28 March 2012

Quarterly Top 5 Photos | Jan–Mar 2012



 

My favorite photos so far… in no particular order.

 

1.  Displaying their sand art and wearing the hats they decorated (arts and crafts time at the Adventure Zone during our stay in Cebu)

Adventure-Zone-projects--comp

 

2.  My frangipani princess

Frangipani-girl--comp

 

3.  I can’t resist this smile!

Super-smile

 
4.  My sweet gentle boy…
Mini-Golf2
 
5.  …who can give me looks like these sometimes (but I can tickle him out of this look, trust me!).
Whimsy
 
I think this is the first time that I’ve actually been able to have equal number of photos of each child!  Yay me.
 

27 March 2012

Silly Knights




You just gotta love these seven-year old boys…
they can be so silly!

Silly-knights

Josh and his friend joined us in the fields in full knight get-up… to pick potatoes.

Potatoes


 

25 March 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday | Whimsy



1.  Whimsy – I was totally at a loss with this prompt.  I finally decided to get out the silly glasses and ask Josh to model them for me.  Could you tell he was not very pleased with the task?

Whimsy

2.  Create – Making pumpkin-shaped fondant cut-outs with which to decorate cookies.

Create

3.  Dust – A dusting of sugar on these candies…

Dust

4.  Seed or Sprout – (From the archives) My coriander sprouts

Coriander-sprouts

5.  Drop – Dew drops on the leaves

Drop

22 March 2012

Eleven Eleven Eleven x 2



Kim from Little by Little and Tamar from Random-osity both tagged me in this fun meme and I thought I’d play along.  To save you from a super long post, though, I merged their questions as best I could.

 

The Rules:

1. Post these rules.

2. Post a photo of yourself and 11 random facts about you.

3.  Answer the questions given to you in the tagger’s post.

4. Create 11 new questions and tag new people to answer them.

5. Go to their blog/twitter and let them know they have been tagged.

selfie-bw

 

Eleven random facts about me~

 

1.  If I have a choice between sweet and salty food, I’d almost always pick the salty one.  I could resist sweets and would happily pass on desserts, but I have trouble saying no to chips.

 

2.  It seemed that a lot of my friends wore braces growing up and I’d wanted to wear braces, too, even though I didn’t need them. I covered up my teeth with aluminum foil one time and just walked around the house pretending I had braces. Braces didn’t look so cool after that.

 

3.  I’m a word nerd and I love games like Boggle, Scrabble, Scattergories, Balderdash, Words With Friends, Word Bubbles… you get the idea.  I never turn down a game of Word With Friends, so let me know if you want to play!

 

4.  My guilty pleasure:  Dancing with the Stars.  Ever since my friend got me to watch the season (can’t remember the number) when Kristi Yamaguchi won the Mirror Ball, I’ve been hooked.  Haven’t missed a season since. 

 

5.  The best vacation I’ve ever taken has got to be the trip we just took with kids –to Cebu. Everything just fell together.  Even though rain was predicted for the duration of our stay, it only drizzled that first day we arrived, but was wonderful the rest of the trip.  The kids had an absolute blast, the food was great… Now the kids keep asking when we’re going to go back.  Zoë even suggested that we move there!

 

Beach1

 

6.  When I watch basketball games, you might hear me muttering (or yelling) to the screen, “Box out!  Move!  Yes!  Seriously?!”    I don’t care that the players can not hear me and that I might just look and sound a tad ridiculous when I do that.  I can’t help myself.

 

7.  I need to always be reading a book.  I feel a bit lost when I don’t have a book lined up when I finish with the current one.

 

8.  Excluding Antarctica, the only other continent that I hadn’t set foot on is South America.  I’d love to visit Peru, Brazil… someday.

 

9.  There were 39 (I think) in our high school graduating class.  I went to a small private school and that was it –39 seniors, –in the entire graduating batch.

 

10.  I hoard.  Yikes.  There, I admitted it.  Good thing Chris is a purge-r.

 

11.  If I could have tea or coffee or spend one day with anyone, it would be Ellen de Generes. I initially wanted to say Katharine Hepburn, but then I figured I would be too intimidated and be too much in awe of her to enjoy my tea. With Ellen, on the other hand, I probably could just sit back and just watch and listen and be thoroughly entertained.

 

Kim’s and Tamar’s questions:

 

1. What languages do you speak? Wish you spoke any more?

I speak English, Tagalog, Cantonese, Mandarin, Hokkien, and the local dialect of Heshan. I know rudimentary French –I can understand it better than I can speak it, though. I wish I could speak it more fluently.  I’ve always loved languages and almost majored in European Languages had my father not persuaded me to look into another discipline instead.

 

2.  What is your favorite book and why?

I don’t think I have one favorite book, but these are books that I have read several times over:  Boy’s Life (Robert McCammon), The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry), and To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee).  Boy’s Life is the least known of the three, I reckon, but I love it.  The one word that I’d use to describe that book is… magical.

 

2.  If you could live in any other country in the world, where would you live?

This is tough.  Top of mind, I would say France, because I am such a Francophile and I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed myself whenever I visited.  BUT much as I delight in French cuisine, I would desperately miss honest to goodness, authentic Chinese and southeast Asian fare.  Food trumps culture in my book.

 

3. What is your favorite comfort food?

This!  Creamy chicken with peaches.  I’d included the link to the recipe in this post. (Okay, so my comfort food is not very Chinese nor southeast Asian… go figure!)

 

Creamy-chicken-with-peaches

 

4. Name one of your goals for this year.

To be in the pictures more with the kids instead of always being the one behind the lens.

 

5. What nicknames do you have?

Sing, Mama, The Queen (Zoë calls me that sometimes.)

 

6. Name one item you never leave home without. / Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall?
My keys.  / Fall.

 

7.  Name your current favorite show.  /  Reality tv, yay or nay?

Haha, I guess it’s a yea from me, as I’m eagerly awaiting the new season of Dancing with the Stars.  I don’t watch TV, but I do try to catch up on YouTube.

 

8.  What relaxes you the most?

A good book, with a cup of tea on the side, and soothing music playing in the background.

 

9.  What is your favorite beauty product?

I love my Clarins ultra-matte oil-free foundation.

 

10.  How'd you start blogging?
I don’t remember exactly how.   I don’t even remember how I’d first heard of blogs!  Two words:  Mommy brain.


11. Name your favorite song of all time.

I’ve thought long and hard and still couldn’t come up with one.    Current favorite, though, is Adele’s Rolling in the Deep.

 

My questions:

1.  What is your bag style – big purse, backpack, messenger bag, etc.?

2.  Do you collect anything?  If yes, what?

3.  What is one beauty advice you swear by.

4.  Pet peeves?

5.  Do you recycle gifts?

6.  If you are to give yourself a Native American name, what would it be (Sitting Pretty, Laughing Burp…)?

7.  Do you still read the papers or do you get most of your news online?

8.  If you were an animal, what animal would you be?

9.  Do you still write letters and cards or do you do them electronically these days?

10.  Leather watch strap or metal?

11.  What was your favorite subject in school?

 

I am tagging ~

1) Jade at JadeKeller.com

2) Rachel at Once Upon a Miracle

3) Stephanie at How to Survive Life in the Suburbs

20 March 2012

Oh, My Josh!



Did you know that last Sunday was Mother’s Day in the UK?  I didn’t, but apparently Josh did, because he totally, totally made melted my heart with what he did that night.

 

I’d stayed behind at the mall to check out some closing-down sales.  Chris went ahead and took the kids home.  When I finally got home, Josh excitedly met me at the door and Zoë was on the floor wrapping up some gift.  A couple of other gifts were already wrapped up and sitting on a chair cushion, with a note propped up against them.

 

Love-note1

 

What Josh wrote on the card totally made me tear up.  What he gave me made tear up some more.  He got me a bag of Hershey’s Kisses, but more than that, he’d included a few coins …. and a $100 bill from his lai see money that he keeps in his wallet.  He then told me, “I wish I had a $1,000 bill, then I would’ve given that to you instead.”  He turned to Chris and earnestly asked if he could borrow one to give to me!

 

Chris later told me that the whole idea about the gifts and the card was totally Josh’s and said that he’d been asking about Mother’s Day and wanted to ‘surprise’ me with something.  Remember when he told me that he loves me two trillion gazillion, eight thousand, six hundred thousand, three gazillion

 

Josh may not be outwardly cuddly and snuggly like his sister, but his brand of sweetness is all the more precious because of that.   Oh, how I love my little guy!

 

Mini-Golf2-comp

 
Here’s wishing everybody a someone who gives you “forever love”!
 

18 March 2012

1. Word or Quote – Don’t ask me what these buds are. They’re from my friend’s nursery. And she doesn’t know what they are either.

Quotes-or-Words

 

2.  Nature’s Own – The pond at the Japanese Garden at Josh’s school –nature’s very own mirror.

 

Nature's-own

 

 

3.  Vintage – How’s this for vintage?

 

Vintage2

 

 

4.  People – Two of my most favorite people in the world!

 

People

 

 

5. Photographer’s Choice – Zoë calls this the hula hibiscus, from her days of watching The Little Einsteins.

 

Hibiscus

16 March 2012

Sick Day



My baby is home with me this morning.  She was all looking forward to going to school today, because she would have gotten to dress up in one of her princess outfits for Fun Friday.  But she woke up with a fever.

Sick-day

So here she is, settling comfortably on our bed, reading her Angelina Ballerina book.  She did this set-up herself –pulling the husband pillow on the bed, pushing a pillow down so that she could prop up her feet while she read.  Never let it be said that she does not know the art of lounging.

13 March 2012

This is one of my favorite recipes of all time –not only because it’s a hit with the family (especially Josh and Chris), but also because it’s one that is very simple and super easy to whip up.

Spaghetti-alla-carbonara

From Ciao Italia - Five-Ingredient Favorites:  Quick and Easy Recipes from an Italian Kitchen by Mary Ann Esposito ~

Servings:  4
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4-oz chunk pancetta, diced
1/2 pound spaghetti
3 large eggs, at room temperature & lightly beaten
3/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Fine sea salt
Coarsely ground black pepper
1.  Heat olive oil in small sauté pan.  Stir in pancetta and cook until crispy.  Set aside, still in pan, and keep it warm.
2.  Cook spaghetti in 4 quarts of rapidly boiling salted water until al dente.
3.  Drain spaghetti, reserving 2 tablespoons of the water.
4.  Immediately return the spaghetti to the pot, and keeping the heat very low, rapidly stir in the eggs, reserved water, and half the cheese.  Toss to combine.
5.  Add the reserved pancetta and any pan drippings.
6.  Transfer pasta to platter and sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Serve immediately.


This recipe has totally spoiled me for all other spaghetti carbonara recipes, especially the creamier versions. 


11 March 2012

Except for Communal Global’s Tuesday Around the World and Scavenger Hunt Sunday, it seems like I haven’t really had the drive to do up posts here on the blog lately.  I’m blaming it on the weather!  It’s been cold and damp and dreary here lately. I’m hoping to beat the blahs and go back to more regular blogging soon…

1.  Water – A street hawker in Cebu selling bottled water.  He would go from vehicle to vehicle when traffic light turns red, trying to sell water or juice or peanuts or chips.

Street-hawker---comp

2.  Light – Or lack thereof.  I took Josh to watch Hugo in 3D yesterday after his Celebration of Learning Day at school.  His first movie at the cinema!  Because we’d booked so late, we were seated all the way to the right side, on the third row from the front; hence the angle of the screen in this shot.  I rather liked how it turned out, though.

Light1

3.  Chocolate – Cupcakes at a birthday party that Zoë attended.   Of course, she chose a chocolate one with purple frosting.

Chocolate1

4.  Animal – I can’t decide whether this capture of the billy goat is funny or scary.

Animal

5.  Crowded – Luckily we had some errands to run at Causeway Bay tonight, because I didn’t have a picture for this prompt yet.  I usually avoid going there, especially during weekends, as it’s always very busy.  What you see here is nowhere near as crowded as it usually gets.

Crowded

07 March 2012

One of my favorite photos of Zoë this year.
You’ve seen this in color,
but I converted it to black-and-white for this challenge
and now I can’t decide which one I love more!

Frangipani-girl-bw-comp

I_Heart_Faces_noborder_125x100

06 March 2012

Street Scenes from Cebu



I thought I’d share some street scene photos taken while we were in Cebu.  The shuttle bus ride from the resort to town would take 45+ minutes (one way).  The kids and Chris would usually be playing some made-up game or napping.  I was busy snapping away using my new Sony Cybershot TX10.

1.  Afternoon traffic on the road.  It is not uncommon to see people hanging from the backs of the jeepneys.   Josh and Zoë were pointing them out and shouting, “Safety violation!”

Hanging-on---comp

Hanging-on1---comp

2.  The town was preparing for a fiesta (a festival), putting up  balloons, banderitas (little fiesta banners).  On the day itself, there was a procession that held up traffic along the whole stretch of this road.

Fiesta-preparation---comp

Fiesta1---comp

3.  Roadside stores – Most of the store signages are “sponsored” by various companies.

Roadside-store1---comp

Roadside-store3---comp
Roadside-store2---comp

I love how colorful everything is.

Road-traffic---comp

Mandaue-Bridge---comp

Motorbikes---comp
I can’t explain why, but between taking pictures of beautiful sceneries and landmarks or just regular slice-of-life pictures when I travel, I much prefer to take slice-of-life pictures.   What about you?
 

04 March 2012

Ever since we got the point-and-shoot, I haven’t really taken out my DSLR much.  While I love the quality of the pictures I get with my DSLR, it is so much more convenient to bring the point-and-shoot out.  Also, I feel less conspicuous when I use the point-and-shoot.  (Photos # 2, 3, and 5 below were taken with my point-and-shoot.)

 

1.  Routine – This girl still needs her afternoon nap even though she resists it.  On days when she doesn’t have after-school activities, we try to get her to nap after lunch.  Here, though, she was pretending to nap with Barnaby Bear.

 

Routine

 

2  Music – By the roadside, a band practicing for their performance in the town festival.  It was a bit hot that day, hence the shirts over their heads.

 

Music2

 

3.  Technology – Not very original, I’m afraid.  This mom in front of me was using her phone to record the dance number her daughter was in during Josh’s class’ production earlier this week.

 

Technology

 

4.  Show Me Your Style – This one is from the archives.  My camera bag totally reflects my style.  I like pretty, but I need practical, too.

 

camera-bag-1

 

5.  Mismatch – Josh made some Angry Birds … with mismatched eyes.  That aside, I thought he did a pretty good job!

 

Mismatched

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