Like most Asians, I did not grow up using the dishwasher. But I’ve been slowly using it more and more ever since I graduated college and now I LOVE my dishwasher. Not only does it make washing dishes easier, it just feels more sanitary to me. But for the past year, whenever I used my dishwasher I started noticing I would sometimes get a white residue on all of my glasses/dishware. It was soooo annoying since sometimes I would have to hand wash things that were supposed to be clean from the dishwasher! I did some research and figured out it had to do with my city’s hard water. I ended up buying some Glisten dishwasher cleaner
It worked well but after a few washes the white stuff started coming back! I was starting to get really frustrated because I didn’t really want to use Glisten EVERY time I washed my dishes! It would definitely start to add up.
One day I was cleaning out my email box when I happened upon a link that I had sent myself to read later but totally forgot about. The link was filled with suggestions on how to get rid of the white residue from your dishes! One simple solution that many people recommended was to use plain old white vinegar. So I tried it out and lo and behold….IT WORKS!!! My dishes were sparkling clean. No residue, no spots. And don’t worry…no smell either!! So if you have the same problem as me, try the vinegar trick for a cheap and easy solution. You can either just pour a small amount at the bottom of your dishwasher or pour it into a small bowl/cup and set it in the top rack. Then run your dishwasher like normal.
Clean dishes make me so happy…so I had to share!!!
Anyone out there anymore? I remember a time when I used to blog every single day. Now, I can barely find the time to make a post once a month! There are actually a billion other things I could or should be doing, but I thought I should carve out some time to update this here blog today, my 34th birthday. I didn’t do much this year for my birthday. 34 seems so boring, so unspecial, and SO old. But I’m grateful to be turning a year older…to have another year to spend with my family and friends. Life has been really great to me. It’s not perfect of course but sometimes it’s quite spectacular.
Parenthood has been challenging as always, but I think it’s definitely starting to get easier. Emma is no longer a baby. We are experiencing some terrible two behavior but the temper tantrums are over pretty quickly. Most importantly, Emma has started walking and being more independent! She is growing so fast that sometimes it makes me sad. But most of the time I am just in awe and amazement at how she changes and learns so much almost overnight! If you are wondering why I barely blog anymore it’s because I am really soaking up my time with Emma. People always tell me how fast these years go…I can already tell! I had no idea how fun being a parent can be. Especially at the age Emma is right now. She’s so curious and every experience is so new and exciting for her. We constantly are talking about things we want to take her to or do with her. I’m trying really hard not to spoil her…but man, she’s seriously the best thing ever!!
Ok, so before this post becomes an update on Emma…I wanted to catch up on my birthday goals from last year. Wow…so sad but I did not accomplish any of them!!!! I am not sad about it though, because I did make a lot of progress on them and I had so much fun with them that I know I will finish them eventually. Here’s a little status on my 3 little goals from last year:
1. Eat 101 salads. I ended up eating probably only half of these salads. I didn’t eat all of them but it did make me eat more salads than I normally would. And overall, I am eating a lot healthier. This list was really awesome because it made me eat some combinations that I never would have thought to do and all of the recipes are actually really easy and quick to prepare!
2. Start a Project Life book. I ended up making a Project Life album for Emma’s 1st year. I would say I’m about 70% done. I absolutely LOVE this method of scrapbooking! It really is easier than conventional scrapbooking at least to me. I am definitely going to finish this book and plan on continue documenting our lives using this method in the future.
3. Open an Etsy store. Ok, so I’m really close to doing this. I have a name and a few products! The glue is drying as we speak. I just need to take some photos of the products and then I will post it up. Can’t wait!!!
So now that I’m 34, and even though I still need to finish my goals from 33 (I promise I will!!!), I thought I would come up with new goals for this year.
1. Cook a lot of recipes from a Paleo cookbook (Well Fed). I’m not going to be so ambitious as to say I’m going to cook every recipe but I’d like to try the majority of the recipes from this cookbook as a way to get my feet wet with paleoism. You can read more about eating Paleo here. But just so you know, I can never be 100% paleo because I can never give up my cheese!
2. Sew a quilt. For some reason I’ve never been much of a quilt person or had much interest in sewing a quilt. It looks so overwhelming and hard. But I saw some recently that were so beautiful and it inspired me to sew a quilt for Emma. Something that can be passed down from generation to generation. Hopefully, I can make one that’s worthy of being passed down!
3. Go on more dates with boyrobot. I really want to make more one on one time with boyrobot. It’s so hard when you have kids but my friend Cheryl goes on movie dates with her husband at lunch time and I think we can totally do that!! (We work at the same company). So yes, date night with the hubby at least once a month!
3. Get pregnant. No we are not trying yet…but we would like to be pregnant sometime this coming year. I’m really not looking forward to being pregnant again. It was probably the worst time of my life. In fact, if I get pregnant I can pretty much throw all of these goals out the window since I usually become so tired and unmotivated I can’t get anything done for 9 months! Oh well, I am hoping this time since I know what I will be getting at the end of the 9 months it won’t be so bad??? I can only hope! But yes, I think Emma needs a little brother or sister. We have loved becoming parents and can’t wait to make our family bigger. A part of me is also scared…I have no idea how to balance having 2 kids but people do it right??? :)
I’ve had this iced coffee recipe by The Pioneer Woman bookmarked forever but it wasn’t until a few days ago that I finally tried it out! If you love iced coffee, you have to make it this way…It’s SO easy and seriously tasty. It’s made even easier if you have one of these
I also bought some Tim Horton’s coarse grind since I don’t have my own grinder:
You can follow Pioneer Woman’s recipe to make a super large batch that keeps up to 3 weeks in the fridge. If you are doing it my way with the Bodum basically I used 4 Cups of water and 2 ozes of ground coffee. Let it sit on the counter overnight. The next morning I portioned them out into mason jars and stick them in the fridge! When I’m ready to drink I just add ice and a tablespoon of condensed milk (my own personal choice…you can use sugar/milk etc). SO easy and it’s sooooo good! Perfect for these hot summer mornings. :)
Sorry I haven’t been posting lately. I seriously spent most of my evenings this month trying to save all of my hundreds of saved and tagged items from Google Reader. It wasn’t until this past week that Feedly finally added tags and a browser version that I was finally able to breathe a sigh of relief that not all was lost! So yeah…if you are looking for a Google Reader alternative, Feedly is pretty decent. It will automatically port over all of your subscriptions too! Anyways…a little update on life…
1. If you’re wondering, I have still been cooking but not meal planning like before. I kind of have been cooking on the fly using up freezer and pantry ingredients. BUT I am itching to try some new recipes so I will be meal planning again and possibly posting mini reviews of the recipes I try.
2. No more updates on Emma. A few people have asked where are the updates on Emma! Well I decided I would stop doing that after she turned 1. But if you are wondering…she is just growing cuter and cuter every day! Well I am her momma so I’m biased. Her vocabulary had quite the explosion and she is saying lots of words now and seems to understand a lot of what we are saying. It’s so amazing to think of her back when she was just a blob! We are still waiting on her to walk though.
3. We saw Kina Grannis at her annual free concert. Kina is one of our favorite youtube artists. We are so lucky that her “hometown” is near us and that she plays a free concert there every year at a nice park. This is our 2nd time going but the first time with Emma. Emma loves people watching and we happened to sit by another 1 year old. It was so cute watching them “interact”! We also got to meet and greet Kina and she signed Emma’s tambourine!!!
4. I am on a crafting kick lately. So many people I know are pregnant or just had a baby so I’ve been trying to make something handmade to go along with a gift since baby gifts always end up being so generic or off of a registry. I would post my creations here but most of them are surprises!
5. After having not read a book in AGES, my coworker lent me her favorite book to read: Into Thin Air
I wasn’t sure if I would like it since the topic didn’t really interest me. I am not big on the outdoors or physical activity in general (lol!) but I was willing to give it a try. I was blown away! Such a page turner and eye opening read. I have such respect for mountaineering now and a newfound interest in Everest in general. No…I don’t want to climb it, but I would love to see it in person one day!
Since Emma can’t talk yet, I’ll try to answer the best I can…so it *might* be a little biased…haha
1. What is your favorite color? red (Emma always reaches for red things we noticed!)
2. What is your favorite toy? containers that rattle, lids or Baby Einstein Take Along Tunes
3. What is your favorite fruit? strawberries, pineapples, and grapes
4. What is your favorite tv show? Do Youtube music videos count?
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Butternut Squash and Pear puree or chao (rice porridge)
6. What is your favorite outfit? Blue dress with hearts on it (she could probably care less what she is wearing but we seem to put her in this outfit a lot because it’s easy to wear, soft, and comfy!)
7. What is your favorite game? peek-a-boo
8. What is your favorite snack? PUFFS
9. What is your favorite animal? indifferent
10. What is your favorite song? “Outdoors” by Jason Mraz
11. What is your favorite book? Pat The Bunny (or Goodnight Moon but I think she is liking Pat the Bunny more these days)
12. Who is your best friend? Mommy!
13. What is your favorite cereal? Cheerios (only cereal she is allowed to eat but she does love it!)
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? people watch
15. What is your favorite drink? breastmilk
16. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Mommy!
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Paleo pancakes
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Breastmilk
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? A software engineer (she loves the laptop!)
I keep saying this but really….I can NOT believe my daughter is 1 YEAR OLD! She is no longer a baby…she is a toddler. Before I know it she will be a teenager, going off to college, getting married. OMG things are moving too fast!!!
As I navigate parenthood, I find myself fluctuating between wishing she would hurry up and move onto the next stage while at the same time savoring every minute knowing this time is so short. She will not always want to cuddle with me, she will not always be so happy waking up in the mornings, she will not always be the innocent baby that could do no wrong.
I remember while I was pregnant, just constantly wondering what being a parent would be like. Let me tell you…what everyone tells you is exactly right. But no matter what people tell you, you won’t truly understand until you are going through it. NOTHING could have prepared me for this adventure that parenthood is.
(I can barely remember her being this tiny)
At the hospital, I remember thinking how surreal everything was. This little person was our baby. It still did not feel real. Let me tell you when it finally felt real. I think it was maybe a week into it, a few days after we came home from the hospital…Boyrobot and I were up in the middle of the night feeding Emma. At the time I was having trouble bfing and so we were feeding her formula with a syringe. Through the hormonal fog that is the first 2 weeks after giving birth, I remember thinking “OMG I cannot do this!” and “there’s never a break” and “how in the world have so many other people done this and gotten through it??”. I don’t remember what Boyrobot told me exactly…something along the lines of “we can do this”. And this we did.
Those first few weeks, I’m not sure if I felt “love” yet but with each milestone, each smile, each cuddle, that feeling that was so small I wasn’t even sure was there has grown to be bigger than anything I’ve ever known. My heart swells just thinking about her. Cheesy but totally true.
“Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”
I won’t lie though…those first few months were HARD. As in, I was counting down the days until I returned to work! It did help to finally get the hang of bfing. That has been one of the most enjoyable parts for me surprisingly. I am not good or comfortable with kids. Bfing helped me gain confidence as a mother. It is not for everyone but if you are able to…I highly recommend it! Isn’t it cool that you can feed and soothe your baby with nothing but your body? Very empowering and it will automatically make you a favorite parent between mommy and daddy…haha!
Anyways, parenting is ultimately made up of a lot of hard parts and of course very sweet parts. Luckily, the good does outweigh the bad.
The hard parts
- Being woken up at 3am, in the deepest part of your slumber, to a crying, unsoothable baby. Babies can’t communicate so it’s a total mystery why they are crying sometimes and usually the 3am wakeups are the ones where none of the usual tricks are going to work. This is especially hard after you have gone back to work and your baby keeps you up for hours in the middle of the night!
- Going out to eat is never the same. In the beginning you hope and pray the baby sleeps through the meal. If not you are forced to get things to go and eat your cold, soggy food at home. Once they are older, you alternate eating with your spouse so the other one can entertain and tend to the baby.
- No breaks. Parenthood is a full time job.
- Entertaining them. The good part is pretty much anything and everything will amuse them. The bad part is their attention span is short so you quickly run out of things to do. And Emma was one of those babies that needed constant attention. There was no leaving her to play by herself without instant whining/crying. Also entertaining them can be really boring in itself. At this age, they can’t really “play”. For awhile Emma was really interested in having me stack some blocks and she would knock them down. It was hilarious the first 5 times…not so much the next 50 times.
(Back when Emma couldn’t sit on her own and had to use a Bumbo…playing with my measuring cups that are now her toy)
- The dreaded art of “putting down baby without waking them up”. This is one of the reasons why I cosleep. I never did master this! So you finally get baby to sleep and the minute you try to put baby down, he/she wakes up! It’s pretty much the most annoying thing EVER!
- Random fussiness about everything. Have you heard of this blog, Reasons My Son Is Crying? It’s pure genius and totally Emma. For awhile she would cry every time we changed her diaper, every time we put her in the car seat, every time we were in the car and it stopped, any time we weren’t holding her, if we tried to put shoes on her, if we tried to put a headband on her, if we gave her a bath, if we got a bottle within 3 inches of her mouth, if we tried to feed her formula, if she was in the stroller/baby carrier/carseat etc.
(Emma crying because we took her to the beach)
(Emma crying because we bought this new bouncer for her that she liked the day before)
The best parts:
- Her first smile and every smile thereafter. You will do anything for one of these smiles.
- Hearing her laugh really hard at something you are doing. Usually boyrobot really gets her going and it just cracks me up to see/hear them.
- Noticing parts of you and your spouse in her. This baby really is a mix of the two of you and you hope that she takes after the best parts!
- Watching her grow and start to interact with you. One of the first things I think babies like to do is to play peek-a-boo back at you. When they first start doing it, they always smile really big like they just learned the coolest trick. It’s awesome. Every milestone they reach is so exciting!
- Watching her develop feelings and showing love towards you. I pretty much just died when Emma started hugging her stuffed animals and kissing pictures. Also love when her face lights up after we come home from work!
- Having conversations with her. I can’t wait til we have real conversations but for now our babbling sessions are pretty entertaining! I wonder what she thinks she is saying to me! :)
- Experiencing new things with her. It’s so fun being able to introduce her to new things, foods, outings for the first time. The simplest things can completely delight her! Boyrobot and I keep talking about all of the places we want to take her and the things we want to do with her.
(first time on a swing)
It’s really hard describing the best parts of parenthood. The love you feel for your kids are indescribable. Especially at this age when they are just pure sweetness and innocence. It kind of makes me sad to think about her growing up and one day losing that. I really hope to make her childhood as fun, memorable, and magical as possible. Maybe then she won’t want to grow up so fast?? :)
So this past month has been pretty exciting. Emma has finally started really crawling…no more belly crawl. She has also started cruising and pulling herself up. This all means she is super mobile. I swear while we are sleeping she does a complete 360 throughout the night and ends up back in her original position by morning! This comic meant nothing to me before I had a kid and now I pretty much think this is the most hilarious (and true) thing I have ever seen.
Emma especially loves “The Neck Scarf” and “H is for Hell”.
Some more pictures from this month
Emma and her cousin Xander. They are best buds!
Emma is too preoccupied to notice she is standing all by herself! As soon as she realizes she is, she gets really scared and cries. So cute!
A funny comic we made of Emma and her friend Jacob. If you are on Facebook you’ve already seen this but it brings me a smile whenever I look at it. The 2nd picture is so hilarious because it totally looks like she is trying to sneak her arm around Jacob!
Emma enjoying her 1st birthday present from her Auntie Tran (my sister). She loves her rocking elephant!
Today was her birthday and we had a fun filled day which I will blog in another post since this is getting long enough. :)
I’ve seriously been debating making my own laundry detergent. I keep seeing recipes everywhere and how much cheaper it is! Ever since Emma was born I’ve been very careful with what kind of laundry detergent I buy. Those eco/natural detergents get to be very expensive! The hardest part about making your own laundry detergent is probably the part where you have to grate a soap bar which doesn’t sound that hard to me. The most popular recipe is as follows:
1 (4 lb 12 oz) Box of Borax
1 (3 lb 7 oz) Box of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda
1 (3 lb) Container of OxiClean
2 (14.1 oz) Bars of Fels-Naphta
1 (5 lb) Bag of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
All of these ingredients can be found in the detergent isle at your local grocery store, except for the Arm & Hammer Baking Soda, that will be on the cooking isle.
1. Using a cheese grater, grate the Fels-Nephta soap. Once it’s grated put it in a blender, or food processor, and pulse until it’s a powder.
2. Add the Fels-Neptha powder to a large bucket (at least 2 gallons), then add remaining ingredients. Stir well with a large spoon.
This makes about a year’s worth so you only have to make it once a year (of course dependent on how often you do laundry). Most people store it in a large container and scoop some in a smaller container to leave by the washer. All you need is a measuring spoon and a load just needs 1-2 TBSP of detergent.
I was kind of skeptical about how well it would work but every review I’ve read says it works as well if not better than commercial detergents! All of the blogs I’ve been reading say this soap will cost you about 4 cents a load….versus traditional Tide which is about 12 cents a load. Or even more if you use the fancy schmancy stuff. The best part is it’s all natural and safe! It will also work with your HE washers. As soon as I run out of our current detergent I’m definitely going to give this a try!
I know it’s silly but I can’t wait to put my detergent in a cute glass jar like this one! hehe
Friday: Japanese Style Linguine with Clams – what makes it japanese? The use of sake, shiitake mushrooms, and nori sprinkled on top! I might have to take a shortcut and use canned clams though…hope it’s still tasty!