30 October 2012

Happy Halloween!



We don’t really celebrate Halloween here, but we do play along.   Any excuse to get dressed up and act goofily.  On account of the kids’ half-term break last week, the annual Halloween disco at their school has been moved to this coming Friday.  But.  Since it would be past Halloween by then, the dance has been renamed Shake and Shimmer Disco.  The kids have been looking forward to this!

Halloween-marshmallow-(1)comp

Friends in Hong Kong:  You can get these yummy Halloween marshmallows from  Carrina Patisserie.  They come in vanilla, mango, and blackberry flavors.  I’m not a marshmallow fan, but even I liked these.  Absolutely yummy!

28 October 2012

1. Signs or Logos - On our way to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (for Josh’s homework), we passed by the Apple store and the kids made us promise to take them back so that they could walk up the “glass stairs.”  We did and Josh thought they were “pretty cool.”

Logo


2.  Pattern(s) – We have some funky patterns on our elevator doors.

Patterns


3.  Machine – A non-motorised one.

10.23 

4.  Rocks or Stones – Chinese characters carved onto a rock outside the Museum of Tea Ware.

Rock


5.  Sparkle – Some bling in one of the shop windows…

Sparkle2

25 October 2012

Godspeed Speedy



Yesterday the kids brought home a turtle that they’d found in our playground.  At first when Josh held his hand out to show me his surprise, I’d thought someone had given him a plastic toy.  And then it moved.  I might or might not have let out a little shriek.

Turtle-(Speedy)-1

Obviously both Josh and Zoë were excited and thrilled.  They even brought back little rocks and stones and sticks and a few leaves.  It was almost dinner time, so I decided to let them keep it for the time being.  The plan was that I would ask our management office today if anybody had reported a lost turtle.  Chances are, it’s somebody’s pet and they probably just decided to let it go.

Failing that, we were going to wait until the kids are back in school on Monday after their half-term break and ask if the school zoo might welcome another turtle.

The kids have named the turtle Speedy.  He is rather fast for a turtle.  We gave him a shallow box, put in a few kale leaves and the stones and rocks that the kids brought back.  We also put in a little container of water.  Speedy kept on getting out of the box until I made the walls a bit higher after the kids went to bed.  I could hear Speedy trying to claw his way up the wall and out of the box.  He eventually settled in the little container of water for the night.

When I got in touch with the management office today, they offered to take Speedy off our hands.  I don’t know what they’re going to do with Speedy.  I didn’t ask, but I do hope that they will find a good home for him somehow and be able to give him better care than we could.

The kids sadly said goodbye to Speedy.  Josh was particularly sad.  I have to say that I  kind of miss Speedy, too. 

There.  Our one night of fostering a turtle.

23 October 2012

I’ve finally joined civilization.  That’s what my friends tell me.  I now have a smart phone.  They could not believe that the phone I was using was one of those with the 1-9 keypads.

Chris got himself a new phone and I inherited his old one.  I don’t mind a hand-me-down phone.  If it hadn’t been for Chris getting a new phone, I probably would still be hanging on to my old one until it conks out on me or until I lose it.

(A “carving” of Mr. Bean from a phone book –from an exhibit that we saw)

So with a new-ish smart phone, guess what the first app I got was?  After Scramble with Friends and Word with Friends. that is.  I-N-S-T-A-G-R-A-M.  That’s right.





I’ve caught the Instragram bug.  I love it.  I love how fun it is.  I can’t stop playing with it.  Thing is, posting to Facebook is pretty hit-or-miss at the moment.  Sometimes I get to post regular-size pictures; other times the photos come out as thumbnails.



These pictures here?  I had to copy from my own Facebook page.  I still have not figured out to download the Instagram pics to the computer as a jpg file.  Is there any way I could do that?


My friend gave me a Camera Coat.  I love it!

Any other apps –whether or not photography-related, –that you absolutely love that you would recommend that I get?  I’m so late to join the smartphone world that I wholeheartedly welcome guidance from all of you who have gone through several generations of smartphones and are light years ahead already.

21 October 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday | Cozy



1) Cozy – They both get some quiet reading time before going to bed, but they usually do it in their own beds. Zoë, though, had wanted to see what Josh found funny in what he was reading. After she’d read the passage, she just parked herself next to Josh on his bed and continued reading her book. I love seeing the two of them together like this.

Cozy-(1)


2)  Orange – Green jello in hollowed out orange ‘cups.’  Spider thrown in for good measure.

Orange2


3)  Faceless Portrait

Faceless-portrait-(2)


4)  View From the Top – I held the camera above me…

Faceless-portrait-(1)


5)  Stacked – The kids had a little pre-Halloween party and they had to hunt for these cute little plastic jack-o’-lanterns and cauldrons all over the place, sort of like an Easter egg hunt, but with a Halloween theme.

Stacked-(1)

16 October 2012

I Wonder



…who writes the blurbs for the Groupon ads.  I get a couple of  their emails in my inbox every day. I actually take time out to open them and scan through for good deals. Mostly, though, I open the emails, because I actually find the blurbs amusing entertainment. Here are a few examples:

“Taking care of one’s skin leads to a steady stream of compliments, just like hanging out with Grandma’s knitting group." – For a package of six lymphatic drainage massages / hot stone treatments.
“Creating a meal from scratch is both challenging and delicious, much like playing "Stairway to Heaven" on a clarinet made out of a candy cane.”   – For a baking class 
“From defeating potato stealing aliens to slicing through particularly solid lumps of cheese, lasers boast a range functional daily uses.”   – For a laser hair removal package
Seriously, who writes these?  Is it just one writer who does them all for all the advertisers?  Or do their pool of writers have to have a certain “style” or humor before they could be considered for the job?

Dragonfly-(1)

…why some bugs are beautiful in a icky kind of way.  There is no way you can make me touch them, but I will gladly get as close as I can to take pictures of them.  Does that make me weird?

14 October 2012

1) Fingertips – Chris came home with some finger puppets for the kids a couple of weeks back and since then, the kids have put together some pretty funny shows for us. They gave each puppet a silly name and came up with some really hilarious story lines.
Fingertips-(1)


2) Faithfulness
Faithfulness


3)  Water Drops or Water Flowing – I love the way the water “curls” in certain sections.  This was taken in Hong Kong Park.  The kids love to sneak under this curtain and they almost always come out a bit wet.

Water-flow


4)  Then & Now – Looks-wise, Josh doesn’t seem to have changed much.  What has changed is how grown-up he sounds now, the words and phrases that he uses.  Sometimes I have to remind myself that he is only 7.  Regardless, though, he will always be my baby boy.   I love this little man to bits!

Josh-4months 
Pretend-fishing
Then-and-now-(1)


5)  One Item from Sarah’s Fall Bucket List – Trick or Treat.  This is actually part of the Halloween decorations at Disneyland.   We don’t really do trick or treating around here.  The most we do for Halloween is get dressed up and attend the Halloween disco at the kids’ school, which is a really fun annual event.  I’m still struggling with what to wear this year… has to be something shimmery and glittery (the theme).  Any suggestions?

Jack o'lantern (1) 

12 October 2012

“In danger of going over to the Dark Side you are, if you do not listen to your parents.”
We say this to Josh, who’s big into Star Wars.
He rolls his eyes at how corny we get.
 
Fire-twirler

In keeping with The Creativity Project’s theme for this month, all of the pictures here are in black and white, with mostly darker tones.   Some of these were taken during The Lion King show at Disneyland.    We always take in this show whenever we’re there.  Always. Even though we have seen it so many times, we still thoroughly enjoy it each and every time.

This lady was the narrator and had the most beautiful, full-bodied voice.
 
Narrator

The theater was dark, but there were all these spotlights on the performers.

Scar-(1)

Zoë was a bit scared of Scar, Simba’s uncle.  She was pretty much snuggling close to my husband and hiding her face during the angry, fighting parts.

Scar-(2)

The cast, as always, was amazing.  We saw plenty of new faces, but also some more familiar ones.  I guess cast members move on to other gigs and new ones join.  No matter, though, the production is always top-notch.

Finale-(1a)

The whole Disneyland has geared up for Halloween.  Jack-o’-lanterns, witches’ hats, and spider webs everywhere.  The stickers that they hand out to the kids? Halloween-themed, of course.  They even have a mock cemetery with The Grim Reaper standing guard over the tombstones.

The-Grim-Reaper-(1)

Just throwing this in for good measure… the picture below was taken during one of my photo walks with my friend.  I’ve long wanted, but was always apprehensive, to get a shot of these delivery guys who sport LOTS of body ink and almost always seem to go shirtless to show them off.   (Shameless request:  I’d also entered this for the My Hong Kong Photo Contest.  Would love to have your vote… http://bit.ly/PFN1xE, if you like it.  You just have to click on the link and click on “Vote.”   Thanks!)

NP--Tattooed-man-(1)



Please go on and drop by Sharon’s blog (The Covert Lens) and check out her “The Dark Side” photos.

09 October 2012

Chess Competition



Josh participated in his very first chess competition on Sunday.  The competition was organized by the PTA and students from the other campuses joined as well.  There were over 80 players, 48 of which were ‘Lower Primary’ (Years 1-4); the rest were ‘Upper Primary’ (Years 5-6).  The Top 10 players in each group would get either a trophy (Top 3) or a medal.

 

Round-1-(pre)comp

 

It was a whole day affair, beginning with registration at 8:30am.  Each player played seven rounds, beginning from 9am and ending at 4:30pm.

 

We all hung around at the school and waited for the tournament to finish.  Zoë was a great sport.  She found ways to entertain herself.  She hula-hooped.  (She’s actually gotten pretty good at it.)

 

Hula-hoop-(1)comp

 

We played a version of Pictionary…

 

Pictdionary-(1)comp

 

She hopped around like a bunny.

 

Hop-(1)comp

 

Out of the seven rounds, Josh won four and lost three.  The three games that he’d lost were to the eventual 1st, 4th, and 5th place winners.  Josh placed 14th overall, out of 48.  So, not bad for a first competition.  He was a bit down that he didn’t get to win a medal, but he cheered up a bit when we pointed out that in his year level in his school, he’s actually in the Top 3.

 

I loved that the PTA organized this and I hope that they will continue to organize more of these.  It was great to see all the families there in support of the children, to see all the children from the different schools compete against each other in such a gracious manner.  In between games, while waiting for the rest to finish, they would go downstairs to the playground and shoot hoops, play soccer together or just hang out together and chat or talk chess.

 

After the awards ceremony, as we were leaving, one of his friends called out to him, “See you tomorrow!  Let’s play chess during snack time, okay?”

 

07 October 2012

Scavenger Hunt Sunday | Smile




1)  Smile – Zoë was reading when I asked her to put down her book and smile for me, because I needed a photo for my scavenger hunt.  She obliges.  I cannot get enough of this girl’s smile. Her smile? A whole-body smile. Totally lights up my world.

Smile2-bw


2) Shadow

Shadow3

3)  Spice – I love cardamom.  Anyone has any cardamom recipes to share?

Spices


4) Keys – (From the archives).   You’ll need “keys” to open these mailboxes and get your mail.

Letters


5) Unedited – Apart from adding a watermark, this picture below of the turtles is unedited.  This was taken at Hong Kong Park earlier this week.  There was a waterfall on the opposite side, but nothing of note, nothing that these turtles do not see every day, so it’s kind of curious what they were all looking at.

Unedited---turtles-sunning

02 October 2012

Duh!



This year’s Mid-Autumn Festival came and went and… well, I’d missed it.  We had a long weekend and one day just ran into another and before we knew it, we’d missed the Mid-Autumn Festival.  The pictures friends posted on Facebook showing their kids out with the lanterns should have clued me in.  My friend asking if we wanted to join them at the beach that night should have clued me in.  The sounds of children playing outside well into 10pm should have clued me in. 

Rabbit-lantern-(1)
(Texture:  Kim Klassen’s Nested)
 
Not that we are big into celebrating the holiday, but on Mid-Autumn Festival, we do like to bring the kids out with their lanterns and let them stay out late to play with the other kids and to ooh and aah at the bright full moon.  I’d even bought a whole bunch of those neon glow sticks for them to play with.  We even made our own lanterns with lai see packets.  Not as cute as that little rabbit lantern up there, granted, but not bad as far as DIY ones go.  Oh, well.

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