Friday, February 27, 2015

Sure to make your day

This video of a beautiful elderly couple's amazing impromptu piano recital is the best thing I've seen all week.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Look at how we have grown

Just an update on how fast the boys have been growing...

Collin is now 6 and is caring, gentle, funny; loves Lego, swimming, and soccer, and just loves to dance. Since starting kindergarten in September last year, Collin is now able to read I-Can-Read books on his own and loves math problems (which is a surprise because I'm completely math-impaired) and is also pretty good about getting his homework done before doing anything else after school, and doesn't seem to mind doing all the clean up even without his younger bro helping.

Aaron will be 4 come May and is totally, absolutely full of energy and is called the "Aaron Man" (as in "Iron Man") here in the house. He loves to jump around and loves to dance just like his older bro (again, thank God for Go Noodle), and would rather jump around and dance when asked to clean up the books and toys... He is an overall easy-going little guy who secretly still loves Baby Genius videos on Netflix.

Both of them somehow love to shower me with hugs and kisses though (I hope and pray this never ends!) and tell me that I'm the best cook and eats most things, and are uber good about saying prayers before meals and bedtime...

Sung and I could not be more grateful because we used to tell each other that as long as our kids are healthy, anything more than that would be a bonus. :-)

Our prayer is that they grow up to be happy, loving, compassionate young men who love the Lord and are kind and generous with their gifts and talents.

What are your wishes for your child/children?

Monday, February 23, 2015

Ladies, leave your hair down

(Photo from Mother Magazine, the coolest full-service, style-leaning parenting website)

I have always loved wearing my hair up in a ponytail, especially since Collin came along in 2008 (followed by Aaron in 2011). It simply has been the easiest, fastest way to do my hair, and required the least maintenance throughout the day.

But I just read on Mother Magazine that "wearing your hair up, tied in a tight bun or ponytail can actually cause breakage and promote hair loss." Uh oh. It added: "Try wearing hair down more often or keep your tresses in a loose braid if you need to keep your hair pulled back."

No wonder I've been feeling like my hair now has half the volume it used to have up until my late 20's! (Turning 38 is no joke for sure! Eeek.)

So today, I'm putting my hair down (yes, I've cut my hair short)... Let's see how long this would last:

In the meantime, if you would like to find out more about aging gracefully, as I'd like to put it, do hop on over to check out these "10 Anti-Aging Habits To Start Now."

Saturday, February 21, 2015

How much to tip for food delivery in bad, bad weather

We really have been getting too much belated snow this winter. The boys are having a ton of fun, of course, but shoveling is so hard and we feel so bad for everyone who has to labor away day and night to clear the roads... God bless those snow plow trucks!

Just the other day, I found this insightful article by Grub Street on how to tip the food delivery person when the weather is really, really horrible.

In the article, Adam Eric Greenberg, a UC San Diego Ph. D. candidate and co-author of probably the most thorough study yet on bad-weather tips (according to Grub Street) is cited as saying that:

"You should tip at least $2 to $3 no matter what you order — even if it takes the delivery person an extra ten minutes to get to you. Delays are almost never the delivery guy's fault, so be especially forgiving when the weather is terrible.

...For orders above $15, percentage-based tipping should kick in: The standard 18 to 20 percent gratuity you would leave a restaurant server. When the weather is bad, be a bit more generous by tipping 20 to 22 percent. If it's raining outside, tip 22 to 25 percent.

...If there's any snow accumulation, add a dollar or two on top of what you'd tip if it were raining. Having to work as a delivery guy during a blizzard is similar to getting stuck with a party of 20 as a restaurant server, so if you hear weather forecasters promising a "polar vortex, " a 30 percent tip is not outrageous."

And of course, tipping well is no replacement for common courtesy. The article added: "'The rudest thing you can do is just take your food, say nothing, and close the door'... Another delivery man agreed that some quick conversation goes a long way: "Just ask, 'Jeez, how is it out there?' or say, 'Man, this came fast.'""

Isn't that so true?!

By the way... Here's us any time there's "any snow accumulation" (as noted in the article ;o):

We even go sledding at a friend's backyard (on Long Island):

Monday, February 16, 2015

Valentine's Day goodies

Here are the Valentine's Day cards for Collin's and Aaron's classmates!

They are, as always, inspired by the genius mom designer Gabrielle of DesignMom and Alissa of 24-7-365.

It really helped to have this gigantic bag of organic lollipops on hand, because I didn't get to making these goodies until the morning of the school party last Friday (since Valentine's Day was Saturday)...

For some reason (OK, I don't have a real excuse, to be honest), waited until the night before to start making the goodies and of course my printer ink was running low that night.

I nevertheless edited the pictures using PicMonkey -- the niftiest free online photo editor I know! -- and ordered the prints online through Target Photo Center (they offer 1-hour printing, which is truly awesome), and rushed over to my nearest Target the next morning, and then just put together all the "cards" in like, 12 minutes. (Aren't these quite easy to make?)

(Collin's past Valentine's Day cards are here and here, if you would like to see. :-)

I hope you all had a wonderfully happy Valentine's Day! Sung and I went on a lunch date at Becco (their antipasti were better than the main dishes), and watched "Kingsman: The Secret Service." That movie was SO. GOOD. (Did I say I love Colin Firth? ;-) Do check out what Tina Fey said about him! :o)


Friday, February 13, 2015

The most spectacular first tweet of all time

Everyone around the web today (including CNN!) is frantically reporting on what has got to be one of the most epic first tweets by a famous figure.

Big Bird, the yellow-feathered star of "Sesame Street," sent out his first-ever message via his Twitter account earlier today and boy, is it spectacular!

Apparently, he has had his Twitter account since October of 2012 but has remained silent all this time... Until today, when he sent out the best tweet the world has seen.

(Photo of Big Bird's Twitter page)

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Candy-free Valentine's Day ideas

One of my most favorite design bloggers is Jordan Ferney of Oh Happy Day, she is a total creative genius who has the most brilliant and amazingly whimsical party, DIY, and home decor ideas (and is also a mom of two beautiful boys :o)!

For a few days now, Jordan has been graciously sharing a ton of fantastic ideas on Valentine's Day gifts and she of course nailed each and every one of them:

How adorable are these? Hop on over to her sweet blog for a dozen more great ideas! Happy Valentine's!

(Photos by Paul Ferney -- Jordan's hubby! -- for Oh Happy Day)

Monday, February 9, 2015

How to fight with your spouse without ruining your marriage

Just the other day, I came across this Washington Post review on a new book “How to Be a Husband” by Guardian columnist Tim Dowling, who describes the numerous arguments he has with his wife and then shares his strategies for making it through/surviving marital spats.

Here are 9 of them excerpted from the book review:

1. Go to bed angry if you want to. It is often said that a couple should never let the sun set on an argument, but this isn’t practical. Some arguments are, by their nature, two-day events: Too much is at stake to set an arbitrary bedtime deadline. Faced with a stark choice between closure and a night’s sleep, you’re better off with the latter in almost every case.

2. When your wife carries on the next morning as if yesterday’s argument never happened, you should interpret her behavior as a willingness to forgive and forget, and not as a sign that she has actually forgotten.

3. Own your stupidity. Self-awareness is a reliably endearing trait, and over time your spouse will come to admire your willingness to recognize precisely when you have been/are being an idiot.

4. Naturally, there is a lot of disagreement in any partnership, but make certain you’re on the same side when battling outside forces: unfeeling authority, intractable bureaucracy, strangers who have parked stupidly. Mindless solidarity is vital under these circumstances.

5. The time-honored debate about leaving the [toilet] seat up or down is not a genuine source of friction in marriage... The real rule, simple and inarguable, is this: Don’t piss on the seat.

6. Arguments often lead you down little strategic alleyways in search of short-term advantage, and it’s easy to lose your way, especially if feelings are running high. But it’s perfectly feasible to close your rant with the words, “and I’ve now forgotten why I even started this sentence!” If you allow your partner to reassemble the broken pieces of your argument for you, you will almost always end up with a more charitable interpretation of your logic than you deserve.

7. In the context of marriage, a moral victory is something you’ll invariably end up celebrating on your own. If you’re going to get on in married life — if you’re going to have sex ever — you’ve got to learn how to lose an argument. And to do that, you’ve got to learn how to be wrong.

8. It’s never too late to apologize. By which I mean, when it’s obviously far too late for saying sorry to do any good at all, you still should.

9. Never underestimate the tremendous healing power of sitting down together from time to time to speak frankly and openly about the marital difficulties facing other couples you know.

(Image from The Washington Post)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

What we like to snack on

Over the years, I've found that store-baked goods at Whole Foods Market are not only healthier (less sugary and without artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives) but also very comparable to conventional supermarkets'.

A tub of freshly-baked mini chocolate croissants or mini cakes (pictured above) cost $5.99 and $6.99, respectively, and each tub comes with 10 to 12 pieces. Not bad at all, right?

We also like to snack on Trader Joe's Fig & Olive Crisps (pictured next to sliced cheese above), which are surprisingly good for how reasonably priced they are ($3.99 for a whole box)! (It is way overpriced on Amazon but if anyone wants to try it, it is worth every penny!) The boys don't like their string cheese snacks so much but they would devour any piece of cheese if served alongside these goodies. Yum!

And of course, we love love love Terra Vegetable Chips! (The S&S option on Amazon is good but the Whole Foods sometimes has these on sale for 2 for $6. What a great deal!)