Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year

Began the last day of the year visiting one of our favorite places, the Morgan Park in Glen Cove. So beautiful it does good for the soul.

We are ringing in the new year with friends in New Jersey with lots of families and kids. The best kind of New Year Party!

2012 was a year with some ups and downs, definitely not an easy year. Reflecting back, I am most thankful for my vastly improved health, as I finally found the right medication for my condition. I was able to exercise again which has made me feel much stronger and better. But other than that the year had many challenges, so hopefully 2013 will bring a bit more luck.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Falabella & Cookies

I love my new Falabella bag! I've been wearing hand held bags for so long that carrying a bag on the shoulder felt a bit weird, and the shoulder muscles got super tight..but I'll get used to it again. (And now I actually have a reason to pamper myself with a massage!) I love the Falabella's size as it fits diapers, wipes, bananas, and all the kid stuff that I carry with me, as well as my own wallet, make-up, etc. It is a pretty big sack, though, so lucky that I'm a big girl. And the color - I love the shimmery tweed and the gold hardware... I think you get the point so enough about that.

It seems to keep with tradition that we don't have time to bake our gingerbread cookies before Christmas. Luckily the dough keeps for a few days in the fridge. So we baked ours yesterday, and then decorated them this morning. I let the kids bake and decorate so the cookies look really home made, but they really enjoy getting to do it themselves. The other tradition is that we share some cookies with our neighbors, wrapped in some cellophane and dropped off by kids to their friends at both neighbors.

I've been experimenting with different recipes, traditional Finnish ones (conversions are tough), and last year I did Mark Bittman's recipe (very gingery). But this year's gingerbread cookies came out really good with a recipe from my new Martha Stewart baking book. This is the recipe that I will use from now on, it's the perfect blend of savory and sweet. And the kids liked them too. It was cute that my 4 year old realized that baking cookies is a tradition too, as she noted that she loves to do this every Christmas...

Saturday, December 29, 2012


We don't have a mountain of gifts at Christmas, but everyone gets something they like. Santa brought me a cashmere dress, a fur trimmed cashmere sweater, a red Gucci wallet, and the Falabella bag that I've been drooling after for quite some time... Thank you Santa!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Silent Night

A dear family member passed away on Christmas Night. The words of the beautiful song, Silent Night, have brought consolation, and somehow feel so right, even though the song is about Christ's birth.

“Silent Night, Holy night,
Son of God, Love’s pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord at Thy birth,
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.”

In the memory of my beloved relative, who lived a good, hardworking, and honest life, through interesting times from 1930 to 2012, rest in peace. You will be missed, loved and remembered.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

The morning of Christmas Eve began traditionally with rice porridge and the traditional dry fruit soup/jelly... And of course some chocolate. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Home Town

My original home town, Porvoo, is a historic, picturesque town in Finland. I went there to visit last summer and it was just as cute as I remembered. I don't go there very often as I don't have any family there anymore, but I have some really fond memories of Christmases there, and getting married in the old church. When I saw this picture of Porvoo I had a flash back of my childhood there...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


I have a slight obsession with sea shells. Not the fancy perfect kind, that you can buy in stores, but the ordinary, a bit broken up kind of shells that line the beaches of North Shore of Long Island. Every time I go for a beach walk I come back with a pocket full of shells...and some nice stones, and pieces of drift glass or wood..or pretty much anything made pretty by sand and water... My daughters share in on my passion and they too love to collect shells (and acorns, and stones, and pinecones, and all kinds of nature stuff that I don't even have names for...).

Maybe it's the colors.. Blues, grays and whites.. after all, I am a Finn!

Aren't they PRETTY? 

Say this fast: She sells sea shells on the sea shore. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Oh Yes We Did - Put up the Deer that is... and the Candy Canes!

Our neighborhood is not very big on Christmas decorations. Partly because it's a very jewish neighborhood, and partly because most of our neighbors probably think that they are better than the kitschy decorations of other neighborhoods. The couple houses that have strung up lights have obviously used a professional decorator to do so.. But not us, oh no... My husband thinks one of the main reasons we gave up on living in the city and bought ourselves this money pit is that we can do stuff like put up kitschy deers and elves and what nots on our front yard for the kids to enjoy. He is adamant to put up lights each year, and insists on doing it himself. But then, I kind of agree. What the heck is a house for if not for hanging up some lights at Christmas time. I only stop short on the inflatables. That might be reaching too far into a strange territory. So let's leave well enough alone and enjoy our yard with the candy canes, reindeer and the sleigh. Merry Christmas to one and for all. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

10th Birthday

My oldest daughter turned 10 this fall. Being 10 is a wonderful age when you're still a kid enough to play with barbies and act all silly, but old enough to have your own opinions on things and interests and wishes and plans. 

The proud mama with the birthday girl
Took the birthday girl, her sisters and a couple of friends for a dinner at Grand Lux Cafe. 

The Berry Fizzler YUM

Cup cakes and decorations for everyone

What's a birthday without presents? 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Christmas Cards

I usually send a picture of the kids along with our Christmas cards. I probably won't send out too many cards this year, simply don't have the time, but there are a few cards that are a must, to lonely relatives who keep the pictures on their dressers throughout the year, and to those who have been especially kind to our family this year.

I hate those photo-lab printed Christmas cards of the whole family sitting in front of a Christmas tree, so I'll just print the photo of the kids and glue it to the inside of the card. Here's our Christmas greeting photo this year.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Oh My Flu

This is the first year in a long time that I neglected to get the flu vaccine for myself and every member of the family. What with Sandy and some unexpected travels, I feel like there wasn't a moment to take care of it. So of course we should all be so lucky and come down with the flu. Not the cold, or some congestion, oh no. We, and I mean the whole family, including the nanny, came down with the real influenza, fevers and all. I had forgotten how painful the flu is. Every part of the body hurts.. As usual, the kids got sick first and then the adults. My 10 year old was sick since Monday morning, and I knew on Wednesday that I was going to get really sick as well. You know that feeling when you're whole body feels like it's been slammed against a wall... On Thursday I had to stay home with fever. Well, now there is light at the end of the tunnel. Kids are better, I don't have fever anymore, and hubby seems to just have a bit of temperature.. (or temper).. After a whole week of sickness, I can't wait for this to be over. What is the best thing to build up the immune system after a sickness?

Anyway, I also downloaded all the pictures from the past four months.. We'll be seeing lots of them later. Here's a sneak peak of a beautiful pre-Sandy day on the beach.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Unspeakable Sadness

Dear Lord, bless those sweet innocent children and let them rest in peace. Bless their families and give them strength. Bless the community so they can heal, and give the children who were left behind the ability to deal with the trauma and return to school. And, please, let this country finally change the second amendment of the constitution and enact strict gun control. My heart is so heavy tonight. The whole country mourns.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Watching the concert and thinking about Sandy and the fact how lucky we were to not have damage.. I just chatted with a co-worker today who lives in Long Beach and was able to return home only last week. She can only use the second floor of her house as the first floor was so badly damaged in the flood. She is dealing with contractors and insurance claims, which won't cover most of the damage even though she had a flood insurance. Her neighborhood is still dark, and she has to walk around with a flash light. A few miles away it's like nothing ever happened. But it did happen, and there are so many people dealing with the aftermath, and re-building homes and dealing with trauma and stress. My heart goes out to them and I am going to do something, however little, to help.

And by the Jon Bon Jovi is awesome! Living on a Prayer is the perfect song for the 12.12.12 concert.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tuesday's Dress and A Peek of Blue Skies

It was nice to drive to the station this morning and actually see the road in front of you. Yesterday the fog was really thick! Seeing some blue sky peeking out from the clouds is also good for the spirit. The body is tired and trying to stave off a flu, but the spirit is fighting. I just simply can't afford to get sick now, there's too much going on. 3 out 5 in the family are sick with flu..I guess my chances are not very good..but I will fight!

Today's outfit is one of those tried and tru, comfortable and make-you-feel-good, but still business-like outfits. Everyone should have a few of these for busy days. A dress is so easy and this knit version is truly expandable. Expandability is important during this Holiday season - I swear I will only eat rabbit food in January! And stay away from wine. The consumption has gone thru the roof in December. I am not one of those to drink a glass every night, except in December when it all adds up; the Holiday parties, lunches, dinners and after-work cocktails. Maybe I will join the Finnish tradition to abstain from alcohol for the month of January to give my poor liver a break.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Busy Saturday

Yesterday was a jam packed FUN day (and night). First it was the Finnish School's Christmas celebration, complete with a luncheon of the traditional Finnish Christmas foods (I love it, hubby and kids not so much, except the ham and rosolli); then running after the 2-year old during the celebration trying to prevent her from burning down the church (who's idea it was to have all those candles?). An iPad would be the way to keep her occupied, but we never remember to bring one, or a video camera, or a camera, for that matter.. It is just so much work to get everyone out the door in clean clothes and in decent time, that there is no capacity left to think about the little extras.

The second part of the day was a little party at our house. Friends visiting for a Holiday get-together. We consumed lots of food (chicken Provençal & garlic bread, baked salmon, roasted parsnips & carrots, rice with peas and spices), and dessert (warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream, and chocolate bubka), all washed down with bottle after bottle of my favorite cava from Barcelona. It was lots of fun, but I am slightly hungover today, mostly from eating too much I think and being on the run all day. No, the ten bottles of cava have absolutely nothing to
do with it ;-)

When you have a day like that where you need to have an outfit that works for all the situations, it can be tough to decide what to wear. I wore my Kirna Zabete for Target high-low shirt and BR skinnies. It was comfortable and I got compliments on the shirt. The print is actually really nice in real life, but prints don't photograph that well.

Anyway, today will be more low key. Maybe taking the kids to ice skate, but that's it. The next couple of weeks leading up to year-end and Christmas will be tough at work..all kinds of extra events in the evenings too. I will surely gain ten pounds by the end of the year! Need a day of rest and rejuvenation.

Happy second Advent!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Santa's Helper

Santa's helper, i.e., me, took another quick trip to Fifth Avenue today. It was a rainy day but the Christmas lights shone bright, and I couldn't help but snap some pictures, of Bulgari's signature snake, Cartier's panther, Fendi's buckles (remember the B bag?), and Smith & Wollensky's gift wrap of a restaurant.