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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.