October 31, 2009

Celebrating Friendship

Coffee for Carmen!

Friendship is one of the important gifts I'm very thankful for that's why I have so decided to make Saturday a friendship day in my blog. And for my first entry, I would like to begin with the most senior one, Carmen. Haha. I'm just kidding. It came randomly and it's just happen that I'm missing her lately.

I call her Kak Carmen. Kak (pronounced by dropping the ending k) is a Malay way to call an older female. We met somewhere in Malay world that's why I call her so. The first time I met her, I felt like a beautiful butterfly has visited my garden. After few visits, we became good friends. She would park in front our gate and then I would rush to hop in her maroon van and off I'm free from house chores to Starbucks! Oh, I miss those visits. We could talk and talk and talk about life's struggles and all and end with musings of the goodness of the Lord. She is allowed to ask me only one question, "How's your heart today?" And that opens a mouthful of heart stories.

Dearest Kak Carmen,

I've been to Starbucks only once since you went back to Canada. I'm not missing their coffee as much as I'm missing you. Your friendship is always cherished here. I can't imagine how I was allowed to beat with a pillow a person who is almost twice my age. You are such a humble person who can go so low to reach a friend. Whatever makes you busy there, I know you would never stop sharing that special joy that the Lord has so filled your heart that is always hungry for Him.

Love and Prayers,


P.S. I found the Dunkin' Donuts cappuccino really good and 3 times less the price of Starbucks. That's my treat for you and 3 munchkins that means "" I love you"!"

A faithful friend is a strong defense: and he that hath found such one hath found a treasure.

October 29, 2009

I've Been Tagged (3rd post today!)

Judy, from Benmakesten blog, tagged me today.

Thankfulness Tag

This Thursday I am most Thankful for :
1. God's presence in my life
2. My salvation through Jesus Christ
3. My dear husband and loving family
4. The gift of friendship

My Four Favorite Hobbies : (as of today ;)
1. Gardening
2. Blogging!
3. Reading
4. Housekeeping

My Four Favorite Books:
The Bible is my all time favorite.
1. Pride and Prejudice
2. Thousand Splendid Suns
3. Three Cups of Tea
4. Beauty School In Kabul

My Four Favorite Simple Things in Life:
1. Sneaking out for midnight snack with my dear husband
2. Being silly with my kids
3. Baskets and seashells
4. Reading a good book in bed

I am tagging: (If you are tagged, then copy this post, insert your own answers on your blog, and then tag some others to keep the fun going!)


Autumn Leaf and a Joke

I am enjoying my virtual autumn experience this month....visiting houses, backyards, and woods of my friends I met in blogosphere. I feasted my eyes on all the natural sights and the creative decors of many gifted women.

I live in a tropical country where we only have wet and dry seasons. The trees are always green and the temperature is either hot or hotter. No need for seasonal decorating. But I am blessed enough to have experienced 5 Autumns in my life.

My first Autumn was in 1998 when our family moved to Central Asia. Oh how much I enjoyed the turning colors of leaves! I remember finding a perfect golden oak leaf and had it pasted on a birthday card and sent it back home to my older sister. I never got any feedback about it until now. Perhaps she's thinking it was better for me to insert a dollar bill on the card rather than a single leaf. Much lighter to post miles away.

Ben was my only child that year and he was turning 5. It was only then that he first heard the word Autumn. I had to explain that Autumn is also called Fall. It's the time of the year when all leaves fall.

The next summer, Ben's first milk tooth fell and 2 other teeth were loosed. He came to me and said, with both hands covering his mouth, "Mom, it's now Autumn in my mouth!" Oh, that was the best Autumn joke I ever heard!

Note: Picture on this post is from Google images.

Some Women Are Made for Encouragement

I tell you, not all women can do it. It takes a lot of effort to encourage other people. But some women are just so gifted in this area that they seem to sweetly flow around making others refreshed, inspired and lighthearted. And I'm so blessed to have met one this week. She welcomed me to her homepage with this sweet blinkie above and with kind words about me and my blog. She even presented me a Lovely Lady Lovely Blog award. I tell you, that sent me to sleep smiling!

You would want to meet this lady.Click on Judy's badge to get to her inspiring blog.


And if you are, like Judy, who has the gift of encouragement, you would want to click the girl's picture to see how you could bring encouragement to many hearts.

Encouragement is just a click away.

.....let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,....
Hebrews 10:24

October 28, 2009

Care For Tea?

In my home country, only sick people drink tea. Haha! It might shock some of you but that's what I used to think...till I came and live in China! I was so shocked to know that they serve tea instead of water! Hot tea in the middle of summer, 45 degree celcius!

So, my five years in China made me become a tea drinker.

Yesterday, my Chinese friend gave me few kinds of tea and also a little lecture about it. I learned from her that there are teas good for morning to keep you awake and also teas for night time to help you sleep. There's a kind that makes you feel warm and another kind that makes you feel cold. And she gave me a tea that is actually a dried kind of fruit bigger that a pingpong ball. It's good for your cough and cold, she said.

When I put the teas she gave me to my pantry, that's when I found how much tea I have gathered. I took them all out to check the expiry date and was glad to know that nothing needed to be thrown away.

When I was in Hongkong I enjoyed the wide varieties of fruit flavored teas, and I especially like English teas, too. Also, I have a pack of mixed fruit tea that tastes and smells so good. It's a gift from a German friend. I loved it so much that I kept it dear and safe and now almost forgot about it. I only remembered it after I took this picture and dear husband asked about it.

When we moved to Malaysia, I began to love their local milk tea or "teh tarik". So good for breakfast. It's very sweet that I think the sugar content of one mug is enough supply of energy you need for the whole day. I'm so glad they have an instant kind though doesn't taste as great. I buy packs of it whenever I travel to Malaysia or when a friend comes to visit us from there, then I would always make sure to order that.

But how come I always run out of coffee and never of tea? I consume more coffee than tea. Maybe I'm not a tea drinker for real? Maybe I just love the idea of drinking tea...of tea parties...so classy. But whatever, I'll keep collecting tea and enjoy a cup whenever I or dear husband like, and so also whenever I have guests I can confidently say "care for tea?". Oh, I'm starting to miss my Brit friends....

This is my latest "collection". Isn't it unique? It's as big as a regular plate, made of dried tea leaves from Yunan province, China. You just need a pinch of it for a whole pot of tea. I can imagine having this for the next 2 years :-)

This is how it looks! I'll promise to write a part 2 of this post to tell you how it tastes! Enjoy your cup. Cheers!

If you are cold, tea will warm you. If you are too heated, it will cool you. If you are depressed, it will cheer you. If you are excited, it will calm you.
~Gladstone, 1865

You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.
~C.S. Lewis

Kids in the Kitchen

The kids happily took over the kitchen when they heard I wasn't feeling great. And I wanted to share their easy recipe for Lumpia Shanghai. So yummy!

Lumpia is the Filipino word for spring roll. It's called Lumpia Shanghai because it is done the Chinese way. Original Filipino Lumpia has different ingredients.

Lumpia Shanghai Ingredients:

300 grams ground chicken
1 medium carrot (grated)
1 small bulb onion (minced)
3-5 cloves garlic (minced)
1 whole egg
1 spoon AP flour
salt and pepper to taste (you may want to add chicken powder to enhance flavor)

25 - 30 Spring roll /wanton wrapper (always available in Chinese food shops)
oil for frying


Mix all A ingredients in a bowl. Wrap each spoonful of mixture like seen in the picture. Seal the edge by dipping your finger in the water and slightly brush it on the edge of the wrapper. Fry it in medium heat making sure the meat is cooked. It's easier if fried deep in oil. Put the fried rolls on paper towel to drain excess oil before serving.

Serve with your choice of dips. I like it dipped in vinegar with crushed garlic.

I'm sure the pictures will make my direction above easier to follow :-)

Once you know the basic, you can create your own recipe using your choice meat and additional spices. Enjoy cooking with your children!

“In the childhood memories of every good cook, there's a large kitchen, a warm stove, a simmering pot and a mom.”
Barbara Costikyan (10/22/84 New York Magazine)

October 27, 2009

Champorado or Chocolate Rice Porridge

(As requested by my new friend, Judy)

Champorado is one of the most popular Filipino breakfast! It's a warm meal perfect for cold or rainy days. It’s one of my childhood favorites. My kids love it the same. Very easy to prepare, very yummy and very economical.

The original recipe is made with soft-boiled rice with Tableas de Cacao which are bitter-sweet chocolate tablets made of freshly roasted cacao beans. But there are many other ways to cook it. You can google “Champorado” if you like. Once you know the basic, you can make your own recipe, too. I do it depending on what is available in my pantry.

Here’s my homemade recipe:
Ingredients: (for five small servings)
1 cup white rice ( more yummy if using glutinous/sticky rice)
1/2 cup (more or less) unsweetened cocoa powder (or grated baking chocolate bar)
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup brown sugar
Few drops of vanilla (optional)
Milk (evaporated milk or fresh milk)*
*If I’m using condensed sweetened milk, I cut half the amount of sugar.

1. Cook rice in a saucepan with water. Stir constantly.
2. When rice is ready (rice should be somewhat transparent), add cocoa, sugar and vanilla extract. Some like it soupy, so just add more water if you like.
3. Serve warm (or cold) in bowls with swirls of milk on top. Kids love to do the swirling themselves.

Champorado is usually served with a side dish of fried or smoked seasoned meats. I prefer to eat it with dried salted fish or hardboiled egg. My kids love it even without side dishes.

Enjoy your Champorado!

P.S. If you have left-over rice from the evening meal, keep that for your Champorado in the morning. Just boil that by adding more water and the rest of the ingredients.

I got this picture from the internet. I found many brands of instant (no cook!) champorado mixes available in many Asian stores out there. But still, I like it homemade!

October 25, 2009

Monday, Monday. So Good To Me.......

Monday, October 26, 2009

Outside my window...
cool and fresh after the night's rain

I am thinking...
how to fruitfully spend the last quarter of the year.

I am thankful for...
the way God designed my life...I love the way I am and all the people He brought into my life

From the learning room...
we are planning for our Christmas program!!!

From the kitchen...
the smell of hot "Champorado" (chocolate rice porridge) is gooood in this cold morning.

I am wearing...
plain T-shirt and capris

I am going...
to spend this whole day with my homeschoolers to do sports and practical arts. No academic subject on Mondays.

I am reading...
The Bible. I decided to drop down all other literature this week and go back to the basic.

I am hoping...
for more sunshine and a healthy week

I am hearing...
very quiet ( everyone still in bed) except for the birds chirping and light noise from the cpu

Around the house...
craft materials, art works, school supplies, and books...need to do more organization in the learning room.

One of my favorite things...
staying up late talking and dreaming with dear husband

A few plans for the rest of the week:
plan a surprise for my daughter's birthday, cover and organize books for the community library project, add more items to our merit store, visit some friends, join community aerobics at the sports center in our area.

Picture I am sharing...
We are all under the weather this week with cough and cold. Even our gray tabby cat, Timmy, is sneezing, too. Here she is, wrapped warm in my dear husband's arm. She always get this pampering from him every now and then.

Thank you for visiting. Should you want to do more visits and check out other simple women's journal, hop in to :

The Simple Woman's Daybook

October 23, 2009

Joy In Simple Things

Baskets! I love the sight of it. I wonder why I'm always drawn to it. It could be the provincial heart in me.....the sight reminds me my beloved grandmother who would carry one to the market every morning and comes back with full of goodies in it.....my older cousins would fill it with warm meal and off they go to the rice paddies to shoo away maya birds....

I don't really consciously collect baskets but I just noticed recently how I have accumulated a number of them in two years. I couldn't recall buying one but I know I have gotten a few from my sister-in-law's storage (Thanks, Fe!). I took some pictures of them last week and thought of sharing them in time when I feel like it. I guess it's today!
Maybe because we always move house so that's how I began liking portable things. Baskets are so light yet durable. Very cheap, too.
I use it as a planter, a pen holder, a laundry basket, a napkin holder, etc. Very useful. I even use it as cat littler holder. Than made it easy to move the litter whenever I'm cleaning the house.

A basket is one of the things I call simple and beautiful. And I truly enjoy having those in my house.

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.
William Morris

I watched It Again!

Everyone's not feeling well to play outside. I knew this even yesterday when all of us started sneezing and coughing. So, for sure they would miss a day of sports. I thought watching a movie would be a fun alternative. I'm glad I pulled this one out: The Adventures of the Wilderness Family. I first saw it when I was less than 10. I watched it a few times after then. Couldn't believe I was watching it again with my children, and my son is 16!
....can't have enough of some good stuff!

October 22, 2009

Housekeeping Tips

 Perfect Fold: New Trick Kids Would Love To Learn

I found this video clip that shows the easiest way to fold shirts. It's a brilliant way to save time and energy. I showed this to my girls and they had fun. They thought they were learning a new magic trick but in fact they were helping me finish folding a basket full of fresh laundry.

Fresh From Camp

 My son, Ben, came back this morning from his 10-hour bus trip from camp. He's more excited than tired to tell me all the highlights of the 6 days he was away from home. I'm just so glad that he had this another opportunity to get involved in big events like this one. This doesn't come often when you are homeschooling but this doesn't mean you are deprived because there's always opportunities if you just look around.

They have video clips on youtube that show how fun the camp was. Here's one sampler for you:

With the hundreds participants, it's hard to find my son's face on the clip but I got one photo of Ben (in black) that I copied from their official site.

"Remember your Creator in the days of your youth......"
Ecclesiates 12:1

October 19, 2009


October 19, 2009

Outside my window.........
cool but unpredictable, not sure if it's gonna be a sunny or rainy day.

I am thinking............
of my son who is attending a 5-day international camp in the north, 10 hours away from home.

I am thankful for...
many opportunities for my homeschooling kids to meet new friends from different cultures.

I am wearing...
a house-dress, decent enough to play a teacher role yet comfortable to run around the house and do chores at the same time.

I am going...
to give my blogging a little boost and my tub a good scrub.

I am reading...
A Chance To Die by Elizabeth Elliot. Still half way....

I am hoping...
for my laundry to dry up. It's quite overcast outside.

I am hearing...
my little girl playing her recorder while older daughter is humming a tune while washing the dishes in the kitchen.

Around the house...
books and books and more books to cover. We're building a children's library for our community.

One of my favorite things...
reading biographies of ordinary people who did great things for God.

A few plans for the rest of the week:
organize my little office, take the children to an amusement park for our bi-monthly field trip, help kids finish their model houses project.

Picture Thought I'm Sharing.....

This is not an apple tree. It's our rose apple tree beside our patio. The fruit looks like an apple but doesn't taste as great. I took this picture last week and by this time the fruits are bigger and dark red. In my host country it is called "Chumpo" but in my home country, we call it "Macopa". This tree reminds me of my childhood where I used to climb fruit trees like this one with my siblings and playmates.
And I just love a picture that reminds me of fruitfulness.

Thank you for taking time to read my little weekly journal. If you wish to meet other simple women and have a glimpse of their lives, visit Peggy, the kind host of this sweet community I recently joined.

A journal is the path of pebbles you leave behind you, so you have the security of knowing you can always return.
Samara O'Shea

October 18, 2009

Mural Painting

Once, there was a yucky wall.....

When we moved in to our new residence, the fence was painted white but dirty and mossy. There was a plan of repainting but a good idea came in time!

Our homeschoolers needed a new art challenge away from paper and pens. So dear husband and I made them scoured one side of the fence. It was quite a work but they were so eager to finish the scrubbing to move to the next more exciting stage - painting.

We used water-based paint and they just loved playing with the rollers and brushes. But having only white color was quite a bore so they worked hard to get to the next stage - mural painting.

Each had his or her block to paint. We used non-toxic colored chalk. Very kid-friendly and very cheap. But before the actual painting, they had to draw a picture on paper of what they wanted to paint on the wall. It's a quite a process that they were so excited to go through. So if you noticed their clothes different from the time they were scrubbing the wall, it's because this was done on another day.

Concentration.... focus....working individually...quietly. There was no need to tell them of these things, they just did it.

We're all so happy of the result. The biggest picture they've drawn in their lives! Surprisingly, the chalk paintings survived many months under the rain and the sun.

The following week, they started doing another side of the fence.....

Great activity to try if you have energetic kids and a wall at home.

Rain, Rain Go Away....

The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play, so we sat in the house, and braided our hair, all that cold, cold, wet day!

Rain, rain go away, little Zoe wants to play.

The rain went away but little Zoe was too sick to play.

But not with her new found love...her recorder.

She plays it all day until she's ready for bed.