On Facebook & other Social Media

I came across this article (Anti)social Media by Julie Green in Today’s Parents, January 2012 issue. It’s just too poignant not to share. In this day and age where we loiter in the realms of social media and where "Facebook" is now acceptable as verb in the English language (facebooking anyone?), this article should be our wakeup call. I am not a Facebook aficionado, but in general I have my iTouch almost glued to me when at home. The things I do with it are endless.

Here's an excerpt from the article. If you are reading this and feeling “this is so me,” then indeed, “Houston, we've got a problem!”
Social media may bring people together, but it can divide many more. Websites like Facebook and Twitter connect you to total strangers, while taking your attention away from the people closest to you: your partner, your child.
I know I'm not alone. Social media sites are an outlet, after all - a means to unwind and regroup at the end of a long day. ... As a result, many couples wind up on the couch night after night, cuddled up with Blackberrys and iPads, instead of each other. Ouch!
A freelance writer, yoga guru and mom of two, typically goes "offline" on weekend. And I'm reining in my usage to a level my family (and I) can live with. That means making lists, deciding what's crucial and doing away with the rest. The other day, I took a deep breath and deleted my Facebook profile. As far as I know, the world is still turning.
Read the full article here.


Rice and Red Beans

With my quest for healthy eating, I have substituted our staple white rice with brown. Brown rice doesn’t have the fluffly texture of white, but I like its chewy and nutty texture anyhow. More importantly it has more than 3x the fibre in white rice.

I cooked brown rice the same way I cook white, with my tired 10-year old Zojirushi rice cooker. It does all the works including this healthy Rice and Red Bean.

Ingredients: brown rice, red kidney beans (1 can drained & rinsed), coconut milk (1 can), chicken broth (enough to make up the ratio of liquid to rice), dried thyme, bay leaf, minced garlic, chopped onion, and ground flax.

Mix well in the rice cooking pot. And press Cook.

Easy peasy! This is best with Jerk Chicken or Roasted Chicken.

P.S. the kidney bean will wrinkle with this method (versus cooking this from stovetop), but that is totally fine with me.


Dream Cart

I’m a dutiful water drinker. My buying criteria for a purse is one that would fit a water bottle. But washing my Nalgene is a pain I need to use a serving spoon to push the sponge into and wipe down the inside of it. The Alex Bottle is innovation. The twistable break in the bottle makes deep cleaning within reach.

For flavoured water, this pitcher from CB2 looks good and does the work.

On my recent trip home, I brought the few wrinkled clothes I had set aside for ironing and had the househelp iron them and took them back. Tsk tsk tsk. How about My Little Steamer for My Most Neglected Chore? I’d use this on bed sheets, too.


Pocket Sandwich Tutorial

Got this sandwich maker from Japan Home in HK

Have leftover corned beef from previous dinner for my filling.

Press the sandwich maker onto the sandwich.

Whole wheat pocket sandwich for the bento

Nice and easy!


Dear Madison

I see you some days at the cafe, and most days in Google. If looks could kill, I'll have you dead now. And if not for my Live With Less mantra, I would already have you.
Mrs. Hotpot
coach madison leather lindsey


Pajama Day

Today is Pajama Day in Sushi’s school.  While this has been some parents’ request to be implemented in school, I don’t buy it. Para que?  This isn't daycare.  The kids were told to go to school in “cozy pajamas”, and bring a small stuffed toy “that will fit in the backpack” and a “favourite book to enjoy.” But there was no movie to watch as class routine would be ongoing, including the required outdoor activity... yes, even at the height of winter. Sushi said, there was not even extra time to read or share that favourite book, and - in his words - “it was only checking out the style of each other's pajamas.” Note, the kill-joy mum had let him wear his regular school-appropriate clothing.

Okay, I look forward to Pizza Days. But Pajama Days… I don’t want another morning negotiating about what pajama to wear to school as I think the PJs is not a proper dress code to any place other than the bedroom. Why doesn’t the school increase their 20-minute lunch break instead? Isn’t that more benefitting to the child than being in their pajamas all day in school?

Tomorrow is Sashimi's Movie & PJ Day.

But he goes to a daycare. Nuf said!


My Healthy Food List

You say healthy, I say SOLD! I buy everything brown, whole wheat, low sodium, low fat, sugar free. I bake with whole flour. I don’t fry. I don’t cook anything with cream. No candies. No gums. I buy chickpeas even if I don’t know how to cook it. I juice vegetables. I make veggie crisps. I buy all sorts of tea. I drink it like water. I substitute sugar with honey and creamer with milk on my coffee. Sashimi likes his milk plain, nothing fancy. I snack on fruits, some of which I'd eat only for its goodness. Sushi picks fruits over ice cream /cake for dessert. If we run out of fruits at home, it's red alert.

But please don’t judge me. I’m only human who'd still sneak the bad C’s into our healthy attempt. Cookies. Chocolates. Chips. What not. We still often crave the tempura, order fried pork chops and eat ice cream everywhere. While every thing is under control at home, I find it's okay to let loose elsewhere. Just a little bit. Besides, Julia Child has said, “Everything in moderation… including moderation.” Or the paradox of the oft-quoted "everything in moderation" is “If everything should be taken in moderation, then moderation should itself be taken moderately, meaning that not everything would be taken in moderation.” I'm getting off-topic.

Nonetheless, I keep this list up on the fridge. I got this from Real Simple, forgot which issue. You probably have your own list or have come across different lists of what's healthy, but this is mine. A constant reminder to get them on my grocery trips. Get them on your grocery runs too.
1. Skim milk
2. Mushrooms
3. Whole grain pasta
4. Walnuts
5. Peanut & almond butter
6. Oatmeal
7. Barley
8. Quinoa
9. Lentils
10. Bulgur
11. Almonds
12. Eggs
13. Non-fat Greek yogurt
14. Chicken breast
15. Wild salmon
16. Sardines
17. Kale
18. Kiwi
19. Blueberries
20. Broccoli
21. Avocados
22. Black beans
23. Sweet potatoes
24. Extra virgin olive oil
25. Edamame
26. Chard
27. Kidney beans
28. Oranges
29. Spinach
30. Pumpkin


Pinwheel Tortilla

First attempt at pinwheel tortilla and shaping the tomato using the egg slicer/wedger I got from Daiso.

Mom laughed when she saw me buy such. She has one just sitting in her pantry. Mine would most likely be sitting pretty just like hers.


A Thousand Years

What I like more in the movie Twilight: The Breaking Dawn (Part1) is its soundtrack, especially Christina Perri's A Thousand Years, played at the end credits.


Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum

An unhurried sense of time is in itself a form of wealth. - Bonnie Friedman

Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum
Hamilton International Airport
9280 Airport Road, Mount Hope ON


The Gift of an Ordinary Day

Enjoy the everyday ordinary before it's gone.


Pizza Day

Sushi's school holds Pizza Days every month, sometimes twice. On this day, kids get fresh hot pizza on their 2nd nutrition break, for a prepaid fee. What this means is Mum gets a break from making the lunch bento, and just provide the snack. In my case, fruits and vegetables. I strive to send a balanced diet, which I split between two nutrional breaks...of only 20 minutes each, WTH.

Meanwhile I am seeing some love with pizzas here, so I try to make my own. I use leftover spaghetti sauce or bottled pizza sauce and nacho cheese topping - cheddar, mozzarella, monterey jack and jalapeno peppers.
Pizza on wheat toast.  This was a lazy day for me. The food picks are meant to prevent the pizza from smudging the cover when I put the bento into the lunchbag. Fruits and veggies are in the second bento, not pictured.

Broccoli, Italian meatballs, pizza on focaccia, clementines & gummies.

Same focaccia pizza, apples, croissant and shrimp & vegetable stir-fry.


Happy Valentines

Valentine bento of hashed brown, string cheese, strawberry, sliced apples, Laughing Cow cheese and Rice Krispies. Easy for me. Easy for Sushi.

Sashimi's Valentine cards to his fellow preschoolers.


Haircut by Moi

What he'll do for lollipop.

Mr. Hotpot always says it's not worth the clean-up - vacuum, flicking the cape in the backyard and removing excess hair with lint roller (in this order). But there's a sense of achievement in the limited DIY that I can do. The hub would pay for convenience. I don't. I try. And while the boys are letting me, I'm okay.



I debated. But I could not resist. Forgive me. I haven't had donuts in a loooong time. Let alone, Krispy Kreme.


My Dad

My first ever blog entry written on January 2006 (in a separate blog host) was about the "Four Men in My Life" - my dad, my brother, my husband, and then only son. I never wrote about my Dad since. I have re-written about my brother here. And I have a long way to go with writing about the hub and my now 2 kids. I have truncated the original post to just about my Dad, and reposting it here in honour of him.

My Pipi.  The person I have the ultimate respect for.  Simply because he's my father.  And for all that he is.  He is known for his sense of humour that can bring the house down.  He has the wit and charm that make him adored by many.  And the kindness that makes him loved by everyone.  I recall, he would often buy me street taho (sweet tofu snack) in the morning and ask the maid to bring it to me in bed.  And he would always pull each of my toes while we're watching TV together.  He isn't great with English, but he plays very good Scrabble.  And every game would surely have a laughing moment.  Even now when we chat by Yahoo Messenger - yes, he chats - he'd make me laugh with his remarks.  Our chat would always start with a "Comota you and kids?" (How are you, of course mispelled), and a "Mom didn't sleep well last night won't call her yet".  For those who know him, you'll know what I mean when I say, he's so cute, isn't he? I love him and I miss him soooo much.  For the mean time I have only the countless fond memories of him to reminisce.
[Truncated Message]
And I am writing my first blog entry in honor of them.

January 17, 2006


Beautiful Song

Kerris Dorsey sings Lenka's The Show for Moneyball. Beautiful acoustic! You can sing along here.



At the library,
Sushi: Mom, he's not a really good baseball player, you know.
Mom: Because he's not a baseball player, S. He's Brad Pitt.

I knew I was going to watch Moneyball because of my own budding Peter Brand, played by Jonah Hill.

Yup, not Billy Beane.
See the semblance?

He got these books for Christmas last year. The Almanac is his favourite. Judging from its use and abuse, yellow and orange markers, folds and overly-flipped pages, it must be. It's his sports bible.

After he got the Sports Illustrated: Basketball book on his birthday. He said he wish he could find a baseball version, too. When I saw it in Costco I was sure he was going to want it. He got it for Christmas.
Whether he becomes a Peter Brand, a Billy Beane, a baseball player or none of the above, I know he will always have a little of them all. I can see it now, and I can tell it's going to stay with him whatever he turns out to be.

Daily Dose of Happiness

Waking up and snoozing for another 15 minutes
Spring weather on a winter day (like today).
When I snap close Sushi’s completed bento box.
Long skirt I’d wear immediately after it’s laundered.
Checking off a task in my To Do List.
Listening to Atlantis Radio via Shoutcast at work.
My office phone not ringing at all.
Back and forth emails at work with Mr. Hotpot.
Lunch break.
Driving through the 401 tunnel to Hurontario.
Sushi coming out of school with a big smile.
“You’ve Got Mail” at home and it’s not spam or forwards.
The extra time to blog and read blogs.
New updates when I check fellow bloggers (Paging AnnieQ).
Magazines. Current issues.
Each time Sashi goes potty.
Sushi’s spontaneous singing and dancing at dinner time.
Sashi’s different rendition of my OMG, or just MG, or OG.
And “One day…” and “That’s it…” and “Don’t worry, Mom.”
Switching off the kitchen light when all is done.
Sneaking an After Eight before I do the above.
Kids are bathed, and so was I.
The smell of Moringa when I slather on self.
Reading and playing with the boys.
When the boys begin their prayers… “Dear Lord…”
Canoodling with them before bedtime.
When the boys are finally asleep.
[Which gives me] uninterrupted conversations with Mr. Hotpot.
Beating the Computer on Scrabble. My first App purchase.
Falling asleep in ambient instrumental music.
Waking up to another day where small joys await.

The secret to finding eternal happiness, to me, is finding joy in the most simple things.  Because they multiply.


New discovery.  A small joint serving Taiwan's ubiquitous 牛肉麵 beef noodle soup and others. The english name escapes me. To be updated.

I love how the soup is not all spicy, but also herbal and fragrant, what you don't get from 泡麵 (instant ramen). It's very Taiwanese.

滷肉飯 (braised pork with egg on rice), another favourite Taiwanese street snack.

Golden Square Centre
Central Parkway, Mississauga


A Month Without Buying

I have read Judith Levine’s Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping, and thought her exercise was rather too drastic. But guess what, January flew by for me without a trip to the mall, nor any stand-alone shops. And it's doable! Though early in the year, I did visit my Relaxation Mecca and home idea generator - Ikea. I unbelievably came out of the big blue store with nothing. But relaxed and, true enough, with only ideas! And the boys their ice cream.

I am on a quest to buy minimally this year for the self. I say minimally because to say nothing would be a strong commitment, bwahaha. Please no more traps for me – broken camera, whatnots.

But my boy needs a new pair of snowboots. That doesn’t count, right? Besides, It’s. A. Must.

To the mall tomorrow =]


Kale Chips

Kale is often in the list of "Healthy Foods" in any health and lifestyle magazines I read. Here's an easy peasy.

Wash and pat dry the kale bunch. Rip to pieces. Add glugs of olive oil, salt and place evenly on roasting pan. Bake at 350F for 10minutes.

Crispy kale are the best! Even the kids will love them.

Steak Sauce

When there's no time to make gravy from scratch, LKK's Black Pepper sauce makes good steak sauce. A little goes a long way.