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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Practical and Functional

Hi Everyone!

It's July already! Where did the year go? The kids are out of school, and we just celebrated Canada's 150. We went downtown with some friends and partook some festivities downtown. We started at the 104 st market, and then checked out Rogers Place for the first time and saw some multicultural shows, such as wu shu, lion dance and shumka. Then we proceeded to City Hall where it was super busy inside. We had come through the back north doors, and when we went out through the front the doors, it was crazy busy! Churchill Square was packed. Too bad fireworks are so late, it doesn't get dark in Edmonton until 11 pm, so I knew that was way too late for the kids especially if they were out and about all day. Heck, that's late even for me on a day I was out and about, haha.



Mmm, pig roast. We had lunch at 'Ono Poke and tried the yummy shaved ice cream special.

Statue came to life and Number 1 got a handshake!


I had this post partially envisioned in my head back near Father's Day. Are you easy to shop for? Are your parents easy to shop for? I think I'm pretty easy to shop for, anything amuses me, and for most ladies and women, I think that's the case. New soap or scented cream? Love it. New nail polish, jewellery or cosmetic pouch? Awesome. I love food and coffee cards. Meanwhile, my parents are the worst to shop for. My mom is so not girly, so I'd moved to functional gifts awhile back. I started with gift certificates and did that for a couple years until my mom whispered to me once that if I'd been thinking of getting them a gift cert, cash is better and easier. Fair enough, cash is king, so for birthdays I'll give them cash in a lucky red envelope. Then even the more practical gifts were given back to me, such as a clothing steamer. (Hmm, I should actually use that more often.) But the past Mother's and Father's Day, I think I did well.

For Mother's Day, I got my mom a small purple Kipling purse, and socks. First, the purse. Amongst my mom's senior citizen ladies group, it sounds like Kipling and Le Sportsac are the bags of preference. Leather and bags with heavy hardware aren't too popular any more, apparently they're too heavy. (I saw one of my friend's mom and an party and noticed she was sporting a lightweight Le Sportsac bag too, haha. Senior trends.) I don't think she commented on the purse to me afterwards, but the socks she liked. And these weren't just any snazzy socks. They were circulation socks. I know my mom only has a couple pair of prescription circulation socks, so I bought her another pair from the travel section from Winners, and she loved them. Hahahaha, practical gift at its best!

For Father's Day, I got my dad one of those portable battery chargers for his cellphone, and some sort of glue kit that involves UV light. He was pretty happy, especially with the battery charger, since they're going on vacation in a couple of weeks.

Speaking of vacation, we're going to Vancouver, Victoria and Sidney next week. We're so looking forward to it! Any suggestions on where to go or where to eat? The kids haven't been to British Columbia before, and it's actually been years since I've gone too. I think it may turn into a foodie trip, the kids are already looking forward to food in Richmond. I'm looking forward to just relaxing on the island, we don't anticipate it being as fast paced as previous vacations. The girls have music camp this week, and then next week we head out!



Thanks for reading, have a great day!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

There was an Old Lady...

Hi everyone!

Some days I feel like an old lady. I'll be turning 39 next month, so I know I'm not ancient by any means, but the wrinkles are coming in, the joints creak, and the white hair is here. I was at my parents' house a few months back, and watching their Chinavision shows, when an Asian brand hair dye commercial comes on. "Look how convenient that is," I commented, as I watched the hair dye be placed on a brush for spot coloring. My mom says she has a couple boxes upstairs, and I ended up taking one of them.

1. You know you're old old when you're mooching hair dye off your senior citizen mother.

And I still haven't used it because I procrastinate.


2. You know you're old when you have to look up vernacular on the Urban Dictionary. I professed my love to the current Lana Del Rey song in my last post, and when I was looking at the comments to the video on You Tube, I noticed so many people saying "I'm shipping these two!" in reference to Lana and the Weeknd. Now, because of the context, I kinda get what they're saying, but nonetheless, I went to look at trusty Urban Dictionary. (In case you don't know what shipping means, the verb form means to endorse a romantic relationship, while noun usage is short for romantic relationship, ie, 'ship.)

3. You know you're old when current vernacular that you had to look up in the Urban Dictionary, annoys you and makes no sense. Also, youngsters, what is with typing words and putting extra letters, eg "I loveeeee it!" I get if you typed looooove for emphasis, but why the extra e's? It's a silent letter! I don't get it.

3a. You know you're old when youngsters make you cranky.

4. You know you're old when you're training your 7 year old to turn on various electronics. I will turn into my mother right away when I don't know what video component goes with what source of television.

5. You know you're old when sweets hurt your teeth now. Man, I can't eat Turtles anymore, it's actually been years since I've eaten them. Plus, my gums are starting to recede.

6. You know you're old when you can't eat as much now. I was blessed with good metabolism until I was 25 and at a desk job. It's been going way downhill from there. Now I find I don't eat as much, which is a good thing, but I was disappointed when I went to a wedding a couple weekends ago, and didn't eat much of the buffet, even though I really wanted to.

7. You know you're old when you say 'tape', as in tape a tv show. Sometimes I remember to say PVR.

8. Speaking of tape, you know you're old when you're at your child's in school field trip, and a set of science cards for the magnet unit shows a VHS tape and VCR, and all the kids say, "I've seen those at my grandparents' house."

9. You know you're old when kids of legal age (that's 18 in Alberta) were born in 1999. Yikes. I was almost done university then. And actually partying like it's 1999.

10. You know you're old when 1996 doesn't seem that long ago. That was 21 years ago. I graduated high school 21 years ago, that's a whole person who can gamble in Las Vegas. Here's a side story though. The last few years I've run into random people I've gone to school with. This year, my daughter joined an after school club/lesson for STEM (science technology engineering math), which we all called Lego club since it involved Lego. Well, the person running it always seemed familiar to me, and I finally realized we went to high school together. We didn't know each other back then, which is why it wasn't obvious. One day, she asked me if I went to the same high school, as she recognized me too. She said to me that we must look pretty good still, since over 20 years later, we recognize someone from school who we didn't even hang out with back in the day! Which, you know what, is very true!

11. You know you're old when your children are becoming little independent people. C is going into grade 3 next year, I think that's the big kid division at their school! And A will be in the school system in kindergarten!

It's been a long time since I've gotten IDed. It used to annoy me, but wouldn't that be nice now. Actually, I got IDed at the Madonna concert a few years back, so that's still pretty good, right? Maybe they were just humoring us.

Thanks for reading! Have a great day!






Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Summertime Happiness

Hi hi everyone! I know, it's been almost a month since I last posted. And you know what I'm going to say, it's been busy busy! In a nutshell, it's been busy with school field trips (between the two kids, John Janzen Nature Centre, Telus World of Science, and upcoming ones to Ukrainian Village and Jackie Parker Park), my number 2 had her preschool graduation and concert, plus the husband had a new business venture go into play at the end of May, so we really have been busy here!

I can't believe it's June and that there's only about two weeks of school left! Thank goodness, I haven't been wanting to get up lately, plus I think I'm over packing school lunches and snacks, haha. Bring on lazy summer days! I talked about teacher gifts in my last post, and I have done nothing since then. Nothing. I think for the preschool teachers it will be cookies plus something felt, I'm thinking maybe felt flower magnets, and for the grade two teachers, it will be Chapters gift cards. I still have time, right?

What kind of music are you guys listening to these days? Gone are my days of devotedly listening to one album, though I still play fave songs on repeat. My current favorite the past few weeks now is Lust for Life, by Lana Del Rey and featuring The Weeknd. I love this song. I actually love Lana Del Rey too, I played her Born to Die album over and over. Okay, I guess I do still have days of devotedly listening to albums. Born to Die was the last hard copy CD I bought. Even my kids are used to that album, and number 2 always fell asleep to it in the car, now I wonder when she listens to one of those songs as an adult, it will automatically put her to sleep.


 

I'm sad that I can't play Lust for Life while the kids are around though. There's a line that is repeated, "Take off, take off, take off all your clothes," and it's slow and distinct, so I'm sure the kids will be singing that all the time. The last thing I need is for them to break out in song with that particular line at the grocery store.


Now that my kids are getting older, I'm a little more conscious about what they hear in songs. Overall, radio is still safe, but once in awhile, especially with hip hop music, I'm waiting for them to question a lyric. It was throwback Thursday one time, and they were playing Shaggy, It Wasn't Me, on the radio, and the lines 

Honey came in and she caught me red-handed, Creeping with the girl next door, Picture this we were both butt-naked, Banging on the bathroom floor

Auggh, fortunately neither of the girls noticed the lines. Ed Sheeran, Castle on the Hill, was on the other day though,and number 2 asked me what 'drunk' meant, after hearing 'Running from the law through the backfields and getting drunk with my friends'. I gave her my standard response of 'Don't worry about it', haha.

Thanks for reading! Have a great day everyone!



Monday, May 15, 2017

Cactus and Donuts, oh my.

Hi Everyone!

It is officially spring! It finally warmed up a few weeks ago, (literally went from my puffy jacket to tank top in a span of six days). Did some yard clean up and moved some succulents around. I haven't planted anything except for some new ground cover so far though, I'm used to waiting until May long weekend to be safe, but it looks like we're actually good this year. Unfortunately it's been cool and cloudy the past week, so I haven't felt like flower shopping. I'll probably go sometime this week, I only have three or four small planters to work on. Oh, plus vegetables. What kind of vegetables do you like to plant? My favorites are varieties of tomatoes, and zucchini. I planted kale last year too, but the wild bunnies nibbled on them. I think I'll try lettuce or kale in containers this time to deter them this year.

Two more months of school! I can't believe the school year is almost done. My kids will be big kids this fall! C will be in grade 3, and A will be in kindergarten! Wow. Anyways, end of the school year means I need to start thinking of end of year gifts for teachers. For A's preschool teachers (5 of them), I was thinking coffee cards and a handmade cactus for each of them if I can get my act together. I've made them gingersnaps in the past and they seem to like them, so probably a batch of those too, since it's A's last year with them.


Or maybe I should do felt donuts. Have I ever mentioned I love working with felt?


For C's teachers, probably a Chapters bookstore gift card, and maybe something hand made, it depends how much time I'll have.

How about you, what do you get your kids' teachers?

Have a great day everyone! I look forward to this long weekend. Lessons are cancelled, I hope the weather is good, and the kids get a few more days off, so there should be some good family time. Or they'll drive me crazy, hahahaha. Have a great one!



Thursday, April 27, 2017

T-shirt

This is a t-shirt that I bought my eldest daughter the first time we took her to San Diego when she was 18 months old, back in 2011. We were worried that she would be fussy on the plane ride, but she was such a good girl. When we landed, even the people sitting around us commented that she was so well behaved on the plane.

I bought this t-shirt at one of the outlets near San Diego. I had accidentally picked up a size 5 instead of a size 3. What was I thinking, now we would have to wait such a long time before she could wear this!

My daughter is now 7. I stretched out how long she could wear this shirt, and now it is too short. I take it out of the t-shirt drawer of her dresser. How did this happen? This shirt was so large for her before, and now she can't even wear it anymore.

Where does the time go? It is so cliche, but they really do grow up fast. It seemed like yesterday that I grabbed the wrong size shirt, with my husband shaking his head at me for being sloppy, that I was waiting for her to turn 5 so she could finally wear the shirt.

The shirt will get another life soon. My little daughter will be turning 5 this summer, so it is waiting patiently in the closet to be worn again.





Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Mini Me

Bonjour mes amies!

I know, it's been awhile (again) that I haven't posted anything. I hope everyone had a good Easter break. Ours was good, we had turkey dinner at my parents and saw some relatives that we hadn't seen in awhile...Speaking of Easter, I just had a Twix egg from the Easter candy stash, and now my teeth hurt. Sigh. Sweets aren't the same now that I'm older. Anyone else feel the same? That's probably for the best though.

I've been busy with appointments these past two weeks, it's just that time of year. Doctor check ups, acupuncture, hair cut, and saw the dentist yesterday. I go to the dentist literally once a year, and that's when Little A doesn't feel well and I miss calls from the teachers at the preschool, miss calls and texts from the husband asking where I am (clearly he doesn't pay attention to when I say I have appointments) and in the end the husband ended up having to leave work to pick up A at school. Though I think he may have secretly been happy to leave work for a couple hours.

Do you find it funny or eerie when your kids say things that you say? It really is 'monkey see, monkey do' sometimes. And it's starting to span generations, I don't know what's worse, that I'm turning into my mother or my daughters are turning into me. Does this mean we're all turning into each other?

Things my Mini Mes say:

"Fine." What I always say when I reluctantly let them do something.

"Seriously?" Just something that I always say.

A three year old C years ago also used the word "gong show" to describe the playground, hahaha.



Things that I say now that my mother says/used to say when I was a child:

"What kind of name is that Mom?" "What kind of name is your name?"

"Just because someone else says/does that, doesn't mean you should too."

"You're my child and you play by my rules."

**Some of these are loosely translated, as my mom speaks Cantonese to me.

I always thought my mom was paranoid for checking the stove and such before we left the house. Now I find that I do it too, and if I don't, I'm paranoid I'll come and find that the house has burnt to the ground.

I need to start picking up the kids soon, and that reminds me, I better check the stove to make sure it is off before I go. I was cooking some broth for tonight's dinner, we're having ramen and wontons tonight, yum!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

It's Spring Break!

Hi everyone! It's spring break for us here in Edmonton, I noticed on some other blogs that some other areas just finished, and they had two weeks of spring break! We just have one, and it technically started early for my oldest daughter C, she had some sort of flu bug and had to stay home on Thursday and Friday. She was on the mend by Saturday, and we were able to head down to Calgary to visit my brother and sister-in-law. We hung out at their house and went out for dinner on Saturday night, stuffing ourselves with some yummy Chinese food.

We went to Banff the next morning, but a few hours later, little A was not feeling well. We headed back to Calgary to pack up our stuff, and then back home to Edmonton. A was sick a good number of times in the car on the way home, good thing I stocked up on plastic bags from my brother's house. We stopped by my parents' for dinner, and after some magical congee/jook, A seemed to be better. Indeed, by Monday, she was back to normal.

It has been awhile since we'd been to Banff, it's too bad we weren't able to stay longer. We had grand plans for the rest of our trip, stay in Banff for a bit, then get take out pho from Calgary. Monday would have been Cross Iron Mills. Oh well, next time.



The first day of official spring break, the girls and I did some painting on canvases. Today we had a play date with a friend from school and whose mom I am friends with. I made some play dough this morning in anticipation of letting the girls play with it this afternoon. It was the first time I'd made play dough at home, it was neat to make and felt really nice. A friend had made it before at a different play date and passed me the recipe. I'm not sure where online she got the recipe, but if you know, please let me know so I can give proper credit.

Play Dough Recipe

1 cup white flour
1/2 cup salt
2 tbsp cream of tartar (found in baking or spice aisle)
1 tbsp oil
1 cup water
food coloring of choice

*rubber gloves (food coloring stains the hands!)

1. Mix the first 4 ingredients in a pan.
2. Add water and mix well, cooking over medium heat. Stir constantly for about 4 minutes. Dough will become stiffer and form a clump.
3. Remove from pan and knead for about 5 minutes; add food coloring. Separate into different clumps for different colors as desired.
4. Store play dough in a covered container or sealed plastic bag.


Clearly the first color I made was blue, ha. I actually made two batches of the recipe, so I made two colors with each batch (green is missing from photo). Look how pretty my play dough looks! I've heard there are other recipes where you can use Jello or Kool-Aid to make the color and which also makes the play dough smell nice. I may have to try those next time.

Yawn, it's time for bed. Tomorrow I need to take my girls shoe shopping. C has one new pair that we bought last fall, while A has nothing, her shoes are either too small or still too big. She's been wearing her boots all week. 

Have a good night!

Monday, March 20, 2017

It was a Good Day

Hi everyone! Hope you all had a good weekend! I had a really good weekend, and I'm not just saying that for pleasantries.

It was a actually a long weekend, the kids had Friday off since it was a PD day. We spent a good part of the day at one of C's friends house, whose mom I am friends with too. It was a good play date for all of us.

Saturday was busy but a really good day. Our realtor had invited us to a special screening of Beauty and the Beast! It just opened in theatres on Friday, so this was a good chance for us to watch the movie. The theatre was packed, and the realtor and associates went all out, we each got popcorn and drinks, and the girls even got roses, a la Beauty and the Beast. We even won a door prize ($50 to Brown's Social House), and we never win anything.

I didn't really think about what the movie would be like, I figured it would be like the cartoon. It was verbatim with cartoon in some scenes, and there were a few added songs and slightly more character development as well. The girls enjoyed it, as did we. The movie was 2 hours long (we didn't even get previews), so it was a little bit longer than what the girls were used to sitting through at a movie theatre. It's funny, around that 90 minute mark, you could see younger kids in the theatre getting a little antsy, and needing bathroom breaks. We had a quick yummy lunch at Good Buddy, and then dropped the kids off at my parents' house.

Before we'd even planned on going to the movie, the husband and I had originally planned on doing a date day/night on his birthday weekend. A coworker of S had invited him to a movie premiere of a Canadian movie, Heel Kick, which his brother stars in. My husband asked if I wanted to go to this mocumentary about professional wrestling. I'm not a big wrestling fan (I'd caught some in the late 90s when my brother was watching the Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin et al), but thought what the heck, let's watch it. The movie was actually really funny, and they even had a Q and A with cast and crew after the movie, which was playing at the Garneau/Metro Cinema. Support Canadian movies!

Image result for heel kick movie


After the movie, we hustled over to Beaumont for a much anticipated dinner at Chartier. Chartier is located in a town just south of Edmonton, which opened last spring. This restaurant is interesting because the owners took to crowdsourcing to open it, which you can read about here. The menu is modern French Canadian, such as tortiere, which is what I ate, yum. There were so many options, and I was so tempted to get poutine as an appetizer, or the lobster meal for two which included poutine. So many choices, so little stomach room. My husband and I had mussels for the appetizer, and I had the tortiere, consisting of a flaky pastry, and a filling of pork, bison and duck confit. S had the pork chow chow, which I snuck a few bites of, and was really good too, the pork was so tender, and the lentils were tasty. We were stuffed and had the poor man's bread pudding for dessert.



Such a good meal, and service was good. We will visit again!

The kids had fun at the grandparents, when we left them in the afternoon, they were playing in the snow in the backyard. When I called them on the way back into Mill Woods after dinner, C said she was really tired, hahaha. The girls had a busy day.

Mmm, now I'm hungry again. Have a great day!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Wheatgrass

Hey everyone! Just a quick post for me today.

I want to talk wheatgrass. I was wandering around the produce area at Save On Foods the other day, and saw a little container of wheatgrass for just $2.99! I bought it, and went to look up how I can make it into a wheatgrass shot. I went simple and basically cut half the grass down, and blended it with about half a cup of water. I then froze the juice into blocks, using the baby block tray that I used when I made the girls pureed baby foods. Score one for keeping things (ahem, I'm not hoarding) that will be useful at another time.

Wheatgrass is weird. I'm not into juicing or even buying healthy smoothies (like the Mighty Kale that my husband likes at Jugo Juice, or was it Booster Juice, I don't even know), but I've heard there a benefits to wheatgrass, since you can add a wheatgrass shot into smoothies, and I read somewhere that a shot of wheatgrass is equivalent to the nutrients of  4 pounds of vegetables. But back to wheatgrass is weird. After I've blended it, it smells just like freshly cut grass! Hmm. Anyways, I've taken a couple shots, and I figure it can't hurt. And the wheatgrass plant looks nice on my kitchen counter. A touch of spring and nature in the kitchen.



What have I been Netflixing lately? I've been watching Jane the Virgin. I had meant to just check it out, as I thought the premise seemed kinda silly, however, the rating was nearly 5 stars on Netflix, it was just short a point on a star to be a perfect 5 stars. And oh my goodness, it is so funny. I've never actually watched a telanovella, but it is mocking/in homage of telanovellas. Long lost families! Twins! Narration! I'm on season two, and there are a lot of episodes in each season, I believe there are 3 seasons on Netflix. I'm always hesitant to start new shows that have a lot of seasons, as I usually get sucked in. This one is good since it's light and funny, it doesn't require as much concentration as, for example, a timepiece series. I need to finish watching The Crown, and start Downton Abbey.

Anyways, that's it for me today, have a great day!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Seriously, Daylight Saving...

Hi everyone. How is your morning after daylight savings? Why do we still do this? In all seriousness, an MLA in Edmnonton is championing getting rid of daylight saving, and I'm all for it. Let's live like the Saskatchewaners. (Saskatchewanite?)

We woke up at new 7:30 am yesterday morning, the first morning after, did a quick grocery run, and had skating lessons. Then I'm not sure what happened to the rest of the day, but all of a sudden it was dinner time. The husband made chicken pho for the first time, yum. C went to bed with no issues, but I think A knew something was up, she fussed for a bit before going to sleep. The kids slept in later today because of the time change, so that was good, since they wake up really early normally. I had a hard time waking up. Heh, even the roads seemed quieter on the way to school. I'm currently drinking coffee.

Did everyone have a good weekend? I went for a much needed girls night out. My four girlfriends and I went for an early pasta dinner, and then had a paint night planned. I'd never been to a paint night and was looking forward to it. The funniest thing happened, after we paid the bill, our server asked us what we were up to. We said we were going to paint night at ABC Bar and Grill*. The server made a face and we were like, what, is it not a good place? She said is was a bit sketchy. Later on she brought over a hostess for her opinion, and she dramatically same thing. A few minutes later, the manager came over and introduced himself, wished us luck, and hoped all of us would make it out of the bar together. Hahahaha! By now is was turning into a big funny exaggerated drama, so off we went to hesitantly check it out.

The bar was a dark neighbourhood dive, and the painting area was just in the back corner with about a dozen seats and easels. Another group joined us there. It was fun and fine! A friend who'd been to paint nights before said the last couple she'd gone to were at more mainstream larger pubs which were set up for more people to paint.

So here's some backstory that makes this night even more funny to my friends and I. We bought this paint night through Groupon. The friend who organized this girls night out and who had suggested the Groupon is notorious for her coupon outings. In the past, my friend, who I'll call Cece, had a coupon for a hotel for a trip to the Calgary Stampede. I was not part of this travel group, but I heard that the hotel (perhaps motel) was gross and sketchy. Another time time, Cece had a coupon to a bar/lounge. I can't even remember what the bar was or what the coupon was for, probably free admission and drinks. Anyways, there were strippers involved for whatever reason, and they were not exactly pleasant to the eye. I remember a lot of hair, I'm thinking mullets and an 80s look. Shudder. All I remember is we were at the back of the bar and praying that the guys weren't going to make their way to our table. So haha, one more coupon story! I guess we were due for one.

**



*Name has been changed so bar remains anonymous.
**The original painting had a girl and a cat, but I chose to do two girls to represent my girls.

On another note, I've been baking fresh bread like crazy. I made three last week (one was for my parents). I have a Zojirushi bread machine that my husband bought me for a past birthday. I love it! I actually haven't made bread in ages, but now I'm wondering why I've been putting it off so long. The recipe that came with the machine didn't seem to work for me, the bread always became hard the day after baking. But I got another recipe from a friend, and that one works really well. I don't know if my water is too hot, but my bread has been rising like crazy, it actually hits the top of the machine and is ready to explode out, haha.



Mmm, I'm going have some for lunch. Break time! Have a great day!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

MIA

Hi everyone! I know, I know, I've been MIA again lately. There was one week where I was hardly on social media, I guess I just needed to unplug a little bit.

What have I been up to as of late? Well, since I last posted, I managed to go to two movies. I know! This never gets to happen. The husband and I went on a day date and saw John Wick Chapter Two. It was good, such a simple storyline but so entertaining. Last week during Teacher's Convention, we went to see Ballerina. Daughter number two had seen the commercials on tv and declared that she wanted to see it. For a rough and tumble girl, she really likes the frou frou stuff. I went to watch Ballerina with no expectations (how exciting is a movie about an orphan aspiring to be a ballerina going to be?) but it was actually quite good. And it was made by a Canadian company, so good to support home grown entertainment.

I've been into organizing the house lately. So I've been doing even more Pinteresting than usual. Last week I rearranged the play room, so now I think it looks better. I'm hoping to put up some photos in there, and debating if I should put up a cork board. Next up is the basement. We have a craft/office/junk room that I cleared out a little bit yesterday. I moved all of the husband's MBA textbooks into my mom's room. My mom doesn't live with us, but that is her room when she stays overnight to help me if S is out of town. I don't want her room too cluttered since she stays there, and I think I need to up the decor in there. But I think the books in there are okay, they're nice and tidy on a bookshelf. I may need a bigger one to make it neater though. Next step is to re-org the craft room. Also, the living area of the basement is a glorified play area which we're thinking we need to organize into a real space now.

I'm also itching to get some new furniture. Our living room couch is brown leather from 10 years ago and looking quite dated, plus the leather is starting to come off in small patches, due to little fingers I believe. Realistically though, I think we'll wait a few more years so the girls don't destroy it. Hmm, maybe I can downgrade the bonus room sofa to the basement.

Spring is so close. But it has been so cold in Edmonton, winter's fingers are not letting go. It's supposed to snow again tomorrow! Argh. Anyways, since I've been away for awhile, I just wanted to write a quick post. Don't forget to set forward the clocks this Saturday!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Superstitions

Hi everyone! It's a beautiful spring like day! 16 above my friends! The snow is melting at a ferocious pace, and my car is disgustingly dirty. I have been looking forward to a warm day like today so that I can chip at the ice on my curb! The thawing of ice and snow leave a puddle on the sidewalk in front of my house, which in turn freezes and thaws. I get a sick satisfaction of chipping away at the ice so that the water can flow to the sewage drain one house over. A few blisters, sore arms, and a claw like right hand later, I can happily see from my front window that the is water flowing to the drain. Ahh, bliss :)

So today I want to talk superstitions. Superstitions are a funny thing. How some people are superstitious, while others aren't so concerned. Don't break mirrors! Watch out for black cats crossing your path! Don't walk under a ladder! Don't even mention Friday the 13th!

Have you ever noticed there is not an aisle 13 at Save On Foods? I worked at one while finishing up university, and only noticed then. No aisle13 at the grocery stores cracks me up. Even if there is no 13 listed, it is still the 13th aisle. Hmm, I don't know if the other grocery stores have an aisle 13, I'll have to check.

I'm sure all cultures and groups have their own superstitions, but the Chinese are extremely superstitious. I'm going to talk about just houses right now. I haven't done any research, I'm just going to tell you about the things I've heard from my own family. We are of Cantonese background, so I'm not sure if the following apply to all or most Chinese groups, or just the southern ones.

The Number 4

Chinese people in general don't like the number 4. It is because it sounds like 'die', as in death. The tones are slightly different, so they're not true homonyms. But the Chinese love their puns and it's close enough. Anyways, some people refuse to have the number 4 on anything. License plates, house numbers...The number 4 has actually never bothered me. It's been in all my house numbers, both as a child and my own homes as a grown up. I'd even say it's one of my favourite numbers, since I had 4 people in my family as a child, and my own family now as an adult.

Parallel Doors

My parents had their current house built when I was around 9, so I'd heard about a few things about what is 'lucky' or not lucky. The front door and back door can not be parallel and line up. Otherwise, money that comes into the house will flow directly out of the house.

Front Door at an Angle

Similar to parallel doors. the front door should not be at an angle, it should be parallel to the sidewalk. I think this one has to do with luck and fortunate not having an easy way into the home.

Stairs Parallel to the Front Door

Stairs should not line up to the front door, otherwise luck will not enter the entirety of the house.


And there's a whole bunch of feng shui stuff that I don't even know about!

Have a great day! Don't step on any cracks, or you'll break your mother's back! ;)







Monday, February 13, 2017

Valentine's Day

Hi everyone!

Valentine's Day is right around the corner.

According to Wikpedia, it began as a Western Christian liturgical feast day honoring one or more saints named Valentinus. Legend has it that during imprisonment, Saint Valentine healed the daughter of his jailer, Asterius, and before his execution, he wrote her a letter signed "Your Valentine" as a farewell. February 14 became associated with romantic love within the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. By 18th century England, the day had evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by offering flowers, sweets, and sending greeting cards known as "valentines".


I don't know, I feel it's so commercialized now: Valentine's dinner, Valentine's flowers, and all premium priced. I had worked in a floral shop during university, and flowers, especially roses, were super expensive, the shops don't make that much money on them on that day, the prices at the greenhouse suppliers are increased due to supply and demand. I've told my husband he's lucky I'm low key and don't need anything for that day, haha.

I don't mean to be a Debbie Downer. I like all the red and pink, and I'm not normally a hearts kind of girl, but they're sweet for the occasion. I had stocked up on Valentine's last year for the girls, so they're starting to write them for classmates now. A is busy practicing her newfound writing skills. I like that the boxes of Valentine cards are enough for the whole class. We did some Valentine crafts last Monday the PD day, so over the weekend, I swapped out the Chinese New Year decor for Valentine's Day decor. 
I did make some cute felt Valentine pins, pictured in my last post. My girls will wear them tomorrow, and we also gave some to a couple family friends. Maybe I'll even make a heart shaped cake or cookies!

The black heart in the picture is pretty cool. I got a package of them from Dollarama, and you scratch out the design, revealing pretty colors underneath.

XOXO
SWAK (remember this one, sealed with a kiss!)

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Good Morning Sunshine!

Hi everyone! Auggh, my Netflix isn't loading, does anyone else have that problem when they try to sign on through the tv? Loading it onto the ipad or through whatever PS box my husband has has never given us issues, but through the tv? Bad bad bad.

Well, I didn't realize it has been this long since I've posted anything. It was a busy couple weeks of CNY, lots of eating. Last Wednesday was busy, line up for kindergarten registration, (don't even ask, the program at the high school is in high demand), in school field trip for C, signing up for the kids' swimming through the City, and I'd gone back and forth to C's school 4 times that day.

I've been feeling lazy lately. But lazy and creative, I've been back into making felt crafts these past few weeks, in addition to using the knitting loom like a mad person. I've made lots of felt food off and on over the years. It started as toys and accessories for my friends' kids (the oldest in the group) and then I've made some for my other friends over the years, as well as for my girls. I love felt, it's so versatile, and better yet, it doesn't fray! Maybe felt is my calling and I can do something lucrative with it. First, I better build a stock.


I can't believe it's Thursday already! It was a short school week, as the kids had a PD day on Monday, so we did some crafts and some baking. I'd picked up a cast iron waffle pan last week (at Superstore for $10!) so I played with that on Monday, knowing I need to get the hang of using it before making real waffles. It's nice in that it won't scratch, I have an electric waffle maker and two of the teflon coated plates are scratched. I'd looked into the cast iron ones before as a potential replacement, but they were expensive, so I was happy to see this cheapy one in the flyer to try out.


You can see one of my fails above. Actually, it's not bad, but the pan needs a lot of spray to make it non-stick. You need to really watch the temperature, I got some crispy ones too. And I've always been on the fence about whether I like our gas stove, but it's good for cast iron pans. I can't even imagine the damage I would do if I used the pan on our old ceramic topped one.


And here's my pretty one, staged for my Instagram shot. Yum! I just used some Bisquick for the first trial run. Looking forward to trying other recipes. Note so self: remember to grease the pan!

It's been cold in Edmonton again. The kids have been sick off and on the last few weeks. I've cleaned a lot of vomit, in the car, on the toilet (so close, but C missed and got it all over the grooves), and alas, the shaggy rug ('Girls, if you need to throw up, don't do it on the hairy rug, do it on the hardwood!) Now C has a cold. It's supposed to warm up again this weekend. No wonder the roads are wrecked here, up and done 20-30 degrees each week.

It's almost Friday! Happy Friday Eve! 💜

Friday, January 27, 2017

Chinese New Year!

Hi everyone! Gung Hei Fat Choy! (Cantonese) Gong Xi Fa Cai! (Mandarin) Saturday, January 28 2017 marks the new lunar year, the Year of the Rooster.

How do we prepare for the new year? The house needs to be clean, out with the old and in with the new. I do my best, but it's tough with the rugrats, what was clean last week (heck, yesterday) is not necessarily clean any more. No cleaning on New Year's Day, we take in the new luck and rest that day.

I have some new year decorations already, but decided to buy a few more. Before we could only get them in Chinatown, but they're so much more accessible. Nevermind at T&T grocery store, mine are from Wal-Mart or Superstore! Red is lucky and auspicious.

We get the lucky money ready, lai si in Cantonese. Married people give the money in pretty envelopes (traditionally red and gold, there are also cool ones that include licensed characters like Hello Kitty, Mickey Mouse, and Anna and Elsa) to the young folk, be they my children or my younger brother and his wife.

We don't have a lot of children's books about Chinese culture, but we do have the one below by Karen Katz, author of the cute lift the flap baby books that my daughters loved. Unfortunately this one isn't a lift the flap, but it's pretty cute and pretty informative.





My daughter C participated in the lion dance at the school's Chinese New Year assembly. So cute watching the little second graders! Happy Chinese New Year!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

7th Birthday Party

Hi everyone! It's already Wednesday! It was another busy weekend. Swimming in the morning, came home to shower and have lunch, and then off to Bonnie Doon Shopping Centre to check out some Chinese New Festivities. For dinner, we went to my daughter's favourite restaurant, Shanghai 456 so C could happily eat dumplings at her family birthday party, which was just us and her two sets of grandparents.

On Sunday, we had C's friend birthday party at 4 Cats studio. It was so much fun! I've dropped off C there for a birthday party in the past, but have never hosted one there. It was really cool in there, I enjoyed looking at all the artwork, and the paint and colors were so pretty and cheery that I had to take a picture. I should have taken a picture of the splatter room, that's where they tape canvas to the wall and you just throw balloons filled with paint on it to make abstract paintings. S said that's what he wants to do for his next birthday.

We had 10 little girls in total, and they made dragons. After the sculpting, S and I got the girls snacks and cupcakes. Michelle the instructor was good with the kids. A was the youngest one there and did really well, even the instructor commented that A would be fine by herself for a drop off party or class. And I even got the chance to make one!



I made cupcakes for C's party, but I've never been good at icing, I don't have the patience nor finesse. Since the girls are little, I figured I could distract them from the imperfections with sprinkles and unicorns, haha. It seemed to work. I took the easy way and made the cupcakes from a cake mix, and even got fancy and got the kind with confetti sprinkles within, The kids were pretty impressed. Mmm, I love cream cheese icing.



C's real birthday is Friday, so I'll probably go pick up some cupcakes from the local bakery for her. 

Have a great day!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

More Sweets

Hi everyone! I've never intended this to be a cooking/baking blog, though I enjoy these past times when I'm in the right mood. But I'm a simple cook and baker, the easier and quicker the recipe, the better.

I've decided to talk about these Butterscotch Confetti squares. My sister in law had made some the last couple of Christmases, and I've become addicted. Even though I'm supposed to make an attempt to eat healthier in 2017, I couldn't help but make another batch. I was craving them! After they were ready, I cut them into small squares so at least I wasn't eating a big square. I also froze half and gave a quarter of the tray to a friend. (I've since taken out another quarter. In my defense, the husband and C have also been eating them too.)

My sil had given me the recipe, but then I found one that I had on hand too, and it used less ingredients, so I kind of combined the two. My recipe was from a grocery store flyer (maybe Sobey's?) from over ten years ago, because it also has what has become my go to banana bread recipe, I may share in a future post.

I'm not usually one for marshmallows, but mixed in with the peanut butter sauce, it is so.good.



Butterscotch Confetti Squares
*adapted from an old grocery flyer recipe

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 package butterscotch chips
1 250 g package mini marshmallows

1. Line 9x9 pan with wax paper.
2. Combine butter and peanut butter in saucepan over low heat. Add vanilla.
3. Stir in butterscotch chips and marshmallows. 
4. Stir well and pack into pan. 
5. Refrigerate for an hour and cut into squares.

Enjoy!