Monday, May 6, 2013

Mandarin Mondays: Adventure Shoes (The Chinglish Files)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Mandarin Mondays: We Do This Not Lightly but Solemnly (The Chinglish Files)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Alexander at 6 months

I'm sure you can tell we've been busy lately by my lack of posting. The boys and life in general always keep us busy of course, but we've also been blessed to just have my husband's family come for a visit and my parents are coming for a visit in less than two weeks! I think we may make all our American friends here jealous since our family is so great to travel so far to visit us, but I think maybe they are really just flying around the world to see our kids, including super cute baby man.

Anyway Alexander is half a year old already and changing all the time, like all babies do.

At 6 months Alexander is:
  • 18.5 pounds and 28.5 inches long (our longest and "thinnest" baby at this point, but just barely as he is really closely following Aaron's growth trends)
  • He is wearing clothing in sizes 9-18months, but he is about to bust the 9 month onesies, so those are going to have to be packed up soon again
  • He smiles, giggles, and laughs a lot
  • He is still my worst sleeper, doesn't nap much again, and wakes up a lot at night. None of my boys thought sleeping was a particularly good use of time though, and although they are all good at lots of things, sleeping just doesn't seem to be one of them. :)
  • He can now scoot all over the floor forward on his tummy, which means now he can intentionally go where he wants to. Watch out, but at least he isn't very fast yet.
  • He likes to move, but also has a really good attention span and can pay attention to something for a really long time for his age.
  • He can say mmmmmmama! Sometimes it comes it comes out mmm, sometimes mom, and sometimes mama, but it is incredibly intentional and directed only at mama. He is the first to say mama as his first word too (the first two boys definitely said dada first).
  • He is totally a mama's boy, but in a different way than my first. Aaron would cry the entire time I was gone and if I would even go to the bathroom. Alexander won't cry that much if I'm gone or out of sight. However, if I in sight but out of reach or not holding him he'll just cry mmmmama over and over. It's cute and heartbreaking sometimes.
  • He still doesn't seem to show a naturally gifted ability or bent to either verbal or motor skills, but his determination gained him real mobility and communication in the last month, so it seems to be working for him!
  • He has met both maternal and paternal grandparents now!

I love how blue Alexander's eyes are in this picture Grandpa took!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Family Fridays: Alexander at 5 Months

Another month has flown by and Alexander is now 5 months old. This last month has been a bit easier (than the couple before it), as Alexander has been napping more than 20 minutes at a time again. Now he'll he'll usually take at least one long nap of about 2 hours and often one or two other 1 hour naps. He's still not super great at sleeping at night, but a lot of nights now he'll sleep 5 hours in a row, and I'll take whatever I can get. He has also been happier and more easy going again. In fact he is super smiley guy lately. This is a fun stage of babyhood.

At 5 months:
  • He is quite vocal and babbles a lot.
  • He can push himself backwards when he is on his tummy.
  • He can roll from front to back and back to front, but doesn't often, because he has a tendency to roll off our play-mat and hit his head on the hard fake wood floor.
  • He seriously wants to try eating everything and loves tasting anything that we let him, but is still growing fine on primarily just milk.
  • He is 17 pounds 12 ounces and 27.5 inches.
  • He is wearing 9 month clothing now.
  • He really wants to do everything his big brothers do. And I have never seen a baby show such determination and persistence as this little one. At this point motor skills don't seemed to be his natural gift (like Andrew), but he like he will eventually learn anything he wants through sheer determination.
  • He loves to give kisses now (especially to mommy).
  • His brothers like to jump in whenever I am trying to get pictures of just the baby.
  • He can drool A LOT!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

DIY Non-Alcoholic Irish Cream Coffee Syrup and Virgin Irish Cream Lattes

I don't drink and I've never had an actual Irish cream coffee, but the upcoming St. Patrick's day holiday made me crave the fake Irish cream coffee creamer I used to use sometimes back in the states. I've never seen international delight creamer here, and I'm sure even if there is somewhere, it is crazy expensive. So I set out to make my own flavored coffee syrup.

The vanilla, almond, and touch of chocolate flavor combo seems just like the Irish cream flavor as I remember it. You could mix the flavors into 1 cup sweetened condensed milk and 1 cup cream or half and half if you want ready made creamer instead. That should be quite similiar to store bought versions. I just prefer to add more regular milk instead.

This syrup is also great in hot cocoa. And of course if you give anyone a cup of hot cocoa topped with whipped cream and sprinkles you'll instantly becpme their hero. At least that is what happens around here. :)

Homemade Non-Alcoholic Irish Cream Coffee Syrup Recipe

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa powder
  1. In a medium saucepan combine sugar and water. Bring to a slow boil until the sugar completely dissolves.
  2. Once the sugar is completely dissolved, turn off heat. Add vanilla, almond, and cocoa and stir until well combined.
 I store the extra syrup in a glass jar in the fridge.

Homemade Virgin Irish Cream Latte Recipe

  • 1/2 cup strong coffee
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Homemade Irish cream coffee syrup to taste
  • Whipped cream (optional of course)
  1. Brew coffee.
  2. Heat milk in a small saucepan or in the microwave until just beginning to bubble at the edges. Froth milk if desired.
  3. Add coffee syrup to taste and top with whip cream if desired.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

DIY Chili Lime Popcorn

We love popcorn around here and eat it instead of chips most of the time. Most often I either just add sea salt or cheese powder, but sometimes I like to add different seasonings to change things up a bit.

I recently saw this idea for Chili Lime Popcorn over here and it sounded so good that I made up a big batch the other day. I actually didn't really follow any recipe, just sprinkled stove popped popcorn liberally with sea salt, chili powder, and lots of lime zest (like several tablespoons). This was sooooo good and quite different from our usual flavors. Everyone loved it! In fact we all ate so much we called it lunch.

Homemade Chili Lime Popcorn Recipe

  • Popped popcorn (I popped mine on the stove in some sunflower seed oil)
  • Zest from some limes (I recently discovered what I think are actually key limes here, more on this later, and I used several tablespoons of the zest from a bunch of those tiny little guys that were still under ripe and very green)
  • Chili powder
  • Sea salt
Once your popcorn is popped begin sprinkling on seasonings, stopping to stir and taste until desired flavored combination is reached. Enjoy!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Family Fridays: The Queen's Doing Dishes and Mr. Lincoln Is Doing Laundry

Mr. Lincoln
Lately Aaron and Andrew have been obsessed with Reader Rabbit 1st grade. When they are not playing the game on the computer, they are often pretending to be Reader Rabbit and Sam the Lion. They even gave the rest of us roles in their fantasy world as well. Daddy is Ivan the Inventor. Alexander is Fluffy, the dog who eats all the time. And because I'm the only girl around here, I get to be Queen Cumulus, queen of the cloud world.

So one night while I'm doing dishes, Andrew (3 years old) comes running up to me asking, "Queen, Queen, what are you doing."

"Um, I'm doing dishes."

"Queen, Queen, why are you doing dishes?'

"Because the dishes are dirty."

"Queen, Queen, why are the dishes dirty," as he runs off.

Um, the King is working and our subjects are too small to wash breakable objects and knives?

Then later after we made our president's masks, the boys started pretending to be Washington and Lincoln all the time. So one day when I told Andrew it was time to help with the laundry he said, "No, I am Mr. Lincoln. Mr. Lincoln is going to do the Laundry."

Fine. I guess as long as the laundry gets done it doesn't matter if Mr. Lincoln does it.

And Mr. Lincoln did a good job with the laundry.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

DIY St. Patrick's Day Veggies

So last year I totally decided to celebrate St. Patrick's day at the last minute, and that was fine and we had a fun evening. This year since I am currently not pregnant or in the process of moving, I thought I might even try to come up with some fun ideas in advance.

I saw this idea for cutting peppers horizontally to look like clovers and thought it looked really cute. I like three leaf clovers that Patrick may have used as an illustration to explain the three-in-one concept, so I chose peppers with three bumps to cut horizontally.

I also decided to add carrots, broccoli, and ranch dip so my veggie platter so it would have all the colors of the Irish flag and have some variety. Orange peppers, pea-pods, and cucumbers would all be nice additions also.

This veggie tray was a huge hit. I made it early in the day thinking I would then have veggies ready for lunch and dinner (and I cut up twice the broccoli and peppers shown), but almost all of it was consumed at breakfast. I guess I haven't made ranch in a while and need to make full veggie trays more often. :)


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