Friday, July 30, 2010

A Forest in the city

Unable to go to the beach because of the sudden drop in temperature,(Adriatic Sea was at 19 Celsius, now for me and Beli that's a bit chilly!) park Bene located within the wooded area in Marjan hill has been our new favorite summer distraction.

To reach the park from the gated entrance it took us about 50 minute walk, I'm speaking toddler time, because at a good pace you could be there in about 25 minutes. Our trek included many stops along the way as Beli was inquisitive about her surroundings. She asked, "Mami que es?" as she pointed to a butterfly, I would reply, "es una mariposa or es un arbol, another tree." I really enjoyed these moments because not only was it a learning experience but also a way to bond, daughter and mommy.

I love the idea of having benches along the way, looks welcoming to read a book right?

We spotted a few swimmers in this area I like to refer as la playa secreta, the secret beach.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend! I will be in the kitchen creating a few more recipes with tomatoes and jalapenos. What plans do you have? oh yeah and see you next month, August is just around the corner!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

From my kitchen: Fusion of Jalapenos and Tomatoes

I call this Elisa's Jalapeno Arugula Mediterranean Salad and the best part, it's 100% organic.

In Croatia, arugula is also known as rikula, and when I order it by name at the supermarkets I always giggle because it reminds me of the cough drops ricola.

So happy to have jalapenos growing in Grandma's garden. I will be preparing fresh salsa, pico de gallo and why not prepare a summer salad with them?

Here is my recipe for the Jalapeno Arugula Mediterranean Salad

1 bunch of arugula (rikula), rinsed and chopped

2 large tomatoes cubed

2 bell peppers diced

1 or 2 jalapenos diced, depending how crunchy and spicy you want your salad to be

2Tbsp of olive oil

pinch of salt

mix all and enjoy!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Family Tree

What or who is Beli running after?

Hurry, hurry there is a very energetic little girl chasing after you!

Whew! we are safe in here.

Safe in Grandma's arms.

This weekend we drove to the countryside to visit Beli's Great-grandparents. Hubby told me we were going to also meet his Grandma's nephew who was visiting Croatia after 35 years of living abroad (England). I told hubby, "you mean we have family in London?" You see, grandma Vida is the only surviving sibling, her sisters and brothers have all passed away. I'm very interested in family roots so I quickly started asking questions (with respect of course) because I wanted to construct a family tree for Beli. I think it's very important for her to know her extended family. Plus it's a more organized way of keeping all the names straight. To give you an example, on my Mother's side of the family I have 22 first cousins compared to hubby's 2 cousins. But then you go to the extended cousins and aunts and well the list just gets longer.

I remember as a kid every Christmas, all of my Mom's 9 siblings and spouses and kids gathered at my Grandparents home in Mexico. It was a fun time to see my cousins all together. Yes, those were some happy memories. I'm hoping, wishing to have a family reunion, but how do I begin?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A baby daydreaming

The rain of roses

I recently discovered, Mila's Daydreams , via a friend and I said to myself, "I can't wait to share these adorable images with my readers!" According to Adele, Mila's mom, while her baby naps, she creates scenes around her and takes quick snap photos. I really appreciate her creativity don't you? 

When Beli was a baby, I remember that she was a light sleeper, as soon as I would try to put her in her crib she would wake up and start crying so I had to rock her to sleep and I would try again, and again. I often did wondered what she was dreaming.

Update! at the request of Adele, I have removed all the previous images but had left one so you can appreciate her creativity.
You can read more about her reason for deleting her blog, and a Mother I completely understand. You can still read about her personal blog here:Mila daydreams

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Koalas and a Kangaroo

I photographed these koalas when I was completing an internship in Australia. That was 5 years ago! I don't know what got me thinking about this trip. Maybe it's was the beauty I found all around me. Join me as I go down memory lane? We will visit Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Tasmania and Fiji. Have a beautiful weekend, Beli and I heading out to the beach, another hot day today. The Great Ocean Road.
Island where the movie Castway was filmed in Fiji.

That's me ,skydiving!

In Sydney.
The group I traveled with in Tasmania.

Back home in Iowa, Christmas 2004.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

New shopping center

(image via)

The giant grocery store Konzum is spreading like weeds in the lovely city of Split, Croatia. It celebrated its newest location this past weekend. This shopping center not only has the grocery store Konzum, but there is a children's department store, a shoe store, a hair salon, ( I really wanted to get a hair cut) a pharmacy and an electronics store. Don't get me wrong, it's bringing hundreds of jobs to the city, but it's bad news for smaller grocery stores like Tommy. Yesterday we went to take a look around, it was a good excuse to be indoors (with 32C temperature outside) plus we needed a few essentials. It seems everyone had the same idea!
Peanut butter, 15 kunas (about 3 dollars) Coffee, 16 kunas.

I will say that I have never tasted more delicious yogurts than Dukat's brand. You won't find any package labeled: "fat free" or "100 calories" but just listen to these flavors: apple and cookie biscuits, blueberry and vanilla then you have plain strawberry, yummy right?
We were impressed, it almost felt as if we were in the States shopping at Target. The store was well organized and had a wide selection of products available. Their ethnic section included items such as red curry paste for 59 kunas! (about 11 dollars) or fajita sauce at 28 kunas (over 5 dollars). They were more expensive when compared to prices of local products but this is due to the taxes that must be paid to import the items. Overall it was fun to see what the store had to offer -( I counted 18 check-out stands) but like I told hubby, I rather support the smaller shops including the farmers market and fish market. You can't find fresher products than directly from the farmer's hand.

I resisted the urge to buy flour tortillas, I will be trying a second time to make them from scratch. I finally had a chance to ask my Mom for her recipe and she told me my first batch turned out crispy because I boiled the water instead of using warm tap water....oops.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Blue Sky

Gracias a todos por sus palabras de aliento. Thank you all for your words of support, and as a token of my appreciation,

how about if join me for a cup of tea? I've heard it brings peace of mind and happiness when shared with friends.

It's only six-oh-five in the morning but I'm sure the waiter can make an exception and open early?
Or we can walk to the next cafe, its only minutes away
Or the next one..
Or maybe take a stroll along the Sea. Afterwards return to that cafe. I will order a cup of Fresh-n-Fruity tea. (pineapple,orange, apple, ginger and mint leaves) What will you have?

"Tea is wealth itself, because there is nothing that can't be lost, no problem that will not disappear, no burden that will not float away, between the first sip and the last."-----Henry David Thoreau

Friday, July 16, 2010

It's Life....... Asi es la vida

As I went for my morning run along the seashore I made a conscious effort to notice my surroundings. You see, most days I only have the finish line in mind and fail to see the beauty around me. But today I heard the waves crashing against the rocks, saw the seagulls flying high above and I was grateful, for what I have. You see this week has been an emotionally difficult time for me and hubby as well. He has been quite patient with my mood swings. I will rewind to Monday when I was feeling on top of the world. Upon returning from running I prepared breakfast then took Beli to the beach, just the two of us. It was time to bond. Hubby was going to hang out the rest of the afternoon with his brother following their P90x workout. I thought to myself, "I'm so happy we are each spending time with our loved ones."

On Tuesday, the frog made its appearance again, this time to help us with potty training.

For a couple of hours every day this week we worked on getting Beli used to the idea of not wearing diapers. We tried all the tricks available, the bribery (involves gummy bears), stickers, even Dora underpants. She seemed to understand yet refused to sit down to pee-pee. It's a new concept to grasp and we'll have to continue trying, in the meantime:Potty training 1o1: Beli 0: Frog 1).
On Wednesday I joined my friend G for an early walk around Marjan Hill. I was very lucky I brought my camera along because the plant on the left initially caught my attention but as I got closer to the street I saw a breathtaking view of the beach, with the island Ciovo in the background. Thoughtful Thursday: Beli awaiting the arrival of our friends for our Mexican night. We prepared shrimp fajitas, Mexican rice, refried beans and I attempted and barely succeeded in making flour tortillas.

The recipe seemed easy enough, just a few ingredients but I truly believe there's an art to making them perfectly round and chewy. Growing up I never really paid attention nor wanted to learn how to make tortillas. Now I regret it. I spent several hours looking for recipes on YouTube. Afterwards I wanted to call home and ask my Mom why they turned out so crispy but I didn't think she would appreciate the call at 4 in the morning. But my friends were happy eating my crispy tortillas, they said "to be the first time Elisa, you did quite well, maybe next time add the pig lard?" ( I had explained to them that I used vegetarian lard because the recipe either called for vegetable oil or lard). I also emailed my sister and she said maybe I used too much baking soda. I tell you, it's an art I have yet to master.

So you see, I was having a good week, feeling content. But on Wednesday, I was reading a post from my blog list and I learned about a fellow blogger who was in a fatal car accident. I didn't know her personally, only via comments she left on my blog. The news brought sadness because she left behind a loving husband and two precious children. Then several minutes later I received more tragic news, this time from my cousin in Iowa. His wife's 6-year old niece was diagnosed with cancer/brain tumor. Doctors said it's too risky to do further tests and there's nothing that can be done. Only six years old. It's heartbreaking. It's difficult to be in the present and not to think of yesterday or tomorrow. I reached out via email to my friends and family. My friend Nando was inspired to write a story. I invite you to click here to read it.

I kept thinking of these two families: one whose children were left without a mother, and the other family about to lose a child. I can't control the emotional roller coaster I'm in. I'm very thankful and fortunate to have a loving husband who is patient and encourages me to meet with my friends, to continue jogging. Because to be honest, all I want to do right now is cry. But I don't. For Beli's sake. What I did was put the computer away, I couldn't write. I stared at Beli, wanting to remember every single detail of her beautiful face. I also like hearing her giggle. Today she made me laugh. We were sitting on the bed with all her toys around us and I was drinking my coffee when she said, "How does Mami go? urrrrp, urrp." She was referring to my slurping sound as I drank my coffee. I looked at her and I took another gulp, this time exaggerating the slurping sound, she smiled. I had to laugh. And I did!

Hug your loved ones, Life is too fragile.
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