Thursday, February 24, 2011

Who I am practicing to next!

Modern Meal Planning: Recipe D'Internet

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

I am a mom. I work a little bit (currently on maternity leave). I'm a supportive wife (read: my husband drags me into his involvements and commitments ;-) ). Life gets really busy... and so, sometimes the the biggest question of the day is:


I am always searching for easy, quick, delicious, healthy dinner recipes. And on the weekends, I'm looking for exciting, new, fancy dinner recipes. I own a dozen recipe books but hardly open them because of the plethora of recipes now available online. Always what helps is that often these recipes have been tried by other people who have rated it and so you don't have to go through the suffering of slaving over a dish that doesn't have a great pay-off.

1) The Weeknight Meal: Real Simple (

I absolutely love Real Simple's magazine - which is where I first starting falling in love with their recipes. They really live up to their magazine's title: they don't require 1,000 ingredients, they usually take a maximum of one hour to prepare, and they're healthy too. The way they have the recipes set up for searching is pretty good. You can search for a specific recipe, but you can browse the recipe by collection (like, "30 No Fail Chicken Dinners"). I haven't made a recipe from that site that I haven't liked.

2) The Fancy Meal: Williams Sonoma (

This is also a site from where I have gotten recipes and have never been disappointed. The only thing is that yes, you will have a list of 12 items that you have never, ever heard of before, or you know will be a challenge to find in your local grocery store (not that it's not there, but the grocery boy has no idea in which direction to point you). My husband recently made me a duck dish with a recipe from Williams Sonoma and it was seriously the best duck I have ever had. I need to challenge my tastes more and just pick random recipes from there.

3) Using the Left Over Ingredients: All Recipes (

There is nothing more annoying than buying an ingredient for a recipe you're trying, and never using it again -- only to have it rot in your refrigerator. This is where I love, love, love Go to the "Ingredients" search and you can search just by that one ingredient - or even a combo of them, OR EVEN by the ingredients you DON'T want! This is extremely helpful for those of us who really hate wasting food.

Those are my three go-to's.
What are yours?

Alone on Valentine's

Monday, February 14, 2011

Thinking about love today naturally brought my pessimistic self to think about the time when I felt unloved. I must have been in my final year of high school or early years in college where I was in transition: my friends were a year or two ahead of me, so we were drifting apart mostly due to distance and different routines. Nothing catastrophic happened. Just life.

Now, this is not to say that this was reality. I am sure I was loved by my mother, my father, my sisters...but I think the problem was that I felt unconnected. I didn't have that feeling that I could just appear at a friend's home and walk in. I didn't feel like anyone else understood exactly how I felt - maybe not even myself. I also had the feeling of, this phase would never end. I sure hoped that it was just a phase.

I don't feel like this anymore. I feel greatly surrounded by love. I feel secure, confident and content. When I think back to the dark place I was in many years ago, I feel relieved.

Perhaps it was a mini-depression that I was going through. I don't know. I never talked to anyone about it (since...I didn't feel like I could which was the root my problem). And when I think about that time I am trying to think if I remember how and when I got out of it. I can't really remember, but it took time. I know that I tried my best not think about it, not to indulge in my self-pity (i.e., "Woe is me. I am so alone"). I focused on other things and figured if it's friends that I want to grow closer to, the best thing to do is to go out and invest in friendships that I could have, instead of looking for them to come to me.

So, why am I writing about this depressing topic on Valentine's Day? I figured on a day where people are celebrating the significant other that they have in their life, it often brings into sharp focus the loneliness others feel. I just want to let you know that I am remembering you if you are that person today, and that your disconnection will end if you want it to.

Happy Valentine's Day to you!

Pushy Mommy

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Today, Sofia and I prepared some hearts for mailing. She was excited when I brought home the Valentine's Day stickers and bugged me all day to make the hearts with her. However, this always seems to be the pattern: she is excited to do the activity until she actually starts and realizes that her mother is a relentless taskmaster.

I say to her:
No, don't put too many of those stickers there. You have to save them for other hearts!
No, you have to colour the heart first - you won't be able to colour over the stickers!
Come on, you can have a snack after. Make one more!

I can hear myself, but I can't stop it. WHAT IS MY PROBLEM?

I need expensive, professional help.

But...they turned out really cute....!

Little Girls

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Dolls. Dresses. Pink. Princesses. Dress up. Nail polish.


No, crazy people. I did not GIVE her lipstick. I did not PUT lipstick on her.
That is, my friends, Crayola marker. Thank the Lord, it's washable. Even Especially when forbidden, she will FIND a way to imitate grown ladies.

You've gotta admit, she did a decent job.
And even picked a decent shade.


Friday, February 04, 2011

I know, I know... I'm one of those crazy people that likes winter. I'm not so crazy that I would want it every single day of the year, but I do enjoy my four seasons and when winter comes around, I watch for the snowflake icon to appear on the Weather Network's report.

Now, since I had my first baby, I've been looking forward to taking her out into the snow. This year is particularly awesome 'cause her legs are long enough that now we can do some serious snow activities. I make sure I rig her up in really decent snow gear 'cause I remember freezing my butt off (especially because of the wind) when I was growing up. Thank the Lord for innovative technology that is now built into every snowboarding style snowsuit! Hilarious... a jacket for a three year old has the rig up for an iPod.

Anyway, today was the second time I took Sofia out to go sledding. Poor girl, we have to walk to the hill which is no biggie, but we have to cross this field to get to the hill. After the snow dump from the last two days, the snow is virtually up to her knees. I get her to chant "hard work, hard work, everybody hard work" and focus on the fun that is before her. Otherwise, she whines and keeps falling on her face complaining that it's toooooo haaaaard. Bah! Annoying! You are a Chinese child and you will ENJOY THIS especially because of the hard work! She comes around and does get to the hill.

I'm not sure that I have no ulterior motive in taking Sofia sledding. Really, I think I want to go for myself. But, of course, I just really want to share my love of winter with my little girl -- 'cause she sure ain't gonna get it from her South American dad.

Here is the video that I took of the first time Sofia and I go down the hill - one week ago. Enjoy!