28 January 2013

born with it

All three of my children are so very different. While children as a whole fall under the general categories of "Loud" and "Messy," when you get to know them for the tiny individuals they are, they'll amaze you with just how unique they are.

Immanuelle doesn't talk yet, but this one is already refusing to be overlooked because of her brothers' ability to be bigger than her, talk, and be noisier than her.

When we came back from our trip to America, Isaiah (the King of Naps around here), fell asleep in front of the tv due to his jet lag. Our rug, also, is so fluffy that it's easy to lose things in there, including your will to stay awake.

Though Ellie Bird knows (she totally knows) she's not allowed to get into the drawer of plastic cups and plates, I choose to believe that something deep, something she was born with, something she can't put in words yet, compelled her to act. She must have known how fantastic an idea it was and how opportune the moment. My quilting had my attention and finally after about the 4th time I heard little feet slapping by the door in haste and purpose, I followed the slaps...

19 January 2013

Japan in a Day

We are "young" parents with young children. We don't make a lot of money. Our kids are loud and fight and pee their pants just like yours do. (yours do right?) But man oh man do we love traveling with them.

 If you've ever traveled at all with children, gone to Grandma's or even done the "Time Travel" thing where you fly so far, you skip days, live the same day for like 37 hours, or land at your destination and day is night and night is day and "jet-lag" feels like way too small of a word to describe the level of tired you feel...and you plan to do it at all again, then keep reading.

The temptation with any trip is to get through the "getting there" part as fast as possible.  Especially those long ones. Torture sometimes, isn't it? But don't do it! Ignore the urge! Travel will always make you tired whether you take a short road trip, cross state lines, or go farther. So why not kick that tortuous feeling where the sun don't shine and make the most of your "getting there?"  

One of the ways we get to see more than what our budget truly allows is to take short side trips while we're actually traveling on "bigger" trips.

For instance, we bought tickets home for Thanksgiving. Our bank account didn't even see it coming. Poor thing. The cheapest route we could find was through Japan and then on to America.  Stopwatch time that trip adds up to 44 hours from door to door. FORTY-FOUR hours y'all. Just traveling. (we'll discuss how much travel funk accumulates per child per hour on a trip like that next time, for now, it's enough you can't smell the photos)

We had never been to Japan, and it wasn't high on our must-see places. But if we have to stop there and sit at the airport for a couple hours, why not choose a longer layover and get out and see some of Japan? 

Remember:  "It only counts if you leave the airport!"

So that's what we did. We opted for a longer layover. 12 hours instead of 3. We've done this on a Germany stop too. (The WWII Axis Powers thing? Just a ko-ink-ee-dink.) Once we let NYC host us for 3 days on our way somewhere else.

When you make your stopover plans. Go easy on yourself. This won't make or break your trip, but it WILL be fun. Google some simple, nearby things you can go see and do in your stop. Since your time will be limited, research beforehand. Trains were the cheapest and easiest way to get to Narita.  We opted against Tokyo because it would have cut into our time too much. Narita was maneuverable for us as we don't speak Japanese and would have our stroller and 3 small children to haul around. I wonder sometimes why there's even school anymore? The skills of reading and googling could get you pretty far.
Our google results brought us this list:

* A huge park with great Japanese architecture.
* A Japanese temple
* An "authentic" Japanese ramen noodle place.
* And even that many Japanese people eat "Bento" boxes from 7-11 as their standard lunches.

As much as I wanted to see Mt. Fugi. It would have to wait.  We only had time for the above things, but the walk through Narita was LOADS better than even waiting 3 hours inside a boring airport. And now my kids can say they've been to Japan. JAPAN!
Since she's too young to remember, we took a picture for her.

Feels like Mr. Miyagi is just right around that corner!
So. Much. Fun.
"Boys wear those shoes too?!" The movies lied to me!
I wonder how you say "Peek-a-boo!" in Japanese?
Suki: "Doesn't matter if we ask, she doesn't speak Japanese! Just do it Kokoro!"
Kokoro: (picks up baby)

THIS is better than fixing boredom in an airport.  Though Isaiah did get one shoe soaked. (But we all saw that coming.)
All of these concepts can be added to road trips too. Driving up an interstate? Could a short beach picnic detour be taken? A nice lake or national park? A quaint town? A museum? Maybe don't take the bypass interstate to avoid that big city (I'm picturing Atlanta for some reason! Or Orlando? Dallas?) Drive THRU it and stop somewhere famous. Eat at "The Varsity," take a stroll through Downtown Disney, find a famous Tex-mex place and live it up and HAVE FUN! Your kids will still be tired when they get there, but you'll've nose-tackled that tired with some fun memories.

Traveling isn't only about your destination. Make the journey there memorable too! (and bring extra clothes in case of pee in the pants). 

12 January 2013

Saturday done right...

It's rainy season here. It rains more than usual from October thru March-ish. It's like pretend Winter and I don't complain a bit about it because it makes my holiday cooking (and all other cooking for those 6 months) a bit more bearable in my un-air-conditioned kitchen. This is a big deal, y'all.

Today we had sunshine and rain.  So we swam and stayed inside.
So if your "winter" is cooling things off there like it is here, here's a story of warmer times in younger days to warm you up if needed and a recipe to do the same (even if yours is only pretend winter too)...

My "we-were-on-a-break-but-got-engaged-2-months-later" boyfriend, my best friend Cara, Eric, Justin, Garnet, Katrin, Melissa, and I were in Miami for Spring Break. We were doing some community outreach type work, using our Spring Break for a good cause. We had one evening to kill and we were soooo close to the Keys. Y'all Florida just rocks when it comes to beaches and awesomeness, goodness I miss it. Time was against us and our bellies were beckoning us to stop and eat. So we only got as far as Key Largo down US1 before stopping for dinner. Hole in the wall, wish I had a picture of it, sand for the parking lot, mermaid mural on the wall.  It was everything we were hoping to find.  She, chipped and faded by the sun and salty air, welcomed us like the Sirens of legend to partake in the yummy-ness that was certain inside her cave of a restaurant. Once we walked in, I only remember two things. 1) We are hilarious and 2) the bisque.

They only had a few bowls left. I'm not even sure who didn't get some at the table but I sure as heck wasn't one of them. You know that moment- "I'm sure they'll like what they get. There's lots of other stuff on the menu." You console yourself and glow a bit from the small bit of luck- or maybe that was the tan from the week's work? No matter. I vaguely remember laughing. With people as funny as our friends, it's hard to remember anything but....the bisque.

So here I give you, for your consideration on your Saturday whether cold or warm, snowy, rainy, or sunny...

Seafood Bisque

1 pound of seafood- shrimp, fish filets, clams, cockels, or even what I've come to use...the bag of "dory filet" in the frozen food department. This recipe is great for that! The saltier the better.
3 cups of "seafood stock" (from boiling the seafood of your choice)
1 cup diced potatoes
1 cup shredded carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onions
3 cloves garlic pressed or minced
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
(or 1 tsp of dried)
1 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
Salt & Pepper (I'm always way heavy handed on the salt) 
8oz cream cheese (cut up or scooped out in chunks)
2 cups milk
2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp melted butter


Boil your seafood in at least 3 cups or more of water. Set aside saving at least 3 cups seafood stock.

In a large pot, add 3 cups seafood stock, potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, garlic, parsley, Worcestershire Sauce, and salt & pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook covered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Next stir in chunks of cream cheese until melted then add milk.
In a small separate bowl, blend together flour and melted butter then add to the bisque. Stir a bit then add seafood. (for my white fish filets I just separate them so they're in chunks in the pot). Cook and stir until mixture thickens and bubbles. Serves 6-8 (or a family with 2 adults and 2 preschoolers and a baby for 2 nights).

PS- add this easy peasy garlic bread recipe to your meal and you may start telling your family that the kitchen's all out.

It is not the same salty, inhale-able goodness found with our mermaid in Key Largo, but what is? WHAT IS?! This'll fix you and your Saturday up right, guaranteed.

09 January 2013


I've thought about it for a couple of days. I had no clue what I might say for this very first post on my brand new blog. I wanted to impress, I wanted to encourage, I wanted to be funny, and then my brain got tired.

After dinner the boys called Anthony outside to take pictures of the house they had built. It was for a worm. Did you know you can blow on a worm when he's in his house and he's fine with it? True story.

Then I didn't realize it but my daughter Immanuelle went downstairs without me noticing her after her bath.

Maybe its because my 3 children have the ability to sound like 10 children and I tune them out sometimes. My skill level at this is probably above average. Her leaving my side, hauling an object half her size down the stairs and out the door didn't even make a blip on my mommy radar.

Trust me, don't judge me. Y'all woulda done the same thing. It was 6:50pm. Just 10 minutes before the boys come in from playing after dinner, 10 minutes before sunset, 10 minutes before the nightly call to prayer goes off, 10 minutes before bathtime and I had already bathed the baby (and you thought I was completely negligent) I got on facebook. {cue tuning out} People started responding almost immediately to my status of: "In one word, tell me how we met."  Don't you love it when that happens? The immediate response thing? Its like they cyber-care about me. I totally forgot the first place I ever met my mother-in-law was in a hospital!

Next thing I know, Anthony is standing beside me with the camera in one hand and a baby in wet pajamas in the other.  He put the baby down and showed me the pictures he'd just taken and 7pm greeted us in fantastic form with a good laugh.

And that's how my first blogpost came to be.

Welcome. We're glad to have you. Come on anytime for a visit.