Hi, I’m Alina. I had my life turned upside down about twenty years ago by going from depression to finding hope in God. Ever since then, I have never gotten everything “right,” but I have been super blessed to be given the freedom to live life according to Another’s plan. That plan included attending university and meeting the man of my dreams, Treavor. We got married, moved overseas and became a mama to four seriously precious and equally energetic children. These days I live in Thailand. I love coffee (never black), good music, pretending to be interested in homemaking, endless conversation, and connecting with people who need a little nudge of encouragement to do what they do well.
(To buy this map watercolor print visit this etsy shop. This is not an affiliate…just beautiful prints.)
Every morning starts with three things; devotions, coffee and some semblance of being “by myself.” “By myself” can look like anywhere from actually being the first one awake in the morning, without the distractions of others, or “by myself” looks like my typically-early-rising-daughters are using the Bible App or watching YouTube Kids on the other end of the couch. This morning I stole some alone time on the porch to catch the last of the chill morning air before this tropical day heated up.
I homeschool my four kiddos and our school day starts…roughly…at 9am each day. Today, while the boys were busy with another subject, the girls wanted to make play-doh. I have been making play-doh since my early days of overseas-living when you couldn’t find it (even the imported version) in local stores. Now, for a pretty penny, I could head to the mall and grab some…but it honestly is much more fun to do it at home. I let the girls pick their colors, added the right amount of food coloring, and let them at it! We have play-doh “tools”…but I usually can’t find them and we use an assortment of cookie cutters, plastic utensils, butter knives, straw, toothpicks and rolling pins. This was a good diversion while mommy helped the boys with their speech project.
Along with their core subjects, the boys have been memorizing Bible verses for the last two months. Today, they were cramming because I am making them giving their speech “presentation” at a neighbors’ house when we go for dinner tonight. At first, they were freaked out, but they have been drilling each other and are getting pretty good. I love how homeschooling gives them the freedom to sit outside and study, or take “breaks” to help me hang the laundry. Let’s just call that Character 101.
Other than the local open-air markets that are essential for every neighborhood or village in our city, we have some mobile markets like this one that rides around the neighborhood every day. They sell everything from fresh meat, eggs, gorgeously-fresh veggies and every spice you’ll need for the dinner you forgot to plan for.
My toddler can sing the ice cream man’s song by heart. He tempts my children daily, driving up and down the street selling cold treats that go for 25 cents to 2 bucks. I love and hate the ice cream man for interrupting some of our days. 😉
At the entrance to our neighborhood, a new building is being constructed. I am always amazed at how fast they go up and about how those bamboo scaffolds actually stand strong to the end.
Buddhist temples are a familiar fixture in every Thai neighborhood. This one is decorated with dark wood and sparkly adornments that make me sigh with wonder every time I pass by. It is the center of neighborhood life – for festivals, merit-making ceremonies, funerals and such.
Today on my errand run, we got to go to one of our favorite places…the post office! My now-three-year old got a box in the mail from Grandma and we just couldn’t wait to pick it up! (But the pricey customs fee was a huge bummer. Sometimes we get hit with those…but the loot is still worth the extra cash).
(left photo) Life would be pretty difficult for me without a 7-11 on almost every corner. You can pay bills there, pick up medicine, toiletries, drinks, food, fresh baked goods and almost every microwavable meal or treat known to man. Lately, we even find granola bites and Reese’s Peanut Butter cups for sale. What else is there in life?
(right photo) Pretty much anytime I am out of milk, bread, eggs or butter, I just pop down the street to my lovely 7-11 and replenish my stash. Today, I added a coconut water (for me), a green tea (for the hubbie), and yogurt drinks for the kiddies. Oh yeah, and toilet paper. Pretty much an essential, if there ever was one.
For dinner, I ordered Pad Thai from a local restaurant and Pork Satay for the kids. Pork Satay is something my kids will never reject, so it is my meal of choice when I am wanting them to eat quickly with…errr…disagreements. It is paired with a toast, semi-spicy peanut sauce and a pickled-cucumber salad with peppers and red onions. I always grab some sticky rice to round it out and my kids eat a half a kilo without any trouble. Our lives would be so very sad without sticky rice.
Lately, I have been doing more of two things to unwind in the evening: sitting outside in the cooler weather of the rainy season and play with our new kitten (playing on the table here). We have a very inviting porch and gazebo, seen above, that I thank God every day for since moving to this house two years ago.