Friday, May 29, 2009

Ethan Turns 6....where did the years go??????

Today, Ethan turns 6, which leaves me perplexed!
Where did the time go?

I remember the 5 pregnancy tests I took to confirm that I was about to
give birth to a human being.
Total and utter shock when they came back positive every time.
The first time that I saw his perfect little face I was overwhelmed with raw emotions of love, joy, excitement, and shear exhaustion. I recall kissing his newborn face and his instant pout.I knew then that Ethan already entered the world with his own personality.

He was cute and so well behaved and always happy.
He could not rest unless it was in his swing with
his Boa (the fuzzy thing). He used his swing until he was 2 and his feet were dragging on the floor.
That's when we had to take it away from him.

For his 2ND Birthday we purchased him the train table above and a bunch of
Thomas Trains. He knew all their names regardless of the ones that were all the same color.He could distinguish between the expression on the trains faces and their numbers.
We had Thomas trains, Thomas toys, Thomas pillows, Thomas T-Shirts, and even went to see Thomas in person!

Ethan loved the snow! This was his first experience with Breckenridge and he LOVED it!

He no longer has trouble getting on and off a swing!

Brothers for life!
Ethan brought Lance to me from the Nursery
and he still, 'til this day tells me that he gave Lance to me.

Now he is 6 and wants to become a Marine Biologist,
likes a girl in school named Lily,
rides a two wheel bike, can read by himself,
is sarcastic like his parents, and has four loose teeth.

I look at him and my eyes fill up with tears because
I know in the blink of an eye he will be heading off to college.
But for now I am going to hold on tight and love him with every ounce of my being!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Quilting 101

My 1st Quilt!

First let me start by saying that I am a Domestic Diva when it comes to cooking, baking, and drinking. But I am a Domestic Virgin when it comes to everything else, e.g. quilting, canning, sewing, pottery, etc.

My friend V, who lives in the Big Apple and has her own blog Bumble Beans (click on name to view her site),
can do all of it.

I entered the blog world myself and started following her posts daily. I was captivated by her dedicated and interactive Followers and
was inspired by all that I read and especially what I saw.

I love fabrics and prints!
Started working with them in the Fashion District
at the ripe age of 17 but that career never amounted to much.

Life comes full circle and here I go.

I signed up for Quilting 101.
Terrified that the teachers and students would laugh at
my lack of knowledge and sewing skills.

Last night was a real treat!
No sewing yet, phew, just picking out fabrics,
similar to scoping out candy at a candy store.
So riveting so therapeutic.

I decided to go the Ladybug route (for my border)........I am sure it's no surprise to those of you that know me best and realize that ever since I gave birth to Kate I am unable to think of anything else. Ladybugs are a good luck charm and I can use a lot of that for my first project.

What did I learn about in my first class?

I learned how to cut a clean edge with the Rotary Cutter, which I have been warned can also perform most surgeries.........chop off a finger, a toe, etc. Definitely keep out of children's reach.

I also learned the three factors that make a quilt attractive:
lights, darks, and the Kicker!

Then I was taught about the one question that daunts most quilters:

"Which came first the chicken or the egg?" in quilting world that translates to:

" To wash or not to wash" the fabrics before beginning the cutting and sewing process.

It all depends on the color and the purpose of the quilt. Or just personal preference.

My teacher believes that most of the cotton fabrics today have been developed to not bleed the way they used to, but there are always exceptions.

I am in a six week program and by the end of it I will have myself a Baby Quilt to hang on Kate's wall and gawk at it together.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Last night we did the unthinkable......we broke parenting protocol.

We watched a movie and binged on chocolate.

Rented Charlie and The Chocolate Factory at the library
and had a Fondue Fest with doughnut holes, strawberries, pretzels, chocolate twizzlers, and Goobers.

The kids slept like a sack of potatoes. Did not move and did not want to wake up this morning.

The way I look at it is that you only live once.

Allow yourself and your family to have fun and break all the rules occasionally.

OK now for the Quiz:

Which character in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory represents your child?
Be honest!

A) gluttonous Augustus Gloop

B) spoiled Veruca Salt

C) gum-chewing Violet Beauregarde

D) television-obsessed Mike Teavee

E) intelligent, sweet mannered, and poor Charlie Bucket

Monday, May 25, 2009

We celebrated Ethan's 6Th Birthday at the Aquarium with

7 other friends and parents.

Oh what fun!!!

The kids all received a plush snake for favors!

Ate Pizza, Chicken Nuggets & Fries, while the

Adults enjoyed Chicken Wraps, Bruschetta, and Calamari.

Sharkey came by for a visit as Lance demanded to know

why he was not out in the Ocean swimming?

Sharkey told him that after the party that's where he was headed.

The Birthday Boy was on Cloud 9!

All of his favorite friends attended while he got to enjoy

all of his favorite ocean creatures.

We also watched the diver feed the fish during our luncheon.

We smiled ear to ear with the knowledge that there was

no prep work or cleaning involved.

We simply observed and relaxed.

What a treat! Worth every penny!

Even the Sharkey cake was Yummy!

Chocolate sponge with vanilla filling and chocolate frosting.

Not too sweet, just right.

After the luncheon, our tour guide, seen in this picture,

instructed the children of the events about to take place.

She was great! Knowledgeable and accountable for all!

What more can you ask for as a parent?

The kids learned about gold panning and different jewels.

They all walked away with a bag full of colorful gems for their Mommies.

I intend to create a full jewelry line with them.......if only I had the

talent of Joan Rivers .......wishful thinking! QVC here I come!

The kids had a blast!

Even the Dads got in on the act!

Now we were off to see the sharks, tortoises, barracudas, etc.

It was wonderful to hear that Ethan paid attention during class!


Can you spot the children inside the glass dome?

Magnificent and serene sea horses!

Eery Piranhas!

And No they do not jump out of the water and attack

human flesh as in the 80's award winning horror movies.

Why are we not taking better care of our Oceans

if this is the beauty that lies within?

These two are having a serious Pow Wow! Do not interrupt!

We also fed sting rays and played in the Sharkey Fun Zone,

which was truly the icing on the cake.

Kurt and I were giddy at a very pleasant and educational day.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day is not just another three day weekend. When was the last opportunity that you took to commemorate our soldiers that have lost their lives for our safety and our freedom? Don't worry, you are not alone. I too am guilty of looking at this weekend as a time to catch up on grilling and added naps.

In 2009 acknowledge what this day is truly about. Pay tribute to our soldiers past and present. I want to send a special prayer to Kurt's grandfather, Fred Handy, who served in the military and passed away 9 years ago. May he rest in peace and may we be grateful to his commitment and sacrifice.

Review your local newspaper or look up online for memorial services held in your neighborhood that are open to the public. Show up whether or not you know someone personally, because after all, the soldiers that protect us do not know us personally, but still risk their lives.

Cards for Heroes supports our nation's armed forces by sending blank greeting cards to write home on, as well as cards of gratitude to encourage them throughout their deployment. To date they have sent over 140,000 cards to our heroes serving in the Middle East. You can find more information on making + sending cards here.

There are various ways to make an impact this Memorial Day weekend! Step out of your comfort zone and do something extraordinary!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mama's Cookin'

One of my biggest purpose as a Mom is to cook my kids a healthy meal almost daily.

I say "almost" because there are times when you are on the road and cannot avoid, shall I dare say it, yes McDonald's or Burger King or KFC.

I know Martha Stewart "swears" that she has not ONCE eaten fast food, but then again she also swore that she did not have any insight on her stocks.............

Tonight for dinner I made Pork Chops w/ Bell Pepper & Corn Relish over Mashed Potatoes and side order of Arugula Salad w/ Tomatoes & Parmesan. We do not eat small meals at our house, that's the European ancestry in me.

The Pork Chops were inspired by a Cooking Light Book called Weeknight. I did not have all the right ingredients and so I skipped a few but it still came out delicious. Keep in mind that you can substitute pork chops with chicken breasts or fish or even tofu (for my vegetarian friends).

Pork Chops w/ Bell Pepper & Corn Relish

1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion (red or white)
1/3 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 tsp. coriander
1 (15.25 oz) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 tsp cider vinegar
3/4 tsp. salt, divided
1/4 tsp black pepper, divided
1 1/2 tsp. sweet paprika
4 (4 0z) bone in pork chops

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and saute for 2 mins. or until tender. Add bell pepper and the next 2 ingredients and cook (stirring occasionally) until pepper is tender, another 3 mins. Stir in vinegar, 1/4 tsp of the salt, and 1/8 tsp of the black pepper. Cook 1 min. Spoon relish into a bowl (save for later). Wipe pan clean with paper towel.

2. Combine the remaining salt & pepper and paprika, sprinkle evenly on both sides of each pork chop. Heat oil in nonstick skillet and add chops to the pan. Cook 4-5 mins on each side, depending on the thickness of the chop. If you are ambitious enough, and have a meat thermometer, the internal temp of the pork chop should be at 160 degrees. Serve with relish on top.

I am absolutely addicted to the texture and peppery taste of Arugula. I eat it weekly in the summer time when the supply is abundant. There is nothing dull about this tasty green. If you are tired of the same Romaine or Boston lettuce, I highly recommend Arugula.

Arugula Salad

3 cups of washed and drained arugula
1-2 red beefsteak tomatoes, sliced
Juice of 1 med lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Slivers of Parmesan cheese

Place arugula in a bowl with tomatoes. Toss the salad the juice of 1 lemon, 2 tbsp. of olive oil, salt & pepper. Arrange salad on a plate and garnish with slivers of fresh Parmesan cheese. Use a potato peeler for cutting Parmesan slivers.

My kids know that Mommy's looking out for their happy bellies when she makes Mashed Potatoes with about 5 lbs. of butter (maybe 4 lbs.). No matter what else I serve with the meal, the Mashed Potatoes are guaranteed to be scarfed down first. Kids need Carbs and Carbs rely on children making the most of them.

I always, always, use a hand masher because I like a lumpier texture. If you prefer the absolute smooth version use an electric hand mixer.

Mashed Potatoes

3 lbs. of Idaho potatoes
3/4 cups of milk
1 1/2 sticks of butter
Salt & pepper to taste

Peel potatoes with potato peeler and cut them into eights. Cook in a large pot of salted (a tsp. of kosher salt) boiling water until tender, about 20-25 mins. Test with fork to see if it will pierce right through the potatoes before removing from stove.

Drain potatoes and place in a bowl. I like to warm up my milk & butter in the microwave for 40 secs prior to adding it to the potatoes. Add milk and butter to potatoes and with the hand masher or electric mixer beat until they are the desired texture. You may need to add extra milk, 1 tbsp at a time if the potatoes are too dry. Add salt & pepper and mix for 1 min longer. Taste and serve.

The entire time I cooked dinner (35 mins), I had an eager participant. My dear Kate shoved her face full of bread while watching Mommy. She too ate the mashed potatoes with us.

As a ritual, we all hold hands at the dinner table and go around saying our Thank Yous. It's a way for us to remind ourselves and one another how blessed we are every time we have the opportunity to eat as a family.

Lance is the best at recapping the days events minute by minute, while Ethan zips right through it. And Kate is grateful to not be strictly on Formula anymore.

Friday, May 22, 2009

In India, the "untouchables" are lower than any of the Caste categories.

Today, I belonged in that category!

All afternoon, I was disposing of toddler waste!!

Go ahead, cringe, say "Oh Gross".

There are days that I cannot get away from it. I need to wash
every car seat and every pillow case and every mattress cover and every blanket.

"Mom, I peed my bed, I'm sorry."
"Mom, I peed on the bathroom floor, it was an accident."
"Mom, I fell asleep and peed on the car seat, I didn't know."
"Mom, I just couldn't hold it any longer."

With all the amazing technology out there,
how come no one has come up with a remote control for children?

Why can't I just push the PAUSE button while my son pees on himself,
so I can quickly slip a diaper on?

Why can't I push the MUTE button when I am trying to have a
conversation with my friends on the phone?

Why can't I push a REVERSE button when my oldest decides
its a good idea to throw Moon Sand all over my house?

Why can't I push the FAST FWD button when it's homework time?

And why can I not push the LAST CHANNEL button when the kids are asleep,
over and over again?

I know what you're thinking.......Corn this is an inspirational blog....
where is the "Purpose" in what you are saying?

Parents live their purpose everyday, glamorous or not. Most of the time NOT.
Who else would take care of the task if we did not have strong stomachs and patience?

Who would teach our kids right from wrong?

Put the toilet seat up and then down.
Don't belch after every sip of milk.
You cannot wear the same pair of underwear for an entire month.
You do not need 30 tissues to wipe your nose.
Swearing is not nice, it's strictly for parents.
The list goes on and on.
At the end of today, I was exhausted.

My cat throwing up all over my bedspread in addition to Lance's "accidents" did not help any.
Full time job, indeed, and then some.

In my world there are no "lunch breaks" or "cigarette breaks".

I am a 24/7 maid and counseling service.........what bigger purpose is there?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Yesterday was an interesting day for me on the medical front.

Took Lance to the doc. He has been carrying a fever of 102 and coughing for 3 days.

Forget about a possible cold or virus, the only thing parents and adults think about anymore is
that it MUST be the SWINE FLU!!!!!!

Paranoia went through my mind before we even reached the doctor's office.

Ignorance is not BLISS!

If you are uncertain about a topic that scares you, EDUCATE yourself.
I asked my pediatrician a million questions.

What is the swine flu? Who licked the pig and spread it around?

After a chuckle, my pediatrician stated, that humans rarely contact swine flu directly.
What happened is the pig had swine flu when it came in contact with the human flu. The two exchanged genetic information and then it got transmitted back into a human (more than likely).
Once that occurred then it was spread from human to human.

Is this worse than the regular flu?

Right now it is being treated as the regular Influenza A.

If it's not worse why have so many people died in Mexico?

Because a larger population got hit all at once. The same outcome would have taken place if that many people contacted the flu.

How do you test for it?

Taken a sample of human mucus on a swab and place it in a tube with solution. The strip will turn either positive or negative within ten minutes.
Thank goodness Lance's came out negative.
Just an ear infection. Phew!!!!!

If it's being treated like the regular flu, will they still try and develop a new vaccine for the Swine Flu?

Yes. We are keeping an eye on it now that its in the
Asia's to make sure it doesn't morph into something more serious.

Hope my education gave you a little bit more insight on what occurs and to also calm your fears for now, despite all the media hype! Save it for when we truly have something to panic about.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Brunch is truly my favorite meal!!!!
Yia Yia's located in Greenwood Village, CO is one of the best!

The breathtaking patio is where you want to be on a comfortable summer day,
sipping on Bloody Mary's and Mimosas!

Upon my arrival, I was more interested in the desserts than the main course.
One of my weaknesses!
Whoever invented the order of a meal, needs to reconsider.

Flan always makes me smile and brings back warm memories of my upbringing in Romania.

My grandmother would make a huge bowl of custard for me, the old fashioned way, as I sat by the fireplace. She handed me the bowl with a big spoon and let me have at it until it was all gone. I've toned down the portion since.

The choices were numerous, the problem was deciding on just a couple.
Above is an apple, pecan, and strawberry tart.

These dark chocolate brownies are the perfect size for a satisfying mouthful of cocoa.

Round 1: Prosciutto, melon, pineapple, roasted bell pepper, bacon, capers, olives and slightly spicy cucumber salad with red onions. Mmmmmmm, mmmmmmm, good!

Kat ordered the Bloody Mary!

At Yia Yia's brunch is $24.95/pp and for an
additional $6.95 you can order all you can drink Mimosas or Bloody Mary's.

They need to invent Bloody Mary shots for Kat, cause she is good for one sip and then done. I tried to help her out, but unfortunately, I am not any better at the game of drinking.

Round 2: Crab legs, shrimp, hummus, pita, more olives and capers, artichokes, more cucumber salad, smoked salmon, and caprese salad.

Other choices at the restaurant include a creamy truffle mac & cheese, eggs Benedict, the carving station of perfectly roasted and juicy turkey meat as well as beef sirloin,
country potatoes, sausages, and waffles.

You will never walk out of Yia Yia's thinking, they did not have anything I wanted to eat.

We had a pleasant girls hang out on an 82 degree Denver day.

If you feel like spoiling yourself to a Sunday Brunch at a family friendly yet elegant European bistro, go to Yia Yia's. I promise it will not disappoint!

Bon Appetite!

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Woman's Best Friend

Bruce is a Puggle. A small dog.
My brother-in-law's dog.

I first met Bruce when I was in Romania. Rares sent me a picture and an introduction:
Bruce, Tina, Tina, Bruce.

He was adorable! I fell in love with him right away. I've always loved dogs, even though I did not have one of my own.

Never had as much time as I needed to commit to one.

I did have a cat though, long story, some other time.

Once I moved to the US, I finally met Bruce in person.
He was older now but still cute. Curious about everything.

We got to dog-sit for a week in February 2007 while the family vacationed somewhere warm.
We stayed home, thrilled to have Bruce's company.

It was the perfect opportunity to verify our ability to take care of a dog.

He walked around tapping away on wooden floors.

We walked him, washed him a million times a day, fed him goodies, let him sleep in our bed.
We loved him. We began to consider getting a dog of our own, but unsure if we could do it full time. Instead, we figured, " Let’s try sharing a dog with someone else".

Weirdly enough, people do that. Nothing came out of it. We probably did not qualify!

Years passed, we saw Bruce once in a while, when visiting the family.
We enjoyed his presence every single time.

May 2009. Grandma died! :( The family goes to Romania to take her home. I see the perfect opportunity and I ask “Can we take Bruce, can we take Bruce?” wagging my inner tail.

We get Bruce, but the minute we do I realize this may have been a mistake.
We were both tired, mentally. Funerals are not easy!

I was also stressed out with my job search & Rares with work itself.


The first day I walked Bruce three times at 2 hour intervals. Perfect reason to go for a walk.

He was behaving pretty well.

He even knew the way home, good memory!

Night time comes, we let him sleep with us. However, we now have darker duvet covers, you can see every single piece of hair.

Bruce is almost five and he sheds like crazy.
Maybe a deficiency or change of seasons.

I looked into supplements that prevent non-seasonal shedding .

He falls asleep, we fall asleep.
He wakes up, we wake up.
Darn it! He moves around......he walks around........ he's having trouble jumping back into bed.

I turn on the light every time he needs to come back to bed.
Falling asleep again... but not for long.

Bruce decides to speak up, there’s something going on in the building, outside the building, in the house. The first night is a killer!Bruce is trying to show what a good guard dog he is, but, hey, could you do this during the day, please!?!?

I start to loathe the idea of having a dog already... But I console myself with the idea that our dog will be different, we get to train him and educate him. Bruce has no education at all, he refuses to listen. When he has his mind set on something, there’s no way of getting through to him.

Good thing he doesn’t ruin our house when Sebastian's away, otherwise he would be exactly like Marley from “Marley and Me”.

He almost did jump out of the car yesterday, through the window! Did not seem as funny to me as in the movie.

I wasn’t laughing either when Bruce’s hyper-excitement gave me several bruises and scratches, through my pants, or when he pulls on his leash to go say hi to other dogs, and then end the interaction growling at each other.

Now, I am very confused. Sebastian tells me that Bruce plays with all the dogs, and they all love him, blah blah.....

How come my interactions didn't turn out as well !?

We only have Bruce since Wednesday and it seems like forever. 4 more days to go! Will keep you posted!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lost & Found

Yesterday afternoon, Lance decided to take my keys and misplace them. Ten minutes before picking up Ethan from school, I could not find them anywhere. Lance guaranteed me that he is a "good finder" and that he would locate them for me. The problem was, that he kept walking in the same circle around the living room without making any progress.

I became pretty angry because all I could think about was Ethan waiting for us and thinking that maybe we were not going to pick him up from school today. Maybe we would just let his teacher take him home this particular afternoon.

Two minutes before pick up, I spotted the keys in Lance's shorts pocket in his room.
Ran to the school, and as I had suspected, Ethan was alone playing games patiently waiting for us.

Normally, I would not have lost my patience with Lance the way I did if I did not need to pick up my first born.

What did I learn from the entire experience, besides that this is par for the course of being a parent?

Sometimes you need a good laugh after it is all done. At the end of the day, you need to step back and find humor in things that seem so trivial at that moment. Most things in our lives can be fixed, and sometimes we need to allow kids to be kids. I know I misplace my keys almost on a daily basis.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


On Sunday, my friend Kathy & I walked for a charity called LIVE BIG created by a mom who's son, Nicholas Speights, died when a car driving through the neighborhood ran him over. She has raised funds to "Promote outdoor educational opportunities for youths and young adults, with an emphasis on outdoor safety and awareness." The LIVE BIG 5K Family Run is still young, only 3 years old, but growing in popularity annually.

The Live Big 5K Family Run is just one of thousands of 5K Walk/Run events available Nationwide. Take the opportunity to sign up for at least 1 Event this year and help make a difference. It is a wonderful way to donate, exercise, and meet new people.

Depending on the event, you can bring your dog and children too. Take advantage of a day to have an outing with those you love and give back to the community with love.

As you can tell, at this particular walk, we were very slow. Even the signage man made it to the finish line before us. We finished in 1hr 4 mins. At the FINISH LINE, the lady asked if there was anyone behind us? That really made us laugh.
At the end of the race, you receive a goodie bag full of treats, T-Shirts, coupons from sponsors, etc.
It was a sunny and meaningful day!

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