Sunday, August 31, 2008

See You In September

21 years ago, I was a graduate student in Michigan, working part time at the University. I remember one lady who kept on singing the song " See You In September" while working and throwing jokes around. It's funny how I could remember some bits and pieces of what happened those days but completely had a hard time remembering the building where I used to work and other places around there.

When we were there last June, DH handily drove around and showed me the exact building and the apartment where I stayed while studying there. I could use a lame excuse that I only lived in Michigan for around 15 months while he lived up there for more than four years, but it's still a bit unacceptable. (Oops... it's sounds bad that after knowing him for more than 20 years I have no idea this part of his life.)

While this old song is about "seeing you in September" after summer vacation, I was simply just reminded that tomorrow will be September. How sudden eight months have gone by, how many things have changed since the beginning of the year. I couldn't help sighing..... Sometimes I feel I am not able to keep up with the time, but life goes us and we just go on living every moment of it.

Here's the link to the song. See you all in September! Just a day away.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Green Cake

I was browsing around last night when I saw a picture of red cake that called my name and urged me to bake something of some colors this weekend. With a good sleep on Friday night and a spirit to enjoy the weekend, this morning, I took out the six eggs needed to bake pandan sponge cake. I used pandan essence that is sold in small bottles instead of getting the extract from the real leaves.

I went for the original taste instead of the altered version favored by the kids, therefore, I disregarded their request to sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top of the cake as I frequently did in the past. Here we go, pandan sponge cake for a cloudy Saturday, as we waited for the arrival of the man of the house from his business trip abroad.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Yesterday, the day started with a dark cloud and right before we left for the bus stop, we had a downpour. Absolutely, it was not a very good thing to start the day, but it something that no one could control. So when it got brighter towards the afternoon, I started to think that this sort of thing was such a reflection of things in life. Things could start poorly but when you hang in there, there will be light at the end of the tunnel. I thought, it's something to remember in case I have some bad days.

Well, it's Friday today, it's ending the second week of school and I totally get this: everybody is exhausted, every single one of us here that are affected by this school business. We have been waking up early and going to bed late and we have been working hard in between So when everyone is tired, everyone starts to get cranky and finds many things to resort our frustration and exhaustion to. We just need one small person to start a little fire and before you know it, the whole house will be on fire. Well, our case is not to this extend, but I have seen how one or two fell into such attempt, unintentionally of course, that could start a riot here. But they are gone, at least for the time being, to school. And I am keeping my fingers crossed that when they come back, they will be much happier human beings compared to when they left this morning.

What I learned from yesterday about the light at the end of the tunnel is pretty much in my head and I am so aware of it. The execution part of it, i.e. hanging in there, is the hardest bit. I hope I have had accumulated enough patience to deal with what will come in front of me in the next few days without school. We'll see. Meanwhile here's a little smile, sort of shy smile from South Africa to brighten our day. Good pic, thanks P!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Back To Math Rambling

No, the pots and the pans in the kitchen have not started calling me, yet, but the two thick folders namely American Express and Credit Suisse are crying for my attention. I am guilty of neglecting them for a bit too long. Still, here I am, getting distracted again. Just another excuse!

I thought of the wonderfulness of my life with the kids going back to school. It is definitely nice to see things around the living room stayed in the same place for many hours, until at least one of them comes back, but there still tons of challenges too. Last night, I was reminded that I had to get back to my high school math again, solving a couple of high school math problems that my rusty brain has begun to forget. I warmed my brain cells up earlier with an easier 7th Grade Math problem, which I passed with flying colors.

I was reminded of my duty as some sort of time manager as well. My youngest artist is taking guitar lesson for the first time this year and the instructor called up and offered one time slot for her in which, 1) she has her swimming practice, 2) it is on the day she has her violin lesson. My attempt to get a different time slot was replied with: 1) all other time slots have been taken, 2) there's a waiting list of more than 30 kids for almost every guitar instructor at school.

Super!! I was crushed. Almost. That just ruined my evening! Having said that, I feel, at times, that it's so crazy to live in this place at this time.Every place seems to have waiting list. Long one! The school that my three big spenders are attending has a 6-year waiting list. It's an international school. No kidding. I even read last week that the popular local kindergartens here also have long waiting lists, some even have newborn babies in there. What would be next, I wonder? That is a complete eeeekkk! I can't possibly imagine how competitive life would be in the future.

Making appointment with the dentist is another struggle too, good time slots, i.e. Saturdays and after school on weekdays, seem to be taken at least a month ahead. Similar case with going to the spa for facial treatment. People here do make appointment ahead of time.

Talking about a very well planned life, I'd better do the same! Off to take care of the files! And thinking of a birthday present for this weekend, what's for dinner, do the laundry, contact the lawyer. And the files. The files.


Look... who's teaching!

Not To Pass On....

There are just too many good pictures from South Africa trip that I want to put up in this post. Here are some of them, there are beauties everywhere..............

I really want to go there! (And I was not trying to rhyme with the previous line.)

Monday, August 25, 2008

In Between....

My younger sister, who lives in another city, in another country, 900 km from here, e-mailed me last week and wanted me to send her some cakes or cookies if I had any. She works full time and has two small kids to look after and knows the most economical and convenient way of getting food i.e. by asking them from me. "Ask and she shall be given!" She, by the way, has three other sisters who live within 250 km proximity!

DH was heading to the same city where she is in this evening and I had it in my schedule to bake some little cakes today for her and oatmeal cookies as well, since I wanted to get rid of my oatmeal inventory. Unfortunately, today happened to be a very busy day for me with an appointment in the morning, running errands and followed by lunch with DH and DH had to leave for the airport by 4:30PM. I should have about two hours to bake them all. And ........... I swung magic wand and managed to bake both little cakes and cookies. I had some packed for my sister and her two little monsters and a little container was prepared for DH. My oven was still working when DH left. We'll see him on Saturday. Spin the wheel and make money, dear!!!!

Of course dinner had to suffered a bit, we simply had a homemade chicken nuggets, the cookies and the cupcakes (that never got decorated!), however, made up for simple dinner!

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Irony is when the only male in the house is sitting on the couch and watching rhythmic gymnastic on TV while the females are surfing the net.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Cool Ones

Now, these are the cool ones!!!!! wink

While Waiting....

While waiting for my chili to ripen, here's a picture of " a good-looking bunch" (so she said!) when the bunch were in South Africa. Tick-tock tick-tock tick-tock......................

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Still Growing

Three and a half months after I planted the chili seeds in May, I am in awe that I manage to keep them alive. I, the well-known plant killer, am able to grow chili and soon will harvest them! I have to give partial credit to the person that watered my plants during my one-month trip, whoever that was, because to this date, I never find out for sure. I thought it was my sister in law, but apparently she left the country after being in charge for a few days. Then, a rumor said it was her daughter, i.e. DH's niece, which turned out to be false too. She insisted on sending the plants over but to my shock, she brought the wrong pot and of course the wrong plant. Smaller pot and skinny small plants. Some things are better left unspoken...............

The person that watered the plant turned out to be a neighbor, I still do not know which one. I found out too late as a gift has been given to DH's 22-year old niece, thinking that she was "the one". <> DH returned the wrong plants and picked up the correct one. (Smart guy, I'll keep him!)

Some flowers were showing up last week.

This morning, when I looked closely, I spotted more flowers and some chilies as well, they are still green and young, but they are there..... I am a happy girl or a proud momma(?) today!!! I can't wait to see them in red!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Little Happy Faces

This picture was snapped in South Africa by my precious baby who was there last summer. The picture says it all. Kids ..... having a fantabulous time!

I Thought...

I thought I would have more time when the kids started school.... I thought I would be able to do my works peacefully. Ha! I thought wrong. The time is there, the time is here, the time doesn't change. I have 24 hours a day still!

The kids left, the kids came back.

The kids went again and they came back again.

The kids left again and they were back again.

It’s been three days of school and I wonder what I have accomplished in three days. I have been trying to catchup with my works and my works are still there to be caught on. I barely touched them yet. I have been busy with catching up with basic house works of cleaning, washing and cooking. And it’s so hard to keep up. I may have forgotten that they never end and there always be more as time goes on. I may have forgotten that I have to set my priorities. (Motherhood is demanding and time consuming!)

I have to get to those piles of papers and do my “other” works too, tomorrow! My piles are getting taller by any tick-tock. Tomorrow! I don't do promises, so let me say, I will try my best!

Monday, August 18, 2008

And Off They Go!

So they go back to school today...... Life is wonderful! wink

Sunday, August 17, 2008

On The Eve ....

School is going to start in less than 12 hours and I had nothing much planned today. We attended the sunset mass yesterday so that we could watch the last swimming events in the Olympic Games in the morning. We wouldn't want to miss the opportunity to witness Michael Phelps getting his 8th gold medal and broke a new world record with his team mates and to see 41-year Dara Torres winning a silver medal in 50-meter free style. They and so many swimmers were so fantastic this time. Incredible!

My Sunday has been a complete unproductive one, I feel. I got some cleaning done, some laundry done and some cooking done too. I went around making sure that the kids are well equipped for their first day of school. In this country, bringing umbrella is a must, unless you want to get caught in the rain. A day could be started off nicely with the sun shining nicely, but by afternoon it could end up with downpour. So it's umbrella, money, school stuff! Don't forget that! Uniforms have been prepared. Shoes have been located. Make sure we all get up early enough for school! First day can be quite nerve-wrecking!

The rest of the evening was very much spent on watching Olympics events on TV. With more than six channels available here to watch many sports of our choice, we flipped the channel watching the finals of gymnastics, tennis, table tennis, badminton, athletics and a few others. For the first time in a long time, we spent so many hours staring at that small screen.

Tomorrow, our first baby will start her last year in high school. A very important year indeed and a year to treasure before she goes away for college.

Okay, so we are ready for a new school year. Bring it on! cool

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Champ

I just couldn't help it, I have to write something related to Michael Phelps, who, as of today has won 7 gold medals at Beijing Olympic and he still has one more event to go to tomorrow. This super fantastic swimmer has super large breakfast to replenish his energy: fried eggs, toast, tomatoes, fried onions, mayonnaise, cheese and more...... Reportedly, he needs 8000 to 10,000 calories per day. Ha!

Eating machine indeed, but more importantly, super duper swimming champion!!! Best one ever!

Friday With Strawberry

If life could be as simple and as sweet as this strawberry crisp..... hhmmmmm... One could only wish....

Strawberries are always available, i.e. imported, here. They could come from down under or North America. Prices could be right up there and I normally buy when some stores have them on sale.

Upon taking my little one, that is not so little anymore, to the dentist, we went to Carrefour to get her favorite Parmesan cheese and more pasta. There, we discovered that strawberries were being offered at better price. And with food prices rising so much here, I took opportunity to buy lots of them.

I use some for this yummy strawberry crisp and still have more in the fridge. We're gearing up for school on Monday!!!! More calories!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Keeping It On

More snacks.

This time, someone craved for this Indonesian Sweet Martabak, a thick pancake filled with grated cheese and thick sweetened milk, after spreading some butter and sprinkling some sugar on it. Understandably they are so yummy.

Some like them with chocolate sprinkles and chopped peanuts. Calories???? A bundle. Go on a diet tomorrow! wink

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Snacking Scallion Cakes

When the kids are not in school, food seems to be the most talked about topic around. What's for breakfast, what's for lunch and what's for dinner are the most frequent questions raised. In between, I can hear "Ummmm... I'm still hungry, what can I eat????" Trust me, we have cupboards filled with food and fridge that are well stocked. Growing kids eat a lot and often and they claim that they are hungry again within minutes. It's a good thing that they still try to make time to swim, run or bike to keep themselves fit and to burn the calories consumed. When school starts, they will eat eat more regularly again. biggrin

Scallion cakes are good for breakfast but they are nice for snacks too. We had these scallion cakes from a Chinese restaurant when we had dim-sum in Orlando and we liked them. They were deep-fried and of course yummy. We don't normally make them at home but we gave it a try using one of the recipes we found in the internet and altered it a bit. Not too bad, the kids loved them but I still want to try again using a different recipe to compare

Monday, August 11, 2008

To Use What's Given

Candied Cassava, a Thai dessert which actual name is Montad Chuame is one of my favorite Thai desserts, that I don't normally make at home, unless someone gives me that cassava. The supermarket that I go to, simply does not have cassava. My lovely mother in law remembers that cassava is in the list of things that I gladly have and she sent me some from her garden via DH last week.

Despite its slightly difficult to pronounce name (for me!), this dessert is simple and easy to make. The ingredients are only cassava, sugar, salt and coconut milk. I use the recipe from A Daily Obsession.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Thinking Of Beijing On 08-08-08

I am watching the opening ceremony of Beijing Olympic Games at this very moment. It is so grand and beautiful and it brings back the memory of our visit to the city more than three years ago.

I have some pictures posted in this link. Digging deeper, I found a few that I love to share here too.

The famous Forbidden City, the Chinese Imperial Palace from the mid-Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty. (Thanks Wiki!)

Starbucks at Forbidden City that is no longer there.

The Great Wall of China, obviously! More info here.

The snow in March, captured from the Great Wall.

By Beijing's Hutong, traditional courtyard residences with small alleys. Not very visible in this picture.

At Summer Palace, an Imperial Garden in Beijing

Temple of Heaven, a complex of Taoist temples near Beijing.


After traveling 137,000 kilometers through 130 cities in 130 days, the sacred flame finally arrived at Beijing 101 Middle School today. The countdown to Beijing Olympic Games ended and the games officially will be open tonight. I am now counting down the days for school to start, 10 more days!! I am looking forward to seeing swimming, it will be so exciting to see 41-year old Dara Torres making an attempt to snatch 50m freestyle gold and maybe break a new world record. Yay for women in the 40s!! She is so fantastic!

Thanks to my M-I-L's recent delivery, our dry rice noodles stock has gone up to nearly 5kg from previously half of those. Around March she send a 2.5kg bag of rice noodles, which we used up probably just 1/4 of it. In June, prior to our trip, we received another 2.5kg. We shipped off the older bag to others and kept the new one and left for one-month trip.

So now, in less than three weeks upon our return, again we got another 2.5 kg. She loves us so much! I wonder why DH couldn't explain to her that we still have so much of it. My guess would be that it's a lot easier to just take it and go and worry about passing it on to someone else later as typically the case. Yes, they definitely will find a new place soon.

So here is my effort to use up the rice noodles: fried noodles with eggs, carrot, cabbage and green onions! Now we have around maybe around 4.8 kg to go!