30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 25

Day 25 Question 25: In your opinion, what is the greatest comfort of home-tangible or intangible?

In my opinion the greatest comfort of home is a home cooked meal. No restaurant can replace a meal made by your loved ones. When I was in college and money was scarce, I hated eating out because after a while, it all tastes the same. One day a co-worker invited me to come to her house for the week-end. Her parents were Cuban and I was treated to the first home cooked dinner in months. I was so happy eating black beans and rice; my friend’s  mom made the best black beans ever!

Another time I was living with 3 room mates. I had cooked a big pot of beans and rice and when one of my room mates came home, she said I was eating “poor people’s” food. I laughed at her stupid insult because she didn’t know what she was missing. Beans and rice kept me fed and nourished through my whole college experience.

I love cooking  because when you use the best natural ingredients available, it makes me feel good to give the best to my family. I must mention that buyiny organic ingredients will not cost you that much more than conventional. That is a myth friends. Organic IS Affordable

We do venture out from time to time to dine, mainly  to celebrate birthdays and special occasions. Still, no restaurant can market the one key ingredient found in a home cooked meal: LOVE! 

30 Day Blog Challenge Day: 24

Please refer back to my earlier posts and read what this challenge is about so that the later posts make sense :)

Day 24 Question #24: Clothing trends and styles come and go but each of us has a favorite. What has been your favorite clothing trend/style over the years?

Answer: I studied fashion design in college so I decided to pick a fun question for today. I can look all the way back to high school for this one. No, it’s certainly NOT the ’80’s hair!

80's Hair..When Hairspray Ruled The World

I remember layering  back then and that’s something I still do.  Layering is cool because you can change your look quickly by simply adding or taking away, be it  tops, bottoms or accessories.

I am a HUGE fan of accessories.

You Can Never Have Too Many

When I want to freshen up my look I always reach for one of my scarves. I believe that you don’t need to have a huge wardrobe. If you pick clothes with basic lines and colors, you can use those as a blank canvas with which to create your look by using accessories. When I want to add to my wardrobe, I go shopping for accessories.

Now that the weather is cooler, you can put more layers on.

Layering is Tres Chic!

Since I live in the desert, I LOVE this time of year because I really get to wear somethings that have to go into hibernation in our triple digit summer temps. My favorite way to layer in the summer is by using basic tee’s and throwing a blouse or light weight, sheer poncho over them. Layering works in the heat because as you perspire, the underneath layer traps the moisture and keeps it away from your body, thereby keeping you cooler. This really works when you wear a 100% t-shirt or cami. Layering works in all kinds of weather. Above all, layering gives an added dimension to any look.

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 23

Please refer back to my earlier posts and read what this challenge is about so that the later posts make sense :)

Day 23 Question #23: What’s the best gift you’ve ever received from your children?

Answer: This question just made me chuckle as I readily knew the answer. I grew up in a very serious home where children were expected to behave as little adults. I had to suppress my humour a lot growing up because it was deemed inappropriate by the adults who raised me. I love to laugh and that is one of the best gifts my kids give me everyday. They all are hilarious in different ways.

My oldest girl loves to act and impersonate some famous celebs. Her rendition of Julia Child is hysterical. One time we had some friends over for dinner and she did her Julia child impression for our friends. They still talk about it because it was a hoot. My second daughter is witty and can come up with the best one liners. Sarcasm is her favorite way to get me laughing.  My son has his own brand of jokes that he and his younger sister make up and when they get going with it, it is non-stop giggles. My youngest daughteris the girl of a thousand or more faces. I often wonder how can such a beautiful face turn ugly, goofy hilarious in five seconds flat.

Girl of a Thousand Faces
Pretty to Goofy in 5 Seconds Flat!

All my kids have perfect timing as well.

My husband and I have often quipped that we don’t need TV when we have four funny, fun-loving kids who love entertaining us! 

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 22

Please refer back to my earlier posts and read what this challenge is about so that the later posts make sense :)

Day 22 Question #22: If you could choose only one famous quote that you would want your children to always remember, which one would it be?

Answer: This answer comes from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet: “Above all: To thine own self be true.” That is such an important and profound quote. We live in an age where our children are bombarded by the media to be everything else but who they really are. Children are sent to public school to learn to conform and fit the mold in order to further an elitist agenda that disregards the unique, amazing individuals that God created.

Just think for a moment, if God wanted us all to be cookie cutter forms of one another why did He create such a diverse human race? Clearly God celebrates individuality while we live in a society that tries to get everyone to fit in the box of conformity. Our young men and women watch TV shows Like CELEBRITY LOOK ALIKE where they pick someone to get a head to toe  makeover so they can look  like one of the famous Hollywood celebrities. Personally, I have always liked how I look and I’m not at all interested in looking like anyone else.  Let’s turn that idea around and have a celebrity do a make over show where they look like the “Average Joe” or “Ms. Plain Jane” I guess that much reality would cause their precious  TV ratings to plummet.

To thine own self be true: Thank you Mr. Shakespeare for having penned your words for a generation of people who are willing to sell out just so they can fit in with the crowd. It takes great courage to be yourself in a culture where uniqueness tends to be scorned. That’s one quote my kids have heard for quite some time and I hope they embrace it through out their lives.

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 21

Please refer back to my earlier posts and read what this challenge is about so that the later posts make sense 🙂

Day 21 Question #21: What is the greatest lesson your children have ever taught you?

Answer: The one thing  I have learned after all these years of raising kids is how amazingly resilient their spirits are. When something bad happens they shrug it off more readily and easily than adults. I have asked my kids through the years to think back about when we were going through a rough spot, as a family or in my marriage to their dad. Their answers amaze me because I used to think that they would remember all the bad stuff in detail. Their answers that reflect that even though they knew times were bad, they took the good memories and cling to them. With the not so good things, they talk about it candidly and even laugh about some of the outlandish things they’ve seen.

A child’s bounce back ability is so amazing to me. I have seen each of my kids go through a terrible disappointment and be completely heart-broken and frustrated, only to shrug it off the next day. They move on quickly where adults linger in things that ought be discarded. That’s one of the biggest things I have learned from my kids. If things don’t happen like I thought they were going to, I follow their example; cry, shrug and move on.

Day of Acknowledgment

Thanksgiving Day,
a day to give thanks,
should not just be a holiday,
but also a lifestyle,
with an attitude,
of gratitude.
Let’s never forget
why it is we truly celebrate,
or else we’ll only be feasting for naught-
having forgotten
the very ones who fought
so we could partake
in this amazing gift,
a treasure from heaven:
That we seem to daily
take for granted.
Let our thanks be deliberate,
as we sit down with family to celebrate.
Oh, please America,
let us never stop our thanks,
let us always keep giving,
not only today on Thanksgiving.
America: Once one of the ten
lepers they were needing cleansing..
they reached out to be healed,
an then heaven touched them.
At once all ten were restored.

Healed and Restored

Nine of the ten ran off,
to live their lives without looking back.
Except for the one, America,
she came back on her knees in appreciation
to The One who healed,saved and restored.
Then she was blessed as a nation,
and she never ever since forgot
any of those who fought
for her freedom.
There are many who hate
gnashing their teeth everyday,
as they lay in wait
to see America fall on her face.
To see her crumble from outer space.
What they don’t realize,
is that America is great
because The One on His Throne,
sees her enemies and laughs,
and one day they’ll all be turned
from powder into stone.
Although America does stumble,
she was not made to break.
America is far from perfect,
if she was, she would be boring.
She is good…  being made better.
Oh let us never forget!
We must never turn our backs
on those who have fought.
Our freedom was blood bought,
to make America great.

Eva Santiago
Copyright 2009

Fall Foliage




I came to the USA,
33 years ago
Although I love my country of birth,
the place of my ancestors,
is still in my heart…
BUT I’ve lived in this great land,
for most of my life.
As a girl I ran on the sand
of her finest beaches.

Panama City Beach

I grew up eating
Georgia’s delectable peaches. 
I’ve seen the sunrise in the east,
to watch it descend
in the far west. 
My eyes have seen a feast,
but the sun setting where I live,
is always the finest,the absolute best.
All of my blessings
have been given to me here,
in this wonderful place.
Where God has given me favor,
and showed me His face.
I never give acknowledgement once a year.
For all that I have,
a life rich with flavor.
I look into the eyes of my loved ones…
daily I see,
daily I hear,
daily I know,
and daily I am aware of whom I’m indebted to.
Because I am rich without measure,
I look all around,
in my home, so MUCH treasure!
I appreciate you God,
for bringing me here,
I say it to you today and through out the rest of the year!!

Happy Thanksgiving Day to all of my family,friends and readers!

Eva Santiago copyright 2009

Fall in the Desert


30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 20

Please refer back to my earlier posts and read what this challenge is about so that the later posts make sense :)

Day 20 Question #20: Besides something directly related to the family (i.e., the birth of a child), what has been the most exciting day of your life?

Answer: It’s Sunday so I looked for an easy question! The day I received the first copy of my first self-published book came to mind right away when I read this question.  I began  writing the book in 2007 and it was the most amazing journey I have ever under taken.  Writing your own life story is very difficult; I had to fight the nagging inner voices that whispered things like: You aren’t famous, who’d want to read about your life when you haven’t gone to the moon or stood on the red carpet? Everyday I had to keep believing in myself and fight all the negative voices of the past as well. Having the support of my husband and kids helped me out tremendously.

Since I was self-publishing, I had to save up my own money to meet my publishing goals. One night after my kids had received their allowance from their dad, one by one they  gave me their allowance and told me that they wish they could help me more. I was dumbfounded and as I’m recalling this right now, I’m getting a little choked up all over again. And so they continued, every time they got money from their dad, they immediately put it in my hand for my book.

I wrote my book for several reasons but the most important ones were: For my own personal healing and closure to my trauma filled past. Secondly, I wrote it in the hopes that others would be helped.  Lastly, I wrote AS CLEAR AS CLAIRE GETS,   A CONVERSATION WITH THE PAST, as part of the legacy I want to leave my kids and my future ancestors.

I compare the writing and birthing of my book to a type of birthing of  a new baby. The pain was there for sure as I revisited some of the most painful memories of my childhood; once I wrote about it though I would feel free.  As I continued to bury those things that tormented me in the pages of my book, I was giving birth to a new, more empowered version of myself. The day the UPS truck delivered my first author copy, I liken that to the same profound joy I felt every time after I had labored for a while only to end up holding a beautiful baby in my arms.

I urge you, whoever you are reading this, whatever you dream of doing, don’t put it off anymore. Fight past the nay sayers and the self doubt and take it step by step. Making your dream a reality is the one and only path  to your destiny. Go and fear no more because the only thing we really fear, is fear itself.  The definition of fear is this: False Evidence Appearing Real. Go make it happen!!

William Shakespeare from Julius Caesar

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 19

Please refer back to my earlier posts and read what this challenge is about so that the later posts make sense 🙂

Day 19 Question #19: What is one of the super unique aspects of your own family today?

Answer: I had to think hard on this one because there are several dynamics that make my family stand out in a crowd. I believe a key aspect though is the fact that my husband is twenty years my senior. That has played a major role in our evolving as a family unit. I have been told by close friends that the way we are rasing our kids, resembles something more out of the 1950’s  landscape than 2011. We are one of those rare modern families that with God‘s favor and grace, can live on a single income which allows me to stay home so I can educate our kids. Yes, it’s tough at times going without some of the extra things we THINK might make us happy. But in the end stuff has to take a back seat to nurturing and educating our future. 

Another interesting side note is that my husband’s “old school” morals and mine came from two different places. His came from the era he was raised in . Mine came from having been born in another country and having been raised by two people who kept the traditions of our country of origin and instilled them in me  in a new culture and society.

Secondly the 20 year difference in our marriage enhances our kid’s education in ways I’d never imagine. They are exposed to several very different time periods; being that my husband is a baby boomer, our kids are more  familiar with  the culture that he grew up in than  their peers. Just for an example, ask my kids  about Red Skelton,  Nat King Cole, I Love Lucy, and a lot of the music and pop culture of the ’60’s and they can tell you in detail.Most kids their age, draw a complete blank. I was a product of the 1980’s culture so they are thoroughly familiar with a lot of the fashions, music and pop culture of that era too.

So the bridging the gap between two very different and unique eras has helped to shape and mold our family into who we are today.

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 18

Please refer back to my earlier posts and read what this challenge is about so that the later posts make sense. :)

Day 18 Question # 18: What is the earliest lesson you can remember learning as a child that you have followed throughout your life?

Answer: I just had a talk with my kids about embracing their Latin roots and  my answer comes from this talk. I was explaining to my kids that I love the Latin culture because we always seem to find the positive in the negative. That way of thinking permeates everything including our music. One day when my second daughter was younger I was listening to a ” EL NIAGARA EN BICICLETA“, a merengue by Dominican born star Juan Luis Guerra. She asked me to translate the words for her and when I did she was amazed and she said, ” Wow! Such happy music but the words are so sad.” I told her that our Latin music is a lot like that because we stay joyful even when things aren’t all that hot.

When I was in the 4th grade Sister Mary Valentine, my teacher was reading to us about some of the miracles of Jesus. One day she read to us how Jesus healed 10 lepers and out of the 10 only one came back to thank Him for his miracle. I remember thinking.’ WOW! I want to be like that guy! I want to say thank you all the time.’ And that’s what I’ve done my whole life. I go out of my way to say thank you to God, family, even the cashier at the grocery store who rang up my groceries.

I believe that when you have a thankful attitude, it shows up in all you do. That is what I wanted to impress upon my kids the other day regarding their Latin roots. Latin music is happy because no matter what the lyrics say, no matter what you’re going through in life, we always find something to be thankful for and we sing and dance about it!