October 21, 2016

Color Ourselves Into the World

I made paper dolls with the kids this week. For the younger kids we worked on colors and their dolls had Halloween costumes. For the older kids we worked on colors and names of articles of clothing. All of them loved the activity, which surprised me. Mostly because I don't think of 13 and 14 year old boys as liking to color. But they did. And so did the girls. I guess that's why adult coloring books are popular...because everyone likes to color.

I did my best to choose paper dolls that reflect their physical make up. But it was hard. Because the better designs, the simpler designs, the designs that weren't wearing lederhosen (seriously) were of people of northern European descent. Yeah. So not really my demographic. But still the show must go on. So I chose the designs best suited to the lessons needs. Because seriously, kids can color hair any color they want, right? 

Here's the crazy thing...most of the younger kids colored the hair blonde. We had one brunette, one ginger and one scribble monster that was completely black. But the rest colored the doll hair blonde. Seriously. There isn't one blonde in the joint. I've got the lightest skin but even I have dark brown hair.

I asked the girl smiling why she was coloring the doll with blonde hair (as I conspicuously colored mine dark). She told me blonde is beautiful. What?! 

And as I looked around all of the girls were coloring blonde hair. What?! 

I took a brown pencil and colored my skin super light. What's interesting is that it's the most realistic skin coloring I've ever done. I mean I've always used the peach or apricot color for my pictures I shouldn't, though. The super light brown looks more like the real me. So what color do these golden brown-skinned beauties of mine color the skin on their dolls? Peach. WHAT?! 

Whoa. How about we save orange skin tones for Trump and we stick to something more natural? And seriously, the color of their skin is beautiful. Despite my positive example, they colored their dolls using the beautiful colors of their choice. 

Why do we hate our hair, no matter what it looks like? I have straight-ish hair but always slept in curlers as a child and as a teen I always had perms. My sister always got the blonde dolls for Christmas and I got the brunettes/gingers. It probably made life simpler for my parents when there were only two choices in the store. But just once I wanted a blonde doll, too.

About 2% of the world's population is blonde. It's most common in the UK and Scandinavian countries. So why do we idealize blondes as children? Is it because it's what we don't have? I have to admit that as an older teen and young adult I came to embrace my hair. It's a pretty color. It grows quickly. I haven't had a perm in literally 25 years. I don't see myself getting another one for the rest of my life.

With the older children I teach, I also found some of them coloring their dolls more similar to themselves. I like that. To me it shows maturity to accept ourselves as we are. To view ourselves as beautiful. And to color ourselves into the world.

October 9, 2016

Quiet Reflection

I don't know when my parents got old. But they did. Especially my mom. And the majority of my memories of my mom come from when she was my age. What?! How did I get to be so old. Or rather when did my mom start withdrawing into silence when she used to be the life of the party.

Part of me likes being an adult. I'm in the prime of my life. Another part of me longs to be a kid with unlimited access to my mom. It's possible that she'll die while I'm in Brazil. I know life isn't guaranteed and anyone can say that. But my mom's health has deteriorated over the last ten years and it makes me sad. She's not the same as before. She's quiet. Lets my dad do the talking. She moves slowly. And since her broken pelvis from a fall last month she isn't really moving at all these days.

Part of me wants to be with her. Part of me knows that it's too late to change the past. It's not even like I'd change too many things. I've had more time with my mom than my siblings as I've lived in the same city as she has and they're a bit further away. But still...I think what I long for are the days when we would read the same book and have discussions while making dinner. The days when we'd plan a party and the food menu and she and my dad would lead a bunch of teens in games. The literati parties we put on every Christmas for a few years after Sister Womyn Sister days. And sometimes I'd sneak into her bed and we'd just lay there and talk about whatever.

The mother I want to know existed long before I came along. How did her experiences shape her? How did she like motherhood? How did she like marriage? Did she ever have a crisis of faith? When life got hard, how did she cope? Was she happy? Because I don't think I thought about her as a person. She was my mother. And that roll is so powerfully strong that sometimes I think kids forget there's a person underneath.

My mother is a real person. One that my children have many memories of...mostly going over to watch movies and eat caramel popcorn. Because my mom wanted me to go on dates with my husband. I can only assume that she wished she had such a luxury as a young mother. Her four children are within five years of each other. We were very close. And my children are, too....but I one-upped her by having my first five within five years. Ha ha. She knew it was hard. She wanted to have a relationship with my children.

I didn't know my grandparents super well...though I lived with my mom's mom for 3 months after my grandfather died. My mom wanted to be involved in my kids' regular lives and she was. She always made time for grandparents day at school and she and my dad came every year for Veteran's day.

I just don't want to say goodbye. As fantastic as life after death sounds...the reality of the pain of loss and sharpness of grief terrifies me. How did my mom do it when her mother died? What helped her press forward? Those are the questions I want to ask now. To lie in bed and talk about the important things. Our relationships. How to love even when it's hard. How to move forward even when the sugar coated past lulls us reliving our time there.

September 5, 2016

Flying Nuns

The past several months, I have been volunteering once or twice a week to work with children in an after/before school care facility run by a group of nuns. On occasion, I bring my kids if they don't have school or I'm there in the afternoon. Brazilian schools typically run a morning group of kids and an afternoon group of kids. Each session is about 5 hours long. So the nuns have activities and programs in the morning and then lunch for afternoon school kids and lunch and the same but opposite for the morning school kids. I teach them English.

There are a lot of kids! Close to a hundred, I think. To help me learn their names, I mimicked what one of my college professors did on my first day of class. He lined us up in the front of the board, had us write our names on it and then stand under our names. Then he took a photo, had it developed after class, and then over the next few days, he memorized everyone's names. Truly brilliant. I loved that he called on me by name in class...not very many college professors can do that.

 Well, my efforts are not as hard core as my professor, but I do have quite a few of the names down. Some of the names are familiar to me and some are a little different. Juscineia is one of the more unusual ones...it seriously took me 3 months to get that down. She's awesome so I have a bit of motivation to remember. 

Sometimes, I get frustrated with my students. I think I'm giving them a valuable and marketable skill with my classes and hopefully a leg up in future life...but they remind me of my children who are more interested in goofing around than having class. One group is doing really well, though. We split it in half - girls/boys and now there is a lot more participation and speaking happening. I like smaller groups no larger than 6 or 7.

My Portuguese language skills are slowly improving. The people who I really want to talk to are the nuns...and I'm so frustrated with my inability to do that. In addition to the twice a week group classes that I've been taking since February, I've added two different one-on-one teachers this month. And I'm making a point to be more vocal and practice speaking.

I don't really know anything about the children's home that I volunteer in. Originally, I thought it was an orphanage. And while they do have a handful of teens that live there, the vast majority don't. I realized that on Mother's day when they were making cards for their moms. 

Sometimes people leave their non-slip socks at the trampoline park. Tymon brings them home to me and I wash them. Last Monday, a day when the park is usually closed, the kids from the children's home came to the park on a field trip and we were able to use approximately 80 pair. Three of our kind-hearted employees volunteered their time to come and help supervise them. Plus a couple of the nuns and also a handful of other adults who helped transport all of them.

They loved it. And Tymon loved holding hands with one of the nuns...he helped steady her on the slack line. Ha ha. He made sure I got a photo of it. Like anyone would believe he's held hands with a nun...or that both of them kissed him (on the cheek) when we left.

This video reminds me of The Flying Nun. Except no special effects (aside from slow mo) are used.

These nuns are pretty cool. Last June the PE teacher brought in skate boards for a week...and these beautiful ladies got right on them. I think I just like to imagine nuns being straight-laced. But in reality they are people who like to break up the monotony of the day doing fun stuff.

August 30, 2016

A Mango By Any Other Name...

...would taste as sweet. But holy schmoly there are so so so many varieties of mangoes out there. Year round in Sao Paulo (so weird that I've actually been here a year and can say this), two types are in every grocery store produce department and produce market and also street market: Palmer and Tommy. Today at the market there were those plus two more: the Rosa and Bourbon. I've seen other varieties and heard that the Verde ones are awesome...but I haven't tasted that one, yet.

In order with the bottom photo, there is the Palmer, Tommy, Rosa and Bourbon mangoes. The Bourbon is as tall as my palm...so tiny in comparison to the others. The Palmer is a touch bigger than my hand.

My favorite is the Rosa, which has been around for about the last month so it must be in season. To me it tastes like a cross between a nectarine straight off the tree and of course, a mango. In short, it's pretty close to heaven. Today the price was R$5 per kilo...or $1.65USD per kilo. I used to remove the skin in a very messy fashion every time I made smoothies...until a Brazilian watched me do it and told me you could eat the skin. So now our Vitamix blends the skin and flesh and my kids fight over who gets to suck on the seed.

What I wonder is what kind of mango we have in US stores...because I didn't realize there was more than one type before coming to Brazil. Same with bananas...maybe I should do a post on those, too. One produce market I like to go to frequently has at least 5 to 6 varieties of bananas. 

March 30, 2016

Fingers Toes and Dedos - A Teensy Graphic Post

So there we were, in the middle of Tymon's English class, learning about units of measurement and the appropriate use of "how much" and "how many" when one of our friends asked me to come outside. 

Jocelyn was hurt. She'd been running around and then all of a sudden her foot hurts. And she bled on the stairs. Jocelyn has NO idea if she ran into something or what. She just knows that no one else stepped on her and she wasn't climbing where she shouldn't have been. So weird.

We had walked to church so one friend drove us home and another told Tymon that we left. It took me a while to be able to clean up Jocelyn's foot enough to figure out the extent of the injury. Was just one toe bleeding? Or two? Did her nail pop off? I just didn't know.

In fact, just this afternoon, when we cleaned it out again, did I realize that she got cut right above her toenail. And I repeat, this is all a mystery to her. Crazy. She's a trooper for pain, though. Doesn't really complain. Jocelyn told her brother that I said she was brave. Yup. She proved that in the dog bite incident.

So after I put my wound care stuff away, we had family scriptures and prayer. It should have been bed time, but I looked into the kitchen and saw the mountain of dinner dishes that had been skipped because we had soccer (the boys) and English class at the church. I asked each of the family members if they loved Jocelyn. Everyone said yes. Then I asked them to help her do Jocelyn's chores, which were the dishes and counters.

We worked together in the kitchen for half an hour. Everyone helping. It was the best family work experience we've ever had. No whining. No complaining. Just showing Jocelyn that we love her.

After we were done with dishes and counters and wiping cupboards, I showed my kids photos from my trip home a couple of weeks ago. They loved the stories I shared. I told them of the work party my siblings and I had with my parents. That we each contributed to the best of our abilities. No one was upset that someone else wasn't doing their share. No one whined or complained. We just worked. Together. And it was wonderful.

Serving Jocelyn showed the boys that not only is it possible to work together and not fight but it's actually enjoyable. They were kind and thoughtful. It's not always like this. In fact, most often it's not. But this time it was. And it was wonderful.

March 20, 2016

Working Together

I went home last week. My myself. To do taxes. And meet up with my siblings to help my parents get a few things accomplished. The week passed quickly. I don't think I slept more than 5 hours each night...because there's no time for the frivolousness of sleep when each day is packed so full.

My brother picked me up from the airport and we went to my office to find a box that would fit my Vitamix...which was really the most important of my plans that needed to be set in motion as soon as I arrived. The UPS guy told me it'd take three days to get to Nevada...which meant there was no way Vitamix would get the package in time to check out my blender and send me a new container.

My siblings and I haven't been alone with our parents in decades. Yes, we've all been together, but always with other people around, including our own families. It was like a step back in time for me. When I was a daughter instead of a mother. I think the best part about being together was the way in which we worked together.

Nowadays, when my children have chores, I'm faced with near constant contention.  Everyone's into everybody else's business and keeping track of who's worked the most and who's not doing their jobs. I ask for peace, but often add fuel (think raging blow torch) to the flames and make a bonfire.

So here's the down low. Our parents have collected more than 40 years worth of who-knows-what in their home. It's a lot. I'm pretty sure an episode of Hoarders could be made there. We joke about bringing in a dumpster and my dad gets panicked that we're going to throw out all of his stuff. And we tell him that we'd like to work with him so that we can find out what family history items are there.

My brothers had a plan when they came over Friday afternoon. I had arrived Wednesday and when we pulled into the driveway that night there was a 2-3 inch deep puddle the size of a car where they usually park their car. So I called the gravel company and had them dump 15 yards (17.000 Kg) in the driveway. My parents had been out that afternoon worried, I'm sure, about what we were doing. We worked all afternoon and evening to get that gravel spread and to fill in the holes that caused big puddles. We also cleaned up the junk storage along the perimeter. They were so surprised. And pleased.

So, my brothers have some muscle and were able to move the wheel barrows around to dump gravel where it needed to go. I can shovel gravel from a pile into the wheel barrows, but often if I try to move them, I'll tip them over five feet shy of where they should have gone. My sister has some wrist issues and doesn't lift very much at all. So instead of doing what we did as kids by wanting everything equal and fighting to make it so, we accepted where we each were at and focused on what we could each do. While I was filling wheel barrows, my brothers were cleaning junk and my sister was raking gravel. Then my brothers would move loads for me. We worked so well together. I loved it. It's the first time we've ever been all together at the same time doing a project like that. Of course we all work together in the driving school, but this was different. It was truly a labor of love.

It gives me hope for my kids. Someday, I hope sooner than later, they will figure it out. Just like my siblings and I did. We can do amazing things together when we play to each other's strengths.

I was disappointed to be leaving without my Vitamix and was making arrangements for our eventual reunion when my brother called me the afternoon before I left and told me UPS had just delivered it. YES! The only problem was that my suitcase was full of stuff from my shopping spree...in my basement. We left a lot of stuff behind. Stuff that I like. But stuff that we didn't have room for. So I repacked a few items. Dropped extra stuff back to my basement. And found myself in possession of two suitcases packed to the limit and a 45 pound carry on.

As luck would have it, my first flight was totally booked and they asked for at least 15 passengers to check in their carry on luggage. I had been nervous about lifting the bag...I mean I had to make it look easy, right? Ha ha. But it turns out there is no weight limit for carry ons (on United anyway) and so I volunteered. So glad I didn't have to lug that around.

And we're back into smoothies! Vitamix is awesome, both the products and company. And no, I don't get paid to say that. Though I wish I did. Today we had a guava lime smoothie. So good. I'm going to have to try that combo again soon.

March 10, 2016

Slept On The Floor

I think I was three when I started bringing my blanket to the kitchen to wait for Dad to come home. He worked late and when the house was quiet I'd sneak out of bed and go lay down in front of the refrigerator.

The fridge had a couple of things going for it. First, there was a vent under the door that blew out warm air for a few minutes several times each hour.

Second and equally important, the fridge is located in the path of the back door, so when Dad got home, if he didn't see me, he would sometimes trip over my feet when coming into the house.

I'm not sure what I liked more, waiting on a chilly night with warm air blowing on me or the snippets of time with my Dad before he carried me to bed.

Sometimes my siblings would want in on the action. I didn't like sharing my space. Sharing meant I wouldn't always get to be right next to the vent. And the comfort seeker part of me craves that warmth. 

One day we got a new fridge. I'd never been so disappointed in my short life. The new fridge blew out cold air. What?! If I were making a fridge purchase at that age, a warm air vent would be first on my list of necessary features. I tried to not let the cold air bother me. I tried bringing extra blankets. I tried to like being cold. I just couldn't. My days in front of the fridge waiting up for Dad were over. 

Some people say that when God closes one door, he opens another. I'm my case God one upped the fridge with the furnace. This grate can fit four feet touching it. It has a better and longer lasting air flow. It's perfect, really. 

Making the discovery that our dining room furnace vent easily adjusts so a blanket can be attached to the top of it changed my life. No longer was it necessary to hold my blanket over the vent, which can get tiring. But in this new situation I could hunker down, pull the blanket in close around me and still see the blanket billow around my feet...in direct line of the pure unadulterated free flowing warm air. I'm pretty sure this is what's it's going to be like in my comfort seeker's heaven.

In high school, the dining room vent became my go to spot for after school naps. And for those days when I was in the despairs of menstrual cramps, the vent would assuage my pain while I waited for ibuprofen to kick in. It inspired many a homework assignment and numberless books were consumed next to it.

I slept on the floor last night. By choice. In the dining room of my childhood home.

I slept on the floor last night. I'm not stiff and my back doesn't hurt.

I slept on the floor last night in the clothes I’d put on the day before in São Paulo. Because the thought of removing them sent shivers down my spine.

I slept on the floor last night. With an afghan, a comforter and a quilt trapping the furnace's warm offering.

I slept on the floor last night. With warmth and comfort and memories, my inner-child in the old family home.

I slept on the floor last night snuggling with the dining room furnace vent.

February 29, 2016

Vitamix Woes

Jocelyn was so excited to make a dessert smoothie for our family night treat tonight. I mean she's been talking about it for two days. All. Day. Long. Elliott helps her and they get all the good stuff in there...mango, avocado, passion fruit...ice. Lots of ice. And a spoon.

A spoon? Yes. She feels super bad. As she should. We cannot have smoothies for a few weeks. Possibly months.

Look at that hole! Did you have any idea the blender's blade would push a spoon right on out the side of the container?

I'm pleased with myself. I didn't yell. Or scream. Or even cry...though I might be doing all of that if the sorry tale I just wrote to Vitamix about doesn't fall under the machine's 7 year warranty (we're only halfway through). Because living in Brasil with tons of inexpensive and delicious fruits begging to be consumed is not worth living without a Vitamix. It just isn't.

February 20, 2016

HortiFruti - Produce Market

There were too many finds at the produce market this past week for me to fill my newsfeed...I think the cashiers think I'm funny. I just find random fruits and vegetables and I buy them. 

Then in the check out line I ask for some additional information. Not too much. My Portuguese language skills are lacking. But just enough. 

Like, is this a fruit? Vegetable? Oh you don't know what ve-ge-tuh-bul means? Let me try that with a different accent. Nope. Hmm. She says legume. Yes! That's what I want to know. Fruta ou legume? But she doesn't know so she asks the lady at the next register. 

Caxi - big and round and what is it??? I don't know but I put it in a chicken and bacon cream dish and it came out tasting a bit like potatoes. The waxy firm kind. Delicious.

Kino - they had green and orange ones. I didn't buy the orange one because there was a bad spot on it. And at R$10 or USD $2.50 each, I wasn't going to buy more than one. It's really pretty on the inside. Definitely fruity but reminded me a little bit of a cucumber. We all tried it and Jocelyn slurped up the rest of it. She really liked it.

Cidra or citron....like a sour lemon with the thickest rind you ever saw. The white part was flavorless. But the citrus part was great...and seedy. So we just licked it a little bit.

So there are some huge avocados here. I made an avocado orange smoothie with one (tasted like candy) and guacamole with the other. The abobora reminded me of zucchini. They call it a winter melon. I didn't peel it before putting it in a noodle dish, but I think it would've been better if I had.

And the bamboo shoot. That brown skin was silky smooth furry. I really liked it. I've actually never seen fresh bamboo shoot before. Only in small cans in the Asian section of the supermarket at home. I looked up how to cook it (for about an hour submerged in the milky white water that rice gives off as you rinse it). I put it in a fried rice which everyone ate at dinner but no one wanted for lunch the next day. I liked it fresh but sadly didn't want later, either. 

These bananas are growing in a random neighborhood park near our home. We pass by every Sunday as we walk home from church. They used to be as big as one of my fingers. Now they're thickening up a bit. I hope in a few weeks or whenever they're ready, I'll be able to eat one. Because that's just so cool to have bananas growing in a park. So random.

February 1, 2016

A Month of Letters

A few years ago, I accepted the month of letters challenge. In a nutshell, I write a letter a day in February.

I thought about this a week or two ago when in a little copy store...and I bought some envelopes. Yet today, I nearly forgot. I was reminded this evening after reading a college friend's Facebook request to send her grandmother a card or letter for her 90th birthday. So Grandma Lula, I start the month with you.

I like this challenge because I like letters. Real ones. Ones people put on paper. Makes me excited for the mailbox because it's not just ads and bills. I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in this. 

I want you to know that my letters have benefited you, too...even if I didn't mail you one. What benefit you ask? Well, I like to write to Costco. Mostly because they respond. And one year when I brought to their attention that their price for Huggies diapers has steadily increased over the past several years (having 5 kids in less than 5 years means we knew the ins and outs of diapers) they send me some samples of their Kirkland brand diapers. They were packaged in twos. So convenient for my emergency kit in my car. Not that I was ever caught without a diaper when we really needed one. Ha ha. Yes we were. All. The. Time.

Okay, so you didn't benefit from my diaper letter. But I did write to Costco about coconut oil. At the time I had it as a subscribe and save item on Amazon Prime. I'd get a new jar every month or two as it was the only oil we used for cooking. I requested that they carry the Nutiva brand. Organic. Non-GMO. Virgin. Cold Pressed. Unrefined. Delicious. So the Costco food buyer wrote me a letter thanking me for the suggestion and telling me that he'd both look into it and also that they only stock a handful of items.

Imagine my pleasure a few months later when I saw coconut oil at Costco. I was ecstatic and just to show that buyer that this would be a popular item and encourage them to stock more (as well as stock up in case they didn't), I bought an entire case of it. So yeah, then I had coconut oil coming out my ears. Year supply? Check.

The last time I was at Costco, I saw that Kirkland brand now has their own coconut oil. And it all started because of my letter. Ha ha. Not really. But I'm convinced that my letter in combination with other letters made the difference. Because even Costco likes to get letters. I think I'll write them again this year. And request that they bring Costco to Sao Paulo. After all, Sam's Club is here. But we all know Sam's Club is not Costco.

January 28, 2016

Princeton Rugby Circa 1920

Graeden has loved the color orange from an early age. Every shirt I bought had to contain the color orange or he wouldn't wear it. With this knowledge in mind, for his birthday one year, my parents gifted Graeden my grandfather's Princeton rugby uniform. 

Wow. Just looking at it makes me laugh. Because seriously, did men really wear this back then? It looks more like a jester's outfit than a team jersey. I'm guessing the dates the team wore this to be around 1920 (my grandfather was born in December 1898). It's made of fairly thick wool and is in decent condition for being nearly 100 years old...only a few moth holes.

Well Graeden wouldn't wear it and it sat in a bag. For months. Tymon wanted me to give it away. What?! No way. This gem needs to be kept. So this past August when I was working to pack away our home in preparation to move, I came across it. 

My brother was helping me move some furniture and I gave it to him. He and my grandfather share a middle name, so really he's the rightful heir. Not only does the uniform fit Brett, but he loves it. And I'm happy. It's been passed down to someone who will love and appreciate it.

I haven't used my camera since I arrived in Brazil, which is a shame but also my phone is more convenient and less conspicuous. So when Tymon got it out to take some photos I found this photo of Brett in the uniform along side my friend Amber, who was also helping me pack my house. Three cheers for Princeton and to the team of friends and family who helped me move. You were a Godsend.

January 27, 2016

Brazilian School Year

The school year in Brazil runs from the end of January to the end of November or first week into December. Summer vacation is December and January. There is also a break for the month of July.

Today is the first day of school. When we moved to Sao Paulo in mid-2015, our children had just completed a year of school. Because we enrolled them into Brazilian schools with little Portuguese language skills, we chose to have them repeat the last half of the grade they'd just completed. It's the sink or swim approach to language. They aren't swimming in the deep end of the pool, yet, but their language skills have improved over the last several months.

As of today, I have a kindergartner, second grader, fourth grader, 6th grader and 7th grader. Interestingly enough, both Elliott and Graeden started middle school today. 

At their last school all grades were in the same building. In this new school there are three different campuses for the different ages. The elementary school is half a block away. The middle/high school is across the street and Kira's school is about a 5 minute walk away. 

A huge bonus to moving into our own home is that we moved so close to a great school. No more half hour drive to get to school. They can walk in two minutes. Or three if they drag their feet. In the duplex next to us there are a couple of families with kids. One has a son Jett's age and is in Jett's class this year and the other has a daughter Jocelyn's age and she's in her class, too. I hope this will be a blessing to them. It helps to have at least one friend when going to a new school. 

Kira seemed shy this morning when we took her to school and needed to sit with Tymon for circle time. She seems smaller than many of the other kids. And I just wanted to hug her. I sat with her at her desk for a little bit and she bravely waved bye when it was time to go. 

I know she understands a lot of Portuguese. When the teacher was telling the children that they could bring a toy on Friday but it couldn't be a little one, Kira turned to Tymon and asked why not small toys. She's got an awesome accent and often cries to me in Portuguese. Someday soon, she'll surpass my limited language skills and I won't be able to understand her. I figure that'll only help me to get better. Can't let a 4 year old show me up. Ha ha.

January 26, 2016

Jackfruit aka Jaca

A couple of times a week, our tutor Irina comes and works with the kids on their Portuguese language skills. Today she brought with her a jaca fruit. Wow! This is the largest fruit in the world. I've seen it growing on a tree and it's pretty incredible that the tree limbs can even bear the weight of this giant.

So jaca fruit has a milky sap that is very sticky. We covered the table with garbage bags and coated our hands with oil so each kid could cut off a section of the fruit. They each worked to separate bulbs of flesh from the skin and connective fronds of their portion and then further separated the seed from the flesh.

Irina told me she'd watched a video that said the sap from the jackfruit was good for the skin..as in eczema rashy skin. And well, I've had this rash on my arms for the last few months that won't go away. 

So it didn't matter that she didn't know exactly how to apply it. We don't need to bog ourselves down with details. Better to take advantage of the moment rather than lose out. She and Tymon just wiped some all down my arm. It felt like marshmallow cream. So so sticky.

See the milky sap exuding from the core of the fruit.
It's also on the outside where the fruit attaches to the tree.
Both the fruit and seeds are edible. The fruit is sweet and I can't really describe it. Some have said it's like a cross between a pineapple, mango and banana. I don't know that I'd go that far, I've made that combo in a smoothie on several occasions. This wasn't like that. Nonetheless, I like it. It's not my favorite, but it's not bad.

I took some of the flesh and made a smoothie with it and some pineapple and lime. Such a good smoothie. Elliott had 3 cups full. Most of the rest of our big bowl went to the freezer for future smoothies. Hopefully Jocelyn doesn't get diarrhea from eating so much fresh. Ha ha.

We put the seeds into the pressure cooker for 40 minutes, which softened them right up. They tasted a little bit like boiled chestnuts. I liked them and made a salad with them by adding red onion, salt, vinegar and olive oil.

And about my arm...I left the sap on for two hours while searching the internet in hopes of figuring out how the sap should be applied and how long to leave it on and anything else about it. Google left me hanging, which is frustrating. Isn't everyone looking up the process for putting sap on rashy skin? I ended up smothering it with coconut oil and then washing in the sink with soap and warm water.

Though I didn't find what I wanted, I did pick up a few interesting jaca tidbits. There is a natural latex in the milky sap which combined with vinegar can be used to treat abscesses and snake bites. I found recipes on how to make jaca glue. And I even saw a few articles about using jaca sap for roof sealant. Pretty incredible, really. 

Perhaps, that's why jaca fruit doesn't fall off the tree as it grows so big...it's basically glued into place.
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