Friday, February 24, 2017

Art Friday

I have decided that my blog needs more of the kids artwork, so here are two for this Friday. Maybe this will become an end-of-week weekly feature, along with a little update of the week. We shall see how long I can keep it up!!
mama
(by Anna : age 6 : Portrait of Mama)
Anna is finally back at school after more than a week away. That is pretty much the best news of the week around here. She said everyone was happy to see her :)
thumb-body
(by Will : age 5 : Thumb-body Loves You)
This card originally came back with only two thumbprints. After he came home, Will got out the ink pad, a baby wipe, and completed his thumbprint family. He did all this on his own while I was in the trenches of dealing with Anna's illness. I beamed with pride when I saw it.

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Mama's Test Kitchen: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

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The whole family is sick in some shape or form so we are spending this President's Day at home, which is such a shame because it is unseasonably warm and I would have loved to spend the day in the sunshine.

Anyway, I decided to make banana bread this morning after seeing two very ripe bananas on the kitchen counter. I made it with Will as my sous chef (he mashed the bananas and stirred everything) and had lots of fun with the little guy. The kids and I kind of agreed that we will bake once a month in 2017. Last month Anna and I made lemon bars for Luke's birthday, and this month is this banana bread. We will see if we keep our word!

As for the banana bread, I thought it was just average. Not that moist, but that could be because I only used 2 bananas instead of 3? But as always, my biggest supporter ate two big slices and said it was very good 😀

--
A review on Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread:
Result: 2.5 out of 4
Will I make it again: Maybe, if I have ripe bananas that need to be used up, but even then I might use a different recipe.
Chef’s Notes: I only used 2 bananas (the recipe called for 3) so the bread only had a slight banana flavor and tasted more peanut butter-y and chocolate-y.
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^^I think it photographs well though!^^

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

sunday morning catch ups.

/1/ Valentine's Day 2017...the worst one ever. Not because there were no flowers or chocolates (not into those kind of stuff anyway), but because I accidentally drove out of the garage with my minivan sliding door still open. Yeah...I don't know what was wrong with me either... After the incident, I kept on replaying it in my head and thinking about all the what ifs. What if I didn't take Anna to school that morning (Luke was about to take her), what if Luke didn't reverse my car in the day prior (then I wouldn't be out of my routine), if if if! In the end, there is no one to blame except me. I wasn't careful. We already spent $1k to fix the van, and now will spend around the same to fix the garage. I wish we could just get rid of the two garage doors and covert it to one, since this isn't the first time I hit the garage 😞, but it's just too much money. I am no longer as depressed and sad as the first 48 hours, and life goes on, but #sorryhubs.
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^^There goes our vacation fund.^^

/2/ A lot of solo parenting this month once again while Luke was away for work. Luckily, my commute to work isn't all bad every single day. Some days I get a break in traffic and then it doesn't seem too bad at all :)
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Now that the kids are older, it's no longer just a one way conversation when Luke calls. We use Google Duo to stay in touch and this is him showing us New Mexico outside of his hotel room.
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/3/ Before I crashed into the garage on Valentine's Day, I made Will a "heart" banana. That was the extent of our Valentine's Day. Next year I want to plan ahead and make the kids some pink foods, haha. Oh, remember how we used to be creative with our school Valentine's, like this? Well, no one has time for that nonsense anymore...store-bought FTW this year!
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^^breakfast of champions^^

/4/ Will said he wanted to go to a museum so we went to the National Museum of Natural History (I think the kids spent more time playing Pokemon Go around the National Mall though)....
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and got pho at our favorite place on the way back (the best part of the outing).
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/5/ Anna got the flu and missed 4 days of school....so far. I hope she gets well enough for school on Tuesday. She is miserable and coughs nonstop. Yet I also feel like she's been so dramatic about it so my patience is running thin. Illness sucks and I hope we are at the end of the tunnel!
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/6/ Family movies: Moana, Trolls and Gremlins.

/7/ Other February happenings: DIY clings, piano tuning, glow stick bath, new blender = lots of smoothies, Will reading this Berenstain Bears book with help, and this beautiful pink sky.
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[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

my Taiwan photo book!!

I just added another book to my photo book collection!

Since I took all my Taiwan photos using my phone and the photos automatically sync to my Shutterfly account (love this feature!), making this photo books was extra simple and took very little time.

For the cover, I used a scenic picture I took at Jiufen.
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I still love the “big and multi” combo. I save the big photo for my favorite and then the multi tells more of a story.
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For example, this following spread was all about our Christmas Day. The "big" was the kids opening their Santa presents and the "multi" was pictures from Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (中正紀念堂) and Longshan Temple (龍山寺), two places that we visited later that morning.
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I also find that using non-people photos (landscapes, food, toys) is a great way to make the spread look less busy and more interesting.
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I also tried my hand at designing my own layout for the Taichung spread.
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All my photo books have a miscellaneous spread (the Taiwan book actually has two) that covers all the random photos -- from the applesauce that I got for Anna (due to her stomach bug) to the instant noodle soup that Will loved so much. The kids kept on asking me, why did you take pictures of that?? I tell them, it's the little things that we want to remember :)
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The back cover has two pictures from our last morning in Taiwan, before heading to the airport.
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I am so glad to have this book to help me remember our Taiwan vacation. As hard as it was during the trip, now that we have settled back into our routine, the kids and I talk about our trip often and reminisce the Taiwan days :) Haha, we are looking forward to go back! Okay....maybe we are not quite there yet ;)

[+/-] Extra Sugar!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

thumbprint owls

This is a birthday card that Anna whipped up one day after school for her first grade teacher whose last name rhymes with owl. One, I thought it was very thoughtful of her to make a card, and two, thumbprint art is just the cutest!  

owl thumbprint

[+/-] Extra Sugar!