Hearts are mine

I have posted before about Isabelle's uncanny knack for finding heart shapes. She can pick them out of anything around her....Rocks, leaves and apparently, now flowers.

She has said the phrase "hearts are mine" ever since she was little...I've never been 100% sure what that means exactly but it has always been something she has just said.

So this morning she brings me in a flower she found outside and says "here mom, I found you a flower shaped like a heart" I didn't doubt her for one second even though I hadn't even seen it yet. Sure enough she comes around the corner carrying this:

 I thought it was very pretty........

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Sharing the goodness.

Two other things I picked up while in Cebu this last weekend were 1. Zucchini 2. Cilantro. These things are next to impossible to find in our local grocery stores but I came across them no problem over there. I just thought I'd share a wonderful Zucchini Cookie, and Cilantro Salsa recipe I use. The thing I like most about both these recipes is that they are HEALTHY.

What other cookie recipe do you have to grease the pan cause there's not enough butter in them to keep them from sticking!?! Also, because of the Zucchini in them, they are packed with fiber...gotta keep regular!

The salsa is so simple, fresh, and delicious. It's not full of sugar and other preservatives like the store bought stuff. The best part? It only takes about 10min to make. If you eat it with a bag of those whole grain tortilla chips your set!

I wiped up a batch of both these things as soon as we got home...hope you enjoy!

Zucchini Cookies         pre-heat oven to 400

1/4 cup soft butter
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp Vanilla
1 1/2 cup grated Zucchini (just grate it, skin and all) one med. size Zucchini will give you lots
1/2 tsp Baking powder
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg(optional)
1 3/4 cup flour
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Cream butter and both sugars. Mix in the egg. Mix in Vanilla
2. Mix Dry ing. together in a separate bowl.
3. Stir Grated Zucchini into the sugar and egg mixture. Then stir in the flour mixture. Stir in Chocolate Chips. Mix well.
4. Spoon onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for 10-12min till bottoms are brown and tops are slightly brown. Let cool slightly on pan before transferring to a cooling rack.

Cilantro Salsa

1 19oz OR 28oz can of hunts diced tomatos
1-2 cloves of fresh garlic, chopped
1/2 - 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
3-5 stalks little green onion, chopped
1-2 limes, juiced
1 jalapeno, chopped. Add as many of the seeds as you like depending on how spicy you want it.
Salt and pepper to taste (you'll use quite a bit)

Chop and put all ing in a blender. Blend slightly, like 1 sec. - DO NOT OVER BLEND!

All ing. are slightly adjustable according to taste.


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Monthly Family Get Away!

~FEBRUARY, 2011~
Lance gets one long weekend a month so we can travel and see more of this part of the world. I will do a post for each trip we take. For the month of February we went over to the island next to us, to a city named Cebu. It's nice cause it's only a 40min flight. We have been there before and love it. It's very westernized and is much cleaner and more organized than our city. I talked about some of the things I was hoping for in a past post titled "High Hopes". 

We were pumped up and ready for our family get away. We went to the new S&R store (aka Costco) straight off the plane. Oh it was so nice, it was beautiful! It smelled clean, looked clean, organized, and things were familiar. We got our membership ($14/year) and we were off. It was such fun! We slowly went up and down every single isle taking it all in. We took turns letting out  little screams of joy when seeing and finding certain items we miss. "Hey Look!, Hey come check this out!, WOW I can't believe they have this" were all common phrases. We found many great "Food" treasures between the 3 grocery stores and few health food stores we went to throughout the weekend.
Here is lance with his case of "Black Cherry Cola" in glass bottles that he found. He slowly drank, and enjoyed them over the next 4 days.
Here are some of the things we found. I sure some of you will find it rather amusing...as these things are simple and very common for most of you. We had limited space and weight because we flew, but we managed to get everything in. Favorite Items of each family member were: Lance: Honey bunches cereal and Black Cherry Cola. Bobbi: Nice big loaf of pure country Rye Bread (LOVE the stuff) as well as cheddar cheese. Isabelle: Mini Wheats, hands down. She has had at least 2 bowls a day since we got them. Scarlett: Everything, it's all new to her and it's all good!

We spent a lot of time at the pool and in the gym, working off all the food we were pigging out on! The gym is really nice, complete with steam rooms (my fav!) and saunas.

I forgot Isabelles swimsuit so we had to rush out to the nearest department store and pick one up. Here it is, $6 later and she was in love. She loves to wear dresses and skirts and would wear one everyday if she had enough of them. She was very happy to have found a swim suit with a skirt attached!



Eating grapes

Eating at TGI Fridays a yummy, must visit, on any trip to Cebu.

Oh yes, the "Yellow Cab Pizza" This is our very favorite Pizza place. We actually have one in our city and we eat there once a week. We couldn't miss our weekly "fix" so we brought it back to the hotel for dinner one night. It was delicious! 
I realize that 90% of this post is about food. It's kind of weird but it's like the normal food, food we would be able to readily find back in Canada gives us comfort. It takes the edge off the homesickness that we both feel. Lance made the comment, more than once this weekend, that we should expect to go through a bit of a weight gain period once we get home....just to be able to have this yummy, wholesome food available to us at all times could be slightly dangerous for bit. Overall we had a wonderful relaxing weekend as a family filled with swimming, shopping, sleeping, watching movies, exercising and EATING!   

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The new Love of my life

Ahhh There she is...isn't she a bute?! What a sight for sore eye's let me tell you. You might think I am being dramatic (not that I have been know to be or anything, lol), however, let me explain....

One of the things I have sorely missed while being over here in the Philippines, is my washing machine. I'm sure don't need to tell you how much laundry a family of four can produce - but, mountains would be a good word.  I would consider the way I have been doing laundry over the past year, one step up from hand washing.

Here is the process:

First I use the garden hose to fill a basin (cold water only - always), add the soap and the clothes, turn it on. Wait 15 min. Manually switch the knob over to drain...wait till the water slowly drains out. Then, transfer the clothes, in small batches, to a separate spin bin that's about 1/4 the size of the basin. Spin each small batch for 3-5 min to get the soapy water out of the clothes. Then, refill the basin with the hose and repeat the whole thing 2 more times...once for the fabric softener and once for a final rinse. It is an extremely time consuming, tedious and annoying process. Just to top it off, the machine is located outside, so I am doing all this in +1000 degrees with sweat pouring down my back, just adding to my frustration.

This year we were given a chance to ask for a few things from Lances company in exchange for committing to another year out here. One of the things I asked for was a "normal" Washing machine. I am so tired of spending a whole day on one batch and then at the end of it all still feeling like our clothes are half clean. It arrived yesterday....oh it's beautiful! It has a delay start - very handy. It is fully automatic and even sings a little song for me when the loads done. It has HOT water cycles and even a "stain removing cycle". I did a load first thing after it got here, it was the best feeling ever....just to put the clothes in, push a button and walk away...ahhh. The clothes came out so clean. When I got up this morning (i kid you not) I had to look out back and make sure I didn't dream it. There she was, as real as ever. It's Whirlpool brand so it should hold up nicely.

One of the things we have gained from our experience of living over here is an appreciation for the simple things that just make life that much easier......Now if I could only find a dishwasher!!

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 Isabelle has been complaining of a tooth ache. So I told her we would make an appt to see the dentist to have it fixed. She said ok. It only takes one day to get in over here so, the next day, off we went. Now I should explain one thing.....here in the Philippines they do not freeze you to fill a cavity. I have had 3 filled and it's not so bad. You feel great afterwords, not all frozen up. I didn't want to put any unnecessary fear into Isabelle so I told her as little as possible, just that she needed to be brave and do exactly what the dentist said. "Ok mom, I will" was her reply...."as long as they make it stop hurting"

So in we go. Isabelle was SO brave. Let me just say I was a very proud mother. She took the lady's hand, and went back without me. She did it all by herself while I sat in the waiting room reading my book waiting for someone to come get me and tell me she was having a melt down. Never happened. She came out smiling and very happy!

So after I paid we were holding hands walking out to the truck and she's talking a mile a minute telling me all about the dentist......

Isabelle: ".....and there was this one part where the dentist asked me to hold very still.."
Me: "oh ya.."
Isabelle: "ya, and guess what mom?"
Me: "What?"
Isabelle: "I DID! I am a very good holder stiller!"
Me: (laughing) "Yes honey, I am sure you are a good holder stiller!"

So there you have it. Great day of success and holding still at the dentist!

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My little Valentines....

 Happy Valentines Day! The girls had the day off school and Lance always has Mondays off so we decided to have a super fun family day, Valentines day!

We made, decorated and ate (way to many) sugar cookies.

We made heart shaped pancakes
Scarlett eating her pancake and saying cheese and the same time

We made a fort, this is the inside...

.....and the outside. 

As you can tell from the pictures, the girls stayed in their Jama's most of the day. We took them out for dinner at Isabelle's favorite restaurant - Jollibees - it's like McD's, complete with greasy food, chocolate sundaes, and a play place. The girls had a blast! Hope you all had a great day with your Valentines.

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Cherished Moments

 Scarlett is in a "Big Girl Bed"! 

She's 19 months old and just loving the idea of doing big girl things. She is at that super fun age where she's really starting to talk and express herself. She seems so old and grown up sometimes I can hardly believe it.  One might think that by putting her in the big bed she would seem even older....however, she looks so small to me in it that, it reminds me she's still my little baby. 

She such a good girl, she never tries to get up and open the door or anything. Just goes right to sleep and sleeps all the way through the night. Before I go to bed, I open her door just a crack so she can get up on her own in the morning.
It's my favorite part of the morning when she comes barging into my room, blanket in tow, giant grin, calling my name and saying "Good Morning" over and over again. It just melts my heart. I pull her and her "bankie" (of course), into bed with me and we have a quick snuggle before she starts asking for "Pancake and Milk"...and then the day begins. 

I love the few moments, of snuggling we get every morning.....it's a short time but I cherish every second of it.

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Crazy or Not ?

Some might think I am crazy. But am I?

Yes, I did it...I put my 18 month old in school. But, Before you judge, give me the chance to explain.

I will start by saying, I was very conflicted about it. I don't think if we were in Canada I would have done it. However we are not, and our life is much different over here. For example, there are many fun interactive activities in Canada that I would have my children participate in. We would go to rhyme time, and time for 2's at the library. We would meet up with other mom's and kids to go swimming, play at a park, or in someones toy room for the morning. I would call friends up to watch my kids while I went to an appointment or had to work or we would have others to our house. My kids would have nursery and primary on Sunday. We would have grandparents to visit and cousins to play with. All of the above activities help promote normal, social skills. They give kids a chance to interact on lots of different levels with lots of different kids. Very healthy developmental situations. Non of the above activities are available to my kids here in the Philippines. Even if we can do a few of the things such as go swimming it's usually just our family.

One day I left Scarlett with Lance for a while. When I came back he said she cried the whole time, asking for "Mama" Then he said - "She's so addicted to you." I started thinking about that and my conclusion was, of course she is! What did I expect? I was with her all the time. Not me and a bunch of other mom's and kids....just me and her. It was true, she was SEVERELY ADDICTED to me. I decided that things had to change......but how? Where could we go, in the Philippines, to start teaching her how to be a little more independent? How to play with and interact with other kids her age? Where they actually speak English? Preshool. It was the only answer I could come up with - I decided to give it a try. It's the same School Isabelle goes to. Her and Scarlett are in different classes though, obviously because of their ages. They start kids at the age of 1.3 years old. The class names are so cute. Gummy Bears, Teddy bears, Panda Bears, then Brown Bears. Scarlett is a Gummy and Isabelle is a Panda.

Scarletts Teachers name is ~Teacher Summer ~ and she's just the best ever! (as her name implies!) She said I could come in with Scarlett everyday for a week to help ease her transition. The first day just confirmed that my decision to enroll her was bang on. You may think I am going to say she jumped off my lap and excitedly started playing in this cozy, colorful classroom full of smiling kids and tonz of books and toys.....

Wrong. That was not the case....just the opposite in fact. She clung to me and cried and cried and cried. I just kept thinking WOW....this is so what she needs. She had no idea how to play with these kids and she was terrified. I was even more determined. So we kept going and slowly she started to get better. Just a little more comfortable each day.

We immediately started noticing changes in her at home. She was trying to be more independent. Letting Dad help her with things more often, wanting to sit at the big table, wanting to drink out of a big cup instead of a sippy, wanting to wash her hands by herself - like they always do at school before snack time. Joining in clean up time - like they do at school.

It's been about 4 weeks now and she is doing great. As soon as she get's up in the morning she asks me if we can go to school. She squeals when we get her uniform on saying "teacher Summer, teacher summer" about a bazillion times. After about 3 weeks her teacher approached me and asked "Could  you please send juice with Scarlett's lunch instead of water? I said "sure I guess so, how come?" She said, well Scarlett is the only one who has water and she keeps trying to steal other classmates juice and give them her water! I started laughing, I guess she's doing ok if she's already bargaining and trading her lunch drink away!

She goes for 2 hours, 5 days a week. I am not going to lie, I am really enjoying the free time. I honestly put her in school for her. However, it does give me 2 hours, to myself, everyday. I usually go to the gym, or get groceries, or do running around, or sit in a cafe and read my book. I actually have a chance to miss the kids and they have a chance to miss me. We are all so excited at pick up time and we have fun, relaxing afternoons together. My nerves and patience aren't shot at the end of the day. I think it's very healthy for mom's to have a chance to miss their kids, just a little. I find it helps me appreciate the time we are together, I feel like a better mom. My kid's get the socialization/education they need and I get time to do my thing. A win win.

So there you have it.... am I crazy or not? You decide.

Her mouth is full of chocolate granola bar...she's happy as ever!

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~Three Wishes~

Ahhh to have a lucky magic lamp to rub. Wouldn't that just be the best thing ever? 

When I was younger I used to say if I had 3 wishes my first wish would be to have more wishes!! Wasn't I clever?

Isabelle has been on a, watching the princess movies, kick. She's never really seen them, cause, let's be honest...they are scary! Most disney movies consist of someone dying, and a super scary witch or bad guy. Isabelle just turned 5 and seems to be able to handle the "it's only a movie, don't be scared" line. 

The latest disney movie she enjoyed was Aladdin. She knows it as Jasmine because of the princess factor, of course. After she was finished it, we had a little chat. She was very intrigued by the whole "magic lamp, genie in a bottle, 3 wishes" part of the show. 

I asked her what she would wish for if she got to have 3 magic wishes.
She answered immediately:
1. To have 2 REAL horses of my own
2. To see a real princess Castle

...at this point I'm thinking these are great. Fairly standard wishes for a 5 year old girl....I was even thinking I could probably make the second one come true, as we are planning a trip to Hong Kong's Disney world sometime soon....then she drops #3 on me, right out of left field..

3. I wish we had a submarine

What the heck??! That was totally random and made me laugh. I honestly didn't know she even know the word, never mind wanting one. However our little conversation lead me to think "What would I wish for?" Providing of course, that wishing for more wishes is not allowed.

There are many things that came to mind some of the top few are:

~ Continued health, we'll into the years ahead. Being able to be a strong mother and grandmother.
~ Health and safety for my kids, I worry about the big, bad world out there. Probably more than I should but it terrifies me to send my babies out into it.
~ Hair, long luscious hair. I have thin strings that take forever to grow and have always wished I had full curly bouncy locks. (like both my sisters do..grrrr) I know this one is vain...but it's true. 

So now I would like to pass the question on.......

What would your 3 wishes be?

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