Monday, September 30, 2013


The people living in the neighborhoods close to our school today held a strike, or huelga.  A huelga here means tires are burned in the streets to shut things down in the affected areas and keep cars from passing through.  The group of protesters gathered discourages people from trying to cross through on foot, too.  This morning it began just after some of the staff had arrived but before the morning rush of students.  We waited around for a while to tell students that classes were cancelled, and then we had a free day.  Feliz Dia de Huelga, everyone!

That's our silver car there with the taillights on, a nice safe distance from the action.  The kids got to sit in there quite a while while the adults were deciding whether or not to cancel school.  The guys up and to the left are SWAT police who happened to be nearby and who were asked by our school to open the street (just because we found them pulled over on a nearby street.  They did push the burning tires into the ditches on either side of the street, but at that point school was cancelled, and once the SWAT teams left the fires resumed in the streets.  We don't know yet about tomorrow.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Amy's Visit!

Aunt Amy visited, and besides the being able to see her and have fun with her and take her to the beach, we ended up with great photos, since she's our photographer friend.  :)

So here are some pictures from Cabarete . . .

Micah actually found this shell himself and pulled it out of the ocean himself . . .

Here are some downtown Santiago shots . . . 

This is a shot from a famous bar in downtown Santiago, and above you can see a shot of Hilary Clinton drinking a local beer in the bar.

Here we are at Centro Espanol, our club with a pool . . .

It's really fun to visit the Davises!  We're excited for whoever comes next!  :)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Homemade Peanut Butter

Peanut butter has been a problem here in the D.R.  Almost every brand contains added oils, sugar, and additives.  And even the peanuts I could buy contain the same added ingredients (I can get Planters at PriceSmart), so I haven't tried to make it.  They do sell all natural peanut butter here, but it's $10.00 a jar.  So I've been bringing it in from the U.S. when I get a chance.

Last week, however, I was very surprised to find a bag of raw peanuts mixed in with the dried bean section.  I know that they're all legumes, but seriously, who looks for peanuts next to dried kidney beans and lentils?  Best of all, they were local peanuts!  So I decided to take a stab at making my own peanut butter.  I don't know if any of you have made your own, but if you have please comment because I'm pretty sure I did some things wrong.

So first I roasted them in our toaster oven at around 350 degrees for around 15-20 minutes.  I did them in three stages.  They had casings on, but they were really tiny and I wasn't about to try to peel them by hand.  Ideas?

Then I blended them in the blender.  That was a little bit of a process.  The peanuts seemed to be too dry to just turn into peanut butter.  I don't know if they were sitting on the shelf too long (not sure if they're in high demand there tucked next to the beans), if they weren't roasted enough, if the casings were a problem, or what.  (Feel free to give input here, anyone!)  So I added a little bit of olive oil.  I had to add it a few times until I got it into a butter--it was more of a chalky mess at first.  But it worked.  It's somewhere between a smooth and a chunky.

I must say I didn't expect rave reviews from the fam on this one, but they really liked it.  One of mine said he likes it better than store bought--well, he said, "I don't really like peanut butter that you buy, but I like this."  Or something flattering like that.  It was very exciting.  Especially because it filled a huge empty olive jar, and I only paid (in pesos) $3.00 for the peanuts.  Way, way better deal than $10.00 for a tiny jar.  :)

I'm storing it in the pantry because I don't think I'll get a knife into it if it even thinks about a refrigerator.  Has anyone else tried this?  Any suggestions?