Thursday, February 26, 2009

No Hablo Espanol

My familia last Thanksgiving (please excuse my lovehandles).

I'm an American, and proud of it.
I am also of Mexican descent.
Both of my parents were born in Mexico, and came to these great United States in their youth.

I learned how to speak Spanish, only because my (Grandma) Abuelita Clemen who took care of me when I was little, did not speak English. She spoke to me only in Spanish, thus I learned to speak the language.

My parents spoke only English at home. No espanol.

I am a child of the eighties.
Teased hair, Z. Cavarrici pants, blue eyeliner and frosted pink lipstick.
I went to a Catholic High School, and was a typical American teenager.

In my youth I got a job working for Pacific Bell, in the Hispanic Center.
The Hispanic Center was a call center, that took customer service calls from all of PacBell's Spanish-speaking customers.

I spoke Spanish all day, every day, and really began to master the language.
Even my Abuelito Adal was impressed. We had many conversations about telephone service. My Grandpa and I would talk about long distance carriers and about why his bill was so high. I would relate some humorous story or another about this customer and that customer.
Those were some good times, good memories...and all because I was a Spanish-speaking machine.

After I left that job, my awesome Spanish skills began to wane. I tried to "practice" by speaking in only Spanish to Oscar (who does not speak Spanish), but that didn't last long.

He would look at me blankly until I would just give up, and revert back to good old ingles (english...see, I still got it).

After Sabrina was born, I would constantly get the riot act from my Grandma.

Her: "Mija, porque no le hablas en espanol a la nina?"
(Why don't you speak Spanish to Sabrina)

Me: (Sheepishly) "Pues, si le hablo en espanol...."
(I do speak Spanish to her) Liar, Liar pants on fire.....

Her: "Pues no creo que le estas hablando en espanol...por que no me entiende!"
(I don't think you are speaking to her in Spanish because she doesn't understand me)

Me: " se por que....."
(Ummm, I don't know why..)

But of course I knew why the girl didn't understand my Abuelita, because I really wasn't speaking to her in Spanish. Aye, ya yay!
So everytime I would see my Grandma, she would tell me what a dis-service I was doing my daughter. Dios mio, the guilt, but she was right.

So now, Sabrina is almost ten, and asks me constantly why she doesn't know how to speak Spanish, except what she learned by watching Dora the Explorer as a toddler.
You know the words, probably the same ones you or your own toddler know...

"Bate, bate chocolate"
"Amigo" and
"Si se puede" (this one, sadly ironic, since it means "Yes you can").

Lucky for me, my Abuelita is still around. She's 86 years old, and as sharp as a tack. I adore that lady more than I can put into words.
When her and Sabrina get together, it is quite an interesting scene as the communication dance starts between them, but somehow they manage.
I still say a few Hail Mary's every night to lessen my guilt though.

Sabrina and Abuelita Clemen last Christmas.

Monday, February 23, 2009

C is for Cookie....and that's good enough for me

"Cookie, cookie, cookie starts with C."
Sometimes that song gets stuck in my head.
Cookie Monster has the right idea.

I love cookies.
I love to bake.
I love it when my pants fit, without me having to lie down on the bed, while sucking it in, so I can zip them up.
Sometimes my first love (of cookies), results in the latter.

In an effort to slim down, I told myself I would no longer buy any "ready-made" cookies or baked goods from the supermarket.
"If I want cookies, I will just have to bake them myself."
That became my mantra.
I figured the effort of having to bake the sweets I so desired, would deter me from eating said sweets.
Uh...that was a total bust.
I became a baking fool, and found myself constantly pre-heating my oven.

Since I am such selfless person, a real giver, I have decided to share one of my favorite and extremely easy to make, cookie recipes.

The recipe comes from this book:

I borrowed the picture from this totally awesome Flicker pool, but my mom has one exactly like it.

The reason I love this recipe so much is that it only requires five ingredients.
I also dig that it's made with cake mix. Genuis.

You can substitute the Yellow cake mix for any kind of cake mix out there.
Chocolate, Strawberry, White, Devils Food...

Cream Cheese Cookies
1 box yellow cake mix (any brand will do)
1 8 oz. package of cream cheese (I usually just use the store brand)
1/4 cup butter
1 egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream butter and cheese. Blend in egg yolk and vanilla. Add cake mix (dry) 1/3 cup at a time. Make sure to mix well, after each addition. Cover and chill thirty minutes, or if you are pressed for time, you can chill it in the freezer for 15 minutes. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Drop by level tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. I would also recommend using a cookie scoop, if you have one, and lining your cookie sheets with parchment paper. The parchment paper will guarantee nice evenly baked cookies, and your cookie sheets will remain clean. Just a thought.

Bake 8-10 minutes or until slightly browned. Another tip, I always bake them for the least amount of time, but that's just me, and I guess that would also depend on how well your oven is calibrated. Let them cool for a bit.

Here is the finished product. I know, I'm not sure why I didn't remove them from the cookie sheet, and arrange them prettily for this photo, but it is what it is.

Give 'em a try. They might become your new fave.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Wait, wait, wait, your turn....

(Preface:This picture has nothing to do with this post, but I thought it was funny, and characteristic of how things look around here strewn about on the floor, stray crayons, stuffed animals...)

Waiting. It's an interesting concept. Sometimes, a hard one to grasp.

Case in point:
This morning, I made my way to Tar-jay. I had to pick up a couple of prescriptions at the pharmacy. It opens at 9AM, while the store opens at 8AM.

Oscar was working from home this morning, so after I dropped Sabrina off at school, I headed straight to the big "T." The idea of an entire hour to aimlessly wander through their aisles, had me practically drooling. I arrived in the parking lot promptly at 8:00, stood in line at Starbucks, (conveniently located inside the front entrance), bought myself a Cafe Mocha, grabbed a shopping cart, and began my leisurely stroll through the store.

I cannot say, how great it was to not really have a purpose, to just walk, and look, and maybe spot something cool, ie:the 75% off section of Valentines Day stuff. I am a sucker for holiday decorations, particularly if they are way discounted.

As the clock neared nine, I made my way to the register, and paid for the odds and ends I had picked up along the way.

Easy Breezy.

I calmly headed over to the Pharmacy Department.
There were two little old ladies already there.
The Pharmacist was helping one, while the other waited her turn.

Lady Number One, and the Pharmacist, Peter, seemed to be playing a game of Twenty Questions.

"What's best for my cold?"
"How much is this one again?"
"I'm out of my vitamins, where are those?"
"I think I called in another prescription.....not sure when, can you check?"

Peter was extremely patient. Really, sweetly patient.

Lady Number Two, however, not so much.

I think I counted about ten sighs, and at least three very exaggerated glances at her watch before, another employee showed up at the pharmacy counter to help old Pete out.

Lady Number two, was swiftly asked how she could be helped, and was taken care of straight-away. At about the same time, Lady Number One, completed her transaction.

It was then my turn.

I used to be quite easily annoyed by the likes of Lady Number One.
Those pesky little "Inconveniences."
You know the ones, Unsure Lady (the one who can't seem to make up her mind, similar to Twenty Questions Lady), The Sunday Driver, The Lady With 101 Coupons, The Person in the Drive-Thru, who while waiting in the long line of cars, still doesn't know what they want when they get to the window.

I could go on, but you get the idea.

Today though, I was not annoyed. Not bothered in the least. I didn't impatiently sigh, or glance at my watch (though I don't wear a watch, but if I did...), or roll my eyes, or mutter naughty words under my breath.

You know what?

It felt good. I felt good.
Score one for learning how to be more patient.
That's progress, my friends.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I am a proud mama. I have two little girls, Sabrina, who will be ten this year, and Chloe, who will be six. I think kids are great. Growing up, I was the neighborhood babysitter. I raked in the dough. Two bucks an hour, my friends, a pretty penny.
I fancied myself to be quite patient.

Well, mostly...usually.

As I get older, I have what Oscar, refers to affectionately as a "short fuse."
I really don't agree....but will admit to occasionally losing my patience.
I mean, motherhood is a tough job.

Sabrina is super smart (what mother's child isn't), and quirky.
She has a personality totally unlike my own. She is independent, outspoken and gregarious. Sassy, but not disrespectful, and a great conversationalist.
She is kindhearted, very patient, and sensitive.

I dig this kid. Really, dig her.

Chloe is a whiz at the computer. She can maneuver game after game, like a pro.
She can show you how to get to the websites for Noggin, Nick Jr., Webkinz, Club Penguin, and Barney (her personal favorite) in no time flat.
She has loads of bookmarks, and can start up or shut down the computer like nobody's business.

I am in awe of her.

Chloe is special. She cannot walk. She cannot speak. She cannot sit up unassisted. She is a prisoner of her own body, but her brain is unaffected. She is intelligent, and amazes me every day.

Chloe recently became the proud owner of a new wheelchair. It has a shiny black frame that glitters in the sun, and is a snazzy shade of purple (her choice). Her name is embroidered on the seat in bright pink. Chloe loves to go out. She loves the mall, which we try and visit often.
Total hardship, I

The first time she used her chair was last month.
I parked my van in the Macy's parking lot at the mall.
I unloaded the chair, and sat her down.
I buckled her seat belt.
She smiled.
Sabrina asked if she could push her.
"Sure, " I said "Just not too fast."
Walking beside Sabrina, I watched as she carefully pushed her sister.
Chloe's eyes were wide, but her smile was priceless.

In the beginning, it was hard. I couldn't help but wonder why I was chosen to be her mother.
I am just an ordinary woman. No special talents or skills. I couldn't do it. I knew I would fail.
Almost six years have gone by. I am still here, we all are. Oscar, Sabrina, Chloe and me.

I used to constantly pray for strength, and patience, BC (before Chloe).
I believe I got what I asked for.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I'm lovin' it...

I think that's the advertising tag line from the McDonald's commercials that seem to always be on the telly. They may have a new tag line now though...not sure as I don't keep up with the Mickey-Dees ad campaigns too much (I do love a QP w/cheese now and again).

I am loving lots of things lately, and since Valentines's Day just passed, belated though I may be in my loving, I figured it would be appropriate to share.

I'm loving the weather we've been having here in SoCal. Rainy. Cold. Crisp. Winter-ey.

Don't get me wrong, one of the perks of living in Southern California, is the weather. It's always nice, and warm. Sunny, even. When it's supposed to be winter though, I like to actually experience a seasonal change in the weather, call me crazy, but I love that.

I'm loving the fact that as I'm typing this, it's quiet. No TV, no noise, other than the tip-tap of my fingers hitting the keyboard, and Chloe quietly playing on her computer (more on that later).

I'm loving that my bed is made.

I'm loving that I cleaned the house over the weekend, and don't have to do it today.

I'm loving that I have Apple Jacks in my pantry, and will be enjoying a bowl for breakfast.

I'm loving my bluebird cookie jar.

I'm loving my new Webkinz Love Monkey, affectionately named Coco-nut.

I'm loving that you're still reading this...

There's so much more to love, but for today, I'm good.

Hoping there's lots of things you're loving today too.

Friday, February 13, 2009


Just a quick post today...a shameless plug of sorts.

I haven't made anything new in some time. Actually, that is not entirely true. I just haven't made any new children's things since December. So, here's a little number I cooked up for a launch on Ebay with the design group Gallerybay.

I call it Mermaid Paradise. You can find it here.
I think it's one of my new favorites.

Super crazy props to Monica for the totally radical pictures.

Blue skies, green grass, rockin''s paradise alright.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Chocolate Corks and Bouchon Pans

I've been sick, since Friday. Not deathly ill, but enough to be semi-miserable. I jinxed myself. All of the fam has been sick for weeks, one after another. As each person came down with whatever mysterious cold/flu/infection they each had, I marveled at my awesome immune system.

"I can't believe I'm not sick, being around all these sick people," I thought. Well, apparently, my immune system, is slightly less than awesome, and I finally came down with a quite offensive cold.

On Saturday, Oscar took Sabrina to the movies, and then brought her home so he could do some man errands (ie:get a haircut, buy insoles for his shoes etc). By the time he made it back to the good ole casa, it was almost 9:00PM, and I was ready to keel over.

He excitedly announced that he had bought me a Pre-Valentines Day gift. Despite my poor frame of mind, and cold medicine induced fog, I was intrigued. I'm always down for a good present. He handed me a Williams-Sonoma bag. I'm always down with Williams-Sonoma too. With an anxious smile, he waited as I took out the gift he'd lovingly chosen for me. Inside the bag, was a Silicon Bouchon Pan, and a sugar shaker. I love to bake, but had no clue what a bouchon was. To boot, on the back of the box, was a recipe for Chocolate Corks (which at the time sounded slightly inappropriate to me, who knows why...). Oscar suggested I make the Corks right then. I suggested we wait until, I didn't feel like coughing up a lung. He agreed.

Last night, while watching 24, Oscar reminded me about my promise to bake the Chocolate Corks. Since I felt heaps better, I set about this task with good intentions, but low expectations. Any recipe with the word "cork" in it, sounds slightly dodgy to me. I also Googled the word "Bouchon", and found out it's French for none other than.....cork. Brilliant.

The Bouchon pan is interesting. The wells for the bouchons are tiny. I mean, really small. I followed the directions on the back of the box, filled the pan, and popped them into the oven. The baking time, was twenty-one minutes, according to the box. Fifteen minutes to cool on the wire rack in the pan, and another thirty minutes cooling, on the wire rack, out of the pan. I thought that sounded like too much effort for such a tiny baked good, but it was too late to turn back. I was committed to the Corks for the long haul.

I watched, I waited. The timer beeped, and I took them out of the oven. I followed the cooling instructions. I attempted to remove them from the pan. They did not budge. Hmmm, I checked the box to see if I was supposed to have greased the pan beforehand...nope. OK. I grabbed a butter knife in another attempt to spring them loose. I turned the pan upside down. Still, no budge. After about five minutes of trying to extract them, one popped out. Or should I say, half of one popped out. They were not cool enough...still....even after forty-five minutes of cooling. So, I waited some more.

Oscar was on the second installment of 24 by this time.
"Hey honey, are the Corks done yet?" No answer from me.

Another fifteen minutes went by. I went in for the final cork extraction, and only managed to get like three or four intact corks. The rest were missing bottoms, or tops. I grabbed a napkin, plopped down on the couch next to Oscar, and handed him one of the non-decapitated Corks.

"Mmm, he said, tastes just like a brownie."
My sentiments exactly.

Lesson learned:
Next time, just spread the batter into a brownie pan, and call it a night.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Big Jugs

OK, this is not that kind of blog, but the word "jug" is hi-larious to me, I don't know why, I'm just nutty that way. Anyway, in reference to this here post, you may be wondering, "What the heck??" I will spill.

A couple of weeks ago, Oscar came home with a jug of wine. Yes, that's right, a jug. Considering that he does not drink wine, ever, I thought it was a tad odd. The conversation went kinda like this:

Me: Hey, what's up with the jug of wine?

Osc: Huh? Oh, I'm going to start drinking a glass of red wine every day.

Me: Oh. Ummm, why didn't you buy the good kind, then? The kind, not in a jug.

Osc: Well, grandpa used to drink a glass of this (insert super sale jug of wine brand name here) wine every day, and he lived to be 90.

Me: Okay then.

And there you have it, the hubs' reasoning for buying (and drinking), the big jug of wine. I thought, it was just a phase, It'll pass, I said to myself, but here we are, weeks later, still drinking from the jug (well, not literally, he uses a wine least).

Sooo, here's my bright and oh-so-humble, retro-ey kitchen.

The stove....ahhh nice, very-stove-ey....

A cute chalkboard, sweet....

A few of my cabinets, very kitchen-ey....

and at last.....there it is. "Big Jugs" as I have affectionately nick-named, the big jug-o-wine.

Ain't she a beaut?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Two weeks equals Too Long...

It's February now. It has seriously taken me this long to finally get out from under all that laundry. Not. Kidding. Clean clothes rock, man.

Dirty laundry aside, I have been nursing sick kids, which is always a big bunch-o-fun. I think my new first name should be Psycho Lysol Wipe Lady. I need to buy some stock in that company. There have been alot of sickies around here, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I won't be joining that club anytime soon....

I made a few new things, some dishtowels...which is freaking hilarious since I hate washing dishes, ha! I like pretty dishtowels though, I have lots. Here are a few...

Senorita Trio

and of course everyone needs one of these...

They are here.

In honor of being clean, and laundry-less, I'm baking some brownies for me....uh...I mean "Us" (the hubs and myself)...the chocolate smell is wafting towards me, as I am hurriedly trying to finish typing this sentence. Off to get my chocolate fix.