country · entertainment · family · fun · photography · Vacation

Memories To Remember – Brazil Part 1

img_8515Visiting the hometowns after almost 30 years… 

Brazil stretches roughly 2,700 miles from north to south and from east to west to form a vast irregular triangle that encompasses a wide range of tropical and subtropical landscapes, including wetlands, savannas, plateaus, and low mountains. Brazil contains most of the Amazon River basin, which has the world’s largest river system and the world’s most-extensive virgin rainforest. The country contains no desert, high-mountain, or arctic environments.

Chris and I were born in Brazil and we haven’t been back to visit our family in a very long time. We finally decided to plan our trip with the boys. We went in May 2021 for 22 days and the weather was around 80-100°F daily. There’s no real winter season. We had a blast and enjoyed our family trip. I decided to post some tips and ideas in the hopes it will help you make a decision to visiting this amazing country. Despite all the media negative reports of kidnappings and murders taking place in Rio and elsewhere in the country, these occurrences are actually incredibly rare, especially for tourists. That is not to say that the country is free from crime. Fortunately, we didn’t experience or witnessed any. It was a memorable trip for us and the boys and we plan ongoing back sometime soon. =) 

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The reality is the majority of tourists will leave Brazil thinking the media paint an unfair picture, yet unfortunately incidents and accidents do happen and not always crime related.

#1 Deciding if we wanted to enter as a Visitor or as Native. 
Since we have multiple nationalities, this was the first thing we needed to decide on.
We decided we wanted to enter as a native (We had Brazilian passports) and the kids as a visitor (American passport only) to save time and question from custom. Well, that didn’t workout as planned. The immigration customs in Brazil were a little ridiculous. Even though we had our Brazilian passport, they asked a million questions and ended up causing issues to let the boys in to the country. (Because they have multiple nationality Brazilian and American) After a while they decided that it was ok to let them enter as visitors. My suggestion for anyone with multiple nationalities is to have ALL passports in hand. 

#2 GETTING A PASSPORT/VISA
* You will need: A valid U.S. passport. U.S. citizens do not need a visa if they are traveling to Brazil for tourism, business, transit, artistic or sport activities, with no intention of establishing residence.
* Passport Photo: Photo should be 2”x2” (51 x 51 mm) with the head centered and sized between 1” and 1.4” (25 and 35 mm). (We took our photos at CVS and I believe we paid $17.00 each.)
* Apply Early! Getting your passport in the mail takes about 6-11 weeks. Find forms online, print them and fill them out prior to your appointment to either your Town Hall or US Post Office. I don’t recommend mailing the application in, as this could potentially cause major delays.
* Fees- Passport book: You will pay -$165 for a standard passport book (Valid for all international travel by air, land, and sea)
#3 Immigration and Customs Regulations
* When arriving at Airport:
Everyone has to do an immigration and customs declaration. Airline must distribute both immigration and customs forms to fill out before your arrival. However, it is recommended to download and fill out the forms before traveling. You should be careful with this form, as it must be returned when you leave the country. There are two different doors at customs, as in most airports: the green line (“Nothing to declare”) for those who carry allowed items (clothes, books, personal equipment, etc.) and the red line (“merchandise to be declared” ) for those who are bringing some special items to Brazil. At this point, you will be asked to deliver the customs form to the agents and open your luggage for inspection.
*Currency Restrictions for Entry: More than 10,000 BR ($1,850.20 USD) must be declared to Customs
(Today’s Exchange Rate $1 USD = $5.40 BRL) This amount is per person. Trust me, you do not want to bring more cash than stated above. Not only for safety but customs are a little tricky when you bring 
more than enough. Avoid using ATMs in unfamiliar, secluded, or lightly protected areas. You can use your personal credit cards anywhere and the currency is exchanged on the spot so you know exactly how much you are spending in US dollars. Plus, it’s the safest way. 
* Luggage What can you carry: Items in Brazil comparing the value of the dollar up on top is very cheap. Pack light and buy what you need after you arrive and settle in. – clothes and other articles for personal use only (quantities must be compatible with the duration of stay and be for personal use only). This includes all type of electronics. Don’t bring more than one item per traveler. 
REMOVE all price tags – I packed a few clothing items for my personal use, and the items were brand new. I did not remove the tags on them when we went through customs. They tried to charge me a Tax fee for my PERSONAL clothing (ridiculous if you ask me.) 
* Brazil Airport Tax regulations: If you bring new things, worth more than US$500, you must fill out the customs form. All new products valued at more than US$500 are taxable. The exemption limit is personal. Passengers traveling with family members (spouse and children) cannot combine their personal exemptions. The tax is 50% on the value that exceeds the above-mentioned exemption limits. The tax will be assessed by customs officials and its payment is a condition for the release of the goods. (Basically they look up the highest value and tax you half of it.) If you don’t pay, you leave the airport without your items. 

#4 Driving – License or Permit (IDP) and Car Rental (If you decide to drive)

It’s not necessary to have an international driver’s license to rent a car in Brazil. You can drive a car if you obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) within your first 30 days in Brazil. You should not drive in Brazil if you do not have an IDP unless you have acquired a permanent 

Consider avoiding the use of public, municipal buses in Brazil at any time of day, and especially at night. Crime trends indicate an elevated risk of robbery or assault on public bus systems throughout Brazil. The U.S. government recommends against personnel using public, municipal buses in all parts of Brazil.

We decided to drive as Chris knows his way around and wanted to drive to other states instead of taking a bus or train. (as mentioned above, just not as safe) It was easy for him to obtain an international driving permit (IDP) with AAA to drive legally and worry free. Anyone with a valid driver’s license can apply for an IDP. 
* How to Apply:  AAA is one of only two private entities in the U.S. authorized by the U.S. Department of State to issue an IDP. You will need to provide: An application, two original passport pictures, a valid U.S. driver’s license and pay $20 permit fee and you’re ready to go!
* Car Rental: Renting a car in Brazil is one of the best ways to explore as much of the country as possible. Renting a car might not be worth the hassle if you are just planning to remain in one place. Drivers tend to be reckless in big cities, and they do not always comply with traffic laws. There’s a wide variety of rental companies to choose from in Brazil. We opted to rent and pay for everything in advance online (We used Booking as our go to for all we needed as the safest option and rented from Foco Aluguel de Carros ) We rented a Jeep Renegade (The biggest car available to fit 5 passenger – Note the luggage space is very limited to 2 bags) for 22 days and paid a total of $470.32 USD. We picked up at Rio de Janeiro International Airport and dropped it off at the same location. 

aerial view of city buildings during daytime


The violent crime rate is high in most Brazilian urban centers. Public transportation, hotel sectors, and tourist areas report high crime rates, but these incidents can happen anywhere and at any time. Be aware of your surroundings.


#5 Safety & Security  
*Thieves: 
Unfortunately, robbery is a major challenge for Brazil. Sometimes the larger the car is, the more targeted you will be. You will need to stay vigilant to reduce the threats. If you can avoid it,  don’t drive at night. After 8 pm, you can even ride through red lights to make sure criminals don’t target you. However, you will need to be very careful when doing this. Carjackings and hold-ups can occur at any time of the day or night, especially at intersections and in tunnels. Some robberies involve individuals robbed at gunpoint and taken to make purchases or to withdraw as much money as possible from one or more ATMs. You should also be mindful that Brazil’s road conditions can be incredibly unpredictable. Parking is limited and you might want to check with street guards if any around if you need to pay to park off the street. You will be able to park your car only in public parking spaces, and these are marked on the street with a white line. Yellow means you’re unable to park at any time. 

* Do not travel to: 
Informal housing developments in Brazil (commonly referred to in Brazil as favelas), even on a guided tour, at any time of day due to crime. Neither the tour companies nor the police can guarantee your safety when entering these areas. Even in favelas that the police or local governments deem safe, the situation can change quickly and without notice. In addition, exercise caution in areas surrounding favelas, as occasionally, inter-gang fighting and confrontations with police move beyond the confines of these communities.

To reduce the chance of becoming the victim of a crime, limit the belongings you carry with you. Carry your money in your front pockets and limit the number of credit cards you carry. Make copies of all of your personal documents – including your credit cards, license, passport, etc. – and keep them in a safe place. This will be helpful if you lose your documents. Do not carry or wear valuable items that will attract the attention of thieves. (I personally removed all jewelry, including my diamond ring.) If you need to wear expensive jewelry or carry a camera, conceal it until you arrive at your destination. Be aware of the street environment and avoid contact with those who may be looking for robbery targets. Seek a safer location. Go into a store, bank, or simply cross the street. Do not walk on beaches after dark. Assaults are common. Use increased caution when hiking in isolated areas, particularly near popular tourist locations in the city of Rio de Janeiro. 
* Victims of Crime: Hope this won’t happen to you but if it does you should contact the local authorities to file a Brazilian police report before departing Brazil. In most instances, you can report crimes to the tourist or civil police. You should also inform the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate, but local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime.
* The local equivalent to the “911” emergency line in Brazil is divided among four services:
* 190 – Police * 191 – Police on interstate roads * 192 -Ambulance * 193 – Fire Department and the U.S. Embassy at 011-55-61-3312-7000 Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance. 

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Brazil is impossible to summarize in just a few paragraphs. In other words, this will be in multiple parts. Stay tuned……

Hope you enjoy reading.. If I missed anything or if you have any question, let me know in the comments below.

brazilian · Budget · budgetwithelly · family · Family Night · food · Friday · fun · mom · motherhood · Recipes

Hot Dog In The Oven #Foodie #brazilian

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Dough:
5 eggs
2 cups milk and 1/2
3/4 cup oil
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 cups flour
3 tablespoons grated cheese

Filling:
500 g of sausage ( or meat of choice )
200g mozzarella cheese
1 can tomato sauce
Grated cheese
Oregano

Blend together all the dough ingredients
In a large bowl place the half of the dough and then put the sausage, tomato sauce, mozzarella and cover with the remaining dough
Sprinkle over the grated cheese and oregano Bake for about 30 minutes or until stick with a fork and comes out clean
Serve it hot

 

blackandwhite · dad · Devotion · family · food · fun · love · mom · photography · Vacation · women · Wordless · World VS Life

Overflowing with joy.

Dear Heavenly Father,

May our lives be filled to overflowing with joy. Whether we’re waiting on You for our next step or living according to plan, may we discover peace and joy that come to those who trust in Your will.
Give us the strength and courage to hold onto joy when others are dragging us down. For nobody can rob us of that which flows from Your Spirit.


It’s not easy to rejoice in tribulation, or to give thanks when we experience loss, but all things are possible to those who believe. All things are beautiful to those who put their trust in Your hands.

Budget · budgetwithelly · coupon · coupons · family · food · free · frugal · fun · mom · motherhood · savings · women · World VS Life

How to coupon like a Boss

It’s been a while since I’ve been here. Not because I didn’t want to blog but because I haven’t had the time.

I’ve been sick, had a few visits to the ER and to my PC and it’s a pain when you are so busy and have to keep up with social media.

Sometimes I just need that space and time apart. I apologize to the followers, Friends, and family that comes here to read what I blog. It’s frustrating not having an updated blog. My sincere apologies.

The other reason is that my oldest son graduated high school and we had a party 🙂
What a Stress 😮 planning and organizing a party is so much stress.
My middle child graduates next year I promised I’m already planning and starting to buy things now hahhaha.

Plus every other mother/wife duty

In this post, I wanted to share some of my couponing with you guys.

I’m only a beginner and I’m just learning. Please keep this in mind. 🙂

When you’re a stay home mom and your husband is the only one working, you need to make due whatever way you can to help out.
I found out about couponing not too long ago when I saw the show on tv and I decided to give it a try. I follow a few lady’s on youtube and they post almost weekly what they go buy and the deals they  go out and do.

As far as best deals out there you have to  make your own judgment. Prices also veries based on region.
The deals and sales are absolutely amazing!
I’ve been saving hundreds of dollars with things we use at home every week.

I don’t do stream couponing, I don’t buy what we don’t use, and I don’t buy more quantity than we can consume in a short period of time. The reason why is.

1- Because I don’t want to have a huge stockpile.
2- I don’t see the need for me to do that. ( not criticizing anyone that does I’m just saying it’s not what I want to do. )
3- I’m fine the way I’m doing things now Thank You! 🙂

Some people will go out and buy 20 bags of sugar just because it was on sale for $1.89 and we had a $.75 off coupon on top of that.
I, on the other hand, I went out and only got 2. That was fine for me I had 2 at home and felt that 2 more bag was enough.

A lot of people think ” Well it’s on sale, great price,  why not buy 20? If you can spend that $Money and you want to. Go ahead and do it.
I’m just saying I don’t do it. 

It’s a choice many people make, and a lot are criticized just because they use coupons.
(  Not that’s anyone’s Busyness Anyways. What you do it’s your life. 🙂  )

Here are a few deals from this week

At this supermarket ( Shaws )  I got
6 boxes of General Mills Cereal
4 Boxes of Puffs Tissue paper
4Nut Exactly Snack

merchandise total was – $41.68
I paid a total of $8.05  after coupons and store discount

And I received a $5.00 store credit so basically I got it all for $3.05

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My second one was at CVS 

I LOVE CVS they always have great deals 
2 Xtra Laundry detergent
3 Persil Laundry detergent
2 Gillette Fusion razor
2 Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream
1 Hershey Snack Mix
4 Colgate toothbrushes
2 Colgate toothpaste

All this came out to Merchandise Total – $102.75

I paid $23.61 after Coupons and store discount

and received $26.00 Extrabucks ( CVS Money )

So basically I got it all FREE 🙂

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book · free · fun · Review

If I Run By Terri Blackstock #ReviewWithElly

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*My Opinion*

If I Run, is one of the best suspense novel I’ve read in a while. I could not put this book down and stayed up late in order to finish it. It’s a story that grabs your attention.  This book opens right in the middle of all the secrets and the action where Casey is running from life to protect herself; she claims to be innocent though the evidence seems to go against her. The chapters go back and forth between her and Dylan the detective hired to find her.

There is some Christianity in the book but the author does not focus too much on it.

I found myself on the edge of my seat during the whole book, and so sad when it was over.  This one leaves the readers hanging dry at the end.

I didn’t know this till the end of the book when I read the end notes from the author saying this book is the first of a new trilogy. Hope she comes out with the second book soon.

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*Book Description*

Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they’ve failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore.

But what is the truthThat’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up.

Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run?

Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices: the girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.

I review for BookLook Bloggers

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
decoration · entertainment · family · Family Night · fatherhood · fun · kids · love · mom · motherhood · party · photography · Poem · teens · Wordless · World VS Life

Happy 16th Birthday :) #parenting 

  

 Today my youngest turns 16. I can’t believe how fast time has passed. I’m so proud of all my kids. There’s not words to describe how happy I am to be the mother of my three boys. I don’t know where I would be today If I didn’t get pregnant. They saved my life. I love these kids more than my own life. 

  
Happy Birthday Gabe mom and Dad love you very much.  
Happy Birthday

May everything happy

and everything bright

be yours on your birthday

from morning till night.

And then through the year

may the same thing hold true

so that each day is filled

with life’s best things for you!

Have a Happy Birthday

 Author: unknown

  

Family Share · FitMom · food · fun · Health · mom · motherhood · photography · Recipes · women · World VS Life

10 Best #Foods to gain muscle mass

10 Best foods to gain muscle  mass 

 

  1. Lean Beef
  2. Skinless Chicken
  3. Cottage Cheese
  4. Eggs
  5. Whey Protein
  6. Tuna and other Fish
  7. Oatmeal
  8. Whole Grains
  9. Fruits and Vegetables
  10. Healthy Fats

 
healthy lunch

 

– YouTube: View UC3IF-V1QRdX2zXwiNLZ4l7Q’s profile on YouTube

entertainment · Family Share · fun · mom · motherhood · Wordless · World VS Life

Top 10 Spelling Peeves 

  • Top Ten Speeling Peeves

  • 1- “Your” and “you’re” are not the same
  • 2- The contraction of “could have” is not spelled “could of”
  • 3- “Then” shows sequencing of events. “Than” is used for comparison.
  • 4- Most of the time, “affect” is a verb, and “effect” is a noun.
  • 5- “There”, “they’re” and “their” are completely different words.
  • 6- “To”, “too” and “two” are completely different words.
  • 7- There is no “A” in the word D-E-F-I-N-I-T-E-L-Y
  • 8- Your pants are “loose”. You “lose your keys.
  • 9- You “bear” weight with your “bare” hands.
  • 10- “A lot” is always two words.

blackandwhite · brazilian · Challenge · entertainment · family · Family Night · Family Share · Fashion · fun · kids · love · mom · motherhood · Niche · party · photography · Poem · Style · women · Wordless · World VS Life

#PhotoAdAy

#30DayPhoto

 

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Day 2 what I wore

 

I started a 30-day photo challenge and only did a day one.
Didn’t get to keep going. My days have been so busy I can’t keep up with all I’ve set up myself to do.

I started way too many challenges and I never finish LOL.
I wanted to upload all the images up to date so I can catch up in this post and go on day to day as the days go on. I do apologize to the people who follow my blog and expect it to be so right all the time, but hey! I’m only human.

First of all, I’m a wife, ( to a pastor of a church ) and a mom to 3 teens 🙂 ( so this include all mom and wife duties LOL)

We go to church 3 times a week

 

I’m currently on a 365-day prayer challenge that I do every day ( just don’t have the time to post it )

I’m on a Theological school that I have to study and do a test every month ( that’s in Portuguese and extremely hard because of the language )

 

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Day 3 Clouds

 

I’m taking a 6.00.1x  introduction to computer science as a tool to solve real-world analytical problems at MIT. ( also really hard and time-consuming )

I have online media groups that requires me to post every day or every week in order for me to remain a member ( time-consuming )

So keeping up with all this and feeling sick, and all doctors appointments is not easy but it’s something I love to do. It’s me 🙂

I just wanted to ask for patience .. and say thank you!

 

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Day 4 Something Green – My kids playing at the Gillette Stadium

 

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Day 5 – From a High Angle

 

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Day 6- From a Low Angle 

 

blackandwhite · brazilian · Challenge · country · entertainment · Family Share · Fashion · fun · love · mom · photography · Style · teens · women · Wordless · World VS Life

30 Day #Photography Challenge

 

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I decided to start this challenge 🙂 who wants in?

There was a point in my life that I was a ” professional ” photographer and it was one of  my favorite thing to do. I use to photograph weddings, models, birthday parties, and etc.
Due to illness, I had to stop doing what I loved the most.
I want to do this challenge to relive that dream.
and I’m going to do just that 🙂 Starting day one tomorrow.

 

Amanda
Amanda Miss Brazil USA 

 

Carol

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serious
bride