31 October 2009

Wonton, Two-Ton, Three-Ton



We usually have dinner somewhere in Central after church, but because we had some errands to run in Causeway Bay, we decided to have dinner there instead. Chris wanted dumplings; I wanted wonton. This place serves both:

DSC03660

Chee Kai is listed in the Michelin Guide (Hong Kong) and is famous for its wonton noodles. The restaurant is small and noisy, so if you are looking for ambience and fine dining, look somewhere else. It is almost always packed. More often than not, you’d have to share a table with strangers.

As soon as you are seated, you are served with the ubiquitous cup of tea, as you would in most ‘local’ dining places, but at least here, the tea is served in a clean teacup and not in a plastic drinking glass.

DSC03663

They have set meals for HK$40+ (roughly US$5), which includes your choice of main dish (usually noodles) plus a side dish (veggies, mushrooms) or dessert. For an additional HK$2 (US$0.25), you can get a glass of soy milk with the set meal.

This is what I had –a bowl of wonton (minus the noodles).

DSC03665
Wonton are a kind of dumpling, typically with some minced pork and shrimps (with chives and ginger) as fillings. As opposed to regular dumplings (jiaozi), the wonton wrapper is thinner and softer. Also, as far as I know, regular dumplings have more meat and are generally larger in size. See the difference here.
A side dish of mushrooms. There were about six mushrooms, I think. I’d already had a few before I remembered to take a photo.

DSC03668

Chee Kai used to be right across from Times Square, but has now moved a little bit down the road. It is now along Percival Street, still less than three minutes’ walk from Times Square, counting the time you’d be waiting for the light to change to cross the street! They’re open from 11:00am to 11:30pm. Really good value for money, if you ask me. The staff is quite friendly and helpful. Service is fast and efficient. Do drop by if ever you find yourself visiting Hong Kong and shopping in the Causeway Bay area.

30 October 2009

Josh and Zoë, Sr.



chrisandsing
This is me and Chris, when we were around 2 years old, I think. I wish Chris’ photo came out better in the scan… I had these two photos framed when we first got married. Zoë looks at these two photos and says that it’s “Josh and Zoë.” Josh used to say the same thing, but now he knows that they’re actually photos “of Daddy and Mommy when they were little.”

Super Stoked #2



Josh is stoked because:

Zoë is stoked because:
    • She got to come along tonight to Josh’s Halloween party!
    • She managed to actually fill her Halloween bag with sweets: Two chocolate eyeballs and a gumdrop. Which was three more than what Josh got (zero!), because Josh was busy running around being Super Joshua and didn’t really check out the various sweets available (thank goodness!).
    • She had her very first lollipop. (This was what she thanked Jesus for at bedtime prayers tonight: “Thank you, Jesus, for lollipop at Koko’s school and Zoë brush teeth after.”)

I am stoked because:
    • Both Josh and Zoë had a really wonderful time at the Halloween party. I am SO glad that we went. I had such fun watching them have a blast. I am SO, SO glad we went.
    • Zoë’s glee at coming along to Josh’s Halloween party was absolutely priceless. She was already waiting downstairs in her purple cape when we drove by to pick her up after Josh’s Socatots class. The first thing she said when she climbed into the car was “I go to party, Mommy.” During the entire 15-minute drive to Josh’s school, she couldn’t stop smiling and talking about going to “HAH-luh-ween” party.
    • Chris is home from his trip to Malaysia and he got me some muruku (a popular South Indian snack), after I’d mentioned that I’d been craving for some after seeing them mentioned in Veronica’s Diwali post.

Muruku
    • I just finished making mini spider brownie cupcakes for Josh to bring to school tomorrow. Not exactly a work of art, but I know that Josh will be thrilled with how they look. Aren’t they creepy? Taste-wise? I know the brownies are yummy, but I don’t know how weird the taste would be overall, because I used nori for the legs and the top. I also used a thin layer of vanilla frosting to “glue” the nori in place and I used green gel icing for the eyes.


Spider Brownie Cupcakes Spider Brownie Cupcakes

Chris is stoked because:
    • He’s home!
    • He gets to eat the leftover brownies!

Happy Friday, everyone!

29 October 2009

Super Stoked



Josh’s school is having a Halloween party tonight (Thu) from 6-8pm.

Josh has his Socatots class from 4-5pm.

I’d already told his teachers a couple of weeks back that we wouldn’t be attending tonight’s party. Josh would just have to get his Halloween fix with his classmates on Friday morning when everyone will be bringing in some Halloween treats to share with the rest of the class.

~~—~~

Josh had actually brought up in conversation this Halloween party a number of times in the past week. He’s very excited about it. When I told him that yes, I’d be making some Halloween treats for him to bring to school for his Halloween party on Friday morning, he corrected me and said that he was actually talking about the Halloween party on Thursday night. He even told me the date – October 29.

I’d said no initially because (1) he would be tired from Socatots; (2) it would be past his bedtime by the time we’d get home from the party (even if we’d leave early); (3) it’s a school night; (4) he might not have a proper dinner with all the Halloween treats one tends to have at these parties.

But yesterday, when he was talking excitedly again about the “night” party, I didn’t have the heart to tell him that he wouldn’t be going. It is, after all, his last year at this school and he’s really looking forward to being at a proper Halloween party “at night.” So I picked up the phone and called the school to let them know that we’d be attending after all.

Josh is stoked. Super stoked.


28 October 2009

Mini



There was a Classic Mini charity show at one of the malls this past weekend and there were quite a number of Minis on display, but this one caught my eye. This one drew the most ooh’s and aah’s.

DSC03547

DSC03549

Lovely to look at, but I like my cars bigger and a bit more discreet.

For more WW fun, check out 7 Clown Circus, 5 Minutes for Mom, and Ordinary and Awesome.


27 October 2009

In an Ideal World



We would not be living so far away from our families; our children would have easy access to both sets of grandparents and can grow up playing with their cousins. (But then we wouldn’t be living in this exciting, multi-cultural place and experiencing the many things that we would otherwise not be experiencing.)

Neither Chris nor I have to work, so that we can take off with the children whenever and wherever we want; so that we can both be present at all of Josh’s and Zoë’s activities.

I would have endless patience and I would never feel irritated when the children interrupt whatever it is that I’m doing.

I would be a very organized person and I would be able to find exactly what I want, when I need it.

Babies are born potty-trained.

I would be in bed by 10:00 pm.

There would be no need for products like Spanx.

Men would enjoy chick flicks as much as women do.

Our bodies do not go south as we age.

There would not be a need for anonymity in the blogosphere.

Lists like this do not exist.


(What would you add to this list?)

I Want to Take a Moment (#3)



Winding down from a busy week month, I am now able to finally do a post and properly thank these wonderful blogger pals for giving a reason to smile during this hectically busy month.

First off, thanks to Keyona from The New Norm for the Superior Scribbler Award. Keyona (don’t you just love her name?) is funny and witty and she writes from the heart. Do go on over and say hello.

ButtonSuperiorScribblerAward

These are the rules:
1. Each Superior Scribbler I name today must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving bloggy friends.
2. Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.
3. Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog.
4. Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

(I’ve skipped a couple of rules which state that I must link back to a certain post and add my name to the Mr.Linky list, but there wasn’t any link included…)

~~--~~

Michelle from Flying Giggles & Lollipops gave me the Best Blog Award. Thanks so much, Michelle! Michelle is mom to two very adorable little girls…so very adorable. Do visit her blog and say hi.

bestblog_award

The rules for this award are:

  • Accept the award post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his/her blog link.
  • Pass the award to 15 other blogs that you have recently discovered and think are great. Remember to contact those bloggers you have awarded to let them know they have been chosen for the award.

~~—~~

The following Honest Scrap award seems to be a popular one this month! I have to thank Jenny Mac (Let’s Have a Cocktail), Tami (Hearts Make Families), and Golonghorns (Traveling Longhorns). The rules are that you have to tell 10 honest things about yourself and credit the person/s who gave you the award, then pass the award along to nine bloggers whom you adore! I’ve already received this award before and have done the list, so if you are interested in reading about why I decided not to be a nurse, click here.

honest_scrap_award

~~—~~

A round of thanks goes to Jenny Mac of Let’s Have a Cocktail for her I Give Good Blog award. The rules of this award are: Make a cocktail, pick out some of your favorite bloggers. Send this award to 4 of them. Tell them why you think they give good blog.

letshaveacocktailIGIVEGOODBLOGaward

~~--~~

I’ve decided to combine the Superior Scribbler award and the I Give Good Blog award and share them with the following:

Jenjen from Gotta Love Mom

Simone from Chocolate Covered Daydreams

BlueViolet from A Nut in a Nutshell

The Redhead Riter

Michelle from Flying Giggles & Lollipops

I am passing along the Best Blog award and the Honest Scrap award to the following:

Aunt Lolo from Bubba Bubbles

Veronica from Of Mice and RaMen

Tami from Hearts Make Families

Jana from Sugar, Spice, and a Little Bit of Life

Yelena from June Daisies

Lori from My Life Interrupted

Cascia at Healthy Moms

E.L.F. at Herb of Grace

All About Toys: 101

Amanda from Lunchbox Limbo

Alicia from More Than Words

Organize Your Life

Olivia from LIV’s WAHM Blog

Please do not feel obligated in any way to do anything about the awards beyond a smile.


26 October 2009

Zoë Tales



Zoë was having some fruit chews and Chris leaned over and asked her to share some with him.
Zoë: No, I’m coughing. See? (Fake coughing sounds) Cannot share.
~~—~~

Zoë: Where are baby scissors?
Me: (Too tired to get up and look for them) I don’t know, Zoë.
Zoë: (Big frown on face) How can Zoë cut paper?! Zoë not a cutter!!
She then made cutting motions with her fingers on the paper to show me that she could not cut it with just her fingers.
Zoë: See?! (Looking at me in frustration, one hand on her hip)
~~—~~

Zoë feeds her doll… by stuffing a cran-raisin into its mouth!

doll collage

23 October 2009

These are some of my father’s paintings of the Philippines.

A Fishing Village. I don’t know what it is about this painting, but I really, really like it!
Fisherman's Hut


Boracay. Way back in 1996. Now if you go to Boracay, you’ll probably see a less rustic scene. There has been much development in Boracay over the years. I haven’t been in a while and I would like to think that it hasn’t been “over-developed.” I remember the water to be very clear and you could go very far out into the sea and still be only waist-deep in water. I remember the sand to be very white and powdery fine. If it’s not so inconvenient to get to from Hong Kong (no direct flight), I’d love to take the children there for a beach holiday.
Boracay


Villa Escudero (Philippines). A coconut plantation /resort. While I remember going there with classmates from high school, I don’t remember too much beyond eating our lunch on a long table, right on the stream, with water running over our feet.
Puerto Galera, Mindoro


Village After Eruption of Mt. Pinatubo (Philippines). Oh, I remember this. Ashes, ashes everywhere. The entire place was just covered under several feet of ashes. Mount Pinatubo last erupted in 1991 and is "the second largest terrestrial eruption of the 20th century (after the 1912 eruption of Novarupta)" --according to Wikipedia.
Village After Eruption of Mt. Pinatubo


Another fishing village. I never noticed before that as signature for this painting, my dad put his initials on the side of the outrigger!
Fishing Village


Mines View Park, Baguio City. Baguio City is the summer capital of the Philippines.
Mine's View Park, Baguio




Jones Bridge, Manila. BuiIt in 1701, it was formerly known as Puente de Espana (Bridge of Spain). It was rebuilt by the Americans in 1916 and renamed after Atkinson Jones, a member of the U.S. Congress and chairman of the Insular Affairs Committee who sponsored the Philippine Autonomy Act in 1916. Jones Bridge was once hailed as Manila's queen of the bridges until it fell into neglect and disrepair in the 1980s. However, some partial restoration has preserved the elegance of its neoclassical architecture (from Wikimapia).
Jones Bridge, Manila



Have a good weekend!

22 October 2009

Earning Minutes



I usually limit Josh and Zoë to no more than 30 minutes of TV and computer time (combined). So, if Josh already watched 15 minutes of TV, he then gets only 15 minutes of computer time. This has worked out pretty well, because of my old trusty friend, The Timer.

Josh is pretty good with stopping once the timer rings. Lately though, he has been negotiating for additional minutes. He actually came to me the other day and asked, “What can I do to earn minutes, Mommy?”

I decided that since he wanted to “earn” additional minutes, I would get him to do some worksheets. Yeah, yeah, I know that’s probably from where he got the idea of giving us worksheets. These are not schoolwork, but are merely activity books that I have bought for times when he’d get bored and complain that he has nothing to do. I brand these activity books as “treats” and this has really worked for us, because both Josh and Zoë really get into doing the worksheets. Yes, Zoë gets her own, too. I cannot not give Zoë her own if I give Josh one worksheet. She gets the connect-the-dots, coloring, and tracing ones.

Josh gets to choose which worksheets to do: Phonics, Math, or Science. I don’t have a set rule where he gets extra five minutes for each worksheet. He usually gets so engrossed in doing them that he does at least three before he’d remember that he was doing them to “earn” additional computer time.

We did a few Science ones the other day and he learned about wild and tame animals, as well as carnivores, herbivores, and omnivores. He also learned that ostriches don’t fly “because their wings are small and their bodies are too big.” We were able to finish 6+ pages of the workbook. For all that, I figured that he definitely earned his extra 10 minutes.
Josh cracked both of us up by making up other “-vores” when he couldn’t remember the words “herbivore” and “omnivore.” Doobyvore, Berryvore… you get the idea. It was quite a fun session for both of us. And Josh was happy that he earned additional minutes!


Josh at 18 months
DSC01112

21 October 2009

Many, many of my dad’s paintings are of sceneries in China. He would travel to China at least once a year, visit different places. He has been as far as Tibet, Inner Mongolia… places that I hope to visit one day. Here are some his paintings of China…


The Hills of Flame at Turufan, Kansu (甘肃). Kansu borders Mongolia to the north and Xinjiang Province to the west.The Hills of Flame at Turufan, Kansu




Round Houses at Yong-ding, Fujian. The “round houses” are actually earthen castles of the Hakka people. Read more about these unique round earthen fortresses here.Round Houses at Yong-ding, Fujian



Mount Huang (). This is but one of the paintings that my dad did of Huangshan (literally “Yellow Mountain”). From the way he described it and from what I have seen in his paintings, this is on my places-to-visit list. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Mount Huangshan


Mountains of Zhangjiajie (Hunan Province)Mountains of Zhangjiajie


Yellow River (), Zhengzhou. Yellow River, Zhengzhou


Shaoshan (韶山), Changsa, Hunan. The birthplace of Mao Zedong.Shaoshan, Changsa, Hunan



Jiuzaigou, China. Another UNESCO World Heritage Site.Jiuzaigou, China



20 October 2009

‘Worksheets’ by Josh



Josh had been writing equations for us to do –see:
Equations

All of us would be quizzed based on this. He said that he gave Zoë an easy one because she’s only 2.5 years old and then he asked me to write one for him, too, but not to make it too difficult. When he saw that I wrote 6 + 1, he had this huge smile on his face and said, “That’s so easy. It’s 7!”

I found out from his teachers at school yesterday during our Parent-Teacher Conference that he had been doing the same with them. He would write out equations and ‘test’ them to see if they would know the answers to the equations that he had written down.

Today, I got a new sketch book for Josh and upon coming home from school, he immediately set to work. Within minutes, he presented me with this:

Spot the difference

I was supposed to “Spot the Differences” between the two drawings.

I played ‘Teacher’ and all that when I was younger, but I don’t think I ever presented my teachers and my parents with worksheets for them to do!

19 October 2009

Resourceful



Zoë wanted ice cream. I told her that we didn’t have ice cream anymore. She went away. I thought that was that, until I went to the kitchen and saw this…


DSC03519

DSC03518

I get ice cream Zoë-self, Mommy.

16 October 2009

The street's name is actually Pottinger Street, named after the first Governor of Hong Kong, Henry Pottinger. Most locals, however, call this street 石板街 (shek ban gai in Cantonese), which literally means Stone Slabs Street, in reference to the granite stone steps that run the length of this street.

 

I love this street. Whenever I go to Central and when I have the time, I love walking down the steps and just feasting my eyes on the wares that the different stores and stalls sell. There are a couple of clothing outlets, stalls that sell all kinds of ribbons, a few watch repair stalls, but this street is most well-known for accessories. If you are going to a costume party, this is the place to come to for various accessories to complete your get-up.

DSC00785

Check out the masks. Fidel Castro to Miss Piggy and everything else in-between.

DSC00778

 

Fun wigs for a hen night?

DSC00776

Feather boas.

DSC00780

Tiaras, goofy head bands…

DSC00782

Various footwear.

DSC00786

 

Even rubber dismembered body parts (perfect for Halloween). I’m only guessing they’re rubber, because I couldn’t bring myself to touch them!

DSC00779

And hairpieces. Yes, I know I mentioned this already, but I didn’t want to leave you with that disturbing image of those fake dismembered body parts…

DSC00776

 

If you’re ever in Hong Kong and plan to visit Pottinger Street, here’s a tip: Remember to wear comfortable shoes. Heels make it very tricky to walk up and down those stone steps.

15 October 2009

A Little Computer Drama



…starring Josh.

 

Yesterday, while Zoë playing on the computer, either she or Josh must have pulled something and the monitor just died. I knew nothing was wrong with the PC, but it was a good excuse to get them out of the study and away from the PC screen. In case you were wondering, they were on the Playhouse Disney website. Totally addicted, both Josh and Zoë. They know how to turn on the computer by themselves and click onto the site (through an icon on the desktop). Anytime it gets quiet around here, I know just where to look for them.

 

Josh was VERY upset that he couldn’t play anymore. He blamed Zoë for what happened and was not happy that he didn’t get to even play before the monitor shut down. He was devastated, inconsolable. Mommy, but I LOVE the computer! What will I do now? Even after telling him that we’ll somehow get it fixed, but that he should do something else in the meantime. But that would be so boring! I LOVE the computer! The computer is the most fun! I don’t like you, Zoë. I won’t play with you ever again!

 

Zoë, who was totally over it and had moved on to other things, went to the shoe cabinet, took out her shoes, put them on. She grabbed my bag, threw a couple of toys in, then walked to the door, saying,”Bye-bye, KoKo. Bye-bye, Yaya. Bye-bye, Mommy!”

Yaya (our helper): Where are you going, Zoë?

Zoë: China! Bye-bye! (Reaching up to open the door)

 

Josh looked up and his face started to crumple. He thought that Zoë was going away because he was not being nice to her!

Josh: Don’t go, Zoë. I love you! Don’t go. Come back.

Zoë: No, I go to China.

Josh: No, Zoë! I love you, come back! *In tears now*

Zoë: Okay.

 

I had to fight to keep a straight face. I was so torn between awww and laughing out loud. These two, they’re just a smorgasbord of non-stop entertainment around here. The rush of bungee-jumping is nothing compared to simple every day life with these two little ones.

14 October 2009

Something I Don’t Want My Kids to Do



that I did… bungee-jump. Off the Kawarau Suspension Bridge in New Zealand, the original bungee jumping site. In 1998, when I was young-er and more daring.

Not brave enough to do a solo jump, a colleague from Singapore and I decided to do a tandem jump instead. Here we are on the platform, right before the jump. Listening to strains of Purple Rain. Surprisingly relaxing.
1-The Wave

We were supposed to take a flying leap off the platform, but we just …fell.
2-The Fall

3-The Bounce
This was us screaming our heads off as we bounced and bounced and bounced. Like one of those small rubber balls attached to a piece of rubber band that takes forever to stop bouncing once you throw it.
4-Down

What a rush, though. I have to say.

13 October 2009

So the Process Begins



On Sunday, I took Josh for his first school interview. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I was surprised at what I saw.

There were easily over 100 children in the assembly hall. As we entered, Josh was given a sticker with his name on it and then he was led to the front of the hall where there were six small tables. Each table had around 5-6 children. There were crayons, pens, and paper, so that they could draw while waiting to be taken to the classroom where they will be “interviewed.” A teacher was at each table talking to the children while they drew.

In the meantime, parents were free to browse the tables where the school had set up a display of the educational materials they use for Primary 1 (P1). After that, we had a choice of sitting in the Waiting Area outside for when the children come out from their interview or we could do a school tour conducted by one of the older students (P5 or P6).

When Josh came out from the interview, he told me that they watched a clip and afterwards the teacher asked them questions about what they had seen –one question for each child in the room. That was it. I don’t know if there was more to it beyond that, but Josh said that after they answered the question, each child was then led back to the Waiting Area.

This is it. A couple more rounds of this similar process with the two other schools that we’d applied to. And we will receive notification of their assessment (and eventual acceptance or rejection) sometime early next year.

Josh seems pretty cool about the whole thing, so I’m not very worried. I am concerned, though, about my lack of preparation for this one. A student “portfolio” was an optional element in the application –limited to five A4-size sheets. I did put together a couple of the press releases that featured Josh taking part in an art exhibit when he was but two years old, a letter of recommendation from his current school’s Director, and another page where I described how Josh is as a child, as a “learner,” his interests, etc. I thought that would be good enough. How much of a portfolio can a 4-year old have anyway? Wrong thinking, Mommy!

I felt so inadequate when I saw the portfolios that other parents had put together. Five full A4 pages, double-sided, filled to the brim with photos and information, featuring the child in different light –as an athlete, as a musician, as an artist, a world traveller (yes!), etc. I don’t think I even put photos of Josh on any of the pages that I’d submitted beyond the requisite ID photo on the application form.

Ah well. This school that we went to on Sunday is a local private school, with a very good reputation. Apparently highly competitive and not easy to get in to. This one is our second choice. Only because we are concerned about the amount of homework that local schools are notorious for, but we’ll see. The students that we’ve met all were reasonably fluent in English and Putonghua, while being able to speak Cantonese, too; more importantly, all seemed happy and very well-adjusted. Of course, I'm sure only the best students were hand-picked to show us around that day. Still.

*Sigh* Now the waiting begins.


12 October 2009

Despite that awful experience at the Corner Cafe aside, we did have fun at Disneyland.


Because there weren’t that many people there that day, we pretty much had the run of the park.

Josh and Zoë got to play on the drums to their little hearts’ content, without having to wait and wait for their turn only to be reminded not to hog and to let other people have their turn.

Drums

We were finally able to make it to Tarzan’s Tree House –our first time, since the park opened in 2005!

Tarzan's Tree House

After that, we caught The Lion King show. Zoë sat on my lap the whole show and was clapping her hands and really getting into it. Both Josh and Zoë even sang along to some of the songs. Josh, at one point, said that the lady’s rendition of Circle of Life was not right, that she did not sing it “correctly… the way it sounded on our CD.”

We left Adventureland and made our way to Fantasyland where we did the Mad Teacups, Dumbo, the carousel, and Small World. It was such a joy to see Zoë thoroughly enjoying EVERYTHING. During the boat ride in the Small World, she kept pointing at different things and exclaiming, “I like this one, Mommy! … and this one, too!”

DSC03502

But the highlight of her visit was a big kiss from Daisy Duck. You can’t tell from the photo below, but she felt really special. She kept talking about it and that was the first thing she told Chris about our visit to Disneyland when he came home. Last night (and tonight, too) during bedtime prayers, she said, “Thank you, Jesus, for big kiss (from) Daisy!”

DSC03419
Blog Widget by LinkWithin