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Monday, January 31, 2011

New Years Resolutions - FAIL!!!

The most important resolution I made was to not waste food. However, we found this rule to be difficult to live with as we got very very busy so I put a list on the fridge marked FOOD LOSS and here are the items we proceeded to throw away in the month of January:

1 Whole Pumpkin - it was buy one get one free, so I ended up with 4 and just could not manage to get the last pumpkin pureed and frozen before it was in the fridge way too long.

Moldy Bread 1/2 loaf - fridge was overfilled so bread stayed out and got moldy

5 bananas - just sat out too long!

1 lb of lamb - I never eat lamb but at the beginning of the month I felt ambitious to try a Shepard's Pie, then I got really busy with work and forgot it for a week. Major fail!

Chicken Broth - that we went to the trouble to make from a bistro chicken! Just let it sit for 2+ weeks without putting it in the freezer. Honestly!

1/2 a tomato

1 bag of lettuce - never even opened.

Fresh Thyme - left in fridge since Thanksgiving

1 bunch of radishes - again an ambitious dinner idea never materialized

1/2 bag of cranberries - forgotten since Christmas

What have I learned from this? Nothing I didn't already know but here's a recap:
* Freeze all meats immediately upon getting home from the store unless it's on the menu for the evening!

* Rotate food throughout the week, meaning when making dinner do a search of food that needs to be moved to freezer, processed, etc.

I'm really hoping February is better because this is an extremely embarrassing way to start a New Years Resolution!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Valentines Day 2011

Hugs and Kisses Valentine's Day Card
Unique party invitations and announcements by Shutterfly.
View the entire collection of cards.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sam - six months old

This is a great age! Sam is hanging out with his sister, she is reading to him - or at least trying to read! They are actually having fun together while I clean their room!!

Of course there are still moments when she tries to rub a pen cap in his eye - but that what mom is here for - to stop them from killing each other - and to confiscate small contraband.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Fun!

: Afternoon :

- spent calling many different companies for various reasons like -
  • someone accidentally deposited $179.43 in my account, 18 minutes. Most of it was on hold during which I managed to change a poopy diaper, eat a Nutella bagel and drink some green tea.
  • internet connection died, it's been shaky for days, time to figure this out - 30 minutes. Thank you Filipino tech support for resetting my DSL service!!! You are a miracle worker and I appreciate your concern for my cooing baby in the background.
  • call cable to see if they have any cheaper options, they do not - 15 minutes :(
  • call to fix duplicate auto pay for condo fees - 5 minutes :)
: Evening :

- spent entertaining small children and stuff -
  • Charlotte coloring - 5 minutes
  • Charlotte covering mom in stickers while climbing all over her as she designed "Friday Fun" button - 30 minutes
  • Talked to my mom while Charlotte got mad because I "______" fill in blank because I can't remember but the bottom lip came out and she refused to speak to my mom until the end in which Sam started crying so no one could hear anything anyway - 15 minutes
  • Sam napped part of the evening & played (such a good boy)
  • Charlotte hand fed the puppy his food (sorry Husband, when you read this and bristle, I stopped her)
  • Charlotte shrieked and shrieked and shrieked as I confiscated various contraband like soap, pen caps and a large metal flashlight - all potential weapons to a smaller child.
  • Charlotte DID in fact nap from 2-5 so most of the calls were done while she was napping!
  • I managed to put the desk cords back together after disassembling wireless, to reconnect wall connection, calling AT&T to get it reset and put back into the wall. Husband will never even know I even fixed it until he reads this - I'm clever that way!!
Now if I could only figure out what to have for dinner!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Writer’s Workshop: I wish my dog was a girl

Prompt: If you could change anything about your pet, what would it be?

See this adorable dog? He's a Cavalier King Charles. We've had him for 5 years. My husband is a dog trainer and when he started out we only had 3 cats. It became embarrassing to repeatedly tell clients he didn't have a dog - they were all like - "how can you be a dog trainer and NOT have a dog"???? So husband asked me what kind of dog I wanted and I said it must be cute, well mannered and a CKC (like Charlotte had in SATC).

We found Chopper on Craig's list from a dominatrix who was moving from Orlando to the mid-west. He immediately fell in love with my husband - apparently lots of treats are involved with dog training so he loves the hand who feeds him.

Chopper became a model citizen. Perfect manners, no accidents in the house, no destruction of property, polite to strangers, he fits under the seat on an airplane, does not bark much AND he does tricks!

How could anyone find anything wrong with this adorable dog?

Well see I've never had a boy dog - somehow growing up we only had girl dogs. I didn't know how much boy dogs like to clean themselves. It's so gross.

So I WISH my cute little almost perfect dog was a girl.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Working Mom Wednesday

Linking to awesome working mom blogger Julia @ Work, Wife, Mom, Life, this weeks prompt is: What was she thinking: write a post from the view point of your child, about yourself.

Christmas Day 2010 - you had the bright idea to take the entire family to Disney World. It didn't matter that the weather was sub-zero outside (40's) - hey - born and raise in Florida - that's SUB ZERO AND that I was getting sick with a cold!!! Anyway, after spending an entire day ignoring me while you packed piles of unnecessary things, we finally piled into the van. You forgot to charge the DVD player. AND you forgot to set up something to prop up the DVD player. Were you really planning to hold it the entire way??? Good thing I don't mind watching those 3 episodes of SpongeBob on your iPhone over and over.

The hotel room was fun but it's hard to fall asleep with the entire family in one room! Honestly, I'm surprised I got any sleep!!

Breakfast was tons of fun. I got to chase dad down in the buffet line, thanks for letting me out of the confines of that horrid high chair. Also thankful you managed to find a microwave to warm my morning milk.

So we spent the day at Downtown Disney ducking in and out of stores to stay warm? That's okay, I had fun playing with the mannequins.

The Ghirardelli fountain was awesome! Hot chocolate!! That helped take off the chill.

Since we missed an entire day in the park - due to the horrid weather, it's cool that you found a restaurant that had Goofy and Pluto. I hope you weren't embarrassed as I shrieked "Goofy" and "Puppy" over and over. Hey I'm only 2 once!

That's right, I made Pluto blush by kissing him on the nose! I'm sweet that way!!

So mom, we made it fun, but next time try going when the DVD player is fully charged, weather is warming, I'm not sick and you invent a turbo booster that gets us there in 60 seconds. DVD player is for entertainment later - naturally.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Random Tuesday Thoughts

Hurray for Random Tuesday, a super cool place created by Keely @ "The Un Mom", head over and check out the coolest graphics in the bloggisphere! She makes me want to read comic books and dream about Canadian monsters.


I guess the baby vacation is over, I'm going to LA on Wednesday for business - with my breast pump, and a cooler with dry ice. No sense going to all that trouble just to throw it all away.

And just so we don't lose a day we are coming back on a red eye flight - meaning flying from 9pm PST time to 5am EST.

So if you see new posts from me just know I wrote them in advance and used the scheduler to post date them. I'm not that savvy with my iPhone (Savvy would be an AWESOME Scrabble word)

Speaking of baby, he turns 6 months old this week! He celebrated early by waking up at 2:30 and demanding an extra feeding. In his defense, both legs were caught in the bars of the crib and he was confused, woke himself up and realized food would be nice. Husband and I were a little startled since he's been sleeping through the night for 3 months.

In preparation for my trip I want to make high energy muffins, so after a bit of google research I found this Irish blog. I'm going to get up early tomorrow to make these. I love taking my own food on trips - it's always better then what is offered on the plane and in airports - plus you never know when you might be running too late for a meeting to get lunch! So I'll take an apple, 2 of these muffins, 2 pumpkin muffins and um that's all. Wait - I'll have a cooler with dry ice, maybe I'll add some cheese and a yogurt cup.

And finally I have to say it's the 25th of January which means it's my dad's birthday. He always hated having a birthday in January because it's so cold in Maryland this time of year. So I had both of my kids in the summer, which means almost where ever they end up it will be warm. Well that may have not been the reason I had kids in the summer but it sounds good!

Random kid moment of the week:

Friday, January 21, 2011

Self Sacrifice - at 2

I expected Charlotte to start the "mine mine mine" stage as soon as Sam was old enough to hold a toy - and it's gone as expected. The lessons on sharing, the breakthroughs when she brings a toy to Sam, etc.

I did not expect self sacrifice.

Tonight, I put Charlotte to bed after reading two books and cuddling for 15 minutes. She howled and cried as I turned off the lights and closed the door. She stood at the door and begged for her blanket so I opened the door to find it. She woke Sam, who started crying from another room. She ran back to her bed and while crying told me to "go take care of Sam". She said it over and over. Like she needed me but it was more important to take care of Sam.

For a two and a half year old that's an awesome concept. I'm so proud of her.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Working Mom Wednesday

Linking to awesome working mom blogger Julia @ Work, Wife, Mom, Life, this week I'm making my own prompt - Gratitude

I recently read a Reader's Digest story about a lawyer who's law firm was bleeding money, he was being sued, going through a difficult divorce and had become distanced from his kids. He became so stressed that he found himself walking out into traffic without looking first, wondering if it might it might be easier to just end life. All this after 23 years of work. It made me think about work - I've got 10 professional years under my belt, if in 13 years from now I was going through this mess I'd be really upset! In life we want to progress NOT face calamity this late in our career!

The story went on to say this man was so frustrated that one day he walked 15 miles until he heard a voice that said,
"Until you learn to be grateful for the things you have, you will not receive the things you want".
He then got the idea to write thank you cards as a way to improve his gratitude. It started with a card to his son for the single cup coffee maker Christmas present, he thanked people for repaying loans, he thanked his apartment manager for working so hard to fix a leaky toilet, he thanked the cat adoption agency for taking such good care of the cat he adopted and finally he wrote a thank you letter to his young daughter.
"Thank you for being so cheerful and happy when I picked you up yesterday. Sometimes I don't have a very fun day, but when I see you and we talk about things and have fun, I feel better. Thank you for being the best daughter ever."
He wrote 50 cards in all that year and it changed his life. He started paying attention when crossing the street and realized life was worth living.

I know many of us do not face the kind of trials this man faced but I loved the concept of writing thank you cards and how it can improve our gratitude. Recently I took my car to Goodyear to get the front tire fixed; it was really low and I suspected a flat was coming. They spent an entire hour taking the tire off, soaking the rubber and couldn't find a hole. I spent this time at Dunkin' Donuts taking a well needed break, watching the old people treat it like their local Starbucks. It was so nice to take a break. When I went back to get the car, the guy didn't charge me! I think he deserves my first thank you card of the year!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Random Tuesday Thoughts

Hurray for Random Tuesday, a wonderful place created by Keely @ "The Un Mom", head over and check out the coolest graphics in the bloggisphere!


Has anyone ever placed an order online then wondered a week later where it was only to go back to the website and realize you forgot to pay for it? Yeah me neither.


Michigan woman recreates painting Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper WITH LINT!
800 hours of laundry, 200 hours of time spent placing lint on 4' x 14' reproduction!


From the home front, every night Charlotte does her goodnight rounds with a kiss for every person and animal nearby. Tonight it was -
  • Nite nite mommy
  • Nite nite Sam
  • Nite nite Puppy
  • Nite nite Robot - wait - did she just kiss the Roomba good night????
I believe we have just entered the Jetsons age! Now if husband could only figure out how to add a voice chip that says, "good. night. charlotte", in Steven Hawkins voice since I imagine all computers sound like him.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

On Hong Kong time, but in the US :/

Once again, I've sat through a rare all night conference call with the Hong Kong office. For the sake of personal achievement I'll lay out how I managed to survive the entire night without a single yawn into the camera (of course I'm exceedingly pleased with myself for this accomplishment).

Night before call - sleep full 8 hours so there is a background of full rest in the bag.

In morning put hair in tight bun so once pulled out at midnight it will fall nice and wavy around face and look professional during conference call.

Leave office by 4:30pm, kuddos to husband and mother in law for securing pasta dinner that was ready upon entrance to home. Eat quickly while visiting with children.

In bed from 6:30pm - 11:30pm. Not sure I even slept for much of that but definitely had eyes closed. Again major kuddos to husband and MIL for taking the kids OUT of the home until like 9:30 so I could sleep in complete and utter quiet - and sneaking them back into the house so that I barely heard a peep!!!

At 11:30pm, shower with shower cap to not mess up nice wavy hair. Reapply make up with lots of bronzer so look good on camera!

Eat the other half of pasta dinner and rush out the door to office - fortunately 15 minute ride to work - with Triple Vente Latte in hand! Again, major major kuddos to husband and MIL for securing this beverage! What an awesome team/family I have! Really should say this day brought to you by super family!

In previous calls, I stayed home in pajamas but got really tired and sleepy throughout the call and felt unfocused. This was such a success because I felt more professional sitting in office with lights blazing and not worrying about children waking in the background so it was really worth the trouble to do make up, hair and drive to work because I lasted the entire night. So this is me - at 6am Thursday (7pm Hong Kong time Thursday):
And I must say it sure beats a 20 hour flight to Hong Kong! Head home to see kids and hopefully get some sleep! Maybe super team can take them "out" for breakfast??? I hope! I'll make it up to you I promise.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Working Mom Wednesday

Linking to awesome working mom blogger @ Work, Wife, Mom, Life, today's prompt is: Favorite recipe!

Throughout December I experimented with muffins. I made at least 5-7 dozen muffins of various flavors - cranberry, banana and pumpkin. The banana proved to be the trickest. I've been cutting back on sugar for the last few years so the combination of sugar and baked bananas makes for a very sticky sweet muffin. So after a few practice rounds I learned that adding wheat flour dries the muffin out a little more so it's a firmer shape and less sugar taste just fine! Here is my adjusted recipe:

* 1 cup sugar
* 1 cup flour
* 1 cup wheat flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 egg
* 1/2 cup oil
* 1 teaspoon vanilla
* 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon buttermilk
* 2 bananas

Preheat oven to 350°.

In mixing bowl, combine eggs, vanilla, buttermilk, oil and bananas.

Mix flours in a separate bowl with the baking soda, salt and sugar.

Add the flour to buttermilk mixture, mix at low speed until smooth. To avoid lumps in the batter, add the wet and dry ingredients alternately, in small amounts.

Make the nut topping: Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.

Grease muffin tins with butter or margarine. You can also use paper baking cups. Fill each cup 3/4 full of batter. Add a full, rounded tablespoon of nut topping on top of each muffin cup of batter. Bake immediately or the topping will sink to the bottom of the muffin.

Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown. A toothpick inserted in the middle of the muffin should come out dry. Home ovens heat differently from commercial ovens so you may need to adjust the temperature or the baking time accordingly.

Recipe yields 16 standard-size muffins.

This morning it took me 20 minutes to mix this up, it's so fast I was able to make muffins for the entire family to eat for breakfast! Now that's fun!!!

Enjoy! And if you try it, please let me know how you like them.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Year of Giving Muffins

It started with a Facebook prompt:
I for one am tired of cookie cutter store-bought items. I promise to send something I'll make myself to the first 5 people who leave a comment on this update. In turn, you promise to re-post this as your status. The rules are that the items must be made by you personally and must be received by your 5 folks within 2011. Be creative and let's see what we can come up with!
How often do we sign up for these silly prompts expecting nothing to really happen?  Well yesterday I dispatched 6 muffins to the first girl to sign my prompt.  It wasn't as easy as I expected it to be.  Why is giving HARD?
 I started with a batch of banana muffins last week, but they collapsed because I didn't bake them long enough.  So we had to eat a dozen sticky sweet muffins - daughter loved them!
Then on Sunday I baked a batch of Buttermilk Spice Muffins and created a home logo/letter - which took me until 11pm on a work night - arrrugh!!!  And I kept wanting to make an actual book style, that folds and has pages - I HAD to tell myself to STOP!
 Why can't I do anything small, it has to be impressive, well thought out, worth the $7.90 postage.  
On Monday I labored to find the perfect box at work.  Nothing fit.  I spent almost an hour looking for packaging materials!  Huh?  Why isn't giving easier?  It's LABOR!  I want to give up.  Then I find a standard size UPS box, cut it in half, fit muffins and letter inside, tape it shut and then cover it with an inside out UPS envelop.  Why all this work?  Because the US Post Office is cheaper then shipping UPS and will not accept other couriers packaging - even if they do take 45 minutes of my time because they are so sloooooooow.  So my plan going forward is half a UPS box, covered by brown shopping bag paper from Whole Foods - have lots of those!  I'll bring home the supplies and do it in the evening so I'm not frantic at work.
At first I was ambitious, wanting to send muffins to everyone on my 50 person Christmas card list - how cool would it be to receive gifts randomly throughout the year???  Now I just want to make it through the 5 people on my Facebook list!!! 
I've wondered if the challenges faced are because giving should NOT be easy.  It's easy to give money.   I've given money over the years, once it's gone from my account I don't miss it.  My time, and energy I DO covet.  My house is dirty, the dishes are piled up in the kitchen, I NEED to spend more time surfing the internet - kidding (giant grin).  My point is that my initial ambition to make muffins for all my friends is not dimmed but definitely harder and more work then I imagined.  Or maybe I just need more practice giving!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Multitude Monday

Oh no!  I missed posting in December!  That month was filled with baking, lots and lots of baking!!!  I made over 20 dozen cookies, 12lbs of pumpkin puree and at least 8 dozen muffins for presents to mail away to family.  I probably saved a ton of money but the time invested was tremendous.  Thinking of investing in a pressure cooker so we can do some canning this summer and thus lessen the panic in December to make gifts!

So to catch up on my thankfulness -
86.  Cold spells in South Florida, because it gives us just a little differences from the 80-90 degree range we normally have!
87.  Visits from grandmas.
88.  Mess - and the opportunity to laugh about it with friends who have had similar experiences.
89.  Generous giving - the opportunity to bless someone's life with a treat or much needed care package
90.  A new year and endless possibilities.

Friday night special

I remember Friday nights BC (before children) with nights out, restaurants, movies, beach - all of that gone. Replaced with an evening of wild entertainment sponsored by our daughter and an entire bottle of baby powder while I feed her brother in what I thought was a quiet time.

Good times!!!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Working Mom Wednesday

Linking to awesome working mom blogger @ Work, Wife, Mom, Life, today's prompts are:

#1. A Christmas memory... from this year or year's past

This year we decided to go to Orlando on Christmas day after breakfast and presents were unwrapped at 11:30. Somehow it took from 11:30 to 5:15 to pull out of the drive way. If you asked what we did I could say I spoke to family but it was a really fast conversation, at one point Sam was all wound up so I gave him a bath to calm him down, Charlotte wanted to help us with packing so it took twice as long and that's all I remember.

The night before a friend came over and stayed until 11:30 so we didn't pack the night before but I let her stay late as part of my new mantra to embrace friends, especially when they need me - even if it means packing on Christmas day!

Needless to say, we got to our hotel late - 4 hour drive with stop to feed Sam. Fortunately I had called ahead to make sure they had a microwave so we were able to heat up our Christmas eve lasagna! I even brought sweet potato pie. So we might have eaten at 11pm but it was still Christmas and we still had all day Sunday to enjoy Orlando!

#2. Biggest challenge for the new year
Balancing work and family!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Random Tuesday Thoughts

Welcome to Random Tuesday, a fun blog hop brought to you by "The Un Mom", head over and check out the coolest graphics in the bloggisphere! Every time I have to hire a new person, I say to myself, I wish Keely were available in Florida, bet she'd have great toy ideas and make me laugh all day.

Note to self
- just because you got home at 8:45pm, is no reason to make baby do sit ups while you kiss his nose, it cause him to spit up. Bad for everyone involved.

- remember chocolate tomorrow, PLEASE! Today would have been better with it.

Note to daughter
- told you so, told you so, told you so (she didn't believe that pizza was good until today)

Note to Hong Kong office
- When I told you to put Miss Piggy in a red dress and white boa, I didn't mean to keep the purple gloves! And I'm pretty sure her inner ears are not supposed to be blood red like her dress. @Headhitdesk.

Note to new employee (also known as 2010 intern)
- I really hope you are enjoying this really long extended vacation from graduation in mid-December to January 10th. I really needed you here today and it's causing me to work unGodly hours (like 8:45pm) to get ready for toy fair next week. Just because you only get one week's vacation in your first year of work is no reason to take an extra long break prior to working - oh wait - I'd do the same. Still the torture I'm feeling this week sucks. Pls come back sooner if at all possible. Well, a girl can dream right?

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Can anyone recommend a good blog designer?

I just need to tweak a few things, add a menu at the top and a few other miscellaneous details. Please let me know if there is anyone you would recommend!


Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year MMXI

Oh hey is it the beginning of another new year already? A new decade you say? My blog post counter starts over today? Wow, what can I do with my talents and time this year?

I think I'll keep it simple this year, the shorter the list the easier to remember and maintain.

1. REST - I have such an urge to constantly get things done. Right now my daughter is sleeping in her bed, still taking naps at 2.5 years old, and my baby boy 5mo is sleeping on my chest. I had an urge to put him down 20 minutes ago but instead stayed put, his little butt parked firmly against the desk as I type this post. I've realized he gets far less cuddle time then the first child and he's growing so fast. I need his cuddle moments as much as he needs them. With two days off per week, my kids are already limited in mommy time. So rest and play with my children is at the top of my list.

2. FOOD - eating everything we buy. I hate to say but I have a bad habit of overbuying food and wasting it. My goal is to use everything, including the extremely dense rolls baked yesterday that never rose and baked a bit solid. My husband calls them hardtack rolls - says it's something made for sailors and civil war soldiers to eat. That guy of mine, always making the best out of everything. He's a keeper that's for sure.

3. FRIENDS - I want to value and embrace all the friends who have blessed our lives over the years. Losing a dear friend recently has taught me to be more careful with my time and to make time for friends.