Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

(project inspired by Country Living magazine. See here: Pumpkin Decorating Ideas)

This blog turns to be helpful in knowing each other better ( me and... Adrian :-) )
He was surprised to read here that during my childhood I was carving pumpkins; and I just found out from him that this tradition wasn't popular everywhere in Romania!
I think, in my native countryside this custom was borrowed still from Americans, but long time ago. Many Transylvanians from my grand-grandparents' generation have worked in America in the beginning of the 20th century. They turned back home with money for purchasing lands and even with names for their children - my grandmother (84 years old) is named Virginia.

@Adrian: thank you for driving so far (Hornbach), just to buy the black acrylic for my project.
(That's one of the reasons why I lately call this guy "our local hero" - since we have Ilaria, he started to love shopping for us, girls ;-).... OK, maybe lot love, but at least his shopping headaches are gone)

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Decorate this!

This happened in the morning when I asked Adrian that, additionally to the common shopping list, he should buy from the market also a pumpkin to be decorated for Halloween. My bad, as I specified on the list only "pumpkin big and round" and this one fits exactly my request.
Tough job to decorate such a pumpkin, isn't it? :-)

In Romania, Halloween is a tradition recently taken from Americans. We do not have in our calendar such a Holiday. There is something similar: when we were children, at the end of our summer Holiday (middle of September), in countryside, we were decorating pumpkins with classic scary faces

and we were putting them on the gate's pillar to thrill people on the street. But that was all. We didn't know that in some other part of the globe this custom has a name.
After around 15 years since I left behind the tradition of carving pumpkins, this year I want to revive it for Ilaria. I was having in mind to do something like this:
but with the pumpkin chosen by Adrian, I think we are forced to be a little more stylish :-)
Until now I have found this model and I think it goes right even with little stars.
Or maybe it would be good to eat this one and to invest again in a more decorable one!? ( yesterday I've cooked a delicious pumpkin pie and maybe Adrian tries to be discreet and still send the "I want some more" message :-) )
Do you have any other ideas how this can be decorated? Or you agree with the idea that it should be turned into pies, without regrets?

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Monday, October 25, 2010

The parcels now and then

I have a special weakness for parcels. I can't wait to receive them; then I can't wait to open them. Sometimes, when I have lots of chores to be done, I settle a specific number of chores to be fulfilled until I allow myself to open a parcel that I just received. The truth is I'm crazy about them. And it seems the gene was successfully inherited by Ilaria.

One of those days we went together to the post office to pick up a parcel containing winter clothes for Ilaria, ordered over the Internet. It was one entire parcel only for her! As if she knew it, the most part of our way back home she insisted for "carrying" it. I agreed with that and then I had to face people's look "saying": "poor little girl. She's exploited from such a young age!". But she didn't care about anything and she was happy, "talking" all the time, from behind the parcel. 

Seeing her cherishing that parcel, I remembered us, children before '89, cherishing my grandmother's parcels.

Before '89 Transylvania was full with Saxons. They were friendly, focused, laborious, organized. Romanians had a lot to learn from them. After the revolution of '89 and the fallen of the communist regime, an overwhelming majority of Saxons left Transylvania. They left behind them impressive churches, beautiful houses, plants and fruits not existing in other parts of Romania, tasteful recipes, lifetime friendships and a lot of memories...

My grandmother has a very good friend, Helmine Girscht, which, for many years, was her beloved neighbor and now is living in Mettmann, Germany. We were lucky, as she was leaving Romania long before '89, around '70. And, as many Saxons, she is a generous person. She was writing letters, especially at Easter and Christmas and many of those letters were notifications for future parcels. We, children, learned our lesson: when our grandmother was receiving such a letter, we were quickly opening it and we were not reading it to our grandmother, as she would had wished, but we were scanning the whole letter, looking for the wrongly spelled word "pacet" instead of "pachet", to know if some parcel will be or not on it's way toward us. And many times it was. And it was full of goodies which you couldn't have dreamed you would ever find in Romania: good chocolate, chewing gum, candies, margarine, pudding powder, coffee, cocoa, cubic sugar, vanilla extract, baking soda and so on.
We were devouring those goodies in few days and then cherishing much longer their wrappers. You know, when a person has one sense less developed, another sense is better. In our case the taste was the not so developed one - we didn't have much to taste - and it was successfully replaced by smell. We were able to feel and to enjoy the smell of almost any wrapper, long time after the yummy thing which it once covered has disappeared. I remember myself smelling for years a metal box of peppermint candies, a dates' carton and uuups... a cigars Virginia Blend Tobacco plastic purse.

Someday I will relate to Ilaria such stories from my communist childhood. Will she be able to understand something? Will she be able to imagine how it was back then when parcels reached us ALWAYS opened and RARELY complete? And what joy was for my grandmother to share all those goodies with her children and grandchildren?

Speaking of violated parcels, I remember myself once being frustrated and asking my mother "why do they open our parcels?", her answering: "because Ceausescu ordered so" and me replying: "oh, I understand now! He wants to wreak vengeance on us. He is spiteful because he doesn't receive any". :-)

Ilaria is lucky, being born in a free country, where you can receive your parcel -  one entire parcel for yourself - complete and sealed.

But we are also lucky, as we lived in both worlds and we felt the difference!
I'm happy for that. For us, children of 80s, it was OK even back then, but don't ask our parents how tough was for them...

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Friday, October 22, 2010

This sweet mess of mine

Just in case you don't know what mess means, let me show you some. This is how my kitchen looks like, at this very moment:

This time it happened partially because of my cooking and partially because of this sweetie:
(old picture)
which now sleeps like the most innocent angel.
But there are some other reasons/persons in the house responsible for something similar..
Thanks God for my daily sweet mess. I'm grateful that I have people around me to make it (mess) for me and I have the strength to clean up (almost) every time :-)
P.S.: I've cooked chicken-breast Viennese schnitzel + red beet salad

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

1 tooth Bunny

On Friday, 15.10, the same day I've published this post, Ilaria became agitated. She was needing little food and sleep, but a lot of attention and to be held. We were at 2 days distance from the 1 year old vaccine and I was really starting to think: "they put something in this vaccine, so babies suddenly transform from angels into... something less sweet".
She stayed in this not-so-happy-baby stage until Sunday.
Since Monday she turned back being more cooperative, hungry and sleeeeepy as never before :-)

Today evening we've made it official: she has her 1st tooth. Location: down-center-left.

I didn't see it clearly, as she doesn't want to show it willingly, but I've felt it with my finger.
I think it will take me some time 'till I'll catch it in a picture..

I hope this was the reason of her agitation!
Anyway, our dear Ilaria got a new nickname - Bunny (Iepuras).
Happy biting, Bunny!

Kisses from us!

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Monday, October 18, 2010

She hearts reading

Many people's fate depends on having or not having a library in their parents's house. (my approximate translation of Edmondo de Amicis words)

Instead of being crowded because of the clothes that I would buy, our house is full of books usually bought by Adrian. We hardly find anymore a free place in the whole house for hiding them. So, from this point of view, Ilaria is on the safe side. She will have what to read in case that she will want to.
Seeing so many books around her from the moment she opened her eyes in this world, she already shows a strong addiction to books.

She loves to listen stories:

Sometimes she is so in love with a book / magazine, that she simply "devours" it:

Or she is eating it, just like this:

I'm OK with everything above, but something bothers me lately: she started to show the same reading orientation like her father does, being interested (too much for my taste) in the 2 most cynical and critical magazines existing on Romanian market - Catavencu & Kamikaze:

Ilaria, someday we will have a discussion on this theme. But until then, let's see the half full of the glass..

Oh, what a girl is our Ilaria!
So young and so interested in everything :-)

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Friday, October 15, 2010

No teeth? No problem!

Ilaria is 1 year old and she has no teeth yet. 
"How many teeth does she have?" is one of the question we are asked so often that we start thinking: "is it normal to be like it is?". And there are some more similar questions: "what words does she speak?", "does she walk alone?", "does she eat salty?", "does she eat 'normal' food".. and so on.
For the moment, we proudly answer all those questions with "no / none". I've heard so many mothers missing their children's baby stage, that I started to be grateful for being like it is.

Our pediatrician recommended the pine bud syrup in order to speed up teething. But we said "no, thank you". We are not in hurry to fulfill those steps which once done won't come back again. Toothless she is for a so short period; toothed she will be forever.
Meanwhile, she is fancy wearing her amber necklace, meant to calm her during teething

Necklace's lock being magnetic, it's rapidly unlocked by our brainy baby-girl, so sometimes she decides it's even better to play with the necklace, as long as the teeth are so long in coming. But that's OK, as long as there still is some skin contact :-)

Thank you Ilaria for thinking to your mother and deciding to stay a toothless baby for a little longer. You are wonderful as you are, my little girl!


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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fast and yummy pizza

This is the fastest pizza I know. It is fast because of its dough, made with backing powder instead of yeast.

What you need for dough:

On top of it you can put whatever you want / have / like.
This time I've used:

You butter the tray:

Mix all dough's ingredients until you obtain a not-sticking dough (maybe some extra flour is needed):

Stretch dough on all tray surface, creating an arisen margin

Then you start to put on top the other ingredients you have, starting with the sauce (in my case very simple - chopped tomatoes) and finishing with cheese

Then you cook it until the dough's margin and the cheese become golden.
Buon appetito!

This is a 4-5 persons pizza and it's delicious when it's warm. So when your family has not enough members for eating it at once, you invite some good friends which you know that usually have a lot of goodwill in helping you eating it.
Somebody there for testimony?
Haha! Let's see...

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Book: Of Mice And Men (John Steinbeck) - 9

I've just finished this book:

It's very good. Very well written. The best descriptions of landscapes, people and situations that you can get. Your imagination doesn't have to work hard, as Steinback did all the hard work writing a marvelous book.
If you are interested in real life of Americans during the Great Depression in the 1920s, I highly recommend this book.
It has a feature for busy people: it's short - you need about 5 hours to read it.
But being a drama, it's not nice. No, not at all...

On a scale from 1 (worst) to 10 (best) I give it a 9.

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Monday, October 11, 2010

Ilaria is 1

The days are long, but the years are short.

Our sweet little treasure who last year on 10.10 answered our prayers and came into our lives:

just turned 1 year old yesterday:

She had a great birthday party and was very happy.

Thank you, Ilaria, for bringing so much joy into our lives.

We are so rich having you!

I'll love you forever,
I'll like you for always,
As long as I'm living
my baby you'll be.

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thank you, nice people on the streets!

There are so many days when I'm in such a hurry: to cook, to clean, to wash dishes, to make laundry, to iron, to buy, to visit, to meet, to plan, to order,... 
During the day I don't even realize it. Even worse, sometimes I wish that Ilaria sleeps longer over the day, so I could fulfill more chores. Then the evening comes and regrets are there too: "oh, no; that was another day I didn't take enough time just for looking in Ilaria's eyes."

But there are some really nice people on the streets. They know to smile and to enjoy a baby. They smile passing by us. Or they even stop to address few words to us. Usually they are old people, probably grandparents. And they are of really great help for me. They make me realize how blessed I am. They say "Oh, what a cute baby!". Then I think to myself: "Really? Let me check it!" And then I slow down the rush I'm into and take time to enjoy the miracle of this curious pair of blue eyes:

Thanks to you, nice people out there.
Thank you for the smile.
I wish I'll give it back to you someday and you'll appreciate it as much as I do now!

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Another dream came true

From the moment I laid my eyes on this painting,

I totally felt in love with it. Looking at it I was dreaming a lot, asking myself if such moments of joy were meant for me to be lived. Would I ever have to help my own children learn walking? Would I ever have children? We even changed its place on the walls, finally putting it near our bed, hoping that if we would spend longer time near it, the dream will come true. And surprise! It helped!
(Ilaria was born on 10.10.2009)

On Saturday Ilaria was playing her favorite game: cleaning the space around her by throwing toy by toy from the bed on the floor. Meanwhile I was reading for her a story from a nice book. Out of the tail of my eye I've caught a glimpse of her taking the very first 3 gorgeous steps.

On Sunday, after running  through the house together with her new friend, the red basin, for around 1/2 hour,

Adrian shouted full of admiration: "She is walking!"
And here she is, happy as only a baby or a child can be:

So this was another dream of mine just coming true. Hope there are more and more to follow!
Kisses from a happy mother!

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