Saturday, October 29, 2011

Happy Birthday

Yesterday was my birthday. I do celebrate my birthday. I am not too old or too young. I celebrate that God has been faithful and given me 365 more days of living, loving, and serving. The number of candles on the cake varies. Last night the kids put 4 candles on the cake. J said I was 34 and Miss K said I was 25. I love my children. They are correct once upon a time I was 34 and once upon a time I was 25.

My wonderful husband made reservations for us to go out and invited my parents. Celebrating my birthday with my parents is special to me. I think because of so many years of living overseas and not being together for birthdays makes it special.

My mom made a cake and we had that at our house. It was chocolate. We are still mourning the closure of our favorite bakery.

My mom said she is not old enough to have a daughter my age. I told her I am not that old so she doesn't have to worry.

Friday, October 28, 2011

What was she drawing?

The other day Miss K had a piece of paper and she was drawing. She told me what she drew.

Any guesses on what she drew? Give me your best guess or two.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My new love

Roasted Garlic -- We love garlic here. If a recipe calls for garlic; we usually double it. Last week I went to the produce store that can only be described as a fast food produce store. You walk up to the counter and tell them what you want and they pull bags and you pay and the next person starts their order. I needed garlic and wasn't really thinking that would mean I would get a bag of it. I got 12 bulbs of garlic. We like garlic but I didn't think we could eat it that fast.

I looked in a cookbook and discovered how easy it is to roast it and so I did that.

I cut the top off. Pulled off as much of the outer layers. Put foil on a cookie sheet with some olive oil. Put the garlic bulbs cut side down and baked for 30 minutes. We spread it on bread or just ate.


Heard around our house

Yesterday at lunch we were talking about where we would like to move to. We asked Miss K where she would like to move to. Her response, "Honolulu." That was not what we thought she would say. I guess she was remembering that we took her there for her birthday.*

Here she is in Honolulu.

*In case you miss the whole story about our trip to Honolulu and are quickly thinking that we are really cool parents to take our 7 year old to Honolulu I should tell the rest of the story. We were flying home from Asia on her birthday. We made it to Tokyo and missed our connecting flight. They told us we could spend the night on our dime and take the flight the next day. Then they were able to find a flight to Honolulu and on to San Francisco and finally home. We took that option and so Miss K went to Honolulu for 3 hours for her birthday. We saw the airport.

PS - We did have some serious discussion about where we want to move to. We would appreciate prayers as we seek God's leading for our family.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fall Fun

We had our annual candy hunt last week. I am guessing it is about the 35th annual or so. We probably skipped a few years. It was something that my parents started when we were young. Now they do it for the grandkids and the kids. We got candy this year, too.

The two little girls had a candy hunt like an Easter egg hunt but skip the eggs and look for candy.

Then the big kids had a treasure hunt.

The weather was perfect, warm enough not to need coats and the leaves were the perfect color. We didn't really plan it but we were able to get a few fall photos.

It has been a while since we got a nice picture of the two of us.

My baby is growing up. Miss K is not the easiest person to photograph. She tries but just doesn't look the right way and often her smile is forced. This is such a good picture. I am getting a larger print. One of my talented sister-in-laws took these photos.

We had carmel apples to take home and enjoy. Thank you, Em for the apples. They were yummy.


Art Museum

Our local art museum was having a special exhibition Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus. It was something that we wanted to see. It was the first time this group of oil paintings of Jesus were together since they left the home and studio in 1656.  We have talked about going to the museum many times but have not made it. The special exhibition along with a deal from Living Social for discount tickets made it worthwhile. That was the first time I had used Living Social and it made it possible to go.

In preparation for our trip we read a book from the library about Rembrandt. It did help to give us understanding of what we were seeing and also we saw a few paintings that we had read about. I think it really helped to know what we are going to see and having spent a bit of time preparing for it. It was fun for J to see pictures that we had seen in our reading.  It was also nice that we were given a headset that has some narration about the paintings. I think it is worth taking the kids to events like this. I admit it was my first time to go to that museum.

The top of J's list after the Rembrandt display was the Armor. Of course, he loved it. He is a boy and enjoys knights and castles.

Miss K was not feeling well and wanted to be carried. Let me tell you she is getting heavy.

This was one of our favorites in the armor display.

We did take a quick walk through the American Art section. We enjoyed some of the Shaker furniture and the Pennsylvania Dutch display.

We did not do the Rocky thing and run up the steps. We will have to do that the next time. The first Sunday of the month is "pay what you want" so maybe we will have to go back again and see another section. There is just too much to see.


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Potato Cakes

This is a recipe from my childhood. I remember my mom pulling out the hardback Mennonite Community Cookbook full of notes and some cooking stains. My mom would  make these with leftover mashed potatoes. Now I do the same thing when we have leftover mashed potatoes. I love finding a way to use up the leftover mashed potatoes.

2 cups leftover mashed potatoes

1 large egg

1 tablespoon flour

2 tablespoons cream

1 tablespoon minced onion, if desired

4 tablespoons fat

Mix ingredients and shape into flat cakes or drop from a spoon into hot fat.

Fry a golden brown on both sides.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Where have to you been?

I have been to London to see the Queen. It was a combination -- business meetings, anniversary, and D.Min completion trip. J & K stayed with cousins with adult supervision provided my uncle and aunt. That was as much fun in their minds as mom and dad's trip.

We had a car which made it possible to get to all the places that we were heading. Driving there just reminded us of driving in Hong Kong. I think we missed our car, Guztlaff.

We went to Cambridge to meet a few people and had a chance to walk around. One of the people we met there was from Cambridge and so he gave us a walking tour which made it very interesting and giving us a personal connection -- we saw a painting of his father in Trinity College, the garden where he had his wedding reception and a few other things.

King's College was begun in 1441 (that was before Columbus sailed the ocean blue).

We went in the Chapel at King's College with the fan vault ceiling and the stained glass windows. It was very impressive. 

See we were both there.

We had a day and a half in London so we hit the highlights.

We started by walking past Parliament and Big Ben on our way to Westminster Abbey.

 I had been to London years ago for a short time -- mainly to fly from there back to Asia. This was my husband's first trip there.

We did quite a bit of walking that day -- to Buckingham Palace.We went to Churchill War Rooms Museum. It was here that during World War II Churchill and his cabinet met. The map room was just like it was left at the end of the war including someone's rationed sugar cubes that were found in his desk. Also connected with this museum was a Churchill Museum. It was a bit expensive but worth it. It was not to have the kids with us so we could take our time and read everything.

We then went to St. Paul's.

My the end of the day our feet were tired. Sunday morning we went to All Souls Langham Place which is where John Stott was for many years. My husband enjoys reading John Stott's books so it was a special thing for him to go there.

It was a fun trip. We came home with quite a bit to pray after as we seek what God has next for our family.



Monday, October 17, 2011

This school year 2011-2012

Since we are now months into our school year, maybe now it is time to share and list what we are using and doing this year. We school year round taking breaks when we need to.

This is my 3rd year of homeschooling. I now have a label/approach -- we are classical with a few other things mixed in.

Both children are in Classical Conversations (CC) this year. This is our first year to do that. As we began the year, I set goals for both children -- I wanted J who is in 4th grade to work towards memory master and I wanted Miss K to know the timeline. J was quick to raise his hand the other week when the director asked who were working towards memory master. I think I need to raise my expectations with Miss K. She has been following the timeline and has it down (the motions help her and if you know the timeline you will know what she is saying) but at the same time she is getting the history and science sentences.

J is considered 4th grade this year. We are working on the following:

Saxon Math 54 which we will finish and then start Saxon 65

Essentials with some Shurley Grammar Level 3 mixed in

IEW writing

Explode the Code currently in book 3 1/2 and will do book 4

Sequential Spelling Book 1 and then we will start Book 2 (that was my yard sale find -- I have book 3 a friend was getting rid of so we are set)

Bible Discovery Genesis - he wanted to start at the beginning

American history - reading various books

Science - the human body - again reading various books

Both of these follow CC topics for this year.


Miss K - K/1st she is somewhere in there

Saxon Math K (she thinks the K is for her name) - I have been amazed that she is getting the concepts.

Teach Your Child to read in 100 Easy Lessons - she will tell me "next week" when I get that book out

History for Little Pilgrims which she loves and asked for "surgery" or that is what it sounds like

Handwriting without tears

Reading lots of books

That about wraps up what we are doing this year or what we have done so far this year. We will probably add some things. Daddy wants to teach history of science.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pumpkin Patch

Going to a pumpkin patch sounds like a very fall thing to do. A friend mentioned a fun place that is about 50 minutes from here with a corn maze, farm animals, hayride, and pumpkins. Everything you could want in a fall activity. I told the kids I would take them to the pumpkin patch. Then life got crazy, daddy had somethings to do and couldn't go with us, mama needed to get ready for a trip so we went to an orchard that had pumpkins.

They had some pumpkin people that we looked at.

We took some fall pictures.

Bought some pumpkins and apple cider and enjoyed our time. The kids called that a pumpkin patch and I have not yet corrected them. I did see pumpkins the next day cheaper at Trader Joe's but I doubt they would have called that a pumpkin patch.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Corning Museum of Glass

On our way home we had planned a break by stopping at the Corning Museum of Glass. One of the nice features is that children get in free.

They have a large section of old glass items. We enjoyed reviewing our history timeline and trying to figure out the time of this Egyptian glass piece.

There were also some interesting presentations. We enjoyed the Glass Breaking presentation where they explained the various types of glass and had a demonstration of how they break. A cultural side note was we sat behind a group of Amish people at that presentation.

We then went to a Blow molding presentation which was very interesting and the cultural side note at that presentation was it was translated into Mandarin Chinese for some of the audience. They made a pumpkin which was beautiful. I would love one but I think it would get broken easily.

There were some interesting displays with various things on the history of glass and the use of glass.

We enjoyed wandering and looking around.

I love stained glass windows. I just think they have a beautiful look and meaning. It also reminds me of our church in Hong Kong.

It was worth the stop. I would have enjoyed the gift shop but I really don't need anything. This was at the end of a long weekend of not our own routines.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Heard around our house

A bit of background to this story.

I love mugs. We have mugs for all moods and from various places we have been. We use the mug and go back to visit that place -- Paris - that mug was broken so I guess we need to go back; Provonce - that mug was broken; Jamaica - we can still use that mug; San Francisco is still here; as is Osaka, Singapore Chili's, and Taiwan plus a stack more. We are not lacking in mugs.

Also I love bright, bold colors. Just in little places -- like mugs or sticky notes.

One more bit of information that helps with this story. When I stop at Costco, I go in head to the refrigerator section and then loop around getting all the things on my list. I don't wander through the store.

Yesterday J and I wandered through Costco because they were remodeling and we needed to buy ziploc bags for my friend. We saw a set of bold, bright mugs. They were one color on the outside and another color on the inside. I remarked that I liked them and then said, "I need more mugs like I need" and paused. J finished the sentence with "monkeys in my room". That fits. We don't need monkeys in his room. It is messy enough without monkeys.

As we told daddy this take, he said jokingly "let's get the monkeys first."

We don't need mugs or monkeys.


Saturday, October 1, 2011


Our destination for our road trip was Toronto . We went to visit some friends there.

On Saturday morning we went out for dim sum. It was good to eat some of our favorites from Asia. Miss K and J loved the octopus.

She kept eating it.

Asking for more until finally it was gone.

J ate some as well but I didn't get any pictures of him eating it. I did get a picture of his plate.

Then we went to the waterfront and walked around a bit.

We saw the CN Tower but did not go up.

We were walking along and all of a sudden Miss K found a place to sit and then she said "picture". She wanted her picture taken. Getting her to look at the camera is a challenge. If you say "where is mama?" She will point to you.

There is something that was called the wave. I am not sure what it was designed to be but I saw how the kids used it -- as a sliding board.

She was so proud of herself. I figure it was a good workout to climb up to the top.

There was a building which honestly I don't understand what it was -- not a pet shop, but in the one area they had people with their dogs and you could meet the different dogs. I guess it is a cultural thing that I don't understand stand since I am not from there. Miss K just stood and looked at the dogs.

No, I don't want a dog. I know it would be good. No, I don't want a dog.

I wanted to buy a gift for my neighbor as she watched our house for us. I decided some maple syrup would be good. The tourist stores had nice little bottles for about 12.99 Canadian. I thought we could buy it cheaper in the grocery store. We stopped at Real Canadian Superstore. I wanted something that was Canadian and not just another American store north of the border. We had stopped at Tim Horton's on our way up. Anyway I found a larger bottle of maple syrup for $10.99 or so. One of the things about traveling internationally is you always try to use up as many of the coins as possible. You can exchange the bills but not the coins. The lines were long and so we did self-scan. I put all my coins in and some bills. I got 5 cents change -- the machine must have know I was an American because I got a US nickel.

It was a fun trip and the kids did great in the car.


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