Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother's Day
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First off, a huge Happy Mother’s Day shoutout to all the moms and grandmoms from sunny California. It’s going to be 100 degrees today so we nipped out early to Denny’s for breakfast this morning.

Steev treated me to an early Mother’s Day dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. What a proud mama I am. We figured we’d do an early dinner to beat the long lines. Even on a good day, they’re long as they don’t take reservations.

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The oatmeal and sourdough bread rolls that never stop coming…

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We only ordered a clam chowder (forgot to take a picture) and 2 mains to share. Their portions are huge and from experience, there’s no way we can finish one order each, there would be tons of leftovers.

The shrimp batter which is really, really good.

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Jambalaya pasta, best thing ever. Gonna go back for another round of this later.

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Macadamia caramel cheesecake, sinfully decadent. Not something we can eat a slice of each so we shared this.

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Even ordering so little, we still had leftovers to take home. Burp 😉 .

Hope y’all have a good one! It’s great to be a mom. Enjoy your kids.

There’s clean and then there’s the pre’s

There's clean and then there's the pre's
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If there’s one thing I want to greet me at the grocery store entrance, it’s these!

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Anti-bacterial wipes to clean your shopping cart handle bar are a heaven-sent to a germ0phobe like me. Sure beats me spreading layers of tissue paper so I wouldn’t have to touch the handle which is what I do every time I go groceries!

Pushing my freshly disinfected cart along, I picked up some bagels, jalapeno and a bag of pre-cooked shrimp, all shelled and deveined aka with none of that stinky shrimp peeling to do.

Then Steev drove us over to Trader Joe’s to pick up a bag of pre-washed baby spinach, pre-cut carrots and brussel sprouts, a box of pre-made chicken stock and some lean minced turkey. The rest are the granola bars that my kids are constantly munching, a strawberry tart and cereal.

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Happiness is cooking with things that are “pre-“-ed, if you get what I mean .

Barbie, or the lack thereof

Barbie, or the lack thereof
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“Oh look, Mom, Barbies!!” my poor deprived daughters burst out in excitement as we stroll past this display at the mall. “Remember, we used to go to Toys-R-Us and spend hours looking at the Barbies… ??!”

Key word – looking, yes, “… but you wouldn’t let us buy any!” Yup, that’s the sad truth. But you know what, Barbie is just a tad too perfect for me. She’s got the perfect figure, beautiful clothes and a perfect life. She’s all about primping, skimpy-ing and little else (sorry, Barb, nothing personal!) so she’s not exactly the kind of role model I had in mind for my daughters.

It’s hard enough for girls growing up these days with all this (unwarranted) pressure to be slim and made up and popular with boys by a certain age, to keep up with what their friends have or are wearing or eating and which exotic vacation spot they’re headed to next. It’s sad girls can’t be girls any more but have to look and behave like lil apple tarts in order to be cool or in, whatever that means.

Too much peer pressure, I say. Too much chasing what’s not even important, in my books.

So it’s not surprising that between my two daughters, now teens, they’ve grown up with a grand total of 2 dolls (that includes their Barbies) between them. Even then, I didn’t pay for those Barbies with real money. I redeemed them with points that were expiring on a rewards card I had. I know. Such enthusiasm, right? Yup, that’s how crazy I am about Barbie and dolls in general.

I can be uber generous when it comes to Legos and construction sets but dolls, not so much. There’s nothing much Barbie can teach my daughters. So here they are, in their teens, smart, sensible, and down-to-earth, and none the worse for the lack of Barbie in their growing years.

Weekend wrap

Weekend wrap
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There’s been a muted excitement seething in our household since we received those free tickets from Robert Downey Jr. to Iron Man 3 that comes with free popcorn and soda. So that makes this a much anticipated Saturday, kinda. We arrived early, were second in line for the popcorn and second in line when the cinema opened for seating.

Is it obvious that we’re huge fans of superhero action flicks? Well, there’s a certain thrill to losing yourself in the imaginary world of a superhero and his cool tech gadgets. So it is, with Iron Man 3, I mean, who am I kiddin’? It’s a darned good movie with lots of clankermankering metal, collapsing concrete and fiery fellows, that’s all I’m going to say. I’m not going to spoil it for you.

Iron Man 3 (image credit: hollywoodreporter.com)

But I will say this. Tony Stark has been upgrading and building more Iron Man suits. At the rate he’s going, these suits might soon be available at Walmart. Which isn’t a bad idea, if you ask me. Frankly, I wouldn’t mind Jarvis flying me around in an Iron Man suit. Sure beats driving! And what could be more romantic than being the woman a superhero swoops down to rescue? Except that it’s not the case here (hint hint!) 😉 .

Anyhoo, excuse the rambling. After the movie, a late lunch for us. Funny how we never get tired of Japanese food but wouldn’t touch Korean food with a 10-foot pole.

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Then my bookworms popped upstairs to the bookstore while I ran a quick round of groceries. Their small haul of only 3 books, one of which is The Count of Monte Cristo, a classic that’s somehow not in our home library but we watched the movie recently and my girls loved it and say it’s now time to read the book.

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Sunday is our day to be lazy. A day of simple-to-the-point-of-boring meals, lounge around at home and just do nothing much in general. I would’ve used the word hibernate but it’s in danger of over-exposure.

So what are you up to this weekend?

Celebrating bookwormism, if that’s even a word

Celebrating bookwormism, if that's even a word
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We found the perfect excuse to celebrate last weekend with this rare treat. A most decadent double fudge chocolate cake. One slice shared among the 3 of us girls (that’s how we roll)… and even then, we ended up pushing each other to finish it up.

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The reason for this excitement. Hip2bDaughter2 won a reading award for “student who has read the most books in high school”. And how many is that total? We don’t have the exact figure (she hasn’t got the tally back from her teacher) but we do know it’s in the region of oh, 400+ books in her years of high school combined! How anyone can read that many story books on top of all of her school work and activities is beyond me! But that’s my bookworm for ya!

No wonder there’s so much banging on the bathroom room – she’s always in there reading 😆 , and some days, she’s curled up with a book and the house is so quiet I can hear a pin drop. I don’t recall ever buying her that many books though. Not even close. But the philosophy of my two bookworms is to beg, borrow or steal if they have to. Their love for books is insatiable.

Hip2bDaughter2 was the latest bloomer in terms of reading. Hip2bSon was reading by age 2 and Hip2bDaughter1 by 2.5. But because Hip2bDaughter2 is the youngest, I always think of her as a baby. Suddenly there she was, 3 years old and illiterate 😆 . I was horrified. Bad mommy! How could I have let that slip? So began my mad scramble to get my “little sponge” caught up.

Fast forward to this week and my ‘baby’ high school senior is receiving a prize and a plaque, and giving a 7-minute speech to an entire school of 1,200+ students about the benefits of reading. She quietly wrote her own speech without any help from me or her sister, then stood up and rehearsed it to her ever-supportive audience of two – me and Hip2bDaughter1.

Since the award, she’s become a celebrity of sorts at school. Other students (even some she doesn’t know) are coming up to commend her, some to ask for a copy of her speech and many more to ask if she was nervous speaking to 1,o00 odd people. Apparently she surprised herself too that she hadn’t been as nervous as she had thought once she got past the initial jitters.

She’d told me the night before she might be “just a little nervous” and I thought yeah, maybe, this being the first time she’s speaking to such a big crowd. Then again, I took one look at that huge grin on her face and I knew that if she’s anything like her older brother and sister (surely it’s genetic, right?), she would be able to pull it off without a hitch.

Don’t you think she deserves a few bites off a slice of cake?

Weekend wrap

Weekend wrap
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Lunch out is usually the highlight of our weekend. After a week of school day meals, it’s nice to escape the kitchen and let someone else do the cooking and serving. This was our lunch on Saturday after our grocery run. What I really like is that it’s a balanced meal. There’s carb (rice), protein (braised chicken which was very tasty, by the way), a salad, fruit and soup.

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Groceries on the weekend is, of course, a pain in the butt. But we seem to have perfected the art of grocery hit and run necessitated by the weekend mania of getting around without having to deal with too much rudeness and bad attitude, getting needlessly body-slammed by people and shopping carts or tripping over random kids. Our divide and conquer strategy seems to be working well, and we’re home in a jiffy.

Oh, and we finally had a rain storm. Dark skies, heavy rain that lasted barely an hour and did nothing to bring down the sweltering heat. We need more rain, much more. I don’t think this hellishly hot spell is going to end anytime soon.

Saturday Snippets 5

Saturday Snippets 5
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Weekends are supposed to be lazy and laid back. But I do like some, not too much, structure to mine. Too often, the weekends are gone in a flash and it feels like such a waste. This weekend’s been good though. I managed to get my workout in. Having a home gym is so handy. I don’t have to leave the house. The bad thing is no more excuses, even on the weekend. Dang!

By mid-morning, we were at loose ends. Time to catch a free movie that comes with complimentary popcorn and soda. So off we went – Hip2bDaughters and I to watch G.I. Joe. Three  grown-up girls at a movie for little boys? Well, okay, so it wasn’t necessarily our kind of movie. If not for Channing Tatum and Dwock Johnson, we might’ve snuck out the back after the first 15 minutes. But it’s not exactly a boring movie either so we stayed for the non-stop action.

And that brings us to the end of spring break. It’s time to do some baking. Tomorrow I’ll bust out my oatmeal cookie dough and bake a batch of these bad boys for Hip2bDaughter2’s recess.

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TV week

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For practically this whole week, we’ve been holed up watching movies. This is so rare for us. We haven’t used our TV in years. It’s only that we’re now trying to avoid the crush of humanity at the malls and would rather spend the break hanging out at home.

We visited an uncle who has a home entertainment center in his home with one of those flat screen TV mounts and a giant screen. It must be nice having your own movie cinema at home and he was trying to tempt us into getting one. But we hardly watch TV, my teens told him earnestly, wouldn’t that be a big waste? I guess I can’t argue with that, he replied.

Skyfall, the sky is not the only thing that fell

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Okay, so we decided to make a movie night of Skyfall, the latest Daniel Craig Bond movie. Actually it turned out to be 3 movie nights because we fell asleep halfway through the first 2 nights and had to finish up the rest of the movie on the third night.

When you watch a Bond movie, you come to expect certain things. I’m used to Bond being dashing, debonair and dignified. Think Pierce Brosnan. Clean shaven and immaculately dressed, he is a smooth talker and infallible superspy who flaunts high-tech gadgets, never breaks a sweat and has women dropping at his feet like flies.

Along comes a stubbled Bond with disheveled hair and not so suave who spends more time chasing or being chased and sweating it out than strutting into a room and surprising the heck out of the enemy with his fancy gadgets. And the only two women in the movie were hardly your regular slinky, sexy Bond bombshells. It’s a whole different Bond.

Then, there’s Q. Looks like he fell into the fountain of youth. How on earth did the tall and stately Q become a skinny Korean-looking dude with a bad haircut? Shocking!

And Moneypenny. Since when did Moneypenny become a field agent chasing and shooting at bad guys? I seem to remember her as the demure secretary who flirted discreetly with Bond whenever he dropped by the office.

Can you see where I’m going with this?

Sadly, even Skyfall’s movie plot had us scratching our heads. Excuse me but how did the chase for a disk containing a list of names that must never see the light of day become the villain’s witch hunt for M? Yes, M, the somewhat unlikely little old lady who is, or was, Bond’s boss? Did I fall asleep and miss something here?

After waiting 2 nights for Bond to reveal a swanky watch that can set off deadly bombs a mile away, or an unassuming pen that can launch missiles from out of nowhere, only to see him attempt to fight off an army of baddies with his father’s ancient shotgun! Heck, even his Aston Martin went up in smoke!

Where is Double O Seven as we know him? 😯

The easy way out

The easy way out
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So I took the easy way out with our reunion dinner. I decided to do what any smart modern woman would do. I set the chefs at Friday’s to work so that come dinner time, I could breeze in with my brood and casually sit down for dinner with nary a hair out of place.

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The reunion dinner is the last meal of the old lunar calendar. It’s typically a huge family gathering over a huge meal cooked at home. By comparison, ours is a small affair. Clearly I’m not your most traditional person when it comes to the Lunar New Year. Aside from breaking the rules by choosing a Western meal for our reunion, I find many of the traditions, like firecrackers, songs, gambling, drinking and general loudness, super annoying.

Most years, we don’t stay up past midnight but we always found ourselves jolted awake by the booms of firecrackers nearby. So this year, we planned our movie night to end just after midnight when our beloved neighbor (yes, that neighbor!) would be done firing his annual boatload of firecrackers.

For us, the lunar new year is super simple and low key. It’s the best time to stay home, do some simple cooking, catch up on movies and just hibernate in general. We do visit a couple of extended family, the one or two still worth visiting, but skip the rest. It’s best to leave the high-level b*tching and bragging to experts like The Tubby Twosome aka my estranged SIL and third aunt 😐 .

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