Monday, January 30, 2012

2Q Schedule

Someone is taking a lot of Computer Science classes this quarter.  If she manages her time well then she might still be able to squeeze some time to play League of Legends (LoL) with her friends.

 Already, when Shannon came home for Christmas, I could no longer understand most of the programming terms that she and her father were talking about.  Somehow, bits of those programming-genes got embedded in my daughter's brain cells.  One day we might still have another programmer in the family, which is not bad at all. 

I'm posting this schedule for my reference.   It is wise to know exactly when to disturb my daughter. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Super-duper Espresso Maker

So the super-duper espresso maker is in my kitchen!  It's Tim's  new thing!  The irony is that he left to go to Taiwan right after he got it.  As a result I got to experiment with it for a whole week.  I used to miss my morning coffee whenever he's gone on a business trip - but not this time.

This machine is very convenient to use.  It grinds the coffee beans; dumps used coffee grounds, which have been pelletized into something that resembles a Reese's candy, into a receptacle.  The only thing I need to do is to fill the coffee bean container every three days depending on how often I make coffee; fill up the water container and empty the coffee grounds once every day.  Everything else is a push-button process.  I can even choose the intensity of the coffee and the amount of espresso per operation.  How cool is that?   The other day I was telling my son, jokingly, that I miss the scattered coffee ground all over the counter where the grinder is located.   I miss cleaning the sink from all the used coffee grounds.  The carafe and the filter, I sure miss cleaning them! (Not really!)

Tim likes coffee-making gadgets.  So far this is my favorite of them all. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Something New

Yesterday I was at the soon-to-open Green Acres in Folsom for my second interview. Yes, I applied for a job there for the following reasons: The place is very close to home - three miles away from my house. Green Acres - Folsom is a glorified nursery and supply store. It is going to be the biggest one in the area and I want to be part of this phenomenon. The magnitude of the nursery is like a playground for a plant-geek like me. Working there would definitely be fun and rewarding. Lastly, but not least, I would have to get paid doing something I enjoy. What a deal!  I'm curious to see what happens. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Guy Who Rides His Bike

 Brahms is awesome.   He likes penguins, hamburgers, and cheese - that's what he tells me.  But as far as I know he is a hard-working guy who consistently gets up very early. He is consistently one of the most interesting teenage boys that I know, and always excited to share some of what he has found. Last year, I remember that he had a new interesting fact or crazy story to tell the bus driver every day. The question is: What will he do next? Now, it seems, buses are boring and bikes are cool. So, each morning he rides to school. Soon he will be doing the car thing (with me in the passenger seat).

Brahms is fun.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Beginning Flute

Miriam started her first flute lesson yesterday.  After taking lessons in percussion for many years she is ready to learn a new one.  Flute was the chosen because we already have the instrument - makes it cheaper.  He instructor Mr. Liam Irish was very kind to let me sit and observe.  He is a very lively instructor.  Miriam said that he is a better role model than his previous music teacher (whose name will not be mentioned for the sake of privacy) who always checked his iPhone every five minutes while, supposedly, teaching her.

Miriam was very nervous yesterday.  It really helped that I was there, at least for the first time.  However, Liam was very impressed of her great start.  She didn't make any mistakes in her notes, which is often a problem with beginners.  This is all because of her experience in playing percussion instruments. Today, she brought her instrument to school so that she can practice at the Band room during lunch break. 

She still plays percussion in band but who knows, if she learns fast, she might get to play flute at the last Rolling Hills Middle School concert of the year. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Sunday: Observance of Rest

This is the second Sunday, in the last six months, that we get more hours of rest than activities on a so-called rest day.   So far I like the current arrangement but I still feel as though it is unreal.  Just like breaking any other tradition,  the mind voluntarily complements the change with a moral guilt.  I'm still trying to depart from this ghost-like remorse that comes out of nowhere but immediately disappears when I flood my mind with reason.  This brings me back to the early days of my marriage.  For months after Tim and I got married, I used to wake up in the night and realize that I am sleeping next to a man.  "This is wrong!  I should not be sleeping next to a guy!"  Tim would then remind me that we're married - everything would be fine again - then I'd go back to sleep. It is ridiculous but that's how I feel sometimes about not attending the morning worship service at Cornerstone.  We attend the evening service at Folsom Community Church now as part of the service we want to do this year.

Rest is intentional loosening-up.  It is not inactivity.  Our family schedule is often bombarded with the daily, immediate, and superficial demands of life.  Rest should provide a temporary relief away from our attempts to fix the world so that we could have the time and attitude to appreciate what God has been doing all along.

This may sound counterintuitive but some of my most restful moments have often been shared with my husband while taking our morning walks and sharing our spiritual reflections with each other.

"Be still and know that I AM God" ~ Psalm 46:10

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Grandparents and Surprises

Relatives and friends visited us around Christmas not in one big gathering but one group after the other.  For the kids, presents came in a staggered fashion.  For our guests, they all had a fair share of our undivided attention when they came. 

Mom (Marilyn) and Johnnye came on the 26th.  Of course when they visit us during Christmas time they always arrive in a car loaded with presents for everybody because they also deliver presents from all other relatives in Eureka (Humboldt Country) for us.  Once the presents are unloaded they make a dramatic pile around the Christmas tree.  My son once told me that the only time he came close to thinking that Santa Claus was real was a time when his Grandpa Johnnye said that Santa was stranded in the snow, and so they helped him deliver the presents. 

We are so grateful that Mom and Johnnye were able to come to see us all again.  It surprised us that they were interested in the house-for-sale next door.  We have encouraged them, more than once in the past, to move closer to any of their kids but this is the first time they have shown any interest at all in moving to near (very near) us.  They seem to have always desired to live in places away from the modern busyness of communities.  But that possibility, of them moving next-door to us was short-lived since the house was technically sold at that time.   Of course, there are still so many houses for sale in our neighborhood - if they are willing to live a little bit further away from us.  :)

With Grandma Marilyn and Grandpa Johnnye - December 2011

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Jen throws the ball!

While waiting for Mom and Johnnye to arrive, we were all outside enjoying the great California weather. 

Enjoying ribs together. 

Maya: Where do ribs come from?
Miriam:  From pigs.
Maya:  Did the pig die?
Miriam:  Yes.
Maya:  Hmmm.  It's yummy!

Maya and Jason: Cute kids!

To explain the expressions on their faces, Jason just fell off Maya's back when I took this picture.  

Jason and Mark also like Brahms' present.

Brahms got a T-shirt from Paul and Pam.  Written on the shirt was this phrase: "Keep Calm. Have Some Pie".  Even Jason though it was cool. 

Miriam reads to her cousin Maya.

Jason and his gingerbread house.

Mark barely catches the ball! 

Happy Memories of Christmas 2011

Monday, January 9, 2012

Bread Pudding: Only in the Absence of Pies

Torta-Bread Pudding

Costco sells Torta bread which is so good for making sandwiches.  The only problem with this soft yummy bread is its short shelf-life.  During the holidays, we had a lot of left-overs from entertaining and I was determined not to allow them to get sucked into garbology.  This recipe -modified from an old recipe- is ideal for any of the sweeter breads such as torta or Hawaiian bread.  This bread pudding is custardy inside and crispy on top! 

  • 7 pieces  day-old torta bread
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup craisins
  • 7 eggs, beaten
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Tear bread into small pieces into an 8 x 11inch baking pan. Drizzle melted butter or margarine over bread. Sprinkle with craisins.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Beat until well mixed. Pour over bread, and lightly push down with a fork until bread is covered and soaking up the egg mixture.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until the top springs back when lightly tapped.               
  5. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.  Enjoy!  

    Saturday, January 7, 2012

    Watching Rose Parade

    Everyone is cozy with blankets and hot cocoa.

    New Year's Day 2012 is on a Sunday.  As a result  the Rose Parade was held on the following day - Monday.  We were all looking for Shannon's dorm mate who was banner-bearer.  Unfortunately, he was right behind the float with the surfing dogs.  The commentators spent a long time talking about the float and how it (being the longest float) would make a turn around the corner. We were all disappointed not to have seen him there. 

    We also watched the HGTV Dream Home 2012.  We always dream of winning a dream home.  Who knows, maybe this year we will be the lucky ones to win it.  :)

    Note that Shannon's face is its full swollen-size. 

    New Year 2012

    A Toast for 2012!!! 

    Shannon just had all four of her wisdom teeth removed the day before but she's such a trooper - she stayed up with all of us to wait for the year to change. I imagine that she was all groggy from Vicodin but she tried to smile for this traditional New Year's Family picture. 

    We stayed up all night - eating munchies that represent our multi-cultural family.  This year we tried to alter our traditional foods a little bit to make them less caloric.  Instead of making lumpia I made Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Shrimp.  Tim still made his Herbed Sausage Croissant but he skipped the Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts.  Some things remained such as the Filipino-Style Macaroni Chicken Salad, Sparkling Apple Cider, and some various cookies on the side.   The guys played Skyrim while Miriam played the Lego-Pirates of the Caribbean.  I believe Shannon played online League of Legends with her Shire-mates Steven, Zack, and Tiffany. 

    The day was not like any other New Year's Eve we ever had because other than the fact that Shannon was not feeling well from her dental surgery, we were just not in the mood for taking down the fake Christmas tree.  Normally, before midnight we would all be done putting away all the Christmas ornaments.  I'm guessing that this is one of the (negative) effects of electronic games and media.  They were free to have fun since they were all on vacation. 

    The next day we attended worship service at CCC in the morning and attended FCC in the evening.  What better way to start the year!   

    God has always been good to us.
    2011 was a great year. 
    We praise God for all His blessings and kindness.
    Happy New Year to All! 

    Thursday, January 5, 2012

    Safe and Secure

    Miriam seems very confident in her position.