Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Chow time! - Sobaka & Zoe
My last post was 10 day ago?!  Where does the time go???  Wow.....busy, busy, always soooooo busy.  I am grateful that it is a "good busy", but busy nonetheless.  I can without doubt, say that we have adjusted to having a doggie.  Although, I must say, Sobaka is such a good dog that the adjustment period (minus her 3 nights in the hospital) has been a breeze.  Sobaka follows us everywhere, she is amazing with Madeline and so unbelievably mild-mannered.  Even the cats are getting used to having Sobaka around. Zoe, our cat that was inherited from my mom, is the most skittish cat on the planet and yet even Zoe will eat side by side with Sobaka (although I have since had to move the cat food because Sobaka is eating the cat food).  Sobaka also took her first road trip with us to visit David's parents in Indiana.  It was nice to be able to travel with a pet.  Sobaka was also able to go with us on visits to David's mom in the rehabilitation home.  Sobaka was amazing there much so that I would consider having her certified to be a therapy dog.  I have to admit that we were very apprehensive about taking on the responsibility of a dog but we are so happy that we did. Oh, and by the way, Sobaka is also getting spoiled by her aunt and cousin.  My niece, Becky, and her boyfriend, Zac, mailed a care package for Sobaka.  It included a rope pull toy and this "beer bottle" chew toy.  Hmmmm....great way to train Sobaka how to fetch us a beer - HA!  And my sister, Marysia, also sent something to Buffalo today with her husband Mike when he came to town to visit his parents.  Sobaka is looking forward to seeing what kind of goodies Aunt Marysia sent.
Fetch me a beer!

Classmates at Christina's 40th
My blog followers might recall that I celebrated my 40th birthday in June.  I can somehow be in denial about that, yet it makes it difficult to be in denial when all my friends from grade school/high school are also turning 40!  I am pretty sure my friend, Christina, is the youngest of my classmates and so I just recently attended her 40th birthday party.  In general, I would say that not many people keep in touch with anyone from grade school.  However, many of us DO keep in touch after all these years.  Here is a photo of me and 3 of my grade school classmates at Christina's party. (clockwise: Me, Mary Kay, Christina & Tracy)

I have also been busy organizing my new business.  I am in the midst of launching things and organizing my operation.  I might be recruiting *your* help to launch....placing an order, hosting a taste-testing party OR (great for out-of-towners) a catalog party.  Stay tuned for more Tastefully Simple news....

Mailing artwork to Aunt Mushie
Madeline is  growing in leaps and bounds.  I can't believe that she'll be 5 years old in only 6 days!  She is so interested in the beginning letter of words.  She is learning how to write her name - she hasn't quite mastered it because "Madeline" is a long name, but she gets close.  Today, however, out of the blue and completely unassisted, she said, "I wrote your name".  I looked over and read the word, "Mama".  Awwwwww!!!!!  Madeline is (for her age)  also so amazingly good at drawing.  I've said it before and I'll say it again, that girl has talent.  Her drawings for her age are so detailed.  I love her creations!  Madeline likes to have me mail out her work to various people.  I believe in this photo, Madeline is putting a picture in the mail for Aunt Marysia.  If you notice in the background of the picture, Madeline is just in time, as the mail truck is making its way up our street.

Costume #1 (Thanks Aunt Margaret!)
As I mentioned, we recently went to Indiana to visit David's family.  I brought along the pieces and parts to put together Madeline's Halloween costume while we were away but that didn't happen.  We arrived home from our trip late on Wednesday.  The lack of a costume wasn't a huge issue since Madeline's school party wasn't until Friday and Halloween isn't until Saturday.  I had forgotten, however, that her library story hour was having a Halloween thing Thursday morning.  I wasn't about to send Madeline to the library without her costume so we decided to have Madeline dress in her flapper dress that Madeline has in her dress-up clothes collection (courtesy of Aunt Margaret).  By Thursday night I decided that I will NEVER commit to making a costume again but, since I already committed, I spent Thursday evening sewing "fur" to create  Madeline's cat costume.  Despite the fact that my actual handi-work was crappy, I think the kitty costume turned out pretty good.  Madeline enjoyed her Halloween Party at school today.  She came home with enough candy to feed an army and she still gets to look forward to trick-or-treating.  And so, Sunday, you will see this little kitty roaming the streets and begging for candy.  Following nearby will be her best friend, Sobaka, in her costume too!

MEOW! Costume #2 - (Mama's creation)

Enjoying a story at school

Sobaka is ready to trick or treat!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Commercial Break

I last created a blog post on October 5th but it seems like a LIFETIME ago!  In those two weeks our new doggie, Sobaka, was very sick with double pneumonia and spent three nights in the hospital. (I am happy to say that she is now home and doing much better  (although I have to wrestle with Sobaka twice a day to give her medication)  Also, over the past two weeks, I started my own business........and thus, this "commercial break" post.

I am now an independent contractor for Tastefully Simple. Attending a friend’s at-home taste-tasting party began my love affair with Tastefully Simple.  Who doesn’t enjoy an evening of great food, great friends and laughter?  But more than that, I was thoroughly impressed with each sample offered that evening.  As I began to prepare the Tastefully Simple products I purchased at my friend’s party, I realized that the food was not only delicious but also easy to prepare.  Certainly I loved the simplicity of only needing two or fewer ingredients to prepare a delectable dish.  As a busy stay-at-home mom, I undoubtedly appreciated the convenience of Tastefully Simple.  

Whether you live locally or on the other side of the country, you may place an order on my personal website (CLICK HERE!) and it will be shipped directly to you in 10 business days.  With the entertaining and party-attending season just around the corner, time to stock up on superb products that require only two or fewer ingredients to make!  This means you will have more time enjoying your food than you will preparing it!  I must say that one of my favorites is the Absolutely Almond Pound Cake.  It is to die for and sooooo easy to make!  Having delicious & easy to make items to serve at or bring to a party make things so much more convenient.  Certainly, Tastefully Simple offers excellent opportunities for gift giving too.....perfect for Secret Santa gifts.

For my out-of-state blog followers, you can earn Tastefully Simple rewards towards free product by organizing a catalog/online party!  If you live locally, I would love to do a taste-testing party with you and a bunch of your friends/family.  Great food, great friends AND hostess rewards....what can top that?  If you would like additional information, you can email me at

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Comfort Food

Comfort in food...yep, that's me.  It's part of my upbringing.  Is it my Polish blood? Maybe.  Or maybe it is just my more immediate familial food fetish background.  It's no secret that my side of the family are foodies!  And it wasn't until I sat down for dinner that I realized I was cooking up a storm, I guess, in search of that perfect comfort food.

You see, our new little doggie, Sobaka, is currently on night two in the hospital.  It looks as though Sobaka picked up kennel cough during her stay at the SPCA.  Although this in itself is not uncommon, the kennel cough progressed to pneumonia.  It has only been a week with Sobaka and yes, we are already attached.  And, yes, I am worried.  Yes, I miss her.  And thus, the comfort food.

Earlier today, I made homemade cranberry sauce.  Hmmmmm.....what to make for dinner?  Gosh, I haven't had breaded pork chops in ages.  Madeline was bugging me to "make the recipe" with me and so I gave her a learning experience and had her bread the pork chops. As the pork chops were in the oven I prepared an apple pie which was stuck in the oven as we ate dinner. For dinner, I served the pork chops with with the cranberries, applesauce, green beans and (boxed) potatoes au gratin.  Nah, nothing too fancy or swanky.  Just everyday ole cookin'.  Very everyday but as I sat down for dinner, I looked at my plate and thought that it looked *exactly* like a meal I might have had as a child.  And so, in hindsight, I realized that I busied myself in the kitchen to take my mind off of Sobaka.  Get well soon little doggie.  We love you already!

Friday, October 1, 2010

It's A Girl!

We've added to our family! No, not a baby.  She is actually almost 3 years old.  Oh, wait, I should probably tell you that our new girl is a doggie!

I am not quite sure why but over the past few weeks I have gotten the itch for another pet.  I was open to another kitty OR a dog.  Kitty cats are so much fun and they are very easy to care for.  With cats, you can simply leave for a long weekend. Just put out food, water and fresh litter and the cats will take care of themselves.  Dogs, on the other hand, can be spazs and require a lot more work.  Although, both David and I grew up with dogs and hoped to one day provide that same experience for Madeline.

I was leaning towards to kitty option.  My Uncle Tom has been raising little kitties (bottle feeding - that's how young they are).  I almost had David convinced that we *needed* to see one of the little kitties.  I figured it would be perfect timing because when the kitty was old enough and strong enough to come home it would be  right near Madeline's birthday.  Well, to make a long story short, the kitty that we were considering didn't get strong enough and passed away.  However, in the process of considering this kitty I got attached to the idea of bringing home another "family member".  So what's a girl to do now??  Go to the SPCA, of course!

Tuesday, Madeline and I headed  to the SPCA.  This isn't the 1st time she and I poked around there.  Before we even left the house, Madeline kept telling me, "I want a dog! I want a doggie!"  Trust me, we didn't get a dog just because Madeline wanted one but when we found the *right* dog, it certainly didn't hurt the cause.  I, however, was trying to convince Madeline before we left the house that she did not want a dog, she really wanted a cat.  She was too funny though because Madeline had an answer for everything.

The conversation went something like this:

"Madeline, why do you think we should get a dog?"
"Because I never had a dog"
"Madeline, we don't always get everything we want."
"Mama, Cinderella has Lucifer (cat) and Bruno (dog) and I want a dog."
"Madeline, dogs are a lot of work.  They need to be fed and walked."
"I can take a doggie for a walk."
"Doggies don't go poopie in a litter box.  Doggies go outside.  What if the doggie poops in the back yard near your swing set?"
"The dog can poop on a walk"
"Well, Madeline, we'd still have to clean up the poop"
"You can clean it up, Mama"
"ME????  Why couldn't YOU clean it up?"
"Mammmmaaaaa....I am just a little girl! Little girls *can't* pick-up poop! I might get dirty!"

And like I said.....she had an answer, albeit a 4 yr old's version, for everything.

When we arrived at the SPCA, the first corridor of doggies had a lot of pit bull mixes.  All I have to say  on that is....NO WAY! I know that there are good pit bulls out there bu I am not willing to take the risk.  Madeline and I saw a bunch of tiny yappers and spazzy, drooly dogs too.  We rounded the corner to a doggie with really interesting colors not only in the fur but the eyes too.  The dogs name at the SPCA was Cindy (although we renamed her).  I opened the half-door to pet Cindy and when most big dogs jump up, spaz-out, and drool all over the place, this doggie very politely jumped up.  When I pet her she leaned her head to the side and right into my hand.  She was just looking for love.

Next, I asked if I could walk the dog.  Cindy was scheduled to go out on the Whisker Wag'n (mobile adoption unit brought out to various pet stores to increase an animal's exposure) so I only had a couple of minutes to walk her.  Cindy walked great on the leash.  Madeline was so excited about walking the dog that I began to see how nice this type of addition would be to our family.  While outside, I told Cindy to sit & lay and she listened. Obviously, this doggie had obedience training.  Also, when she laid down, the dog rolled onto its back in a submissive manner. Madeline ran around and the doggie was excited about Madeline but did not become overly riled.  Cindy remained gentle mannered.  This really was a good dog.  Okay.....time to call David.

So David's big question to me was, "Are you asking me to bring home a dog that I never met??"  Okay, fair question but I knew that this gal wouldn't be around long.  She would get a home fast!  The SPCA offered me to hold the dog for 24 hours but I was afraid that if we weren't really serious enough about bringing a dog home that Cindy would miss out on going on the Whisker Wag'n and miss out an opportunity to be adopted.  So, it was decided that I would let the doggie go on the Wag'n but that David would meet Madeline and me after work at the pet store that was hosting the Whisker Wag'n.

Madeline and I got to the Wag'n first and the first words out of my mouth were, "Is Cindy still here"?  Although someone was very interested in adopting the dog, the SPCA couldn't approve the adoption because the girl still lived at home.  And so, it was meant to be, I guess.  We took the doggie into the pet store for a walk around with David.  For a long time we thought, talked, and considered.  David and I both knew that if we were to get a dog, THIS dog was perfect.  She's laid back, gentle, great with Madeline, etc, etc.  The question was are we ready for a dog?  Again, watching Madeline interact with Cindy was melting our hearts.  Finally, we decided to move forward.

I must say, Madeline has a new best friend.  The first night after Madeline went to bed, the dog sat with me and David for a while.  Eventually the dog disappeared and we just figured she was exploring the house.  I finally decided to check what the dog was up to and she was sleeping in the doorway to Madeline's room.  Every night since she has been home (since Tuesday) the doggie has slept somewhere in Madeline's room.  Madeline has made tea parties for, played outside with, read to, and narrated tours (in the car) for the dog.  Out of the blue, Madeline will turn to the dog and say, "I have to tell you something very important doggie. I love you sooooo much!"  Now when I pick Madeline up from school the first thing she does is question the whereabouts of  the doggie.  Going forward, I am sure you'll be hearing much more about Madeline's new sidekick.

And now, I guess I should tell you doggie's name.  In the spirit of being part of Madeline, we decided to name our new little Australian Shepherd (mix?) "Sobaka" which is Russian for dog.  Welcome Home, Sobaka!