About Me

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I love to laugh and love with my family, read, exercise, cook and sew, all the while giving thanks to God for his immeasureable love and faithfulness to me.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Winter's snowy grip

The wind is howling and the snow continues to fall.  I thought it was suppose to ease up around 10 this morning, but I guess Ol' Man Winter missed the memo.  There is at least one little person who is enjoying all this snow!

"[Walk] softly, but carry a big stick"--Teddy Roosevelt

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Update on the violin

As an FYI, her teacher is the one who adds the stickers (which serve as a visual reminder for various things).  Initially it made me a nervous wreck putting stickers on the violin...even if we are renting!  Buuut, she said it was o.k., so who am I to go against the teacher?!
Back in the beginning of December we decided to sign the Noodle up for Suzuki violin.  I wasn't sure how it would go, but I have to say that I am thrilled with how she has taken to it.  For those of you who aren't as familiar with the Suzuki method, you can read here to better understand.  Most afternoons when we practice, she is a willing and able little participant.  She seems to really enjoy the time and is eager to improve and show her teacher what she has been working on over the past week. 
She takes her practicing very seriously and is all about handling the violin in the correct way.  Again, thank goodness, because I get nervous handling it!!

At this time, we usually practice for about 20 minutes.  That's enough to get through what her teacher wants her to work on each week and is generally about the maximum amount of time that the Chinese Noodle is willing to give me, especially because it is hard to make those little fingers do what I am asking them to do! 

I know recently there has been lots of coverage over  Amy Chua's "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother". 
Diane Rhem interviewed her right after the article in the Wall Street Journal came out and she receieved so much publicity.  While I certainly think there is some validity in some of the things she writes about, I don't agree with the techniques she employed to get her daughters to practice.  Um, hello?...threatening to burn stuffed animals and withholding the bathroom...crazy, scary stuff!!  But she does bring up an interesting point...most kids people don't "enjoy" something until they are good at it, and in order to become good, you must practice, practice, practice.  How long do you let a child continue with an activity before you let them quit if they are saying they don't like the activity?  Until the x-number week session is over?  A year?  Until they are old enough to truly understand what they would be giving up?  I'm not sure how I feel about it.  Thoughts?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Icy Beauty

We had an ice storm come through last night.  It may be treacherous when you're out and about, but it is so beautiful to look at, from the warmth and safety inside.  I love to hear how the wind moves through the branches and what a different sound it makes.

During lunch the Noodle was gazing out the window.  When I asked her what she was thinking about, she said she was just busy looking outside.   The ice encapsulated trees, bushes, wires and roof lines certainly do make the world look like a different place!
Thankfully we haven't lost any power or had limbs come down.  Driving around this morning we saw lots of fallen branches around and last night was filled with various flashing lights and sirens (fire truck, EMS, police, snowplow, and the utility company).  Isn't it amazing that something so beautiful can also be so destructive?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Ahhhh, a new day

The face sums up the mood that hung over the Noodle ALL DAY LONG!  Grouchy, irritable, whiny, dramatic, prone to melt-downs...need I go on?!
Ahhhh, a new day and a new attitude!  What a relief :)  That's more like my girl!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Yo Ho Ho!!

I think I'll blame it on Jonah...or maybe the Pirates That Don't Do Anything.  We recently watched both movies (thank you V*ggieTales) and so lately the Noodle has been into pirates.  Starting about 3 weeks ago she kept badgering me to go buy her a sword.  We had seen a foam one at a local craft store.  She was all about strategizing how we were going to get this sword.  Didn't matter in her little mind that there was an ice storm descending on the city or that they were predicting inches and inches of snow.  Can you say single track mind of a 4 year old?!  I fobbed her off and told her maybe she'd get one for Valentine's day as a little gift.  So I thought I'd better deliver.
Then, at Sunday School last week, they made boats out of cardboard boxes (Peter walking on the water to Jesus).  That, coupled with the new sword, has made for some pretty fantastic pirate imaginary play!  Arghhhh, shiver me timbers matey!  Yo Ho Ho!  Walk the plank!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


"In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan, Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow, In the bleak midwinter, long ago."

              --Christina Rossetti

When the weather is like this outside, there's nothing better than soup on the inside!  Here's one of the Noodle's favorite meals right now.  Warning:  not a good choice for those with peanut or shrimp/shellfish allergies

North African Peanut soup
**this ran in our local paper a few years ago, but unfortuanetly I don't have any other info. in order to give proper credit

The cast of characters:
Chop up your onion and throw it into the pot to get all nice and browned up with the garlic and olive oil.
Inhale deeply...love all those yummy smells wafting through the air!

Next add in your stock (vegetable or chicken) as well as your 2 cans of diced tomatoes.  Bring to a rolling boil.  Sprinkle in red pepper flakes and ginger (to your personal taste).
While the soup is coming to a boil, wash and de-rib the kale (or spinach).  Eyeball it.  I used the entire amount, but it was a small bunch--if it looks like too much, then save some for another meal.  Note here, there are several different varieties of kale.  Pick which ever one you'd like.  The purplish kind appealed to me the day I went shopping, so I went with it.  No biggie.
Rip/tear the kale into smaller, bite-size pieces and add to the soup.  Add in the peanut butter (approx. 1 C) and shrimp.  Stir and let simmer for about 15 minutes.
Dish up and serve with some bread (we had homemade honey oatmeal bread that night).  Interestingly enough, the Noodle ended up not even TOUCHING her bread, but certainly gobbled up her soup.
Come join Soup-a-Palooza with TidyMom and Dine and Dish sponsored by Bush’s Beans, Hip Hostess, Pillsbury and Westminster Crackers
Tidy Mom

Sunday, February 13, 2011

CNY banquet

We met up with all of the other Families with Children from China (FCC) for the Chinese New Year banquet this afternoon.  This year it was held at a different venue--not quite as "authentic" as in years past, but what was lacking in "authenticity" was certainly made up in the copious amounts of food!  There was something for everyone, so I'm pretty certain that no one went away hungry.  I know the three of us rolled out of there.

"The Girls" with their drums, ready for the parade.
Here we go!
Red envelopes and lucky money
A big 'ol group hug--what a great way to end this 15 day celebration!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Saturday morning art walk

The Noodle brushing up on her photography.
And now, a few examples of life imitating art:

We also hit the modern galleries...our favorites!  Unfortunately, they don't allow cameras, even without the flash.

This one?  Just 'cuz!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Love is in the air

Hello friends!  Hard to believe the Noodle's valentine party was this morning!  Seems like we were just at school celebrating Christmas (no matter how hard I try to stop it, time keeps flying by!).
It was a nice, low-key party.  Not a lot of hype.  Not a lot of junk.  I remember how laden down the kids would get with j-u-n-k when I was teaching.  Each party was an opportunity to pig-out and it definitely seemed like more was better.  Maybe that's changed a bit now, however, especially with all the media attention on childhood eating habits, etc.  But I digress.........The kidlets had a fun time and it was nice catching up with some of the moms.
I wonder what the Noodle's friend is thinking?!
J and I are having a date night on Saturday to celebrate...yippee!!  We'll probably just hang on the actual day.  Maybe a glass of bubbly...hmmm.  I like the sound of that!  What are you doing to celebrate?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Lion Dance, take 2

Yes, it may look like a unicorn...but it isn't.  It's really a lion...doing a lion dance.  Can't you tell?  

Do you wonder who is "under" the lion?
Peek-a-boo!!  I know you're shocked...to see the Noodle.

This was what she wanted to play before preschool this morning.  She brought some of her friends (read, stuffed animals) down for the show and had me drum, bang, gong and clap away to a variety of different beats while she cavorted around.  Periodically we "fed" said lion red envelopes and lettuce (don't quite understand the background or reason behind the lettuce business, but we'll go with it..........).  Hilarious!

After wearing a blanket on your head, in the winter, in a dry house, with stick-straight hair, this is what happens :)  Happy Wednesday everyone!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Chinese New Year

Gung Hay Fat Choy (Best Wishes and Congratulations)!
This will be the first of probably 2 CNY posts.  In our family, we tend to celebrate a couple of times...just like the holiday that's 15 days long, right?!  Ha ha!

On the actual start of the holiday, we didn't end up doing anything, but yesterday we headed down to Asia Town to watch the Lion Dance.  Soooo cool!!  On a side note, we thought the Lion Dance was last Saturday but were wondering why there weren't more people milling around the plaza...turns out we were at the WRONG plaza (slap head).  No problem though...we just wandered around the market.  Always fun and interesting.

Snow Fugus?!?  Can't say that I've ever tried that in my oats, but o.k.
Thankfully we got down there early enough this weekend (as well as getting the location right) to get a good standing spot that was close enough to see all the action.
We were not disappointed!  The lion danced, shook, lunged and gobbled up lucky red envelopes as fast as people could feed them.  Listening to the drummers drumming, the cymbals clanging and the gongs gonging (?) you get so caught up in the moment.  I'm certain the evil spirits would be chased away (if we believed in that) after such a performance!

Then, last night, we got together with friends from church for our annual CNY party.  Even though we are the only family who has a child adopted from China, we still like to hang out, laugh and of course eat!  Any excuse, right?!
Aren't these rookie sticks fun?  A kind gift, for all the kiddos!

The kiddo table (plus one--hee hee);  see the look of glee that a juice pouch can produce--the forbidden fruit I tell ya!
The lunch with the FCC group will occur next weekend.  We always look forward to this event because it is so awesome to see the girls (and boys) running around in their finery, loving life, being proud of their Chinese heritage, eating like champs, and, for once, being the majority and not the minority.  Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Saturday, February 5, 2011


First off, let me say how much I lurrrve Amy Butler prints.  Gorgeous!  The colors, the patterns, the combinations.  The only problem?  Rather hard to locate, other than on-line...at least in our part of the world :)  Luckily, I found a shop (close by too--who knew?!) that carries some and so the Noodle and I went shopping yesterday.  The hardest part?  Making a choice.  Aghhhh!  Each one is better than the next.  These were the 4 I ended up choosing.  Time to get busy and make something with them!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Sweet endings

The sun is shining.  The sky is an amazing color of blue without a cloud to be seen.  It is the end of the week, with the weekend knockin'.  Have a little treat...on me.  Perhaps an early Valentine gift to yourself?  Ahhh!  Sweet endings!!
Sources:  Chocolate chip scone recipe and spicy hot chocolate recipe

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Education Cubes

We recently purchased a set of Education Cubes and have been thrilled with them!  Somehow presenting the same material, in a different, more novel way, makes it much more fun!   And really, who doesn't like to build a tower and then knock it down?!

After a few days exploring and just "playing" with the cubes, we got down to the serious business of learning.  Ha ha!  Mama Jenn has collaborated with Carissa so that the RRSP information can be used with the cubes.  I love it!!
Matching the word on the cube to the word on the card
Love the smile on her face as she experiences success and reads the words!

If you're interested, the cubes can be purchased here and then you can sign up for a one time membership fee of $10 here , to gain access to over 100 different insert cards.  Even if you're not doing the RRSP program, this is still a great way to work on those ABCs and 123s.  Go check it out...I guarantee you won't be disappointed!