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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Right Stuff

Hi everyone! Is it Christmas yet? I woke up this morning thinking it was Friday, but alas, it is only Tuesday. It's going to be bam bam Christmas, since school doesn't end until Friday and then it's suddenly Christmas Eve!

I'm just currently watching Fuller House...was Joey always this annoying? Haha. I finally finished Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life the other day. I had heard previously that the ending was questionable, and it certainly was. It was unsatisfying! Does this mean there may be a more Gilmore Girls in the future??

So, is everyone ready for Christmas? Are everyone's stockings hung by the fire with care? Anyone sick of Christmas carols yet? We haven't been listening too much, just in the car and here and there at home. It's funny to listen to the kids singing the more contemporary ones like Wham's 'Last Christmas' and Mariah Carey's 'All I Want for Christmas.' OMG, speaking of pop singers, NKOTB is on this next episode of Fuller House! Hahaha, totally throwback. Wow, they look old! "You've got the right stuff, baby..."




How is everyone's Christmas baking going? We've baked Smarties cookies for A's preschool concert earlier in the month, flaky biscuits for the gingerbread house party, and just on Sunday, we made some ginger snaps for A's preschool teachers. In the freezer I've got some more ginger snap dough to have on hand, and a cooked pumpkin bread, two of my go to baking recipes, both from Company's Coming. I tried to find a link but couldn't find one, I'll try again or will type it out later.


I also made some Christmas mix yesterday for the first time, but had a big fail with melting chocolate. I must have gotten water in the chocolate, because it didn't melt properly. But thanks to the glorious internet, I managed to salvage it by adding some coconut oil to it.

I need to bake some more tomorrow. Maybe banana chocolate chip cookies.

Happy Tuesday!









Monday, December 12, 2016

13 Days Until Christmas!

Hello hello everyone! I know, I know, it's been almost a month since I've posted. I hope I haven't lost the few readers that I may or may not have had!

It's been crazy busy. The kids had a week off in November, so we went to California, more on that another time. Then since we've been home, I've been on Christmas mode. Decorating the house, and then shopping. I'm happy to say that I was completely done last week. I've wrapped some and have a few more to wrap. Today I got some gingersnap dough ready, and have put it in the freezer in anticipation of gifting cookies for Christmas.

And it's been freezing here, we are in week 2 of the deep freeze. I'm not even exaggerating, most days last week when we got up it was -24 C, plus windchill it would be at best -30. Ugh. Hard to believe that a month ago I was basking in +36 degree  weather. And even complaining about it...I just wanted a nice warm 22 degrees!

We've had some Christmas festivities, such as Festival of Trees, A's Christmas concert, checking out the lights at the Leg (Alberta Legislature grounds) before the deep freeze, and a gingerbread decoration party at a friends.

I've got a little bit of time to veg now. I'm finally catching up on the new Gilmore Girls, Summer episode right now as I type. I still have This is Us to catch up on, and Fuller House to start!

Okay, now I'm just distracted. Have a great day everyone!








Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Travels


I love to travel. To get away from the daily grind, to visit new places, see new things, taste new foods. 

Highlights of adult travel without children:

·         beauty of Venice and a mouth watering seafood lasagna that I still talk about 15 years later
·         last minute decision to buy Broadway tickets and seeing Avenue Q in New York City
·         walking up and down hills in San Francisco
·         cheesiness of wearing Maid in the Mist ponchos in the middle of Niagara Falls
·         walking through the streets of Paris with my boyfriend (now my husband)
·         outlet shopping!
·         partying with friends at Tao in Las Vegas
·         food, food, food


Some people travel with their kids when they are just months old, but for me, that is way more work than it’s worth. We finally decided to go on trips when each daughter was just under two years old (to take advantage of the free airfare before they turn two.) Highlights of travel with toddlers:

·         lugging car seats, strollers, two children, carry on bags, and two suitcases
·         sitting in the car for an hour because toddler fell asleep and needed her nap
·         looking for food kiosks at Disneyland that serve rice, because that is all toddler will eat
·         grumpy toddler kicking my dinner (plate of pasta) to the floor
·         washroom and diaper changes at the most inconvenient times
·         early nights, which meant having a late night snack in the dark once the babes were sleeping, either eating near or in the washroom of our hotel room


Well. Clearly travelling sans kids is more fun. But…we have made so many new family memories: 

·         waiting in line for hours to catch a glimpse of the new baby panda at the San Diego Zoo
·         checking out the opening of Heartlake City at Legoland
·         watching the sun set at the beach and burying our feet in the warm sand
·         chasing Pluto at Disneyland to get his autograph 
·         sharing a Disneyland turkey drumstick like a real Neanderthal family would
·         riding the Ariel ride for the tenth time 
·         watching my little princesses’ eyes light up when they met all the princesses at Disneyland

We’ve only had one trip without the kids, and that was to go to a wedding in Calgary (we live in Edmonton) which is not even three hours south. It was overnight, and we missed the girls so much that we went back home right after breakfast. If the girls are not with us, they are all we think about and talk about. While there is a part of me that would love to go travel without the girls, the bigger part of me would much rather travel with my family unit. Even if the kids drive me crazy.

Looking forward to our next trip!

Monday, November 7, 2016

After Daylight Savings

Hi everyone! Hope you all had a good weekend!

Did everyone get to sleep in on Sunday morning? I don't know what the point of daylight savings is anymore, we're all used to the dark, especially since daylight savings has been even later the last few years. It used to take place before Halloween, and now it's after. My kids woke up at 5:10 am new time. Fortunately they let us sleep for another hour or two.

They fell asleep last evening. Yesterday felt like the longest day ever. Does anyone else find that the day after daylights savings is a long day? Today the girls woke up at 5:20! They said they went back to sleep, I can't confirm if they really did, because I went back to sleep for another hour. We ate breakfast early and quickly this morning, so they had over half an hour to play, usually we have just enough time to eat and then have to head out to school right away. I even had time, so I did some vacuuming before taking them to school.

It was nice that it wasn't dark on our way out though.

Have a great day! Let's hope the kids get on to the new schedule :)

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Instagram!

I finally joined the 21st century just over a month ago and signed up for an Instagram account. (You can find me @polkadot168.)

Now I'm addicted. I am loving the simplicity of square pictures, looking at others' pictures, and adding my own. I am enjoying stylising potential pictures, and just quickly snapping a photo with my iPhone. I haven't learned the art of doing it yet, and my lighting is usually bad, but I am admiring my pictures none the less. Especially the ones showcasing my cooking/baking. One of these days I hope to master using the manual function of the DSLR, rather than just using the manual function. But let's take it one step at a time, haha.


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Halloween Review

Hi everyone!

It feels like it's been really busy the last few days and today I finally get to stay at home and do some work and chores. It's my long day at home by myself, since C has club after school today. Currently enjoying a coffee and apple streudel :)

How was your Halloween? We've been so spoiled with Halloween having been on weekends in the past that it felt so rushed this year. I headed over to C's school for their assembly and parade on Monday afternoon, and saw all the little kids in their costumes. So cute! After that, there wasn't enough time to head home, so grabbed a quick tea with a friend and then picked up my girls after school. Rushed home so C could do some homework and then headed to my friend's house nearby to meet up with her and another friend's girls to do some trick or treating after a quick pizza dinner. It was a nice evening, and Bailey's and coffee made it even nicer for the moms haha. The girls all got a really good haul.

Meanwhile at home, my husband stayed in to pass candy. We're tucked in a cul de sac, and the neighbourhood is pretty windy with lots of no-house streets, so there hasn't been a lot of trick or treaters. We had just under 40 this year. I told the husband that he might as well just leave a bowl out and go with us next year. It wasn't that busy in my friend's neighbourhood either, except for one street, and I find it very strange. We were all discussing that it was crazy busy when we were kids, and I have no doubt that our previous neighbourhood would be crazy busy.

Here are a few pics. We carved pumpkins on Sunday afternoon. I heard from some friends/saw on FB that there was a pumpkin shortage on the weekend, saw some jack o'lanterns made of various squash and watermelon!



By chance we had a 'Norwegian Princess' wig that I bought for cheap from Wal-Mart last year during Halloween clearance. A looked so cute in it! But she refused to wear it again after this photo shoot at the grandparents' place. So no wig wearing at school or trick or treating :(





I must confess I'm getting a little bit excited about Christmas being around the corner. I told the girls that we can start decorating mid month. I like to wait until Remembrance Day has passed. It's been a pretty mild winter so far, and it's November already! I heard on the radio on the way to school that it's supposed to be +18 degrees Celsius this Saturday! Have a great day!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Happy Monday!

Happy Monday everyone!

It's another dreary Monday, but the past weekend was warm and sunny. My husband even got the Christmas lights up! We had a good weekend, it was a long weekend since it was a PD Day for the girls. On Friday we did some Halloween crafts, and then went to my parents in the afternoon and stayed for dinner.



We ran some errands on Saturday, played outside, and the girls watched Cars 2. 

On Sunday, the girls had their skating lessons and then A attended her first birthday party that afternoon! The birthday boy is in kindergarten, who gets bussed to A's Montessori school in the afternoons. She was the only girl from the preschool there, and I think that's how the birthday parents knew it was her. A was sooo excited to go to her first party, but was so shy once she got there. The party was at Treehouse, and I think part of it was that she was overwhelmed, she did comment that it was noisy there. It was her first party without her big sister or other older family friends, so she was clingy. After cake and snacks, A warmed up, and even asked the birthday boy to go play with her, so off they went with their cup of tokens to play games. A's favorite was the fishing one, and she traded her winning tickets for gummy candies.



My girls can't party hard, they're pooped after a weekend of fun, and were asleep by 8 last night. It's a good thing I don't schedule them into too many activities. Hopefully they're like this when they're teenagers, this way they'll come home and not stay out too late, haha.

Have a great day!



Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Learning Mandarin

This post is about me learning Mandarin.

C did really well in Mandarin last year in grade 1, my little baby got an A! We have rough days where she gets frustrated, but when we ask if she wants to continue to learn Mandarin, she always says yes. I'm proud to say that I still get most of this year's homework so far, haha. There's no way I can write all the characters that C has learned, but I can still read the bulk of them, and have even learned new ones.

I downloaded a couple Mandarin kids' song album for the girls to listen to, and sadly, most of it is too fast for me to understand completely. A learns a bit of Mandarin in preschool too, they usually learn a song or two for their concerts. Last year she actually taught me one while I was keeping her company at bed time.

We were listening to another song in the car, and I understand bits and pieces of it. I asked the girls what the song was about. A said she learned it in school, and said she saw the video in school, that the song was about a tiger with no ears and another with no tail. I asked C if this was correct and she said yes. Honestly, it's like pulling teeth to get information from her sometimes. I got the words for ears in Mandarin, and kept forgetting the word for tail. I asked C a few times at home, but I still kept forgetting. I still don't remember, haha. I love the role reversal of how I'm asking my daughter for the word in Chinese, and when I was younger, it would be my mom asking me for a word in English.

Here's the video. I need to look at the pinyin (English sounds with accents for pronunciation) to get the whole song.


"Two Tigers" Liang Zhi Lao Hu 儿歌-两只老虎_动画

Ah ha, just watched it. Ears are mei duo, and tail is wei ba (sorry, I don't have the tone accents.)

Have a great day! 

再见 zài jiàn (good bye!)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Monday, Monday

Hi everyone! Hope you had a great weekend.

We had a good one. The weather was bad on Friday, it snowed all day and was super slick on the way to pick up, in fact the hill/bridge near our house was closed for most of the the afternoon, and only opened up just when I left the house, I was the first one allowed back on. Oddly, after I'd picked up the kids and headed to my parents' house for dinner, the roads actually got better, the temperature had gone up a couple degrees and with more movement on the streets, the snow began to melt.

We visited friends on Saturday and saw their new beautiful house. Then the girls made a couple snowmen once we got home.



For a Monday it hasn't been bad, I accomplished a lot this morning! A load of laundry, prepped some dinner and I've got a banana bread and a cake in the oven. Now I'm finally sitting down to do some blogging and hopefully some writing afterwards. And I need to work on C's Halloween costume. She's going to be a lady bug. It shouldn't take long to make, but the end of October is creeping up, and I need to make sure I have enough time! She is going to be a ladybug, so I just need to make the shell part. A is going to be Anna, we picked up her costume at Costco last month, and it's been hanging in the closet to ensure it stays intact for Halloween, haha.

A was a bit teary when I dropped her off this morning. I hope it's not going to be another clingy rough week. I'll keep you posted! Have a great day.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Acupuncture (and Thanksgiving!)

It was a rough start this morning. I woke up because my girls are loud speakers, and wondered why they sounded so awake before my alarm rang, which is supposed to be at 6:15. Roll over to check my clock, it's 7:15! The kids wake us up at 6 am on the weekends,but on weekdays, they apparently let me sleep in (S was long gone to the gym and work already.) Rush the girls to get ready, and rush downstairs to get all the breakfast and lunch ready. The girls ate their fruit in the car. And after I came home from grocery shopping, I realized I forgot to pack A her milk cup and her plastic bowl. Whoops.

I finally went for acupuncture yesterday! I haven't been in almost two and a half years, and I went yesterday because my wrist has been hurting, and I feel like my hormones have been kind of wonky. I fear perimenopause is waiting for me around the corner. I really like my acupuncturist too, I have a good rapport with her, and look forward to my next appointment next week.

I totally endorse acupuncture. Back in 2008, I got pregnant fairly easily, but miscarried about 7 weeks in. After that, we weren't able to get pregnant. A friend of a friend referred me to an acupuncturist who specialized in fertility, who then referred me to my current acupuncturist; I can't remember why didn't go to the first one, I think her hours and location weren't as convenient for me. I got pregnant with C right away, and continued to go to acupuncture during pregnancy. In fact, it is when I've been pregnant that I regularly go for acupuncture. It has helped me with nausea, back aches, tendinitis and carpel tunnel, and all sorts of other ailments. I like western medicine, but believe a blend of east meets west is great, acupuncture has existed for thousands of years for a reason. (Psst, just as an FYI, my acupuncturist isn't even Asian!)

Next step should be Chinese soups. I don't make them at home, but I'm hoping to learn a bit more from my parents and some books. I'm not a big fan of the weird herbal sticks and dried stuff, but I do acknowledge that soups can help the body. My husband loves Chinese soup, and keeps nattering at me to learn and make it at home since I have more time on my hands.

It's Thanksgiving in Canada this weekend!. We are having both sides of family over this weekend (both sets of our parents and siblings plus applicable family), complete with turkey dinner, mashed potatoes, stuffing, pork roast, creamed corn, pumpkin bread, and so much more! We want to do a traditional western Thanksgiving dinner, haha. Inevitably, holiday dinners usually become an east meets west meal if our parents bring food (eg noodles, salad rolls) but I think the moms are bring dessert, east style of course. Egg tarts courtesy of my mom, and taro tapioca soup dessert from my mother in law. I know that dessert sounds kind of weird, I'm not sure what it's called in English, it's sai mei low in Cantonese.

It will be a busy weekend. I need to clean the house and start prepping for the party, C has another birthday party on Saturday afternoon, this time at the Valley Zoo (it will be a chilly one!) My brother and sister in law will be coming up from Calgary, so we're going out for Chinese dinner on Saturday, turkey dinner on Sunday, and meeting my girlfriends for lunch on Monday. And we're supposed to get the first few flakes of snow this weekend! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend, eat lots, enjoy friends and family, and be thankful!



Monday, October 3, 2016

TV Shows

Ahh Netflix. The best way to binge watch. I must be old, as I didn't realize that 'chill and Neftflix' or whatever the expression is means what it means. That's my typical weekend night with the husband, we lounge on the couch and watch Netflix!

What have I binge watched lately? Well, I certainly have a lot saved on my favorites list. Some that I still need to watch are Downton Abbey, Homeland, Orange is the New Black, and those are just off the top of my head. The problem now is with limited view time, I need to be in the mood, and often, it needs to be something that requires a lot of brain cells.

I was never a big Grey's Anatomy fan, not one who followed the show religiously. I've caught episodes here and there and enjoyed them, but never got into it. With Shonda Rhimes' more current shows however, I have totally binge watched them. Scandal was on my watch list, and a friend mentioned she binge watched and was really good. To prevent binge watching so I could continue with my life, I decided to watch How To Get Away With Murder first, since it only had one season at the time, as opposed to the five of scandal. So yeah, totally binge watched HTGAWM (ugh, even the acronym is long). And have since watched the season two that was released, and have set the PVR to tape season three coming up! In between season one and season two, I watched Scandal all summer long. All five seasons. So good. Sad that I have to wait until mid season to catch the next season on tv.

*In sotto voice*...but one of my guilty pleasures is teenage drama. It started when I was actually a young teenager (original Degrassi! Saved by the Bell, original Beverly Hills 90210) and then the OC. By the time Gossip Girl came out, I was a full fledged adult, and fed my babies in the wee hours of the morning while watching GG. (XOXO!) I also love teen movies, so I can relive my youth still vicariously, and also the requirement of less brain cells to watch thing.

I have my standards, I don't watch all teen dramas, and have dropped some in the past. I think the only one I'm really interested in right now is Pretty Little Liars. The newest season came out on Netflix a little while ago, but I haven't watched it yet. I'm taking a breather since I just finished HTGAWM season two. Oh wait, I lied, I'm waiting for a new season of  Shadowhunters.

And waiting for the next season of Fuller House. But that doesn't count as teeny bopper drama right? It's a family show, and the adults are my age.

Now it sounds like I'm a tv junkie. I'm actually a reader, and if I had to choose, it would be books all the way. But it's easier for my tired little mind to watch tv sometimes. I have been reading again lately, so maybe I'll do a post on that.

Okay, I've rambled on enough about television. Have a great day! :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Hello

It is a brisk fall day, I dug out a light winter wool coat and put on the tall boots!

This morning was all about chores, cleaned the washrooms and mopped all the hardwood and tile. I feel like baking, but I ended up picking up a package of streudels, so that'll tide us over for a day or two. ($1.99 at Save On this week! My second pack of the week, but accidentally bought cherry. I'm more of an apple kinda girl.) I settled for making another batch of salsa with tomatoes from the backyard.

I was putting laundry away and noticed the toys on the top shelf of C's headboard. The girls like to face the animals looking out the window so that they have a better view. The kids kill me.

Have a great day!




Saturday, September 24, 2016

New Mommy Friends

You know what didn't occur to me once my kids started school? That I would become friends with some of the mommies. I didn't set out to make mom friends, I thought I had enough friends. But what a pleasant surprise that some of the moms of my girls' classmates are so nice. And even nicer that I actually clicked with a few, and now I consider them pretty good friends, sometimes we even see each other without kids.

It's funny, I think that pretty much all the moms that I've become friends with are already connected to people that I know. Like when C was in preschool, we ran into one of her classmates at one of my cousin's parties. And after I've befriended a mom, we can dig around a find out that our siblings went to school together, or we have many mutual acquaintances. It is a small world after all.

Most of the play dates that we've had include me and the mom hanging out while the girls play. So most play dates are initiated, or continued, because I like the mom, haha. It was a good summer. I've told C that she's lucky (or maybe it's me that's lucky) most of her friends have moms that are either working part time or only during the school year, so we were able to have a lot of play dates.

I'm not a social butterfly by any means. If anything, I'm probably an introvert. But it's been nice meeting parents, having people to chat with in the hall at drop off/pick up, and hanging out with parents during field trips (umm, when I don't need to watch the kids, right?) It's been nice to have a good network of people.

Since A is in full day preschool this year (works out to be be about 6 hours, plus before care and after care if I require), let's see if I meet any parents of her classmates, and start building that network for her year.

Have a good weekend! :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

K-Beauty

I know that K-beauty has become very popular. I don't know too much about it, but I know it usually involves a lot of steps. I gotta admit, I'm kinda lazy, so I've haven't looked into it too much.

My skin care routine is pretty simple. To cut back (since we're a one income household now), I use pretty much drugstore brands. I use Cetiphil face wash, and Olay moisturizers for both day and night. Even when I was working, I didn't splurge too much on skin care stuff, I'd dabble with Clinique off and on, though I did regularly use their exfoliators. However, once I finished my last tube, I just bought some drugstore exfoliator, I can't even recall which one, I think it was a Garnier one that was on sale. It's okay, it doesn't break me out, but doesn't really excite me either. I have some Taiwan face masks, but the hoarder in me only uses them once in awhile. My big splurge is the Bliss wipes (That's Incredi-peel), which do smooth my face, but again, I only use them once in awhile.

C had a birthday party at the Muttart Conservatory this past Saturday, so S and I took A to Kingsway Mall to go shopping, since it wasn't really worth it to drive home. I don't leisure shop too much these days, and when I do, I just stick close to home in the south side. So Kingsway is rare occurrence for me. We went to Disney Store, where we bought a stuffed Merck and Miles for the girls to share (not that they need more stuffies, but at $2.99 each, we couldn't resist).

Then we walked past the Face Shop and I decided to peek in. One friend shops there and says none of the products have ever made her sensitive skin react, so I decided to check it out. I ended buying an exfoliator, a brightening cream, a sample anti-aging kit which was only $5 with a purchase of over $35, and I also got 3 free nail polishes.



The White Seed moisturizer doesn't contain SPF, so I've only been using it in the evening. I wonder if I should use during the day and wear a separate sunscreen. We'll see if this helps with my freckles/age spots.

The White Jewel Peeling Exfoliant is a little different from other exfoliators that I have used. I usually exfoliate in the shower, but this one said to use on clean dry skin, so I did it after I showered. My face definitely felt smoother. But the big win was when I used it on my hands. My hands were so soft right after I used it, that my husband went and tried it after he showered too.

I have yet to use the anti-aging trial pack, I'll try that later on. Verdict: still not into so many steps, but the new products seem pretty good. I think I will go pick up a toner to use in my skincare routine.

Have a great day!

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Meaning Behind the Name

Hello! You may have been wondering what the heck does polka dot chatter mean?

I was trying to come up with a unique name. I like polka dots. C likes polka dots. And little A, well, she's obsessed with polka dots. Here's a story: most kids have stuffed animals or blankies as a lovey. C has a battered cow named Butterscotch (who I should have thrown in the laundry this morning...)

Anyways, I can't remember how old A was, probably between a year and a year and a half, but I was taking out hand me downs for her, which included three polka dot long sleeve shirts that C had worn. Well, A was enamoured with them, and they became her loveys. She needed one to sleep, and would sit there and sniff the heck out of it. I wanted her to have a lovey, but was not expecting it to be an old shirt. When she was a baby, she liked to sniff the sleeve of her onesies, it seemed to soothe her. I tried to give her little face cloths (mo gun as we call it in Cantonese), which she would smell, but didn't attach to them. Still not sure why the dot dot shirts, but she did have a onesie that was polka dot, so maybe that is why. The good thing is she likes all her dot dot shirts, so I can at least rotate them and wash them. I even got an extra one from a friend!

And chatter. This is a place for me to chatter! I'm not as big a chatterer in person, but my kids and husband certainly are.



(Here's one of the dot dots. Can't seem to find a good picture of Butterscotch the cow.)


So there you have it, just in case you were interested :)


Friday, September 16, 2016

At the Theatre Last Night

Hello! We went to the theatre last night dahlings! My husband and I had a quick dinner of pho, and went out on a much deserved date night. On a Thursday, I know, I was pooped by the end of the night. I don't like to do much on weekday nights, much less stay out late.

We went to see Book of Mormon. It was so funny. So laugh out loud funny. We really enjoyed it. It had rolled into Edmonton previously about eighteen months ago, but I didn't know what it was about and never looked into it. Normally I love musicals, but a musical about religion? Pass. But my brother and his wife had went to the Calgary show and said it was so funny. We have the same type of humour, so I figured I'd catch it the next time.

Well, we didn't have to wait long. The musical won a bunch of Tony awards, and is from the creators of South Park, as well as someone from Avenue Q (we saw that one in NYC years ago, I highly recommend). S and I went in fresh, not knowing much about what was to take place in the musical. Prior to entering the theatre, we went to check out the merchandise. I should have taken pictures. There were weird sayings on shirts, which the salesperson said will make sense after the first act takes place, which they totally did. I also noticed a stuffed frog there, which all makes sense right at the end of the play.

I highly recommend! In a small nutshell, it starts with the Mormon Elders ringing doorbells to talk about their book. Then we meet a group of young men ready to go on their two year mission abroad and we find out who gets paired up with whom, the starring pair being an unlikely pair who gets sent to Africa, where we watch their mission unfold with the villagers.



On another note, little A has been so clingy this week, suffering from separation anxiety. She cried in the middle of the day on Monday. On Tuesday she cried when I dropped her off. Yesterday she cried at home, waking up at 5:30 to say she didn't want to go to school. I asked her why. Does she like her teachers? Yes. Does she like her friends there? Yes. Does she like the activities at school? Yes. Then what's the problem? She misses me and doesn't want to leave me. Anyways, the teachers are good (our fifth consecutive year there between the two girls) and took her away gently and with care. Then last night, my husband and I were getting ready to leave and she clung to my leg, saying don't go. I had to basically shake her off. My parents, who the girls love and see all the time, had come over to watch them while we were out. My mom said A did cry for a bit after, and I think she only stopped after they offered to show her a show on their tablet.

So yeah, I'm not sure what A's problem is. This is her second year of preschool, albeit this year is a longer day. Maybe this is a sign I should get out more and leave the kids more, ha. This morning she cried a little bit but was okay after she went into the classroom.

Anyways, Happy Friday! Have a great weekend! Hope you have great weather wherever you are, it's supposed to be a gorgeous fall weekend in Edmonton. 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Betwixt Two Worlds: Languages

I grew up as a child of immigrants. Though I was born in Canada, what this meant was I didn’t know what Halloween was until the first time we went trick or treating with family friends (what, we go door-to-door for candy? And pretty sure I didn’t dress up, whoops), learning to ice skate wasn’t really a priority, and I started kindergarten not speaking English.

Growing up, I sometimes felt caught between the two worlds of what my Chinese parents wanted versus what other kids my age were doing, but by junior high and high school, I had some friends in the same world of in between, and we’ve moved along together, now raising second generation CBCs (Canadian born Chinese, not the Canadian tv network, ha). I would like to note that my kids know full well what Halloween entails, are learning to ice skate at an early age (we’d like to do skiing soon!) and started school perfectly fluent in English.

I speak enough Cantonese to get by with my family. I did the Saturday morning Chinese school for a year or two, which I hated, mostly because my parents started me too late and I was taking class with younger kids. I have two terms of intro university Mandarin under my belt (though I have to admit, I don’t remember much), which is the official dialect of China. My husband S is also Chinese, he was born in Vietnam and came to Canada when he was around four years old, and is fluent in Cantonese. With each other, we speak predominantly English, with the odd word or phrase in Cantonese thrown in.

When I had my babies, I tried to speak as much Cantonese with them as I could. To me, speaking Cantonese is what parent-children do, so comforting the girls and disciplining them is sometimes when most of my Cantonese comes out. I also wanted to instil as much of Cantonese sounds them as I could, this is probably not scientific, but my thought is maybe their little brains will retain this knowledge and help them pick it back up when the time comes. It helped that my mom took care of my kids once my mat leaves were over, her English isn't very good so she would converse all in Cantonese with them. When my oldest daughter C was two, she spoke mostly Cantonese; my youngest daughter A too, though I think she spoke more English than C, since she is the second child. And as the girls got older, I tended to speak more and more English with them, partly because my own vocabulary is limited and both speak pretty much all English now. Our house speaks Chinglish at its best.

I want my kids to be able to speak Cantonese--but I've realized that this is kind of an unfair expectation. We hardly speak at home, so how can I expect them both to speak? Sure, they can speak with the grandparents, but we don't see them every day. So I've decided to take this with a grain of salt and hope for the best. Say what you will about C, her comprehension of Cantonese is still really good, she is always listening to adult conversation with one ear, and will often add her two cents, even if it is in English. If my girls can still understand Cantonese and can say a few words here and there, then that will be better than nothing.

Bilingualism is great, and it was so neat to watch my two girls start learning words in both Cantonese and English; if I didn’t understand their baby talk in one language, they would switch to the other. I’ve read great articles about benefits of bilingualism, but realistically, for myself, I’ve found it is hard to have a bilingual household. Having said that, C is now in grade 2 and in a bilingual Mandarin program at school, she has learned so many characters since last September, and is now correcting my (bad) Mandarin pronunciation. Maybe she will be bilingual after all, even if it isn’t our home dialect, and hopefully we can learn this new dialect together as a family. And there’s still always Chinglish.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Culture and Food

I don't do a lot of Chinese food cooking. What I do cook pretty much just consists of making friend rice, or opening a pack of potstickers. If I'm feeling fancy, I might make stir fry or fried noodles. Once upon a time, I made my own won tons, I'd bought some from the store before and they were baaad. Even my lazy ones were better. But now that I have kids, my parents just make me a batch of yummy won tons, and we happily eat them.

I think my last meal would be Chinese food, specifically Cantonese food, food from southern China and Hong Kong, the food I grew up with. Mmm, fried noodles and chow mein, won tons, various types of dumplings, buns...Fun gwoh that my parents make...I'm not sure what they're called in English, other than the non descriptive 'dumpling'. These are steamed (still non descriptive), and what makes them different and distinct from other dumplings I believe, is that they contain jicama. Mmm, I also love congee and thousand year old eggs...

I got sidetracked with dreams of of dim sum...anyways, my point is I don't do much Chinese cooking, for authentic food, we go back to my parents house, or go out.

Since my kids aren't exposed on a daily basis, do they like Chinese food? Their first foods were packaged rice cereal, home made carrot puree, and plain congee (rice porridge). When I was working, my mother watched my kids. C's go to meal was chicken stock with macaroni, chicken and spinach. A's go to was rice rice rice. The answer is they love Chinese food! It is a good way to help them (and me) keep our cultural identity. And what I really need to do is start learning some good old homestyle Chinese cooking.

Have a great day!

Friday, September 9, 2016

School's In!

It's September, and school is in! School started early this year, right on September 1st, the Thursday before the long weekend, and early dismissal day to boot. Had a couple friends not reminded me, I probably would have picked up C late on the first day, ha.

C has been in school for a week, and A officially started her first day on Wednesday Both seem to be adjusting well. When I checked C's class list, I noticed that most of her friends were in the other class. Good thing one of her besties was at the bottom of the class list. A is in her second year of preschool, and there for full day as opposed to half day like last year, and has been eating lunch quickly and by herself, and taking naps at school. Clearly she does better without me!

Now that I have the whole day to myself, I have had more time to do chores, and the last couple of days I've been buying some bins and organizers in anticipation of cleaning up the house more. And of course, hopefully more time to blog and learn more about using blogger.

Have a great weekend! It's back to structure and schedule now, so piano lessons, skating lessons, and also time for Mid Autumn festival.


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Saving $

So being a one income family the past two years, we try to pinch the pennies a bit.

Here are some examples of what I've been doing:

1. I cut the girls' hair myself.
Hearing some of the horror stories from some people who have taken their kids to the kid salons, perhaps it's just as well. Their hair is simple right now anyways, thick blunt China girl bangs and one length hair. The hair all Chinese girls start with.

2. Reduce eating out.
When I worked, we used to eat take out more on the weekdays because we were just tired. Now we don't eat out on weekdays, and may do one or two meals on the weekend, depending on our schedules, and sometimes just as a treat since the kids are finally functioning as human beings and can go out now.

3. Packing bulk food.
For example, instant oatmeal. We used to the buy the individually packed ones, you know, with 10 packages, add water. I'd usually look for a sale. But now I just pack my own, by buying a big package and packing the individual baggies. I also make my own pancake mix now too, with ingredients already in my pantry.

4. Shop cheap clothes.
I bought myself some new clothes this year, but many were under $10 a piece! Superstore/Joe collection and H&M were good ones, as is Old Navy. I also buy most of my kids' clothes a season ahead, can't beat $4 leggings and such. Also, since I have 2 girls, I usually get two wears out of their clothes, and I'm also fortunate that I get good hand me downs from one of our friends.

5. Shop year round for birthday and Christmas gifts.
I keep a stash at home for birthday gifts, present fillers, and Christmas gifts, though I do the bulk of Christmas towards the latter part of the year, I actually just ordered some today. Sometimes this doesn't work, as I sometimes lose track/misplace what I have. It also depends on circumstance. A few years ago I bought some baby sleepers that were a good price, but didn't choose all unisex ones. I still have a girl one because apparently friends/family have only been having boys. There was one friend with a baby girl, but I had misplaced the sleeper, only to find it she was too old.

6. Joining store clubs/memberships.
I may get special discounts or freebies. I get a free Starbucks drink on my birthday, as well as a nice Sephora freebie. This year it was a Marc Jacobs lipstick and eyeliner. I also earn points at Superstore, Save On Foods and Chapters/Indigo which eventually add up to money off my purchase. Even if it may take awhile to accumulate, I think it is worth it.

So there are a few off the top of my head! Until next time, have a good one.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Allergies

So I guess my little A has a peanut allergy.

We've suspected since she was probably a year and a half that she had a peanut sensitivity. I think the the first inkling was when we were at the airport and getting ready to head to Disneyland. We had an early flight and got there early to have breakfast prior to boarding. We had given A some peanut butter on toast and her skin got a bit pink and hivey. So we thought we'd play it safe and just keep her away from peanuts. She knew not to eat it.

Another time was last summer I think, and it was breakfast time again. We had coupons for A&W and went there for a breakfast, S and I had the big one, and the kids had a bacon and egger and hash browns. A was mooching sausages off of me. I had spread my toast with peanut butter, and cut some more sausage for her without cleaning the knife. She didn't want that piece of sausage offered to her an spat it out. So I don't know if it was the taste of peanut butter, the texture, or if it made her mouth feel funny. In any case, it seems she didn't care for the peanut butter.

I like peanut butter, but only eat it once in awhile. C doesn't care too much for it and prefers the soy butter, which she is used to eating, since she has it in sandwiches for school lunches once awhile. In this day and age, I can't make peanut butter cookies to share, so we don't have too much of it at home. I knew A didn't have a major allergy, since she eats food that is 'manufactured in a facility that may contain peanuts', and food that 'may contain peanuts'. I have been eating snack mixes where she comes by and picks out some of the non-nut snacks to eat, and she has had other food that may contain, or touch peanuts and has eaten them without issue.

Now, I keep forgetting to ask the pediatrician about her potential allergy. I figured it's not major, and that maybe I'd make peanut butter cookies on a weekend and feed them to her to see how she reacts. I didn't get to do that, but she did have one or two M&Ms after dinner that contain peanut butter inside this past weekend. She spat them out and threw up immediately. She threw up a few more times that evening, mostly just trace amounts of peanut butter, saliva and a little bit of dinner.

So yeah, no more peanut butter or peanuts. And thankful that if she has an allergy, it's not a life threatening one.

I wonder why there are so many allergies now. As a kid, I don't recall any classmates with peanut allergies, or any allergies really.

We made cookies today. Obviously not peanut butter. One of my go to recipes for gingersnaps. Yum.

Have a good one! :)







Friday, August 19, 2016

It's the last dog days of summer! I can't believe that school starts in two weeks. It starts super early this year on September 1. C is heading into grade 2, and A will be attending her second year of preschool. Her orientation day is also on September first, and then her official first day of school is after Labour Day.

We've been pretty busy, trying to cram in play dates and appointments for the latter part of August. C went to the optometrist on Tuesday and her fate has officially been sealed: she needs glasses. With her genetics alone, plus love of reading and watching tv, we knew it was only a matter of time before she'd need glasses. Plus she'd told the teacher that she wanted to stay sitting in the front row because she was having trouble seeing when sitting further away. I needed glasses in grade 1, so at least she's ahead of me. We took her to Costco and got her a cute pair, and they just left a message today to say that they're ready.

We had a play date with one of my besties on Tuesday. My friend also has two girls who are 9 and 10, and my girls love them. We tye-dyed shirts last year, and decided to do it again this year. The girls all did a great job last year, their shirts were way nicer than ours. My friend offered to do the fun task of rinsing and washing, so here's one pic of some of the shirts, the batch that my girls made.



We also hosted a sushi night this past Saturday at our house. Our eight closest friends came over with their kids, and a sushi chef came over and made our dinner in the comfort of our own home. We fed the kids pasta and hot dogs, and they did get scraps, a sushi cone and ice cream from the chef at the end of the night. The kids liked watching chef in action, and one of the older girls was so cute, she sat at the island all night to observe the sushi chef. It was so delicious, and we were so full by the end of the night. A great experience with good food, good company, and a chance to have some good drinks, haha. Mmm, I want sushi again now.



A couple weeks back we went to Prairie Gardens up in Bon Accord for a family trip and my girls had a good time. It was pretty quiet, which I always appreciate since I don't like crowds. The girls had their first experience in a little corn maze, got their face painted, and their favorite part (mine too!) was mining gems. Basically we bought a bucket that contained sand and gems, and we had to wash and sift through the sand with water to reveal gems, like gold panning. I wish I got to take a picture, but hands were too busy and dirty.



Happy Friday! Let's see what this weekend will bring us. Until next time!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

My Mother Was Right

Did you ever have a time in your childhood where you thought your mother was horribly unfair and now in retrospect, and as a mother yourself, realize your mother was right?

C has been invited to a good number of birthday parties. The friends are people she does play with and I'm familiar with the names; I have met at least one parent of most of these friends.

When I was in grade 5, I was invited to a birthday party of one of my friends in my class. She wasn't one of my besties, but someone I liked and talked to a lot. Anyways, I was invited, but she didn't pass out an official invitation, just her address on a scrap piece of paper. I wanted to go, I had other friends that were going. However, my mother had other ideas, she did not permit me to go. She told me it wasn't an official invitation, there was no other information provided, she did not know my classmate, never mind her parents or family. So I didn't go, and I thought she was so unfair, especially since my other friends did go to the party that weekend.

But now as an adult, as a mother, I completely understand. Obviously my friends survived the party, and I assume nothing weird happened at the birthday party house. However, you can't be too sure, it's a risk I would not be willing to take, and should the same scenario ever take place with one of my children, I would not let them go. For the very same reasons my mother outlined.

My mother was right.

Wait, does this mean she was right in other circumstances?? Haha, until next time :)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Things I Didn’t Know Would Cost More Once I Had Kids


1. Toilet paper.

Definitely cheaper than diapers, but now we go through an amazing number of rolls.

2. Restaurant/Take Out Meals.

This was more for convenience, but now that they are eating, it’s getting more costly. Who knew my six year old would be asking for salmon sashimi every weekend. And now my 4 year old has just decided to join the raw fish game.

3. Shoes.

After a long winter of boots, shoes never fit any more when spring comes. And vice versa.

4. Lessons.

Seriously, their gym class costs more than grown up ones.

5. Spending Money.

I’ll spend less on myself so I can buy more for them. ❤

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Mommy Brain

Not just prego brain, but mommy brain.

Sometimes I feel like my brain isn't used to working as much now that I stay at home. I mean, it certainly works, but only certain parts of it. Like the parts that make mac n cheese, and make Barbie clothes, while the parts that can run queries and do coding have gone dormant and into hibernation.

I haven't been reading as much as I'd like to, though the last few weeks have picked up. When the hardwood was getting redone in our house on the main floor due to the leak, I was trapped in the upstairs bonus room. I actually got a lot done. Did a lot of reading. Watched some Netflix. Finished the scrapbook on Disneyland (we went over two years ago, and my goal was to paste in the pictures before we go again), and finally started C's baby scrapbook--it only took over six years to do that. Still not done, but I only have month eleven and first birthday to finish up.

I spend a lot of time online, checking Facebook, looking at blogs, and too many minutes/hours on Pinterest. Resurrecting this blog has been good for the brain. I'm typing again on the lap top as opposed to poking at the keyboard on the ipad. And typing out full words as opposed to using auto fill. Writing the blog has helped sort out thoughts, and sharpen up the brain. Ugh, I sound like a senior citizen.

One bad example of my deterioration is a mini high school reunion with some friends last week. I was so looking forward to it, a couple of friends I hadn't seen in years, and one lives in Ontario and was back to visit family. I even kicked out one of my contractors to go. We were bringing the kids along, and meeting at one of those indoor playgrounds, which was a good call, because I swear it's been raining every.single.day in Edmonton for the past month, if not more. Anyways, I was ready to go, and even pre-filled out the waiver form that morning. We were running late because of the renos, so I texted a couple of the friends to let them know.

I got to the playground, which I think is the biggest one in Edmonton, in the south side anyways, Hmm, I didn't see any of my friends' cars. That should have been my first clue. Went inside, paid and didn't see them. In fact, the facility was pretty empty, which was actually a good thing, because if it was busy, it would have taken even longer to realize that they weren't there. I checked my emails. There, in black and white was the name of the playground we were to meet at. The other indoor playground, not this one.

Auggh! Do they do refunds here? We'd only been here five minutes at the most. If they don't, should I stay?? I took my girls and went back to front counter to ask if they do refunds by any chance, as I was at the wrong place, my friends were at another location.

They were really good, no hesitation that they do refunds. Got my money, off we went to the other indoor playground, which wasn't even five minutes away, and much cheaper, which is good on this one income (and it's not mine) pocketbook. We made it and met my friends, and had a great time. I look forward to the next reunion.

So that's what got me thinking about my mommy brain. On the other hand, maybe it's not mommy brain. Ack, maybe it's just my brain!!!

Until next time!

E

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

10 Reasons I’m Not Having Another Child

It’s inevitable that we get asked if we will be having another child. I get it, sometimes it’s to make conversation, especially since I already have two girls. 

Here are my replies: (reasons for resounding no)

1.Even if we wanted to try for a boy, it’s still a 50-50 chance.

2. We’re at a good place right now, our youngest is potty trained, in preschool, and semi-functional as a human being.

3.We’d have to get a mini van. Not to dis mini vans, but my current little SUV would be too small for three rugrats.

4. Odd numbered kids complicates roller coaster rides.

5. We’d pretty much have to start from scratch. New baby clothes, new car seats, new crib. Every baby item has either been passed on or expired.

6.  Fear of having twins.

7. Or triplets.

8. Figuring out how to fit another kid in the house when there are no more upstairs bedrooms. Hey kids, who wants to live in the basement? 

9. My health would be questionable. I’m not getting any younger, and I had pre-eclampsia with the first one, gestational diabetes with the second.

10. We’d be outnumbered.

Hahaha :) Have a good one!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Summer Time

Hello hello! I can not believe it is August! This means the kids go back to school in exactly one month. Summer feels like it's been flying, but I asked C if she thought summer was moving by fast, and she said the opposite, haha, just like how I used to feel like a kid.

I had grand plans of having wonderful days planned out for the kids, such as fun learning lessons, awesome crafts, cool day outings and adventures. Instead, our leak from the end of May has meant slow slow renovations, sending the kids off to the grandparents so they can run around and not have microwaved meals for over a week, and plans rescheduled.

In between renos we've managed to have some fun though. On Canada Day long weekend we went to Calgary to Heritage Park, Calaway Park, and to hang out with my brother and sister-in-law who live down there. We had a good trip. Calaway Park was really good, it wasn't too busy, it was clean, and the park is geared for smaller kids, and the girls went on a lot of the rides all by themselves, leaving me and S free.



Since we did Calaway Park, we told the girls no K-Days this year, which is the exhibition in Edmonton. They were cool with that.

On Friday, we did an impromptu trip out to Sylvan Lake. The girls had a lot of fun, the water was nice and shallow for their little legs, the day was beautiful, and they even saw schools of little fish in the water, and caught a snail to boot!


And yesterday we even managed to squeeze in a craft. The girls painted some little bird houses that I'd bought earlier in anticipation of keeping them busy over summer, and because I have materials for pretty much every type of craft project, I even had little birdies on hand to accessorize the houses. They turned out pretty cute.


For some reason the bird house pic reminds of 70s/80s claymation, haha. Maybe it's just the light of the picture.

Today's the last day of another long weekend, but we have a good week planned. That's it for me tonight, have a good one! :)

Thursday, July 28, 2016

I'm Back!

So hi. That was a loooong hiatus.

Kudos to everyone who writes blogs. It takes a lot of work! I thought I'd have oodles of time to blog, but alas, life got a hold of me and I stopped, and I even took it offline. I thought I'd just start a new one, but since I barely had anything on this one, I decided to resurrect it, as I already had a handful of posts posted. Ha!

So hopefully I can keep this up. I think it will be good for me, to get a little part of me back, so I can write, so I can talk.

Wow, I can't believe that summer is halfway over. Where did it go? I hope to write more posts on what we've been up to this summer.

Glad to be back! More soon! :)