Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Blessing ~ the infusion of something with holiness, divine will, or one's hope or approval

To be blessed means to be favored by God. Blessings, therefore, are directly associated with God and come from God.  To express a blessing is like bestowing a wish on someone that she will experience the favor of God.
Yep! He has arrived!  Dillan Wayne Wind entered our world tonight at 8:38 pm.  Margarita labored for 20 hours to deliver our bundle of joy.  He weighs 8 lbs. 12 oz. and is 20 1/2 inches long.  He looks exactly like his daddy did when he was born.  I love this pic ~ it was the first one taken after his birth and he has a good set of lungs and very healthy.
Blessed be the Little Children

Let the Joy and Peace of Jesus
Bless the Little Children Forever
Blessed be the Precious Little Children
Comfort and Love be Upon Them
The Glory of the Lord Shine Upon Them
Holiness Bless Them
Blessed Be the Little Children.  Amen.
Bless Those Who Love Children

Bless those who care for the little children
Bless them for loving the little babies
Bless them for showing kindness to helpless babies
Bless them for protecting and comforting the little children
Bless them for teaching the little children
Bless them for praying for the little children
Bless those who love your children, dear Jesus.
We have been blessed.  These are joyous days for the Wind and Silinskaite families.  Our little rainbow will be showered with lots of love; and his aunts and uncles are already in awe of the little guy. I look forward to cradling him in my arms and smothering him with smooches and tickling his toes.   Uncles Dan and Steve were aboard the welcome wagon and Auntie Darcy, too!  Mike and Margarita gave us all a moment that took our breath away.    
Happy days are here again!

much more to come....xo

Saturday, June 25, 2011

chicken chili

chicken chili

When I worked in Hinsdale, I frequented this cute little joint that occasionally made chicken chili.  I savored each bite of that tasty treat but for some reason never attempted to make it myself ~ until today.  I share my concoction and hope it gets good reviews from the tastebuds in this humble abode.


6 chicken breasts
1 sweet red pepper
1 poblano pepper
2 jalepeno peppers
1 spanish onion
3 cans assorted beans
(white~black~pidgeon peas)
1 large can stewed tomatoes
1 large can crushed tomatoes
3 pkgs. chili mix
sazon~cumin~red pepper flakes~cayenne~veg-e-ta
1 tbsp. minced garlic
salt and pepper

Fill a large pot with slightly salted water and a little veg-e-ta seasoning.  Parboil chicken breasts for an hour.  Meantime, remove seeds and tops of each pepper, rinse and brown each on the grill until tender.  The poblano pepper actually pops when you do this so be prepared to be entertained.  Taking a tip from Rachael Ray, you can also do this on the stovetop.  Once all peppers are browned, chop, chop, chop the onions and peppers ~ and set aside.   Did you know that if you start tearing from chopping onions, just put your face near a faucet of cold running water to apease the intensity?  Saute the peppers and onions in another large pot with 1/4 cup of the chicken broth.  Add garlic and add a dash of seasonings such as sazon, cumin, chili powder, cayenne, salt and pepper.  Cover pot and simmer until soft.  Remove chicken from broth and save most of it (except for 2 cups) for soup another day.  Shred the chicken with your fingers and add to the simmering veggies.  Season with the chili mixes and other seasonings.  Add tomatoes and 2 cups of the saved chicken broth; stir, then finally add the assorted beans.  You can add any type of beans, but today I wanted a variety of colors.  Place entire mixture into a crockpot and simmer on low for a couple of hours. 

I had to share this as it brings a smile everytime I look at it.    

Smile and the whole world smiles with you.  xo

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

the embrace

She woke up to the sweet sounds of birds chirping outside her window.  The summer morning brought with it a slight breeze that felt refreshing after the humid night.  Did I dream?  Was it a lucid dream?  It felt so real.  Details came crashing upon her in a most curiously vivid manner.  She looked up at the artwork framed on her wall and noticed all the amazing detail.  How many times has she seen this and yet never really took time to capture all the breathtaking wisps of paint strokes that made it a masterpiece.  It said so much.  Who were these people?  Was it the artist in the piece, or the object of his embrace?  Before she could catch her breath, it dawned on her that she knew precisely how it feels to have the soft touch of his lips upon her neck, aching for strong arms to caress her...not only in this lifetime, but in many that have passed.  As she closed her eyes, the memories marred her mind once again...
 They had many lifetimes together, these two, however, in this current journey, she could only remember back to the time they were in France.  Images of the landscape and scenery remained hard pressed in her thoughts.  When she read romance novels pertaining to the era, it was as if she knew exactly how things were. She wore beautiful clothes and attended numerous balls and had the social graces necessary to mingle with royalty.  It was at one of these events she initially connected with him.  He was the general of his army, a high-positioned and important military man.  His uncanny methods won battles and his supreme strategies earned loyalty and respect from his soldiers and fellow strategists.  He was a leader among men and his attributes included strength, patience and tenacity.  He was an honorable man with integrity and soon she was to discover he was compassionate as well as passionate.  He was quickly captivated by her beauty and when their eyes found each other, they were locked forever. 
The next lifetime consumed her thoughts. Their communion must have occurred during World War I ~  once again in France.  He was a flyboy, which now made sense to her, as she so loves the sky.  She could not recall how they reconnected this round, but most times she feels his embrace as when they were together.  Once again, he held a high position in the war in the air and masterminded many flights that proved successful because of his strategies.  She was his muse, his inspiration, the wind beneath his wings.  As in the past, he had chosen another to share his life with, but his heart skipped its beats when he was with her.  She fit perfectly in his life, for she, too, had other interests to attend to, and wanted for nothing.  She was well-loved by many and did not need to be kept, as she had her own resources.  They fueled each other's fires for however long they needed in this lifetime and when circumstance had them part ways, they both knew they would meet again.
  The next lifetime was less stressful for them.  They spent many afternoons sharing strawberries and tequila and verbally expressing their love for one another.  Monday was to be their special day.  They played little games and giggled at their jokes and listened to soothing music.  She anticipated his visits and cherished the memories they would make.  His time was limited due to other duties, but he made the effort to share what little moments he could with her.  She never disappointed him.  These fleeting moments would fill their hearts like flames in a fire.
To him, she was beautiful.  He told her so.  She cried when he did.  They danced and held each other as close as they could without melding as one, neither wanting to let go.  When she looked into his deep blue eyes, she saw her own reflection, and he was illuminated by her love when he reciprocated.  In this lifetime, they were both well aware of how precious their time was and clung tightly, with gratitude, at each encounter.  Once she wrote the word time and gave it to him in a bottle.  They became saviors to one another in times of need.  He was her Hercules; she was his cookie.  As fate would have it, they shared a decade together, more than any other;  but alas, life situations caused their paths to uncross once again.  She would have to carry on without his embrace and let memories sustain her.  Oftentimes, on a quiet morning such as this, she holds him in the light with love and asks the universe to bring him joy and goodness.  He will never be unloved.  Destiny is destiny.

 So it is and so shall it be.  xo

Monday, June 20, 2011


Pineapple is the common name for a tropical plant and edible fruit which is a multiple fruit consisting of coalesces berries.  The word pineapple derives from the scientific term, ananas, or tupi, which means excellent fruit.  The English word was recorded in 1398 and originally describes the reproductive organs of the conifer trees (pine cones.) 

 The pineapple is native to southern Brazil and Paraguay where wild relatives occur. It was spread by the Indians up through South and Central America to the West Indies before Columbus arrived. In 1493 Columbus found the fruit on the island of Guadaloupe and carried it back to Spain and it was spread around the world on sailing ships that carried it for protection against scurvy. The Spanish introduced it into the Philippines and may have taken it to Hawaii and Guam early in the 16th Century. The pineapple reached England in 1660 and began to be grown in greenhouses for its fruit around 1720.

 They are successfully grown in southern Florida and coastal areas of southern California. The small plant adapts well to container and greenhouse culture and makes an interesting potted plant.   The plant will flower after 24 months and produce fruit during the following six months.  The popularity of pineapples is due to it swee-sour taste.  Raw pineapple is an excellent source of manganese and vitamin C.  From its stem, pineapple contains an enzyme, bromelain, which breaks down protein.  In the Philippines, the pineapple leaves are used as a source of a textile fiber called pina and can be used in a variety of ways such as a wall paper and componet of furnishings. Both the root and fruit may be eaten or applied topically as an anti-inflammatory agent.  In some practices, it may be used to induce abortion or menstruation, and has been known to decrease the severity of colonic inflammation in mice with experimental colitis.
chicken pineapple spread

2 large cans chunk chicken
1/2 cup crushed pineapples
3 scallions, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
tablespoon mayo

Drain chicken and mix with all ingredients.  Serve with crackers or bread.

I also prepared the same ingredients with tuna instead of chicken chunks. 

hawaiian pizza

Margarita loves this pizza, so I have been creating same to satisfy her cravings. 

pizza dough
pizza sauce
crushed pineapples
diced ham
provolone cheese

Prepare dough as directed, with hot water, knead and let stand for a couple of hours in slightly oiled bowl.  Spread dough on pizza stone and apply pizza sauce with spoon or ladle.  Top with ham, pineapples and cheese.  Sprinkle a dash of oregano and bake in oven at 425 for 20 minutes. 
ready to bake
ready to eat
I promised Wayne-O I would make his all-time favorite soup on this gloomy and rainy day, so here is my mom's recipe for Red Soup.
virgie's red soup

2 large cans stewed tomatoes
1 batch of scallions, chopped
2 peppers, chopped
(today I used my assortment of baby peppers ~ red, orange and yellow)
1 chunk of beef boullion
1 large can of water

1 package shell noodles
This recipe is easy peasy.  Just dump both cans of tomatoes into a pot and rinse them out with water, but put that water into the pot (waste not, want not.)  Add scallions and peppers, beef boullion and simmer a few hours.  Prepare noodles, drain and rinse to stop them from getting soft.  This is important:  add shell pasta to the broth before serving, but try to eat it that day, otherwise, the  juice soaks into the pasta and you will not have much soup, just noodles. 

Dan and Darcy visited her folks in St. Louis and her mom gave us this pretty stone.  Thanks, Julie!  They visited the Cathedral Basilica St. Louis so I thought to share how remarkably beautiful it is.  Perhaps when the time comes, they will have their wedding there!
detailed artistry
remarkable, isn't it?

Love the one you're with. xo

Sunday, June 19, 2011

happy fathers day

Train up a child in the way which he should go and when his is old, he will not depart from it.  Proverbs 22:6

It is much easier to become a father than to be one.  Kurt Nerburn

"When I was a kid, my father told me everyday "you're the most wonderful boy in the world, and you can do anything you want to."
Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest in inheritance.  Ruth E. Renkel

One night a father overheard his son pray: "Dear God, make me the kind of man my Daddy is."  Later that night, the Father prayed:  "Dear God, make me the kind of man my son wants me to be."
Until you have a son of your will never know the joy, the love beyond feeling, that resonates in the heart of a father as he looks upon his son.  You will never know the sense of honor that makes a man want to be more than he is and to pass something good and hopeful into the hands of his son.  Kert Nerburn

"Dad, how much I've grown tall does not matter, because it's to you I'll always look up. Kent Arish

Thanks, Dad, for all your wisdom and understanding.  Thanks, Wayne-O, for being such a wonderful role model to our beautiful boys.  Congratulations, Mikey, on joining this amazing cast of characters.  This is your first father's day celebration ~ embrace and cherish it.  xo

Friday, June 17, 2011

happy uncles day

U.N.C.L.E.  (Latin, avunculus:  little grandfather.)  Family relative or kinship, the brother or brother-in-law of a parent.

It has come to my attention that my nephew, Robert (a.k.a. Bobby Stone), dubbed the day prior to Father's Day as Uncle's Day.  This has become a day to celebrate all the uncles who pitched in to give their support in our upbringing by just being cooler than cool.  What a grand idea!

I not only call you uncle,
I call you friend.

My uncle is a special man,
Always helping all he can.
He takes time to listen to me,
Whatever my gripes might be.

Other times we just hang out,
And I learn what life is all about.
My uncle is very special ~
I love him a whole lot, too...

Because my uncle is wonderful,
my uncle is YOU!


ps.  Dan and Steve ~ happy uncle's day

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Newborn (Latin neonatus) is an infant who is within hours, days or in the first 28 days after birth. An infant (Latin infans ~ unable to speak; speechless) is the very young offspring of humans.  A newborn's shoulders and hips are narrow, the abdomen protrudes slightly, and the arms and legs are relatively short.  The average birth weight of a full-term newborn is approximately 7.5 pounds but is typically in the range of 5.5 to 10 pounds.  The average total body length is 14-20 inches.  The Apgar score is a measure of a newborn's transition from the uterus during the first minutes of life.  A newborn's head is very large in proportion to the rest of the body, and the cranium is enormous relative to his face.  While the adult skull is about 1/8 of the total body length, the newborn's is about 1/4.  At birth, many region's of the newborn's skull have not yet been converted to bone, leaving soft spots known as fontanels.  The two largest are the diamond-shaped fontanel, located at the top fron portion of the head, and the smaller triangular-shaped fontanel, which lies at the back of the head.  Later in the child's life, these bones will fuse together in a natural process.  A protein called noggin is responsible for the delay in an infant's skull fusion.  So that's why they say "use your noggin for something other than wearing a hat!"
During labor and birth, the infant's skull changes shape to fit through the birth canal, causing some children to be born with an elongated head.  It will usually return to normal on its own within a few days or weeks.  Some newborns have a fine, downy body hair called lanugo which will disappear within a few weeks.  Infants may be born with full heads of hair; others, particularly white infants, may have very fine hair or even be bald.  The scalp may be temporarily bruised or swollen and the area around the eyes may be puffy.  Newborns' digestive tracts have never been used prior to birth.  Meconium has the function of standing in for fecal material and allows the intestines to develop to the point where they can process milk immediately on birth.  This material is passed by the child in the first few days.
Immediately after birth, a newborn's skin is often grayish to dusky blue in color.  As soon as the newborn begins to breathe, usually within a minute or two, the skin's color reaches its normal tone.  Newborns are wet, covered in streaks of blood, and coated with a substance known as vernix caseosa, which is to act as an antibacterial barrier.  The newborn may also have Mongolian spots, various other birthmarks, or peeling skin, particularly on the wrists, hands, ankles and feet.  A newborn's genitals are enlarged and reddened, with male infants having an unusually large scrotum.  The breasts may also be enlarged, even in male infants.  This is caused by naturally occurring maternal hormones and is a temporary condition.  Females may actually discharge milk from their nipples (sometimes called witch's milk) and a bloody or milky-like substance from the vagina.  This is considered normal and will disappear in time.  The umbilical cord of a newborn is bluish-white in color.  After birth, the umbilical cord is normally cut, leaving a 1-2 inch stub.  The umbilical cord will dry out, shrivel, darken and spontaneously fall off within 3 weeks.  Hospitals may apply triple dye to the stub to prevent infection, which may color the stub and surrounding skin purple.
Upon entry to the air-breathing world, without the nutrition and oxygenation from the umbilical cord, the newborn must begin to adjust to life outside the uterus.  Newborns can feel all different sensations, but respond most enthusiastically to soft stroking, cuddling and caressing.  Gentle rocking back and forth often calms a crying infant, as do massages and warm baths.  Newborns may confort themselves by sucking their thumb, or pacifier (dee dee.) The need to suckle is instinctive and allows newborns to feed.  Newborn infants have slight vision, being able to focus on objects only about 18 inches directly in front of their face.  While this might not be much, it is all that is needed for the infant to look at the mother's eyes or areola when breastfeeding.  Depth perception does not develop until the infant is mobile.  A newborn cries when wanting to feed.  When a newborn is not sleeping, feeding or crying, he may spend a lot of time staring at random objects, usually anything that is shiny, has sharp contrasting colors or complex patterns will catch an infant's eye.  However, the newborn has a preference for looking at other human faces above all else.
While still inside the mother, the infant could hear many internal noises, such as the mother's heartbeat, as well as many external noises including human voices, music and most other sounds.  Although a newborn's ears may have some fluid, he can hear sound from before birth.  Newborns usually respond to a female voice over a male voice.  This may explain why people will unknowingly raise the pitch of their voice when talking to newborns.  This change of voice is called motherese.)  The sound of other human voices, especially the mother's, can have a calming and soothing effect on the newborn.  Loud or sudden voices will startle and scare a newborn.  Newborns prefer sounds that were a regular feature of their prenatal environment.  Newborns respond to different tastes, including sweet, sour, bitter and salty substances ~ with a preference toward sweets and for the smell of foods that their mother ate regularly.
Infants cry as a form of basic instinctive communication.  A crying infant may be trying to express a variety of feelings including hunger, discomfort, overstimulation, boredom, wanting something or loneliness. 
Breastfeeding is the recommended method of feeding by all major infant health organizations.  Studies have now shown that there is a direct link to a decline in sudden infant death syndrome and babies that have been fed with mother's milk.  If breastfeeding is not possible, or desired, bottle feeding is done with expressed breast milk or infant formula.  Infants are born with the sucking reflex allowing them to extract the milk from the nipples.  Infants have an instinctive behavior know as rooting with which they seek out the nipple. 
Mike and Margarita have been getting ready for their bundle of joy and have the crib assembled.  At our home we have the embellished bassinet at the ready for our little Dillan.  I had to contain myself with bringing home too many baby items as they grow so quickly and he already has enough from their baby shower.  I pulled out a few stuffed animals and prepared them for his arrival.  The smell of Dreft soap on baby sheets and comforters still brings a wave of memories.  It amazes me how the sense of smell has tremendous triggers.
When Dillan comes over to our place, we have the old changing table and cute little onesies with car- cars, booties, sock hats and blankies for him to snuggle in.  As infants grow so quickly, we can always save them for the next grandbaby!  Wayne and I must sharpen our skills with putting together baby contraptions for we spent too much time trying to put the stroller together, when, in fact, all we had to do was insert a few straps here and there ~ not so complicated after all.  We'll get there.  That is to be the joy of grandparenting ~ it's not so hard this round.  Going from mother to grandmother is a happy passage.  I was told to adopt this motto:  I take life easy, but I haven't slowed down.  The joy of being a grandma is that I can love just because they are adorable ~ I can't spoil kids by loving them.  There is no such thing as too much love.  I can read books and sing all the songs and nursery rhymes I sang to our sons. If they ask me what worked for us in raising the boys, I'll offer anecdotes from my personal experience. If they need time to be together and bond, I will be with baby while they go out to dinner and enjoy alone time (which will mean talking about baby the whole time, anyway.)  I hope our grandson always feels like we couldn't wait to see him.  
I know you are with your great-grandmas Helen and Virgie, baby Dillan.  Feel their love and smooches as you have been and when you decide to enter our lives, we will continue their affections.  Take your time and when you're ready, we will be here with open arms.  Your mommy and daddy are very excited to see you and there is so much love down here, precious one. 
You are our rainbow.  xo

Friday, June 10, 2011

delightful dinner (or dessert)

As I relax from my day and catch up on the early evening news, I typically indulge in this delicious delight.  I prepare a bowl of various yogurts, usually Zdan plain and Dannon vanilla with live probiotic cultures.  The Zdan has a thicker consistency (like Greek yogurt) and mixed with the Dannon, it is perfect for me.  Yogurt can be used in so many recipes and to me it is such a fascinating diary product, so I decided to do a little research and share. 

Yogurt is derived from Turkish yoghurt and defined as to be curdled or coagulated; to thicken.  There is evidence of cultured milk products in cultures as far back as 2000 BC. The earliest yogurt was probably fermented spontaneously, perhaps by wild bacteria residing inside goatskin bags used for transportation. In the early 1800s, men used yogurt to clean their goats and sheep. Many women also used yogurt to wash their bodies and hair. Yogurt was the best known cleaning agent at the time.
In the records of the ancient culture of Indo-Iranians (Iran and India), yogurt is mentioned by 500 BC. In this record the combination of yogurt and honey is called "the food of the gods". Persian traditions hold that "Abraham owed his fecundity and longevity to the regular ingestion of yogurt."
The oldest writings mentioning yogurt are attributed to Pliny the Elder, who remarked that certain nomadic tribes knew how "to thicken the milk into a substance with an agreeable acidity". The use of yogurt by medieval Turks is recorded in the books written in the 11th century. Both texts mention the word "yoghurt" in different sections and describe its use by nomadic Turks. An early account of a European encounter with yogurt occurs in French clinical history: Francis I suffered from a severe diarrhea which no French doctor could cure. His ally sent a doctor, who allegedly cured the patient with yoghurt. Being grateful, the French king spread around the information about the food which had cured him.
Yogurt is nutritionally rich in protein, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. It has nutritional benefits beyond those of milk. People who are moderately lactose-intolerant can consume yogurt without ill effects, because much of the lactose in the milk precursor is converted to lactic acid by the bacterial culture. Yogurt containing live cultures is sometimes used in an attempt to prevent antibiotic-associated diarrhea. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity (11 January 2005) also found that the consumption of low-fat yogurt can promote weight loss, especially due to the calcium in yogurt.
Greek yogurt is a type of yogurt that is celebrated for its very thick and creamy texture. The process for making it includes extra steps that result in its thickness. It has about the same creamy texture as sour cream, and provides an excellent substitute. It has recently become more increasingly available in the US, because the taste and the lack of bitterness make it a wonderful treat. Typical Greek yogurt made in Greece may use either sheep or cow’s milk. Imports to the US tend to stick with cow’s milk variants, since sheep’s milk has a tangier taste and may be disliked by those unfamiliar to it. Most US made versions of Greek yogurt use only cow’s milk. The principle difference in creating Greek yogurt is that after the milk is heated and cultured, it is allowed to sit in muslin or cheesecloth bags, so that the whey filters out of the yogurt. You’ll note that some yogurts have an almost runny texture, or have liquid on the top when you open them. Greek yogurts don’t have this liquid because of the straining process.

Here are my favorite ingredients.  You can include as much or as little as you desire and I usually make a batch and eat it in two days' increments. 
1 cup Zdan yogurt
1 cup Dannon yogurt
(vanilla, lemon, strawberry)
1 cup sliced assorted fruits
(blueberry, strawberry, apricot, clementine, raspberry, nectarine)
1 cup granola
Lightly blend ingredients with a spoon.  Add a squirt of whipped cream on top.  Sprinkle wheat germ, cocoa and chopped nuts on top. 
You can be creative and serve in a tall glass or vary your ingredients depending on your taste.  You don't need the whipped cream to enjoy the treat, but if you want to feel like it is an indulgence, go for it.  I find the seasonal fruits taste better and I have been adding watermelon to the mix for variety ~  whatever your heart desires; and this can be a heart~healthy habitual dish.  Just writing about it makes me drool. 
Bon appetit! xo