Tag Archives: pre-30 bucket list

Bucket List Update: Why I Am Removing #1


Having a 30 before 30 bucket list has been fun.

I have never mentioned this before, but I have reserved the right to change my bucket list as I see fit.

I’ve decided to use that right today.


(Or maybe it won’t…)

I am taking off number 1: “Go to Disney World and Harry Potter Land.”

A couple of days ago, Brian suggested we take this long awaited trip…and I didn’t want to go.

I can’t put my finger on the sudden change of heart. I asked the boys if they wanted to go (I didn’t want my own personal opinion to get in the way of the rest of the family’s good time) and they all said they would rather do something else.

I have been wanting to go to Disney World since I was a small child. I am not sure if it is the experiences of the past year that have made me perhaps more skeptical of (maybe the correct term is cynical about) the company…although, I still love taking the boys to Disneyland, so I doubt that is the reason.

I guess, priorities have shifted significantly for our family during the past year. That is the only thing I can think of.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with going on a family vacation to a destination like Disney World, but I think since we do have Disneyland, and our excitement about seeing a bigger better version of that has dwindled, we don’t think this is “bucket list” material anymore.

So now, I need to replace it.

Any suggestions?

Recipe: Armenian Monti

I completed the first of my Pre-30 Bucket List! #13, learn how to make Monti.

Monti, is an Armenian dish I LOVE. When my mom first made it for Brian he went crazy. It is now his favorite food of all time, and he’s not the only one.

I’ve been around my mom making Monti since I could remember, but this time I was actually going to learn and be able to replicate it at home.

My mom and me making Monta in the same kitchen!

Apparently, true Armenian Monti uses lamb which I am a fan of, but my mom is not. That is why we always have used beef. She also adds Garlic into the meat.

Here we go!

The Recipe!

Chopped up onions, garlic, parsley and melted butter, before the ground meat is added

egg and oil to start the dough

If the dough is done it should feel like your earlobe

roll out dough into thin strips

cut into squares

spoon meat mixture into dough squares

pinch ends

line up on baking sheet

spoon melted butter over all uncooked monta

in the oven!

This is what they look like when they’re done.

Although, completely good on their own…..

We serve it in a bowl with hot water, garlic yogurt, and topped with slowly grilled “crispy” onions.

I would have taken a picture, but we ate them all before I could get my camera out- So here is a picture I took from another blogger with a different recipe(looks like she’s also an adoptive mommy):

Recipe for Monti from written by my mom:

Mama’s Monti:  From a Scandinavian Mama!  They can blame it on that!  The ingredients are for 1 batch, however when I make it for you all I make it X4

Ingredients:  Single Batch=  About enough to fill 1 cookie sheet



  • 1 Egg
  • 1/3 Cup Water
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Melted Butter
  • 1 1/2 Cups plus 2 Tablespoons All purpose Flour


  • 1/2 Pound Ground Beef  (It’s customary to use Lamb, but you all love the beef)
  • 1 Onion, chopped very fine
  • 1/4 cup or so, finely chopped Parsley
  • 1 or 2 cloves of minced Garlic
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/8 Teaspoon ground P
  •  Salted Butter, melted  Used to drizzle on just before putting in oven…2 to 4 Tablespoons  (I use more, the Scandinavian thing again!)  And, to answer what you’re thinking,  my cholesterol is low!

Yogurt Sauce:

  • 2 Cups (at least) of plain Greek Yogurt (We like the Fage Brand)
  • 1 or 2 cloves of minced Garlic
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt, or more to your liking….we use more, of course


I have never used the broth recipe, but some people use the following:

  • 3 Cans of Beef Broth (or Homemade), or Chicken Broth
  • a Couple Tablespoons of Catsup
  • a Couple of shakes of Tabasco Sauce

To Make Dough:

In a food processor, combine Egg, Water, Salt, and Butter. Process until mixed.
Add Flour and process until mixture forms a ball.  If it’s too sticky, add a bit more Flour.
Turn dough out on a lightly floured board and knead a bit until dough is smooth and elastic. About a minute.  Cover dough with plastic wrap and let rest while you are making filling.

To Make Filling:

Combine Ground Beef, Onion, Parsely, Garlic,  Salt and Pepper.  Mix until well-blended.

To Make Yogurt Sauce:

Combine ingredients and refrigerate until serving time.

Set Oven to 375 Degrees

Prepare Pan.  Spread a light coating of butter on pan

Now it’s time to work!  

(First of all picture the end result in your mind so you see where we’re going with this.
They look like a little fat canoe with a ball of meat in it.)

On a lightly floured board, roll out half the dough at a time to form a 9 inch square about 1/8 inch thick.  Cut dough into 1 1/2 inch squares.
Note:  I just roll out some dough to the right thickness as long as you get little squares to fill.

I take a baby spoon and fill about 1/2 Teaspoon of filling on each square.  Then pinch two opposite ends tightly.. It now should look like a little boat with the meat inside.  As each Monti is formed, put it meat side up in the prepared pan.  You can put them fairly close together, as long as they aren’t touching.
Ok, now you can leave this part out, but it’s not going to taste as good as mine!….Drizzle the melted butter over the Monti!.

Bake them on the middle rack in the oven for about 35 minutes.  I check them about 25 minutes   The dough should be browning, but don’t let the bottoms start burning.  Cool  on the pan.

To Serve:

Boil some water in a pan with a little salt.
Put as many of the Monti “boats” in a bowl.
Poor some boiling water in bowl over Monti.
I like it with less water and lots of Yogurt Sauce on Top
Daddy likes more water with Yogurt Sauce mixed together, then adds the Monti

That’s it!  Oh no I almost forgot the best thing of all. The Onion Garnish!   Take 1 chopped yellow onion and slowly cook in a saute pan in……butter!  It takes some time so start this early in the preparation of the Monte.  Cook it until it is carmelized and nice and brown a little crispy.  This is the “garnish” you put on top of the Yogurt Sauce  mmmmm

So I do this Times 4 for my family.  It takes me hours to do that much.  If one family gets me to make it a the other daughters’ family finds out it’s a Monti war.

Note: The Monti Boats freeze great.

Pre-30 Bucket List: Being a Part of a Conspiracy Theory- Check!

When doing keyword searches for Fayye Foundation my team discovered this: Space/Gods: A Mother and Child Reunion

Apparently, we are all a part of a conspiracy theory. Not just the cover, which I probably would not have taken as a conspiracy about me or Aram- but then it became personal (in an awesome way) when he started comparing Fayye Foundation to the Fringe Division!

“UPDATE: Covergirl Jame Lynne Grumet is founder of an NGO called the Fayye Foundation. If you’re thinking that logo looks vaguely familiar, you’re not alone.”

The truth has been exposed! ;-)



Ironically, this guy probably made the most sense out of anyone who wrote an article the day that cover came out. He definitely did the most research for his article out of anyone.

Now, whether or not he makes any sense is still up for debate.


“But the first thing that came to my mind when I saw the cover was this….

Oh, I know what you’re thinking, that nutty Secret Sun guy. Always seeing stuff that isn’t there. But let’s deconstruct this rather stark cover design. Note that it’s the left breast that’s exposed – the exposed left breast was a symbol in divinity in classical art.

Note that young Harpo (my nickname for the tyke) is wearing camouflage pants, most commonly associated with the military. Horus was the god of war.

Young Harpo is standing on a chair, rather than a stool or a small stepladder. Isis’ name comes from the ancient Egyptian word for “throne”, which is why she was often depicted with a throne atop her head.”

Now, I know being a part of a conspiracy theory doesn’t happen every day…

If we would have known this was even a remote possibility we would have slapped this on our bucket list years ago.


By request, it is going up as number 31 on our Pre-30 Bucket List: Being Connected with a Conspiracy Theory.

Take me to the mothership.

Ethiopian Airlines- Flying on Cloud Nine

I can put a check next to number 17 on my Pre-30 Bucket List: Flying upgraded overseas

Ethiopian Coffee served traditionally on Ethiopian Airlines.


When we went to Ethiopia, Ethiopian Airlines found out what we were doing in Ethiopia, they not only discounted our tickets, but upgraded us for free.

Ethiopian Airlines is a very patriotic business; they are still an Ethiopian company and like to see people give back to their home country.


Ethiopian Airlines flew us first class via Virgin America to Washington DC.

Virgin Atlantic was so comfortable. For the leg of the flight I needed to stay awake, I slept the entire time.


In DC, we were able to test out Ethiopian Airlines for the first time.

D.C. Airport waiting for the EA flight to arrive.


Ethiopian Airlines has a two-class cabin for their flights to Addis Ababa. They also recently acquired a 787 Dreamliner, which is a lighter weight plane with more leg room and a better experience all-around.


When we arrived, they directed us to the Cloud Nine cabin where we were given champagne.

Ethiopian Airlines flight attendants making us mimosas. (And yes, their entire crew was this attractive.)







I immediately discovered my bed/seat.

Dr. Jay Gordon and I were pretty darn excited with our seats.


We explored our area and discovered their quilts are probably the best airline blankets ever. They really keep you warm the entire trip, which sounds silly, but once you’re up in the freezing air, you appreciate it.

The Godfather and Gentleman Prefer Blondes were options in the movies section.


What I noticed the most was how much food was offered. It seemed like every 5 minutes we were getting offered a cocktail, tea, Ethiopian coffee, or a menu for both Ethiopian and American meals. Then, the desserts would come, then more drinks. I was stuffed.

Jay and I jumping in to our first Ethiopian meal of the trip.


It was a fun experience all around. The cultural aspect of the flight was really cool to see, I had great conversations and flying companions, the movies were good, the food was good, the sleep was good.


One of our “snacks” on the plane. I hate plane food and Ethiopian totally rocked it.



Do you have any fun (or maybe funny but awful) memories of flying internationally?


Number Eight- Professional Family Photos

It looks like we are able to cross a task off our bucket list in an unexpected way again.

Number 8- Have Professional Family Photos Taken.

Pathways to Family Wellness is going to be a special magazine for our family for a number of reasons.  The relationships we built with everyone working on that issue (the staff at Pathways, and also the people brought in specifically for that issue, like Lori Dorman) have been real and meaningful.

Lori came to our house in June to take photos for the Pathways to Family Wellness next issue. She stayed in our home for four hours and in that short time hit it off. By the end of the session she had agreed to come to Ethiopia with us in August.


Thanks to Pathways to Family Wellness and Lori we were able to have some amazing family photos taken.


We didn’t realize how meaningful the family photos would be, though.


Lori’s presence on our trip was helpful in so many ways. Having insight as an adult adoptee, she really looked for shots on this trip that would be meaningful to Samuel in the future. This was the first time his mothers would be meeting, something big for all of us, but really important for him to have documented in the future.


When I met Samuel’s birth mother, I brought her some snapshots and showed her family photos and videos from my phone. She was so excited to see Samuel. We discovered the internet at the Children’s Center was working and Lori suggested we go online and show her the family photos she took for Pathways to Family Wellness.


When Samuel’s birth mother saw our family photos she was overwhelmed with emotion. She kept saying in Amharic, “Thank you, my God. He looks so happy!” Over and over. She was happy before, but she got to see our family at home and Lori kept assuring her it doesn’t just look this way in the pictures, he really is happy. She kept praising God and then kissed me over and over. Those photos gave her comfort and reassurance, and it was Pathways to Family Wellness and the chain of events that followed that allowed this mother to connect and see her child, and know he was thriving.


As much as I love that Pathways revealed the normalcy of breastfeeding and attachment parenting, they did so much more for our family than furthering a single message. The people who are associated are practicing what they preach, and it is revealed in the ripple effect of their message and work.

30 Before 30 Update

When we started out on this Pre-30 Bucket List we never thought so much would get crossed off in one year.  I guess that is what makes life wonderful and scary at the same time- As much as you plan for your future, you really don’t know what it holds.

We can check off a few more to the list:

Number 24- Visit New York:  Not only did we visit once, but twice in one week.

Number 19- Get featured on TV/radio/print/newspapers for something we believe in. This one makes us laugh now. Check to everything. Even though the coverage was not executed the way we would have done it ourselves, it definitely ended up being the roundabout way of getting our intended message out (thanks to the BF and AP communities- you guys are awesome!)

Some of my favorite articles and blog posts about mothering, attachment parenting, and breastfeeding that were created from the craziness of the TIME cover: Alanis Morissette wrote a wonderful piece about attachment parenting – Huffington PostA Very Personal Story, What’s all the Fuss? (along with this cover), Why Time Magazine is Showing Attachment Parenting is Going Mainstream Not Extreme, API and their response to TIME , Alanis Morissette on GMA, Norwegian cover and article on breastfeeding past infancy , Huffington Post Article 3 weeks after cover release

Number 4- Start a 501(c)(3) and be a part of real community, not just charity.  Check out the Fayye Foundation and our brilliant staff that has made it all possible.

Number 3- Attend a finale show of American Idol. We did this last year and I forgot to write about it! We sat in the second row. It was really fun!

Number Sixteen- Pre-30 Bucket List

November 17 I completely overbooked myself.

My cousin came in from San Francisco and her plane was delayed. Then off we went immediately to the boys’ MMA class.

Aram bringing down Big John McCarthy

When the class was over we raced back to our neck of the woods. Dropped the kids off with Mali, and ran off to the Rolls-Royce Spirit of Ecstasy event. Rolls-Royce that weekend was also showing off their new Phantom Hybrid.

Lori, me, and Alexandra in the new Phantom

Jonathan, Alexandra, me, and Rankin, whose gallery it was (He and Lori have the same pose!)

Lori looking at the pieces with her artistic eye

We left the event and went home to change. At that point we were running way way behind schedule! We were supposed to meet my friend and her friends for drinks before the new Twilight movie, but between the flight delay, the bomb in the bus on Ventura Blvd (yes, bomb) and being overly exhausted, we couldn’t quite do it.

We did, however, make it to the 12:45AM showing of Breaking Dawn (which was fun in the beginning and took an overly strange turn at the end…)

At 6AM we arose and got ready to head out to Las Vegas.

When we got there the room was much bigger than we anticipated. The staff kept opening more and more locked doors that led to bedrooms and bathrooms….

Yeah the TV’s come up out of the bed! Very “MTV Cribs” circa 2001

That is me texting! #hellfrozeover #pigsfly

The birthday boy and me! I always attempt red lipstick in Vegas, and I’m not really sure why….

We were determined to wear sequins the entire vacation….

Happy 30th!

Then we went to an “ice bar” which is basically a bar inside a giant freezer with some crazy ice scultptures. They call it “minus 5″ because that is how cold it is…but we soon figured out they meant Celsius…We weren’t roughing it as bad as we thought.

The highlight of Minus 5 were the cocktails in ice cocktail glasses! They were not only delicious, but we got to shatter them when we left.

Virtual fire in Minus 5′s “lodge”

Jello Shots – I can’t believe I made it through the entire trip without throwing up.

I decided to smoke a cigar. I figured all the junk was getting in my lungs in the casino anyway, why not join in? Ohhhh I am so not a smoker. I got the worst headache and had to go up to the room to clear my head after partaking in a vanilla flavored stogie.


Lor discovered her gambling addiction…in the form of slot machines!

I actually won money in Vegas! I  almost lost all my winnings at a Black Jack table, but then, luckily, won it all back!

I discovered how much I hated penny slots! They have the worst return and totally drain you! $50 min. Black Jack is safer! (not kidding!)

With that being said, I completed number 16 on my Pre-30 Bucket list!


We Finally made it home where my parents were waiting with the boys! Monta! and Sprinkles Cupcakes!



Number Two on our Pre-Thirty Bucket List: Visit Club 33

NUMBER 2 on my Pre-30 Bucket List:


bucket list number two image


What is Club 33, you ask?

It is a private club hidden in Disneyland that is almost impossible to visit. You need to either be a member, or have a member make reservations for you. There are large corporations that are members, and under 600 individual memberships. Needless to say, I am not the only one who has this one their bucket list.

I seriously almost had a panic attack when my friend made reservations for me (like it was no big deal.)

We wanted to share this experience with someone else who would find it as special as us, so we invited The Disney Sisters!

We all agreed it was one of the most special nights of our lives!
























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