Miscarriage and Career!

I rarely could eat breakfast before an important meeting, but it was obvious the baby in my womb had different plans, when the cafeteria lady asked me what it would be, I ordered Eggs Benedict. I wondered if he would mind if I added a decaf but had enough self-control not to.

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The two executives from headquarters walked in and noticed me right away, they were screaming ‘corporate’ due to their sharp suits and polished shaves. One had a British accent; the other German, they smiled and tried to figure out who I was and why all of a sudden I had been dumped on their agenda.

I felt so proud, this was it! This was the career I had always dreamt of. They tried to remain polite but the British couldn’t help himself, as he showed me the list of meeting attendees, he insisted “Don’t take the seat right next to the CTO, let, Xavier handle introductions.”

“Of course”, I smiled, trying to put him at ease. I was not in Sales, no commission was going to come to me, I just really wanted this deal to close before I left for maternity leave, but of course I was not going to bother explaining all that.

Xavier chimed in, “Did they ask you to come so we can have a ladies’ views on the Retail deals” I wanted to give him a sneer, but instead I practiced my diplomatic face, “No, I was invited by the office of the Chairman. When his perplexed look continued, I added, “Because I have been working on this product for two years, and I AM THE BEST person to speak on the Go To market plans“

I see, and why couldn’t the product manager come to explain, what is his name, you know the Asian fellow with the colorful glasses?”

I felt a sharp pain in my side, it took all of my strength not to shiver down, this asshole was clearly upsetting the baby. “Because”, I gave him a cold look, “He actually believes I can do my job, plus I am already working on iOt innovation deals, we just want the deal to close, doesn’t matter by whom.”

The other party’s executives arrived, whistling and too happy of a face for a 7:30am meeting. They greeted each other so warmly I felt we were in a Godfather scene.

The CTO then acknowledged me at last, and looked me up from head to toe, “They sent us a model since this is a retail deal?” He laughed at his own joke but I could tell he put everyone at mal ease.

“I’m Layla, Sebastian thought it would be beneficial if I came today, so we can discuss post- launch milestones and hopefully add them in?

“Interesting, and what kid of a name is Layla? My daughter wants to get a dog and name her Layla too, you must be very trendy”. I wasn’t sure whether to love or hate the guy. To the dismay of Xavier, he pulled the chair next to him for me to sit on, and ordered his assistant to get me a cappuccino. I tried to refuse, but he made one of his jokes, “Oh don’t worry, this is not one of those drinks your German colleagues claim as coffee,this is the real deal”.

We transitioned into the conference room, the meeting was supposed to last 5 hours max, we were going to go through each clause and ensure everyone is clear on the co-innovation agreements between two companies, we had legal, product, and business development teams in the room. I was the only marketer and the only woman. The Chairman had told me if everything went smooth, we could close the deal by lunchtime, and go celebrate on his card. I was so looking forward to that, this baby had an appetite unmatched by anyone I knew.

As the negotiations progressed, so did the sharp pain on my side. It began taking over my entire body, I felt a mixture of morning sickness, dizziness, and then a cold shiver all throughout. It must have shown because the CTO threw in more of his humor:

“Come on Xavier, you can’t be serious with that idea, look you are making your own iOT expert shiver”.

I tried to mask the pain with yet another smile, I had waited so long to be taken seriously, and now here was my chance, it had been given to me, and last thing I wanted to do was to distract the again with my ‘femaleness’.

The hours went by, the CTO ordered me another coffee, I knew better than to drink that much caffeine, so I tried to warm my hands with the cup, I desperately needed a warm beverage. I tried to get up to go the restroom and I realized I was in so much pain I could not stand up.

Lunchtime came and we were no place to closing the deal, so they decided to go to the Café. I still could not manage to get up, so I made an excuse that I needed to catch up with emails and remained in my seat.

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I robbed my belly and talked to my baby, he was the only thing that kept me going, I felt his warmth and encouragement, it felt like he was saying, “Keep going Mommy, I know you can do this”, I knew he was going to be like his father, supportive and a feminist. It must be special to raise a son, to raise him right.

The guys came back to resume meetings, and kept arguing over what felt to me unimportant details. The pain began increasing, but suddenly I felt empowered by it, it was as if the baby was helping me speak my mind. I began chiming in, ignored Xavier’s raised eyebrows and provided input on how to change each clause so it made sense to both parties. I even gave some radical grass root suggestions that had all of them looking stupefied.

But the meeting DRAGGED on. It was finally 8:00pm by the time we signed the deal.

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I had sat there for 12 hours straight. It took all of my strength to stand up so I could say goodbye, they invited me to go for ‘scotch’, but I could tell they were relieved when I refused. The CTO looked at me and said, “I am going to write a note to Bernie, I look forward to seeing you again and working with you on this” and then he winked, I tried to find what the appropriate answer should be to this, but noticed there was blood in my chair and just smiled.

I waited for them to leave the parking lot before calling the ambulance. 30 minutes later, I was in ER room, and felt like I was in the middle of a dream when the Dr. told me I was pregnant with twins. How could my Dr. have missed this. I called my husband to tell him the news, he got super excited and did not wait for me to finish the whole story, “I am on my way honey”. We lived two hours away, as I tried to call him back to tell him the situation, the phone rang, it was the Chairman himself, “Congratulations, YOU closed the deal, we’ll celebrate tomorrow, with the whole team, my office, Well Done”.

Before I could respond my battery died. And then I passed out from the pain. When I woke up my husband was next to me, he was crying.

He held my hands, “They think one baby is Ok, the other one , they think it was another ectopic, but they are not sure”. I nodded, we had been through this before, I knew the deal.

My Dr. finally reached the hospital, and the doctor on duty came back to give results of ultrasound. “We think one pregnancy is already over, but the good news is the baby in the uterus looks fine”. Only time will tell. You need to stay here for a while, and we’ll monitor the pregnancy.

My husband had to go home to take care of our daughter, no family in town makes parenthood so much more of a challenge. But it was great time for me to get to know my baby boy. I had named him Milan and I could already tell what kind of a character he was going to have.

But my time with Milan did not last too long. As I continued to lose blood, my Dr. told me I had a duty towards my first born, “She is too young to not have a mom.” So I lay down, allowing the nurse to give me the infamous methotrexate shot, killing my baby. I felt like I could hear him protest, “But Mom, we have made it so far together”

When we went home neighbors and well meaning friends stopped by, but only to say comments that would simply want me to kill myself or them. “It was meant to be, imagine if he was born with defects, or autism”, “Really, it was meant to be?” First of all, my baby Milan was going to be perfect, I just knew that, and second of all, I would love him just the same, no matter what.

After a few days of bearing distasteful unhelpful signs of sympathy, I decided to go back to work.

I felt that was what Milan would have wanted me to do.

After all, this was not my first miscarriage, but I swear it would be my last. My great project was already given to an ambitious young man, who was running with it. My boss tried to find me a new home, a woman mentor stepped in, and offered me a fellowship in her team, and of course no sign of a promotion, as I tried to make the best of the situation, the sharp pains came back, and this time I deiced not to ignore it.

Turns out my body didn’t dissolve the sac & it kept filling up with blood; growing which ruptured my right tube. I felt like the baby was angry at me, he was punishing me for having tried to kill him. I kept calling my Dr. who told me it was normal to feel this way, the pain and the cramps were going to be present for a while. Then one day, I felt paralyzed at work, and in the middle of a staff meeting, our Director had to stop taking and drive me to the hospital.

I came home a few days later, with no signs of pregnancy left in my bodyy. But that baby sure fought his way to stay. My husband dropped me in the sofa; he also had lost his strength and could not carry me upstairs. The sofa became my new home. Days turned into weeks, and I could not face going back to work, or even upstairs to my room. My manger was kind enough to keep me on until bonus time and then offered me a nice separation package.

Neighbors began dropping by again, “ Cheer up, you are so young, you’ll have many more kids” and I just wanted to slap them, I am not young, and I don’t want any more kids, I just want to be left alone. I just want my son back. The days dragged on. And Netflix became my only friend.

Family members started calling, oh you are so strong, you already endured so many bigger losses, how bad could this be? It is not like he was even a person yet” and I I would have to block their comments out of my head in order not to lose it completely. When one of our religious friends told me that Jesus only gave us what we could endure, I completely lost it on her, was this really me ‘handling it?’ I told my husband no more visits, I stopped answering my phone altogether.

I felt so isolated and cut out from the world. What made things even worst was that one day, I overheard a conversation between my husband and his parents, they were asking him what was wrong with me exactly, and then telling him that he should have married a younger wife, who could give him the 3 kids he deserved. They also told him his brother’s wife was pregnant with the second child, my husband remained silent, and did not really respond, and soon found an excuse to hang up. But after that, it was as if something broke between us forever. I felt angry at him, and I felt guilty for not being able to give him the kids he deserved, and more than anything, I felt distant, so very distant.

One day, a neighbor stopped by, she could see I was in the house and not opening the door, so she let her self through the window. My daughter was lying down with me watching TV, so she looked at me long and hard, and then gave us both a hug, She did not say anything. Gold bless her for JUST NOT saying anything. I wanted to cry on her shoulders, but my daughter was there, and I just could not. But the hug felt the closest thing to a connection to life. She told me she was going to take my daughter to her house so she could play with the kids and I felt so grateful.

More empty weeks followed, my husband began taking more business trips and I just lay on the sofa watching as much Netflix as I could. Then one day, as we watched a Christmas movie, my daughter blurred out “Mommy, why does everyone think Santa is so kind when he is really evil?”

“Why do you say that darling?”

“Well for Christmas all I wanted was a baby brother, remember I wrote that in the letter, and then what does he do, he gives it to me and then takes it away, what kind of a sick person does that, specially since I have been so good, I eat all my veggies, I share my toys, I brush my teeth…”.

I knew my days on the sofa had to end right there. It was time to get up and act like a Mom again. “Honey it was not Santa’s fault that we lost your brother” and she began to cry, and we just sat there and cried together. Then she raised her beautiful head up and said, Mommy, do you want to go and make some food? I am hungry.

“Yes I do”.

“Mommy what kind of food do you think my brother would have liked?

I don’t need to think about this one, “Eggs Benedict” I say, immediately, and we head to the kitchen.

In the U.S. alone there is an estimated 900,000 to 1 million babies lost in miscarriage each year, causing depression in women and men alike. In my experience, one out of two families I know have experienced a loss through miscarriage. Yet it is so hard for people to be supportive for each other. I thought sharing my story could help others. it is easy to find that form by just being observant and listening. Thank you for everyone who was there for our family.

Adventures with AnnaLiza

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv34946-nu=489;-9-4-534-WSNRCG=35-4823756347nu0mrjOnce upon a time lived a family of three, Papa Antoine, Maman Layla, and daughter Delarai. They lived in a small but gorgeous house. God had blessed them with many things including good health, lovely neighbors, and loving friends. There was only one thing that was missing. All members of the family, especially the daughter, wished every night upon a star, that they could have a new addition to their family. A nice little sister for Delarai.

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On March 3rd, a beautiful baby girl was born in a magical little city called San Francisco. She was 5 pounds 15 ounces and 20 inches tall.

She was ready for a new home. Maman Layla, Papa Antoine, and daughter Delarai rushed to the hospital to meet the gorgeous little princess. During the drive to the hospital, Delarai chose a name for her little sister, “Annaliza”, which meant a gift from God. As soon as the family entered the hospital room, AnnaLiza turned around & gave a gorgeous smile to her new family. It was love at first sight.

In the first weeks, AnnaLiza loved to sleep. Delarai would stay next to her crib and sing lovely songs for her in French, Farsi

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and English.

She was called Annalisa by her sister, Poussine (French nickname) by Papa Antoine, and “Gomboloo” (Farsi nickname) by Maman Layla. AnnaLiza had lots of FANS. From that day on, Annaliza was called in many loving ways. Annaliza was sure special. So many people loved her.

AnnaLiza was sure a personality of her own. She was naughty, kind, and gentle. She sure knew what she wanted, and she was not afraid to ask for it.

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv3-357-nu=489;-9-4-534-WSNRCG=35-436;-57347nu0mrjAnnaliza had a lot of style. She looked good in any color and any outfits her sister would choose for her. She had a real sense for fashion, and she insisted on wearing the same outfits as her big sister. Annalisa sure loved to eat; she could not wait till the day she could start on solids.

On March 21st, AnnaLiza celebrated her first important holiday. That was the Iranian New Year. The family celebrated by cleaning the house, making a Hafsin, dressing in new clothes, and visiting special friends and family.

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Annaliza became really chatty when she turned two month old. She would talk for hours, her mother and the neighbors heard her say “Hi” at an early age.

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv3-2-8-nu=489;-9-4-534-WSNRCG=35-436;9-6347nu0mrjAnnalisa and Delarai shared a very strong sisterly bond unmatched by anyone except maybe Elsa and Anna.

She also had a real sense for adventure, mountains, forests, and the park, nothing scared her at all.

When Annalisa turned three months, Mammy and Pappy came all the way from France to meet her. They brought her beautiful toys and clothes. She specially appreciated French Fashion, and had a great bond with Mammy who promised she would take her on many trips.232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv3-4-8-nu=489;-9-4-534-WSNRCG=35-436;-6;347nu0mrj

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At 4 months old, Delarai and Annaliza began planning a secret trip to the kingdom of Tonga, the land of Annaliza’s ancestors. Delarai suspects Annaliza could even the future Queen of Tonga. Located in Oceania, Tonga is an archipelago in the South Pacific Ocean, directly south of Western Samoa and about two-thirds of the way from Hawaii to New Zealand. AnnaLiza began learning how to swim as soon as she heard the kingdom has 177 islands, so she can be prepared for their first trip. Luckily they had a pool with pleasant warm water where AnnaLiza could swim as much as she likes. She also likes to sunbath with her sister Delarai. Oh the beauties of a California summer!232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv37353-nu=489;-9-4-534-WSNRCG=35-4857292347nu0mrj

On the day Tupou VI and Nanasipau were crowned the new King and Queen of Tonga; Annaliza celebrated being an American at her first 4th of July neighborhood parade!

Annaliza began eating solids as soon as her Doctor said she could. (Just a few days short of her 5th month birthday). She was a real gourmand, and absolutely loved everything given to her. Her favorite dishes were: Rice cereal, celery juice and mashed carrots.  She also loved to help cook!

232323232-fp83232-uqcshlukaxroqdfv37267-nu=489;-9-4-534-WSNRCG=35-4993-59347nu0mrjAnnaliza even taught us some recipes from Tonga, like this watermelon drink Otai, and Kale Moa which is a chicken vegetable dish. She also loves pineapple.

Over all, Annaliza had a lovely first few months. Her family is looking forward to her six- month birthday, and her sister Delarai is planning many surprises for her to come. Annaliza has many aspirations for the near future. She hopes to try at least one new food each day, learn how to say hello in four different languages, and get a passport so she can go on an exciting adventurous holiday. She is currently deciding between the Kingdom of Tonga, Canada and France.

 

Where do you think she’ll end up next?

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Join our team as Content Marketing Manager

Content Marketing Manager– Chef Koochooloo Early Stage Startup

Unprecedented in scope and depth, Chef Koochooloo is an innovative educational platform that engages families in fun interactive cooking games while raising awareness for worldwide causes.

Our passionate team canvasses the world to bring you the best cooking experiences for parents and children, at home or a school setting. Harvesting the delicious and discarding the mundane, Chef Koochooloo ignites a sense of fun and curiosity in children. Our customized recipes deliver a fresh take on cooking healthy recipes at home and helps you succeed in the kitchen while highlighting the unifying aspects of food and culture and celebrating the countries of origin for each recipe.

Job Description

The Content Manager is responsible for managing the recipes pages and positioning, optimizing our content on the blog and other appropriate channels. The position’s core daily responsibilities include writing, building, and editing stories and recipes, and leveraging social channels to recruit international recipe contributors to build a comprehensive recipe database, and position our site on the right partner channels.

Other duties include building relationships with food bloggers and photographers, coordinating with the dev and Marketing team.

Qualifications: 

▪    Ability to work efficiently in a diverse virtual environment

▪    Experience in an editorial environment, preferably online with daily deadlines

▪    Background in reporting and fact-checking strong, compelling stories

▪    Strong copy-editing skills

▪    Ability to write/edit interesting, pithy copy on a variety of culinary trends

▪    Excellent planning/time management, interpersonal, and organizational skills

▪    Software knowledge: Proficiency in social media, word-press publishing, SEM

▪    Experience with numbers and campaign planning

 

Daily Tasks (In Detail):

▪    Publish at least 1-2 recipes per week

▪    Recruit contributors and edit contributors’ work

▪    Build, edit and publish recipes, including photos, images, etc

▪    Maintain and build relationships with regular recipe contributors, and bloggers

Why Join our Team? 

Working at Chef Koochooloo is not for everyone – We seek only the best and brightest who give 110%.  We look for top talent who thrive in a culture that’s virtual, creative, and agile.  Every day we mix fun with high productivity, e

Attire for little chefs

Arguably, one of the most important ingredients for any serious chef is their attire. For little chefs, like our Chef Koochooloo, that includes aprons, oven mitts, and a chef hat to top off the look.

Though, the options are endless for big chefs, little chefs have a harder time finding attire that is suited for them.  We were able to identify some of the best apparel out there for any budding chef!

  1. Happy Chef Kids CookCool

Happy Chef has a wide array of standard chef apparel suitable for young chefs. Their selection is high quality and resembles what you might see a professional chef wear. Another great thing about their lineup is that it is customizable. However, even though the styles are customizable their sizing options are limited.

http://www.happychefuniforms.com/800-347-0288/order.cfm?ProductID=8140&Ref=Also

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  1. Chef Works Junior Chef Collection

Like Happy Chef, Chef Works has a great starter line for someone looking for traditional and premium culinary attire. Though their styles are not customizable, they have more color and design options. They also gear their clothing for children of all ages.

http://www.chefworks.com/?page=shop/dev200908_browse_coats&category=coats_juniorchefcollection#.

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  1. Chef Wear – Pint Size

Chef Wear is a relatively well-known apparel supplier but disappointingly their “Pint Size” line only featured one apron. Despite this lack of availability, the apron came in multiple fun colors and patterns. These fashionable patterns really made them stand out and on top of that, custom embroidery was an option as well.

http://www.chefwear.com/pint-size-du-chef-apron-8650-/

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  1. Growing Cooks

Conversely, Growing Cooks was the supplier that had the greatest availability for young chefs. Not only did they have clothing, their store included kid-sized cooking tools and fun sets. Because of their variety, they had something in store for everyone, from disposable aprons, to cute customizable ones. Their sets also seemed like a great option for little chefs!

http://www.growingcooks.com/

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After searching for the right product, and not being quite happy with the selections we saw, we decided to create our own  line for Chef Koochoolool! What do you think? How much would you pay for this locally hand made apron? If we receive positive feedback from you, we will hire our first official employee and have her focus on making more of these adorable options!

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Argentinian-Style Grilled Eggplants

Argentinian Style Grilled Eggplants

Argentinian Style Grilled Eggplants

 

Course Type: Appetizer

Country we are exploring: Argentina

Continent: South America

Official Languages: Spanish

 

Fun Fact your little ones will adore:
The oldest known dinosaur species have been traced back to Argentina and Brazil, some go as far back as 230million years ago, and well-preserved displays of their remains can be found in the Argentine National Historical Museum in Buenos Aires.

Did you know? (Bring to light a social issue that is affecting kids in Argentina)
Did you know that in Argentina, Children who don’t obey their teachers can be spanked?

Conversation Igniters:
When kids don’t listen to the teacher at your school, what is the consequence?

Learn More: http://www.humanium.org/en/argentina/

Now that we have learned a little bit more about Argentina, let’s cook.

English Recipe Name: Argentinian-Style Grilled Eggplant Recipe
Name of dish in Spanish: Berenjena Asada
Serving Size: 4

Ingredient spotlight: Garlic
Garlic has been used widely as a flavoring in cooking and used as medicine throughout ancient and modern history to prevent and treat a wide range of conditions and diseases.
Garlic has been used all over the world for thousands of years. Records indicate that garlic was in use when the Giza pyramids were built, about five thousand years ago in Egypt. The original Olympic athletes in Ancient Greece were given garlic to improve their performance in the Games.
Eating garlic boosts your immune system, which means that it helps you fight the cold-weather colds and flu. Another reason to eat garlic is that it helps your heart work well.
Every year, a big garlic festival is organized in Gilroy, California where visitors have the chance to taste delicious garlicky meals. The best garlicky treat is of course the Garlic ice-cream!

INGREDIENTS
• 1 large potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 “- 1-inch cubes
• 3 Small Italian Eggplants (4-6 ounces each)
• 2 Cloves of Garlic, minced
• 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
• 1 teaspoon Dried Oregano
• 1 teaspoon Dried Basil
• 1/2 teaspoon Dried Thyme
• 1 teaspoon Sweet or Hot Paprika
• 1/2 teaspoon Hot Pepper Flakes (optional)
• to taste Salt
• to taste Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Argentinian Style Grilled Eggplants

Argentinian Style Grilled Eggplants

Big Chef Duties:
• Preheat grill to medium-high heat.  (In my case, I substituted a Panini Maker instead of a grill, and the eggplants came out beautifully)

• Cut eggplants in half length-wise, leaving stem ends intact.

• Lightly brush cut sides of eggplants with garlic-oil mixture and grill, cut side down, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.

• Lightly brush skin sides with oil mixture.

• Invert eggplants and brush tops with remaining oil.
• Continue cooking eggplants, cute side up until very tender, 6-8 minutes, or as needed.
• Set a large pot of salted water (approx. 5 liters) to boil.

Little Chef Duties:
• Mix garlic and olive oil in a small bowl.
• Combine oregano, basil, thyme, paprika and pepper flakes in separate bowl and stir to mix.
• Sprinkle tops with dried herb mixture and salt and pepper to taste.
• Add onions to the pan and fry them until golden brown.

Learn while you wait:

Do you know that there are “primary colors” and secondary colors?
With the primary colors (red, yellow, blue) we can make more colors, and those are called secondary colors!!!! Try it when you mix the red ketchup and the yellow mayonnaise, you’ll end up with an orange salsa, which the Argentinians refer to as “Salsa Golf”, just like the game Golf!

Presentation:
Garnish with basil and serve.

As they say in Argentina:
Buen Provecho!

One more way to provide safety for your little bundles of joy!

Life plays funny tricks with you.  This year, I lost twins through an ectopic pregnancy for the second time around. Having experienced loss so many times in my life, I did not expect to be this paralyzed by the pain.  During the past five months, I grieved and tried to take in all of the well-meant, thoughtless comments, “Be glad they did not make it, can you imagine how hard it is to raise twins?” Or  “Could you have really kept three kids safe anyways?”  I watched four close friends, our neighbor, a first cousin, and my sister-in-law give birth to beautiful babies, and even organized two of the baby showers.

Excited for the arrival of each baby, I couldn’t help but imagine how nice it would have been for my babies to come to life and have so many immediate friends around them. One of the few things that does sooth the pain is when I am able to help new Moms make their babies more comfortable–it is as if my lost babies are encouraging me to ensure the safety of their ‘friends’.

That is perhaps why my husband and I signed up to buy the baby monitors for so many of these new arrivals. We couldn’t believe all the advancement in technology of baby-monitors since our daughter’s birth only four years ago.

While my husband played the role of a true engineer and read every product review out there you can imagine, at the end of the day he came to the same conclusion, and selected my top choice, iBaby.

I first discovered iBaby when I met with Karl Xu, the CEO and Founder of iBaby, a few blocks away form our house in Mountain View during a job interview. Through our unconventional discussion, he joined the pool of ‘well-intentioned’ comments when I mentioned my loss and asked, “Why do you need more than one child. One baby, good, no? Lots of work!!” I thought that was pretty funny coming from a man who made a living out of the sale of baby monitors.  Though speaking to Karl further, and realizing how obsessed he was with the safety of his family I understood why he thought the idea of more than one child could become overwhelming.

Karl showed me the product and I simply fell in love with it.  I told him using the iBaby monitor. is reason enough for a second child, to which he responded the iBaby is great for pets as well!

iBaby Monitor

iBaby Monitor

This sleek device enjoys a high intensity microphone and can let you have a look at your baby all the time, while picking up the smallest of sounds with ease.

I love the quality of the camera and how it rotates to get a complete 360 degree view. What I found super unique was that the application lets you tilt the camera up and down to get that perfect view.

My husband who has just become an uncle for the very first time is super excited about its ability to use the iOS as parent control and just bought the device for his niece in London as it enables multiples viewers to have a look at baby’s room. What better way to share a part of our niece’s life without actually being there?

The monitor allows you to add as many people as you like, but only four people can log in and view the camera at the same time. (This is to protect people from overloading the Internet bandwidth).

I know my daughter is excited to keep in touch with her cousin via this innovative piece, and I strongly suggest next time a special baby enters your life, protect their safety in as many ways as you can.

Leek Tart from Belgium

Today, July 21, is the National Day of Belgium. On July 21, 1831, Leopold I was declared the first king of the Belgians. This anniversary is celebrated throughout the country with parades and concerts. Since my husband is from Belgium I wanted to prepare a festive dinner with Belgian food. I want my daughter to learn more about her father’s country of origin and culture. We started this morning with a Belgian Leek Tart and I want to share this recipe and video with you.

When my daughter and I make this recipe for our family, I always use a dairy free cheese because my daughter is lactose intolerant. I have to admit that it is not easy to find a non-dairy alternative that tastes as good as the dairy cheese. After many trials, I found the best tasting Dairy free cheddar cheese and I would like to share my discovery with you. It is called Daiya and is has all the attributes of traditional Cheddar. I find it at Fresh and Easy. Below is the recipe:

Leek Tart

Leek Tart

Continent: Europe

Languages spoken: 3 official languages: Dutch, French, German (including many non-official languages such as: Flemish and Walloon!)

English Recipe Name: Leek Tarte

Belgian Name: Flamiche aux Poireaux

Did you know? 

Like many European countries, Belgium is composed of a large number of immigrants. Immigrants are people that move from one country into another. Imagine abandoning your language, culture, and way of life! That’s why many kids can have a hard time adjusting to these new countries.

Action ideas: take a look at a map and think about all of the places you and your friends come from! Then look up recipes from those countries on Chef K and get a taste of their background!

Link to a resource where kids can learn more about this issue or take action:  http://www.knowyourcountry.com/belgium1111.html

Ingredient spotlight:  Leeks

Did you know Leeks are…?

Leeks belong in the same family of vegetables as garlics and onions.

The roman emperor Nero ate leeks to make his voice stronger, but this isn’t necessarily true.  However, scientists today agree that leeks are good for your heart.

Serving Size: 8

INGREDIENTS

CRUST

  • 4 tablespoons (or more) ice water
  • 3/4 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

FILLING

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup crumbled cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups Leek Confit

Big Chef Duties:

  1. In a blender mix flour and salt and add butter in small pieces.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°F. Roll dough to 12-inch round.
  3. Press dough into 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom.
  4. Put baking beads were the tart filling would go and bake for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove baking beads and continue cooking for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove crust from oven and allow to cool.
  7. Pour whisked mixture into the crust.
  8. Transfer back to the oven for another 35 to 40 minutes.
  9. Remove crust from oven and allow to cool.

Little Chef Duties:

  1. Add all ice water and cider vinegar in bowl.
  2. Gently apply water-vinegar mixture to form smooth mixture.
  3. Flatten dough into circular disk (about 6-8 inches in diameter). Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for two hours.
  4. Fold the excess dough inwards making sure that the tart walls are about 1.5 inches high.
    Whisk together milk, cream, egg, egg yolk, and salt.
  5. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese over bottom of crust; spread leek confit over cheese and sprinkle remaining cheese on top of leek confit.

Learn while you wait:

  • How is cheddar cheese made? Enzymes called rennet are added to milk which separates the milk into curds and whey. The curd is heated, pressed, and combined with salt. The curd is then left to mature as it turns to cheese.
  • The Manneken Pis is a funny statue on a public fountain. It is also the headquarters of the European Union and NATO.
  • Early records of the leek as food go as far back as the ancient Egyptians 4000 years ago!
  • The leek is a national emblem of Wales, whose soldiers historically wore the vegetable in their helmets.

PRESENTATION

  • Present whole and cut servings as required

Teach the kids how to say Bon Appetit in the languages spoken in Belgium:

Dutch: Eet smakelijk!

French: Bon Appétit!

German: Guten Appetit! 
 
 

Dresses and Charity

Sometimes. Well, maybe its more like occasionally. Ok, ok it seems like hardly ever that us busy moms get a chance to put the kids down early and get the sitter to stay late so we can dress up, go out, and be the us we used to know. You remember her right? The version of you that knew the trendy restaurants, the coolest bars, and all the corners dark enough to hide the best sort of trouble?

02know that for a lot of us, when it is time to go out, our biggest trouble these days is finding something to wear. Since I launched Chef Koochooloo, my own start-up, it seems that I can hardly find the time for me. This is true for most of us, working moms, who have to balance career, motherhood. Well, thanks to a chance meeting at an event for My Runway, I met and have gotten to know Jia Wertz, the founder and creative director of Studio 15. As a fellow woman entrepreneur, I was interested in Jia’s story and can’t wait to share it with you! Jia launched a women’s dress boutique featuring pieces designed to get you into or out of whatever the night brings you.

The dresses at Studio 15 (www.shopstudio15.com) reflect the choices of someone who still has a crush on clothes and fashion and feeling like you’re on a date or a girl’s night out. Jia has curated the dresses collection to carry high quality dresses at a price that won’t make you feel guilty.

 

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Best of all is that Jia has created a partnership with Kleos Microfinance Group, a nonprofit that works to support women entrepreneurs in Uganda start their own businesses. A portion of the proceeds of every dress sold is donated to Kleos. There, is that enough to make you not feel guilty and maybe, just maybe feel a little bit good about treating yourself?

You can check out Jia’s blog at www.catwalk-chic.com where she is currently GIVING AWAY a Rebecca Minkoff bag (you can enter to win here) or visit www.shopstudio15.com to get more ideas about style and current trends.

 

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German parsley potato salad

German Parsley Potato Salad

German Parsley Potato Salad

Country we are exploring:  Germany

Continent :Europe

Language spoken: German

English Recipe Name: German parsley potato salad

German Name:   German Petersilienkartoffeln

 

Did you know?

Like many European countries, Germany is composed of a large number of immigrants. Immigrants are people that move from one country into another. Imagine abandoning your language, culture, and way of life! That’s why many kids can have a hard time adjusting to these new countries.

Action ideas: Do you know what an immigrant means? Do you know someone who is an immigrant? What should you do when you meet a new child who is an immigrant at your school?  Do you think California has the same issue as Germany when it comes to immigrants?

Link to a resource where kids can learn more about this issue or take action

Ingredient spotlight:  Parsley

  • It contains three times as much vitamin C as oranges, and twice as much iron as spinach
  • For a natural breath freshener, try a sprig of parsley
  • Parsley contains vitamin A and is a good source of copper and manganese

Serving Size: 4

INGREDIENTS

750g small potatoes
30g butter
1/4 tsp salt
2 dessert spoons fresh parsley, finely chopped

4 Sausages (optional)

 Big Chef Duties:

  • Boil potatoes with salt
  • Melt the butter in a pan, add the skinned potatoes and then sprinkle over the salt.
  • Boil bratwurst, frankfurters, or knackwurst sausages for five minutes

Little Chef Duties:

  • Peel the potatoes
  • Chop the parsley
  • Combine potatoes with salt, and melted butter
  • Sprinkle with the fresh chopped parsley, shake the pan to distribute the parsley and serve immediately.
  • Add the sausages

Learn while you wait: (Introduce a Math, history or science related fact)

What causes bubbles to form when boiling water?

  • As the water starts to get hot, a lot of bubbles will form down the walls of your water container. These bubbles are AIR. Normally water has a lot of air dissolved on it. This is what allows breathing to fish and other aquatic beings. The solubility of gases decreases when the temperature is raised, and that is why the dissolved air bubbles out from the water.
  • Dogs are kings in Germany: they can go just about everywhere: first class restaurants, trains and buses, even clothing shops and bookstores. But NOT in a Metzgerei (butchers) and rarely in a Konditorei or a Bakerei. But guess what, they even have their own pools!
  • Parsley is the world’s most popular herb. It derives its name from the Greek word meaning “rock celery” (parsley is a relative to celery).

PRESENTATION

  • Place the potato in the dish and serve with your favorite sausage.

Teach the kids how to say Bon Appetit in the language of this recipe:

Guten Appetit! Mahlzeit!

Pizza Garden

Does your family love pizza? Why not grow your own pizza garden?

Your kids love pizza. Dinnertime comes and the pressure mounts: they want pizza for dinner. You, on the other hand want to give them a healthy meal that also makes them happy. What do you do?

pizzaHere is our suggestion: make your own pizza with homegrown, organic, fresh ingredients! Have some space in the back yard? Great! You don’t? No worries, this home garden can happily grow in containers, too. Early July is actually a very good time in the year for you to plant your own pizza garden. You only need to carefully choose the plant varieties and the location of the garden. The most important thing is that you place it in a sunny, warm location, either on your porch, patio or back yard. If you are reading and thinking that you have no particular gardening experience, do not worry. I am no experienced gardener myself, but that is the beauty of this garden: it is great for beginners!

Planting the Tomatoes

To make a delicious pizza, one needs to start with fresh, ripe tomatoes. The sauce is what gives the whole dish its unifying flavor. It ties everything together, so to speak. The best pizza sauce is simply a sauce that combines your pizza toppings and your pizza crust to create a delicious, unifying taste. There are plenty of tomato varieties with different characteristics. The one that makes the most tasty pizza sauce is the Roma tomato.

You can buy the Roma tomato plants at a gardening supplies store, such as Home Depot. Plant the Roma tomatoes in a spot that receives 8 hours of sun per day. You will need to stake, trellis or cage the sprawling plants to keep them off the ground. Make sure to leave at least 18” apart depending on how much space you have. When your tomatoes turn from a vibrant medium green to a light shade and then to red they are ready to be harvested. Pick the tomatoes and never refrigerate them, just store them indoors

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Planting the Oregano

What gives pizza the special sink of flavor is of course oregano, either Greek or Italian. Oregano, too, prefers a sunny spot. The plant grows into a small bush; so do not be afraid to harvest it often for continued new growth. Here is the Bonnie plant that will give a subtle, but flavorful taste to your pizza.

Peppers for all tastes

An all time favorite ingredient of Italian pizza is peppers. From sweet and mellow to fiery hot, pepper varieties cover a wide range of preferences. Peppers need a sunny, well-drained spot, too. Planted either in a garden or in a container, peppers benefit from staking. Two of the most popular pizza varieties are the Banana peppers, which are hot and sweet, and the green bell peppers.

Now that you have proudly produced your own organic and fresh pizza toppings, all you need is a great pizza recipe! Stay tuned, it’s coming in the next post!

Banana Peppers

Green Bell Peppers