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Drive me crazy!!!

12 Jun

Why do kids bring so much joy, but can also drive you so crazy?!

I was driving today, with both the kids in the car.  I think they do this on purpose, I don’t know for what purpose, but to drive me crazy.  They start with something so simple and minute, that it doesn’t even make sense that they start arguing…but they do…and always escalates into a full screaming fight.  I’m driving, trying to focus, and try to ignore the screaming match happening in the back seat…then, it builds up to such an aggravated energy, that I scream at the top of my lungs, like a crazy woman, “GODDD STOPPP!!! *&^%$!!!”  Then, immediately after, I decided to zone out of this crazy zone, and did not speak for the rest of the ride.  They, for a moment, shut up with a little shock, but they kept on.

Mia: Stupid!

Noa: No, you are stupid!

Mia: I’m gonna throw my shoe to your eye, so your eye gets dirty!

Noa: You are a female dog! (he means to call her a b**ch)

Mia: Mamma, Noa called me a female dog!  Tell him something!

Me: silence

Mia: I’m going to pee on your face!

Noa: I’m going to fart on your face so bad that you are gonna cry!

Mia: Mamma!!

Me: silence (although their argument was funny, I didn’t give in.)

I got to my destination before it went on any longer.  Wow!  Parenting always tests your limits for sure…

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2013 – 2014 school year, finished!

12 Jun

June 5 2014 was officially the last day of school… for both Noa and Mia.

First, Mia –

Mamma and daddy decided to put you in preschool after realizing you were bored at home, and that you were more than ready.  We were still apprehensive about letting you go, but we found a nice preschool.  After touring the facility and meeting with administrators and teachers, we were confident that you start at this school.  When you started, it was already in January, half way done with the school year, but hey…  We started you with the VPK program, which was 9am – noon, and in March, we extended the hours to 3pm.  There were mornings that you were excited to go, there were days that you just didn’t wake up, and there were days that you just decided you didn’t want to go.  The attendance was not perfect.  However, you learned many things that you wouldn’t have, if it were not for this experience.  Of course you learned your ABCs, numbers, and the basics.  You learned some new songs and rhymes that I never taught you.  You even had homework (which you were very enthusiastic about!)  But the most important thing you experienced was facing your shyness and making new friends.  This is one of the reasons why we wanted you to go to preschool, was so that you can over come your extreme shyness before starting kindergarten.  You did struggle with this at the beginning, and still do, in new circumstances, but with the help of loving staff at the school, you were able to make friends on your own!  We are very proud of you!  It’s a small school, and the staff was so loving, they greeted you with a hugs and kisses.  I am so happy we chose this school, and grateful to all of the ladies that made my little Mia feel comfortable in this new journey.

Mia's Preschool Graduation

Mia’s Preschool Graduation

 

Noa –

You made it through 2nd grade!  You had a successful year once again, and I am very proud of you.  Homework was a struggle, many times torturous, and we dreaded the hours after school…  It’s not that the homework was hard, but its that you gave me a hard time to start and finish this task, which was a struggle.  It’s such a simple concept…if you got on it right after you get home, and didn’t fight with me on it, you would have the rest of the day to do whatever you want…  I’m just so relieved that I am done with this daunting task (for now.)  Wow, and you had that big science project too…which I take full credit for…  The education system which puts this kind of stress onto students and parents for the sake of getting a “good grade” is totally questionable (that is a different blog post.)  Anyways, your grades were A-awesome, so I guess it was all worth it!?  No, really, you scored high on the SAT as well, which I am super proud of.

Your 2nd grade was a good year for another reason, which had everything to do with your teacher, Mrs.R.  After the not-so-great teacher we had last year, I couldn’t have asked for a better one this year.  Mrs.R was like Mrs.S (from this post:https://busybeecraftymama.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=39&action=edit   )  She is a true teacher.  She is sweet, but also knew how to discipline with calmness.  She pushed you with positive encouragement to do better.  What I love about her is that she kept constant communication with me, which is so vital.  She informed me on your weakness and your strengths.  I left you with comfort that you were in good hands.  I am so grateful for having her as your teacher.

This year, you have become more like a big boy, talking like one too (almost like a teenager!)  This year you were into Minecraft, Plants vs Zombies, and Pokémon.  You made new friends, and had your first sleepover away from home.  You also started eating…a lot!  You asked to go to Chipotle after school, very frequently, and are able to finish a full loaded bowl on your own!  ( I thought I wouldn’t have to worry about this for another couple of years, but you already eat as much as an adult!)  Another accomplishment this year is that you participated in soccer for a season.  Soccer was all new to you, but you learned the basics and about working as a team.  We are very proud of you for trying out new things.

 

Noa's 2nd Grade Graduation

Noa’s 2nd Grade Graduation

 

All in all, It was a great school year for both of you.  I plan to relax as much as possible over the summer break, because I know this fall, when you guys are in kindergarten and 3rd grade, I’ll have to be ready!

 

2014…New year, New things

1 Feb

New Year has begun, and January is officially over – already…

I am happy to say, new things are happening…

Noa joined a community soccer league!  He has been bugging us to learn soccer for months now.  On the day of the tryouts, we drove to the park.  As we walked towards the field, he started saying, “Umm, I don’t think I want to do this any more…”  I think he got a little nervous, seeing bunch of people on the field.  We told him “let’s just try it out, and see if you really like it.  Just have fun.”  He saw a few of the kids from school, and by the time he took the skill tests, he was comfortable on the field, and doing pretty well.  Tomorrow is his first game!  He is pretty psyched about it, and we (mom/dad) are more excited for him.  It will be good for him to be able to participate in a team sport.

Mia started preschool!  We have been pretty hesitant about this – to let our little girl leave our side – but we finally did it!  She didn’t want to let go of my hand in the morning, but the teachers told me that she was fine soon after we left.  We (mom/dad)  are sentimental about this change, but so excited that she is happy and proud about this new routine.  This is a big step for her, and for us.  She even has homework, and brags to Noa about it.  Noa stares at her (like she is crazy to be happy about homework!)

I want to make this year, a year of progression.  I am happy that we started the year off with new routines.  2014, here we go!

Redd, the Elf

7 Jan

It is December…  Christmas is only 24 days away…

My kids have been driving me to insanity lately.  They are 8 and 5, and at the “lets drive mama and daddy nuts every day, and create chaos!” stage.  Christmas toy catalogs come in, and they are busy going through it every day.  When I ask what they will ask from Santa, they point at most of the items on the ads.  Every time there’s a toy commercial on TV, they tell me they want it for Christmas.  I tell them if they behave, they will get what they want.  However, that will go in one ear and out the other and leave me yelling after them.  And this is every day.  Until last year, they were not this bad, and they were still manageable.  This year, I am really fed up.  I feel like they taunt me.

As my last resort, I have decided to spend $30 on the Elf on the Shelf this year.  I’m not sure if it will work, but I’m sick of bribing them with toys to behave good.  So here’s how it went down…

Mia and I picked up Noa from school, and on that ride back, is how it began.  I wish I recorded, because it was priceless.

Me: Hey, you guys know what Elf is.

Noa: You mean those little guys that are the Santa’s helper?

Mia: Like the movie? Elf?

Me: Yes, the Santa’s helper.

Noa: Of course I know what they are, you think we are dumb?!

Me: Hey, watch out.  Anyways, we are adopting one.  Santa is going to send us an Elf soon, to our house.  He will watch you guys to see if you will be on the good or naughty list.

The kids went completely silent.

Noa: NO!  Please don’t let him come!  I know I’m going to be on the naughty list!  Mia is going to get me on the naughty list!

Me: All you guys need to do is to behave good.

Mia: That’s creepy!  I hate Christmas now!

Noa: Me too!  I love Halloween much more because you don’t even have to be good and you get lots of candies!   Is he going to follow us, like everywhere?  I can’t take a bath if he is watching!

Mia: (almost in tears) Where is he going to sleep?  I don’t want him to come!

At this point, I am trying very hard to keep a straight face.

Me: Mia, he is not going to be a big elf like the movie.  He is a good elf, and he is going to be small.

Both the kids were really concerned the rest of the drive home.

“Is the elf really coming?” was the question of every hour until a few days passes by… and I introduced them to the “elf.”

I told them the package from Santa came in.  They were really hesitant to get close to the package.

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I first read the “letter from Santa”  My son was suspicious, saying “Santa has the same handwriting as you, mama!”  I just ignored that comment and carried on with the letter.

Letter from Santa

Letter from Santa

Then read the “Elf on the Shelf” book.

Then we brainstormed for a name… and decided on “Redd.”  I placed the book on our shelf, and told the kids that Redd will come to life when we are sleeping, and not to touch him.

Noa: How is he going to get out of that box?  He’s tied up.

Me: Don’t worry, he has magic powers.

The kids stared at Redd side ways, and walked briskly passed him for the rest of the day.  Noa did his homework without any hassle that day, and both kids noticeably tried their best to behave good.  They seemed like they are nervous.

Next morning, the kids woke up to “evidence that Redd got out from the box” and another letter from Santa.

Redd got out!

Redd got out!

Letter from Santa 2

Letter from Santa 2

They checked my phone for the pictures.  I was still in bed just listening to the kids’ conversations. (and chuckling under the covers)

Mia: Oh my god!  Look Noa, he’s real!  Look what he did!  Oh my God!  How does he know your password (to the phone) and how did he take the pictures?

Noa: Where is he?  This is so creepy!

So the kids and daddy looked around the house for Redd.

And so this went on for the remaining days until Christmas Eve.

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On Christmas morning, the kids woke up to presents under the tree and also another letter from Santa.

Letter from Santa 3

Letter from Santa 3

Mia has been telling me that she misses Redd, ever since he “went home to the North Pole.”

Some of the funny comments I heard my kids say:

“I think I smell Redd on my doll.  I think he was playing with them”

When I told my kids to finish the cookies, “No, Redd took a bite, and now his saliva is on it.  That’s gross!”  “Santa took a bite too.  Eew!”

The night I baked flan and left it on the kitchen counter to cool down, “Mama, hide the flan so Redd don’t eat it tonight!”  The morning after, they freaked out because it was no longer on the kitchen counter, and I had stored it in the fridge…

Mia was inspecting her candy stash to make sure Redd did not take them.

After Christmas, we went to Target, and we saw a big banner for “Elf on the Shelf” The kids were both so surprised, yelling out, “Look, that’s Redd, what is he doing in that picture?!”  Mia whispers in my ear and says, “I think Redd is a model, because he’s in the store picture…”  I told them “It looks like him, but you know there are many elves in the North Pole, and they all look alike.”

Now that Christmas has came and went, I am really really glad that I did this.  It was extra work for me, but I enjoyed it, and the kids’ reaction was priceless!  At the end, the kids really loved having Redd with us.  I truly felt the “magic” through my kids.  Such precious time…I know it’ll only be a few more years and I can’t use this trick any more.  So until then, we will be welcoming Redd every Christmas season. 🙂

Princess Cake for Mia’s 5th!

29 Dec

For Mia’s 5th Birthday, I made a princess cake!

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1. Bake!  I always use the Wilton’s butter cake recipe (I cut the sugar down a cup and added a tad more vanilla extract and deleted the almond extract – I don’t like the way it tastes…)  It’s a dense cake, and I love it’s flavor.  Here’s the recipe:  http://www.wilton.com/recipe/Butter-Cake

I didn’t have a heart cake mold, so I baked the cake in a circle mold, then cut it into a heart.

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2. Ice the cake!  Mia spotted this Hersey’s white chocolate icing in the supermarket, and she begged me to use this one, so I tried it out.  (It is yummy!)

3. Roll out the fondant.  I got the Wilton wedding cake fondant pack.  Add the Wilton icing color (Rose Pink) and knead until the whole batch is even color.  Then roll it out nice and big.  I rolled it out as big as the edge of the mat I am using.

4. Cover the cake.  Carefully, using the rolling pin, lift and drape onto the cake.  Be careful not to use your fingers when doing this, because the fondant will deform or be punctured very easily.  Make sure the fondant covers all the top and sides.

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5. Smooth out the fondant. Using a rolling pin or a smoother, or even your palms, smooth out the surface of the cake.  To avoid the fondant to stick to the equipment, or your hand, sprinkle some confectioners sugar.  Cut off the excess fondant that is around the cake.  Tuck in the edges a little using a butter knife.

6. Decorate!

I first pre-designed the pieces so I know exactly how much fondant I need (for the princess.)  Then, knead in colors.  I used a swab of pink and yellow to make a peach color for the head and arms.  Brown for the hair, pink for the dress, and yellow for the crown.

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I used the same method I used for the “Flower Field Cupcakes” (please check out the post for info) to make a few flowers as well.

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I also made small yellow and green balls to surround the cake.  To put the last touch, I made a big bow to drape on the cake.

I cut cardboard, and covered it with foil to make a cake base.

I cut cardboard, and covered it with foil to make a cake base.

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The kids gave me a thumbs up for the cake!

The kids gave me a thumbs up for the cake!

Birthday Party 2013

6 Nov

It’s that time of the year again!

Happy 5th Birthday, Mia!  You are ever so sweet, spicy, and funny, and give me a dose of each, every day.  You give me unlimited kisses and hugs and ” I love you, mama”, which snaps me out of the daily routine stress.   You are totally adorable, and it puts a smile on my face every time.  You are very timid among a group, or among strangers, but when you are in your comfort zone, you are a chatterbox, and can be very loud!  Noa says you are the funniest girl he knows!  You are like that Katy Perry song, hot and cold, up and down, happy and sad, you love me one moment, and you hate me the other.  You can be a real emotional roller coaster.  I enjoy you every moment.  You are with me 24/7, you sleep with me, and you wake up with me.  Sometimes, I wish you were a little more independent, but it will come a day, when I will wish that you would spend more time with me, so I will cherish this precious moment.

Happy 8th Birthday, Noa!  You are growing up so fast, right in front of my eyes!  You have started to eat more, and more variations, which I am pleased to see.  I love that you are witty, and creative. You have grown to love LEGO’s, and I love to watch you follow the instructions and create amazing pieces (many of which are for much older kids!)  It makes me so happy to see you creative!  You really surprise me when you talk about your interests, that you know so much.  These moments makes me realize that you are really listening, and that you are learning every day.  I am very proud of you, that you are doing great in school.  I am so happy to see you having such a great time with your friends, and that you have great friends.  You are a hero to your sister, and she can’t wait for you to come home from school every day.  You can act like a big kid, but I know, when I snuggle you in bed, that you are still my little baby boy!

If you kids only knew how much I love you both!!!

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So…..This year, I went all out for our kids’ birthdays.

Mia’s birthday was in mid September.  We took a trip to Disney to celebrate with Nana (grandma), auntie, and baby cousin.  We had a great time, but Mia kept complaining that she didn’t have a cake… (it’s true, we never got around to cutting a cake.)  It gets complicated when we are traveling.  Anyways, she kept saying that she never got to celebrate and sing Happy Birthday with friends…

Then, October came.  End of October is Noa’s birthday.  We already have annual passes to Disney, so we booked a hotel to go back to Disney.  Then ofcourse, he wants to celebrate with friends as well.

So, I have decided to do a small, headache-free, birthday party for both the kids (at the pool.)

I was supposed to keep it “simple”… pizza, chips…my husband was very adamant about that.  However… here’s how it rolled out…

Note, Mia wants a princess theme.  Noa wants a Minecraft theme.

1. One week prior to the party, I made invitations.  My plan was to invite just the close friends, whom I can text invitations to, however, Noa wanted to invite few new friends from class, so I made these for him to hand out:

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2. Prepare goodie bags.

Noa, Mia and I all worked on the creeper face, so each bag had a different face...

Noa, Mia and I all worked on the creeper face, so each bag had a different face…

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Some of the goodies I put in the bags.

3. Two days prior to the party, I baked the base cakes. Two square, two heart cakes.  (The cakes deserve its own post, so please check them out :))

4. One day prior to the party, I decorated the cake.  By this time, I realize I have overwhelmed myself again, with the many tasks that lay ahead.  Maybe I should just do store bought cake and food… No, No, I want to make it “special.”

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5. Party Time!  I woke up early to first prepare breakfast, then picked up the breakfast mess.  Then I washed all the veggies and fruits for my platters.  I made a fruit platter, veggie platter, big salad, my pepper salad, couple of bowls of chips, and ham and cheese platters.  Then, I made pasta and Bolognese sauce, and also hotdogs.  I got my self ready, and also my kids ready.  All in time for a 1pm party!

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The party was a success, if I do say so myself.  Mostly everyone showed up.  There were many kids going crazy around the pool, and they all had a blast.  The adults had fun, too. We had great food and great company, what more can  I ask for?!  We took the party to a billiard room after dark, and partied some more until we called it a night!

Noa’s actual birthday was on a Tuesday, and I cooked a big dinner.  Nana came to celebrate with us!  Nana took the kids to the mall (to spoil them with more gifts.)  While they were out, I made Asian flavor roasted chicken, my pepper salad, roasted asparagus, kale chips, and pumpkin pie.

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At the end of the week, we went to Disney.  We managed to go around all 4 Disney parks (including Food and Wine Festival at Epcot.)  They call it the “happiest place on Earth,” but going to Disney with kids is not all happy and dandy (that’s a whole different subject!) but we had a great time!

Anyways, then comes Halloween…

I baked pumpkin cake for Halloween!

I baked pumpkin cake for Halloween!

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I am drained, but feel like I conquered these events this year, and very happy about it!

So, Kids, (even though I know you guys sort of take it for granted,) I hope you appreciate all that mommy and daddy do for you…

Pumpkin Carving 2013

29 Oct

This year, we carved pumpkins for the first time!

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First I washed the pumpkin.

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Then opened a hole up top.

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Then cleaned the inside.  All the stringy flesh and seeds has to come out.

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I rinsed off the inside.

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I then put it out in the Sun to let dry, but later found out that this is a big NO NO… DON’T put it out in the Sun!

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We drew on the pumpkin as a guide to carve.

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I cut out a stencil from a coloring book.

I cut out a stencil from a coloring book.

Start carving!

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Ta Da!!!

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We love the way it came out!

Daddy made pumpkin soup with the small cut out parts, and it came out delicious!

Note to self… Do not carve pumpkins way in advance.  They are raw vegetable, and it will rot!   (There are tips on the web on how to preserve them longer.)  Next time, I would wait until Halloween day, that way, we can actually cook the pumpkin and fully enjoy them.  Look what happened to ours…

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They got deformed, and moldy…  We had to throw them away, before any trick-or-treaters got to see them…  :{

It was a fun family activity, and I think we will carve a couple more on Halloween day!