our budding birder

a few weeks ago mdh got a bird feeder.  but not just any kind of bird feeder–it’s the squirrel buster bird feeder.  miss e waited by the window with much anticipation, but for two days we didn’t see any birds come by to take a morsel.  she even had her little east-west all the backyard birds guide book on hand.

finally, on the third day we started seeing some house finches show up.  but that’s all we kept seeing, red headed male finches, spotted female finches, and nobody else.  i was getting bored (yes, already).  certain ones kept coming by so frequently i was able to identify them individually.

on the morning of the fourth day as i was in the bathroom getting ready miss e comes running in to tell me she saw a “small grey bird with a crest.”  and then she made a crest by putting her palms together on top of her head.    she even found the titmouse in her guide book and showed me, “this one.”  i didn’t believe her, since all i saw were the house finches.  i thought maybe she was pretending to see a different bird since it was getting a bit boring with only the finches coming to the feeder.  she went and told her dad too.  he didn’t believe her either.

then mdh went to have some breakfast and while he was sitting down to have his cereal he saw the titmouse at the feeder!  miss e did actually see the titmouse and so very accurately identified it.  so now you can imagine mdh’s excitement in seeing some other bird other than the house finches, and even more excited because his daughter had identified a bird even before the adults saw it.  the titmouse is a skittish kind of bird so i didn’t get to see it for myself until the following day.

the titmouse is a cute bird, and yes, it’s small, grey, and has a crest.

so far we’ve seen house finches, titmouse (would the plural be titmice?), chestnut-backed chickadees, scrub jays, mourning doves, house sparrows, and california towhees visit our backyard.  oh yeah, and busy squirrels trying to get to the bird feeder.



(this post was requested by mdh, because he’s a proud papa and he wanted to record this moment.  he’s been talking about training our kids to be birders even before we had kids.  he asked me to write this down a few days after miss e saw the titmouse, but i kept putting it off.  since today is father’s day it feels like it’s a good day to tell the story.)


be strong and of good courage

Be strong and of good courage,

Do not be afraid, neither be dismayed,

For Jehovah your God is with you, wherever you go. –Joshua 1:9

this afternoon while miss e and i were having lunch she announced to me that she wasn’t afraid of the dark anymore.  she used to use a nightlight in her room.  but ever since her little brother (“di di” in chinese, d.d.) started sharing her room with her she had to stop using the nightlight because it was at an angle that shined right into d.d.’s crib.

she hadn’t been using the nightlight for almost a month now.  at first we gave her a little flash light, but the switch was finicky and sometimes it wouldn’t turn on no matter how hard we pressed the button.  i made her a little glow jar (from our ever growing collection of baby food jars) which seemed to comfort her a bit, but every now and then if she’d wake up in the middle of the night and noticed that the glow-in-the-dark light had faded she’d get up and let us know that it had stopped glowing…that got kind of annoying too.  but we just kept telling her that we’re right next door and d.d. is in the same room with her so there’s no reason to be afraid.

so this afternoon she explained to me that she wasn’t scared of the dark because God is with her wherever she goes.  she had learned the verse joshua 1:9 as a song from her children’s meeting singing time many months ago and would often sing it at home.  i was surprised that she actually understood the meaning of the song.  she couldn’t tell me for certain whether she discovered the meaning of the words on her own or her children’s meeting teacher had explained it to them.  in any case, i was quite encouraged and comforted from her explanation of why she’s not afraid of the dark.

miss e is only four AND A HALF years old and i can help her through many of her daily difficulties.  this afternoon’s little interaction reminded me that as she grows older there will be more and more “fears” that i can’t help her through and that she will need to confront them on her own but my role is to be there to remind her that God is with her wherever and whatever she has to go through.

2015 calander on canvas tutorial (& a give-away!)

the baby took a long morning nap after miss e went off to school, and now BOTH kids are taking a nap!  what are the odds of this happening again? maybe i should go buy a lottery ticket…or better yet i’ll have a give-away–just in time for the new year (details at the end)!


i’m participating in a giftswap, so for the gift that i’m making my swapmate i needed to test how washable kids paint would handle on canvas surface.  the canvas handled the kid’s paint beautifully.  as i was covering the canvas with experiment strokes, colors, and washes the test run evolved into a do-able project (even for preschoolers).  it’s a fun, practical, handmade gift for the coming new year!

basic supplies:DSC_0048

  • 11 x 14 canvas (if you get a smaller canvas you’ll have to write smaller)
  • watercolor/acrylic paint
  • sharpie marker
  • water
  • brushes
  • paper plate (or some sort of flat surface to mix your paint)
  • 2015 calendar

1.  pick a few colors that you would like on your canvas (or one color would work too!)

2.  mix your paint with water to thin the paint out so it’s somewhat transparent.  you don’t want your paint to be too think or heavy.  when you write on the canvas you want your writing to show.

3. now apply the paint on your canvas however you like.  create a background for your calendar.

4.  have fun experimenting with different amounts of paint and water!  you don’t have to cover the entire canvas with paint either, some white showing through also makes it interesting.

6.  set the canvas aside to let the paint dry.

7.  after the paint has dried you can start writing the months and days on the canvas with the sharpie pen.  (you might want to practice writing a month or two on scrap paper so you get a feel for how big or small to write the dates.)


this is the canvas calendar that i am giving away.  to participate in the give-away please leave a comment below and…(now CLOSED)

1.  in your comment please answer: what is your favorite month out of the year?

2.  and briefly explain why it’s your favorite month of the year.

3.  leave your comment before friday (12/12) 11:59pm and i’ll announce the winner (drawn randomly) saturday morning.

DSC_0050this is miss e’s rendition.  she said she doesn’t want the numbers.

here’s a sneak peek at what i’m making (or rather, what i messed up) for my swapmate (this is another variation on the canvas calendar.  i got the mini canvas and easel from blicks–and they’re having a canvas sale right now!).

do you see the mistake?

update, dec 29: she changed her mind…


spring break!

last week we were away for spring break–in the lovely land of o canada!  we were in montreal and quebec.  this was our first real getaway vacation since miss e was born.  most of our travels have been to visit family–which is vacation–but we haven’t been able to visit a place that has no family connections and just act like tourists…well, we visited massachusetts and maine last year, but that was still with family and because we were attending a cousin’s graduation…maybe that counts as being half tourists.

since miss e is 3.5 now, can eat whatever we eat, sleeps in a big kid’s bed, takes only one nap (and some days takes none), is becoming more reasonable and logical, loves flying, and still just as curious as ever.  so we realized maybe we can start taking trips abroad.  at this new prospect we immediately wanted to go exploring europe!  we had so much fun brainstorming all the places we can go…but when we started to really hash out a schedule, reality settle in and we realized we still have a 3.5 year-old that is only ~3 feet tall and still needs a nap.  three plane tickets to europe would not be worth it.

we came up with eastern canada because my family visited montreal and quebec when i was in high school.  i remember those two places feeling a little like europe (because they speak french and have signs in french).  and mdh has never been there so he was intrigued with my descriptions of montreal and quebec.  so eastern canada was a good compromise between our dream and reality.  and with a todd-schooler in tow, things would slow down considerably and schedules would have to stay quite flexible, so we looked into vacation homes instead of hotels.  this way we have the option of cooking and eating at “home” instead of having to eat out all the time, and we can play at “home” on days we have slow starts, early starts or no starts.  and since we were looking at vacation homes, there were a variety of room options for fairly decent prices, so we added another room and invited grandma and grandpa along.  at this point, it’s not about hitting scenic sites, it’s just about the more the merrier!  haha!

DSC_0370it’s interesting how our travel priorities have changed with a little one.  in the end we just tell ourselves it’s not about checking off the to-do/to-see list, but it’s about doing things together.  a frequented hot spot was playing a local park at least once a day!  (oh hey! we do that back at home!)

park in quebec, canadabut we did see some pretty sites too!  and visit museums and play in the snow (which we don’t get to do back at home).

DSC_0045DSC_0266and right before we took our trip we broke some happy news to our family…via snail mail.



a few days ago, we came across a page in miss e’s cutting and pasting craft book that required a bit of math.e.mat.ics.  i thought it was going to be an easy peasy breezey activity because she’s been counting for a while now.  so i figured she knew the math to it.

now i realize knowing how to count does NOT equal to knowing the concept of math.  knowing the name of numbers doesn’t mean they know that number can be applied to objects so that they can be counted.  i’m even having a hard time describing the concept of counting…it’s quite  a leap into the abstract world!

and at the time we were working on the activity page i noticed i was getting quite frustrated because my 3 year old couldn’t do the math!  yesterday, i came across this funny little clip by “bored shorts tv” and had a good laugh…(good grief, tiger mom, miss e is only 3!)

square 48 & 49


square 48:  i went back to taiwan for my aunt’s funeral.  she had been battling leukemia for a year and a half.  she was the oldest daughter and the first in her family to know the Lord.  and she was faithful to bring all her sisters and their husbands to know the Lord.  my mother was the second daughter and the second to be saved, along with my father.  this was how the Lord’s salvation reached me–through my aunt’s steadfast prayers for her family. it was nice to be with all my aunts and uncles, sharing many fond memories of their dear oldest sister, listening to many stories that i had never heard before.

the morning before i left taipei i was able to go to a knick-knack store near my third aunt’s house and wander through it’s three floors of every-things.  in the craft section i came across some wooden beads.  ah!  how i wish i had these back in june when i was taking the surface embroidery class.

square 49: continuing with the beads theme…joann was selling a packet of assorted beads for $1.  miss e used some to make a necklace.  i used some of the smaller ones for my square.


i couldn’t help it!

just two weeks ago i promised that i wouldn’t start on anymore projects until i’ve completed all the ones from last year.  welllll…i couldn’t help myself from signing up with amy gibson’s (block of the month–bom) sugar block club.  by the time i stumbled on amy’s site the bom had already started!

on the first of every month we would get a new block pattern (along with a dessert recipe) for the month.  now you see why it wouldn’t make sense for me to sign up after i finished all my projects…like, in march.  i would be 3 quilt blocks behind!  ok, so that was the excuse i came up with.  hopefully with it being a block a month i can keep pace with it better than my one square a week, especially since my calculus 1 class just started yesterday.

i’ve decided, to the best of my ability, not to purchase any new fabric and just use old bed sheets (mostly ones that i raided from my parents house last new year when i first started quilting) for these particular blocks.  i’ll be able to put together a quilt full of memories!  here’s the first of 12!


the block came with a recipe for pumpkin pancake…so we used the pumpkin that miss e picked from the pumpkin patch back in september (the pumpkin was still good!) to make the pancake.  it was a good recipe for a martin luther king jr. brunch. (truth be told, i used the recipe first before making the quilt block.)