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!!!