Saturday, December 28, 2013

Made this quilt for my niece (who has been asking for one for three years!!). I used the pattern from this blog but made it twin-sized. I love the colors and she was thrilled. First time with diagonal quilt lines.

Hope you like it.

Do you use other blogs as inspiration or copy a pattern?

Monday, December 16, 2013

It's that time again.  Gingerbread houses to decorate and house full of happy kids. That's why I do it. Merry Christmas all.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Pinned it!!!

We all looooovve Pinterest right?

Where else can we find, share, and try out ideas from blogs.

Well, I tried one and I am freakin'!!!

Back story...

Husband's dresser when he was a kid...scratched and stained.

Me.  No interest or clue how to restain (afraid my skin my freak out at the mere mention of stripper...the kind on wood...not the club kind).

Eyesore forever and relegated to our rarely used guest bedroom.

Ugly Pinterest.

3 parts olive oil plus 1 part white vinegar.  Dip a towel and rub-a-dub-dub. And you get this!!

It looks better than the picture took. Husband was properly impressed.

You. Are. Welcome.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

No dirty dishes in sink...

Clothes are washed and dried in baskets...

Bathrooms are cleaned...

But you wouldn't know it by the amount of mess around my house.

It's Christmas season and I'm trying to get presents made, crafts prepared for kids' school, and cookies to be baked.

Oh, well...trying to change my mental attitude of what relaxing is and trying to live in the moment...not try to clean up so I can "relax in an uncluttered" home...who am  fooling?! There's no relaxing with two boys around.

Enjoying the moment.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

...It's fleeting...

Life is a series of "I can't wait for moments"-can't wait to drive, kiss, get married...insert your can't-wait-of-the-moment.

I remembered in May of 2004 when I became MOM, it was a new series of can't-wait moments: can't wait until baby slept through the night, stop nursing, crawl, walk...on an on.

I was thinking as another Christmas time comes around with S.E. nine and KOO near eight years old. Sometimes, as I am in the everyday schedule of tasks, duties, and have-tos, I recently stopped and just enjoyed my boys.

For they are on the cusp of entering the tween/adolescent years where everything is them against parents.

I am enjoying that they still like to play Legos. Still believe in Santa. Still gets excited by a sundae at Dairy Queen (okay so this never gets old) and where they still like being around the lovely hubby and me.

So, I stop. I converse. I help with build Legos. I help them make clothes and blankets for their stuffed animals. I just let them make a mess with crazy craft projects.

Soon all too soon, the outside things like name brand and girls will have more part of their lives and I just want to cherish them as little boys looking for playdates and Super Smash Brothers on the Wii.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Windy weather...

Gets very windy here in the Palouse area.

Very windy.

Which brings me to my thankful list as I clean the same sticky floors two times/day.

Blown over port-a-potty!! Disgusting.

Last house being built in our 'hood and there's a port-a-potty on site.

Bad wind storm = tipped over King Potty.

Images of splattered matter up and down the sides.

Okay, I've grossed myself out even more. I will now scrub this blog with bleach, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide...

I am thankful it is not my job to clean tipped over port-a-potty.

Back to sticky floors.
Boys getting ready to attend a Cub Scout pack meeting. They wanted to show off their turkey neckerchief slide. There were two military guest speakers and the boys learned a lot about serving our country.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thank you.

I get so overwhelmed when I think of how grateful I am to Veterans and anyone in the military. They are someone's son, someone's husband, someone's nephew...they are SOMEONE doing a dangerous job of keeping our way of life safe for the rest of us.

I pretty sure it's part being born when a war was going on in Vietnam, I am thankful and value safety, peace, and doing my best to show my gratitude by serving my family and community.

This is not about me.

This is about being aware of the sacrifices military men and women make so I can say what I want and go about my day as I want.

Thank you. Thank you.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Gratitude list

1. The truck that picks up roadkill from long stretches on highway. How many times do you see dead animals on the side of the road and wonder "who picks these up/how long has this poor animal been here?".

2. Library books on bugs just in time for Koo to go through his bug collection phase.

3.  Brooks Pure Connect running shoes. Get them. Seriously get them! Shaved 2 minutes off my 5k. No pain.

4.  The warm weather as the days grow shorter.

5. Elastic-waist pants because my overeating has been playing havoc with the buttons on my jeans.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

We went to the big city last weekend and had to use a convenient store bathroom...writing this makes me think I need to get my kids and I updated on our Hepatitis A shots...

It kind of smelled. Broken this and that. I had to clean the toilet before I'd let them use it.

That's when S.E. said, "I am not liking this bathroom, I'm just not used to this much messiness..."

I took it as "I really appreciate you keeping a clean environment for me and I don't have a funky, stinky bathroom to use."

You're welcome son.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Yogurt making part 2

Our third batch of yogurt. We decided to add 1/4 cup NFDM, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 tsp vanilla to reference Emeril Legasse-kick it up a notch.

S.E. made this batch and he was very patient with the stirring and watching temperature.

I've been trying to involve them more in the food prep and cooking process as of late and their one complaint is how hard everything I show them turns out to be.

I tell them, it's because I'm showing them and I've been cooking since I was ten so of course it looks easy when I do it...I've had more practice.

With everything in life, practice, practice, practice is the key.

It clicked for them with soccer, swimming, basketball, and reading.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Salton Yogurt Maker

I got an old yogurt maker at a neighbor's yard sale.  She gave it to me. For free. It was made in the USA. She remembered having it in her youth.  Got passed down to her and she never used it. One man's hand-me-downs, well in this case, it's now my hand-me-down.

It has been sitting on my counter for over two weeks because we've been on vacation.

Just got back on Sunday and on Monday, I made my first batch of yogurt.

Just plain yogurt using this recipe:

Plugged in my Salton yogurt maker.
Heated 1 quart 1% milk to 180F with constant stirring.
Removed from stove and cooled down to 130F, then added 2 TBSP plain, nonfat Greek yogurt (Chobani) and stirred until completely incorporated (this is the starter culture to start the fermentation).

Poured into the cleaned ceramic jars. Closed the lids and left it alone for 10 hours.  Then place in refrigerator for several hours and it's ready to enjoy.

Result:  Slightly thinner than store bought but way tastier. Less acidic and the best part-the boys liked it with just blueberries!!!

Yesterday, I taught Koo to make it. This time, I made two changes:  added 1/4 cup of nonfat, dry milk (NFDM) to increase the thickeness and decreased the milk by 1/2 cup to accommodate the NFDM.  Oh, and the best part-I just used 2 TBSP of the yogurt I made on Monday as the starter!!!

Cost? About $1.25 for five 6 oz. cups. 
In our college town, school starts next Wednesday.

Does this seem too early? In my opinion, I think yes.  It starts two weeks earlier than the rest of WA state.

But then, I was chatting with a friend from Chicago and they started two weeks ago.  Yikes! 

I wish my kids have a longer filled with lots of swimming, hiking, playing with friends, and just chillin'.  

Monday, July 22, 2013

Diet Soda

"If diet sodas actually help with weight loss, I'd be down 80 lbs.". -unknown.

For some diet soda helps keep them from gaining weight. I thought it was helping me but no, it was doing way more damage.

My poison of choice was Coke Zero. It would help with a little pep in my step from the 2 o'clock to dinner time. The problem was when I would drink this, I would associate it with certain snack foods and guess what I would do? SNACK. Snacking is a gateway activity for me.

For others it's drugs, drinking, or whatever. If I snack, I never get full or satisfied and would switch from something sweet to salty and back again. When would I stop? Usually when I realize the bag is at least half-gone!!!

There was three times when I had artificial sweetener (gum and low-calorie Gatorade) when I didn't realize it was in something but other than that it's been toxic chemical free.

I have been over seven months with no diet soda. Why did I stop? My friend sent me an article about the side effects of using artificial sweeteners and one in particular that I liked to use decomposes to formaldehyde in the body!

Uuuuggghhh...I'm allergic to formaldehyde!!! I've been poisoning myself all this time and making it harder from my body to recover from this darn skin condition.  Second, my body aches were terrible.

I will tell you the positive things I've noticed since kicking diet sodas to the curb:  my skin lesions have decreased in size, my joints do not ache, my teeth are not so yellow. Lastly, and my grocery bill and cart is a lot lighter!!!

The only downside has been gaining about 2 lbs. from switching from sweetener to plain sugar. But lately I've been shaving this down to 1 tbsp in my coffee. I'll take that for better skin.

Oh and the best part? I've discovered I don't care for sodas. I haven't had any (diet or regular) since.

I'm learning. Still learning.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Still running 60 minutes with no pain!!! I am so happy I can jump on the treadmill and do another 60 minutes. Ooooh, now that's an idea...

Maybe I will. It's just been a painful 1 1/2 year battle.  Here's what I think I would tell someone.

Go to a chiropractor in addition to physical therapy.  I have jumped full-board on the Chiropractor bandwagon and I want a lifetime membership.

Here's why.

When you go just to physical therapy, the therapist gives you exercises to manage your injury...alas hopefully strengthen the muscles/tissues around it to help relieve the injury.

However, if your (say for my instance) your feet are not aligned correctly with your knees and hips, your body won't function correctly even with the strengthened muscles because it's not in the correct position.

Once I started going to get my hips, knees, back, and feet aligned...still painful but six months later, I am running without pain.

You can't just go once and think it'll work. I went once/every other week and little by little, it's been getting better.

Truthfully, there was a period where I thought, nope. Nothing's going to get rid of this plantar fasciitis pain. But then it just sort of happened.

Two weeks and going. Like I said so happy I can eat brussel sprouts (eewww!) with a smile on my face.

Have you ever been to a chiropractor and if so how was your experience?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Today was a good run.  Sixty minutes on the treadmill at 5.1 mph. It didn't suck. Had the Nexus 7 playing a Netflix show and ran my little heart out.

Best part?  No pain while running and most importantly afterwards I've been able to walk without hobbling from pain in my left foot.

I am hoping this is me on my way back from this injury.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I've been in a funk.

I've been disconnected to my body and therefore have not been paying a lot attention to it.  I've been up to as high as 143 lbs. (yikes!!) but have not been motivated to do anything about it.

With continued plantar fasciitis  pain in my left heel, any running or cardio work has been torture. Pure torture afterwards for days until I go to my chiropractor and he manipulates it enough to reset it.  While worthwhile, I've been supplementing it with Tylenol and Advil (not good).

I have been tired of my body failing skin even though it's not as bad as previous years, has been trying to break out because of the changing seasons (blossoming trees and flowers!!!).

Then something curious happened last Thursday. I ran on the treadmill for 60 minutes at 4.0 rpm and did not hobble!!! I tried it again on Friday-no excruciating pain!!! I've been able to walk after my runs and not rely on ice, heat, pain meds, or chiropractor.

I think this is looking up for me. I'm so excited. I would say the one most important thing is chiropractor. He would re-align my stomach, back, knees, and feet so they work better.

Now to start knocking those lbs. out so I can fit back into a size 8.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Love...what is love? ('s kinda mushy)

I was listening to Dr. Laura on podcast and a lady called saying she left her husband because he physically abused her and still abusing drugs and alcohol.

The caller left with her son but called to Dr. Laura to whine that she still loved him.

And so here's Dr. Laura's take on love:


LOVE (What you think is love) ISN'T EVEN LOVE.




Love should be:


In all, she says love is not enough to sustain a marriage especially when one cares more about "fill-in-the-blank" destructive behaviors than the spouse and kids.

So powerful.

Why am I even copying this down?  Because I want to talk about my love for my husband.

His birthday was yesterday. He is truly the love of my life. I love him more today than when I first met him because my admiration and respect for him jumped to the forefront of the mushy feelings I had for him (you know the butterflies in your tummy).

He is so patient with the kids and myself. He is smart about his business and personal affairs. He takes into account other people's feelings.

My boys hit the jackpot in the daddy department. He likes to spend time teaching them how to work on cars, throw a ball, discipline with firm but loving touch, and he sets a pretty good example of how to be a dad and man.

I love that he loves ice cream cakes. It makes him so happy.

Love, love, love my lovely hubby.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Dr. L and his wife

In a town about an hour away lives a couple that is very special to me. The gentleman was my undergraduate professor and he was very special.  He took time to guide and mentor students to do the best they possibly can.

I recalled when I would go see him at the end of each semester to set up my next year's classes, I didn't even have to tell him and he didn't even have to look at my report card-he would already know how I did (usually pretty good) and would encourage me to reach beyond my comfort level.

He also would have get together for the students in his modest home where his wife made a delicious tomato soup cake (like a spice cake that I still love to this day).

Back to the present, they both are in their late seventies and he is in the middle stages of Alzheimer's while his wife has physical disabilities that makes it impossible for them to live by themselves anymore.

The boys and I went to visit them on Friday and I've got to say, I'm pretty impressed with how decent my boys have been in relating to them.  They hug, they listen, they make them laugh, they fetch and try to make them at ease. Since Dr. L and his wife have been in this facility for seven months, we've been able to visit a couple times a month, the boys are used to being there and just visiting with them.  I've been very impressed with how sweet my boys are with them.

They don't get much visitors so I teach my boys that they would want others to visit them if they were in the same situation.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Nothing says springtime like...BASEBALL and boys.

First time at baseball.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The weather has been crazy beautiful around here and it's my favorite month of the year. The hills are all green and with springtime, the trees and wildlife seem wake up.

Am I running or biking my heart out? NO.

My skin is acting crazy because of everything coming into bloom and from being sick.

The doctor has me on a treatment that requires I not raise my heart rate until the toxins leave my system.   If I raise my heart rate, the toxins get moved around and trapped-causing more breakouts and swelling.

How do these toxins leave my body?  Let's say I need to be near a bathroom.

Since it hasn't happen yet, so I am sitting around my house gaining weight.

On the upside, I haven't had a huge breakout yet (other than on my face).

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Strike me down

Something that has been annoying me lately and I know I am not perfect in this matter.

But here goes...

I am getting really annoyed with parents who show up to their kids' functions and they are on glued to their IPhones/Smartphones.

Look up.  Cheer your kids on.

Why are you there if you are not even paying attention?

So annoying.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

...40, 41, 42, darn I lost my count...

This is a total whine post, so I'll wait while you find your small violin...

Took my kids on a hike on half-day school.

Got three fingers smashed when my little Koo shut the car door on my hand trying to save a doggie's nose from getting caught instead.

Spending three hours trimming Box Tops from two classrooms because not enough parents volunteered to help trim and count them with busted-up fingers.

The things I will do so my kids can have playground equipment.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


I did it finally.

No, I didn't do something silly like give up coffee again.  That would be CRAZY...thank you very much for staying with this blog enough to know my love, love, love for coffee is everlasting.

For the last twenty years! (Yikes!), I've been drinking my coffee with artificial sweetener and powdered cream.  Nothing like starting your day of with a healthy (not) of chemicals...

Needless to say, I stopped ALL artificial sweeteners in my life about three months ago.  Diet Coke? NO. Coke Zero? Not this hero.

Banned from the Ramblin' On household.

But my coffee-still liked it light and sweet so I switched to regular sugar (1 TBSP) and half & half (also 1 TBSP).

Kills me to drink 65 calories per cup but I'm dedicated.

But my jeans have not been liking the changes because the button got mad and wouldn't go through the hole.  Uuugghh...

Guess I've got some tweaking to do on my diet.

I have trained my pallet and mind to not think coffee has to be sweet or creamy.

Two weeks and I've done it. I've convinced my mind!!

I. Drink. My. Coffee. Military-style. Black. Bold. And. In. Your. FACE.


Heard that emotions such as confidence, self-esteem, and love FOLLOWS the ACTION. I think because our minds are so much slower than the rest of our body to convince us.

I can now peddle 10 minutes less on my bike or treadmill because I went black and I am not lookin' back.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Koo pulled out another tooth. That's seven in all.

He's trying to save up his money to buy a video game ($50/game). Geez. 

Breakfast conversation...

S.E.: "Koo now you have almost $20 if the Tooth Fairy gives you $1!!"

Koo: "I hope she gives me $20"

Me (Debbie Downer):  "She can't afford to give every child $20/ tooth."

Koo:  "Yes she can, she's rich. Do you how many kids I know have lost their teeth?"

S.E.:  "Oh, Koo. You get what you get and that's it."

Me: "That's why she can't give you $20...there's a lot kids with missing teeth in first grade."

What I love about this conversation is it's where they are at and I love it. The innocence is still there. The biggest worry and biggest story is how many teeth they've lost.

I am learning to enjoy them at this present time. Being present to hear and watch them grow. I sometimes get flashbacks of them rounding the corner in their diapers and sippy cups cheerfully coming to greet me.

These days, when they get up, they get up and play with each other.  Yesterday, I woke up to find them in Koo's room-rollerblading.  I about passed out of shock to see the carpet in his room.  His room is usually a disaster of the Legos kind.

(My camera has gone belly-up and I don't have one of those transformer phones that turns into I'll have to add later).

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Be nice to the Russians

I've said it before and I'll say it again...

I would never want to be on bad terms with the Russians. 

Between Russian twists and Russian squat kicks...

My core is toast.

Be a good friend...

Don't tell me a funny story.  My core has been beaten up...for sure.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Puke. Yes another post about my weight.

I'm still trying to get back to 130 lbs. But my heart isn't in it the way it was when I was 160 lbs. trying to get to this goal.

I've seen this weight. I felt good but I still felt the panic of gaining weight and watching what I eat.

I am now sitting at 138 lbs. and some days I see 142 lbs. and batten down the hatches and watch what I eat for days and days.

Here's the turn around folks. Living inside my head looks like this most of my life:  beating myself up for not being the ideal and perfect weight. Letting my hard work slip away with overindulging.

But I had a revelation about a month ago.  I've been CONSISTENTLY exercise since 2009!!! And for the past two years, it's been at home whether it's been the running (outside & treadmill), biking, or following a DVD. I not only transition from working out at the gym (I thought that was the only way I could make myself workout) to seriously getting my sweat on at home.

Never in my life would I have done this. In my twenties, I had a lot of DVDs  VHSs from Denise Austin to Cindy Crawford. I would do this for a week and never do it again. Never.

Now, I rotate my workouts and while I'm not as thin as I was in 2010, I'm still in the game.

Here's to hoping you are still in the game and trying to keep a good habit going.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

"I'm half-Chinese"

My niece...she's blonde, tall, and very, very ummm...Caucasian...

She came to visit us over the weekend. I love, love this little girl.  She adores me. Seriously. She told me so. And even more so after I heard this story...but first, we've got to time travel back to 1982.

I was growing up in a town where in school, my family was the only Asian in school.  We stood out. There was no talk of diversity or embracing different races like I hear nowadays.

Typical of all kids, I didn't want to look or be different than my peers. Teachers had problems pronouncing my name, I had to leave class for ESL. Kids made fun of me when my parents would speak to me in Vietnamese...because they were kids.

So, I remembered when my uncle married a white lady and I loved her. I was convinced I was half-white because she was now a part of our family.  I started telling my friends this.  They of course made MORE fun of me because duh...I had dark skin, small eyes, blackest hair...nothin' like my blonde-haired, blue-eyed aunt.

Back to this past weekend.

My niece and I had a day together on Friday and we went shopping and brought lunch to S.E. and Koo's school to have lunch with them. On the way to school she tells me her friends at school made fun of her because she told them she was half-Chinese. She told them because of me, she's half-Asian.  Her friends asked her why her hair was not black, why her skin was not brown, and why she doesn't have brown eyes. As she is telling me the story, she is getting upset because she BELIEVES she is half-Asian.

First off, I corrected her and told her I was Vietnamese not Chinese. And while it's true I am her aunt, we all can't look alike.  Blah, blah....yadday, yadday.

In the end, she wants me to come to her school to prove she's half Asian.  RIOT!!  Bless her little heart. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Dr. Laura-ism

I love when she talks about staying at home and raising your kids (I'm obviously pro-SAH).

She asked a caller today:
"If you had to be born again, would you want to be raised by:
a) daycare center
b) nanny
c) babysitter
d) loving mom

Not a new question she has asked.  She's asked this many times before and EVERY SINGLE CALLER says "d".  So why don't we do this for our kids?

Vitamin D

Something as simple as this vitamin that I unwittingly discontinued using in October has been why I have been so tired, unenergetic, and wanting to self-soothe myself the past three months!!!

I went to the doctor yesterday to get bloodwork done to find out if there's something wrong with me because I've been down and out.  I thought maybe my thyroid took a nose-dive again and the dosage had to be adjusted.

One question she asked was if I was still taking vitamin D, because she said..."you've been deficient in the past"...

This explains why I can be so incredibly tired after a workout. Tired after I've slept for eight hours straight.

So, if you are having symptoms like moi, please check to be sure you are getting your vitamin D.

Most of you are fine in this area but if you are not getting enough sun, you may need a boost.  Also, being Asian, I have a harder time absorbing this vitamin from the sun. Lastly, not all vitamin D supplements are created equal.  Get the more expensive D3 version-our bodies absorb it better.

After two days of taking this, my energy level was great and I rocked it at today's bootcamp!!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Getting real

Folks I've lost steam. I've been disconnected in my quest to lose weight and stay healthy. I am at my healthiest in terms of my skin but the worse since 2009 as far as running and strength. It didn't happen all at once.

Kind crept up on my since late October. In late summer my plantar fasciitis was FREAKING painful.  I could hardly walk after a workout let alone get up from a sitting position without buckling under the pain.

I rested. And rested. Then tried to workout. Now only my left foot hurts. I didn't realize the amount of mental energy this injury takes. I feel like a blob. I'm up a few pounds and terrified that I will be up in the 160's again with a pre-diabetic diagnosis again.

What's different is I'm not in crisis mode about it. I'm tired. I'm overweight. I'm in pain. What the hell. My skin looks great...I should be happy.

Do you find yourself in this predicament? I thought I was a cup half-full kind of person...but this is definitely proving me wrong.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Two Teeth...Four days

Koo lost one front tooth on a Sunday.

Lost another one on Thursday.

He pulled them himself.  Decided it was time because they'd been loose for awhile.  Still so cute to me.

Back from break...payback

The boys had such a ball during Christmas break.  Sleep in late. check.

Traveled to see cousins and get tons of loot.  check.check.

No spelling lists to copy. Triple check.

Stay in PJs all day...well no. My boys do not like to stay in jammies all day. 

Needless to say, they did not want to go back to school.  On the first morning back, I had to wake them up (usually they are up and playing by 6:30am) and they were grumpy. They complained about me waking them up at 7:30am.  It was so much fun for me b/c paybacks are a *&^%!.  My days have started at 5am since the day S.E. came out of my womb. 

Seriously thought I'd have to wait 'til middle school to see them like this.

Works for fitted sheets

Happy New Year all. Is anyone coming to this blog anymore? I have been in a funk and can't seem to write about anything.

Well. I just made this table cover and I'm excited. Why didn't I do this sooner? 

In my house, I don't have a formal dining room. Kind of glad I don't. It just seems isolated. My dining room table is one I bought from a friend of mine years ago. It's beautiful. If I had to buy it brand new, I probably wouldn't because the price would be too much.

So I want to take care of it, protect it but still let my boys not only eat but do crafts, schoolwork, and build lego structures.

I've tried to keep it scratch-free (so far so good), but I've hated all my options.  Cloth or vinyl tablecloths would cover the entire table but would slide around and ultimately, milk would be dumped at least once a week when Koo grew out of using sippy cups. 

Placemats were okay but it left too many areas of wood exposed that I had to be Nazi mom when the boys would want to play with their toys at the table.

Today, I was modifying a king fitted sheet to our queen bed (that's a future post...) and thought, why not make a FITTED tablecloth!!!! Took less than an hour.  Since I hoard fabric, of course I would have remnant vinyl fabric which I cut to size (left 3" hanging over the sides) and then sewed a 3/4" hem, stuck some elastic around it and presto...fitted tablecloth.  No slipping, no exposed wood and best of all, it cost me nothing but time.