Monday, December 1, 2014

We hope your 2014 was a good year!



Thank you for all your love and we wish you all the goodness and joy in the New Year!




Thursday, November 27, 2014

Best Chocolate Crinkles!




Having grown up in Manila, I have come to believe that there are not many chocolatey cookies out there that are as perfectly wonderful as the soft, chewy (fudgy?) chocolate crinkles, which in my book are the best holiday treats from the Philippines.

I have searched high and low for good chocolate crinkle cookies but none were nearly as good as the ones from the Philippines...Until I stumbled upon this gold nugget of a cookie recipe online and tried baking them myself one day. The outcome was quite spectacular. It was a total surprise! :o)

Here is the original recipe from allrecipes.com, my go-to recipe source:

Ingredients

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil (use coconut oil if you like!)
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

Directions

1. In a medium bowl, mix together cocoa, white sugar, and vegetable oil. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the cocoa mixture. Cover dough, and chill for at least 4 hours.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into one inch balls. Coat each ball in confectioners' sugar before placing onto prepared cookie sheets.


3. Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Let stand on the cookie sheet for a minute before transferring to wire racks to cool.


Try this uber easy recipe out! It will change your life!


(Cookies ready to be sent along to Collin's kindergarten teacher Mrs. A because: 1) She's awesome!; 2) She got married last year and her husband happens to be a Filipino-American; 3) And they are expecting a baby in May 2015! -- Anyone pregnant can use some of these yummy sweet treats, I think...? :o)





Monday, November 24, 2014

100 ways to be kind to your child!


In her mind-blowingly insightful post on real parenting entitled, "100 Ways To Be Kind to Your Child," blogger Alissa Marquess (of Creative With Kids) introduced this sweet list:

Tell your child:
1. I love you.
2. I love you no matter what.
3. I love you even when you are angry at me.
4. I love you even when I am angry with you.
5. I love you when you are far way. My love for you can reach you wherever you are.
6. If I could pick any 4 year old (5 year old, 6 year old…) in the whole wide world, I’d pick you.
7. I love you to the moon and then around the stars and back again.
8. Thank you.
9. I enjoyed playing with you today.
10. My favorite part of the day was when I was with you and we _______.

Share:
11. The story of their birth or adoption.
12. About how you cuddled them when they were a baby.
13. The story of their name.
14. A story about yourself when you were their age.
15. The story of how their grandparents met.
16. What your favorite color is.
17. That sometimes you struggle too.
18. That when you’re holding hands and you give three squeezes, it’s a secret code that means, “I love you”.
19. What the plan is.
20. What you’re doing right now.

Play:
21. Charades
22. Hop Scotch
23. Board Games
24. Hide & Seek
25. Simon Says
26. Twenty Questions
27. I Spy on long car rides
28. Catch

Pretend:
29. To catch their kiss and put it on your cheek.
30. That their tickle tank is empty and you have to fill it.
31. That their high five is so powerful it nearly knocks you over.
32. That you are super ticklish.
33. That you are explorers in the amazing world of your own backyard.
34. That it’s party day!

Try:
35. To get enough sleep.
36. To drink enough water.
37. To eat decent food.
38. Dressing in a way that makes you feel confident and comfortable.
39. Calling a friend the next time you feel like you are about to lose it with the kids.
40. Giving a gentle touch to show approval.
41. Dancing in the kitchen.
42. To get your kids to bop to the music with you in the car.
43. Showing your kids that you can do a somersault or handstand or a cartwheel.
44. Keeping the sigh to yourself.
45. Using a kind voice, even if you have to fake it.

Read:
46. A book of silly poems.
47. A story and then act out the plot.
48. Your favorite childhood book to them.
49. When the afternoon is starting to go astray.
50. Outside under a tree.
51. In the library kids corner.
52. The comic book they love that you’re not so hot on.
53. About age appropriate behavior so you can keep your expectations realistic.

Listen:
54. To your child in the car.
55. To silly songs together.
56. For that question that means your child really needs your input.
57. One second longer than you think you have patience for.
58. For the feelings behind your child’s words.

Ask:
59. Why do you think that happens?
60. What do you think would happen if______?
61. How shall we find out?
62. What are you thinking about?
63. What was your favorite part of the day?
64. What do you think this tastes like?

Show:
65. Your child how to do something instead of banning them from it.
66. How to whistle with a blade of grass.
67. How to shuffle cards- make a bridge if you can!
68. How to cut food.
69. How to fold laundry.
70. How to look up information when you don’t know the answer.
71. Affection to your spouse.
72. That taking care of yourself is important.

Take Time:
73. To watch construction sites.
74. To look at the birds.
75. To let your child pour ingredients into the bowl.
76. To walk places together.
77. To dig in the dirt together.
78. To do a task at your child’s pace.
79. To just sit with your child while they play.

Trust:
80. That your child is capable.
81. That you are the right parent for your child.
82. That you are enough.
83. That you can do what is right for your family.

Delight:
84. Clean your child’s room as a surprise.
85. Put chocolate chips in the pancakes.
86. Put a love note in their lunch.
87. Make their snack into a smiley face shape.
88. Make sound effects while you help them do something.
89. Sit on the floor with them to play.

Let Go:
90. Of the guilt.
91. Of how you thought it was going to be.
92. Of your need to be right.

Give:
93. A kind look.
94. A smile when your child walks into the room.
95. A kind touch back when your child touches you.
96. The chance to connect before you correct so that your child can actually hear your words.
97. Your child a chance to work out their frustrations before helping them.
98. A bath when the day feels long.
99. A hug.
100. You get to choose the next one! What is your favorite way to be kind to your child?

Isn't this list just great???

Here are pictures of Collin and Aaron for (#10) "My favorite part of the day was when I was with you guys and you guys put on an impromptu puppet show for mommy!":



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Lover of soccer (+non-lover of soccer younger bro)





This year is Collin's first year in little league soccer and it is going well so far.

I have to say though, that these little boys' sports activities are no joke. They require quite a lot of commitment and dedication from the parents as well, and making it to every practice and game on time has not been easy!

Practices and games are on rain or shine, day...


...and night!

Can you believe???

While Collin is at soccer, here is real trouper Aaron just doin' his thing waiting and waiting, sitting on the bleechers:


Drawing his first Olaf and all (at 3 1/2 years)...


We're tired at times but definitely enjoying the experience!








Monday, October 6, 2014

Transformers in grocery parking lot...


The last picture isn't them hugging lovingly.

They're wrestling standing up. As always.




Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Finally braces-free!


I had braces as a child in 6th grade...

Then I needed braces after having my second child (at 33!) because all my teeth started shifting back to what they looked like back in 6th grade... Which was not only unsightly but just a big big hassle because the gaps between my teeth had gotten so roomy (haha) that after I eat anything, I'd almost always need to run to a mirror to check or brush my teeth, which added up to be like, 5 to 6 times a day. I'm not kidding.

So after waiting(?) for over 2 years for the gaps to magically go away(???), I asked around a ton before finally getting adult braces (by Dr. Margaret Chu-Park of Fort Lee, New Jersey, who has got to be the best orthodontist in the tri-state area!) and I couldn't be happier that I went ahead and got them:






(Can you say HAPPIER??? :o)

For anyone out there pondering whether or not to get adult braces... Go for it!!! (I had no idea some dental insurances cover adult braces as well: Mine covered a whopping 50% of the total cost! Good to know, right?)












Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Genius icon designer


How amazingly simple yet stunning are these icons designed by Yoon Jae Kim, a Korean-born and educated icon designer and cartographer at Apple?


So clean and simple. There should be more designers like Yoon Jae in the world!

(Images from Yoon Jae Kim's Behance page)




Friday, May 16, 2014

Uber affordable game-changer soap dispenser


IKEA has many, many, many wonders but I am truly sold on this cute little guy:


A clean, gorgeous LOSJÖN soap dispenser that is so easy to use (even by little kiddos with tiny, soft hands) and only $3.99!

Need I say more? ;o)

(Photo from the IKEA's US website; sadly, this item is not sold online)






Thursday, May 1, 2014

Manly man despite womanly haircut


We still get asked a lot whether Aaron is a girl or boy...

If you really meet Aaron though, I can tell you that you will know right away he is the most manly young boy ever.

(Hence the nickname "Aaron Man" (as in "Iron Man"). ;^)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What to do when kiddos are bored



According to The Wall Street Journal, "kids who complain of boredom aren't necessarily lazy or slacking off, but are actually in a tense, negative state."

And what you don't want to do is "mask the state of boredom with excessive stimulation," because "in the long term, it makes us more ripe for boredom." How true!

Would you know what to do when your children say they are bored?

According to the article, here are the "boredom busters":

- Take a breath. Resist the urge to get angry or punish the child for being 'lazy.'

- Don't jump right in: Make the child responsible for finding a solution.

- Limit screen time: including computer, video games, and TV.

- Avoid the toy box: Guide the child toward imaginative or active play instead.

- Fill a jar with paper slips with the child's ideas for things to do.

- Suggest chores that will make other options seem more appealing.






Tuesday, February 18, 2014

How to pick the best seat at a dinner party


Here is a genius infographic on how to choose the right seat at any social gathering, by Alex Cornell:


     4 Person Circle: This is the ideal setup. You are safe sitting in any seat. Regardless how interesting everyone is, you pretty much can’t go wrong. Note: as the diameter of the table increases, so too does the importance that you sit adjacent to someone you like.

     4 Person Square: This configuration (as opposed to two chairs on each side) is less fraught with problems. Something to watch out for is diagonal conversations, i.e. breaking the into two parts and getting stuck with the more boring of the three tablemates.

     6 Person Circle: How loud the restaurant is determines how important it is that you claim a middle seat. A quiet space allows for cross-table diagnoal talking, and generally one conversation. A loud space however forces multiple conversations and less diagonal.

     8 Person Rectangle: To get one of the interior 4 seats, you need to time your approach expertly. You can’t be first, else you’ll be expected to file to the end. And you can’t be last, else you’ll be stuck with the least interesting seat at the table. Timing is everything.

     7 Person Rectangle: It’s very easy to get screwed in this scenario. While it may appear like you can sit anywhere except the ends, this is not so. You are at risk of sitting next to the lonely end-seat, which requires you to speak soley to that person for the duration of the meal.

     2 Tables of Any Size: You’re ******. Regardless of how you time your approach, you will inevitably choose too soon. Lament as the other table’s attendance crystallizes into what is clearly the superior group. Sometimes it’s best to visit the bathroom while seats are chosen, so any seating disasters are the result of chance, and not your own miscalculation.

Speaking of awesome infographics, here is a fun book that I recently got Sung as a part of his Christmas gift -- The Best American Infographics 2013.

(Image from Alex Cornell's blog)





Thursday, January 16, 2014

Collin JS Kim, I love you


Thank you for being my baby. I love you so much.


You are all I would ever ask for for a firstborn.

Thank you for being the best brother that Aaron could ever have. xoxo