05 October 2015

10K Hike



We took the kids for a hike last week.  The same trail that I hike once a week with my friend.  There was a bit of grumbling about how loooong the hike was; there was constant asking of whether we’re almost near the end of the hike.  We did a few detours, just to check out possible new trails.  It was hot, it was humid.  We were soaked through by the time we finished.  It was decided that we all needed a much-deserved calorie boost after the 2-hour hike, so we all went and had pizza / pasta and downed glasses and glasses of iced tea.  As if that wasn’t enough, we walked some more to get some Häagen-Dazs ice cream.  Then to make up for how much we ate, we walked some more still!  All told, we walked over 10 kilometers.  The kids felt really proud for having done the hike with us.  We definitely see lots more hiking once the weather gets even cooler.

Leaf-(1) Taken with my Samsung S6 during the hike with the kids – the ground and the leaves were a bit damp from the on-and-off drizzle that day.


29 September 2015

Mid-autumn festival came and went and I’d totally forgotten about getting lanterns for the kids.  We didn’t even bother going downstairs that night.  Well, to be fair, we did entertain that thought for a minute, but then the cousins were online and J wanted to Skype with them. Z suggested that we simply turn off all the lights in the house so that she could have some fun with the glow sticks.  I was all for anything that would just keep us in the air-conditioned coolness and not be outside in the warmish, breezeless outdoors.

She connected the glow sticks, made different shapes, then started twirling and shaking them this way and that, making for some really cool effects.   This one below was made with one big giant loop of different glow sticks.  She held down one end with her foot and twisted it this way and that, creating an infinity symbol when it intersects in the middle. (The bottom bit is just the reflection of the light on our floor. Photo taken with my S6, unedited.)





22 September 2015

The weather has cooled down and I am hoping to do more hikes.  I started on my first one last week.  A short one.  Along a trail that has plenty of shade.  Maybe when I’ve worked up my stamina, I can take on some that are a bit more challenging. 

What one usually associates with Hong Kong are tall buildings, shopping, crowds, but actually “…out of the total 1,108 square kilometres of land, about three quarters is countryside.” (Source)  Because Hong Kong is quite compact, one of the things I appreciate about living here is how easy it is to get to most hiking trails (and there are plenty of them!). 

Looking forward to the me time, looking forward to some active walking, looking forward to discovering little spots of beauty.

Weed-(1) Taken with my Samsung S6 during my hike last week – a little weed by the path, struck just so by the sunlight filtering in through the trees.




16 September 2015

A Bit Overwhelmed



It’s been over a month since school started and we have, more or less, established routines.  That’s good.  Still, there are the ‘specials,’ like overnight camps, parent-teacher consultations, information nights, chess tournaments, orienteering meets, Outward Bound, Team Fear… You’d think that I’d be a pro at managing these by now, but I am getting a bit frazzled working these in between Cub Scout meetings, after-school activities, and home renovation.

Home renovation.  At least three months of living somewhere else while our place will be gutted, torn, and stripped.  On the one hand, I am excited, but boy, it’s also overwhelming.  Meeting with designers and contractors, getting all these ideas, praying and hoping that they keep to schedule, that they do a fantastic job.  Looking for short-term rentals.  Deciding on choices that we will have to literally live with.  Fun, but a kind of gritting-your-teeth kind of fun.

So.  I will try to post at the very least once a week for Wednesday Around the World, but beyond that, I might not be here much. I will still try to visit you guys as much as I can, though to keep up with your goings-on and to check out your lovely photos!

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(Also linking with Little Things Thursday)


09 September 2015

Sometimes I think that we’re all just like eggs. 
We come in different shades, but at the end of the day, we’re all the same.

Eggs
EggsBW

 

08 September 2015

I ❤ Faces | Hard at Work



He must be at least in his 70’s.  His fingers are arthritic.  He actually owns this shop.  Yet every day, he stands for hours (especially during the lunchtime rush) in front of this steamer, churning out those rice noodle rolls (腸粉 | cheong fun) that people queue up for outside his humble corner shop.

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Photo Challenge Winner - #1 Photographer

02 September 2015

Market, Market



I actually enjoy going to our local wet market.  Although it’s a lot more crowded than the supermarket, food is generally cheaper and fresher.  Ours had undergone a face lift and just opened again last weekend. 

Market-BW-(2)

After a trip to the post office, I decided to stop by and check it out.  I was amazed at the change.  It felt bigger mainly because of how they’ve utilized an open layout, as opposed to walled-up little kiosks.  The most striking change of all, though, was what they did with the floor.  Check it out --

2015-08-29 12.27.33
Aren’t the colorful floor tiles so cool?



31 August 2015

Sidewalk Cafes



I still haven’t found the time to go through all the photos I took during our summer in Canada (not to mention from two summers ago!).  They’re in different SD cards and I really need to sit down and organize them better.  Now when that will happen is anyone’s guess.  

This picture below was taken on our last day in Quebec City.  I loved Quebec City!  I’d probably mentioned this before, so apologies if you already tire of hearing me say what a beautiful city it is.  It felt like I was in Europe, with all the sidewalk cafes and all the (Québécois) French I heard all around me.  I could happily stay and visit much longer than the short time we had there.

QC---Sidewalk-cafes-(1)

26 August 2015

The Star Ferry



To get from Hong Kong Island over to Kowloon, I would not normally choose to take the ferry.  If I know my way around and if finding parking is not such a hassle, I would drive.  If driving is not an option, the fastest way, of course, would be to take the MTR (subway train).  If I can get to the place by taking the bus (without having to change midway), that would be my first choice, though.  The Star Ferry, for me, is more of a touristy thing to do.  That, plus the fact that I don’t particularly like being on the water.

But.  I did take the Star Ferry yesterday and I have to say that I enjoyed the ride.  What’s more, the fare was only HK$2 (US$0.25)!  For anybody coming to visit Hong Kong, taking the Star Ferry across the harbor is definitely a must.

StarFerry

StarFerry



24 August 2015

It's Time to Begin...



Last night, we took both kids to their first ever live concert.  We were initially concerned that we’re taking them to a concert on a Sunday night, when there’s school the next day.  The concert wouldn’t start (if it starts on time) until 8pm and it was held about an hour away from where we live.  We decided to go anyway, because (1) it’s Imagine Dragons (!) and (2) we all love their music.  I am so glad we did. 

The concert was simply all kinds of awesome.  There was no front act.  They simply came out and sang their hearts out for 1.5 hours.  From the get-go, we were all on our feet, singing along.  They sang many of their hits and quite a number of songs from their latest album, Smoke + Mirrors.

At first, Josh was a bit embarrassed that his parents were acting like teenagers –cheering and singing along, as one does at awesome concerts! –but he soon started singing along with gusto as well.  Both Josh and Zoë were both more knowledgeable about the songs and lyrics than either Chris or me!  I had to check a couple of times with them the titles of the songs that were being played. 

It was so cool to have been able to share this experience with both Josh and Zoë.  Who knows how many more concerts we can take them before they would prefer going to them with their friends instead.

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2015-08-23 22.18.25
Imagine Dragons

19 August 2015

Back to School



School has started this week and slowly we’re getting back into a routine of sorts.  Early dinner, earlier bedtimes. 

The kids have reported back that their first two days of school had been fun.  Zoë is proud to be an Upper School kid now and Josh is looking forward to making this his best year in this school before he moves on to middle school (a different campus). 

The ‘Meet the Teacher’ night has been scheduled for next week and I’m really looking forward to it.   Problem is that as both kids are now in Upper School, I cannot be at both classes at the same time.   Either Chris comes with me to attend one, while I attend the other or if he’s going to be away on a trip, I might have to miss one (or spend half the time in one and move on to the other class for the final half of the other).  It used to be that I could attend the Lower School one first and then go attend the Upper School one, which is scheduled right after.

The only thing that needs to get sorted out now are their after-school activities.  Depending on what school clubs there will be and what days of the week they fall, I think I’m all set for this school year.

Yellow-flower-(1)
Yellow-flower-BW-(1)


17 August 2015

Fun With Math



When asked what my favorite subject was in school, you would never have gotten Math as an answer.  I had a love-and-hate relationship with mathematics. There were math subjects where I barely passed and there were those where I did very well, where –dare I say it? –I absolutely enjoyed myself.  One of my favorite math subjects was Geometry.  Of all, I had the most fun with that.  

J loves math and I thought that he might enjoy doing some geometry with me.  So far, so good.  I get to re-discover and re-learn and it’s coming back to me –how much fun I had with geometry.

Geometry

What was your favorite math subject?

12 August 2015

Old Quebec



Quebec City has got to be one of my favorite places to visit.  There were moments when I actually forgot that I was in Canada.  The sidewalk cafes, the street performers, French everywhere… I loved it.  I clocked the 16,000+ steps in one day, just walking down the streets of the Old Quebec!  My feet were tired, but I was so ready for another go the next day.

Street-performers-(1)


11 August 2015

Master Chef



I’ve discovered Master Chef / Master Chef Junior.  Those kids are unbelievably amazing –the way they know their way around the kitchen and how creative they are.  Wow, just wow.  I can’t get enough of the series and am working my way back through each season.  I’ve finished Season 4 and 5 and am now on Season 3 of Master Chef.  Down to the last three home chefs; who’s it going to be?  Sorry, got to run and go watch!


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The Citadel (Quebec City)Citadel-(1)

(Linking with Texture TwistSweet Shot TuesdayGood Random FunOur World Tuesday)

05 August 2015

Montreal Metro



We’re slowly getting over jet lag.  The kids are enjoying the last week and a bit of their summer holiday before school starts again.  I am trying to get things back on track, catch up on errands, and go through our vacation photos, a little bit at a time.

Here’s one from one of the metro stations in Montreal, taken with my phone.  These days, I get a bit lazy about lugging my big girl camera with me.

Montreal-metro---bw-(c)1



03 August 2015

I'm Back!



Yes, I have been missing in action for a whole month… but I am back!  We have been on holidays visiting with the cousins in Canada.  We did an Ottawa – Quebec City – Montreal road trip to start things off and then just hung around in Toronto for the duration of our stay.

The cousins mostly broke off into two camps –the boys and the girls.  During our holiday, it seemed that we'd gained a daughter as Zoë and Miss K were like two peas in a pod and they would ride together with us.  We barely got to see Josh as he hung out with the boy cousins and rode with them in their car.  The only times he would check in with us were mainly at night when he would come to say goodnight and in the morning, when he would come to shower,  get a change of clothes, and brush teeth!

Back in Toronto, they basically had a sleepover every night, with all of them sleeping together down in the basement taking turns on mattresses and sleeping bags.  It just warms the heart to see how much fun they were having together.

We hope to continue doing this –i.e., getting all the cousins together every year, –for as long as we can.  We all look forward to the summer every year and the kids talk about it all the time –more and more as the school year draws to an end.  Everybody gets so excited and when they see each other, they pick right up where they left off.

J-and-K1-(1)

Till next summer…

01 July 2015

15 hours



A long flight… almost 15 hours, but we made it!
Cooler weather.
Longer days.
The cousins are together!
CX-plane-(1comp)
CX-plane-(1comp-bw)


24 June 2015

Just Things…



For some reason, things have a way of piling up on my table –pens, books, bills, odd bits of paper, a battery charger,  stickers…. Yeah, not a pretty sight.  Sometimes, though, they make for a pretty picture.  I was playing around with my phone camera and accidentally set it off and got this shot. I kind of like it.


Pens--bw-(1)


23 June 2015

Raspberry Muffins



I first tried these raspberry muffins at my friend’s.  Though I love to bake, I am not big into cakes and cookies or anything sweet (I’m more into savories). It’s quite rare that I love anything sweet and these muffins are one of those rare exceptions.  So yummy and, what’s more, so easy to make!
Raspberry muffins

Ingredients:
· 2 cups flour (if using self-raising, then only add 1 tsp baking powder) · ½ - ¾ cup sugar
· 2 tsp baking powder · 1 tsp salt
· 1 egg · ¾ cup buttermilk (or plain yogurt)
· 1/3 cup vegetable oil (or melted butter) · 1 cup additional optional ingredients (raspberries, mashed banana, coconut, etc.)
  1. Preheat oven to 400oF/ 200oC.
  2. Stir together dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Add wet ingredients and the optional ingredients and stir just until moistened. Do not over-mix. You want all ingredients just combined.
  4. Place a good-sized dollop of the mixture into muffin cases.
  5. Bake for 15-25 minutes or until golden brown.
The best part about this is that you can try different combos with the base recipe.  I’ve only ever tried it so far with raspberries and parmesan (separately batches). but you can be sure I will be more adventurous and will try some of these: 
  • Raspberry + coconut
  • Cheese (Parmesan or mature cheddar)
  • Carrot + spice (grate carrot very finely; ginger and cinnamon work well, but only use a tsp of each)
  • Blue cheese + shredded spinach or broccoli
  • Chocolate (break a large dark chocolate bar, rather than use choc chips, and add a tsp of vanilla essence)
  • Cranberry + pine nuts

17 June 2015

Nature Walk




The pack.


Walking the trail.

I love this trail.  Not too difficult, lots of green.  A natural path, as opposed to paved, cemented ones.  Plenty of shade.  Rock pools along the way, even a waterfall.  The trail branches out into several other trails, which I hope to explore further once the weather cools down some.  I’ll probably take the kids back and chill at the rock pool this summer.

Trail-(2)

Trail-(1) 

15 June 2015

End-of-Year Hike



Josh’s Scout troop had their last meeting for the year last weekend.  It began with a hike in the morning at one of my favorite trails.  We’d been having some really hot days, but we got lucky that morning.  There was a gentle breeze and because there was plenty of shade along the trail, it was actually quite pleasant.  We stopped at a rock pool around noon. The kids had a blast.  The boys were splashing about, trying to catch fish and tadpoles.  The girls sat on the rocks, dipped their feet in the water, but pretty much stayed dry.  Not so the boys.  They were soaked!

Rock-pool-(1)

On the hike back to the school where they “camped” for the night, they spotted an injured butterfly along the trail and decided to “rescue” it.  They moved it off the path onto a grassy patch on the side, so that it would not get trampled on.

Injured-moth-(1)

10 June 2015

I am not a big breakfast person.  Usually a glass of milk or a cup of tea does it for me or at most a bowl of cereal. Sometimes I plan ahead and make some overnight refrigerator oats. For this month’s theme, I decided to be a little bit more creative with my breakfast fare.  To my usual cereal of blueberry bran flakes with chia seeds and hemp seeds, I decided to add some raspberries that I have been planning to use to make breakfast muffins with. For good measure, I also threw in a tablespoon of kefir grains, because my grains are multiplying like crazy and I don’t feel like throwing them away.
 Raspberry-cereal-(1)

You will hardly ever see me have bread –any bread, –with my breakfast. I am just not a bread person.  Even with bread (and pretzels) as pretty as these ones here, which were available at a buffet we had one time at a hotel.

Pretzel-(1bw)

Bread-(1)

What do you normally have for breakfast?

Please head on over and visit with Stephanie (her blog) to check out her Breakfast images and then follow on through to the next one in our circle.  Once you are done visiting our circle, please check out our Facebook pageFacebook page and share your own Breakfast photos. We'd love to be inspired by your Breakfast pics!


09 June 2015

Anticipation



Still weeks away, but we are slowly counting down the days until school is out.  There are still dictation quizzes to prepare for, homework to be handed in, appreciation gifts to make… well, just your basic end-of-school stuff to work on.  Despite this, I’ll have to admit that we are already in a bit of a summer holiday mode.  I can’t wait until our real summer holiday starts!

Red-flower-(1)

03 June 2015

Cactus flower



The last month of the school year and things are busier than ever.  Instead of winding down, things seem to be piling up.  School trips, Scouts activities, birthday parties… Oh, let’s not forget summer.  Planning for our trips and things to do.  In the midst of it all, I drink my tea and try for a zen moment.

Cactus-flowers-(1)
Cactus-flowers-(1bw)

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