Monday, December 17, 2012

Halloween 2012

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What better time to talk about Halloween when it's a week from Christmas??? ;) I actually just realized that I never got pictures of T in her actual Halloween outfit this year. (She was Padme.) I'll have to work on getting those before the year is up. Back to some quick notes on Halloween... We went down to Half Moon Bay in Oct. to visit a pumpkin patch. It was a relatively short visit, but we managed to get a nice amount to fill up the fire place at home.

T had a Halloween performance at dance school this year as well. She still opted to not work in the haunted house. The darkness still scares her a bit. She did have the idea to dress up as a creepy doll. Here's the first makeup run.

Halloween 2012
A friend told me that she looked like a clown there. Which I guess is creepy too...

Her final look on the day of the performance.
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Alright, maybe I'm having too much fun with makeup on her.

The most awesome part? Their performance was Thriller!
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(Yes I do have video, at least the part that she was in it. It's on the other computer somewhere...)


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Advent Calendar

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T's favorite toy is Lego. She could be in her room and play with Lego for hours. She got her dad's Star Wars sets, Toy Story sets, and the Friends sets all mixed together in a happy little universe. When we saw that there's a Lego Friends advent calendar, we decided to surprise her with it. We've never done the advent calendar thing with her, so this getting a new toy everyday until Christmas was a completely new experience.

She's so excited to open the first one.
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Chris explaining to her how it works. She already tried to ask if she could open more than one a day. =)
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It's fun to still find something new for her to experience. Although, does this mean she'll expect this every year now?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Hunger Games birthday cupcakes

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My niece just turned 13 (!!!) and wanted a Hunger Games theme cake. I did not read the books yet so I had to rely on what I could find online. When I found this, I knew I wanted to try my hands on them because they were so pretty. My favorite is the one with the piece of bread on the leaves. It meant nothing to me since I don't know the story, but other people have assured me that it made sense. I think they turned out okay, not as elegant as the original inspiration, but impressive enough for the birthday girl.

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The rose, piece of bread, and the top part of the arrow were made from this moldable buttercream frosting I found. I used less than half of the recipe yield, something to keep in mind for next time. The rose can be piped, of course. I just never figured out how and I could make it easier with this.

This one I came up with. I had the intention to cut out the design with the moldable buttercream, but it was cracking too much to stay in one piece. I ended up piping some melted chocolate at the last minute for three of them.  Probably should have done that to begin with.
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I think this cupcake stand was well worth the $20 investment I made a few years ago.
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I still can't believe this girl is 13!
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Bunny Snacks

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What to do with extra pie crust? I made little stuffed bunny shaped pastries. I filled them with three  different kind of fillings, two each. Jam, Nutella and cookie spread are my choice. T liked all of them, but Nutella ones are her favorite.

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I lightly brushed the top with half and half before baking at 350F for about 12-15 min. I think maybe next time I'll sprinkle some cinnamon sugar on top.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

T's lunches Week of 8/20

A new everyday responsibility was added since T started kindergarten. I've never had to worry about food since she started daycare at 4 months old, but now she needs lunch everyday. This is a whole new routine that I have to get used to. Funny thing is that I've fallen out of packing lunches for C and I lately. Here are her lunches during the first week.

8/20
8/20
Content: ham, colby jack cheese, cucumbers, berries, fruit sauce pouch, baked apple chips & freeze dried raspberries, pretzels and chocolate cheerios.

I stuffed way too much food in the lunch bag the first day. I had mistakenly thought she started dance class the same day as well and needed snack in between. I also have no idea how much food she would really need/eat either. She ate the cucumbers, fruits, and the baked apple chips/freeze dried raspberries. Didn't touch any of the other stuff. This is probably not a good start...

8/21
8/21
Content: canned refried black beans with shredded cheese, cucumbers, fruits, yogurt with chocolate shavings, pretzels and chocolate cheerios.

She ate all the cucumber and the beans. Most of the fruit and a few cheerios/pretzels. When asked why she didn't eat the yogurt, she said she thought it was ranch dressing. She said she would eat it if she had known it was yogurt instead.

8/22
8/22
Content: spam musubi (purchased), strawberries, baby bell cheese, small juice box, carrots and cucumber with ranch dressing, pretzels and chocolate cheerios. 
By far her favorite lunch so far (of course it's the most unhealthy one!) She didn't eat the carrots and cucumber because of ranch (she changed her mind about wanting it) and also too full after everything else. The pretzels and cheerios were mostly untouched, which is fine since it's only snacks if needed.
8/23
8/23
Content: stir-fry noodles w/ broccoli and hotdog, mixed berries, her usual snack mix of Cheerios/dried fruit/pretzels, baked apple chips

I think she said that she ate a broccoli but didn't like the noodle because it's not warm. She also ate most of the berries (then again, it's not like she ate anything else)...

8/24
8/24
Content: Chicken sui mei (purchased) from Trader Joe's, cheese, grapes, and raspberries. 

She ate everything except for the cheese.

I think we are both still trying to figure out what she likes and could be packed for her. We just got a Thermos for her, so she's thrilled to be able to eat something warm again (like how it was in daycare). I think I'm slowly getting used to it, even packed a couple of lunches for C and I again!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

First Day of Kindergarten

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T started school last Monday on Aug 20th. I still can't quite believe that she's going to a big kid school now! We were extremely lucky for her to be in a Chinese immersion program at a public school. That was our main goal and even had a backup private school plan. As much as we like the private school, it was brand new program and there isn't much structure set up yet. We've been preparing her since we got the acceptance letter back in March that when she starts kindergarten, the teacher will mostly speaks to her in Chinese (85% will be taught in Chinese only). I'm pretty sure that I was more nervous about the whole transition than she was.

I told her she could pick out a new outfit for the first day of school. So we went to the mall and she saw this outfit on in the window at H&M. She basically just pointed to it and said, that's the one. Then she tried to get me to buy up half of the store for her. Typical shopping trips with her...

C and I kept our schedule of him dropping her off and I do the pick up after. He decided that he'll do the bus thing with her since the bus near our house stops about 3 blocks from her school. We both took the day off so we took the bus with her the first day. Normally, it takes about 30 minutes to get there. With the morning commute madness, it took us an hour. Luckily, we left early and made it to school 5 minutes before it starts. They still doing the bus thing so far. Neither of them likes it, but it would've take C longer to drive her there and drive home to ride his bike in to work. Now he just takes his bike on the bus with him and rides to work from the school.

The parents were only allowed to be with the kids in the court yard, where they are lined up according to the class room assigned. There are a total of 3 kindergarten classes with 30 kids each. After the school opening gong and the principal gave a short welcoming speech, all the kids walked in their class.
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She didn't even look back at us. =P

A small breakfast was set up for the parents, but C and I decided to walk down to a cafe nearby to grab some real breakfast. I needed it to get over the shock of having a kindergartener now.

We picked her up a bit later so she could hang out at the onsite after school program a bit. Kindergarten at her school has the same hours as the rest of elementary, 9:30 - 3:30. Still a bit early for me to pick her up. T never takes nap with us on weekend, so we didn't think the new no nap schedule would be too big of an issue. After about 3 days, we realized that she really needs to be going to sleep a lot earlier. She actually fell asleep twice on the way home!

I managed to get one picture of T in front of her classroom.
T in front of her room

So far she's doing really well adjusting to the new school/friends/schedule/commute. She's not freak out about the language aspect of it (she doesn't speak any Chinese at all before this). She seems excited to tell us what new words/things she learned at school. It also sounds like she's making new friends (all girls, because boys are icky.) I'm keeping my fingers crossed that will continues.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Preschool Graduation

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I honestly don't want to write about this as I'm still in a state of denial. This past year at pre-school went by so fast. I still remember last year at this time she was just starting in Room 12 (pre-school room). C and I were talking about how she finally made it to the last room at the school. Since starting at this school in July 2007 when she was 4 months old, she had been through 5 rooms prior to this last one. C and I had 5 years of driving to the school everyday and now it finally comes to an end. I've been playing up the graduation as a very exciting thing for a while, knowing that she is very nervous about starting a new school. I even managed to take one of my niece with me again so she have a little more family there to support her. Friday afternoon traffic always start earlier, so I gave myself 2 hours to get from the East Bay back over. Good thing since I just have enough time to get home, change (T insisted that I put on a dress) and leave to get there on time.

The courtyard was fully decorated when we got there. Most of the seats were already taken. Not a big deal for me since I've planned on standing to take pictures anyways.
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After all of them walked in the courtyard, they first did the Pledge of Allegiance.
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They did a few songs after that, including the chicken dance.
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(I have videos but I don't have time to resize it yet.)

They called everybody's name, after receiving the diploma, each of them got to go up to the mic and let everyone know who they wanted to be when they grow up. There were the typical policeman, teacher and firefighter. I was surprise to hear truck driver and a golfer (from a girl, yay!). T said that she wanted to be a dance teacher, but already changed her mind days before. Her choice of career right now is a children's book author. Again, I have video of it and maybe I'll get that off my computer one day...

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All of us! (That's the real reason why I needed my niece there!)
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Now, I need to figure out a way to rest somehow tonight. Kindergarten starts tomorrow!!!

Weekend Trip - Petrified Forest & Fort Bragg

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There was only about 3 weeks left before the school year starts. We decided to take one last weekend trip before her dances classes starts on Sat again. Since we didn't make it up to Fort Bragg on our last trip, we decided to go up there this time. Hotel was actually quite hard to locate, I guess everyone else is trying to fit in their summer trips as well. The closest hotel I found was in Ukiah. We invited one of my niece along since she could keep T company on the long car rides. Our first stop was the Petrified Forest.

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I guess I had hoped it would be a bit bigger, but we finished the loop in about 30 minutes. We even made my niece read every single signs in there. We did all enjoy the walk though. With the walk taking such a short time, we ended up in Ukiah pretty early in the afternoon. Maybe I didn't do enough research on Ukiah, but we didn't see much to do. There was a Redwood Fair that weekend, but we decided to pass on that. What we did do was spend 2 hours trying to locate a swimsuit for T and C so they could spend some time at the hotel pool. My niece was smart enough to pack one. It is true that all you need is a nice pool while vacationing, that was really the highlight for the two girls.

The next morning we got up and ate the pretty bad free breakfast at the hotel so we could make the trek over to the ocean. The drive was pretty long and with two of us in the car prone to car sickness (my niece and I), we made it there just fine despite all the curves. We got to Fort Bragg and walked around a bit.

The girls found a pretty big tree trunk.
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The skunk train station. If we are up again, maybe we'll try that next time.
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The real reason for going up there, the glass beach. A lot of the bigger glass pieces are gone, we still see people walking away with bags of them. I've told the girls before to not take any so other people can enjoy them. They were both quite good about it. Of course, I reminded them a couple more times there when we're near people collecting a bag. =P
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After Fort Bragg, we stopped by Point Cabrillo Lighthouse. It was a very pleasant half mile walk or so from the parking lot to the light house. There are even a couple cottages there that you could rent to stay. Look at the lighthouse keeper's house.
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T was so determined to get to the lighthouse that we kinda left us behind.
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Overall, it was a great little vacation. I wish we have more free weekends to do these trips more often.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Cherries Picking

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My posts are all out of order right now, we're time traveling back to June since I'll looking at my pictures on flickr and realized that I didn't have a post of it. We went cherry picking with some friends back in June at Brentwood, CA. It was T's first time and she had a lot of fun. She's a self proclaimed fruit monster so being able to just eat as much cherries as she wanted right off the tree was perfect for her. We even managed to limit ourselves to a mere 7 lbs.

Chris does the climbing for us.
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Farm animals too!
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Safari West - Santa Rosa

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We took the first week of July off. The first idea was to do a road trip up to Portland. Then the reality of actually driving to Portland set in and we decided to just stay more local. We heard about this Safari West place and decided that this would be a good time to check it out. Tickets have to be ordered in advance. T ended up really enjoying it, but I found out after I came back that one of my co-worker really did not enjoyed it. I guess it all depends on how interested your kid is in animal? This is a wildlife preserve/breeding operation specializing in African animals. The animals gets to roam around. No lions or anything, otherwise there will be no animals left. The scariest animal we saw where cheetahs there were in a cage. T was very excited to them though since she was a cheetah for Lion King. We got to go on an hour long ride on these WWII Jeeps that they refashioned into touring vehicles.

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She found a feather, but she's not allow to keep it. So we took a picture instead.
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Baby monkey! I can't remember if she's two weeks or months old...
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There are these cabins/tents on premise that you could rent. We thought about it, but decided against it as it was a bit pricey. It does have a working bathroom and that is the type of "camping" I'm willing to try. Maybe next time.
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The zebras were my favorite and totally unexpected.
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Wildebeests are really not the most attractive looking animals.
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This ostrich is named Goldie. She followed us around for a while looking for food.
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For more information on Safari West:
safariwest.com