Back from Singapore

It has been four days since we arrived back in California. And finally there was some semblance of sleep last night. I gave up and slept with the 4yo in his single bed (my neck! my back! – luckily I am a back sleeper who doesn’t move much, but still I was wedged between a small being and the wall). And finally, he slept. He did get up before midnight, and he did get up when I got up to put the blanket on his big brother who had sneezed. He did stir and ask “is it morning time?” when I tried to adjust my sleeping position around 4 something. But at least today, at least there was sleep. There was not the wide-awake from 2 something to 4 something that I had been for the past few nights, woken perhaps by my own un-reset body clock, or perhaps from the boys talking in their room.

There is adjustment to be made. There is routine to get back to. There is the quiet quiet quiet of the night to return to again. No more whirr of the AC going full blast. Far less traffic noise. No more mynahs screeching outside in the morning. No more wrapped-in-your-own-personal-sauna heat-and-humidity the moment the door opens.

There is just me and the kids for almost the whole day until the husband gets back (he leaves the house before 630am). And it has been especially hard when the 4yo starts crying for his grandparents. Luckily he has been great at returning to preschool. There are meals to cook. There are dishes to wash. There are chores to do. But there are also sweet yellow cherry tomatoes. There are wonderful seasonal fruits at the farmers market. There will be hikes to walk. A recital to attend. And time to just sit back and enjoy the last few weeks of summer holiday.

There will be more blog posts to write. But for now, I am just trying to adjust.

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5 things this week

  1. The 6yo is practicing two songs for his piano recital in August. He’s very excited!
  2. He also attended a Mad Science summer camp and among the things they made is chalk, slime, a bouncy ball, and they’re growing crystals
  3. I can’t figure out if it’s easier to have the older boy in a full-day camp (i.e. 9 to 3) or half-day (usually 9-12). The 4yo attends half-day preschool so he finishes at noon. When his brother is around, the two of them are happy to play together – most of the time. But the 4yo doesn’t really enjoy playing by himself so he will always ask me to play with him and that really is quite exhausting!
  4. I have been reading books, but you really wouldn’t know it by the state of this blog.
  5. Something new is that I’m learning to crochet. I always lumped crochet into the “things grannies do” box but there is something kinda fun and fascinating about creating these pieces. Ironically perhaps (or not) I am working on a granny square blanket. I tend to be a rather fidgety person and a bit of a phone addict so working on this while helping the kids with piano/homework or while I’m listening to an audiobook or watching a show with the husband has helped me look at my phone less, keeps my fingers busy. And it’s kinda fun too.

Things to love this Wednesday

Now how did most of the day go by already?

It’s Wednesday! The weekend’s going to be here soon, or perhaps not soon enough!. Wee Reader’s preschool lets out tomorrow and this marks the end of his first ever preschool year! He’s grown from that overly cautious, unsure 2.5-year-old who was still being potty trained (SO many days in which he came out of school with a bag of wet clothes!!) to being completely diaper-free, more confident, happy to go to school (most days) 3.5-year-old! He’s learnt all sorts of important things like how to hold a pencil/crayon properly, put on his shoes, jackets, pants and underwear (the tops are a bit trickier), songs and rhymes, and things that surprise me like how he nods and says ‘yes’ when he’s listening to a story and peeing standing up (!). I put him in school last year mostly because I wasn’t sure if I could handle two kids under three by myself so I’ve been pleasantly surprised by all these little changes I see in him.

Anyhow, here’s what I’ve been loving lately:

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Populaire – a 2012 French film that’s currently streaming on Netflix. It’s set in the 1950s and features speed typing!

This very summery snap pea, watermelon and edamame salad! from Joy the Baker

I am so craving a milkshake right now, thanks to these ice-cream-sandwich milkshakes from Bake at 350

The Millions’ post on the most anticipated releases for the second half of 2014. These kinds of posts just make me sigh and wish I had more time to read. Because I so want to read SO MANY of these books. David Mitchell! Sarah Waters! Hilary Mantel! Christos Tsiolkas!

Added to my TBR list: On Black Sister Street by Chika Unigwe thanks to Me, You and Books

An article on the art of the opening sentence from The Millions

Ok all that talk about food is making me hungry. Plus the house smells great thanks to the beef stew that is in the slow cooker. It’s currently got beef, onions, cabbage, garlic, tomato paste, star anise, cloves, cinnamon bark, coriander roots, a bit of soy sauce and fish sauce in it. I’ll be adding carrots and potatoes a little later. But meanwhile I’m hungry! I think I’ll go for some crackers and brie.

What are you snacking on today?

Things I’m loving this Thursday

One thing I’m not loving: the possibility of getting a sore throat! I’ve been chugging down plenty of green tea and watching what I eat!

But here’s what I am loving today:

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This gorgeous pink daikon I picked up at the farmers market. I’ve never seen pink daikon before and just had to grab some. They went in a pot of chicken stock with some ginger and carrots for a lovely comforting bowl of soup, served with spam fried rice last night.

Dinah Washington. I’ve been reading Last Night at the Blue Angel by Rebecca Rotert and Dinah Washington was mentioned and I’ve been listening to her a lot since.

Pretending I’m right there along with Book Snob at Chevening in Kent

Celeste Ng (author of Everything I Never Told You – haven’t read it yet but keep hearing good stuff about it!) on becoming a writer in a family of scientists. 

Dovegreyreader on The Coat Route – Craft, Luxury & Obsession on the Trail of a $50,000 Coat, by American journalist Meg Lukens Noonan. Sounds interesting!

A Cup of Jo talks about some approaches to sibling rivalry.

I always have to add a link about Singapore food. So here’s one from Food Canon about dry horfun (flat rice noodles) with minced pork

Gorgeous ‘fireworks’  cookies for July 4th at Bake at 350!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Things I’m loving this Wednesday

This book bingo. Sounds fun!

You might have seen this news already, but I’m always fascinated by hidden pictures found under famous paintings

This fashion spread is gorgeous. And underwater.

What it’s like to take a 36-hour sleeper train ride from LA to Seattle

These photographs of London bookstores

This recipe –  a reminder that I’ve not made Bibimbap in ages – and a thought to try it with bok choy next time

I am drooling at the thought of curry puffs…. How I miss them!

Saved for later

Oh there’s too much going on in my feedly that I keep saving posts for later. So I thought I’d share it with everyone instead. You’re welcome!

I am a big fan of Smitten Kitchen – I even bought her cookbook! – and have been using her pizza dough recipe (from the book) after her notes convinced me that I didn’t need a pizza stone to make pizza, and that the pizza sauce could be made pretty simply from a can of tomatoes, some garlic and seasoning! And now she kind of updates her pizza recipe with these handy tips, like draining the liquid from the tomatoes before pureeing them. Yay!

How to spot good gelato from 15 feet away. Fascinating! Now I know to steer away from the tall mounds of gelato!

I recently stumbled across Design of the Picture Book and what a find! I never would have come across such gorgeous picture books (unfortunately my library doesn’t have many of them – still, I’m putting them on a list!) without it, such as this one called What Happens When…

Rice-cooker Nasi Lemak over at Teczcape! Nasi lemak is coconut rice cooked with pandan leaves, fragrant and delicious. And a bit sinful!

Buried in Print writes one of my favourite book blogs, and she has a great TBR-list-adding post on some notable short story collections 

Everything’s all pumpkin-y these days. But I’ve always been a bit more fond of kabocha or Japanese squash (which seems to be found all year round at my local Asian supermarkets) and here’s another way to cook it, Thai Pumpkin Custard!

The Green Carnation Prize 2013 longlist (celebrates LGBT writing)

Life After Life wins the Not The Booker Prize (here’s the very long longlist)

I’ve been a lurker follower of Pickle Me This for a while, and especially love her thoughts on family and kids, like this recent one on motherhood 

I recently made savoury pancakes (with bits of prawn, carrots, mushrooms, kinda like Korean pancakes), and just want to keep making all kinds of savoury not-usually-savoury things like this: Mashed potato, cheddar, chive waffles