On Monday I shared about how I geek out observing people's household systems. I also shared a story about a gate and how it impacted me many years ago, causing me to never look at my garage opener the same.
As promised, today I thought that I would give you a little glimpse into how we have been doing laundry, preparing meals and staying hydrated here in Mexico. Tip: I'll also show you where we purchased our water bottles for the kids...they have been working out great!
Let's start with laundry.
The first thing to note is how incredibly hot it is here. I haven't been keeping track of the temperatures but with the heat and humidity you basically sweat simply by breathing. Needless to say that everything on your body ends up needing to be washed at the end of the day. Showers are a daily thing around here...more on that in a minute.
We found a place in the hallway to collect dirty clothes. Typically this tub is overflowing and has a pile just as big on the floor next to it, never ceasing to go away. We arrived two weeks ago and learned that the washing machine has only been working when doing small loads. Anything larger than a small load causes the machine to get off balance and go jumping around the tile floor sounding like a little earthquake. Sam's dad is super handy and spent a day trying to fix it only to discover that it only got worse. So then he had to put everything back to how it was before so that at least we could continue to do small loads.
Like the saying goes, How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
That being the case, the machine has been running almost constantly with nine people in the house going through clothes so quickly. Here it isn't as easy as calling a repairman to come look at your washing machine. Today Sam and his dad carried the washing machine out to the truck and drove it to a town about 45 minutes away, to a repair store...only to be told that they won't have the part for over a week!
Once the clothes are washed we hang them up on the lines outside. They are just coming out of the really dry season here. You can see how some of the palm tree branches are yellow. Rainy season is beginning which will cause the branches to eventually turn green again. We watch outside for when the clouds start turning dark and then we go pull the clothes in before the rain comes each day.
The rain is a wonderful gift because along with it usually comes a breeze that helps to cool down the house. On a daily basis all of the windows in the house get closed just after sunrise. Then they are all opened up again in the evening and box fans are attached to some of the windows to help circulate air.
The heat and humidity is so intense that you really can't fall asleep very well unless the fan is directly hitting you. Below the girls are doing some reading in the morning. Because air flow and keeping the windows open is more important than keeping the curtains closed and sunlight out, the kids are generally awake earlier than normal and will read until we let them know it's time to get up.
Shortly after we arrived someone gave Sam's parents a crate FULL of plantains! There were so many that we were eating them for days and days. Nobody could get enough of them, they were SO good!
We would usually peel them, slice them and then fry them in the frying pan for a minute or two on each side. They would get a nice glaze/crunch on the outside and be like warm pudding on the inside! Below you can see a plate full of them in the middle of the table. They went great with breakfast, lunch or dinner. On this occasion, a fresh stack of corn tortillas (bought just down the street) went great with lunch too.
Staying hydrated is really important as well as purifying the water before you drink it. They have certain containers that are filled by a slow drip of water that comes out of a filter by the kitchen sink. Then drops are added to each container to purify the water and kill amoebas and bacteria that aren't caught by the filter. Once the containers have sat for a certain amount of time with the drops in them the water is ready to be used. We use that water for drinking, brushing teeth, cooking, etc.
Here Sam is switching out the water jug so that we can have clean water to drink.
Before we traveled down to Mexico we did some research on water bottles for kids (and read a ton of reviews!) We went with the ones on Amazon here and couldn't be happier!
These water bottles have helped a TON in keeping everyone hydrated! And after a month's time (and traveling all over the place with them) they have held up super well and don't spill (Every mothers dream come true).
They are easy for the kids to use...just press a button. And they are really easy to clean since it is only the top piece (that screws off) and bottom bottle. They are BPA free & dishwasher safe too (although we have yet to find a dishwasher other than our kids to do them). The kids have dropped them many times and the only thing that has happened a few times is that the white trim piece has popped off. (It is super easy to pop right back on.)
The cooler bag I snagged at Aldi, I think. You can find bags like that at lots of different places though. We use the bag to tote all seven water bottles and then usually keep some additional larger bottles of water in the van for refilling.
Besides staying hydrated, everyone generally cools off before bed by hopping in the shower. The shower here always fascinated me. It is completely open to the rest of the bathroom. Everything is at an angle so that the water flows toward the drain. Then at the end of every shower you take that squeegee stick in the corner and pull all of the water that splashed onto the tile towards the drain. I like it...less shower walls to clean, I'd say! :-)
When we first arrived and the kids were getting used to taking cold showers there was definitely some screaming and crying. However, it is amazing how your body adjusts. After a week or so of heat, hopping in the cold shower doesn't even phase them now. :-)
I hope you enjoyed this little tour of how some of the essentials are covered here.