Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Happy Birthday!!

 On Tuesday, Ana and I made The Giant Ding Dong Cake from all recipies for Matt's birthday.  We couldn't get the pudding mix, but it turned out fine without it.  We also had to use dark chocolate for the topping.  It would have been better with semi-sweet chocolate.  BUT, that said I think he liked it!
It's not been an easy year, but Matt is a trooper.  It's nice to have such a solid, hardworking husband.  Happy Birthday!  (No presents--he's going to buy a tool in the States :)

Hummus and Pitas

On Monday, Ana and I made Smitten Kitten's hummus.  We altered it slightly, but tried to follow her tips.  Yes, we peeled all the chickpeas! (It kept Ana busy for a while.) The hummus was super yummy and will be on the menu again in a couple of weeks! 
We also tried her pita recipe.  They didn't puff, but the bread was super light and soft. (My kids don't know what a pita should look like anyway).   I'm going to give this recipe another try in the future. 


Ana has so much HAIR.  It's not thick, she just has a lot of it!  I won't be too sad when she cuts off 10-12 inches for Locks for Love. (It's going to be high on my priority list when we get back to the States.)  It's going to mean a lot less work for me!

Sunday, April 28, 2013


It's a beautiful day in our neighborhood!  I got out my big camera and tried some manual focus.  Didn't start out so hot, but got better.

 The sailboats were out in number enjoying the breezes.
 The trees are too beautiful for words!  This is my new favorite picture!!
 They are literally dripping with flowers. 
Ana dragged her little body off the bus at 12:30 and said, " I don't feel well.  Can I just lay on the couch?"  That's only the second time I've heard that question in six years!  Oh well, so much for enjoying the day!

Saturday, April 27, 2013


-I've been pretty busy sorting and pricing for up coming sale as well as monitoring M's school work.
-I did have the chance to go out to Cafe Yum at Shangri La(for free) which was fabulous.  Then we had a talk on rest afterwards.  a good, timely reminder!!
-Ana had a bit of a cold, but is over it!
-Friends invited us over for dinner on Friday--no cooking!!
-I met with the visiting counselors from the Well on Friday morning.  This turned out to be really beneficial as they are from Indiana and going back for a visit soon.  They are going to look into giving us some good suggestions for counselors for M.
-They also came over to our house for dinner on Saturday night. 
-We've decided to go with Santa Fe shippers.  All the options were expensive, but these guys add in a lot of extras and allowed  us to get the most things in.  Plus, they handle all customs stuff!  They come to pack up on May 13th and our sale is on May 4th.
- We are also hoping to go to Beijing on May 9th--still working on getting train tickets (bullet train takes on 4 and 1/2 hours!!!)
-Matt's birthday is coming up--Wednesday. I'm making a ding dong cake--got the cake mix special in Singapore to try this out.
Six more weeks until we fly out.  We have a 12 1/2 hour flight from Beijing to Chicago. NOT. LOOKING. FORWARD. TO. THAT.  We might have to take turns sitting between C and M who can't sit still more than ten minutes.  Hopefully they sleep a good eight hours of it :)

So, to sum it up we've been busy :)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

My First Spring in Tweleve Years!

 We're enjoying all the blooming bushes and trees!  Really pretty around here right now! AND it's finally warming up a little.  (The ocean keeps this area a little cooler than other places!)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Glad That's Over (at least for today)!

I took China (and by default Mitike) to the local hospital to get looked at by an orthodontist.  A very kind dentist that saw us at ISQ met and translated for us (in the beginning).  When I explained that we were trying to start the braces here to save costs, she understood.  So, she said, "Why not start today?"  We were then shuffled along to some graduate students who took molds and x-rays.  First, I had to go upstairs to get a receipt which the international clinic hadn't given me. (If you don't have this you can't get in line.) When you visit a Chinese hospital you must have a registration card (if not going to the international clinic). Did China have one?  Nope--they wrote out what I needed in Chinese and I went downstairs to get it.  I had an idea of where I was supposed to go, but ended up asking for help at the information counter.  (This turned out to be a wise decision as I ended up cutting to the front of the line!!)  I raced back upstairs, having left China and Mitike up there.  Next, I had to pay.  The graduate students entered the registration card number and added in the charges.  Off I went again.  Having found what I assumed was the right counter, I watched what others were doing.  Hand the lady the card and then pay.  This was even easier for me as I was using my debit card--didn't have to get the amount right.  These cashier ladies are pros--they are super quick at getting the masses through the line.  (It did strike me how patiently Chinese wait in line.  They are so used to huge masses of people---and this is a small city---that it's a norm.) The only problem--the total wasn't right.  So, back I went again.  The cute little graduate students hadn't pushed enter on the computer, so not all the charges were there.  Back to the cashier which had an even longer line.  And guess what?  We have to go back tomorrow!  Wish me luck!

Total cost (for seeing two dentists, molds, and some x-rays) less than 100 US dollars!!

Thursday, April 18, 2013


 Today AND tomorrow are all day parent teacher conferences--which kind of makes us laugh as most classes have about 12 kids :)  Anyway how do I keep them busy--bake!  We made lots of cookies for a soccer tournament.  Ana did most of the stirring--just have to work on reading the recipe and following directions. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

I'm looking forward to...

-a BIG washer and dryer
-a car (every time I put my groceries in it I will be eternally grateful!)
-one stop shopping
-fresh air
-being able to have a pet again
-being able to find clothes that fit me
-a yard
-road trips
-fast internet with no VPNs!
-my husband being able to have hobbies again
-not having to order my drinking water (in Chinese)
-a frig. that's big enough to hold food for 5
-blending in (I've stood out for so long-it will be nice to go unnoticed)
 On Saturday we were invited to a friend's house.  We were able to try our hand at making beef jiaoxi with the grandma.  We also ate Chinese style which meant chopsticks, no plates, and sharing out of the same bowls.  Ana ate so much I thought she was going to pop!
The trick is to not put in too much filling and to get them sealed well so the good stuff stays in while boiling. 
The children had a lot of fun playing together.  They have one little girl slightly younger than Ana.  Ana ran around in the bear head and paws chasing everyone--even Uncle!
This is what I will miss the most!  Good food, friends, and learning more about culture by being in someone's home. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

What To Do With A Perfect Spring Day!

 Ana and I love to go pick up sea glass on the beach.  As this hobby will soon be curtailed by our move to landlocked Indiana, we headed out with our bag.  Usually we pick up sea glass for about 10 minutes and climb on the rocks for about a half and hour.  A nice way to enjoy the sunshine! 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Missing Easter

Ana got a lovely outfit including gloves and a hat from a leaving family.  Because we missed Easter entirely (due to all our travels) she chose to wear her special outfit the following week!  What a special dress esp. since it twirls!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Singapore FOOD!!

We enjoyed a perfect Peking duck meal with the Wongs.  They slice the duck skin, place it in a thin pancake, then you can add sauce, cucumbers, and onions.  They then take the duck meat and add it to rice or noodles--very yummy!  Auntie Meng practiced picking up peanuts with Ana to keep her busy.  Finally we polished off the meal with some warm egg tarts.

We also enjoyed a Peranakan meal with the Tan family on Wednesday night at Ivans.  We had many dishes including a fish head curry and my favorite the honey pork.  We had lunch with the Wongs in Geylang (love the shop houses there!!)  We had a clay pot rice with a pork, soft shell crabs (which were amazing!!), and green beans.  Afterwards we scooted across the road for some of the best bean curd I've had in a while.  The almond was fantastic.

See a pattern here?  All we did was EAT!


I find it's therapeutic to list GOOD happenings when I feel overwhelmed so...

1. The school pays our airfare back to the States.
2. A couple is willing to take an extra suitcase or two back to the States.
3. Our clavinova (keyboard) was fixed (at no cost) today thanks to a Chinese friend willing to make a call for us.
This makes it ready to be sold.
4. I'm making good progress going through our things and choosing what will stay.
5. It's warm today and sunny (the laundry is drying quickly!!)
6. Two more months until summer break!
7. It's Friday!!

Have a Great Weekend!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Singapore Day 3

We started out this day with some yummy porridge and parata (not to mention tea, coffee, and iced milo!!) 
 Then Uncle dropped us off at the gardens.  We really enjoyed seeing the beautiful orchids one more time!  The Singapore Botannical Gardens can't be beat!  If you ever go--make sure to stop in.  It's more than worth the five dollar entrace fee to the orchid gardens (the rest of the gardens are free).
 What a blessing to enjoy the tropical beauty one more time!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Singapore Day 2

On Tuesday we headed to Chinatown to see if we could find anything for our walls in the States.  It was great fun looking around at the touristy things and we did find some good deals.  The kids were particularly interested in the tassel shop.  They loved watching her make Chinese knots. 

After missing swimming on Monday, we made it a priority to hit the pool.  It's a lovely one and totally underutilized!!  Ana was everywhere with her floatees.  She can now also turn somersaults under water!
 In the afternoon Yu-Lin and family came over for family dinner.  Ana and Yau Yau hit it off right away.  They drew some cute flowers together.  Ana was super happy because there was fish cake!!
We were so glad to get to meet up with you all!  Thanks for making the time to see us!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Singapore Day 1

 After the Gardens we took a rather long walk.  (I have to admit it was VERY hot!)  So we stopped along the way and had a super yummy snack AND enjoyed the air con.
 We saw the new art museum and a beautiful lily pond.
We walked across the helix bridge and enjoyed amazing views.
After a disappointing Arab Street visit (all my favorite shops we gone--bought out by carpet dealers!!) (sorry I took no pictures because I've been there so often), uncle Michael picked us up and took us out for lunch.  Loved the Singaporean food and the waitress was impressed when Matt used some Chinese numbers :)
We had planned to go back and swim, but thunderstorms popped up and we stayed in.  A great first day back!

Singapore Day 1-Marina Bay Gardens

 We have, of course, seen most things in Singapore.  It was exciting to see something new.  Bright and early on Monday morning we headed to Marina Bay (thanks for the ride Uncle Michael).  The gardens are lovely and will probably be amazing when they mature!  We loved the statues from the many cultures.
 Ana was dying to do the walk at the top of the "trees."  So we did!  It provides some amazing views of the city and the thrill of being up so high.  I went down before the rest and took their picture.  They really do look like dots.
The Gardens are on the back side of the Marina Bay Sands and filled with some wonderful things to look at.  There are two air conditioned domes which are pretty pricy to go into.  We opted out--maybe someday when we don't have three kids with us!)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Wrap of Thailand

 One afternoon we WALKED to the night market.  I have to say in hind sight I should have paid for the taxi! There were not many sidewalks and it was HOT.  Thankfully we had carried water with us.  We did stop and eat some pizza on the way AND had a great time shopping!  This is a rather cool dragon on the outside of a Wat (temple).  Now that I look at this picture--is it a dragon eating another dragon????
 Ana spent a lot of time in the water at the Juniper Tree.  There always seemed to be other kids her age to splash around with.  Best of all there was usually and extra set of floatees or inner tube to float around with. 
Finally what I loved about Juniper Tree was all the play areas.  There were at least three playgrounds and a very nice soccer pitch.  Plenty of room for young ones to play!  Ana particularly loved riding her "horse."