Saturday, December 27, 2008

Toddler Speak: I couldn't wait for her to be able to tell me what was on her mind, BUT NOW...

Vivia just squealed from the tub "My face is ruined, my face is ruined!!!"

This just one of the Vivia-isms that she puts together all by herself. (WARNING: Gratuitous Parental Bragging to follow:) She's been speaking full sentences since before she turned two. In two languages. Our pediatrician shows her off to the rest of the staff at every visit, saying "This is the one I was telling you about..." WONDERFUL, right?

Weeeeeell, One bad thing about my toddler being SO well spoken at such a young age is that there is no awareness of discretion. She just says what's on her mind or in her emotions! No matter who is in the room, where we are, or which social situation we find ourselves in. Which, most of the time is fine. And even cute. For instance, the other day we were cruising through Target, and I let her out of the carriage (which is still a rare thing), and she shoots down the Christmas aisles both singing at the top of her lungs, and shouting... "I LOVE Christmas, I LOVE Christmas!!! Look Mama, Christmas trees, look Mama, decorations!!! OOOOh I LOVE decorations, I LOVE Christmas trees!!!" to some made-up tune. She (nor I, for that matter) could contain her excitement. She drew a crowd from several aisles over. And they all commented on how she made their day.

THAT part is ok. Or the part where at church, after the Band goes quiet, and after she has danced her heart out, she says "THAT was FUN!!!" and the whole congregation laughs.
Or the part where she walks up on stage after a meeting is over, grabs the mic and says as dramatic as any ring master... : "Ladies, and Gentlemen! Boys and Girls of all ages... Wanna see me do a trick?" where does she get this stuff??? yah, yah laugh it up...

The part that is NOT ok is this>
Vivia has two volume levels... 1. LOUD and 2. ASLEEP
So, at her normal level, in the middle of a quiet, crowded room she says:
"HAAAA HAAAA!!!! Mommy, you FART!"
Now, for the record, I DID NOT fart. No, I didn't~! But the sound was heard by her, and the damage was done.
OR when we walk by someone who obviously DID just fart, or is doing their business in shame behind the stall door and she says, "I smell something, STINKS Mama!!!!"

But the one to top all:
During the election she must've loved the sound of BARAK OBAMA's name b/c she pranced around the house saying it over and over, like some little Pop Warner Cheerleader. Well, so as to be fair and balanced, I taught her to say "John McCain," as well. Both of them were all over the tv for sooo long that she knew who they were by sight too...
SOOOOO: One day (in a crowd, she tends to draw a crowd...) someone had given us a brochure with both cantidates on the cover. She takes it and says "that's Barak Obama, Mama." Yes, yes it is, "And that's John McCain." Yes, right again. Then she says... "He's a really really really black black black boy."
I FROZE in horror, and also because I was trying not to bust out laughing. She decided to have that revelation in public, rather than private. Then she says "And he's a really really really WHITE boy."

Now, upon further questioning, I find out she's talking about their HAIR color, not their skin color. So, we can save that whole conversation for another time.

I have days now where my ears are ringing by bedtime because of the constant chatter! I blog late into the night, just to hear grown up conversation in my head. I relish peace where I can find it~ even in the most unique situations, like this gem:
One night at a family sit-down dinner, we forced Vivia to eat "one more bite" of chicken so that she could have a cookie for dessert. So, in her defiance, she chewed and sucked on that piece of meat without swallowing for (no joke) 30 minutes -her way of still being in control. Gabriel says to me, "Babe, shouldn't we do something about that?" and without skipping a beat, I reply, "Nope. I am kinda enjoying the quiet."

I wish I could record her sweet little "cartoonish" voice of all her little sayings. I don't want to forget a ONE of them! Gabe and I have a "Vivia-isms" journal that we started so we could write down a glossary of her 2 year old terms.

I recently found the "Olivia" books. And they made me laugh so much, because they really could be called "Vivia." Maybe I'm on to something there. I just won't make my main character a little pig. A parrot... maybe. :)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas: Rio's first, Vivia's 3rd

Vivia's Christmas Dress. I bought for her when she was a few months old, knowing it would be a while before it fit...

Singing "Christmas Music" Her favorite songs: Mele Kaliki-liki-liki-liki maka, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle bells AWAY!!!
And "Sleigh Ride"

Ridiculous amounts of presents!!!
And a partridge in a 7 foot-pre-lit-Christmas TREE...
(which was much quicker to put up this year of newborns, and much to do... but not as gratifying as the real thing.) Fake trees look, well... fake.

Santa left Vivia a letter, and took a humongous bite out of the cookie.

I hope I never forget the HUGE smile on her face ALL day long!!! And what it looks like to see her say the word presents with her little lisp (tongue against the huge gap in her two front teeth... so precious!!!)


Vivia plays with her presents from Santa, while Rio kicks happily with his new toy.

I love his big fat baby legs!!!!
His shirt says "I love presents!!!"

Playing with the foil holographic crinkly wrapping paper WIPED him out!!!

More pics later!!!
Gotta go feed the kiddos now.

Monday, December 22, 2008

More perspective...

One of my BFF's miscarried last night. This after a very painful miscarriage earlier this year, then 6 months of trying. I am deeply saddened by this turn of events but it serves to remind me of how I am so very blessed. I have a happy healthy baby boy that came with his share of challenges that we are still facing, but praise God, we have him.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Giant Rio

Rio has been going through a growth spurt of massive proportions the last few days, and I woke up this morning with an giant infant instead of a newborn. This boy is GROWING so much and so fast! It really does fly by! He has been an eating machine- which the timing is a little off, seeing as I am SOOOO extremely busy this week. But, he will not be ignored! So, I have just had to stay up late into the night to get all things done.

Here are a few more pics of him holding his head up. Before you know it, he'll be doing long division! Doctor Rio! I love the pic where you see him mid-drool! I think he may be teething already~ is this possible? He's only 11 weeks!

He also found his thumb a few days ago. He is ALL boy. With this new-found skill, this is all he wants to do. He sucks it ghetto-style, with it cocked to the side, and his four fingers extended to cover half his cheek. It is so funny! I have yet to catch it on camera. This is my goal in the next few days.
7 days 'till Christmas! I am ready to have the BEST Christmas yet!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Magic Kingdom Christmas

Vivia was in heaven on Sunday when she was surprised with a trip to the Magic Kingdom for being such a good girl last week in her re-potty training. We went directly to Fantasyland where she rode Dumbo, and the Carousel, and we walked through the Castle. She called it "MY castle", then we went to Toon Town to see where Mickey and Minnie and Donald live. She went on Goofy's rollercoaster- NO FEAR, just screams of FUN! We then went on the train that circles the whole park. And then headed over to Epcot for a dinner she will not likely forget. At Norway, you can have dinner with all the princesses! She was in her Belle dress, and she met Belle (in the same dress), then Jasmine, Aurora, Ariel, and Cinderella all came to our table to talk with Vivia and to take Photos. Of course, my camera battery was DEAD by then, but we do have LOTS of video of it. If I can figure out how to get the video on to my MAC, I will post some.
Christmas this year just keeps getting better and better!
I love how it is Christmas ALL MONTH long! Not just one day!
We will be spending New Years in Cancun with extended family. I haven't even BEGUN to think about that yet...

Here with Us

This song is amazing! Definitely what Christmas is all about. Lyrics are posted below.


Here With Us
It's still a mystery to me
That the hands of God could be so small
How tiny fingers reaching in the night/ Were the very hands that measured the sky

Heaven's love reaching down to save the world
Son of God, Servant King- Here with us
You're here with us

Still a mystery to me/ How His infant eyes have seem to gone with time
How His ears have heard an angels' symphony
But still Mary had to rock her Savior to sleep

Jesus the Christ born in Bethlehem
A baby born to save the souls of man

Heaven's offering sent down to save the world
Son of God, Servant King- Here with us

New Name board for RYAN

A friend of mine, *Hi, Miranda* asked me to make a name board for her nephew. Here it is... and like the others, it has become my new favorite!
Merry Christmas Ryan!

Hanukkah Supper Menu Recipes... festival of lights for all my Jewish friends out there...

Hanukkah has always fascinated me since I learned about it as a child. This holiday that is celebrated by my Jewish friends is a yearly reminder of God's miraculous provision for his children.
I have incorporated a menorah into my family's personal seasonal tradition. We light the candles for the eight nights, taking a moment to be thankful for the things we have been provided the previous year- much like Thanksgiving. Any holiday that encourages a grateful heart, we will encourage it!
For all my friends out there that light the menorah, GO HERE for a Hanukkah Menu plus the recipes.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Rio's first conformer

Just a quick update...
Rio had his first appointment with the Ocularist on Tuesday. He was fitted with a conformer. The O put it in his eye and told us to leave it there. Not to take it out. You can see it in this photo. It is clear but with a little black dot on it, so we can tell if it is in or not. When they are clear like that, I guess people weren't able to tell when they had fallen out, if that were to happen.

So, he will continue to wear this one until his next appointment when this will be replaced with a larger one. The O said that probably as early as a few months, we will be able to get him in a piece "with art" as he called it. Which is basically another shell that has a pupil painted on it- matching the color of his eyes. This is when you really wont be able to tell that he has anything different. So far so good. He is doing great with it in. It doesn't seem to bother him at all. The O told us it may even make his eye feel better to have something in there.
He is so precious, I can't stand it!
He is getting progressively more vocal. Making so many little noises and trying to talk and sing. A lot more than Vivia at this age. He is already a great orator!
More updates as they come.
Peace out.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

A love story... for my groom

I am making new friends. I have made 2 new ones in the course of one week. It's funny when you are married with kids how excited you get when you get out and actually meet somebody new. Like, REALLY excited. Like, *kindergarten, running home from school all giddy* excited. Or even like, *I met this new guy and I think he likes me* excited, from back in the dating days. Nostalgia kicks in of all-night-long phone marathons, and slumber parties. And connecting, really connecting with another female. In the kind of deep friendship that only women can have with each other...

Well, I think it's the pending possibility of being understood - there's only so much daddy "gets". Of having someone to hang with. Of something new or different going on, in general. Of taking a break from the norm and the mundane. Maybe you'll be able to discuss all that norm and mundane with this new friend and then you may become "best-ies". And you may have a BFF again. And then you may grow to become life-long kindred spirits whose children grow up together... So that when you go home, your emotional quota of the day has been filled and you can return as a lover to the man you cook and pay bills for, instead of trying to turn him into a woman by "talking him to death" and getting angry because he doesn't understand something that is impossible for him to.

...Or you may just lose her phone number and never run into her again.

But, for the night, it felt good to have some good-old-fashioned, innocent excitement before bringing in all the groceries, picking up all the toys, changing one more diaper and laying your exhausted head down on the pillow only to be awakened in a few hours by a hungry baby boy that you are in love with. Or to be awakened by a little girl, needing some hugs and cuddles, that you are in love with . Or to be awakened by another hungry boy that you have been married to for 8 years today, and are in love with. And while laying there awake in the dark, you remember that you really love the home you have built together. And that you are happier than you ever thought possible, and that you have learned more about yourself in those 8 years than in the sum total 33. And realize that a bunch of seemingly mundane days added together with some really amazing ones equal one beautiful life full of memories.
A life better than you could have even imagined for yourself. One where you are so at peace that if you were to die tonight, you wouldn't feel cheated out of a single thing. Or that you missed out on something life was supposed to have given you. Or from the satisfaction of working hard to achieve it. This is the peace that comes from knowing you are exactly where you are supposed to be, doing exactly that for which you were created. Knowing you are loved exactly for who you are, just as you are. And that love and peace filling you up so much that you can't help but let it overflow into the lives of those around you.

I can't wait until the number of years we have been together, outnumber the number of years we weren't.
I love you more today than yesterday, but less than I will tomorrow.
I love you more as a father to my children than I did as my lover. But not forgoing the latter to the former.
A fine wine grows better with age- as does love.

I am in love with my groom.

Happy Anniversary.
You are my Best-ie

Why am I posting this, instead of just sending it to my Husband in a private email? Because this is the modern *shout it from the rooftops* kind of thing I am feeling right now. I am married to THE BEST man in the whole world. Sorry, ladies. Get your own.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

got my hair did...

Yep, Occasionally I am one of "those" that posts photos of self on blog-slash-social networking site. Not because I am vain, but when a photo of me better tells the story than me just writing it, I gladly "add a thousand words" without actually adding them.
I have always loved Asian hair. Not only are Asian women of the most strikingly gorgeous on the planet, but add to that, long luxurious locks, and we've got ourselves a Lucy Liu! So what if she's 5'2" in platform flip-flops?
Well, this year at a Christmas party that we go to annually, the hosts decided to change it up a bit and add a theme. It is "A Cowboy Christmas". Those of you who know me, know this is the farthest thing from my personality- except that I would love to have horses- so, after my gagging reflex kicked in, I realized I could get creative with it. I have come up with an idea for Gabe and I to go as. And the hair is part of it. I can't tell what it is exactly, because some of the people who read this blog are also attending this party in the hay, but the hint is the hair.
"I got my hair did." just for the occasion.
Now I need a spray tan, because the problem with jet black tresses is that they tend to pale every other part in comparison...
Next step of the plan... Hit the thrift stores for our threads.

Yes, I will update.
Yes, we will win for best costume.
Yeee Haw, or shall I say "Giddyup"?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

I love Christmas

I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas I love Christmas.

Did I mention, I love Christmas?

23 days and counting...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Hilarious- in Spanish too!

My husband is from Venezuela, originally. He is in line for his US citizenship. But, being that the entirety of his family speaks Spanish, we are teaching our children both languages. The way that we have researched to be the best approach to this, is that I speak only English, and He speak only Spanish to them. Which we have done since Vivia was born. Although we kinda both speak both to them.
She is fluent in hearing Spanish, and is less interested in actually speaking it.

Well, this morning- being the expert that she is, the following is a very funny quote from Vivia and Rio's interaction:

My mother enters the room to find Vivia talking baby talk back to Rio, who is increasingly more vocal in the last week. She LOVES to mimic his vocalizations and have conversations with him. Well, she proceeds to tell Bella this:

"Ah-goo" is 'Ah-Bwah' in Spanish"...


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Need some direction? Inspiration? Wisdom?

Check out a new blog I am hosting:
The Purple Spot Blog.
It is a daily dose of inspiration, words of wisdom, ideas, and laughs.
I am not the sole contributor to this website. I am part of a network of women who are currently in the process of growing in their character, wisdom, and leadership by tackling everyday issues, and struggles with integrity, and accountability. Are they, or I, perfect? Nope. We just know where to turn for help. God and each other.

IF you are going through something currently~ go through the archives and click on a topic, you may find what you are looking for.

Try it, you just may like it.

"Follow" the blog, and you will receive a daily dose of hope!

Love, love, and more love!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Holiday Recipes: Hot Beverages: Hot Cocoa, Hot Toddy, Mulled Cider,

I am a little biased but, one of my Clients CHEF HARRY SCHWARTZ has posted some awesome Warm Beverage RECIPES just in time for the cold weather and the HOLIDAYS. I have stolen a couple and they are below.

Hot Cocoa

1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1 quart whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoon powdered sugar
Dash cinnamon
In a heavy saucepan, whisk together the cocoa, granulated sugar and water until smooth. Place over medium heat and whisk while bringing the mixture just to a boil. Slowly whisk in the vanilla and milk and bring just to a simmer. Keep over low heat. In a bowl, whisk together the whipping cream and the powdered sugar until soft peaks can be formed when the whisk is lifted from the cream. Pour the cocoa into cups or mugs and top with the whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon. Makes 4 cups.

Ginger Spice Tea

2 cups water
4 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
4 whole allspice
1 slice fresh ginger
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon or 1 bag Jasmine Tea
Bring the water, cloves, cinnamon, allspice, ginger and zest to a simmer and simmer slowly for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain into a heatproof bowl and stir in the lemon juice and honey. Place back in a saucepan and bring just to a boil and remove from heat. Add the tea to the hot water and allow to brew a few minutes. Serve in teacups. Makes 2 cups.

Rasberry Orange Coffee

2 tablespoons orange zest
4 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups fresh brewed coffee
4 tablespoons raspberry flavored liqueur
Sweetened whipped cream
Mix together the zest and sugar with the water in a small saucepan. Drop in the cinnamon stick. Simmer until sugar dissolves and mixtures simmers a few minutes. Remove cinnamon stick. Stir in vanilla and coffee. Re-heat if needed. Place a tablespoon of liqueur in each of four cups and divide coffee among the cups. Top with whipped cream. Serve hot. Serves 4.

Mulled Wine

2 tablespoons sugar
1 bottle red wine (Merlot is wonderful)
1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 tablespoon brandy
Heat the sugar, wine, cinnamon stick and orange zest in a non-reactive pan over medium heat until hot but not boiling. A scum will appear on the surface. At that point, remove from hearth and skim off the scum. Add the brandy and strain the liquid into heatproof glasses. Makes about 6 glasses,

Swedish Glogg

2 cups red wine
2 cups brandy
6 whole cloves
1 cardamom pod, slightly crushed
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup currants
1/4 cup slivered almonds
3/4 cup granulated sugar
In a non-reactive pan, stir together all of the ingredients reserving 1 teaspoon of sugar. Heat the mixture slowly and just until it begins to boil. Carefully ignite the mixture by passing along lit match over the top. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the flames and, after about 10 seconds, cover the pan to extinguish the flames. Strain into small, heatproof glasses. Makes about 8 servings.


6 apples
6 cinnamon sticks
12 ounces ginger ale
2 slices of lemon
3/4 cup granulated sugar
64 ounces beer or ale
1 cup Concord grape wine
Core the apples and place in a baking dish with a cover. Place a cinnamon stick in the hole from the core of each apple. Pour the ginger ale over the apples and add the lemon slices to the dish. Cover. Bake in a 350-degree oven until the apples are tender, about 40 minutes. Allow to cool. Discard the cinnamon sticks and lemon slices. In a non-reactive, pan. Heat half of the beer or ale with the sugar until it is hot but not boiling. Add the apples and their liquid along with the remaining beer to the pan. Heat until hot but not boiling. Ladle into mugs and enjoy. Makes about 6 cups.

Hot Toddy by the Fire

4 ounces Calvados
2 ounces apricot brandy
1 teaspoon powdered sugar
2 ounces heavy whipping cream
Make a fire in the fireplace. Warm the Calvados and brandy until hot but not boiling. Whisk together the sugar and cream until thick and frothy. Pour the Calvados mixture in a warm mug and then pour the cream mixture into the mug. Do not stir! Sip by the fire. Makes 1 toddy.
Sparkling Strawberry Punch
1 tin frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed
16 ounces lemon lime soda, chilled
32 ounces club soda, chilled
12 fresh strawberries
Place the thawed strawberries in a pitcher and mix in the lemon-lime soda. Divide among 12 champagne or wineglasses. Top off with club soda. Garnish with a fresh strawberry. Makes 12.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Blog Party- Day 5, GIVING BACK

The question of the day is, "How do you give back during the holidays?"

My husband and I have made it a priority to teach our daughter (and to live in the habit of) giving all year long. It is a normal part of our lifestyle as I believe giving is the key to prosperity. We make it a priority to live with our eyes open to the needs of those that "coincidentally" come into our lives- although, we don't believe in coincidences.

But, specifically, during the season, I organize a "Operation Northwest Christmas Child" where the cell leaders at our church nominate families where we know there is a need. And the Sundays leading up to Christmas, we do anonymous child adoptions. Families who want to give take a boy or a girl, and buy gifts for that child and bring them to the church where we then deliver the gifts to the families- totally as a surprise to them.
Operation Northwest Christmas Child was a huge success last year, and we had over a hundred children who we provided Christmas for.

We also throw a Christmas party with our friends, specifically with the intent of inviting those around us that are alone and have no family or friends to celebrate with, and seeking out new people to invite. It is an awesome night where we get to meet new friends and spread some cheer. And these usually turn into longer-term relationships. It is all about sharing.

I LOVE CHRISTMAS!!! And this is part of why. Everyone seems to be in the spirit of giving, and this is what traditions are made of. My husband comes from a culture where Christmas is not that big of a deal. And so, he really has struggled with the whole thing~ and what a big deal it is to me. But now that we have children, and he sees the look in their eyes on Christmas morning, and how much fun we have decorating the house and the tree and driving around looking at the decor, I think he is warming up to it. We are trying to incorporate new things into our traditions to include the stuff he was brought up with. For instance, 3 kings day is in January where you put your shoes out and the 3 kings come to your house and fill them with little gifts. Where he comes from, Baby Jesus brings the gifts, not Santa Claus.

I am definiately looking for creative ideas in teaching our children about the "reason for the season"! Last year, I purchased a book by Lisa Welchel, (remember BLAIR from The Facts of Life show?) she wrote a GREat RESOURCE for this.
Here is the description from her website: CLICK HERE to buy the book from her

"Redeeming the Meaning of Christmas... Have you discovered that Jesus sometimes gets lost in the middle of the hustle and bustle of His birthday party? Would you like to be able keep your children’s focus on Jesus and be able to join them in the wonder of the celebration?

For each of the twenty-four days preceding Christmas, The ADVENTure of Christmas serves as a fun and handy guide that describes the true meaning hidden in your most cherished traditions. Hanging lights on the house, wrapping gifts, and decorating the tree will become opportunities to share how these traditions relate to Jesus’ birth. The ADVENTure of Christmas recaptures the delightful essence of this beloved season, giving reasons to joyfully celebrate for years to come."

I plan on utilizing this resource this year as my Vivia is now old enough to begin learning about this stuff.

Sponsors: Day Five Blog Party Question is Brought to you by Baby Pop and Chic Covers

Monday, November 17, 2008

Blog Party: Favorite Holiday Recipe

MomDot Blog Party day 4:
I am just finding out about this "blog party", so I am a little behind.
Today's Question: What is your favorite Holiday recipe?

It's funny that this is the first question, and so it allows me to be a bit lazy. The last blog I have posted just happens to be my Thanksgiving Menu which is full of my favorite holiday recipes. The favorite being my Butternut Squash soup. I wish I could take credit for it, but here's the cool story to go with it:

My husband and I went to Big Sky, Montana for our honeymoon. It was a dream trip. I always wanted to stay at the top of a snow-covered mountain in a private cabin, with a hot tub and a fireplace. Well, this is exactly what Gabriel arranged. We were in this cabin which was "Ski in, ski out". But for us, is "Board in, board out". These cabins were associated with a beautiful lodge at the base of the mountain. We would spend the day out on the mountain, going to the lodge only to have a quick warmer-upper of coffee, hot chocolate and lunch.
Every day, the chef featured different soups~ and my favorite of the bunch was the Butternut Squash!
SOOOOOO creamy and sweet and deliciously orange!
After a week of eating this soup, I had to ask the chef for the recipe, not believing he would give it to me, BUT HE DID!
So, I have made this soup now every year for the Holidays. Holidays being October through January. My family fights over it. My friends beg me for the recipe. BUT FOR ME, it is about the nostalgia of it all. And for some weird reason, I feel that if I give the recipe out freely (as it was given to me,) it will subtract from the specialness of it all. I plan on passing this recipe on to my daughter, so she can pass it on to her daughters~ and the story of the dream honeymoon, the celebration of our promise to be together in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer will be remembered for generations to come.

I look forward to the day/s I prepare this soup because I make an event out of it. It takes a whole morning or afternoon to make, so I plan for it, and enjoy it to the FULLEST! The smell that emulates from the kitchen on that day is tantalizing! And this is the first year that my daughter was old enough to help (sort-of). At almost three, she was able to stand on her stool and stir the pot and help pour the diced squash into the pot at the right moment~ and pushed the button on the blender when it was time to puree...

I will give the ingredients, at least:
Whole Butter
Sweet Vidalia Onions
Butternut Squash
Heavy Whipping Cream
Chicken Broth
Fresh Sage

I say it is "my" recipe, because I have made it mine.
And "mine" will become "ours" as our family grows.


Soup Photo: ©, Pro Photographer, and BFF Susan Bourgoin.

Sponsors: Day Four Blog Party Question is Brought to you by Bottlewise and Glow Mama

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Thanksgiving Day Menu, BRINE baby, BRINE!

I have found after working for chefs for 5 years, that I LOVE TO COOK! I don't do it as much as I'd like, but I LOVE the holidays because I look forward to preparing a masterpiece for a large group. I have a lot of family here in Orlando, and the baton of being the "Holiday Matron" has been passed to me. Every year the size of the group grows. This is also something my husband loves to do, thus has become one of the few pastimes we enjoy doing together.
I purchase fun, sturdy, holiday themed PAPER plateware so that the cleanup is much less. Sounds almost a crime to serve the following menu on paper- but it can still be done beautifully.

The past few years, I have prepared my turkeys by the same method and they have turned out SOOOOO succulent and delicious that my family fights over the leftovers.

3 words...
You can purchase a disposable brining bag at places like Bed Bath and Beyond or other kitchen stores.
I brine the turkey overnight at least 24 hours ahead of time. I use a basic brine of water, 1 cup kosher salt, 1 cup brown sugar or honey, and whatever else I decide to throw in there: cloves, orange slices, whatever sounds good.
Brining serves two purposes: it seasons the bird, and increases the moisture content resulting in a more flavorful and juicier turkey. This technique helps it retain the juices during the long roasting process.

When it's time to roast the bird, I make a basting concoction of apple cider, maple syrup, and white wine. And I baste every 15 - 30 minutes

So, below is my menu for this year. It will be basically the same as last year. I begin cooking a week ahead by making my soup (b/c this alone is an all-day event). Soup can be refrigerated or even frozen until the big day.

• Starters: (to be eaten while the rest of the meal is being prepared)
~ Butternut Squash Soup with Sage garnish (another thing my family fights over...)
~ Stuffed Mushrooms
~ Emmenthaler Fondue with French Bread and Apple Slices
~ Warm Spiced Apple Cider

~ Spinach Salad with Cranberries, Almonds and Feta ~ Light Citrus Vinaigrette
~ Avocado Grapefruit Salad recipe from BOMA at the Animal Kingdom Lodge, Disney

• Main
~ Maple Cider Turkey with
~ Cider Gravy
~ Apple-Maple Sausage stuffing
~ Sweet Potato Gratin or Carmelized Sweet Potato Wedges
~ Green Bean Casserole (of course)
~ Mashed Potatoes (of course)- made with whipping cream
~ Dinner Yeasty Rolls

• Dessert
~ Warm Apple Cobbler ala mode with Haagen Dazs Dulce de Leche ice cream.
~ Mom's Lemon Icebox Pie

• Perrier or Pelligrino with lime-
• Iced Tea
• Wine- Cape Indaba
This is a South African white that I highly recommend.
Can be purchased at World Market among other places.
This is really the only white I like, being a red wine girl.

• Espresso
• Coffee

If any of these recipes look good to you, email me and I can pass along.

So nice!

My live-in-nanny (aka, mom or Bella) has been here for a total of 3 days, and already I am fed, watered, and laundered, oh- I mean my kids are...
This is going to be sooooo nice.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama, my new president

I face disappointment this morning ~ however, these are the words I heard before I even opened my eyes: "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33)

Here is another command that we who opposed Obama must take to heart now:

Romans 13
Submission to the Authorities
1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there
is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities
that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels
against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted,
and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers
hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do
you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is
right and he will commend you. 4For he is God's servant to do you
good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword
for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring
punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to
the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also
because of conscience. 6This is also why you pay taxes, for the
authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing.
7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if
revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

That is exactly what I have had in the back of my mind for weeks as we saw the nation turn towards Obama. That I can do all I can do right now, but as soon as he becomes my President, I must honor and respect him.
This is how...
The Good News is still the Good News, and that is, that I serve a king. HE does not change. He does not get ousted by the turning of the tide of a nation. He is my leader, and my ruler, and my Lord.
And HE tells me that HE will bless me if I honor the man who is the President of the nation I live in.
My blessing comes from Him, not a country or a President, or a political party.
My promotion, and my portion comes from my LORD, not a country or a President, or a political party.
My provision comes from my Father, not a country or a President, or a political party, or a fail-proof economy.

God, at this very moment is seeing the fulfillment of his will, and I command my eyes to perceive it. Everything is God's servant.
And I pray for a love for our new leader.

Whether I like it or not, or whether I understand it or not. This is where submission comes in- when I do NOT agree, if I agreed, it is just agreement, not submission. I know and understand and love authority. It has protected me in the past and will to this day.

I am not afraid. My heart is at peace.

My ways are not His ways, my thoughts are not His thoughts.
I trust Him inexplicably.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vote the BIBLE

For me, it's not about a particular party. It's about who is the candidate who's proven record shows that they fear the Lord. God is very clear in his word on many of the issues and I will not have blood on my hands because I placed money before human life. I wish John McCain were black, or young, or hot. This is not about race. It is about the state of the hearts of this nation. How far have we gone?

Vote the BIBLE.

Yes, war also takes lives, but 3500 babies are aborted in this country in ONE DAY. That is IN ONE DAY, the same amount of lives that have been lost in IRAQ in a total of FIVE Years! THAT's 42 MILLION LIVES SINCE ROE V. WADE.. Which is more than all the wars the US have fought PUT TOGETHER!

Vote the BIBLE.

ENTITLEMENT is riddling our nation. SINCE WHEN is it the job of a government to provide for you? Since when have we decided to demand that government OWES us anything? Entitlement leads to more poverty. Poverty is not a state of being, it is a spirit. I know many people who are poor but not impoverished. And likewise I know many who are "rich", but in poverty in their spirit. I can not vote for a candidate who insults me by saying I need a handout to make it, and I can't be trusted to work hard enough to provide for my family.

Vote the BIBLE.

Are jobs down, YES. Are we in trouble because we have spent the last several years buying things we can't afford? YES. But, please people! We cannot even BEGIN to compare this to the Great Depression when our grandparents lived in tin shanties, and cooked their dinner around a campfire. And people actually sacrificed personal comfort for a greater cause (WW2). We have NO RIGHT to compare~ We are so spoiled rotten that the thought of not "having it now" has thrown the nation into a tizzy.
Go live in a 3rd world nation for just a month. There you will see people who really CAN'T work. And live in depression. Any one who really wants to work in this country CAN. Flipping burgers, maybe, but since when are we too good to flip burgers to feed our families? Integrity. Does our generation even know what this means?

I am not Black. I am not Hispanic (although, my children are)- but I am a minority. I have a good attitude. Something that is few and far between these days.

I love my country.
I love that I am going to exercise an awesome "right" today by voting.
Go, make it count, people!

Vote the BIBLE.
Your vote is not secret to God.

Thanks for listening.

Monday, November 3, 2008

What we did today...

This is a beautiful place to walk near my house. Just can't fall in the water. It is alligator-infested~ Megan, you'll appreciate.
I was a walking billboard for my friend Eric Eisnaugle who is running for State Representative. Although, his district is not anywhere near where I walked.
Gotta do my part. Will be standing at the polls tomorrow to show my support.

Vote the issues: McCain or Obama?:

At least know your issues, people! Are you for Obama or McCain? BEFORE you vote, take this test on the issues and see:

Fun weekend

Friday night Vivia played the perfect hostess handing out candies to the infinite number of High School Musical Cheerleaders and Cowboys that came to our door. She would say "nice costume!" And all the parents would ooh and aaah at the cute little Goldilocks. I am glad we did the Sea World thing last weekend, because I was able to say, "We already did our Trick-or-Treating".

Saturday Gabriel and I made our annual trip the the International Food and Wine Festival at Disney's Epcot with our friends Pete and Crystal. Crystal just had a baby a month before me, and so we left the toddlers home, and brought the babies with us. We opted to bring only one double stroller to streamline the baby stuff. And before Gabe arrived (he had school and came to meet us after) it was Peter with Crystal and I, pushing around this double stroller with "twins" inside. You should have seen the looks from people trying to figure out if we were Mormons, or who was the mother of the twins... It was quite funny. We loved the escargot and pomegranate kirs in France, and the Lamb in New Zeland! The Maple Glazed salmon in Cananda, and the amazing stuff in Morocco. I look forward to the F/W fest EVERY year!

I broke down and purchased a double stroller because I honestly felt so trapped. I feel so much more empowered to go places now, because I know I can strap BOTH of my kids in safely. I thought that by the time Rio arrived, Vivia would happily walk alongside the stroller, obediently. HAH! She is a toddler-in-progress. We are working on the obedience part. And until then, she will remain in the stroller. I got the KOLCRAFT double- WHICH I ABSOLUTELY LOVE. The seats can face any combination of ways you want, which works great with an infant who is only happy when they can see Mommy. It is a bit cumbersome to get in and out of the car- but no more than the Graco I borrowed from my friend to try out.

So, this week, my mother moves in to be our live-in nanny. Which is her dream job. To be her grandchildren's nanny. And I am really happy for the help. So I have much to do today. So I must be going. Ciao for Now!

Friday, October 31, 2008

A S#itty Morning!!!

"Why, O Why is there a pot of boiling letters on your stove?," you ask. Well, thank you for your concern. As a matter of fact, it is indicative of the kind of morning I have had. S#!tty! I woke up to Vivia grabbing her diaper saying "Mommy, take it off." With poop on her hands because she was trying to take it off herself. GAG #1!
I say with much excitement "STOP!" and I proceed to remove said diaper. She begins to squirm and freak out~ apparently because she had a bit of diaper rash, and knocked the diaper out of my hand onto the floor where the poop rolled out! GAG #2!
I then say, "You know what, we are going straight to the bath!" Back upstairs to draw her a bath. I get her in there complete with her toys and bubbles, and run back downstairs to grab something. Now, before you call Social Services on me for leaving my 2 year old alone in the tub, I ask, "Have you ever made a mistake?" I have. It happens. So, once downstairs, I see where my poor, neglected dog has pooped on the dining room floor because she hasn't been taken on a proper "poop walk" for days. GAG#3
I begin to hear Vivia from upstairs calling to me, and then I hear the THUD THUD THUD of her running around. I know she must be dripping wet and naked because she can't reach her towels.
I run up there to find a pee spot on the carpet outside the bathroom door, and a naked Vivia dripping wet, saying "I'm Cold, Mama." I ask her "Did you pee on the floor?" And she says, "Yep., And I pooped in the tub!" OMG! NOOOOO...
Sure enough, I go look, and there is a floater, disintegrating in the water amongst her foam alphabet that she was playing with in the tub! GAG#4
Baby Rio begins squawking from the other room, doesn't he know that I have to clean this mess up? I go in there to get him, I immediately smell the familiar, strange odor of baby poo. YES, he has BLOWN OUT his diaper in the bed, my bed! I honestly cannot believe this is happening!
I will spare you the details of how I retrieved the poop from the tub, flushed it down the toilet, (retching the whole time), scrubbed the tile floor in my dining room, and bleached the crap (pun intended) out of everything.
But now you know why there is a pot of "alphabet soup" boiling on my stove...
That's just the kind of morning I had with "Baby making Four".