Monday, October 31, 2011

happy halloween

Pumpkin time is here again,
Time to play Trick or Treat.
Pumpkin time is here again,
Our spooky friends we'll meet.

See the costumes we have on,
Monsters, ghosts and goblins, too.
See the costumes we have on,
Hear us all shout "Boo!"

(this poem may be sung to the tune of Mary Had A Little Lamb)

it's tigger time!
(hold one hand up with all fingers up, and move one finger at a time)
Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate.
First one said, "Oh my, it's getting late."
Second one said, "There are witches in the air."
Third one said, "Oh, we don't care."
Fourth one said, "Let's run, run, run."
Fifth one said, "It's Halloween fun."

WOOOOOO! went the wind.
And out went the light!
(clap hands once)
(roll and hide your hands behind your back)
The five little pumpkins rolled out of sight.
I'm a jack-o-lantern, look at me.
I'm as happy as can be.
Put a candle and light the light.
Don't be frightened, it's Halloween night.

(this poem can be sung to the tune of I'm a Little Teapot)

pumpkin guts

"Man is least himself when he talks in his own person.  Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth."  Oscar Wilde

You are BOOOOtiful   :)
Remove your masks ~ nothing is more beautiful than you wearing only the moonlight and my kisses... xo


Sunday, October 30, 2011

pitchin' in 4 penny

Karen ~  Penny ~ Julie ~ Marilyn ~ Penny's Peep

Cancer...every single person reading this has been touched by it.  Either you know someone who has cancer, you have lost someone who suffered from cancer, or perhaps you are fighting the demon known as cancer yourself.  Whatever the circumstances, you know the battle is long, stressful, painful and expensive.
Jackie ~ Penny ~ Julie ~ Marilyn ~ Peep

Penny (Peracke) Prokop, a 46 year old mother, sister, wife, aunt, godmother, co-worker and friend knows all too well the toll cancer can take.  She and her family are in a fight for Penny's life.  Two years ago, Penny was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer.  Although the average life expectancy for Glioblastoma is 18 months, Penny is beating the odds with the help of an aggressive oncologist who enrolled her in a powerful ~ and expensive ~ treatment.  Penny takes a pill form of chemotherapy every two weeks, each infusion costing $15,000.  Combined with doctor's bills and other medications to keep her feeling well, Penny's medical costs are daunting and Penny lost her health insurance on May 1, 2011. 
Peep and Vickie
Prior to her diagnosis, Penny was a regular "super-mom"  She was a Cub Scout leader, involved in her two children's cheerleading, volleyball and hockey teams, and participated in the PTA.  She also worked two part-time dental jobs.  One of her employers ~ the one with whom she had health insurance ~ fired her shortly after she underwent brain surgery.  Despite the exhausting radiation treatments and recuperating from surgery, Penny was determined to keep working.  She returned to work just a month after brain surgery and went on her husband's insurance.  She did not want to fall behind on her commitments and has done whatever is necessary to keep working and contributing to the family.  To this very day, she continues to work full time.  Penny has been seeking other options for health insurance but has met with many closed doors.  It is virtually impossible fo find coverage with major pre-existing conditions like cancer.  Without insurance, Penny cannot afford the expensive treatments that have been keeping her cancer at bay for the past two years, but none of us can afford for her to stop taking the treatment.
Nikki ~ Ginny ~ Amy ~ Jillian ~ Marilyn

Celebration of life, a celebration of a wonderful woman

For all of us who experienced the love and warmth that is knowing Penny, let us come together and celebrate her strength of spirit during her fight against Glioblastoma.  Penny is a woman of amazing courage.  With hope, friends and family on her side, Penny will ovecome anything.  Recently, Penny was able to celebrate the positive and encouraging results of her last doctor's appointment.  Let us join Penny and maintain this momentum of hope. 
Penny's family and friends are holding a benefit for Penny to help raise funds for her medical treatment.  There will be bullet and raffle tickets, silent auction, entertainment and a buffet and beverages for attendees.   Cost of admission is $35.00.

October 30, 2011

 Gaelic Park,
6119 147th Street
Oak Forest, Illinois 60452

1:00 ~ 6:00pm

Stop by and pitch in for Penny!  xo

For more information, please visit the website

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Today I am conjuring up a new recipe with mostly Italian ingredients.  Since my base consists of potato gnocchi, Wayne has dubbed this dish, Nucky (of Boardwalk Empire.)  Gotta love that guy.


4 packs of potato gnocchi
2 jars your favorite marinara sauce
5 links hot Italian sausage ~ grilled and cut in cubes
fresh parmesan and oregano
4 types of cheese ~ I'm going universal and grated:
 Spanish manchego 
Italian truffle
  Wisconsin sharp cheddar
Italian parmesan

Boil gnocchi as directed, rinse and drain, smother in butter, oregano and parmesan cheese.  Set aside.  In a lightly oiled baking pan, add marinara sauce, gnocchi, cheeses and fresh oregano.  Bake at 350 for one hour, remove foil and cook for 15 more minutes. 

Please note this is definitely not a heart healthy meal but once in awhile we need to indulge.  Enjoy. xo

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Just ask the cookie monster ~ best cookies ~ ever!  While baby slumbered, I dabbled in preparing a batch of dump cookies.  I call them that because I made oatmeal in the morning and no one ate it and being a waste not, want not kinda gal, I dumped it with additional ingredients and I must say, they are the best I ever ate.

Cookie Monster Cookies

Prepare Quaker Oats oatmeal as directed using milk, embellishing with Macintosh apple chunks, Ghiradelli chocolate morsels, crushed peanuts, dash of cinnamon.  In a large bowl, mix 2 cups flour, teaspoon of vanilla and a stick of butter (softened)  Combine all ingredients and mold into balls the size of your palm.  This is very sticky but fun.  Place on a cookie sheet or baking stone (bakes the best) and flatten with a spatula.  Bake for 20 minutes at 350.  They are so soft and moist and delicious.  The apples really make them yummy.

My little moonface with his new owl hat.
He took a 3 hour nap and I am sure he grew a few inches.  His pediatrician announced at four months, he weighs 17 lbs. and is 25 inches long.  I love that little guy.  He watches 15 minutes of Sesame Street and really, really likes Elmo, and Bert and Ernie.  Christmas is coming. LOL. Such a cutie patootie. 
My Danny in Vegas with his buddies celebrating Cody's 25th birthday. Check out all the chips! 
Mike, Margarita and Dillan ~ his daddy really gets him squealing!
Steve and Ellen tinkling the ivory ~ life is good xo

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

baby love

There is nothing more precious than holding a wee one as he drifts into slumber.  Our days with Dillan fill this home with so much new energy and awe that sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure it's a reality that he is in our lives.
When he is awake, he is wide-eyed and bushy tailed. As he approaches his fourth month he is becoming more engaging and aware of his surroundings.  He takes a few cat naps and one long one but most of the time is spent discovering his world.  While he used to want to be held most of the time, now he enjoys lying in the bassinet or big bed and perusing the colors and objects that strike his fancy.
He seems attached to certain stuffed animals and others he pays no mind to.  He loves his Tigger tiger, big bear and more recently, Cookie Monster.  He does not care for Barney (thank God) or the Grouch just yet.  I let him feel a variety of textures to stimulate his tactile senses and play bicycle with his legs to give them a nice stretch.  He had a mini massage with baby lotion to hydrate his skin and keep everything running smoothly.  I played a lullabye show about the popular Goodnight, Moon narrated by Susan Sarandon and he latched on to it.  I will tape Sesame Street for future viewings but don't want to expose him to too much television ~ he'll have enough of that when he is older.  Mike says he already watches South Park with him (help!) LOL
Dillan responds to verbal cues and is really expressing himself with so many sounds these days.  It seems one week brings all sorts of new accomplishments.  He still favors his pacifier (the dee dee) but more often than not, he explores with his fingers in the mouth.  Sometimes I worry he'll gag himself when he puts his hands, and often both, in that orifice. 
Yesterday he grasped on to his rattle and teething ring and doesn't hold it for very long, but it's a start.  Once he realizes the cause and effect he will have with these toys, it won't be long and he'll realize he has the world at his fingertips (pun intended.)  He does not like being on his stomach but we put him on just long enough to practice the airplane and get his muscles moving.  He is a hearty eater and very, very healthy and now has chubby cheeks.  Once he becomes physically active, he will need it!  I wonder how much he weighs now and will find out at his next doctor visit.  He has to be over 15 pounds, at least.
One of the most profound milestones happened yesterday as well.  I read a new book each visit and usually he stays attentive through the whole book so I read it a couple, three times.  This time he sat up and remained erect for the whole story and touched the pages!  As any new grandparent may know (and we are discovering) things have changed alot since we had our babies.  Nowadays, babies must sleep on their backs to protect them from SIDS, car seats are extremely protective and can transform into strollers with attachments, and a baby should not be put in a sit position until around four months.  I understand it has something to do with the spine development.  Since he is almost at that age, he probably figures he is ready to get on with living life to its fullest, especially when it comes to reading books and seeing his world from another angle. 
This week we read Spooky Old Tree featuring the Berenstein Bears since Halloween is approaching and I wanted him to get into the mood.  He likes the Care Bears A ~ Z but his favorite is still Are You My Mother?  (just like his daddy.)  These days Dillan vocalizes so much more with distinct Agoo, and Ah! and has discovered his tongue, too.  There are always bubbles around his little lips and his eyes track us as we walk around him.  He discovered mirrors and likes to see himself but will not realize that it is himself until much later when he is almost two.
When he has enough stimulation for the time being, he lets us know and I calm him in his favorite room ~ the birdies in the bathroom and most importantly ~ Steve's room.  He loves loves loves the sunflower paintings and cloud windows and shakes with glee when he looks at it.  That is the room I raised our boys in so it has some pretty cool energies in there. 
See what I mean!  Moonface :)

  My baby love giving a shout out to his second cousin and my niece, Nikki, on her 24th birthday today!     xo

Monday, October 17, 2011

my plate is full

My week was filled to the hilt.  This is quite a significant change from waking up and going with the flow as to whatever the day may bring, but I am managing to groove into my new routine.  Whenever I am away from my home for too long, I have to reconnect and nest by preparing a hearty meal and I successfully created breaded porkchops, potatoes, green beans and pumpkin muffins.  The days of homemade meals are dwindling for now. :P
These are some photos of Your Natural Element, where I give massage these days.  I still provide this service out of my home and this week I had someone almost everyday.  I continue to slowly but surely reconnect with my clients to let them know I am back in the game, but until I get a good rhythm going, I am taking it in increments.
Here is the salon in Hinsdale.
Room where the manicures and pedicures happen.
This is an Aveda concept spa so there is a plethora of products with the natural ingredients to pamper and beautify.
I give massage in the purple room most of the time.  There are four rooms available but I share the room with the owner, Maria. 
In between clients, I play with the healing stones.  The facility has two showers for guests to use.  It's quite cool here.
We had Dillan day on Wednesday which was absolutely perfect.  He was pleasant the entire day and gave us so much joy with his cooing, and responding to our voices. 
All babies have fussy days, but this day he was happy and enamored with our company.  We took a buggy ride to see the trees and let him explore our home in detail.  He really likes Steve's room with his sunflower artwork and cloud windows.  We played for over an hour when Boo came home from school.  He got so excited when the fan was twirling I thought he just might burst out of his britches!
He locked into the Are You My Mother? book so I read it twice.  He is adorable (which is what all grandparents say.)   You never know with wee ones.  One day they fuss and nothing keeps them content and other days everything fills them with joy. 
We enjoyed a string of perfectly gorgeous weather and took advantage to be outdoors as much as possible.  This bambi deer just soaked in the morning dew and hung around our backyard for quite awhile.  We raked some leaves and picked a bunch of tomatoes and peppers still ripening on the vine.  Big Daddy ate the whole container in one day.  He has a sick foot issue as he dropped a tv tray on it a couple of weeks back and it has been haunting us ever since.  Having diabetes hinders extremities from healing quickly and since he continues his daily routine by walking on it, it is taking longer to heal.  We went for xrays and spent most of the week visiting various doctors, labs and specialists and closely monitoring and redressing the wound. I hope Karen, Carrie and Bo have unlimited texting as I have been lighting up their phones with updates and pics about his ordeal.  We almost thought he needed to be hospitalized as it seemed to worsen but something amazing happened yesterday and when we arrived it healed profoundly.  The powerful antibiotics surely kicked in but something tells me divine intervention was at hand.  When we left his house there was a beautiful monarch butterfly hovering our heads.  Thanks, Mom.   Today a surgeon who specializes in this specific injury will tend to him.  Prayers for speedy recovery are requested. 
Wayne brought Big Daddy to the lab for his bloodwork and afterward he came to our home for a bit, where he played the piano with his signature boogie tune.  It warmed our hearts so much I had to share it on facebook and youtube.  Who knows, maybe Ellen will see it and have him on her show!  Wouldn't that be something?  After the loaded week, we decided to go on a date and visit Danny at Maggiano's for some good grub.  It was overcrowded with a couple of weddings and other patrons with the same thing in mind, but always worth the trip. 
This was in the doctor's office.  Full plates require balance and everything in moderation.  Amen to that. xo

Monday, October 10, 2011

whirlwind weekend :)

My week ended as busy as it began and was filled with cherishable moments.  It seems my life is very impromptu and I take it one day at a time ~ come what may.  After reconnecting with some of my clients after a two year hiatus, Friday rolled along and we had Dillan day.  Sharing his world brings a high I never imagined.  Ozis stayed over the weekend and remained my shadow all the time. 
The new wind family had a remarkable photo shoot and shared some of the pictures.  What treasures! 
Saturday was filled with more sunshine as we visited my niece's new digs in Tinley Park.  Melissa and Joe own a huge lot and they worked diligently to clear the way for amazing plants and foilage and it felt as if we were out in the country.  Wayne and Robert threw the football in just a portion of their land until the rest of the families arrived.  It's always nice catching up with those you love.  Our nephew, Robert (a.k.a. Bobby Stone; Mickey Sprout,) decided he wanted to continue our bonding and came back home with us for the long weekend.  Those two are comical together ~ two peas in a pod.  They talk the same language. 
Sunday brought another sunny day and more memories as we headed down to Bourbonnais to our happy place.  Uncle Bill looks fantastic and he showed Robert all his guitars and Aunt Diane shared the fruits of her labor in her ever-blooming garden.  After some healthy conversations, we continued our journey.
Robert felt the good energies, too, and wants to come back next month when we make the rounds again.
The Girtman Garden  :)
Here's the happy clan.  It was their granddaughter Megan's birthday so they headed out to celebrate and we continued on our way to see Uncle Steve in Manteno.
Uncle Steve is now 94 years old and it seems he is getting better at each visit.  It has become evident that Helen is connecting with him and Robert was witness to how he listens for a bit and then shares what she says to Uncle Steve, who passes on the messages from the other world.  I believe this is why he is doing so well ~ his sister, his partner, is helping him cope. 
We had all our family members over for barbeque when we returned from our touring and enjoyed baby once again.  He was quite cranky so I was being creative in trying to soothe and comfort him and realized the secret is in the art of distraction.
These two comical cohorts kept me entertained all weekend (an extended weekend due to a holiday.) They watched a lot of football and baseball and made up songs and now he wants to form a band with all the Wind boys and himself and call it Windmill (Wind and Miel).  That boy is pretty clever if you ask me!  While I serviced a client in my home on Monday, they ran some errands, visited Riverwalk and then Steve and I took him shopping for some new feel-good items. 
The older Winds whirled around through all the neighborhoods with the top down to see the beautiful autumnal scenery and Lemont wins the prize.  Lately, it seems the best plans occur when you don't make any.  I'm learning something new every day and look forward to each moment as it occurs.  Baby Dillan has the right idea ~ now it's naptime!  xo