Friday, July 31, 2009

Far from Family

Everyone has there own, particular family and after my recent visit to Canada I was able to see them for who they were. Living across the country I am only able to view them through a kaleidoscope of telephone calls, internet and holidays that twist around endlessly but hold the same matter. A matter made of existence, of titles and past memories. It was wonderful coming back, being part of the matter and turning with it instead of looking at it change.

Its always best to start with my dad because if you could partially understand him, the rest of my family would make sense. The best way I found to describe him over the years was that his heart speaks volumes and it needs to because he is man that speaks Russian, understands English and occassionally talks in picked up slang. Don't let that fool you for he is a person with character who believes that actions define lives. Through the years I have seen him work endlessly as a truck driver to make ends meet and each week we would celebrate his return on the weekend with food and friends. Life's a party, live it up.

My sister, D took his "confusion with language" and made it hers. She is the one who can bring a storm of chaos one day and tears of compassion the next. To her there is always words, always. She never forgets, never lets go and never holds back. With her good times are made better and bad times made intense. Because of this she is the one who stands up for the weaker, the one who believes everyone should have a voice of expression and your problems become hers. Her heart is always for the just and right with a love that surrounds people.

My brother, E is his right wing because of there differences. They are the classic example of opposites attracting. One loves people, one can do without. One loves to be surrounded, one can't be around. One craves attention and one will let him. Watching them interact is a moment. They fill each other out on their similarities, thrive on the differences and laugh hysterically the whole time. Just for L.O.L's. He keeps everyone smiling with his personality, interested in his every move.

My little sister, A is the typical sweet heart. Every family needs one. The kind who will be thoughtful enough to pack for you if you can't, to remember for you if you forget, to be reliable when you aren't and to pick up slack when everyone won't. She is the one you go to for comfort, for peace, and for love. Everyone needs her.

My mom is structure. She really holds every one together and her way of doing that is by believing in better. The best of her children, the best of herself and the best for their lives. She is always striving to a better place for better. The road she takes always is a road to change, to hope and believe that things will be what we make them to be. She has taken my dad's vision and instilled it into us, the love for people, a life for celebrating and a heart for giving.

Have you ever watched your family? Seen the core? For me differences in family are special because I need to live with them, have a relationship with them and build memory of them to last a lifetime so I might as well understand them. Understanding leads me to acceptance. Acceptance is for peace on my part because at the end of the day they are still a part of me.

Family, hope.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Pink Personality

No shower can be complete without a cake. I made this little bird out of fondant and black pipe cleaners from the craft store. My kids, who were watching me decided to be creative themselves and show off their "personalities".

A Crazy straw? or, A halo?

A smart villian? or, A bat with glasses?

It will be exciting to see Corrinah, to see her personality and be a part of it. Until she is here though we will vouch for her, her likes of all things girlie and pink along with her preference for bubbly birds. Bubbly. Yep, that would definitely suit the little "Corrinah".....

Bubbly, hope.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Corrinah Style

So after the shower, we were sitting in her home going through the clothing. Color coordinating the different shades of pink, hanging up all the little dresses, folding everything (even socks) and feeling every soft item on our cheeks. Just for the sake of all things Cozy and Pink I guess.

She had a lot of things. There was mixture of new and used, all in good condition but in a variety of styles. She lifted a velvety, soft cream and embroided outfit. It was pretty, sort of in a Victorian style that had its own definitive look. "Umm.....I am not sure that it's Corrinah's style." She said. I agreed. I guess a girl is just born with it.

If you are wondering what "Corrinah's style" is, here are some pictures of a pillow that I made to match the theme of her room. This little birdie is pink but don't you worry it has friends. Pink, Blue and purple birds sit on a branch that circles the entire room. It is simple, cute and fun. That is Corrinah for the reason that each child is born unique, they are born their very own.

My own, hope.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Baby Corrinah

I have this amazing friend which I met when I was just 18 years old. She was one of those ladies that had a personality you couldn't help but notice, so liking her came easy. She had a way about her that encouraged the people around her with welcoming arms and I noticed that I was influenced by her words, by her actions in my daily life. To say the least I admired her more than anyone prior in my life because of her love for people and compassion for every walk in their life.

Children were one of those passions. She has been the one who was there when I delivered my kids, the one who listened to my frustrated stories on motherhood and the one who has also seen them grow up to the characters they are today. In the midst of this, her heart beat sorrow and soul prayed for one of their own.

Prayers were heard in the heavens above and before their tenth anniversary they were granted their miracle. Naturally they conceived a baby girl but supernaturally were they given that privilege. Two weeks ago I hosted her a baby shower at my home for "Baby Corinnah".

Do you know any people like that? The kind that amaze you and you can't help but want to be around them, in hopes that with enough time you might inherit just a piece of their goodness. Just a little bit....that's what I am hoping for. Who are your hopes set out on?

Amazing, hope.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Hook Up

As the seasons change it is common for people to change or freshen up their space. One change that I make going into summer is using the coat hooks for summer towels and swim apparel. I find that this way the towels and swim suits always have a place to dry and I am not doing a load of laundry each and every time. This also Eliminates the searching that was done before and frantic cries, helping us leave earlier. More time spent out doors to me means heat exhausted children who let me nap ...That's another thing, Always, ALWAYS be able to nap when you want to because a rested you is a better you.

Better, hope.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I was reading an organizing article that had over 50 tips to make some ones life a little easier. Most of the tips were very helpful but I found that my mind could only put one to action so I skimmed through to find it. There it was, near the end. Pushing me and my abilities even though it could not have been any more simple or straight forward.

Tip #3: Baskets

Have a basket at the end of the stairs with items you place in throughout the day to avoid going back and forth. At the end of the day just take the basket up and distribute the items to there proper places.

I love this idea because even if you are not organized this is something where you don't need to shuffle anything around or put labels on. I love the simplicity of it and because of that I am introducing it to my kids by taking it up and letting them put away their items. I really believe that almost any one can put this into effect right away and feel a sense of relief. Come on now....take a deep breath of relief just because you read this.

Organized, hope.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Pound of Mound

Tip #2: My mound

Very seldom do I bake a cake for our family. Usually this kind of "fun" waits until holidays, potlucks or parties but I have come to realize that enjoying homemade doesn't need to have a Whole foods label. Any time I bake, I trim the mounds from both the half's of the cake and place them in the freezer for a better time. One cake turns out level and perfect and the other one has a more rustic appeal. Either which way I always have something on hand that is both easy and delicious because sweets are always a must in my home.

Here is a very versatile cream recipe that is light in texture but rich in flavor. I love that the cool whip needs to be frozen, just makes it that much more simple. It goes well with many cakes but I have to say I love it filled into puff pastry squares after they have cooled (also very easy, girls).

Quick n' easy

Cool Whip cream:

8 oz. Butter , softened
8 oz. Cream cheese, softened
1 can Condensed Milk
8 oz. Cool whip, Frozen

Beat butter until light, add cream cheese and beat until incorporated. Add Condensed Milk and also beat until incorporated. Divide Cool Whip into 6 sections and add into mixture. Once all of it has been added in beat an extra minute.

Whip up, hope.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Breakfast Bananza

I hope you have been enjoying the recipes I have been posting. It seems that its all I have been doing recently, cooking and creating. I am sure that you want some variety by now so since I have missed a couple posts and need to do some catchup I have decided to devote this week to tips that I use in my home to make my life that much more simple. Enjoy.

Tip #1: Breakfast

Crepe Stack with Cottage cheese and Apricot Preserve

Breakfast for me seems to always be rushed, even now when its summer. In between planning for the day, parks, chores, play dates, appointments and last-minute messes all before nap time at 1:00, becomes overwhelming the minute I rise out of bed. Of course I try to use my time efficiently and depending on the day ahead I plan my meals accordingly.

-Parfaits for the times when I am extremely rushed. It could be thrown together and eaten all in 10 minutes and simple enough to eat on the road as well.

-Cereal when you just don't want to get out of bed and deal with the day just yet because sometimes spilled milk and crushed crumbs are WORTH IT.

-Oatmeal for the days when I do have it together and want to give my children the proper amount of nutrition. I love to throw in some frozen berries to prevent burns on those anxious little mouths.

-Scrambled eggs for the late mornings when breakfast falls into lunch. Protein is key when I want to boost them up before the chaos ahead. French toast is also an option when I need to get rid of the stale bread in my pantry (Its amazing what Syrup can cover).

-Pancakes, Waffles or for us its "Crepes". It takes some time but we love them right off the skillet with butter and jam. I make them when I want stock up my freezer. I usually double up on the recipe and place the extra ones in the freezer between wax paper. Pancakes or waffles just need to be toasted and the crepes can be quickly thawed out on a skillet. Great for kids.

-Breakfast boats are for special days. Days when good mood shines into my house and I am willing to wait for the dough to rise, to play with the kids as they make their own and be okay with mess that we make together.

-Lastly, is my favorite time because its my husbands time to take over this morning meal and I can say I look forward to it every week. I must say that I do love a man in the kitchen.

I realize I missed many breakfast favorites like bagels, sausages, bacon and more so Help me out, send your tips for all the days in between these and let me know if this is something that you think about when you start your day or if I am totally alone on this one?

Morning, hope

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Satisfying Salad

Picnics are a big summer thing that almost always requires a cooler. If you are at all like our family you understand that there is something about the outdoors that draws hunger near. Thinking too much into this I try too pack an assortment of both healthy snacks, fresh snacks and a little of junk food. After I made this particular salad for the fourth of July I realized that this salad provides most of what is healthy so that the little ones can have something decent to eat before they reach for the chips.

The "some-what" veggie Salad

1 can peas or 1 cup fresh
1 can diced carrots
2 potatoes, boiled, peeled and diced
4 eggs, boiled, peeled and diced
1 cup pickles or 1 cup cucumber, diced
1 cup hot dogs of preference, diced
1 cup green onion, chopped
Fresh dill, chopped
Mayo, Salt and Pepper

In a big bowl combine the ingredients and dress with Mayo. Salt and Pepper to taste. This salad will taste good for a couple days so don't throw away any left overs....if there is any left.

Some-what, hope.

Monday, July 6, 2009

"Christmas in July"

Cherry filled Cupcake with a Dark Chocolate Butter Cream

Cupcakes are not for children anymore. Toppings like coconut, dark chocolate and raspberry bring a level of maturity to the common "Betty Crocker" box. I have even encountered fillings such as custard and fruit cobbler which puts it in a different level if compared to the average bite. When ever I do come accross a cupcake I have the need to buy at least one...or two and each time I do I come home craving more. I usually end up baking up a storm. This time I drove around and distributed them to family and friends as a mid-day snack. This was a lot of fun because as it turns out a cupcake can put a smile on any face. Of course I started thinking about Christmas cookies. Like Cupcakes they are a simple treat that everyone loves and I wonder why we wait for Christmas to bake a batch? Why should it only be once a year? And why can't we have "Chrismas in July"? For so many years at the peak of off season advertisements sold us to the idea of "why not"? So this just gives us another way to "bake in the sun".

Why not, hope.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Curry Creation

About four years ago Trader Joe's used to have recipe cards available. They were simple, quick and always a delight to make. I think I tried about 5 different recipes and just as I was getting excited about them they changed it up, don't you just hate when that happens? An awareness happens the moment something is taken away and you realize that it will never be the same again. This happened with Trader Joe's and the thing that drew me in was replaced with store samples. To this day I have a bitterness about it and refuse to try them. Regardless of this past, I think that it's time I move forward, to let it go and spread the word about it.

The heart of "Joe" is a unique grocery experience, where produce is always at it's peak, guaranteed with customer satisfaction and a wine selection like no other. Where the people come first, where kids are paid attention to and a knowledgeable staff that wants to help. I do love going there and one of my favorite recipe cards was their "Curry Chicken Sandwich". Of course I made a few minor touches of my own so feel free to do the same.

Curry Chicken Sandwich

2 cups water
3/4 cup bulgar wheat
1 can Trader Joe's Chicken
2/3 bottle Thai Yellow Curry Sauce
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup diced onion

Combine all in a large pot.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat.
Simmer for 10-12 minutes.
Add fresh diced onions and
Finely chopped cilantro.
Serve in a pita pocket with
Cilantro and Sour Cream.

I go there a whole lot, so much in fact that I think I tried most of everything their at least once so by trying this recipe and giving me enough feedback I will try to recreate their "recipe card" idea and continue from where they left off. Tell me what you think.

Favorite, hope.