Wednesday, July 1, 2015

So fake it till you make it really works!

Two and a half years ago, when we started sharing space with every sort of flying and crawling creature, I determined in my heart to hide from my kids my disgust for caterpillars. I didn't want them to develop the same reaction. So whenever we saw some huge, bulbous thing crawling on the ground, I would exclaim with wonder at its beauty, etc.

Well, this worked. Too well. Lydia loves millipedes, grasshoppers, inchworms, caterpillars - anything, grabable, she will grab. Sadly, most of them are furnished with cute little "house" and left to die in their plastic prison. Unintentional neglect.

But on the bright side, I was surprised to notice a subtle shift in my own attitude toward crawling things. The more I touched Lydia's pets at her insistence, the less I minded. I even got to the point where picking worms off my cauliflower was no big deal. See below.

Today took things to a whole new level.

Lydia found an extra fat, really fast worm almost running along the cement. Of course, she immediately tried to pick it up. As soon as she touched it, it made a sudden twisting, jumping motion that made us all take a small step backward. I told Lydia that this was its only defense mechanism against a world full of predators. It became like a toy - every time she touched it, it would make spastic motions. So much power in such a tiny little worm! I'm sure that instinct helped the little fellow escape many near-death encounters. God has everything worked out to a "T'.

Anyway, Lydia eventually picked it up, and started carrying it around. It got used to her hand quickly, and the two were inseparable for the next hour.

What I couldn't believe, is that when Lydia brought it over to me, and insisted I pet it, I looked at it, and felt a mustard seed of affection. It was so cute and fat! This feeling actually grew!

There is a certain feeling one gets when they see an adorable baby with soft, pudgy cheeks. Those cheeks just have to be kissed....

Well, believe it or not, the same feeling welled up within my chest, and yup, it's true - Reader, I kissed it!

I was not going to let this little cutie meet the same fate as the others. After Lydia tried to feed it every kind of leaf in the yard to no avail, I demanded that she let the little presh go. He wasn't even defending himself anymore, he was so weary. So Lydia put him in a special spot in the grass, and looked in on him occasionally. Who knows if he will be there tomorrow? Deep down, I'm hoping he will. :P

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Dutch Blitz

There is nothing like a hearty game of Dutch Blitz...

and chess...

With good friends.

Steven and his family have been so helpful to us since we moved here. Details of their kindness need their own post.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

new laoban

I'm fixing to have the kids take over Hen & Chicks as soon as possible. They made these cinnamon rolls themselves a while back. (with the help of the thermomix, of course)

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Fading memories

I'm going through old pictures in preparation for our end-of-year homeschooling presentation. I need to prove that we have been diligently dispensing knowledge on a daily basis. Thankfully, I don't need to prove this. The committee is obliging and supportive. Nevertheless, I'm going to try to give off the impression that all we do around here learn and create in peace and harmony. Thanks to Jin-li for the idea she gave me long ago - simply glue photo documentation to A4 paper, and have the kids write about what they did. In no time, we'll have a folder full of cute, creative projects. Never mind that they occurred perhaps twice a month. So anyway, I'm taking a happy trip down memory lane of this past year. I want to write down as many memories here as possible before they slip into the fog of my 37 year old brain.

For example, I wish I could remember what song these three were dancing to here:

I have a hunch it was Nicole Mullen's My Redeemer Lives. How can you not dance to that song?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Our land!

Here is our land!

The "strange hand" (excavator) came in for a few days.

But that was a few months back. So our land looks different now.

We have planted several hundred trees.

 And all the original vegetation is growing back with a vengeance.

We are still praying about how best to use this land.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Hen & Chicks

Here at Hen & Chicks, we just got through our most hectic work day to date. A friend of ours arranged to host his class reunion, and asked if he could bring them to our place to visit. So we settled on breakfast for twenty-six people. I was nervous for about a week leading up to that morning. Our breakfast menu is sandwiches, cranberry orange streusel, cookies, season fruit and soy milk. I went over again and again every little ingredient and when to prepare it. Usually Ken helps a lot with getting plates out to customers, but this time he would need to be out there socializing with all them folks. So I prepped the kids. They have helped a lot in the past, and made a tidy sum as a result. But this time I asked for double the speed and all hands on deck (yup, Lydia).  I asked family and some friends for prayer, and....

....all went well! Of course it was a lot more chaotic than I had hoped. What was supposed to be two tidy groups eating breakfast in shifts (we only had seating or 15), turned out to be one big cloud of humans, sitting, standing, strolling - all smiling and content.  So I just churned out sandwiches and goodies as fast as I could. Despite all my planning, the pace was still a little too slow. Oh well. They didn't seem to notice much. All three kids delivered food, and brought in dirty dishes as fast as they were available. Then they were washed and re-used right away. Susan, whose husband hosted his classmates, came in and helped wash dishes and serve.  Live saver!! Thank you, Susan!

Eventually, everyone said they were full. I couldn't believe it. Did my kitchen really churn out 31 breakfasts (including us, you see)? And no one was going hungry? Wow. All really went well! And the kids got a raise.

Now I have new respect for those breakfast shop people who do this everyday, seemingly effortlessly.

Thanks for your prayers, friends! I felt them keenly when, for lunch that day, Ken put some dumplings in the pot to cook, and the gas ran out within seconds. Any sooner, and I would have been stuck halfway through scrambling eggs for the sandwiches. God is good!

At the end, we sang a few songs together.

Good times all around!

No, that's not the bus they came in. It's just a picture of our sign.

The kids all aproned and ready to go. They had their breakfast early to be ready. (Sorry Mom, for Joseph's pants! I didn't have time to notice...)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


Where would I be without my Therms? It does everything. We bought it in anticipation of starting our baking business. We hoped it would ease the labor involved. And indeed it has. Everything I make for Hen and Chicks (Ken's idea. Love it) comes out of Thermy's trusty stainless steel bowl.

But not only that, it helps with all sorts of everyday things. I will never again boil eggs in a pot. My Thermy can handle that job easily.  My soups are silkier than ever.

I even took the class to become a Thermomix "advisor". So I can sell them now. It's not really my personality, but really it's not hard to talk about something you believe in. I actually sold one so far. :)

Best of all, it is a wonderful homeschooling tool. The kids love to make steamed buns (mantou) on their own using Therms.

The market for these things is really growing in the East, but not really in the States. It needs to. These are the best.