Friday, October 1, 2010

the Modern bedroom

Those of you who know me know exactly what kind of mom I am.  And those of you who don't, let me tell you.  Okay, maybe just one little piece.  My whole parenting philosophy discussion is too daunting a topic to tackle at this time of night.  So today we'll start with my thoughts on co-sleeping.

It all started when Zhaina was a newborn and I realized how much easier it was to have a nursing baby sleeping IN my bed with me instead of her baby crib just 2 feet from my own bed.  I mean, what is the point of getting out of bed 3-4 times a night to pick up the baby to bring her in bed to nurse only to get up to put her back in her little crib one to two boobs later.

And as the years went by it just worked out for us for Zhaina to stay in my bed.  I mean there was a point after I weaned her where I thought that she should learn to sleep in her own bed.  I mean, I no longer needed her in my bed with me.  But after a year of the back and forth of her in and out and back into my bed I decided that I was happier with her falling asleep and staying asleep with me.

After our recent move I opted not even to put a bed into Zhaina's room at all.  You see, up until now she's had a crib, and then a toddler bed at least as an option.  But this time around I thought to myself, what for?  Lets just use her room as a play room, and without a bed there's much more space for that.  Meanwhile, I had sold my old bed before the move (along with a ton of other old furniture) and used the money to buy a new mattress and custom built platform bed from a local carpenter (who was totally hot by the way). 

I thought we deserved something good.

So tonight as I was putting Zhaina to sleep in "my" bed I said to her, "when do you think you're gonna wanna sleep in your own bed?" and she said,

"Maybe when I get braver.  Like when I'm 15 or 17 or 18 or 19."


And that's just fine with me.  Cause I'm gonna have to get braver first too.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Friendship by mail


A little over a week ago the weather crisped up and I was forced to take inventory of Zhiana's cool weather clothes.  In doing so I also went about the business of packing up her summer clothes.  And as I do every year, I was a little bit sad about packing away virtually brand new clothing just because the temperature changed.  I mean, I do borrow out Zhaina's used clothing to my cousin's daughter who is a year behind Zhiana, and my best friend's daughter who is two years behind Zhaina, but who could  use her clothes right now?!  So that night as I layed in bed trying to fall asleep I got to thinking, then it came to me.  My dear friend's daughter reciently moved to Florida, it's hot there!  And she is just Zhaina's size.  Big for her age ;) 

Two days later a box full of summer dresses, tanks, and shorts was on it's way south.  I explained to Zhaina that we were sending her summer clothes to her "pen pal" who lives in Florida where it is warm like in Greece. She thought it was a good idea.  A few days's later we recieved a picture of her new pen pal wearing one of Zhaina's favorite summer dresses.  The box had arrived safely!  She started to understand a little bit more saying, "it's too cold to wear my dress in Minnesota today. But not in Greece." And of course I corrected her, saying, "and not in Florida."  

And a few days later a box appeared in our mailbox, filled with long sleeves and jeans just Zhaina girl's size.  This was a better idea then I even thought!  a cross continental childrens' clothing swap!  Genius!  And after ooo-ing and ahh-ing at all her new clothes, Zhaina agreed with me, saying, "that was fun, MaMa. I sent her my clothes and she sent me hers. I like penpals."


She immediately jumped into her "new" jammies, which is what I heard her pen pal did the night her box arrived too ;)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

did somebody say, Tzatziki?!

or didja ever even hear of it?!  If not, look it up. 
I brought it to a Labor Day party and it was dee-lish!


this is what's in it:

Fage 2% Greek yogurt
 English cucumber, shredded and squeezed
minced garlic
vinegar
olive oil
salt & pepper

and this is how I made it:

I totally stole my dad's technique, but pretty much just guessed as far as proportions go.  I just kept tasting it and adding this and a little more of that until I got it just right.


 and voilĂ , and the finished product. 
 I served it with warmed pita bread, but if you're a real Greek, you just eat it with a fork.

Enjoy.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Tick Tock


Presently it's nothin' but work work work, leaving me longing for those days in Greece where it was just me and Zhaina on our own program everyday, all day, doing whatever we pleased whenever we pleased.

No clock telling us when it was time for breakfast, daycare, work, lunch, break, work, pick-up time, drop-off time, supper time, this time, that time... argh I could go on and on. I hate that damn clock always telling me what to do, and making me rush on to the next thing before I've finished with the first. While we were in Greece only our inner pace ruled. If I felt like eating, I'd eat, If I was tired I'd sleep. If  I felt like spending 3 straight hours on the computer I would.  No guilt, none.  Here Zhaina, watch a movie, don't worry in 2 minutes we'll be on the beach swimming our hearts out and soaking up the sun.  Oh yeah and maybe we'll have an ice cream or two or seven, just because we feel like it.

But now if I don't HURRY and get to bed I know I'll be exhausted in the morning when I have to wake up, get dressed, pack a lunch, make coffee, get Zhaina ready for daycare and rush out of the house with barely enough time to enjoy our moments together before we are separated for the entire day because I have to work to pay for our house, clothes and food that we don't even get to enjoy together because we're always rushing from one thing to the next by that damn American clock.  Tick tock, tick tock.

tick

tock.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Highlight Reel

Since arriving in Greece 1 week ago we've done so many things, it's difficult to know where to start. So instead of filling you in on all of our goings on, I will simply share with you "the highlights."






During our stay in Athens Zhaina was lucky enough to have a birthday celebration with family. I dressed her in one of the dresses from my childhood, a blue one that was purchased in Greece for me when I was 4, my second trip to my father's homeland. And although no one at the party was aware of this, her wearing it gave me such personal delight.





Upon our arrival a few days later in Samos, I was overcome by a sense of belonging on an Island that I've only started coming to 10 short years ago. But in these 10 years I've gone from a teenager to a full grown woman, a mother in fact. And now my Zhaina girl and I see this small Island as another one of our homes, not a "second home" as I cannot place it behind, but another home, a place where we feel our hearts can rest.



The other day we ran into a friend a the local ice cream shop and he said to me in broken english; "I saw your father with an unusally big smile last week and he said to me, 'my grand-daughter is coming.' "



As we walked along the cobblestone street hand in hand, Zhaina looked up and said, "MaMa, remember that place, that one that we went to in the mountain where we saw God, I want to go there."



and so we did.






Thursday, June 10, 2010

Our BIRTHday 06.10.06


On this day, 4 years ago, I became a mother.

At the moment this photo was taken I had no idea of the enormity this entailed. I had been a single mom since I was 5 months pregnant, and probably naive as to what bringing a new life into the world would mean. I had not planned on having a baby at the time, but she came anyways. In fact up until the doctor announced, "you got your girl" I was convinced I was having a boy. His name was to be Angel. Instead I had a baby girl who remained nameless in the nursery for 2 days before I signed the birth certificate and introduced

Zhaina Melissa

to the world.

Zhaina and I have both grown together in these past 4 years. She was an extremely difficult newborn and being alone made it even harder on me. But we both survived the "4th trimester" and went on to build a strong love for one another as the months and years past.


I still sometimes struggle as a single mom, but then I look at Zhaina and remind myself that
I did that. I birthed her, I raised her, and she is pretty damn wonderful.
I must be doing something right.

Happy Birthday Zhaina girl

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Ladies Night

♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ All the single ladies, all the single ladies ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪
♫ ♪ ♫ Now put your hands up ♫ ♪ ♫
♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ Up in the club, we just broke up ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪
♪ ♫ ♪ I'm doin' my own little thing ♪ ♫ ♪


May 27, 2010. Sex and the City 2 Release party. Aces on First. With my best single lady!



Martinis.



Prizes (hello beautiful poster and free movie ticket, etc, etc, etc.)



Girl Talk.
Party Bus.





Who could ask for more?

PS. And let me just say, all you ladies that saw this film with me on opening night,
I love you for loving your friends as much as I love mine.
*to; the girls. *

Friday, May 14, 2010

Date Night

At my place of employment, for whatever reason, I tend to get all the crazies. If there is someone incarcerated in jail, or prison (or as I call it, "the Big House") and they need a certain medical piece of equipment, they come to me. Like a Magnet. Lucky me.

So today at work I helped a friend of an inmate patient order above mentioned medical devise. And throughout the transaction I so badly wanted to ask what he was in for (that would have been totally unprofessional by the way) but instead made small talk about prison camp life and the trials and tribulations of sending things to an inmate on the "inside." I was trying to make the transaction as unawkward as possible, and well, as it turns out, I did a pretty damn good job of that. On his way out, the friend of the jailbird says to me,

"He's getting out soon. Do you want to meet him?"

What, does it say desperate on my forehead?! Cause if it does, I gotta get that off there.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Photo Journal

One of my favorite things has always been to go back to the same place multiple times to take pictures throughout the years. It's fun to see all the different types of changes in the photograph; scenic and weather changes in the locations where the photos are taken, and of course the obvious changes in the subjects being photographed! And what's extra special about the photos below is that not only were they taken in the same place, with the same people, but also on the same day, year after year.

A couple of years ago I started having my birthday lunch at Timberlodge Steakhouse and thought it'd be fun to get a quick shot of me and Zhaina outside near the William A. Irvin.
Feast your eyes on these!







I honestly cannot believe what a giant Zhaina is becoming! I don't think I'm going to be able to hold her in my arms in our annual birthday boat shot next year :(

Friday, April 30, 2010

my BIRTHday



Today is the day to celebrate my birth. I thank my mom for bringing me into this world 29 years ago today and for everyday since that day for loving and taking care of me.

From one mother to another, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.



I know that today is just another day to everyone else,
but to me and my mom,
April 30th will forever be a day of shared attachment and love.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Lighen up

If I'm gonna be honest here, blogging sometimes feels like such a chore so I put it off and put it off until it's been so long that I don't know where to start. So instead of giving you a run-down of what's been goin' on around here these past few weeks, I'll just fill you in on my latest hair cut & color.



What do you think?


Note to self. If you're gonna have a blog, you should actually write in it once and awhile.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A reason to party

Today, at my new apartment, I held my 1st clothing swap!


look at all that yummy food!


and the happy guests!




It all started when last week I saw this photo on Flickr that inspired me to hold a clothing swap of my own. I mean, I have friends with some pretty fantastic taste and some killer wardrobes, so I invited all of them to come and instructed them to bring 10 of their finest items that they would be willing to part with, and in return would get to "shop" for new items from the entire selection.




Overall it was a great success! I myself, ended up with a new (to me, hehehe) LBD, pink leg warmers, and 2 great tops! But I have to admit, the best part was seeing some of my old favorites move on to new homes and new bodies to love them. It just felt so good to pass something on to someone I know and see it make them happy. And all the other ladies seemed pickled pink with thier new wardrobe additions as well, and some even expressed interest in hosting a clothing swap of their own!

I'm gonna have to dig deep to find 10 more fantastic items I'm willing to part with ;)

Oh and just a note, all unclaimed merchandise will be donated to a local shelter.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Special Breakfast

Every morning for breakfast Zhaina BEGS me to make "special breakfast," which to her means anything made from scratch. (IE. not the usual frozen waffles, cereals and milk, or toast). On my 2 days off a week I give in to her early morning pleas, and to the kitchen we both go.


She loves to get the recipe out, helps me to gather all of the ingredients, and after I measure, she likes to pour it into the bowl, and of course she loves to help stir. She gets her little stool and pulls it right up close to me (she's practically on top of me the entire time) and asks about a zillion questions and has to taste and/or smell each and every ingredient. She likes to choose her plate and which chair she'll sit in at the table. And of course she likes eating her

"special breakfast."

Today's Special Breakfast, 300 calorie french toast


PS. my favorite part of "special breakfast" is how much Zhaina enjoys it.


PSS. and my least favorite part is the cleanup :(

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Day at the Park

Today we had the good fortune to get to spend the afternoon in the park with friends (or technically family, actually). We were blessed here in the Northland with a beautiful sunshiny day and specifically we were even more so with the opportunity to enjoy it. Zhaina and I met Barbara, Scott, Maria, and Ginger at our local neighborhood park and let the fun be had!



The older girls swung, and slid, and monkey barred their little hearts out, then we went for a walk. After a couple of hours it was evident that they would surely be sleeping soundly tonight. And speaking of sleeping soundly, you should have seen sweet Ginger sleeping in her daddy back-carrier! And it too was fun for me to have a little adult conversation with people who know and love me. As a single mom of one, I often worry about us getting lonely, and especially about Zhaina not having siblings, so seeing her today running around with Maria was touching to say the least.

And as Zhaina and I walked home hand in hand, she said to me, "I sure did have fun today."

So did I, Zhaina.

Monday, March 8, 2010

in the words of Zhaina girl

So I have one of those kids that is just about the friendliest kid possible.

Tonight we were out to dinner with Auntie Melissa and Zhaina was passing the time by making drawings for the couple sitting across the room from us (we'd never met). She made two pictures, one at a time, for them. Each was a rainbow and she delivered them with this message. "Excuse me Sir. I drawed this rainbow for you." The couple did not seem bothered, nor pleased with the gift from an unknown 3-year-old. Then after about fifteen minutes the woman motioned for Zhaina to come over to their table, and off she bound across the room. I saw the man hand Zhaina something to which she quickly grasped hold of and brought it back to our table. She said it was a treasure and that I couldn't peak. Finally she opened her hand over the table and down dropped a handful of coins, some real (a quarter, a few pennies, and a nickle), some fake (a beautiful large purple shiny one!). I gasped and said,

"you're so lucky!"

to which she replied,

"yeah, and RICH!"

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Month 1 Webwatchers Recap

When I started this I had planned to post more often, but have been unable to do so since I've been working long crazy hours at work! I just can't in good conscience rationalize time spent on the computer when I have about a billion other things I need to be doing in the very few hours I get to spend at home with Zhaina girl these days :(


That being said, I did want to update you all on my progress, which has been fantastic! I'm still going strong, and to be honest it has gotten A LOT easier in the past couple weeks. I don't know if it's cause I have so much going on that I don't have time to eat as much, or if it's that since I'm trying to watch my caloric intake it's not as fun to eat if I can't eat what I want to eat anyways, but whatever the reason, it's working!!!


Here is the breakdown:


Week 1 lost 3 lbs


Week 2 lost 3 lbs


Week 3 maintained, didn't loose any but didn't gain any either :/


Week 4 lost 2 lbs


For a total weight loss of 8 lbs the first month! Fantastic news, right?!!!!


This morning I quick shot some pics to see if anyone can see where those 8 pounds disappeared from. What do you think?




Do I look any different at all?????


here maybe this will help, here are the before pics again



Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dinner for Eight, or Two; whatever

Since this diet (WebWatchers) started 2 weeks ago I've been doing a lot more cooking at home. Mostly because it's just not as fun to eat out if you can't have what you wanna have anyways, but also because Zhaina enjoys it so. She is constantly asking how she can help, wanting to stir, or measure, or lick the spoon, you know all the real important cooking tasks. And so I indulge her and she becomes my sous chef.

Tonight we tackled a baked ziti recipe from my Biggest Loser cookbook. And let me just tell you, it's a good thing I had the day off today, I could have never made this after a long day at work, never. Tonight I entered the kitchen at 5:00 and exited at 6:55. Are you kidding me?! 2 hours to cook, eat and clean up dinner?! That is ridiculous! How do you other working mothers out there do it?!


We (me and Zhaina, count us, we are 2) had Baked Ziti


note. the recipe makes 8 servings, 8 HUGE servings


and a side salad with iceberg lettuce (so not my favorite), carrots, celery, radish, a splash of olive oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper, and a slice of Whole Wheat WeightWatchers toasted bread with a trace of butter and parmesean.




And because this is my favorite part of dinner (and probably yours), here is a excerpt from our dinner conversation:


Zhaina: "Preston said he doesn't want to marry me anymore."

Me: "Oh did he?"

Zhaina: "Yeah, so I decided I'm going to marry Isaac. But not until 6:30. And when he gets taller."




Monday, February 15, 2010

S'agapo

Zhaina has been looking forward to "Valemtime's Day" since, well, the day after Christmas. And hooray, it's finally here! This morning she gave me the best present and slept until 7:40am!!! (soooo not her usual time of between 6:30 and 7:00am, yay!) She went from a dead sleep to bolting out of bed exclaiming "Happy Valemtime's Day!"

In all of her preparation for today she's been making Valentine's Day cards in total Zhaina style. I have a hello kitty notepad that I use to make my grocery list, which she easily took procession of. For the past week or so she's been using a black pen, a pencil and various stickers to decorate her cards for her friends. She'll randomly bring one or another up to me and tell me what they say. One even contained a map of the world where she pointed out to me where was Greece and where was America, and went on to explain that we were in 'Merica now, not Afins." But most were just proclamations of her love for her various friends and family and invitations to come to her house to visit. It was all very sweet.




Zhaina's Valentine's, hand-made with love



She wanted me to bring her to all her friends houses to hand deliver them today, but I told her that although that was a nice thought, we didn't have nearly enough time, but we could put their names on envelopes and put the cards inside and send them in the mail instead. She seemed to like that idea until I had to break the news to her that the post office wasn't open today! So if you should be so lucky to receive one of these very special notes in the mail please know that she would have preferred to give it to you in person, but her mean mommy wouldn't let her.



And seeing how the post office was closed we spent the afternoon doing what I like to do best; shop! We headed to the mall and just hung out, roaming from one store to another, to the food court and back in and out of store after store, until she could barely drag herself around another minute. While having lunch in the food court we shared another one of those hallmark moments, when you just feel so lucky to be a parent. Zhaina was eating her round french fries (aka potato oles) and taco when she looked at me and said,

"MaMa, this food is wonderful, you're the best giver ever!"


And it just doesn't get any better than that.





It is a good Valemtime's Day indeed.



Monday, February 8, 2010

Week 1 Recap

As my first week of WebWatchers comes to a close I find myself, proud but impatient. After all, this first week was HARD and to think that I still have 19 weeks to go, is daunting. Thank goodness that new digital scale was good to me today, otherwise I don't know how I could keep doing this.


Highlights from this past week:

1. My food journal kept me accountable, thus I ate less than I normally do.

2. I made many meals from scratch, yummy!

3. Stepping on the scale to a 3 lbs weight loss!


Low lights from Week 1

1. Looking at the "before" pictures of me and not recognizing her

2. I made many meals from scratch, too many dishes to wash!

3. I gave in twice this week, once for a mountain dew, and once for a grape soda


but the biggest low light of them all is the humiliation of having to post this:





the dreaded BEFORE picture


all of the arrows point to areas that I hope to "re-shape" like I said before, I still want curves, just not such dramatic ones.




wish me luck!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

WebWatchers by Stacy

For this very special project of mine I decided it needed an equally special name and I hereby will refer to my personalized diet plan as WebWatchers.

You see, I'm not following any one diet, so I can't go around saying, "oh I'm on the atkins," or "oh, I'm doing Jenny Craig," or "I'm trying WeightWatchers." But I still want my diet to have a catchy moniker. And now it does. So when you are out in the world talking about me and my diet, please feel free to say things like, "did you hear Stacy is doing WebWatchers?" After all, I was thinking about you, my lovely readers, when I coined it. You see, you are all watching me on this journey. You, the web, are watching me. I have you to answer to. You ARE my meeting.


WebWatchers.


PS. I don't know how to "copywrite" but I hereby officaly declare this copywrited. Oh how I love you, internet.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

the diet. day 1

I'm getting closer and closer to becoming one of those women after all. Since I decided to take this "diet" seriously I can't stop thinking about ways to be successful. And you lucky readers will get to follow me throughout my entire journey. My newest idea is that will take a picture in the same outfit once a month to chronicle my weight-loss. The outfit is yet to be decided. Stay tuned for that.


Anyway, back to day 1



It all started with a trip to Barnes & Noble where I purchased a new diet cookbook (I need all the help I can get in the kitchen) and a pocket sized diet journal. I figured if I had an actual book (that I actually paid for) to keep my calorie count then I'd be more likely to DO IT! And so I did.


click photo to enlarge



I'll have to say when I added up my totals I was VERY pleasantly surprised 1,350!!!! BUT....I'll admit that even though I haven't officially started restricting my caloric intake I WAS very conscience of the fact that I was recording everything and most probably going to be sharing it with you, my lovely readers. However, it is quite possible that if the total would have been embarrassingly high I would NOT be sharing tonight.


Now for the difficulties.


As you can see my trouble spot seems to be my snacking, as I suspected. So I guess there is room for improvement :) Also, I broke down and had a soda. I know, I know, I said I'd be giving up soda all together this month, but holy-smokes mountain dew is good! I'll have to get every can out of this house, pronto! I obviously cannot resist temptation.


Day 1


Thank goodness that's over.


Oh shoot, I have to do it all over again tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that...for the next 5 months.





Shit.

Monday, February 1, 2010

It's official, I'm overweight!

I NEVER thought I'd be one of THOSE moms; you know the ones, the ones that obsess and obsess about their weight, and order SALADS when out to dinner (*puke). The ones that talk about fitting into their old "skinny" jeans, and try every diet known to man, oh, and buy "low fat" food products! I could go on and on....

And to be honest, I still don't fit into that category completely, but I'm sure as hell on my way! And as long as I'm being honest, I can't believe I'm writing this blog (*double puke).


But here it goes. It's official, I'm overweight. Okay, well not technically. I'm still within the healthy range for my height, but who wants to be healthy?! I want to be skinny. again.


Here, let me give you a visual, so that you can follow along.



On the left is a photo taken of me in Athens in the fall of 2006, and on the right you see a photo of me taken in the fall of 2009 on Samos(Zhaina too, how cute is she?!). Generally speaking I look pretty "healthy" in both, but I'd so prefer to look more like myself circa 2006. You see, within these 3 years I've gained
are you ready
30 pounds!

I've been telling people that I think that I'm "rockin' " these extra 30 lbs, but truth be told, I'd rather not have to. I mean, yes I like curves, but I'd like to be just a little bit less curvy. You know, not have to cringe every time I go to put on my jeans because they are just so TIGHT! And not have to continue to buy bigger bra sizes as the pounds add up and up and up. I actually like my chest smaller. Oh, and another thing. I'd like to be able to go out with friends and dance the night away like I used to. Last night I was out celebrating my friend Katie's 30th birthday and I had to sit out for so many songs just to catch my breath! I mean I know I said this isn't about being healthy, but jeesh, It'd be nice be able to stay on that dance floor all night long if I so choose!

So here's the deal. I'm obviously serious, otherwise I wouldn't be writing this very public blog. And I've made some decisions.

This is my goal:

To remove ALL 30 pounds by July 1, 2010

For those of you who are math challenged that means I'll have to loose an average of 6 lbs for the next 5 months, starting February 1, 2010.

and this is how I'm going to do it:

February
1. Give up soda (oh goodness that's gonna be a tough one, I currently drink 1 mountain dew in the late morning and 1 pepsi in the afternoon everyday, and occasionally more, but never less).
2. Start counting calories so I know how many I'm consuming (and obviously be more conscience about it)

March
1. Start working out (I have no idea even where to begin here, I used to go to the gym, but that was before I was a mom, now it just seems like so much work!)
2. Continue to count calories and stay below a TBA quota everyday.

April, May, and June need some brainstorming still, and I'm totally up for suggestions :)

oh yeah, and daily weigh in's charted in my bathroom on the new digital scale I'm going to purchase tomorrow.

There.

It's official.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Our private home Gallery

I suppose every mom thinks their child is extraordinary, and I am no exception. Zhaina is remarkably creative, artistic, and has an imagination that rivals the likes of James Cameron (have you all seen that masterpiece AVATAR?!). We go to dance class, a music co-op, we've travelled overseas; she has already had so many wonderful experiences in just her three short years in this world. I'm trying my best to offer her all that I can and hope that it benefits her.

I often wonder what she will become and how she will use her strengths to better herself and even possibly the world.





In the meantime I'll just enjoy her artwork hanging on our walls :)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

just a little cupcakes in the kitchen

What kid doesn't like helping in the kitchen?! Mine sure does, I just wish she was old enough to help do the dishes after!






The other day we made cupcakes, banana cupcakes with peanut butter frosting to be exact. We ended up with 19, a dozen of which I brought to work yesterday and the other half dozen Zhaina has been making good use of.

have you been baking?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Calling all Coffee Lovers!

My love affair with coffee started about 4 years ago while I was living in LA. There was a Starbucks just down the block from the dance studio, and I felt an almost physical pull there on a daily basis (and I'll admit, I was secretly hoping to run into Britney Spears). At first I was nervous ordering my "gourmet" coffee among a sea of coffee connoisseurs , but as time went on and through the process of trial and error (and a few recommendations from friends...ahem, Erin) over the years I honed my order into something that is near liquid perfection. I am now "that" person in the Starbucks line with a coffee order that makes you sigh loudly and roll your eyes. And since I know you are all curious it goes like this,



"I'll have a Grande 2 pump caramel breve, no foam with whip, at 150 degrees."



oh and sometimes it's decaf, that's after 3 pm.



Translation; Grande is Starbucks for "medium" and I get my medium with 1 less pump of syrup than normal (otherwise it's just too sweet). Breve means that this latte is made with half and half versus milk (skim, 1%, 2%, or whole) and that means more calories, and more smooth creaminess! A latte generally comes with a small amount of foam (versus a cappuccino which is virtually half foam) on the top, but I prefer it to not be there at all. And if you ask me, the MOST important part of the order is the whip cream! You absolutely cannot go without that. If nothing else, THAT part of the order must be there. Oh and one last thing, Starbucks steams their milk anywhere from 162-168 degrees, which is too hot for me! I like to be able to drink my coffee right away without burning my mouth, and when I realized you could order your coffee to temperature, I was in heaven!



So after hundreds of dollars in Starbucks coffee, I seem to have perfected my order, and here I am giving it to you for free! I guess it's your lucky day (as Zhaina would say). So should you pass a Starbucks today, stop in and order a grande 2 pump Caramel breve, no foam with whip, at 150 degrees, and let me know what you think!



Or if you're in my neighborhood you could just stop by my kitchen and I could make it for you myself! That's right, I have graduated to at-home barista thanks to a wonderful Christmas gift from my mother.


and today....Cappuccino!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Seeing Stars

As many of you already know, my friend Angela Schweiberger's 7-week-old baby, Myles, died last month. I'm honored to have been asked to be part of a group of local women whom love and and surround Angela and her family as they grieve and honor their son. We are collectively making the family a quilt, each of us making our own 12 inch square (12 1/2" unfinished) to be tied together. There will be a few different "work bee" sessions where we will gather to brainstorm and sew together. Since I do not sew, this project is sure to be a challenge for me, but I am so happy to be a part of something so warm and loving.

For my square I plan to use some of Zhaina's old recieving blankets as fabric. I've decided to quilt a star because the night I heard of his death I went outside, looked up to the sky and said a prayer for Angela and Myles as I looked at the stars, and ever since then everytime I look up at the night sky I am reminded of him and his journey, and Angela, and what pain she must feel, and how lucky I am that I've never expeirenced the pain of loosing a child. So for me and my contribuiton to the quilt a star just feels right.

But this is the part where I am asking for your help. In my research I've found 2 quilt patterns that I think are beautiful, but not exactly what I was picturing in my mind. One is here, and the other is here. I had been thinking of a more traditional 5 point star.

What do you think? Remember I've never quilted a day in my life. Oh and the first "work bee" is next Saturday.

I baked, seriously.

The other morning before work I was feeling ambitious and decided to bake a loaf of banana bread. I got the recipe years ago from an ex-boyfriend's mother (see exes are good for something) and it is a good one! Zhaina played the role of sous chef (is that still the correct term when "baking"?) and we set to work in the kitchen.

After the loaf was safe in the oven (it takes over an hour in there!) we headed off to the post office to retrieve a few gifts that had arrived from overseas (those pics will come later). When we got back to the apartment we were greeted by the most wonderful sweet smell! Fresh baked homemade banana bread! I don't know who was more excited to slice into it, me or Zhaina. But we had to wait for it to cool, a little while anyways....

I decided to butter some up and bring it to work to share with my co-workers (maybe looking to butter them up as well ;) and while I did that Zhaina had the first taste.



Well as you can see she wasn't so much a fan of the walnuts or the crust, but still deemed it "delicious!"

As did my co-workers coincidentally.

After a full day at work I picked up Zhaina from Daycare and the first thing she said to me was

"MaMa, did your friends eat ALL MY banana bread?!"

Monday, January 4, 2010

Nativity Re-visited

Just one last scene to round out our Christmas season.




This is how I found them when I went to pack them away for the year. I'll miss their many configurations and the giggle they stir inside me everytime I notice they've moved once again in my absense. I can only imagine that Zhaina too will miss them.....









Sunday, January 3, 2010

Dinner Diaries

Being a single mom is often tough, but still sometimes, oh so sweet. And when those sweet times occur on a more than often basis, life is good :)


Yesterday I had one of those sweet moments with Zhaina over lunch. I had cooked us a special New Year's Day meal. Grilled chicken breast, bacon, avocado and lettuce. Zhaina had hers A la Cart and I had mine wrapped in a whole wheat pita. YUM! ....anyways.. we were sitting together eating our (may I say delicious) lunch when Zhaina looked at me and said, "you're the best cooker ever, Mommy." Now doesn't that just melt your heart...


And so then today when I got home from work (like most working mothers I'm sure) the last thing I felt like doing was cooking dinner. But as usual, I did it anyways. I even cooked one of Zhaina's favorite meals, tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches. double yum. So we're sitting there eating together, just the two of us (duh) and she says, "How was your day at work, MaMa? what did you do there?" I didn't think my heart could grow and bigger! I mean, she's 3! I wanted to jump over and scoop her up and tell her how very special she is to me. I mean it's lonely being a single mom sometimes, but the fact that I have her to share my life with is just such a blessing. But I resisted my urge to smother her with kisses and praise and instead simply said, "well today I fixed some people's glasses." to which she replied, "how did you fix those people's glasses MaMa?" and our conversation went on as I explained what I do at work and she listened, she really listened.


And so this year I may not have a New Year's resolution, but I do have a wish...... to keep those sweet times coming!





And may you have many sweet moments in 2010 as well!
Happy New Year!!!