Wednesday, December 26, 2007


For my family, holiday cooking is about traditions. It is that time of year where family recipes passed down from generations kick in. One of them is my late mother-in-law's orange donuts. Although, these days, there are a lot of varieties of donuts readily available, I still make this recipe because ... what else, it's a tradition! lol My family agrees that it is the best!

Cut-out cookies is another recipe that is a must-have around Christmas. Even though I double the recipe each time, my family can not get enough of it. What makes it more fun is to have my kids get involved in the preparation. Below is my daughter rolling out dough and cutting them out using her great, great, grandmother's Christmas cookie cutters.

I used to take time and decorate them using my cake decorator... this season I got lazy and just frosted and sprinkled colored sugar on them. The finished product ...

And of course we always have deviled eggs, which is a fairly new tradition, since I started it myself. No family gatherings are without it ... they disappear like hot cakes! This season, I started teaching my son how to make them. This should be a nice memory for him, about his mother, that he can take pride in.

Now doesn't this tray look yummy? lol

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Wondrous Gifts of Giving

Something I enjoy doing every time we have a holiday (Christmas, Thanksgiving and/or Father's/Mother's Day) is to cook something for our Pastor. Be it a complete dinner with all the trimmings or just a hearty soup, he is always so appreciative and very thankful every time I bring in a "surprise" for him and his wife. Today, Sunday, I got up early and baked them a chicken pot pie and assorted Christmas cookies in a hurry and brought it with me to Sunday service. My actual cookie-baking day is not until tomorrow but since they live quite a drive from us, I want to give him and his wife something for Christmas. His wife is quadriplegic and she can no longer do what she used to do. Seeing his face lite up when I tell him that "something" is waiting for him on his desk is more than enough reward for me.

Combined Federal Campaign with United Way

Over the years I have always found volunteering to be one of the most emotionally rewarding experiences. This season I was one of the few "Combined Federal Campaign" key players at work. Our goal was to raise $20,000 in three weeks. The money we raised will help transform the lives of families who are less fortunate here and abroad.

We exceeded our goal by the end of 3 weeks! Yeah! We raised over $27,000 and the highest fund-raiser beat me by only $200! Darn, oh well, I had fun getting the title of number one fund-raiser for over 2 weeks ... and there's always next year. There was an award ceremony attended by our Medical Center Director and as expected, I was one of the recipients. Although being recognized is nice, to me there is nothing like knowing somewhere in the U.S. and around the globe, CFC is helping a family in need and I am proud to be part of it.

I was asked to chair the CFC fund raising next year ... I might just accept it. After all, what would be a better gift to give someone in need than the wondrous gift of giving.

Be a volunteer ... it will do your heart good! :)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Blog of the Week

Good morning/afternoon friends ... i was nominated for the Blog of the Week award, so when you have a chance please vote for me Here and click funnfamily. Thank you much!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

New York! New York!

My daughter and I

Early morning last Friday, a good friend, my daughter and I took a tour bus to New York City. My daughter was a first-timer in NYC so she was excited, while I looked forward to go on a food trip and Christmas shopping.

We arrived at our hotel around 2:30p, so we had a free time to do as we like before going to the 7p show at Radio City Music Hall. We started the ball rolling by shopping of course!
This year marks the 75th season of The Radio City Christmas Spectacular so I was anticipating something special in my head ... and I was not disappointed. Although I was awed and amazed with the show last year, there were a lot of enhancements this season. The costumes, the Rockettes, the "snow" and ribbons falling from the "sky", the state-of-the-art video technology, and the scenes coming to life on stage were just magical and uplifting! I rated the whole show as OUTSTANDING!

After the show we decided to try the dinner buffet in our hotel. It was a little pricey but hey, we were starving so we got our money's worth! :)

Dishes served at our fave restaurant

Saturday morning - was a sightseeing tour.
We took in the beautiful sights and Christmas decorations of the city by bus. Then we asked to be dropped off in Chinatown where we did more shopping before going to our favorite Chinese restaurant. Just the thought of that restaurant woke up my tastebud! I wanted to introduce snails (suso) to my daughter so we ordered that along with salted pork (not salty at all) which was served plain but very tender and delicious nonetheless. We also ordered squid (calamari) which was cooked to perfection, a Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce and talangka (crabs) swimming in its own aligi! (my cholesterol will love me) lol. The dishes were an explosion of flavors! I can't believe how many snails my daughter ate ... and I thought she would be grossed by it.

Saturday evening - we decided to take in another show. We bought tickets for The Drowsy Chaperone, a comedy/musical starring Bob Saget. It was a riot! ... we laughed so hard, tears were coming out from the corners of our eyes! The cast's performance deserved an award!

Because of our heavy lunch we opted to just have a sandwich and some pastries for dinner. They were filling but forgettable.

The famous Christmas tree @ Rockefeller Center

Sunday - check out time!
But before I end my story, let me mention that we also went to a fish market. I bought prawns and 3 kinds of fish. My friend's son who lives in NYC was nice enough to keep it in his freezer until it was time to head back to upstate NY. I cooked the prawns today and my tummy says, thank you! lol

See you next year, Nooo Yok!!!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Treasures Within Our Walls

I live in an old house that was built in 1869. This summer we had the front porch renovated. Working on the joists our contractor had to remove an outside wall leading to the floor of one of the bedrooms. To their amazement, there inside the wall under the floorboards were old love letters dated from 1876 to 1878, tin type photos (one in civil war uniform) and a button or cuff link, it is hard to tell which it is. We will never know why they were hidden but we know for a fact that our house was built and occupied by one of the earlier mayors of our town. The builder/owner married a very young girl from Ireland. We also learned that she had a sister who lived with them as servant. I guess we have to do more digging ...

What are we going to do with these treasures? We don't know yet but right now they are being tucked away (again) only this time they are not in a dark and gloomy place.

The top photo is an envelope with a postage stamped 1879.
The middle is just a few of the love letters.
The bottom is a close up of the tin type photos and either a button or cuff link.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

We Give Thanks ...

In the spirit of Thanksgiving Day, November 22, I give thanks ...

... for the "S" word, the first sign of winter! I took this photo of our deck last Saturday ... a dusting of snow! Except for the icy road, I kinda like snow specially on Christmas day, it makes everything look magical ... winter also makes you look forward and appreciate spring.

... for my family's good health, for old and new friends, and for all of God's graces and blessings.

... to men and women in the military, those who have served and currently serving, putting their life on the line for us to live free.


Saturday, November 17, 2007

Hibiscus (Gumamela)

For years my hibiscus plant has been rewarding me with solid peach color blooms pictured above ... although it came out more of a yellow shade, it really is peach color in "person" lol

So, imagine my surprise when this two-toned flower popped up! I live in an area where winters are cold, so my hibiscus is mostly indoors. How it crosses with different hybrids (if that was the case) is mind-boggling to me! This just goes to show, i guess, that plants, like humans, come in different personalities, colors, and sizes!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Veterans Day

I work for Uncle Sam (uncle who? lol)... anyway, Dept. of Veterans Affairs to be exact. One day a VA Chaplain read this poem. I was so touched by it that I asked for a copy. In honor of all veterans and military service people, on Veteran's Day i am sharing this poem. Thanks for their sacrifices for the good of the nation.

I've Got Your Back

I am a small and precious child
my dad's been sent to fight.
The only place I'll see his face
is in my dreams at night.
He will be gone too many days
for my young mind to keep track.
I may be sad, but I am proud,
My daddy's got your back.

I am a caring mother,
My son has gone to war
My mind is filled with worries
that I have never known before.
Everyday i try to keep
my thoughts from turning black.
I may be scared, but I am proud,
My son has got your back.

I am s strong and loving wife,
with a husband soon to go.
there are times I'm terrified
in a way most never know.
I bite my lip, and force a smile
as I watch my husband pack.
My heart may break
but I am proud.
My husband has got your back.

I am a soldier, serving
proudly, standing tall.
I fight for freedom, yours and mine
by answering this call.
I do my job while knowing
the thanks it sometimes lacks.
Say a prayer that I'll come home
and remember who's got your back.

by Autumn Parker

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Halloween Treat

There was a time when the whole family voyaged into the dark to go trick-or-treating. I trailed behind Red Riding Hood, Power Ranger, Pocahontas, Cow, E.T. or whatever was their fancy at that year. Hubby was smart enough and followed us in the car. Oh well, until now, he doesn't know what he missed! lol
It was fun hearing them chant, "trick or treat!" and "thank you"... it was fun following them from house to house and got scared ... it was fun watching them dump their loot as soon as we got home.

Then they grew up! (boo hooo) They started going out with their own friends. This Halloween our son and his pals turned a house for sale (w/owner's permission, of course)into a "Haunted House" for trick or treaters. Then they hid, made noises and jumped out at kids to scare them.Since everybody expected to be scared, they all had a ball! Two of my son's pals dressed up as Banana, another was a Gorilla and he was Jimi Hendrix. Attached is a photo, mixed as video for memories. I still missed those times when we all went out on Halloween nights but for the past 3 years, it was nice to just sink into an armchair, watch tv, sip a glass of wine,and revel being alone!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Power of Gardening

I love gardening. There is nothing more uplifting for me than taking a walk in my garden. It is my solace, my escape ... it is the downtime for my brain to refresh. Whenever I'm overwhelmed, or having a case of the blues, or when everything seems like nothing make sense, all I have to do is spend a few minutes weeding, watering, or just plain walking around my garden, admiring those different hues of blooms, enjoying all the beautiful flowers in it ... and ... everything is healed!!! I feel different from the inside! I feel relaxed and I feel like I can tackle life's problems again. All those hard work, time and effort spent in my garden ... it's totally worth it!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Family Fun

Some of our activities this summer.
I'm not really ready to post yet, so this is just a test.

My Garden

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I was busy this summer ... this is just a small part of my garden.


This is one of the many varieties of my dahlias this year. I plan to paint it sometime ...

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