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Casa(my home, my family, my life) Pleasures (hobbies, interests) Food Bites (about food, cooking, recipes, restaurants) Cool Beans (trendy, hip and cool everything) Giddiness (things that make me giddy) Artsy (graphic design, collage art/photography,

Updated: 2014-10-05T00:45:39.604-04:00


Springbok Shoes


(image) The Dijkstra family came to visit us this summer for a family vacation from South Africa and surprised all the girls with awesome sandals from South Africa. Handmade from leather & springboks. Springboks (pic show above) are graceful gazelle (Antidorcas marsupialis) of SA.
My girls love their new sandals and even wear them to summer camp! Thank you to our great friends from SA.

The Giant Cupcake


I'm planning on making this big cupcake for Ella & Emmy's 7th Birthday Party in June. We are planning an "elegant tea party" at the garden. I'm planning the details which I will share with you soon. In the meantime, you can purchase the giant silicone cupcake mold on

Our 10th Wedding Anniversery!


Bob and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary in Aruba. Aruba is a great island along the coast of venezuela. It's a small island (within the kingdom of the netherlands) with about 100,000 population & 51 combined nationalities. The two official languages are the Dutch language and Papiamento. Papiamento is a language that has been evolving through the centuries and absorbed many words from other languages like Dutch, English, diverse African dialects, and most importantly, from Portuguese and Spanish. However, like many islands in the region, Spanish is also often spoken. This island is like a large fruit salad - a mix and mash of flavors from all over the world. One the greatest places in the carribean.[...]

Garden of Ideas - Ridgefield, CT


Spring has finally arrived! The girls and I enjoyed an afternoon at Garden of Ideas, just around the corner from our home. A wonderful garden in Ridgefield for relaxing and enjoying nature. The girls brought drawing pads and sketched beaufiul pictures of the gardens, while mom enjoyed photographing the girls. [...]

GIRLS NIGHT OUT at the Maritime Norwalk Aquarium


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Mia's last Brownie Scout meeting took place at the Norwalk Martime Aquarium in Norwalk, CT. The sleepover was awesome...we slept with the Otters! We enjoyed a night full of fun!

Ice Skating on the Lake...Ridgefield CT


We enjoyed Ice Skating on Fox Lake with the Kelly Family. The boys enjoyed a game of ice hockey while the girls practiced figure skating (of course). Diane provided the hot chocolate to keep us warm . I enjoyed skating too and taking some great pics. After a few hours of skating we enjoyed Diane's delicious homemade Chili. Thank you Diane & Amanda! We had a super fun time. [...]

Happy New Year!


We all start out the year thinking about what we would like to change, do or accomplish. I would like to share my list of Top Ten Things To Do for 2009. I will publish/revise my Top Ten list monthly until the end of the year and recap what I actually accomplished or didn't accomplish in 2009. This should be lots of fun and can be used as great motivational tool. Please try it with me and let me know your results.

Val's Top Ten Things To Do for 2009
  1. Exercise a few times a week
  2. Quit "social" smoking
  3. Develop photography skills with new Sony SLR Camera
  4. Learn Photoshop CS3
  5. Visit The Dijkstra Family in South Africa
  6. Take a mini vacation with my husband for our 10th Year Wedding Anniversary in May '09
  7. Schedule "me" time
  8. Balance personal and professional life
  9. Continue Blogging
  10. Make sure Valerie is thankful & grateful for all she has :)

Lastly...I wish you lots of success in 2009!

Happy New Year!



My First Photos


I took my first ever photos on my new Sony SLR camera given to me by my husband Bob for Christmas...I love my new camera! I plan on learning digital photography and developing my Adobe Photoshop skills in 2009...Stay Tuned.

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2008 Christmas @ the Liu Home!


Here are some great pictures of our Christmas Holiday with family & friends. These pictures say it all...This was the BEST Christmas! [...]

Thansgiving with the Lum Family


Thangiving Day with the Lum family (Bob's family) is always a blast. Ayissa & Larry hosted with a delicious spread which included a Spanish Turkey, an American Turkey & a Chinese style Pig Roast. My favorite was the Spansih and Pig Roast, of course. The sides and desserts were amazing. Krissy Lum made the delicious Bananna Rum Bread Pudding...yum. The girls played with cousin Baby Riley and I enjoyed hanging with Bob's aunt Guma & Cousins. Ayissa's brother made 6 different types of Mojitos and they were amazing. So, we spent the night and Guma then took us food shopping to the Chinese & Korean markets before heading back to CT. What a great Thanksgivinging. Thank you to our favorite family...The Lum Family. We love you!

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Kitchen Renovation (Part I)


We're currently in the process of redoing our kitchen. Our challenge is to update our 80's kitchen into a cottage style kitchen with a set/limited budget. What does this mean? We're doing most of the work ourselves, minimal labor costs.

The first step was to determine what we were going to change. We decided to change our appliances, countertops, sink, cabinet hardware, faucet and backsplash. Our cabinets were custom built and in great condition so we decided to keep and paint the cabinets. We plan on changing the tile floor to hardwood flooring (in the future). In addition, the kitchen will be freshly painted and the final touches will include new lighting and window treatments. I hope to share the "new kitchen" photos with you soon...hopefully before Christmas 2008. Check out what we're currently working with...

True Heroes


On Sunday, we helped our daughters create Thanksgiving floats for their school's Thanksgiving parade. The first graders were asked to develop a float on their favorite hero. Our daughter's Ella & Emmy created their floats on Mom & Dad, instead. Although, we were flattered, we felt it should have been created on a true hero such as a soldier who is fighting each day for our country. We're thankful for our amazing daughters and our true heroes...our soldiers. Happy Thanksgiving!

Day After Halloween


We made a delicious Pumpkin Curry Soup using a soup mix, canned pumpkin, half n half and butter. It was easy and delicious. We then cleaned out a large pumpkin (saving the seeds) and used it as our serving bowl. Served with homemade bread. We then baked our seeds and topped with cinnamon sugar for a yummy treat.

Halloween Bash!


After taking the kids trick-o-treating, Bob and I went to our neighbors house to celebrate Al's 50th Birthday/Halloween Party. His wife, Sandy organized the entire party with beautiful Halloween decorations, delicious food and amazing desserts...loved the pumpkin cheesecake. It was a blast...enjoyed the costumes..and the great company of friends. Bob went as a pig/chef and I went as "Nurse Ophelia Pain" and actually won the "Sexiest Costume"...won a bottle of "Vampire's Blood". Great Halloween Party...Happy Birthday, Al.

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Happy Halloween!


Another great Halloween...trick-o-treating on Main Street. Mia dressed as a "Goth" Dracula, Emmy was a Vampire "Princess" & Ella was a "Diva" Witch with beautiful silver lashes. We enjoyed the beautiful warm night and all the spooky costumes (check out Gold Medalist, Mark Spitz) and decorations. My favorite home display was the Chinese Forbidden City with dragons and beautiful Chinese costumes, the children received fortune cookies instead of candy...creative and spectacular!

Mia's Halloweenfest!


Mia invited her friends to celebrate her 8th birthday at Ichiro Habachi Restaurant in Danbury CT. The kids enjoyed the cooking show and delicious Habachi food. After the restaurant, we came back to the house for a Halloween party with spooky treats and a haunted house ice-cream cake. The girls had a sleepover and did not fall as sleep until 2am...we were very exhausted. Thank you Kiki for joining us - Mia loves you. Happy Birthday, Misop!

Pumpkin Crazy...


(image) I went shopping and I guess the theme was pumpkins. I found curried pumpkin soup mix, pumpkin cobbler mix, pumkin ale beer and spiced pumpkin apple cider Bob loved the ale, of course! I plan on trying the soup & cobbler this week. I love Fall and Halloween...looking forward to Halloween on Friday!

Yummy Apples!


We made delicious caramel apples with marshmallows and candy corn after apple picking.




(image) I'm currently working on our 2009 POS football promotion and have received some neat samples. My favorite is the Cheese Head...Suzanna you look great!

FALL in love with FALL


(image) Another picture perfect "Fall" day as we visited the Outhouse Orchard in North Salem, NY. We enjoyed pumpkin and apple picking on this perfect "Indian Summer" day with our little friends Katy & Trey. Bob waited an hour for his smoked Turkey leg drum (well worth it) and I enjoyed the BBQ pulled pork sandwich for lunch. The kids enjoyed the maple and honey candies. I purchased a bushel of ripened Tomatoes for only $10.00. We got back to the house and the kids made caramel apples while I made homemade pasta sauce with fresh basil and oregano from our garden, lots of garlicccc and pine nuts. Dinner was soooooo fresh and yummy. I love FALL!

Oktoberfest in Ridgefield!


We took part in the sixteen-day festival celebration held each year in Munich & Bavaria Germany, right here in Ridgefield CT. Thanks to our friend and neighbor's, the Jaeger Family. Keeping up with Tanya & Eric's tradition and heritage they sure put together an amazing festival.The festival took place at the Jaeger's home on there 3 acre property. The Oktoberfestbiers "BEER" were from at least six breweries in Germany, a wooden barrel keg and several German wines. Bob's favorite beer was the smoked beer (German: Rauchbier of Barmber) is a type of beer with a distinctive smoked flavor. The taste is very similiar to smoked bacon...SMOKIN!While the adults enjoyed the "Oktoberfestbiers" the children enjoyed the hot bretzels (pretzel), hot off the pretzel machine & hot apple cider. They also enojoyed playing and jumping in the large jumpy house with 3 babysitter's watching over them. Our pup "Toby" was invited and enjoyed playing with the other dogs. The food selection was very traditional with several types of sausages; Weisswrust (White Sausage), Wurstel & Bratwurst. The Schweinebraten and Kasespatzle/spatzle (cheese noodles), homemade Sauerktraut & Blaukrat (red cabbage) were all big hits. I could not try the desserts but all looked very good.I would like to thank the Jaegger's for such a wonderful experience and hope we can celebrate with them again next year. It truly was the "Festival of the Year"! [...]

Go Bobcats...


The girls went back to school this week. They were so excited to see Mr. Ruby the bus driver and ride on Bus #7 again. Mia will be in 3rd grade and the twins in 1st grade - a full day of school for the twins...yeah. Even Toby wanted to go to school with them...I had to carry him off the school bus. Too cute!!!!

Outta Cape Cod Tonight!


Another great summer vacation in Cape Cod - Dennis, MA. We enjoyed playing at the beach collecting shells, making sand castles and playing with hermit crabs. We went biking, visited P-town, cooked up delicious meals including 3 pound lobsters and grilled clams, and just chilled with our cous Nora who is just HULARIOUS! Our puppy Toby enjoyed his first family vacation, too.[...]

Camping with Yogi Bear!


We enjoyed our camping trip at Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park in Woodbridge NY (Catskills). This Family Camping Recreational Park is filled with fun for the entire family - swimming, fishing, boating, scheduled daily activities. We stayed in a two-room cabin with central air/heat, full refrigerator, microwave, running water and electricity...not really camping huh? Our cabin was located on Boo Boo Lane directly across from a large playground area and restrooms with showers (perfect). The girls enjoyed riding their bikes around the grounds and to the rec center to play video games...on their own! Bob went fishing with Ella and caught a large big mouth bass which we grilled for dinner. We met a wonderful famil, the Walkers, from Canada. They have three girls too! We enjoyed many activities with them including swimming, karaoke night (sweet caroline...ho ho ho) and toasted marshmallows and made smores by the fire late at night. The girls loved each other! The Walker family is actually coming to visit us in Ridgefield, CT on Friday before they drive back home to Toronto on Sat. Our kids cannot stop watching Yogi Bear's Boo Boo Runs Wild episode on Boomerang. What a pleasure to see our kids watching Yogi Bear...a"classic". We enjoyed camping with Yogi Bear and will plan another trip soon![...]