Friday, July 9, 2010

no worries, i'll use a t-shirt or the longest post in the history of all blog posts!

my father-in-law, dave, asked me today if i was ready to go home yet. he was making small talk while he did the dishes and i edited my millionth photo of the day. the answer to his question fell out of my mouth before i even had time to think about what i wanted to say and process what i actually did say. i spoke before i thought.

i answered, "no, i'm not ready to leave yet!"

my answer surprised me. not because i don't love being in michigan with my family, but because i am such a homebody that i am constantly telling somebody, anybody how much i miss my bed, pillow, the beach, my best friend, my kitchen, my routine...

every once in awhile i'll throw in something like this for good measure...

"it would be nice to get back home a few days early. then, i could go through the closets, clean the kitchen cupboards, bleach the base boards, finally have my wedding dress packaged up professionally and put away, sort the kids clothes, fill photo albums..."

yeah right. that'll happen... blah. blah. blah. not so much. if i had some free time, i'm pretty sure i wouldn't spend it cleaning or sorting. i save those things for normal run of the mill days.

in reality, if i had free time, i would plan a bbq or hit the beach for a sunset. planning a bbq would inspire me to clean the house before friends came by. nothing like a dinner at my house with friends to get my house in order!!!

it totally dawned on me how much fun i've been having. i love being here. i love that even though we have to work while we are here, somewhere deep inside of me likes to pretend this is a month long vacation.

i love that my sister, elaina comes by almost daily just to hang with me and the kids. today she watched me...(drum roll) clean and sort the closet in the kids room. it took me a couple of hours and i couldn't believe how much more fun it was to have my sister sitting in that room with me.

we talked about what we always talk what we cooked for dinner last night. what we're cooking tonight. what we want to cook next week? what we want to learn how to cook.

we trade recipes, ideas, and then she promises me that she will help me master my mom's homemade pie crust. she also promises to make me a homemade carrot cake. i've heard it weighs 5 pounds. it's an urban legend i have never actually tasted the cake. honestly though, who needs to be eating a 5 pound carrot cake?! not me. well, if she made it, it would be rude not to try it.

she's the baker and i'm the older sister who throws food together like macgyver. our culinary chats bind us together. if we ever get into a disagreement and i'm not sure how to start the conversation...i just ask her what she's making for dinner and if i really want to get on her good side, i ask her for the recipe. ha. i love her.

things i've learned this week:

1. the kids never sleep in at sito and gido's house. it's too fun here, so i'm always tired.
2. extra large hane's t-shirts make wonderful pillow cases. dude, it works in a pinch if your not sure where the clean ones are kept.
3. unhappy people can be hurtful and that sucks for the people just living life...happily!
4. strawberries really can taste like a decadent piece of dessert if your hungry enough.
5. gaining two pounds doesn't bother me as much here as it does at home. home cooked meals with a larger crowd at the dinner table makes it nearly impossible not to enjoy every. little. thing. eating clean again and it feels so much better!
6. beckham is one step closer to being a teenager...he doesn't cuddle with me as often and he has a new attitude. he calls everyone, 'mister.' "hey mister, i wanted chocolate milk not white. and i want it HOT!" yeah, many chats and timeouts around here these days. oh, but i love him to pieces.

okay, random thoughts over and out.

okay photos from our family reunion: the golabki 2010.

when my husband's side of the family come together for a few days to share old traditions and share space. it's always fun with new memories made.

the golabki is a golfing thing, but since i'm not into golf, it's a few days to see family we don't often get to see; a time to visit the little towns surrounding the cottage we stay in. the little northern towns of harbor springs and petoskey, mi are charming and quaint...kind of like out of a storybook.

they are two places that i would recommend anyone visit. it is so beautiful and lush with that small hometown feel. i miss it already. petoskey is my favorite of the two, but harbor is home to tom's mom's cookies. jenn took me there for the first time this year. we happened to find a parking spot in front of the little pink house/shop and we could smell the sweetness before we even opened our car door.

they have 17 different kinds of cookies, have been featured on rachel ray, and they DELIVER!!!

even more special then the little towns we visit during the golabki, are the cousins that get together and play for three days. we have two groups of cousins; the younger kids and the dad's to the younger kids! dad's play poker and golf and the kids jump on the trampoline & eat lots of food!

fyi: the golabki is a themed event. can you guess what the theme was this year?
peyton's sophie!
beckham's little griffin!
big guys spence and derek!
kinsey is still the most fun cousin according to all the kids! they can't get enough of her.

watching these kids grow up together is...well, i can't find the words that make it meaningful enough. it fills me up with love and hope and
assures me that we are going to have a fab time with these kids for years to come. they are growing up so quickly that sometimes i feel
like our girls sophia and peyton know something we don't and they are planning their big coming out party.

it's happening so quickly. our little babies, the ones we celebrated in our bellies just three weeks apart. the girls we could only dream
of being blessed with! could life have gotten any better when we both delivered surprise girls days of each other.
oh, i remember that day like it was yesterday. i watched as jenn covered her mouth in surprise and jumped up
and down in excitment as she saw the tiny pink and orange hat crowning what could only be a daughter in her
warming bed at the hospital mere moments after she was born. we did what any mama of new baby girls would do...
we dressed them in pink and then we planned that they would be best friends, they would share the biggest experiences of life together,
grow together & love one another.

well, it feel like it is officially happening now as our girls are headed to kindergarten this fall. it doesn't seem remotely possible that it's been
five years since my little one kept me up with around the clock feedings every two hours or acid reflux so bad that her father and i would
run around the house frantic, me crying, him screaming...someone help her pain go away.

we are so proud of our girl(s). peyton and her cousin, sophia!
see how they've grown... 2008 golabki pic & 2009 golabki pic

and the mama's like to take one night of the golabki to have dinner downtown. this year it was only jenn and i, but we had fun even if most
of the laughing was done in the bathroom while being stared out for taking self-portraits without shame.

we had a ball. we traveled the road less traveled and found a little tiny seafood restaurant just down the road from the house. from the
imported italian olive oil to the shared app of tempura was divine! jenn and i always find something to smile about and this
night was no different than any other.
my tip of the week for a tired mama: red lipstick, a fedora and your 'jenn.'
it provides just the boost you need for a good time and you can still be home
in time to tuck the kiddies in:)
*oh, and grab the camera! something to show your daughters
and sons..."when mama was young-proof." photo proof we lived it up back in the day even if
living it up means a quick dinner and a few goofy pics on the porch of a seafood restaurant in
the middle of the woods!

need i say more?
peyton doesn't seem to care what gender she is working with when she decides to open 'peyton's day spa!' if your around, she pulls you down
and the pampering begins.

i grabbed this pic after hearing beckham lovingly say that he didn't want to look like a girl. peyton responded with, "don't worry beckham.
you won't! i'll take it off before daddy comes home." yup, that's pretty much how it went down!

while we are in michigan, we do catch up on lots of fun things with the family we don't often see throughout the year...
we visit umo joe and cook ethnic food with sito and gido...
becks helping daddy make burgers.
gido's famous salad that takes him hours to prepare. so good.
sito's raw, i have never tried this but people around here seem to love it.

we visit my grandpa, one of the best people i have ever known. he is my biggest cheerleader!
he spoiled us with love and oreo cookies when we were younger, now he does the same with my kids.
he's always laughing and he makes my girl laugh right along with him. these pics melt me. little evie is a tad nervous i believe;)
he's just happy we are there to visit and we feel it the moment we walk in the door and here him say, "hi honey! i've missed you girls."
he says the same thing every time and it's just so comforting. what a wonderful grandpa.

one of the things that is so special about his little apartment is the picture wall he created long before picture walls
graced the glossy pages of pottery barn. he decided to fill three walls from ceiling to carpet of photos he had collected
throughout the years. it is beautiful, always a work in progress. as many times as i have studied that wall, i find a
photo i am convinced i hadn't seen before.

i think my whole life is on that wall...
my mom, far right.
front and center: heather, elaina, and i in our backyard on campbell street. i remember the day our mom asked us to carry
tomatoes from her garden and pose for a photo with her brand new 35mm camera!!!

looks like my peyton, but it's heather and i with me in front.

if you can, go hug or call your grandparents today. it just may make your day...and theirs too!

and lastly, (whew) lots of family this post, but here is a recipe...for garbage!!! it's so good.
i cook a lot of dishes that my mom prepared for us as children. she had six kids, a tight budget, and an
electric skillet that worked overtime getting us kids fed and out the door before our church.

i love the comfort of this food and i find it delicious and i hope you enjoy it as well if you try it!

you will need one head of cabbage, chopped (any kind you prefer)
i package of polish sausage or what i used because my kids love it, beef kielbasa, sliced 1/2" thick.
one box mrs. t's cheddar and onion pierogis, defrosted. (homemade ones are even better)
olive oil (can use butter) or a mixture of both
chicken broth optional
diced onion

i do this in shifts and with two pans. it's easier and takes less time for me.

first, i lightly brown the onions in a pan with one tablespoon olive oil or butter. when done, remove the onions
and set aside on a plate.

next,add another tablespoon olive oil to the same pan. add the chopped and rinsed cabbage. over medium heat,
brown the caggage letting it soften slowly. season with sea salt and white pepper. when soft, about 10 minutes,
add 1/4 cup of broth to cabbage and cover pan with a lid. i like to use broth over more oil, but you can
do what works for you.

at this time, defrost the frozen pierogi by placing them in big bowl of hot water for about 5 minutes.
dry and set aside.

in the second pan, brown the sausage to your liking. when done, add the onions and sausage to the cabbage.

using the pan you used to brown the sausage, add a little oil or butter. place the defrosted pierogi inside and
let brown on each side. i gently season them with garlic salt but be careful, the sausage is salty and we already
added s&p to the cabbage so be sure to taste your food as you are cooking it.

when the pierogi are golden and warm, add them to the cabbage and sausage pot.

this has a few steps, but it's really easy. the best part about this recipe is, it has something for everyone.
i like the cabbage and could just eat that. my husband could live on the pierogi and my kids pretty much
go after the sausage...add ketchup!

lastly lastly...
i had some questions on what i used for skin smoothing and eye brightening after the last HDP Q&A post.

for eye brightening in adobe photoshop cs4, i use the dodge tool and enhance the natural catch light already
visible in the eye. i try to keep it natural. a little goes a long way and if i've done a good job with exposure & lighting,
the eyes won't need to be brightened all that much (or at all). well, at least that is what i've been told. ha.

for skin smoothing, i use the pro retouch brush from totally rad. it's the one i use because i have it, but there
are many, many ways to smooth the skin.

again, i try to keep it more natural by doing using a 'paint-by-number' approach to the smoothing or correcting.
most of the time, i only smooth what needs to be smoothed. scars, bumpiness, uneven skin tone, blemishes,...

you don't want that plastic look, but i know i have done it myself. it takes practice, something i am trying
get right as well!

hope this helps. this is just what i am doing, i am sure there are other/better/more correct ways but this is
what i am doing for now.

a little before and after using retouch...

(for lightroom users, i use the skin smoothing adj. brush at low opacity.)



«Oldest   ‹Older   601 – 557 of 557
«Oldest ‹Older   601 – 557 of 557   Newer› Newest»