October 23, 2020

 Hi Blog,  

It's been many years since I posted anything.  

Many things have happened.  I am now a single working mom with 2 amazing kids and a little white fluff. 

Work has been good even with COVID happening.  I love working as it keeps me busy and takes away the pain of a divorce.

My journey since 2017 to Rome to where I am today, has made me very aware of life.  When horrible things happen,  I see it as its happening in order for good things to happen. I know God is watching over me and has sent many angels here helping and supporting me. The journey was so dark but its brighter now.

I see myself as a widow, the man I loved seem to have died.  Man that walked out on me and didn't keep his vows,  I don't recognize.  Kids are also trying to heal and I as their mom keep telling them they are good and amazing kids and they will be OK because we are the master of our own ship.

Anyway,  I thougth I'll just update on this blog that the Kwannies is now Kwannies 3 and Stronger.  

My journey and survival of Divorce,  is journeyed and if you can find me out there..... know you too can survive.

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April 16, 2017

How to store vinyl rolls

I've dabbled into the world of decal for a few years.  It was a hobby and the thrill of seeing my kids and friends loving what I made for them was just fulfilling.  I realize early on that buying them  by sheets as just not economical especially when I wasn't making a dime.  And then started the problem of storage.  I kept them in bins and having to open boxes to find them was getting a bit of a nuisance.

As a frugal person,  I didn't want to spend $500 on a rack system, and finally realize, reuse wood!!!  Gilly had outgrown her old bedroom deco and I made her a headboard looking like a picket fence..  I gave hubby the idea I had brewing ... and he finally made it right.

Remember, always center the base before adding a lazy susan so that the tower will not be leaning tower of Kwannies.

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August 16, 2016

Journey of a Malaysian with a bunch of strangers fighting an incompetent school board and administration

Never in a million years I would have imagine myself fighting a school board of educators because they closed my daughter's school.  August 13, 2016 they announced they were closing my daughter's school.  By then,  I met up with a few parents to just discuss what we as parents could do.  We were all pissed.  Why?  It's an 8 year old building that opened its doors in 2008 and it cost $100 Million to built.

I remember asking myself, I'm just a housewife who hasn't worked since 2000.  What can I contribute to this group. They were CPAs, lawyers, project managers, teachers, financial analyst.. everyone was welcome to join the group.  Our meetings kept getting more regular and we had to find different venues for our meetings as we were just a "random" group.

Finally one day, we became a PAC and could finally secure a public building.  I sat in our meetings trying to understand the issues and numbers.  I felt intimidated by a lot of the people in there.  I was also at the same time in awe of this group.  I called a few of them pit bulls.  Not because of they were vicious but persistant.  Finally the word I realize I should use is PERSEVERE.  Nothing made them feel defeated.  Any obstacles especially our numerous FOIA denial,  you would think this group would give up.  No, our "head" said "its ok,  it shows a trend" and its fine.  I've also foia-ed 2 other school district similar to ours. Let's see how fast we get from them and we have a good comparison."  I was blown away and realize, if it was me, I would have given up.

Over the months,  we learnt to keep investigating and analyzing data or information we could get from our FOIAs.  Calls were made ISBE, media, States Attorney. The group was an organized mess as everyone of us just stepped in where we could.  Nobody had a specific job, we did what we all could.  Some jobs were more obvious than others.  I still felt a bit like a weight as I didn't think I could contribute but I knew enough to walk around the neighborhood and talk school with neighbors.

To Be Continued....

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September 15, 2015

Secrets of Crafting and Cooking from a Stay At Home Mom

I am a stay at home mom.  I cook, clean, drive and do lots of other things that some days I ask myself "what the heck did I do today because I can't account for it."

I do all this because I choose to put my hubby and kids first. I gave up an IT career for it and some days look back and realize, that boat has floated off.  What I knew then is Dinosaur now.

I am crafty, super crafty if I must say.  Is it survival?  Maybe.  When you are relying on 1 income just from hubby slogging,  we have no choice but to be resourceful. Over the past 15 years, I've learnt to cook, clean, build furniture, plumbing, and even electrical.  I've learnt to take photos, knit, sew, and now I've ventured into the world of vinyl.

I spent hours reseaching on things as I can't afford to pay someone to teach me nor can afford to hire contractors.  Youtube and GOOGLE has been my best friend.

So what is my pet peeve.... friends that will just come ask me for my delicious recipes or supplies to my craft world.  Am I selfish?  It depends on how one sees it.

I don't see it as selfish.  Hey, you are working and making an income, getting a monthly paycheck, maybe a bonus at the end of the year and promotions.  I on the other hand don't,  the times you are at work,  I'm scrubbing toilets and trying out recipes.  Some recipes,  I will make it 3 times in a week just because I want to improve it to my liking.  By the time you are putting that delicious food into your mouth.  I would have spend hours online looking for something I may like, hours cooking and recooking and recooking again... to perfect the recipe to my liking.  Its TIME that I had to spent.  Time that is also precious to me, just because I dont' work, doesn't mean I have all the time in the world that you can just think its ok to ask for recipe and that I"m horrible for not giving it to you.

I make beautiful gifts by decorating them with vinyl.  Some I give away and some people will pay.  What I make, doesn't even pay for my daughter's pointe shoes. Those designs don't just pop out of my head.  I look around for ideas and create something to my taste or to the taste or personality of the gift receiver.  I bought machines, tried it and wasted monies on it until I realize which machine is good for me.  Softwares and learning how to use it, I spend hundreds of hours learning it. All you need to do is YOUTUBE and GOOGLE.  You can learn the same hard way as me.  My supplies, what the heck would you want to ask me.  You know how many times I got burnt by suppliers with bad product and bad service.  And you just want my suppliers' names.  COME ON.... you don't even call me out for lunch or dinner or even movies but you dare to message me for information.  I may be nice but I'm not that gullible.  If you think what I do is nothing, and I can just give you all my goodies,  you will have to learn that what I've been doing is not that easy.

The stay at home mom's times are also precious and PRICELESS.  Please have some respect for it.  Like how I respect how you have to work, come home and still have to run your household.  That is why I never impose anything on you.  All I may ask is a phone call to chat or hang out once in awhile.  But I know everyone is super busy and therefore I totally get it.  I have also learnt that busy can be one damn convenient excuse.

Therefore what is the secret? In today's world,  all one has to do is google and youtube.  Asking a friend may work if she is generous but make sure you just don't call when you need something.  Then all you are is just a USER !!!
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April 16, 2014

14 and growing

Gillian is now in her final months of 8th grade.  She will be off to high school in a 4 months.  I usually don't brag about her but she has surprised me quite a bit this few weeks.

She got into all honors last year and has managed to get mostly As except for Spanish.  The least of my worries.  Workload this year was brutal.  Tonne of homework and projects, with Nutcracker, she proved she could do both dance and school work.  We would rush downtown for her rehearsals at 5pm, come home about 10pm, in between, she would squeeze time to finish her homework.  She would even stay up till midnight to get her work done.  She proved she was dedicated and hardworking. She knows how to ask for extensions when she needed and oh gosh, even facetime her math teacher for help.

The music department had a trip go watch the high school musical.  She didn't want to go, I didn't ask why.  At hot lunch, where I volunteered, moms' were surprised when I told them Gilly didn't go. Most of them said their kids would find any excuse to get out of class.  I mulled over their reaction, worried that something was wrong with my child or something happened to my child.  I finally asked her why because everyone liked the musical.  She then told me if she went for the show, she would miss on science and math and no matter what, she still had to complete the homework and how could she do it if she missed the class.  I was shocked.  I didn't expect this from her.  It made sense and another "Mommy Ah Ha" momemt.

Last week,  I totally forgot that there was a mandatory parent meeting for High school Poms.  That meant she would not get a chance to try out for Poms.  I felt bad, but I didn't realize until a few days ago that she knew about the meeting and she didn't tell me. She decided on her own that she wants to concentrate on her studies for freshman year.  She knew with almost all honor classes next year, her hands will be full as she still has her dance. I was surprise by her maturity and sensibility.  Didn't expect that from her. Worse part, her friends got into JV and they told her if she had tried out, she most probably would have gotten into Varsity because of her advance dance skills.

And last week, there was abit of drama in school for her.  She got called in to see a social worker.  It was some things that some boys did to the point they were suspended from school for almost a week. Someone asked if she snitched on them, she said "no".  I realize that her survival instinct is there. She knows right from wrong and when to say or not to say somethings. I asked her how she felt, she said she didn't want the boys in trouble but she didn't want to lie and what they did was disrespectful to girls.

All in all, she just blew me away.  I didn't expect this from her.  I guess she is growing and I'm getting old.  I think I'll take her to go buy some hair accessories just to give her a nice treat.

Have a great day folks.  Hormonal daughters can still surprise us mummies.
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January 29, 2014

Dance drama and friendship

Gilly was in competitive dance 3 years ago, due to her irresponsibility,  I pulled her out of the team.  She missed it especially her friends. As a mom, it was a hard decision to make but a year later, I realize that was the best decision I made. She became more responsible and even her grades improved and she made it to all honor classes.

Last July, we had to decide if she should join the competition team. After much mulling and friend's persuasion.  We are back in competitive dance.

Fast forward to Jan 14.  We were blindsided by our friends.  I knew they were not happy with the dance studio and a few teachers but I didn't know they would just drop out of the dance studio and competitive team.  It was not just the announcement from the teacher instead of our "friends" but the results of it.  Some dances were cancelled, some from a quartet to a trio, with change in song since you can't have 3 girls dancing a 4 brother dance, so they had go back and tweak another routine for these 3 girls who had no part in this decision.

When we came home from the team meeting, that is where I learnt, I was lied to, the mom told me they were taking a break but actually they had been scouting around for other dance studios.  Even asked a few other girls if they wanted to switch studios.  Thank God they didn't because its easier to manage a 2 short than 3 or 4 short of dancer choreography.

Then comes the heartbreaking statement from my girl. The whole summer she had a blast of a time with these girls.  Now she realize they didn't care much for her.  They didn't come watch her dance at the Nutcracker but went to another studio to watch the Christmas program.  I said, what are you going to do this summer? She said "I'll be the lone ranger, I'll get used to it."  Broke my heart but its ok, I will find ways to entertain her during summer. She certainly has learnt what types of friends are there in this world.  No more innocence for this 13 year old.

Just my two cents into motherhood and growing up with friends.

Update:  A few weeks after this post, I found out that one parent had told the teacher that my girl, who is no saint, was one of the girls that were mean to her daughter.  Now this is what I don't get, if my child is that mean and caused your daughter emotional trauma, then why the heck is your daughter facetime-ing my child 4 times.  Yes, 4 times !!!! This is where Gilly got confused.  Makes no sense except, they just blatantly used my child as an excuse to get out of their commitments.
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December 24, 2013

Daughter's Life Lessons

Gillian has been given the gift of dance. Watching my 4 year old prancing around clumsily turning into a graceful ballerina has been a beautiful journey. I sometimes kick myself as I can't believe how graceful she is and that she has that "package", i.e the hands and head gracefulness.  Will she one day be a professional, I don't know. I am still wondering and praying what will her path be.

Her recent stint with Joffrey Ballet Nutcracker has been an eye opener for this 13 year old.  Both dancewise and personalwise.

A girl in the opposite cast who would be her alternate and v.v, had injured her shin, when we found out we had to do 2 performance a day, Gillian learnt what this meant to a dancer in the performing world.  Her teachers were high five-ing her, but this 13 y/o who is naive and innocent wondered why, here she was "huh, my friend is injured, why are you giving me a high five".  Only then did she learn that to a performer, if someone is injured, you get to dance more!

Being older and in junior high, she learnt how important it was to juggle homework and dance rehearsals and performance.  Some nights, she was forced to do homework until 12.30 am.  Walking tired, sitting for test and then driving 45 into Chicago at 4.30 to perform and hit the road back at 9.30 to again complete homework assignments.  You think she won't do this again, NO NO, she wants to do it again next year.

Another eye opening thing for her, is the people that supports her and comes watch her dance.  She understands that the tickets are expensive and her time on stage as a children's cast is not much.  But she is only human and to know that her relatives didn't come watch her this year, still stings.  She was over the moon when a few friends from Church came to watch and proud when her dance teacher, Mrs King came with her daughter.  A few weeks ago, she did ask me why we go watch her dance friends when they perform. She is 13 and starting to not tell me everything, but I suspect its because none of her dance friends have plans to watch her nor have watched her.

As much as you want to cushion her from any negative thoughts and feelings, we can't. I'm trying to teach her that with friends and family comes ups and downs.  Telling her that this doesn't matter because what is important is that she got to dance with the professional dancers and she got to make new friends with other children cast. Trying to tell her that we have to let this wash over us and not be too sensitive.  What I want is a happy, easy going child.  Its her path that she has to walk and I as a mom watch her walk and hopefully catch her if she falls.

Maybe the subject is wrong, its also a mom's journey of watching her daughter's life lesson.
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September 20, 2013

44 and number is going up up up

Our lives are always changing, friends come and go but we are still always there for ourselves.  I turned 44 this May and its very telling that I'm no more in my 20s or 30s.  My eyes, my weak eyes that was always blind without glasses or contacts are now needs "old lady" glasses.  Put on more weight than I like, body does tell me that I need to do something.

Kids growing up infront of my eyes slowly but steadily.  You don't notice it daily but when you happen to see a photo of your little baby boy or girl, and now you see them getting their hormonal mood swings.  You know you are getting up there in the number factor.

No matter how,  I treasure all the crazy moments and boring moments.  They are precious and never should be taken for granted. All I want to do is be a good mom.  Having kids who are respectful, hardworking, God fearing (reverance),  beautiful in and out, and most of all HAPPY.  In a few years time (you can use one hand to count), Gilly will be heading for college(I hope), The house dynamics will be forever changed... its scary to think how my family life will be different but all in stride.  Faith, is all we have. Faith that all will be well.

Well, that's all for me today.  My oh so neglected blog...
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December 19, 2012

Gillian the Snow Tree Angel

Christmas is less than a week away.  I finally bought my kids a few miserable gifts.  I'm usually a scrooge when it comes to Christmas presents as I am a parent that buys things for kids whenever they need it through the year.  I know some will keep it for Christmas.  However this year,  I've not had time to be a Scrooge.  I've just been busy driving my Gillian to downtown Chicago every weekend and now we have been driving her downtown every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sundays.  This week will be worse as it will be Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Wednesday.  Lots of mileage on my old Town and Country.  She only gets Christmas day off.... 

Off from what???  She is the Snow Tree Angel for the Joffrey Ballet Nutcracker's Children Cast.  She is enjoying her stint with Joffrey.  Watching the company dancers dance have further motivated her to dance more.  If you are wondering if she is paid,  NO and you wonder why we are doing it.  Because she loves to dance and to dance with Joffrey's Nutcracker is a once in a lifetime opportunity.  She hopes to go back next year.  Shoot myself for letting her do it, with missing a few days of school but I figured if I can use this to motivate her to do well in school, why not.  

Yes, I'm proud of my not-so-little girl, see how she has florished over this year. 

Keep a lookout for her if you happen to watch it in Chicago.  6 more shows to go...... 6 more french braids to go for me.  Yes, I was forced to learn from Youtube on how to do a french braid but I"m getting better.  From 45 minutes to 20 minutes... yahoo!!!!

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October 25, 2012

Quarkie Earphones Review

I've had my iphone for 3 years and you would think that with my love for music, I would have uploaded tonnes of musics to my device.  Nah!!!! Growing up with the luxury of high end stereos,  not many headphones can compare to what I was used to.  

Now I've added another tasks, adding songs to my iphone.  All because of this impressive earphones. Esthetic-wise,  it looked totally different from other earphones that I've seen.  It looks bulky and clumsy at first glance.  I have the gemstone which looks beautiful but some says it looks gothic.  Quarkie website has 6 different designs.  After wearing these earphones for couple of months,  I know that this is a topic starter even with strangers. 

Now comes the fit of these earphones.  I've tried jogging and cycling with it and it has not once fallen off my ears. Gilly, my ballerina even dances with it. It comes with 4 different sizes ear tips for a perfect fit on your ears.  Want to shut out all the sceams and fights of your kids?  hahaha.. perfect device as its noise isolation.  I've even sat in my kids dance classes and with 2 stereos blasting different songs,  it can drive one NUTS..., and now I just plug those wonderful earphones and ah..... Louis Armstrong's voice gives me peace!!!  

One important warning !!!!  While driving, DO NOT HAVE BOTH EARPHONES PLUGGED IN.  HARZARDOUS !!!!  (This is how efficient its noise isolation feature is)  

Now comes the mindblowing part...  I wondered how earphones is compared to other earphones...  2 seconds after wearing it,  I was so impressed.  How did this maker manage to squeeze the rich and fine sound quality into this tiny device.  Friends asks me how good was this device as they heard me talk about it. Only thing I could say, you need to hear it to know what I'm talking about.  

Like its website says,  "high sensitivity, low distortion and amazing bass performance".  I totally agree. Gilly was so impressed with her new earphones when she could hear sound of horses.  She came running and told "mummy, I've listen to this song for so long and I never heard horses at the background until this earphones."

You can also receive telephone calls with this.  While you are listening to your songs, it will automatically pause and let you receive your calls and continue when you end your phone conversation. 

If you are scratching your head trying to figure what to buy your loved ones for Christmas... This may be the perfect gift.  

Disclaimer:  I received this earphones at no cost.  But would not recommend a product if its not upto my standards. 

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October 10, 2012


Wow!!  New Interface on blogger, and I only discovered it now.  Yes,  I've been slow in this area.  I have to say this but it was just easier to post photos on facebook and commenting than to blog.  A week ago,  looking at my blog, it tickled me pink to see a series of photos of Greg crying and reading what had happened.  It brought back old memories and reminded me why I had started blogging.  So here I am trying to get into my blog to find there is a new interface.  

I've just been busy with the kids.  Gilly is now 12 and I'm getting my warning signs of how life will be when she is a teenager,  I will be running to Sally Beauty Supply more frequently to get my hair color!  She is turning out to be a gorgeous girl,  I know I'm being biase but heck,  have to be proud of what I carried in my for 9 months.  Her love for ballet has deeped and she is a graceful dancer.  Promise to blog about her dance in a couple of months.  

Greg is still momma's boy that is witty, naughty, sweet and boyish all combine.  He keeps me on my toes as he loves to irritate his sister and knows what buttons to press to get her in trouble with me.  He still loves building with his toys but now his room is always a mess.  He was always the one that had the clean room as he would clean his room.  Roles have reversed!  He still dances tap and likes the limelight on stage.  He does have the stage personality and we get the kick just watching him perform.  

I on the other hand have been playing with tools.  Yes, tools.., table saw, miter saw... etc  

I even got hubby hooked.  We have built accent table and a bed for Gilly.  Best part,  we learn as a couple to work on a project with not so much fights.  Yes, we are still married !!! hahaha...  

Just a quick summary of what is going on with the kwannies... I promise to blog more and do come back for more.... 
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March 13, 2012

In the End, All that matters is .....

my hubby
my son
my daughter
and I
This is all I've learnt.
Phones ringing, me answering.
Blah Blah Blah for hours...
Knowing all the blah blah blah will help make the other person feel better.
Knowing it takes an emotional toll myself plus hours of productive time gone.
Off you go, after loading on me, you feel better....
I'm rushing like crazy to catch up with things I put on hold for your calls...
Wishing I could finish my latest project and imagining it all done.. but its just an imaginary ..
All for your depositing on me.
Did I get a Ph.D on psychology? NO... but I sure did a good job of being one
One quacky Dr I've become but hey... no charge on you. Deposit all you want..
One time I would like you to pay attention to me or my family
What do I get? Excuses excuses excuses....
Nothing but excuses or silence..... Gas is too expensive, gotta drive all the way there...
How about all the times I've spent listening to your problems?
All I see is Selfishness, Ignorance and Arrogance.
Blah, blah, blah and sob, sob, sob...
I'm always invited to these type of parties.
How about an invitation to a fun filled, laughing party when you host one at your house?
Nah, Kwannies, you are not good enough for those...
Kwannies, I just need you when I am down and out.
You are not family, you are just my unloader.
These are friends and family that comes in my life....
Either I shut up and be the nice, generous person
Or be the bitch and stand up for myself....
Now, its just gonna be me, hubby and 2 kiddos...
Talk to my hand!!!
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December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas !!!!

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October 28, 2011

Lazy mama homemade pasta sauce

I've always loved making spaghetti during winter, don't know why but its just easy cooking. A few years ago, a friend taught me how to make homemade pasta sauce as I always plant a few bushes of tomato plants. My all time favorite tomatoes are the celebrity. Prior to making pasta sauce, I would give away extra tomatoes as there is only how much tomato a person can eat at a time.

I thought making pasta sauce would be a big task as I googled it once and saw how much work was put into it. Here is the easy version that I've learnt. If you have someone that can't digest tomato seeds, you may not want to use this method.

1) Remove tomato skin:

In a big pot of boiling water, submerge tomatoes, about 30-45 seconds, you will see skin rolling. Remove from hot water and submerge into cold water. That will help cool tomato and you can remove the skin. Place tomatoes in a colander. You will notice the tomato will be slowing ozzing water out. Repeat removing skin of all tomatoes.

2) If you want, you can dice the tomato and remove the seeds but still leave it in the colander. You bascially don't want all the juice/water in the tomato. I'm lazy so I skip this step.

3) In a big pot,

I sautee diced red onions and minced garlic in lots of olive oil.

Then add the tomatoes. Here with my lazy method, I just use my hand and crush the tomatoes into the pot.

Add basil ,italian herbs(my miracle: I buy the tube of italian herbs in the herb section at the grocery store), salt, sugar and black pepper and bay leaf.

After letting the tomatoes cook for awhile, I will use a potato masher to mash the tomatoes as I do not want my sauce to be chunky. You don't really need to mash too much as the tomatoes will breakdown when they get cooked Add 1-2 cans of tomato paste (depend on how thick or runny you like your sauce).

Let the sauce simmer until most of the water/juice is gone

4) Storage:

I do not can. I just bag 2 1/2 cups of sauce into 1 ziploc bag. Lay the bags flat and freeze them individually. Once all bags are frozen, I just pack them up in the freezer. You can bag the sauce according to your family usage. 2 1/2 cups works fine for my family of 4 with abit of leftover for the next day.

If you notice, I've not give any measurements, do not worry, this sauce is very forgiving.

My kids love when I add sauteed mushrooms and meatball to this sauce. I usually will cook them in a slow cooker for 4 hrs and the flavors of the mushroom and meatball makes this sauce even tastier. I do add a can of tomato paste to the sauce when I'm preparing my spaghetti meal as my kids like their sauce thick.

Good luck trying

Note: I wasn't solicited by any business to promote the Italian Herbs. I had to go buy this item myself. I always use this when I make this sauce.

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