Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Friend - Wordless Wednesday

For more Wordless Wednesday post check here.

Toddler Size Memories

Miss K is 2 almost 3 and she loves to look at my scrapbooks. The problem is the 12 x 12 are just a bit too big for her to flip through plus right now I have lots of pages. It is two books in one.

Last summer when we were in the land of plenty I found a 6 x6 scrapbook for $1 at one of the craft stores. I bought it because it was cute and I can hardly resist paper, stickers, paper, albums expecially when they are a good price. I even bought some of the insert pages. Then it sat on my shelf with all my other fun supplies.
Until I decided to make a book just for Miss K about Miss K. Called "Miss K's A, B, C's". It is still a work in progress.

C is for cousins and D is from Drum

S and T

I am excited about this project and brainstorming different things for each letter that tell bits and pieces of her life so far. It is a simple book but one that she loves and most of the pages are just plain white at this time.

It works for me to have a book just her size.

Preserving Memories

Last week I helped a friend do a scrapbook of her past year here in Asia. She travels quite a bit for work. She will be home visiting friends and family for the summer and so I helped her put together her memories of the past few months. It was fun to help her but also to look at the pictures and remember trips, people, even food.

I also spent some time working on a scrapbook for my father-in-law who turns 80 this year. He sent me an envelope of pictures quite a number of them were from the 1920's or 1930's. I had fun putting them together into a book that he will be able to look at and enjoy.

I also work to keep current on family events and also things happening in K's life. I have recorded our travels this year, visits to various museums, the markets (I love markets), and many other events. I enjoy the creative outlet. Some pages come together and I love the way they look and other pages are just there recording a memory, place or event.

To me it is important to preserve these memories. Living overseas we see and experience so many things that we do want to remember them. In my book from our last city, I have pictures of the "big green store", the "green tablecloth restaurant", my grocery stores, and so many other memories. We can't remember everything. I think one of the funny things that I did there were all the convenience stores. We lived in the city and had a convenience store on every corner and in between. There were different stores 7-11, The Family Mart, the Smiley store (that was what we called), and a few others.

We are preparing to go on a short vacation later this week. I have been doing some reading to understand the history of where we will be going and also getting my cameras ready. Yes, I will take both my digital and my 35mm film. I still have one and love it.

Can't wait to see what memories we will make during this trip.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Don't Miss This

Just in case you don't check my family blog. I want to share my weekend project here. Our Miracle.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Life is Precious

I so agree. If you have not seen this it is worth watching but you might want to have some tissues handy. 99 Balloons

It made me pause and think about celebrating every day in a special way.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Fine Motor Skills

I enjoy the fact that for the most part Miss K doesn't put things in her mouth. Now we can move to fine motor activities. Here is one we were doing the other day. Putting coins in the bank. Someday that will move to a geography lesson but for now it is fine motor putting all the miscellaneous coins from various trips into the slot. It is hard work because some of those coins are small. I watched her hold the coin, move the coin in her hand and then finally get it in.
I enjoy finding creative ways and various activities to work on various skills.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

It's a snap

I love candles. They make our house special good and also help to cover the smells of neighbors cooking dinner or sewer smells. I live where garlic and lots of it is used for dinner. There are lots of smells here. Anyway, I like candles. Votive are my favorite maybe because it is fun to bring a few of them from home they are small and lightweight and I don't have to worry about the glass breaking like a jar candle.

When the candle gets burnt down, then the question is how t get it out of the glass holder. It is easy. Just pop it into the freezer for a hour and then use a table knife and it will snap right out.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Tired but Happy Feet

I think I did things in the wrong order today. The first thing I did was meet a friend and go for a foot massage. Aghhh, that is one of the most wonderful things. First they put them in warm water to get the blood flowing and then look out feet and body. Actually, the girl that did my massage was not too rough. It felt wonderful. It was a nice treat. I did hear there is a place in my town that is nice and cheap. I might have to try it again or just wait until vacation next month.

After that we headed to California Pizza Kitchen for lunch. Yummy. That is my favorite place here to eat. There are so many good things on the menu that it is hard to pick which one I will have to eat this time. The Greek Pizza is on the menu for a limited time so we had to have that. We ordered an appetizer and as soon as it came a certain 2 year old was grabbing (remember the name Grabber Gal). She ate that and a bit of pizza crust.

Then we continued our running around down. We took the ferry across the harbour as that is the fastest way to get there from where we were. The options include the subway or a bus. We had a 2:30 appointment at the consoluate. They don't have Citizen Services on Wednesday afternoon but we had an appointment for Wednesday afternoon. Then I saw our name on the list and pointed to that. Oh, yes, they do fingerprinting only on Wednesday afternoon so you can go up to the 2nd floor. It was quite there and they have toys so Miss K was happy.

We finished that and I had to go to the toilet (that is what they are called here). The guy told us there were public toilets around the corner and he said "they are clean and tidy". For public toilets I do give them a high rating. Actually for any toilet they get a high rating. There was paper in the stall, soap, and a hand dryer.

I took Miss K and we came home but first we had to walk to the MRT (subway) station. Thankfully it was downhill. It was only the 2nd stop so I was able to get a seat which is always a blessing.

We stopped at the mall which is always crowded as I wanted to get some baskets and since I was there get some feta cheese as that is the cheapest place in town for feta. Most things at that grocery store are more expensive. The milk is $10 more for the same thing you could get at another store. One of the things you learn is where you can get things and who has the best price.

I came home. Oh, I rode the train from the mall to our stop and then had my driver take me home (doesn't that sound impressive when all it was really was the next taxi in line). My feet were tired and needed a foot massage when I got home.

One of the challenges of living in the city it you can't throw things in the car when you go to the next place. I have to carefully think what orderI want to shop and how I can get everything home.

That is my day. I did make dinner. Now I am going to play Word Racer which is our favorite online word game.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Problem Solved - Not Quite

I decided that I could make some diapers for baby. K has cloth diapers why not make some for baby. I know a few people suggested it but I saw that after my great idea.

I came home this afternoon. I did a quick online search for free baby doll diaper pattern. Nothing. I decided to be creative and using some paper made a pattern. Then I pulled through my fabric box and found some fabrics. Mom, do you recognize these fabrics? Since it is just for baby they don't have to be thick or fit snug.

I was pleased with the fit. I dressed baby. When, K got up from her supposed to be nap. I showed her baby with the diaper. The first thing she did was take the diaper off and say "done". A little bit later I said "baby, needs a diaper". So K goes her to room and gets another disposible diaper. No, I just made new cute diapers for baby.

Anyway, baby has two diapers and neither one is on her. She is still without clothing.

Oh well, I had fun being creative.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Another Milestone

I don't know where this milestone is on the developmental charts but she reached that milestone today. The one of taking baby dolls clothing off and now we have a baby doll that is lacking clothing. Somehow taking the clothing off is easier than putting the clothing new.

I do have to add this cute story that goes along with that. Miss K wanted baby's clothing off so being the fun momma that I am I took the clothing off. Then Miss K took baby and put her on the changing table which meant she had to throw baby up there. Miss K then pulled a diaper out of the bag and wanted to "change" baby's diaper. I think baby is only allowed one diaper. Maybe I should be a fun momma and make some diapers for baby.

New Twist to an Old Problem

We live in the city, a large crowded city. We take public transportation so we don't have to worry about finding a parking space or walking from the parking lot to the destination. In the USA sometimes if you go to a large church, you have to allow the time to get from the parking lot to the building.

Yesterday we didn't have to plan on allowing time to get from the parking lot rather we needed to allow time to get from the first floor to the 18th floor where our service was. When you have a few thousand people gathering in the building at the same time for various services it can take time. I will say it is organized the elevators are marked with which floors they will go to and you get in line for the floor that you want. We made it but a bit late.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

I love quilts

Lisa has a book that she is giving away. I love piecing quilts it is the quilting that I don't enjoy as much but I am going to overcome that and finish the quilting.

Anyway here is the book.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

It happened

One thing I have learned with summer weather and summer clothing is the shirts are not always tucked in or have snaps at the bottom. This morning I am having my weekly Chinese lesson when I look over at Miss K who is sitting in the highchair watching a video and notice that she has taken off her shirt.

I could handle pulling up her dress. I knew that would happen and we would talk about how a lady doesn't do that but taking off her shirt. I didn't think it would happen but it did.

Help! How do I deal with this. Better get out my books and see if they have any suggestions.

Raising a city slicker

I grew up in rural America. We had a big backyard and even a cornfield beyond that. Our little town didn't have any traffic lights. I remember when McDonald's came to town.

Now I am raising my daughter in a foreign country and in the middle of one of the world's most densely populated cities. I see little ways that she is learning city life. She loves to ride the escalator while her cousins love to ride the riding mower. She has amazed us in the sense that she knows when to get off. I remember as a child my mother telling "walk now". Not her, she knows when to walk.

Now the question is what will she do on the two acres of grass at my parent's this summer. I once told a friend how much land my parents had and she said "they could raise rice there." My father wasn't quite ready to plant rice in his front yard.

Here she is doing one of her favorite things.

Sorry it is not the best picture. I was a few steps ahead and had to make sure I knew when to step off so I only had a few seconds to snap the picture.

Friday, May 18, 2007

If the shoe fits

Yesterday morning, I joined the masses and I mean masses as this is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, as I had an early morning appointment with my ND on the island which means an hour and 15 minutes if I want to walk at a normal pace and sit in the waiting room for a few minutes or an hour if I want to walk as fast as I can and be out of breath when I get there.

As I walked from the train station to the subway it was quiet except for the sound of shoes click clacking along. I guess it was too early to be talking on your cell phone. It was full of people going to work and not out for the day with a friend. My shoes were not click clacking along. Birkenstocks don't click clack. I am amazed at the shoes that people wear and walk around the city. Heels at least 3 inches, pointy toes, and things that I don't think my feet would even let me get near them.

I am all about comfortable shoes especially if I have to walk distances or just anywhere. Maybe some of that goes back to having foot surgery when I was 13.

I have two pairs of Birkenstocks and love them. I recommend buying the real thing. I bought my first pair more than 9 years ago. I did get them resoled last year and right now they need to be glued but other than that they are as good as ever. My new pair is now almost 4 years old.

My other favorite shoes are my Clarks. I just had to retire a pair that I had for 4 years. They were worth the investment. Last new I bought a pair to replace those. The same shoe except black instead of brown. I also found a pair of Clark sandals at a cheap for Clarks price. Those are a bit more dressy than the Birks.

Of course, I have sneakers. They are great but not quite dressy for those times of going to the business district of the city. I have a pair of New Balance sneakers. I think last summer I bought a less expensive model. I wish my sneakers had an odometer.

For me it is worth it to buy good quality shoes. They are good for my feet and they do last. They make walking the city much easier.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

I've been tagged

I have been tagged. I can't believe someone actually reads my blogs and tagged me.

So here are the rules:

1. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves. (I can do that.)

2. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. (I don't know 8 people that blog that would not kill me if I tagged them.)

3. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and asking them to read your blog.

Eight random things about me. Okay.

1. I am a paper monster. Scrapbooking has only brought out that monster. I remember as a child loving all kinds of paper. I am slowly using the paper but do buy more along the way.

2. I love bags -- you know various purses, backpacks, and bags like that. My husband knows that and laughed at Miss K one day as she had a bag and was giving him a long speech. He thought she was telling him all about her bag. She got that love from me.

3. I have 3 sets of inserts in my passport and I got a thick passport to begin with. That means 3 times I have had more pages added. It is thick. The name change is on page W but there are now 3 page W's. This is my passport that was issued in Florence, Italy which is another story.

4. I have not driven a car, van, or anything since last September that is 8 months. Do you think I will still remember? Give me my Civic and I will be happy.

5. I like Pepsi when I am in America and Coke here.

6. I wash my floor on my hands and knees. I have not found a good wet mop here and so I have resorted to my hands and knees but I think it was my mother who taught me that is the best way to clean the floor.

7. I have a Chinese teapot collection. Chinese teapots are not necessarily pretty flowers and such rather various shapes, sizes, and colours of clay.

8. One more I need to think of one more random thing. Why is this so hard. Hmmm how about I am starting a ribbon collection that will rival my paper collection. In the garment, fabric district I have found some wonderful ribbons stores and so I have been getting some for sewing and scrapbooking and maybe even making cute hair bows.

There 8 random things about me. Now the hard part I have to impose on 8 people to tag. Maybe that should have been one of the 8 random things I hate to impose on people even if it is someone that I am paying to do something for me. So if 8 random people want to be tagged, let me know.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


I was thinking of the various stages and the nicknames that Miss K has gotten along the way.

Pumpkin - This was her first nickname. We couldn't call her sweetheart or honey because that confused us. Were we talking about her or me. Pumpkin seemed to be fitting. She even had a t-shirt that said "Daddy's little pumpkin."

Miss Wiggles - she might have low muscle tone but she can wiggle. Her favorite time to wiggle was during diaper changes. I just got a picture of her at BSF story time and she is wiggling off the helper's lap.

The Octopus - Have you ever tried to dress an octopus? Have you ever tried to hold an octopus in church? I guess it is related to Miss Wiggles. She then had octopus sandals last summer. I miss those shoes.

Miss K - that has to be said with a bit of a southern accent. Nai Nai calls her that and we do at times.

Grabber Gal - The superhero that grabs things. Arms longer than her body, reach beyond the normal length grabbing what should not be grabbed. Related to Grabber Man, her cousin.

Mei Mei - most often she is Mei Mei (little sister) only on rare occasions is she "jie jie" (big sister).

I think that is a list of nicknames at this time. She did get called "xiao jie" by one therapist which is funny as it is "miss" like a young lady.

What name will she get tomorrow?

Mother's Day Album

The mother's day album is now ready for viewing. I have enjoyed looking at all the pictures of moms and their children with a little bit extra.

Works for Me Wednesday - Storing Vitamins & Medicines

Living overseas means that there are some things that we have to bring from home. One of the big items that we bring is vitamins and over-the-counter medicines. We can get vitamins here but they are very expensive. The over-the-counter medicines are nothing that we know from home and often don't have directions in English. So those two items we bring with us. I usually try to guess maybe I should say estimate how much we will need until our next trip home or someone comes to visit.

One of the challenges that we then have is to make sure that we use the one that will expire next and not the one that still has two years till expiration. Expiration dates seem to be hidden, sometimes on the bottom, sometimes imprinted in the carton, and always in a small font. I got smart this time and got out a colourful Sharpie and on the top of the lid or box I wrote the expiration date. Now when we go to get a new bottle or box we know quickly when it will expire and we can use the next one. It is also easy to check what has expired and needs to be discarded.

For other great ideas check out this week's Works for me Wednesday at Rocks in my Dryer.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Exploring the Grocery Store

One of the fun things about living overseas is experiencing new foods and discovering that you really like them. Arnott's Mint Slice Cookies are our favorite but now we are going through withdraw as they don't seem to have them in any grocery store.

One of the fun things that we have discovered is Easiyo Yogurt maker. I have a few yogurt lovers living in this house and we have found this to be an easy and cheap way to have yogurt all the time. It really is easy. Add water to the container, mix in the yogurt mix, fill the thermal container with boiling water and then in the morning you have yogurt. There might be things that you can buy at home but there I tend to buy the things that I know and don't branch out too much. Here at times I am forced to branch out because what I know isn't available. That happened the other week. I needed some tomato paste and couldn't find it but I found tomato puree in a tube just like toothpaste. I decided that I do like it. It was a bit strange to squeeze it like toothpaste and get tomato puree.

Menu 5/14

I am excited about this week's menu. Maybe because I feel like things just work together.

Monday - Salmon, wild rice, and asparagus

Tuesday - Taco salad

Wednesday - Stuffed cabbage (uses the leftover wild rice) and Greek salad

Thursday - Chile con corne pie (uses some of the corn leftover from taco salad)

Friday - leftovers

Saturday - hike to the peak

It is getting hot here and so time to eat salad meals except my local grocery store didn't have lettuce today. I am heading downtown tomorrow and again on Thursday so hopefully I can find some lettuce.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Mother's Day Giveaway


Isn't this exciting. Be sure to check out this chance to win. I hope I win!

Menu 5/7

What do you want to eat? What do we have in the house? Those seem to be the questions. Let's see.

Monday - baked zita, salad, and bread - Need to make my sauce
Tuesday - Brocolli chicken casserole - brocolli was just $2.3 a head, I have some chicken and lots of bread crumbs
Wednesday - leftovers. I will be out all day
Thursday - Greek - I want to make kabobs again. I have had Greek on the menu and each week it seems to get pushed
Friday - leftovers - S is out that evening so it is time for leftovers.
Saturday - day trip so we will just eat out

Sunday, May 6, 2007

I love my Ergo

I never leave home without it. Over a year ago Miss K had outgrown her Bjorn and living in the urban jungle a stroller just doesn't work too many steps, mini-buses, and double decker buses. Someone mentioned an Ergo so we looked at it and broken down and bought one. Then we couldn't wait 4 months till we went home for a summer visit so thankfully my parents were able to Fedex it to us. Since receiving it we do use it every day.

It is very durable. It has held up great in the plus year that we have had it. It is dirty and needs to be washed but I have to find a day or two that we are home and don't need it. Hmm, maybe I should buy another one.

It is easy to use. I am able to put it on and put Miss K in it without any needing any help.

I can wear it all day as we roam the city and not my back is not hurting. I am tired but even if I wasn't wear her.

It is man enough that my husband will wear it. Not cutesy prints but durable fabric.

I love the front zipper pocket. Perfect for my wallet, cell phone and keys.

I can wear the Ergo and my backpack which is important when you are out shopping. My hands are free to shop.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Speech Therapy

In the past 2 1/2 years almost 3 year God has reminded us time and time again that he is caring and providing for K's needs. It began in the hospital with doctors and nurses that were willing to operate even though she had complications with the heart catheterization. It was the hospital bill that just floored us because it was so low. It was the PT who for 2 years donated her time. It was the developmental doctor that we were able to see for under US$3. One of the best doctors on the island. I can't share all the ways that God has provided as it would take a book and she is only 2 years old.

The most recent blessing was a speech therapist. Living overseas we don't have the same resources as in the US. Finding an English speech therapist has been impossible. We moved to our new city and I went to a moms group in my town. The leader asked about K's speech and I responded with my pat answer, "that is her biggest delay but it is improving". L, the leader then said, "if you need help, let me know I am a speech therapist". I found one, finally but that isn't all. She speaks English, with a slight southern accent. L lives in the same village (like an apartment complex) as we do. So every Friday afternoon we walk to the back of the village and have an hour of speech therapy usually involving one of two of her children.

Here are some pictures from Friday's speech therapy. Making peanut butter crackers.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

My New Favorite Store

Yesterday we went to the doctor. On the way home I decided to go to the Salvation Army store. It was a walk down the hill from the bus stop but it seems that I am not in that area often so this was my chance to go. It was my first time to go there.

Miss K loves her baby and I saw this one and could not resist. My roots come out and I had to buy it. It is in the package. Just $40. It usally doesn't take anyone a long time in my house to know that I know blue and white dishes and to add a bit of colour I add some yellow. I found this plate. It is a sample. It wasn't chipped when I bought it but I brought it home and put it on the highchair while I was getting lunch ready and a little girl wanted "baby" and pulled the bag down. My tile floor is hard on everything and it chipped but it is not really noticable.
Last summer I bought a Xyron 510. I used my 50% coupon and thought I got a good deal. I found one yesterday in the box. They retail for $59.99 and I paid $50 for it. Wonder who I will give it to?

Just remember the prices listed are not US$ except for the $59.99 retail for the Xyron 510.

I made sausage

My local grocery store is good with lots of western and imported food but sometimes they don't have everything you want or need. There is a nice expensive import grocery store but it is an hour away so I don't go there often. Of course, that is the only place to buy Tostitos. We like sausage with scrambled eggs rolled up in a tortilla. Finding bulk sausage means a trip all the way to the expensive grocery store to buy imported breakfast sausage at a price that buy us a meal at McDonald's. Now at my local grocery store every day of the week they sell ground pork at a price that I can afford. Probably the cheapest meat there. So I searched the internet and found a recipe. I decided to make a bit more today. I put five little bags in the freezer for a breakfast treat.

I love it when I figure out how to make something that I didn't think I could do. I enjoy being able to make things that take like "home" even when home is in another country.

I know it is just ground pork with spices but here it is ready to be divided up and put in the freezer.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

My New Organized Kitchen

Remember the 30 day organizational challenge hosted by Laura. Well, the 30 days are up and here are the results. Laura asked some questions as we reflect on what we did.

1. What was the hardest part of the challenge for you and were you able to overcome it? One of the biggest challenges is my limited space and abundance of things both equipment and food. I thought about getting rid of some things but considering that some things are difficult to find here I opted to keep them.

2. Tell us what kind of changes/habits you have put into place in order for your area/room to maintain its new order? Put things away and wash dishes throughout the day. One thing I realized is I buy some food item and we use half of it in a recipe and then it sits on the shelf until the next time so now if we have something one week and use half of it then the next week or two we will use up the rest of that item.

3. What did you do with the "stuff" you were able to purge out of your newly organized space? Some of it went in a box on the balcony where I have stored some kitchen things that I don't have space for in the kitchen. I found some food that we won't use most of which was free give aways and so I just got rid of that.

4. What was the biggest lesson you learned from this experience? Do a little bit each day. I did pause a bit in the middle of this project and didn't do a little bit each day so I had to scramble and finish the project in the 30 days. When I started 30 days seemed like a long time but it did go quickly.

5. Now that you have completed the PROCESS, do you think having and keeping your space organized will make a difference in your life? Yes, I love my new kitchen. It makes it easier to cook. I can find things, I know what I have, I have things labeled.

Here is the old and new kitchen.

Before - this is a general view of the kitchen.
Here is the after picture: A bit more organized and a little more space. Here is the cabinet that you used to have to be careful when you opened.
Now it is at least a bit more organized.
Before - this is the cabinet that would be above the Chinese stove. It has the vent which gets in the way and is just a high cabinet. I need my stepstool to reach things.
Here it is a bit more organized.
Another before cabinet.
After - I still have lots of almonds but they they are good and good for you.
Under the sink before
After - More organized
Here is the before of this drawer. Everything was just somewhat thrown in.
Now look. More organized. A place for measuring spoons, baby spoons and knives.
Before - This is a bookshelf that works as a pantry and cabinet space.Here is the organized. I finally made time and labeled all my containers. Yes, I love Tupperware.
Finally, the refrigerator which technically is not in the kitchen but in the dining room. My stove/oven is where the refrigerator would be.

I decided that the alphabet didn't need to stay on the refrigerator. I did sort through things on top.

Hmm, maybe in 30 days I should post pictures of the kitchen again.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

East Indian Spinach and Lentils

In a large saucepan, brown in 3T oil over medium-low heat:
1 large onion, chopped

Add and brown lightly:
4 cloves garlic, minced
2T ginger root, finely chopped

Stir in, being careful not to burn:
2t whole cumin seed
2t curry powder
2t salt
1 fresh hot chili pepper, seeded, chopped (I skip that)

Stir in, coating with spice mixture:
2c red lentils, rinsed (have used brown lentils)
5 1/2-6c water
5 large potatoes, peeled and slice (optional)
1 bunch spinach, chopped (may use frozen)
Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until lentils and potatoes are tender. Place in serving dish and sprinkle over top:
2T cilantro, chopped

Serve with hot rice, tomato and cucumber slices.

This recipe is from Extending the Table . . .A World Community Cookbook

Edited to add amount of water.