31 August 2009

Look What I Got



Josh loves eggs. Scrambled, sunny-side up, easy-over, soft-boiled, hard-boiled, browned, steamed, omelets… he loves them all.

One of my favorite egg recipes is Huevos Ree-os and we probably have these at least once a week. I’ve been using our skillet, but I’m not very happy about the way the eggs “spread” when I crack them. I’ve tried using one of those egg rings, but a little bit of the egg would still manage to seep out from under the ring. I hardly ever get a perfectly smooth, round edge to my eggs.

And then I found this --


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Isn’t it cute? It’s just perfect for making those perfectly round eggs that I’d been despairing of ever making. And did I mention that it’s so cute?


From the same “family,” I found this egg poacher. It’s made of silicone rubber and you just crack the egg in it and put the whole thing in 2-3 inches of boiling water.


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Jo!e actually also has a special omelet-maker. I was so tempted to get that as well, but was able to exercise some (ahem!) self-control. Their other "toy" kitchen devices are so adorable that if I didn’t get out of the shop when I did, I probably would have bought their whole line!

What "toy" kitchen gadget(s) do you have?

29 August 2009

Fix-It Friday: Beauty



FacesFixIt

We had the photo of a handsome boy to work with last week… and this week, it’s a photo of a beautiful girl.

I took a look at the photo and thought to myself that it looked perfect already.


Original

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So I just decided to just have fun and see what I can come up with…


Fix-It #1 (Cropped, soft focus, played around with the saturation)

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Fix-It #2 (Tilted the photo, sharpened)

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Fix-It #3 (focal B&W)

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What do you think? Which one do you like better?

Check out all other edits on I ♥ Faces.

28 August 2009

Sweet!



Josh is such a sweet big brother. He likes going over to Zoë and putting his arm around her and giving her a squeeze. Depending on her mood, sometimes she hugs back, sometimes she simply savors the hugs; other times, when she’s cranky, she shakes him off or pushes him away.


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Okay, enough pictures, Mommy! We want to play now.
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27 August 2009

Korean Food



I love Korean food. I love Korean barley tea. Tonight, we had dinner at a Korean restaurant near where we live. What we ordered...

Korean pancakes (Shared)
Korean pancakes

Spicy beef with squid - What I had. This came with kimchee, a bowl of soup, and a bowl of rice. Just the right amount of sweet spiciness. There are other dishes that I'd want to try, but I always (!) end up ordering this dish.
Spicy beef with squid

Stone pot rice - What Chris had. Served VERY hot on a stone pot (what else?) with beef, bean sprouts, spinach, carrots, beef, mushroom, and a raw egg, which you'd have to mix with the rice and all the other ingredients to "cook" it.
STone pot rice


26 August 2009

Palawan



For Veronica… who wanted to see what I look like.


This is a photo of me and Chris, taken during our trip to Palawan. When we were still dating. Taken during a time when we were still fairly fit. When we could go on ‘adventure’ holidays, never mind how troublesome it was to get there. Taken during a time when we could, without a care in the world, go kayaking, go diving, explore bat caves. I know, I know –yucky. But yes, we did do that, but we never will again, I promise.
Palawan kayak-1

25 August 2009

The View from Here



One of the many things I love about where we live is the view. We get a wonderful view of the water –from all the rooms.

I sometimes pretend not to see the sea of toys on the floor and look out the window instead and I feel a sense of calm. Before I snap back to reality and try to marshal the children into helping me tidy up.

Clear nights with a full moon are the best. I turn off all the lights and for a couple of minutes just enjoy the shimmer of silvery moonlight on the water. If I time it right, one of the many cruise ships will happen by on its way to the open waters, lights all ablaze, in complete contrast to the darkness of the night. That and the light from the moon makes for one breathtaking view.

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The daytime view is not too shabby either. In the mornings, we see the cruise ships come back into the harbor after a night of partying and gambling in international waters. We see fleets of fishing boats on their way out to sea. We see tugboats pulling big cargo ships. Sometimes we see sailboats, speedboats, junks and ferries.
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Oh, and that little bit of dark at the lower right hand corner? That's a hill... that leads to the Pottinger Peak Trail, which in turn, leads to Big Wave Bay (less than 2 hours' hike). And yes, we're still in the city. I don't think we'll ever move.

24 August 2009

Family Meetings



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The first time I heard of such a thing was the first time I spent Christmas with Chris’ family when we were still dating.  (Side note: See, it used to be that every December, all his brothers and sisters would go back home, usually with their respective partners, to spend Christmas with the family. Now that most of us have kids, we decided to go every summer instead.)

I can’t remember exactly why they called for a family meeting that time. I remember thinking, “Hmm, this should be interesting.” I was wondering how it would go down, what the dynamics would be. Would one person be the facilitator? What would happen if there were dissenting views? Will someone be taking notes? Having grown up an only child, this was all new to me.

Their family meeting wasn’t anything formal. They just gathered around the dining table: some sitting down, one might be leaning against the kitchen counter, some might be standing. Someone would open the discussion by declaring why they were having the meeting, what issue/s they needed to discuss. Then the floor was pretty much open to anyone who would want to speak. Someone would say something. Someone else would respond. Opinions were voiced and shared. Respectfully. They all listened. Respectfully.

What really struck me was how supportive they all were of each other and how well they listened to each other. Even if there were different points of view, there were no raised voices.

I remember thinking what a wonderful family and what a great practice. Oh, and even though for the rest of the year, the siblings live on opposite ends of the country and with Chris in a different part of the world, they still email each other and call each other up. Not necessarily over something that needs to be discussed; sometimes, only well, just because. That made me really wish for siblings (and not just one!).

And no, it was not all serious talk. Even for serious discussions, someone would invariably crack a joke and they’d all laugh and enjoy the humor. After the laughter had subsided, someone would gently guide the discussion back to the topic at hand.

I also remember saying to myself, “I am so implementing family meetings when we have our own family.” Of course, our children are young yet, but when they are a bit older, I think it would be a grand idea to have regular family meetings the way Chris has them with his family.

Did you do / will you be / are you doing family meetings?
What do you think of family meetings?

While we were in Vancouver, one of the places that we visited was the Burnaby Village Museum. That, together with Science World, was one of my favorite places to visit with the kids.

As soon as you step onto the grounds, you are transported back to the 1920’s. The people who work there wear period costumes, so you actually feel like you’re in the midst of Little House on the Prairie. Walking around in the schoolhouse, I felt like I would find a desk with the Laura Ingalls’ initials carved on it.

This photo here was taken at the general store. I just love those old tins and old-time candies…

 

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Do head on over to I ♥ Faces for other nostalgic pics in this week’s entries.

21 August 2009

Hide-and-Seek



One of Zoë’s favorite games to play downstairs is hide-and-seek. Except that there aren’t really many places to hide. So what she and Josh do is hide behind the trees, trees with trunks not thick enough to hide a regular adult, trees which are spaced only about 8 feet apart, in a straight line. It doesn’t seem to matter, though. They still have fun.


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Is Koko coming yet?
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Zoë’s turn at being “it.”
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Fix-It Friday: No Limits



FacesFixIt

Time to play around and try my hand at editing photos again...

This is the original photo we have to work with this week. Handsome boy. Just look at those eyes... It’s quite a good photo, methinks, just needs a bit of brightening.


NoLimit - Original



So I adjusted. A bit here, a bit there. First I adjusted the saturation and the light fill with Picasa 3 to brighten it up a tad. I then toyed with soft focus and contrast and sharpened it until I got to this:

Fix-It #1

NoLimit - Edited



This one In sepia, contrast adjusted from the edited photo above.

Fix-It #2

NoLimit - EditedSepia


Fix-It #3 (with tilt)

NoLimit - EditedTilted

What do you think? Which one do you like better?

Check out all other edits on I ♥ Faces.

20 August 2009

Finally, Home



It’s been three weeks. Three weeks of laid back life. Three weeks of “surprise” trips to pools, parks, museums, etc. Three weeks of rambunctious play, of kids underfoot. Three weeks of the great outdoors, more than enough space for the kids to run around. Three weeks of enjoying the kids -- cousins playing with each other. There were gentle (and not-so-gentle) reminders to “play nicely,” to “play quietly” when the younger cousins would be napping.
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It was a fun three weeks. Josh wanted to stay on until Jan 5 (don’t ask, I don’t know why that particular date either!). Zoë had stopped asking to “go home” after the first week and had happily adjusted and had been having a blast playing with Baby K and Little K, her partner-in-mischief.

It was great hanging around with my in-laws, staying up late playing gin rummy (of sorts), chatting and catching up. Most nights, long after everyone had gone to bed, my sister-in-law and I would sit at the table, each working on the photos that we’d taken that day. She’s a wonderful photographer. She actually took many of our wedding pictures.

It was so wonderful seeing how Chris and his siblings get along so well and are so supportive of each other. I love how they tease each other and really, truly enjoy each other’s company. I’m not exaggerating when I say that they are the genuinely nicest people I know.

Anyway… we are home, finally. While I miss the lazy days, the nice, cool Vancouver weather (except for that horrible heat wave that first week), it is nice to be home.

Now if only the kids can stop waking up at 3am every night.

19 August 2009

Best Cousins (and Partners-in-Mischief)



Zoë and Little K. Best cousins.

Of all the cousins, these two may be the most strong-willed, but in my opinion, the two are the cutest and sweetest little kids of the bunch. They are full of mischief. They get in trouble -- a lot! They totally hug back when hugged. They say the cutest things. Maybe it’s how old they are --old enough to get into mischief, yet still chock-a-block with sweet innocence.

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Zoë is 2 and Little K is 3. A year apart, one boy, one girl. This was the first time they’d met each other. Yet they took to each other right away. Well, after Zoë got over her “I want to go home” blues.

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They have their own little games. While the older boys were playing aliens and other make-believe fighting games, these two gleefully turned the lights on and off crying out, “It’s sleeping time!” or “It’s playing time!” They had a blast being Super Zoë and Super Little K rescuing cars and dolls that they had thrown off the bed.

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One night, I came out of the room to see both of them standing on a chair in front of the fish tank. Little K had his little chubby hand in the water. I could see little bits of “dust” everywhere in the water.   A whole container of shrimp brine had been emptied into the tank!  

I immediately asked them to get off and while I was trying to get Zoë to come down, Little K dipped into the water once more, this time with the lid of the empty fish food container, scooped up some water and was trying to pour water into the container that Zoë was holding up for him! The little packet of silica gel in the fish food had somehow been dumped into the tank, too. (Sorry, folks. No pics of this crime. I was too horrified to even have thought of running to get my camera.)

By the time my brother-in-law, whose fish tank it is, came over the following morning, he’d discovered that one of the neon tetras was the sad casualty of Zoë’s and Little K’s attempt to “feed the fish.”

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Both said sorry in the sweetest possible way and promised not to do it again, to only look at the fish and not feed or put their hands in. The next two days saw them staying away from the fish tank and when they’d pass by, Zoë would raise a finger and say, “Only look, okay?”

Of course, not long after that, we caught the two of them standing on the same chair, leaning in very close to the fish tank, plotting which fish to feed next.

18 August 2009

Steveston Village



We visited with Chris’ friend in Richmond last week and then headed out to Steveston afterward for ice cream. I’d visited Steveston Village over 10 years ago and it doesn’t seem to have changed at all.

Still a charming fishing village.
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Seafood is sold fresh directly from the fishing vessels.
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(Sorry, Lindy. Close your eyes for the next few photos.)
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I think the shops from my first visit eons ago are still there. I definitely remember the souvenir shop where I got a set of ceramic frogs only to find out when I got home that they were “Made in China.”
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What’s noticeably different is that this time, I found a place that sells bubble tea!
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Hah. Even in Steveston, I was able to get my bubble tea fix.

17 August 2009

I ♥ Faces - Week 32: Big Bubble



Zoë's favorite place to hang out at my in-laws' house is this little patio. Usually she can be found with Baby K, shoving clothes pins through the slats.

She discovered this bottle of bubbles that I got and here she is quietly trying to perfect her "blow," content to play alone.
blowing bubbles - zoe


Do head on over to I ♥ Faces for other fun bubble pics in this week’s entries.

14 August 2009

At Science World



We spent a couple of hours yesterday morning at Science World. If you ever are visiting Vancouver and it’s a rainy day and you can’t really enjoy the many wonderful parks that Vancouver has, head on to Science World.

It has plenty of things to keep the children occupied and it’s great fun for adults, too.
Children under 3 go in for free. Tickets for children 4-12 are CAD13.75 and adults are CAD19.75 each. Not exactly cheap, but it’s really worth it.

Here are some photos from the visit:

Zoë working on this puzzle by herself and she actually got it right –heh, even though she was just playing around with the discs.
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Josh enjoyed this one…
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I’d never seen someone happier coming down a garbage chute…
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Josh and cousin Big K working together to get the little ball bearings in place.
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My little girl genius trying to figure this one out…
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Meanwhile, the boy is working out the relationship between distance and size…
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