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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!



I Could Have Had Sauce???

The other day I picked up a frozen meal from the grocery store. Now, keep in mind that 99% of the food in our family is home cooked. It might be past midnight and I don’t go to bed until I get up and turn off the pot of whatever is simmering on the stove….


Warmth in the Middle of Winter

Have you ever been carried away to a warm spot— whether physical, emotional or spiritual? Maybe it was a warm beach on a wintertime getaway, where you felt the pulsing heat soaking into your bones. Perhaps it was a hot cup of coffee or a bowl of soup by the roaring fire as snow fell…


The Lost Art of Being Nice

I believe in intentional living: to every day tell someone you love them, you care for them, you have their back, you’re on their side. It’s simple humanity. Bottom line: being nice matters. It might be extending kindness to a stranger and certainly we should never ignore the ones we love. Or supposedly love. Did…


Kicking Chaos to the Curb

I have lowered the boom. We are quashing chaos. My children come from backgrounds where their lives were out of control. That’s putting it mildly. Ending up in the Russian orphanage system signaled a definite upturn in events for them, which only proves how chaotic things had become. It was desperate. Sad as that may…


Monday Mottoes – #173

Right now, I’m living with some half-hatched, larvae-like kids and I’m sure they’d say the same about me. Happily, things started turning around on Friday when they decided to get with the program and have a nice holiday dinner on the eve of Russian Christmas. Girls helped with the mushroom and onion piroshki, slicing, dicing,…


Russian Christmas

Russian Christmas Eve begins tonight on January 6th, with the actual holiday on January 7th. Orthodox Christians celebrate this date as the birth of Jesus due to a difference in the Gregorian and Julian calendars. So Russians sing carols house to house, enjoy a meal of 12 different dishes and attend church. In our family,…


S’more-like Dreidl Desserts

I was perusing an issue of Woman’s Day magazine and came across the most amazing recipe, perfect for a Hanukkah dessert or snack. They looked like small dreidls, or the spinning tops, generally played with during the holiday. The ingredients made me think: S’mores on a stick! Here’s what you need to gather: thin pretzel…


Reluctant to Resolve?

I know, I know, it’s that time of year again— goals, resolutions, aims— and you’re skittish. I understand. What’s the point of dreaming and thinking and planning, if come next December, you’re right back in the same boat? You’re reluctant to resolve. You see no earthly reason to make big plans and then not have…


Monday Mottoes – #171

Blank pages spread before us for 2017, what will we write? What will we imagine or dream? Does the inspiration come from outside of us, or deep within? What’s a priority, what deserves our time and attention? Is it God speaking to us, our mate calling out for attention, the boss asking for more, or…


Maryellen 1955

Our children, in their late teens and a couple already 20, still enjoy the occasional juvenile movie. It might be because they came from orphanage backgrounds and lost out on some of their childhood. It could be because kids’ movies often have to do with families and this fascinates them. We came across a cute…