Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Little Pear

One of the books that we read this past year was Little Pear. We enjoyed the book so much we read the sequel, Little Pear and his Friends. One thing that J did remember from reading the books was Little Pear's favorite treat - tangular. He has been looking for some so he could try one.

Where we used to live, during strawberry season they would make these with strawberries and I love those. No strawberries here so I passed and got my Starbuck's coffee. It had been a long time since I had a Starbucks coffee so I enjoyed that.

Tour - Day 1

Our first day of the tour started at 7:00 am. We got on a nice new tour bus and loaded all our luggage underneath. Our first stop was a hotel parking lot where we had to switch buses and take the luggage out. The new bus was not licensed to drive. We got on another bus and headed out. We got to the bus terminal and had to switch to a van that would take us to the bus and the tour group so that meant moving the luggage again. That was vehicle 4 that our luggage was on that day.

Our first stop was Couple's Retreat. I am sure there is more history to the location. We had our kids so I can't really say it was a couple's retreat. We left that area in a boat. The lady sang as she rowed.

The next event was a boat ride up the river to a silk factory. It seems that every tour needs to take to you a place where you can buy something. The silk factory was interesting we saw the cocoons, silk worms and the process of making silk. We had read about that and so seeing it really made it real. We didn't buy anything.

Lunch, a temple and the last stop of a pagoda. It was 2 stories high. Miss K and I went up one story but Daddy and J went all the way to the top.

Our day in Suzhou ended and we boarded a bus to the next city. We had to take the bus because we had too much luggage. We arrived in the next city and had to walk from the bus terminal to the hotel across major travel intersections.

I really don't think our luggage survived that day. Anyone have recommendations for luggage that will survive?

Monday, June 28, 2010

"I did it"

I will come back and fill in the things we did the other days but I thought I would post pictures of morning at the Great Wall.

Three years ago we were here and our day was perfect. We knew we would not be able to repeat that and we didn't. It was a bit gray and hazy. We went to Mutianyu.

We rode the cable cars up to the wall. Last time we did the enclosed nice first class cable car. This time we did the ski lift which is open. I love heights when I am enclosed but open forget it. I had Miss K and so it took all I could to stay calm and hold on tight to her and to the bar in front. I was glad to get to the top.

We had fun walking around.

It was fun to watch J enjoy the Great Wall. I am glad that we had spent some time studying this before our trip.

We took the toboggans down. I like that better because you are on the ground and I got to control the speed.

I wasn't sure what Miss K would think of this. As we went down I kept talking to her. She did want "K's turn" to hold the brake. We got to the bottom and I am told that the look on her face showed she loved it and her words were excited as she said "I did it."

Catching up a bit

I am going to try to catch up a bit on what has happened the past few days. We were in 5 cities in 6 days. Now we are settled for a bit and that feels good.

So we took a train from one city to another. It was the kids and I as S had some work to do. I was traveling with friends but they missed the train so it was just the kids and I. We made it to our hotel. Sunday night S came on the train and we spent Monday walking around West Lake. It was overcast but that seems to be the weather in every city and every day.

We have come to enjoy the local breakfast -- cheap and good. On Monday morning we headed out looking for some place for breakfast. Finally we asked somebody where you could get breakfast and she basically told us that the best place was KFC. The kids and I had eaten there the day before and we did not want to go back. We did not agree that it was the best place. Finally, we saw someone eating somethings they had bought from a breakfast place and asked them where we could buy it.

I thought it was interesting what this stand was selling at the lake.

Snacks -- water, gum, popcorn and pearls. Yes, you can buy some water and add a strand of pearls.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Roadside Repair

The other day I noticed that my sweater which I bought a few years ago at the market was coming apart at the sleeve. I guess that is why it was rejected by Gap's quality control. I was wondering how I would make it the next few weeks. I had forgotten to pack a sewing kit. That was solved today as we were walking to breakfast. We dropped it off on the way to breakfast and picked it up when we were done. The roadside sewing repair lady was able to do it for less than 50 cents. It is better than new.

Please, pass the chips.

Oh, I think I will pass on the chips. With flavors like blueberry, cucumber, kiwi, Italian meat sauce and Mexican tomato, I will pass.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Ancient River Town

I think we read a page or two about ancient river towns when we were studying but neither of us remember very much. I think that is some of what happens when you travel you learn things along the way and then go home and study a bit more what you have seen.

Yesterday we had some time and needed to do something that would keep us awake. We decided to head out of the city to Zhujiajiao an ancient river town which is not a bit of a tourist area but was still fun.

We took a boat ride which we thought was a reasonable price. 60Y for a short ride. We opted for the short ride as we were not sure what Miss K would think of a boat ride. When we went to the Nina and Santa Maria she did not want to go on the boats which were just docked. We are surprised she did not fuss.

It was a fun afternoon.

I have alot more pictures. So you will just have to come visit and I can show you pictures from our field trip aka vacation.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


The front desk has been very helpful in suggesting some places to eat. Last night we had a good dinner and so we asked this morning if they had any recommendations for a breakfast place. They said to go out to the street and turn left. We walked about a block and found a place. You can judge the quality of a place by the number of locals and there was a long line so we figured it would be good.

J loves noodles and so he got a bowl for breakfast. J did ask if he could eat all the dumplings that he wanted. We had some for breakfast.

We finished our breakfast with these.

We got all of that with a bit more for $8. Are you hungry?

Miss K entertained herself while waiting for our food. She took the chopsticks and made a "T". One across and then one down and said very proudly, "T". It was rather cute.

"You are here"

No mistaking it. We are here.

The gray sky. For some reason no matter what city or what season the sky is gray.

The honking of the bus and cars for no other reason then to let people know they are here on the road.

The head scratching English. The sign in the airport said "You are here. Central Path" or the item on the menu that is "Black Forest Cake Classic cake served with sour cheery compote." Somehow sour and cheery just don't go together and on a cake.

The yummy food at a cheap price. We had a wonderful dinner for just $6 for all 4 of us not per person.

The only thing on TV to watch is Chinese Opera and for some reason my kids are enjoying it.

We are here and ready for a fun day.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Family Photos

One other thing that we like to do is family photos. The beach is just such a natural beautiful background and my talented sister-in-law is willing to take pictures. I have 3 wonderful sisters-in-law. I have to write that because they read my blog and also it is truth. Here are some pictures.

Miss K can be a challenge to photograph but every once and a while we get a good picture. 

J has such a great smile.

Together as a family we are walking through life. We have a big adventure coming up this week. We don't know where that will lead but we are excited about the journey.


Sun, sand,

Miss K was happy to spend most of the time just playing in the sand. She did get in the water but it was some by accident, the wave would come in faster than she could move out of the way.


J enjoyed the water. He loved riding the waves.


I think that piece of pizza was almost as big as he is. Nothing like pizza on the boardwalk.

A bucket of fries for yourself. They were hot when we got them and I told her they needed to cool during which time I was able to eat a few off the top. She did share one with Grandma.


The boys were the only ones on that ride. I don't have other ride pictures because I took Miss K to find some fries. She was not interested in the rides.


This is the same beach that we were to when I was growing up. We would often go with my grandparents and so it is fun to go back and take my children.


Skee Ball - just 10 cents a game. That is a fun activity.

Grandpa taught the boys to play war. Which reminds me I need to find a deck of cards to take with us. Since I have gone back to liking Coke I will take my Pepsi cards and if they get lost it won't be a bit loss. Oh, back to vacation wrap-up.

It was a fun time and we were sad to leave our family. They are staying the rest of the week but we came home as we have a field trip later this week. So I am doing the mound of laundry that I brought back, cleaning out the sand, putting things away, and other fun things.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


"I am sorry I can't stop talking, but you know what they say, 'if you don't use it you will lose it'." - J

I really don't think there is any fear that he will lose his ability to talk.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Year in Review

I know that is usually the title for a post around December 31 when you are looking back at what happened. This is the school year in review.

The portfolio is done.

We did our 180 plus days. Don't tell my children that they only have to go to school 180 days because we got some extra.

The evaluation is finished.

The reading log is completed.

J read 27 books once he finishes the ancient Dick and Jane book that he is currently reading. I am proud of him for reading all those books. He started the year basically just beginning to read. He doesn't yet just sit down and read a book for fun but that is coming.

I read 62 books aloud this year. Some of those were short books but some were long. I think J's favorite was Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. My favorite was The Wheel on the School, no, Mr. Popper's Penguin's, or maybe Little Pear. There were just too many good ones. This evening he was looking through the shelf and asking if we could get more Mrs. Piggle Wiggle or more Homer Price or more Little Pear.

We took some field trips and have our big field trip coming up next week.

We finished Saxon Math 2 and started Math 3 getting all the way to lesson 45.

It was a fun year and we will take a month or so off and then back to school. I have my affidavits notarized and ready for next year. J is ready because we are going to study indians and maybe make an indian costume. I can't wait to see how many books we read next year. I wonder if we can double those numbers.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Laugh for the evening

We decided that we needed a baby safety harness for our trip. a million people and a wandering child did not sound like something we want to try so we headed to Babies R Us. It was an easy purchase just $5.99 and we got one. Miss K was excited and kept saying "K's, K's." Our next stop was Target I needed contact solution and spoons to take with us so the kids will be able to eat. We decided to try the safety harness. She was fine with us putting it on and then she started walking through the parking lot and then she barked. Yes, she barked. We started laughing. Sorry no pictures. I just didn't realize it was a photo moment when you buy a safety harness. I guess really it would be a video and not just a photo.

Her sense of humor is being to show.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Fried Rice Recipe

Okay, since I showed the picture and told that I learned to make it and someone was disappointed that no recipe was included. Here is my recipe which includes my adaptions because most recipes it seems I adapt in some way.

3 cups leftover rice - I never measure just have a good portion. I have also cooked rice just so I have rice for fried rice

Heat in a large frypan. I don't have a wok - can you believe that.

3T oil

1/4-1/2 lb of cooked or raw meat cut in thin strips - I use cooked ham so basically I am just heating it up.

3 cloves garlic minced

1 large onion, corrsely chopped

1 or 2 carrots diced

I fry those things and then mix my sauce

1 tsp sugar

1T soy sauce

1T fish sauce - I use that bottle of fish sauce that I was given. This is not something I usually keep on hand.

Stir fry until meat is tender and hot

Add the cooked rice

Stir-fry 5 minues


1 c leftover pea - if you are using frozen add them when you add them at the beginning so they will thaw.

Just before serving add

2 eggs beaten

I like my eggs well done and so I have learned that I just get another little frypan out and fry my eggs and then add them to the rice. You could even use leftover scrambled eggs.

Mix and get everything hot. Depending on how much rice you might need to add more soy sauce.

Basically this is a dish that uses all those leftovers that you have.

I had a friend add hot dogs to her fried rice once. That is not one of the meats that I would add.

The Wheel on the School

We finished reading The Wheel on the School today. That was one of the longer books that we have read this year but has a wonderful story and so it was not hard to keep reading. Lina dreams of storks coming to Shora and then gets all the other children involved and through that they make some friends in the village -- Janus, the man who lost his legs by a shark bite or so the rumor says, Douwa, the old man who they think is crazy when he goes onto the boat in the dike with a saw but really he knows where a wheel is; Grandam Sibble, who remembers when the storks came to Shora as well as some other friendships that form.

We found our storks and so J made a school and added a wheel and then we put the storks on top of the school.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

After years in Asia

I learned how to make fried rice. Maybe I didn't learn it there because I didn't want to even think about eating one more bowl of fried rice (when I lived in Thailand I had either chicken fried rice or shrimp fried rice for lunch every day - I am not exaggerating). or maybe it was just the fact that it was easy to just go out and buy fried rice. Well, with the help of my More for Less cookbook or the Extending the Table cookbook both have about the same recipe. I also have my bottle of fish sauce that a Chinese student gave us. It is the real thing which not much English on the bottle.

For us it is a special treat to have some ham in our fried rice. For some reason I never add chicken or shrimp to my fried rice.

My kids love it. It is fun with our rice bowls and chopsticks. Yes, they are allowed to hold their bowls because that is the way you do it in China.

Miss K wants sticks as well. She doesn't get much in her mouth but she wants them. I found the trainer chopsticks in our things and gave them to her to use. That helped. She was able to get some into her mouth.

We are going to have a long 3 and a half weeks with her wanting to use sticks. I better remember to make some spoons.


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