our morning walks

this week is the last week of miss e going to her neighborhood preschool.  next month she’ll start at a new bilingual school that is 4 miles from our house. she’s very excited to be starting at a new school.  she’s been trying to speak a bit more chinese at home in preparation for her new school.  so as we’re down to the last few days at her preschool i’m also feeling a bit sentimental.

there are so many wonderful things about her preschool that i am going to miss, but now reflecting back, the thing i will miss the most are our morning walks to school. miss e’s school is only 8 residential blocks from our house.  in the beginning it would take us 20 minutes to get to school. miss e would need to stop and collect leaves, sticks, rocks, feathers, bottle caps…and she wouldn’t walk in a straight line. now we can get to school under 15 minutes. but this past school year our morning walks have been less and less. sometimes d.d. is still sleeping when she needs to get to school, or sometimes d.d. is fussing, ready for a nap, but i can’t put him down until the older child gets to school. so i’ve been driving to school most mornings now. it takes me 3 driving minutes to get to her school.

she used to throw fits when we would be running late and i would suggest that we drive to school (this was way before d.d. was born).  it would be like a tug-of-war trying to get her into the car. whenever i asked her if she wanted to walk or to drive she would–without fail–choose to walk even when it was freezing, windy, or pouring rain outside.  so we would walk whenever we could. it wasn’t until last summer, when she was older, and could express her feelings better that she told me the reason why she liked walking to school. “we walk and we talk. i like walking and i like talking to you, mama,” she told me that summer morning as we made the turn down the long stretch toward her school.  i still remember the location where she said that.

it all made sense.

it wasn’t the actual walking that she enjoyed, it was that when we took our morning walks it would just be the two of us and she had my undivided attention.  i wasn’t cooking, i wasn’t doing dishes, i wasn’t doing laundry, i wasn’t on the phone, i wasn’t writing emails. i was with her, without any added agenda. and we would chat about anything and everything. conversation would range from her school friends to her imaginary friends (pooh and peppa pig were frequent subjects). we’d play “i spy” a lot.  we’d identify plants and birds, watch the high school’s first period gym class run pass us, pause to watch the garbage truck  dump the trash bins, and get scared by the bart train speeding over our heads. if we drove, we wouldn’t get to do any of that, and it would be over in 3 minutes.

d.d.’s morning nap routine these past few weeks has been very on schedule.  he gets up around 6am and goes down for his first nap at 9:30/10am.  so i’ve been making sure that we get to walk to school in the mornings.  there’s only two more days left of walking with mama, because in september baba will drop miss e off at school on his way to work.  yesterday both kids rode in our joovy tandem stroller (for the first time without using the car seat attachment), and they giggled the whole way to school.

first day of preschool , aug 2013. the first of many morning walks.

as i’m writing this i’m seeing how my morning times with the Lord should be more like this–not distracted by the things of the day, just the two of us chatting…maybe for 15-20 minutes.  i don’t need to have an agenda, He just tells me what’s on His heart and I tell Him what’s on my heart–real or even the imaginary, i suppose.  i should see it more like Father-daughter morning walks than clocking in my required time with God.

spring cleaning…check!

i’m still in a bit of disbelief that i actually cleaned out the den/sewing room/guest room last week.  it wasn’t planned, but when i looked at my calendar i completed my spring cleaning on the first day of spring (20th of march). and i didn’t even drag it out for days and weeks (like i usually do…ahem).  i think the state of the spare room reached a point of such disarray that it called for a complete overhaul.

i pulled out all my fabrics that had been stashed in various areas around the house, refolded them, and sorted them into categories.  after seeing all my fabrics concentrated in one area i realized i better start doing more sewing than just fabric hoarding.  so i made a promise (to mdh) that i will use up at least half of my fabric stash before purchasing any more.  i have a feeling that is going to be a hard promise to keep…but since i have also let you in on my promise, hopefully that will help me be accountable to my promise.

we rearranged some furniture and mdh got me the ikea raskog utility cart in hopes that it’ll help me maintain the organization.  fingers crossed things will continue to look like this a month, (a year?) from now.

without further ado here is our newly tidied den:DSC_0135DSC_0137DSC_0134

p.s. we were having friends stay at our place so that’s usually the catalyst that gets cleaning happening.

p.s.s.  let’s see if the other rooms in the house get a spring cleaning. >sigh<

it’s 9pm…

…and BOTH KIDS ARE DOWN FOR THE NIGHT!

(the big kid, mdh, is in a meeting. so the house is comp.lete.ly.still.)

i know i should be productive and at least do the dishes or pick up the living room, or even do some selfish sewing and work on those half finished quilts/projects…mmm…no.  i’m going to “waste” an hour…and make some tea and drink it while it’s still hot…and maybe finally finish writing that letter to my friend…

the trick to reviving “dead” bread (one of the best tips i got in 2014)

have you ever bought baguettes or french bread and couldn’t finish the whole loaf, then stored it in the paper bag it came in, only to find it  disappointingly stale and stiff the following day? guess what?!  i learned how to revive dead bread.  here’s the back story:

since this past spring we’ve been getting a constant stream of visitors, friends, and family staying at our place.  in may, a family stayed with us to attend their son’s graduation and help him move home.  while they were here they went to visit boudin bakery in sf.  they came back with more bread than what three families could possibly consume in one sitting.

some of the bread went into ziploc bags but some of the bread stayed in their paper bags.  i was sad to think that all this beautiful bread would end up in the trash in a day or two.  but the father prepared fresh bread for us every morning (they stayed with us for a week)!  i was baffled how we got warm crunchy-on-the-outside-chewy-on-the-inside-bread every morning–even when the bread had been sitting in the paper bags for 4 days.

apart from fresh bread in the mornings for a week, the father was gracious enough to share with me his secret to reviving dead bread (this works for bagels too):

  1. *pass bread quickly under running water from the faucet two or three times.

    *very important! pass it QUICKLY under the water, don't just hold it under running water.

    *very important! pass it QUICKLY under the water, don’t just hold it under running water.

  2. vigorously shake the excess water off the bread. (also a key step, because too much water will make the bread soggy.)
  3. bake in oven (uncovered) at 350-400F for 4-7 minutes depending on size of loaf and your oven.
  4. ta-dah! your bread is now resurrected and is as good as new, just like when you bought it from the store…or maybe even better since you might not have purchased it right out of the oven.
  • this trick works best if the entire loaf of bread hasn’t been cut or has as little of the soft bready center exposed (but i’ve also tried it with a half loaf–just don’t get the inside wet).
  • this works for bread that either has a shiny or matte crust.

since learning this trick i have saved many loaves of bread (and money too!).  so this was one of the simplest and best tips i got in 2014.

hope you have a wonderful new year and spare many loaves of bread from being prematurely tossed into the trash in 2015!

revived bread

update, 21 march 2015:  this works for naan too! (and if it works for naan i think it might work for pita bread too!)  if you’ve tried this trick on other kinds of bread and revived it let me know!

my favorite month & give-away winner

DSC_0189my favorite month of the year is probably september because it’s the start of fall.  when i used to live in new jersey i would always anticipate for that one morning, some time in september (after the new school year starts), where the warm late summer air suddenly turns crisp and has a frosty bite!  then i know autumn has arrived and it’s time to bring out all the cozy sweaters, scarves, hats, coats, and boots.  then the leaves would start showing their fiery colors, and shortly after that i get to start stomping on dry leaves that would crunch and crinkle under my shoes.

so without further ado, the random generator has selected eileen as the new owner to the canvas calendar!  thank you, everyone, for stopping by my blog…it’s always fun to have give-aways, because that means i have more room to do other crafts!  for those who didn’t win the calendar, you can try making your own!  there’s still eighteen days left in 2014.

tuesday

it’s the first tuesday of december…yes, i’ve taken a long hiatus.  i haven’t had much my-own-hear-myself-think time for the past few months.  i used to despair about that.  i don’t anymore, i just take it when i get it.  i’ve learned that those times will eventually come around again.  maybe not as often as i’d like, but they’ll come.

yesterday, i finally had a window of my-very-own time–and i didn’t need to do laundry or the dishes, or answer emails, or wait for service people, or get groceries, or go to doctors’ appointments–i really just had a do-whatever-i-so-desire moment, so i opened up “tuesday snippets” for the first time in months and finished many of my half written snippets that had just sat in queue.

here i am, today, baby is napping on his own again…so i’m going to write a fresh entry, and i’m not going to leave it dangling.  i’m going to finish it before baby wakes. *fingers crossed*  i don’t think there’s going to be a driving point to this entry…i’m just commemorating the fact that i finally get to add a new entry.

baby is 7 weeks old so i think we’re heading into a more definite routine of wake, feed, and sleep.  he’s also sleeping longer stretches through the night so we’re also getting longer sleep through the night.  and i think–it’s not certain–but i think he gave me a little social smile yesterday afternoon after i nursed him.