Monday, August 27, 2007

Red, White & Blue Ribbon

I had some ribbon that I bought at the fabric market area. I decided to try to make a hairbow for Miss K. I had found a wonderful website giving all directions for all kinds of bows. I kinda followed the directions and kinda did what I wanted to do. I found the perfect size barretts for her thin hair and didn't have wire except for my beading wire so I grabbed some quilting thread and used that to stitch it up a bit where you can't see.

I think it looks cute and it does stay in her hair. She loved it and didn't want to take it out at bedtime but did and then wanted me to wear it.


I always enjoy when I get a project finished. I made a quilt for Miss K's baby. Since our napkins, towels or whatever she could find have been used as blankets I decided it was time to make a quilt for her. This is truly a patchwork quilt. I had started years ago when a fun activity was to go through my mom's scrap box making a patchwork quilt. Well, that quilt never was finished and actually since I started that I learned quite a bit about quilting like you need straight lines and seams and the pieces should be uniform. I decided to cut that quilt apart and make K's baby's quilt.I did most of the quilting while we were traveling in the States. I finished the binding last week. Hopefully baby will like it.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Offering of Service

Have you ever had tears in your eyes during church? I did the other Sunday. It wasn't the during the singing or even the sermon but rather the announcements. The announcement was not a sad one rather one giving an opportunity to get involved and serve. It was an announcement of needing teachers to help teach ESL class for students studying here. In addition to teaching ESL we will be opening the Bible and sharing with them about God. For many it is probably the first time that they have heard this. That is the reason that we live here. That was on my mind this morning and also the fact that I really need to work on the ESL lessons. K and I walked well, I walked and she rode in the stroller to the grocery store, and I pondered Sunday, the upcoming class and a few other things.

I noticed that today must be something special, a day of offerings to the gods.

Notice the fruit, buns, and incense. Look at what they are giving. Jesus didn't ask for our bread rather he said, "I am the bread of life."
At first I thought it was just some garbage that someone left but I noticed the open water bottle. I think this god might be vegetarian. In the bag were bean sprouts and tofu. Jesus said, "I am the living water."

For me it was another comparison of the living God and the one made with hands. God does ask for us to give him something, our lives. We are to serve him. My husband and I are here so that we can do that tell people about Jesus who is the bread of life and the living water.

This summer I read an excellent book, Faith of Our Fathers God in Ancient China. It was written by a Chinese and actually published first in Chinese and then translated into English. I read the English version. It gave me a basic understanding of Chinese history and a deep understanding of Shang-di and his role in the history of China. It was Shang-di that the ancient Chinese worshipped. So now my prayer is that the people will return to worshiping Shang-di.

Well, I better begin my service and start working on those ESL lessons.

Fun and more fun

I like things nice and neat. I colour in the lines. I have a 3 year old who enjoys having fun and often that fun involves something dirty. I am learning that it is good for her to do those things. I try to tell myself that it is therapy. I can convince my husband to buy just about anything if I say "it is for therapy." Now if I could just get the Circut for therapy I would be happy. I will ponder that one but I need to get back to the topic of having fun 3 year old style.

She had fun finger painting. That was a mess. I didn't have any nice washable finger paints. I can't find them in the stores here. I found a recipe online and tried that. I think we still have finger paint on the highchair. She had fun.

We tried the cooked spaghetti art. I think it must work better on construction paper than on some of my scrapbook paper. We picked up noodles off the floor for a few days as they fell off the picture.
If any notices, she does have other clothing. I think that outfit had gotten stained and so we wear that all the time around the house.

I am trying to put aside myself and do thinks that I know my daughter will enjoy and hey, it is therapy. I did stock up on art supplies when we were home. We now have washable finger paint. We tried it this morning and it was great.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Little things that change your world

When we moved in we went to Ikea and bought a dish drainer. It was the best one we could find. It had to be assembled and I remember working to screw it all together. Well, it didn't take long for me to decide that I didn't like it. It didn't have a drain tray so water just collected under it. I lost a few mugs on it as they tumbled off and my tile floor is not allowing of things dropping and remaining the same.

I began to dream of a nice small dish drainer that had a tray to hold water and sides and even some place to put the silverware. It sounds simple and so easy to get but did you know that Amazon does not ship those internationally. We did find a tray that helped but not completely. A dish drainer was on the top of my shopping list when we went home.

That new dish drainer changed my life. For a day or two I enjoyed washing dishes. I loved having the water collect in the tray, having a place to put the silverware and have sides all the way around it. After a few days the wonder wore off and now I am back to washing dishes because they are dirty and we need clean dishes or because I need to cook and need to find my counter space.

Leftovers for Breakfast

If you are thinking about pizza, forget it. My husband will not eat cold pizza. He will not eat it for lunch or for breakfast. I will and have on various occasions. But I am referring to something else. We love fajitas. It is a favorite meal around our house. It always seems that we have onions and peppers leftover. I used to put them in the refrigerator thinking I am sure I will come up with something to throw these in but usually a few weeks later I would discover them and would throw them in the trash. Then I found a brilliant way to use the leftovers. Breakfast Burritos the next morning so the peppers and onions stay in the refrigerator less than 24 hours.

I reheat the peppers and onions (this time we had some mushrooms thrown in there) in my frying pan. Then put them in a bowl with a plate on top to keep them warm. I scramble some eggs.

Pull out some cheese and chopped tomatoes and put it all together. Here is it ready to be wrapped and eaten.

So tell me what fun things do you do with leftovers. Do you have some leftovers that you have found a creative way to use.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Come Walk with me

I am part of a Biggest Loser contest online. Just two more weeks in this round to get those pounds off. You can join me on a walk. It stopped raining long enough for this walk.

Here we are leaving the village. You can see the trash cans on the right. Often, I will pause to throw the trash as I leave the village. We are going to turn right and head up the road. Grass and trees and no cars. I live in the middle of nowhere.
We keep walking. Here is the little drink stand/restaurant. I have never eaten there but I recently saw some foreigners there. That is where I met my friend when we walk together. She is not yet back from her summer vacation so I am walking alone.
I have to pause for the little "green go man. Actually I have to push the button so it will change. As I wait, I walk in place or do the side step.
Now we are on the other side of the road. You can see the nursery. I don't know what they grow but at New Year they have lots of orange trees.
There are the mountains. It is still a bit cloudy.There goes a double decker bus. We ride that bus often from the train station to our village.
We keep walking. We are walking fast so we can get this walk done before it starts to rain.There is some new houses that they are building. Most of the village house are 3 levels with an apartment on each level and about 700 sq feet.
We are getting close to where we are going to turn around. The road starts to go uphill and it is about time to get home. The walk back is much of the same. There is a mini bus or light bus. Those seat 16 people and everyone has to be seated so if you want to be sure to get a seat ride the mini bus.
We are going to go down a side road to another village. I want to take a picture of the banana trees that I found.
There is the banana tree.
Here is heading down to the village. This village is about a 10 minute walk from the road. Which means a walk to the bus. Heading back up the road towards our village.

Now we are entering our village.We are going to wind our way back to our house. I think I once stood in our apartment and counted about 10 houses that I could see.
Here is our door. We live on the 1st floor. Let me open the door and you can come on up. Yes, I said up. Here the 1st floor is what we might think of as the 2nd floor because you have Ground then 1st and 2nd.
That was a good walk. It was about a 30 minute walk. Now you probably need a towel and big glass of water.

What does this say?

A few years ago at Christmas I said "I don't want any toys that require batteries or make noise." That came from all the toys that we had received that had batteries and made noise and drove momma nuts. Everyone followed that request except one sister-in-law. She tried to say that she was giving K an educational toy but it required batteries and made noise. I do still talk to her.

Well, for the past year and a half K has had her Leap Frog Refrigerator magnets. She has played with them some. I am obsessive in the sense that we have to keep all the letters together so they stay in a basket on top of the refrigerator. They are on the refrigerator just the top and not the door. K knows where they are kept and she will ask for them. We have a rule that she plays with them on her blanket.

The other day as she was playing I was listening to her repeat the sound with the letter and she did a great job with some of the sounds. I then showed her the M and asked what does it say and she replied /m/. I showed her the P and she said /p/. I think she has also learned the D sound as well.

For the post part I really don't think that many toys of today that claim to have educational value really do but this one I will say has some educational value.

Now I am beginning to think about that master's thesis that I edited where the discussion was teaching letter sounds before letter names. I might just have to research that a bit more.

I tried to get a short video clip of her saying her letter sounds but she saw the camera and decided not to perform.

This is a picture of her working on her numbers. That picture was taken a few months ago. It is August and we do not wear sweatshirts either in the house or outside of the house. Not when the temperature and humidity are both in the 90's.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Lessons about God from raising a 3 year old

I have learned so much about God and our relationship to him as I raise my now 3 year old.

This morning as my husband put Miss K in the highchair and she was fighting with him, I heard him say "I am going to win this so you might as well sumbit now." We remarked how God must say that to us sometimes. We want our way, we fight and kick and God says "just submit, obey me."

Today was one of those days that I think I said "no" so many times that I might have worn it out. I wonder if God has days like that with us, we disobey and he says "no", we do it again and he says "no" again.

I get frustrated, and tired but it is wonderful to know that God is loving and long suffering with us.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Have you seen this?

I can't believe what they are giving away this time. Check out this giveaway.

I don't think I have ever won anything. I was thinking about that a few weeks ago and I couldn't think of a contest that I have won. Oh, well.

It's Raining, It's Pouring

and I need to do laundry. The forecast for the week is scattered showers followed by scattered showers. That is a problem because my washer and dryer are on the porch. I can do a load quick when it is not pouring but drying it is a problem so we created a drying room. We brought the drying rack in the house and put it in the tub and then put the dehumidifier in there and a few hours later my clothing is dry.

We now have clean dry clothing.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Using up an Apple

I don't like to eat apples if they are too soft. I like crisp apples that crunch when you bite them. Every now and then I buy apples and don't eat them before they lose their crispness. When that happens the easiest thing is chop it in small bits and cook with my oatmeal water. I cook the apples for a few minutes before I add oatmeal and then it is a nice addition to our morning oatmeal and I used up that non-crisp apple.

Pass the ketchup

I made ketchup the other day. I found the recipe on Hillbilly Housewife. We can buy ketchup here but I wanted to try to make it just because I could and also because I do think it is cheaper. I don't eat ketchup. I put it in a few things that I made. My husband eats it on his scrambled eggs. I think that must be a man thing. Anyway, we had meatloaf the other night so that was a test to see how it fares against the stuff you buy.

His first remark was he could taste the vinegar. I wasn't sure if that was good or not. He did say it was good and even better than store bought. So that is a recipe to keep.

It uses tomato paste which is cheap and spices that you have around the house except I had whole allspice and not ground so I skipped that. I might add a bit of garlic powder or onion powder but it has no high fructose corn syrup.

Here is a fun ketchup fact. Do you know that the word is based on a Chinese word. Ketchup is from Cantonese and Catsup is from a bit of a Malay Chinese word. So I think it is fitting that living here I would make ketchup.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Made in China

I know that is the buzz right now as so many products in recent weeks have been recalled that were "Made in China" for various safety reasons. My blog is usually just a nice place to share pictures, projects and not political issues but this one is close to my heart in a way. I spent years working in international manufactoring, live on the border, and have visited many factories.

First, I think we need to consider why things are "Made in China". One of the major reasons that things are made in China is because of price. I spent years working in international manufacturing and know that if something was labour intensive we generally had it made in China. Why is price an issue? Because Americans want to buy things at a cheap price. They want to save money. They are greedy. Price really sums up why things are made in China.

The retailers go to the distributors and say that they want to buy it for a lower price. The distributors who used to make it in the USA and most likely now buy it from a China factory go to the factory and say we need to make it cheaper. There might be some easy ways to save money but then factory wants to make money as well so they might look at ways to save money so that they can continue to make their margin.

What is China's reaction? Now this comes from one factory owner in China who I talked with recently. China is beginning to force factories to make more high end products. That is the government but honestly the factories are going to do what they can to continue business and so they will make what they have been making. The government does not want to continue exporting low end products. In that particular area they are have two days a week without power. Well, this owner was getting a generator so that he could continue production. A fraction of what he produces goes to the USA but he has customers in many other countries.

I will say that I think the Chinese factories are to blame because they are not following the specifications that were given to them by the USA companies. Based on my own background I am quite sure that the factories involved in these recalls are going to be paying in many ways. There cost saving idea has backfired.

I think another part of the blame goes to the American greed. We want more and more and want to spend less and less and honestly we don't care about the quality until we hear that it might not be save. Living overseas I have seen in various ways that it appears that Europeans are more demanding of quality then Americans.

I think it is difficult to avoid the "Made in China". I did read of one person who tried to do it and I do applaude her for her efforts. I just spent the past week unpacking and jokingly have said that I brought a number of things back to the motherland.

In my opinion the bottom line issue is greed. Greed on the factory's part in wanting more money. Greed on the distributor's part in wanting more money. Greed on the retailer's side for wanting more money. Greed on the US consumers part that is you and I and our desire for more and more at less and less.

So if we hold some responsibility what are we going to do?

Now back to my nice little blog about things I am making and things we are doing.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Works for Me -- Storing Trikes & Bikes

This is not my idea or my house but I thought I would share how it is done at my parents' house. They have the best driveway for grandchildren to ride bikes and trikes on. It is paved, flat, and long with a basketball area so needless to say lots of bikes and trikes stay there ready for grandchildren to visit.

My dad put two hooks up and then hung a metal bar on some chain and there is a great place to store bikes and trikes. I think I counted 10 hanging there.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Tag - I'm it

So I have been tagged. I really should be careful who I play with online but this is from a friend and is rather fun. Now you will get to know a bit more about me.

4 jobs I have held
1. Mowed Lawns
2. Picked chickens
3. Candy shop
4. Logistics Manager

4 movies I can watch over and over
1. Sabrina with Harrison Ford
2. The Princess Bride
I am so not a movie buff

4 places I have lived
1. Akron, PA
2. Denver, PA
3. Geigertown, PA
4. Lynnwood, WA

4 TV shows I watch
TV - what is that? I only watch when we are in the USA
2. Food Network

4 places I have been on vacation
1. Pukett, Thailand
2. Malecca, Mayalsia
3. Italy - got a new passport there
4. Kunming, China

4 favourite foods
1. Dark Chocolate
2. Good's potato chips
3. Chocolate cake with white icing
4. Hard pretzels

4 websites I visit
1. local weather
2. Hearthkeepers
3. various Down Syndrome sites
4. various blogs - I like the people that update and have lots of pictures

There you go a few things about me.