Thursday, January 25, 2007

Tomato Soup

January weather requires us to enjoy lots of soup. Nothing warms us in quite the same way. There is a popular spicy tomato soup that is served for lunch in many local restaurants. The original recipe requires butter, cream, and cream cheese, so I've made my own healthier version. Marta loves it with a sprinkling of cheese on top. Here you can see her enjoying a bowl last Saturday at our house.

Spicy Tomato Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small chopped onion
1 piece celery, chopped (optional)
1 can Campbell's tomato soup
2 cups milk
1 can stewed or chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon basil

4 tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt

Fry the chopped onion and optional celery in the
olive oil until lightly browned. Add the other ingredients. Blend together with a hand blender until fairly smooth. Heat on medium temperature, watching closely so it doesn't boil or stick to the pan. Enjoy!

We will take a little break from Michigan's winter starting tomorrow morning when we're going to Cancun, Mexico, for a few days of warm weather. The temperature there is supposed to be 85 degrees! Look for Cancun pictures here coming soon!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Girl in Pink
Here's Scarlett modeling her new pink jogging suit. It is from Spain and sent to her by Martin and Consuelo, Marta's parents. It is a great color and fits her perfectly.

The second picture shows Scarlett with her grandfather, visiting Chicago from Korea.

Monday, January 22, 2007

The Cookie Helper
Steve, Marta, and Gabriel came to see us this weekend. Gabriel says he's not a baby, he's a big boy, so he can be a cookie helper. We made chocolate chip cookies together and had a great time. Gabriel is very serious about helping, focusing on making the balls of cookie dough and putting them on the baking sheet. Then of course we put the cookies in the oven to bake. He also wants to help removing the hot cookies from the baking sheet and we have to be careful that he doesn't touch the hot pan. Later he has a small plate of cookies to enjoy. Here in the picture he is with his father, who has always been a great baker, much better than me at timing the cookies so they are done just right.

Saturday evening we went to a favorite Chinese restaurant in Lansing. On the way there Gabriel fell asleep. Here you can see Marta holding him inside the restaurant where he wanted to continue sleeping.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Akiko is my student and friend; she is very kind and has many talents, but is very modest if complimented. Her skills with needlework, crafts, and cooking cannot be surpassed. Her stitching is very fine and beautiful. I will never forget her rum raisin cake and her cream puffs. In fact, her skills with cooking and needlework are too many to mention. We have shared the joys of being grandmothers as Akiko has a baby grandson waiting for her in Japan. Very soon Akiko and her husband will return to Japan. I wish Akiko much happiness in her future life in Japan and especially many happy days with her grandson!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Ice Storm
It is January in Michigan so finally we are having typical winter weather. Today is sunny and very cold. Everything is covered with a coating of ice sparkling like diamonds. I like to exercise walk every day but today I've decided to stay inside and enjoy the view!

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Lee Family
We're having a strange and unusual winter in Michigan. There was snow early in October followed by mild weather for a couple of months throughout the holidays. Many days were in the 40's and 50's; sometimes even warmer! It didn't seem like winter. Golfers could play golf but skiers could not ski. There was no snow for sledding and lakes have remained unfrozen. Starting just yesterday there was rain followed by freezing temperatures. This morning there is a coating of ice on everything. I stepped out in front of the house to take this picture and my feet crunched on the ice. The sidewalk and driveway luckily are clear; but no vehicles are passing. Most people are remaining indoors. I imagine many don't have power because ice wreaks havoc on power lines. It is a good day to work on my baby projects!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Here's a Christmas picture of Scarlett, Cathy, and Sasha, taken at Mitsuwa, the Japanese market in Chicago.

Sasha's father is visiting from Korea, so next please see him with Scarlett and Cathy in the mall. I think Scarlett is enjoying herself!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Tom and Kelly's Kitchen
Here are before and after pictures of Tom and Kelly's kitchen in their "new" house in Maplewood, New Jersey. The "before" picture above is the original finish, brown and kind of 70's style. Below please see the updated kitchen, green outside and white interior, very fresh and clean looking. Good job!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Holiday Happenings Part 3
Tom and Kelly, pictured on the left, have just moved from their apartment in Hoboken, N.J., to a house in Maplewood, N.J., preparing for their baby expected in May. On the New Year weekend Tony and I drove to their lake house to help with various moving projects. We had taken all the back seats out of the minivan so we were able to pack it full of boxes to be moved, mostly wedding gifts that had been stored until they had the house. Below you can see Tony with the fully packed minivan.
Then we drove to Maplewood, unpacked everything, and in the evening went to the city to Greenwich Village to meet our nephew George and his wife Anna. George and Anna live in Los Angelos, and were visiting NYC for the holidays. We had a lovely dinner and get together in a Thai restaurant. You can see them in the middle of the picture below. George and Anna are very kind and sweet; I wish we could see them more often.

Next on the agenda was working on the Maplewood house. The house is 80 years old, in good condition, and within walking distance of the train going to Manhattan, making for a fairly easy commute to work every day. The house needs some work, painting and decorating, so we began redoing the kitchen cupboards. Tom had taken off the cupboard doors, so you can see me with my paint speckled pants, putting some coats of primer on the brown wood. Next you can see Tom with the finishing coats of green paint. Can you see the paint on his legs? It was fun working with Tom on this project and we mostly completed it in two days. Painting is fairly strenuous work, but very satisfying because you can see a big change in what you're working on.
Tom and Kelly's moving day was Friday, January 5, so now the move has been successfully completed. Kelly's Dad was a big help and had come for a few days to assist. Everyone is tired, but they are now settling in to their "new" house. We wish them well!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Holiday Happenings Part 2

A highlight of our holiday was a visit by Marta's parents and grandmother, who live in Spain. We had a lovely day together when everyone came to our home. Tony prepared a prime rib dinner which was enjoyed by all. Our winter is so mild this year that we didn't have concerns for snow and ice, the usual problems of a December visit. I was thinking this was a very special day for Gabriel (even though he wasn't really thinking about it) because he had all four of his grandparents plus a great-grandmother together in one place. Especially considering the travel distances involved for our international family, this doesn't happen often.
Gabriel now understands well the opening of presents, enjoying his new helicopter and truck from Aunt Kelly and Uncle Tom and his new Lightning McQueen from Grandma and Grandpa. He really loves all kinds of cars, planes and trucks. A funny thing I heard him do: He was saying a really bad English word several times and was puzzled; where did he learn this word? Then I realized he was talking about his "truck" but instead of the "tr" sound, he unintentionally substituted "f-"!! I'm sure that sometime soon, if not already, Gabriel will get these sounds sorted out. He is already bilingual, speaking both English and Spanish with equal ease.

Crafty report: Here is Marta modeling her new lace shawl that I knit for her. Lace is really interesting to knit because it is a challenge. You really have to think about what you're doing and cannot daydream! I like to have three kinds of knitting projects going all the time: one is easy and mindless that I can just do automatically without thinking. This is good for the car or while watching an interesting movie. The second kind of knitting requires some thought but not total concentration. The third is lace, where there is constant attention and counting of stitches. My projects right now: baby things for Tom and Kelly's baby due in May. I almost have two little sweaters done and will start a baby quilt today.

Friday, January 05, 2007

A Beautiful Couple
Here are Steve and Marta taken recently when they dressed up to attend a friend's wedding . You can see their Christmas tree in the background. Some of the ornaments on the tree I bought years ago and gave to them for their first Christmas together. Every year I tried to buy an ornament for each of my children, putting their initials and the year somewhere on the ornament. Often these were bought the day after Christmas when Christmas items were on sale! Through the years we accumulated a nice collection of ornaments.
Almost always I see Steve and Marta in their casual clothes, so I really enjoy seeing this picture, so beautifully dressed up. Isn't Marta elegant??

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Holiday Happenings Part 1
Here are some pictures from Christmas Eve. Scarlett is wearing her new sweater that I knit for her. We gave her the Language Littles doll that speaks both English and Korean if you push the button on its hands. Look at the picture below. Scarlett was so afraid of this doll! It has a very lifelike voice. When she heard it speak, her eyes looked so shocked and then she began to cry and hit it!

Cathy has a new shorter haircut which I like so much; she has lots of natural curl. It was lovely to spend time together.

Tony prepared turkey with all the trimmings. Friends joined us for dinner on Christmas Eve. We had a really nice time.