby and I were told those dreaded words, "At your age, you might consider losing a little weight."  We decided to go on the Weight Watchers diet together.  If you know anything about this eating plan you know every item you put in your mouth is given a point value.  At the beginning, depending on your current weight, you are given a point goal for each day and even some 'cheating' points for times when you want or need to deviate from the plan.  Vegetables and fruits, for the most part, are FREE = 0 points!!

Yesterday began week 2 of this weight loss adventure and I think we are settling into a rhythm.  I really like to cook and all last week I felt out of my element.  But after seeking out recipes on the WW website and the internet, I think I'm ready to do this.

This morning I went out to the garden.  We were gone this weekend and I hadn't been there in several days.  What a delicious surprise!!  LOTS OF ZERO POINTS greeted me!!!

Green beans, cabbage, tomatoes, zucchini and LOTS of cucumbers!!!!   We shall not starve on this diet!!
We also have several other veggies waiting in the wings.....
In a few days/weeks we should also be enjoying: 

Red and Yellow Peppers!  They need to ripen up.

Squash! (I planted butternut squash so I hope that's what this ripens into!)

Sweet Corn!!!! (Ok, I know that's a point or two ..... without the butter .... but who can resist it??)

We also have a lot more green beans to harvest!  I've already canned some for winter.

Yes, that's a live trap to the left.  The squirrels are making unwanted visits.  They need to be moved some place else! 

My tomato plants didn't get in this round of pictures.  They are in the back of the garden and I was running out of battery.  They have quite a few green ones on the vine with more blooms! 

I'm so thankful our weather has been good this year.  Last year was extremely HOT and DRY!  We had to water and tomatoes were about all we harvested.   This year the garden has had plenty of moisture and the compost from the rabbits we raise has really helped. 

I will try to update you on our progress and, if I happen upon some REALLY tasty recipes, I'll share them with you.  Who cares if they're healthy, as long as they are tasty!!!

Have a great week!

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