Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tree lighting

Last night was the annual tree lighting ceremony. Check out this site for more information.
Gabriela hosted us again this year. She has a great viewpoint from her rooftop patio and it eliminates all the worry about traffic, walking etc... She made a delicious BBQ beef with broccoli salad, potato salad and we had yummy desserts. I brought the Key Lime Pie!
Some of the pictures are is hard to catch fireworks and a lit up tree...but I included them here because I thought they looked like reindeers and.... well, using my imagination ok?!
Thanks Gabriela for another fun year! 'Tis the season!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Holiday fun

I named 9 reindeer in 30 seconds Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? (In 30 seconds)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Tree Tiger

What is a tree tiger you ask? Well, this is my Tiger "helping" us decorate....

So as you can assume with this post, our decorating has begun. Since we celebrated Thanksgiving this past Saturday, we took advantage of the days off of school to start decorating for Christmas. I especially like to do it a little early because we always go back to the States for Christmas. It is nice for the kids to have a little bit of Christmas in their own home, even though we are not here on the actual days...
I will post more fotos after I finish the decorating....

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Salvador, Brazil by night....

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pixel fiction 2

My friend at Scriber's Web has the first part of this story, and then we are to continue it. Here is my version of the ending....

...and I saw him. There he was, my Carlos. The man that I thought I would leave my husband for, the man that promised me the world....
he was sitting in the park, enjoying the beautiful day, with another woman! They weren't sitting too close, but who was she? How could he deceive me like this? Make a life together? Leave my security for this?
I thought my heart had already endured what no other could have. So I turned the other way. I could not bear for him to see me.
I started to cry into the folds of my son's sweater. I didn't know what to do, where to turn. I wanted to run away from it all....
the life I left my family for in Russia was too hard to go back to....
the life I had with my old husband was unbearable, but it provided me with a house, food and a little money to help out my family, but my unhappiness was also just as unbearable...
and now, the life I thought I would start with Carlos seemed to be a distant dream, a mere fantasy world that came crashing down, just like all of my other dreams.

But I had my son. We were going to make it. As long as I had to bear whatever life I was dealt, I wanted to make sure that he would grow up in a different situation than me, never knowing what it meant to ache from hunger, shiver from the cold, yearn for a better life.

So I stopped crying. and I made a plan...
I walked into my front door, but instead of being able to tell him that I was leaving and starting a new life, I found my husband grasping for breath. I called 911, but it was too late....
by the time he was taken to the hospital he had died, heart failure...
I went home, crying again...left without anyone.

I pulled out my phone to call home, and let them know what happened. There was a text message...
It had Carlos's I open it?
I left until the next day, and the day after fact I truned it off completely so that I could concentrate on what I was going to do...
I was left the house, his I was secure, but where do I go? What life am I to make for myself now? Until the knock on the door came....

and there he was, a dozen red roses in his arms....Carlos. I almost shut the door on him, but his intense eyes bore into my heart. I couldn't close it on him.
He came in and asked me why I had not answered his calls and texts. He had heard about my husband and thought our life was given a turn that was way too fortunate for two immigrants as ourselves.

I looked at him in astonishment. Did he really think I would just forgive him? So the days of my pent up emotions came spilling out of me in one rush. How dare you expect me to take you after being with someone else? What am I going to do now all alone in this country that is not mine? How will I survive the tear in my heart that your deception tore?

and he looked just as astonished? My tears, my words looking like they stung him worse than a hive of wasps....and all he said was...
but I love you, with all of my heart. I do not know what deception you are talking about? How could I deceive the love of my life that I never thought would come in this foreign land?

So once it was all out we settled down and I poured us a glass of scotch. We sat down, and talked. As two lovers do...
we held each other and I cried on his shoulder. He held me as if I was always a part of his body, attached there. And he explained to me that the girl in the park was his sister, who had just gotten her visa to stay .... a hug for his sister, and smile that was of a different kind of love.

My fantasy that seemed to be a faded hope was lit up like a star in the night sky....our dreams to make a fantasy that was all of our own, built on the kind of love that lasts forever....

Monday, November 24, 2008


We had friends over for our Thanksgiving dinner this past Saturday. I love Thanksgiving. It is a time to share my traditions with those that either are not from America or Canada (and therefore do not celebrate this holiday) or those that are from places where we celebrate, but like us, are away from family.
It was a wonderful evening. I love to host, and so does my husband. He served all the drinks and cut the turkey, I got everything to the table, made the flowers and helped out in general. Our friends also helped out by bringing their favorite dishes.
Let me take you on a stroll through my decorations first: As you all know by now, (I believe), I am a floral designer. So, I wanted to have an elegant feel to the evening. As you walk in my front door, we have a yellow I decided to match it with these beautiful flowers in a mix of red, oranges, yellows, purples and pinks.
The living room was then decorated with a mix of soft, velvety purples, greens and pinks. The other side of the living room had a mix of candles and lilies, ever so stately by themselves... and for outside on our porch I made a small, low arrangement with purple roses that are just gorgeous! The centerpiece for the table was so elegant. I loved it!
Which will also bring us to the food! We started off with cheese and crackers, vegetables and a spicy hot pepper dip. For the main meal I had made 2
turkeys with gravy and stuffing...warm, moist stuffing filled with apricots, raisins, apples, celery, onions and bread... I also made fresh cranberries, which I bring back to my destination every January because they are impossible to find. They freeze really well, and therefore I can have them fresh for Thanksgiving! Pictured with them is a green salad and layered salad that friends brought. My next dish is a family tradition in our home Potato Dumplings. They are delicious!! Other friends also brought ginger carrots, green beans and potatoes (in a typical Southern style, which I had never had before!), and a small pork loin (in case we didn't have enough turkey!).
The table looked beautiful!
The desserts were calling us even before we started dinner, but we were good and waited until the table was cleared!! We had pumpkin pie, apple crisp, ice cream, chocolate cake with strawberry topping, cheesecake and pizzelles, another tradition from my family.

They are an anis cookie, and incredibly scrumptious!
That was our Thanksgiving in Brazil. I hope that you have enjoyed sharing in my feast. My wish for you all is to have a blessed and wonderful day this Thursday.
I am thankful for everything that I have been family, those close and far, my friends, the opportunity to be able to live in health, happiness and to have my heart filled with love every single day.
Happy Thanksgiving, from our house to yours!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

So much to say...

Wow, I have so much to blog about...

my Thanksgiving yesterday was fabulous...but I will make a post of it alone tomorrow, once I have uploaded pictures and have time to write about it.

Today is my big Brother's Birthday!!! I am very close with him and even thought when I was younger, and didn't know better, that I would marry him one day! hahaha He is 12 years older than I am. So, when he got engaged I was only 8 years old. At the time, I walked up to my soon to be sister-in-law and said "you can't marry my Brother, because I am going to marry him!"...
Luckily, we fast became friends and today, she is the best friend that I could ever have hoped for!
This is a picture of him, my SIL and their youngest daughter.

and then there is....
can you hear the tick of the clock?
can you see the numbers?
NO? What am I talking about?
the premiere of 24!!!!
yes, tonight is the 2 hour movie premiere! YES!
So now you know where I will be tonight!

I hope you are having a good weekend!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fridays Fave Five

Here are the top five things from my week...

1. I went diving! It is not common that just on any given Saturday I get to dive. It is one of my passions and I love it!We saw this structure that looked like a table...and all I could think of was bringing down some plastic cups and pretending to have some tea!

2.Vacation days... here in Brazil everyone has off for the holiday of Zumbi, Dia Nacional da Consciência Negra. He was a black leader who fought slavery and became a symbol of black resistance. Click on the link above for more info if you are interested.

3. Getting ready for our Thanksgiving dinner which is this Saturday. We have around 19 adults and 10 children joining us to give thanks this year! Pictures to come soon!

4. Sunshine...i love the sunshine on the beach and the view from my apartment!

5. My puppy, Bella. She is 4 months old, and still gets me up way to early in the morning, but I love her so much. She is growing so fast. My cat Tiger,
who puts up with her, even though Bella is constantly trying to smush her (with kisses, right? of course :)! I know she still loves me, despite the interruption in her life, because she she still sleeps with me at night! and Coal, my 8 year old mix that we found in
Houston right before Christmas. He is patient and just loves to be pet...

Steelers Update

I didn't get to see it since we are 3 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time...
and there is no way with puppy Bella (still waking me up at 4:45-5 AM!) that I would be able to watch a whole game that STARTS at 11:15!
Still glad to report that we won! Not sure how good the game was but here is the final score:
Steelers 27
Cincinnati Bengals 10

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Wordless Wednesday


Sunset Thinking
by Marilyn Lott

Do you ever watch the sunset
And just sit and think about things
Just you and the sky and darkness Giving your thoughts some wings

Perhaps you’re got some troubles
And don’t know what to do
Or you just plain need to get away
To spend a little time with you

Sunset beauty makes you feel as though
Your life has meaning after all
To see a sight so extraordinary
Makes you feel capable, strong and tall

It’s funny how flashes of color
Like a sunset or sunrise can inspire
It can calm your inner self a bit
It’s a scene you can never tire

The serenity gives you a chance
To put things in perspective
Life can be overwhelming at times
And a sunrise can be reflective

So when the sky lights up next time
Let your gaze do some drinking
Soak up and the amazing sights
And do some sunset thinking!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fall into Flavor Finale

This is the last week of
Linda's Fall into Flavor Recipe exchange. Please check her site out for all of the participants!
This week my recipe is really simple but oh so yummy and fun!


20 oz. Oreo Cookies, crushed
8 oz. Cream Cheese
1/2 stick of butter
1 cup Powdered Sugar
2 small Instant Vanilla Pudding
3 1/2 cups Milk
12 oz. Cool Whip

Mix all ingredients together. That's it, that simple!
The fun part is that in does resemble dirt! So put it in a plastic pot (that doesn't have any holes) and stick a fake flower, such as a Gerber daisy, in it and serve. It is a great conversation starter when you show up at a party with a present for the host that they can eat and admire all at the same time :)

Steelers Update

Win! Of course, as is the custom anymore, we won it in the LAST 15 seconds...
and then, in the last seconds, as I am writing this actually (!), a great defensive player, Troy Polamalu, picked up a fumble and scored a touchdown! but they decided not to give it to him for whatever reason...oh well, we still won! and according to the announcers, the first ever in history for win at 11-10!
Final score
Steelers 11
San Diego Chargers 10

and by the way, we had lost last week when I was in Peru....
so whew, glad I got to see the win :)

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Yesterday we went to Arraial do Cabo to dive.We took the kids for the first time on a dive excursion. They had a really good time watching how it all worked.
The water was cold...on the first dive it was not so bad because around 15-25 feet the sun was penetrating enough that it was warmer. Once you went below there it was cold! The second dive was just plain C.O.L.D.
On the surface, below...wherever just cold. We saw some really nice sea fans blowing in the surge, a turtle, trumpetfish, jellyfish, puffer fish, angel fish, sea horse, tangs, trunk fish, and a few others that I do not know the names of! The newest type that I saw and learned the name was the False flying is a foto: it was beautiful...had great colors in it's "wings" of blue/purple.
My camera's flash did not work, so the blue saturated the color of the fotos. Especially underwater you need a flash. The colors are overshadowed by blue when you do not have one :(, like me yesterday! I must get it fixed before we go to the Maldives in December!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Where in the world have I been?

Lima, Peru!
So, my husband decides at the VERY last minute that we are going to a cousins wedding in Peru. My husband is from Peru, so need to worry about hotels, car rentals, etc....only airline tickets, which he found easily.
It was such a great mini vacation. We left Saturday morning and arrived there to surprise his Parents who were also visiting at the same time. Needless to say, they could not believe their eyes when we walked through the door!
We went out to one of our favorite typical Peruvian restaurants, Jose Antonio's. They serve a mixed platter that includes all of our favorites, so we stuffed ourselves!
Onto the main reason we came.....The wedding was Saturday night. It was a pretty night, a little cool....
the bride and groom were adorable. They looked so young and extremely happy.Here they are in the "get away" car; which is my husband's Uncle's first car that he bought.
This side of the family is the Inca Kola side...yes, my husband's Uncle married an heir to the Inca Kola family. and let me tell you, how happy are my kids to be drinking Inca Kola? They asked for it on the plane ride at 7 am in the morning! How could I resist when I wanted some too!!!
They had the reception in a Polo Club. It was set up beautifully, but it was very hard to walk around in heels in the grass!
Only the walk-in carpet and the dance floor were easy to maneuver around! The lighting and some of the flowers were very pretty....
The bathrooms were elaborate port-o-johns, with proper closing doors and all! Very funny! I almost took a picture of them but then ...well, I just didn't!
The wedding cake was quite interesting:

The rest of the trip was filled with visiting family. The kids loved the chicks out back of our Tia's house where we stayed.
We went to visit a friend's hacienda where they breed and show Peruvian Paso Horses.Here is their website...Hacienda Mamacona. They are beautiful horses that have a very smooth ride.
This foto is of a Mother and her 4 day old baby. We all got to ride them and they are amazingly comfortable! Their gate is different than any other horse. They move right hind, right front, left hind, left is quite amazing to see them move, so graceful and elegant.
We had a wonderful trip...and if anyone is planning a visit to Peru, please let me know. I can recommend places to visit, hotels to stay in, restaurants, Cuzco/Macchu Pichu trips and many more wonderful places in this amazing South American country!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Funny maid story

I was talking with my maid today. We were talking about Mr. Obama winning the election, whether I voted for him and who she liked.
Well, she said most people that she knows, including her, are so happy that Obrahma won. No, that was not a typo!
I asked of course why she called him Obrahma...and she told me because that is how people call him here.
??? Why ??? I asked.
Ok, here's the funny part:
She said that one of the popular beers with her friends is Brahma beer. Therefore, since they like that beer so much, and since they like Obama so much, they just decided to call him Obrahma!
Funny or what? Nicknames are big here, so I guess that only makes sense here in Brasil :)

Friday, November 7, 2008


After almost a year and a half here in Brazil, I finally have the re-growth of an orchid.
Here it is a common daily site to see orchids hanging from trees, as posted by Gabriela, in restaurants, at the flower market, at the grocery store, etc, etc.... and they are beautiful with at least four to five blooms.
So we savvy girls buy these and place them in our homes. They look so beautiful until....
the flowers die....then you are left with a plant with a few leaves..for a lllloooooonnnnngggggg time!
now, I was told it takes anywhere from a few months to a year, depending on the breed of orchid to re-flower.
Well, as stated above, my first re-flowering has just occurred a year and a half later!~

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Better late than never

It is 7:45 in the evening here, and I just finished watching the acceptance and concession speeches from last night's historic election.
I think both candidates gave great speeches.
Mr. McCain was gracious in his loss....and the people boo-ing in the crowd should heed his advice.
Mr. Obama was eloquent as ever and made me feel proud to be an American living through these times.
I do not like to be political here...but then I got to thinking about how strongly I feel.
Why should I hide behind my beliefs just because some of my blogger friends may disagree. That is what makes this world, and especially our country, go 'round. In our country we have the opportunity to freely express what we believe in. I was taught to speak out about the things that matter to me.

So, that said, let me say how excited I am that my new President will be Mr. Barack Obama. The candidate that I voted for, the candidate that I believe will help change and enhance our country.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Vote video

Ok, one more thing on voting...
check out this video, SO CUTE!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The time is now!

If I can do it all the way here from Brasil, you can do it in our own country. I strongly believe in voting to make your voice heard. Your candidate may not always win, but then again, if you do not go out and try, then it is partly your fault if you do not go out and vote.