Happy New Yr’s Resolutions!

Been neglecting this blog to work on a new one. That one is much more specific as it’s about me schooling my girls at home, so if you want the link, just hit me up.Β I’m trying to remain anonymous on that one, though, so if you hop on over, just dont address me or the girls by name, kplzthnx! πŸ˜€

I think that between the FlyLady, reading all the homeschooling mom blogs and reading organizing junkie blogs, things are finally beginning to sink in. I decided I have to stop thinking and talking about what I want to do and JUST DO IT. (Wow, what a concept. :P)

To that end, I put together my list of 2012 resolutions, and I started using a daily To-Do List to dump my brain and check off what I’m actually accomplishing.

The Daily Docket (pic is linked) is great,

but I’ve been usingΒ The Pocket Docket:Β 

Either one works if you’re a list person. But, then I realized that even with my lovely Home Management Binder (still a work-in-progress), I’d have to keep printing multiple copies of these dockets and shoving them into my binder only to throw them away by the end of the yr.

I didnt want to do that.

So, I decided to bite the bullet and buy a planner! =O I just havent done that in yrs. Not since I was in college and definitely not after discovering Google Calendar! πŸ˜› But, even though I put all of my appointments on Google Calendar, I dont use the Task function for my To-Do’s. Plus, I dont want to have to always access my phone or computer for the next item on the list. So I put my foot down (against myself) and decided to purchase this:

I’m hoping it’ll be worth it. Even if for just the daily to-do lists and the stickers. πŸ˜› But, honestly, I hope I love it because then I’ll get one every yr and not have to print off list after list or even use notepad after notepad, post-it after post-it (though post-its work wonderfully for my husband and I’m not knocking them!), you get the idea. And I can use my Home Management Notebook for other things, like menu planning. I’m going to get very serious about that this yr. If for no other reason than to practice for the day when we wont be living with my inlaws (really crossing my fingers here), and I cant rely on my MIL for dinner every night. Anyways, I should be taking care of breakfast and lunch, so I’ll start there. I want to provide my husband a nutritious meal to take with him to work. Actually, a few meals. He doesnt eat breakfast at home, and he works 12 hr shifts most days, so he really needs breakfast, lunch and a satiating snack. Once I get that down, I can focus on dinners and eventually meals with both my kids. To that end, aside from the numerous cookbooks and foodie sites I peruse, I went with the FlyLady’s recommendation and bought this:

I had had a sample on my Nook, but again decided to bite the bullet and just BUY IT! I need to start somewhere and it might as well be there. Luckily I have a wonderful Mother’s Helper with me these first few months with Baby Ruth here and she is a great cook who can help me learn some good Chines cooking as well as assist me in trying Western Recipes. (Thanks, T!) I am trying to take advantage of this time to learn to cook, and also to eat better and stay healthy as I breastfeed and attempt to get down to a healthier weight. My husband needs to get healthier, too. And we need to save money so I’d rather we stop buying when I can make stuff. Cant wait to bake bread! πŸ˜€

Ok, on to my goals for this yr. Here’s my list:

1. SPIRITUAL GOALS:

a) Word – Finish last yr’s BSF study on Isaiah by March and finish the Acts/Epistles study from several yrs ago (get notes from friends)

b) Worship – Minimum 10mins/day

c) Prayer –Β Minimum 10mins/day (May start keeping a journal again – I have a moleskin.)

2. FAMILY GOALS:

a) Homeschool Jelly Bean starting in March (17mths old) and keep new blog on it

b) Meal Plan and cook

c) Learn how to encourage/support my husband better (Love Dare Journal & Date Nights)

3. WORK/CAREER GOALS:

a) Find a way to make money from home

b) Work on BIG PROJECT following the Timeline

c) Become Debt-Free – read Dave Ramsey’s Money Makeover

4. MINISTRY GOALS:

a) IGNITE! development

b) Future steps for my English congregation

5. PHYSICAL/HEALTH GOALS:

a) Water, vitamins and enough sleep each day

b) Weight Watchers – join in March

c) Join a YMCA or other family gym for me and Jelly Bean

6. SOCIAL GOALS:

a) Play dates for Jelly Bean with other moms

b) Intentional follow-up with my English congregation (hm, they need a new name)

7. PERSONAL GOALS:

a) Read as many books/magazines as I can (too many lying around here)

b) Get and STAY organized (Home Management Binder and Mom Planner)

c) Stick to goals and commitments

Now that I have everything clearly laid out, including some of the time-frames for each, I feel a lot better. I’m hoping to check everything off this list by Dec 30, 2012. Wish me luck! πŸ˜€

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Goals for 2012

The FlyLady is really inspiring me these days. I feel like I’m thinking about nothing else, which is evident in how many times I’ve mentioned her in my last few blog entries. I am starting very slowly, taking each day of baby Steps and stretching them over several days until I complete them. Though I did realize that I never actually accomplished Baby Step #1, which is to Shine Your Sink. For some reason I never clicked on the link with the actual instructions. I just thought it meant cleaning your sink… πŸ˜› Oops! Well, must do that sometime. For now, though, I’m working on building my Control Journal and getting used to settling into daily routines.

But, as I’m also planning to close up shop here at work and at church in the next 6 wks, I was thinking today that I should really set some concrete goals for myself in the coming yr. Goals are hard because they can be very overwhelming. We all know how the typical New Yr’s Resolution goes — NOWHERE! πŸ˜› Yea, I really dont want that to happen because I feel like I’m on a good track with the FlyLady and I dont want to be disappointed in myself when it’s a yr from now. I’m hoping that I’ll be well adjusted to my FlyLady routines and Control Journal by the time I give birth in 2 months. I may need more time, but hoping to be at a better place than today!

With that in mind, here are some goals I’m contemplating:

1. Dec-Feb: Give birth, rest and recovery period

2. Feb/March: begin daily exercise (15mins-30mins/day) – possibly a combination of home workouts (WiiFit and exercise DVDs) with a dose of a gym class somewhere, or the YMCA. <– That’s the better option since I can probably bring my 1-yr-old with me and she can have some kiddie class. Gotta look into it.

3. March: Take advantage of our hired help and ask her to teach me some Chinese cooking. (Hope to be sleeping better by this time so I can focus!)

Let’s leave it here for now! Β I’ll keep thinking, but I dont want to get too ambitious. My perfectionism gets in the way and then I end up not doing anything! 😦 In addition, I’m still working on the Big Project. πŸ˜€ I need time for that, so I cant take on too much at once. Plus, getting in shape and eating healthily are my biggest priorities. I have to learn to be a good cook for my growing family.

[Books] 2010 Reading List – Update II

Decided to lump the Twilight series together. I’m on Eclipse right now.

[Books] 2010 Reading List

In an attempt to keep my blogging consistent this yr – which is not a New Yr’s Resolution, but still something good to do – I am going to try to create templates of each topic. They will be posted in italics on the bottom so that you can see the flow. I’m stealing this idea from my good friend Hosive. Imitation is the highest form of flattery, my friend. πŸ˜‰

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I blogged about my Bible readings earlier this morning. Two posts in one day! Wow – must be my birthday! πŸ˜› (Yes, I turn 32 tomorrow. Woot-woot!) But, I wanted to make a list of the books I wanted to get read this yr. There’s a challenge going on called 52 books in 52 weeks. Dude. I’d be all over that if not for full-time teaching, part-time seminary and part-time pastoring. 😦 So, while trying not to overdo it, I still have books I need to get read. Here they are, and I will check them off as I go:

Side-note: I also made a sub-calendar for Prayer in my Google Calendar to help me remember to pray through what I’m reading (processing and applying are super-important), as well as name the ppl I need to lift up on a daily basis.

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My Sunday blogs are dedicated to Books, Rest and Health. I guess I should call it a Sabbath post since that’s more in line with what I want to achieve this yr – sabbath. I’m hoping that blogging about my struggles to rest will keep me accountable to actually achieving that rest. Books are a major factor in resting. If I’m reading, then I’m relaxed. And I’m not talking about reading my Google Reader! πŸ˜› I do that EVERYDAY. -__- I mean, reading good books, even e-books. As long as they’re books. Resting can also include napping or sitting quietly. Even reading the Bible or a devotional. And Health is all about how trying to achieve this sabbath will help stave off my anxiety attacks and improve my sleep. Need to get myself healthy. I’m 32 and I want to have healthy babies… πŸ˜‰

Bulk Posting

I need to be like my friend, Maggie Smith (hey there, Texas! :D) and post anything and everything all day long! Seriously, I’m envious of Maggie. She works hard all day, takes care of her 50 adopted cats at home, makes healthy food from scratch, attends kick-ass parties, and still has time to be an Ajah Head and make multiple entries on multiple blogs, tweet and update her FB status. WTH!?! She’s amazing.

There are several things I should be posting about anyway:

Double happinessMarriage – First yr! πŸ˜€ So far things are great. I married the most amazing man in the world. ❀ Already getting the baby questions, but back off! We’re waiting a few yrs. So now you know. πŸ˜‰ It’s good for us to just enjoy time together and also I’m super-busy with the other things I should be posting about:

Everyday Chinese for Children

Everyday Chinese for Children

Work/Teaching – I’m working harder than ever before to make my lessons more efficient. Now that I know how to create a good Chinese lesson, it’s easier but more complicated, if that makes any sense. I took a course last Fall at Hunter College on Chinese Teaching Methodology. It was totally a God-thing. My professor turned out to be the author of my textbook!! =O (Didnt notice that til the 2nd day of class. :P) It was also all in Mandarin, which was really good for me. I’m feeling Mandarin-deprived ever since marrying into a Cantonese-speaking family. =/ It’s terrible for my input (how much Mandarin I hear), which I need lots of in order to keep my fluency. Need to watch more soap operas… >_> [But honestly, now that I think about it – why do I put so much pressure on myself to be so fluent in Chinese anyway? o_O I know I love the language and I’m surrounded by the ppl, and I may as well be Chinese… but. Yea, there’s a ‘but’ remaining. Sometimes I put too much of a burden on myself and it isnt fun anymore. :(]

So back to the lessons thing. Yea. It’s great to have the basic structure, and to know how my textbook was set up so I can get the most out of it. But, it does complicate things because I need to think through every single aspect of the lesson and map out how to get from one point to the next. This is called Backward Design in education lingo. I love it; it’s just not a cake-walk. I am putting all my lessons on powerpoint so that I can have my materials already set when I walk in the classroom. I am also using flashcards to reinforce the lessons. Most of them I have from the curriculum, but some I have to make. The powerpoints are the hard part b/c they have to contain the content in an engaging way. I think powerpoints are already engaging, but sometimes kids need to see fun stuff, too. For one of my reviews at the end of a lesson, I have pictures of cartoon characters like Harry Potter and Bart Simpson, as well as celebrities like Michael Jackson, and superheroes like Superman for them to identify using the new verb structure. My husband thinks one day when I have them all done, I’ll be able to sell them. Interesting thought. I’ll connect with my prof on that and see what she thinks. πŸ˜‰ Anyway, I have an avg of 32 kids per class now and 8 classes total trying to fit in a half-sized classroom… Yea. It’s tight… and smelly. πŸ˜›

Seminary – Need a separate post on this one actually so I can really talk about how it’s been. (And it’s been GREAT!) Only attending part-time is still a lot of work, esp in light of what I said before about how I’m working extra hard on my lessons this yr. I’m keeping up with my work, though, and that’s all that matters. Weekends are my friend. πŸ˜€

Pastoring – I’ve had a self-imposed break since May due to wedding planning, actually having my wedding and then going off on Honeymoon. So, now with the new school yr starting, I also re-start preaching. I’ve been wanting to do a series on Gender Justice, with special emphasis on developing a theology of gender, and particularly of womanhood. This yr, the church’s themes sort of lend themselves to my new series, so it works out well. I’ll be blogging about this on the church site I set up: CLLEnglish.wordpress.com. Sometimes, I may re-post here, or link over. Dont really feel like repeating. πŸ˜› In case you’re interested, my messages are being podcasted. So if you go to the site, you can check the SERMONS page for the links.

Cooking – ah, yes! Finally, learning to cook. And not just cook, but cook healthily. The great thing is that my husband already knows how to cook a lot of stuff, so he’s been taking care of that for us! (Love you, hunny!!) I feel I’ve really been gypped in this dept. Aside from not learning to cook at home as a kid, growing up in America really lends itself to lazy eating. I’ve been amazed to discover more and more how much I’ve been duped by the system. (So, that explains my obesity! >_<) Today, I made my own meatballs (first time and slightly tasteless, but I MADE THEM!), and my own pasta sauce (yay, diced tomatoes!! This one I liked. πŸ™‚ ), and penne from a box. Ok, not so healthy there, but when I learn to bake my own bread (gonna go there soon!) then I’ll learn to make my own noodles. Seriously, the more I see stuff in the supermarket, the more I’m like, “dude, I can totally make this!! Why am I wasting my money?! o_O” That’s how I feel now. I’m gonna make it my business to learn the art that is cooking. In the process I’m hoping to get healthier and unload this extra baggage called WEIGHT that I’ve carried for so long. And how can I not mention BENTOS??! I’ve posted on my attempts before. They’ve been pretty lame of late – just leftovers and nothing fancy. But, soon and very soon. Dont worry. You’ll see. πŸ˜‰ I’m actually thinking of teaching my 6th graders (Asian Studies SHOP class) about them. Maybe we can make them! Should be uber-fun!

The Gathering Storm

The Gathering Storm

Books – Havent showcased anything I’m rdg in a while. I’ve actually been trying to capture time to read for leisure, but it’s tough with all I have going on. 😦 Still, I have snatches of time. I’ve been re-reading Harry Potter & the Order of the Pheonix when I have a few mins to wind down before bed. Actually, it’s really important I wind down before bed b/c usually my mind is racing with what needs getting done the next day and it’s hard to fall asleep. My doctor had to give me a ‘calming vitamin’ to take before bed so I wouldnt be so anxious. I think it’s a personality-slash-occupational hazard thing. =T Still, it’s always good to re-visit old friends and that’s how I feel when I pick up a book I love. I’m hoping to re-read HP5, HP6 and HP7. Then I’ll move on to some smaller books. I was in the middle of The Good Fairies of New York and then got sidetracked. πŸ˜› I need to hurry and get thru the HP books so I’ll have the luxury of re-reading the whole Wheel of Time series before I tackle the last book (#12) in the series. They are actually releasing it in 3 parts, I believe, so I have time before they all come out. Still, it’s a lot of ground to cover!! I may need to re-read them while still staying on top of my seminary reading and readings for my sermons as well as just reading the other new books on my shelf. I swear, I need to sell all my books. They are seriously growing stale on my shelf! 😦 Ok, I’ll keep some – like my HP’s – I would never part with those!!! But, the others have to go! >_<

Did I say this was a bulk post?

That’s all I have time for right now. Longest post I’ve written in a while, I think. Shows how long I’ve deprived myself. Need to blog more. If anything, this blog entry proves it!! πŸ˜›

Bento #2

bento02-1I think I did well this past wk in the bento dept. I decided to try my hand at making onigiris – over 10 yrs after seeing my Japanese international students make some with a rice cooker out in the hall of our dorm. They came out all right. And mainly b/c I didnt really use my hands except for the ones pictured on the plate. I actually mixed the rice with the tuna + canola mayo I’d prepped and with furikake. Then, I shaped them and put the seaweed on them.

bento02-2For these others, I used my bento molds, which I mentioned in my last post. I tried them all just to practice, and it was a bit confusing at first. The instructions being all in Japanese did not help. πŸ˜› I realized the little flexible plastic was to make the indentation so you could put your filling inside. Aha! And then I sorta had to shake them out. πŸ˜› I have pictured here a heart, a star, a triangle and a flower-ish-type thing.

bento02-3I made two bigger ones with the triangle molds. They are actually two different sizes – the one on the left being the smaller one. I actually filled all of the ones I shaped in the molds with tuna and then just poured some furikake over them. Otherwise the rice would’ve been totally plain.

bento02-5In the end, I thought: “I cant just have rice for lunch! Even if it does have tuna in it… >_>” So, I decided to use the empty blue compartment for some fruit (apricots and cranberries that I never finished eating), and I added a package of instant miso flavoring so I could have soup with it. It was mm-mm-good! πŸ˜€

Bento #1

This is a few days overdue.

My new bento box

My new bento box

I’ve been obsessed with reading Bento blogs lately, like Bento Box Blueprints and Adventures in Bento-making.Β  I also watch a Bento community on LiveJournal. All of this on my Google Reader, of course. πŸ˜€

And in an effort to really begin watching what I eat and making sure I dont get tempted to eat the crap that’s sold around my school, I’ve decided to invest in making my own bentos. I bought a bunch of cute bento accessories like onigiri molds and some containers to hold stuff in that I didnt want to get mixed with other food. I also bought mini cosmetic bottles to hold any liquids – sauces and dressings – that I may want to have with me.

Onigiri molds

Onigiri molds

I am really loving all of this and it motivates me to take more of an interest in what I’m eating. This is a good thing. I’m getting old. πŸ˜› The doc says my blood tests show I’m borderline anemic and low in triglycerides. I’m also borderline high cholesterol. Sigh. I’m not in my 20s anymore! >_< So, definitely needing to be more mindful of what goes in my mouth. The doc has me on prescription iron pills. T__T I need to cook more of my own food, and that’s what I’m trying to do.

So, I finally made my first bento lunch in time for Parent/Teacher conferences last Thurs. I would be at work from 7am – 7pm and needed lunch plus a mid-afternoon snack to tie me over til I got home and had dinner. I actually should’ve added breakfast, but let’s not get too ambitious, eh? I need to re-think breakfast in general! πŸ˜› I’ll get there…

I took pix, as I plan to do each time I make a bento. Maybe I’ll start adding my bentos into the community on LJ. So, here was my first bento:

First of all, you have to understand, my new bento box has two layers. The bottom (which is featured on top is actually white, but these two dividers: blue and red sit on top. The blue is actually a container and the red just goes over what’s underneath. It serves as a secondary tray. Both are removable, but you need to replace them in order to properly close the box again. The white part on the bottom actually fits on top and is split into two container areas.

I had made halibut with potatoes, green peppers, asparagus, onion and spinich baked in tomato/garlic/olive oil the night before for dinner. Yum yum! My first try and I think it came out pretty well. I made enough to take some with me the next day. That was the main part of my meal, so I put it on the bottom. I needed something to go in the small blue container, so

I added fruit – a cutie orange, which my fiance buys and peels the stickers off to let me know he thinks I’m a cutie! πŸ˜€ I surrounded it with dried apricots.

For the top part, I put in what I planned to eat as a snack – a regular sandwich. I hadn’t bought cold-cuts or bread in a while and decided to buy some for a quick throw-together lunch. Glad I did! I used 2 slices of rye bread, turkey, cheese, mustard and canola mayo. I would normally never desecrate my sandwich with mayo, but canola mayo is actually supposed to be good for you, so I thought I’d try it. Still getting used to the taste.

I cut the sandwich in half and put one half on top of the other so it would fit. In the compartment next to it, I added what no sandwich would be complete without: pickles and olives! At the last moment, I decided to use the olives to make a face. I cut a slice of pickle for the smile. πŸ˜€ The whole point of making bentos is to make them so cute you’ll enjoy eating your food. Enjoying food is a lost art in the West. We just gobble whatever the media tells us looks good and seems to taste good. But, we dont actually know what we’re eating and how much damage it does to our systems. I’m trying to recover 30 yrs of damage done to my body. πŸ˜› I’m 31 now. Let the re-programming begin!

This is what it looked like in the end: I was quite pleased! πŸ™‚

Mentos – the Freshmaker

Mentos…

I like Mentos. Mainly b/c I like mint. It’s my favorite flavor in the whole world. Mentos has a variety of new flavors, including fruit. I dont usually buy Mentos, but the other day, on a whim, Β I did. I bought the Fruit-flavored one.

After my doctor’s appointment yesterday where he informed me that I had to change my diet completely and start cooking real food or suffer the consequences, I decided to roll over the wrapper and check the ingredients on my newly purchased sweet. As an American, am I really that surprised to find that a fruity, mint-flavored candy has neither MINT nor FRUIT of any kind in its ingredients? o_O

Nope. Not surprised.

American food sux.

Olympic Cupcakes

My attempt at some sort of cooking (baking, really) and trying to be more health-conscious.

Made the cupcake batter from scratch with whole wheat flour, soy milk, baking powder, baking soda, egg, vanilla extract, salt, butter, and veg. oil. Frostings: 2 cans – one low-sugar chocolate; one vanilla. Used the vanilla one with food coloring for the red and blue rings. Yellow and green rings are actually covered in vanilla frosting and tipped with colored sugar crystals.

Had to throw out all the red ones b/c they tasted toxic. >_< I was too tired to decorate them with toppings after I iced them b/c I’d burned my fingers on the cupcake pan the night before. πŸ˜›