Thursday, November 22, 2012


Happy Thanksgiving! 
We have come to really appreciate this holiday. We figure we will celebrate it wherever we happen to end up. It is nice to have a reason to spend time with family, appreciate what we have in life and eat some great food! All without having to worry about gift giving. 
Our Thanksgiving is still very novel. And small. We spent it with our immediate family. Luc was responsible for preparing the appetizers - cheese, fruit, pate, olives... Mietta chose the flowers for the table and Nic helped set the table. Paul was responsible for the Turkey, dressing and gravy. I made the side dishes: green beans, candied yams, mashed potato. We made a cranberry pie for dessert. 

We went for a family walk between appetizers and the main meal. 
For aperitifs, Paul and I drank a version of Kir Royale made with Chambord and Champagne while the children drank italian soda. Wine with dinner for us - sparkling apple and grape juice for the kids. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Trick or Treat

Kids leaving to go trick or treating... meeting Mario on the way
Paul and I had a very busy couple of days, madly attempting to finish Luc's Minecraft Creeper costume before he had to wear it trick-or-treating. Luc made a start on his costume on the weekend, but I realized very fast that there was a certain symmetry and precision required - much more the domain of Luc's parents! 
I cut the cardboard and assembled the basic structure (thank you IKEA for your packaging). Paul spray-painted the surfaces using random masking and several paint colors to achieve the 'pixelated' look of a Creeper. The remaining texture was achieved with lots of squares of colored paper glued to the surface. Luc was amazed when he got home from school and saw the (almost) result of our hard work. 
The costume definitely made an impact and Luc received many compliments. 
This year, Nic decided he wanted to be Boba Fett, and Mietta chose to be Bumblebee from Transformers

Sunday, October 14, 2012


A birthday poster for a very 'Hello Kitty' party

Monday, October 8, 2012

Superhero Miles

Poster created for a Superhero Miles for his 3rd Superhero Birthday Party. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Our hungry little caterpillar turns 4!

I LOVE Summer birthday parties. These are so much easier to deal with than Winter parties that so often have to occur indoors in our climate. 

Mietta celebrated her birthday with a Hungry Caterpillar birthday party. Just 24 hours prior, it was going to be a tea party... but then a change of plans as I didn't think the little boys would cope so well... and besides, we had a hard time finding old teacups and saucers at the local thrift shops. I had always secretly wanted to do a Hungry Caterpillar Party - and I figured this would be my last chance! 

Our cupcakes easily transitioned into a caterpillar cake. Eric Carle made planning the rest of a Caterpillar party menu foolproof - as the whole menu is listed in his book and is very straightforward: apples, oranges, plums, pears, strawberries, watermelon, pizza, salami, cherry pie... easy! 

Once Mietta saw her cake, she was sold on the idea - PHEW!
I made some pizza dough and made pesto and tomato and pepperoni pizzas, bought some salami, swiss cheese, cornichons (for pickles) and a readymade cherry pie. 
 A quick trip to our local International Market helped to fill our Goodie Bags with exotic treats: puffed rice, mango jelly, rice crackers, milk caramels, ginger chews... and of course, Lollypops (from the book). 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

puppy impact

The kids LOVE their dog!
Rascal has become a real focus for our family... in more ways than one. 
The boys have been using Rascal as a theme for just about EVERYTHING they write about at school. Puppy books are the most often borrowed from the library. We seem to be watching more of 'Wishbone', 'Underdog' and the 'Buddies' movie series...  
One of Luc's school projects required he make a collage of an 'adventure'. Of course, Luc chose the subject of Rascal's disappearance - as Rascal chased deer through the forest early one morning. The collage and short story detailed Luc's subsequent upsetting recovery mission as he first loses his dog, then himself. Rascal returned home first, and then a tearful, scratched but ultimately relieved Luc. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Back to school...

School is back! 
Mietta starts her final year at preschool. Luc commences 3rd grade, while Nic begins 1st grade. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

latest crop of rum sum sum...

Here are some of the latest rum sum sum creations...
definition shirt for Milena
stars and stripes for basile
ben's birthdate shirt
onesie for a new Korean-American baby
definition shirt for james

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


This blog's essence was life-altering events. And, boy... have we had a few of those over the years. It would seem appropriate therefore, to tackle the blog-post-drought with news of a new addition to our family... Rascal.

The kids have wanted a dog for a very long time, and have been trying all sorts of ways to try and convince me that we need one. I have been very anti-pet as I knew who would end up looking after the pet after the initial excitement wore off. Yes. Me. Besides, the kids CANNOT keep their toys well enough together to prevent being a risk for an animal.

However, Luc surprised me this Summer, with the diligence and responsibility he exhibited while dog-sitting some neighbor's dogs. I was most impressed.

Paul informed Luc that he should attempt to wear me down with constant requests for a dog - not all the time, just once per day... but EVERY day without fail. Out of frustration one day, I told Luc he could have a dog if he could ride his bike. Luc has been very slow to warm to bike-riding. Upon hearing this *obviously* flippant comment, Luc dragged his bike from the garage and attacked bike-riding with abandon!

My bluff had been called... so I did what any person in my position would do - I began stalling. As my stalling tactics began to be met by a growing angst, I began researching, to try and determine the best-breed-fit for our family. Paul and I both grew up with working dogs - various combinations of Border Collies, Kelpies, Blue Heelers and other *smart* dogs. Neither of us could abide the thought of a *dumb* dog... but also wondered how-on-earth we could keep a working dog happy in a house setting.

I did some online owner-dog-match surveys - and one came up with the best match as an Australian Shepherd. Of course, the name appealed. I found out a little more, and they did seem ideal... and particularly more so when Paul suggested a Beagle - and I uncovered how full of 'doggy-odor' Beagles can be, and how they like to howl and to dig. Uh ah.

I did still have an issue with size. The smart working dogs from Paul's and my childhood - were OUTSIDE dogs. I have always had somewhat of an aversion to dogs living indoors. The weather we experience, living where we do, demands that dogs live INDOORS. Impasse.

...Then, I found out there were miniature versions of Australian Shepherds, AND there were breeders in Virginia! I wrote to a few and they were all very helpful with their comments and suggestions. We thought we could at least *look* at some to see how big they actually were, and assess the breed's temperament for ourselves.

We visited Circle A Farm, north of Culpeper, and met Alice and her lovely, friendly and good-looking dogs. We were all smitten. We were lucky enough to see some just-born puppies in a litter that was arriving during our visit. Nic and Mietta were quite intrigued with these 'squeaky puppies'. Luc became quite attached to a young 4 month-old puppy named Rascal. Alice had originally intended to keep Rascal for breeding, but had since decided to sell as she had obtained another sire from a different bloodline.

As we were there on an investigative mission only, and had no intention of buying immediately, Alice suggested we could take Rascal home for a week, to see if he might be a good fit. We told her we would think about it as we extracted Rascal from Luc's embrace.

Much debate ensued on the drive home, and for the rest of Sunday. We could see the benefits of a 'mostly' house-trained young pup and decided we would give it a try... Hence, Rascal came to stay with us on Monday. After two days of his lovely disposition and nature... seeing Luc bond... and appreciating how smart Rascal is, we decided he'd be a keeper.

Hence, Rascal is now part of our family. Mietta now has the 'little brother' she wanted - without any of the drama that would result if she actually had a little brother (Mietta cannot abide any children younger than herself - she refers to them as 'stinky babies').

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Colton is two!

Poster created to celebrate the super-cute Colton turning two!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Ben the Birthday Boy

Poster for a very fun and spectacular fourth birthday party. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

find those eggs!

Another egg hunt in our garden! Great fun 
The dogwoods are in bloom. These are the state tree for Virginia and are truly stunning. 

An absence of (authentic) Hot Cross Buns in this country saw me desperate enough to make my very first batch. Although time-consuming, these were well worth the effort. Yum! 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Curious Case of Curious George...

image from:
My children are clued-in to the fact that Curious George is not a monkey. He doesn't have a tail. After all... all the monkeys at the Lincoln Park Zoo had tails! Perhaps George suffered an amputation... perhaps this is the reason that he is able to get away with so much: being considered 'disabled' and therefore people treading lightly around his *disability*.

The 'Man-in-the-yellow-hat' is affable yet clearly an eccentric. This is obviously a very good trait when dealing with those inflicted with a heavy dose of 'curiosity'. I wish I had an ounce of his patience dealing with my kids - I really don't consider theft, havoc and the resultant mayhem and pandemonium that seems to revolve around George with as much glee or humor as the Man-in-the-yellow-hat seems to muster with George's transgressions. I do wish I could however.

I am surprised that, living in this country, the Man-in-the-yellow-hat has not been hit with a huge lawsuit for some of George's misdemeanors. I have come to the conclusion that the man in the yellow hat is independently wealthy. This would explain his ability to keep a monkey, a weekend retreat in the country, not appear to have to work, ability to pay out-of-hand reparations for George's catastrophes, and the luxury of time to support his miriad hobbies: long-distance running, exploration, art, space travel... Actually, the man in the yellow hat might be quite a catch?!?!

My husband Paul, sent me a link to Werner Herzog reading Curious George. I had a chuckle!