Thursday, November 27, 2008


Paolo Coelho said in his Plurk today : "You are not what you seem in moments of sadness. You are better than that."

I had a bad night. This is a great way to start the day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

More Parenting Tips

Most of my friends know that I am on a never-ending quest for the most applicable techniques for my growing cuties. I am certainly no expert so I utilize all the sources at my fingertips to get all the help possible. Here are some new ones that I thought were worth a try:

For disciplining: Instead of threatening (which can soo easily happen, especially after a long, hard day, and when your kids are especially active), you can:

You want your child to:Instead of this: Say this: Which is better because:
Go to bed and stay there"If you get out of bed one more time, I'll scream.""After I put you to bed, I expect you to stay there."The expectation for the behavior is clear and unemotional.
Eat her peas and carrots"You're going to sit at the table until you finish your peas.""Remember — we won't have a snack before bed."It reminds her that the kitchen's closed, but she can still choose whether or not to eat.
Brush her teeth"No bedtime story if you don't brush your teeth.""It's time for bed. What do you do first to get ready?"It lets her know it's time for her bedtime routine without being punitive.
Behave in the grocery store"Stop running now or no TV when we get home.""Can you help me find the cereal you like?"It distracts from the negative behavior and offers a positive alternative.
Ask without whining"If you whine once more, I'll take your sticker book away.""I'd like to listen, but I can only understand your normal voice."It lets her know you're interested in what she's saying, but won't accept the tone.
Clean up her room"No dinner until your room is clean.""I'd like you to pick up your toys and put them in your toy chest. Do you want to do that before or after dinner?"It makes your expectations clear, but also gives your preschooler a choice.
Stop tattling"I'm not taking a tattletale to the playground.""It sounds like you're upset with your sister. You need to tell her why."It helps your preschooler understand that kids have to work it out together.
Be quiet in the car"If you scream one more time, we'll turn around and go home.""I'm having a hard time driving. I need to pull over until you're settled."It lets your child know the effect, limits, and consequences of her behavior.

I was so happy when I read this becuase I can confidently say that I have successfully done 50% in this table. Yippee! Snaps for moi everyone. Of course, these have only been tested on my son. My daughter just turned 1 so I am seeing if all my tactics with my young man will work with her.

Now, to avoid spoiling?

1. Set clear, simple limits
Think of it this way: If you leave no room for reinterpretation, you save yourself arguing later. Listen to the difference between "Oh okay, you can have a cookie..." (plenty of room for hope that a second one might be okay) and "You can have one cookie, but don't ask me for a second one. This is it."

2. Stick to those limits no matter what
One really means one. It's happened to all of us: We say no to more than one cookie, and then we start second-guessing ourselves. The trick here is to take a long-term view. Maybe a second cookie really would be okay just this once, but do you really want to be second-guessed every time you set a limit? That will happen if you change your story.

3. Never give in to begging
This one's simple — once you do, you've taught your child that begging works, right?

4. Make your child convince you
If she wants something you're not sure about, ask her to make a case for it. She wants to watch a favorite TV show? If she explains that all her homework is done and she's practiced piano, you can feel comfortable saying yes.

5. Require that chores get done before fun
You don't do your child any favors by being a softy. Studies show that being strict on chores and responsibilities helps him develop the ability to cope with frustration.

6. Don't be afraid to disappoint
We hate to see our kids sad, but the Stones said it best: You can't always get what you want. And studies show that learning to accept disappointment will give your child important coping skills to deal with emotional stress later in life.

7. Let them work for what they want
Many experts believe that kids become spoiled when things come too easily, encouraging them to take those things for granted. If your child wants a new bike, set up a reward system for good behavior and let him earn it bit by bit.

I love all the points on this list and I think they are totally do-able. The only one I see a problem with is number 3 and this is because it really is so hard to refuse when you have them looking at you with huge, pleading, puppy dog eyes accompanied by the most cajoling "please?" in the universe. Sigh. Yes, I see a problem with this point.

For those of you who have tried, or want to try these out, gimme some feedback!

(Tips courtesy of Baby Center)

Transformation # 1

I'm listening to a CD a friend gave me months ago titled "101 Ways to Transform Your Life". It's a bit like a self-help book but the audio version. The voice of the narrator is low and deep, the background music is just a few piano notes here and there, so it is very relaxing. I've listened to this and re-listened to this countless times over the months and I've always found some of my tension easing. So I decided to do a series of posts about the sayings that I found most memorable. Baby steps towards more positivity.

So the saying that hit me today was:
"Shed your fault finding tendencies...Your life is the product of all the choices you have made up until now and no one else is to blame for anything that is going on in your life. Circumstances don't make a man, they reveal him."

Some might not find this saying helpful because, at first glance, it kinda makes you feel like you're alone and pressured to get it just right. But it's the fact that you are in control, should be in control, and are therefore accountable for your actions appeals to me. I think a person should take responsibility for his/her choices, regardless of the outcome. And I also agree that the way a person handles this outcome, "reveals" the kind of person s/he is.
So you should be careful, and think, and not just make spur-of-the-moment decisions- this I love.

I think this posting about sayings thing is a good idea. And to think, there are 101 of them!! So much material for me to reflect on. I feel better now.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I love Chicken!

I've been feeling anxious, restless, and uneasy about a lot of things lately and I don't want to post about it again because I'm beginning to hate reading what I've written. So for this post I am going to focus on one thing I love, love, love--- FOOD!

I love chicken. This is the easiest thing in the world to cook, it's very versatile, my kids and hubby love it, and it isn't too expensive. Perfect.

But since I am not a true-blue cook, with a bajillion recipes, and the experience and knowledge to create something from scratch (Mai? hehe), I had to search for possible new recipes. And here are some I found that look promising:


Chicken Rice Casserole


6 Tablespoons butter
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced (3 cups)
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups half and half or whole milk
4 cups chopped cooked chicken
3 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tablespoon melted butter


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a 9x13 baking pan.

2. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat.

3. Stir in the mushrooms and rosemary, cook until softened (about 5 min.). Stir in the flour until well blended.

4. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and the half and half or milk.

5. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook until sauce is thickened and smooth (about 5 min.).

6. Mix in the chicken and the cooked rice, combine well.

7. Pour into prepared pan.

8. Mix together the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and 1 Tbsp. melted butter, stir well. Sprinkle on top of the chicken and rice mixture.

9. Bake for 25-35 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the topping is golden brown.


Chicken Kiev


4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
½ tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. salt
8 Tbsp. butter, softened
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
2 Tbsp. minced fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. minced fresh chives
½ tsp. minced garlic
1/4 cup flour
1 large egg
1 ½ cups dry bread crumbs
½ cup oil


1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Pound chicken between wax paper until it is the same thickness through out the breast, about 1/4 inch. Season with salt and pepper.

3. In a small bowl, combine butter, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of the parsley, chives, garlic, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Cream together until well mixed.

4. Divide the mixture evenly between the four chicken breasts, spread in center of each one. Roll the chicken up tightly and secure with a toothpick.

5. Place the flour in a shallow bowl. In a second shallow bowl, beat the egg with a fork.

6. In a third bowl, mix the bread crumbs with the other tablespoon of parsley, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

7. Dredge each chicken breast in the flour, then dip into the egg, and roll in the bread crumbs.

8. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Use tongs to place the chicken in the hot oil and fry until the bottom sides are brown (about 3-4 minutes). Turn and brown the other side of each chicken breast for 2-3 minutes.

9. Transfer chicken to a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

Chicken Alfredo - <span class=

Chicken Alfredo


2 pounds boneless chicken breasts
4 Tablespoons oil
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
3/4 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper, to taste
1 pound fettuccine


1. Heat oil in a 10 inch skillet.

2. Cut chicken breast into small strips, add salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat until cooked through.

3. In a saucepan, melt the butter, then add the cream and Parmesan cheese.

4. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly. Do not boil.

5. Mix chicken and Alfredo sauce together.

6. Cook fettuccine in 3 quarts boiling water. Drain, pour sauce and chicken over noodles.

OK, you all must have noticed a trend. Yes, I love creamy stuff. I am not a big fan of very tomato-ey dishes. I do like herbs, spices, butter, and olive oil though so I am not stuck on just cream. Now if only someone would tell me how to cut the proportions of these recipes in half.

Recipes courtesy of

Monday, November 24, 2008


I haven't explicitly stated this before (I think) but my biggest fear is the fear of failure. Everything else stems from there. I don't know where this came from or how this began, but it is definitely there. And it is, now more than ever, standing in the way of things I KNOW are better for me. I need to get over this somehow because the effect of this fear is paralysis and I can't not move. I have to act. I have to be strong. I have to be brave. I think I'm gonna be sick.

Cupcake Test

What Your Cupcake Says About You

At parties, you tend to be a social butterfly. You enjoy making conversation and making sure everyone is having fun.

You hardly have any restraint. You only hold yourself back when absolutely necessary.

The most important thing in your life is you, obviously.

You are laid back, flexible, and easy to get along with. To know you is to care for you.

This is wrong. But the cupcake is cute.

10 Random Facts Tag

I was tagged by Ceemee. I love tags! Here we go:

Here are the rules:
1. Each blogger must post these rules.
2. Each blogger starts with ten random facts/habits about themselves.
3. Bloggers that are tagged need to write ten facts about themselves. You need to choose ten people to tag and list their names.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they've been tagged and also to read your blog.

10 Random Facts/Habits about ME:
1. I am not too fond of desserts but I love to bake- and I think I bake pretty well.
2. I cannot stand ugly hands and feet on men and women.
3. I need my coffee every weekday. For some reason, I don't feel the urge for it too much on the weekends.
4. Saturday morning to late afternoon are 100% mommy and kids time.
5. If I didn't need to work, the other activity that would occupy a lot of my time would be going to the gym (and since I don't have time, I do not do this).
6. I love movies- except silly comedies and too artsy art films.
7. I have kept some form of a diary every year since the 6th grade.
8. I have not given up on having that church wedding.
9. I need nights out once a week to stay sane.
10. Even when I thought I could do without this, my 'ME' time is still sacred.

This was easy: I am tagging Ree, Affie, Livi, Numi, Yanka. Ack! I only have 5 people. Oh well, have fun ladies!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Courage Again

Paolo Coelho in his Plurk said, "Courage is Fear that Prays". Wow. I mean WOW. That is impressive in the massive sense of the word. I like to think I am brave. But I don't KNOW that I am. There are actually a handful of things that really scare me. And when I am faced with those fears I... freeze. I don't think that's very brave. I also don't pray a lot. I am not religious, this I know. But I believe in God. I like to think I have my own spirituality, but again I don't KNOW that. What Paolo Coelho said is making me seriously think (yeah, as if I've ever stopped doing this, huh?). Maybe I'm really just chickenshit.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Beginning of the Affair

Many of my friends have had ping pong arguments about who to side with in the Brad-Jen-Angie old, old, old love triangle. A few days ago, Jennifer Aniston made some comments about the whole affair in a Vogue article and this caused talks about the three involved to resume. Now, I've been thinking deeply about why I have the opinions that I have, why they are similar to others, but more importantly whey they are different from others. Here's what I've come up with:

Yes, Brad Pitt definitely had a big role in the whole mess. He is definitely not blameless. My admiration of Mr. Pitt went from 100% to roughly 50% after the whole affair. But seeing as I am not directly involved in the situation (gee, duh), I tend to gravitate more towards the roles of the women in this situation. And this, I found, is the root of my animosity towards Angelina Jolie and what she now stands for, for me. A friend of mine said, it wasn't her fault, the guy strayed, and the wife should be angrier at him for straying. But Angelina is a woman and so I expected her to have a certain amount of sensitivity and respect for her fellow woman. I am not saying that all women act, think, feel, or are the same. Not at all, but coming from the same gender should at least assure the person of some kind of affinity and fraternity. I am reluctant to say sisterhood but that is the best word I can think of at the moment. Regardless of whether or not they knew each other, the fact that they were both women should have been a consideration in the affair. It's like being betrayed by a sister- someone who shares the same gender history, stereotypes, hormones, etc. And because loyalty is so important to me, this kind of betrayal is unforgivable. So, as an outsider on the situation, Angelina Jolie does not stand for humanitarianism for me, she is not primarily an advocate for children (although her work is admirable). She is a poacher for me first and foremost, without respect or consideration for other women in committed relationships.

I don't think I explained this as clearly as I wanted to. Anyway, in the end, who cares about what I think about this matter, right? I just had to get it off my chest, finally. Just my two cents.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Looks Boring...

...but read the text!

You Are Chess

You are brilliant and shrewd. You can often predict what people will do in the future.

You thrive in complex situations. You deal with contradictions well.

You can have many streams of though going on at your mind at once. You keep track of things well.

You are very patient. You have lots of endurance, even when your energy dwindles

Now this is more like it! I ROCK!

For Affie Also...

You Are the Bow Pose

You are an open hearted person. You seek connections and make them easily.

You are naturally generous - especially with your love and your time.

You have a knack for thinking up interesting ideas. You are an inventor and a creator.

You approach everything in life with a relaxed attitude. You accept what you can't change.

I have one thing to say....WTF?

Baby Food Update # 4

OK, my daughter is now a 1 year old and so I can now introduce more complex dishes. To be honest, I did this before my son turned one partly because his teeth came out early and so I felt more confident about his chewing powers (although baby's gums are really hardy apparently so I shouldn't have worried) and partly because I didn't know any better. With my daughter I was extra careful with textures and ingredients also because she is a lot more sensitive than my son, and thus more prone to allergic reactions. But, I feel confident now that she can handle more and different types of food. In fact she had a small portion of fettuccine carbonara over the weekend and it didn't seem to harm her. Plus, she loved it. So here are some dishes I am planning to introduce asap:


Fish and Veggie Parcel

12oz cod or other white fish
4oz mozzarella, grated
4tsp milk
2 carrots, peeled and grated
2 courgettes, grated
pinch freshly ground black pepper (optional)
few sprigs of dill

Pre-heat the oven to 350 deg F, 180 deg C.
Divide the fish into 4 equal pieces.
Cut 4 pieces of tin foil and place one piece of fish on each.
Add a little black pepper to each piece of fish.
Divide the carrots and courgettes equally between each parcel.
Do the same with the cheese.
Add 1tsp of milk to each parcel, plus a sprig of dill.
Wrap and seal the parcels and place on a baking tray.
Cook for 15 mins, then serve with mashed potatoes or brown rice.

Healthy Yogurt and Cottage Cheese Pasta

4oz green noodles
8oz plain yogurt
4oz cottage cheese
2oz scallions, chopped
1/2 garlic clove, crushed
1tbsp dill weed
2tsp fresh oregano, chopped
1tbsp butter

Cook the noodles according to the directions on the pack. Drain and set aside.
Combine the remaining ingredients (except for the butter) and puree in a food processor.
Warm through.
Stir the butter into the noodles, then toss the noodles with the yogurt sauce.

For finger food, I am thinking cheese sticks, peaches, and graham crackers. Oooh! I am excited!

(Baby food recipes courtesy of Homemade Baby Food Recipes)

That Thing Called Debt

About a year and a half ago, I took out a pretty substantial salary loan. My reasons back then were that I needed this amount to tide me over the 78 full days I was taking off for maternity leave. I didn't take all 78 days with my first born. I just took 30 days in fact and I've always regretted it. So I was preparing myself to do the opposite this time around. And that loan did serve it's purpose somewhat. It covered me the half month before I went on leave that I had to go part time and the other half month after the 78 days that I requested as an extension. Yes, it served me well then.
But today I live credit card free. This means all my transactions are strictly cash or debit card basis. And I find that I am surviving well enough. Ok, not better than before, but not worse either. The thing is, it's interest free and there is no accumulated debt. The times when I have no more cash and I have a need, my hubby somehow finds a way. And, while this makes me feel guilty, it doensn't increase this guilt or decrease it. This guilt is already there and I think it would take an entirely different thing to ease or erase that. Anyway, I digress. My point is, now that I see that it is entirely possible to survive (and I am referring to my situation only) with the cash I have, I regret getting that loan. The amount I pay every month could go to savings. I also know now that I can set aside that amount without too much pain. Ah, hindsight really is 20/20. I now have to find comfort in the fact that at least I am half way done paying off that loan. Perhaps a miracle will happen that will enable me to pay off the balance sooner. Divine intervention please!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Health Scare

I went through a gamut of emotions early this week when both my kids came down with illnesses. The paranoid momma that I am went into full panic mode the afternoon of Monday, when my daughter broke out in a nondescript rash. This, combined with a weekend full of worry over her then-over spiking fever, still blooming cough and cold, and the cough that just wouldn't let my son go, was enough to send me running while screaming to the nearest hospital. So, doctor's office I went on Tuesday to be told that... daughter had Roseola Infantum (infant measles) and my son had mild Bronchitis.


The good news was that my daughter's case was mild compared to most. In fact, she didn't develop rashes on her arms, legs, or face. Thank goodness. The good news for my son, too, was that his Bronchitis was mild and that there was only slight wheezing detected and only when there was exertion involved. I was relieved to finally understand why he couldn't seem to shake the cough but I felt really bad when I saw the meds he would have to take. Since he had had an attacke before, I was familiar with one medicine and I knew that he didn't like this medicine at all. The one fear that lingers in my mind though is that this may be the start of a history of asthma. Asthma is very strong in both mine and my hubby's family history so I am now creating a mental list of things to do to avoid this happening.

Panic and then some relief. The change is drastic. Now I feel a headache coming on. Aaahhh!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Ultimate List

I got this from Meg's blog. It's a list of things you can't live without. It looked like an activity worth spending some time and brain cells thinking over so I decided to try to make my own. Here's my list.

1. Loyalty

“Lack of loyalty is one of the major causes of failure in every walk of life”
Napoleon Hill

I've realized over the years that this is a really important thing for me. I think that a lot of mistakes in friendships, relationships, what have you spring from a certain lack of loyalty. I truly think that if you are loyal and steadfast in that loyalty, then a lot of difficult situations and questions can be overcome and answered.

2. Love and Affection
"Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength; loving someone deeply gives you courage."
Lao Tzu

I don't believe that if you have love, just love, than everything will work out and you can survive. I think it is important, essential, to have love. But I believe this has to be expressed. Unexpressed love becomes just an idea in someone's head.

3. Respect

"Be beautiful if you can, Wise if you want to... But be respected-that is essential."
Anna Gould
It's so easy to hurt someone. A single word or phrase can break a heart. And so much can be said especially in times of discord. Life will always throw storms at you. It doesn't seem to care if you think you can survive through these storms or not. Respect is the single thing that keeps you civil when you are in the middle of a storm.

4. Kindness

"Don't be yourself - be someone a little nicer."
Mignon McLaughlin
Ok, I need to practice what I preach. Enough said.

5. Ambition
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; because there is not effort without error and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deed; who knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotion, who spends himself in a worthy cause, who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly. So that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
Theodore Roosevelt
I would not even dare to try to say that any better than Teddy.

So, this was my attempt to make an Ultimate List. Food for thought, really.

I'm tagging Livi, Numi, Affie, Mai.
(Clarification:You don't have to do the OC quotes format. You can just enumerate and elucidate using your own words.)

Have fun!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Isn't it obvious?

It's funny how some things that are so easy, so simple, so LOGICAL to us are so hard to comprehend by others. This doesn't mean that I think I am the clearest person in the world or that I don't have my moments of ambiguity. It's just hard. I am whining again, I know.
Why, oh why, don' t they teach these subjects in school? Life lessons 101. These would have been soooo helpful. And, looking at the world today, I think a lot of people need Shrinks?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fantastic Four?

I think I know what it is! I feel...INVISIBLE. And not in the superpower way that we often wish for. In the annoying, beyond your control, not really explainable way. And I feel a little sheepish as I write this. I don't want to sound like I'm looking for attention. It really isn't about that. It's more trying to explain what I've been feeling this week. I don't like it. At all.


I've been feeling kinda off lately. Not angry, not depressed, I know I am usually better at articulating things but I can't seem to put my finger on this. I don't know if it's a cyclical thing, since I seem to feel odd at certain times of the year (I haven't pinpointed if it's every month). It's annoying.
I feel like nothing really is fitting the way it should. Not at work, not at home, not alone even. I feel overworked when talking about what I am doing now, except what I am doing now is only a little more than half of what I used to do. I feel out of sync when I get home, like I am not doing everything I should be doing, like the house is disorganized and I don't see my kids or hubby, and the rest of the time I feel like I'm invisible because I spend so many hours away from home. When I'm alone, my mind wanders to places known and unknown but not very useful. It's indescribable at the moment.
Is it restlessness? it is dissatisfaction? Is it psychosis?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Early Christmas Tag

Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I love the lights, the smells, the music, the lights, the cheer, everything. When the season hits (and it's pretty early in my country) I start to see things as if through misty glass window panes. I just love Christmas. Well, I was tagged by Livi so, even though I haven't really thought about this yet which is unusual for me, here goes:

Christmas Wish List:

material stuff:
1. new pants (maybe 2-3 pairs)
2. new shoes (same amount)
3. a trip to the salon to do everything I haven't been able to do this year.

"big" stuff:
1. desk for my little boy and our room
2. an ac for the little girl (unless someone gives this before then)
3. a chest of drawers for the living room so that I can get rid of 3 plastic items in one go.

1. cute, educational, and useful gifts for the 2 kids
2. something unique for the hubby
3. to be able to give gifts to all relatives and friends this year

super wishes:
1. some money for savings (any amount in the 5 digit range would be great)
2. a great next year
3. peace, support, clarity

Pretty long for a spur of the moment list huh? I'm tagging Meg, Yanka, and Ree.

Have fun!

Change is in the Air

I have never had the urge to become American. To be honest, I've also only had fleeting moments of desire to visit the country. I don't really know why. Maybe it's the fact that the country is huge and always seemed crowded to me, or that I didn't like the idea of so easily disappearing in the crowd. I can't pinpoint why exactly, I just know that this is how I've felt for the longest time. But today, for more than a moment, I wanted to be American. If only to be able to participate in that historic election.
I am a lover of history. I have always loooooved stories of old. My friends have often called me a bore because of this. Today was a classic and rare example of history in the making. And what I would have given to be there in the flesh. But as I am not, I have to relish it continents away.Writing about how both end-of-the-election speeches moved me would do neither justice. So I am just going to say that it was a great battle, fought by two worthy, passionate men. Oh, to be alive and see these events is invigorating. And I'm not even American.
Now how do I make this feeling last?