Open Letter to My Sugarbean on Your 6th Birthday

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Dearest Marisabelle,

I write this on the eve of when you turn 6.  A while ago, you’d asked for snow as the number one thing to have for your birthday. You know what? You got it a day early. Because of the snow, we were also able to celebrate your birthday together as a family since Daddy’s class was canceled. Your second birthday wish was granted when we went to Richardson Bike Mart and Daddy bought you your very first bicycle. It is a Trek Mystic, white and purple, with a white faux wicker basket, flowers, a pink bell that says “I heart my bike,” and training wheels---that I’m sure will be off in a matter of months. Just like the night before you were born, we went to have dinner at Luby’s. You wanted macaroni and cheese. Because we were feeling nostalgic, we headed out there and had a quiet family meal laughing and smiling. All day long, unaware to you, you were getting virtual well wishes for your special day. You even had a few phone calls early from your Bisabuela, Nina Dani, and Nino Nono to wish you well!

When we were home, we rushed to get you ready for bed since tomorrow would be a long day. Right now you have a cough. This seems to be the case for you when the weather shifts to really cold temperatures. The cough stays until it gets much warmer and more humid. We give you honey and rub Vick’s on your feet and chest to help you sleep at night. This seems to work better than any prescribed medications. After lathering you up and giving you a spoonful of honey, Tesla walked in giving you your birthday dress. You see, we started this tradition long ago. Before Tesla was here, your big brother Guapo would give you a new dress to wear. This year’s number is a navy blue dress with hot pink/fuchsia lining and a fuchsia belt. You loved it! You can’t wait to wear it.

Tomorrow morning, I’m setting my alarm early to get up and capture your face to your room full of balloons and streamers! After we dress, hopefully we are early enough for me to take you for your birthday donut with a candle. Then, I’ll take you to school. For lunch, I will bring you your requested Chick-fil-a grilled nuggets, apple slices, and apple juice. I’ll hand over your darling cupcake/cake for your class’s afternoon snack. It is also the 100th day of school. You will be taking 100 gummy bears, as well. God bless your teacher with all of the sugar you kiddos will be devouring. That evening, we will have a girls night in, watching movies, and snuggling. I’m sure I will have fits of proud tears all day long, as I’m doing right now as I type this.

You are such a strong-willed child with quite the vocabulary. You have a very unique fashion sense and quite a personality, too! I’m humbled most days by you. “Though she be but little, she be fierce!”---Shakespeare That quote fits you. Your spirit isn’t crushed. No matter how much society’s hand tries to conform you to their standards, you shrug it off and keep going. Like when you get marked for not following directions. You look at me, smile and say, “But Mom, I had too much energy and I couldnt’ stop wiggling. It’s just what I do. I can’t help it.” or if you aren’t listening, you will tell me, “But Mom, my brain was going really, really, really fast and I was thinking and daydreaming, I couldn’t focus to listen because I was listening to my brain. It was talking to my heart. You told me to listen to my heart! It takes a lot of energy and that’s why my brain goes so fast. I tried to explain that to them.” You know what, I admire the fact that you don’t let it affect you. Even those moments when you openly defy me and question me, inside, I couldn’t be prouder. I hope you never lose that wonder. I hope you never lose that fight. I know one day you will continue to do astonishing things, surpassing any dream I may have had for you. I know all of this will not be without struggle, but it will be worth every single bit of it.

My darling daughter, I’m so very proud of you. I’m so very honored by the person you are becoming. I love the way your mind works. The stories you tell me, the imagination you have, the empathy you have for people, and the love you have for the whole wide world. Keep trying hard, every single day. Mommy loves you so very much!

signing to you,



Recipe Monday: Tom Kha Soup

Monday, February 3, 2014


1 clove garlic (sliced)
1 can heavy creamy coconut milk (I use the kind from Trader Joe's. It's perfect for this.)
2 cups of veggie broth (I use my leftover whey from this recipe and add a tablespoon of better than bouillon veggie-chicken flavor)
Bunch of cilantro (chopped)
1 bag of cremini mushrooms (some recipes use straw mushrooms, but I don't like the canned ones and dried are hard to find. I like the earthiness of cremini and they are more available)
1 tablespoon lemongrass (I use the dried kind. Fresh adds a great flavor, but a PAIN to eat/dig out)
1/2 tablespoon herbs de provence
1 lime
a bit of ginger (I don't usually have fresh ginger and inadvertently forget this step almost always)
2 tablespoons butter (unsalted)
pinch of salt
pinch of red pepper flakes (only if you want some heat. my girls don't like that kind of heat so I will skip it but add to my soup)


Medium to medium high heat, melt your butter in a pan. Add your diced garlic. If you like extra garlic, go for it. Add your pinch of salt and the mushrooms. Get those nice and coated. Saute it up until they are slightly soft. Squeeze your lime juice onto the mushrooms, then add your ginger, herbs, and lemongrass. Mix them up together and give them a good saute. Add your cilantro. Give it another saute dance. You just want the greens to be lightly cooked, not full on wilted. Now add the veggie broth. Spoon out the creamy coconut milk and stir/agitate until it mixes with the rest of the liquid. Cook until bubbling.

Serve up!

*You can add fish sauce, chicken, tofu, and/or chili paste to add different elements and flavors. When I use fresh coconut, I like to get a young coconut and cut the meaty flesh into strips and add to my soup for added texture. When my girls get older, I may use fresh lemongrass more, but for now, to prevent excessive chewing, whining, and yes, even minor choking, I use the dried kind. It doesn't add the flavor in the same way as the fresh kind, but it works well enough. If you can use fresh ingredients, it'll definitely make a difference in the way it tastes. You may not always have access to fresh, though, so in a pinch, this recipe will work to hold you over until you can get to your favorite Thai spot!
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