Last Day in Peru

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Our last day in Lima, Peru, was this past Wednesday. While David cleared out his desk at the office, Marissa, Marcus, and I walked from our hotel in Miraflores to Parque Kennedy (Kennedy Park).

Marcus was cheering our last day in Peru.

Marcus was cheering our last day in Peru.

We saw a lot of cats. This is a park where kittens and cats are abandoned every day and where a large population of feral cats live.

Cats were everywhere around Kennedy Park.

Cats were everywhere around Kennedy Park.

There is an organization that tries to rescue the newly abandoned cats and find them homes.

Cats were curled up napping in the flower beds.

Cats were curled up napping in the flower beds.

There was a giant red bull in the park.

Peruvians like bulls.

Peruvians like bulls.

And a giant vase.

This vase looked quite weathered.

This vase looked quite weathered.

There was a bust of John F. Kennedy.

Peruvians loved J.F.K.

Peruvians loved J.F.K.

We walked around and took in all the surrounding sights.

It was a beautiful day.

It was a beautiful day.

Marissa wasn't feeling the best as she had a sunburn from a day at the beach on Monday.

Marissa wasn’t feeling the best as she had a sunburn from a day at the beach on Monday.

One of the surrounding streets.

One of the surrounding streets.

There was a cool bike path running alongside the park.

We liked the traffic light for bicyclists.

We liked the traffic light for bicyclists.

We ended our visit to Parque Kennedy by eating cheeseburgers at a little restaurant called, La Luncha. Afterwards, we walked back to our hotel to enjoy a swim in the pool before heading to the airport.

♥ Farewell, Peru! ♥

Highlights from Peru

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By the end of this week, we’ll have waved farewell to Peru, maybe forever, and we’ll be back in the U.S.A. As we close out this chapter of our lives to begin a new one, we look back with fondness on the memories we have made here in Peru.

♥ There are memories from our visits to Larcomar (an outside mall that overlooks the Lima coast)…

On one of our first visits to Larcomar, we encountered these designer dresses made out of recycled materials, such as wood and newspaper.

On one of our first visits to Larcomar, we encountered these designer dresses made out of recycled materials, such as wood and newspaper.

At Larcomar there was a TGIF's and once we saw a skateboarding bulldog!

At Larcomar there was a TGIF’s and once we saw a skateboarding bulldog!

I paraglided over Larcomar for my 40th birthday.

I paraglided over Larcomar for my 40th birthday.

♥ There are memories of Darcie’s volunteer work at an orphanage called, Westfalia…

Darcie loved visiting the children at Westfalia.

Darcie loved visiting the children at Westfalia.

♥ There are memories of Marissa’s time with other young women in our ward (church congregation)…

Marissa enjoyed girls camp and other activities with the young women from church.

Marissa enjoyed girls camp and other activities with the young women from church.

♥ There are memories of the Saturday Marcus and I got to ride in a dune buggy and go sand-boarding…

Sand-boarding was fun!

Sand-boarding was fun!

♥ There are memories of spending the past two Christmases here in Lima…

Those melting-snowman sugar cookies were yummy!

Those melting-snowman sugar cookies were yummy!

♥ There are memories together as a family…

Whether sight seeing or just hanging out at home, we love spending time together as a family.

Whether sight seeing or just hanging out at home, we love spending time together as a family.

We’ll always treasure our memories and our friends here in Peru.

What Will We Miss?

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We’re getting ready to move from Lima, Peru, back to the states. In fact, the movers come on Wednesday to pack our shipment. Yay!

What will we miss from our life in Peru?

♥ We will miss the wonderful friends we’ve made here.

♥ I will miss having a maid. It’s back to doing my own dusting!

♥ I think I’ll sometimes miss garbage pick up every day (except Sunday). That’s been nice.

♥ Sublime bars!

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Inca Kola (some say it tastes like bubble gum).

♥ Shopping at the Inca Market. That’s where I buy some fun, unique things for my home and as gifts.

My wicker fruit basket

My wicker fruit basket

What won’t we miss?

~ Running out of hot water and hand-washing all of our dishes.

~ We won’t miss the bicycle ice cream guy. Actually, it’s the sound of his kazoo we won’t miss.

~ We won’t miss driving here one bit!

What are we looking forward to?

♥ Milk! As in, being able to walk into any grocery store and find an endless quantity of milk. In jugs. Here, finding the only milk that comes in a jug (verses a box, can or leaky bag) is hit and miss, and when we do find it, we are lucky if there are 10 jugs in total.

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1 liter jug of milk

♥ Canned soups, frozen vegetables, whole grain bread, Cheerios, sour cream and onion potato chips, baby carrots… Basically we are excited about having choices and variety in food at the grocery store. Here everything is the same. Rice, pasta, a lot of potatoes, beans, canned or boxed milk, plain potato chips, white rolls, chicken. Yup, that’s pretty much it!

♥ Being able to just hop in my car and drive. No more taxis.

♥ No more walls around our house. And living in the countryside again. I’m not a city girl!

♥ Being closer to my 2 college kids. :)

♥ Just living like a regular American again.

The Andean Culture- Part 6

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From the Sacred Valley, we took a train to the town of Aguas Calientes (Hot Water). We were getting closer to Machu Picchu! It was a 2 hour ride.

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on the train

From Aguas Calientes, we boarded a bus that took us the rest of the way to the entrance of Machu Picchu. The bus drove up narrow switch-back roads. It took 20 minutes.

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Aguas Calientes

We had to show our entrance tickets with our passports to enter Machu Picchu.

DSCN3127Peruvians do not like to give credit for the discovery of Machu Picchu to Hiram Bingham. They like to point out that Machu Picchu was being used secretly by a local farmer at the time. Hiram Bingham was a North American. He was a history professor and an explorer. He knew there was rumored to be a lost city of the Incas, hidden beneath jungle forest. He first came upon part of Machu Picchu in July 1911.

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Because of Hiram Bingham’s expeditions to Machu Picchu, the world came to know this mystical lost city. In fact, most of what we know today about Machu Picchu is what Hiram Bingham and other historians speculated based on their studies of what they found there.

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Machu Picchu was built on terraces or planes. Part of this city was for agriculture and the other part was for rural living.

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It may have been a city for Inca nobility. There were not many tombs in Machu Picchu and only the skeletal remains of one hundred and seventy-three persons were found there.

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Out of those remains, one hundred and fifty were women which is interesting. They may have been especially chosen to be sun princesses. The Incas worshipped the sun as well as other natural elements such as the earth and water.DSCN3172

Hiram Bingham believed this (above) was a sun temple because it was constructed much like the sun temple in Cusco.

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Directly below the sun temple was a tomb for royalty.

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According to Hiram’s records, no silver or gold artifacts were unearthed in Machu Picchu, but scholars question that since the Spanish conquistadors never touched this city (having never discovered it) and they raided other Inca sites specifically for these precious metals.

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Hiram Bingham did find ceramic, wood, stone, metallic and bronze artifacts however. Many of these, including mummies, were taken to Yale University for further study and research.

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Yale kept the borrowed artifacts for years longer than they should have, but eventually returned them to Peru.

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Incas may have believed that rock was a living thing and could change to human form.

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With all of the sudden drop offs, I would not recommend bringing very young children to Machu Picchu, although this is exactly what we did back in 2005 when Marcus was 3-years old! What were we thinking?

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It’s a lot of fun to explore. Notice the trapezoid windows. The Incas loved the trapezoid shape.

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After hours of exploring Machu Picchu (and we only explored a third of it), we returned to Aguas Calientes by bus where we enjoyed lunch at one of the many restaurants there.

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Aguas Calientes is a charming little town.

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♥♥♥

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This statue is very symbolic. The condor represents the sky. The puma crouched behind the Inca warrior represents the earth.

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And on the other side of the statue is a representation of the underworld.

This concludes my series on the Andean Culture. I hope you enjoyed what I shared from our family vacation to Cusco and Machu Picchu.

Hobbit Foil Art

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As we finish up our reading of, The Hobbit, we’ve also been lightly studying the history of gold leafing in art. We decided to make some Hobbit artwork with silver “leafing” (aluminum foil). Here is our results-

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The spiders in the forest (by Marcus)

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Smaug guarding the dwarf treasure (by Camie)

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Smaug sleeping on the dwarf treasure (by Marissa)

Weekly Nutshell

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I am so proud of us this week because we managed to get outside for a walk nearly every day. This is how the parks here are landscaped, with shaped flower beds.

On Monday, the sweetest thing happened (at least I think so as a mom). My 19-year old daughter Skyped her 12-year old brother and the first thing she said was, “I want to hear all about your boys camp.” (Marcus had boys camp last week.) My heart just melted.

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This picture shows the front of our corner apartment complex here in Lima, Peru. We are on the first floor so our view is partially blocked by the high wall. In fact, we see more of the tops of those two little trees than anything else.

On Tuesday, Marcus made this drag race car out of disposable coffee cups.

Wednesday was a bit exhausting for me because two Peruvian women came over, one representing me and the other representing the owners of this apartment. Together they checked off an inventory of our landlord’s belongings (they left their furniture and their kitchen fully stocked for us to use). This was done in preparation for our move back to the states at the end of this month. It took them four hours to complete their inventory, especially since we had to account for each and every item from silverware to towels to lamps and couches.

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One example of the Catholic influence here. There are statues of the Virgin Mary with the Christ Child, in many of the parks here.

On Thursday as we were watching Hugo, this quote stood out to me-

“I’d imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured if the entire world was one big machine… I couldn’t be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason.”

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Here in Peru we see these little guard shacks everywhere. We see men sitting in them all the time, keeping watch over a street or a building or a house. They sit on a stool and sometimes they have a little TV to watch, a newspaper to read.

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Now it’s Friday. All week long I’ve been reading Day in the Life posts of other homeschooling families (similar to the one I posted earlier this week). I think all moms and dads who homeschool are amazing for choosing to take a different path with their children’s educations than what the world expects us to do. We are all doing what we believe to be best for our children and our families.

Not long ago, I was searching the scriptures when I came across this verse in Doctrine and Covenants that really spoke to me as a mom, especially as a homeschooling mom.

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It made me realize that I am giving my children something that they will never get from a government school- light and truth.

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Happy Heart’s homeschool day in the life, in Peru

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Bienvenidos!
We have been (mostly) living and homeschooling in Lima, Peru, since the summer of 2013. My husband’s work is here, temporarily.

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu (December 2014)

We have four children. Our oldest two, who are 19 and 22-years old, are living independent lives at different universities. It was a joy to spend Christmas with them here in Peru.

At this stage of motherhood, I am cherishing each and every day I have at home with my two youngest, now 17 and 12-years old. Homeschooling blesses us with more time together. My time with my children is most precious to me.

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Our current morning reads- the scriptures, Percy Jackson, and Love Inspired romance (like mother, like daughter!).

Our mornings start off gradually. I wake up when my husband gets up for work, usually around 7:30am. I make him a sandwich for his lunch and see him off. Then I settle myself on a sofa with my scriptures on my Nook and a cup of my favorite peach herbal tea.

Marissa and Marcus usually wake up between 8 and 9am. They are both avid readers who love to start and end each day as bookworms.

We almost always eat a hot breakfast. It's my thing.

We almost always eat a hot breakfast. It’s my thing.

Around 9:30am, the three of us sit down to breakfast together. Afterwards we work as a team to tidy up the kitchen and hand-wash the dishes, including those from the night before. While I would love to wake up to a spotless kitchen, let’s just say Peruvians put a lot less value on hot tap water than we Americans do.

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Boiling water to hand wash dishes gets old fast! We have a limited supply of hot tap water in our kitchen every day.

Just before 10:30am, Marissa retreats to her bedroom and sets up for her first class.

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These are actual classes with amazing teachers. There are academy students, who attend these classes in person, and distance learners, like us, from all over the world who watch these classes at home.

My kids are distance-learners through a truly unique private school in Utah called, Liahona Academy. We love love love Liahona because it’s a school that fully embraces our faith and values, their distance program is extremely flexible, and through them, my kids can receive Utah high school diplomas.

Marissa may watch her classes live, which gives her the advantage of instant-messaging her teachers during class, or she may watch her classes at a later time of her choosing. She has all semester to turn in her assignments and there are no classes on Fridays.

So, it is summertime here in Peru, the local children are out of school and that means the ice cream vendors are out in full force! I recorded a sound-bite for you which also gives you an idea of the view we have from our first floor apartment. (Peruvians love tall walls and electric fencing.)

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The Usborne Encyclopedia of World History; Christian Kids Explore Physics; Learn Math Fast Volume 2; A Reason For Handwriting Cursive E; Spelling Made Easy (covers 290 homonym groups); Spelling Smart!

While Marissa’s watching her first class, I give Marcus a math lesson at the dining room table. We use the Learn Math Fast system, which we both like. He’s a natural at math and we try to cover three lessons a week. On the two mornings we don’t do math, we start out with handwriting (cursive) and spelling. We also take this time to work on his weekly five-paragraph essay for his Liahona writing class (set up as a writer’s workshop).

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One way we get some exercise is by walking to and around a nearby park and then tossing a Nerf football or Frisbee to each other.

On days our maid doesn’t come in to work (Tuesdays and Thursdays), we try to take advantage of Marissa’s break between live classes (they are not all in a row) to get outside for a bit. So, around 11:45am, we walk to a nearby park.

Peruvian children play futbol, which is soccer.

Peruvian children play futbol, which is soccer.

I spy with my little eye… the ice cream bicycle guy! Actually, the sound of his kazoo gave him away.

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When we get back to our apartment, Marissa grabs a snack as she heads back to her room to watch another live class that starts at 12:30pm. She watches four 45 minute classes (English, Algebra, history and science) in total.

These keep Marcus organized.

These keep Marcus organized.

Meanwhile, Marcus and I go to the family room, hook my pc up to the TV and sit down comfortably on the couch to watch his Liahona classes. It takes approximately one hour to watch all four of his pre-recorded videos in a row (reading, writing, history and science), each 7 to 20 minutes in length, taught by the same teacher.

Every week Marcus creates a work of art or makes a craft related to his history class. His science experiments relate to his studies on physics.

Every week Marcus creates a work of art or makes a craft related to his history class. His science experiments relate to his studies on physics.

Later, when we’re not utilizing my pc to watch Marcus’ classes, I’ll upload some of his work to his class Kidblog. This is a fun way to connect academy and distance students together. They can each submit pictures of their work for the whole class to see. Marcus also has a pen-pal in his class that he emails and texts on a regular basis.

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We eat a late lunch, between 2 and 2:30pm. Marcus and I eat our lunch together, but I take a tray into Marissa’s room so she can keep going with her live classes. Her last class ends at 3:30pm.

We have lots of free time during our day.

We have lots of free time during our day.

We have plenty of free time, especially in the late afternoon. We use this time to read, play board games, bake cookies, Skype with a college kid if they are available, paint, do a science experiment, go on a walk, etc. On Fridays our maid brings her boys over to swim with Marcus in our pool.

A little evening visitor, perched on our electric fence.

A little evening visitor, perched on our electric fence.

My husband returns from work around 6pm. On Wednesdays, the kids have youth activities from 7 to 9pm at our church. Other than that and grocery shopping once a week, our evenings are just as relaxing as our mornings. We eat dinner and then we usually watch a movie. We have family scripture study and prayer around 9:30pm. And then I alternate nights reading to Marissa and Marcus. Currently with Marissa, she and I are reading, The Princess Bride. And with Marcus, he and I are reading, The Hobbit.

"Inconceivable!" "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

“Inconceivable!” “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

And that is a typical day with us in Lima, Peru, I’m afraid. Not very exciting, is it? However, touring Cusco and Machu Picchu in December as a family was priceless.

In 2007, Machu Picchu was deemed one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.

In 2007, Machu Picchu was deemed one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.