Saturday, July 31, 2010

Berries and Jam!


Maid Myrnie and her Mystical Pots


Raspberry Rhubarb Freezer Jam


Exquisite Strawberry Jam

IMG_6869IMG_6868  IMG_6873

Did you know, dear friends, that if two sisters, with similarly aged children, combine forces for a morning, they can achieve miracles?

For example…canning. My two hooligans play remarkably well with my twin sister’s two rascals. We’ve found that if we combine the four of them, they can go missing for hours, only coming out when someone needs a snack. We’ve also found that, given two sets of hands, an ample kitchen, and a lack of hooligans and rascals, two sisters can put up quite a bit of jam in a morning!

Friday, July 30, 2010


Showing off? Showing him? Showing me? (And a word of warning. I’ve been watching a BBC production of Emma tonight, so this entire post, in my head, is in a lovely lilting English accent. Try reading it that way, and my twisted words may make more sense.)

Here’s the deal: A blogger is embarking on a journey. She would like to remind herself, and perhaps her husband (*ahem*) that she is…pretty. That she is still…her, if that can make sense. And that she is still his. (They’ve hit a rough patch, and watching them get through it is truly inspiring.)

There are certainly days when I forget that I am me. Those days, I am Mom. I get up when the baby cries, clean when the kids spill their milk or dump their cereal on the floor. I cook when they are hungry, and intercede when they threaten to hurt each other.

And yet…that’s not what I am. I am, first, me. I love to create, to be in charge, but not so in charge that anything major will ever be my fault. Unless it goes well, of course. Then I want all the accolades the world can spare!

Perhaps more importantly, I am a wife. Please don’t misunderstand. I am not saying that to bury Me. I am saying that because I married my best friend, and with him, I CAN be Me. With my kids? Not so much all the time. I am my husband’s partner in this journey. I am the half that stays in the home, the keeper of the hearth. I spend all day with the children, trying to teach them to be Good People. I’m the half that is his, and he is mine. We are in this together. And it is Us. And our Kids. And some day it will be Them. With Their Kids. And then, it will just be Us. Again.

So, to that end, I’ve decided to play along with my fellow blogger.

Of course, it didn’t go well at first. Not well, at all.

Today, she suggested that we do something extravagant, and lovely, with our eyes. Since they are my favorite feature, I was excited! I took my shower, pinned my hair into submission, and did up my eyes in a sort of “smoky eye”, in blues.

It was a bit much for 9:30 in the morning…but it was all for fun.

Then I tried to take a picture. And I tried again. And…again. And then half a dozen more times.

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Hello freaky, crazed Eye Lady!

And if you’ve never known someone, well, with hazel eyes, you might not know that our eyes can change color! It’s true. If that eye shadow had a bit more red in it, my eyes would be quite green. As it is, blues bring out the brown in my eyes.

Luckily, my sister came by in the evening, and agreed to take a shot for me. It took her another dozen shots, but we finally caught one where I didn’t look like I was either about to eat the camera, or melt it with my laser vision.



PS – Smizing is not as easy as Miss Tyro Banks makes it look!

Would anyone else like to play along?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Waste not, Want not: Strawberry Vinegar


Inspired by my sweet bloggy buddy Carrie, over at Wee Two Three (not linking because I think she’s private?). She is one of the crunchiest, most inspiring women I know…and she made this a few weeks ago.  IMG_6885

I cut up a bunch of strawberries this morning for a beach playdate, and thought of her “recipe.” I pulled out a clean jar, threw in the clean tops, and covered them in white vinegar. By this afternoon, the vinegar was already a lovely, murky pink.  It’s currently chilling out in my refrigerator.


When I deem it “done”, I’ll use the vinegar to make some strawberry vinaigrette. Mmmmm.



A few weeks ago, my sister helped at a wedding, slicing up two dozen lemons for pitchers of ice water. She didn’t have the heart to throw away all those lemon ends, so she bagged them up, brought them home and put them in her freezer. Now, whenever her garbage disposal starts smelling funky, she pulls one out and throws it in. Instant fresh!

When I get stale bread left over, especially heels, I throw it together in a bag and throw it in the freezer. I keep adding it to it, and then pull out a few pieces whenever I need bread crumbs. The pieces are broken up, then pulsed in a food processor and mixed with spices. Easy peasy! They can be used as is, or toasted in the oven.

How about you? Do you have any special ways of using up those bits and bobs that most people usually throw away?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Of Eggs and Bananas

Forgive me a little ramble here…but it’s been on my mind today. I’ve recently moved across the country, and thus have joined a new church congregation. Our new congregation is a wonderful mix of old friends and new faces, and I’m enjoying getting to know everyone.

Seattle is Home for me, and that was one of the major reasons we moved back. Another reason, and a very big one at that, is the sizeable Asian population here. Growing up, my elementary schools were 30-50"% Asian, and I always loved having such a diverse pool of friends. (Even as a child, I loved to eat…and loved the VARIETY of things my friends’ moms could make! Egg rolls from Kim, cabbage rolls from Jack, and sushi from Mrs. McMath, an immigrant from Japan. Yummy!)

My husband is from Hong Kong, and I am a sort of Euro-Mutt. My family emigrated out of various European countries at least three or four generations ago. That makes my children nearly exactly 50% Caucasian and 50% Asian. (You don’t know HOW much fun I had marking that on the census this past Spring! If one check is good, two is…better, right??! Well, maybe if you’re silly like me, and like checking boxes…..)  As much as I’d like to say that children are color blind, and ethnicity doesn’t matter…it does. My daughter is always looking for similarities between herself and other children. Look, mommy, our dresses are the same color! Look, Mommy, I have brown hair and YOU have brown hair! Look, Mommy, Lucy and I both have pig tails! It’s important to me that while growing up, Ming Wai and Siu Jeun be able to look around and see other kids that are like them – mixed. (I apologize if this term carries any negative connotation. It’s the common term used in Hong Kong. Wan hyut, or “mixed blood”, is the formal term.)

I have a number of friends, both in my new congregation and older friends from the area, with “mixed” babies, and it got me thinking about culture. When I was working as a missionary in Hong Kong, I had the opportunity to partner with a number of native Hong Kongians. My language skills grew by LEAPS and bounds, and I was able to learn more about these people we were working to serve. A wise church member pulled me aside one day and pass along some wisdom that she had gained while serving her own mission, twenty years before. She had had the opportunity to partner with several sister missionaries from America, which sometimes led to clashes in opinion, temperament and habits. She was taught, by her mission president, that when partnering with someone so different from yourself, you must adapt. She, as the Chinese part in the equation, should learn to be a “banana” – yellow (or Chinese) on the outside, but white (or American) on the inside. She must work to truly understand her companions way of thinking if they were ever to work together and serve each other. And vice versa – the American sister must learn to be an “egg” – white on the outside, and yellow on the inside. I took that advice to heart, and tried my very, very best to adopt a “Chinese Heart.” (I think anyone who has ever lived away from “home” can relate to this idea.)

As I raise my children, I’m trying to raise them to be…both. Can you be both? Can you successfully teach children to be comfortable with two cultures, from opposite sides of the world, if the children have never actually visited both cultures? I wonder if any of my friends are trying? My relationship seems to be the minority, where my in-laws are immigrants and so staunchly Old Country.

So, my question to you, dear friends, is this – when raising your kidlets, are you simply raising them to be American…or do you consciously add other cultures to the mix? Are your kids “mixed”? (And this could be anything from American/Japanese, to Oregon/Tennessee. Or adopted, intercontinentally.) To me, raising multi-cultural children implies adoption languages and habits from other cultures…and not just serving sushi every Tuesday and hamburgers every Wednesday.

So, speak up, ladies. It’s hard to hear you over the babble in my head!