December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010

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September 20, 2010

Call me crazy but I'm so looking forward to next summer already

Its been more than a month since the kids have gone back to school. There has been more changes in our household. More than I can chew... I think. Gilly moved to an intermediate school and being in 5th Grade, she has not found it fun. First few weeks of school, she told me she hated 5th grade as there is so much homework. I think she is OK with the homework but not the datelines and consequences of it. Last week, I had to sign on a form that says she forgot her assignment. That was an automatic 20% deduction, and that's a C grade. After signing on that form, I had to make sure she puts it into her folder and watch her put the folder into her bag. Reason for paranoia and close monitoring... if she forgets to hand in the same assignment the 2nd day, it would be an automatic Zero or F grade. I wasn't risking that. She is always good at handing in her homework and I never had to watch her like a hawk.
There are so much extra curiculum at the new school and I suggested to her to try string program. She said NO and reason was boring. Next, how about trying the band? No, band teacher is mean. I sighed and told her.. "I can't stand the mean label you keep giving to teachers." I asked her "When I have 5 kids in the house, am I not strict? The band teacher has to deal with a band full of 100 kids, don't you think he needs to be strict?" I've learn that when kids says teacher is mean, they actually mean the teacher is strict. I finally got her to agree to try the instruments in the band. Even then, I had to physically push her towards a kid that was demonstrating a particular instrument. She finally tried the flute and loved it. All of a sudden (roll eye moment for me) she loves the flute so much that it was all her idea to try the band and flute. Remember the Nancy Drew moment I had with her... exactly the same scenario.... Gosh, I can't imagine how she is going to be when she is officially a teenager.
Greg has now joined boy scouts and is loving it. We are officially chinese rednecks this year.. we tried the rodeo and demolition derby. Back to Greg, he has started tap as well, at 2 weddings and our trip to the west, I notice how he is a wild John Travolta and asked if he wanted tap lessons. He jumped at my offer and is now enjoying his tap classes. Yes he only does tap, no ballet... so guys out there laughing at my boy.. he is braver than any 6 foot man. He is my easy child for now, he does his homework with less guidance, sometimes I feel like he is the older child as he doesn't need me to be watching him all the time... but kids change so we never know what will hit us in future.
Update: My daughter has since forgotten to bring her homework or textbooks home twice and after me going berserk on her, she is trying her best and isn't letting one particular girl distract her during packing minutes. She told me last night that she told the girl to not talk to her until her bags are packed. Apparently the girl left her alone.
I know I've got my handsful this school year, plus now having to deal with a pre-teen who is spending alot of time grooming herself before school. Its turning out to be a challenging year. I need to learn to letgo abit and let my pre-teen learn to walk on her own and yet at the same time guide her to making good decisions. I need to learn that she is becoming a lady of her own and she isn't my 2 year old for whom I decide everything. I do not what her to shut me off because she needs to know Mummy is one TO GO person when she is in trouble. I'm in for a rollercoaster year.... so summer please come quick!!!
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August 19, 2010

Start of New School Year

Summer holidays are over, the kids are back to school again after almost 12 weeks of no school and homework. We had a nice summer lazing around the house and having an awesome roadtrip. But it was just time for them to go back to structured textbook learning. So, here are my kids getting on their schoolbus. I hit a milestone moment today, my Gilly told me not to take photo of her getting on her bus. I was surprise as I didn't expect that from her but I guess she is growing up (she is a 5th grader). I was the only parent at that stop that had a camera... heck the other mom was sitting on her chair and didn't even walk her girls cross the street to the bus stop.

Gilly going to school

Greg wish summer holidays are not over. He claims school is boring. He won't get to play with his toads. They both have been playing with toads as there is plenty of supply of them from my garden. I cracked up when I realize one of them was Papa Joe. They actually named those darn ugly toads.

Greg's school supply list for 2nd grade says he need to bring in a calculator. I gave him the same speech I did with Gilly. "Greg, you are not allowed to do your math homework in school. If I catch you doing that, I will scan your homework, deleted all your answers and print 10 copies of it and make you redo them 10 times!" Hopefully that will scare him enough to not to use that calculator on his 12 + 23 addition.

Greg off to school.

The kids are now on different buses, Gilly has moved to intermediate school while Greg is still in the same elementary school. Gilly told me she had butterflies in her stomach before she stepped into the new building but it all turned out fine. I told her mummy flew halfway around the world to come to USA to study and I only knew a handsful of people here when I first came, so its just natural to be anxious but it will be fine.

I now have 4 hours of quiet time.... my hubby expects house to be spotless and dinner on the table when he steps in.. hahaha yeah right... dreams....

ciao for now....
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August 9, 2010

Do what you do best !

I need to say something about this world is getting to. We are too politically correct to the point its getting ridiculous. A school that has 5 or 6 valedictorians because they don't want to dissapoint any kids. No competition between classes where the winning class gets a free pizza because they don't want to hurt the feelings of the rest of the kids. Now.. how are our kids going to go out into this world to compete for jobs? How are we going to be the so called developed nation we are if our future kids are not taught to compete. Actors, Supermodels, Comedians, Singers... I love your talent .. but I have to say BUTT OUT OF GIVING ADVICE TO ALL OF US !!!! I rolled my eyes when I saw what Gisele said, 'I think a lot of people get pregnant and decide they can turn into garbage disposals [dustbin]'. I nearly puked when she declares that there should be a "law on breastfeeding". Yes, her life is a glamorous life and I bet she has all the nannies, personal trainers, dietician who is helping her out with her tremendous lucky life. But shut your crap. You don't need to make all the mothers in the world from feeling crappy.. just to make yourself feel good. Now comes my favorite actress, Jennifer Aniston, how much I like you that I stopped watching anything that has Brangelina, but today, you dissapoint me saying, kids don't need fathers. Yes they do. When they are babies, they won't cry for one.. but when they start baseball or soccer, and seeing dads out there.. they will wonder why they are missing a dad. No matter how much your male friends help you out... they are still not the baby's father. Those liberal celebrities.. no matter how much you hate or love your politician, shut the heck up. I don't need you to tell me how much greatness Obama is doing. My mom taught me from young, if you have $5 in your pocket, make sure you only use $1 and save the rest. Do not go borrow money from your friends cos you will need to pay it back or you have no dignity. You guys always grumble about the papparazzi and how they bug the heck out of you. You always say you want your privacy. Please keep your damn opinions to yourself and put your talent to where its best shines.... in your movies and songs.
There, I've finally said it.
This is all my opinion, so if you don't like it, just click on the X button to close the window.
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April 30, 2010

Thinking of you today my baby

Thinking of you today my sweet... I can imagine you enjoying this song....
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April 27, 2010

The Birds and Bees Talk to my 10 year old girl.

My Gilly is will be 10 years old, my firstborn will be in the double digits in August. How a decade has passed so fast. I was talking to my girlfriend this morning about how Gilly, at 1 1/2 years old, would keep me on my toes with her energy. She would be into anything and everything without fear that every week, we would have a bruise somewhere on her face or hands and I pray DCFS doesn't come knocking on my door.
While on spring break, I got an email from the school. It was about how the 4th graders will be attending the "Human Growth and Develpment Program". My eyes rolled, great, now I've to make sure I talk to her about the Birds and the Bees before the school does. I did buy a book and was pondering, notice the word pondering, when I should show her the book. And now I've a DATELINE. Gosh, why did they have to break it to me when I'm enjoying myself in Canada.
The school gave us a date where parents were welcome to come and have a preview of what the kids will see. Being a first time mom, I made myself go eventhough I was exhausted. It was worth it as the school nurses were there to answer our questions. They basically said it was about the body development, stressing about personal hygiene. They told us they would be as brief and truthful to the kids but would divert our children's questions back to us so we the parents would decide how much information we want to give our kids. We were told the boys and girls will be separated which is good.
I ran to Borders last Saturday to look for a book called "What's happening to my body", which has a boy or a girl version. The lady at borders told me that the American Girl's book is a better reference, I quickly browsed through it and figured why not since Gilly reads American Girl stories. At the same time I grabbed the boy version of the "What's happening to my body" as I figured I might as well buy them now instead of running out for it in 3 years time for Greg.
I gave the book to Gilly and told her to read it by herself. She gave me this weird look and took the book to her room. I told her to read it page to page and not to skip any pages. About 10 minutes later she came in with a "mummy, this is yucky" statement. She showed me what she meant, it was a cartoon showing the changes in the breast. I told her its not yucky and just a way of life. She can't all of a sudden have boobs popping out but slowly grow outwards. Now, was I peeing in my pants? No, but it was uncomfortable but I had to bite my tongue and the stop the urge to run, and made it as casual as I could. Later she came asking where was the uterus. Next day she came to ask if using tampons was uneasy.
My friends, this week has been a very interesting week, as I'm really on unchartered terrority. So help me God that I survive through the part where she asks me about LOVE MAKING!!!! I do have the book called "Where Did I Come From" all ready for that.
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April 23, 2010

Spring Break 2010 (part 2)

This was our view from the room, made us not want to leave the room. I'm glad I don't live nearby or I may just take this view for granted.
Here is our family photo taken at our hotel room. Kids love to sit by the window with their binocular trying to zoom into the falls.
Here's a photo of the kids with their Seh-Han-Ee-Poh (youngest grand aunt from Mom's side of the family). Somehow the kids just love to climb on the "telescope" I don't know what is their fascination about it.
The kids with their Uncle Josh, yes he is an Uncle to them. He is certainly very old. hahahaha
Greg was scared of the glass view at CN Tower in Toronto. He had to hold dad's hand for awhile but after that.... hahaha.... he was having fun.
See the ground view, yes a very very long fall, 342 meters or 1,122 feet fall.
Kids are pretending to be petrified. Yeah, like really petrified.
Greg with his favorite binoculars, he is busy studying what's down below.
This cracks me up because Dad's shirt looks almost the same as the sky.
Whenever we visit Toronto, we would stay at Richmond Hills which is near all the chinese eateries. We had dimsum at one restaurant and then later we went back there for dinner because they had Peking duck there. sorry no photos of the food as we just chowed down the food before I realize I could take any photo.
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April 21, 2010

Twitter Party Hosted By Chicago Moms Blog and Chevrolet

April 11th was an exhausting day for me, the whole week was exhausting as the kids were on spring break and I had guests from London. I was invited to a Twitter Party which was hosted by Chicago Moms Blog(SV Moms group) and Chevy. I just couldn't pass this invitation. It would be my first blogger's event. I was excited and yet nervous. You know little fish in a big ocean.
I said bye to my aunt and let hubby drive her to the airport while I drove downtown to the event. I didn't know what to expect except there were butterflies in my stomach. I was late for the roundtable discussion but managed to hear the end of it. The organizers and moderators, Jill Asher and Linsey Krolik, guided the conversation about how we bloggers and brands can work together in the new world of social media. Brands have realized how we bloggers can vocalize our opinions about their goods and services these days and our tiny voices can be heard by many in the world of internet.
After the roundtable discussion, we got to meet the brands personally, it was an interesting to learn about the new products and I made some new friends. I found another blogher The goodies we brought home was AWESOME. I had a few extra that I "won" from turning the wheels. I love wheels!!
I've always heard of bloggers events/convention but coming to one was definitely an eye opener. Its one thing to read somebody's blog but to actually see a person and know they are fellow bloggers just like you is another thing. I'm grateful I've a friend who is big time blogger, she encourages me to blog, and to be in a room full of bloggers was certainly a good learning experience.
These are the goodies I brought home minus Garrett Popcorn that was devoured almost immediately. Thank you to the sponsors/brand :

I'd also like to thank Jill Asher and Linsey Krolik from SVMomsGroup and MJ for such a wonderful event.
Disclosure: I was invited to the event by the SV Moms groups. We got goodies, food, and parking.

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April 10, 2010

Spring Break 2010

The gorgeous photo was our sunrise view from our room for 2 mornings. It was a lovely sight. I've been to Niagara Falls for 5 times and this was our first experience waking up in Niagara Falls. We drove almost 8 hours from Chicago to Niagara with my aunt and cousin from London. We were lucky to have nice warm weather while we were in Niagara.
Daddy, Gilly, Greg & Uncle J
We stayed in the hotel that was higher up from the Niagara Parkway Road, we didn't want to walk all the way down and took the shortcut via their "rail" which cost us a bit. (we noticed with our wallets, everything in Niagara cost something) but the view going down was spectacular... as the photo below shows)
Gilly, Greg and Uncle J at the Falls.
It was the kids 2nd time to Niagara Falls but this round, they appreciated it more as they were much older (5 years older). The could understand how water erroding the soil and how the falls would move further in ... in future.
Gilly right next to the Falls.
Because we visited Niagara in April, we were unable to go on the "Maid of the Mist" ride. They start their rides only mid-May. That would give my aunt another reason to come back to Niagara in future. Especially Uncle J with his wife for their honeymoon... *wink* *wink*
Kids posing for mama...
Nightview of the Falls...
to be continued........
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March 4, 2010

Gilly and her 30th PB &J sandwich.

Kids making PB&J
Kids getting ready to pack the sandwiches.
A friend of mine, has started her own charity organization. Part of it, she helps feed homeless women and the other is to loan to help women start their own business. I was proud she was doing something so generous. This is her site
Last Saturday, we woke up and after breakfast, we started making 70 PB&J. I ran to Costco and bought the supplies. We were to supply PB&J, juice, and bags of chips for 70 women. Greg had soccer so he couldn't help at the beginning, so it was just Gilly and I for awhile. Gilly started off being all excited... because costco didn't sell Goober Jelly, we just basically spread one bread with peanut butter and the other side with grape jelly. By the time we were doing our 30th sandwich, the novelty of making PB&J was wearing off for Gilly. I had to encourage her to keep going on.. and finally I asked her.. "Gilly, we are dropping the food at tita's around noon. Do you think this will be someone's lunch or dinner?" She answered "dinner." Then I asked her how often does she get to eat PB&J for dinner. She whispered "never".. and I added "can you imagine those ladies having no choice but to eat PB&J for dinner. It suddenly dawn to her how sad it was... and how lucky she was. That did it, she quickly picked her cheerful spirit and started spreading the peanut butter on the bread again.
Greg came home to help us with the remaining and finally our Oma(german for grandma) came to finish the last 4 sandwiches. Oma needed her beauty sleep so it was excusable that a 73 year old lady comes over at 10 a.m.
Happily Greg and Gilly help pack the sandwiches being careful to not squash them... and then we trodded up to Tita's house to deliver the food. She later took the food to Missionaries of Charity (Mother Teresa's soup kitchen in Chicago).
The kids wants to do it again and I would not hesitate to let them do it. I think they have learnt how lucky they are to have what they have... and to learn how to help those in need. We all at any time can be in the same predicament.
Did it cost alot.. No.. we spent about $53 and that included 2 unopen bottles of Peanut butter and grape jelly that could feed make another batch of sandwiches.
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February 11, 2010

Pineapple Tart for Chinese New Year

Pineapple Filling/jam
(To be made the day before shaping the tarts - Microwave method)
* 4 cans 20 ozs pineapple crushed/chunks(drain and pulse in food processor until fine)
* sugar (amount of sugar should be equal to the pineapple pulp e.g. 1 cup pineapple pulp to 1 cup sugar. 3/4 cup of sugar will be acceptable as the canned pineapples do tend to be sweeter than fresh ones)
*1 tbsp of lime/lemon juice
*2 sticks of cinnamon bark
*6 cloves
*1 segment of star anise
Method: Put all the ingredients in a big round pyrex bowl and microwave on high. Start with 15 mins, stir well, high for another 15 mins x 2. If jam is still runny, microwave at 1 min at a time until it is thick but still wet. It will thicken and dry out when it is cooled. If jam has gone too dry, just add enough water, stir well to dilute. Jam for filling should not be too dry as it will dry further when the tarts are baking. (The timing in the microwave is for making 4 cans of pineapples, so if you intend to try making with one can only, then the time taken in the microwave should be very much shorter)
Pastry dough:
*340g plain flour
*½ tsp salt
*2 tbsp icing sugar
*225g butter, cubed
*1 egg yolk
*5 tsp iced-cold water
*½ tsp vanilla essence
1 beaten egg + 1tsp water, for glazing
Put sifted flour, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl. Rub in butter until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Beat in the egg yolk and add ice-cold water and essence. Mix well to form a dough. Place in a plastic bag and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Roll pastry out to 3/8” thickness on a lightly-floured tabletop and cut out rounds with a tart cutter. Fill each piece of cut-out pastry with pineapple jam filling. Cut thin strips of pastry to form a lattice on top of each tart. Glaze the strips with beaten egg.
Place tarts on a greased baking tray and bake in preheated oven at 180°C for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 170°C and continue to bake for another 10 minutes or until golden. Turn tarts out to cool on a wire rack before storing in air-tight containers.
*note: this recipe was a combine of jam filling from Lily Wai Sek Hong and the pastry is from somewhere I found years ago.
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February 10, 2010

Valentine Day Crayons

My kids school has this crazy policy for treat bags, NO FOOD just trinkets for Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's parties in schoool. Now how many of us can afford to buy tiny cheapo quality toys from Party stores that will cost a bomb especially if you have more than 1 kid in school. It was just cheaper to buy chocolates and candies. The most affordable thing to get a kid are stickers, tattoos and pencils. And I'm sick of pencils as I have tonnes of them now.
This Valentine's Day, I decided to try being abit of a Martha Stewart. I ran and bought a cookie mold (smaller size) and since I have alot of leftover crayons, I got the kids to help unwrap the crayons, break them to smaller sizes, mix them into the mold and melt them at 350ºF for 6-7 minutes. Let it cool in room temperature or put it in the fridge to cool faster. Use a straw to mix the melted crayon to get the swirl effect. It turned out cute and interesting. Each new crayon is unique.
Maybe you could try this out for your kids' next party.. just remind the kid that its a crayon and not a candy. Gilly's ballet teacher had to scream out to a girl NOT to EAT it.
Here is the easy to read instructions:-
What you need:
Cookie mold (metal or silicone, smaller shapes will be easy for handling)
Leftover crayon (remove wrappers)
Straw or toothpick
Preheat oven to 350ºF
Break the crayons
Put crayons into individual molds.
Bake in heated oven for 6-7 minutes (when you take it out, becareful as the crayons are melted i.e in liquid form)
Use a straw and slowly stir the melted crayon for swirl effect
Let it cool in room temp or put into the refrigerator for a quick cool
For color coordination, if you want funky ones you can use any colors if not, use colors from the same group, like blues with greens or red with orange.
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