Bicycle is zì xíng chē (自行车)

It’s the first week of Advent and I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on the year before it ends.

One of the coolest things to happen this year is that my boy learned how to ride a bike! :D

We didn’t buy a bike in China since we were only there temporarily so he really missed out on learning how to cycle. The few times we traveled home, he would ride on his bike with its trainer wheels but a few weeks in a year do not a cyclist make, right?

This year, I was determined to help him learn to cycle and so, we started with the bike he got when he was 5 years old.

First, I removed one of the trainer wheels and he got *really* comfortable with that but I could see that he was going nowhere LOL

I decided to remove the second training wheel and help him get his balance on two wheels. I was huffing and puffing as I ran along with him. Plus, it was back-breaking work for me since I had to hold on to the seat!

After a few tries, I just yelled (encouragingly!), “Just keep cycling! Don’t stop!!!”

Of course, the poor kid fell down a few times with a fair share of bumps, bruises and scrapes. He wanted to give up a couple of times but there’s just something about being in the outdoors that makes you want to try and try, I think, coz he picked himself up and tried and tried.

Finally, I decided to stop being Tiger Mom and went to another corner to do my own stretches and exercise and of course, to leave him alone.

A while later, he cycled past me, yelling, “Look, Mummy, look!!! I’m cycling!” and nearly crashed into a bush!

And there’s no stopping him from that moment on because he’d ask to ride his bike again and again and again every chance he got.

Since his long legs were getting in the way of his 5 year old bike, guess who’s got a shiny, new bike? :)

“Frozen” Birthday Party

If you know me, you’ll know that I hate the TV, especially Disney (read about our trip to Disneyland Hong Kong).

Thus, I can’t recall how or why I bought the “Frozen” DVD for the kids because now, my daughter is hooked on it!

Yup…
i) she sings “Let It Go” again and again and again and again and again
ii) she drapes a blanket or a pink towel around her shoulders and uses a clothes peg to secure it – she even insists on wearing it outdoors but I firmly said NO.
iii)she loves it when I call her “Queen Elsa” LOL
iv) she wants anything and everything related to Frozen.

We were invited to a Frozen birthday party a while back and her brother remarked, “I think she will be VERY EXCITED!”

Here’s what the little girl’s mother had at that birthday:

1. A Frozen birthday cake - Interestingly, the cake toppers are ALWAYS out of stock! That made me quite anxious as my little girl’s birthday is just a couple of months away. Then again, do I want to pay US$25++ for them???

2. Queen Elsa’s dress
Of course, every little girl around the world who has watched “Frozen” wants to be Queen Elsa.

Now, I have learned that Queen Elsa’s costume must have white gloves and the oh-so-important cape!

frozen-queen-elsa-dress

I managed to buy a similar dress online (“Frozen” Queen Elsa’s Deluxe Girl’s Costume (4-6X)). Phew!

She LOVES it and has been wearing it already and guess what? She still adds a trailing cape although the dress already HAS a cape. Duh.

I’ve yet to find a tiara though.

3. Birthday presents
At the birthday party we attended, almost everyone bought the little girl a Barbie doll or a Queen Elsa doll, which I thought was so boring and predictable??!!

Since I didn’t know the girl well, I let my son choose the birthday present and he bought her a book :)

The little girl was quite pleased because it was different. Plus, it turns out that she also likes to read. I think my boy chose a ice/snow-themed book that came with a glittery cover coz the other girls ooh-ed and aah-ed when she unwrapped it LOL

For my daughter, frozen-storybookA Tale of Two Sisters (Frozen) (Step into Reading) would be nice since she’s learning to read now.

She received one of these lovely sticker books for her birthday:

I only buy my children presents during their birthdays and Christmas and even then, the presents tend to be books or something practical.

For a change, I may get her this Disney “Frozen” Complete Story Playset because she’s always having imaginary conversations with her cars, soft toys and other objects.

frozen-playset

She’s been coming home bursting with excitement over her friends’ birthday goodie bags and insisting that we make her goodie bags just as fun too.

I am glad that she’s thinking as much about her classmates as she is of herself on her birthday.

Her current schoolbag is quite ratty (thanks to all her “artwork”! I don’t understand how she’s such a messy girl – her brother is seriously neater than her) but I’m wondering if I can stand ANOTHER year of Elsa and Anna???

I’ve seen this Disney “Frozen” Princess Elsa and Anna School Backpack on sale…

frozen-backpack

PARTY PLANS

I’ve got to order some fried vermicelli, make a fruit salad and include a cold dessert!!!

Not to forget some Ribena or some other kid-friendly drink…stress, stress.

IN THE END, I was soooooo busy at work that the goodie bag ended up with:
– stationery sets (a mix of Ben 10, Mickey Mouse and Winnie the Pooh)
– raisins (NOT! The kids ate up the stock)
– chocolate – check
– need to order organic lollipops from iHerb (NOT! Mummy was too busy to order from iHerb)
– a handful of balloons – a HUGE hit with the kids who took them out and immediately started to blow them up or ask ‘Uncle’ to help. The little one showed off to her friends that HER father can only help her to blow up HER balloon :)
– miniature LEGO sets – I scored on this last one because we were literally 45 minutes to PARTY TIME. Hubby was hyperventilating but I rejoiced coz I got a good deal from a wholesaler.

Grabbing the big bag of toys, I set to work stuffing 25 goodie bags (randomly having a mix of boy and girl figures) while Hubby drove to pick up the cold dessert, fried noodles and then quickly took them down to the classrooms before the kindy teachers gave me the evil eye.

We saw a few other “Supermoms” and “Superdads” and their party team hastily carrying in their own food and loot too LOL See how scared we are of the kindy teachers???

I didn’t even have time to charge my camera battery – luckily, there were a few bars left for me to capture the important moments of my 5 year old daughter’s class party. :)

While the class teacher tackled the kids, the food and the goodie bags, my sweetie pie came to me and said:

“I love you, Mummy…this is the best day ever. I am so happy!!!”

Then she reached up to give me a hug and a kiss. None for the poor father who did all the grunt word, though LOL

Chatting with my colleagues about our kids, I realized how much my little girl has grown over the past year. Read here. Slow down, kid…

Red Hot Chilli Peppers or là jiāo (辣椒)!

Hahaha, of course I don’t know if these guys (the band) are called that in Mandarin ;-)

I do know that chillies are called “hot peppers” là jiāo (辣椒), chilli sauce that we’re familiar with is actually “sweet chilli sauce” or tián jiàng (甜酱) while peppers / capsicum are called “sweet peppers” or tián jiāo (甜椒).

In terms of spicy Chinese food, I’ve only tried Hunan cuisine, stinky / smelly tofu (with sweet and spicy chilli sauce) and some Sichuan tofu dish…

If you ask me, I don’t like Sichuan peppers because I don’t like the numb feeling in my tongue and throat a meal.

Then again, people tell that me I’ve not been eating authentic spicy Hunan and Sichuan foods, which are of course tastier in their own cities.

Since I’ve been craving for spicy food, the Hubs mentioned that he’s taking me to a popular Sichuan restaurant in town, which serves a number of dishes that he’d think I’d like.

Anyway, a “red hot chilli pepper” caused a facepalm moment yesterday when she argued hotly with her countryman over a teeny, weeny matter, which was probably due to a miscommunication, a slight misunderstanding or even a disagreement.

Sigh…if only they could have seen themselves. Everyone else around them was wearily waiting for them to STOP.

They eventually did and I was like, “It’s just a small matter. No need to get all excited…”

We have a lonnnnnnnng way to go…

Play-By-Ear Guitar?

One weekend, we brought the kids out for dinner. After dinner, our daughter a toy acoustic guitar while our son asked for a water gun.

Kids being kids, they wanted to play with each other’s toys…anyway, we ended up buying another water gun.

The acoustic guitar?

Interestingly, my robot-Lego-b-Daman-Transformers crazy kid kept himself busy fiddling with the tuning pegs, the strings and did a bit of strumming.

Since I am *always* busy with cooking, cleaning, laundry or homework, I was just relieved to see him having a nice, relaxing time.

Surprise, surprise…he came running excitedly into the kitchen while I was stir-frying a veg or something:

“Mummy, mummy! Look, I can play ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ ” on the guitar!”

True enough, he plucked out the song on the little, toy guitar :D

I thought that was really cool – one of my colleagues shared with me that he’d taught himself how to play the guitar when he was teenager.

Hmm…maybe it’s time for an early investment in a fender acoustic guitar for the budding rock star? ;-)

Hacked! Spammed!

Hello, hello especially to those out there who are still following this blog :)

First, you’ll notice the “comments off”. As much as I love discussions on the blog posts, I have disabled comments because I’ve had harrowing months of SPAM, with an interesting range of stuff and services from China, Japan, Russia (???).

Oh my God, if you’ve ever been spammed, you’ll know how frantic I was when I got 100s of new “comment” notifications via email by the minute!!!

As smug as I seem to be, I know that this lil ole blog ain’t that popular ;-)

Next, in view of how boring this blog has become, I was horrified to find out one morning that it had been hacked!

How did I know?

Well, random codes and text started appearing in my posts and then I also noticed additional plug-ins and stuff in my dashboard.

Thankfully, my webhost sorted it out after I alerted him.

The house is still not in order because I have a “Mystery of the Disappearing Plug-ins” on my hands now.

Sigh, I hope that my webhost can fix this too coz I love my blog and I love to blog.

Lazy Cat (懶惰貓)

In English, if someone is lazy, they’d be called an ass (a donkey).

In Chinese, if someone is lazy, they’d be called a lazy cat or a lazy worm!

In fact, there are children’s songs sung about these lazy animals :)

I’d agree on the lazy cat since I dislike cats but a lazy worm? That’s a new one to me. Plus the fact that I dislike anything slimy, I find the concept of “lazy worm” particularly repulsive. I’ll take the lazy cat, thank you.

If this post offends any animal lovers out there, please excuse me – my childhood did not include house pets of any kind other than the stray dogs my late Chinese grandmother used to feed kitchen scraps with.

Ahh…those stray dogs. I think we only named one of them – “Blackie” (oh dear, I am afraid this may be offensive too) because it was a midnight black dog who was exceptionally friendly.

My late Chinese grandmother was very loving towards them because she would mix up a mush of leftover rice, bones and other kitchen scraps with her bare hands and set it out in a huge metal bowl for them. If I recall, she even had a bowl of water for the dogs.

She was careful to maintain a 1:1 balance of rice:meat because she noticed that the dogs would shed their hair when the meat ratio went up. Besides that, she also excluded fish bones for fear of the dogs choking on them.

Yes, I would say that my dear old Amah loved those animals. And the dogs loved her too for they would bark happily whenever she went out with that bowl of mush.

Would she pay for prescription ped meds? It’s hard to say because my Amah was a very, very, very thrifty old lady. She would hate to see anyone suffering though. She couldn’t even stand the sound of a baby/child crying.

As you can see, I like dogs to cats. Yup, I definitely do not like cats, especially lazy ones!