Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Almost Here

Hubbie and kids are all off from work and school. I am so excited to spend 2 weeks with them. And I can't wait for Christmas. I still get so excited to see what I am going to get, and to see my kids and husband's reaction as they open their presents. When I was a child, Christmas was always so magical to me, even though I hardly got anything. I only got one simple present, and sometimes it was one present to share with one of my sisters. It didn't bother me though. I was very nice to spend time with my whole family (we went to my uncle's farm every year with everybody), and eat yummy turkey, ham, Bacalhau, rabanadas, Pudim, Manja de Coco, etc. It was also nice to act the Nativity with my cousins, and watch Roberto Carlos on TV until midnight. I spent Christmas in Guapimirim (where the farm was) for 18 years until I came to the U.S. I was always the best time of the year for me.
Today my family has lots of new traditions (mostly American), but I still make Rabanadas (kind of like French Toasts). My kids and husband love it. And I miss Brazil more than any other time. My family was so close, and how I wish I could spend Christmas with them the way we used to. Time goes on though. And I am really happy with my new traditions.

Friday, December 11, 2009

What a Blessing

Yesterday Raphael wrote his name for the first time. I didn't even know he could write letters yet. His hand coordination has improved so much this past month. I was fascinated to see how beautiful his handwriting is for his age. He was so proud of himself! I sat on the couch and watched Julianna teaching him letter sounds and how to read. She was so patient and loving. And he is so teachable. At moments like this I feel so grateful for my little angels and the joy they bring to my life. Being a parent is so hard, but when we see our children showing love one to another it is the greatest feeling.

I had an OB/GYN appointment yesterday. The baby is doing great and the heartbeat was around 154. It's always so good to be reassured the baby is ok. Julianna asked me after the appointment if the Dr. could see any junk in the baby's stomach. I said, "no, why do you ask?" She answered, "you've been eating so much junk lately that I was worried the baby would be eating junk too." Ok, it was a wake up call. :-) I do need to eat better and exercise more. First trimester is over so I am feeling energetic and a lot less sick. Today I re-joined the gym and even did 30 minutes of elliptical. Raphael was thrilled to be back at the gym's childcare. He loves it.

Below are pictures of the urine gender test I took at 13 and 16 weeks. They basically turned out the same color, which is not really a boy color or a girl color. The test says that If your urine has turned green to dark/smoky green, you are having a boy. If your urine stays relatively unchanged or turns a deeper yellow or orange, you are having a girl. What do you guys think?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Facts About The Sun

We were in the car and the sun looked huge when it was about to set and it looked almost as if we were driving into it. Raphael asked, "are we driving into the sun?" I said, "no, the sun is a giant fireball, we would burn", then Michael said, "actually the sun has no fire at all, it's mostly hydrogen with some helium..." then I said, "but on fire", he corrected me again, "there is no oxygen out there, how would there be fire?" Ugh...
Then I went to Wikipedia and he was right. The sun is hot because of nuclear fusion. Who would know?
I learned more facts about the sun and went to question Michael to improve my morale... I asked, "so do you know the sun's real color?" He answered, "it's white, duh... everybody knows that." (I didn't, you little snob!) Then I decided not to humiliate myself any further and accept that my 4th grader is smarter than me!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Baby on Board

Yes, I'm pregnant. Secret is out! In 28 more weeks (hopefully 27) I'll be a mom of four. Pretty amazing... I'm so thankful for this blessing. Each one of my kids makes me so happy and feel loved... now one more!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Halloween 2009

Halloween was so fun! We had Trunk or Treat at Church on Friday and on Saturday Marco took the kids trick or treating (I hurt my foot so I stayed home - but cooked my awesome white chili and made homemade hot cocoa for when the family came home). Now what do we do with all the the candy?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

This past month has been all about planning. Planning my kids extra-curricular activities, planning my school work time, planning Cub Scouts schedule for the whole year, planning a time to plan... no wonder I've been forgetting everything, even with everything jotted down in my schedule... if it makes sense at all. My sisters and mom would probably understand this. They know that when I have a lot to do my mind shuts down... interesting that my husband hasn't figured that out yet. He still thinks I'm Wonder Woman. Yeah right. :-)
I have been baking a whole lot. My almost 11-year-old mixer broke and my husband "convinced" me to splurge on a Bosch Universal Plus (shhh don't tell him that I actually made him feel like he had the idea). It was so worth the investment! We've made soft pretzels, cinnamon rolls, different types of pizza, breadsticks, whole wheat bread, etc. I just hope the investment won't go down on our waist. :-) The good thing is that we've been doing a lot of it together.
This month I read, "The Guernsey Literary and the Potato Peel Society" and "Catching Fire" (the second book of the Hunger Games). If anyone feels like having a book discussion, I'd love to do it! Both books were great.
We also went to the beach a whole lot in August and September. Surf Side is fun!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Summer Is Almost Ending

It's been so relaxing! We went to Utah from June 18th until July 6th. It was wonderful to visit our families and not to have to do house chores for almost a month!
I ran my second 5K in Utah (Freedom Run in Provo) , and it was so good! I ran the whole time - no stops or walking at all! It was a really fun thing to do on July 4th - very liberating and it was kind of a celebration of my American Citizenship.
I am so grateful I've been a Citizen for 2 years on August 17th. I love the American Constitution and it's because of it that I am here. This Country is really blessed and beautiful. The people here are wonderful and kind.
We got a kitty in May. Julianna named her Bayla (she first had a pretend cat named Bayla and that's why we decided to get a kitty in the first place :-)) Bayla is so sweet and funny. She is always hunting our hands and feet. I cannot do laundry without having her go crazy (my hands folding the laundry look like a thousand birds trying to get away). Yesterday she had surgery and vaccines. She was spayed and declawed. I feel so bad for declawing her, but I get scared she will scratch my kids on the eye (she got too close a couple times). She looks so fragile now and I realize how much I am already attached. She is like a baby to us.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A sister in my Ward shared this quote in our Yahoo group. It really touched me. I hope my kids will feel this way someday. I am grateful to have had a mother who taught me so many things, one of the biggest is the love of reading.

"You may have tangible wealth untold. Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. Richer than I you can never be. I had a Mother who read to me. (From “The Reading Mother” by Strickland Gillilan)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

On Friday, March 6, I took Raphael to JC Penney to find a baby shower gift. While browsing, we found some cute underwear for sale in his size. I showed them to him, and he asked me if I could buy them for him. I said, "but you don't use the potty yet" (about 6 months ago, I tried to potty train him, but he would not even sit on the potty). He said, "Raphael will use the potty." Then I said, "Ok, I'll buy them, but you have to use the potty, all right?" He agreed. I didn't expect much of it, but when we got home, he asked me for some crackers. I said, hold on because mom has to use the potty. He said" I need to use the potty too." I followed him to the bathroom and he really went!! The amazing thing is that he's being using the potty ever since, with very few accidents. Is this a blessing or what?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I was organizing a few of Julianna's school papers, and I found one that she wrote:

"I love Sophia.
I love cats.
I love dad.
But I love my mom the most."

Ohhh... she made my day! (but now I have to hide this from Marco... :-))

Michael tried to convince me today that he needs a cell phone. He said many of his friends have one and that he needs one too. Can you believe it? He's only nine!! I had to laugh...

Raphael got his first backpack today. He chose a Spiderman one. He's been carrying it around the whole day and feels so proud! Oh my little boy is growing up...

Friday, February 13, 2009


I could be done with laundry if it wasn't for the Costco's brand laundry detergent. It seems like one in every three pieces of clothes I washed is still dirty. Arg!! I like Tide or Cheer a lot, and I hardly need a stain remover for anything... the reason I bought this generic irritating stuff is because they didn't have Tide or Cheer for HE machines... should have bought it somewhere else.
I love the Spray 'n' wash Max (red bottle) a lot though. It takes pretty much any stain out (I still have to find something to take permanent marker stains out though...)
Tatiana just called me to say that Gymboree is having a huge sale today. So off I go... Julianna needs new pants. The little girl can't stop growing!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I just dropped the kids off at school. I look around and my house is a huge mess... and I have about 8 loads of laundry to do, and I have to study for my final exam and go take it, etc. I feel like going back to bed and worrying about it tomorrow. Too bad it's not going to happen... dang it being a mom is hard!
Michael has soccer practice today and Julianna's is tomorrow. Saturday they have their first game. I'm very excited. I love watching them play and being outside in this beautiful weather.
Well, off I go... I hope to report here tomorrow that my chores are all finished!! (yeah right, even if they're finished, by the time my kids go to bed tonight it's going to be a mess again... what's the point?)
Oh The puppy dilemma has been resolved. We decided to take the puppy, but it was too late!! All the six puppies had been adopted. Good for them, and I think good for us too. I don't think I am quite ready for a puppy...

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Relay for Life

Friends and Family, please help me in this important cause. I am participating in the Relay for Life in memory of Ethan (a 6-year-old boy from my Ward that passed away last November due to liver cancer). You can support this cause by donating $10 or whatever is convenient (we'll accept $1,000 if you don't have change... :-)). Please visit my page at the Relay for Life website at to make a donation. The Relay for Life is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. This company is the largest of its kind in the U.S. and it funds groundbreaking cancer research, provides up-to-date cancer information, advocates for all people to have access to screening and treatment, and offers free programs and services to improve the quality of life for people facing cancer. Thank you for your consideration! :-)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Caring for My Stress

Today I took Raphael to storytime at the library with Alison S. and her girls. It was a lot of fun! Raphael still acts shy, especially when all the kids stand up and dance. He loves doing the craft at the end though. Today he made a cute cowboy hat. After the library we headed to Denny's for a free meal - yes, 100% free! They had a special today that if you ordered a Grand Slam between 6am and 2pm it would be free. It felt great to get a receipt saying $0 charged... :-) After that I went to Home Depot and got some more seeds - spearmint, chamomille and lavender. Does it say something about my mood lately? These are all calming herbs... :-) Yesterday I also got some aromatherapy stuff at Bath and Body works. I had a great coupon and my shopping bag had a stress candle, stress roll-on treatment, and two stress shower gel/bubbly bath bottles, and I paid only $15 plus taxes (great considering that just 1 shower gel was $13). I love a good bargain. After my shopping success yesterday, I took a long bubble bath and felt so relaxed... I slept so well last night.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Should We Get a Puppy?

Yesterday I spent about four hours working in the yard. I love it, especially when I have little hands around to help me and a husband willing to do the heavy work. I feel it on my thighs today though. Good exercise! Michael wants to do a garden business now. He wants to pull weeds out for the neighbors and get a few $ in exchange. The little guy is always thinking about money!
Raphael learned how to do puzzles in the computer this week (did I mention this before?). Now he's hooked on computers. Michael and Julianna think he's so cute for being so little and knowing how to use the mouse properly, but their patience is over when they want to play and Raphael won't leave the computer. Family of geeks!
The weather was great these past days in the afternoon. The kids played a lot in our sand box and swings. I love it when they play outside.
We have a puppy in sight that we might adopt. I feel anxious about it though. Will it be really bad for my allergies? Will it be hard to take care of? Will it cost a lot of expenses? What do we do with it when we travel? On the other hand, the kids are begging us for a pet, and I do melt when I see puppies... Marco says I think too much, that I should just get the puppy and think about the problems when they arise. He might be right... please leave a comment if you have an opinion to share!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hummus Recipe

Mmmm I just made this. Fabulous!

Garlic Hummus

3 cloves garlic
19 ounces garbanzo beans (1 15 1/2 oz can + about 1/3 c) drained, 1/2 cup liquid reserved
4 TBS lemon juice
3 TBS Tahini
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cumin

In a blender, chop garlic. Add all other ingredients (including reserved liquid). Blend until all mixed and smooth. Eat with fresh vegetables or tortilla chips.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I Might Get Some Hard Wheat

Yesterday I went to the meal planning and budgeting R.S. activity. I've been building my food storage slowly, and yesterday I kind of was convinced to have hard wheat in my food storage plan. I have never bought hard wheat before, just white flour (which lasts 10 years and is not so bad like many people think), but I do like whole wheat bread and I didn't know that freshly ground wheat provides all nutrients we need but 4 vitamins. Amazing, huh?
I've been studying the book of Revelations in the New Testament. It's been a long time since I've studied it in Seminary. It is very difficult, but an Institute manual helps a lot. I am really enjoying it so far (although learning about the last days is kind of scary).
I have also been trying to listen to "Three Cups of Tea". What's the matter with me that I can't get into this book? I am in the part where Mortenson is buying supplies to build the first school. Pretty boring!!! I'll still keep going though.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Life Can Change in a Minute

Right now I am listening to Raphael radio... he is singing a song Julianna taught him "precipitation, evaporation..." Something she learned in school and has been singing over and over. It's cute though, especially when it's missing consonants...
Today I got an e-mail from a very good friend saying that one good friend of mine passed away. Carlos Leta was only 31 years old and died of an heart attack last night. I haven't seen him in many years (11?), but he was a very good friend in my teens and I have wonderful memories of him. I feel sad, especially for his family - his new wife and mother. I hope they will find comfort in this time. I'll be praying for them.
It's amazing how in a minute things can change so much. Life is really in God's hands, and sometimes His vision is different from our wishes. I really want to develop the kind of faith that will make me accept His will, even when things become so hard - like what happened to Leta and the impact on his family... do I have that kind of faith? It's something I want to have, but never want tested...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Practicing New Skills

Today I spent a few hours working on my class Student Development 100. I edited all my assignments, made PDF files and submitted to BYU. I now realize how much out of shape my mind is! What normally took me an hour, took me three. It feels great to be back in school though. I love studying.
Raphael has been learning lots of new skills as well. He now wants to dress himself and brush his teeth (I brush them for a second time after he does it :-)) He has been doing a great job and it is really fun to watch. I'll post a picture bellow. He now can also draw a head with eyes, nose and mouth. He feels really proud and loves praise. I can't believe my little baby is growing up!
I've been reading Three Cups of Tea for a Couple Months now. My book club friends say it's a wonderful book and once you get past the slow beginning, it's great. I haven't been able to get past the beginning. I always fall asleep! A few days ago I got an audio file at the library for it and downloaded it to my mp3 player. All I can tell is that the past three nights I slept like a baby! It's even easier to fall asleep now... :-) Anyway, I will finish the book, and I'll review it here in February...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Should I Not Have Been Trusting?

I think many of my posts will start with "yesterday". The reason is because I love writing early in the day, so I usually write about what happened the day before.
Yesterday I woke up at almost 9am. This hasn't happened in a very long time. I went upstairs to check on the kids, who are usually awake before eight. Michael and Raphael were quietly watching cartoons together and Julianna was still sleeping. Michael is such a great brother to Raphael. He takes good care of Raphael when I am not around.
Our day was mostly quiet. I went to Home Depot and got wood protector to put on our park, Weed and Feed for the lawn, and a few seeds. I also got a person to fix a few holes in our office wall (we put a ceiling fan a few months ago) and he fixed everything plus a few wall damages around the house. We agreed on $100 before he started and he sent one of his employees to do the job. I thought it was a great deal (although he only spent a little over one hour working). Today he called asking me why I only paid him $100 while he said I agreed to $200. I couln't believe how dishonest that man was! Marco couldn't unsderstand why I cried for a long time after I talked to the guy. The reason is because it hurts to see someone lie and swear on it. How can he sleep at night? Doesn't he fear God? I was so trusting of him. I treated him and his employee so kindly. However, I learned my lesson: never do anything without a contract. I should have had him write me an appraisal, and sign when he received my payment. Marco doesn't think it was necessary and that I didn't do anything wrong though.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Garlic Beef Enchiladas

This is what we had for dinner last night. I love this recipe!

1 pound ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 TBS all-purpose flour
1 TBS chili powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp rubbed sage
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) stewed tomatoes (I don't like the chunks, so I likequify mine in the food processor)

4-6 garlic gloves, minced
1/3 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) beef broth
1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
1 TBS chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp rubbed sage
1/2 tsp salt
10-12 flour tortillas (7-inches)
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Co-Jack cheese (or Cheddar; I usually put 3 cups of cheese)


In a saucepan, over medium heat, cook beef and onion until meat is no longer pink; drain. Add flour and seasonings; mix well. Stir in tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in another saucepan, saute garlic in butter until tender. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually stir in broth; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until bubbly. Stir in tomato sauce and seasonings; heat through. Pour about 1 1/2 cups sauce into an ungreased 13-in x 9-in baking dish. Spread about 1/4 cup beef mixture down the center of each tortilla (I also add a little cheese). Roll up tightly; place seam side down over sauce. Top with the remaining sauce. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake uncovered until cheese is bubbly (about 25-30 minutes). Yield: 4-6 servings.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Football at Last

Yesterday we had Pack meeting (where all scout groups from the ward met and received awards). Seven boys from my den showed up. They were unusually quiet (I didn't have to chase them around the Church). What a blessing! I was so tired yesterday. After the final prayer, Michael asked me to play football with the boys outside. I was proud of him for asking. I said yes, although surprised that Michael wanted to play football, something he really dislikes. I went outside and watched him play. He looked so excited! He played energetically for about 20 minutes. It was fun seeing him so happy.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Starting Today

The new year started and I realized I haven't been good at keeping my kids journals (or mine!). So this blog is going to be just that - short entries about our daily happenings, cute little stories, and sharing of our favorite things - like books, recipes and things to do. Hope this way family and friends will also know our news and will keep close!